Thursday, July 25, 2013

Fabriconda #5 - Style Arc Island Ali Top

Two pieces of knit burnout from the Fabriconda came together to make this top. The blue piece had a huge circle cut from the middle and what was left was the perfect amount for the sleeves. Sadly, I didn't have enough of the grey to center the front properly (yes, I cut it after the back...). I also had to cut the lower back piece on the crosswise. Just know that I'm going to wear it anyway and the world will go on...

The wooly nylon thread came out of the drawer and I used it for the rolled hem on the sleeves. I really like how it allows the fabric to drape nicely.

Style Arc Island Ali Top Sewing Pattern

I hadn't sewn a top like this before, so before starting, I read the instructions (pretty basic but adequate) and had to look to the pattern pieces for the hem length and a few other things. As I've found typical with Style Arc knit top patterns, I had to shorten the neck binding (guessing worked). Other than that and the rolled hem for the sleeves, there weren't any other changes.

I will wear this with a pair of grey Capris I'd made a few months ago. This top is far from perfect but for a wearable muslin I'm pretty happy about it and I'll definitely sew it again! I think it would make a nice dress, too. Don't you?

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Fabriconda #4 – Style Arc Abby Cardi

I’ve spent the past few weeks building a stack of prepped patterns. When it threatened to fall over, it was time to begin matching them to fabric.

One of the patterns, the Style Arc Abby Cardi, I’ve had since it was first offered but I wasn’t ambitious enough to change out the plate on my old serger to sew a rolled hem. Now, with the new one, I just have to turn a knob and I’ve been looking for an excuse to try it. The manual recommends using wooly nylon thread in the upper and lower loopers, but there was only black and white wooly nylon in the drawer. So, red serger thread was the choice and it worked just fine. I used a large eyed needle to pull the tails through the hem threads on the back and applied a bit of Fray Check to seal after trimming.

Soon after I got the new serger, I bought it a present: an elasticator presser foot. I’ve been looking to streamline the clear elastic/twill tape shoulder procedure and for a few dollars thrown at eBay I was able to do that. The foot feeds the elastic through while encasing it in the stitching. You can adjust how much you want the elastic stretched while stitching; say, for example, when sewing elastic to the leg of a swimsuit. For the shoulders, I let it feed the elastic without any stretching. I understand that the purpose of the foot is to evenly stitch stretched elastic onto fabric but I don't know why I couldn't also use it to run twill tape onto woven fabrics. Another experiment for another day...

Elasticator Foot - Side View

Elasticator Foot - Top View

There were two pieces of the red knit fabric within the Fabriconda and both had wide masking tape residue parallel to the selvages. It was tricky business getting the pieces to fit and there was just enough leftover to test out the rolled hem.

I did not make many changes to the pattern. Just the usual one inch taken from the sleeve length and straightening of the side seams to provide a bit more room for my mid-section. It wasn’t necessary. In fact, the cardi was shapeless and baggy. I went back to the original pattern side seams and I think it looks great!

With the Texas high temperatures, I doubt I’ll get to wear it before October. No problem as this was all about testing the pattern, the rolled hem, and the elasticator foot. All were successful and in the meantime, I intend to sew the short-sleeved version in a lightweight knit to wear over a camisole or tank.

Next? I’m thinking Style Arc’s Island Ali Top combined with more fabric from the Fabriconda.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Style Arc's Gorgeous Gore Skirt

I was looking through my basket of “want-to-sew-soon” patterns on Sunday and came across Style Arc’s Gorgeous Gore Skirt pattern. I’ve been wanting to sew a simple summer skirt and this one fit the bill: no zipper or sewn-on waistband.

Style Arc Gorgeous Gore Skirt

Less than two hours later, I had my new skirt and I absolutely love it! The animal print ITY came in a Fabric Mart bundle. I hadn’t considered it for a skirt, but the fabric is perfect for this pattern.

There are only two pattern pieces, the upper yoke (front and back use the same piece) and the gores (six – again, all the same). I used ½” elastic for the waist instead of the 1/4” specified. Why? Because that is what I had in the drawer and it worked just fine.

Other changes? I under-stitched the yoke facing, using the coverstitch, instead of top-stitching through both layers at the skirt top. Also, the coverstitch was used for the row of stitching beneath the elastic. The waist has to be able to stretch to get over the hips. No way straight stitching won't pop.

I wore my new skirt to the office on Monday and I felt dressed up, yet so comfortable! I think I’m on to something here…