Saturday, January 31, 2009
Preparing to Trace
I had a couple of requests to do a post regarding tracing patterns from pattern magazines. Most, if not all, foreign pattern magazines have large sheets of patterns, with multiple patterns per sheet that must be traced before using. There are many ways to do this, with no one way being *the right way*. As with many things in sewing and life, you will probably need to try a few different ways before you figure out what works for you.
That said, there are some things you ought to know before even starting to trace. All of the samples shown here will be either from Burda World of Fashion or from Patrones. First, you need to find your size, in metric. All pattern magazines do not have the same size chart, so check the chart before you trace. Some magazines such as Patrones, shown below, only print in three sizes, leaving the user to grade to the sizes in between. BWOF does not always start the grading at the same size. Some patterns start at 34, some at 36 and some at 38. (I find this frustrating because the styles I like are always start one size larger than what I need!)
It is important to consult the cutting plan, in Spanish below from Patrones, plano de corte, or the little section in BWOF that shows all the pattern pieces. This shows the shape of all the pieces. All of the pieces are numbered, but you'll notice there are a few extra pieces for this pattern. Namely, vista (facing) and tapeta (used for a variety of pattern pieces that are bands or plackets of some sort, but for trousers, a fly shield). What about those pieces?
These are pieces that are needed to make the item, but there are not separate pattern pieces for them. If you are used to using American patterns, every single pattern pieces is provided. Not so with these patterns. Many of the rectangular pieces, such as square pocket bags, sleeves cuffs, belt loops, etc. are cut by measurements given in the pattern. In the BWOF sample shown below, you will see that there are pieces labeled in letters rather than numbers and dimensions given. You need to read the instructions carefully so as not to miss these little pieces.
For many patterns, some of the extra pieces are printed within another pattern piece. Take for example the coat front from BWOF shown below. The front facing as well as the pocket bag are traced from the pattern piece for the front.
Next, gather up your supplies, pencil, tape, rulers, paper for tracing. I usually use plain old white gift tissue for tracing. This is because it is cheap, I can see through it and because I rarely make the same pattern twice, so it does not have to be very durable. If I trace a pattern to give away, I use Swedish tracing paper. I purchase this online usually on eBay. Just type in "Swedish tracing paper" into eBay's search or Google and you'll find it. Rulers are important - both straight and curved (the sort for drafting) if you have them. If not, trace slowly and the curves will be fine.
Many people prefer to add seam allowances as they trace. We will take a look at some of those methods and tools on Monday. I have collected some good links to what others are doing and using, plus we'll take a look at the pattern sheets and what you'll find there.
Parting Shot: Must Explore! I received some from fabric from a friend. When I unwrapped it to take a look at it, who do you think thought she had to investigate too, even under the fold? I turned around to pick up some of the wrappings off the floor and Kiwi was already up there nosing around! I did not let her stay long, as the fabric is lovely and I didn't want cat hair all over it.
Friday, January 30, 2009
Skirt Lining with Petticoat
On my list of things left to do for the dress is to make the skirt lining with attached petticoat ruffle. The lining part isn't hard, that is made the same as the skirt for the dress. The petticoat ruffle can be a little difficult to manage, but since I've made many of these sort of lining over the years for art garments and for my daughter, I've developed a system that works for me.
First, I use a rotary cutter and mat to cut all the pieces of petticoat netting. This is much more accurate and quicker than scissors since I am cutting rectangles. I cut strips the width of the fabric by twice the width of the finished ruffle. The strips for this dress are 12"/30cm wide. I always cut 8 sections, two for each quadrant of the skirt. Depending on the width of the netting, this is usually around 400"/10m or so of netting to handle. You can see how long this piece is, as it stretches out into the next room in the photo below:
The netting sections must be seamed together. I prefer to lap the seams and stitch two lines of stitching rather than a regular seam or a french seam. It is much quicker and netting does not fray, anyway. I overlap the two pieces by 1/2"/1cm and then stitch 1/8"/2mm from each cut edge.
