Tuesday, 18 June 2013

More Knits - Sewing Class Review

I loved Sarah Veblen's Understanding Knit Fabrics class on PatternReview.com so much I immediately enrolled in her follow-on course More Knits.
I couldn't wait for the kit to arrive in the post. The kit contains swatches of 28 different kinds of knits. Better than a box of chocolates!

This course uses the same format as the first one, but uses different fabrics and covers different sewing techniques.
The fabrics in this kit include natural fibres like silk, bamboo, linen, organic cotton and wool. There are also some performance fabrics, as well as several ornamented fabrics (sequins, sparkles etc) and mesh. There are some "eco-friendly" fabrics including Tencel. I thought Tencel was something jeans were made out of in the 1980s! If I see a Tencel knit in the right colours - I'll be snapping some up!

The lessons go through each fabric with in-depth notes on the manufacturing processes, laundering, needle choice and garment possibilities. Having the swatch to hold and feel while you read about it really helps you to understand the fabric and imagine what you could do with it.
Once all the swatches have been covered, the lessons move on to making a small-scale tank top using fold-over elastic. This is another product I hadn't tried (and still haven't as you can see - but I will!) and seeing Sarah demonstrate how to sew the tank top straps gives me the confidence to give it a go sometime soon. I'll also have the video to refer back to. The videos are to the point and show techniques like sewing over sequins and in fabrics like mesh which have "holes".

Sarah is a very good teacher who encourages her students to experiment with fabrics and design. My knit sewing has most definitely improved since taking these courses, as has my confidence to add my own touches to garments and make major design changes to commercial patterns.

Now, to find some of that gorgeous silk jersey.....

Friday, 7 June 2013

Something for ME!!

This the first fabric I bought after I had my colour analysis a few months ago. It's a cotton jersey remnant. The colour is right on the money according to my swatches. The fabric itself is a little bit stiff.

My wardrobe is in dire need of new tops, so in between dance costumes for my daughter, I pulled out my TNT Tee pattern from J.Stern Designs. I did Jennifer Stern's Fit the Tee to a Tee course on PatternReview.com last year and got a really great fit out of this pattern. She has a very neat way of doing an FBA. This is my third version of The Tee.

For this Tee I decided to make the Vee neck variation I learned in her course, and extend the sleeves to full length for winter. I didn't quite get the sleeve length correct - more like 7/8th sleeves, but I'm happy enough.

I am really happy with my Vee neck! I took great care sewing the facing and topstitching. For the back neck I stabilized the neckline with narrow elastic, folded it over and topstitched. (Yes I possibly should have used black elastic, but you can't see the white when worn.) Then I joined the front and back yokes together and topstitched the seam down. It looks pretty neat to my eye.

I used my overlocker for all the other seams as I'm trying to become better friends with my overlocker. We have an "on again / off again" relationship. This became a problem when I made a silly mistake and beautifully overlocked the wrong side of the lower front to the yoke. It took me quite some time to unpick, being very careful not to put a hole in the fabric as it was a remnant and there was none left for a replacement panel.

I also cheated by using the flat construction technique for the sleeves (and feeling a little bit guilty whilst doing it, but also being very pleased with the results).

I like the shirt style hemline, but the curves are tricky to hem nicely, so I used Heat'n'Bond Lite tape to stick it in place. I used a double row of narrow zigzag for the hems and sleeves.

This Tee will be on high rotation this season.


Thursday, 6 June 2013

Another New Look

Another day, another dance costume!

This is New Look 6309. It's out of print now. I first made it a few years ago for a my daughter's very first dance solo. It's for a character piece about a little girl who finds an injured bird. (I also made the bird!)

I used a stormy blue cotton sateen with a pleated cream trim on the collar and sleeves and a cream velvet ribbon around the waist. I much prefer the fabric in this version to the sandwashed linen I used for the previous one (pictured below). The linen looked lovely up close, but a little washed out on stage.

The style of this dress allows her move easily. The puffed sleeves aren't too tight and the skirt falls nicely from the bodice and doesn't get in the way of the dancing.

Saturday, 1 June 2013

June Goals

I'm keeping it simple and achievable this month!

1. Make a wooden body board (to my dancer's own measurements) for sewing sequins on leotards.
2. Make a tutu bag.
3. Do all those "finishing touches" on the dance costumes I've made. The next competition is at the end of this month, so there is a deadline for this.
4. Work on my Sure-Fit Designs body blueprint and make something wearable in public!
5. Update this blog more regularly. It is supposed to be my online sewing diary of sorts! I'll need to get some photos taken of me in the tee and sweater. Not feeling super photogenic.
6. Get back on the weight loss wagon........

Starting today!