Thursday, August 29, 2013

Sew homemade bias tape the easy way and with no pre-ironing.

Today I am bringing home my July post for the Sewing Rabbit Creative Team.

It is a good one.
Sew homemade bias tape the easy way and with no pre-ironing.

First I decided to design and make a top that used several options of bias tape. During the design and fitting process - which by the way gave me soooo much trouble for such a fairly simple top - I ended up making this shirring and belt combination instead of darts to make it fitted at the waist and I absolutely love that detail. More about that in the end of this post.

I got inspired to tell you about this no pre-iron bias tape-technique a day when I saw Hayley from Welcome to The Mouse House posting a status on her Facebook page saying that she just spend two hours making bias tape....and I thought hmmmm, Hayley is an absolutely AMAZING seamstress so if she does not know about this techniques maybe there are others out there who does not know about it either. (Hayley I hope you take this as an compliment - that is for sure what it is meant as - none of us know it all, right!!!)

Okay so what is this about? Well, you won't come around cutting your bias strips, ugh.
Before starting to cut you need to decide what width you want your FINISHED sewed on bias tape.
On this shirt I decided to have a 1 cm  (3/8 in.) width. So to determine how wide you cut your bias tape first you multiply your finished width with 4 (a bias tape ends up being folded four times, right) but because all that folding also takes some width away I add another like 0.5 cm (3/12 in.). That always seems to do the trick.

A general algebra would look like this for users of centimeters:

(F.W.* x 4) + 0.5 cm = Cut bias tape this width

In inches:
(F.W.* x 4) + 3/12 in = Cut bias tape this width

*Finished Width of bias tape on your garment.

But after they are cut you are ready to sew them on your garment. Below is the tutorial. Since I was working with a garment with gatherings it was necessary to make a pattern for the neck bias tape since the bias tape would be the finished length of the neck line. I also originally planned on gatherings at the sleeve openings but skipped it along the design process - but since I already made the pattern piece for the bias tape I just decided to keep it even though is was not necessary.

After flickering through my growing collection of Japanese Sewing Books for the 117th time the other day I noticed that they use the same technique for sewing bias tape. Yay, I love Japanese Sewing Books.

Before I show you the other tutorial for the bias tape hem I just want to go through this top at bit more. The neckline is gathered only at the sleeves and a tiny bit at center back and has a placket center front with snaps. It is made with this ultra light baby pink cotton voile and for the bias tapes and plackets I used this cool cotton yellow neon dot from Michael Miller. Another great buy from Fabric Weekend LA at Michael Levine. The ribbon is gross grain.

Okay, who is ready for another tutorial? Yay! This one shows you how to hem garments with a wide bias tape. This technique can be used both on the outside of the garment to make a visible band or on the inside instead of either a facing or for a more luxurious alternative to the usual fold and stitch hem.

To determine the width to cut your bias tape is super simple on this one. 

Seam allowance + finished width + seam allowance = cut bias tape this width

Last I want to show you some more close up photos of the shirring / belt combination.

It honestly just happened a bit by coincidence. With my body type (narrow waist and wide hips/thighs) I know that accentuating my waist looks best on me. 

When drafting patterns you can use several methods to do that and my first idea was simply to add front and back vertical darts but discarded the idea because I think it can give a bit of a formal look that I did not want for this top. 
Another option is shirring. Now I was a bit worried about adding shirring all the way around the waist since the top has a placket and buttons. I was simply worried that the shirring would pull the two plackets apart - and an exposed belly button was not the look I was going for either. And well that's how I came to the idea of only adding shirring in the sides of the waistline. And when that was done...well, I am not even sure how the idea of making those little triangles and adding the gross grain ribbon came but I am happy with the result.
I did not make a tutorial for it because well there is really no secret to it. What you see is how you do it. Three rows of shirring, sew and place the triangles and add the gross grain ribbon before you sew on the triangles. 
I will be happy to answer any further questions if this is not clear.

Happy sewing!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Pattern testing: Straight Grain's Hanami top/dress.

After my Flip This Pattern-post on Frances Suzanne I think anyone who reads this blog  knows that I am a big fan of An's (from Straight Grain) work. And I felt lucky when I was chosen amongst the undoubtedly many applications to be a pattern tester for her newest top and dress pattern Hanami.

Being a tester for An is not a lot of work because she knows what she is doing and have done most of the work for you. So basically what you have to do it choose between her myriads of great options that her patterns come with like dress or top, flutter or tulip sleeve invisible zipper or a fancy crossed back and Peter Pan collar or no collar. AND she was even letting us choose our own combinations - to actually have free choice as a pattern tester is quite a luxury. I hope she got all options tested!

So what did I choose? Dress with flutter sleeves and invisible zip. The zipper is necessary if you want the Peter Pan collar - and of course do I want that, right!
I love that it is so narrow. Well, I kind of love everything about this dress. So flippin' cute, seriously! Simple and easy to sew but with enough well made details for it not to look simple.
And I thiiiink Wilma likes it too. Ha, look at that big smile.

