Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Wrapping Up With a Bit O' Irish- Simplicity 1735

It's a chilly, rainy day here, and as I had nothing better to do (besides cleaning the house, and who really wants to do that?) I've nipped away at my stash just a bit more. The form this takes is Simplicity pattern number 1735, view A, the cape.

And this is the fabric and trim.

The white fleece with shamrocks I found at Walmart last summer for $1.00 a yard. So I bought all 8 yards that they had of it. The greener busier Paddy's Day themed fleece was bought at Joann's when the red tag section was marked 50% off, which made this fabric $3.00 a yard. Again, I bought all that they had, this time only 2 3/4 yards. Finally the fringe was the most expensive part at $4.99 a yard (need 5 yards).

First step is always the cutting. This job isn't as tedious as some other patterns as it only has one piece to it! 
I love this little pin dispenser! I found it at Hancock Fabrics, but I have seen them at JoAnn's as well. 

I still like to line up the fabric, folded edges together, and pin through all of the layers. Cutting is a bit difficult all at once, though, so I typically will cut the top layer first, and then the bottom when working with fleece. With this pattern, I will also note, that it is best to line up the "front edge" of the pattern, with the folded edges of the fabric, rather than the "center seam" edge. After making a few of these, I've just found that it uses slightly less fabric (1 1/2 yard vs the 1 5/8 the pattern calls for). It also just lays nicer with out having to refold the fabric. 

Once it's cut, line up and sew the darts. 

I sewed all of the white seams first, then switched thread and sewed the darker fabric.

I did consider removing the darts and just cutting the neck round. While this would save a sewing step, I like the way that the darts make the cape form to the shoulders. 

Next is the center back seam.

Now this is where I differ from the pattern. The pattern tells you to leave an opening in the center seam of the lining fabric for turning. Later, after turning, you'd whip stitch the opening closed. This is a fine technique if you only have one side to your cape, but I like to make them reversible, so I sew the whole seam on both pieces. 

Here's where the trim comes in. 

Sew the trim all the way around one side of the cape. Since this is white trim, I sewed it to the white fabric first. Start at the bottom edge of the center seam, and leave a tail of about an inch of the fringe (or piping or lace). This is to allow a flat finish. If you are using piping, cut out about an inch of the pipping filler. Sew the fringe around, and when you come to the last inch of meeting the start, fold the starting tail down towards the bottom (towards the inside of the machine) and then fold the ending inch down over the first in the same direction. Do this as an eased turn, not a 90* angle. Sew over the folded in pieces, and you should be back to where you started. 

Now, with right  sides together, sew the top fabric to the inside fabric. In this case, the green to the white. As I mentioned earlier, I sewed all of the white bits together first (this includes the fringe) and then switched threads and sewed all of the green bits. At this point, I changed the bobbin thread to the white, and left the needle thread with green. Test your machine settings before continuing this way. Because my tension was not set properly, I did not get the full white on bottom green on top that I had intended. What I ended up with was green on top and mostly white with freckles of green peaking out. I actually liked this and left things how it was, since the white fabric had green shamrocks, it worked. 

Anyway, sew the two capes together, right sides matching, all around the edge leaving a hole for turning. 

Then turn. Which puts us here. 

you can just see the folded over tails that I mention.

Now to close up that hole. You could simply whip stitch it closed, but I like to top stitch all the way round. This worked wonderfully and smoothly for the fringe, but was a bit difficult when I did the pattern with fur pipping, even with a zipper foot. Just something to consider when deciding to do the pattern the way the pattern states, or the way I have done it here. 

Once you've zipped around, you're done! I will say that one thing I like about the top stitching, is that it gives you a chance to fix issues where you may have missed the fringe edge or not sewn down at much as you wanted to. 

And the finished product. 

This one will stay in my personal collection. If, however, you would like one of your own, and don't wish to make it yourself, you can find my Etsy Shop here.

As of January 30th, 2013 I do not have one ready made in the shop, but I will update as soon as I do. In the mean time, please message me and I'll be happy to whip one up of your very own!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

This one's for the dogs: Vogue Pattern 8312

So my first attempt at cleaning out my fabric stash will be to use up these blankets. 

I bought these at Walmart after Christmas. They were origninally $4.95 each and I got them for half price. Score!

I'm going to be making this dog shirt pattern

It's a Vogue pattern that I bought (for $0.25) when one of the local fabric stores was going out of business. I'm making the blue one in the upper right corner, adjusting the length slightly.

