Friday, May 31, 2013

2013 Sewing Rabbit Creative Team

As if me being on my way to Fabric Weekend 2013 and GNO in Los Angeles like right now is not exciting enough (read all about it HERE) then I have another veeeery exciting announcement:

I have been chosen as a contributing member of the 2013 Sewing Rabbit Creative Team.
I knooooooooooow! 
Once a month me (and a bunch of other really talented ladies (see them all HERE) are having a guest post on the blog Me Sew Crazy who is run by one of the people in the blogging world that I admire the most, the AMAZING Jess. 
I mean not only is she making her own blog that always have relevant and interesting posts, she is also participating in blog series and Project Sewn (where she of course made it to the finale - results today friday 31st - so maybe you should check that out too). But she is also the woman behind the amazing site SewSet where YOU can upload your patterns and tutorial for sale or for free, she arranges Girl's Night Out (I am attending my first one this weekend in Los Angeles which means I am actually going to meet her...and a lot of other amazing ladies) and The Digital Needle. And now she is giving smaller blogs like me a chance to showcase our stuff 'on the big screen'. Totally totally excited.
So keep an eye out for my first guest post there in June. Oh, and don't worry if you follow Sewing Like Mad I will for sure let you know when it is posting....(and I know you otherwise would, right!)
If you are a new reader coming from Me Sew Crazy to check out the new kid(s) in class (welcome!!) you can see some of my personal favorites and the links to the blog posts below.

Here are the links to the photos in the collage above.

Top row from left:
Celine pants knock off.
Japanese bubble dress.
Bulle de Savon knock off.
Knit culottes.
Red shirring shirt dress.
Jersey dress with a vintage feel.
My inner Grandma jersey dress.
Peplum sweatshirt.

Middle row:
Free printable separate collar pattern.
Summer jersey dress.

Bottom row:
Color block leggings.
Cotton summer skirts tutorial.
A-line skirt with snaps and pockets.

I have also updated my Sewing Tutorials page here on the blog and you can find all my tutorials so far there plus at SewSet.....many more to come with this new 'job'.
Anything specific you are dreaming of me making tutorials about?....within the sewing and pattern drafting area!...then leave me a comment, thanks!

See you soon again here and there!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Skirt Week 2013 - How to draft a custom fit skirt pattern with a wide waistband.

Okay, ooooookay first of all YAY for Skirt Week 2013.
If you have no idea what I am talking about I would suggest you check out THIS post at Crafterhours because that explains it all. But come right back because you don't want to miss this post, okay!

A year ago I participated in Skirt Week for the first time and I got the surprise of a lifetime. First of all I got pretty surprised that one of my skirts was chosen from the Flickr group to actual go to voting. Then I got not-so-surprised when my skirt got like the lowest number of votes (yeah, thanks for nothing guys ;-))) BUT I guess the judges felt sorry for me or something because (and now comes the surprise of a lifetime-part) then I won Judge's Choice for THIS a-line skirt. Whaaaaat, man I am still so proud of that. 
And now I almost feel like I won something again by being invited back to do a tutorial to (hopefully) inspire others to make skirts. Thanks Susan and Adrianna from Crafterhours who arrange Skirt Week!

So I was thinking how can I help and inspire the most and my answer (which is not necessary the right one but never the less my answer) a tutorial on how to draft a custom fit skirt pattern with your own measurements (hence custom fit...but you know......) 
The skirt I am going to show you how to make is a (kind of) half circle skirt with a wide fitted waistband. 
A wide fitted waistband is a great tummy control type of waistband (pretty sure I learned that word from What Not to Wear (when they teach them what to actually wear....not when they basically break them and their wardrobe down in the beginning!). AND a half circle skirt is great for thigh disguise (yep, totally made that word up myself).
In other words I am making a skirt that would look good on a lot of different female body types. And you don't actually have to have a tummy or thighs that needs any disguising to look good in the skirt. Juuust saying!!!

In the end I will show you a skirt I made using this method with my measurements. But the possibilities are really endless with this model so lots of chances to use your creativity.

First we need 4 measurements....let's call them A, B, C & D.

A: Circumference of your stomach/waist area where you want the waistband to start. Generally (on post teenage years people) this is like 1-2 in./2.5-5 cm below your belly button. But YOU decide remember! Do what looks best on your frame and what you feel most comfortable with.   

B: The height of your desired waistband. I made mine 3 in/7.5 cm.

C: Circumference of your low stomach/high hip area where you want your waistband to stop. You get this by: start where you measured A, then measure down with the B that you decided and at that spot you measure the circumference and you got C.

D: From C to your desired length of the skirt. I choose just around knee length and ended up with 20.5 in/52 cm.

