Archive for the ‘Garments’ Category

Double Gauze and Luxe Cuddle from Shannon Fabrics, Janome Education Summit 2018

Saturday, June 9th, 2018

Double Gauze top with fabric from Shannon Fabrics at the Janome Education Summit 2018

More fun stuff from the Janome Education Summit!   On Wednesday, we were given a choice of three kits by Shannon Fabrics…these are brilliant!   They come in a lovely box (link here to mine on Amazon…other kits are currently available, prices in the $32-39 range for all the fabric you need, click here to see Shannon Fabrics Cuddle Kits) with the exact amounts of different fabrics and faux fur to make a baby throw, about 30×40 inches.   I loved the arrow print in mine so was (once again) the disobedient child and opted to make an Infinity Scarf with one of the fabrics and the faux fur at the Summit, then make the blouse pictured above when  home.

The revelation was the incredible softness and quality of the faux fur.  It is LUXURIOUS–look for “Luxe Cuddle.”  You will want to pet it.  You will want to take it home.  One Janome Educator had made a throw of this “fur/minkee” with flannel that is so incredibly snuggly that it almost (but not quite) makes you wish winter would come sooner.  But when Winter does come I’ll be ready–I’ve already ordered 4 1/2 yards online!  Here are a bunch of photos I took of samples and items made with the Luxe Cuddle and furs.  Some are definitely more “city” than rural Maine, but I can still see some of these in fun stuff–that curly fur would be a totally fun throw pillow!   Price on the fabrics I ordered (from fabric.com, not affiliated, just had a good selection) were about $16-26 a yard.  I don’t have a photo of the jacket one of the ladies from Shannon made for her daughter from a fur that looked like a baby spotted fawn…adorable.

 

Some great tips from Shannon Fabrics for working with Minkee, Cuddle and other fabrics that shed:

  • first cut from the back so you clip the backing fabric, not the hairs (thereby creating fewer shedding bits),
  • then run the cut pieces in the dryer — the loose bits will mostly end up in the lint filter (empty it!) and not all over you and your sewing room
  • choose a simple garment shape, boxy rather than fitted/many pieces/darts

There are great tips and tricks on Shannon’s website here.  And free patterns are here.  Including the one I used for this scarf which I made in class:

In my infinity scarf–the fleece matches my hair LOL! And boy is this COMFY!

 

I ordered some Faux Fox fur for another infinity scarf — a yard of $17 fabric (60″ wide) will make two long scarves 9″ wide x 60″ loop (can wear doubled as in this photo) or three shorter ones 9″ wide by 36″ loop.  Pretty quick and easy holiday gifts,  eh? And I am in LOVE with the Buffalo Check fleece, which is not in stores yet that I can find.  I want to make Christmas jammie pants for the family!  If you have wee ones, imagine making a plushie toy like the elephant and a matching nap blankie!

The double gauze has in the past been aimed at the children’s garment market, but they are starting to add not-juvenile prints and solid colors.  Some other double gauze I have used is a finer weave and softer to the hand, but costs about triple this fabric.  The fabric softens up when washed, and I know I will really like wearing my shirt.  Here is how I made it using two of the fabrics that came in my kit:

My kit showing some of the other kits available.

I used a simple vintage T shaped blouse pattern (see photo below with the pink shirt). Because the gauze is very loose and malleable, I used French seams. I sewed with wrong sides together using the Janome “M” overcast foot. Then, press the seam and turn inside out.

This is the overcast stitch I used. Your machine probably has one similar, or if you have a serger you could use that, too.

Turn the garment inside out and sew with a 3/8″ seam allowance, which totally encloses the overcast edges to create a clean finish on the seam that won’t ever ravel.

I didn’t have a lot of fabric, so I had to shorten the “sleeves” and length compared to the pattern. Even as a shell this would have been a nice top.

Here is was trying out various lengths for the addition of the dotted fabric to the hem and sleeves.

And trying it on. Those longer sleeves looked awful–needed to be shorter!

