Archive for the month “August, 2012”


I put together a muslin yesterday for a really cute top that I hope will be flattering and comfortable while being very versatile.  I used Vogue 8815 and attempted view C.  This is a Very Easy Vogue pattern and it is very easy.  Just a few simple pieces and it sews up quickly.

The issue is not with Vogue.  If you know the acronym PEBKAC, you know what happened here.

Problem Exists Between Cutting Mat and Scissors

  • I did not do any re-measuring of myself.
  • I did not do any measuring of the pattern pieces to compare to similar finished garments I might own.
  • I did not put the pieces on Beulah Lou (my dressmaker’s form).

So, there you go.  I basted everything together in just a few minutes and attempted to put it on.

Muslin FAIL.  The arms are way too tight.  The front piece is so tight it looks like I’m trying to bind my chest.  The waist is a good 3 inches or more too high in the front.

I almost had to Hulk-out to get the thing off!

The postives:

  • I will remember that I am not a standard pattern size, therefore I must measure and make adjustments.
  • I will be happy that I created a muslin out of pattern paper that I can now adjust.
  • I will use my dressmaker’s form.
  • I will learn from my mistakes!

Cutting corners, being lazy or undisciplined, or just slacking doesn’t yield good results when sewing.


Preparation is Key

Today I cut out 3 patterns. One I cut out on my Swedish pattern paper because I expect to need to make some changes. The other two are both stretch fabrics – my first stretch fabric attempts. I will say that the serrated Gingher scissors I bought upon the advice of Susan Khalje were a great investment. They grip slippery fabrics so you can cut two layers easier.

I must decide how to get an appropriate cutting table. Bending over the dining room table does not make my arthritic back happy. I think I could put bed risers under the table legs which would make it pretty much perfect until we tried to sit down to dinner. I’ll have to think of a more practical solution.

It took several hours to prep, layout, pin, then cut out. I believe that prepping before sewing is the bulk of the “heavy lifting” in sewing. For me, it is the most physically uncomfortable part. However, once it is done, the rest of the process is cake!

So, next step is to sew up the pieces!

Sewing for the Modern Teen, pt 2

For a quick win and because we had enough fleece left-over, Skippy made a small envelope back pillow cover for a 12″ x 12″ pillow insert. This lesson involved more about placement of fabrics with defined patterns and also matching patterns or lines in a pattern to keep the finished product looking nice and neat.

Take a look!


He used the Baby Lock Elizabeth for the envelope back seams and the Baby Lock Audrey serger to finish out the pillow cover. He says the serger is not his friend but since it was the better tool for the project, he bravely used it anyway. Since the pillow cover may be used quite a bit and spend plenty of time being washed and dried, he wanted the most stable seams possible.

Another excellent sewing project from Skippy!

Sewing for the Modern Teen

My 14 year old stepson asked if “we” could make his new (and first) niece a baby blanket. I said, “Sure, you can do that!” I showed him my stash of pink flannel and other girly fabrics. He was not inspired. We went to the local fabric store and he picked out University of Alabama fleece for the backing then a black/red/white flannel plaid, and a solid red flannel for the quilt top. This tiny little girl will have her first and very own ‘Bama Blanket – Roll Tide! (Apparently, his mom and her entire family are rabid ‘Bama fans.)

As you may know, determining how many squares and of what size requires – wait for it – MATH! Gasp! The horror! Now, Skippy is not a huge fan of the math. I feel his pain since it wasn’t my best subject, either. But we sat down and drew some pictures and used some graph paper and a calculator to come up with the correct numbers. He decided on a 24″ x 24″ quilt so he needed 9 squares that were 8″ x 8″. Of course, we had to discuss seam allowance, so he ended up cutting out 9 squares that were 9″ x 9″. I thought a generous seam allowance would be a safe decision for this first project.


We pinned the squares together and he sewed the first 3 strips. Then we pinned the strips together and he sewed those together to get the quilt top.


Although he had a general idea of how the top would look, the concept of how it would actually come together wasn’t there until he finished the last stitch and held up the finished top. I must say that he was pretty danged impressed with himself and for good reason! Take a look at this –


He put the fleece on the back and we talked about placement of fabric with a design so it doesn’t look wonky. After pinning the front to the back, he learned how to “stitch in the ditch” and sewed two seams across his rows to add stability to the blanket when it is washed and used. I am going to finish the binding for him with a pretty black satin blanket binding ‘cuz I’m a nice Evil Stepmom like that.

The embroidery you see is the little girl’s name with her first inital “A” in a style that is similar to the University of Alabama “A”.

I think Skippy did a great job and his niece is a lucky little girl!

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