I’m a Beginner Sewer… Again

Posted by admin | Filed under Christening Dress, Sewing Savvy | Jul 5, 2007 | Comments Off

If you’ve read some of the previous posts, you already know I’m cheap – nothing is wasted – and now you can officially add to that bit of folklore: Impatient.

I’m one of those people that stands in front of the microwave tapping her fingers waiting for the hot water to nuke for my coffee. I’m mean come-on – we’re talking 2.30 minutes here… I could be DOING something!

Being that impatient has come back to bite me in the past – and well golly gee, it just did it again. Golly gee?

In this case though, I’m going to plead for a bit of understanding. Remember when I told you about using Perfect Sew and how absolutely wonderful it is? Well…. I didn’t follow my own advice, hence the ‘I’m a beginner sewer’ comment.

Three vertical rows of embroidery stitching with Silk threadI’ve been fighting with the design for the Christening Dress skirt. I’ve folded, and tucked, pleated and then box pleated, gathered, marked, measured, pressed and pinned, sketched and probably a dozen more things – but still wasn’t happy. Grumble. Grumble. Grumble.

Finally, I thought I try using the same embroidery stitch that I’d used on the bodice and sleeves, down the length of the skirt, maybe bracketing it with a complimentary design on each side. In fact I could do that across the whole front and only gather the back of the skirt! That just might work.

Well of course I had to sit down and try the first three rows immediately to see if – Yes! – this was going to make me happy. I didn’t want wait and use Perfect Sew, instead I grabbed my roll of ‘doctors paper’ and cut several long strips. I normally use this stuff when doing a lot of satin-stitching as a support; for that it’s ideal.

The vertical embroidery looks like it’s going to do it! I’ll need to probably put three groups of the combination and two stand-alone lines – that will look good.

A paper mess!As you can see from the picture, the combination does look good – but, these are delicate stitches and I have to remove multiple layers of paper! What was I thinking!

I very carefully got as much paper removed as possible by hand (do not ask how long that took) and then filled the sink with warm water. Yeap, the skirt is soaking now and I expect it will for quite a while yet. I’m sure I can find something else to do… while I wait. Irony bites.

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We Have Bodice!

Posted by admin | Filed under Christening Dress, Sewing Savvy | Jun 29, 2007 | Comments Off

Of all the possible problems I might have working on a Christening Dress after all these years, I never even thought of the one that’s driving me stark raving bonkers.

When I was making those dresses before I didn’t wear glasses and I always used a #12 Quilters Between to do the handwork. Now if I even want to read anything, I wear glasses – a decently strong prescription. Last night I sat curled up on the futon with a bright light right next to me trying to hand sew the binding on the bottom of the sleeves.

Bodice with Perfect Sew and decorative stitching.Picture this: you’re sitting straight up, knees to chest, elbows flat to your side, and hands at about chin level… maybe a bit higher. That’s how I was sewing last night.

Tone-on-tone ivory fabric and thread; I simply could not see. I did manage to use a size #10 Quilters Between – after I finally got it threaded.. you don’t want to know. Well, humbling is suppose to be good for you every so often.

Okay then, this first picture is of the three bodice pieces doing their Frisbee imitations – stiff as a board. The decorative stitching is in place and the shape is only a rough cut.

Soaking out the Perfect SewI threw all three pieces into a bowl with warm water and let them soak for about 1o minutes time; each bodice piece is two layers thick. While the pieces soak, I had to lock the cats out of the room – it was way too much temptation to play in the water.

Then one quick rinse in clean water, and blotting the excess water out on a towel. When the pieces were barely damp, I used a dry iron to finish the process and gently press out any wrinkles.

After tracing the exact pattern shape on all the pieces, they were cut to size. The shoulder and side seams were simply 1/2″ seams since the entire top would be lined. I put together the lining – same as the decorative outside, less the decorative stitching, and very carefully sewed it into place using a 1/4″ seam allowance. The entire neck area is understitched. Did I mention I can’t see well on this fabric? Nose to the machine needle and cat watching intently from 10 inches away.

Sleeve with decorative deep pleat shown unattached.The sleeves have decorative stitching lines that are used to create a deep pleat – it’s gorgeous. They open slightly in the bodice and with movement. The underseam is French seamed since this seam won’t be hidden.

The last picture for this round is below, and it shows the completed bodice. Finished sleeves, decorative stitching on the bodice, connecting band with embroidered pattern for a nice bodice-to-skirt transition. Next we tackle the skirt!

Completed Christening Dress bodice with sleeves.

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