Finished: green wriggle dress in stretch cotton.

I have sewing lessons now. And they help me with keeping track of a project; with not minding to rip out a seam and with all the tricks and practises of sewing a project. I’m a weird case: I know about pattern drafting but I lack experience sewing.

Thanks to the lessons I now have perfected the pattern for a fitted dress, with princess seams in the front and back.

This is the try-out, in stretch cotton:
green wriggle dress stretch cotton sewinggreen wriggle dress stretch cotton sewing
green wriggle dress stretch cotton sewinggreen wriggle dress stretch cotton sewinggreen wriggle dress stretch cotton sewinggreen wriggle dress stretch cotton sewing

It wears really comfortable! Not tight at all. We reduced the most obvious gaping and buckling and found real good princess seams and side seams.
Neckline and arm holes have a facing from bias band. They were sewn with the machine from the wrong side and then stitched in place by hand from the right side.
details green wriggle dress stretch cotton sewing

For walking ease I tried to put in two vents at the side seam but they are not good yet:
details green wriggle dress stretch cotton sewing

The frontpanel has a straight neckline. We put in staytape to prevent it from wobbling.
We put a lot of attention to the connection of this part to the sidepanels. I had to grade the seams considerably, to prevent bulk.
details green wriggle dress stretch cotton sewing

Also seams I had resewn, in a better line, she told me to take out the previous stitching. Just to prevent unnecessary stiffness.

For finishing the raw edges I used her serger/ overlock machine. This fabric frays so it was a good call.
The hem is just turned under and sewn with a straight stitch on the longest length.
details green wriggle dress stretch cotton sewing

I now have a base pattern for stretch cotton dresses. I already have a second one cut which will improve on this one with staystitching, vents at the back and non-stretching band at the neckline. And a pocket.

After that I hope to venture this pattern into a thick knit fabric and into a lined version, for Winter.

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needle case from scrap fabric

With this new machine it’s so easy to thread the needle, sew a seam and cut the thread. I’m playing around making fabric out of scraps and trying to sew a needle case. It’s a try out for a swap on Ravelry, at the Dutch Karma Swap Group.

I came across a marvelous blog which promotes playing with fabric and the sewing machine: 15minutesplay.com
So that’s what I did, early this morning, just 15 minutes of playing with scraps I took from the bin.

scrap fabric quilt 15minutesofplay indigo dyed linnen
Wonderful! I’ve never done a thing like this. Nothing remotely “quilt-y”. I like doing this! It’s not very neat but I was assured on the blog that it didn’t need to be. It’s bound to neaten up a but when pressed with the iron, these seams were pressed open with fingers.

The fabric is indigo dyed linen. It was dyed during a workshop from Wolop.nl and I’m using the fabrics for a fitted skirt at the moment.

Now I’m looking to use this little craze scrappy fabric as a front for a needle book for myself. Using this tutorial from Instructables.com for the general idea: http://www.instructables.com/id/how-to-sew-a-needle-book/ and glancing at these two for binding the edges or making them beautiful with piping. Both are from So Sew Easy which seems to be another site that promotes the fun and the skills in sewing.

Binding edges tutorial

Piping tutorial

I’ll update this page as I progress.

I’ve got the shell fabric, the batting and the lining (plain linen):

I sew in the wrong order and have caught the batting in between the right sided fabrics, in the small stitch that I used for this seam:

I turn the project right side out anyways. The batting is not caught everywhere, I had cut it a bit smaller than the fabric. I’ll try and rip or cut it free:

sewing a needle case

Reasonable succes. The edges are a bit “hairy” here and there but I can live with it. Rather than ripping the fine stitches seam.

Topstitching with a longer stitch. I chose a pale grey instead of the white working thread, just so it would not demand too much attention.

Oh. I forgot to add the closure elastic when I sewed the layers together. Have to think up another closure.

I’ve got some cotton that was dyed when we were dyeing the indigo. We were doing shibori and that requires thread. I’ll use that and make a braid:

new machine: Janome 423S

I entered the present time:

Janome 423S Rijkers naaimachine Veghel

I brought my retro ’70 machine to Rijkers Naaimachines in Veghel and they explained it really is beyond salvage. It only sews backwards. For a reason. It’s busted and slammed stuck in reverse. It cannot be repaired. Bye bye cute retro Senwa:

If I wanted they had the modern equivalent of this to sell to me. The Janome 423S.

