Completed: Machine Repair Class

Whew, the past few days have been exhausting.  A couple months ago, I mentioned that I’d picked up an old sewing machine and was going to take a repair class.  Well, last week, the time finally came, I packed up my machine and flew to Portland for the class.

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Waiting for the plane. Security will give you a funny look when you travel with a sewing machine in your carry on.

It was a very intense three days.  I’m not very mechanical by nature, so I really had to pay attention.  The class was taught by Ray White, who is truly an expert when it comes to machine repair.  He’s also a great teacher.   I had so many lightbulb moments, and I feel like I actually understand how a sewing machine works now.  I’m also not afraid to open one up and poke around inside.

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Since I had flown in for the class I was only able to take one machine with me.  So on the last day of class, when we were set loose to practice what we’d learned, one of my fellow students lent me this old Singer to work on.

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It was pretty dirty inside when I started.

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But it cleaned up nicely, and it works!  This machine actually belongs to a charity thrift shop, so it will go back there, and hopefully now can bring in a little higher price than before.

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It’s hard to boil what I learned down to a few tips, but one thing I learned was the importance of a new needle.  You would be amazed — seriously amazed — at how important this one little thing can be.  So, before your next project, go put a new needle in your machine, it will thank you for it!

Tribute August: McCall 2401

For Tribute August, I wanted to create a dress inspired by one of my favorite bloggers, Carolyn from Diary of a Sewing Fanatic.  I love the beautiful garments she creates for herself, and in particular her lovely, work appropriate sheath dresses. A sheath dress has been on my sewing list for a long time.  So I finally made one.
LWD

The pattern I used is McCall 2401.

McCall 2401

The pattern envelope is pretty uninspiring, but I think this pattern is really versatile and will work with a lot of different fabrics.  (Hopefully one day this will become a TNT.)

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Although I made a muslin, I still have some fit issues with the shoulder/sleeve area to work out for next time.  There’s a wrinkle of extra fabric running from the shoulder to the bust.  (I did a narrow shoulder adjustment, but I don’t think it was big enough.)

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And the sleeves wrinkle at the back.  I think I just need to rotate the sleeve in the armhole to fix this.
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For this dress, I’ll just toss on a cardigan, and ignore the problems.  :)
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The fabric is a linen/rayon blend I got from The Fabric Store in LA.  It doesn’t come through in the pics very well, but the fabric has a slight sheen to it that is really pretty.
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LWD

I underlined the entire dress with light cotton.  I was hoping this would help with the wrinkle factor.  I think silk organza would have been a better choice, but I find organza terribly itchy.  So I went with the cotton.  The dress is very comfortable, even if the hem is annoyingly wrinkly.

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Here’s a few flat/inside shots.

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Hand picked lapped zipper.

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Facings finished with Bemberg bias strips.

This dress will also be my last official summer garment.  Even though the weather is still warm here, I’m ready for fall and fall sewing!
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Completed: The Bird Dress (Simplicity 2444)

My last dress might not have turned out so well, but I’ve forgotten all about that because I love this one!  Seriously love it.  It may be one of my favorite things I’ve made.

Bird Dress

I think what makes this dress is the fabric.  It’s 100% cotton and I purchased it at The Fabric Store during the LA Sewist meetup.

Bird dress

To be honest, when I picked it out I didn’t even notice that it it had birds on it!  I thought it was just a neat geometric print.  Once I realized it was birds though, I liked it even more!

Bird dress

It’s not obvious from the pictures, but in addition to the birds, the fabric has a really cool rippled texture.  It’s like 3D fabric.  Some spots are thick and others very thin, to the point where it’s a little sheer.

Bird dress

After a lot of deliberation, I decided to pair the fabric with Simplicity 2444.  I thought the full skirt would really let the birds shine.

Bird dress

I’ve sewn this pattern before.  Even so, I had to re-muslin the bodice because my last fabric was a stretch cotton, and I knew I’d need more ease for this stable bird fabric.  I’m glad I took the time to do it, now I’ll be ready to sew S2444 in any fabric.

Bird dress
Bird dress

One thing I changed this time was to cut the front skirt on the fold, rather than have a seam down the front.  I like this so much better.  The skirt also hangs nicer and flows better when I walk.  Oh, and it’s got pockets!

Bird dress

I didn’t try to match the pattern across the back, but it turned out pretty good!  Happy accident, there.  :)

Bird dress

Here’s the dress flat:

Bird Dress Details

I hand-picked the lapped zipper.

Bird Dress Details

Onto the inside.  I underlined the bodice with a light cotton, and left the skirt unlined.

