Friday, March 15, 2019

Transferring Tuck Lines With Fusible Paper

There must be a faster method that is accurate and safe for fine fabric.   I figured it out ! 

I just finished Butterick 6208 in my last post.   I used the traditional method of  'hand basting' each tuck line with contrasting thread.  It takes time to mark each line and then run a basting thread.  The results are great and that is important to me.  So many people do NOT want to hand baste.  I have tried using water soluble pens and chalk. They often leave a 'hot mess' on fine fabrics.  As soon as the steam from the iron makes contact with those lines they either disappear or stain the fabric.  So, you better get it right on the first try or accept the fact you will be starting over. 

I developed a NEW system using Sulky Totally Stable fusible paper to mark my lines.  This fusible paper is safe on silk charmeuse and other fine fabrics.  My ruler is Quilters Select.  It has the non-slip coating which keeps it from moving on the paper.   I cut one inch wide strips and fused them very close together on the fabric.  Look closely.  They are placed so close it looks like I drew a pencil line on the paper.  I DO NOT have to mark anything on my fabric. 

I machine stitched a basting line between the strips.  The basting thread should be a strong contrast for best visibility.  Initially I was just going to draw pencil lines on the paper and machine baste on the pencil lines.  The problem with that technique is the length of the stitch.   If you perforate the paper with a tiny stitch the paper will tear away easily.  Basting stitches are large making it difficult to tear the paper. The large basting stitches are easy to remove after all tucks have been sewn.
By using one inch wide strips you completely eliminate the tearing process plus you can re-fuse the strips a few more times!  Yeah!

chambray linen
After all the basting lines are machine sewn remove all the strips of  Totally Stable paper.  They can be reused a few times. 
Use your steam iron to press each tuck .  The basting lines will not disappear from the iron steam.  The contrast thread is your fold line.   For absolutely perfect tucks I use  Bernina foot #57 with the side flange.  (all my thread tails will be inserted manually into the tuck with a needle) .  Do not clip your threads or the tuck could open up.

Butterick 6208 uses a pattern overlay which is a great method.  Nice and accurate.

I'm ready for summer!

Friday, March 8, 2019

Butterick 6208 Tunic with French Seams and Side Vents

 I made this sleeveless dress about 2 years ago.  What totally impressed me with this pattern was the approach using an over-lay pattern to trim down the pattern for accuracy after the tucks were sewn.
Let me explain.  There are twelve 1/4 inch tucks.  Now, think about the 'domino effect'.  If you are off  by 1/16" and multiply that by twelve.....  12/16" = 3/4 inch.   Allowing for the 'turn of the cloth' with each tuck is the problem.  If your fabric is very thin your accuracy will be better.

The directions have you prepare all your tucks and then place the overlay pattern to trim down to the perfect size.  GENIUS !!!    When a quilter makes a 12 " block they use a 12" square ruler to 'sure up' the block to the exact size.

I am making View A.  Tunic.  Mid-thigh length with sleeves.

Note:  Pattern is now Out of Print but can still be purchased at Club BMV as of March 2019.

If you flip through Ready to Wear Catalogs like Coldwater Creek this tunic design is extremely popular.

I made 1/4 inch bias tubes for the buttonhole loops  Turned them inside out with my tube turner.

 I just love sewing French Seams on light weight fabrics.  This cotton lawn was purchased from Sawyer Brook Fabrics in MA.

Next to the pencil mark you can see that I terminated the French seam and added a side vent about 5 inches deep.   (Pencil marks wash out.)

In an older post I showed all the steps.
Close up of the 1/4 inch tucks. 

This time around I made the design as a long tunic with 3/4 length sleeves.  I placed French seams inside the sleeves as well.  Looks nicer if you choose to roll up.  The pattern called for six button.  I added one loop more.  (7 button

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Happy New Year to Technology: Bernina Q24, Accuquilt Go Cutter, Epic....

My first project for 2019 !  Hope everyone has a healthy year filled with many sewing projects using all the latest technology!

Back in October of 2018 this little boy was being baptized at our church.  What a handsome little guy!  I really wanted to make something special for him.  I came across a really cute car fabric and it seemed so appropriate since his family has a car dealership.  SCORE !
As it turned out I was able to find several great colors that worked with this vintage car design.  I bought a ton of fabrics because I didn't know what I was going to create.  Left overs always find their way into other projects.

I scanned Pinterest for days trying to find pattern ideas.  And if you have a sewing buddy friend you can bounce ideas off one another.  The busy car print fabric forced me to keep things as simple as possible.

I pulled out my Accuquilt Go-Big electric cutter for the alphabet letters and the strips.  I also have the Accuquilt software with a blanket stitch for the lettering.   I must say,  these die cutters sure do a great job! If you have any arthritis or carpel tunnel issues these cutters are a blessing.