You can buy your own copy of the pattern HERE.

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Monday, August 26, 2013

Sew Many Books - The Fashion Version.

Okay, this title requires a bit of explanation!
Today I am over at Nap-Time Creations as part of her Sew Many Books-series. 
Nope, I am not going to tell you which book I have chosen....You have to go look for yourself of course, hehe! And if you actually are coming from the book-post: Welcome!

But what I will tell you is that I struggled with this challenge. Make an item of clothing after a children's book. Why did I struggle? Well, I am not much of a costume person (that is just me - nothing wrong with people that like sewing costumes, okay!!). I like to sew things that are being worn a lot - that is probably why I don't enjoy sewing big party dresses either. I am en everyday clothes kind of person. Soooo what to do? Make the book's character's clothes into something more wearable of course. 
The character is wearing a yellow shirt with 4 big different colored buttons - yeah, that would probably not be worn again, ha!
I found this shirt in the Japanese pattern book Girls Clothing by Akiko Mano and that fit the bill with button placket, collar and collar stand.
I did some changes to the pattern but will not repeat them here since I am telling about them in the post at Nap-Time Crafters.

The fabric is a neon lime green cotton corduroy (Kaufman 21 Wale) and the dot is THE neon dot from Michael Miller that I already have used on SO many project so far and absolutely love. I bought mine at Michael Levine remember?!

After the photo shoot for the book part of this post I removed the big colored buttons that I had just sewed on slightly and with no button holes.
And changed them into these beauties - oh the stripy buttons - from Lots of Buttons.
I absolutely love them.

The pattern has pockets and since Wilma suddenly requests pockets in everything I knew I had to keep them. And I used the dot fabric to create a contrast with them.

I also made some matching leggings. I really did try not to make the outfit too matchy matchy but arghhh it is definitely my weakness. I mean I had this lime knit that just matched the corduroy from the top peeeeerfectly. AH, I could not help it!
You can read all about these leggings and see a lot of other versions in THIS post.


And last but not least I also had the pleasure of a model with attitude. Jeez, those 5 year old ladies.
Don't worry no Mommy/photographer got hurt in this session - it is just a leaf from the tree she is throwing at me - I guess we are done then! Tsk tsk tsk.

Thank you for coming by.

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Tuesday, August 20, 2013

From leggings to slouchy pants. Easy pattern alteration tutorial.

This month we decided to divide my Sewing Rabbit Creative Team post up in two parts.
On Me Sew Crazy you can get some tips to rethread your serger and unpick your serger stitch the absolute easiest way. If you do not already know these simple tricks they are going to blow your mind (I hope, haha).

And here I am showing you how to with a few steps can transfer your leggings pattern into a pair of stylish but still super comfortable knit slouchy pants. 

Before we start the tutorial I just want to add that it is a 'real time' tutorial so I actually ended up with two fittings and extra adjustments before I was satisfied and you are getting it all in the photos below.

1: Start with a basic legging pattern. This one self drafted. But there are several great tutorials for self drafting leggings out there in blog land. THIS one from 'One Little Minute' is very detailed. And THIS one from 'Make It and Love It' is the fast one where you trace another pair of leggings. And if you are not the self drafting type then 'Go to Patterns' have their bestseller Go To Leggings pdf sewing pattern for sale at their web shop HERE. In other words lots of options!

2: The first thing you do is copy your leggings pattern because you have to start cutting into it to add the width. Because I only wanted the width in the thighs I first cut of the pattern around the knee. Then I made some vertical cuts in the top part all the way down to the knee line so that the paper only just stays together with like a thread. And then I spread out the pattern as seen above on photo 2.

3: Then you trace the new shape to a new piece of paper. Don't worry about the curve that happens to the knee line when you spread out the top part. Just reattach the lower knee piece to the spread out top part like photo 2 shows - so the sides are touching. To lower the crotch seam we have to make the crotch seam longer, right! So I am adding 3 cm ( 1 3/16 in ) to the top of the pattern as seen on photo 3. That is much easier than lowering the bottom front and back seam and the result is in my opinion the same.

4: Now I thought I was done and sewed up a sort of a wearable muslin - if they were good that is! 
Hmmmm, I was not completely satisfied but I knew I was going in the right direction. The width in the upper thighs was right but they were too tight around the knees. I only wanted them to be tight under the knees. 
As a side story this first version ended on my three year old. Since she has shorter legs the thigh width fitted her perfectly (get it? The distance from top to knees are shorter, right!). They are of course too long in the full length but with a few roll ups (or an alteration if Mommy would ever get around to that (don't think so)) and they are good to go!   

Okay, carry on now Mie......

