Monday, July 31, 2017

Made by a Fabricista: What to Make with Silk Taffeta



You may have noticed that Fabric Mart has a *HUGE* selection of silk taffeta right now.  A lot of it is either large plaid or large stripes.   I was curious about it, and not really sure what I could make with it, but I just knew it would be gorgeous fabric and had to play around with it.  Turns out, it's actually great for quite a range of projects!  The dress above is my third project.


Let me show you the first two. My first was to make some queen size pillow shams.  They are the plaid ones in the back of the photo.  I also made the two printed ones in the center from another Fabric Mart home dec fabric special! 


I wanted to make the covers removable with a zipper, and include a braided trim.  As luck would have it, I found a whole card of braided trim at an estate sale that worked with my taffeta for just $2!


To start, I used a zipper foot to stitch down the braided trim all around one side of the pillow. Then I serged a piece of lining fabric to the back of each side.  I don't think that you would have to line these, but I'm using down feather pillows, so I thought that the lining might be a barrier to feathers poking out.


For the corners, I trimmed the braided trim and wrapped tape around the ends so that they wouldn't ravel.  Then, I just pushed the edges together at a corner, so that after the pillow was turned, they would be on the inside, like this:


Then, I went back and sewed the zipper face down over the braided trim, as if it would be an invisible zipper.


This is what it looked like before I sewed them together.


And this is the zipper afterwards-you can just barely see it under the trim.


It's hard to capture the sheen on these pillows, but they are really quite beautiful and rich-looking in person! I used 2-1/4 yards of the silk, and I lined them with 2-1/4 yards of drapery lining.  I had about a 12" wide piece of silk left from cutting the pillows, so I decided to make a table runner for our foyer table from it.


On the back side, I used the drapery lining, and did a similar thing with the braided trim.  I think that the braided trim really is a simple way to make things look high end.


I finished it just in time for a bridal shower that we were hosting, and another great coincidence- the letters of their names were painted in the same shade of green!


And now back to the dress!  I wanted to make something to wear from the taffeta for the shower, but didn't want anyone to see the pillows and table runner, and be able to know that it was the same fabric.  So, I took a 2-1/2 yard piece of the taffeta, and dyed it with 2 Tbsp of navy blue fabric dye.  It absorbed the dye so fast, I couldn't believe how much it changed it!  It turned it into kind of a denimy blue with lavender accents.  Here is the before and after side by side:


The texture became a little limper, and slightly less shiny, but I definitely prefer it for less formal clothes.  It's been a million degrees here with unspeakable humidity, so I decided to make a  loose-fitting sleeveless dress that I could wear for the bridal shower.


I found a simple a-line dress pattern with center front and back seams, so that I could cut it on the bias and match the plaid design.


I had a one yard package of lavender beaded trim that I used to accent the pockets and neckline, and used a self bias strip turned to the outside to finish the neck.  Even though it's simple, this was a technically challenging project to get everything to line up just so!


I got a lot of compliments on it at the shower, and one very nice surprise, was that it didn't wrinkle much at all!  These photos were taken after a very long day, setting up and then hosting the shower, and then even a nap afterwards, and there are really no more creases than there were to begin with!  The crinkly texture was there all along.


Sewing with silk taffeta is really easy- it presses well and it doesn't slip around when cutting or sewing like some silks do.  Have you tried sewing with silk taffeta?  If yes, what did you make?


Happy Sewing!
Ann

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Made by a Fabricista: Daddy & Me and Colorful Bibs, Too!

Hello all!  Summer is speeding by, isn't it?  We've sure had a crazy busy one so far.  Today I bring you a trio of garments, two that match and one that's louder than a marching band...

First up, Cheeks and Daddy J's matching tops!


These were made from this wonderfully soft and surprisingly not wrinkle prone (even though it's made of all natural fibers) candy red cotton/rayon/lycra jersey.  The description calls it semi-sheer, but I'd say it's definitely opaque enough for a top!