Along the way you need to make some Kindergarten level calculations....you will be juuust fine!


 Now that you made your muslin, tried it on and made the changes to the skirt and waistband pattern (if there were any) you are ready to draft the pattern for the lining....if you want lining in your skirt. I kind of prefer not - especially in summer skirts - but some of my fabric for the finished skirt was a bit sheer so there was no way around it.
1) You use your skirt pattern but you don't need it as wide as the actual skirt. So what do you do? YES, you use same method that we used to make the waistband more narrow to fit measurement A
But because you don't want to cut in your finished paper skirt pattern you simply just fold it somewhere in the middle. Why do we not just take it off from the side seam? Because then we would loose our 90 degree angles which are so important for the finished 'lines' in the skirt. Try to sew something together with a 80 degree angle and you will see what I mean....it will be pointy not a straight line.
I have already made the fold on this 1) photo between the dotted lines.
The top curve (that is going to be sewed on the bottom of the inner waistband) will become a bit pointy when you fold (those pesky angles) so when you copy the pattern you will need to smoothen that out. See yellow dotted lines on photo 1).
2) Here you see the copied lining pattern with a smooth top curve and still all 90 degree angles. Since you copied your skirt pattern that already have seam allowance you don't need to add that. But you do need to shorten it so it does not stick out under your skirt fabric. It shortened it so it just covers the sheer fabric but again that is up to your skirt design.
3) This photo is just to show you how to sew the inner waistband to the lining. When you, in the very end, sew outer waistband (with skirt) and inner waistband (with lining) together  - right against right side of fabric - at the top waistband seams, you will get a skirt with no visible seam allowance - at least when you look from the top. Since the skirt and lining does not have same length and width we obviously does not close it by the hems.

And now I think it is time to see that skirt I made, right!



A curvy/wavy color block skirt made with three different thin cotton fabrics that all have a great drape which is kind of important in this type of skirt.
In case you are interested in an actual sewing tutorial for this specific skirt I can tell you I have plans of making that too in the near future. So keep an eye on my blog and if you are a new reader visiting from Crafterhours (welcome!!) maaaaybe you should consider following me with Facebook, Bloglovin or how you prefer to follow blogs! Whatever you need for this is in my right side column.

Now go make your own skirts! (Told you I can be bossy!)

Please click HERE to see which link parties this post is (going to) participating in.

I was featured here, yay:
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Monday, May 27, 2013

Fabric Weekend 2013 + Girl's Night Out - Los Angeles.

So why am I standing there in our garden making awkward poses in my new dress?


Because I am going to this:

Fabric weekend logo

And this:

BlogPostLogo

YES, it says Los Angeles...as in California, as in this next weekend, as in meeting over twenty other sewing bloggers for a weekend full of fabric shopping and fun and as in WOW I am excited!
It is my first time going to any type of blogger arrangement and I am not going to lie....I think I might be a bit star struck meeting all these amazing bloggers. Some of which I was already loving and some new ones to love.
SO what does a designer and seamstress do to prepare herself for a situation like this? Makes a new dress of course! The awkward faces hopefully stays home in the garden in front of the camera!
If you want to read more about the dress you can see my former posts HERE and HERE.

There are some amazing sponsors on board for this arrangement: 

Michael levine logo
Michael Levine is a staple in the Los Angeles Fabric District. Between their main store, the upholstry fabric store and the Loft where you can buy fabric by the pound, you will always walk away with bags of fabric you can't wait to use. Thankfully they have a great online store as well. Their online brand is lowpricefabric.com and you'll love it.

Joann logo
Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores. Even in a fabric heaven like Los Angeles you still know you can find exactly what you need at Jo-Anns.

Mood logo
Mood Fabrics has a new and improved store in Los Angeles that is sure to excite anyone interested in apparel fabric. Their online store moodfabrics.com is also new and improved! 
And YES Mood is the shop we always see the designers get their supplies from in Project Runway!

Seriously!!! I can't wait!!
I will for sure be posting photos during the trip on Instagram so make sure you follow along @sewinglikemad.


Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Knock it Off - Bulle de savon.

Okay, there are projects and then there are PROJECTS and this is definitely one of the latter. Holy smokes I have been working forever on this dress and it has been SO much fun.

This is my contribution to Elegance & Elephant's great series Knock it Off. I love this series and I am so happy and honored that Heidi invited me along again. Thank you!
The super short explanation is: find a piece of clothes (adult or for kids) and either copy or get inspired by it and make it into a piece of kids clothing.

Last time I chose the 'inspired by' route (you can see it HERE) but this time I chose the copy route. I am SO much in love with the original that I immediately knew I wanted to make my item as close to the original as possible.


