Sewing: July 2011 Archives
If you read Friday's blog post you will know that today's project was inspired by a product spread in a popular magazine. The inspiration tunic costs $124 retail and is in the Ombre style. The shape of the shirt is nothing that sensational; it's a cool shirt and all but the Ombre is what makes it GOREGOUS! Ombre is a dye technique and comes from the French word meaning: Shaded. Ombre dye technique creates a graduated effect from light to dark or from one shade to another. The inspiration tunic shifts from dark blue to light. My tunic shifts from yellow to the natural linen of the original fabric. And it was so easy to do. I started with Hanky Weight Linen in Natural and Amy Butler's Anna Tunic (Tunic Length). Once the tunic was complete and before sewing on the buttons, I set up my Ombre dye. Working outside, I put down a clean drop cloth. Next, I took my jar of Jacquard Dye-na-flo fabric dye in Sun Yellow and poured it into a clean spray bottle. Having soaked my tunic in warm water until it was wet through, I then gentle squeezed out water until it was just damp (the dye is absorbed better by wet fabric). I laid my tunic down on the drop cloth and pulled all the wrinkles out and made sure it was nice and flat. Then I started spraying my tunic starting along the bottom and slowly working up, concentrating most of the dye at the bottom and less as I went up. The spray really helps you control the dye application and also creates an Ombre effect if you widen your spray area. Once I had the front covered nicely, I carefully flipped the tunic and repeated on the back. Be careful if you have dye on your fingers where you placed them when flipping your tunic. Repeat the same with the belt, just applying dye at the ends to match your tunic when tied.
DO NOT RINSE YOUR TUNIC. Allow your dye to dry completely. This is not like RIT where you let the dye sit for 30 min and then you rinse off. You must let your tunic dry completely. Then, turn your tunic inside out and with a hot iron (set to your fabric setting) press the inside of your tunic to set the paint on the other side. To set the belt, place a thin piece of cotton between the belt and your iron. Sew on your buttons and DONE! Doesn't it look Chic? I must say I feel great in my Tunic, edgy but classic at the same time. Try this dye technique with other natural fibers. You can even use it on cotton prints to give a neat peak-a-boo effect.
The Total Cost of my tunic was $ 43.93 not including tax (which varies) and includes 2 yds of Hanky weight Linen, one jar of Dye-na-Flo, and Amy Butler's Anna Tunic. You could make a similar Ombre tunic using your own pattern collection and your costs goes down to $27.95. Less than $30! That is a value of $100 from the cost of the inspiration top to your custom fit, custom colored to your exact liking, one of a kind Ombre Tunic. Guess which I would choose!
Last month I was enjoying a nice day at my parents' house. You know those rare days where the grandparents want nothing more than to take your child away so they can spoil her and you get to kick your feet up and relax without someone asking you questions so fast you are answering one asked 3 min before. Well, it was one of those days and I was reading Coastal Living, just a few pages in when I came across a product spread. As I sighed dreamily, thinking "Wow, I really like that $165 bikini and that $300 summer dress, but that will never happen," it occurred to me that I could or had already made these items. Well, not exactly like them but close enough that with some detail changes and fabric choices these coveted items could be in my closet and all the $ would still be in my bank account or spent at the toy store (I am a sucker). So I set about searching for fabric and details that would make my dreams come true.
Leather Detail Bikini: You guys have already seen my Kwik Sew bikini. Well, all we need to make it match our expensive bikini are some strips of leather or vinyl and some instructions for braiding leather. You can modify the bikini pattern by omitting the top straps, widening them and attaching the braided leather then the wider straps. You can modify the bottoms by adding the braided leather as a detail on the waist band. I love this so much better than the tiny leather detail and feel more confident of the bathing suit staying place.
Long, Ruffle Strapless Dress: This is the same as my modified project for Earth Day from Sewing Green by Betz White but with added length and floral fabric. We can get the same look by adding 20 in. to the length and using Liberty of London Poplin or Lawn. The colors and floral patterns used by Liberty of London perfectly mimic this look.
Blue & White Market Tote: This is a very simple bag to sew up because the seams are on the outside (use French Seams to give it a neat look) and so are the gussets. I recommend two 12 x 15 in. rectangles cut from Anna Maria Horner's Innocent Crush and then add some of our Leather Bag handles in dark brown for the perfect duplicate.
Ombre Tunic: Stay tuned on Monday for my blog post on doing your own Ombre Tunic. I made a linen tunic and using some Jacquard Dye-na-flo Fabric dye, I added a super easy and super chic Ombre effect to my tunic. It is too die for (no pun intended).
I have long been a fan of Chenille, so when I came across out Chenille-It Blooming Bias Tape, I got excited. It looked like a lot of fun. When it arrived I was even more excited, then I looked around and realized I had no idea what to put it on. I didn't have any quilt tops, yet, to add it to. I didn't have any pillows I could use the Chenille-It Tape to couch with.But wait! I had a jacket I purchased at a thrift store last year that just needed something. The Chenille-It Tape would be perfect. The jacket is a camo green in a military style, single breasted button up with lapels. I decided to embellish the button bands and lapels with the Chenille-It. It was so simple too! I used my walking foot and centered a medium length stitch with a size 14 sharp needle and stitched down the center of my Chenille-It Tape which was even with the edge of the jacket. I added the Chenille-It Tape to the right side of the button band, but added it to the wrongside of the lapels so the Chenille-It Tape would show all around. I didn't worry too much on the corners of the lapels. I just cut and overlapped on each point or corner (as shown above).