5: Here you see what I added to the pattern after the first fitting. I also thought they needed a bit of extra length only in the back crotch seam (sorry, I have no photo of that so you just have to take my word for it.) but since I was already adding to the thigh width I also added a bit to the back crotch seam. In the front I only added to the thigh, knee and a tiny bit to the lower leg.

6: Time for second wearable muslin and this time I was satisfied.

7: I wanted to add pockets to make them more pants alike. So I simply traced my pattern again. This time making a front and back pant pattern piece by simply splitting the pattern at the seam side - just remember to add seam allowance. If you need help to draft a side pocket pattern I have made a tutorial for you right HERE

8: DONE! These are made in this really soft grey cotton jersey with tiny silver dots from Girl Charlee - seriously where else, right!

That is all for me today. Thank you!

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Monday, August 19, 2013

Announcing Sewing for Kindergarten series and sew along.

Eeeek, here we go! My first ever series! Okay, calm down Mie, more precisely today is the announcement for my very first series: Sewing for Kindergarten.
It is for sure fun to work behind the scenes and arrange a series, finding the participants, trying to get sponsors but telling the world (okay okay blog land!) about it is certainly a little bit more fun.

I guess it would have made sense if I got the inspiration for the this series because my oldest daughter starts in Kindergarten this year (which she does!) BUT I had absolutely no plans of making her anything specific. Yup, THAT kind of Mom, ha!
What inspired me was actually the most inconsistent blogger I know, the lovely Chelise Patterson - I mean her last post is like from April - but oh that Easter dress with the sequin collar!!! So! she posted a photo on Instagram with the coolest t-shirt she made for her daughter Drew for Kindergarten. And I love, like L.O.V.E. everything she makes and I really wants her to blog some more so I thought lets make a series, invite her and get her going again...... Okay, not quite so (but that would have been fun too) but it made me think about that there must be other sewing bloggers with kiddos that start in Kindergarten. I started asking around and you have no idea what a group of superstars I have got my hands on for this series. WOW, I am blown away.
See for yourself below. Click on the names to check out their blogs but please come back because there is so much more, okay!!

So these lovely ladies are going to show us an outfit or more on their blog for the next almost 4 weeks that they have made for their kindergartner. And what is extra fun is that we have all types of kindergartners. The traditional ones, the home schooled ones, the ones who have to wear a uniform (but the participant is going to show what she would have put on them if they did not have to wear a uniform - we are all allowed to dream, right.) and we have a few aunts sewing for their nieces starting in Kindergarten. We even have a Danish one who will be 6 years old because that's when we (they ;-) start in 'børnehaveklasse' as we call it in Danish. 
We are going to see school and kid appropriate everyday clothes with the twists that someone who sews has the chance to do. Quite frankly it is the type of clothes that I enjoy to do the most.

And I hope you enjoy it too because here comes the bonus (besides the giveaway that is also starting today - new post. Too much to cramp into this one!). 
YOU can sew for your child, upload to the 3 Flickr groups - Pre-school, Elementary and Middle/high school (they might be uploading themselves in this group. How cool would that be?!) 
I promise that I in the end I will show case a lot of your work from the Flickr groups here on the blog. Gosh, I really hope you are in to this so there will be something to show, please!

The Flickr groups are already open (links further down). The end date of the sew along is going to be kept a bit open because of a certain competition Project Run & Play that I unexpectedly but very happily has been invited to compete in basically the same time as this series will run. But when I get the boot from PR&P I will, together with the series contestants, be able to concentrate on finding a winner from each of the 3 groups.
I am sorry if that all sounds a bit confusing - please ask if I need to clarify something! 
What is NOT confusing is the prizes. HELLO!!!
See below for the amazing sponsors. EACH group winner will win ALL of these things.

I KNOW!!!!
So is anyone still with me or have you run off to start up the sewing machine?
Because if you are still here, here are the links to the 3 Flickr Groups.
They are going to be on my sidebar during the whole time too so you can easily find them.

And there is also a button for you to put on your blog (if you have one) and feel like that sort of things. I would love if you did! 
And feel free to share the love too if you think you know someone who would enjoy to sew along. Remember Grandmas can sew for their grandchildren too. The only thing that count is that the child wearing the homemade school and kid appropriate clothes is actually belonging to the group their photo has been uploaded to. AND that the clothes has been made within the last three months from this post is published.

Sewing Like Mad

SO what was that thing about a GIVEAWAY? Yup, I got one of those too!
Jump HERE to participate.

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This competition is open to international participants but please know that free shipping is NOT included (for either US or international addresses except Gold Star Tool that always has free shipping to US addresses. Lots of Buttons has free shipping if you buy for over $20 and Girl Charlee if you buy for over $99 - but again US addresses ONLY). So whatever you buy for your three gift cards you will have to pay shipping for wherever you live. You can of course use your amount of the gift card for shipping but will get less goodies then.
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