Reviews: November 2011 Archives
I HATE gathering. It just seems so tedious: sewing 2 lines down the edge of a really long piece of fabric and then carefully pulling the bobbin threads until it is just so and then carefully arranging the gathers and THEN sewing it onto the fabric. Something always goes wrong and I have to rip or I get frustrated. I wish there was an app for that or at a tool. Oh, wait there is- A gathering foot. This handy foot does all the work for you. All you do it load it on your machine and then sew one line of stitching. You can either use it just to gather and then join pieces or you can gather and join at the same time. I recently used it on my HotPatterns Cabriolet Skirt but I have used it many times in the past, most notably on my daughter's Halloween Costume last year: Little Red Riding Hood.
I prefer to use this foot to gather first and then join because I have found it difficult to control both pieces of fabric. The gathering goes so smooth and fast but once you get two pieces going at once at different speeds, I get flustered. I am more confident since I have studied this video by Bonetge (which gives some great ideas on gathers) but I need to practice more. It is just so easy and still cuts a lot of time to just gather and then join separately that I am not sure if I really will practice.
To use the gathering foot I like to set up my machine as though I were going to do gathers the old fashioned way: tension as high as it will go (9) and a long basting stitch. If you want less gathers you can adjust by lowering your tension and shortening your stitch length on a practice piece of fabric. Then line up your fabric edge with the edge of the gathering foot -this will give a ½ in. seam allowance--and start slow working up to a comfortable speed. What I love most it that these gathers stay put better than those formed by pulling thread and so need less supervision when joining. When joining, place right sides together and the gathered piece on top to make sure no gathers get tucked up in the seam.
When I first saw Martha Stewart Crafts for Lion Brand's MamboYarn, I was speechless for a few sec. I mean it is a lot to take in. I had never seen a yarn like this and I had to get my hands on it to check it out. Don't get me wrong this is a weird yarn but in a good way. It is weird in a way that reminds you of the first time you went outside your comfort zone (Thai food for me) and then were floored that you hadn't done this sooner. This is weird yarn but it is cool. It is also a bit tricky to work with for a number of reasons. First among them being you need some BIG needles to knit this up. I mean big, size 19 needles. Second, the white threads that encase the wooly goodness inside can sometimes get caught on your needle and snag. Third, it is hard to hold a good tension with this yarn because it is so mammothly big (practice will help this). But OH the results! It looks so edgy, so trendy that you can't believe that you just knit this up. Surely you just purchased this from a downtown boutique and will be hiding the receipt from your loved one in order not to divulge the enormous sum of money spent on this knitted goody. But no, even though each skein possesses 5 yds, those are 5 yds to be coveted and used wisely. You can make a super comfy and cuddly pillow, an uber cozy and stunning cowl or a knitted bracelet or necklace. You don't want to venture into anything that needs more drape than those listed above. Even a hat would be too stiff from the bulky of this yarn. However another bonus of the unique nature of this yarn...you don't need fancy stitches. Just stockingette or garter will be amazing and it will (of course) knit up fast!
I love a good juxtaposition of fashion, namely mixing men's suiting with a feminine silhouette. You will probably not find me in such a richly ruffled piece of clothing unless you can tone it down with some smooth, dark and simply decorated men's suiting. The combo is my cup of tea. I was looking for the perfect project to branch out our men's suiting and the overtly feminine design of the HotPatterns Cabriolet Dress/skirt was perfect. There are 2 layers of gathered ruffles that flow and drape to accentuate a woman's body coupled with a long tie to cinch in the waist and create a dramatic bow. If this design doesn't say "Woman" nothing does. The wool suiting I selected is dark blue with a simple and stark window pane detail in gold. That is it. It is rich and lightweight but dark and simple. The perfect fabric for a man's garment. The two together make for a striking combination that can be worn to a number of occasions. Paired with a fitted white button down shirt and red pumps makes a dramatic outfit for a work Christmas party. Worn as a dress with leggings and knee high riding boots and a fitted blazer can be fabulous outfit for Christmas shopping or an outdoor fall party. Or you can wear it as a dress throw on a shrug and a pair of bold heels for date night or girls night out!
I love this version and can't wait to wear it out. I might not be able to wait and will probably be seen sporting it at the grocery store and maybe down to the park. Nap time tomorrow might be spent finding new outfit combinations to post on Facebook!
Some tips on the pattern:
1) Either cut a second tie as a lining or serge or zig zag all your pieces before assembly. You can also opt for a decadent bias tape like dupioni silk.
2) Try using a second fabric for your tie to create interest or a color block effect.
3) You can plan and add a long button hole to slide your tie through if you want since it is not in the instructions.