Here is my circa 1988 Vogue pattern which I used to make the pink shirt back in the late 80s or early 90s of Liberty Lawn (and I still wear it and it still looks good) and the slightly modified double-gauze top.

Double Gauze top with fabric from Shannon Fabrics at the Janome Education Summit 2018–and me, one more time.  I have on an aqua camisole underneath to show shadow-through–hardly any.  I could easily wear normal undergarments and be completely comfortable in this.  I have been thinking that this fabric would make really great pajama/lounge pants for hot summer weather.

It’s so much fun re-visiting this inspiring Summit.  In retrospect I can’t believe we packed in so much into just under 3 full days!  Thank you again Janome America for inviting me to participate, including me as a Janome Artisan, and supporting me and my art these past 15 years.  I think I’ve been affiliated with the company longer than many of their freelance educators!   And thanks to Shannon Fabric for this session, the kit, and yes, I’m totally gonna order more of that Faux Fur!

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She makes clothes, too!

Saturday, December 10th, 2016

It has been a while, but I have gotten back to making clothes over the past year or two.   I began life as a garment sewer, but abandoned that when I discovered quilting.  Now that I am getting older, I find that I don’t always like the generic stuff available and have begun sewing clothing again.  Sometimes, I find the PERFECT top though, and can’t find it again.  That leads to making your own patterns.

Success! I actually made a KNIT garment. The original shirt (purchased) is on the left. After making the pattern from that shirt, I made the plum one on the right. I'll do a separate blogpost later this week with more info on how I did it and which stitches used.

Success! I actually made a KNIT garment. The original shirt (purchased) is on the left. After making the pattern from that shirt, I made the plum one on the right.

The aqua shirt on the left, from Habitat, is a favorite.  It is also getting old and tatty.  I found the plum knit (Anna Maria Horner) at Alewives Fabrics a couple years ago made up in a dress.  They had 1/2 yard more than needed for the dress, so I bought all of it.  But I decided rather than make a summer dress, I would make a top and leggings or two tops out of it, since it seemed more autumn-y to me.  The fabric is long since sold out, but Alewives has a great selection and does mail orders!

I took some cheap paper (a roll of medical exam table paper bought from my doctor about six years ago and the roll is still not near done) to make tracings of the original shirt pieces (which involves some creative pulling and pinning to get things like the sleeves outlined) to make a pattern.  I smoothed out the lines, lengthened the sleeves from 3/4 to full length for winter, and cut out my fabrics.  For my shirt, I used a lightweight fusible interfacing for the neckline, but mine turned out a bit stiffer, so maybe next time I’ll try a LOT of starch and no interfacing.

When sewing knits, you want to use a stitch that has some stretch in it and a BALLPOINT or Jersey needle–this keeps it from cutting holes in the knit fabric.  You can use a straight stretch stitch that is standard on even the most basic machines…it looks like three vertical lines next to each other, stitch 5 in the photo below.

Utility stitches on the Janome 9400. These stitches are available on even the most basic machines.

Utility stitches on the Janome 9400. Most of these stitches are available on even the most basic machines–the only ones you might not find are 6, 7, 12 (reverse), and 18.

A few thousand years ago, I took some sewing on polar fleece classes, and in those learned to use a zigzag for stretchy side seams on garments, so that is what I used for this top.

asides

This photo shows that I used stitch 6, which I think of as a lightning zigzag, for the seam, and  Stitch 18 for an “overcast” stitch before trimming away the excess on the edges.  I like a nicely finished garment!   One could also use stitches 10 or any in the 13-23 range for an overcast if you don’t have something like 18 on your machine.

To hem my top, I used a Ballpoint Twin needle (i think mine is a wider separation between the needles, nearly 1/4″).  When sewing on knits, always use a ballpoint so the tip doesn’t cut the threads in the knit fabric.  I wound some thread onto an extra bobbin and placed it on the second spindle.  Then you thread the machine holding both threads as if they were one.  After passing through the last thread guide (photo below), hand thread (don’t use the automatic needle threader as it won’t go to the correct spots) the needles.

