Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!

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So I haven't been so good at blogging the past few months. I've been good at reading blogs, just not posting! Just a quick note to wish a very Merry Christmas from my family to yours!


Monday, July 27, 2009

A Kick to the Chest

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That's what if feels like when you get a shock from your ICD. For those of you not familiar with common cardiac acronyms, that stands for implantable cardioverter defibrillator. My device was implanted just short of 5 years ago. A few months ago, I was told there was a "recall" on my lead...the wire could crack and cause "noise" that the device interpretted as an abnormal rhythm, resulting in an unnecessary shock. Long story short, that's what happened to me last Thursday morning....I got shocked not once, but 4 times. Not fun. Not fun at all. So I spent a couple of days in the hospital--got a new lead put in and a new device as well, since my battery would be drained in a couple of years anyway. It feels good to be home, and recovering from a replacement is not nearly as painful as the original implant.

I missed State Fair judging last Thursday but found out from my friends that I won 4 or 5 blue ribbons--I entered 7 items this year. Pictures and details will come in mid-August after the Fair is over.

Also missed a trip to Door County with my sisters and niece....but they stopped on their way back home and spent the day with me. It was nice...we don't get to see each other that often....maybe only 2 or 3 times a year.

I can't believe August is almost here. I'm looking forward to whipping out some last minute summer items. DD has been begging for some new dresses, and almost-5-year-old DS is open to a shirt as long as it has snaps and not buttons.

Did you catch the connection there....my ICD was implanted just short of 5 years ago and my son is almost 5 years old.....long story there....

Saturday, May 16, 2009

My Princess Charming

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It's been two weeks since my daughter's First Communion, so I'm a little late in getting this post up.  However, we're also building a new house, and thing are in the hectic stage right now.  We should be moving within a month, so it's a very exciting (but hectic and stressful) time.  Anyway....here are the photos from my daughter's special day. 

In the next post, I'll provide more details of both dresses--materials, patterns, smocking plates, etc.








A family photo:

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Second First Communion Dress - DONE!

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It's done, and I'm very pleased.

Julia asked about the pattern I used for the first dress. I'll go into more details of both dresses (patterns, materials, etc.) after the dust settles from this weekend. In a nutshell, my daughter's dress is Princess Charming from Australian Smocking & Embroidery (AS&E) #58--minus the tulle overskirt.

A large chunk of time yesterday was spent on creating the cummerbund. I've never made fabric roses before, and the instructions provided were very detailed and easy to follow. That's what I love about AS&E!

First, I created 3 leaves:


Then 3 roses.....


And, to be honest, I was quite surprised at how well it came together:

Here's the dress from the front and the back. Once again, I cheated and opted for a machine hem with a tuck. I tried a sample with a hand-stitched hem, and I just didn't care for it. On this dupioni, I could see every stitch, even picking up only a single thread.The sash is extra wide which makes for a big bow. The dupioni holds the shape beautifully!

I do feel there is a slight problem with this dress. I left a little too much space between the last row of smocking and the waist stay. Had I realized this, I would have made the cummerbund a little bit wider. Ideally, I'd like the cummerbund to sit directly under that last row of smocking.

I'm really very pleased with the roses on the cummerbund...did I mention that? One more thing to finish up....the veil. I'm off to take care of that now!

I may not get to another post until after the weekend, but I promise pictures of my little princess from her special day!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Safety Glasses for Smocking?

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Yes, safety glasses! Read on to see where they come in....

Here's the status of my daughter's First Communion dress (from a few days ago).

I blocked the bodice and traced around the bodice template (this dress has a full smocked bodice). It's a little hard to see the purple marker line in the second picture:

I then stitched on the markings--first with a straight stitch and next with a tiny zig-zag:

Here's where the safety glasses come in. Some of the pearls fall within the seam allowance. The directions say to outline the bodice before you start smocking and avoid applying beads in the seam allowance. I figured it was easier to just smocking the whole thing with beads and remove them later! I have a dedicated pair of needle nose pliers that I keep by my sewing machine. I used those to crush the glass seed beads that I wanted to remove. I actually felt pieces of bead hit the glasses a few times, so I was glad I opted for the safe route!

So the outline stitching is done and the extra beads are removed....now it's time to cut into it! This is often the hardest part for me because you cut up part of your work. Very carefully, cut just outside the stitching:

And you're left with this!


The last two photos show the waist stay attached on the inside on the bottom row of gathering stitches. A separate cummerbund with sashes will go over this on the outside.

OK--now I have to get to work! I have the day off work, and I told my daughter her dress would be done when she gets home from school. All I have left are the armhole bindings, hem, buttons and cummerbund/sash. Oh, and the veil....we have to make some type of headpiece yet.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

One Down, One To Go

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The dress is finally done for DGD! She picked it up last night. I ended up doing a machine hem with a tuck because I knew a hand hem would be too time consuming. After all the hand work on the smocking, it seems wrong to hem by machine, but I like how it turned out...it gives some body to the bottom of the skirt. Here's the full length view:
Some close ups of the smocking and back:

And one happy little girl (she had to stand on my bed in order to get a good look in the mirror):
Now on to the next dress! It's already pleated and tied off (pic below of how I do that) and I started the smocking tonight. Tick tock....