The 423S is mechanical machine, not a computerized Diva with sensitivity issues. And one with more features than a more basic type, this one can do button holes, has an adjustable pressure foot and a whole extra series of stitches.

The ladies at the drafting pattern lessons will be so proud, they’ve insisted for two years now I get myself a machine with at least a zig zag stitch.

The saleswoman gave me an extended explanation until she was sure I could take it home and play around with it without frustration. She suggested I make a drawstring bag for the foot peddle. An easy project that invites me to explore the machine. A wonderful suggestion!  🙂

Janome 423S Rijkers naaimachine VeghelJanome 423S Rijkers naaimachine VeghelJanome 423S Rijkers naaimachine VeghelJanome 423S Rijkers naaimachine Veghel

I got to learn threading the needle, filling a bobbin, various stitch widths and foots. It’s a free arm machine.

There are special stitches on there, I used a decorative one to sew down the edges: Janome 423S Rijkers naaimachine Veghel

The Janome 423S has a whole set of extra stitches and one of them is a straight line that is sewn threefold. Nice and sturdy! I tried it out to reinforce the draw string opening:
Janome 423S Rijkers naaimachine Veghel

I don’t know yet what to do with the loose threads. Just cut them? I am having sewing lessons now and will ask tomorrow. The machine has all kinds of nifty things. How about a thread-through-the-needle-putter?

Janome 423S Rijkers naaimachine Veghel

I installed us in the upstairs room. I feel sewing!
Janome 423S Rijkers naaimachine Veghel

sewing a Pyramid WIP bag

I learned to make a pyramid WIP bag. I have one made by a friend of mine who is an accomplished sewist. It was my example and I used a bunch of tutorials on the net.

My bag:

Shell fabric is linen. I love linen.

My zip is 22 cm long. It will be 24 centimeter eventually. Plus 2 x 1,5 cm SA means the short side of the rectangle will be 27 cm.

This equals 1,73 where the long side will be 4.

27/1,73 times 4 = 55,5 plus 2 x 1,5 cm SA = 58,5 will be the long side of the rectangle.

Ack, I have a fat quarter and it’s 50 cm wide. I’ll have to reverse the math to determine how long the shortest side of the rectangle will be.

50 – seam allowance = 47 cm

47/4 = 11, 75 cm

11,75 x 1,73 = 20,4 cm  = the measurement of the short side that will carry the zipper. I will shorten the zipper at the bottom as needed. Add seam allowance to the side = 20,4 plus 2 x 1,5 = 23,4 cm.

SEWING STEPS:

  1. Cut two rectangles of 50 cm x 23, 4 cm.  One is outer fabric, one is lining.
  2. cut batting, slightly smaller (47 x 21 cm). Add batting to outer fabric with seams in another direction than parallel to the longest side. I did waves to avoid sewing over the kitties.
  3. make strap/handle from a rectangle folded in on itself. I used red thread for a bit of accentuation. And I made sure the kitties were positioned in an interesting way. Next handle must be longer: 40 cm.
  4. gave the top of the zipper a nice edge. With this you can make up for the difference in length between zipper and fabric. Working with the print and red thread for accent.
  5. attach zipper. 3 layers: top, zip, inside. Because my zipper extended quite a bit at the bottom, I was able to topstitch the second part of the zipper in one go.
  6. close bottom. The bag is turned inside inside out (yes, twice). Make some kind of butterfly to find the exact opposite points of lining and shell fabric in relation to the zipper. I sewed an extra time over the seam  to make it sturdy. Now I have some sort of batted cushion cover with a zipper in the front and the top open. I use a double sewn seam, for sturdiness.
  7. close the back seam, with the handle in between, but only sew the outer fabric (RS together. Leave the lining alone for now. Leave the zipper open for this part, otherwise problems with turning back right side out.
  8. sew the lining shut, first from the WS then from the RS. Make sure to catch it onto the top for a bit, because it needs a bit of support.