Twin needles

Twin needles make a lovely stitch.  The bobbin thread forms a zigzag, which makes the seam stretchy (which means the stitches won’t pop and break when you stretch the hem).

Sewing the hem. I am using a line on the throat place as a guide to create a gem that is about an inch deep.

Sewing the hem. I am using a line on the throat place as a guide to create a hem that is about an inch deep. After stitching, trim away excess fabric above the stitching.

I’m fairly pleased with my top.  I’d do the interfacing slightly differently next time (and yes, there will be a next time–the neckline on this top is flattering on me and comfortable), but the Janome 9400 performed flawlessly.  WOOT!

 

Janome 9400 review

Monday, December 5th, 2016

As many of you know, I’ve been fortunate to be affiliated with Janome America for many years and sew on their great machines.   They’ve come out with a new top-of-the-line NON-embroidery machine, the 9400.  And as I have come to expect, they take something that is already really good and make it even better.  We’re getting close to perfect!   To see the machine on the Janome site, go here.

My newest sewing love, the Janome 9400!

My newest sewing love, the Janome 9400!  Notice the FABULOUS lighting?  I love the pull-out light, too!

Over the past few months I’ve been able to put the machine through its paces, making a knit top, finishing a set of quilted placemats, finishing a small bag with zipper, and (who me?) piecing several quilt tops.   The machine excelled at everything I threw at it!  The 9400 has taken many features from the top of the line embroidery and sewing 15000 machine, including that awesome light on the top left that slides out.  I think the design of it  on the 9400 is even better than on the 15000, as it curves a bit.

One of the first things I did was some class samples for my Easy-Peasy Inside-Out Bag….including installing a zipper.

Zipper insertion for my Easy-Peasy Inside-Out Bag class sample.   Notice how the zipper foot fits PERFECTLY, allowing me to use the zipper coil as a guide and getting the stitching **perfect** ?  I used plum stitching as a decorative accent on the right side of the zipper, and am now stitching the second side of the left half of the zipper.

Zipper insertion for my Easy-Peasy Inside-Out Bag class sample. Notice how the zipper foot fits PERFECTLY, allowing me to use the zipper coil as a guide and getting the stitching **perfect** ? I used plum stitching as a decorative accent on the right side of the zipper, and am now stitching the second side of the zipper.

A bigger challenge, for both me and the machine, was to make a new top.  I fell in love with the plum knit and bought it a year or so ago.   I also love the aqua top, which is showing its age.  I did a “rub off” which is where you make your own pattern using an existing garment.  You can trace (with garment on top of paper) or rub (with garment under paper) to feel the edges and create pattern pieces.  I extended the sleeves from 3/4 to full length, and am delighted at the machine and the results.

Success!  I actually made a KNIT garment.  The original shirt (purchased) is on the left. After making the pattern from that shirt, I made the plum one on the right.  I'll do a separate blogpost later this week with more info on how I did it and which stitches used.

Success! I actually made a KNIT garment. The original shirt (purchased) is on the left. After making the pattern from that shirt, I made the plum one on the right. I’ll do a separate blogpost later this week with more info on how I did it and which stitches used.

I also have done quite a lot of piecing.  I used the P foot which comes with the machine for my quarter inch seams, but decided to use the optional Clearview foot which I prefer.   In a second project (which I can’t share yet because it is a Christmas surprise) I was astounded at how accurate my results were; I am NOT a piecer, and the feed on the machine worked very well (until my attention wandered, at which point I simply cut the threads, went back to my oops and fixed it).

Using the ClearView foot for piecing

Using the ClearView foot for piecing.  I really like the red 1/8 and 1/4″ markings. This foot is available for both Janome’s  7mm and 9mm machines (the 7 and 9 refer to the maximum stitch width–you need to be sure you get the correct one to fit the “ankle” for your machine). Have I said how much I love it?

I also have been able to do both free-motion and walking foot quilting, though not as much yet as I would have liked.   I finished a set of placemats and table runner called Modern Winter, which I prepared for Janome’s blog.  You can find the pattern and information here.

Modern Winter placemats and table runner.

Modern Winter placemats and table runner. Instructions/pattern on the Janome site at the link.  

