Powered By Blog Gadgets

Friday, June 29, 2007

Sheer Knowledge

I've read and heard so many sewers say that sewing sheers (i.e. chiffon, georgette, light-weight organza, batiste) is difficult. I say, "No it's not"! That is IF you know the right techniques.

What I've found most challenging with chiffon and georgette is the laying-out process. Sheers are slippery and they tend to crawl about while you are trying to handle them. What I do is use an underlay. I do this by laying the sheer fabric on top of an old sheet or muslin fabric (anything you don't really care about) and cutting them together with a rotary cutter. The sheer fabric clings to the other fabric and makes cutting a lot easier. Also, misting with spray sizing or spray starch has worked for me too!

For my seams, I use a "scant" french seam. I do this by: (1) pinning WRONG sides together. Stitch 3/8" from the edges on the right side of the fabric. (2) Trim seam allowance to 1/16". Fold RIGHT sides together, with stitching line exactly on the fold. Press flat. (3) Stitch 1/8" from fold. This step encases the cut edges. Check the right side to be sure no raveled threads are showing. Press seam to one side.

For the collar, I interfaced it with Palmer/Pletsch PerfectFuse Sheer in black. I stitched the facing to the collar with a 3/8" seam and pressed the other end of the facing under 3/8". I stitched the collar to the neck edge using a 3/8" seam allowance and trimmed the seam. I pressed the seam towards the collar and slipstitched the facing to the neck edge.
The sleeves are cut on the bias and for the hems, I used a narrow machine stitch. I did this by staystitching on the wrong side of the fabric - 1/4" from where the hem will be. Pressing the seam allowance toward the the inside along the staystitch line and sewing along the fold line to the left of the staystitch line. I took a pair of small, sharp scissors and trimmed the seam allowance close to the stitching (BE VERY CAREFUL NOT TO CUT INTO THE GARMENT FABRIC!!! Ask me how I know). I then folded the narrow hem toward the inside of the garment and stitched the final row to the left of the last stitching line. I used this method also for the hem of the garment.

BTW, this is Simplicity 4112... I'll have finished project pictures later.

I hope this helps those who have not or have been reluctant to sew with a sheer. This is what I do. If some of you more experienced sewers have better methods or something to add, please feel free.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Say it's not so!

Was doing my normal blog reading today and came across this from Gigi's blog:

Many are saddened by the news of Simplicity Pattern closing its doors in Niles by the end of September.

The company has operated in Niles since 1931 and employed thousands of area residents, making it hard for some to believe it's coming to an end.

It was announced Monday that the company, headquartered in New York, will end all production and distribution operations at its Niles facility, outsourcing the work to a company in Wisconsin.

This move leaves many questions about job losses here, particularly when combined with the closing of United Fixtures, as well as what will become of the Simplicity building.

"It's sad to see, but this is the product of changing times," Bob Tracey, a 15-year employee of Simplicity Pattern said Monday afternoon. "I left in 1984 and it was going downhill at that time."

Tracey continued, saying when he left there were around 400 to 450 employees. Simplicity employs less than 150 at its Niles plant today. Ninety are expected to lose their jobs.

"It's also sad for the community. It was such a big part of Niles. Now we will have another big, empty building. What is Niles going to do with a building that size? Especially if the bigger businesses aren't coming around," Tracey said.

Barbara Gaedtke was employed with the company for 22 years. She started out as a hand folder. When the company purchased folding machines, she ran those.

"It was really a nice place to work. I enjoyed it and really liked the people I worked with. There were always rumors going around, though. We heard the business was going to close, we heard it was moving south. It was always one rumor after the other. Now that they really are closing, it's sad to see," Gaedtke said.

She explained the lack in business having to do with the fact that no one sews anymore.

"When I was employed, there were a lot of jobs, but it wasn't doing the best then, so I can't imagine how it's been just in the last few years."

Gaedtke also made mention that this is not good for the community.

"Niles wants all these new things, like schools and other businesses, but we are losing jobs everywhere. They just can't keep business and that's not real positive for the town," Gaedtke added.

Dolpha Reed was a 30-year employee of the company and her job included folding patterns, which kept her very busy.

"I worked there during a good time. They employed a lot of people. I really enjoyed the job. It was nice seeing all of the wedding and ballroom-type dresses. It was a good place to work for," Reed said.

Simplicity was founded in New York City in 1927 and began manufacturing its patterns in Niles shortly after.

Today, the company's production, distribution, administration, customer service and customer relations, accounting, billing, credit and information systems all operate out of its 740,000-square-foot facility in Niles.

Simplicity is headquartered in New York, where it houses its executive management team, sales and marketing and product design employees in 42,000 square feet of leased office space.

Simplicity has retained CB Richard Ellis to market its Niles property for sale.


I don't know about y'all but this saddens me! Simplicity is one of my favorites! Yes, the 99 cent sales are great and I do stock up, but I would pay full price... I like them just that much! What do y'all think about this?

Monday, June 25, 2007

It's just another manic Monday!

