Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Rethinking Sleeves

I gave putting in the sleeves before sewing up the sides a try.

For me, I continued with the pin basting with lots and lots and lots of pins to set in the sleeve.

Then came the sewing of I believe is the sleeve head.  Not sure of the technical term.  The sleeve set in without any fuss.  However, I do attribute the success in sewing in the sleeve to my method of pin basting.  I swear by that now.  While it was a little easier to sew, there really did not seem that much of a difference from sewing up the sleeve prior to setting it in.

Next, I finally got to sew up the sides of the bodices.  I sewed in the various directions from the bust point.  A little extra work but am unsure of the benefit.

Will I continue to sew in sleeves in this manner?  Maybe.  I will continue to give this a try for the next couple of times and then assess what will work best for me.  The first try at any new method is not sufficient to determine whether it is the best.  My instinct is to always go with tried and true methods.  So, I will need to continue to work on these techniques.

It is always good to have options and my sleeves look good!

Monday, June 28, 2010

New Techniques

My class is all about learning; so what if every book you ever read says something different.  Right?

My instructor provided some guidelines.  Always so a dart from the point in.  Always backstitch at the beginning and end of the seam.  Put in the sleeve prior to joining either the sides of the bodice and the sides of the sleeve.  These are all new to me and I am giving them a try with this dress.  We also have certain directions to sew: for example from the bust point up and then from the bust point down.  Never heard of this either.

I will be honest that starting the dart at the point is not as simple as the other way around.  I also had to restrain myself from sewing up the sides of the bodice.  It just looks so unfinished this way.  But here's the front and back with the facings in

I am glad I am using an “easy’ pattern to give these techniques a try! Trying to figure out a pattern while trying to remember to do many steps differently from what I have done before would just give me a headache!  I have enough trouble trying to keep my furry helper under control.

Sunday, June 27, 2010


Monique and Kelli, thanks for the comments!   You will be happy to know that the missing spool of thread has been found.  It appears that a creature of the feline persuasion found the spool and thought it was a new toy.  The thread was found in a different room under a table.  No where near the sewing table.

So, yay! I did not have to use the thread that was kinda close or run out and buy more.  I was also able to cut out the McCall’s 5150 dress.  I did make a FBA on the pattern, it is my first and I think I muddled through it correctly.

I am using a turquoise cotton sateen which does have a bit of stretch in it.  It is a brighter color than I normally gravitate to, but I think it will be pretty with brown shoes and boy do I have some great brown shoes to wear with it.

I was also able to sew up the skirt which does need to hang for a few days to allow the bias to do its thing.

Saturday, June 26, 2010


You know you bought thread to match the fabric.  It was on your sewing table on Wednesday night.  You picked it up and thought about taking it with you to class.  You decided against this because you knew you would need it and wanted to be able to find it easily.

It is now missing.  Nowhere to be found.  You know if you buy some more, you will find it.  But where did it disappear to???????????

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


Oh my!  This took me 3 hours to complete AND my homework is not finished.  This class perhaps, not the best of ideas.  At this rate, no garment sewing will occur because it looks like my homework is going to take over my life.

What about that win for Team USA this morning which means they won Group C!  Talk about cutting it close!  Now to take on Ghana on Saturday.  Thank goodness I can watch the matches at work so it doesn't interfere with the dreaded homework.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


So the bias binding has been sewn in around the neck and I still have not done by homework for the class.  There seriously is not enough time in the day.

But now choices need to be made.  Button choices that is.  A button is to go at the neck and on both sleeves.  Here are the options:

Any thoughts?

To digress…..I hope the US pull off a win tomorrow at the World Cup so we can progress.  I know our team can do it if they put their minds to it.  They beat Spain last year, they can beat Algeria tomorrow.  Regardless, we need goals!!!!!!

Monday, June 21, 2010


 Here’s an update on the Mint Chip Dress.  Well, it has a collar which was nicely hemmed by a catch stitch that I needed to practice for my class.  2 1/2 hours later, I think I have the hang of it!  That hem on the collar would have taken a couple of minutes on the machine.  I put on the collar and the bias binding on the inside of the collar.  But I have not sewn down the bias binding.  I plan to practice another stitch on that since it would have to be hand sewn anyways.

