Monday, July 25, 2011

Fit for Life -Knit Workshop

Yesterday I went to Lorianne Reeves Fit for Life workshop to make my knit block  patterns. Before the workshop we had to make a muslin in a Connie Crawford pattern.  I had bought the pattern,  Fashion Patterns by Coni pattern B211 Scarf Collar Tee Top from Coni Crawford herself at the Quilt Festival a few years ago, so I took it out and cut out "my size".  Then I couldn't find any of my leftover knit that I know is somewhere, so I went to JoAnn's and bought two yards of camel colored knit fabric.  I cut out the fabric and basted it together on Saturday.   The results were absolutely gigantic.  At the workshop Sunday, Lorianne kept subtracting and subtracting to get a T-Top that fit me by draping it on me.  It took a lot of time and when I tried to move my draping to paper I realized I did something wrong because the back was much wider than the front.  So today I will re-draft the paper pattern to make sure it is correct.  Then I'll need to put it on the oak tag to make my blocks.   It is a  lot of work.  I don't know how they make it look so easy on Project Runway, but I understand why the contestants are so exhausted all the time.

Here are some of Lorianne's suggestions for working with knits:
1) Wash the fabric because it will shrink.
2) The knit selvedge edge will roll to the wrong side of the fabric.
3) She gets a newsprint mill end from the newspaper for about $5 a roll and then lays her fabric on top and cuts the pattern out with the newsprint.  The is good for silks and silky's also.
4) She always cuts with the right side of the fabric facing outside.
5) She uses a very large shears from Kai with a serrated edge.
6) She uses these products that she gets from Emma Seabrook ( or other notion sellers
     -Extremely fine Fusible Knit Staytape for shoulders
    - Clear elastic on necklines and in crotch of knit pants to keep the bottom from sagging.
7) She uses a serger cover stitch for hemming.  If you don't have a serger she recommends using 1" wide knit interfacing for hems.  Hems are usually 1" or 1-1/4" and she sews a line of stitching 1/4" from top of hem and 1/4" from the bottom of the hem.  You can also use a double needle.
8)  She uses a needle meant for knits (Jersey, Ball Point, Stretch). 
9)  She likes polyester thread and uses Sew Fine from Superior.
10) She uses a 3.0 stitch length.
11) To make a sleeved pattern sleeveless, come up 1/2" and come in 1/4"
12) Ease on block for knits is 1/4"
13) Length on top should cut the butt in half but always consider silhouette, fit, and proportion.
14) Lorianne likes cross-over knit patterns.    She has made Kwiksew 3497, Vogue 8390, and Vogue 8323.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Invisible Zippers and Visible Buttons

Today was the Wonderful Wearables ASG Group at Fabrics Etcetera in Webster, TX.  There was some wonderful Sew and Tell.  I particularly liked Lou's handbag made with her Texture Magic challenge fabric.  Lorianne Reeves showed us how to put in Invisible Zippers.  She followed the article in the current issue of Threads magazine on inviisible zippers.  She used a regular zipper foot and not an invisible zipper foot.  I was glad to see this as I have so many sewing machine feet and I did not want to invest in another one.

In the afternoon I worked on the blouse that just doesn't want to get done.  I sewed on buttons and then noticed that the bottom was not meeting up correctly.   So I took off all the buttons and started resewing all of them from the bottom up.  I am bound and determined to finish this blouse.  I know the next time I make it, it will go very smoothly, but this first one has taken forever.  I signed up for Lorianne's class on making patteren blocks for knit fabrics on Sunday.  I mostly wear knits and that should be a very useful class.

When I left Fabrics Etcetera, I drove to Sew Contempo and signed up for Penny's PE Design Class.  She said it is the last version 8 class she will be giving so it was take it now or upgrade my software to PE Next.  I'm not ready to spend the money for that yet.  I also signed up for the Anita Gooddesign workshops in August..  So I will continue to commute South to the Clear Lake region for the next few months. 

