Monday, July 21, 2014

Meanwhile, back at the ranch...

Yes, we have been busy working, and spending 3 weeks making modifications to a single shirt pattern.

My sewing room has been rearranged a bit. With all of the garment sewing that I have been doing, my baby has gotten quite a workout. She has done seams, basting and winding bobbins with nary a complaint. I even got a friend for her - a cute kitty sewing basket to store all of my tools such as markers, scissors, rotary cutter, pins, tape measure and other fun notions to make sewing more pleasurable.

Well, there has been a stranger lurking in the shadows. This stranger has been shoved unceremoniously into a box and left all alone for 4 long, uneventful years. When we packed for this move, I rescued the stranger and brought him to the new house... Where he sat... In a box... For 4 weeks.

After the 4 weeks when everything had settled down to a dull roar, I took the stranger out of the box, moved my sewing machine to the cutting table and put the stranger on my sewing desk... Where he sat... For a week and a half. I hadn't worked with the stranger for years, what do I do?

We go to and order The Complete Serger Handbook  and we read. We fill our head with knowledge. The last time that I used my serger, I only used 1 stitch and really knew nothing about it. I learned a lot from the book. I went to the local fabric store and bought 4 cones of serger thread to match each of the dials.

Yesterday, I took the plunge. I took all of the white thread off of the machine and decided that I was going to thread the serger. Upper Looper in pink, yupp. Lower Looper on yellow, right needle in green and left needle in blue. Turned the handle and no nifty stitches were made... Rats... Unthreaded all of the machine and tried again. Threaded upper looper, lower looper, right needle and left needle. Can you see where this is going? Turned the handle and again, no pretty stitches... GRRRRRR...

At this point, I figure the sewing gods had it out for me. I threw my hands up, got my iPad, opened up YouTube and searched for a video on how to thread a Singer Serger. The sewing gods smiled down upon me and I found an awesome video on how to thread my serger. We threaded the upper looper with no problem. We threaded the lower looper and just after threading the last step, I found my problem. The lower looper thread wrapped around something when I pulled it out and that is why the stitches would not form. Once correctly threaded, inserted a few pieces of scrap fabric! Awesome!

Here is a pic of the stranger

Yes, the serger is threaded in nifty shades of clown vomit! I played with sewing samples where I changed the tension on each thread to see which settings would work the best. I was ready to make my first serger project.

Do you see the mat that the serger is resting on? That was my first project. It is a pad with a pincushion next to the machine. In front is an attached bag for fabric and thread scraps, a pocket for scissors and another pocket for other stuff I need while sewing. Right now, it is holding a pair of reading glasses that did not get lost in the last 7 days, LOL!

The project was fun and I learned some neat stuff. The mat itself is quilted. I have not done machine quilting but thought this idea was brilliant... I had some scrap duck cloth, bought some batting and put an old pillow case on top. I sewed the 3 layers together on my regular sewing machine. I serged all of the edges, serged the scrap pocket and put some heavy interfacing in it to give it some support. Then I used some clear vinyl that I serged then sewed into the front. The project took a couple of days but was a lot of fun. Now, I have a place to put all of the things I need when sewing or serging.

I really did enjoy the bit of quilting I tried. I have a couple of projects that I would like to try using quilted fabric for a base. I will start easy with a pencil case for my sewing basket. After that, I would like to try and make some kind of bag. Maybe a messenger bag or a purse with a TON of pockets to fit my electronic gadgets like cell phone, e-reader, car keys, paper pad holder, pen holder and all that other fun stuff that drives me nots when it is loose in my purse.

I also need to get back to the shirt I have been modifying. I have done a bunch of tissue fitting and have sewn up my muslin. I have not put the sleeves in yet but the bodice fits very nicely. On the next garment, I will document all of the steps. I was only able to steal 45 minutes here or 60 minutes there and did not have time to document. Or maybe I am just leery of the sleeves not fitting and I am putting it off until my mom comes to visit on the 1st so she can help me... Yup, I think I need Mom help for this one.

Friday, June 06, 2014

Fun with Dusan and Nancy

We have moved to our new place. We are out in BFE in a data black hole. It took us a week to get any internet service. We went from a speed of 30 MBPS down to a whopping 1.5 MBPS. This will take a bit of getting used to.

So we have unpacked and I decided to start playing with my Magic Fit Pants - part of the Designing with Dusan series. I worked on the dress pattern then on the pants. For a little extra help, I took out my Fitting Finesse book by Nancy Zimmerman. I was curious how close I would get by just using the instructions in the Magic Fit Pants kit.

The kit claims that it will fit all sizes (28 inch to 60 inch hips). I followed the instructions and drew the pattern onto a roll of paper. When I double checked the final pattern to my measurements, I was very happy to find the created pattern was really close. I made one change - adding 1 inch to the high hip area. Crotch depth measured within 1/2 inch of my measurements.

I was able to get the pattern on paper and pinned to my bedsheet muslin. Tomorrow, I will cut it out, sew it up and see how the first fitting comes out. I am really excited!

Once the pants are fit, we will work on the Magic Fit Dress.

