Monthly Archives: April 2011

Sew many shirts….

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Remember when I cut out 6 shirts for my husband before heading to a sewing retreat in March? What in the heck was I thinking?!?!?! This week I decided to get in gear and finish up the 2 that I started while at retreat (yes, including the one I put one sleeve in WRONG 3 different ways!).

Men’s dress shirts are a lot of work. People always ask me how many hours it takes to make one, and honestly, I try not to calculate that figure. A lot. More than 5, less than 10 if I don’t screw up too much. ūüôā Shirt-making is¬†fiddly. There is lots of pressing throughout the process. Lots of topstitching. Lots of buttonholes. Lots of buttons to sew on.

There is also a lot of satisfaction from making a “technical” garment that fits my husband perfectly, looks as good or better than any RTW from Nordstrom’s, and he is super proud to wear. The process appeals to my left brain, so I keep making them.

This one is a lovely, slightly textured pale blue shirt with a tiny white diamond pattern and a very narrow, brown vertical stripe. Quite dressy for a techie head who sits in his office much of the day crunching numbers and data! 

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The fabric for this one has a lot more body – it is very crisp. It is also the “3 wronged sleeve” shirt. ;-(

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I LOVE the David Page Coffin method for making sleeve plackets. I know some people complain they are too much work – but I love the way they turn out and I don’t find them hard to do at all.

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Look at those buttonholes on the shirt collar – nice! I changed my collar pattern so that the under collar is “cut on” to the upper collar. I will do a tutorial about this sometime to explain the whole process, but it results in no seam at the front edge of the collar, and therefore much less bulk in the collar points. Hence, the ability to get REALLY close to the point to make a tiny buttonhole for DH’s buttondown collar.

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Only 4 more to go! Happy sewing!

Maris Olsen

Easy ruffly tee

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¬†I think half of my friends in ASG have made a tee shirt using the new “pre-ruffled”¬†¬†knit fabric available in lots of fabric stores, so I had to get on the bandwagon too.¬†I am reasonably happy with it, especially as a quick little summer tee. I used Kwik-Sew 3263 (OOP) – a basic raglan sleeve tee with a fairly wide, almost¬†“sabrina” neckline. I was a little concerned the neckline might be too wide before I added the trim…but it is fine.

I decided I am not crazy about this material. It’s not the print – I like the print just fine.¬†I also definitely like the foldover black elastic trim I used on the neckline.¬† (I especially like it because I bought it at Mokuba in Paris, so I will remember our fun trip every time I wear this shirt. ūüôā )

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What bothers me is the base fabric the ruffles are attached to is kinda, well, sleazy. I decided to lettuce edge the sleeve and shirt hems since I thought that would be complimentary¬†with the ruffles. Makes sense, right? I folded (more like “rolled up”) the cut hem edges and stretched it under a zigzag stitch. It ruffled OK, but was kinda hard to handle and¬†this process caused the fabric to run in a few places (yes, like¬†pantyhose). I don’t think it is going to¬†really show since it is under a ruffle, but it still kinda bugs me.

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Anyway, I am pretty sure I am over-thinking this project. It’s going to get some hanging time in the closet and hopefully when I toss it on some morning I will just enjoy the fun abstract black dot fabric and ruffles.

Happy sewing!

Maris Olsen

The butterfly that got away

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Doesn’t this dress just scream Easter and springtime? It is soooo sweet. Too bad a certain little six year old decided to cut a hole right in the front of the skirt. Ouch! Remember my post the other day about trying to find yellow seersucker? Yep, it was for this repair job.

It was a cinch to fix the cut in the skirt. First, I ironed on some lightweight interfacing on the back side of the skirt over the cut to stabilize the fabric.  Then I set my zig-zag stitch at a 4W and 1 or 1.5L, and stitched away.

Back side showing the interfacing:                            Front zig-zag stitching under the butterfly:

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Since I was not able to find the yellow seersucker, I used a small yellow gingham to make the applique. I ironed a piece of StitchWitchery onto the gingham, and then applied a piece of white cotton to the back and ironed all the layers together. Next I traced around an existing butterfly to get the shape and size, and then added a satin stitch zigzag around the outside edges of the buttefly. The final step was to center the butterfly over the mended cut, and satin stitch down the middle for the antennae, head, and body. My machine does not have a zigzag setting as wide as the one used on the dress, but I think it is close enough for a little girl’s dress.¬†It’s not 100% perfect, but it is cute and definitely makes the dress wearable again. Hopefully the kids in her class will think it passes muster. ūüôā

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Happy sewing, and Happy Easter!

Maris Olsen

Ready for Easter

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Well here she is, my favorite nine year-old in the finished Easter dress, flower pin, and hair band. Not sure how many of these items will actually get worn on Easter, but at least they are done and the choice is hers. She said she likes the dress and the flower, tho¬†I think the hair bow may stay in the drawer……¬†ūüôā¬†

Here’s a shot of a very grown-up looking nine year-old. Seems like just yesterday when she was still a baby.