The one thing I keep trying to convince Janome to do is to create feet for the top of the line machines that is similar to the convertible FMQ (free motion quilting)  feet for the Janome 8900/8200 and similar which I think are the best quilting feet Janome makes.   In addition to the traditional “hopping” or darning foot used for free-motion quilting, the 9400, 15000, 12000 all have the QO and QC skimming FMQ feet which snap on to the ankle (which is really quick and easy).  However, these feet are clear plastic and not round.   They work great for most people’s purposes, but if you look at pretty much ALL quilting machines, the preferred and nearly universally available feet are metal CIRCLES.  The metal is stronger and can, therefore, be thinner, which affords greater visibility.  And by being a circle, you can echo quilt around (for example) an appliqué, then  continue with free motion without having to change feet.  This is a small quibble but one that is important to me.

The foot on the left is the Ruler Foot for the 8900, and the two bits on the right are the optional bottoms for FMQ, the open U (as Janome made it) and the circle (which Janome made closed, but I used my Dremel to open up a tiny bit)

The foot on the left is the Ruler Foot for the 8900, and the two bits on the right are the optional bottoms for FMQ, the open U (as Janome made it) and the circle (which Janome made closed, but I used my Dremel to open up a tiny bit).  I would LOVE these options for the top of the line Janome machines (9400, 12000 and 15000).

One of the

One of the really cool things about the 9400 (which came down to it from the 15000) is the snap on feature for some of the quilting feet.  In this image, you can see the echo quilting foot, the clear disc with red circles/lines, for the 9400 on the lower left.  It just pops on and off the ankle like regular feet–fast, easy and effective.  The other three in this image are from the bottom of the convertible FMQ foot for the 8900; you have to screw them on to the holder which is a small fuss.  

I was MOST impressed at International Quilt Festival, Houston, this year.  I introduced myself to the president of Janome America to say thank you for Janome’s continued support for the past decade-plus, and to ask about developing these feet for the 9400 and 15000 (and 12000).  He whipped out a notebook and took notes!   So as soon as I finish this post, I’m going to follow up with him with details I’ve been mulling over on how best to meet ALL needs for quilting–both hopping and skimming. Love Janome’s responsiveness!  He said he’d send the info to headquarters in Japan–can’t do more than that!

Although you can read it on Janome’s site, I’m adding some info about the features and accessories included on this machine.  Best of all, a lot of stores are offering “Holiday Incentives” on the price!

Janome 9400 Stitch Chart

Janome 9400 Stitch Chart…hooray, my favorite stitches are still here!

Key Features:

  • Top Loading Full Rotary Hook Bobbin System
  • 350 Built-In Stitches and 4 Alphabets
  • Superior Needle Threader
  • Cloth Guide Included
  • One-Step Needle Plate Conversion with 3 Included Plates
  • Detachable AcuFeed Flex Layered Fabric Feeding System
  • USB Port and Direct PC Connection
  • Stitch Composer Stitch Creation Software
  • Variable Zig Zag for Free Motion Quilting
  • Straight Stitch Needle Plate with Left Needle Position for 1/4″ Seam Foot
  • Professional HP Needle Plate and Foot
  • Advanced Plate Markings
  • Full Color LCD Touchscreen (4.4″ x 2.5″)
  • Sewing Applications On-Screen Support
  • Maximum Sewing Speed: 1,060 SPM
  • Full Intensity Lighting System with 9 White LED Lamps in 4 Locations
  • 11″ to the Right of the Needle
  • Retractable High Light

Included Accessories:

  • 1/4 Inch Seam Foot O
  • AcuFeed Flex™ Dual Feed Holder with AD Foot
  • Automatic Buttonhole Foot
  • Blind Hem Foot G
  • Button Sewing Foot
  • Cloth Guide
  • Darning Foot
  • Extra Large Foot Controller
  • Free Motion Quilting Closed Toe Foot
  • HP Plate and Foot Set
  • Open Toe Satin Stitch Foot
  • Overedge Foot M
  • Remote Thread Cutter Switch
  • Rolled Hem Foot
  • Satin Stitch Foot
  • Seam Ripper
  • Straight Stitch Needle Plate
  • Zig-Zag Foot
  • Zipper Foot E

So that’s my recap!  I’ll do a couple follow-up posts on the placemats and shirt projects.  Stay tuned!

