Saturday, April 26, 2014

Prom - Less Than A Week Away

This week I found fabric to match the shoes my daughter will be wearing with her prom dress.  After searching the web I discovered this tutorial on the Noodlehead website.  The tutorial was very easy to follow and I really had fun choosing the fabric and the embellishments.

I pretty much followed the tutorial except I used a 1 1/2 inch ribbon for the band and I added a rhinestone beads. I also removed the existing zipper pull and replaced it with a charm embellishment.

The finished purse...


With shoes

I am very pleased with the final product. Now to put the finishing touches on the dress. 

Until next something you love. 

Friday, April 25, 2014

12 Days to Go: Prom Dress Progress - Vogue 2929

I am coming down the home stretch. This pattern has definitely tested my patience and broadened my skill set.  The actual sewing itself wasn't too bad.  It was the incorrect pattern markings and the pattern instructions.  It would have been helpful to have diagrams of each step-- especially considering the puzzle-like construction.  If I did not have prior knowledge of how to sew an outside corner to an inside corner I would not have known the dots were not marked properly.  This pattern is definitely not for a beginner.  Even though Vogue2929 has been a challenging pattern to sew, I have enjoyed watching this dress "come to life".

This weekend I cut out the dress, including the very large skirt piece.  I managed to cut the skirt out on my too small cutting table by utilizing lots of pins and very carefully shifting and adjusting the fabric as I cut (which is usually a no-no but seemed to work out fine this time).  It was either that or the floor. 

The dress is now mostly done:  zipper inserted, foundation, lining and dress basted together at the neck line for another fitting before the final sewing is done-- I'm keeping my fingers crossed.  After that, because the dress is cut on the bias, it will need to hang for a few days to allow the fabric to relax.  I've found varying opinions as to how long a bias cut garment should hang.  Once source recommended the garment hang overnight.  Another source recommended 2 weeks?!  Since I don't have two weeks,  I will allow the dress to hang for at least 3 days before hemming.  The plan is to finish the skirt (split, hem, hand tack lining where appropriate) this weekend. 

I am now looking for a sewing pattern to make a purse to coordinate with the dress and these shoes.
My daughter does not usually carry a purse so a small wristlet may be the way to go.  I'm hoping  to increase the chances of the purse returning home with her this year. 

I promised not to post pictures of the final dress until after prom so this will have to suffice for now.

Until next time... sew something you love!

No more time for Prom Dress Procrastination - My Adventures with Vogue 2929

26 Days and Counting

I've had the materials to make my daughter's dress for her senior prom for months now. I've hemmed and hawed and fretted over this task for a few reasons:
  1. I've been intimidated by a four-letter word that is in the pattern description-- "bias".
  2. The pattern pieces are unusually shaped which could be a challenge if there are any fitting issues to address so a muslin will be necessary. 
  3. No time for my busy high school senior to stop to be measured or to assist with the basics like fabric and sewing prep between college applications and scholarship essays, working to maintain her GPA, and a myriad of other tasks and extra-curricular activities that have kept us apart and out of the sewing room.
  4. The self-induced pressure of making this dress as special as the first prom dress I made for my daughter two years ago. 
According to the calendar I have about 3 weeks until prom.  Yikes!  Talking about time flying.  Time has booked a flight on the Concorde and taken off leaving me at the gate!

My daughter has chosen Vogue 2929 for her senior prom gown. If you looked at the link to the first prom dress you may have noticed that my daughter for some reason seems to favor Advanced Vogue Patterns!

So far I have managed to find time to cut out the pattern pieces, study the pattern instructions, and assemble what is needed to sew this dress. As of the date of this post I am waiting to receive the hook and eye tape I had to order from this Etsy shop since none of my local fabric stores carries this notion.


Additional supplies

Goals for this week - It all starts with a solid foundation. 

I decided not to follow the order suggested in the pattern.  Instead I am going to begin with the foundation. This will allow room for fitting errors. I can work out any bugs on the layer that will not be seen by the public. Hopefully by the time I get to the actual dress I will already have a feel for any pattern adjustments that maybe needed and can then focus on handling the bias cut pieces without distorting them.

By the end of this week I hope to:

  1. Cut a muslin from the foundation pattern pieces, baste them together for first fitting, and fine    tune the fit. 
  2. Set up my serger (change thread color - I really hate this part) and sewing machine.
  3. Once the test foundation is properly fitted, cut out and sew the foundation from the fashion fabric, insert the boning, and install the hook and eye tape.
  4. Check fit of foundation and determine whether or not to add a waist stay for added insurance (don't want daughter tugging on her strapless gown all evening trying to keep it in place).

If I accomplish these goals I should be off to a good start.  Wish me luck!

Until next time... Sew something you love!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Sneezes, Sniffles, and Some Sewing - Prom Dress Progress... Aaachooo!