The entire thing then needs to be gathered. To start this process, I fold the netting in half to the finished width and press the crease. I then open the netting back out and this crease is where I will stitch the gathering stitches. There is no 6"/15cm seam guide on my machine, so this is the best way I've come up with to do this. I also try to use up all my odd colored bobbins, too, left from other projects long since finished.
Once the netting is gathered, the lining skirt must be marked for the stitching. With a wash away making pen, I mark a line 6"/15cm from the hem of the lining. This is the stitching line and where I will pin the line of gathering stitches.
The sections are pinned on in quadrants, two sections at a time. I often will pin and stitch only one or two quadrants at a time. This breaks a very awkward task into much smaller and doable segments.
Once all the sections are stitched and all the basting threads removed, the netting is folded in half again, creating a double ruffle . This method also produces a smoother transition between the netting and lining, with no ruffle header to show through on the outside.
Now to insert the skirt lining into the dress!
Parting Shot: Turning the Heel. I've turned the heel on my sock and am now working on the instep. After this section is done, all I have left is the toe. And the other sock.
Thursday, January 29, 2009
It seems like the wrap skirt was hit with you readers! Thank you so much - it was fun to make and wear it, even it just for the photo shoot. One of children thought I should have just left it on for the rest of the day! If you're looking for a similar modern pattern, this one by McCall's suggested by Primatoide futile might work. With a little adjusting, you might be able to make it wrap to the back and have those super large pockets, too.
I haven't shown you the dress in a while, so I thought it would be good if I updated you on that. The collar is finished and has been attached to the dress. I am glad this part is done - it is not the easiest type of sewing. Partly because everything must line up and lie flat, partly because of the corners and partly because I'm using a collar that I have modified to fit a bodice from another pattern.
The collar is attached the same way the coat collar was, with a piece of bias binding to cover the seam allowances. This was the cleanest way to join all these layers. Even if the collar rolls down a bit, there will still be a bit of blue before the lining.
I still need to press it properly, but there is some progress being made!
I also added ties to the back of the dress, to form a pretty bow in the back. They are made of the blue silk, which creates a nice contrast with the ivory dress. These ties are made the same way as the tie on the coat. Reducing bulk as well as maintaining consistent construction with the coat was important.
The dress still needs a skirt lining with petticoat, the inside belt, dress hangers, the lining hand stitched in place, a hem and a label. Looks like I need to get back to work once I'm done with this post!
The coat is done for all practical purposes. I will be picking at it until it needs to leave for the first show. You know, I will be clipping this little thread here, taking off and restitching beads or flowers, etc. until I think it is done. Just little tweaks. Some of you mentioned that you'd like to see how the bow looked once tied, so here's a picture for you, I hope this will tide you over until the photo shoot post:
[Bunny, yes there is a special label, too, maybe I'll give it as a sneak peek in the next few days!]
Parting Shot: Storm Total. Many of you mentioned the weather was not the best where you live, and I believe you. Even those in the Southern Hemisphere have their own weather woes: heat! Remember, it is summer down there! Here are the snowfall totals, first in inches, then in centimeters:
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
McCall's 6665 from 1962
Bluebird of Happiness seems like it is dragging along, so I've been working on a some small, yet fun projects on the side. I've got two more smaller projects lined up before BOH is done and when it is done, I am making myself a suit. I have the perfect red fabric, a gift from a friend, so be on the look out for that sometime in February.
Meanwhile, I've made this fun wrap skirt. I think I got this pattern last summer some time, but never made it up. It then got placed in the pile for a winter skirt made in corduroy. I did have the corduroy but then it got made into my son's jacket and trousers. I have finally bought more corduroy and some cotton, too, for lining!