The slippery lining, the shell fabric with batting attached, the topped zipper and the handle:
cat fabric pyramid WIP bag sewing

Attaching zipper in between lining and shell fabric RS together:
cat fabric pyramid WIP bag sewingcat fabric pyramid WIP bag sewingcat fabric pyramid WIP bag sewing

The back of the top stitching of the first part of the zipper:
cat fabric pyramid WIP bag sewing

Now fold and do the other side, remember to keep the zip open:
cat fabric pyramid WIP bag sewing

Determine the under seam, making sure the zipper is in the middle. Sew shut, encasing the end of the zipper:
cat fabric pyramid WIP bag sewingcat fabric pyramid WIP bag sewingcat fabric pyramid WIP bag sewing

cat fabric pyramid WIP bag sewing

Now fold and do magic to determine how to sew the other seam/top part of it. The idea is to make some sort of butterfly shape and keep the lining inside outside in:
cat fabric pyramid WIP bag sewing

It was fiddly and I can’t describe what I did exactly. But the top came out beautifully:
cat fabric pyramid WIP bag sewing

Just like the example bag I have:
cat fabric pyramid WIP bag sewing

My handle wasn’t long enough so I couldn’t sew it at an angle so it would point upwards (making the bag hang straight down when on my wrist). But other than that this bag is very nice.

cat fabric pyramid WIP bag sewing

Notes:

  1. This time I used slik, slippery lining. It would be better if I caught it in some of the corners onto the shell fabric. Now it’s easy to pull the lining through the opening when I take something out of the bag. Other bags, with quality cotton for lining, stay in shape.
  2. The handle was too short to give it the right angle for wearing. It’s now at a right angle to the seam. The bag won’t hang straight when worn on the wrist but at least the hand can go through the handle. Next time: handle at least 30 cm long instead of 26.
  3. The whole bag can be bigger. This is a nice bag though, from one fat quarter with a print that is directed top to bottom. It’s sides are 25 cm long. It’s 21 cm high. It has 4 triangles that are all identical in size and shape, all perfect three sided triangles.

The fabric came from a gift I got for my birthday last year:

Isn’t that a nice idea for a crafty person? It has made me do little handsewing things all year. And now I knew I had the skill set to do the fabric and the zipper justice, they’re both from this jar.

These are the tutorials I used and the sewing steps I did:

I used this Flemish tutorial to learn about the proper measurements: link

I used this tutorial to learn about adding batting: link Loganberry Handmade

I used these tutorials to learn about nice endings of the zipper: link Het Leuvens Stiksel and link Ricochet and Away. (That last one shows you can add any length of zipper to any length of fabric.)

This tutorial again for sewing sequence: link  Loganberry. I found this to be the best tutorial.

This tutorial for turning things inside out: link Sofilles

and I used all three of them to learn how to make the bag. It’s a compilation of tutorials because one uses squares, another rectangles but no zip endings.

Failed: Lila Dress Shirt

Based on Beige Beestjes Shirt I made a new pattern, with princess seams for better shaping at the underbust and looking for a better armhole. I sewed the shirt but the fit is so bad I won’t finish it.
fitting of handsewn self drafted blouse (it doesn't fit well. Too much shaping in too few princess seams. Also needs more wearing ease and lower armhole.)fitting of handsewn self drafted blouse (it doesn't fit well. Too much shaping in too few princess seams. Also needs more wearing ease and lower armhole.) fitting of handsewn self drafted blouse (it doesn't fit well. Too much shaping in too few princess seams. Also needs more wearing ease and lower armhole.)fitting of handsewn self drafted blouse (it doesn't fit well. Too much shaping in too few princess seams. Also needs more wearing ease and lower armhole.)fitting of handsewn self drafted blouse (it doesn't fit well. Too much shaping in too few princess seams. Also needs more wearing ease and lower armhole.)

The main problems are the armholes and that the shaping at the underbust is too extreme for the fabric. This petite busty woman needs more than two princess seams at the front. Right now the shaping on those two is too extreme and the fabric stretches and flares.

I did bring the Beige Beestjes Shirt up to a pattern with princess seams, both in the front and the back. Back is nearly good now, it just needs a little less curves at the bottom. (It’s not too tight at the arm hole, the tightness there is caused by the armhole and sleeve. But it looks weird, I agree.)