Not really, but I loved that song from the 80's! So... what did you guys do this weekend? Me? Very little sewing! However, I did add a new addition to my sewing family: Meet the Brother SE-270D embroidery/sewing machine. I had been thinking about getting an embroidery machine, but I really didn't want to make the financial commitment of a used car and this little baby right here is good enough to get my feet wet. I haven't really done anything with it this weekend other than play with the monogramming feature, but I'm sure it will eventually come in handy. Don't you just love new toys?!

I was browsing in Books-A-Million and picked up a copy of Australian Stitches... this is a great magazine and has a really good series on
sewing "The Perfect Wardrobe". Great advice for all of those that are participating in the SWAP/Wardrobe Contest on Pattern Review.

Yesterday, we packed a picnic and took in a free concert at Vulcan Park - Coca-Cola Sundays in the Park, sponsored by Hot 107.7 , a local R&B station. The kids wanted to see Cupid and I was more interested in seeing Tank! LOL

It was a pretty good concert, but it was FREE and you do get what you pay for! ROFL

So, what did you guys do? Any productivity?

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Simplicity 3744 - Black & White Shift Dress

The palette for Spring/Summer 2007 is black and white, or more important -- black and white prints.

Project Details

Fashion Fabric: cotton pique (100% cotton)
Lining: batiste (100% cotton)
Notions: 20" invisible zipper; eye and hook; two 1" buttons; lace hem tape

Description: This is really a simple shift dress with princess seaming and darted bodice to add shape and styled with a boat neck and two front pockets. It is semi-fitted at the bust and easy-fitting through the hip.

This is a Threads Collection pattern that has separate patterns for B,C, and D cups, which make fittings a lot simpler since no FBA was required. This dress is constructed with princess seams that I serged and pressed flat. The only thing unique about this construction (to me) was the pocket. The dress does have neck and armhole facings. To prevent rolling, I understitched them and handstitched them down to the shoulder seam allowances. I cut the pattern in a size 14, I did slightly nip in the waist to prevent the dress from being too "tent-like". At 1" below the waist, I gradually brought the skirt portion out to a size 16 for more of an a-line effect.

I added a lining to the dress because I would just feel naked without one. LOL

I handstitched the lining to the to the facings and the zipper tape.

I serged and machine stitched the lace to the hem of the dress and handstitched the hem.

The back tab which was a great detail to this dress was applied by sewing the buttons to the dress and buttonholes on the tab and fastening it on. To pull the dress off and on, you just undo onside.
All in all, this was a very simple pattern. I just lengthen the process by doing extra things which were a personal preference.

Monday, June 18, 2007

How was your weekend?

Saturday, I ventured to my favorite supermarket in the world -- Whole Foods (the only one in the state) and loaded up on organic produce.Yesterday, we started the day off by serving Michael breakfast in bed for Father's Day (he loved that)! We took him to the movies to see Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (great movie).

Saturday, I did get some sewing done on Simplicity 3744, I should have pics by tomorrow.

So... what did y'all do?

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Q & A's

"Erica - your pants look great. I don't really understand what you mean about sewing the waistband and facing at an angle. Could you fill me in."
"I'm also curious about the waistband issue and eliminating the gap. Could you please explain that?"
"I would like to know a little bit more about the waistband, scooping out the crotch and eliminating the gap issues."
Let's see if I can try to explain this without pictures (I promise to take detail shots next time). I first scooped out the crotch curve (**Wedgie Alteration** to make the crotch more comfortable) about 1/4" to 1/2". At the CB (centerback) where I had gaposis, I sewed the waisband and the facing at the top about 1/2" from the SA (seam allowance) sewing down in an angle and ending at the bottom at the normal 5/8" SA. I hope this makes sense. LOL
"In your blog, could you talk about how you learned to sew so well?"
Practice, practice, practice! I read a lot (i.e. books, sewing magazines, blogs, sewing forums). And also, a lot of trial and error. Once you screw something up really bad, you'll remember not to do it next time.
"Is your photographer you lovely daughter?"
My photographer is my oldest, my 17 year old son Brian. He has a passion for photography... he even has it on his class schedule for this coming school year.

"How did you figure out which pieces to alter?"
"Do you make a muslin of your garment or just go ahead without?"
I measure all of the pattern pieces, making allowances for ease. If it's a pretty basic pattern, then I usually don't make a muslin. If it's something that will require a lot of fitting and tweeking, then yes, I do make one.
" I do have one question...does your pocket lining show?"
The outline of the pocket shows a tad bit, but not really. I can't believe I forgot to mention that I used organza for my pocket lining.
"So what is up next?!"
I'm currently working on Simplicity 3744... I should have it finished up by this weekend.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Simplicity 4135 - White Linen Pants

Project Details:

Simplicity 4135 - View A (modified)
Fashion Fabric: Linen (Linen/Polyester blend)
Lining: Cotton Batiste (100% cotton)
Notions: 7" zipper; two ½" buttons, one 5/8" button; ¼" wide bias tape and lace hem tape

I chose this pattern to make pants after making two pairs of shorts last year. It most resembles one of my favorite pair of casual pants - the Banana Republic Martin Fit Trousers. I really wanted a pair of white linen pants and I knew that using this fabric which is virtually transparent, I would have to line them. I decided to use batiste because it was heavy enough to serve it's purpose but still lightweight enough for Summer pants. Plus, it made a world of difference on how the pants draped.

