Designers: October 2011 Archives
I love Weekend Sewing by Heather Ross because the projects look like a lot of fun, the pictures are gorgeous and the idea of projects whipped up over the weekend is great for busy sewers. However, I have learned to take this book with a grain of salt and always make a muslin. I have discovered from my previous projects that many of the projects in this book are ill-fitting and poorly graded. If you will remember the Flower Girl dress made with Liberty Art fabric. It was gorgeous but not sized correctly. After I made the size 2 and it didn't fit, I checked the gradations for the bigger sizes and they were too small as well. Then there was the Kimono dress from Dupioni Silk which called for the wrong drape of fabric and the overlap of the dress was all wrong. Now I have gone for the Guest Slipper because they are a great gift idea and should be very easy to make for friends and family. Umm, wrong again. These slippers are great gifts ideas and easy to make up... with my modifications! If you make them according to the book (which I did first) they will be:
Heel before modification
Heel after modification
1) Too small
2) The heel is too low and slips off
3) No fun because the sole is too thick and then you have to hand sew it on
Bah Humbug! To make these slippers fun and fitting, follow these steps:
First, I used some super soft flannel for the exterior to keep tootsies warm in the cold months. Second, I added ¾ in. to the length of the upper and 1 whole inch to the height of the back of the upper (see photos).
I did not modify the sole pattern piece at all. I only cut out 1 sole for the lining and 1 for the exterior, out of Micro Suede, and I interfaced the lining sole with fusible fleece for comfort. Next I assembled my slipper in 2 different ways, and you can decide for yourself which you prefer. For my muslin, I stitched the uppers together at the heel as per the pattern but then I stitched the uppers to the soles for both the lining and the exterior. I added the elastic to the seam allowance of the exterior and the loop to the lining. Then I stitched the exterior to the lining leaving a gap for turning. Turned and pressed the slipper open and topstitched around the edge. Since this was my muslin I didn't add the rick rack because I wanted to see how my assembly and the fit worked out first.
My second mode of assembly is faster but leaves the seam allowance visible inside the slipper but the edges can be pinked, serged or zigzagged for a more professional finish. This second method is more similar to the pattern as well. I stitched the uppers together at the heel and then stitch the lining and exterior uppers together and added the elastic. I then basted the exterior sole to the lining sole, wrong sides facing. With the slipper turned inside out I stitched the upper to the sole with the exterior sole face up and the upper lining side facing out. Then I trimmed the seam and turned the slipper right side out.
The first method eliminates a seam showing but makes it more difficult to add rick rack, elastic and loop but leaves a very nice finish. The second method just changes the end of assembly but there is no need to top stitch and who looks inside a slipper anyway.
All in all this is a good book with many good projects, the slipper among them. Just be sure you make a muslin and be prepared to modify. I recommend both the flannel and micro suede as they are great additions to this project. The micro suede inhibits slipping and looks good. The flannel is just right for hardwood floors on cold mornings.
One of my favorite things to do when Fall comes around is figure out how to still wear my favorite warm weather pieces through the end of the year. The same goes for my daughter. I love seeing her summer dresses peeking out from under sweaters or jackets. But what about my favorite summer patterns, should I be forced to stop sewing the patterns I love because the temperature drops a little. Umm...Nope, I just figure out a way to transition my best patterns to fit the season. One of my all time patterns is the Oliver+S Class Picnic. I love the style but it is clearly a spring/summer pattern. I didn't have time to make it in the summer so I am modifying it for fall/winter. I am approaching this from 2 directions: pattern modification and fabric choice.
Fabric choice: obviously for a cooler weather garment I am not going to use plain cotton but instead am going with a flannel (Urban Flannel Dots). This will really amp up the warmth of the shirt plus give it some extra softness that is needed when it is cold outside. You can also use some wool flannel, double knit, corduroy or velvet (something stable).
Pattern Modification: Now with ¾ sleeves, flannel alone is not going to be enough for fall and winter so we need to bring the sleeve down. I did this not by lengthening the sleeves but by adding a contrasting sleeve cap. To do this, I placed the sleeve pattern piece on some freezer paper and drew the sleeve longer by 4 in. on the freezer paper following the shape of the sleeve pattern piece. Then I removed the sleeve pattern piece and added the seam allowance to the top of my sleeve cap piece. Cut out your sleeve cap piece and then cut 2 from contrasting fabric (I used Urban Flannel Floral Diamond). When it is time to join your sleeves to your shirt, stitch your sleeve cap piece to the sleeves and then press the seams towards the sleeves and topstitch. Be sure and measure your child or an existing shirt to make sure you make your sleeve cap long enough and add in a hem allowance.
I love the way this shirt is easy to put on my wiggly toddler and gives her plenty of wiggle room. She loves wearing it and the style is cute and modern. The pattern was really easy to assemble without too many pieces. I definitely recommend using the whole 5 in. elastic pieces Liesl recommends. If you try to cut your elastic to size first to save elastic, you will have a tough time. By using the longer 5 in. piece it is easy to thread the casing and then to pull the elastic to size and stitch in place. You might waste some elastic but you will save time and frustration. This pattern is great for modifying. You can make it longer for a dress, make the yoke with contrasting fabric, and make the sleeves super short for really hot days. This is a wardrobe builder that is fun and fast. I recommend it to parents and grandparents alike!