It’s getting better and better though. Combining this with “Loes’ bloes” from the previous post and I’ll have something wearable soon.

Process for Lila Shirt:
using Block April 2016, to find out if it’s ok. Basically a resew of the slippery cheap market cotton shirt from June 2016 that was a failure.

  • amendments: using “upperbust” (=93 cm) at the point that this pattern drafting methode uses “borstwijdte” which is right at the horizontal line at the armpits. This brings in the sideseam at that point, by 4×2 cm for the block. At the apex (nipples) I’m still using “borstwijdte”. Basically I’ve now used my upperbust and given the block a FBA. I found that each shirt drafted from the block was too wide at the armpit, just where I wanted the armhole to be fitted.
  • amendments: elongating shoulder seam by 1 cm
  • new shirt pattern from the block will have princess lines both front and back and a new sleeve and arm hole, derived from Beige Winterbeestjes bloes. I mainly need this block for better waist shaping (and the mentioned snugness at the arm pit horizontal line).
  • amend block to have a CB that’s not straight? Has the waist shaping incorporated instead? –> only whenever there’s a CB seam. Otherwise use two princess seams.

Still working towards the ultimate Dress Shirt Pattern for all my future shirts and any woven that catches my fancy. From Block to Pattern:

  • swiffel side bust dart to the waist dart, not to the armhole.
  • match front and back panel at the shoulder seams and make arm hole nice and round at the top.
  • 1 cm wearing ease at the side seam/arm pit
  • back shoulder side dart swivveled to shoulder seam (will become part of princess seam, no yoke this time). Not sure if the line is supposed to be at a square angle with the shoulder seam. I just assume so. Next: redraw the arm hole so it’s smooth again.
  • draw princess seam. Will smoothen
  • add wearing ease: 1 to 1,5 cm at the sideseam. Compare with pattern for Beige Winterbeestjes
  • neck CB -0,5 cm; shoulder seam -1,5 cm. Bottom CB + 3 cm, sideseam -2 cm
  • SA 1,5cm
  • frontpanel: swivveled side BD close and brought it to the waist dart. Swivveled arm hole BD to the princess seam in the shoulder. Left with an akward arm hole. Smoothened it and now have a front length of the arm hole of 19,1 cm. The length of the front of the sleeve cap is 22,9. I’ll never be able to ease that in, too much difference. (the original, awkward arm hole is 19,1 cm). I’ve folded away some of the width of the sleeve, with the emphasize on the sleeve cap. Front of that is now 22,1 cm wide, the back 24,0. That’s 4 cm more than the armhole. I’m going to try and ease it in. I think 3 is the maximum you’re supposed to do but if need be I can resort to a fold at the high point of the sleeve. I’ve drawn the line a little closer to the original awkward armhole, another few mm won. Also: I had widened the sleeve at the biceps with 2,5 cm. Half of that has now been folded away. I will do another sleeve adjustment to get that back. The shape of the sleeve cap will flatten even more as a result.
  • 2,5 cm van de mouw af voor een mouwlengte van 59 cm. Machet is 13 cm hoog, dubbelgevouwen, met manchetknopen. Nagetekend van mijnwitte bloes.

backpanel: dart to princes seam:

pattern drafting Lila Dress Shirt bust darts

front panel: closing side dart. Making a princes seam to the arm hole results in terrible angled side panel (see pencil-finger-pencil). I opt for princes seam to the shoulder seam. pattern drafting Lila Dress Shirt bust dartspattern drafting shirt Sewing darts armhole

that weird steep armhole again… rounding it off. Butn ow the circumference gets too out of line with the length of the sleeve cap. Settling on the middle line. pattern drafting shirt Sewing darts armholepattern drafting shirt Sewing darts armhole

I made some adjustments to the block, based on this shirt. One of them is lowering the shoulderseam at the neck by 1 cm:

fitting of handsewn self drafted blouse (it doesn't fit well. Too much shaping in too few princess seams. Also needs more wearing ease and lower armhole.)

