6.27.2011

Crease-free Unfinished Project Storage

If you're like me, you tend to have multiple sewing projects going at once. I either get bored with one project and really excited about another or I reprioritize different projects based on desired enddates. Either way, the result is the same: I have cut pieces of fabric piling up. But, what is the best way to store them?

Recently, I've started using a new method for keeping those projects which have been pushed back down the queue out of the way and wrinkle-free. Instead of folding projects you aren't working on, simply lay all of the pieces in a pile, place notions in a plastic bag on top, and secure to a thin wire hanger with three wooden clothespins. Now, you can hang the project in a closet or your sewing room and when you want to work on it again, your pieces and notions will all be in one place and they won't need to be re-ironed.

Note: the wire hanger/wooden hanger combo works best because the wire hanger is thin enough to allow a lot of fabric to be pinned without excess pressure and the soft wooden pins are less likely to leave impressions than the rigid plastic ones.

Now that I've hung my two sets of dress pieces away, it's back to the shorts! Happy Monday! x
6.17.2011

McCalls 4440 Sew Along - Day 3

Here we are at day 3! Time to finish our dresses (if you haven't done so already)!  By now, we have our bodices and skirts sewn and attached - everywhere except center back for lined-bodice only and all but center back and side seams for fully-lined dresses.

View of [altered] bodice back
If you are using trim(s), be sure to attach it to the dress before applying the zipper. I pressed my outer fabric empire seam down (toward the skirt) and overcasted. On the outside, I applied a grosgrain ribbon right along the seam line. This flattens and hides the appearance of the seam. Sew ribbons slowly and always from the same direction to keep the grain vertical.

6.14.2011

McCalls 4440 Sew Along - Day 2

Good afternoon sewers! I apologize for posting so late in the day - I've been a bit under-the-weather today so I haven't been as productive as I would have liked. Nevertheless, I've begun sewing my dress and I hope you have too! Just a reminder, you can post any questions you have in comments and, even if it's something I haven't gone over, I'll get to it quickly!

So, yesterday, we cut out our fabric, right sides together. That was so tracing the pattern markings today would be easier. The best way to transfer the markings (dots, dart lines, etc) is to lay your fabric, pattern still pinned, onto a [right-side up] piece of transfer paper. Then, using a dressmaker's ruler as a guide and a tracing wheel, carefully trace the dart lines. For the dots, you can either use the wheel to trace an 'x' where the dot should go or you can use a washable fabric pen to draw the dots through the pattern paper. Now, unpin your pattern and flip your fabric. The marks (those done with the wheel) should now be visable. Trace those lines to create identical ones on the other half of the fabric. (If you used a pen for the dots, you'll need to line the pattern back up to draw them on the other side.)

Using transfer paper and a tracing wheel,
trace along the dart lines

6.13.2011

McCalls 4440 Sew Along - Day 1

Good morning! Does everyone have their pattern and fabric?

Today, you need to choose a view and cut out your pieces accordingly (see below). I'll be doing View C this time but, they're all so similar it will not matter if you choose one of the others. I'll also be doing a full lining because my material is white but, we'll cover both ways. For those using trims or boning, I generally wait until I reach the "attach it" step before cutting to ensure it is cut to the perfect size.

To begin (yay!) start with pre-washed and dried fabric or pre-steamed if the fabric you chose is not machine washable. (If you haven't done this, I recommend doing this today before cutting your pieces. Using unwashed fabric could result in your garment shrinking. No one wants that after putting all that effort into it!) Lay your fabric on a flat surface, right sides together, matching the selvedges (the thicker edges, often marked with a store or brand name). If you have trouble lining up the selvedges, gently pull the fabric diagonally in both directions, smoothe, and then press. This helps to "true" the grainline, which is very important in ensuring the garment will sew and wear correctly.
6.07.2011

Simplicity 2584 - "Walking on Sunshine" Shift Dress

When we were planning for New Orleans, I knew I was going to need cotton dresses. (For those who haven't been, New Orleans gets very hot and very humid.) Dresses are my default outfit. They can fit in a casual setting but they're dressier than shorts so, they also work in a restaurant with a somewhat stricter dresscode. I decided that nothing would work better in the hot climate, while still looking polished, than a cheerful cotton shift.

Shifts are commonly less fitted, which means they're cooler because they allow air to pass between the fabric and your skin. I chose Simplicity 2584 for its versatility and wonderful reviews. I can see why this one has created a buzz - it is so, so easy to sew together and yet has quite a polished look, curtousey of the unique yoke. To give it an even more professional look, I replaced all the facings with a full lining of white sheermist batiste, used an invisible zipper, and added two rows of small, white daisy trim near the bottom hem. Even with those additions, the dress was finished in only one day!

It's so rare that I finish a pattern without having made corrections in the margins but those one is so simple and so well explained that my only notes regarded the lining change, which, of course, isn't mandatory. I highly recommend this pattern to anyone who wants a cute, feminine dress that is quick and easy to construct! This is one is back in my queue, just waiting on lace for a fresh, white version!

Photo taken at Ashton's Bed & Breakfast (after a long day of sightseeing)
Throw on some 60s dance music and sew this one up this summer! It's a must have! x
6.06.2011

Tip for Wearing No-show Socks

My general preference for wearing TopSiders or ballet flats is to wear them without socks. However, if I'm going to wearing them for an extended period of time, in order to lengthen their life, I wear no-show socks - the ones that are shaped like ballet slippers. Unfortunately, the heel on them is so tiny that they have a hard time staying up. My darling fiance once again had a solution: use double sided tape on the back of your heel and they can't slip! You can buy fashion tape at most lingerie or department stores, as well as big box stores or craft stores. They generally come in 3" strips but you can actually cut them in half, using only one strip between both heels.

Now, you can be comfortable all day and no one will know you are [sinfully ;)] pairing socks with your TopSiders! x
6.02.2011

Invisible Zipper Tutorial - Fully Lined Dress

When I decided to try a shift dress, Simplicity 2584, I knew the yellow and white Lisette fabric I had in my stash would be perfect. However, as a cotton poplin with a white background, I felt it would be a bit sheer, especially in the bright summer sun of New Orleans where I intended to first wear it. So, instead of using the recommended facings, I decided to fully line the dress with a cotton/poly sheermist batiste.

However, I'd never sewn a dress with a full lining before and was not sure how to attach the invisible zipper so it would look clean from the inside and out. I perused the internet with no luck so, I decided to go for it and figure it out along the way.  Here are the steps I used to attach my invisible zipper and dress lining. Hopefully, they'll save someone else a bit of frustration.
6.01.2011

New Orleans' Barq's Red Cream Soda

Well, we're back and we're exhausted! There's so much to see in New Orleans!

One place I recommend is Camillia's Grill, just outside the quarter. Here, I had a wonderful 6oz Bacon cheeseburger (even bigger than it sounds) and my first taste of Barq's Red Cream Soda (locally known as Barq's Red Drink). So good! It totally completed the NO diner experience. But, when I Googled it yesterday, it seems it's pretty difficult to find. So, I have a trick for you, courtesy of Brandon:

Add a splash of grenadine to regular Barq's. Serve over ice. Voila! x