Saturday, October 29, 2016

Long time no blog post...and a preview of upcoming garments

Hello everyone,

I have not blogged for three weeks now as I have had lots on my  plate to deal with - a sick husband again, a new car (note my priorities here - my DH was number 1), the business quarterly tax obligations,  working out what to do about bad debts and starting the chase, finally getting around to calling an Arborist for a quote (he is due next week to do the job - that will be  noisy day - and, there is always someone worse off than you, his young wife has cancer), selling the old car, and finally, my beloved old sewing machine has decided to stop working.  More later.

So, I have not had the time, energy or inclination to take blog photos.  But I have managed, over the course of the last three months, make some garments that have not yet been blogged.  They will be blogged over the next few weeks, so that by Christmas, I am up to date with my blog.

Garment 1, Cynthia Rowley Dress :

Garment 2. Elastic waist skirt with pockets and pleats :

Garment 3, Sew Simple Skirt:

Garment 4, Sew Simple Blouse (same pattern as shown above)

Garment 5. Elastic waist voile skirt (forgot to take a picture of the pattern )


Garment 6:  Full, pleated pants

And it was on these pants that disaster struck.  I was going to make the waistband buttonhole on my big old Bernina machine.  I set the stitch length lever to the right position down near 0 which is what you do with this machine for buttonholes to get a close stitch on the buttonhole.  Then I realised that it had jammed.  Totally. The screw is normally what I call finger loose - you just twist with your fingers, it's not tight when manipulated.  It just does not move. DH came and tried and he agreed, jammed solid.  So something has happened to the mechanism inside, I would think.  It looks as though it can all be opened up, so I have booked the mechanic who sadly can't come until next Friday.  In the meantime, it sews merrily in one spot, so the rest of the machine must work!

Now this machine has long been discontinued, as has it's later model.  So I am not sure what I will do if this is just getting too old to mend.  I have spent an agitated 24 hours finding out what is available and may have found something at 4 am this morning (I couldn't sleep as I haven't had enough sewing calm down time!).

In the meantime, I can use my domestic machine, so I am not totally stuck.  It's just that I prefer these robust industrial machines.  This is not as fast as an industrial  straight sewer, but fast enough and has the power to do things that domestic machines struggle with.  

In the meantime, I will sew garments that I know I can handle easily on a domestic machine. And, it will be fun exploring what it does - I haven't really used it except for the odd, naughty knit, and for automatic buttonholes on shirts and dresses when I want matching, easy to do buttonholes. Because I don't use it much, I have to keep reading the instruction manual every time I do want to use it, but I should soon know how to do this and everything else too, never to forget.

And, talking of exploring new machines - my new "car" was given to me by my husband to mark my August birthday.  I guess, as I helped sort out the practice when we were in dire straits, I sort of helped to earn what was needed for this!  That's what I tell myself, anyway, to sort of offset the "Who, Me, get this? sort of feeling.  I'm sure you sewers understand this sort of feeling well! He told me then, but it took us some time to organise:

A Landrover Discovery Sport. It is really quite a different experience driving these modern vehicles.  I get a little anxious still about what it is sometimes doing, but I am gradually getting used to it's habit of beeping when I am manouvering close to objects (it gets excited very early) and know that I have at least a metre to spare.  I still am coming to terms with the autostart function - the engine turns off at lights if you are there for a while - then kicks back in when you put your foot on the accelerator.  I don't trust this function yet, so tend to turn it off! It's a responsive vehicle as well, so that takes a bit of getting used to after my old truck!  But much better to drive.  I was apprehensive when I picked it up because I had no idea of the feel, but it was just so easy to get used to, so I think I will enjoy this very much soon enough.

Then I had to sell the old car, which was a bit of a stress, but we did better than we would with a trade in.  All this car stuff took time and energy which normally goes into blogging, so I am afraid I had to postpone blogging for a while.

But I will be back next week with one of the featured garments.  Not sure which one yet :).

In the meantime, I am going to check your blogs, then read the instruction manual for my domestic machine and work out what to make next.

I hope life is treating you all well wherever you are,

Sarah Liz

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Back Blogging The Perfect Purple Ponte Dress - Burda 6694

I have been busy this week with replacing my old car and cleaning my old one ready to sell.  So I have had limited time to sew this week.  Just as well I have a dress to blog about that I made earlier this year before winter set in.  I'm not sure why, but I never got around to blogging about it. It probably had something to do with lack of time.

The pattern is Burda 6694:

Before I made the dress I made a top (version A ) .  I was planning to insert the higher neck into this dress, but after making it up, realised it would be far too tight.  So I made the square neckline insert, only raised it as it was far too low on me.

The fabric I used was a thick ponte (polyester, viscose and spandex mix). It was not too stretchy and certainly was thick enough to skim the body nicely.   It was purchased from Spotlight - I was lucky, and found just enough in the remmant bin with a price of about $2.50 :).  Just right!

I made some alterations to the pattern - the sleeves were shortened 1 inch at the L/S line and another 1 inch came off the hem.  I shortened the front 1 inch along the L/S line.  I altered the back as I have a narrow and straight back - 1/2 inch at the upper back and through the sleeve, and 1/2 inch at the L/S line.  This removed most of the pooling that usually occurs in my middle back without this alteration.  I added about 4 inches in length and added a back vent.  As I have already mentioned, the insert was made deeper - two inches.  Any more than that, and the dress would not go over my head.

The neck is bound by a strip of knit bias.  I did not use the ponte, as it was far too thick.  I used a piece of leftover cotton jersey. I did widen the bias strip by 5/8 inch, as it was just not wide enough to accommodate the thick layer of ponte:

I added a feature button at the bottom of the insert.  And as for sewing, I just used a slight zig zag stitch - I find that my overlocker does not like to sew thick knits together, so I don't argue the case. I also like the look of the slight zig zag !

As my overlocker balks at very thick knits, I decided to bind the armhole seam with stretch lace:

One day I will pull out my old Babylock machine (about 25 years old) and see if that likes thicker knits.  I just keep forgetting...

Now for some quick views of this very simple but very nice looking dress:

While I am happy with this dress, I notice I still have the dress dipping at the back and rising at the front.  Have you noticed that the Duchess of Cambridge also has this problem?   I think it may be something to do with small backs and bottoms, so, if her dresses act in this fashion, I think it is okay if mine do!  Until I can work out the solution, that is.  I may need to take out more through the back, but I don't like to overdo things, or you end up with the opposite problem.

I'm thrilled I mad this dress because I did not have a practical and smart dress that was easy wear and easy care.  While I don't wear dresses much, I do feel much happier having one in the wardrobe for those occasions when I need it.

Until next week, everyone, wishing you a great week ahead,

Sarah Liz