These applique embroidered car designs are a Floriani collection.
The charcoal dotted fabric looked just like pavement so I decided to make some roads.  Then of course we needed to add road stripes.  Ah yes, yellow grosgrain ribbon!  The black and white check fabric looked like those racing car flags. No, I didn't have a pattern.  Ideas just sort of evolve as you proceed.  I stopped at four cars because the quilt was growing quickly!
Naturally this created another opportunity for me to experiment with my Bernina longarm Q-24  with that fantastic computer automation.  Wow!!   I absolutely love that machine!!!!  I'm learning something new every time I have an opportunity to explore and play.   The quilt pattern I chose has circles and curves which reminded me of curvy roads and wheels.

I used my Floriani software to create a simple star design.  I uploaded the star design with the built in Wi-Fi on the Viking Epic.  This allowed me to fill in the blank areas around the lettering where I wasn't able to use the long arm.  (The long arm quilting would have stitched through the lettering.)  Hopefully there's a way to meet that challenge.  Time will tell.
Bernina Q-24 with Q Matic
So how long did this take to create ???  That question always comes from someone who does not sew and doesn't have a clue how involved these projects are.  The greatest gift you can give anyone is your time.  And believe me, this took quite a bit of time!  This also gave me an opportunity to learn more with all this technology.  ( Like the hangers? )

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Working With Heavy Coating Fabrics.

This Burda jacket pattern was included as a supplement to Husqvarna  Viking Zig -Zag Magazine, Volume 9.  (These are still available on Ebay and Etsy)
I am making this indoor/ outdoor sweater coat for my Mom.  She's 92 and really feels the cold. She dresses in multiple layers. Hopefully this will keep her toasty warm!

I bought this beautiful wool coating stripe from Banksville Fabrics (Norwalk, Ct.) November 2018.  Thick coating fabrics can be very difficult to stitch if you choose a pattern with too many design features.   Avoid darts, tucks, shoulder pads, front facings, extra seams, welts etc.  Keep it super simple!   I didn't even put on the patch pockets.

(I didn't add the wool braid to the sleeve hemline because I don't know the exact sleeve length until she receives this gift. The hem is 2 inches deep.)

I decided to allow the flannel backed lining to hang freely at the hemline like you often see with rain coats. When a lining is attached to the bottom hemline it may pull or pucker if the length isn't exact.  This method eliminates a possible bagging.  I used a silk twill and my bias binder to finish off the lining hemline. 

I used heavy duty Gutermann Upholstery thread to create the French Tack between the seam allowance and the lining.  This will help to keep the lining from creeping up. 

I tested every possible buttonhole option.  I couldn't get a key hole to look good.  I tweaked the density and buttonhole bead width on every buttonhole style.  I ALWAYS test buttonholes to get the correct recipe.  Every fabric will be different.   My Bernina 830 and 790 have the capacity to spread the buttonhole beads!  LOVE, LOVE, LOVE those Bernina buttonholes!   This test sample pictured below goes to show you it takes some effort to find the right stitch combination.   I placed black silk organza on the top to flatten the texture and add strength to the buttonhole.  It doesn't even show when trimmed down! 

These buttons came off my Vogue Geoffrey Beene jacket that I made 20 years ago! 
  This wool fold-over braid was the perfect finishing touch.   No bulk from facings! 

Enjoy those toasty warm winter fabrics.  Keep it simple!  Good luck.  

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Super Easy Nightgowns

I have made this tank nightgown at least 15 times!  There is no commercial pattern for this tank gown.  I had an old worn out ready-to-wear gown that I cut up and used as my pattern; except I made it longer.

 A yard and one half makes an ankle length gown.  I find the longer length doesn't creep up as much when I flip in my sleep. 

The cotton fabrics are from Banksville Fabrics in Norwalk, Connecticut.

The 'Stretch' thread is from Wawak sewing supplies upstate New York.  The 'stretch' thread is Gutermann Maraflex #120.  This is NOT a wooly nylon.  It is a very strong, stretch thread that works beautifully in the needles of the serger.   This thread really keeps the needle threads from popping.  I highly recommend it.  This thread can not be compared with typical serger cone threads.

I have tried using self-fabric neck and armhole bindings but the fold-over elastic (5/8 inch) consistently produces necklines that maintain the best shape.  Fold over elastics are available in a variety of widths.  These are readily available on Etsy and Ebay at great prices.    The tiny flower lets me know the front from the back in case I'm too tired and put it on backwards.  Yes, that has happened when I didn't turn the light on.

I hand baste the fold-over elastic to the neckline because this eliminates issues with the elastic feeding the fabric inconsistently.  Sewing machines have a way of making the layers push at different rates.  No waves or puckers when you  hand baste.  Also, I off set my seams to the back of the armhole so there is NO bulk at the underarm side seam.   I use a 1.5 width zig-zag stitch on the raw edge of the elastic. 