A new top!

Thursday, October 22nd, 2015

Among other things I’ve been doing, I have been making some clothing!   Several months back I fell in love with the Philip Jacobs (for Westminster Fabrics, he’s part of the KFC:  Kaffe Fassett Collective of designers) petunia print in the blues.  I was able to order it from Glorious Color (on Blue petunia fabric by Philip Jacobs, for as long as it is in stock!).  Philip designs (gloriously) for both Rowan and for his own line, Snow Leopard.   See his Westminster fabrics here or visit his Facebook page here.  He also has a horse named Neddy who approves his designs (grin!).

Sarah in her new tunic. The opening is deep and requires a camisole or decorative something underneath.

Sarah in her new tunic. The opening is deep and requires a camisole or decorative something underneath.  I lengthened the sleeves so I could wear a long-sleeve T under it in winter.  It gets cold up here in Maine!  By adding 6-8 inches you could make a lovely dress (or if you have shapely legs and don’t mind short, wear as a short dress as is).

I used a pattern I have had in my stash for a while and that is wildly popular:  the Schoolhouse Tunic by Sew Liberated.  You can find it in many quilt shops including Alewives Fabrics (one of my great local shops).  The direct link to the pattern on the Alewives site is Schoolhouse Tunic.  An alewife, by the way, is a type of fish.  They are common in the area and they spawn by going upstream–just behind the shop.  You can always tell when the Alewives are running in spring because every sea bird, gull, cormorant in a many-mile-radius is squawking and flying about!

The pattern I used.

The pattern I used.  My friend Kate has made this in a lovely natural linen and in some shirtings and it looks great.  Flatters many figure types, too.   Notice the 3/4 length of the sleeves.

with sleeve turned up.

with sleeve on left of photo turned up.  I made the hems really deep so that I could turn up the sleeves in summer and still have it look pretty.

I have some jersey (t-shirt type) fabric–another splurge purchase at Alewives–that I want to use to make another one.  For that one, I will not use such a deep hem.   My size, alas, has increased somewhat.  I had thought by using the next-to-largest size I would have ample room for a shirt underneath.  I have room, just not ample room.   So when I make it in the jersey, I don’t think I will do the usual “go down a size to make up for the stretch.”  I can easily fine tune the fit by taking deeper seams on the sides if I decide I need to do that.

This top was one of the projects I sewed on Janome’s new Skyline S7 machine, which I will review on Monday, October 26th.   I used the blind hem stitch to overcast the edges.

Seam finishes in my tunic: bias facing, on the top, overcast edge at the armscye (set in sleeve seam) and French seam (enclosed raw edges) on the side seam.

Seam finishes in my tunic: bias facing, on the top, overcast edge at the armscye (set in sleeve seam) and French seam (enclosed raw edges) on the side seam.

Next up:  a review of an “App” for one’s iOS device (iPad etc) and the top of the line Janome 15000 on which I usually sew.   The App is incredible…that post will be up in a couple of days.

 

The blue applique vest

Saturday, July 17th, 2010

Since there is SO much that has happened in the past two months, I’m going to alternate between the April trip and vacation and other events.   For about two years now, I have wanted to make a vest to wear while teaching applique to show the various types of machine applique and decorative stitching that I teach (two different classes), and how the samples can be used in various projects including clothing, not just quilts.

Here’s me in the just completed vest, frizzy hair, no makeup (and therefore disappearing eyes…I SO envy people with dark eyelashes!) and all:

I thought pictures of the vest pinned to the design wall would make it easier to see–this is the front:

and the back:

At least 12-14 years ago, I bought Make Your Own Japanese Clothing by John Marshall (yes, THE John Marshall who teaches katazome and shibori, makes amazing silk, etc…..  his website is guaranteed to keep you looking for a long time!).  Amazingly, the book is STILL in print (tells you  how good it is); you can find it at Amazon, here.  The Japanese use 14″ wide lengths of cloth to construct their clothing without cutting into the cloth from the sides, so garments are based on rectangles, which makes for easy sewing.  I developed this pattern when I made my Frayed Edges vest (seen in the second photo in this post).

