Sunday, 21 December 2014

First Marsala, Now This!

I've wanted to rock the grey hair look for ages. It doesn't go over all that well at my ultra conservative suburban work environment. And there is nothing that can send chills down the spine of my hair dresser (bless her heart, she's an awesome and classy lady) than me casually saying that I don't mind the grey. Some people just don't get why I want to give up dying my hair.  

This article might help them understand. Yes, that right, grey is the it-hair colour for 2015!
“Grey hair is becoming a stylish and fashionable option for both older and younger women alike as the mindset towards the hair colour changes. It can actually make a woman look softer, more premium, more interesting – younger, even, if done in the right way.”
I'm quite thrilled about this. And you know what, I'm going to do it. I'm going to let my hair go grey  to its natural colour and I don't give a rat's behind what anyone thinks about it.

I like the sounds of 2015.

Anyway, I should get back to tidying up the sewing space and get back to sewing those last few gifts.

Happy Sewing!

Friday, 19 December 2014

In Sewing News Today...

I received the loveliest thank you card from my co-worker about the dresses. I'm so relieved that she said they will fit her girls and that one of them might even be big. I can deal with on the big side. There are a few more Christmas presents to sew.

A couple more tops for Mama R which will be quick projects and I'm sure I will have no problem getting them done in time. The roads are icy, my social calendar is clear and the malls are crazy so it is the perfect weekend to stay in and sew like nobody's business. How about you, are you done all your Christmas sewing?

First, I will have to clean up the sewing area of all the velvet droppings that were left behind. I sure the feed dogs on the sewing machine could use a good lint clearing.

I can't believe that it is only five more sleeps until Christmas eve. Craziness! Well, I'm going to call it a night and get a good night's sleep. Hopefully, sleep in a bit. And then it is back to work in the workshop.

Happy Sewing!  

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Sewing with Velvet: Never Again!

Stash-busting 2014: The last of the Teal Velvet

Fabric:             2.6 metres cotton velvet plus 0.5 metres of polyester lining

Zipper:             22" invisible zipper cut down to 12"

Basting tape:  24" length

Pattern:            McCall's 5795 

Linda Lee started out her article in threads Party Dresses issue with the bold statement, "[i]t's worth it to master this temperamental cloth" referring to velvet. I agree because the dresses are beautiful (if you excuse my lack of modesty for a moment).  

But I will never sew velvet dresses ever again. I am a fan of the smooth softness of the pile and the rich colour when the light hits it just right. But seriously, this was the most challenging sewing projects that I ever worked though. I'm glad they are done.

The latest version is in the children's size five. And you already seen the matching velvet dress but in a girls' size eight.

They are super cute now that they are done. I still have a ways to go to master the art of sewing with velvet but that is for another life-time. For now I'm just happy and shocked that I was able to finish them in time. They're wrapped in tissue and carefully folded, ready to deliver tomorrow morning. And my fingers are crossed that they fit and the girls like wearing them.

So, I'm wondering... what was the most challenging fabric / project you ever made?

Happy Sewing!

Oh No!

The last dress is in a state of undone-ness. I came home from work last night exhausted with another sinus headache that wouldn't quit and decided to take a nap. 

It turned out to be an all night nap. I just woke up in my clothes, tights and all and panicked at the thought I might not finish the dress.  

The plan is to get home and sew like a fiend on a mission.  

I really hoping for a Christmas miracle here. The two dresses have to be ready for Friday morning and I have another workday to get through too!   

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Sewing with Velvet: Handling things Differently...

I'm working on a second version of McCall's 5795. This second dress is in the children's size range and the sleeve and armhole are teeny tiny. The challenge here is to manoeuvre around the armhole opening using that big clunky walking foot

I could use the much more dainty roller foot for this section of the dress but that would be too easy. And besides velvet is prone to all that shifting and sliding around and the walking foot has proved to be the best option. To prepare for this challenge there was a whole lot of hand stitching using a diagonal basting stitch.  

