Wednesday, May 31, 2017

So Many Sewing Projects                     May 31, 2017

There are four of us in one of my sewing groups who have Baby Lock Ovation and Evolution sergers.   We decided to do a project specifically to learn techniques and stitches on our sergers.  We chose a pattern that Stoney found on line and started making tote bags.  I think we surprised ourselves with how much we actually accomplished.  The pattern is Creative Tote by Deb Canham                     ( ).  This is not a bag that can be serged together in a few hours.  At least not by someone who is not proficient at making all the stitches available on a serger.   I will let you know when this project is completed and will post a picture.

Stoney and I also took a three-day serger class at Country Stitches in East Lansing last week.  The class was taught by Denise Schober ( ), who is a “trained professional” as she likes to call herself!  She is a really great teacher and knows all kinds of helpful hints to make using a serger easier!  She taught us to use approximately twenty (20) different feet for our sergers.  I hope I can retain the information I was given.  It helps that we were given a workbook with descriptions of the feet and the settings for our machines.     Most of the feet can be used for more than one purpose.   We made a purse on the last day in class using some of the feet and techniques we learned.   It will be important for us to use these techniques in other projects at home in order to retain what we learned in class.  I think the information from this class will be helpful with making the Creative Tote.  I also want to find time to thread my serger for the cover stitch and then unthread it and rethread it again at least ten times so I can get proficient with that.  I have a little trouble remembering how to thread the needles for the cover stitch.  I know if I keep repeating it, it will become as easy as threading a sewing machine.

This past weekend I took my Baby Lock serger and my Pfaff Creative Sensation Pro to Sweetser, Indiana for my granddaughter, McClane, to use to make her 4-H project.  She is making a wool coat and is almost done.  This is a good thing because the fair is in June.  This is her last 4H project because she graduates from high school in June.

I also have three gifts I want to make.   I have started a laundry bag for a graduation gift and I also want to make two aprons for another gift.  Maybe I will be able to finish and post a picture of at least one of these gifts this week.

I still need to make some summer pants and blouses for myself, but I have so many projects and so little time.  If I could sew at night, it would help.  I don’t enjoy sewing after dark because my eyesight is not what it used to be.   So, I try to limit my sewing to daylight hours.

I hope your sewing projects are going well.  This is a busy time of year with graduation parties, gardening, and just regular daily activities, but don’t forget to save some time to sew!


Saturday, May 6, 2017

"It’s Sew Spring" with Angela Wolf    

Last Thursday I attended a one day session titled “It’s Sew Spring” sponsored by the Michigan Bishop Sewing Council.  It was held in Grandville, Michigan and the featured speaker was fashion and pattern designer, Angela Wolf.  I got so much more out of that session than I ever imagined was possible! 

I have seen Angela at the American Sewing Expo in Novi, Michigan, but I assumed her patterns would not fit me because my figure type has nothing in common with hers!  But I found her patterns include the size that should fit me.  I will find out soon because I purchased a couple of her patterns.   I spoke with Angela during one of the breaks and she advised me which size she thought would work for me.  I just looked at one of the patterns, The Evelyn Dress and Jacket #AW5314, and was amazed by the detailed  instructions and handy hints she included in the pattern.  Unlike most patterns, it did not come with a sheet of sewing instructions.  Instead, it came with a spiral-bound booklet!  The booklet included detailed sewing instructions, drawings of the process, a place to make notes about your project, and many hints including fitting with a muslin and finishing seams.  She also included a section titled “Sewing 101” which has information about needles, twill tape, pressing, and pressing tools.  In other words, she has everything covered in this pattern!

I also purchased a video titled One Pattern, Many Ways, Volume Two.  I haven’t had an opportunity to view it yet, but I am sure it will not disappoint!  In this video, Angela shows how to change the Evelyn Dress and Jacket Pattern.  I was told she shows how to change the jacket into a “Chanel” version.  That may be the first thing I make from this pattern.  She showed many examples of the Chanel jacket in her presentation.  They were lined with silk charmeuse.  The jackets looked and felt luxurious!

For the last several years, Angela Wolf had a booth at the American Sewing Expo (ASE) and also taught classes there.  As I said in a previous post (The Demise of the American Sewing Expo), the ASE offered sewists in this area a great opportunity to take classes from well-known and talented teachers as well as an opportunity to buy their products on-site. 

Angela Wolf gave an informative and attention-holding presentation.  She showed us many garments and talked about the techniques she used to make them.  Not only did she hold up each garment for the audience to see, she also passed each one around for us to hold, examine up close and even take pictures if we chose to do so.  She was very accommodating. 
Angela’s patterns can be purchased at and you can follow her blog at

Have you been to a good sewing class or presentation lately?  I hope you will take the opportunity to attend one to increase your knowledge of sewing!