And here it is the original. First of all sorry about the color confusion - this is not the front and back of the same dress! But I pinned this quite a long time ago - before I knew about this series - and I only pinned the front side of one color combination and then the back side of the other color combination and now the dress is sold out on this Japanese web shop where I found it and I have not been able to find any other photos of it - trust me I have tried!
This is also why I have no price on the original dress but it was something in yen....hmmm such useful information I am giving out on this blog, right!


This dress is crazy and I don't remember ever made anything with that many pattern pieces. Notice how the one side is a bit wider than the other? That means that not only does the dress of course have a top and bottom/skirt part and a front and back side it ALSO has a left and a right side - ahhhhhh. Basically every pattern piece you only cut once. And the few ones you actually can cut double, like sleeve and sleeve cuff, you have to cut in two different fabrics. Yes, holy smokes.
I knew I had to make a muslin first and I started making just the bodice and sleeves (no color blocking or skirt yet) with a shirt pattern from a Japanese book that was so off (as in I had to make massive changes to get the bodice and sleeve fit the way I wanted it to.) that I would claim this dress is totally self drafted. I hope that is okay with you?! 
After all the changes to the top I made another muslin with the new bodice and sleeve pattern and this time I added a skirt. I made the final corrections to the pattern and then I started adding all the color blocking lines. Next step was tracing all the pattern pieces (top, bottom, front, back, left, right....you get the picture!) and add seam allowance to it all. Then deciding which fabrics/colors to go where. I used cotton voile for most of it except the stripy one which hmmmm I think is a rayon (found it in the sale department at Joanns). And finally the sewing.....yeeees with French seams all the way (what is wrong with me?). Told you it was a PROJECT! 


I did change a few things from the original. First of all I am not sure all their color blocking elements are different pieces. In other words I think they have printed some fabric that fits this design. Fx the grey part on the front skirt and the salmon part on the back skirt under the waist? What do you think? Oh well I don't know how to print fabric so that was an easy decision.
And since I was actually drafting all these pattern pieces I decided to move the gathering on the back skirt under the curved lower back waist piece - simply because I thought that could look super cool.
And you might have thought...did she forget the pockets? And the answer is yes and no.
I absolutely love the pockets on the original adult version but I was not sure there was enough room in the children's version without it looking cramped. All along I planned to at least make the pockets and try them on the skirt.....and somehow I must have forgot because I realized they were not on when I had been editing the photos for like an hour.....in other words a bit too late. Doh!
Last thing that is different is of course the colors. I knew I wanted navy instead of the charcoal grey and I also really wanted mint green and baby pink. I was not able to find mint green cotton voile at that time and the baby pink I bought (online) was so pale that it looked almost white when it was just one layer and that is not a good color for my little pale red head. But I am happy with the colors I ended up with but boy it was a hard decision - soooo many possibilities and since this dress is not one you just whip up in an hour you want it to be right the first time. 

This photo.....ridiculous, I know!! But the part where the wind catches the skirt is just peeeerfect so you just have to live with the rest. AND this photo makes me laugh so it is not all bad. 

And now to the tutorial. Just to be clear this is not a French seam tutorial (because there are so many of those). This is a tutorial on how you can still use a French seam even though you are sewing a shirt sleeve with ease.
And just a quick explanation of what sleeve ease is. Even though it looks like the sleeve fits perfectly into the arm hole opening when it has been sewed in, in fact the sleeve is bigger than the arm hole. The ease is lifting the sleeve ever so slightly but with no gatherings or anything like that. Make sense? Okay, tutorial time:


Just a note to why I am using my overlocker/serger to sew a french seam. I think I have talked about it before but in case I have any new readers..... instead of sewing the first narrow seam on my sewing machine and then afterwards cut it down so that threads don't stick out through the finished second seam, I simply sew the first seam with a 3 thread overlock. That way the seam is already cut and smooth. I learned this trick from my good friend Rikke who noticed that technique in a vintage dress she was altering. You can just image us geeking over a discovery like that, right! Why did we not think of that, haha.


That's it...no more for me today.

But make sure to follow along the Knock it Off series because there are some amazing ladies participating. And if you have been inspired to make your own knock off item please upload it to the Flickr pool. Heidi features her favorites from time to time and it could be YOU!

Elegance & Elephants

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Friday, May 17, 2013

Bringing home guest post from PR&P + winner of Girl Charlee Fabrics giveaway.

Today I am bringing home the guest post I did on Project Run & Play last week.

 I really love to make every day clothes with a little twist because lets face it that is quite a big part of life. And sewing with knits for kids is just perfect. It is comfortable for them to wear and it washes easily. Peeerfect!