My Chenille-It Tape needed 2 washings to get good and fluffed. I haven't decided if I am done or if I will add more to the pockets and to the bottom of the jacket. I do recommend that you match your upper thread to your chenille-It Tape and your bobbin thread to the project you are adding your Chenille-It Tape to. I wish I had considered that before but I was blinded by excitement. I won't see my bobbin thread much since it is on the inside of my jacket and underneath the lapel but it is a detail I will consider next time.
I have had "Pressing Ham" on my To Make List for many years but for some reason or another (usually it is that I am never in the mood to make one) I never got around to making it. I really wanted one so I knew if I scheduled it for the blog it would get done. And What-do-ya-know...It did. Kwik Sew 3571 was a piece-o-cake too and since I am over the hump, I will be getting to the sleeve roll faster than I would have previously guessed. Since this pattern is basically 2 pieces of fabric: 1 of wool and 1 of cotton (though you could use linen too. You want to stick to natural, high temp fabric that can take the wear and tear. Avoid fancy fabric, which may look good but won't press well. You can opt for Wool Felt but not craft felt, which is mostly poly (depending on the manufacturer) and will melt. I would not use fleece or any kind of thick knit either. You need your ham to keep its shape and hold firm while you press on it. You can go with cotton on both sides if you want. I used a gingham cotton and I lined it as well with some muslin. I wanted a smooth shape and didn't want any indentations from some of the larger saw dust pieces that I had in my mix. I cut 2 from my muslin and then 2 from my quilting cotton. When I sewed them up, I made the turning opening for my exterior a little bigger than the muslin so it would be easier to sew up later. I then placed my muslin in my quilting cotton shell and then stuffed the pressing ham with the saw dust. I also added some lavender in with the saw dust for a nice perfume when the ham is heated with the iron (this was a great suggestion from my Mom, Debbi Krisher. Thanks Mom!)
I also extended, curved and tapered the end of the ham a bit to help with some narrow bits of some of the patterns I have been sewing lately and it really came in handy. I saw this on another pattern and liked the idea so modified this pattern to mimic. It ended up looking like a crook-neck squash. It is a little silly looking but totally helpful in the smaller areas. My little one loves it too since it now has a toddler handle. I will be making another in a brighter color so it is easier to find since she likes to hide it. I am also considering make a small hanging loop on one end so I can hand it from the wall for easy storage, keep it from little hands and make it easier to find. It will probably look like a giant Christmas ornament but that will just get me ahead of the game!
Following on the heels of my previous article on how to sew Pintucks with the Janome Pintuck Foot is how to then add this amazing detail to your store bought patterns. Say you have a dress or a shirt that you want to add pintucks too but you aren't sure how to add the details without altering the pattern. The solution is to sew the pintucks on before you cut your pattern piece. This can be tricky but if you plan ahead your finished piece will look amazing.
I start out by first deciding which pattern pieces will feature pintucks and mark them in some fashion. Then, I layout my fabric and pattern pieces as instructed in the pattern. The pieces that will have pintucks, I trace with tailors chalk around the outside giving a wide berth (sometimes about 1 in. around), be more generous on the width of the piece since that will be affected more by the pintucks than the length. This will give you a good idea of where to place your tucks and how long to sew them. Also be sure if you are working with pieces cut on a fold to mark the center line. You can cut out the unaffected pieces now or after you add the pintucks to the fabric. Do not cut out the pieces that will feature pintucks. Sew your pintucks before you cut out these pattern pieces using your traced outline as a guide. Sew your pintucks from the top of the traced outline to the bottom. Once you have added your pintucks, then cut out those pattern pieces. I like to go over the top and bottom of the pintucks with a basting stitch to keep them secure until the garment is all stitched up. I added 7 pintucks to the HotPatterns Cupid Cami in Sherbet Pips Squares Vanilla/Pink with matching bias tape. I modified the pattern to eliminate the ties and made 12in. long straps. The light pattern really helps the pintucks to stand out and compliment the camisole shape. Pintucks would also look great on the bodice of a shirt dress, widthwise on a fabric belt, or as a hem detail on some twill shorts.
Pintucks are a delightfully simple detail that really bring together a garment or provide that finishing detail that helps a garment to shine. Pintucks are small pleats in the fabric that provide texture and delicate detail to fabrics. When hand sewn pintucks are tedious but worth it, as you must fold the fabric and stitch very close to the fold for an extended length. However, pintucks with the Janome Pintuck Feet are a breeze.
I learned lot when learning about and practicing with the pintuck feet. Not only did I learn how to sew pintucks but I also learned to sew with twin needles (this was my first application with twin needles) and how to thread 2 spools on my machine (check your manual for instruction specific to your machine). It was pretty neat to learn so many new things about my machine and really opened my eyes. I practiced a lot to develop my pintuck sewing technique. The packaging suggests placing a thin cord under your fabric to promote the pintuck but the Janome Video demonstrated that you don't need to use the cord. From my practice I learned that it helps to hold the fabric taught and not to give it much slack. I thought that if I just loosely guided the fabric then the tucks would develop on their own and this is true to a point. But if you give too much slack the tucks get sloppy. You want to treat it similar to sewing a seam. You want to hold your fabric tight and guide it straight just like with a seam you want to keep straight and together. Don't give the fabric too much head and let it have its way. You might think that it needs slack to puff up a bit between the needles but you will like the results much better if you give it less lack and keep it reined in. It is also important to line up your twin needles with the foot grooves with the needle coming down on either side of the groove so the fabric will be encouraged to puff up into the groove. Use the bigger grooved foot for medium to light weight fabric and then narrowed grooved foot for very light weight fabric, like sheers and silks. I used the bigger grooved foot for my quilting cotton and the tucks are just right.
Back of pintucks
Check back on Friday for my posting on how to integrate pintucks in to patterns. It will really spice up your summer wardrobe!