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And of course, little sister had to at least try on the hair bow!

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Happy sewing!

Maris Olsen

Easter dress diversion

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I am procrastinating¬†about¬†working on my bustier project.¬†Maybe because I got so far behind in the¬†online class…I don’t know. At any rate, I wanted to work on a quick and simple project for a kid. Lucky me, I have two darling children in my life that I can sew for. Since I made the purple leopard coat for my favorite six year-old, it was time for some sewing love for my favorite nine year-old. ¬†An Easter dress! Boy, this project brought back so many memories of late nights and stolen moments to finish up FOUR Easter outfits. Well, that was back in the day. ūüôā

My favorite nine year-old could have been the heroine for the princess and the pea. Anything that remotely scratches, binds, or touches can cause discomfort and “I’m not wearing that.” Fair enough, we all like to be comfortable in our clothing, for heaven’s sake. With this in mind, I picked a pattern without a defined waist (tummy is an especially sensitive area), bought some lovely soft blue print cotton for the dress, and lined it with pale pink¬†cotton batiste to reduce any potentially scratchy spots (like zipper edges).

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Quick to make up. Pretty as a picture. Nicely finished inside. And a bubble skirt hem! What’s not to like? I’ll find out tonight, since all mothers know that our verdict about clothing does not always match the child’s assessment. Luckily, since I am not her mother I have a tiny (very tiny!) advantage and sometimes get a bit of a pass where her own mother would not. Here is a close-up of the front pleating, and the sweet little cap sleeves.

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I am going to try to get a flower pin made as well as a matching headband. A girl’s gotta be properly accessorized, after all. Wish me luck!

Happy sewing!

Maris Olsen

Moulage prep

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Oye. Sometimes my timing is really off. I thought I had a fairly clear calendar when I signed up for the Birth of the Bustier class, but life has intervened and I am¬†way behind. Today I finally managed to draft the moulage pattern based on my “bustier model” Jane’s measurements and the Kenneth King”Moulage” DVD. The purpose of this process is to¬†create a¬† “zero ease” fitting garment.

Here are the pattern pieces from the moulage draft above cut apart on the princess line seam:

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And here is the muslin, cut with 1 inch seam allowances, marked, and ready for stitching together:

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Tomorrow: stitch this baby up and have Jane try it on. Perfect any fitting issues, and establish the bustier design lines on the muslin. Maybe even start the bustier construction! 

Happy sewing!

Maris Olsen

Learned something new

Yesterday I learned something new. Two things actually! I had a quick errand to run at a local fabric shop, and was in a bit of a hurry to get home and walk my little pooch, so I asked one of the salesgals for some help. Here is how the conversation went:

Me: “Hi. Do you have any seersucker?”

SG: “We don’t have any gathered fabric like that, the closest thing we have is cotton gauze.”

Really? Seersucker is a gathered fabric? I didn’t know that! I always thought it was a lightly textured fabric that I think many would describe as “puckered”. I certainly have not seen or used every kind of fabric in the world (tho I am working on it), but the gathered fabric that comes to my mind¬†is the ¬†“pre-shirred” stuff¬†¬†used to make a quick sundress or top. The second thing I learned from this short exchange was that you can¬†substitue cotton gauze for seersucker. Cool!

Honestly, Mrs. Hoover would be appalled.

Happy sewing!

Maris Olsen

Large yellow sphere sighting

Sorry….gone gardening.¬†We freakin’ finally have some sunshine in greater Seattle!

ūüėģ¬† ūüėģ¬† ūüėģ

Happy gardening…errrr, sewing!

Maris Olsen

Virtual sewing

Hey! I’m kinda excited! I signed up for my first online sewing class, The Birth of the Bustier, taught by Kenneth King on PatternReview. No worries, I am not making a bustier for myself – that would be a little too scary. I have a younger friend with a much cuter shape and she is my bustier model¬†for this class. I have been intrigued by online classes before, but this is my first foray into this presentation method. How about you? Have you ever taken an online sewing class? Ever wanted to try it out? I’d love to hear about your experiences, and I will definitely keep you posted on mine!

Happy sewing!

Maris Olsen

Cure for lost mojo?

I subscribe to LOTS of blogs. I like to read, and love learning new things, so it kinda figures, right? Besides, our family nickname for one of my DDs is “Marion the Librarian”. If you are ever interested in a subject, she probably has researched it already and can point you to a thousand resources. Or, she will get on it as soon as you bring it up. Probably while you are still talking to her about it! So, between my own interests, and her interesting suggestions…..you get my drift. ūüôā

Today I came across an article I thought¬†contains more than a nugget of ¬†truth about my “lost mojo” problem. I’d be interested in your thoughts on this subject – send ’em my way!

http://www.scoutiegirl.com/2011/04/dont-pile-it-on-prioritize.html

Happy sewing,

Maris