The skirt is very, very easy to make. In fact, you might be able to draft one yourself, from any a-line skirt pattern, with or without darts. Here are the shapes of the pattern pieces, notice that the side seams had a slight curve at the hip. Compare that to the other side (center front or back ) which is straight:
There does not have to be a center front seam at all, but could be placed on a fold. The pockets could be eliminated, too. I wouldn't suggest it, because they are ginormous and could hold a lot of stuff! Check out how big these pockets are:
You could use grosgrain ribbon and eliminate the need to make those long ties, too. My pattern piece was torn, so I guessed at the length of the ties.
Once the skirt and lining are constructed, they are stitched together all around the outside, leaving and opening for turning:
The skirt also includes belt loops, and a buttonhole to pass the tie end through:
Overall, a fun project! I was intending to wear it to church tonight, but church as already been canceled due to the weather. We're supposed to get 10 20 inches of snow before it is all over tonight!
Parting Shot: Another Quilt Square. This time it is my daughter who is making a square. Once the squares are done, then she will work on the cat applique they chose and my son will work on assembling the quilt top.
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
The Prismacolor Pencils
I showed the Prismacolor pencils in a Parting Shot a couple of weeks ago, and now it is time to show you what I'm doing with them for BOH. The coat is very, very close to being complete, but still needs a little work on the insides.
In case you haven't noticed, there are no actual bluebirds on the outside of the coat. The coat is blue, but there are no birds, just quilted feathers. Now, I couldn't do a bluebird ensemble without the bluebirds, so I drew a few bluebirds:
Where are they going? Inside the coat of course, as appliques. I always like to put a little something interesting on the inside of my garments, too, so like American Beauty had roses, and Midnight Garden had crickets, BOH will have bluebirds.
The only problem with the bluebirds, is that in regular fabric they are rather boring, and the pieces are so small, some of the details can not be done in fabric in a way that I'm happy with for this project. The drawings have to be adapted for applique, and sometimes that means losing some of the very tiny details. That's where the colored pencils come in. I am using the colored pencils to provide some of the extra details for the birds.
Take a look at this little birdie. He's not very exciting, and doesn't even have an eye or legs!
With some colored pencils and a bead and sequin, he's got an eye, feathers and legs.
This little birdie got details and a nest, too, although she is not quite done:
I think the coat will be done in the next few days!
Parting Shot: Quilt Square. The children are working on a small wall hanging sized quilt. Here is one of the squares that my son made. There will be more of this quilt to come!
Monday, January 26, 2009
I've been nominated by A Little Sewing on The Side, Mary is Sewfast and The Stitchery for the Kreativ Blogger award. Thank you! I do wonder whether I'm being informative or merely entertaining in a train wreck sort of way. You know, you don't want to look, but can help being fascinated by it.
1. Copy the award to your site.
2. Link to the person from whom you received the award.
3. Nominate 7 other bloggers.
4. Link to those on your blog.
5. Leave a message on the blogs you nominate.
So, to honor the rules, I've nominated the blogs below. If you've been nominated before, consider yourself doubly or triply or really, really, really Kreativ!
Allie's in Stitches - Allie does some amazing things with crazy quilting. This is not your great-grandmother's crazy quilting.
La Sewista - Every thing Bunny makes is just exquisite. The little heirloom outfits she makes for loved ones are just so dear.
Quilts with Love - Vivian does some really amazing quilting - all free motion, too!
Couture et Tricot - What can I say? Her clothes are amazing, and as beautiful on the inside as the outside.
Paco Peralta - Paco make the most elegant and well crafted clothing. Barcelona, Spain has really got a treasure.
Cotton Picker - She makes some of the cutest little dolls and hand draws all the faces. She's been doing a little experimentation, go check out the cat and her other new faces.
Couturesmith - She is just amazing! With five daughters, she has been busy making custom wedding gowns. Not ony does she make the gowns, but the bridesmaids gowns and hers, too!
Parting Shot: Done. I did get the Roman blinds done this weekend. Not the most exciting project, but they are done and the windows look much better.
