Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Dearest Thanks for the Nomination!

I am always surprise when I get comments on my sewing blog... But what a delightful surprise it was on Valentine's Day to find out one of my favorite bloggers, Kathy from The Nerdy Seamstress, nominated me for the Liebster Blog Award!

Liebster means "Dearest" in German!


I love the Kathy's blog because :
  • I love her color/fabric choice
  • I love how she reuse her favorite patterns and mix them up to achieve different looks
  • I believe we have a similar body type so I take note of the silhouette I love most on her...
  • She is super prolific! And this is quite impressive for a snailstress like me!

Moreover, I won a giveaway on her blog in 2013 ; the Colette's Anise Jacket pattern. I plan on sewing it this spring/summer to wear it this autumn since I sew so slowly!!

Kathy was nominated by Siri, from The Pinhouse Playmate. Siri described the award as : "a token of recognition that bloggers award to fellow bloggers who they think deserve more recognition."

I think it is fun to discover all the nominees Blogs, going from one to another! I sometimes wonder what would happen first : My Feedly feed reaching the maximum amount of Blog subscriptions or running out of time in my lifetime to read all those interesting Blogs!

So I will answers Kathy's questions and state some facts about me in this post, but I decided to postponed my own nominations to my next post. Mostly because I am submerged by homework assignments this semester and I would like to take the time to properly offer the award to my nominees!


11 facts about me :

  1. I love learning.
  2. I adore eating in good restaurant!
  3. I always buy fabric with/for a pattern : so my stash mostly consist of fabrics for projects not started yet and remnant of projects' fabrics. I must confess I have some backlogs now so it fits in 4 drawers...
  4. I am always longing to go visit a new place/country...
  5. I would love to have a super hero power like teleportation. 
  6. I am a planner : I do not mind a change of plan, but I like having a plan.
  7. I am longing for idleness (farniente) but I am a super busy gal with several projects at once!
  8. I tried to get rid of harmful chemicals in my household, in both soaps and food.
  9. I am both against consumerism and feeling trapped in it, drowning under gifted kids toys and possessions! I seldom buy things for myself, I could spend all my money on resto, outings and travels!
  10. I am one of those hangry person ; so is my son, sigh!
  11. I am a night owl (as opposed to morning gal) aka see last point and let me eat my breakfast!


My answers to Kathy's 11 questions :

1) What interesting fact about yourself that you want people to know?

My husband and I are VW enthousiasts. We had a VW Westfalia camper since 2003 ; first our superb vintage Sheryl Cherrywagon (1966 model) and then, when the second kid has underway, our practical and reliable Vester Winfriend (1988 model). Few times a summer, we go to VW campout events to chill out with our friends. I can fine tune an old VW air cooled engine and can sew upholstery, awning and build a new camper interior! See the details on my VW Westfalia Customizations page.

Engine Rebuild with my Husband
Sewing Upholstery



2) Why did you take up sewing?

Because I love to be different, to constantly learn and the sound of the sewing machine is soothing to me ; I guess from my childhood memory of playing at my mother's feet while she sew!

I sewed 2 items of clothing in high school. Then put this hobby aside until after graduating University. I then inherited my grand-mother's machine. I sewed mostly home decor, gifts and things for my camper until 2010 when I started to read sewing blogs while nursing my second child and started sewing clothing for myself again!

3) Other than sewing, if time weren't a concern, how would you spend your day?

In a hammock gently rocking in the hot summer breeze, hanging out with my husband and kids without the drama of preparing the next thing on the crazy life agenda and reading books to my soul's content! My answers to Kathy's questions got me thinking ; I really need to move the kids' plastic playhouse and buy a new hammock this Spring!

Our yard, before the kids' toys invasion!

4) What have you learned most from maintaining a blog? 

I am always surprise when I find out people follow my blog. I blog mostly because I love reading review of patterns and seeing the results on different women bodies. So my goal is just to help someone by having my version of a pattern appear in their Google search when they need it... I do not maintain a blog really, I just put my construction note on my blog (and patternreview.com) for everyone that is interested to see! I try to do like Modcloth, I find review of clothing (or sewing patterns) to be most useful with the reviewer's mensuration and alterations notes.

5) What other artistic/crafty things do you like to do? 

