Riley Blake Designs March 02 2015, 0 Comments
What a treat is it to be one of the stops on the Riley Blake Designs knit love blog tour! I was really excited that Julia asked Figgy's to join in the fun. Knits are and always will be my favorite type of fabric to use for clothing. Although they are my favorite I'm extremely picking about my knits. I will say that the quality of the RBD's knits are outstanding.I always wash and dry my fabrics first (shrinkage) and I was pleasantly surprise that I didn't loose 5" of my fabric like some knits I purchase. There was no fading and the weight is not too light but not heavy either. All wins in my book! I wish the knit was available when I was finishing my book because I could have used yards and yards of this gorgeous vibrant fabric.So now that the book is done (coming this July!!) I am able to start sewing again and hopefully push out some new patterns soon too! So for this post I used current patterns from the site. Portland weather is very sporadic so adding a touch of extra warmth for the rainy days is a great way to not feel weighed down but still warm.I created two adorable pieces for my niece Ofelia with a small twist to each. For the first garment we used the Seraphic Raglan Tee pattern and simply added a cowl neck instead of a band. There was no need to increase the size of the opening. Just measure the neck opening and cut a rectangle (with the stretch) the width of the opening and depending on your personal preference for how big the cowl is will determine the length. Example: 22" x 6" will give you a 3" fold.You simple sew the short raw edge together the fold the fabric in half lengthwise. Attach as you would a regular band.
Fabric: Hot Pink AztecThe next garment we used the Celestial Tee Pattern and added length to create an adorable tunic to pair with jeans or leggings and when it starts to warm up a bit the garment can be worn as a dress. We also added length to the sleeves and another cowl neck. The fabric was extremely easy to use and so so soft too! My niece is going to be so excited! I swear I don't think my sister has had to buy 1 outfit for her since birth!
Hemmed by hand with a whip stitch.Fabric: The Cottage Garden in GreyThank you Riley Blake for allowing me to play with your new line of yummy knits!!Have a fun time following the blog tour this month. I know I will!
PATTERN PARCEL "Inspiration" September 19 2014, 0 Comments
Parcel #5: Girls and Tweens includes:
Lily Knit Blazer by Peek-a-Boo Patterns
Everyday Yoga Pant for Girls by Greenstyle
Asymmetrical Drape Top by EYMM
Playhouse Dress by Fishstick Designs
Mimi Dress and Shirt by Filles a Maman
Sunki Dress by Figgy’s Bonus Pattern: Choose a price of $28 or greater for Parcel #5 and you will automatically also be sent the Bonus Pattern! The Bonus Pattern for this Parcel is the Sunki Dress by Figgy's. Fun pockets, a stylish silhouette, plus make it in knit or woven.
The pattern includes both size runs, so you get 18 months through a 16 tween sizing. This is awesome sauce!
How Pattern Parcel Works: Here at Perfect Pattern Parcel, we believe in supporting independent pattern designers. It’s our opinion that indie patterns are just, well, better than big box patterns, and we’re pretty sure our customers think so too. So, we allow customers to show their support in naming their own price for each Parcel. We also encourage customers to allocate part of their Parcel price to the charity Donorschoose.org in order to help classrooms in need. Pattern Parcel donates all profits after expenses from Parcel sales to the charity as well. Together we've raised over $11,000 for classrooms in need!
