Friday, August 28, 2009

Buttonhole, Buttonhole, Where Can You Be?

Well, I didn't quite get the blouse done. Your comments were very helpful and inspiring! It is cut out and it does have ruffles. Maybe I'll get to it this weekend.

I did however, find the time to whip up this little flow chart to show you the process I went through in search of the perfect, easy, consistent buttonhole.

It's so close I can taste it!

Friday, August 21, 2009


What can I make with Wednesday?

When I read Kristine's blog about a first-day-of-school outfit for herself, I realized I don't have one! (Sewing's been on the back-burner this week as I start tackling summer school work and my own kid's last week of summer.) Then I was at JoAnn's and ran across this Robert Kaufman fabric that I remembered I wanted to buy. I've seen lots of music-themed fabric but this is the first piece that "spoke" to me (anyone watch PR this week? - feel kinda funny using that phrase now!). It's the first fabric that I could actually see myself wearing (as a HS music teacher) instead of using for a bulletin board background.

But what do I make?

1. Practical but obvious - a shirtdress. Easy, but kinda LOUD. Do I want the garment to wear me???

2. Practical but subtle with extra points for wearabilty - a blouse, possibly with ruffles? I've got lots of separates that would work with this piece. Can't you just see this with a black suit? - just a hint of my sense of humor peeking out for a performance.

3. Practical and functional - a jacket. Love this one; take it off, put it on depending on the situation. But the fabric is just a quilting cotton so it'll either be super-casual or super-interlined.

Maybe I have enough for a blouse and a jacket.
Have an opinion? Go ahead, express yourself!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

What Would You Do?

1. can't beat the price........$10.00
2. has all accessories, feet, bobbins, etc. (but no manual)
3. all info says, if you find one at a good price, get it

1. don't need it
2. don't need it
3. really, I don't need it

(In real life the difference after cleaning is much more noticeable.)

This all came about because of my stupid buttonholer! I've convinced myself that it's the Necchi's fault that the buttonholer doesn't work but I need to try them on a different machine to see if that's true. The problem is, they don't fit on any of the other machines at my house (see list below)! How could that be?? I had this brilliant plan to go try it on my mom's bernina...duh, that thing that holds the feet is completely different - didn't even need to take it out of the box to see it wasn't going to work. So, off I go in search of an inexpensive old machine to make better buttonholes. Instead I found this at an antique mart buried in the back of the clearance room - and I do mean buried, this place is overflowing with stuff! I didn't see the tag originally and the guy said $10 - help me get rid of these sewing machines! What could I say?

Dana's Sewing Machine List
(In my defense I use all of the first three machines for almost every project I make.)
Consew industrial straigth stitch (zoom, zoom)
Scandinavia 200 computerized
Simplicity 3-thread serger
Student model Necchi (from the 90's, currently used for buttonholes only - this is the one I'm trying to replace to acquire the best buttonhole humanly possible!)
Antique Singer model 128 (no idea if it works, no pedal, another hand-me-down, read on line that if it doesn't work it's not worth fixing)
Kenmore Mini (belongs to daughter)

and now a Bernina 530 Record!

1. Would you have bought it? (Okay, I probably know the answer to this one!)
2. Would you keep it, if you were me or try and sell it?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Big Sewing Mistake Repaired!

The whole twisty thing happened because I didn’t want to follow the pattern directions for a sleeveless dress/top. If your pattern directions tell you to sew the fabric and lining by machine except for the shoulders (sew those in by hand) – DON’T do it! I’m one of the seamsters that is convinced this is a secret ploy in “the industry” to make sure garments made at home continue to look home made. Search high and low for a tutorial that shows you how the whole thing can be done on the machine. Like this: sleeveless tutorial (scroll down to Lining Sleeveless Dress). Nancy’s method is slightly different from mine but both will give you professional results. (The difference between my method and Nancy’s is that after I’ve sewn the neckline I sew both armholes. When the sewing is complete I pull the side back pieces through the sleeve band.)

