Threading Lightly

Adventures in amateur sewing


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A change of scenery…

Well I have a couple finished projects that I still need to blog about, but I’m off on vacation for a week!  I’m going to be touring around New Mexico, getting some sun and dry desert air.  Just the cure for this miserable winter, and by the looks out my window, the start of a rainy spring.  And I just found out that one of the B&B’s I’m staying in is only a 2-block walk to a fabric store!  Here’s hoping I can bring home the Southwest, in fabric form.  I’m excited to get some inspiration as well…and a much needed change of scenery.

Maybe your best course would be to thread lightly

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Sheer Skill: beautiful inside and out

Pattern: Butterick ivy + blu B6021

Butterick B6021

I live in New England. This winter has been murder with the snow – more so than usual.  February was one big white blur and everywhere you turned, snow banks were piling up higher and higher.  Houses were buried, mailboxes were lost and ice dams were creeping onto many a roof.  People have grown a little colder as well – sick of shoveling the stuff, driving in the stuff and seeing the stuff. The waste management company for my town actually hurled my recycling bin on top of a giant snow bank where I could barely climb to reach it.   I just left it up there for four weeks. I love snow, but even I realize it has been a little much this year.  I decided, as the icy winds blew outside, to make this sheer dress even though I knew it would be a while before I could actually wear it.Sheer dress 1

I finally got around to using the birthday material my mom got me, seen in this post.  This was the first time I have worked with material so thin and sheer, but I knew french seams were the way to go.  They work so well on this type of material, plus I’ve been striving to make my garments look more professional, inside and out.

The Tale of Two Bodices

When I saw the picture on the envelope, I had a feeling the bodice on this might be a bit too big.  I generally have this problem anyway, having such small shoulders.  And look at that model – it looks like the top is just falling off her.  So I cut out a smaller size, which still seemed to match my measurements.  After I sewed up the finished seams and stitched in the lining, I tried it on.  It was so tight under my armpits, it started to leave welts.  The straps couldn’t even rest on my shoulders straight.  I was going to try to adjust and let out the seams on the arm holes, but I realized that I still had a lot of the fabric left – plenty more for a new bodice.  I was even able to squeak out a new lining, although that was a close call.  Looks are definitely deceiving with this one – the top is not as loose as it looks.

Strap on dress

Pinning it Down

This pattern was mostly easy to follow.  It has an elastic waist, so you have to create a casing and do the whole thread-the-elastic-through-the-hole thingy.  But no zipper!!  Getting the dress on and off is also surprisingly easy despite having no zipper, although figuring which was front or back took some thought (sewing a tag in would be a good idea).

The only directions I got confused by was Continue reading

Manos Pillow


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“Manos” The pillow of fate – or what can you do with an old ripped t-shirt?

New Skills Acquired:

  • Ladder stitch

The origin of this project is a funny story.  My friend recently brought over his old ripped t-shirt, one of his favorites (don’t worry he has a back up).  I asked him why he was bringing this thing to me.  He said, “I brought it over because you said you could use this for a project.  You were going to make something out of it.”

I had no memory of this conversation.   We both wondered if this conversation really did take place or if it was some strange dream he had.  But it was possible I had said I could re-purpose it….I started racking my brain.  What could I make with an old t-shirt with un-repairable rips in the seams?

I know people like to make t-shirt quilts, but I am definitely not a quilter.  And I don’t Continue reading

Striped knit skirt


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Dr. Strange-seam or: How I learned to stop worrying and love the bias

Pattern: McCall’s M6966McCalls M6966

gray knit skirtstriped knit skirt

 

These skirts were inspired by the many striped knits skirts I’ve seen people wear at work. I saw this pattern online, and thought my skirt would really stand out having the stripes going in different directions (view D). Those diagonals were intimidating – there seemed to be a lot of room for error if I cut wrong.  But if I did it correctly, I would have a skirt that was not only me-made, but something you would see in stores as well!

My first attempt was a wearable muslin in a charcoal gray knit. I needed to make sure I could actually make this with bias seams before I ruined my striped material.  Turns out cutting out those pattern pieces on the bias was harder than I thought, but not for the reasons I originally thought. I bought 3 yards of fabric, thinking it was a bit excessive but safe. It worked out in the end, but if I make this again I may buy an extra half yard to avoid the cursing and the sweating. Fitting the pattern pieces so the diagonals match up perfectly took some creative adjusting, and every time I thought I had it with one piece, I adjusted for the diagonal and it would overlap another piece. Gah!

Advice: try to fit the two largest pieces first (bottom back and front) and then work your way to the next biggest. Trying to go by the picture for laying out the pattern does not work.

I tried to make sure the pieces were all going to fit before I cut, but its tough when you are cutting two pieces from the same pattern piece. These pieces were so large so I don’t think that folding the fabric would work in this case.  The good news is if you have successfully cut everything out, the hard part is over.

The rest was easy – I used my mom’s serger to sew up all the seams. This pattern is definitely one of the easiest I have attempted Continue reading