The main problem, other than the armhole, is that the extreme waist shaping a busty petite woman needs cannot be done in just two princess seams.
fitting of handsewn self drafted blouse (it doesn't fit well. Too much shaping in too few princess seams. Also needs more wearing ease and lower armhole.)fitting of handsewn self drafted blouse (it doesn't fit well. Too much shaping in too few princess seams. Also needs more wearing ease and lower armhole.)fitting of handsewn self drafted blouse (it doesn't fit well. Too much shaping in too few princess seams. Also needs more wearing ease and lower armhole.)

I’m looking at designs with more seams, more panels, horizontal parts even.

Like these from DD-atelier and CarrisaRose:

my first “Loes’ bloes”

A top with a scalloped front. No opening though, it slips over the head. Gathered sleeves.

Pattern drafted at course, based on my personal block.

topje patroontekenen schulprand French bustdarttopje patroontekenen schulprand French bustdarttopje patroontekenen schulprand French bustdarttopje patroontekenen schulprand French bustdart

Learned a lot. Still looking for a good arm hole + sleeve. This arm hole was cut 3 cm lower from the block. It’s about 1 cm too low at least. The sleeve should have been elongated at the underarm, I feel. Now it only allows for the arm to hang straight down.

Had to open the neck front more than initially drafted. I have a large head on a scrawny neck. The block is good for drafting tops with a wide neck or an opening (such as dress shirts) but it’s too tight when only regular drafting numbers are used for tops that slip over the head. Needs 5 cm more, on top of the regular numbers (1,5 cm at CF en CB here).

I feel the back has too much fabric lengthwise. The small of my back is not sufficiently accommodated. Yet my teacher showed that when arms are raised the back wil travel up. So fabric is needed. Perhaps additional shaping fixes the problem.

In the left front panel the bust dart is folded away: CF is not straight any more.

In the right front panel the bust dart is swivveled into a French dart. This one needs to have it end point about 5 cm lower, well below the apex. And at the side seam it needs to be lower too, about 10 cm.

used this tutorial form Sewaholic for the simple continious sleeve plaquet.

Untitled

Finished: Beige Winterbeestjes shirt.

handmade outfit handspun vest mittens sewn shirt blouse skirt

Finished the dress shirt. It’s wearable, yay!

Noting the problems:

I used the selvedge at the button band but now it shows at the underside:
handmade outfit handspun vest mittens sewn shirt blouse skirt
handmade outfit handspun vest mittens sewn shirt blouse skirt

The shape at the arm hole needs to be taken a little in at the sideseam. The arm hole needs to be brought closer to the body at the underside. The sleeve then needs to be equally elongated:
handmade outfit handspun vest mittens sewn shirt blouse skirt
The steep corner at the front of the armhole isn’t actually much of a problem. Besides it being difficult to cut and difficult to sew.

Collar is a bit too wide:
handmade outfit handspun vest mittens sewn shirt blouse skirt
Probably the width I added when I thought it was too narrow.

The waistshaping is horrible:
handmade outfit handspun vest mittens sewn shirt blouse skirt
I’m converting it to a princess seam or to a panel with tucks or pleats at the underbust. Being petite with a small frame and having this proportionally big boobs just won’t make a nice fitted dress shirt with just waist shaping.

Little mistake: both sleeve plackets are the same. One closes the wrong way around. But at least they are both at the correct spot on the sleeve: the underside.
handmade outfit handspun vest mittens sewn shirt blouse skirt

Overall I’m happy. This is wearable!

Today I wear it with my fractal handspun vest.

a Fake Fur Crocodile

krokodil kussen crocodile plushkrokodil kussen crocodile plush

Free form sewing the ridges, remembering to pivot in two steps at every corner:
crocodile cushion Sewing fake fur
Only I made the mistake though of sewing with the Wrong Sides together. I had to unpick all this.

Much better, sewn with the patterned sides outside and then turned:
crocodile cushion Sewing fake fur

Those back paws look awkward though. They’ll have to go.
crocodile cushion Sewing fake fur

Two tips when sewing with fake fur:

  1. don’t pivot in one step at sharp corners, pivot in two. It makes turning easier and corners become more crisp.
  2. after turning rub the seam with something (end of scissors, a nail) to free up the hairs.