The pattern is the Jalie Nico raglan tee.  I found the sizing to be pretty on par with ready to wear.  Not surprising, since this has been my general experience with Jalie patterns.  I made a size 3 (G) for Cheeks, which I was afraid would end up too big but is just a bit relaxed instead.  Also, take a look at how Cheeks has grown into his pull on jeans!




When J first saw the pattern, his first question was "can you make it a v-neck instead?" and my response was a negatory.  He's a consummate crew-neck hater because ready to wear basic tees almost always strangle him.  For his 44" chest I made a size 16 (CC), but cut the neckline at the BB line, effectively making it one size larger.  For the neck binding I used size DD. The most gratifying part of these tops was probably hearing him say that the neck was actually comfortable for once.  THE POWER OF SEWING!




Nico comes with short sleeves or long and offers a straight or curved hemline.  I used the straight hem for Cheeks and the curved for J.  The difference is very subtle and I will probably not bother with the curved hem again in the future.  That all said, this is a great men's raglan pattern!



 In addition to these tops, I spotted this bright and cheery cotton/lycra twill on the site and just knew it would be absolutely perfect for little boy shorts, pants, jackets:  all sorts of things!  As you can see, I finally settled on overalls and I see many more of these in Cheeks' future.


I had originally planned to make J matching shorts or myself matching shortalls (or both!) but ran out of time because of...real estate.  We sold our house and are moving into a new one this very weekend!  Packing sure puts a damper on sewing time, doesn't it?


There also happens to be another very special event happening this weekend...




...Cheeks is turning TWO!  Happy Birthday to my sweet boy!  <3

My sweet boy who is starting to feel like this about the Mamarazzi...


But, back to overalls, or shortalls, as it were.  :)  This fabric is really great because it has just a touch of stretch.  It's great comfort-wise for all people, but especially for the running, squatting, reaching and stretching of toddlers.



The thing that's not so great is matching the stripes with so many pattern pieces!  Oops.  My first approach was to cut pieces purposely off kilter, such as the pockets, but I quickly became painfully aware that I was going to need to stripe match in certain areas or it was going to look pretty bad.  I didn't realize this until after I cut the front, and I miscalculated a bit for the back, but I think they turned out alright anyway.



On that note, a few close ups!  I used a triple stitch for all of the topstitching, which worked well everywhere but the curved part of the faux fly, which turned out a bit feathery in appearance.






This pattern is the Peek-A-Boo Patterns Okey Dokey Overalls (aff link). I had this pattern traced off in a 3T back in February, but didn't get around to sewing them until now.  Such is my sewing life!



Overall, I was pretty happy with the pattern; the end result is CUTE and I will use it again.  The only thing that was a little odd was the front pocket facing; it didn't seem to be drafted long enough as it didn't reach the top edge of the pocket per the photo instructions.  I also had a tough time figuring out how to navigate the outseam between where the facing is turned to the inside and the rest of the pant leg.


And then there was hardware...

A snap crotch is a definite must for those little ones still in diapers.  After I had Cheeks I used a manual snap setter for a while, and though it worked fairly well, I always felt like there was still a bit more frustration and room for error than I'd like.


When he was a few months old, I took the plunge and made the investment in a DK93 table press from KAMsnaps.com.  The ease of use is night and day:  inserting snaps with my press is effortless and always accurate.  For his shortalls, I used size 16 silver open-ring metal snaps (die used to insert these snaps here). I considered also using snaps for the hip closures, but thought they may not be beefy enough and instead went with more traditional bachelor buttons, also known as jean buttons.



Have you ever used bachelor buttons?  Because this was my first try and golly, none of them are straight.  I'm a bit afraid they'll pop off at any moment with my lackluster application.  Do you know any tricks to getting them hammered on nice and straight?


This was also my first time using these self-adjusting Dritz overall buckles.  I'm not sure I really like the "pull it through and let the ends hang" idea.  I may do some online hunting for a more traditional overall buckle and slide combination for next time.  Suggestions for where to look would be appreciated!


