January Sewing Adventures

January 11, 2016 at 12:42 pm (Sewing Projects)

I have sewed since I was 10 years old.  This was my very first sewing project.  🙂

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My First Sewing Project… 1969

I have gained weight and nothing in my closet fits.  Until I lose the weight (It may be at the 12th of never), I wanted to have some pieces that I feel comfortable wearing.

I like to purchase from small retailers and I’ve bought Hot Patterns for about five years but haven’t made any of them until now.  Their patterns are printed on heavy paper and I find that the sizes are closer to what I wear in ready-to-wear (size 10-12).

The first pattern I made was their “Fast and Fabulous blouse-back T.” I altered the pattern to make a jacket in the style of a popular QVC designer… I added two inches to the center front for the placket.  I also made the sleeves 3/4″ instead of short. Because I opened the front, the back shoulders ended up being a bit big.  Because of that, I sewed a small dart from the shoulder seam, diagonally, to the sleeve seam.

I then decided to make their “Fast & Fabulous Famous Tummy-taming Trousers.” I did make a muslin for this pattern.  I wore a size 12 without any alterations.  I used a stretch denim I got at Joann Fabrics.  I am very pleased with the way this pant turned out. I sewed them in two hours, including the invisible zipper.  I did not include the side-slit because I intend to wear these in our cold PA winters!   I am learning to master my serger and it came in handy as I zipped through this project.

I have a lighter color denim I am going to use the next time.  I also will probably shorten the waist by about one inch.  I love the high-waist look but I want a more neutral waist next time.

I hope to finish my jacket this week.

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McCalls 7256

The paint is dry on my in-progress subway art so I must get back to my task at hand.  I hope you enjoyed reading about my sewing projects 😀

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Daring to Dream

January 5, 2016 at 3:29 pm (mixed media, Sewing Projects) (, , )

It was cold, cold, cold outside this morning.  My face told me it was cold.  I had already decided to hibernate, but darling DannyO forgot his phone and Jazzy and I took a trip to Johnstown to deliver said phone.  I had my face completely covered up and the air still effected me.

My OCD doesn’t like changes in schedules but I flipped my errand day from tomorrow until today.

I’ve been pondering why I’m spinning in circles and I realized that I had forgotten how to dream!!  I encourage my kids to dream and reach their highest potential.  I encourage darling hubby to dream.  In fact,in may, he left a job he held for nearly 20 years to take a chance on something new (Yay DannyO!!!)

But once my music dreams faltered because of my physical issues, I became stuck… I didn’t dream for me!  I’ve been stuck since 2012.

We are so blessed in America that we CAN dream!  Our days aren’t filled with making sure we have the simple necessities of life.  In some countries, I’d be searching for water, harvesting fields, sweeping dirt floors.  But I sit here in my warm house and, after I’ve taken care of my daily chores, I can dream, but I didn’t… until now!!

This morning, as I read my devotion book given to me by my best friend, Juel, Jesus Calling, by Sarah Young , this quote stood out.

“True dependence is not simply asking Me to bless what you have decided to do. It is coming to Me with an open mind and heart, inviting Me to plant My desires within you.  I may infuse within you a dream that seems far beyond your reach.  You know that in yourself you cannot achieve such a goal.  Thus begins your journey of profound reliance on Me…  This is not a path of continual success but of multiple failures.  However, each failure is followed by a growth spurt, nourished by increased reliance on Me.”

I have a dream that my art can somehow reach people and I can supplement our income with said art.  I have a dream that I resume my love of sewing, something I’ve done since I was 10 years old.  I have a dream that I can make my blog into something someone wants to read, full of encouragement. I have a dream that I can somehow, someway, rise above the intense pain I live with and remake me — a rebirth of sorts at 56!!

Working on a coat with wool that a friend gave me about 4 years ago.

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DaringtoDream-1

Working on Subway art…

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My sketch for my first “assignment” I’m taking, Life Book 2016

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Moving Through the Next Chapter of My Life (such as it is)

June 16, 2015 at 11:28 am (mixed media, Multiple Sclerosis, occipital neuralgia, Sewing Projects, Trigeminal Neuralgia)

I have been moving right along as I work through a rough spring with my trigeminal and occipital neuralgia.  When these storm systems roll through, my face and head have their own agenda.  My botox injections were adminstered late due to a change in hospitalization (which is a pain to navigate when one has chronic conditions).  The botox, while not completely effective, takes the brunt of the worst pain from me.  The last two months have been more bad days than good.

