Archive for March, 2012

The robots on the first section of curtains are completed.  I have to put in a quick machine hem on these and on to the second section.

This is the last picture I got before the charge on the camera was used up.  The embroidery went faster than expected but it’s still a slow process.  Not as slow as hand embroidery by a factor of about 1000 though.  I’ll try to get a better picture of these when I’m done with both curtains and these passing rain clouds are gone.

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It is another gray rainy day in the Sunshine State, so I guess our chances of drought this year are lessened, but it makes it hard to take photos.  I have been busy working on the curtains for A’s kitchen.  I had to plan the placement of a row of 4″ robots across the bottom of the draperies, and I haven’t had much luck with water-erasable pens.  The idea of using painter’s tape occurred to me, and wow, it is working great.  You can see in the picture above how the lines for horizontal and vertical placement are marked on the blue tape.

These embroidery designs are from the Embroidery Library:

These designs are stitching up very nicely, though since they are filled in completely, the stitching takes a bit of time.  I’m going to try and stitch two robots every day so that I don’t get tired of the whole project and can have time to stitch other things.

The colors of the robots will match my daughter’s retro/vintage extremely brightly painted kitchen.  The cupboards are yellow and orange and the counter tops are a rusty red.  I don’t know what the former owner was thinking, but these things are easy to paint over in the future.  Until then, we are just going to have fun with it by adding robots.

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Not sure the top looks exactly right on Madame Merp, but at least you can get an idea of  how it turned out.  I put a line of stitching around the front opening for reinforcement and used a button and loop closure.  Who would have thought that there would be a small coral-colored button in the button box right when I needed one?

The pattern doesn’t really have a seam down the front of the gathered section, but I forgot to put the pattern on the fold when I cut it out.  The fabric for this top was a Dvala sheet from IKEA, and it certainly was easy to sew.  I’m lucky I stocked up on IKEA sheets before they stopped offering the flat sheets  separately.

Next on the project list are the curtains for A’s new house kitchen.  She bought some canvas curtains that were too long and too plain so she wanted them hemmed and embroidered with robots in colors to match her retro/vintage kitchen.  I have the curtains cut to the proper length and have downloaded the robots to the embroidery card and printed off the templates.  I just have to plan the placement and get started with the embroidery.

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Buttonhole stitch can give a really nice rustic or ethnic feel to a garment and is often seen on Mexican blouses around the neckline and bottom of the yoke and sleeves.  I usually stitch it by hand, but I have noticed that several of my sewing machines have a machine buttonhole stitch.  Since right now I have the old Elna SU set up, I looked up in the manual to see if any of the cam designs would work for this.  Over the years I have managed to get a lot of cams for this machine and keep them in a box near the sewing machine.  This time I decided to use Cam # 150.  It was certainly fast to do the stitching by machine, though a little tricky over all the layers of the yoke, and I did rip sections of it out several times before I figured it out.  The best part is that I could use the same thread as in the embroidery so it matches.

Above is a close-up view of the stitching along the side of the yoke. To make the top (outside) portion of the stitch more prominent, I put a row of straight stitch over it after the buttonhole stitch was finished.

Now that the buttonhole stitching is done, it is time for the neck binding, then the side seams and armhole binding.

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Embroidered Top

Right now I am making another version of M’s favorite top.  This was the top that I tried the pivot and slide method of fitting and was successful on the first try.  I’ve made a white version with a lace yoke, another white version with embroidery, and now this tan version.  The following alterations were made to the design:  the length was shortened, the neckline was raised and made less wide, and that resulted in the shoulder seams being longer. M wears these in the office with a cardigan and they look very nice with the embroidery showing.  We decided that sleeves weren’t really necessary and that the sleeves might even be uncomfortable with a cardigan over the top, so I’m making a few sleeveless tops.  This gives me a chance to try out new embroidery designs now that the machine is back in operation.

It would be a pain to try and seam in the yoke inset, pivoting at the corners in the usual way, so I just iron under the seam allowances, carefully pin it on top of the front, and edgestitch it down.  The following photo shows the inside of the yoke with the seams unclipped at the corners because of the easier method of sewing on the yoke.

The yoke has a lining, so the edges will be turned under on that and it will be hand stitched down.  A row of topstitching will hold it down nice and flat.  I haven’t done that yet on the tan top, but you can see that there are two rows of white stitching around the yoke on the Elegant Florals top below.  One was done to attach the yoke, the next (inner line) was done after the lining was hand stitched on the inside.  The buttonhole stitching was the last step and helps to accent the color of the embroidery.

This pattern is really pretty easy to sew.  There is bias binding to put around the neckline and armholes, side seams, and hem left to do.

I have been trying to clean some stash out of the sewing room and came across a box of old patterns.  I pulled out two classic girls dress patterns because I wanted a pattern with a peter pan collar.  One of these patterns is from the late 70’s, and one from the mid 80’s.

I like both dress patterns, but then I always did have a thing for tucks.

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More Dresses

It’s time to sew some more dresses for little girls in a variety of sizes, so the first step is to trace off the patterns.

Lucky for me, I have access to a xerox machine, so I just ran off copies of the bodice pattern and ended up with a set for every size.  This is a basic button-up-the-back bodice that I have changed to suit my purposes, and it can have a flared or gathered skirt.  I’m using my TNT pattern:

You can add any trims, or sleeve styles to a basic bodice, but my problem is that I often sew for girls who live far away and are not available to measure.  Tricky areas for me are cuff width and bicep width since a too-tight sleeve will mean the dress does not get worn.  I searched through my stock of dress patterns to find some sleeves that are cute but don’t require these measurements, like an angel sleeve or flutter sleeve.  Here’s a few that turned up:

This nice tulip sleeve is from Simplicity 2265.

This gathered cap sleeve is from McCall’s 5966.

Now I’m going to go look through my old issues of Sew Beautiful and some pattern drafting books for ideas. This should use up some extra fabric and trims, too.

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Now, on to more interesting and easier sewing.

I asked the spouse if this looked like a watermelon to him, but he said no, because it was pink.  He’s a literal thinker.

Pod full of peas.  Notice how I changed the yo-yo peas to a single piece.  Still sort of looks like peas, maybe.

I left the easiest one for last.  After all the finicky apples and watermelon seeds, etc., this was a cinch.

I have a big box full of donation fabrics, so I’ll make some little girl dresses.  What I disliked most about making these bibs was the endless clipping around all the curved shapes before turning them right side out. My hand has scissor fatigue.

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