I am so glad that the snow and ice is finally behind us (I hope), the trees and flowers are putting on their spring wardrobe and I get dressed in the morning to the sound of birds singing. What I do not like is the coat of pollen that is now appearing on cars, deck furniture, etc.  This yellow stuff wreaks havoc with my immune system!  Seems I waited until I reached my 40's to develop allergies.  On top of that, my daughter is running track which means a lot of hours outdoors.  No matter how much allergy medicine I've taken I can't seem to stop sneezing or sniffling.  It has gotten so bad that now I'm not sure if my symptoms are due to allergies or a spring cold. 

Despite my bout with the sniffles, I have made some progress on Vogue 2929.   I have never been good at origami. I mean, I could make simple folds that produced the paper boats and hats but when it came to the more complicated folds, forget it!

Which leads to my problem with this pattern. I've read and reread the instructions several times.  I have studied the diagrams for each step only for my brain to be as twisted as a piece of origami.  To add to my frustration, the pattern markings on some of the pieces are off. Luckily, I was prepared for this having read the reviews on 

I strongly caution anyone who is looking at Vogue 2929 as a future project-- DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT attempt to make this pattern without first making a muslin! Also, I strongly suggest that you not follow the exact order of construction given in the pattern instructions.  Instead, begin with the foundation and lining pieces.  That way you can work out any issues with fit on a portion of the dress that will be hidden from the public and you can practice how to assemble the unusually shaped pattern pieces. 

Here is a picture of pattern piece #11 Right Front and Back lining, where I drew seam allowances on each side of the lower point of the pattern piece and changed the location of the dot to where the seam allowances intersected.   

Then I did the same thing on piece #10 Upper Left Front and Back lining, where the two pieces were to be sewn together. 

After sewing the muslin for the foundation and the partial skirt lining and attaching the two at the waistline, I had my daughter try it on.  I should have known that I had missed a step when she couldn't step into the skirt but instead I helped her slide the muslin over her raised arms and slid it into place.  I had to take in 1/4 inch in the bust area blending back to the original seam line at the waist but otherwise the fit looked good.  EXCEPT, when it came time to take off the muslin we couldn't get it off!  After a minute or two of trying to remove the garment I cut it off.  I went back to the pattern instructions.  Come to find out-- I'd inadvertently sewn the entire seam closed! In the words of Lucy Ricardo: "uuuuhh!"

So here is what I have accomplished so far between the sneezes and sniffles:

Assembled foundation.  I received the hook and loop tape I ordered from Etsy-- very quick shipping I might add.  Currently I am still working out how I'm going to attach the hook and loop tape to ensure a snug fit.

Attached boning and pinned bra cups in place (looks like a weird looking bug to me-- lol)

And here is the foundation lining hand-basted to the partial skirt lining. The puzzle is starting to take shape and make sense!

About 2 1/2 weeks until prom! 

Goals for upcoming week--
  1. Install bra cups.
  2. Complete assembly of skirt lining.
  3. Cut out and begin assembly of dress.
Until next time...Sew something you love!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Confessions of a Print-a-holic: The Mighty ITY Knit

I am what one of my cyber sewing buddies calls a print-a-holic. Yes, I admit it, I love print fabric. I am totally hooked.  My conservative only wear black, brown, and solid "safe" colors self hit my 40's and something just went wild in me.  I adored any and all animal print fabric I encountered.

And bold colors

But I discovered that my ultimate favorite fabric to sew with is what I affectionately refer to as the "mighty ITY knit".  

What is this amazing fabric?  I'm so glad you asked. ITY stands for interlock twist yarn. I will not go into the technical aspects of this fabric but here is my list of 10 reasons I absolutely loooove this fabric--

  1. Beautiful drape
  2. Available in a variety of weights from light to mid-weight
  3. Soft against the skin and very comfortable to wear
  4. Excellent stretch and recovery
  5. Can be used in a variety of garment types ( tops, skirts, lingerie, dresses)
  6. Can be pressed but does not require ironing and thus is great for travel
  7. Easy care-- machine wash and dry (always prewash to avoid unwanted surprises.
  8. Is available in a wide range of prints and solids
  9. Easy to sew (use a stretch needle)
  10. Can be worn almost year round depending on your climate.  I've worn tops paired with cardigans during the winter months and been comfortable in my office work environment.
  11. Relatively inexpensive, I have purchased a majority of my ITY knits for around $5.00 a yard.
Okay, so that's 11-- I know I said 10 but I couldn't stop myself.

Here are a few sources from which I've made purchases and been very pleased.

Joann Fabrics Red Tag bin
G-Street Fabrics

I have discovered that this type of knit, especially in a print has been very forgiving when it comes to working out fit issues as I  travel along this journey of learning how best to alter patterns to fit and flatter my figure.  

If you haven't already tried sewing with knits because you have been intimidated and have heard all sorts of horror stories about skipped stitches and misshapen garments I strongly encourage you to try sewing with ITY knits.  There are a number of resources on the web that can help you sew knits successfully but I think you will find that ITY knits are a great knit to sew whether you are a beginning sewer or a pro.

Have you sewn with ITY knits?  Please share your experiences, hints, and/or tips by leaving a comment.

Until next time... sew something you love.