Sunday, 27 June 2010

Simplicity Dress 3833 Series


After gaining  experience making decor items I am going to put all these skills to use making the Simplicity 1960's Retro Style Dress 3833, view A. This pattern does not specify that it’s easy but after studying the back of the envelope I am going to give it a try. If you want more information on Understanding the Pattern Envelope please see my previous blog entry. I have never made sleeves or used interfacing before on clothing and feel these may be my weak areas, otherwise it should be smooth sailing.
Making any item of clothing is time consuming, and remember I am still a beginner. I am going to break this series into different entries to make it easier to digest.
Before cutting up my new fabric I am making a toile, which means a trial version of the dress, to check for sizing and for practising all of the techniques. At the end of this series I will reveal the final item.
This Simplicity Dress 3833 series will cover the following topics which are shown in order:
I hope you will follow me on my journey to making a dress with the help of my friends and of course the Internet. If you wish to leave a comment you can do so below.

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Scatter Cushion

A friend of mine asked for a scatter cushion to place on her bed for decoration. This was the first time I made a cushion and a cover and without using any patterns. This design covered many skills which I have written about  in other tutorials. I will provide links for a re-fresher if required.
Equipment Required
  • Cotton Fabric – Outside Cover
  • Satin Fabric – Inside Cushion
  • Felt, 2 colours –Appliqué design
    Stuffing – Machine Washable
  • Lace & Ribbon Trim
  • Zipper
  • Iron & Ironing board
  • Paper
  • Pen
  • Dressmaking Scissors
  • Pinking Scissors
  • Cutting Mat/ Ruler/ Rotary Cutter
  • Sewing Machine (Universal Needle)
  • Hand Sewing needle
  • Thread

Time Taken: 6hrs
Techniques: Straight Stitch, Ladder Stitch, Attaching Trim, Inserting Zips, Appliqué, Finishing Raw Edges, Basting Stitch & Sewing Around Corners
1. Making the Inside Cushion

Choose the shape and size of the inside of the cushion. I used a rectangular shape. Cut out 2 pieces of fabric to the required size.

Put right sides together and use a straight stitch (5/8inch seam allowance) to attach both pieces together and leave a small gap in one side for stuffing. This  short video demonstrates how to sew around corners.

Pink all the edges using pinking shearers, being very careful not to cut into the stitching and cut the corners.

2. Insert the Stuffing

Turn the cushion right side out and stuff the cushion. Hand sew using a ladder stitch to close the gap.

That’s the cushion completed.
3. Making the Appliqué
Draw out your design on paper and place onto the felt, draw and cut around your template. The appliqué will be ready to sew onto the cover at the next stage.
4. Making the Cushion Cover
Measure the inside cushion which you created in the first step and add 1 inch seam allowance when drawing out the cushion cover.

For the front of the cushion I wanted to use two colours – I therefore split the measurements in half to create 2 rectangles.

With the wrong sides facing upwards attach the 2 coloured fabrics together using a straight stitch.

Use the iron and press open the seam.

Position the appliqué as required and attach the appliqué using a straight stitch and go slowly all the way around the design. Keep stopping and lifting the foot up to check you are sewing straight and sewing the felt. Note: You can buy a machine foot especially for doing this type of work called the ‘Open Toe’ which will make it a lot easier to see what you are doing.
5.Inserting the zip

Put the right sides together and use a basting stitch to attach to one of the shorter sides. Line up a zip and baste this in place.
Use the zipper foot on the sewing machine to attach the zipper. Unpick all the basting stitches and tidy up the raw edges by using the pinking shears.
For a refresher on inserting zips please see my Hobo Shoulder Bag entry, where I show how to insert zips step-by-step.
6. Attaching the Trim

Go around all the raw edges and press down the seam, I used 0.5 of an inch using a card from The Scientific Seam Seamstresses Blog, (click the link to download these wonderful templates  and read some of her amazing entries.) Pin in place.

Insert the lace trim between the front and back panels on the right side of the cushion cover and pin in place.

Use a hand sewn basting stitch to hold the trim in place.

Use a straight stitch to attach it to the cushion. Take out all the basting stitches. Pink all the raw edges again as before.

7.Finishing Up Touches
Place the inside cushion in the cover, zip it up and place where desired.

I hope my friend loves it as much as I enjoyed making it. I am really pleased with the result. Do you like the cover? Are you going to have a go at making one? If you do, I would love to hear your views. Please leave a comment below.

Sunday, 13 June 2010

The Sewing Directory

I like to describe The Sewing Directory as a yellow pages for sewing enthusiasts, as it covers listings from finding courses to shops and it also brings sewers together by publicising sewing events. It’s fairly new website, launched on 25th March 2010, and is regularly updated with up and coming events, articles and competitions.

As well as being a directory to search for dress making courses in your area or finding that special shop to buy fabric, they also write useful articles on how to use the tools of the trade to get the best results and advise on techniques and fabrics, it is all there on The Sewing Directory site.
One of my favourite articles is Altering a Pattern - it explains the key points in pattern alteration. I am currently starting to make garments and this article has been very useful.

Not only does The Sewing Directory prove to be a valuable bookmark it also provides an element of fun by giving the reader a chance to enter competitions and win some great prizes, like yearly subscriptions to sewing magazines or a hamper full of sewing supplies.

I was one of the lucky winners to receive a pattern of my choice from one of their competitions. In a later blog entry I will make this shirt pattern.

Following  the success of their website they have a fan-based Facebook page where followers can interact and follow the latest sewing news.
It’s a great source of knowledge about anything sewing related. Please check it out and have a go at entering a competition - you never know, you may see your name on their next winners list. Good luck!

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Bean Bag Tutorial Part 3

This is the last in the series on making a bean bag, where I will explain how I made the bean bag cover using snaps for the closure. Part 1 covered making the pattern and part 2 was making the lining.

Making the Cover

Dig out the cover pieces that were cut and put to one side see the previous blog entry. I used coordinating colours of purple and green for my outside cover.
As before when making the lining follow the instructions for Lining up the Pieces and Pin the Fabric.  Leave a large gap along one of the circle curves, this will be used for the opening to put it over the lining and to place the closure snaps.

Use a straight stitch and sew all around the edges, remembering not to sew where the snaps will be placed.

Pink all edges of seams with pinking shears to stop fraying.

On the opening attach the snaps to the seam. Fold over the raw edge and fold again to cover up any remaining raw edges. Press with the iron.

Pin the snaps in place.

Change the foot on your sewing machine to a zipper foot and sew the snaps in place. Taking care when going close to the snaps.

The cover is now complete.

Fill the lining with polystyrene balls until firm and close the zip. Slide the lining inside the outside cover and shake the bean bag to smooth out any lumps.

Place the bean bag where required, I used ours in the kitchen area for having somewhere comfortable to sit on when our rabbit is out playing.