I have had some orders for my mixed media “Journey” pieces so I have been spending a few hours each day working on them.  I am having them photographed by a wonderful photographer, Tab James of AdLiv Collective in the hopes of selling prints on line.  I will continue to work on original pieces.  I promise I will blog about the beginnings of my Lovingly Millie collection.

Find Strength for the Journey

Find Strength for the Journey – Tab’s photographs bring out all the layers of the mixed media piece.

I have an order for some terra cotta pendants and usually spend an hour in the evening rolling clay and molding it — very relaxing.

I also have gained weight and not many of my clothes fit me so I am trying to sew a few summer pieces that actually look good on my “new” body.  Accepting where I am right now weight-wise is very hard for me.  I am posting these pictures, although most of my being is screaming to keep them hidden.  This is part of my journey too…

A little pink dress (the back is open with a tie)

A little pink dress (the back is open with a tie)

This actually is a

This actually is a “muslin” of a new pattern that actually fits so I will wear it 🙂

Throughout my day, my constant companion is our one-year-old Airedale, Jazzy Joy.  THIS is what she does while I create.  I promise you, this bed was beautifully made earlier in the day 🙂

The tornado that is Jazzy

The tornado that is Jazzy

Oh, and, do you like my sunglasses I got for the beach??  The great thing about glasses and earrings… they usually fit!

Cool shades!!

Cool shades!!

Be blessed and encouraged.  If I can do one productive thing on days I can only carefully move my head, so can you!!

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Baby Dresses and Bracelets

July 9, 2014 at 10:21 pm (Jewelry, Sewing Projects)

I have been sewing non-stop for the last month.  My daughter’s friend Sarah and her hubby are having a baby girl.  She was Amanda’s roommate when she moved to the DC area. They lived together until Sarah and, six months later, Amanda got married.  I knew I wanted to do something special for Sarah’s baby shower.  I decided to dust off my sewing machine and make one of those tutu dresses that are so popular.  Of course, being the thrift store maven I am, I chose to re-purpose two skirts I purchased for $2.99 each.  I decided to make two dresses just in case I screwed one up royally… I would have a back-up. I always have complete confidence in my abilities.  I had no idea what I was getting myself into!!

I made the 6-12 Month

I made the 6-12 Month

For the tutu dresses, I used Violette Field Threads – Chloe. I re-purposed a skirt for each bodice. I had to purchase three different fabrics for the skirt, 2 yards each, netting, tulle and chiffon.  They suggested nylon chiffon because it doesn’t fray, but my local Joann fabric store didn’t have any, so I had to get the kind that frays like mad — and it frayed madly!!  I decided to interface the fashion fabric because each skirt piece had a slight 4-way stretch. I wanted it to be firm. Again, re-purposing is about giving pre-worn garments a beautiful second life.  It was easy to do and, once I interfaced it, the material cooperated 100% !!  I also used buttons from my Grammy’s stash.   I fully finished the bodices, buttons and all, before I even started on the skirts.  That was a good decision on my part.

The skirt… ahhhh… the skirt… three different fabrics cut 10 inches long (10 1/2 for the chiffon because I had to hem that), 2 yards wide.  The fabrics were hemmed, side seams sewed, lined up, and then I began to gather… 72 inches to 20 inches.  Each skirt took about 2 hours to hem, sew, gather BEFORE attaching to the bodice.  The one thing I will do differently next time is I WILL learn to use my serger and I WILL use it to combine the three fabrics.  I also will be purchasing a gathering foot for my machine in the hopes that it will make this step easier — quite honestly, there probably is not much that will make it easier except to use less fabric, which I won’t do because the finished product is AMAZING!!!!

Madeline's dress

Madeline’s dress

...the back (using buttons from Grammy's stash)

…the back (using buttons from Grammy’s stash)

Both dresses turned out beautifully and I was only giving one dress to Sarah.  I decided to give the second dress to my friend Tab who is having a baby girl soon too.  (You can click the link on Tab’s name to read her wonderful blog).

