Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Shirring on knit fabric

For too long, I have been afraid of shirring.  So, of course, when I decide to actually try it, I decide to use cotton knit fabric. Jersey knit from Chez Ami, to be exact.  I don't know if shirring on knits is easier or harder than wovens, but what they hey.  Here I go.

So, first, I read Pink Fig's blog post on shirring . So many of her patterns involve shirring.  This very basic blog gave lots of great tips.  This is very helpful and my first few rows go great.  Wahoo!

However, later, I realize I need to add a row later and it wouldn't work!  Why, oh why? Why didn't it work?  Ack!  Bonk!  [that is the sound my mouth made, followed by the sound of my head hitting the desk]

So, what to do? Well, of course, I google everything I can on shirring and find some wonderful tutorials:

1. A great video! Gotta love a video!  Us crafty -types are visual learners, aren't we? So, here it is for you to click here. This was very helpful!!

2. Then, blog post from Pretty Ditty (great blog name!)  This one took it to another level and gave even more tips!

But, still, no go.  Sewing is happening, but it is not looking like the blog posts! What to do, what to do?  Well, if you run a sewing page on Facebook with over 500 members, you can ask there and get even more tips!  [do you belong?  Why not?  Join Handmade Dress Haven!  So, the sewing ladies on Facebook had even more tips, most importantly, if you get to the end of the bobbin, it might loosen up.  You might want to rewind!  That was a great tip.  Also, look at the bobbin cover for my Janome 5200:

Do you see the diagram? Notice where the thread is supposed to go. The stretchy elastic might not remain there during shirring.  This is a problem you can fix!

Also, I got several tips about how to thread the bobbin. Handwind it so it is not wound too tightly.  Or, use your machine to wind it so it is wound evenly, but not too tightly.  If it is not wound evenly, it can create tension problems. I decide to use my machine and give it a try. I press on the pedal slowly so it winds but not too quickly.  I hold the elastic between the spool and the bobbin so I can control how tightly it winds. I am not sure if this is a good idea, but it works! I achieve shirring enough to finish my garment!

This is Cecile, she is made using an Ottobre Pattern, from summer 2009 (3/2009).  She is made from Chez Ami jersey knit.  She is not complete.  I decided, at the last minute, to try fold over elastic. Now that I know how to shir, it is time to try something else new!  So, her neckline is incomplete.  But, she is pretty darn cute, regardless.  I will post anew when the FOE arrives!  Wahoo!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Oh baby, I love you

I am doing a little top secret baby sewing right now, from Ottobre patterns.  Ottobre makes the sweetest baby patterns in the world!  Love love love!   I wish I could share, but I can't reveal it yet to the mama. 

But I can share how much I love my new sewing machine! So worth every penny I spent on her!  (yes, she is a female machine)

ere she is, in all her glory.  She doesn't really come with hearts on her.  She is the Janome Memorycraft 5200 and she is awesome!  I used to have a very old, very basic Singer, so having 201 utility and decorative stitches is a real experience!  She is calm and quiet and hums along nicely.  She does what she is told, perfectly every time.  She feels solid and well-made because she is solid and well-made!  I love her!!!!

I also have a Janome serger, a 1110DX, so I was already familiar with the brand. Made in Japan, these babies are work horses for the home sewist.   They are meant to last and meant to do everything from fine silk to denim and more.  Next time you are in the market for a new machine, check out your local Janome dealer!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Testing a new pattern!

One of the things I enjoy about my sewing adventures is getting to test new patterns. This one is from the lovely Jen, at Tie Dye Diva.  She gave me the go-ahead to tell you about because it is now for sale!  It is called The Butterfly Dress!   It is a flutter-sleeve dress with ruffle hem and comes in size 2 to 8.  I simply love this pattern! As with all her patterns, the directions are simple to follow and read, the pattern pieces printed correctly and were easy to understand, and it all went together brilliantly!   And look how well it turned out! It fits perfectly!  It didn't need any alterations and was not too wide.   What could be better!!

 It has a lovely ruffle in the front. 
Here is four year old in the dress. 
She picked out the fabrics, with some assistance from me. 
 Back has nice buttons.
 See, fits perfectly!
  Doesn't bind or gape anywhere.  Great pattern!!

Now, go buy it!!!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Sewing for fun

This week, I got back into the swing of sewing for fun.  One thing I got to do this week is test out a new pattern. I cannot tell you anymore, but here is a sneak peak:

As soon as I can, I will share the full picture and details!  But, this was a fun pattern to sew.