I like drawing ; I am always disappointed when the kids say they had enough of coloring and want to play something else! At one point (before kids) I started baking cakes and decorating them... I would have said that I love home decorating, but I figured out that I mostly like organizing space to be more efficient in pretty coordinating  colors. But I am not super good with the finishing touches. Similarly, when I dress I don't accessorize much...

6) What's your favorite outdoor activity? 

I love going camping and all associated activities : hiking, canoeing, kayaking, marshmallow roasting... I have yet to convinced my kids that it is fun to hike! I used to love alpine skiing but stopped when I moved away for University since I was broke... I remember a time when the first snow got me all excited about skiing again! I am looking forward to try it again when are older and I go back to work because I find it to be quite an expensive sport...

Camping in the woods
Canoeing with my family

Pic-nic during a hike
Parc de la Jacque-Cartier, Québec

7) If you had a million dollars, what would you do with it? 

Pay my mortgage, just like that, bam! Then some money aside for the kids' education and spend the rest traveling! I would like to go to different places for a couple of months per year and live there, learn the language, learn a specific skill from there... I would hit all sunny and warm destinations! I would eventually become a full timer ; someone who lives full time in a camper. I guess I would need a generator or a treadling sewing machine...
Full timers in a superb vintage Flxible red RV!


8) What's your favorite childhood memory? 

Time spent on our boat, in the forest and long lazy afternoon naps in the sun. Going to my friends cottage and doing "nothing" all day, no schedule, eating when hungry, reading, swimming... I guess this is the feeling I always try to recreate! (but fail misery as I get older and get more and more enslaved by my todo list!)

 

9) What's your make that you're proud of? 

I was very proud of my bridesmaids dresses. But the perspective of 3 years of sewing blog reading make me she their flaws now... My sister and best friend were still rocking those dresses like pros!

2005 - My bridesmaids dresses

Then, I sew a tiny little baby dress (NL 6575) as a gift for one of my bride maid's baby shower. That dress was fiddly to sew, so tiny little sleeves! I made the smallest size, thinking it would be for a baby, but it was around a size 3T! I am proud that it looked beautiful, not only for my best friend's daughter, then mine, then her second girl and at least 2 others little princesses and still counting!

The dress on my daughter

Finally, I am really proud of the inside and outside of my birthday dress (S 1882) ; I really applied myself! I made it just in time for my first Montreal Sewing Bloggers meetup and my birthday party!

2013 - My Birthday Dress

10) What have you learned most from sewing? 

I learned more about my flaws, I find it hard to get started, but then will go on until done. I need to just start and stop over thinking! One of the last post by Sarai over at the Colleterie resonated with me : to separate decision making time from the actual doing. I think it will help me!

11) What's your guilty pleasure?

Reading a book in a hot bubble bath while drinking baileys with an ice cream floater. Also, eating cake for breakfast and long afternoon naps in the sun!

Cheers!




Stay tune for the next post where 
I nominate my favorites bloggers!

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Top 5 of 2013

This post was inspired by Gillian's Top 5 of 2013 post....

http://crafting-a-rainbow.tumblr.com/post/71418066058/top-5-misses-of-2013


I made more than 15 projects in 2013.

Top Hits

  1. My birthday dress (S1882 in blue floral) - I need to fix the broken zipper now!! I bought YKK zipper from now on...
  2. My poplin raspberry dress (S1882 muslin)
  3. Indigo Verso Top - pattern traced from a short sleeve RTW top I love and wear backward.
  4. My Granny panties from Vera Venus - I reach for it every time I wear a skirt or dress... I need more! 
  5. Not sewn projects, but those are Hits for me in 2013 :
    a) I was super happy to attend one and organize another Montreal Sewing Bloggers Meetup!
    b) Also, I am proud of my directory of Montreal's Fabric Stores page. I think is it quite useful, even if only for myself!

Top Misses

  1. My burnout jersey kimono tee : the neckline sagged... I loved it so much, but I taught I could left the edge unfinished and it didn't live thru my laundry regiment of tossing everything in the machine!
  2. My yoke kimono tee ; the neck treatment (FOE, what was I thinking!) in uncomfortable to wear, too tight and stiff at the neckline. I am not sure how to save it...
  3. The other 4 panties I made in the Fantastic Underpants Experiment, because of the elastic choice...
  4. I am not sure about my Tiramisu dress, it is too casual for parties, the fabric piled (ponte, I should not use the washing machine!), the neckline has grown so it gap a little now... I should fix it as I still like it for everyday wear...