To make the lining for these pants since the pattern did not provide instructions for one, I positioned the pocket yoke and the pants front together matching the dots and the notches and cut them as one piece added an inch to the lenth (leaving them one inch shorter than the pants). Since I was working with batiste, I used french seams on the inner and outer legs and just serged the crotch seam. I sewed the back darts the same as the pants, hemmed them 1 1/2 inches. I attached the lining by placing the wrong side to the wrong side of the pants, matching seams and darts and basted and then attached the waistband.

waistband, seam binding and lining


front pocket and back welt flap pocket

* Cut waistband in size 18
* cut front, back and pocket at the top in size 18, graduating to a size 20 at the fullest part of hip
* On the pants back, scooped out the crotch
* Added 2 inches to the length creating a 34" inseam.
* Use the Sandra Betzina method of installing a flat fly-front zipper.
* Added faux flap pockets with welts to the back.
* I used 1/2" buttons for the back pockets sewing them to the pants and made buttonholes on the flaps.
* Used a bias finish on the waistband facing as you would see in most RTW Ladies' trousers.
* Used lace hem tape for the hem on the fashion fabric and 1 1/2" hem on the lining.
* In order to prevent gaposis at the CB, I sewed the waistband and facings at an angle so that it would form to the shape of my waist and the small of my back.

MISSING -- Stepha Henry (Miami, FL)

If you're a blogger...it would be nice if you posted this as well to get a bit more awareness out there. Some folks have already begun expressing concern that this young lady's disappearance isn't getting the media attention similiar cases receive. Whereas that may be true...when you focus on THAT aspect of it...it takes away from the matter at hand...that this young lady is MISSING.

The BLOG WORLD is a media all it's own. This would be a good use for it. IN MY OPINION.

If you decide to post it...ask your blogging readers to do the same.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

The beginnings of a new D.I.Y. Fashionista!

If you're wondering what I've been doing for the past few days, I put my own sewing aside to teach my little one - Mikaela to sew. She has been begging and begging for me to teach her and I promised that as soon as school was out we'd start lessons. Please believe she held me to it. Last week was the first official week of the kids being at home for the Summer and we began it by shopping for her a sewing machine. We ended up getting her an inexpensive simple Brother LS-2125i. She read the instruction book from cover to cover and was sewing a straight stitch by the next day. I don't know about y'all, but I think that's pretty dang good for a 9 year old!

By the next day, she was begging for fabric and a pattern. I did a little research to find something that I felt she could handle (with assistance from me). What better choice than the first thing I learned to sew -- an apron. I picked Simplicity 4692 (I made one too! LOL) and she picked the fabric.

Since she has seen me lay out and cut a plenty of times, she was determined to do her own thing. I insisted that she use a highlighter to outline the pattern pieces before she cut them out.

It took us around four hours to sew the apron. I did the serging for her (she is so not ready for that yet), and did all of the pinning. Since the apron is trimmed in rick-rack, she had to really take her time to stay in a straight line.

But as you can tell, she is thrilled with her first project!

Saturday, June 02, 2007

I've been tagged!

By the Magnolia Diva!

Here are the rules:

A)Each person tagged gives 7 random facts about themselves.

B)Those tagged need to write in their blogs the 7 facts, as well as the rules of the game.

C)You need to tag 7 others and list their names on your blog. **

D)You have to leave those you plan on tagging a note in their comments so they know that they I have been tagged and to read your blog. **

7 Random Facts

  1. I was 17 when I graduated from high school.
  2. I was married at 21.
  3. My husband is 9 years older than me... yeah, a I know... what a dirty old man! ROTFLMAO
  4. I served 10 years in the military -- 6 years in the Army Reserves; 1 year inactive status and 3 years in the Air National Guard -- honorably discharged in 1998.
  5. I love cooking Italian, Creole and Southern Cuisine
  6. I never learned to drive a stick shift.
  7. I'm such an internet junkie, I drag my laptop all over the place.
** I'm not tagging... everybody in blogdom has done this already!

Friday, June 01, 2007

Clutch Magazine

If you aren't reading it you should be. Plus, they did a highlight of little ol' me! LOL

I've taken the pledge!

I Erica B., pledge that I shall abstain from the purchase of "new" manufactured items of clothing, for the period of 6 months. I pledge that shall refashion, renovate, recycle preloved items for myself with my own hands in fabric, yarn or other medium for the term of my contract. I pledge that I will share the love and post a photo of my refashioned, renovoated, recylcled, crafted or created item of clothing on the Wardrobe Refashion blog, so that others may share the joy that thy thriftyness brings!