Sunday, October 4, 2009

Since my last posting, I have worked hard at making waders! Such discouragement! And that is why there have been no posts for so long.

I went to work figuring out why they were waders.
Mostly, I chose the wrong styles and colors.

Not all was lost as I learned a bit of technique.
I can adjust patterns to fit me - broad back, sway back, petite, fba.
I can make a pretty good dart.

Here is a top which is not quite right, but not a wader: NewLook 6356, view A (which is the black floral). [Double clicking a picture enlarges it.]

This is a gauze top that fits fairly well. I had to tweak the neckline - to be a bit lower - and I should have excluded the zipper. I didn't realize gauze has quite a generous amount of stretch. That was a "duh" moment. The gauze is also too fragile to hold a zip - I should pick out the zipper and simply sew up the seam. (Think I'll do that this afternoon while football is on the telly.)

After this, I switched from sewing wovens to trying my hand at knits.

Wonderful knits!
I've read that some people are afraid to touch knits.
But I'm having great success with them. This is probably due to the rather large FBA with small waist that I have. I need to gain experience and confidence to do what I need to do: pinch in that waist (so that I don't look like I'm wearing a moo moo).

I find that due to the stretch characteristic of knits, I don't need such a large FBA. A small bust dart seems to suffice.

I started sewing with cotton blend knits.

My first try was a cross over. Kwik Sew 2694, view A. I loved how easily this came together. After a couple of wearings - and after making a few other tops, I realized I needed to take in the side seams and did so. I also took in the underlayer of the crossover so that it fit more snuggly to avoid neckline gapping. Since this was my first knit, I used my standard large FBA. Such a long dart!

(I am just too lazy to iron and try on clothes right now!)

I ordered Pamela's Patterns "The Perfect T-Shirt" pattern. I exchanged a few emails with Pamela (such a sweet lady!) and she offered me a new DVD, which I see is now available on her website. I highly recommend this DVD for new sewers. Watching Pamela lay out the knit in preparation for sewing (while breezily chatting about what she is doing) was only one of the many helpful things Pamela includes in the lesson.

A white "Perfect T."

I made the version with darts. There is an undarted version for those who don't need a bust dart.

Compare the length of this dart with the length of the darts on the purple top above. Such a difference!

I took in the sides, as Pamela suggested in her instructions, and took the sides in again. You can't see from this picture, but the hemline has a beautiful and flattering feminine curve.

I tried a rayon/lycra blend - good success, but had a bit of skipped stitches so switched from using ballpoint needles to stretch needles. Less skipped stitches, but still not perfect. I'm wondering if it is due to my machine. I don't have a serger, so stitching is done with a very narrow zig-zag. I made this top in a "V" neck. I have worn this top several times.

My next project was Loes Hinse sweater set in white. I love the look of this set and the way the stitching plays a large part of the interest. I have to confess that I did not put any buttons on the cardigan....though I would like to put in just one buttonhole near the neckline. I've not yet made any buttonholes! The shell is too short in the front due to my FB. In future versions, I will add a couple of inches to the center front, tapering to the sides.

Here's my latest: I took Loes Hinse' sweater set, combined the shell with the cardigan, added a center back seam (to adjust a sway back), and made a deep "v" neck pullover with a 3/4 inch sleeve. This fits beautifully except that the darts can use a bit of adjusting. I will be making this top in a variety of fabrics with several tweaked effects.

As I was writing this blog post, I noticed on Loes' website a "V Neck Tunic." My tunic. The one I spent hours making a pattern for.

Well, now I know I can. I can imagine and make it reality.

My basic sewing techniques include:
- I use a narrow zig-zag for seams
- I use Steam-a-Seam Lite for turning neckline seams and sometimes on hems
- I use stay tape stabilizer on shoulder seams (being sure to sew it to the back shoulder piece because I find it itchy if it contacts my skin)
- I use stretch needles
- I take my time. My attitude has shifted from "hurry, get this done" to "enjoy the process." This has made a huge difference in producing successful garments. I'm glad I learned this early in my sewing renewal.

I have spent hours watching online tutorials and reading sewing blogs. The generosity of those who take the time to teach others is amazing! Videos which show the sewist handling fabric at the machine has helped me tremendously. Thank you all!


Audrey said...

Hi Lisa, I came over to visit. These tops don't look like waders (wadders) to me. It seems like you were able to tweak them all to make them fit better. For me, every sewing project is a learning experience and there is always something not quite like I want it to be. I especially liked that you were able to use the too short shell under deep V pullover. I think they look great together.

Mardel said...

Hi Lisa, I came over from SG and love what you've made so far. Nothing looks like a wadder, but I understand about the learning curve and getting things just the way you want. I can't wait to follow your progress.

Remnant said...

Ah, ladies, thank you so much for your comments.

The waders? I didn't post pics of them! The tops in the photos have been worn (even out of the house!)

Encouragement is greatly appreciated!