 

Top Inspirations

  1. Coletterie blog!
  2. My Feedly blog feeds...
  3. My facebook sewing group...

Top Reflections

  1. JUST DO IT. I am always afraid to start a projects, ruin fabric, failure... I often end up not starting for fear of not having time to do it, but I should work in small increment. I only have short time to myself anyway.Also, I do not like cutting fabric. Maybe it is because I do not have a big enough table in my sewing room ; I need to set up the kitchen with the table extended at night and be done in one session, because we kinda need the table everyday!
  2. SKILLS : I need to work on my knits finishing techniques ; necklines and elastic choice/application. It is what cause my projects to fail.
  3. FOCUS : I need to close my computer to sew (and generally live!), else I wander aimlessly around the web at any time of the day...

Top Sewing Goals

  1. CAKE : I should sew more cake like my verso top and panties. (every day wearable!)
  2. SERGER : I want to learn to use my new serger!
I cannot be too hard on myself for 2014 : it will be very busy year for me. I will have 2 classes during the winter semester, no car, a traveling husband and a busy schedule as a stay at home mother (one 3 yo at home and one 5 yo in kindergarten).

I think the worst is my everyday battle with the youngest to put all winter gears on to go and get the oldest from school with the long walk there in -30oC weather (going with a stroller 20 min. Back with a walker, at least 30 min)...

In September, my youngest will start school and I will have to finish my master degree and do my thesis full time. So I will have more free time to sew probably only during the summer...

Top 2014 Goals

  1. LIFE : Live the present ; be 100% where I should. When with the kids, be devoted to them ; play more, laugh more, love more. Do the house stuff after bedtime. Do my studies during the 2 nights I have classes and one day during the weekend. Keep time aside to be with my husband and to be alone too.
  2. MIND : Stop sweating the small stuff. I need to find out how to calm down, breath, not worry. I am getting sick because of that. It needs to stop NOW.
  3. BODY : Move and sleep! I always feels better when I move my body, swim, run, dance, walk, play! I cannot live the present and stop worrying when I am exhausted, so I need to go to bed at 22h.


Friday, November 1, 2013

My Sewing Machine Review

I follow a sewing and crafting blog, Sew Mama Sew, and liked the idea of grouping our sewing machine review in one spot! Of course, I remembered after that Pattern Reviews does the same, so I posted my sewing machine review on PR too... Without further delay, here is my review of my beloved sewing machine: 

Singer Quantum Stylist 9960

Clara - my Singer 9960

 

What brand and model do you have?
Singer Quantum Stylist 9960.

How long have you had it?
I bought it in November 2012, one year ago.

How much does that machine cost (approximately)?
I bought it on sale at 530$CAD.

What types of things do you sew (i.e. quilting, clothing, handbags, home dec projects, etc.)?
I have sewn many of home decor projects before starting to sew clothing for myself in the last 3 years... Since I had this machine (1 year), I have done one twin size quilt, a couple of simple gifts and maybe a dozen of pieces of clothing for me and my family. See my sewing projects page.

How much do you sew? How much wear and tear does the machine get?
I've sewn at least 15 projects in the last year (without counting jeans hems and various alterations), exclusively at night or in burst during the weekend.  So maybe about 100 hours per year spent on sewing projects...

I went for the 1 hour lesson on my machine about a week after purchasing it. But since after just reading the manual and experimenting a little I was pretty confident, I had more time to get some demonstration of techniques I was not familiar with, on my machine, by the teacher. (like blind hem, the numerous foot and free hand embroidery, etc.)

Making a stitch bible (stitch samples) would be useful too because the numerous decorative stitches can be made in various width and length and even mirrored, so there is a myriad of options!

Do you like/love/hate your machine? Are you ambivalent? Passionate? Does she have a name?
I love my machine! I did a few projects (car upholstery) on my MIL and uncle industrial machine at their places. Also, I had hand-me-down machines since I graduated University (2000) that had trouble with tension or other stitches than straight. So my new machine is a dream come true! I sew way more since then. I even started sewing knits fabrics. Her name is Clara because when I sew I always think of one of my grandmother who was quite religious and I looked up on the internet for the saint patron of seamstress or embroidery (which source I can't find anymore)...

What features does your machine have that work well for you?