Dress for Tab's baby girl

Dress for Tab’s baby girl

...the back (using buttons from Grammy's stash)

…the back (using buttons from Grammy’s stash)

A sane woman would have stopped at two beautiful tutu dresses.  But I have never said I was sane!!  Sarah and Tim have named their girl Madeline.  I decided to use my machine embroidery attachment to make a pillow for her room.

Madeline's pillow

Madeline’s pillow

It took me as long to reacquaint myself with the attachment as it did to embroider the pillow. Of course, I didn’t stop there.  I had some beautiful sparkly beads that I sewed around the embroidery and I found a beautiful butterfly that I hand-stitched on.  I don’t have a picture of the back of the pillow, but it has three buttons/buttonholes.  I used buttons from Grammy’s stash.

Simplicity 1547

Simplicity 1547

Then, this crazy woman decided to make a winter dress for Madeline.  I used Simplicity 1547.  I found a sweet corduroy fabric.  I made a small pink felt flower to match.

Sweet corduroy dress

Sweet corduroy dress

And then… Sarah has always loved the earrings I made for Amanda’s bridesmaids.  She will often email me when she wears them.  I had a few of the stones in my stash…

Sarah's bracelet

Sarah’s bracelet

Now she has a matching bracelet.

And then… I went through my iTunes and made a music mix for Madeline.  I chose all women artists, including my darling daughter.  For Sarah’s music mix, I gathered all of the worship music that heals my heart and encourages me.

The baby shower was beautiful!  Sarah’s friends did a wonderful job.  I helped Judy put the little teeny-tiny appetizers together.  Of course, I forgot to take my camera and didn’t get a picture of me and Sarah 😦

Judy's beautiful "little bites."  I only helped assemble them :-)

Judy’s beautiful “little bites.” I only helped assemble them 🙂

I was putting together the mailer to send Tab her dress and decided to make her a bracelet.  I don’t know her favorite color, but green is my “go-to” when I don’t have a specific inspiration color.  I used one of my “joy” beads just to encourage her.  She is going to, very soon, have three kiddos all under the age of five and two dogs and a hubby and a blog and a business… she’s one busy, inspirational lady.  I pray she is reminded to simply en”joy” each day, no matter what it brings.

Tab's bracelet -- always remember to have JOY

Tab’s bracelet — always remember to have JOY

Oh, and last week I spent five days helping Amanda decorate her and Hengyi’s new townhouse.  We walked and walked, looked and looked (she says I touched and touched… I must confess, I touch everything!!), bought and bought (again, another story — I have to put my credit card away for a while).  I hemmed drapes and curtains and, when we got back to my house, I made two pillows out of the fabric that was her inspiration for all of the color choices for her first floor.

Amanda's "jumping off" point for her house

Amanda’s “jumping off” point for her house

Whew!!  No wonder I have been tired all week.  I am sleeping and napping and sleeping some more.  And then on Friday, we get Jasmine.

Jasmine

Jasmine

I have two sewing projects on the list.  First:  Learn how to use my serger!!  I think the tutu dresses would have been easier had I been able to use the serger.  Second:  repurpose a maxi dress I got at Goodwill into a vintage summer dress.  The dress is a newer Target dress. I love the fabric but it hits me in weird places.  I am going to use a vintage pattern, 1963 McCalls 6712.  So, in essence, I am going to do things backwards — take a new dress and make it old :-).  I want to have that done before we go to the beach.  Here’s hoping…

1963 pattern, which is awesome!!

1963 pattern, which is awesome!!

Oh, and I was going to make baby shoes.  I made one sample successfully but I ran out of time.  Another project for another day 🙂

Sample baby shoe -- too exhausted to even think about this project!!

Sample baby shoe — too exhausted to even think about this project!!

 

 

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Finding Joy in the Journey

July 11, 2013 at 12:12 pm (Decorative Painting, Multiple Sclerosis, Sewing Projects, Trigeminal Neuralgia)

I am having a trigeminal neuralgia attack.  If I could rip off the right side of my face, I’d be golden!!  Instead, I have taken four rounds of medicine and am thinking positively that this last round will kick-start pain relief.  I was going to sew and paint today but, with this amount of medicine in my body… hmmmm… inserting a zipper is out of the question and unless I am painting an abstract piece… So, I am writing in my blog.

