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Archive for the ‘Garments’ Category

Rockin’ Retro Apron in Kitschy Cocktails, Part 2

Friday, February 21st, 2020

For Part 1, go here.

Today we’ll continue constructing your fun and funky Rockin’ Retro Apron. Fabric requirements, layout/cutting instructions and making the apron skirt are all in Part 1, here. You can download a formatted and numbered pattern–free in 2020!–with ALL the instructions and requirements at Rockin’ Retro Apron in Kitschy Couture. The fabric was provided as part of the Michael Miller Brand Ambassador 2020 program, and my brilliant Janome M7 Continental is provided to me as a Janome Artisan. Thank you!

Make the Apron Ties and Neck Strap

  • Spray starch the bias-cut plaid for the ties and neck strap.  Stiffening this fabric slightly will make the following steps less fiddly.
  • Sew an inch-wide strip of black to the short pointy end of each of the waist ties. Press as stitched, then press seam allowances toward the black.
  • Sew the plaid to the black apron ties and neck strap only.  Do not sew the waist portion, which is handled differently.  
  • Press as stitched.  Press seam allowances toward the black. Turn straps/ties right side out.  You can use a narrow pole/stick/curtain rod to make this easier:  turn the first couple inches by hand, then slide onto the top of the curtain rod and gently coax the entire strap until it is all right side out. 
  • Press, centering the plaid and coaxing the seam allowances toward the black.  Because the black is cut wider than the plaid, it wraps to the front to create an accent edge.  The seam allowances should be underneath this accent edge.  Leave the square end open.  On the pointy end, trim to 5/8” from where the short black piece is stitched to the plaid.  Turn under about 3/8” and press.  You can machine or hand stitch this opening. 
  • Stitch on the edge of the black or in the ditch so the seam allowances stay where they are supposed to.  This will help a lot once you start wearing and washing it—worth the extra effort.!

Make the Apron Bib

FITTING NOTE:  Because of different body types, you will want to adjust the width of the bib and the  length of the bib and strap to flatter your body.  Cutting measurements are for my medium-sized build.  I actually wish I had made the bib an inch shorter, so those with an average or larger bust size should be fine.  Measure before you cut and before you sew.

Use something like a mug lid to round the upper corners of the bib.
Trim slivers off the bottom edge of the bib (optional). This photo is of the pocket, where you do the same thing.
  • Use something round to curve the top edges of the apron bib, see first photo above.  I used the lid of my travel mug.  Just draw a line around the curved edge, then trim off on both sides of the bib, second photo.
  • Optional:  taper the lower edge of the bib by trimming two skinny triangles off the lower edges. Mine were about 3/8” wide by just under 6” tall, center and right photos.
  • Gather bib ruffle.  Fold fabric in half, wrong sides together.  Sew basting lines at ¼” and ½” and gather as before.  This will be a very tight gather, which helps the ruffle stand upright.  If yours is too long when gathered to your preference, trim as needed—see next steps. 
  • Pin ruffle to the bib lining (inside piece). See photos below.                                                                  
  • Curve the ends of the strip up, see second and third photos, below. Be careful (if this sort of thing bugs you) to make sure the curved ends are symmetrical.  Ahem—guess which one I am.
  • Tuck one end of the neck strap between the ruffle and the bib lining, photo on right below.  Be sure the plaid side of the strap is as pictured so that it will face the correct direction when the bib is completed.
  • BASTE by machine.  
  • Turn up to make sure it looks good.  Adjust if needed, especially on the ends.  
Curve the end of the gathered bib ruffle up–see the overall photo at the start of the post to guide you.
The top of the bib lining will look like this once you have basted the ruffle in place. Don’t be like me…remember to tuck in the neck strap so you don’t have to pick out some stitches. Ahem. See next photo.
Insert the neck strap as pictured and baste along with the ruffle.
  • Prepare front of bib.  
    • Cut black bias the length of the outside edge of the front bib plus 1” just in case.
    • Press ¼” under along one long edge.  
    • Pin to the right side of the bib front with the fold edge turning under towards the center of the bib.  
    • Baste on outside edge.
    • Press towards the center, easing excess in the rounded corners.
    • Applique/stitch the black trim to the bib.  I used glue stick to “pin” the black in place and sewed used the edge-stitch foot/quarter inch foot with the flange and a straight stitch.  
  • Pin bib front and bib lining right sides together.  Sew 3/8” seam.  You may wish to sew a basting stitch seam first to make sure everything at the top is correctly placed and the corners and ruffle turn nicely.  If you do, adjust as necessary, then sew the final seam.