PROS :
  • I love the stitches selection : I love my overcast stitch stitch for finishing and the stem stitch (lightning bolt) for stretch fabric look so much better than a regular zigzag to me! My kids love to write their name with the alphanumeric stitches and choosing decorative stitches for me to personalized their things. 
  • The interface is really easy to use. 
  • It is easy to clean.
  • I love the clear window to see how much thread is left in the bobbin.
  • Great control over the stitches length, width and tension...
  • The free arm is a must for sleeves and I love using the quilting extension for heavier or bigger projects, like quilt or things that needs to be supported.
  • I love the beautiful stitches.
  • I can sew a seams on top of about 4 layers of jeans while hemming. :D
  • It is quiet ; my husband says he only hear the interface "Bip", not the sewing.
Singer 9960 - stitches


Is there anything that drives you nuts about your machine?

CONS :
  • I do not like the cover that came with it because it is somewhat hard to put on and do not allows the machine to stay plugged in (so my cable sometimes fall being my desk).
  • I am not a fan of the auto-threader (easier for me to do it by hand). 
  • Annoyance : I would like to have a needle to the right option, for the straight stitch. I need to review my instruction manual as maybe I can mirror the needle to the left straight stitch to achieve that!??
  • Not sure : Feed dogs are either on or off ; but I am not sure how useful it would be to gain control over the amount of grip they provide?

Would you recommend the machine to others? Why?
Yes! I love it and it is easy to operate. It also came with the quilter extension table and lots of feet.

What factors do you think are important to consider when looking for a new machine?
Everybody has different needs, I think a test drive is a must! Also I researched the manufacturers before going in every single sewing machine store I could find in Montréal... PatterReview.com is very useful for that!

Do you have a dream machine?
I would love to try just for fun one of those crazy expensive machines (Bernina and cie)... But I could probably never justify this amount of money for my hobby!  I changed my hand-me-down machine just because the electronic started to go and it needed servicing more than once a year, which started to be more expensive in the long run... Maybe a Serger could be in my future one day...


Thursday, September 12, 2013

Indigo Verso Draped Cowl Top


RTW and MINE Front Draped Top - Worn backward!

 

Copy of my Favorite RTW Top

I had this top for years... I even think I kinda stoled borrowed it from my mom. And I always wears it backward, with the deep draped cowl in the back. It was not expensive and is made out of black viscose (from Dynamite maybe?). Still, I find it comfortable and elegant. So I decided to try to copy it and even add 3/4 sleeves - they looks more like 7/8 but, Hey, it's cold up here!

I didn't quite follow the instructions from Cake Patterns (the sleeve hack here). I just drew a trapeze with my bigger arm circumference and the circumference where I wanted to sleeve to stop. Then I felt guilty, went back to Steph's notes and drew a curve on the sleeve top! I added a simple band at the sleeve hem to wear it a little bit more crunched up. I wore it for the first time with a pencil skirt I rediscovered in my closet to the Montreal Bloggers Meetup at the museum...

I am really proud of the result! What I could make better next time : I should remove about 1,5 to 2 inches at the shoulders, they are dropping a bit. Also, there is excess fabric below the armpit and the armband is a little too snug. Finally, the shoulders are always falling off, probably because I gave myself a little room in the armholes (they were tight in the RTW, but migth be what hold it up better?) I will sew lingerie straps in the shoulders to fix that.

 
RTW and MINE - Curvy Side View

RTW and MINE - Plain "Front"

 

Copying RTW Resources

This ideas germinated from the Jean-ius class, by Kenneth The King, on Craftsy... I didn't went through a lot of trouble to trace my RTW top on paper ; no thread tracing or anything... I just folded it strategically, traced with my teethed tracing wheel on freezer paper and added 3/8 inch seam allowances. I did however stabilized the front neckline by sewing stay-tape to the neckline, finishing it with my overcast stitch, turning and top-stitching. The back neckline has a facing (fold over) of 3 inches and is just finished with my overcast stitch (sewn on top of silk paper for prettier stitches).

After all this, I went to my local library and borrow "Patterns from finished clothes" form Tracy Dole. It has tremendous information about how to copy RTW, from collar to yoke, darts, pleats, waistband, cuffs, lining and knits garments! I was really impressed by the step by step pictures and good tips! I now feel better about the half dozen tired garment I horded because I thought that I might copy them one day! :D



Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Aliens Abduction of an Underpants Expert

Is it a plane? ...no! It is a UFO!

