Archive for July, 2011

This was my first experiment changing around the TNT shirt pattern.  Unfortunately, it is a little loose on A, so I need to raise the armholes about 3/4″-1″ and take the sides in a little.  Still, her sister pointed out that she can certainly wear it under a sweater in the fall, so not a total loss.  The fabric is a Canon sheet from Kmart, which are on sale right now, I believe.  You can get a twin set and pillowcase for about $12, so you could make two or three shirts and a pillowcase dress for a little girl.

I’m thinking that A has become a little smaller than Betty, because the blouse fits the dressform very well indeed.  The rest of the sheet will be used to make a regular shirt with 3/4 sleeves.  The sheets have a satin finish and are 100% cotton, so they sew up nicely and look attractive made into garments.

The tan skirt is still half done, and I am working on fitting a pattern for a summer blouse for myself.  Now that I have lots of embroidery designs, I want to try them all, just not all at once.

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Shirt Ideas

Now that the basic shoulder-princess shirt pattern fits A very well, the pattern can be changed around to make different styles.  My daughter saved some pictures of blouses she likes, and I sketched up some variations of the basic shirt:








I’ve already made some of the pattern pieces for the collar and necklines.  The first blouse I try will be a sleeveless, solid-colored, U-neck version.  I also have a beige denim shirt cut out and ready to sew.

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Garden In July

The zinnias are finally blooming.  I have finished the plums and am getting ready to make the pesto for next year.  Instead of getting down to work, though, I decided to make a flying visit to the local IKEA.  I was sad to see two things:  there is no more lingonberry soda in the cafeteria, and the price has doubled for the Knoppa sheets.  Bummer.

The next project is in the works, a tan denim skirt for A.  I’m also still experimenting with her shirt pattern and may make another version using a pretty dark red sheet that was on sale at KMart.  This is all part of my interest in alternative sources for fabric to lower the cost of clothing.  It will be interesting to see how the garments wear and if they have a good comfort level.  There is also a summer dress for me in the works.


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Shirt Muslin

That makes three IKEA sheets I have completely used up in the last few weeks, a green one, a black one, and a white one.  This shirt was a practice shirt for a short-sleeved version.  I used a sleeve from another pattern (pattern number is lost in the mists of time).  If this looks OK on A I can make more in solid colors.  She wants opaque shirts in plain colors, and if there is going to be any shirts made from prints, she will provide the fabric since she alone knows what she likes in the print department.

I think I need to take a break from sewing endlessly for other people and sew something for myself.  I could use some camisoles and some Mexican dresses for myself.

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I’ve been thinking about styles and what I like, and though I have definite likes and dislikes, I’m never very current in my fashion sense.  I just don’t feel any need to keep up with trends or have the dress that’s popular now or whatever. A lot of fashion seems like the Emperor’s New Clothes to me where people like something just because someone tells them it is great, but in reality it looks ghastly (like low-cut jeans and many popular hairstyles).  In my sewing, these are the things I am interested in:

1.  Embroidered and ethnic garments

2.  Shirtmaking

3.  Purses, totes, and handbags

4.  Sewing with flannel

5.  Bright colors, happy colors, color combinations.  Neutrals, though necessary in a wardrobe, are boring.    Dulled-down colors are boring.

6.  Dresses for little girls are fun to sew, and I can call up endless design ideas, probably because I have sewn hundreds of doll dresses over the years, and though smaller, the construction is the same.

7.  Tablecloths and pillowcases are quick and easy and useful.

8.  Mending something to make it useful again.

9.  I hate doing alterations and avoid it like the plague.  When people find out you can sew, they often ask you to do alterations, but I learned to say no firmly and definitely.

Here are the new techniques I want to try soon:

1.  Become proficient on the serger and quit being intimidated by it.

2.  Sew more lingerie

3.  Learn to use the sewing machine feet and attachments I have in abundance especially the binders, ruffler and the narrow hemmer.

4.  Get rid of fabric I am never going to sew

5.  Don’t get bogged down sewing stuff that is not interesting to me.  Sew what I want to when I want to, and avoid deadlines and pressure.

What I am sewing now:

It took me about a year and a half of occasional work, but the workshirt for A is now a TNT pattern.  I want to try to morph it into different styles with different sleeves and necklines, so I am working on a summer top now.  A needs plain colored tops to wear with skirts and pants, and there is more scope for me to make her bright printed skirts if she has plain tops to wear with them.

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There’s a lot of topstitching on this shirt, and I’ll probably do the same to shirts I make in the future because it gives a nice smooth line and easy pressing.  The IKEA sheet fabric is easy to work with.  The pattern started out as New Look 6628, but it has gone through so many changes that it no longer looks anything like that pattern.  It is now the TNT work shirt pattern for A, and this is the second final version I have made with the shoulder princess seams.  I like princess seams much better than darts.  Looking at the picture, I  see a strange bubble or tuck in the left cuff, so I went to look at the shirt, and it doesn’t exist in real life but is just a strange photo blip.

The original collar pattern was a little too pointy so I squared the fronts up a little, and now they are easier to turn and look better, too.The side seams are pressed open and stitched down, and the side vent is 3 1/2 inches long. I have a plastic template from the office supply store that I use for the triangles topping the vent.

All in all, the shirt turned out very well and it will be interesting to see how the sheet fabric wears and washes.  Photographing my projects turns out to be useful (and sometimes funny) because I often see things in the pictures that I didn’t see in real life, like extra threads that need to be snipped off.

Still thinking about what to sew next.

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Black Work Shirt

In the home stretch on the black shirt.  Just have hems and cuffs and buttonholes/buttons to do.  Looks pretty good for an IKEA sheet, I think.  I’ll try to work on it a little today but here’s what I will be doing this afternoon:

I have to put up the plums the husband picked off the tree out front this morning.  The picture only shows half the number of bags, but we give away lots of them to the  neighbors.  They are really delicious ‘eating’ plums and make great jam, too.  It’s way too hot today to even think about making jam, so I cut them up and freeze the jam batches for cooking in the fall or winter when the house is cooler.  I have no idea what variety of plum these are because we bought a tree with four varieties grafted onto it, and I think this plum is the only one to survive.  We had to pick the plums today because I caught the package delivery guy stealing some plums the other day when I drove up in front of my house.  He jumped in his delivery truck and drove off right after he saw me arrive, but I thought that thievery was not the image his company would like to project.

I had the easiest time ever setting in the sleeves on this shirt, and was so amazed that I wrote down how I did it.  I sewed the sleeve in flat (no side or sleeve seams yet), clipped the shirt armhole seam allowance before sewing with short little clips, and only sewed one gathering stitch row just 1/4 inch in from the edge on the sleeve cap.  This is the same sleeve that has been tricky to set in in the past, so I don’t know why it worked this time, except that I tried the same thing on the second sleeve and had the same success.  Didn’t have to rip anything and restitch the seam at all.  No tucks or ripples, just smooth success.

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