BUY IT BUTTON:
Inspiration Tour Schedule:
Friday, September 19 Pienkel || Cookin' and Craftin'
Saturday, September 20 Sew Busy Lizzy || The Life Of A Compulsive Crafter
Sunday, September 21 Keep Calm and Carrion || Felt With Love Designs
Monday, September 22 Radiant Home Studio || Sewing Sober
Tuesday, September 23 Sew Fishsticks || La Pantigana || Amanda Rose
Wednesday,September 24 Shawnta Sews || Sprouting JubeJube || Knot Sew Normal
Thursday, September 25 Make It Perfect || Mimi's Mom || Climbing the Willow
Friday, September 26 Needle and Ted || Our Family Four
Saturday, September 27 Froo & Boo
Sunday, September 28 Stitches by Laura || Vicky Myers creations
Monday, September 29 Cookin' and Craftin' || The Crazy Tailor
Tuesday, September 30 mama says sew || FABulous Home Sewn || The Inspired Wren
Wednesday, October 1 lady and the gents || That's-Sew-Kari || Sewing Sober
Thursday,October 2 Gracious Threads || Blogs Like A Mother || SewsNBows
Friday, October 3 sew chibi || Lulu & Celeste || Made by Sara
My Favorite Fabric...KNITS! April 18 2014, 0 Comments
Lou from "Wotsybaby" eliminated the zipper and downsized to accommodate for the stretch in her knit for this cute Sunki.
She kept the overlap at the shoulder but eliminated the gathers on the sleeve. Her daughter was thrilled to have such a stylish dress but with added coziness.
When you've decided to go for it and use a knit for your next pattern measure the flat pattern first. Depending on the seam allowance you may find that simply sewing one size smaller will be the only adjustment you'll need to make. An example would be your daughter has a chest measurement of 24" and on the back of the sewing pattern she is a size 6/7 but you measure the pattern and notice after subtracting a 5/8" seam allowance on all seams the pattern is 26" you may want that one size smaller because the knit will be looser fitting than a woven and she could look a little lost in the end result. Another option is just eliminate the ease from the pattern and then adjust from there. It's always better to be too big than too small!!
On most woven patterns necklines will either have a facing or a full lining. You may get to avoid both of these by simply turning the neckline and topstitching because most knits don't fray and will still look professional by just turning and stitching. A double needle works great for this type of finish. Also, consider a binding or rib trim like the Sunki made by Lou; she skipped adding the facings and instead chose to use 2 rib knit trims instead. By doing this she gave the dress a real sporty feel.
Another amazing thing about knits is you may not even need to hem the garment! This is all personal preference. For me it depends on the garment, I love a nice raw edge look on the Seraphic Maxi Skirt to give it a little bohemian touch, but I don't think it would look very nice on the bottom hem on the Sunki.
Let's make something!!
I've decided to use the Ethereal Pattern to change up a what could be a very formal dressy blouse to a fun every day school shirt. My niece is on the small size of 4/5 so I've traced and cut out the size 2/3 because the Ethereal is nice and roomy and I don't want her to get lost in the fabric. I also did not cut out facings or a lining and will explain why below.
I always check or change my sewing needle first before each project to be sure and have the correct needle size and type in place. When sewing knits you'll want to use either a Ball Point Needle or Stretch Needle. Which one is the best one you ask? A Ballpoint needle is generally used for heavier, looser sweater knits and stretch needle for highly elastic fabrics, like Spandex, or Lycra. They both have rounded points that penetrate between fabric threads rather than pierce them. (Stretch-needle point is slightly less rounded than ballpoint.) Just make sure to test-stitch knits with ballpoint and stretch needles to see which yields the best results. If ballpoint skips stitches, try stretch needle instead! Here is the perfect master needle image to give you an idea about how different needles really are.
The Ethereal pattern uses a facing when sewing the garment with sleeves or for the sleeveless version it's fully lined, but because I'm using knit I've decided to just add a band to the neckline and the sleeve openings instead. I used my serger and rolled hemmed the edge of the flounce. If you don't own a serger you can leave the flounce raw edged or turn the raw edge 1/4" and topstitching. When sewing with knits you'll need to change the stitch on your sewing machine to a zig zag setting and adjust the length to 3.0 and the width to 1.0.
I've sewn the flounce in place and attached the back bodice at the shoulders only.