I am finding this class quite a bit of work.  My instructor expects not only that you can replicate the stitches but also memorize all of the information on the stitches.  Instead of sewing, I am studying.  Not exactly what I had in mind.  I am going to have to figure out something so that I can study, sew, work out and I don’t know…maybe relax a little too!

Your eyes do not deceive you...the dress form received implants over the weekend so as to better approximate my actual measurements.  I think the placement needs to be adjusted!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day

Happy Father's Day to all the fathers out there, even though I doubt even just one is reading this.

You may not have taught us how to sew, but you taught us other valuable things used in sewing like how to take apart a sewing machine and how to properly pound in a grommet!

Myra:  thanks for the comment on pinking shears.  Even after I bought them I have not been motivated to use them.  I must give it a go because they like they could be fun.  Besides, they are way too shiny and pretty looking sitting in the box.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Next Project

Being optimistic that the Mint Chip Dress will be finished today, I have selected my next project:  McCall's 5150 which is from 1959.  Need to switch it up a little from the 1930's for the moment and make something, hopefully, straight forward.  Yeah, like that ever happens.

I am planning to sew up the 3/4 sleeves since I work in an artic zone and here in the middle of summer am wearing long sleeves and 2, yes count them, 2 sweaters.  I do reserve the right to change the sleeve length depending on my mood which is very changeable when it comes to all things sewing.

I will make this up in a turquoise cotton sateen.  It is pretty but wrinkles sooooo darn easy. 

Ahhhh the excitement of a new project.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Pinking Shears

Well, I had my first couture sewing class on Thursday and since then I have not sewed.  Why you ask, because I have been running all over creation trying to find all of the supplies needed for the class.  Seriously, the entire weekend was spent trying to track down the correct ……fill in the blank.  My instructor is particular and the reason we were not given a materials list prior to the class was because he wanted to show us the exact item to get.  It has been time consuming and about 1/2 of the items I already had.

One item on the list is pinking shears.  Now, I do not have pinking shears and since I have a serger which I use very frequently, I do not see the need for pinking shears.  I polled 3 sewists that I know about whether they had pinking shears and their thoughts on the shears.  All 3 had pinking shears but only one person said she used the shears.  The other 2 said they found pinking shears to be useless.

I don’t know…I did buy a pair.  We will see if they are returned.  Hooray for 90 day return policies.

Also problematic was finding all weights of muslin.  I have heavy weight and found lightweight.  However, I need a medium weight muslin as well.  So far, I have struck out.  There are 2 additional stores I will check but not before the next class.  Seriously, the course work should be simpler than tracking down the supplies!

Tonight, I almost finished the mint chip dress.  I hope to have a final picture to share tomorrow, fingers crossed.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010


I am taking my first ever sewing class and it starts tomorrow night!  I am more than a little nervous about this since I have not taken a class since I finished my post graduate degree a very long long time ago and vowed never to take any more classes again.  A vow I have maintained up till now.  So starting tomorrow and for 3 hours every session, I will be in a classroom setting.  Ugh.

Something I failed to notice when I signed up for the class is that a tailoring project would be assigned.  Hmmmm, I wonder if I can make it a vintage tailoring project?  Just a thought because I don’t think a modern pattern would hold my interest for very long!

Kelli:  Thanks, I will have to tell you I was shocked with the ease (no pun intended) the sleeves went in.  You will get there too! Because if I can, you can!! 

Brain:  You are so sweet…thanks as I hang my head in embarrassment and dig the toe of my shoe in the ground.

Because I didn’t get a chance to share pictures last night before sleep overtook me: let me present the sleeves on the dress:

Practice DOES Make Perfect

This is the adage that my grandmother used to always preach to me whenever I became frustrated with my inability to do something…anything. I have to say that I never thought I would be able to conquer setting in sleeves in one go. But you know what, with the Mint Chip Dress, it happened. I guess all of that practicing finally paid off…though I also have to give kudos to all those people out there who posted tutorials.