Saturday, January 24, 2009
Not closure, like this is the end. Closures, like something to keep the coat closed. Yeah, I know, this project is getting sort of long, isn't it? Really, when you see me working on the closures you know I'm almost done with the garment.
The coat originally had one little lonely hook and eye to keep it closed, which you can see circled in red in the instructions below. You can also see the non-functional, decorative tie ends, too.
I am really concerned about one hook and eye being the only closure for a coat of this size and weight. As usual, I turned to an alternative closure, and one the I've used before with good success, the fabric covered snap. The snaps are a great choice because you can get an exact match of color and they can be put places where a button and buttonhole can not. I had used these before in a few projects, most notably, Midnight Garden in which both the jacket and skirt closed with snaps. Once the snaps are covered, they fit more tightly together, which is an added bonus for security. For the tutorial on how I make covered snaps, click here.
The coat now has four snaps, two right at the neck line and two more a bit further down. I may not always use all four snaps, but I feel a little better knowing that the coat has a secure closure.
I did have a few readers ask if I was going to show the coat when it was finished. I always do a photo shoot post at the very end once all the pieces are complete. I get dressed up with all the right accessories and the children have a good time being the photographers. Right now it looks like the photo shoot post will appear in about two weeks or less. Hang in there, I'm getting close to the end. (I think that last comment was as much for me as for you!)
Parting Shot: Cables R Us. In an ongoing effort to clean out some of our storage areas, my husband decided to clean out his cable and computer spare parts containers. We had a lot more wires and cables than I realized! Of course, we won't say anything about how much thread or beads I have. ;)
Friday, January 23, 2009
The past two days I've had the privilege to judge a Jr. High fine arts competition. I judged the Crafts and Textiles categories of the Art division yesterday and the Duet Acting, Choric Speaking and Reader's Theater categories in the Speech division today.
As most of you know, I do compete with my art garments. Actually being a judge was a whole new experience. It is very different on the the other side of that clipboard! Regarding the Crafts and Textiles, every odd ball little craft, tool and piece of knowledge that I've amassed over the last 30 years came in handy in a five hour time span yesterday. I had before me items of the following art genres: sewing, knitting, cross stitch, loom beading, altered books, wood burning art, and bead jewelry to name a few! Having done so many different things in fiber art gave me a great background in all things I was asked to judge and I was able to educate and fill in the other judge on some of things she didn't have a background in. It really was an amazing feeling to know that finally all my snippets had come together in one place! As a side note, I will be judging the Senior High competition for Crafts, Textiles and Science Fair in March.
As this was a Jr. High competition, we were not being as tough as we would be on the Senior High level. These students are just starting to explore certain art forms and while we wanted to point out flaws, we also wanted to encourage the students to keep going and make their projects better. One comment we used more than once was, "This student has potential for great work in the future" or something similar. We were able to see the beginnings of some talent that really could be developed. I then got to thinking about how this applies to myself and others.
This is part of what I think about when I work on my art garments - is this a challenge or is this the same old thing? I really enjoy the challenge of working on something unusual - whether it is design, fabrication or just plain old making it work. You know, like that Knipmode skirt or the ties on Bluebird of Happiness. I'm always trying something new or trying to learn a new skill (those odd ones do come in handy so I found out!)
Daily, I see a lot of potential. Really, I do. I read a lot of blogs, and see a lot of garments and projects. There is a lot of great potential out there! Now I know some of you look at your work and compare it to so-and-so's work and think, " I could never achieve their level." That's not what I'm talking about. What I'm getting at is, do you work up to your own potential? Are you working up to your abilities and aiming a little higher with every project? Are you challenging yourself? Even if it is something simple, like trying a new hem technique or sewing on buttons differently, are you learning something new or challenging yourself? Don't always take the easy way out and make the same old things you have in the past. Get out there and try something new!
Parting Shot: Home Dec. I get to make Roman blinds! I've made some in the past, so I hope to show you some finished blinds next week.