First, I hand-stitched the lining to the sleeve along the cap line.

The next step was to hand stitch the lining to the velvet along the armhole opening on the bodice.  

The final step was to hand stitch sleeve to the opening and through the four layers of fabric. Again, I used the diagonal basting stitch.  

Now that everything is basted in place I can take it to the sewing machine and machine stitch. On the first dress I hand-stitched the sleeve but pinned it to the bodice and then machine stitched. The problem that I had to deal with afterwards were an imprint that the pins left on the velvet. Hopefully, handling things differently with this dress will produce a better result. But first, I need a something for this sinus headache that won't quit. Wish me luck? There are only two more sleeps to get this done.  

Happy Sewing!

Monday, 15 December 2014

This Year's Biggest Sewing Challenge

Stash-busting 2014:  Little Velvet Dress

Fabric:             3 metres of cotton velvet and 0.5 metre of polyester lining

Zipper:             22" invisible zipper cut down to 16"

Pattern:            McCall's 5795

Bias Tape:        2" strip

Basting Tape:  44"

I don't know where to begin. First, I'm so thrilled that this is done. I can't believe it is done. 

This dress will go down as the most challenging project of 2014.  

Velvet proved to be an extremely challenging fabric to work with, but this dress is totally adorable and that makes it all worth it.  

The fabric has been in my stash for many many years. I can't remember where exactly I purchased it but I do know I picked it up in Toronto. It is a cotton velvet and I had enough yardage to cut out two dresses. This dress is a size eight and the second one currently on the sewing table is cut in a size five.  

Actually, everything used to make this dress was found in my stash with the exception of the invisible zipper.   

The pattern, McCall's 5795 is adorable and can be adapted into a special occasion or cute summer dress. It includes variations on sleeves and contrasting over-dresses. The pattern is for a fully lined dress but I chose to just line the bodice. And instead of a regular zipper I inserted an invisible zipper.  

I repurposed a belt that went with one of my own velvet skirts. It appears as a trim but I just put some snaps at the ends so that it can be worn as a belt.  

All that is left to do is finish the second one, give this one final "pressing" with the steamer and carefully fold this in tissue paper before I gift-wrap it.

Happy Sewing!

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Sewing with Velvet: Tricks that Work!

This weekend I found a copy of The Best of threads Party Dresses and inside there was the perfectly timely article that came to my rescue. "Velvet Indulgence" written by Linda Lee first appeared in threads magazine in 2009 as "How to Sew Velvet like a Pro" which can currently be found online here.

Despite all the tips found online and reading vintage advice from Sew A Fine Seam, I felt that I needed this Winter 2014 threads magazine issue. Instead of sewing yesterday, I spent the day reading and planning. And I have to say that it was worth every penny and minute I spent.  

Stitching velvet proved to be a challenge whether it was sewing two pieces of velvet together or sewing the lining to the velvet. Lee offers several tips for tackling this task. I can't review all of her suggestions but I can say that I did hand stitch my pieces with diagonal basting before taking it to the sewing machine and it work out beautifully! 

Lee suggests a little trick for gathering velvet fabric, use heavy cord in the bobbin. I didn't have cord but I did have a heavier weight overlock thread that worked like a charm! It was brilliant.  

Lee also suggests that details like zippers could be hand-worked instead of machine sewn. Her reasoning is logical as a preventative measure to avoid ripping out seams but I was feeling brave, or maybe a wee bit foolish.  

I inserted an invisible zipper using basting tape to hold it in place and then took it to the sewing machine.  

Thankfully, the invisible zipper turned out great. Even though I have four days to finish these dresses I don't regret taking a day off from sewing to read Lee's article and gather up some courage.  

There is still some work to do on the first one (hand-stitching the bodice lining in place and hemming the skirt) along sewing up the second one. I should feel panicked, shouldn't I? But I don't. What's up with that?  

Well, I should get back to work. Happy Sewing!  


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