Prepare the Pockets

You’ll need a wider black band, the plaid strip, and a narrower black band. These strips are sewn together, then sew the right side of the strip to the wrong side of the pocket top. Press, then fold the strip to the front and topstitch in place.
  • Create plaid-and-black band for the pockets.  
  • Sew a ¾” strip of black (straight of grain) to bottom edge of starched plaid strip.  Upper photo.
  • Sew a 1 1/8” strip of black to the top of the pocket.  Upper photo.
  • Sew wide black strip to the back of the pocket with a ¼” seam.  Press as stitched, then wrap the strip around the seam allowance.
Wrap the strip to the front, trim, and stitch in place.
  • Wrap the bias unit to the front and applique in place.  Stitch in the ditch or on the edge of the black.  Photo above.
Pockets are positioned 6″ to either side of the center, but the black edging has not yet been applied.
  • Press under ¼” on long side of 1 1/8” bias black edging that is long enough to go around the pocket. and extend about ¼” beyond the top edge.  If making two pockets, repeat. Turn under top edge of black trim even with top edge of plaid section.

And that’s it for today! In the final post we will manage the waistband–it took some mental gymnastics to figure out the easiest way to encase all raw edges, have long ties, and have it look good, but I figured it out. Stay tuned!

Remember, you can download the complete Rockin’ Retro Apron pattern here. It’s also listed under Tutorials (lotsa good free stuff on there) on my Resources page.

Rockin’ Retro Apron in Kitschy Cocktails, free pattern!

Wednesday, February 19th, 2020

Welcome to my first Brand Ambassador project for Michael Miller Fabrics, a fun and funky Retro Apron featuring Kitschy Cocktails and Mad About Plaid in blue (available starting February 2020). For all of 2020 this will be a FREE pattern available using this link and in a link on my Resources page titled Retro Apron. The plaid fabric just grabbed my attention and demanded I use it, on the bias…total fun! In this and a subsequent blogpost or two I will share the entire pattern and the included images. But you can download and print the illustrated pattern at home.

I’ve tried to teach fine finishing details throughout. I love nice clean, finished edges, so there isn’t a raw edge in this apron…everything is tucked behind trim or finished to hide the raw edges. These techniques can be applied to all your sewing, so read on and learn! Using good fabric and my brilliant Janome M7 Continental machine made it easy to produce such a well-made garment.

Today, I’ll start with the fabric and supplies needed, cutting instructions and the first steps in the construction process. Subsequent steps will be posted over the next week, but the ENTIRE pattern is available in the Rockin’ Retro Apron PDF. Apologies for any formatting inconsistencies in the blog…it’s not wanting to play nicely with me today.

FABRIC AND MATERIALS--Preshrink all fabrics!

Close up of the Kitschy Cocktails focus print and Mad About Plaid coordinating print. I ended up going with the Jet Black instead of this vibrant orange for the accent color.

Ask your local shop to order!

FITTING NOTE:  Please read through ALL the instructions for FITTING NOTES before cutting, since you  may wish to adjust the cut sizes to better suit your build.  If you are larger or smaller than my average height and Medium-Large frame, you may wish to add a bit more  yardage.

  • Focus Fabric 1: Kitschy Cocktails, blue            1 1/4 yard 
  • Focus Fabric 2:  Mad About Plaid, blue           1 yard 
  • Accent: Cotton Couture Jet Black                      1 yard 
  • Matching thread (I used off-white and black)
  • Glue stick—washable!  A school/craft glue stick is fine.
  • Spray starch

FABRIC LAYOUT & Cutting

TIP: Use sticky notes, removable file folder labels or painter’s tape to label pieces.  Check each box (on printed pattern only) as you have cut the pieces.