Here’s the turned seam with one half treated so the fur is free and one how it looks fresh of the machine:
crocodile cushion Sewing fake fur

Handsewing on its paws and its felt teeth. The front paws are little pouches a well, they can hold things.
crocodile cushion Sewing fake fur

She loves it!
crocodile cushion

Bonus: cats really appreciating this fake fur:
crocodile cushion Sewing fake furcrocodile cushion

Sewing the Beige Winterbeestjes Shirt 2/2

COLLAR SURGERY because the collar was too wide, its base overlapped at CF.

determine points on stand where you want collar to end: on either side of the button band = 1,25 cm from CF

Plan: open up the collar on the raw edge, fold side inwards and fudge it so the angle of the points is steeper. Preserve the point but make the side come in faster.

collar surgery Beige Winterbeestjes bloescollar surgery Beige Winterbeestjes bloescollar surgery Beige Winterbeestjes bloes

Attaching collar stand to the bodice, trying to match the new collar width. There’s really not much space in the bodice, with the zipper running so high:
collar surgery Beige Winterbeestjes bloes collar surgery Beige Winterbeestjes bloes
collar surgery Beige Winterbeestjes bloes collar surgery Beige Winterbeestjes bloes
Turned out nice.

Attaching collar to the collar stand. Sure a whole lot of layers in that collar stand. I did a lot of trimming after this photo:
collar surgery Beige Winterbeestjes bloes

This is how it turned out: collar surgery Beige Winterbeestjes bloes
That’s allright. Wearable, breathable. Way better than it was previous, where the neck ended too high and the collar stand overlapped as illustrated by the two red pins:

 

Detail of the sleeve head and the armhole. Why is the sleeve less wide than the bodice?
collar surgery Beige Winterbeestjes bloes

Next time I will finish the arm hole first and then ease in the sleeve. I’ll also amend the sleeve, adjust it for a wider biceps without altering the circumference of the head like this: Sewing sleeve adjustment biceps

a faux leather WIP bag (bunny + gun)

handmade purse wip bag fake leather bunny Sewinghandmade purse wip bag fake leather bunny Sewinghandmade purse wip bag fake leather bunny Sewing

A knitting WIP bag in the shape of a rabbit’s face and inside it has a gun.
The idea is that you tie the ears together if you want to really close the bag but there’s also a button hidden at the top.
For a knitter friend who loves bunnies, the colour black and who already has an awesome bag with the contour of a revolver in it, something like this:

I started with the side burns. The fabric is faux leather on one side and fake fur on the other. I’m using both sides of it in this bag.
fake leather bunny WIP bag fun fur handmade Sewingfake leather bunny WIP bag fun fur handmade Sewing

For working with fake fur I got two tips from a good friend:

  1. Don’t pivot your machine when making sharp corners. Add a straight stitch in between, it will make turning easier and give crisp corners nonetheless.
  2. After turning run something (scissors, nail) along the seam to loosen all the trapped fur hairs.

I made sure the “flow” of the fur works a certain way: you want to stroke these sideburns from the inside to the edges. The front and back panel of the bag are cut so you want to stroke it downwards when you put you hand inside. The two cheek puffs are also downwards (“vleug” in Dutch).
handmade purse wip bag fake leather bunny Sewing

Sewing the gun, RS together:
fake leather bunny WIP bag fun fur handmade Sewing

This gun just wouldn’t turn, the muzzle was too narrow. I made another, with a wider muzzle, and made the sewing mistake of sewing both WS together. But it looked ok so I filled it up and attached the purple leather cord. Here with half turned first gun:
fake leather bunny WIP bag fun fur handmade Sewing

After finishing the top of the bag panels I measure how long the strip with the ears must be:
fake leather bunny WIP bag fun fur handmade Sewing

All parts together. Just need to sew the sidestrip (ending in ears) to the front and back panel. Remembering to insert the gun at some point.
fake leather bunny WIP bag fun fur handmade Sewing

Using French seams when attaching the strip to the panels:
fake leather bunny WIP bag fun fur handmade Sewing

For closure a button with braid embroidery floss around it: handmade purse wip bag fake leather bunny Sewing