My new MS medicine, Tecfidera, seems to be working.  I was able to wear heels to a funeral yesterday.  I will never give away my high heels, even if I just look at them sitting in my closet.   I am very blessed to have financial assistance to pay for my medicine.  It costs $4,550.00 for 60 pills each month!!  I only have to pay $10.00.

I want to share with you the two projects I am currently working on.  The first is a sundress designed by Gretchen Hirsch of Gertie’s New Blog for Better Sewing.  I love the vintage vibe of this dress. I wanted a light, breezy look so I chose flocked cotton for the body of the dress and sweet polka dot cotton for the bodice contrast.  I have the main pieces of the dress and lining sewn together but I need to insert boning, a zipper and put everything together.

Butterick Pattern

Butterick Pattern

Finding Joy In The Journey-2

My second project is a mixed media piece I am calling “Finding Joy in the Journey.”  I was inspired by a book by Kelly Rae Roberts called “Taking Flight.”  I have received so many cards and letters over the last 22 years and have saved nearly every piece.  Last week I pulled them out and re-read all of them and cut out things that meant the most to me.  I actually have enough material to create four or five more pieces.  I honor those of you who inspire me.  YOU help me find my joy each day.

Finding Joy In The Journey-1

Finding Joy In The Journey-3

I am using Heritage mediums by David Jansen instead of Modge Podge or gesso.  I used his multi surface sealer (MSS) to affix the cards and messages to a 16×12 canvas. I need to distress the surface of the piece and plan to use extender (to make the paint more transparent).  I haven’t decided on a color palette yet.   I am drawing an angel, most likely Millie, and am going to paint her over the patchwork of encouraging notes, signatures and pictures.

Right now I am going to take a wee nap.  I can’t wait to share the finished pieces with you !!

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Ta-Da!!! Qipao Finished (except for final, final fitting)

July 28, 2012 at 11:36 am (All Things Wedding, Sewing Projects)

Most of you know that I’ve been working on Amanda’s Qipao since February.  Originally, I hoped to get it finished in time for her wedding on March 24th, but the fabric was delivered five days before the wedding, which totally put the kibosh on that idea…

March 24, 2012 (my favorite picture of Amanda and Hengyi)

Me, Amanda, darling DannyO and Brent

Okay, so Amanda and Hengyi are heading to China on August 16th for a wedding celebration/honeymoon.  That’s easy!!  I will just finish the Qipao by the end of July.  Oh, the best- laid plans…   I had a whole bunch of physical problems, (sorry for not thinking of a better word than “bunch” but I need a nap) — a trigeminal neuralgia setback, cellulitis at my copaxone injection sites, an MS exacerbation – many, many issues that just slammed my body.  I worked on this garment in little increments, through pain, eye issues and fatigue, through three muslins and other fit issues.  Amanda lives in NoVA so each time she’d come home, we’d fit the muslin 🙂  As I was sewing, I made the choice to make a “skin” instead of lining the garment so it can be altered throughout Amanda’s life.  Because of that decision, I had to actually “bind” all of the seams.

The seams — all bound and finished.

I changed the bodice, added a back zipper.

I added a back zipper.

I taught myself how to weave the “frogs,” designed the “frogs” and then actually made them.

The “frogs.” This is about my fourth version… trial and error was the only way I could figure this out!

I made and discarded three muslins, finally fitted a muslin,  sewed, ripped, hand-sewed, basted, pinned, ironed, tweeked, ripped, basted…  you get the picture.  All for a simple garment that will serve as a cultural bridge from my heart to Amanda’s new Chinese family — the Hu’s.  I cannot even count the hours I spent patiently working this beautiful, very expensive silk.

A picture of the pattern — the picture doesn’t do the actual fabric justice. There is an iridescence to the beautiful flower pattern that I cannot describe.

Finally, yesterday, I finished!  I didn’t take many “in progress” pictures because I didn’t have my blog in mind while I was sewing this beautiful dress. The Qipao is finished, except for the few inches of side seam directly under the sleeve.  Amanda has to try it on for that seam to be completely fitted.  She is coming the weekend of the 12th — nothing like cutting things close!!  Here are a few pictures.

The finished dress. (Amanda’s high school picture is in the left corner — a happy accident!!)

