Post Category: Sewing

9.15.2005

Here’s my obligatory “I’m not dead!” post for the month.

I took about a month long break from sewing stuff in preparation for my Arizona trip — I spent pretty much all my time studying. Now that I’m back and have gone to an anime convention, which always inspires me, I’m back in business.

Before I started my sewing break, I started working on the main parts of my Rikku costume. For those of you unfamiliar with the costume, here’s a picture. Yeah. Stop laughing.

So I started work on the top. Here are some of the challenges for a novice such as myself:

1) Making it the right shape to match the costume. (Bonus difficulty: it looks different in every drawing/rendering.)
2) Making a bikini top in the first place — I’ve never made one before!
3) Getting the right amount of support.
4) Making it look good on a small-chested person such as myself.
5) Getting that edge binding to look right.

I bought some awesome material for both the top/bottom and their binding at SR Harris. Of course I didn’t bother to check what kind of lycra it is, so when I opened up my Fabric Savvy book, I found out that the sewing/prewashing is slightly different for cotton lycra versus nylon lycra. Great. And of course, the difference is that nylon is shiny while cotton is matte. Except that I can’t tell which one the base yellow fabric is — I’m pretty sure the binding is nylon. So yay for me. I found a very similar fabric on one of the shirts in my closet that says it’s nylon, so I’m going with that.

For the top, I started with a base pattern and modified the hell out of it. In fact, I did a lot more modifying than I thought I knew how to do — John was impressed. Now that I have the fabric and it’s stretchier than the knits I was using to test, I took some material off the edges of the pattern. We’ll see if that works.

And of course I’m hoping to finish the pumpkin placemats soon — I spent this evening tracing and cutting out the applique. Tomorrow I sew!

7.12.2005

The napkins are done! I still have to do the six placemats, though. That’ll be more of a challenge because of the weird fabric.

Here are some pictures. Of course, I didn’t realize until I was editing the images that I picked up the very first napkin I did, so it’s probably my worst one. Way to go, Jeanne!

Napkin
Closer view
Close-up of pumpkin applique

And just for fun, I snapped a picture of the lovely unraveling threads on the back of the placemat that I mentioned in my last entry.

Awesome work, Jeanne!

I went to JoAnn’s today and spent the rest of my gift cards. I picked up a buttload of new bobbins (I ran out) as well as some pattern interfacing and this extremely cool hand embroidery book. I figured that since I’m not going to have an embroidery machine for a while, I may as well learn to embroider by hand. Creative people always find a way around their limitations, right?

With this pattern interfacing, I can start working on pattern alterations. I’m still working my way through the fitting books.

7.11.2005

I’m reading up on some pattern alteration stuff before diving into my next garment project. In the meantime, I’m working on a simple pumpkin applique, once again from Clotilde’s Sewing Savvy. What can I say, I’m into making cute stuff lately.

Of course, I’ve already learned something important. Something that is probably quite obvious to everyone else in the world: check the washing instructions before chucking the fabric into the washing machine. See, I got these placemats and napkins for the project, and washed them according to what kind of fabric they were (cotton) without noticing that the little tag said “hand wash only.” Derp. So there are some…problems on the back of the placemats. Namely, some of the weave threads broke and unraveled. It hasn’t made its way to the front of the mats, so I may be okay.

I’m still learning to applique corners, but by the time I finish the six placemats and six napkins, I’ll probably be a pro.

7.07.2005

Hi there! I’m still alive and still sewing. I’ve been so busy with my regular website and school in the last year, but now that I’m unemployed, I have time to sew. It’s actually a blessing.

Right now, I’m working on finishing up the projects I either started or for which I bought supplies. First on the list was the bunny bib mentioned in the last entry. I finished it up today. Here are some pictures:

Bunny bib front
Bunny bib back
Bunny bib front bias tape detail
Bunny bib back bias tape detail

I could only get so close with the dinky camera. :) Here are some notes from the project:

The Good
*This time around I had no trouble with the applique feed. I used 0.3 for the stitch width and didn’t experience any of the issues I discussed before.

*Thanks to a little bit of coaching in a presser foot class (that I took sometime within the last year or so), I was able to go around curves more successfully with the applique. Also, my start and end points matched up better than before.

*The bias tape was a LOT, LOT better this time around. While I haven’t been sewing, I’ve been doing more reading, and I decided to try some of what I read for the bias tape application. I took a lot more time with shaping the curves with the iron, and I hand-stitched the back after machine sewing the front. It’s not perfect, but it’s such an improvement over the last attempt. And the hand-stitching may be more time consuming but a) I don’t have a bias tape application foot, and b) it gave me a lot more control than trying to catch both sides with the machine at once.

The Bad
*I appliqued the center piece first, and quickly learned that it’s best to do the outside pieces first. No biggie, but just a thought for next time.

*I haven’t yet mastered appliqueing corners — I have some excess stitching in the yellow. I’ll have to figure that one out.

*One of the alignment marks is slightly visible through the bunny. Note to self: material isn’t 100% opaque.

*I don’t know if I mentioned this before, but the instructions call for sewing the rick-rack on with invisible nylon thread. For the life of me, I could not get this to work last time — I tried different types of thread in the bobbin, even. So like last time, I just used a regular kind-of-matching thread to sew it on. Plus, even if I wanted to try the nylon again, the top broke off the thread spool. Odd, that.

In all, I would consider this one a success!