And there they are!  Two shirts and a fabulous pair of shortalls.


Thanks for reading!  Until our next sewing adventure...

Jess

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Made By A Fabricista: Everything Can't Be a Winner


Hi All-

I hope you are well.  For this month's post, I decided to make something out of linen.  When I saw this shade of green linen online, I thought it would be a perfect choice for the summer. I must admit that I wasn't 100% confident with my choice of fabric, because I was super concerned about the wrinkle factor and how my ultimate garment would look.  I wanted to do a really classic button down dress and thought McCall's M7623, View A would accomplish the look I had in mind.


Prior to cutting my fabric, I read an article on Craftsy related to how to pre-treat your fabric. For linen, it said to wash the fabric and finished garment in hot water and dry it in a hot dryer.  It said that it would soften the garment up.  After washing the fabric, I did notice that it softened up a lot and completely lost the stiff feeling.  I have a habit of emptying out the lint trap in my dryer very often and had done so prior to placing my fabric in.  After the fabric was dry, I was super surprised at the amount of lint that accumulated in the lint trap afterwards.  However, I did not find this fabric linty to work with at all.


So let's talk about the pattern.  Usually, I look beyond the pattern cover and look at the potential for what the pattern could be.  Besides the sleeves on the pattern, I really thought M7623 would accomplish the classic button down dress I was going for, something similar to dresses my mom wore back in the day.  Unfortunately, this combo of pattern, fabric mixes, and fit missed the mark completely.  Instead I feel that I achieved more of an old school airline stewardess look, LOL.


I modified the sleeves to create more of a puff sleeve, by cutting the short sleeve pattern piece in the largest size and gathering it around the cap and lower half of the sleeve.  I used the cuff for the long sleeve and copied the split from the long sleeve pattern piece onto the shorter sleeve.  I considered using grommets and faux leather strips to lace up the side of the sleeve, but since I saw the dress going in the wrong direction I made buttonholes instead of investing the time in installing the grommets.  I laced the faux leather strip along the buttonholes.


I made the waistband with faux leather and used black 3/4 inch buttons to add contrast.

Since there was not more I could do to improve my dress, I decided not to take it any further and left off the collar.


I know that linen is a great fabric to wear in the summer, but I felt extremely stressed out by the wrinkles, like seriously!  I do not even buy ready-to-wear 100% linen clothing, linen blends yes, especially linen blend tee shirts from Gap (a little less wrinkling).  However, I really wanted to see what it was like to sew with 100% linen.  I don't have a steamer, but I found starch to be my friend when pressing this fabric.  I also learned that you have to be very mindful of the fraying factor with linen.  As a matter of fact, I serged the cut edges of the fabric, before I placed it into the washing machine.

So everything is not always going to be a winner, and this look was not.  In retrospect, I would have selected a completely different pattern, something more casual to use this fabric for, however, that is what sewing is about trial and error.  Nevertheless, I will still proudly wear my dress to work!

Yours Truly,
Tee

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Made by A Fabricista: Sewing Up Leftovers!

HI Fashionistas!

This month I sewed up something with leftover fabric that has been sitting in my stash for two years! Fabric Mart was gracious enough to send me some extra fabric a few years ago!

I used Simplicity 8383 to sew up this gorgeous tent dress.



I cut view A in a size 6 and it was just right. Although the pattern calls for a softer knit, I chose a scuba knit. Even though it's not as drapey, it falls beautifully.



Another reason I love a scuba knit, it doesn't need any finishing on the hem. 


Here is the back view. The dress pattern was shorter. I lengthened the hem by a few inches. 


Love the cut outs. This is officially my 1st cold shoulder make. I replaced the neck binding with a triple cover stitch. 






That's all for my DIY dress! Next, I am working on a seersucker top. It's going to be a hot summer here, so I can't wait to slip into my next creation!

Oh! Before I go, I wanted to share with you the original dresses I made with this fabric. You can see them below and here.


I hope you are all well and enjoying the summer. See you soon!

XOXO