Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Matching Dresses for Maddy and her Doll

Last Friday I said I was going to do a post about Emily's Oliver + S Family Reunion dress, which I posted on Monday, and then one about Maddy and her doll's dresses.  That's the subject of this post. The patterns  that I used were Kwik Sew 3767( for Maddy and 3771 ( for her doll.  The doll pattern has several options and there are other Kwik Sew patterns for girls to match the doll options.

The pattern had sizes 4 through 8, and Maddy currently wears size 7, so I traced the pattern pieces for the top and folded and pinned the ones for the skirt for a size 7. 

That way I can use the pattern later on for the larger size.  The top photo is traced version of the back of the bodice and the lower photo is the folded over pattern for one of the skirt sections.

I decided to cut both the girl's and doll's patterns at the same time, since there were 3 different fabrics involved.  And since the doll pattern was in only one size, I cut it directly without tracing any of the pieces.  A lot of the small pieces for the doll dress could be fit in spaces left by the girl's pattern.  Here's the red floral that would be the middle layer of the skirt.  The 2 large pattern pieces are for Maddy's dress and the smaller one on top for the doll.  Here they all had to be on fold.

I made Maddy's dress first and then worked on the doll dress.  Here's Maddy's finished dress.

For the doll dress the seams were all 1/4".  Since the fabric tended to ravel I adjusted my serger for a 3-thread narrow overlock that was 1/4" wide.  Each of the skirt pieces had to be gathered.  I used a long stitch and loose tension on my regular sewing machine to create a gathering thread. Then I match the center front and any notches on the pattern and pin those together before pulling the gathering thread.  Especially when something needs to be gathered tightly, I will pull it gently from each end and only gather to the middle, rather than trying to pull it all to the other side.  This method has worked well for me so as not to break the thread I'm pulling.

The photo below shows the center front and ends pinned prior to gathering the red floral to match the bottom of the blue.

The photo below shows the same red gathered to the blue after it's been pinned.

I typically use a lot of pins to try and hold the gathers in place and to have them spaced out across the distance.  I then sewed this on my machine, but because it was such a small seam and you can see it raveleing in the photo above, I then carefully re-did that seam on the serger.  Moving slowly and making sure to keep the extra fabric out of the way.  I didn't want to trim any fabric, just overlock it to stop the raveling.  In the photo above you can see the sergered seam where the bottom layer is sewn to the red floral.

So here's the skirt so far.  Now for the top.  The pattern said to use purchased bias tape for the neck and armhole facing.  I didn't want to do this as it would not match Maddy's dress where the bias facings had been cut from the blue fabric.  So I made my own bias facing.  I measured purchased bias tape so I'd know how wide to cut it, pulled out the blue fabric where I'd already cut the bias for Maddy's dress, and cut what I needed.

Then carefully ironed the bias pieces so that I could attach them similar to purchased bias tape.

Because I knew there was no way that my bias tape would be as perfect as the purchased, with one side slightly smaller than the other, I sewed the tape to the inside of the doll dress neck, and sewed it down. 

Then I turned it to the right side and sewed it again.  Photo below shows the completed neck facing, but it's fuzzy. 

For the side seams on the bodice, I sewed them directly on the serger. The long tail of thread that was left, I pulled back into the seam using a bodkin rather than putting an fray check on it.  I don't care for the various fray checks as I feel it makes the end of the seam stiff.

Here's the finished seam.  You can see how the threads have been pulled back from the right side into the seam.

With the top completed it was time to sew it to the skirt and to gather up the blue floral to match the bodice.  Next came the velcro in the back of the dress, and the doll dress was done!

Here it is laying across the pattern instructions.  So the final piece of all of this is how well did Maddy like it all?  I think you can tell from the photo below.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A new collection featuring friends in the Less10 Guild on Artfire

This week my Artfire studio is being featured by the Less10 Guild. They are sending out tweets and including my items on their Facebook pages.  So I thought I'd make a collection of items from their studios as a small 'thank you' for all their work on my behalf.  And, of course, I noticed the mis-spelled word, wonderful, just after it was published.  I was able to fix it here, but I can't find a way to go back and fix it in Artfire.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Emily's Oliver + S Family Reunion dress

The Oliver + S Family Reunion dress sew-along started on June 13.  Here's the link to the Above All Fabric blog about it  I was all set to go with my fabric from my stash, and the pattern and buttons I'd gotten at Haberman's.
I'd already traced the size of the pattern that I needed and cut 2" off the bottom to give the right length dress for Emily.  So I pinned the pattern to the fabric with the help of my trusty assistant, who has to inspect each step of the way.  Baby has the idea that the cutting table belongs to her.

One of the first steps was ironing on the interfacing.