In other news, Jennifer Paganelli's Crazy Love has begun to hit the shops!  By this evening, it was already almost sold out at several shops but I managed to find some of what I want at Marie Madeline Studio.  These colors are so vibrant and fun!  I can't wait to sew with them.

On the sewing horizon, I am looking in my collection of Ottobre magazines for darling baby girl clothing for a friend.  Of course, it goes without saying that I will mining my Sarah Jane Children at play stash.  Here's a top idea.  Isn't it darling!

It feels good to be back in the sewing swing of things.  The whole family is sick so it makes it easy to sew while the kids watch movies or craft or play.  For now, my neck pain is ok. I am just not committing to anything. That way, I don't have to make any deadlines.

Friday, February 10, 2012

A pretty mermae

I am hobbled, a bit, from too much sewing due to a herniated disc in my neck, which is causing some mild nerve pain in my left arm. Luckily, I am left handed, so I am able to do a bit of sewing. It is just not good for my neck to do too much.  But this little project was perfect.  This is the mermae doll pattern from Bit of Whimsy Dolls.   My 8 year old daughter is an accomplished artist for her age and she decided to design how she wanted her mermaid doll to look.  We took the design to Joann's and found all the appropriate fabrics and thread colors.  This little pattern comes as a pdf and is very easy to follow.  The pattern even has a link to a video showing you how to embroider the face.  As I am not an accomplished embroiderer, this was very helpful.  So, here she is!   We made a few slight adjustments to her hair and her tail width, so she fit the picture my daughter drew.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Creativity and Hope Cove. New Robyn Pandolph for RJR

I love Robyn Pandolph's fabrics. Sometimes, they are fun. Sometimes, they are sweet.  This new RJR Fabric collection, Hope Cove, is very sweet and feminine.  It reminds me a lot of an older line of Robyn's, Flirt.  This particular line has really spurred on my creativity tonite. You see, my whole family goes to bed by 8pm and I am the lone night owl, along with the cats.  Even the dog goes to sleep by 8pm!  Since my sewing would disturb my sleeping husband, I use the nighttime to catch up on television online (no cable here) and I let my creative juices go wild.  I do not have photoshop so what I like to do is use tape and paper and glue and make paper doll dresses!  I have always enjoyed this.  

Here is an example of what I might do with this Hope Cove line, if I get any.  I am picturing a flutter-sleeved, twirly, three-tier dress with covered buttons down the front and an elastic waist.  
Hey, it is in my imagination, so I can do anything I want!

So, what else do I do at night.  Well, I have a very large computer screen, which I love, love, love, love!   Lookie what I can do!  I can watch Hulu on one side of the screen and surf Facebook on the other! What a dork am I!  Right now, I am watching a preview of Smash and blogging. 

The cats are ignoring me so my amigurumi collection is my only companionship.  They sit on the scanner/printer, next to the computer.  They make me happy.  They are from All About Kendra, on Etsy.  I love Etsy!!  Aren't they cute? My girls don't like them so they became mine.

So, now I am thinking about this cute peasant top pattern in the new Ottobre,  and how cute it would be do make one out of Hope Cove!  Off to print some more......

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Back to work

I've been gone a while, did you miss me? I was so excited about my new Janome sewing machine, I thought for sure I would be sewing a lot all through January. But, then, one morning I woke up with spasm in my shoulder blade area and it took a few weeks of increasing pain and additional symptoms to finally get my doctor to send me in for an MRI.  I found out I have arthritis and bone spurs, but both normal for my middle age, and one moderate to severe herniated (bulging) disc in my neck.  In case  you didn't know, you have little pillows (discs) between each vertebrae in your spine.  With age, the distance between two vertebrae diminishes.  Add an injury or a period if inactivity or bad posture and the disc has nowhere to go but out.  And then it pushes on nerves and the places muscles attach, and VOILA,  you get pain.   This was depressing new!

But, I am happy to report, that with physical therapy, the right medications, and exercises, things are getting better!  I am feeling so optimistic, I decided to redo my blog and re-analyze my sewing, for business and hobby.

So, expect some changes in the next few weeks.  For now, enjoy the blog design.  It is not complete. I am enjoying the exploration around blogger.  The possibilities are endless but blogger doesn't really hand it all to you on a silver platter.