Focus Fabric 1 / Kitschy Cocktails: Be sure to cut pieces with the design facing the correct direction.  

Be sure to cut pieces with the design facing the correct direction.  
  • Apron skirt front: Cut ONE on fold, 15” by 40-44” (width of fabric)
  • Apron skirt sides: Cut TWO 9” wide by 15” tall
  • Apron bib:          Cut TWO 9” wide by 12 tall”, see FITTING NOTES and instructions  for shaping
  • Apron pockets:     Cut TWO 7” wide by 8” tall

Focus Fabric 2 / Plaid:

Cut on the bias:

  • Hem ruffle:         Cut THREE —  4 ½” across the full width of fabric, about 45”
  • Bib ruffle:           Cut ONE —     2 ½” by 24” long
  • Pocket trim:        Cut TWO —     1 5/8” by 9” (will be trimmed later)
  • Waistband:         Cut ONE —     1 5/8” by 30” (see FITTING NOTES above and below)
  • Long ties:            Cut TWO —     1 5/8” across the full width of fabric, about 45”
  • Neck band:         Cut ONE —     1 5/8” by  24” long (will be trimmed later)

Accent / Michael Miller Jet Black:

Cut on the straight grain before cutting bias strips:

  • Long ties:          Cut TWO —     3” by 40-45” (can be pieced if necessary;  make shorter/longer ties as desired)

Next, cut on the bias

  • 1 1/8”  strips for edging the skirt/ruffle edge, bib and outside pocket edges.  You will need a total of about 180.”  Sew strips together as you would for a quilt  binding.  I used the 1 1/8” width strips to make turning the ¼” under easier and still have enough left to cover the bulk of the gathers and finish at about 3/8 – ½” on the apron-to-ruffle seam and the front of the bib.  

Finally, cut on the straight grain:  

  • End of long ties:  Cut TWO —    1”  x 5” 
  • Waistband:        Cut ONE —   2 ½” by 30” (adjust length to match desired size, see  FITTING NOTES)
  •                         Cut ONE —   1” by 30” (ditto) for top edge of waistband
  •                         Cut ONE —    1 ¼” by 30” (ditto) for bottom edge of waistband
  • Pockets:              Cut ONE —   1 5/8” by 9” for top edge of pocket trim
  •                         Cut ONE —    ¾” by 9” for lower edge of pocket trim 

NOTE:  If you are using a print instead of a plaid or stripe, you can cut these on the cross-wise grain.  You will need a bit less yardage overall. 

NOTE:  I had enough black in my stash to cut on the lengthwise grain which is more stable.  You can just as easily cut the straight-grain pieces on the cross grain so you don’t need to buy as much fabric.

NOTE:  Seam allowances are either ¼” or 3/8.”  Please follow instructions for each section. 

NOTE:  Ties were designed to be long enough to wrap around to the front.  Depending on your measurements you may need to shorten/lengthen these ties, or you can cut them shorter and tie the bow in back.  Figure out your waist, how much you need to wrap the ties to the front and, if needed, cut additional strips of black and of plaid. 

CONSTRUCTION:

I’ll admit it…there are a lot of steps to this apron. Lay in a supply of nibbles and remember to take breaks to re-focus your eyes and move your body!  

Due to the blog formatting, numbers for each step are omitted on the blog. In the PDF Rockin’ Retro Apron pattern, use the numbers and check off each step/number as you work along so you can find your place after a break.

Make the Apron Skirt

FITTING NOTE:  This apron was designed to be about 28-30 inches along the waistband/top edge, which wraps most of the way around my body. Decide how long you want the top gathered edge to be and adjust accordingly (this comes into play when attaching the waistband in a later step).  For those smaller than I am, just gather your skirt more or make the center panel narrower.  For those who are larger, gather less; or you may (or may not) wish to make your side panels wider.

Length:  With a ruffle that finishes at 3”, this apron skirt is about 17” long.  You may wish to adjust for your height and preferred length.  

