Friday, November 15, 2013

Serger Home From the Hospital

I finally broke down and took my serger to the service technician.  I found one very close by me in the next town who charges a reasonable initial fee to boot. First off, a little history.  I bought my serger "gently used" on EBay.  It has given me nothing but fits.  I put it down to operator error since I'd never operated one before.  Like a true geek, I read.  I read the manual.  I bought and read Serger Secrets, then Simple Serger Sewing.  I read the boards on Pattern Review.  Nothing I did would make my stitches look correct.  I finally got tired of banging my head against this wall and took her in.

The verdict:  it wasn't operator error after all.  The tensions were messed up, she needs a tune up, and the needle wasn't striking the throat plate properly.  The sample in the machine was beautiful!  I couldn't wait to get her home and replicate this miracle on my project.  Lo and behold it worked!  Beautiful neat stitches. ( And less noise, too.)

I decided to test it further and changed the thread.  Tempting the evil fates, sure, but I had to know.   Oh no, wobbly over the edge again.  Had I jinxed it?  Broken it already.  I recheck my threading.  Operator error: I didn't have the looper thread properly engaged the tension disc.  Life and stitches are lovely once again.  I finally enjoy my serger.

Lessons learned:  Don't buy major purchases used on EBay.  And  service technicians are our friends.   :)

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Trio of Tops

The trio of tops began in a flurry of activity to get ready for Mother's Day.  Had the jacket, the geometric brocade, and  had the pants,  Vogue 2921 that I just finished.  I had cute out one top but realized I was too slow a sewer to get it done in time. Simplicity 1698  had been recently added and had a top that fit the bill.

A simple empire waist, cowl neck top it stitched up in just a couple of hours (and I'm slow).It's a looser fit than most of my knit tops, but very comfy and I really like the cowl neck.  I did sew up the side seams a little higher than indicated on pattern for my own comfort zone--would have left a lot of bra exposed.

The top intended for Mother's Day was another OOP, Simplicity 5595

I've made this before many moons ago for my daughter in other views, but this is the first time to sew one up for me.  Just a simple tank top, view E minus the ties in back.

The fabric is a cotton gauze with metallic finish from Joann's and is light as air; perfect for our muggy summers.  Instead of a neck facing and a turned under hem on the arms, I was able to squeeze out just enough fabric for bias bindings for them.  A much nicer finish I think.

The last of the trio is Simplicity 2181, a variety a twist tops.  I chose to do view C, the sleeveless version with the twist at the waist.  ( Very nice for helping to camouflage a tummy.)

The front has a facing covering the whole bust and a back facing.  I found the directions for attaching the two a little confusing and still not sure I did it "right" but it's done and looks good.  The armholes were the only change I made: using a bound edge instead of turning under and hemming.  I made a size 14 and the pattern states it has no ease.  I found this true in the bust area, but the tummy area is negative ease, probably due to my spreading middle age.  But I like the fit very well. 

So there you have it, a trio of quick tops for summer.  Hope your summer projects are going well.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Pants Update

One of my readers emailed me and reminded me that I've been remiss in posting.  Thank you for the re-focus.  I got so caught up in life and sewing I forgot to blog. Sorry y'all, bad me. I'll try to catch things up a bit.  The pants are done and I really enjoy them
The fashion fabric, a lightweight grey suiting from Joann's, was just a tad roomier than the muslin was but the fit is still good.  I love the deep pockets on these things.  Holds my phone and keys no problem.

The backside has the seaming going down the center of the back of the leg, the main feature about these pants I liked.  That turned out just right.   The waistband is narrow and comfortable but next time could stand about ¼-½ inch or so out of center back seam to prevent slight gaping when sitting.   The directions for the front fly went so smoothly they should go in my reference files. All in all, I'm really pleased and will probably make these up again.  Sorry again for slacking. :)

Next up ...the trio of tops.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

New Pants; Vogue 2921

I haven't sewn any pants in probably close to 2 or more years.  Gained weight, lost confidence, lost weight, still no confidence.  The success of the jacket has inspired me to make a pair of slacks to go with it.  Added incentive is that I only have one skirt that goes with the jacket and I think with its length it would look better with pants.  So I bought the fabric, a medium grey suiting from Joann's with a nice weight and drape.  I already had the pattern from more confident days, Vogue 2921.

I can't link to it as it is now Out of Print.  (says how old my pattern stash is getting)

It's a Montana designer pattern.  I've got a couple of these but have not sewn any yet.  I just fell in love with this pattern for the seaming on the back of the legs.  The pattern is rated as advanced, which scared me more, but as I said the jacket has the mojo up so I'm striking while the mojo is good.
Not being a total fool looking for failure,and not knowing for sure what my "sewing size" is in pants, I decided to do my first muslin.  According to my measurements: waist 30, hips 38, I should have a size 16 waist and 14 hip.  It seemed years ago when I made my last pair of Vogue britches they ran quite a bit big.  So I made a straight 14, with a slight Full Butt Adjustment. (Cutting the back crotch a size 16 for more seat room and back to a 14 at the inseam.  I don't know if that's the proper way, but it works for me usually.)  I just tried them on and am thrilled with the fit!  Surprise!  No further adjustments needed.  I can start cutting real fabric this afternoon.  Yeah!

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Brodace Jacket Finished!

It's amazing! But yes, it really is finished already,  Even with as slow as I sew! And all those seam finishes, too.  New Look 6920 on Zelda:
The sleeves were supposed to be 3/4 sleeves on the pattern but once I got those cuffs on they turned out to be full length. I actually prefer them this way.  
the back view
A view of all the finish work.  All the seams were treated with a Hong Kong finish, including hem and sleeves.  It looks so neat and tidy inside.
A close up of the finish work on the shoulder seam, collar.
 The pattern itself was well-constructed and the instructions with very concise.  There were no duh moments; just followed the directions and all went well.  The lower front bands are cut on the bias, as is the collar, but unlike the collar, they are not interfaced.  I did have a little trouble with them trying to twist out of shape.  But careful pinning,sewing and gentle pressing kept all in alignment. All in all I'm very pleased with how this project turned out. It was a big step up for me in several ways and quite the learning experience but not an unpleasant one.  I've mastered Hong Kong finishing and learned to the rudiments to handling brocade.  This is only the second jacket I've made so I still feel like there's a lot more to learn about their construction before I feel accomplished in this.                                                                    
As a P.S., I have to say that I was watching and being greatly inspired by the Great British Sewing Bee that  the whole sewing community is abuzz with while sewing this.  The show is so charming, the people so lovely you feel as if you know them. You can't help but watch and get up and go sew.

Monday, April 15, 2013

New Look 6920 and Adventures in Brocade

After a long absence from from blogging but not sewing, I thought it was time to get in here again.  No time like at the beginning of a new project.  On the machine now is New :Look 6920.  I've had this pattern in the stash for years ( It's copywrited 2009.  Yikes!)  I bought it for the jacket, view D: hip-length, princess seams in the bodice, tie front and 3/4 sleeves.  It's time has finally come.

I'll be using this brocade:

I got it for this jacket (probably around 2009 or '10 also) so it's been ripening in fabric stash for a while.  I just love the play of the light on those blue, silver and gold geometric shapes. 
I've never worked in brocade before so this is a learning experience.

The jacket pattern is unlined but obviously I don't want to traipse around with fraying seams.  I doubt I have the ability to draft a lining for it; and it calls out for something more formal than serged seams.  So with the help of my trusty Vogue Sewing manual, I'm going to use organza Hong Kong seams.  Another new skill for me to learn.  I cut my strips tonight.  Tomorrow I start sewing.  Wish me luck.