Monday, May 1, 2017

Fitting Agony     -    May 1, 2017

I had trouble getting a blouse pattern to fit me.  The blouse I made on my Sew Coordinated Blog last year from Simplicity 8053 now seems to be a little tight under the arms.  Okay, I admit it.  I may have gained a few pounds!  I have some extra fabric, so I ripped out the sleeves and tried to alter the armscye.  That was a losing battle.  So, I decided to try a different pattern.

Several years ago, I had a body scan done by Unique Patterns while I was at the American Sewing Expo in Novi, Michigan.  That was a great investment.  After the body scan, I could order patterns from Unique that were generated from the computer using my personal measurements.  The patterns were fairly accurate.  Once in a while something was not quite right, but Unique would make corrections if the customer reported the problems.  I purchased a blouse pattern that I liked, but it had a small problem.  The pattern for the collar stand was just a little smaller than what it should have been, so I always had problems with a small amount of puckers when I attached the collar stand to the blouse neckline.  I was able to get most of the puckers out, but it took several attempts each time I made a blouse.  I don’t know why I didn’t just make the adjustment myself or call Unique and have them do it, but I never did.  And sure enough, Unique Patterns went out of business!  If I had seen that coming, I would have asked for the change to be made in the blouse pattern and I would have purchased other patterns as well.  

Anyway, I decided to use the Unique pattern again.  I tried on a blouse made from the pattern and made some adjustments.  I liked the collar from the blouse I made last year using Simplicity 8053.  That pattern incorporated the collar with the stand so the two pieces are just one piece.  So, I did the same with the Unique pattern.  I made the blouse from cotton fabric purchased from Country Stitches.   Good quality cotton wrinkles less than the cheaper varieties and is much easier to iron.  I really like this fabric because it has so many colors in it.  It will coordinate well with almost any color pants or skirt.  A picture of the finished blouse is shown below.  

I tried several colors of buttons including red, green, blue, and white, but none looked good.  Then I found a tri-colored button in my stash.  I purchased them from Fabric Gallery in Williamston just before the store closed permanently.  I think these buttons are perfect for this blouse.  The red, blue, and pink stripes on the buttons work well with the stripes in the blouse.

I am not happy with the finished blouse, but it is wearable.  However, it is not “4H ready”.  Any of you with 4H experience understand what I am saying.  In other words, it would not pass close up  scrutiny on both the outside and inside!  So, I plan to make another change to the pattern and try again.  On the blouse I made this time, I changed the neckline by making it smaller at the shoulders.  Since I don’t think that worked the way I desired, I will put the neckline back to the original and the next time I will increase the size of the collar.  Hopefully, this change will work better. 

For me, fitting is an ongoing process.  I never get the “fit perfection” I am always seeking!  I can’t tell you how many classes on fitting I have taken or how many different fitting techniques I have tried from books and videos.  Maybe the problem is my body keeps changing.  At any rate, I will not give up!  I will keep trying to get the fit I want.  I don’t think I am alone with this fit problem.  I think a lot of people have the same issue.  In fact, I believe the reason so many people gave up on making clothes for themselves and took up quilting instead is that fitting a bed is so much easier than fitting a body!

A year or so ago, I read about a business in Washington, D.C. that would scan your body and make a personalized dress form for you.  I thought that might be the answer to my fitting problem.  I called the owner of the business to get more information.  She told me her clients were required to travel to her store in Washington for the scanning.  The cost of the dress form was almost $900.00.  I would be willing to pay that if I could be sure it would resolve my fitting issues.  The sticking point was the trip to Washington. D.C.  I knew I would not be able to drive in that city.  I also knew I am too chicken to fly to Washington by myself.  And so far, I have not been able to convince my husband to make the trip.  I tried to convince the business owner she should travel the county and take her scanner to several regions where American Sewing Guild members might be interested in having scans made to purchase dress forms.  She said she was in the process of testing the scanner to see if it could withstand traveling from point to point and still remain accurate.  I have not heard if those tests were accurate.  And I have not seen any ads about the dress forms lately.  Maybe I will try to contact her and get an update.

I miss Unique Patterns and wish some other company would offer patterns made with our personal measurements.  I recently saw ads from a company called Sew Fitography that offers a similar service.  You buy and download software and then follow directions to take your own photo and upload that along with certain measurements.  I don’t know anyone who has tried this, but I am curious about it.  The software is only $30.00 and the patterns are about $15.00.  If you are interested in checking out this process, the website is  I am thinking about buying the software and trying it.  If you have used this product, I would appreciate hearing about your experience with it. 

Good luck with getting your patterns to fit your body!