  • Sew apron skirt side panels to center panel.  I created a mock flat-felled seam:  sew wrong sides together with a ¼” seam. 
  • Press as stitched, then press open.  
  • Trim seam allowance on side panels to 1/8” (first photo above).
  • Fold other seam allowance in half so the raw edge nearly touches the seam.  Apply glue stick to the 1/8” side.  Press down; heat from iron will set and dry the glue—way easier than pins! Second photo above.
  • From the right side, stitch seam allowances in place, above left.  I prefer to use an edge stitch or quarter-inch-piecing foot with the blade in the ditch/lower side.  Move your needle to the left so that it is towards the left side of the seam allowance.  Stitch.  See first photo above.
  • Hem lower edge of skirt ruffle.
  • Fold a piece of copy paper in half lengthwise, or use a file folder or piece of poster board.  Mark a line ¼” from the long edge.  Use this as a press guide to get a perfect ¼” turn. Second photo above.
  • Repeat so that raw edge is inside the hem.  I call this a “turn-turn” hem.  
  • Stitch, again using an edge stitch foot and moving the needle to keep the sewing line a perfect distance from the edge.      
  • For the ends, I retained the 45-degree angle and hemmed it the same way.  You could also choose to round off the corner.  Make sure the angles will curve / bend up to the gathered edge of the ruffle.
  1. Gather hem ruffle: 
    1. Mark center of ruffle on the with a pin!!!!  Do not sew over the pin!  You can put the pin on the hemmed side.
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Hem the ruffle **before** gathering. Sew basting/gathering stitches at 1/4 and 1/2″ distances from the raw edge.
  • Run two lines of basting stitches ¼” and ½” from raw edge of ruffle with bobbin thread on the wrong side of the ruffle.  If desired, loosen tension a bit to make the bobbin thread easier to pull.  
    • Holding both ends of the bobbin threads, pull to gather.  The gathers will be fairly dense, so you’ll need to stop and move the gathers towards the center periodically.  I worked the gathers from both ends.  
    • Place the ruffle along the lower edge of the apron skirt and adjust gathering so that it fits.  
    • Place a pin at either end and wind the bobbin thread tails around the pin in a figure 8 to secure them while you work.
  • Sew ruffle to skirt WRONG sides together with a 3/8” seam, photo at right. Photos below.
  • Black bias trim:  Sew cut strips together as you would for a quilt binding, using a ¼” seam allowance.  Press seams as stitched, then press seams open. 
  • Cut a length of black trim the length of the lower apron edge plus a couple inches just in case.  Press under ¼” on one edge.
  1. Sew the black trim to the seam that joined the ruffle to the skirt with a 3/8” seam allowance.  Photo at near right.  The folded edge is on the left; when you turn the bias strip toward the skirt in the next step, the fold will be on the inside of the seam. See first photo above.
  • Press the seam as stitched.  With the right side up, press the seam allowance and black bias strip toward the apron skirt. 
  • Use your glue stick and iron to “pin” the black strip in place, covering the raw edges of the skirt/ruffle. Press The ¼” seam allowance turns to the inside. See second photo above.
  • Sew the black strip.  I began using a narrow buttonhole stitch for my applique, but switched to a straight stitch which I think looks better.  Again, the edge-stitch foot or quarter-inch foot is perfect for getting precise seams and stitching lines.  Remove any visible basting/gathering thread.  Refer to second photo.

YEEEHAW! You’re made it about halfway! In the next post we will work on the ties and bib, then finish things up in a third post. Once they are all live, I’ll add the links following this paragraph.

And once again, here’s the PDF for Sarah’s Rockin’ Retro Apron, free to download in 2020. Thank you to Michael Miller Fabrics for selecting me as a Brand Ambassador for 2020 and to Janome America for having me as a Janome Artisan since 2003! Good fabric and brilliant machines make it so much easier to do a brilliant sewing project!

A donut shirt for Joshua, the M7 Continental dream

Tuesday, January 14th, 2020
As soon as it came out of the box it went on…fit perfectly (thanks to borrowing one of his existing shirts!)

The first thing I made on the splendid new M7 Continental from Janome was something I haven’t made in decades: a button down tailored shirt! Anyone who knows Joshua knows that he is all about good food, perhaps starting with donuts. In fact, Joshua and Ashley’s wedding cake was a tower Joshua made of donut holes from Willow Bakery in Rockport! He also loves shirts with a sense of humor: sushi rolls, watermelon, lobsters. So I decided I wanted to make him a shirt for Christmas. And I succeeded beyond my wildest expectations in part due to the excellent sewing of the M7. There’s even a video below of making a buttonhole!