Friday, March 27, 2009

First Communion Dress - Part 1

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Here's my start on the FIRST First Communion dress--this one's for DGD. The smocking is done. I haven't blocked it, nor done the bullion roses yet. I made a bodice muslin and tried it on DGD....it fits well! So I took today off to get a good start on the construction of the dress--so far I've spent too much time on the computer! Here are a couple of photos of the smocking....the second is a close-up so you can see the beads better.

Lastly, my daughter had a double birthday party last weekend, so I whipped up a couple of peasant nightgowns as gifts. I took a queue from Melissa who suggested giving something "Made in the USA." rather than another cheap toy! Great idea, Melissa! These were made using Butterick 4910:

Monday, March 16, 2009

Lots of Wee Care Gowns

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Yikes! It's been a month since I last posted! This blogging thing is harder to keep up with than I thought. I have been busy though, working on SAGA Wee Care gowns and getting started on the first of two First Communion dresses. Here are some photos of the Wee Care gowns. A couple of them show up close detail of the smocking stitches---for those of you who may not be familiar with smocking.
Look for a new post within the next couple of days on the first First Communion dress. The smocking is done!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Jalie 2788

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This was supposed to be a quick knit top. I think I spent more time practicing hem stitches than it actually took me to complete the top once I got everything worked out. The twist kind of gets lost in this print--the photo does not do it justice...it looks much better in person. Here's the finished result:

I like to get all my stitch settings worked out before I sew the first seam. I think I probably spent a total of 2 or 3 hours trying to get my coverstitch and double needle to produce a decent hem stitch. I finally gave up on the coverstitch. I think I have tension issues with my serger...it needs a tune up. I finally got the double needle to produce a decent result using Marcy Tilton's tip at Threads for using interfacing in a knit hem. I actually found this link on Rusty Bobbin's blog.

My next focus needs to be First Communion dresses for my daughter and goddaughter. I'm trying to decide if I should make these from white silk dupioni or not---I've read that white silk can look dingy next to bright white satin. But I am making an heirloom, so I want to make it out of something special. I'm waiting for a callback and some swatches from Haberman Fabrics to see what they think.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Vogue 8413 - Complete

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I finished it Wednesday night and wore it to work on Thursday.

Overall, I'm pleased with the results. My main regret is not interfacing the collar. It could have used a bit more body to make it stand up. And I lengthened the bodice just a bit too much. Full review here.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Zippers and Knits - Part 2

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Ripping the zipper out was not quite as time consuming as I thought it might be. I used the ripping method in the picture below.

I added a 1/4" strip of Fusi-knit to the existing strip and re-inserted the zipper.
Much better! I now have a nice smooth zipper and my waist seam is still perfectly aligned.
I'll do a post on my technique for lining up a seam with an invisible zipper when I post the completed pics of the dress. I still need to attach the collar, insert the sleeves, and hem. I hope to finish before the end of the week.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Zippers and Knits

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I'm currently working on Vogue 8413 in a charcoal ponte roma knit I picked up at Joann's. The pattern calls for a regular zipper, but I prefer invisible zippers. I have an invisible zipper foot for my machine which makes insertion of invisible zippers incredibly easy--I mean, super easy! Plus, I think it looks much more RTW. I interfaced the seam allowance along the back, but don't think I got it quite wide enough because I ended up with some rippling along the zipper:

I used fusi knit and only cut it 5/8" wide--I think it should have been 3/4" wide to properly stabilize the seam. I'm happy with how well I lined up the waist seam...
...but the rippling just won't do. I'll have to rip it out. But not tonight. I'm getting tired. A tired girl with a seam ripper working on very dark fabric with very dark thread spells disaster!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

My First BWOF!

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I'm happy and a little disappointed at the same time. I've seen several rave reviews of BWOF 10-2005-114 and I love cowl neck sweaters. I was lucky enough to find the back issue on eBay. I traced a size 38 and made only one alteration-adding 1" to the waist (I'm long waisted). I tried it on before setting the sleeves and it looked great. However, after setting the sleeves, I'm not overly thrilled with how it fits under the arm. It seems to pull out and down away from my armpit. You can kind of see it in the photo below.

I feel I'm a rather experienced sewist, but I have very little experience when it comes to knowing how to correct fit issues. Cidell's review on PR mentioned that the sleeve cap was too high. Perhaps I need to lower the sleeve cap...or raise the bottom of the armscye? I also think I would like this a little tighter...maybe I should try a size 36?

In any case, I am going to try this pattern again with some type of alteration. This was a very thin sweater knit and I should have doubled the collar. I'll also play around with the armscye to see if I can get it right. I've made Kwik Sew 2856 (below) which is similar but with raglan sleeves--I really like the set in sleeves, so I hope I an work out the sleeve issues.


Oh yeah, the skirt that goes with the BWOF cowl neck is TNT 6 gore skirt pattern than I haven't made in about 12 years--I think it's OOP by now--Simplicity 9363:
I made the skirt out of a very stretchy knit. Here's a better shot of the whole outfit. I got these two fabrics along with a Jalie pattern I purchased on eBay--it was the Jalie pattern I wanted--the fabrics were a bonus!