I’ve been working on my scarf as well, and I’m just over six inches to completion. I’ll post pictures when it’s finished.

4.02.2004

I just finished making a bib for my cousin’s baby:

I got the project idea out of Clotilde’s Sewing Savvy. I learned some new techniques, which I kind of suck at so far. I did my first satin stitch applique on a project. It turned out pretty well, except for the starting/ending points which are really obvious. I also attached bias tape around the edges, which did not go well. The fold wouldn’t stay on the edge of the fabric, and it just did not want to go around curves well. So I’m not extremely pleased with it, but it was my first time with bias tape.

I also need to find some kind of fabric marker that can be removed. I was using a quilting pencil, which would not come off with the eraser or with water. The chalk liner that was recommended to me had the same problem. I’m not sure if this is because I was using white fabric or what. I scrubbed the fabric too hard, but my scrub lines were covered up by the rickrack.

But overall, it was a quick, easy project that helped me learn some new stuff. Hopefully the second one I make (with a bunny applique) will be better.

3.26.2004

Why do I always wait so long between posts? I guess because I hadn’t been doing too much sewing stuff, instead focusing on VGR and some video games.

On Saturday, I went to “Sewing Adventures 2004″ put on by Husqvarna-Viking. I ended up learning a lot and spending an assload of money on new sewing machine feet and other accessories. I bought the heirloom kit despite not having a sewing machine that can do heirloom type stitches. I will someday, though.

Last night, I went to a sewing machine foot class and ended up buying an open toe foot for my machine. I went home and practiced satin stitch applique. For some reason the fabric doesn’t like to feed through my machine when I do 0.2 length stitches, and is a little iffy in certain spots on the 0.3 length stitches. I don’t know if the presser foot is slipping on the stabilizer or what.

I’ve also been working a lot on my scarf:

The thing is, the actual scarf I’m basing it on has a color change gradient rather than bands. But I didn’t want to knit a 9 foot single-colored scarf (my first scarf, by the way) and then potentially screw it up in the dye process. So yeah, it won’t look exactly like Rikku’s scarf, so hopefully other cosplayers won’t scoff at it. :P

The other night, when I tried satin stitch applique for the first time, I was a total klutz. I managed to try satin stitching with the wrong stitch (the buttonhole stitch), I ironed the wrong side of the fusible stabilizer, and when I examined the resulting cruddiness on the iron, I managed to spill water everywhere. I don’t think I’m cut out for this!

1.25.2004

I know I haven’t posted in a while. I just had surgery, so I’ve been recovering and all that fun stuff. But I started reading my Readers Digest sewing book again. I’m halfway through!

I picked up a couple of other books at the half price bookstore. One is on fitting, and the other one is about fixing sewing screwups.

Oh, and I’ve been doing a lot of research on the hobbit costumes. Frame-by-frame DVD screenshots. Fun! I know there’s a lot of stuff on alleycatscratch.com, but I like doing my own research, too. I don’t just want to copy work that other people did!

1.08.2004

I wrote my first pattern review for PatternReview.com! I’m not sure if non-members can view it, so here’s a picture of Butch in his bed. I made that back in September or so. It’s freaking huge.

I’ll try to upload and post more pictures of projects I’ve done.

1.07.2004

Long post!

I’m currently reading this book, which I bought ages ago and never read all the way through. Holy crap, it answers a lot of the questions I had regarding the basics of sewing. The thing is, I didn’t really understand a lot of it before I a) did a little bit of sewing, and b) took all those classes at the Sewing Expo in November. So I guess I needed a little more background.

I’m currently studying pattern alterations. Some of it, like adding more fabric for the bust, confuses me. Luckily for me, I have a tiny bust, so I will not have to deal with this any time soon. Joy!

I’ve also seen good reviews of this book on patternreview.com and on Amazon. So maybe next time I go to the bookstore I’ll have to pick it up. I have $60 in B&N gift certificates, which I will use on a pattern-making book I want.

I have a Joann’s credit card, from which I’ve already received $40 in gift cards. I have more on the way, which is good because I already spent the others (plus some) at Joann’s last week. I got a whole bunch of stuff, including (but not limited to) a style ruler, some more pressing equipment, eyelet pliers, sewing machine needles, and some new presser feet (from Viking, in the Joann’s store).

My current project before working on any of my character costumes is a dress pattern (Simplicity 9891). I’m doing the one with the collar. I picked out some light green stretch velvet with some off-white patterned satin for the collar.

I also bought some tracing paper last night for making my own alterable copies of the pattern. I took some of my measurements, and to no one’s surprise, I’m much, much smaller on the top half than on the bottom. I also have long legs, a very short back waist length, and a longer waist-to-hip length. :P

Oh, and the sewing room is finally clean!

1.04.2004

Once again, I’m cleaning my sewing room. I’ve learned that in a house with five bedrooms and two people, one or two rooms will always be the “crap” rooms. I’ve spent the day clearing the crap out of my sewing room. :P

I’m also studying the basics of sewing, both review and new stuff. Maybe someday I’ll know enough to actually sew something new!

My current costume plans are to make Rikku from FFX-2 for March and a “secret” costume for August. I’m keeping it secret until I know for sure that I will be able to make it without it looking like ass. Then, for 2005, I’m going to make hobbit costumes for me, John, Susi, and Steve. I have a long way to go before I can do some of that tailoring stuff. Sometimes it’s very discouraging.