In the box ready for going under the tree, and looking professionally made if I do say so myself! The label was purchased at Fancy Tiger Crafts in Denver–when I was taping for The Quilt Show I had a day to play and met friend Sandra Wheeler (hullo SandyAngel!) who took me out and about. The label reads “made with love {and swear words},” which I figured correctly would make Joshua laugh.

I used the Men’s All Day Shirt Pattern from Liesl + Co patterns. It was my first time using a downloadable pattern where you print and then tape together the pieces. If you download the free Adobe Acrobat software (not just your built in PDF reader) you can turn off the “all sizes” so it prints ONLY the size or sizes you want so you don’t have to navigate all those lines that end up nearly on top of each other. By measuring Joshua’s existing shirt, I was able to figure out which size would be best (Medium) but with the Large collar/neck stand. My only issue was when I combined the sizes. I should have printed the neck line of both patterns SEPARATELY (instead of on the same sheet), then traced the size large and lined it up properly. It took a while, with astounding and much appreciated personal replies from both Liesl and her husband Todd with troubleshooting suggestions, before I figured out what I was doing wrong. Kudos for the service as well as the pattern!

Sewing down the underneath side of the front, where the buttons will go
Needle moved to the far left.
the stitched fold-back, the buttons will go on the other side.
Look at how perfect that stitching is! It sure helps to have a machine that is so precise.

Using the included edge stitch foot, I was able to get absopositively perfect stitching. The first of the four photos above shows the underneath side of the shirt opening, using the edge stitch foot to sew down the turn-under. The second image shows the Janome M7 Continental screen (other Janome machines work similarly) with the needle set to the left. Because of the tiny increments in needle placement, I could get the stitches to form the exact distance I wanted from the edge. Third photo (top right) is a detail of that stitching. And the large image is the button band, stitched. I can’t believe it looks so good! There’s a video just below these still photos.

There are a couple screens of buttonhole options, but I used the basic one. Note the QR code in the bottom left corner (more info below).
The manual explains the different purposes of the many buttonholes.
First, you can select from a wide variety of buttonholes. I went for the standard (after all, I hadn’t sewn a buttonhole in over two decades!). Using the AcuSpark app (free on the App store, works with the M7 and a few other Janome’s), you open the app on your phone/device, scan the QR code in the bottom right of the machine’s screen (photo on left). This takes you to a tutorial within the app.
As you can see from the screen shots, the tutorial walks you through the process step by step. Easy peasy…my kind of sewing!
Here’s the app telling you how to make a buttonhole!
This is what that buttonhole foot looks like in real life. You slide the button into the back, attach the foot to the machine, and it makes the perfect sized hole every time. I kid you not, I make SEVEN buttonholes, perfectly, in seven minutes, and most of that was repositioning to the next spot!
More instructions on attaching and using the special buttonholer foot.
And how to finish the buttonhole.
This Nancy Zieman (oh how I miss her!) tool from Clover is an improvement over the old-school metal one. Although I have a fondness for the metal one, this version allows you to center the ruler exactly on the button band and mark your buttonholes. The darker green slider notches into the grooves so it doesn’t slide up and down the center as you work. I wondered when I bought it why I thought I needed a newer (plastic, yuck) version. Now I know. Once again, smarter sewing.

(Alert: even geekier pattern and garment sewing paragraph!) From the pattern, I also learned a new process for sequence of sewing and attaching the collar and collar stand. Instead of sewing the stand to the neckline, inserting the collar, and closing it up where the collar meets the neck band, the pattern has you sew collar and stand together, then sew the inside of the stand to the inside of the shirt and topstitch the collar to the shirt body. Ended up with absolute precision and perfection!!!!!!

LOOKIT how perfect that turned out! The only thing I would change on the next one (and yes there will be more for both sons) is to use a slightly less crisp interfacing so the collar stand holds up but isn’t quite so stiff.