So here we go!

First step is to cut the pattern out. This one has four pieces. I unrolled the blankets and folded them in half, then laid them one on top of the other meeting the folded edges. Pieces one and two both get placed on the fold. I am using the XL size, except for the length; for that I'm using the M size. 


The cutting is my absolute least favorite part, but these blankets are very forgiving. Because of the way that the shirts go on the dogs, you don't have to worry so much about matching patterns, but because of the way the blankets are, they kind of match up with not much effort anyway. 

Now then, to the sewing machine!

The first step is to line up piece one and piece two at the shoulder seams, and stitch across. I then surged the seams because this fleece started shedding as soon as I cut it. Unless it's a flannel or a plush fleece like these are, I usually don't surge the seams. 

Now, the pattern will tell you to sew the side seams at this stage as well. I skip this step until a little later, and you'll see why. The next step I do is sew the hem of the arms (piece four). 

Again, I surged the edge because this fabric wanted to fray. 

After the hem, I then sew the sleeves in. Yup, I'm sewing the sleeves in with out sewing the sleeve seam or the side seams. This gives me a flat surface to sew the sleeve in, which is much easier than sewing a round and trying to line up the side seams. There will be a bit of easing, but not a lot on this shirt. 

Once the sleeve is in place, match the side seams (right sides together of course!) and sew from the hem of the sleeve to the bottom of the shirt. One long straight seam. See, sleeves aren't scary!

With the side seams now sewn, it's all about the bottom hem. I just did a single fold hem for these, surging the bottom edge again. The curve actually lays flat with out much fuss if you do a 1 inch single hem, like is built into the pattern.

If you're keeping track, we still have one last piece.

Piece 3 is the collar. Now for those of you who have been sewing a while you'll say, "but wait, we should have sewn piece 3 before piece 4!" and if you follow the pattern directions you'd be correct. I on the other hand, like to sew the collar last. Partly because of my side seam/sleeve technique. 

So the collar is one long rectangle that you're going to fold in half and make a tube out of. Sew down the open edge, and there's your tube. Now this is the one seam that I didn't serge, and that's because this gets folded down again and so will be hidden and not exposed like the other seams. 

Once you have your tube, fold the open edges together, trapping the seam edge inside of the fold.

Last step is to sew the collar to the shirt. I do have one last tip here. When you match the pieces, place the collar inside of the shirt while the shirt is still inside out. Then when you sew, place the foot of the sewing machine, on the collar so you're sewing inside of the circle. This is much easier to match seams, and sew if you don't have a free arm machine, or your free arm is not very small (like my machine). 

And we're done!

If you would rather buy one of these than make it, you can find them here.

Or visit my Etsy shop and contact me for custom made items. 

Now for pictures of doggies in these sweaters

Amelia Pond: Pyr Mix wearing the green sweater from this tutorial

Side view. Yes, she wasn't thrilled to be put in clothes, so she won't be getting one for keeps.

Leslie freezes when she's dressed.  Normally she's such a wiggler!

Side view

And this shot was just too adorable to not post! Her freezing in front of the camera really makes her an amazingly perfect model.

And the pup who started it all!
This is Nellie, a "pocket pit" rescue dog. When my friends (who own the other dogs pictured too) picked her up and mentioned that they were buying sweaters for her to help keep her warm while her fur grew back, well I had to help this poor pup. I was able to do her sweaters using scrap and remnant fleece of about 1/2 to 3/4 yards in length. This made it cheap and easy to provide her a whole winter wardrobe. And as you can see, she loves them!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

In the Begining

To say I have amassed quite a fabric collection would be the understatement of the century. Four years ago I went to IKEA and bought this book shelf unit (in brown-black) and realized that it was not big enough, so I added the desk and the larger book shelf and turned my little dining area into a sewing nook. That's a total of 41 cubbies, all filled with banker's boxes full of fabric. At the end of 2012, I had to add another 8 cubbie shelf and still ended up with 15 banker's boxes worth of fabric in my storage. This is not to mention the laundry basket and Billy Book Shelf that hold the bolts of fabric and 6 rolls.

For 2013 I'm dedicating myself to putting a dent in this fabric stash. I figure the best way to this is to journal as I dive in. So you get to come along with me on this journey.

This is the largest of the book shelves, along with my first attempt at an Elizabethan court dress.

And another look into the sewing nook.