Friday, July 31, 2009
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Now that I built it up, I bet you are dying to know what the heck I am talking about, so here is a short explanation and a link to a video example of understitching for those that may need to actually do it some day:
As some of you know when you are sewing a garment that has a lining, said lining tends to roll toward the right side of the product. Sometimes this can be cute if the lining is a contrasting fabric, but sometimes not. Well, to keep this from happening, especially around necklines and armholes, you can use understitching. All you have to do is sew the lining to the seam allowance as close to, but not on the seam. I must admit that I pressed my garment first, pressing the seam toward the lining. I like ironing before sewing, it seems to keep everything in better order that way.
That is all. Yeah for simple, but (hopefully) effective methods!
So now the dress:
The colors in the photo seem a little bit funky, but they aren't really. It is just a green bodice and ruffle and a blue body with ducks, frogs, and turtles on it. This is my first McCalls pattern (Number to be added when at a later date). Although it might have been a bit better than the Simplicity patterns that I have used, I was still confused in places.
The biggest confusion was how EXACTLY to attach the ruffle. They didn't really discuss it, so I did it my own way which left two raw edges. I read the instructions several times, but one raw edge at the top of the ruffle (see picture below) really does seem to be the intention of the pattern maker. The other raw edge was on the body of the dress under the ruffle. It never said to hem the body. So, I just did a triple zig-zag on both the upper raw edge of the ruffle and the lower raw edge of the body. It didn't say where to attach the ruffle, so I just attached 1/4" of seam allowance on the body.
There were two other problems: the size and the gathering of the ruffle. I knew the size was a little big because Sophia was actually really excited about this dress and stripped down to try it on before I even had the ruffle sewn. It looked cute, but too big around. I experimented with putting a piece of elastic, the length of Sophia's width in the back bodice between the outside and the lining. I will have to wait until tomorrow to find out if it worked.
I have found, like so many sewers before me, that gathering sucks. I don't know if you can tell in the picture above, but the gathering on the left side is almost nonexistent. The thread broke as I was trying to attach the ruffle and I was just too lazy (and, as always, too determined to get done NOW) that I did not go back and re-baste and re-gather. Other areas of the ruffle are super gathered because as I was attaching and trying to loosen some of the gather to match the skirt, but it would not loosen. I did not want to break any more thread, so I just opted for uneven ruffling.
These mistakes are why I have a hard time with the idea of selling or even giving away clothes. Do people really want clothes that have mistakes? I am excited, though, about having a sewing circle. I plan on taking this dress and the pattern to our next meeting and asking them if they can give suggestions. Maybe, if they can have some good ideas, next time I won't have so many mistakes.
Hopefully, if Sophia and Amelia cooperate, I will update with a pic of Sophia in the dress.
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
I am afraid that our lovely little Amelia has turned into a screaming, unhappy-unless-you-are-holding-her thing that we barely know what to do with. She just doesn't eat and then turns around and screams until you feed her, like you were letting her starve. She is content playing in the floor until you dare to move (an INCH) and then she screams until you go to comfort her. And woe to those who dare to put her down when she does not want it. I don't know how to explain how I feel after a day like this, but suffice it to say, not good. After a week, in tears would be how I describe it.
Today was particularly bad with Amelia starting her mattress stomping (that and crib kicking are our alerts that she is waking) at 5:20 AM. She didn't make a verbal sound until 6:10, but who could sleep with their 9 month old kicking the mattress in the room right above them!! So I fed her and, unlike normal, put her back to bed. I knew it was a mistake, but I wanted to see if she would sleep until 7:00. She did. In fact, she slept until 8:30. The funny thing is: During that 2 hour period even though I got to take a shower AND have a nice breakfast with Sophia, I KNEW that this was going to cause problems. Well, it did. She SCREAMED from 10 to 12 for no apparent reason.
Poor Heather, our babysitter, was here while I was upstairs sewing. After 20 minutes, I came to relieve her. She and Sophia went outside to swim while I fed Amelia, hoping that that was the key. It wasn't. An hour later she was still screaming as Heather brought Sophia up so that I could see the fire ant bites. With background screaming, Sophia showed me her bites and then started screaming herself and clutching at her butt. I looked and there were two fire ants just walking around her anus. I felt so bad for her because at that point, when fire ants are biting you in your private region, even a mother's love won't help you.
Now, a couple of hours full of benadryl, food and a movie, the girls are in bed and the house is quiet. I am wondering what tomorrow this afternoon will bring and if I will be able to handle it because I am, mentally at least, exhausted.
And really, no joking...50 min. into her first nap of the day, while I am writing this, she starts to cry.
I'm off to have a beer...
Sunday, July 26, 2009
We are on our way to Germany in the next few weeks and I wanted to make something for my friend and Sophia's Godmother, Anna. We are not going to see them this trip due to bad planning by me, but I still wanted to make her and her son, Filippo, something. I have also been wanting to try the Everything Tote from Weekend Sewing, so it was a perfect opportunity to do both. The orange bag was my mock-up. I wanted to try out the pattern first and get out a few kinks before I made it as a gift. I had also read online that it was a HUGE bag, so I wanted to try a smaller version.
As so many people have blogged about, the bag is pretty simple to put together. The shape gives it some style and makes it a bit cooler than a normal tote, but basically it is a tote and those are easy now (one class and 6 or 7 totes later). The two main problems that I found are associated with the attachment of the binding and handles.
I added a bit of embroidery because I have to make use of my machine!!
I made changes to the binding and handles. I don't know how to explain it, but I will try. The instructions had one making a lined bias tape that was folded three times by the end of the project. On the bag below, I still lined the bindings and handles, but I only folded it twice. This meant that they are a bit wider and much easier to sew. It also took care of covering the inside seams since I had plenty of material to fold to the inside. As you can see at the side, I opted not to overlap the handles. I am not sure if that was a smart idea and I am contemplating sewing the two edges together, but again, it prevented me from having a super thick area to sew over.
All in all, I am pleased with both bags and the whale. I have learned some new stuff and got back into sewing. That was a bit difficult after our trip to TN. I also have to say that it is much easier to sew for others than for oneself. I like my new orange bag, but I really didn't need it. That seems to be my thought on most things. I also like that I take more time and do a better, prettier job on gifts than I do for my own things. For myself, I want to make it and make it NOW. For others, I usually have a deadline, but I also want to be proud of what they get.
That is all for now. I will post soon and share some of the pictures from our Dollywood trip.
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
She can now do this with just one hand and it doesn't seem to take as much effort. I need to lower the playpen to its lowest point, but she is so cute peeking over the top!
Back to the sewing circle...It all came about because Jodi had sewn several dresses to donate to a garage sale to benefit Iva (http://www.saveiva.org/home.shtml), Melissa's sister-in-law. We all want to help raise money for Iva's cancer treatment, so my second dress from last night will be donated. I hope that we get some other things made so that a "handmade products" link can be added to Iva's donations page. This is still just in the "we should..." phase, so we will have to wait and see. If you would like to donate before then, please do. Currently, as well as donating, you can purchase pictures by Dayna (http://daynalintonphotography.zenfolio.com/saveiva) with 100% of the proceeds going to help Iva.
I think it is wonderful when you can do something that is fun and still help people. There seems to be a lot of that in the handmade community. I wish I had discovered this long ago. Just image what I could have done in Europe with no job AND no kids.