So, with 50 years of sewing experience (albeit minimal garment making in the past three decades), an excellent pattern that taught this greying sew-ist a couple new things, and the incredible precision of the Janome M7 Continental machine, I am a seriously happy camper. Even better, Joshua loves his shirt!

The BRILLIANT new Janome M7Continental produces A York Pinafore for Christmas

Monday, December 23rd, 2019

Sewing machine companies are always coming out with new models, most of which are incrementally different from before. But every 10-15 years, Janome re-thinks the machine from all angles and comes up with something that is a major leap–and worth considering adding to your studio. The Janome 6600 was such a machine (circa 2004/5), and the new M7 Continental may well go down as one of The Best Sewing Machines Ever (in any brand!), and given the quality of Janome’s machines that is a high standard.

The Janome M7 Continental is a quantum leap in a sewing machine. Even if you aren’t in a market for a new machine, it is worth taking a look at this model. You might have something new on your wish list!

I have been dying to share with you the things I’ve been making, but most of them are Christmas gifts, so I can’t yet. But I made myself the York Pinafore from Helen’s Closet Patterns, so now I can finally tell you about this wonder with the dress as my example.

In my new “Pinafore” (which I would have called a jumper when I was a kid) in front of the Christmas tree. I’m particularly chuffed about how well the M7 and I worked as a team to get those pockets PERFECTLY placed to have the design flow.

When Janome comes out with a new machine, every single time I think “oh, I can’t give up the loaner I have” (I’m beyond fortunate to be a Janome Artisan so I get to try out their brilliant machines year after year), nothing can be better than this one. And then the new one is even better. Every single time they add new features that make me wonder “oh gosh why didn’t I realize that would be so wonderful.” The M7 is even MORE SO….read on!

The first thing I did, after cutting out the pattern, was to make a lining. I knew that using flannel that I intended to wear over leggings meant that the dress would stick like velcro. Fiddlehead Artisan Supply had a fabric I’ve not used before, Bemberg Rayon, for linings. The bolt end says dry clean, but we all know that can be ignored sometimes. I just bought an extra quarter yard to accommodate shrinkage and tossed it in a wash with hot water wash, cold water rinse, and hot dryer so it would do whatever shrinking it planned to do.

Then I cut, pinned, and started sewing. I probably should have used a thinner needle and the walking foot. I didn’t need to! The feed on this machine is so good that I had no issues going from thick flannel to silky thin rayon! Because rayon ravels, I used the quarter inch piecing foot to create a narrow seam that I turned into a French Seam.

A French seam is really a seam inside of another seam that completely encloses the raw edges. It is typically found in high end garments and used on fabrics that ravel.

Once you have sewn the first seam, you press it as stitched to set the seams. It helps the thread sink into the cloth. Then you press the seam *open* which facilitates turning.

Then you fold the seam right along the stitching to create a “knife edge.” The best way to get the line perfectly on the edge is by pressing open (photo above) and then pressing flat. You can see how crisp and clean the edge is.

I used the quarter-inch foot with the edge guide but moved the needle to the left to 3/8″ from the edge to achieve this perfect seam. In this photo you can see the quarter inch encased and perfect stitching. The rayon won’t ravel ever!

Here I’m matching the scraps and the front of the pinafore so I can cut the pocket pieces to exactly match!

Getting the design lined up perfectly to cut a matching piece for the pocket.

Here I’m stitching in the ditch for the opening of the pocket. I decided to outline the entire pocket with binding. I used the M foot and stitch 15 to overcast the edges as I did the gift bag in yesterday’s post. There are many ways to stitch in the ditch, including an edge-stitch foot that is included with most Janome machines, but personally I find I get my best results using the open-toe F-2 which offers the best visibility. I move the needle to the far right, set the right edge of the foot on the bias, and can get absolutely snug up next to the bias trim.

Now THAT is “stitching in the ditch.”

Throughout the process the M7 handled flawlessly–I mean FLAWLESSLY!

I can’t wait to show you more of what it can do.

Janome’s new slogan is Reliability by Design….I stopped to think about it: I have been sewing on Janome machines since 2003 and not once–let me repeat that, NOT ONCE– have I had an issue that was due to the machine. Once or twice due to operator error, but really, the machines have been utterly, totally and completely reliable. And each one gets better.

