Monday, July 28, 2014

Stitch Selection Savvy: How to Add Elastic Shirring to a Flat Waistband

Greetings sewers!
As promised, here is the explanation of how I added the elastic shirred back waist band

This photo shows the waist band from the inside of the garment.
Notice the front waist band (top of photo) is flat
and the back waist band (bottom of photo) is elasticized.
The pattern is drafted for a flat waist band all the way around,
and it instructs to cut two front and two back pieces.
That way you have a front and back waistband piece and a front and back facing piece.
To allow for the elasticized gathering,  I cut the back waist band and facing pieces
one size larger than the rest of my blouse.
On the back facing piece, I drew three horizontal lines (with iron-off marker)
to help me properly position the elastic.

I assembled the blouse waistband as instructed,
except that I did not completely close up the side seams.
By leaving the side seams open, I was able to bury the ends of the elastic in the seam
so I don't have raw elastic edges showing on the facing side of my back waistband.
When I finished attaching the elastic with a narrow zig zag stitch,
I hand stitched the side seams closed.
There ya' go.
An elasticized back waistband using a flat waistband pattern.
If you have a tried and true method for accomplishing similar results,
I would love for you to share your method.
Please leave your instructions in the comment section.
Thanks so much, and have a most lovely sewing week.

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