The bodice

Another shot of the bodice.

The side view

A close-up of the side slit

One final fitting, a few final seams and the final press (whew!  That’s a lot of “finals!!”).  I can’t even count the hours I have in this dress, not only sewing but those hours spent “thinking through” the next step, and the next…  It is my gift to my precious daughter, who I love more than life itself <3.  I will post pictures of Amanda and Hengyi when she wears this in China as they celebrate their wedding with Hengyi’s family.

I think I need a vacation 🙂

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VPLL Project 0219 Blouse — Part 1

May 29, 2012 at 6:13 pm (Sewing Projects, The 1912 Project)

I decided to tackle the pattern without instructions because… hey… I need the points!!  Seriously, when I saw this blouse available I immediately thought about making it into a summer blouse, with a peplum.  My second thought was to change the grain of the pattern.  It is a biased-cut pattern.  While I “thought” about changing the grain, in the end I decided not to because… hey… no instructions and I was going to have to wing it and didn’t want to add another wrinkle to this task.

Darling DannyO is fishing for the weekend and I am puttering around.  My legs are not working, but my eyes are so I decided to begin this project.  I’ve got my CD player “shuffling” between Adele, Jill Scott, India.Arie and Esperanza Spalding – if that doesn’t motivate me, nothing will. 🙂

I have a stash of fabric that I “shopped” for in my friend’s sunroom.  She had a room full of fabric she needed to get rid of and she let her friends who sewed “shop.” I decided to use a piece of blue floral cotton.   The fabric was free.  The bias tape was free.  The buttons were free.   I pre-washed the cotton fabric and ironed it smoothly.

Free Fabric, Bias Tape and Buttons (YAY!)

Because the pattern is cut on the bias it does require more fabric than a straight-grained garment

The first thing I did was to lop off the sleeves.  I didn’t take any careful measurements because I intend to make them very short and will adjust as the garment is sewed.  I also lopped off some of the yoke.  I picture in my mind’s eye a peasant-style neckline.  I also need to cut carefully in order to leave enough fabric for the peplum.  Remember that the back yoke is cut on a folded bias.    If you are making the blouse in its original state, I’d recommend that you have at least 2 yards of 45” fabric available – 2 ½ if you want to be certain to have enough material.

Pattern Layout (remember, I lopped off the sleeves and the top of the yoke pieces)

I cut all of the pieces on the bias, including the button placket (4 pieces of the button placket).  I also cut two pieces of the placket out of a lightweight interfacing.  I know that probably negates any benefit from cutting the fashion fabric on the bias, but I was concerned that the placket would stretch and twist when I added the buttonholes.

On to the sewing…

  1.  Sew the front yokes (2 pieces) and back yoke together at the shoulder seams, matching #22 & #23—using a 3/8” seam.  Press towards the back yoke piece.  Baste corners #25 and #26 and clip to seam line.
  2. Pin bias tape to the outside seams of the yoke, clipping at the corners to eliminate any bulk/pleats.  Baste and press well.

    Bias tape basted on to the front and back yoke pieces

  3. Mark the pleats on the two front bodice pieces.  Pin and iron the pleats towards the side seam, matching lines. (you should have three tiny pleats)  Baste across seam line (3/8”) over all of the pleats.

    Pleats on front bodice marked with chalk

    Front pleats basted into place

  4. Stay-stitch around the curved bodice pieces, from #25 to #26 (the seam that attaches to the yoke) – clipping the curve to the stay stitching.

It is 10:10 p.m.  I’ve been up since 5:00 a.m.  I am not going to sew another seam tonight… but I am going to pin the bodice piece(s) to the yoke piece before I go to bed.  I don’t know what the recommendation is for pinning and sewing the yoke piece to the bodice piece (remember…no instructions) but here is my suggestion.

  1.  Start at corner #25 and pin down the front of the yoke/bodice (to #24).  Do the same to the second front straight seam.  Baste the corner seam at #25.   Starting at #25, sew a 3/8” seam to the bottom edge of the front bodice on each yoke piece.
  2. Start at corner #26 and pin down the back of the yoke/bodice (to #27).  Do the same to the opposite side of the back straight seam.  Baste the corner seam at #26.  Starting at #26, sew the 3/8” seam to the bottom edge of the back bodice on each side of the back yoke.

