Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Simplicity 3503

I've made this dress a few times, and I wear it so often, I wore my favorite one completely out! So it needed replacing.
The fabric is an ITY print from fabric,com. It's a nice substantial fabric, and it was nice to sew. The weight is pretty much perfect for a dress, so I'm glad I bought enough for a maxi.
Pocketses, precious.
The only change I made from previous versions was to omit the shoulder tie. I raised the back neckline significantly when I made it the first time, so the tie doesn't actually serve a function, and it was always coming untied.
And with that - let the summer dress season begin!!

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Ottobre 02/2005-12 Easter dress

Easter is such a great excuse to make a cutesy dress! Naturally I had to embroider it too. It's just so fun!
Myra is such a cooperative little model. She works the camera. Anyway, the dress, right? It is Ottobre 02/2005-12, which I made for Myra years ago. It's a nice simple dress with basic lines, which makes it perfect for embellishment!
The dress itself has a peasant style bodice, with elastic gathering at neckline and sleeve openings and a basic dirndl skirt. Normally it would be a quick sew, but I complicated it in every possible way...
First, I added embroidery. For the bodice, a triple easter egg applique framing Myra's name. This fabric is a shirtweight stretch cotton woven. Really perfect for this dress, but the stretch made the embroidery challenging. I ended up stabilizing with mid-weight cutaway, and floating the fabric. For additional stability and body, I also underlined the entire dress with silk organza.
The trio of eggs on the skirt actually needed more stabilization, despite their similarity to the bodice motif. I doubled the cutaway and that did the trick, again floating the fabric to minimize stretching during embroidering.
As if the embroidery wasn't enough to add to the complexity, I also decided to fully line the dress. For the bodice, I actually ended up simply underlining the front and back pieces. My brain wasn't up to figuring out how to attach those cap sleeves and the elastic in a fully lined bodice. I did add the lining pieces after stitching out the embroidery motifs, so the back of the stitching is covered.
To give the skirt lots of pouf, I added a tulle ruffle stitched to the lining in between the skirt and lining, so it wasn't scratchy against her legs. The lining fabric is Hang Free, so it is very soft and comfortable.
Despite the challenges of embroidering this fabric, I'm really glad I went to the trouble of making it work. I feel like I'm learning so much about machine embroidery with each new project. It is so fun to have a new challenge!

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

More embroidery fun

The sewing room has been sadly unproductive lately. The kids had Spring Break last week, and we had a few sick days before that. I'm getting back into the swing of things now and cut out a tee shirt today. Fortunately, machine embroidery is less time intensive when I'm not also making the garment from scratch.
Myra really dislikes "boring" tee shirts, but a $4 tee from Walmart isn't so boring when I'm done with it!
I'm particularly proud of this one, as I designed the pattern myself, combining the dragon, castle and several fonts in Sew-What Pro. I'm really having fun with that program! I love being able to tweak a design and make it my own. Or Myra's own!
I stitched out the dragon and castle in metallic thread. I'm thrilled with how well it worked out, since I've had trouble with metallics in the past. For my machine, the secret seems to be to drop the tension to 2.0 and slow the speed WAAAY down.
One thing I've been learning about is stabilizing knits properly. It's tricky to find the balance between enough stabilizer for the design and not so much that it overwhelms the fabric itself. Even then, the design itself plays a big role - more dense designs need more stabilization. I ruined a couple of shirts attempting designs that were too dense for the fabric.
It seems like satin or running stitch lettering and open, sketchy designs play best with tee shirt knits. A single layer of medium weight stabilizer has been enough for this type of design.
Myra has been enjoying the process too. She helped me design this one herself!