I had no idea what a great purchase those little silicon finger covers would be.  But they've saved me many burnt fingers.  So the interfacing has been pressed on and here I'm folding the back facing over.
Next were the pintucks.  I marked the right side of the fabric with yellow tracing paper, which shows up a bit in the photo, I think, but will wash out.  I normally don't like to mark the right side of the fabric, but couldn't figure any other way to be able to see these.  Here's the back.

After the pintucks the little tab for the front was put together. As the sew-along was progressing, you  could check out other people's photos on the Flicker site  I'd seem several that had added lace, rick rack or some sort of trim around the tab, and I decided to do something like that myself.  I had some leftover green in my stash that perfectly matched the green embroidery on the fabric.  So I added that around the tab.

I thought it looked great until I looked at some of the other photos in the Flicker group and realized I'd put it on in the wrong spot.
Now why am I showing you that I made a mistake?  I was reading in Problogger the other day how people don't like it if you come across as perfect.  They want to read a blog and see that you make mistakes just like they do.  Hey, if we never made any sewing mistakes there would be no need for seam rippers.  So I pulled off the tab and redid it.  And here it is where it's supposed to be.

As I mentioned last time because of all the other family things I was trying to get finished before Father's Day weekend, I ended up getting behind with the sew-along, and didn't catch up till the last day.
The shoulder seams and neck facing were different than any I'd ever done and required close watch of the instructions.  Half of the shoulder seam was done 'normally' with right sides together, and the rest near the neck edge, was done with wrong sides together.  I've always thought of a facing as being something inside that you didn't see, but that wasn't the case here.  The neck facing was sewn to the wrong side of the neck and then turned over to be the neck edge on the right side.

Now that the neck facing is on it's obvious why the tab had to not be at the top edge or a lot of it would have been hidden.  Glad I saw that before I got too far!
Next came the sleeves.  I noticed that my fabric was raveling a lot, you can probably see it in the photo above, so I decided to serge the seams.   With sleeves I always run gathering threads between the front and back notches, gather the sleeve a bit and use a lot of pins to hold it in place.  Then I run the seam on my regular sewing machine, pull out all the pins and check that it's the way I want it to be before going to the serger. For this dress, since they were using 1/2" seams, I adjusted the serger to be a narrow 3-thread overlock.  I run the serger slowly and keep moving the fabric out of the way so that I don't catch a part of the dress or cut something that I don't want to cut.  The photo below is after the sleeve seam was serged.

The sew-along recommended using French seams for the side seams.  Since my fabric wasn't sheer and I'd already worked out the serger settings, I serged the side seams instead.
The hem facing was the next step.  I was concerned about having enough of the green seer sucker left to make the doll dress that Emily's Mommie had asked me to do, so I used the solid green that I'd used for the tab trim for the hem facing.  Since Emily is short I decided not to add the 5 rows of stitching at the bottom.  Next came button holes and buttons.  The buttons looked a bit delicate and I didn't want to break them so I sewed them on by hand, after making the button holes with the machine.  And here's the final dress.

Along with a close up of the top.

Now all I have to do is make the doll dress and something for Emily's twin brother, Jake and I can ship the new outfits off to them.  I'll add a photo of Emily and her doll in their dresses when I get them.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Every Friday?

So I told myself that I would write a post for the blog every Friday.  Well, as you notice there was nothing last Friday.  Am I the only one who underestimates how long everything will take?  Or do you do that too? 

A week or so before I'd gone to Haberman's to get the Oliver +S Family Reunion Dress so I'd be ready to go when the Family Reunion Dress sewalong on The Above All Fabric blog began.  Right there displayed in the pattern area was a dress pattern for a girl and her American Girl doll.  When Maddy, our 8-year old granddaughter, had spent the weekend with us she'd indicated that she would like to have a matching outfit.  The patterns were Kwik Sew 3767( for Maddy and 3771 ( for her doll. Of course, I couldn't resist!  Now all of a sudden I had dresses to make for both granddaughters and a doll.  Well, actually I'm going to make a doll dress for Emily's baby doll to match her Family Reunion one too, but I've got to make my own pattern for that, so it'll take awhile longer.  Now my next problem was that Maddy would be here the Saturday of Father's day weekend, and so I needed to finish the dress for her and her doll by then. 

Fast forward to the end of the story.  I got the dress for Maddy and her doll done by Saturday.  I didn't finish Emily's dress until the day after the sew-along finished.  I still haven't started her doll dress.  Oh, did I mention in the middle of all this I was cooking all the food for the family gathering on Father's Day?  And had to make a new tablecloth for the picnic table too?  What a week.  I spent Monday this week just catching up on housework stuff.  And then my internet went flaky Tues and Wed. So much for trying to catch up on a blog.

What I'm going to do is to write a post about Emily's dress and another about Maddy and her doll's dresses.  I think it'll be less confusing that way. So here goes..... First will be Emily's Oliver + S Family  Reunion Dress that I did with the sew-along.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

My nautical oven mitt and potholder were included in a new collection by DesertWindDesign on Artfire.  This one features members of the Less than 10 guild.

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