Lining done and waiting for the dress to be made.

For hemming, I use the same foot and process, just move the stitch to the far left and adjust the needle drop (the Janome’s have so many needle positions you can get it perfect!). Because I have the rayon lining tucked inside the hem of the flannel outside, and because flannel is loosely woven and really quite stretchy, I use a bamboo skewer to press down on the hem. This compresses the hem, keeps it from rolling up, and controls the stretch. I hold the skewer in place and let the fabric feed underneath it–the tip of the skewer never gets up near the needle. The outstanding feed mechanism on the M7 meant I didn’t need to put on the AcuFeed at all… I couldn’t believe how easy it was!
Here’s the inside: all seams contained between the lining and fashion (!) fabric/flannel. I tucked the lining dress inside the flannel dress and basted at the neckline and sleeves. The pattern calls for using bias a narrow facing, but I chose to go quilty and have the grey accent the edges. Then, very carefully because lining is so slippery, I measured the hem and tucked the lining inside (instead of having it hang loose as is more common) and hemmed the dress.
Dress from the back. If you are curious, put York Pinafore in the search box and Pinterest…SO many cute ideas, fabulous on a wide range of body types, and fast to make. I can see using a quilting cotton for a fun summer dress with tank or T underneath, and corduroy for winter.

This new M7 Continental Janome is really something else, and although I am a Janome Artisan and affiliated, I would say all this if I had bought this machine at full retail. I’ll take you through some of the other marvelous things it can do in January and February. In the meantime, another small but marvelous detail: the thread stand has a COLLAPSING antenna.

Here’s the machine again…it’s hard to see in the clutter of my room, but there is a thread antenna on the right rear of the machine.

The thread antenna is telescoping, meaning you can push it down and then cover up your machine with the very good quality included cover! WOOT! PS: It also comes with a great extension table with a drawer in it, but even with its vast size (more on that later), I wanted to set it into my table. I cut rigid foam core to fill in the gaps. The mother of invention!

Unboxing Minerva: the new Janome M7 Continental!

Saturday, November 23rd, 2019

What a BEAST! I think this machine may be able to do everything but cook and do the dishes (Janome: hint hint LOL!). While visiting with Janome America staff (Regena, that’d be you) at International Quilt Market in Houston, I was thrilled to learn that Janome wanted me to take this beauty for a test drive, blog and share and sew on it for the next year! THANK YOU JANOME, and yes indeed-y I am shouting! I’ve been beyond lucky to be a Janome Artisan since 2003–don’t ask me how I’ve lasted this long, I’m not sure, but I’m just really proud to be affiliated with them (I’m not an employee but all opinions are honest and unvarnished).


Today I’ll share a quick video of the unboxing. Then I have Christmas gifts to make, so I will share various things and features that I have found. So far I know I’m going to miss the flip-up chart of the stitches, but there are so many other beyond **amazing** features that I can cope–and photocopy the pages in the manual for ready reference! I’ll get to learn about the new AcuSpark phone app that one can use for tutorials and tips using the on-screen QR codes on how to use the machine, and I am in love before even turning it on with the new built in antenna thread stand, the fact that the antenna collapses so I can actually USE the COVER on the machine easily, not to mention the massive harp space. One bit of advice: you may need help hoisting this machine onto your table!

This box is so big that *I* could fit inside it! Widgeon is so impressed (and deaf and nearly blind) that he doesn’t realize he has a cookie on the floor in front of him!

As for the name: the Janome 7700, from some years ago, was the most beautiful ruby red on the front. I’m not much of a red fan but boy do I miss that face plate! So, as a fan of the Harry Potter books, I named that beastie Rubeus Hagrid (the gamekeeper). When I had the 15000 top of the line on loan, of course it had to be Albus Dumbledore, the greatest wizard of all time. Later, the silver-faced 9400 (and its heir the 9450) became Gandalf the Grey, because we love the Lord of the Rings, too.

BUT, I decided it was time for a POWERFUL WOMAN, so I have named her Minerva McGonagall, headmistress of Gryfindor and one of the bravest, stronger, most powerful and wise witches of all time. Here’s to Minerva!