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Holidays in July

Today was the American Sewing Guild Sewing Inside the Loop Group meeting.  Everyone was to bring ideas for sewing gift items.  Here are the suggestions and Sew and Tell items that the sewists made or intend to make:
1. Curling Iron Cover
2. Express Style Totes from Nancy Zieman's Sewing Express Book
3. The Zip Away Tote  from
     The tutorial is at:
4.  Kid's tote bag to hold a coloring book and crayons using cheater cloth
5. Scarf made from a tie as show in Altered Couture Magazine , May-June 2011 p.13.
6.  Baby onesies with appliqued ties and bow ties for new little boys
7. La Fred Athena blouse made with pink linen and lined with cotton organdy
8. Steering wheel cover
9. Pot holders
10. Snappy bags
11. Wedding Quilt with pictures on white fabric made with micron pens.  The white fabric was ironed onto   f freezer paper.   The alternate blocks were nine patches.
12.  Reversible placemats usable for different holidays.
13,  Christmas tree napkins
14.  Gift Bags
15.  Sachets with lavender picked from a lavender farm
16.  Cloth purse with Ghee's hardware
17. Spa towel set
18.  Slippers as shown in Sew Stylish, earlier shown in Threads
19.  Covered hangers
20.  Remote control holders.
21, Butterick Pattern 3345 View D Jacket
22. Project Linus quilt tops
Sewing Websites with lots of free holiday projects from the bookmarks of Phyllis Finger
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Friday, July 8, 2011

The Big List of Sewing Blogs

Big list of Sewing blogs - I'm in, are 

I found this the link to this list on Alice's Blog.  Now I have a lot more sites to check out.


I had a feeling that the buttonholes for my blouse would be a challenge.  Well they were and are.  First I had Lorianne mark where the buttonholes should be.  Then I made the first buttonhole with no problem.  During the next buttonhole, I ran out of bobbin thread and the buttonhole was a mess.  It took me a long time to rip out the threads.  I was frustrated to so I waited a few days before attempting them again.  Yesterday, I finished sewing five more buttonholes.  But I wasn't happy with them because they didn't line up nicely, although they were evenly spaced.  Fortunately I hadn't cut them yet because when I held them up to myself I  realized they they were on the WRONG side of the blouse.  This is an advantage because I get to redo the buttonholes on the right side of the blouse and line them up correctly.  The incorrect buttonholes won't show when I sew buttons over them, but I will probably try to unpick them anyway.  If I had to charge by the hour for the time I have spent on this blouse it would be a fortune.  The out of pocket money I have spent is only the fitting class, and the Butterick pattern as I had the fabric and all of the notions in my inventory.  Why do I always have to learn the hard way?  So today I will try again. 
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Friday, July 1, 2011

A New Year

This week was my birthday and even though Dave and all my kids were out of town, I had a really nice day. I had at least twenty Happy Birthdays on email and Facebook from family and friends new and old (or should I say long term).  I also had a great Skype with my California grand kids.  It was the first time I ever heard little Sean say Happy Birthday Grandma.  Just priceless.   My girlfriends bought me lunch at the Chinese Buffet and gave me a giant birthday cookie.  The only problem was, I ate most of the cookie.  It was delicious. Then I drove out to Quilter's Emporium to deliver my Project Linus quilt tops.  I hadn't been to that store before and I enjoyed looking around.  I think I found an idea for my Cherrywood Fabric Jelly Roll strips that I bought a couple of years ago at the Quilt Festival and sewed together at the ASG Retreat.  I was happy to be able to buy the spool cap for larger thread spools for my Jem as the store is a Janome dealer.  I still want to be able to use that little light sewing machine for traveling and schlepping to meetings and retreats. 

Today I am working on finishing up my blouse.  I top stitched all around and shortened the sleeves. Now I just need to get up the courage to make the buttonholes.  I'm going to try one of the souvenir notions I bought somewhere and never used, Space-Tape by Dritz.  It's a stick on tape that lets you mark and stitch up to 62 evenly spaced buttonholes.    I'll let  you know how it works out. 

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