Monday, January 25, 2016

Learning about machine embroidery

Nightgowns are an awesome project for practicing my machine embroidery. So, when my SIL mentioned that my niece Emma was growing out of her PJs, I quick made her up a nightgown. Emma has an obsession with Batman, but most Batman clothing is made for boys. There is definitely a lack of dresses and nightgowns with a Batman theme.
We'll just take care of that, shall we? Girlie batman nightgown? Check. I used an applique design from Etsy. You can find it here. I was pleased with the design itself. I scaled it up 130%, and it performed well and was easy to stitch out. I added Emma's name to the design, just for fun.
The nightgown itself is straightforward. It's from the 06/2009 issue of Ottobre and I've made it for both Myra and Emma before, so I know it's a winner. Mostly, this post is to talk about the machine embroidery/applique. I did some dumb things that I don't want to forget...
Here is a close up of the final stitch out. The design is very simple - just a two layer applique, surrounded with heavy satin stitching. The name stitches out last, so it's only one thread change. Easy peasy. I even did a test stitch for some practice and discovered that you want to get REALLY close to the basting stitches when you trim the applique. Here was my big oopsie though - see the lower point assymetry? It's not obvious unless I point it out, so I'm not stressing it, but here is how it happened. For this, I used a medium weight tear away stabilizer in the hoop, with the fabric glue basted to the stabilizer but not hooped. This worked great for the practice stitch out, and I love how easy it is to get the knit fabric smooth and flat without bubbling. The problem here was that all the stitching (two rounds of basting plus the satin stitching) caused the tearaway stabilizer to separate, which made the fabric shift since it wasn't hooped. Fortunately, I caught it quickly and was able to spray baste the fabric back onto the stabilizer, so no harm done. But I think for the future I'll either stick with cut-away, or make sure that sucker is really glued down.
Tearaway stabilizer does give a very neat look on the reverse though. And I like that the finished item retains the flexibility of the knit.
It's not perfect, but I do think it turned out ridiculously cute and I know Emma will love it. I learned a ton making it, so overall - win! So, all you veteran embroiderers out there - any advice? What do you wish someone had told you when you first started out?

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Mermaids and Whales! And the latest Ottobre

Whenever I get a new issue of Ottobre, Myra is the first to peruse it and make requests. Usually, I make a mental note of which styles she likes and either promptly forget, or get to it much later, when she actually has a wardrobe need.
This time, my happy, twirly girl got the dress she asked for. And bonus leggings! Because snow.
The dress is #18 from the 01/2016 issue of Ottobre. It's a fairly basic style. It features has a slightly raised waistline, long raglan sleeves and a gathered skirt. Not super full, so it's economical of fabric. The neckline is bound, which I did with my coverstitch machine.
Despite being fairly sparing of fabric, the skirt is slightly flared, so it twirls nicely. The leggings pattern is from the same issue of Ottobre (view #15), and is a simple one-piece leggings pattern. No bells or whistles, but a useful basic. Myra declares that the outfit is so comfy that she could wear it as PJs. But she won't because it's too cute.
The fabric is by Lillestoff, and I bought it at Kitschy Coo. It's very soft, but also sturdy and warm, so it's perfect for a winter outfit.
Lately I've been feeling the need to embellish everything I make for Myra. She likes bling. So the mermaid at the center front of her bodice got some sparkle on her shells and at her waistline. Those 2mm rhinestuds are made for doll clothing, so they're tiny but I think they're the perfect little adornment for Myra. She loves the sparkly mermaid.
My sassy little girl is growing up way too fast, but I'm glad she still loves a twirly dress with mermaids.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Burda 10/2005-115: Still in the Jungle

This great snow leopard ITY was just crying out to be sewn for Jungle January, but none of my usual knit top patterns were singing to me. I was randomly flipping through some old issues of Burda, when I ran across this great top with draped collar in the 10/2005 issue that I had mentally earmarked to make, then forgot.
10 years later... Ok, not really. It's an issue my mom gave me, but it has still been several years. I'm always impressed at the longevity of some Burda patterns. When you weed through the uber-trendy, there are always a few high quality classics that will stand the fashion test of time. I think this design is one of those.
In essense, this is a simple design; a basic fitted tee with long, banded sleeves. The interest comes in with the semicircular, not-quite-a-cowl collar.
In an atypical move for Burda, there is not cleavage baring plunge here. The neckline is fairly high and the collar wraps around to drape over the shoulders.
In back, the shape of the collar is more evident. In matching the dominant black stripe of the print across the collar in front, the circularity of the collar makes matching in the back impossible. You can see how the collar is shaped by following the rotation of the leopard print. You can also see that I should have done a full butt adjustment. Next time.
I made no alterations to the pattern, other than the construction of the collar. Burda had the collar a single layer, with a plain hem around the edge, but this fabric is fairly slinky and I knew there was a much greater than zero chance of the wrong side showing as I moved, so I did a double layer collar, seamed at the outer edge rather than hemmed. It has very nice weight and drapes beautifully without exposing the wrong side, but it did eat up a lot of yardage, particularly as I matched the dominant black stripe.
All in all, I'm pretty thrilled with this top! I'll definitely  be using this pattern again. I'll probably lengthen it a bit to give it a more modern feel (and to balance out my short-waisted, long torso), and adjust for my prominent backside, but this is well on its way to becoming a favorite pattern. Now to breeze through those old Burdas again! Who knows what other gems they are hiding?