I've tried the top on my niece to make sure the opening is wide enough to go over her head. If it's too tight, I suggest trimming the neck edge by 1/8 - 1/4" then try it on again. To make the neck band simply measure the neck opening and subtract .5". My neck edge measured 19.5". Be careful not to stretch the neck opening while measuring. I want a thin neck band so I've cut a 19" x 1.5" band. Sew the neck band with a 1/2" seam allowance. My band is now 18" x 1.5". Right sides together sew the strip to make a circular band.
Next, we can pin the neckband to the shirt, but first we need to mark some key points to match up. Begin by placing a pin at the seam of the neckband; this will match up with the center bodice back. Find the shoulder point of your neckband by looking at the shirt neckline, then mimic the shape with your band. You will have to guess a bit here because the front neckline is a bit longer than the back. Place a pin at the folded point that you determined to be the opposite shoulder. Find the center front by folding the band in half, matching the shoulder points. This will give you the centers of the front of the band, and you can mark this with pins, too. Also mark the center front and center back on the shirt neckline, with a disappearing-ink marker or pins.
Pin the band with the right side facing the wrong side of the shirt and stitch together using 3/8" seam allowance. You will gently stretch the neckband to match the width of the shirt. Be sure not to stretch the shirt and only the band. Trim the seam allowance being careful not to trim the seam and pull the neckband up. Press the seam allowance (that little bit left over) up towards the raw edge of the band.
At this point you have two options. You can simply fold over the band and stitch in place leaving the edge raw or fold the raw edge 1/4" and press then fold again a top the seam and topstitch. Normally I go for a raw edge of these hearts seem to need a more professional looks so I'm going to press, fold and stitch. The great thing about the Robert Kaufman knits is that press so nicely. There are a lot of knits that won't hold a press but RK knits behave nicely.
I decided to just turn the raw edges along the sleeve opening just to see how it'd look and I think it came out very nicely. You could instead bind the sleeve opening or use the same method as you did with the neckline and add a trim. Complete the rest of the Ethereal as instructed in the booklet and you'll have a really cozy, sporty shirt! I think this a great alternative to the T-shirt, what about you?!
Want to win 2 yards of yummy Robert Kaufman knit and one PDF Figgy's Pattern to make your own knit version?!!
Enter below and good luck!
Happy Sewing - Shelly
I phone photos just arrived of my happy niece:
celestial pullover November 15 2013, 1 Commentheaven by Figgy's Winter 13'
a sunki & a sale April 05 2013, 4 Comments
A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of "meeting" Lou from "Wotsybaby", a blog about raising her daughter in a gentle and creative way.
This super gal has allowed me to post about her recent creativity, making the Sunki with knit fabric. I love it when sewists take patterns and made them their own and lucky for us she's sharing a "how to" with us!
When I decided I wanted to make this dress (Figgy’s Sunki! so lovely!) out of a non-woven fabric, I searched to see if anyone had done it before and had any tips. I didn’t come up with anything so thought I’d document what I did here to make it easier in case anyone else wanted to change it up!
1. The first thing is to size down. I have made this dress before in a quilting-weight cotton for my average-sized almost 5 year old and it fits well. Just right in fact (so not much growing room). I thought if I made the knit version in the same size, then we’d get a bit more wear out of the garment. It’s quite loose now and she tells me it’s very soft, comfortable and slinky! I could have made it in a size down for it to fit perfectly now. The fabric is a bamboo jersey and was great to sew with. I used a jersey needle (important tip#1.1) and a stitch that looks like a little lightning bolt that has lots of stretch (zig zag setting with a 3.0 length and a 1.0 width). I used my serger for some of the edges but not all of them (the bits around the armholes seem softer if they’re not finished).
