Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Aida Top Completed…

First, I’m going to say that this pattern is very generously sized.  You can tell this by looking at the picture on the pattern.  With that in mind, I got out a ruler to see how big the actual recommended size was.  I ended up going down one size. 

Here’s the Aida Top pattern:

Here’s my version in a size 16:

The instructions are straight forward.  The pattern is rated beginner and mostly, I think that is true until you get to the sleeves.  The instructions do not have you put in gathering stitches to pull up the sleeve to match the armhole.  I was a little doubtful that you could stitch this in and produce a nice looking sleeve but I was wrong.  It turned out beautifully.  I did have one small bubble but I think I was because I was sewing a little too fast.  So, take your time with the stitching. 

TIP:  Make sure the sleeve side is against the feed dogs to assist with easing in the sleeve.

I did make a change to the neckband.  Since I was using a plaid and really didn't want the fuss of trying to match the plaid on the neckband to the main body of the shirt, I put in on the bias.  I like the way this turned out.

TIP:  To change the grain line on the pattern piece use a ruler with grid markings on it and place the straight of grain line from corner to corner, then mark the bias line on the pattern piece.  Sometimes, the rulers will have the 45 degree lines already marked on the ruler.  If that is the case, just use it.

Next, I completed button placement.  Because of the size of the shirt I decided to go with attaching the buttons to the neckband and having a pullover shirt.  Here’s where I really did not like the instructions.  It states to put your buttons where you want.   Would a beginner know this information? or have I had my hand held for too many years by having this information on the pattern?  I managed to get the buttons on. 

I also used a foot in my sewing foot collection called the Viking Button Foot with Placement Tool.  It worked but I thought it was a little cumbersome.  Here's link to the you-tube video for anyone who might be interested in this foot - Viking Button Foot with Placement Tool Video .

For the hems, I deviated from the instructions.  Personally, I think it is hard to put in a nice looking hem in a shirt with the pressing of a ¼” and then pressing 3/8”a second time.  I serged the edge pressed up ½” and top stitched 3/8”.    For the sleeve hem, I decided to use the bias edge treatment to match with the neckband. 

TIP:  If you choose to follow the directions for the shirt hem, stop stitching the side seams 5/8” from the bottom edge this will assist with rolling the hem evenly.

Overall, I think this is a nice summer shirt.  A little over-sized but very wearable.  After seeing the side shots, I will most likely wear it belted.  This is the first time in a long time that I found a woven shirt to be comfortable.  Even with all the fullness, it could use a little manipulation for a full bust.  Darts really are a girl's best friend.

I do think that this would look good in a longer tunic length, belted with skinny pants.  I might think about that in the future.  To do that, you might need to add additional room in the hips to allow for sitting.

Now, I need to figure out a new sewing project.

Happy Sewing!

Monday, June 23, 2014

The Ruffler Foot - Beginning the Exploration

The ruffler foot has always been somewhat of a mystery to me.  So, I've decided to do a series of me learning a little bit about the ruffler foot.  Below is my machine with the regular foot and ankle attached:

Here's the foot, ankle, and screw removed from my machine:

Here's the ruffler foot attachment from the front of my machine. Note that the projection is in the 1 position on the adjusting lever:

Here is the ruffler attachment from the side.  Note that the adjusting screw is tighten all the down.  Sorry the picture is so dark.

Here's I've started playing with the ruffler.  I'm using 12" length x about 3" width of Symphony broadcloth.  See below each picture for the particulars.

With the first item in the above picture, I used the default machine stitch length of 2.5mm with the adjusting lever set at 1 for 1 stitch per pleat.  This results is very tight.  For the second item, the stitch length is 3.0mm.  It is still very tight.   However, I can see a use for this.  I will explore this more later.


For this set of examples, the stitch length is set at 3.0mm.  The first item pictured has the adjusting lever set at 1 for 1 stitch per pleat.  Very tight.  The second item pictured has the adjusting lever set at 6 which is a pleat every 6th stitch.  This is a very nice pleat.  The pleat is about 1/4".  The third item pictured has the adjusting lever set at the 12 for a pleat every 12th stitch.

Here I started playing the the adjusting screw.  I didn't know about this screw until recently.  I let it out about 3/4 of the length of the screw, I think.  I like this.  If I can figure percentages here, I think this would be the fastest way to a gather.  The setting are as follows:  stitch length 2.5mm with the adjusting lever in the 1 position.

Today, I learned how to adjust the depth of the pleat on the ruffler foot.  I never knew that you could gather this way.  I want to explore the gathering with this foot a little more.  I can see a lot of uses for using the gathering portion of this foot but I want to be able to do it consistently because every time you want to make a change to the depth of the pleat, the foot has to come off the machine.