    Basting the #25 & #26 corners

    The straight seam from the #25 corners to the bottom of the garment

** because this garment is cut on the bias, you should always sew like seams in the same direction, preferably from top to bottom.  If you sew in different directions, you may develop a problem that the bias garment will not lay correctly.  It can be awkward if you aren’t use to flipping seams.  Tomorrow, when I’ve had my coffee I will show you what I mean.  I certainly hope this fits me.   I like the way this is looking 🙂  I’ve got lots of plans for the bias tape to be involved in the peplum… stay tuned for the rest of the story!!

Good Morning!  I’ve got a pot of coffee and a piece of my homemade sweet bread (with honey) under my belt… literally!!!  On to the rest of the story…

  1.  Pin the bodice to the neckline from #25 to #26.  Because you have stay-stitched and clipped the bodice piece, it will curve around the yoke piece perfectly. There are no diamond markings to match up pattern pieces, so I would suggest starting at #25, pin a few inches, move to #26, pin a few inches.  Work this way until you meet in the middle.  It should match perfectly!!
  2. Sew the bodice to the yoke (3/8” seam) and press well.

    Pinning the yoke to the bodice from #25 to #26 — the stay-stitched, curved edge

At this point, I didn’t like the way the bias tape looked at the corners, so I ended up opening up each seam, cutting the bias tape and re-sewing the corners.  I think it is just a matter of preference what you decide to do.

Blouse without the button placket sewn on

On to the button placket.

  1.  Iron the lightweight interfacing to the button placket pieces (2)
  2. Sew the plackets to the front of the garment.

    Blouse with the button placket sewed on the front

I will finish the piece and blog about it within the next week… (I promise!!!)  So far, I like where this is going 🙂

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VPLL 1912 Project — 0219 Blouse… Step 1

May 2, 2012 at 11:42 am (0219 Blouse, The 1912 Project)

When I first started the VPLL project I wanted my patterns mailed to me, mostly because I was afraid…  but then I realized that if I took a chance and had the patterns sent to me in a PDF file, I would get them quickly.  If it didn’t work out, I could always go back to the mail option.  There is a wonderful link, HERE to show you, how to download, print and tape,  but I thought I’d blog about my success using that page.

I worked on the ladies wrap and unfortunately ironed a big hole in my fashion fabric… so I scrapped that for now.  I did make a muslin of the E0291 and blogged about my steps.  You can see blog post HERE.

I wanted to share the steps of receiving a pattern in Letter form — to take the uncertainty out of the process.  I live in Nanty Glo, PA and do not have ready access to a Kinko’s or Staple’s.  I have an HP Deskjet 5550 and some cheap paper.  After requesting the #0219 blouse pattern  in LTR form and got the password I was good to go.  I already checked my printer when I asked for the E0291 Ladies Wrap so I know it is calibrated correctly.  If you haven’t done that, click the  link,  LTR Size Measuring Box  and follow the links to make sure your printer will print the correct size.

The pattern itself is 17 pages.  This pattern does not have any directions ((Yikes!!)) That is another post for another day.  I plan to modernize the pattern and sew it from a pretty blue eyelet remnant I have in my stash…  Okay… The printer asked me if I knew I was printing beyond the normal printing surface and I told it I knew… and to proceed.

The pattern itself doesn’t require much ink because it is a few lines on a many pieces of paper…  Unfortunately,  the registration marks and the Column/Row indications are also not on the printable area.  Easy-peasy…

The first thing I did was to take each of the 17 pages and, using the PDF pages on my computer as a reference, transferred the Row # and Column# to each page.

Applying the Row/Column indicators by hand.

The next thing I did was to lay the pattern out on the floor based upon the Column/Row numbers.

Laying the pattern pieces in the order based on Column/Row numbers

The next step was to butt each page up against each other.  The registration marks did not print — out of the printable area.  No problem.  I took 4 pages at a time and made a perfect + and taped the four corners with a tiny piece of tape.

Matched four corners to a + and taped

Once the pages were all taped together, the unprintable areas needed to be joined.  I just used a small straight edge and joined the lines… while looking at my computer, but mostly using common sense.