2. I eliminated the zipper by cutting the back piece on the fold.
3. I didn’t bother with the facings and instead cut 2 pieces of 2×2 rib knit (the grey pieces around the neckline). The back piece is 1 5/8″ x 13.5″ and the front piece is 1 5/8″ x 13″ (I probably should have made them slightly – 1/2″? – shorter. So next time I would make them 1 5/8 x 13 and 1 5/8 x 12.5). I put them on in the same way as the Envelope t-shirt in the book Growing Up Sew Liberated (which I’d just made a few weeks before (I’m paraphrasing from the book for this next bit, I couldn’t come up with this genius!): Sew one long edge of front binding to front with lightning bolt stitch and right sides together. Gently stretch binding to fit. Press binding away from the front and turn the binding edge to the wrong side, encircling seam allowances and press. The raw edge of the binding will extend just below the seam on the wrong side of the front, then zig zag stitch (small zigzag) on the right side of the front along the bottom edge of the binding, just above the previous seam. On the wrong wide, the raw edge of the binding will be caught in this seam, finishing the binding. Repeat the entire step for the back and the back binding.
4. Instead of using the fold guides for the sleeves, I measured and marked 3″ over from the centre fold line on each sleeve (so 6″ total on each sleeve) and sewed a basting stitch 1/4″ from the edge. I pulled the threads tight and it was a perfect fit for the armhole once I put the sleeve in. (I sewed the sides first and put the sleeves in in the round which is my preferred method. It was no problem!)
5. I decided that the dress would be cool if I changed up the side panels but didn’t use a different colour of fabric so I freezer-paper-stenciled the stars. It’s awesome! I used Pebeo shimmer opaque fabric paint in Silver. Amazing stuff.
Things I would change for next time:
1. Use stay tape on the pocket fronts. The pockets stretched out quite a bit when I sewed them – a bit of stay tape around the curve where the pockets meet the front piece would help I think.
2. Make the pockets deeper. The pockets on this dress are not quite deep (I agree Lou) enough for a small lady’s hands or other trinkets. I think I will do this with any future Sunki dresses I make, knit or woven. With the knit fabric though, the pockets have a tendency to flop out if there’s vigorous movement (which is pretty much constantly!)
3. Put a bit of stay tape around the shoulders on the sides where the front and back overlap for about 3 inches. As Sylvie has worn this dress, one shoulder might flop off her shoulder (which she thinks is daringly grown-up and fancy but I don’t know if she needs an off-the-shoulder dress… hm). I think cutting the rib knit binding a little smaller (as mentioned above) would help to tighten it up a bit as well). Now that it’s been sewn up I think I’ll just do a few tacking stitches where the two pieces of gray rib meet at the shoulders.
It was a fun project and a very wearable dress. I think it might be one of her favourite garments I’ve made for the little miss!
Lightened Version so you can see more detail. :)
Now, on to the saleS, yep I said sales with an s.
First up a Figgy's sale! In celebration of nothing but a little warmer weather here in Oregon I'm having a 15% off sale on all paper patterns from April 5th - 12th! Please use code SPRING15 to receive the discount!
Next a Craftsy class special!~ If you haven't tried taking a class online via Craftsy then this is the perfect time to grab one. I had a ball filming this class and the reviews coming in are all positive, woohoo!
Just click the banner below!! The sale begins today and ends on April 8th! So hurry before Monday and grab the class but then take the class whenever you like, it never expires!!
sewing with knits March 01 2012, 7 Comments
With thanks to and permission from the lovely Kelly Hogaboom I have decided to re-post this wonderful tutorial on sewing with knits. I have been getting many emails inquiring about this particular post and I don't like to disappoint our faithful sewists (seamstress, seamster, tailor). You may need to refer to this tutorial sooner than you think. (hmmmm, I wonder what that means?)
I promised a few people a little blog regarding sewing with knits; here goes. My daughter requested a shirt in “earthy” tones. I had just enough in my stash to make her one. The natural-colorway was from a piece of organic bamboo yardage given to me by a friend; the brown was from a 100% organic cotton t-shirt I thrift-ed (I used most of the shirt to make a headband for my mother). In both cases once I cut out the shirt pattern pieces I ended up with only a small portion scraps to compost. I love it that I use fabric so economically.