Bird Dress Details
Bird Dress Details

The armholes are finished with bias strips cut from bemberg rayon.  It’s kind of a pain to make bias tape with this stuff, but I love that it doesn’t add any bulk.

Bird Dress Details

I also used the bemberg bias strips to finish the edge of my facings, and on the hem.

Bird Dress Details
Bird Dress Details

I didn’t have a matching blue belt so I paired it with mint green and a blue sweater to wear to work yesterday.  Next time I might try red accessories.

Bird dress

It feels great to have a sewing win after my last disappointment.   And really, how can I not be happy when I’ve got a flock of birds cascading down my dress?

Bird dress
Next up, I’ve got something in store for Tribute Month. . . .

 

Completed: Polka Dot Emery Dress Hack

I had an idea for an Emery Dress hack floating around my head.  I was also feeling the need for a new polka dot dress.  This is what I ended up with.  Unfortunately, this turned out to be one of those projects where the fabric was not a good match for the pattern.

polka dot Emery hack

Wrinkle and pucker city, ugh.

The fabric is a polka dot cotton shirting that I got at Mood L.A. over a year ago.  I bought it with the intention to make a shirt.  I should have done that.  This fabric just does not have the drape necessary for this dress.

polka dot Emery hack
polka dot Emery hack

I started with the Emery bodice, and redrew the neckline to match the one from the vintage pattern on the right.  Then I added the skirt (view A) from Butterick 5951.

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polka dot Emery hack

I lined the bodice with bemberg rayon, as usual.

polka dot Emery hack
polka dot Emery hack

A couple bright spots are the catch stitching on the hem, it turned out really even. :)

polka dot Emery hack

And the armhole finish turned out nice.

polka dot Emery hack

I kind of knew this fabric wasn’t going to work, but I went ahead with it anyways.  Oh well.  I may revisit this hack again with a different fabric.  But not right away.  For now I’ll consider this my ‘live and learn, and move on’ dress.

polka dot Emery hack

Completed: OAL Dress and Cardigan!

I’ve knitted a lot of things and sewn a lot of things, but it wasn’t until the AOL (Outfit Along) that I did both at the same time with the intention of making a coordinating outfit. Why I’ve never done this before, I don’t know. Probably because knitting takes me so much longer than sewing.  But I’m so glad Lauren and Andi had this idea, it’s been a fun project.

OAL 2014

First, let’s talk about the dress.  I used the “official” OAL pattern, which is Simplicity 1803.  I sewed view B.  I had a little trouble with the fit on the bodice of this dress.  I made a muslin, but when I tried on the dress in my fashion fabric it turned out too big.  Unfortunately I had already finished the armholes at that point, so I had to do a bit of unpicking before I could take in the side seams.  It all worked out, but it was frustrating.

OAL 2014

If I’m being honest, I don’t really like the bodice of this dress.  I don’t like the seam that runs down the center front, and I’m not a huge fan of the shape of the neckline on me.  But I do like the skirt.  It’s gathered, without being too gathered.

OAL 2014

The fabric is rayon challis (I know, I sew with this a lot – it’s my favorite summer fabric).  I underlined the bodice with cotton lawn, but didn’t line the skirt.  Because the fabric is a little sheer, I made a white half slip out of Bemberg rayon (not pictured).

OAL 2014

Here’s few flat shots.  You can’t see the front seam because the fabric is so busy, but it’s there.

OAL Dress

The invisible zipper blends into this print really well too.
OAL Dress

Inside front:
OAL Dress

Inside back.
OAL Dress
OAL Dress

I finished the armholes with bias tape made from a scrap of Bemberg.
OAL Dress

Next, there’s the cardigan.  This is the Myrna pattern by Andi Satterlund.  I enjoyed knitting this, and found the pattern was easy to follow.  I knitted the size small, without any modifications.

OAL 2014

The sleeves turned out a smidge too tight around my biceps, I’ll just blame that on the pull-up bar we built in the garage.   ;)
OAL 2014

If I knit this pattern again, I think I’d leave out the keyhole.  It’s cute, but close up mine looks sloppier than I’d like.
OAL 2014

The yarn I used is Malabrigo worsted, and the color is Ravelry Red.  This was my first time using this yarn, and it was a delight to knit with.
OAL 2014
OAL 2014

I’m a little bummed about the buttonband.  There was a portion of the yarn that was much lighter than the rest, and it ended up right along the edge of the top buttonband.  I may go back and reknit it.  It won’t take that long, but buttonbands are the least enjoyable part of knitting for me.  That, and weaving in ends.

Myrna
Myrna

Anyway, despite my pointing out a couple of insignificant flaws, I really do like this outfit!  It was fun to make both pieces, and I think I will try to coordinate my knitting with my sewing more often in the future.
OAL 2014