Joining the pattern lines

Finally, on this particular pattern, one piece, Row 2 of 4, Column 4 of 5 was accidentally placed upside down.  How did I know that??  The “E0219” mark, that is in the left/bottom corner of each page was upside-down.  So, I corrected that.

Mark in the correct position :-)  (not upside down)

There you have it! It took me an hour, tops!  I figure it would take me 25 minutes one way and 2 gallons of gas to go to our nearest Staple’s store.  I also know how long it takes to open a new pattern and cut all of the pieces out…

Now I need to figure out pattern directions, how to change the straight of grain, lower the neckline, add arm scythes to make separate sleeves and add a little peplum… Whew!!  That’s certainly going to be the hardest part of sewing this pattern!!  Wish me luck!!

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The Mother of The Bride Dress that Wasn’t

April 14, 2012 at 1:36 pm (Sewing Projects)

Most of you who follow my blog have read along with me as I worked on my MofB dress for March 24th, 2012 — the day  my daughter, Amanda was marrying Hengyi.

I started the dress in plenty of time, fit a muslin to my 52-year-old frame and cut out the fashion fabric and began to work on it.  I put love into every stitch because, after all, it was for my sweet child’s wedding.  I put the body of the dress together, choosing to make a “skin” instead of a lining for the dress.  That would allow me to alter it without any problems.

The body of the dress

I then turned my attention to the sleeve detail — I worked one full day on the sleeves.

Sculptured sleeve detail

I then attached the sleeves to the dress

Sleeves attached to the dress

…then the problems started…  Because of many reasons, the details of which I won’t bore you with, I gained 20 pounds in 6 weeks.  As you can see from the dress, it is fitted.  The front of the dress is just one piece, with no seams to let out.  I tried and tried and tried to get the dress to fit me — remember, the muslin fitted beautifully!  It was a hopeless case.  Finally, at 2 a.m. the Wednesday before the wedding, I had to recognize fully that this beautiful dress was NOT going to fit me on March 24th.  I wept.  I was so tired — I had tried so many different things to get this dress to fit.  In fact, I basically ruined the front piece just trying to get it to fit over my girth.

My darling DannyO hugged me and reassured me that I would find a dress.  On Wednesday morning, after four hours of sleep, I began my search.  I walked through store after store, all the while asking the Lord to please guide me to my dress.  (I really believe the the Lord cares about the little things in life).  At 4:00 p.m., I walked into Boscovs in Altoona, exhausted and weepy (yes, I sniffled through much of the day).  I spied a pink (my favorite color) skirt attached to a black bodice.  It pulled me, like a magnet.  It was a Petite.  I am 5’5 1/2″ — not petite, but I was compelled to try it on.  DannyO had already told me to NOT look at any price tags, so I didn’t.  I tried it on.  It fit!  Because it was petite, the length was actually perfect!  It had a 50’s vibe and I decided that was the dress…  Here is my dress 🙂

My son, Brent escorting me down the aisle

I actually threw the purple dress into the garbage at 2:00 a.m. but rescued it later on Wednesday.  I will hopefully finish it and wear it for another important event in my life.  There is much love in that dress — I couldn’t just discard it!

I will post pictures of Amanda’s wedding at a later date, but wanted you to hear the story of my Mother of the Bride Dress that wasn’t!!

 

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#E0291 – Ladies Afternoon Wrap

March 29, 2012 at 5:22 pm (Sewing Projects, The 1912 Project)

Since Amanda’s wedding is over (pictures and thoughts to follow in subsequent posts – it was a beautiful day and perfect in every way), I turned my efforts to working on a muslin mockup of #0291, Ladies Afternoon Wrap.  I am working with the VPLL 1912 Project.  We are sewing through patterns released in 1912, the year the Titanic sunk.

#0291 Ladies Afternoon Wrap, February 4, 1912

I realized right off that the layout was incorrect.  This is the way it should be…

Correct layout placement

I cut the pattern pieces out of muslin.  I also cut two bias strips 55” long X 3” wide.  After cutting out the muslin the correct way, I marked all lines, darts and slash lines.  The most important lines to include are the waist lines and trim placement lines. The front of my garment pattern piece did not have a waistline marking.  I used the back waist mark to draft the front marking.   I included some squares, circles and triangles to help with the process.  I did not bother to cut out the belt and belt trim because I intend to make this out of a very cool piece of fabric I got at an auction years ago.