Kelly used the Tee for Two pattern available here: http://www.craftsy.com/pattern/sewing/Clothing/Tee-for-Two-Small-sizes/3910
Knits are tricky. So many sewists claim to “whip up a t-shirt on the serger” – but the truth is, for most of us it takes time to get proficient at knits, especially those with a high degree of stretch. Many home sewists don’t even own a serger (or they own one and don’t know how to use it). I hasten to add, a serger is not needed to make great knitwear. The following tutorial regards making a t-shirt on a sewing machine. It needs only a zig zag function to achieve good results (a width of 0.5 – 1.0 and a length of 3.0 was used for this shirt).
One of the best tricks I know to make t-shirt sewing go easier is to stabilize the seam allowances. This means “painting” a solution on the seam allowances and allowing them to dry. This solution ensures that the knit will not roll nor be sucked into the feed dogs of the machine. It’s not a necessary step to sewing with t-shirt knits, but one that makes things a lot easier. In addition to creating an easier sewing experience, I have found the stitch formed on stabilized knits “floats” on the fabric (instead of being pulled into it). Not all knits need this treatment (a sturdy or non-stretch knit may not), but for my slim-fit t-shirt with the very stretchy, soft bamboo it made the whole process easier.
To stabilize the seams you can either purchase a water soluble spray-on stabilizer or a stabilizer by the yard. If you choose the latter, you simply dissolve a small amount in water to create a solution then “paint” the edges of your pattern pieces (shown below in a moment). In this case, I am sewing with a 1/4″ seam allowance so I stabilized about 3/8″ on each seam.
Which seams do you have to stabilize? Those that will be travelling across the feed dogs of the machines. For this pattern, this means all edges except the sleeve and shirt hems (which remain unfinished). I stabilized the short ends of the neckband as well, given as a last step in this pattern the neckband edges have to be top stitched closed in a little rectangle and I figured, “Why not?”. The neckband in general does not need to be stabilized as it is rarely against the machine (when you attach the band it will be the shirt bodice that travels across the machine surface) and it needs to stretch quite a bit to perform its function (which is to “snap back” after sewing and bring the shirt edge in to hug the neck).
Here’s a little photo-explanation of stabilizing (click each photo for more information):
After you've stabilized your seam allowances, you must let the pattern pieces dry. Give it overnight or, if you’re in a hurry, carefully put the pieces in front of a heat source (don’t burn your house down!). When the seams are dry, they will have a stiff edge to them. They may even be a bit waffle-y. Don’t worry about that, as on the machine they will sew up beautifully. Here is an example of the texture change resultant from the stabilizing process. It’s a bit difficult to see but it’s obvious to the touch (the green thread is the tailor’s tacks I use for pattern markings):
Now we’re all ready to sew!
In the Tee for Two pattern, the first seams sewn are those of the sleeves to the front and back bodice. I chose to do Option B. of the pattern – that is, a raw-edge, top stitched seam. This means first sewing the sleeve seams wrong sides together. The sleeve seams are curved – one generally a “convex” curve (the shirt bodice) and one generally a “concave” curve (the sleeve piece). The way you pin and sew these seams will make a difference in the ease of sewing. When pinning curves that have opposite lines (concave vs. convex), pin such that you’ll be sewing with the convex curve against the machine. To look at it another way, the curves will often look like they won’t match (don’t worry, if you cut accurately they will). Whichever seam looks like it has more fabric to be taken up during stitching, pin and place this piece against the machine. The natural action of the feed dogs will help subtly gather it (in the below photo, the brown is the sleeve, the natural-colorway the bodice. You can see the concave and convex curves):
When sewing – any time when sewing, but especially with a picky knit – hold the thread tails before you sew. This actually take a bit of practice. But if you don’t, your machine will often pull the thread tails into the machine’s throat plate. You’ll end up with a snarled-up bunch of thread and sometimes an ugly, bunchy seam. Observe the results when the thread tails were properly restrained:
After you sew each seam, you should steam press for best results. In general, it is always a good idea to “set the seam”, then press. “Setting the seam” is a technique I learned in a quilting class. It means pressing the seam just as sewn, before you turn it up and top stitch or whatever is next. Fabric is not two-dimensional but 3D – “setting the seam” helps integrate the seam into the structure of the garment (in this photo you can also see the nature of the zig zag that works well with stretchy knit sewing):
After you set the seam, go ahead and finger press it open and press with the iron again, this time in the formation you’ll want it in before proceeding. In this case, the seam allowances are pressed toward the bodice and then top stitched down for a deconstructed-look finish. Since the seams are curved, it makes sense to use a tailor’s ham (although this is rather optional):
The final touch in the raglan bodice/sleeve seams is the top stitching with the raw edge finish. I chose to do this from the inside of the shirt. This is because the stabilized portion of the pattern pieces would be travelling across the feed dogs. When I tried this from the outside of the shirt (as you typically do with top stitching) the seam process distorted the fabric and made a wonky seam, so I flipped the shirt. As long as you go slowly and make sure to gently pull the seam open, sewing from the backside of the garment lends a good result:
Since I made the “puff sleeve” version of the garment, the next steps in the pattern were to gather the raw edges of the sleeve hem into the two strips that will form the finished sleeve. This is done by a long basting stitch on the sleeve’s raw edge to gather the sleeve, then applying the two edge strips simultaneously. Again, the importance of securing the thread tails before you sew will result in a clean finish:
After attaching the sleeve strips, you press them together (hiding the raw edges of the sleeve end) and top stitch. Easy-peasy!
For a more subtle finish, you could use a matching thread instead of the contrast I have done here.
The side seam is one of the last remaining aspects to shirt construction. I elected to do a typical finish – that is stitch it right-sides together, then finish the inside seam allowances for sturdiness. One nice thing with a knit is you usually only have to pin at the top and bottom of a seam. Go slowly and stretch to fit and you’ll have lovely results. I sewed at a 1/2″ seam allowance (instead of the pattern’s 1/4″), because I knew my skinny-minnie daughter would fit just fine, and I wanted to trim the seam down to a clean edge before finishing the seams:
After trimming, and then stitching along the seam allowances:
The neckline is probably the trickiest part of this particular pattern, but it is an ingenious little treatment that not only looks fabulous but is a lot less trouble than most self-finished necklines. Two strips are sewn, one at a time, first to the outside of the garment than the inside. Both strips are simply overlapped at each short end. The outside strip is sewn at a slightly wider seam allowance. Thus when you press up both strips the seam line will cover itself. The only thing that remains is to sew a tiny rectangle, anchoring the overlapped ends of the neckband at the back-left shoulder.
So first, pinning:
I always imagine the Beginner stitcher is alarmed at this point. The neckband of shirts is always so much smaller than the shirt opening! But, that’s the point. This strip, cut against the knit grain, will pull the shirt neckline in to lie flat on the body. Again, you sew with the strip facing up and the shirt neckline against the machine. Carefully pin at a few places and stretch and the whole thing comes together like a dream.
Although the pattern doesn't have this extra step, after attaching each neckline strip I prefer to trim the seam at 3/16″ from the innermost seam, then press up and top stitch:
Here’s the best trick I know regarding top stitching: go slow! Very few of us make “perfect” top stitching but the slower you go, and the more you practice, the better things will look.
Finally, stitch the little rectangle at the back-left shoulder seam where the strips overlapped. The best thing about this little square is it will look different every time. It’s like a signature:
Finally, either wash by hand or throw in the washing machine and dryer to rid the fabric of the crunchy stabilizer. Then present your client with their new shirt! After the cutting and stabilizing aspects of construction (which I typically do the night before and take about a half hour), the shirt takes less time to sew than it took me to write out this tutorial. It’s a quick and lovely creation.
Thanks again Kelly!
Have a wonderful weekend and Happy Sewing!
ps. visit again on Monday for a little Liberty giveaway. ;)