So here we are with another summer version of the My Inner Grandma Dress - this time even in summer colors. Another version you think? Check out HERE, HERE and HERE. The pattern is self drafted and it might be one of my favorites. One of those you have in your head for a while and then it almost comes out better than you imagined.


The navy/ballet pink stripy fabric is this gorgeous super soft light weight cotton jersey blend from Girl Charlee. And if you after this post is inspired to make your own knit dress you should make the jump to their web shop because that is amaaaazing. But please stay here for a bit first so you don't miss the tutorial.

I am not going to give you a full tutorial because I just don't see the point when the pattern so far is only hanging out in my sewing room. SO I would rather focus on one part of the dress. In this case the double layered front- and back-in-one shoulder yoke and then a few snapshots of the rest of the sewing process. I hope that is okay with you ladies!


First I wanted to show you the parts that go into the dress. I was not able to get it all in one photo so I divided it in top part and bottom part. The parts involved in the tutorial is in this photo. Notice the 'front top'. I have made it with a fold over/build in front facing. In the end buttons/snaps will run along the CF (center front) purple line. Then there is the yoke which is cut on fold TWO times - so there is actually four layers in this photo. This way we can use to the second yoke to cover up seam allowance on the inside of the dress. And that is what this tutorial is about.

Just a quick look at the bottom skirt parts. As you can see does the front and back pieces have different curves for a better fit.

Okay, back to yoke tutorial. Sew the gathering threads and sew front and back top pieces to the outer yoke - right side against right side of fabric. 
Btw as you can see have I chosen not to have the gathering go all the way to the sleeve opening (it stops like one inch before) simply because...well, gathering adds fabric/volume and this is all good and kind of the point but I don't want it near the side of the sleeve seams where it can almost look like a bad fit.

Now you take the inside yoke and sew the front part of yoke to the top of the front facing (right against right). See inside those 'round' yellow circles - should we just pretend my three year old helped me make these?! Drawing course up next, jeeez! The rest of the front yoke seam towards the sleeve opening is free for now. I just folded the seam allowance up into the yoke with the iron. This is a look on the inside of the dress. You can still see the seam allowance where the back top and back yoke has been sewed together....but not for long - uhh the suspense!


Now to the fun part. You add your neck rib to your neck opening (right against right) and then you fold the front top/front facing in that folding line I showed on an earlier photo. Basically you wrap your inside and outside neck opening around the neck rib and sew it all in one go. See photo above.


And when you fold it out again it looks like this. This is a photo of the inside of the dress. Next step is to sew the back inside yoke to the back top and outside yoke seam so that that seam is hidden too. First you fold the seam allowance on the back yoke inside the yoke and then lie it down and cover the seam that is already there (back top to outside yoke). Then you reach your hand from the side (sleeve opening) into the middle of the seam (this is easiest to do with two rounds of sewing because of the narrow space in the back yoke) and grab the seam allowance from the inside yoke and the seam already there (back top to outside yoke) pull out and sew from CB and out to the sleeve opening. This you do from each sleeve opening and also on the rest of both front yoke seams too (the part that is not sewed to the front facing). WHY in the world did I not take more photos of these steps, sorry!!


I found this photo from another project but the same technique. Your seam allowances end up hidden inside a double yoke. Make more sense now?


And here you can see the final result - again seen from the inside of the dress. Now that I see this photo I am kind of annoyed I just overlocked those front facing edges....bias tape next time.


Here you see a photo of the rest of the sewing. Side seams of top, waist and skirt has been sewed as well as the sleeves and hemming of skirt and sleeves with a narrow rib. Next is sewing the dress' three main parts together horizontal and sew on the sleeves. Apparently I did not feel like standing on a chair photographing that day so I had to overlap the parts a bit to make it fit in the photo. After drawing course comes photo course, promise!

One of the things I hate when I sew this dress is getting the lines from the yoke and the top part of the sleeve to match. But I know that if I rush and tell myself it is good enough even though they don't meet up then that is all I am going to see when my kids are wearing this. Ehhh, I think that is being called an (annoying) perfectionist but I can't help it and I have decided just to accept it. Does that photo with the YES! also makes you feel good or is it just me being crazy, huh?!


Dress is almost done and, well, I think the photos says it all: shirring next!

I have shared this shirring tip before but in case someone missed it. When you are done sewing the shirring use your steam iron to blow steam on the seams (from inside or outside it does not matter). Don't touch the dress - keep iron like 1-2 inches above and the elastic will gather a bit more. You can also give it a whirl in your tumble dryer - yes you got it - it is the heat that does the magic trick. Above you can see the difference.



Pheeew is anyone still with me here?
Because now it is time to announce the winner of two yards knit of your choice:
Lindsey Somerville.
Big congrats!!
And thank you everyone for playing along!

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