In a nutshell, take your measurements or measure a vest with a fit that you like.  To make the math easy, let’s say 42 inches around.  Divide by 3 and by 6:  1/3 of 42 is 14.  1/6 of 42 is 7.  The front of your vest needs to be, therefore, 14 inches or 1/3 of your circumference (finished…remember to add seam allowances!), the back is the same.  The sides are 1/6 of the distance around you or 7 inches.  It’s that simple!

When I first made the vest, I used rectangles for the sides.  The bottom of the rectangle hit my hit and bent, making me look decidedly hippy and wide.  So I changed the shape to arch on the bottom, with the same curve on the top.  It turns out to be easy AND flattering!

Since I had weird shapes and samples for my applique blocks, I decided to draw out the shape of the vest (used an existing vest to copy the angles for the shoulders and neckline, but modified the front “v” to be slightly curved, again, a flattering line) on RinsAway, a lightweight wash-out stabilizer which I used as a temporary base for construction and decorative stitching.  I placed the applique blocks in a pleasing arrangement, then figured out what I needed to use to fill in the gaps.  I selected about 6-8 prints and cut strips 1 1/2, 2 and 2 1/2 inches, then sewed them together.  I cross-cut sections to create the pieced inserts….I just used a ruler to measure the size I needed, added 1/2 inch (a quarter inch seam allowance for all sides) and cut.

In the photo of the back, the cut pieces and trimmed applique samples (not yet stitched for the fused ones), are pinned to the stabilizer.  In the photo of the front, below, I have pieced together the random shapes and cleaned up the edges.  The pieced fronts are now spray basted to the RinsAway stabilizer in preparation for the decorative stitching.

After stitching, I removed as much of the stabilizer as I could, and sewed up the garment using the usual way of making a vest (it’s a bit of a mind-wrap…you sew the outside to the lining except at the side seams, then turn it right side out  through an opening left in the lining shoulder seam—it seems impossible until you’ve done it!).  Because I tend to get warm walking around the classroom all day (yes, my feet ACHE and THROB by the end of the day), I did not add batting or quilt this one.

I used both turned edge and raw-edge / fused applique, with various sorts of decorative stitches.  I particularly like the vine coming down over the left shoulder onto the front and the blue background / white sprigged stem (reverse fused applique) on the front.  For the turned-edge pieces, I’ve discovered this new product that I love…. C&T’s washaway applique sheets (click on previous link to see the product).  It has as much body as Ricky Tims’ Stable Stuff (which I still love), but it  is IRON ON!   You can run the sheets through your printer if you want (for example, to print off a zillion identical leaves or to produce templates for a design), cut out the shape in the C&T sheets, iron lightly to the wrong side of the applique fabric, and press the edges.  You can use either a washable glue stick, starch, or just heat to turn the edges before stitching down.  Way cool!

Here are some detail photos of some of the blocks–see what a difference the stitching makes between the buds on the left and the un-sewn ones on the right?:

And my two-layer leaves, which I developed for my Balinese Garden table runner (more on that in an upcoming post!):

In the photo above, I’ve used a blind hem stitch, available on the most basic machines, to stitch the right side of the stem. In the next photo, you can perhaps see better.  I subsesquently used a 2-sided feather stitch to outline the dark inner leaf and stitch down the lighter outline:

I came up with this 2-layer leaf because on a different project I wanted to use a busy, medium-value (not light, not dark) fabric for the background, and still use medium-value fabrics for the leaves.  Set directly onto the background, there would have been almost NO contrast and the leaves would have been visually lost.  By layering up the leaves like this, you get a nice contrast and outline without having to satin stitch (which while lovely is VERY time consuming, uses LOTS of thread, and may not be the look you want).  Hope you like the vest!