Thursday, July 28, 2011

Frugal Sewing Tip

Here's a little tip to keep the cost of at least one sewing supply down. I've been doing this for some time now.

Most kids shoes, flip-flops, etc. (especially from Target!) come connected with elastic cord at purchase.

I either untie or carefully cut the elastic cord and save it!

There is usually a good 12-14" that comes with one pair of shoes. And with twins (read: two of everything) I doubt I'll ever need to purchase elastic cord at the fabric store ever again! I love using elastic cord for making button loops. I'll show you that later this week on the latest dresses to enter my girls' summer wardrobe!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Projects In The Queue

Here's a little teaser of the next project in my stash. I'm beyond excited to cut into this fabric. I've been swooning over it since January!

Monday, July 18, 2011

The "Just About Perfect:" Dress - M5793

I love McCalls 5793. It's just about the most perfect toddlers dress.

It's the perfect basic dress bodice which can be adapted for so many different ideas. I know. I've done it, many times now.

I've sewed up some version of M5793 four times, well, five now with this latest addition. And really that means ten, seeing as how I make two of everything. Yeah, I love this pattern. Here's a few of the versions I've made in the past:

Here's the latest installment.

The fabric is a quilter's cotton from JoAnns. I picked it up in February this year during as sale for $1.49/yd. Cute, cheap dresses I said!

My only complaint on the pattern is the belt is a smidge long. I made it for the first time with the pink and white dresses shown above, and of course I forgot to shorten it for the purple dresses. Oh well. I think it's safe to assume I'll be making this dress again, so I'll remember for next time.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

S2193 and Instruction Modifications

I've been busy churning out dresses for my girls lately and was excited to try out Simplicity 2193, which I picked up during the first pattern sale after it's release.

I had to take a moment and get past the envelope to see appreciate this pattern. Reminds me of what Mena at The Sew Weekly had to say this week about the subject in the later half of this post. Cracked me up! I'm not sure how they get away with calling those things "sleeves" (referring to the red dress on the right hand model) but anyways.... I saw past this to the line drawing and the design of the dress. I loved it because it reminding me of a RTW dress that I had purchased at Target last summer for my girls that I LOVED.

I really was pairing this pattern with some fabulous fabric that I picked up at JoAnns a few months ago, but I wanted to work out some kinks in the pattern first. So here are my "muslins".

My first adjustment was to widen the skirt portion. I could tell, both by the envelope but especially by the pattern piece that this was not going to be a very flowy dress. I wanted more width at the hem so that it would flow better, so I added 1" at both CF and CB, for a total of 4" more width. I did not change the width of the yoke, so the extra 4" would just be gathered into the same size yoke.

Then I went ahead and began construction, following the pattern instructions like any good home sewist should.... except I'm not. I do not follow pattern instructions, because most of the time, they are bad. Very bad.

This was no exception. Per the instructions, you construct the yoke front and backs, attach the sleeves or ruffles, sew the yoke lining at the neck line, attach the skirt portion and the finish the armscye with bias tape. I foolishly did just so, and while the dress is cute and perfectly wearable (especially for a two-year-old), the bias finishing of the armscye almost ruined the whole dress. After you figure in the yoke, interfacing, lining, ruffle and double fold bias tape, you've got eight layers of material in a 3/8" strip. It is so stiff, it no longer has any drape at all, it sticks out and makes the ruffle stick up and the skirt portion to roll out under the arm. UHG!! I had finished the first side and then realized the results were not going to be good, but could not bring myself to rip it out and do something different. So I plowed ahead and ruined the second side as well.

So for dress number two, I constructed the yoke differently. Here is my recommended construction method to anyone interested in this pattern.

As an aside, after sewing the first dress I thought the fit in the yoke was just a tad bit wide, so I reduced the yoke at CF and CB by 1/4" and I also added some length to the skirt, the first dress was just a little shorted than I prefer.

1. Sew interfaced yoke front and backs at shoulder seams. Repeat for lining pieces.

2. Hem and gather ruffles and attach to yoke, right sides together.

3. Layer yoke and yoke lining, right sides together and stitch together at neck line AND armscyes. Trim SA, clip curves, corners, etc.

4. Turn yoke right side out, press. See? Isn't this nice?

You can barely tell the difference between the right and wrong sides. Not only did this method eliminate the bias tape and extra bulk, but also there is no need for top stitching, which was another thing I did not like on the first version of this dress.

After constructing the yoke, I did use a small strip of bias tape to finish the armscyes on the skirt portion of the dress.

Then I gathered between notches, attached the yoke to the skirt and finished by sewing on the buttons. Here is the first attempt (on the left) and the improved second (on the right).

When I go to cut my "real" fabric, I am going to be adding a lining to the skirt, so that will eliminate all bias tape from my construction process.

Overall, I think it's a cute pattern, needing a few minor adjustments and a different construction method. I'm excited to work on this one again.

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