That's it for now.  Next time, will be all about gathering.

Happy Stitching!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Flowers From The Garden….

I have enjoyed the flowers from my garden this year tremendously. I have made several bouquets mostly from the peonies and irises:

Then I had the idea to fill a large ball jar with dried peonies.  Here’s the jar:

This was found at Target last fall.  I thought it would be fun to fill with different items throughout the year.

Here’s the jar filled with the dried peony petals:

I’m not sure where this will go in the long term but for now it will be on my mantel in the living room to add a bit of color.

I have a wonderful spring time flower show.  Unfortunately, the rest of the year isn’t so good.  Thankfully, annuals are available that can fill in color but I do prefer the perentials.

For a little bit of sewing, I have picked my next project.  It will be the Aida top pattern by Sew Liberated.  I hope to trace the pattern and watch the associated video within the next couple of days.

Happy Stitching or Gardening!

Monday, June 16, 2014

The Ruffler Foot...

Do you have a ruffler foot for machine?  I do.  I always make sure that I have this foot available just in case I would like to use it.  When I checked my ruffler feet, I found that I had three - one for the Husqvarna Rose/Lisa, one for the featherweight, and one with the treadle.   Here's a picture:

The feet are all the same style only varying in size.  The one on the left belongs to the Featherweight, the one in the back belongs to the treadle, and the one on the right belongs to the Husqvarna.  At one time, this was considered a basic foot on a machine and was provided with machine along with instructions.  I suppose that is why the Featherweight and Treadle have this foot.  Here's a close up of the foot from the Singer book:

The parts are as follows:

A.  Foot - the part by which the ruffler is attached to the presser bar.
B.  Fork Arm - the section that must be placed astride the needle clamp.
C.  Adjusting Screw - the screw that regulates the fullness of the gather.
D.  Projection - the part that projects through the slots in the adjusting lever.
E.  Adjusting Lever - the lever that sets the ruffler for gathering or for making a plait once at every 6 or 12 stitches; also, will disengage the ruffler when neither the gathering or plaiting is desired.
F.  Adjusting Finger - the part which regulates the width or size of the plaits.
G.  Separator Guide - the guide on the underside of the ruffler containing slots into which the edge of the material is placed to keep the heading of the ruffle even; also for separating the material to be ruffled from the material to which the ruffle is to be attached.
H.  Ruffling Blade - the upper blue steel blade with the teeth at the end to push the material in plaits up to the needle.
J.  Separator Blade - the lower blue steel blade without teeth, which prevents the teeth of the ruffling blade coming into contact with the feed of the machine or the material to which ruffle or plaiting is to be applied.

Lines 1 through 5 indicate where the fabric is to be placed for the various operations:

Line 1 - the correct position for the material to which the ruffled material is applied.
Line 2 - material to be ruffled.
Line 3 - the facing for the ruffler.
Line 4 - the strip of piping material.
Line 5 - the edge to be piped.

The little book includes instructions for Adjusting the Ruffler for Gathering, Make a Ruffle and Sew it to the Garment in one operation,  Ruffle and Sew on a Facing in One Operation, Piping a Ruffle, Adjust the Ruffler for Plaiting, Adjust the Ruffler for Group Plaiting and Gathering, and How to Oil the Ruffler.  There are many pages devoted to the use and care of the ruffler.

The instructions that came with the Husqvarna shows a similar picture:

There is no explanation as to what the letters are pointing to in the picture.  The Husqvarna instructions provide How to attach the ruffler to the machine (5 steps), how to set your ruffler (2 small paragraphs), Gather & Sew Pleats (2 small paragraphs), Gather a Ruffle and Sew It on a the same time (2 small paragraphs).  The instructions are about the same size as the picture.

So, how in the world do you learn to use this foot?  There are not that many resources available.  My little library has "Learning and Using Your Ruffler Basic Instructions and Projects" by Leota Black and "The Sewing Machine Attachment Handbook" by Charlene Phillips.  I'm pretty sure that the book by Leota Black is not longer in print.  I know that there is someone in Canada that is producing a book. It is Labors of Love.

So, I went on-line to see if there were any resources.  YouCanMakeThis has a free ebook.  It looks like it does a good job explaining the ruffler.  I found this blog - See Kate Sew which has a couple of posts regarding the ruffler.  The pictures show a slightly different version of the ruffler.

Oh, I see lots of opportunity to run a ruffler.  The best would be learning how to gather with it. Think about how much time that would safe.  Think about how nice it would look.   Think about adding decorative ruching on items.

