Monday, October 22, 2012

Clutch project

To continue on my descriptions of sewing projects and self learning processes, here is my latest: a simple yet classy clutch.  I follow a few sewing blogs, a couple are referenced in my last blog, and one of them was looking for pattern testers.  I signed up to try some of the easier projects.  I was happy to help test a pattern, because I find most patterns to be very confusing if you haven't sewn for very long.

The first project was for a cute little clutch by Sew It Love It website.  I was sent the pattern, and told to make the item, review it, give any recommendations and send in pictures.  Since I was wanting something homemade and fun to give to a friend for a birthday, I decided I could do both with this project.

I had some cute scraps of fabric, but sadly they weren't quite enough to use for this project.  Not wanting to compromise the size since I was pattern-testing, I went to Hart's Fabrics (oh darn!).  I was happy to find some other fun skull/dia de los muertos fabrics to use, since that was what I was aiming for when I had this friend in mind.  This time of the year there are some really great fabrics!  This pattern also called for some wide ribbon to tie the clutch together, another thing I love to purchase at Hart's.  I also found some other fun scrap pieces to use in the future and the lining I found is from the bargain scrap bin.

The pattern was pretty darn easy to follow, I only got tricked up a couple of times when I assumed something instead of reading the instructions carefully.  I have already discovered this is something I need to work on.  Carefully read the pattern all the way through to see why you do certain steps and then read each step carefully again so that I do things the right way.  At least while I am trying to learn this whole sewing thing! 

All in all, this project did not produce any headaches, let me use up some leftover interfacings I had, and also gave me a chance to sew a little with a satin fabric for the first time.

On to the visuals!

The front, check out that bow and the awesome print fabric!

The back. The downside to using a directional print was that it did show up upside down in the back.

 An awesome thing that happened, was that my print magically lined up when the clutch was closed! I could not have planned this better!
The inside. Note that the ribbon and lining match! There's also a nifty pocket inside.   Apparently I did not pay enough attention to this step, the pocket is supposed to go across the length of the inside.  However, it's still a pocket, and those are always important!

On to the Birthday Gift Basket! Side note: I love making gift baskets.  The bad part is I end up spending way more on them than a single present, but the good side is that I can make them totally personal based on who they are for.  I love to get creative and have some sort of theme.

This one had: The cute clutch, Nutella and biscuits (that's cookie to you, dahling), two little bottles of Jameson whiskey, a skull flask, a scorpion sucker (in honor of The Drive movie we had just seen together) and Lady Gaga's perfume!

Basically a basket of goodies I would adore!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

First dress!

So, I finally finished my first garment! I have now made 2 bags and a clutch and yet no clothes until this dress!

My good friend agreed to be my "guinea pig" and around the same time our local fabric store was having a sew-along challenge.

The pattern said it was Intermediate, but after reading some pattern reviews I saw that many people felt it was explained well enough for a beginner.  I figured since it was a sew-along there would be some tips and such.  While there wasn't much of that, I knew I could go down and get advice from real people at the store and since there was a deadline I figured it would light a fire for me to get it done.

My friend picked out this super cute fabric combo:

On first glance in the store, I thought the print was much like a print you would see on a bandana and then saw that they were skulls.  What a great find! She paired this with the deep blue and we agreed to do a red piping around the waistband and top of the bust.

I dove into the project by trying out a muslin version of the bust area.  That fit her just great so I went ahead with the "real" fabric.  It's so scary for me when I cut out the pieces.  It feels like such a commitment!

If you haven't tried a Colette pattern...they are great.  I haven't followed that many patterns yet, but so far they are way more vague than this Colette pattern was.  The instructions come in a little booklet with pretty good diagrams.  The pattern itself was still on the flimsy paper, but of course you can copy that over to better paper.

The piping was something I had never done before, but had already seen tutorials on how to make so making the piping was easy, but attaching it all together with the different fabrics proved to be quite a challenge! Lots of swearing ensued from this step and I almost threw in the towel a couple of times. Another challenge was after I finished the top pieces and was going to sew up the sides, I took it to have my friend try on. Her torso is short and the back piece ended up being way to big! Luckily I got advice right then and there from a mutual friend. (Thank you Kimmy!)

I could not have made this dress without some great Tutorials! Here are some I really benefitted from:

To learn piping

To learn the invisible hem

To put in the invisible zipper

The pattern mentioned understitching and had some info on their blogsite.  Really there are some great tips and tricks on the Colette website, even if you are an intermediate sewer.

Some great advice I got from other sewers was first of all from the staff at Hart's "Go slow, take your time" and from my aunt "I have never made anything that I didn't have to take at least one seam out".  I won't tell you how many seams I re-did, but let's say it was more than one....

The things I had never done before making this dress but now have tried!
Piping- making it and sewing it in
Pockets on a dress
Invisibile hem
Invisible zipper

*I didn't even know what this was! Facings are sewn to the edge of the garment and turned under to create a professional finish. They are most often used on necklines, sleeveless garments and waistbands.

At one point I realized I wouldn't make the deadline for the Sew-along. The prize wasn't huge, but it was 3 Colette patterns, which are not cheap!  With the cute fabric and gorgeous model I figured we had a good chance, even with my inexperience!  Once I realized I would not make it in time to win, I really was ok with it; I realized that I undertook a huge challenge for my first garment.  At that point I just wanted something my friend would be proud to wear, since she was taking a chance on me. 

I realized that after a couple of hours of sewing my quality would go downhill, so first of all I took a break from the dress and made my sister a cute tote for her trip.  Once I did get back into it, I made limits on how long I could sew at once.  No more 4-5 hour blocks. It seems like a lot of time, but if you have a passion, those hours fly by and all of a sudden it's midnight and you really should be going to bed...

Anyway, the moment of truth! I finally decided I couldn't do any more work on the dress or I would go crazy tying to make it perfect.  I was very nervous since the back had been altered, this would make everything else "off".  I worried this made it not fit her, since it is kind of a hard dress to put on anyway.  I'm super excited to be done and that it looks so cute!

I gave it to her and then waited in antici...............pation  to see if it would fit.  She said she would wear it to work which gave me a little anxiety! Finally she texted me that it did fit and I felt so happy and relieved to hear I had done OK!

Without further ado, my friend and wifey Amber:

Told you I had a gorgeous model!  I'm so excited to try this dress again, especially after I've seen how people have modified it in different ways.