Thursday, January 22, 2009
Collar - Inside Details
Thank you all regarding the ties! It is very difficult to make a design change, think you have it all figured out and then find out things are not going to work properly. Those are the moments where there are many doubts and questions. Such as: Why am I doing this? Why did I even begin this project? What was I thinking?!? and How am I going to fix this? Moving forward and seeking a solution is the right answer, but it is hard not to get tangled up with the emotion of the moment.
So, moving forward, the collar must be attached to the coat! That actually was the easy part.
First, the collar must be supported properly and the roll line established. What is really nice about this pattern is that the roll line is printed on the pattern piece. This is something I really wish the Big 4 would do more often these days. It is difficult to establish a proper roll line unless you have a little experience. I do enjoy using BWOF and other foreign patterns because they do print the roll lines. This is important when building the under layers of interfacings and other things that will support the chosen design. Here's the pattern, you can see the roll line, we'll take a look at what I did with it later in this post:
Because I had changed the collar to a slightly larger size, added a lot of beading and added ties, I needed more support than a medium weight interfacing would supply. I turned to that old favorite of tailoring, hair canvas. I've use a fusible hair canvas and cut it to the shape of the collar and then fused it to the underlining (which is muslin) of the undercollar. I did not want to fuse it to the silk at all. I did not do the pad stitching, since it was a fusible and because I did not want the collar super stiff. I wanted a softer sort of roll of the collar.
To reduce bulk at the center back of the under collar, I overlapped the hair canvas and center back along the seam line and stitched along the penciled line you see below and trimmed close to the line. This is better than stitching the seam and then pressing it open for reducing bulk.
I did not use any fusible or hand stitched tape inside the collar at the roll line, although now that I'm thinking about it, I should have. Oh well, next time, maybe I'll do that! I did make one line of stitching through all three layers (silk, hair canvas, and muslin) on the roll line. I've seen this done on shirts and jackets that do not have a separate collar stand to help establish the roll line. This line of stitching will also help me to keep that roll line nice when touching up the ensemble between wearings and showings.
After carefully shaping and steaming, I had the collar you saw yesterday on the the dress form (scroll down to yesterday's post for the picture.)
Now for the actual attaching! Because of the way the border is attached, the ties ends and all the layers I'm trying to attach together and finish all at the same time - that's a lot to think about isn't it? - I wanted one technique to tie all this together and look neat at the same time. I know that is a lot to ask, but it is possible! The solution? Binding.
I pinned the collar to the coat, with the wrong side of the collar to the right side of the coat - as if it were finished, and then pinned the binding on top of that. One seam joined all the layers, and I stitched another line of stitching 1/8" away just for security. Grading and trimming was the next task, and is very important in this type of situation. For the coat body, there was a quilted layer, plus the lining and underlining which was joined to a collar that had a layer of quilting, plus an undercollar of silk, hair canvas and muslin - grading is a must with all these layers! This brings me to a little side comment - now do you see why I use tulle as a backing and a split layer of batting for my quilting when doing garments? All those layers add up quick, even when using split layers of batting and tulle. In the photo below, you can sort of see how many layers there are, and yes those seam allowances are also trimmed on the diagonal at the intersections.
The binding was then turned down over the seam allowances and hand stitched to the lining or border.
Neat, clean and finished! Not only is the collar finished, but also the edge of the border than extends beyond the collar is finished, too.
What is left for the coat? Well, not much! I need to do the closures, inside details and label and that is it for the coat. The dress, unfortunately, needs a lot more work.
Parting Shot: Surprise. When I got home today, I found a little box in my mailbox, which contained the items below (minus the chocolate, the children and I made quick work of that!). It is a little thank you gift from the founders of MQX, and was a unexpected little bit of sunshine in my day! Notice that the bright yellow mug was wrapped in batting to protect it for shipping - very clever and not surprising since these ladies are big names in quilting! Thank you, MQX!