Here are some detail shots. And/or here’s a link to the review on PR.

Any vintage buttonhole users out there?

I posted this problem on the PR boards but still haven’t resolved the issue. In short, the SL dial is set at #1, I have two different models (Singer 1025785, 102878) and get the same results with both. The feed dogs are down but I still can't get a nice tight buttonhole. Could it be the machine (a 90's student model - as in home ec student - Necchi)?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Fashion Statement or Big Sewing Mistake?

Well, if you've read any of my recent posts you already know the answer. The pattern calls for the dress to be fully lined and sure enough they instruct you to attach the lining all by machine except the shoulders - sew those in by hand. It's been decades since I've used that method! So I decide to attach it just as I would a sleeveless top, except it's a dress. As I'm sewing I think "wow, I've got to be careful so this doesn't get twisted." Not until I've sewn the last side seam did I discover the twist. Right away I ripped out that SA only to discover the mistake was made when I put in the zipper. great. Solution: rip out the shoulder seam and (at least partially) sew it by hand.

Just can't wait to get started on my next project (can you see the sarcasm in that sentence?).

Hope you're having better luck than I am.

P.S. I'm really excited about this dress, it's a sheath that really fits well - yipee for that!

Monday, August 10, 2009


I started catching the yellow bug last year, there were several garments that caught my eye. My summer wardrobe for about four years had been in shades of turquoise and orange/melon. I needed a change. Welcome change:

First, I really don't plan on ever wearing the first outfit like that. It's a little LOUD. I already had the skirt on and wanted a new picture of the top. I posted a review on PR for the yellow blouse (McCall's 5803) but the review shot is before I tamed the wild ruffles. This picture shows the tamed, yes, I said tamed ruffles. You can click on the sidebar or here if you want to read the review. I really haven't written that many reviews lately...mostly because my sewing hasn't been anything to write about!

The best garment this week was this yellow skirt (recently OOP Vogue 7857) but if you enlarge the picture you’ll see something funky going on underneath the button at the waistband. Oh, and if you look at the back you’ll notice that the belt loops are not quite evenly-spaced. I just can't seem to keep track of these things when I get interrupted every 10-15 minutes. I did find a simple solution to a big problem (for me) in this skirt. Care to guess? It’s the vent! And there are two in this pattern, no way was I going to manage a perfectly lined vent...twice. The skirt has lining that acts as underlining so it’s attached to the outer fabric like underlining everywhere except the hem. Recently, I read on someone’s site about how to deal with the lining underneath a vent. I am frequently frustrated by this, especially in skirts because I like to make straight skirts. Remember that I’m a picture person? Well, I never get the pattern instructions right when I see how to finish the lining at the vent – I blame it on dyslexia. The rs/ws and r/l are always backwards in my version. In Nancy Zieman’s method you just draw a curve on the lining between the vent opening and the hem. Voila! Edges are finished, lining is effective, but no one can see it.

This dress (OOP Vogue 2412) is from the Liz Claiborne fabrics at EOS. I had intended to make a pencil skirt a la Marji, Lindsayt, Cidell and Carolyn but when I got the fabric I realized that it didn’t have enough body for a skirt. Finally decided on this Vogue pattern and loved it…in my head. I pretty much love the finished version too. It’s just that, as I was getting to the pin-fitting part the bust was waaay too tight! Like 3” too tight, and I knew I had adjusted the pattern. Then the waist seemed really tight (finally realized that I had intended to eliminate one set of darts rather than add more at the side seams). I figured out the mistakes I made with the bust area too and after sewing a ripping for about 45 minutes, well, it’s better than it was. I didn’t use the back facing or bias strips on the armholes as instructed, just lined the whole thing.

(Can you tell these pieces have been worn? Hmmm, the wrinkled linen was a giveaway? I don't stress out about the wrinkles, ever. Wore that outfit yesterday. I wore the dress, w/shorts underneath, this morning as the kids and I rode bikes to their respective camps. It's actually fun to bike in a skirt!)