I then began to follow the instructions… as I am OCD, I try to follow to a “T” but I did make some notes that should make my subsequent version easier.

“Slash on indicated lines at shoulder darts… on wrong side, join darts matching and sewing on the seam allowance.” I sewed the darts first and then cut the slashes.  It made it easier to sew.

“With a small stitch length, sew a reinforcement seam…”  I followed this paragraph exactly as written, reinforcing the underarm slashes.

For Wrap Without Lining:

“Turn under one long edge of the bias trim strips 3/8 inch and hem for a finished edge. “ I turned the edge under 3/8” but did not hem, just pressed very well. 

“Place wrong side of Trim strip to right side of Wrap, matching finished edge to indicated Trim Placement line – pin into place. Cut lower raw edge of Trim Strip to match contours of lower edge of Wrap.  Unpin Trim Strip from Wrap. “  This step is unnecessary.  The next paragraph I re-wrote as follows:

Place the right side of the Trim Strip to the wrong side of the Wrap, matching finished edge to indicated Trim Placement line.  Pin.  Cut lower raw edge to match contours of lower edge of Wrap.   Iron the center of the garment so bias strip conforms to the curve of the garment.  Sew trim to Wrap along raw edge, using a 3/8 seam allowance.  Trim seam and press seam up toward Wrap.

Cutting the trim to match the curve of the garment

Steamed the bias trim to fit the edge after I cut it to fit

Turn the Trim Strip to the right side of the garment and topstitch all layers close along placement line

Pressing bias trim strip towards seam

Sewing the bias trim close to edge long trim placement line

As I moved through the instructions, everything went well until I came to “make soft tuck in wrap fronts by bringing the #2 to the #1 at the waistline and tacking in place to hold.”  I neither had a waistline on the front of my garment or a #1 or #2!  I folded the garment at the shoulder darts and matched the back and front lower edges.  I used the back waistline line and drew a front waistline.  I looked at the picture of the garment and made my #2 mark 3” from the center edge and my #1 mark 4” inches from the center edge at my new waistline mark.  I made the soft tuck based on those measurements.  I made sure to make the correct marks on the pattern piece.

“Make a soft double tuck, in Wrap backs by stacking the number twos and bringing them to the number one at the waistline and tacking in place to hold.”  At this point I realized that while I had a waistline on my back, I could not see the #2’s and #1 on the back for the double tuck.  It must have been on the “unprintable margins” from my printer.  I drafted my #1 2 ¾” from the center back edge.  The #2’s are ¾” away from #1 mark on each side at the waistline.

With Right sides together, join the center back seam of the Wrap…” I followed this paragraph but then realized that the instructions did not include sewing the center front darts.  I sewed them at this point, but realized that they were too shallow.  I increased the dart depth by ¼” on each side of the dart.  Again, I made the correct adjustments on the pattern piece.

"soft tucks" (double" on each side of the center back seam)

“With right sides together, join the collar pieces along the center back seam between numbers 19 and 20.”  I added a square at 19.  I followed the seam and added a circle at the end of the collar side seam.

“With right sides together, join the two collars along the upper edge, starting at number 19 and sewing along the wide flared end opposite.”  I sewed to the circle I added, sewing from the square to the circle. I then flipped the collar and sewed from the square to the other circle on the opposite end.  Sewing it this way keeps the collar, which is off-grain, from getting distorted.

“Trim the seams narrowly and turn the collar right side out.  Press.”

Collar stitching from center back seam to circle...

Circle I added to the lower edge of the collar to match with the garment

“Join the collar to the neck edge of the wrap, matching the center back to the number 20 on the wrap.”  I added a triangle on the collar pattern to match to the shoulder dart.  I also added a circle to the center front of the wrap to match the circle on the collar. At this point I also understitched the collar to the front seam – from circle to circle.

Collar stitched to wrap

The back of the wrap

Front (without the finished seams)

I will make the wrap out of my chosen fabric and work through these steps with the sheer, colorful fabric.  I will make choices of finishing based upon how the fabric folds and hangs.  I already have an idea to use some beads instead of tassels on the finished garment.

The very fun fabric I have chosen for the wrap

There you have it!!  My first 1912 Project garment!!

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