My technique is the pin method. I do not put gathering stitches in the sleeve cap. Instead I just pin the bejebbers out of it making sure that my pins are straight and there are no wrinkles on the underside. I then sew in the sleeve and leave the pins in while sewing. I know horrors….leaving in the pins but it is the only method that I have found to work for me. The key really is making sure the pins are straight and that there are no wrinkles and use as many pins as humanly possible!

Seriously it works but practice really is required. I hate to tell you that the first sleeves I tried to set in, I just gave up and put in some cute little pleats with the decision that this is the way it was meant to be. A year later, with much practice, I managed to set in the sleeves on the first go with no ripping out of seams! Yay me! And I rarely say that.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Sleeve Fail

I don’t mean setting in the sleeve.  What I am talking about is some decorative pleating on the sleeve.  A couple of hours in, basting, pulling out basting stitches and then re-basting, I knew that I was utterly and completely lost.  The instructions….no help.  I am looking at instruction numbers 29 and 30 with the accompanying picture.

Went back to the pattern to check if I missed some markings…nope, they are all there and accounted for.  Here is the pattern piece, note that it looks nothing like the instructions.  Hmmm….what am I missing?
Stare at the pattern some more.  Finally, give up for a little while.

Returned and tried folding everything differently.  Then the light bulb went off…well not exactly, I realized that there was just one combination that I had not tried and sure enough it seems to have worked.
That took much more effort than anticipated.  Setting in the sleeves will be simple in comparison.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Shopping Spree

A friend asked me to go shopping for soccer jerseys with him.  I agreed with the provision that since we will be so close to my favorite fabric stores that I get to stop in and do a little shopping.  Boy, did I shop!

I found a lot that I liked including this brown wool.

Mostly, as I am wont to do, stayed with the cottons.

I also bought this trim because it was only $2 for the whole shebang in addition to some black and brown lining fabrics.

I think I need to find a way to use these 2 together.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Picture of 1918 Dress

Ok, this is not a great picture: it had been a long hot day spent in the sun and the photographer was not enthusiastic about this little photo shoot.  This is the best picture..LOL! But, I think it shows off the dress and trim.  Should have done something with my hair though...ugh.  Main construction details can be found here, here, here, here, here, and here.

Why is it so hard to look at pictures of yourself?

I am adding some additional pictures of the completed dress, including one of the back showing the pretty buttons.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Grinding Halt

Yup, that’s what happened with the Mint Chip Dress.  The next step was to place 1 inch wide ribbon belting around the waist.  Hmmm while not sure what ribbon belting is do, do you think petersham?  I have decided to use grosgrain ribbon.  Great, don’t have any grosgrain in a light color.

Ok, can work on the sleeves.  But no, there are no marks on the sleeves.  I used a pen to mark the sleeves, you know one of those pens where the marks go away with water.  Well, they have disappeared.  I just checked, yup water to remove ink; there is no mention about the marks just disappearing.  I made sure not to use the type of pen where the marks disappear just by air exposure.  I just don’t feel like re-marking the sleeves tonight.

All I accomplished was to remove the inset that was a little off and re-sew that back into place…..arghh.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010


The Mint Chip Dress came along swimmingly over the weekend. However, I perceive some problems on the horizon. First, I cannot figure out how to completely attach the bodice to the skirt. It appears that some directions are missing. There is an explanation of how to attach the back bodice to the skirt but not the front bodice. Maybe it is supposed to be a modified wrap dress? I am flummoxed to say the least. I also think something is missing because there is an instruction 17 and 17a but no 17 b. Second, the neck hole is teeny. I could barely fit my head through and my head is on the small side! I have never seen a neckline so small outside of children’s clothing. Third is a problem of my own making. I do not like how one of the insets is a little off center…must fix….will go crazy if don’t fix.

Here’s a look but please forgive all the threads.

 There is a lot of basting and stay stitching in this dress and I have not yet removed any. In fact, there is too much topstitching for my liking and all seams except side seams are basted in first! However, I will admit that I like the look and it didn’t take too much extra time. So next time I poopoo basting, I need to be reminded of this experience.

I also really need to pad out this form to be as busty as I am!