My side seams were sewn on a two-needle/ 4 thread serger using the Gutermann 120 Stretch thread with Gutermann E382 Wooly Nylon in the lower looper.  This makes the horizontal looper threads soft against the skin.   (threads from )

This photo above is the inside of the hem showing how the wooly nylon is used with the Baby lock Cover Stitch.   (below)  This is a 'stand alone' cover stitch machine.  So, yes, I am using two separate machines.  My Husqvarna Viking Huskylock 936  has a built in cover stitch but it is quite time consuming to convert to the cover stitch feature.  It's also frustrating to perform this task if you are bouncing back and forth between seams and hems.  Honestly, I don't like changing all the threads either !

And this is the cover stitch sewn on the Baby Lock cover stitch only machine. 

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Look Mom.... No LOOSE FACINGS !

Whenever I have a neck band facing on a dress or a waist band facing on a skirt I like to attach a finished facing band directly to the LINING rather than attached separately at the seam allowance.  (To do this method you will eliminate the first step in the guide sheet.) 

 I like this method for many reasons:
  •  It looks cleaner
  • The facing doesn't creep to the public view side.
  • It doesn't need to be hand stitched in place.
  • The layering gives the grain more strength.  It doesn't stretch out of shape. The black batiste is still below the printed fabric. 
  • The bodice lining totally covers the shoulder seams and the side seams.  

I eliminate this step from the guide sheet:   (Vogue Nina Ricci 1244)
Note:  The guide sheet illustration shows the underlining being attached to the fashion fabric.  The two layers are treated as one.  This method leaves the raw edges of the shoulder seams and side seams RAW.  The edges are completely exposed.  Under linings can be very tricky.  Anytime two fabric layers are sandwiched together 'as one' they can show slight puffs or blisters if they shrink at a slightly different rate during laundering.  

I start my facing process by 'block fusing'  interfacing to the wrong side of my fashion fabric.  Then I place my pattern piece onto my fabric and cut out my facing.  ( Yes, it already has interfacing fused to the fabric !)

To finish the raw edge of the facing I cut out 1 inch wide bias strips of my underlining or lining fabric.   This is a HONG KONG seam finish.

I cut out a separate bodice (front and back) in cotton batiste or cotton lawn.  The black cotton is NOT attached to the fashion fabric as the guide sheet shows. 
Use a temporary spray adhesive.  This should eliminate any forward ripple while stitching.  I find pinning to be unsatisfactory.  Stitch the facing to the black underling next to the Hong Kong seam finish. 

I prefer this Hong Kong seam finish to be approximately 1/8 inch.  I feel 1/4 inch is a little too wide.

I placed my neck band facing directly on top of the cotton batiste lining.  I 'stitch in the ditch' next to the Hong Kong seam finish.  This eliminates all hand sewing! 
Now the neck band facing and the underlining are considered ONE SINGLE UNIT.   I added piping to the neck band edge. In the photo below you can see the facing is machine stitched to the black under lining.  No hand sewing.
(The pink colored threads are my tailor tack tracings for the tucks.)

The guide sheet illustrates top stitching around the armhole.  I wanted to eliminate this line of stitching.   Also, I wanted to cover up the seam allowances.  

The illustration above shows hand stitching the facing to the under lining to keep it secure. 

The inside of the garment is completely finished.  No raw seams anywhere. 

The piping will prevent the diagonal back closure from stretching out of shape.

Friday, June 22, 2018

BERNINA Q24 with Q-matic ! Wow !

This past March I attended the Original Sewing and Craft Expo in Atlanta.  There were numerous long arm quilting machines on display for testing down in the vending hall. I played with this machine for three whole days.  The Bernina Q24 with Q Matic automation was captivating!  Needless to say, when I flew back home I ordered the Q24 on a  12 foot frame with the computer automation from a certified dealer.  It took 3 men an entire day to set up this operation. I had no idea how involved it would be.  The software was loaded on the computer before they arrived with all these parts.  I can truly appreciate why you need a certified dealer.  Service is extremely  important.

Several of my friends were startled by this purchase because I am primarily a garment person.  Well, I think I better get sewing a few quilts.  This is a whole new adventure with the automation.

Stitch quality is outrageously important to me. (That's why I love Bernina)  I must say, the stitch quality is just beautiful !  The stitch regulator keeps the stitch size consistent.  The free motion work is so easy.  (This is really wonderful if your hands have arthritis etc.) There are tons of designs included with the software.  The computerized automation is just fantastic. Wow, wow, wow.  If you want to add more designs or create designs the Art & Stitch program allows for even more creativity.  Technology is amazing. 

I just finished the quilt top. This design is from Lunch Box Quilts.  I'll have this up on the quilt frame pretty soon. This dinosaur quilt top is for a very special 3 year old.  It will be finished before he goes to college thanks to automation.

This is my Pineapple quilt.  I added an extra row to make the quilt longer.  I intend on adding borders to make it larger .  I haven't sewn a quilt in 10 years.  I'm making progress.  Please pass on helpful tips! 

Done !     The Edge to Edge quilting on the frame is sooo much fun!   I can't imagine going back to quilting free motion with a standard sewing machine.  It's so much harder to push a large quilt through the machine bed. 

For an outdoor shot I decided to hang it from the gutter on the house !  I plan on placing this quilt on top of our queen size bed as a topper.