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As a Martha Pullen licensed sewing teacher I love to learn new sewing techniques and I equally enjoy teaching sewing techniques to others.  I am a servant of the Lord of Lords and King of Kings, wife of one, mom of two, and grandma of five.  Welcome to my sewing studio!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Anna Maria Horner Roundabout Top

I've used Anna Maria Horner fabrics on a number of occasions.
I appreciate that her artwork is not 'cutesy' like so many of the quilting fabric designers.
She has a very modern-classic spin on fabric design.

So, when I committed to attending one of her Craft South workshops in September,
I decided I should sew up one of her patterns using her cotton voile fabric.

The pattern is called Rondabout Dress & Slip.
But upon further inspection, one will see that the pattern includes
option C, which is a pullover blouse.
Now, I wanted a bit of a fitted waistline, so I opted to add rows of 1/4' wide elastic
to the back waist piece only.
No, that step is not included in the pattern instructions.
(A closer look at how I did that will be detailed in an upcoming post.)
The front waist piece is still nice and flat.

After reading a few reviews on Patternreview,
I assumed the neckline would sit a bit low.
The pattern instructions note that the blouse should be pinned at the shoulders,
before finishing the neckline to ensure that the neckline isn't too low for you.
I didn't have a problem with a low neckline, I would simply wear a cami if necessary.
But when I finished the neckline with the bias trim,
the trim "flooped" forward and would not lay flat against my chest. 
It just looked SLOPPY.

Before elastic

After much pondering, I opened up the seam at the shoulder
and inserted 1/4" elastic into the neckline between the bias trim and the blouse front.
Yes, again a pattern change using 1/4' elastic - we're friends!
After elastic
All in all, not too bad of a pattern, but I probably will not sew it again.
What about you, my friends, have you used any Anna Maria Horner patterns?
I would love to hear about your experience.


Monday, July 7, 2014

Stitch Selection Savvy - Basting Stitch Gathering

The 'bubble' on my granddaughter's Bubble Skirt
was accomplished by gathering one larger fabric panel to a smaller fabric panel.

Gathering is a basic sewing technique that most of us learn early in our sewing journey.
There is, however, more than one way to gather.
The most common method is to stitch one row, or two parallel rows,
of a basting stitch without securing the ends of the row(s).
In this sample, I used just one row of basting.

Basting stitch runs along the bottom of this sample
Knot one end of the basting row.

Pull the bobbin thread from the unknotted end and you can manually gather the row of stitching.
Of course, you will have to adjust the gathers so they are evenly spaced.

That's the tried and true, basic method to gather fabric, but let's move on to other options.
This is a gathering foot.
The basting stitch is still the stitch of choice when using this presser foot.

So why, you ask, bother with a special foot such as this?
The difference is that the fabric gathers while you are stitching on your machine.
The amount of gather is dependent on the fabric,
whether or not you stitch with the grain line, or across the grain,
and on the length of your stitch.
The longer your stitch length, the more gathers you achieve.
The gathers are again manually adjusted so they are even.
This sample row was started with a basting stitch length of (6 mm) which I then shortened to 3 mm.
Notice there is more gathering at the start where I used 6mm length and less gathering with the 3 mm length.
Using a basting stitch to gather fabric is not limited to the sewing machine.
One final option that I would like to share
is how I achieved the gathering on the aforementioned bubble skirt.


This one was accomplished using my serger.
It is the same technique as when using the gathering foot for the sewing machine,
but simply use your standard serger presser foot,
increase the differential feed setting,
and increase the stitch length (again, the longer the stitch the more the gathers).
When you're done serging, you can still manually adjust the amount
of gathering by pulling on the needle threads only.

If you have other methods of using the basting stitch to gather,
please share them in the comment section.
I love learning new techniques.

Happy sewing, my friends.


Friday, July 4, 2014

Let Freedom Reign

Happy Independence Day to my fellow Americans.
And I would like to offer my sincerest respect to our allies across the pond.     :)
"Hold fast to the Bible as the sheet-anchor of your liberties; write its precepts in your hearts and practice them in your lives. To the influence of this book we are indebted for all the progress made in true civilization, and to this we must look as our guide in the future. Righteousness exalteth a nation; but sin is a reproach to any people." 
Ulysses S. Grant


Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Bubble Skirt for a Bubbly Granddaughter

What a cute, cute skirt pattern.
I used Butterfly Kisses pattern number 112.
No pattern pieces involved, just instructions.
It uses simple rectangles for the construction.
For my 4 year-old granddaughter, I made the corresponding age size.
It fits her perfectly (I will update with photos of my pint-size model when my daughter sends them).

My fabric of choice for the outside skirt panel was this very soft, drapey, 21 whale corduroy.
It is called Blue Jay Cool Cords for Robert Kaufman.
I am in love with this fabric!
I've never felt such a soft corduroy.
The corduroy is lightweight enough to wear with flip flops and a t-shirt or tank
during the summer months,
but it can then be paired with leggings and a sweater to be worn in the fall.
For the yoke, I used  a white pin dot from my stash.
And . . .

the lining is a pink polka dot - also from my stash.
My serger came in handy for construction of everything except the elastic waist casing.
The basic premise of a bubble skirt is that the lining (pink polka dot) is smaller
than the outside, main fabric (the cook cord).
Therefore, the corduroy had to be gathered to fit the lining piece.
I used the gathering foot to quickly accomplish that step.
Stay tuned for another installment of Stitch Selection Savvy,
which will focus on gathering.
Until then, my friends, happy sewing!


Thursday, May 29, 2014

Stitch Selection Savvy - The Triple Straight Stitch

This is the topstitching on my Herringbone Jacket
I want to share with you all, how to achieve a perfect topstitch without purchasing special thread.
The triple straight stitch is used for reinforced seams, and it is also perfect for topstitching.
Ordinarily topstitching is accomplished by using a straight stitch and a heavy weight topstitch thread.
But the same, if not better, results can be achieved by using regular weight (40w)
multi-purpose thread in conjunction with the triple straight stitch,
which is standard on many of today’s sewing machines.
The stitch icon looks like stitch number 31 on this sewing machine:

Your sewing machine will take one stitch forward,
one stitch back over that same stitch,
and again one stitch forward over the previous two stitches.
Three stitches in all, but the end result is one straight stitch.
Thus the name – triple straight stitch.
This is the same number of layers of fabric and the same thread,
but topstitched with a regular straight stitch.
See the difference?
I use my number 10C presser foot when I topstitch.
It is called an edgestitch foot.
As you can see from the bottom of the presser foot,
it has a metal guide running through the middle of the foot.
Simply position that guide along the edge of your fabric,
set the needle either to the left or the right of the guide, and stitch.
The result is a perfectly placed, even line of stitching.
The next time you want to add topstitching to your project, give the triple straight stitch a try.
Use your regular presser foot if you don't happen to have the edgestitch foot.
It works just as well, but you will have to be more attentive to keeping your stitch line
an exact distance from the edge of your fabric throughout the length of topstitching.
Happy stitching, my friends!