I have finally started a notebook to track my sewing adventures. Is find that I am making calculations, changes and fitting stuff that I end up doing over a couple of days. With the notebook, I can pick up my changes where I leave off when I put my sewing down.

I am now going to need to make window coverings for our bedroom and living room. I have never made window coverings before. That will also be covered in future blog posts.

Have a great day, everyone!

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Moving - what treasures we find

The posts will be sparse until the first of June. Hubby and I are packing our belongings and moving to the new place. It is a bit smaller than our current place (OK, it is a LOT smaller) but it is in the middle of nowhere and the place is beautiful. So, we are sorting what goes to new place (sewing stuff, books, clothes), what goes into storage (brewing stuff, some wool, a spinning wheel) and what goes to the thrift stores.

While I was going through some boxes from our last move, I found this treasure:

The copyright date is 1974. It is instructions on how to make bodice, skirt and dress patterns with some awesome tools like bust and waist dart markers, French Curves and a cool instruction book to make "Mod" fashions. I paid $2.50 for this treasure at a thrift store in Tempe, AZ when Shaelyn and I were out hunting for fabric at the SAS store by ASU. This gets packed in the "must keep open until we move because I am still using it" sewing box. 

*Dances around the room singing "Happy Happy Joy Joy"*

Monday, May 19, 2014

Fun with Darts

Today, I have finished altering my pants sloper pattern. I cut it out of muslin and worked on the first fitting. My biggest worry is making sure my rear and my tummy fit into the pants. I did not put in a zipper since I didn't think I would need it. As I have played with the fit today, I have discovered that I need to pick up a zipper for the last bit of fitting.

Here is the first result:

Snark is being my fitting kitty. As you can see, I have not placed any darts in the pants yet. These pants need darts. I do like the room, so I think the side seam increase worked well. So I decided to start with my back darts first.

The back darts seem to work well. I just realized how flat my backside is... The front darts are what I am working on next. I pinned a couple of up and down darts on one side....

I also tried some slanted darts on the other side
I like the slanted darts. At this point, I realized that I actually DO need the zipper to keep adjusting the fit... Rats... So I will put the sewing down and run to Wally World for a zipper. Once I have placed it, I will put both sets of front darts in to see which one looks better. Then I will finish the waistband and make sure the final look is good.

After the pants sloper is finished, I am going back to the dress. I am going to undo a bit of the overlap that I put in to get rid of the gaping in my neck and high bust area. Then research the bodice, adjust the armholes and then that dress should be ready to make.

We think we have found a couple of places to rent. Lots of box packing starting on Wednesday. I will still have sewing to keep me somewhat sane, LOL! When we get settled in the new place, I am going to spend a day or three working with the serger and getting it up and running. I will need it for the pants and some knits I would like to start. I have a really cool blazer that I am dying to start!

Happy Sewing, everyone!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Get to go into work early, whee!

Why do I have a problem getting sewing related tasks done?

This is Ashley, aka Boo aka Buddha Cat. She is my resident sewing room kitty. I am working on altering a pattern and she decided to help. She also loves the ironing board, especially if the iron is on and I am pressing seams.

I changed my mind about my pants slower pattern. I read on the inner-webz-tubez that there are 2 different crotch styles for pants - American style and European style. The European style is cut differently and has a longer backside crotch. So, I decided to try the Burda pattern for pants sloper.  I am making a couple of minor alterations since I am bigger than the largest size they sell. I am adding some width and increasing the crotch depth.i hope to get that done before I leave for work at 1:30.

Tomorrow, I will cut out the pattern onto a bedsheet and do a first fitting. I will post more pictures as I work on the pattern.

After work, I also plan to go over one of my Craftsy classes. I have enjoyed both of the classes I have taken: Fast Track Fitting and the second class In The Details. She really has a logical way to go through alterations and it is the method I have been using successfully to alter my patterns. As a beginning sewer with drafting experience, it made so much sense to me. 

Time for me to eat and head off to work. Have a great day, everyone!

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Yes, MooKitty sews too!

Yes, I realize it has been 4 years since my last post.

I am restarting the blog as a craft blog to include knitting, spinning, weaving, sewing and brewing. Since I am working on bits of all of them through the year, I will put my updates here!

Today's sewing: fitting muslin for dress and fitting shell for pants.

The dress is from Simplicity pattern number 1419. It is a cute little summer dress. We have done numerous alterations such as neckline, waist, lengthen torso and increase hips.

Here is the front view. The dress fits pretty well.

This is the side view:
Twisting a bit but it is ok too. The problem? The sleeves and armholes are too tight. Since I am still a beginner, I will put this project down for a day and research how to fix this issue through alterations. Will likely do the alterations and the new bodice top tomorrow. My goal is to get this dress ready to sew from real material by June 10th so I can get some use out of it while it is still summer.

So, moving onto today's second project:
This is a pet tern for a pants shell. Why make this? Well, this will be the base pattern that I will use to base all of my pants on. When I got this pattern ($5.00 Vogue Pattern Sale) the largest pattern size they had was a size 14. So, I used some tracing paper to trace the pattern and today, I will work on the first set of adjustments that will be sewn in muslin (aka bed sheets). I will be making inseam, waist, hip and crotch adjustments for my measurements then sew up the pattern and see how it fits.