I'm going to do a weekly discussion of attempting to use the ruffler.  Most likely, this will start small and hopefully will turn out a couple of projects. So please join me as I explore the ruffer foot.

Happy Stitching!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Cooking....Slow Cooker Beef

This is slowly turning into a favorite.  I got the original idea from Best Bites with the Pepperoncini Beef Sandwiches:

I have tried this recipe 3 times now.  First time, I followed the quick and easy recipe exactly.  The second time, I used my canned hot banana peppers.  My peppers are HOT and I was a little afraid that the meat would be too hot but it wasn't.  The third time, I used ROTEL tomatoes and this was awesome.  So hop on over to Best Bites and try out this recipe.  It is well worth trying.  If you use a large roast, maybe you can have another meal.

Happy Cooking!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Issues With Patterns....

Have you ever found an issue with a pattern?  I have.  Sometimes the issues are minor and sometimes they are not.  How do you handle an issue?  When do you usually find out there is an issue?

I learned a valuable lesson this past weekend and I'm very happy that I had not cut out the pattern in the intended fabric but in a very pink fabric (yes, it was one of those "What were you thinking?" moments when I found it).  Testing a pattern with a muslin is mostly something new for me.  As I have aged, there are more fitting issues that need resolution.

I was using a Silhouettes pattern and I followed the instructions for deciding on a size to the "T".  So you can imagine my surprise when the jacket was skin tight.  First, I was horrified with the thought had I gained that much weight since I traced out this pattern.  The muslin and pattern tracings hit the trash.  When I calmed down, it was decided to trace the next size up because I really want this jacket to work.   The next decision was to double-check the pattern measurements.  That is when I found my surprise and saw the reason that the muslin had been too small.  I was using a "D" front for the sizing and when it was compared to the "B" front, it was smaller.  That was when I contacted the designer to see if there was a way to resolve this issue.  These patterns are expensive.

Lesson learned:  Always double-check the pattern before starting.

Yes, this takes time to do but I have a feeling that it will take less time and money to double-check the pattern before starting a project.  So, do you double-check the pattern?  What are your methods?

Ok, it's off to decide on another project while waiting on the resolution to this issue on this pattern.

Happy Stitching!

Friday, June 6, 2014

A Little Sewing, A Little Knitting, and A Little Gardening....

What can I say?  It has been a busy week. The weather finally calmed down a little and we're seeing temps in the 70sF.  Perfect!

A little sewing?  The Diane Kimono dress is finished.  Here's it is:

The dress is mostly finished.  According to the instructions it is finished but I may be doing some extra work on the neckline.  It is pulling open more than I would like.  I'm either going to add a snap at the "V" or going to stitch it completely closed.  What do you think?

My thoughts on this dress is that I like it.  It is really a nice casual look.  I used a quilting weight broadcloth on this dress and I will think that it would do better in a much lighter weight fabric but when you add the lining which you will need, it might not make a difference.  I chose the fuller skirt option and the smallest hem option which ended up being about 2" wide when finished.   I also chose to make it one color instead of multiples.  That is simply because I didn't have a coordinating fabric for this floral which I love.  DH said that he liked the dress but it made me look rounder than I am.  I wanted to say that I am round.  I think that the drawstring being under the bust is what he is talking about.


1. I made a sloped shoulder alteration.

Things I will do differently, if I made this dress again:

1. Go down a size and figure out how to do a full bust adjustment.

A little knitting?  I started the swatch for my next sweater.  I'm taking a Craftsy class on top-down knitting.  I finished my first swatch and it was so cute.  Then, I watch the segment of the class where she discusses making your swatch.  Oops!  She was asking for it to be done in the round and I had done a flat swatch.  So, I ripped it out and started again with my double-pointed needles in the round.  I'm still working on that.

A little gardening?  The flowers continue to look beautiful.  Not all of them bloomed but the ones that did are really nice.  Here's a couple of bouquets:

The vegetable garden has been producing a lot of lettuce and spinach.  The asparagus is all finished. We just pulled out the spinach bed to start something else.  I have been making Chive Vinegar.  I love to see the beautiful color of this:

The one on the right has aged about a week.  The other two were just put in the jars.  Isn't the color pretty?

We found this little fellow in the flower garden:

Cute as it may be, it is not a welcome addition to the garden.  Obviously, not very old.  It didn't move or twitch when we walked up to it.  Here's a picture a couple of hours later:

It walked within a couple of feet of my husband.  Really checking him out.  I'm hoping that it doesn't get to use to us.  I run them off when they get a little older but I have a little pity for the babies when they can barely walk.

Happy Stitching!