 

Latest News : I'm no Expert!

Sorry, my super scientific pant-tastic experiment was side tracked because I was abducted by Aliens... They taught I was an underpants expert but figured out soon enough that I was just regurgitating info about underwear sewing gathered everywhere on the websphere! No worries, they came in Peace and, after some patterns and fabric swap, released me in the nearby Angrignon park...

I finally finished my simple 5 underpants, but I am far from the "underwear in 30 minutes" advertised by some... As always, the theory seemed clear in my mind, but the difference in elastic stretchiness and applications left me somehow baffled! What I found the most difficult was to determine the correct size needed.

 

Fantastic Elastics Scholastic

(1) FOE-picot, (2) Ruffles, (3) Holy picot, (4) Tight picot,  (5) Lace

At first, very optimistically, I bought only a strange Fold-over-picot elastic (1) and a ruffles elastic (2). After my first panties I realized they were far from adequate. I had to get some more : I chose 2 different kind of picot elastics (3, 4) and a 1 inch stretch lace (5).

I found that my fold-over elastic with a picot edge (1) was not stretchy enough. Cutting it the size of the super stretchy fabric resulted in unattractive flesh bumps (too tight). And cutting it the size of my body (a bit larger that the panties waist) resulted in wonky and droopy underwear. Its softness was equaled only by the lace. Maybe this one would be better with a less stretchy fabric, like Tshirt cotton jersey? I also guess that the size Medium might be too small for a fabric with less stretch...

The picot elastics (2 to 4) were perfect if cut to the correct size (about 2 inches smaller than the panties waist or leg hole) AND pined with at least 4 pins. I tried not measuring it and sewing/stretching as I go but, without the pins to control everything, the fabric stretched, resulting in a too loose opening. Finally, I tried to make a ring of the elastic and sew it in the round with 4 strategic pins ; this worked better.

Unraveling Picot
Moreover, elastics are not created equal ; All picot style elastic were easier to apply, but beware of the scratchy ruffles (2) elastic! Also, the picot with more space between the elastic part and the lacy picot (3) was difficult to attached in a seamless ring cleanly (picot loops unraveled at the join). Any tips are welcome!

I love the softness of the stretch lace (5), but mine had a tendency to roll if too stretched out. So it does not feel very secure (maybe my fabric is too stretchy) and can render a crotch very narrow depending how it is applied to the legs.

My messy lace application
Also, the stretch lace is very pretty on the outside, but I do not like to see the zig zag stitches and trimmed raw edge on the inside. And, last but not least, it was about twice as expensive at Fabricville :
  • 1.00$/m for the Fold-over-picot and ruffles elastic (1, 2);
  • 0.70$/m for the picot elastics (3, 4);
  • 1.90$/m for 1 inch stretch lace (5).

 

 

Finished Underpants Reviews

So Zo Undies
So, Zo... Panties

Pattern : Missing "So Zo" writen on pattern pieces. Some corner could have been trimmed.

Instructions : I didn't try sewing them flat, because I wanted one method to sew them all, but it make sense and might be easier for a first try since the elastic is easier to apply.

Fit : Personally, I find the crotch a little narrow. Hence, I chose the FOE to finish the legs holes to avoid narrowing it further by using the lace. I wasn't quite sure how to sew the lace without having to overlap it a lot and then cut the fabric underneath...

 

 

Make Bra Hipster

MakeBra's Hipster
Pattern : The PDF pattern have overlapping pattern pieces ; you then need to either trace them or print one page twice. It is not a big deal, just a minor annoyance because the pattern as only a few pages anyway.

Instructions : I tried the picot-FOE because they stretch the less and the instruction recommended not to stretch the elastic while sewing. But my application was not very good and I ended with a too loose waist by my own fault. I trimmed the top later and used picot elastic on the waist instead ; it is more confortable.

Fit : The waist hits in the middle of my little belly bump and tend to roll. After this picture, I removed about 1,5 inches from CF, CB and SS. I liked the bum coverage the most.

 

Indigorchid TShirt Panties
Indigirchid's T-Shirt Undies

Pattern : The panties is made from 3 pieces and a gusset lining, hence all crotch seams are enclosed.

Instructions : They were none in the PDF but she offer variations of elastic applications on her blog. I liked not having to finish the thin gusset front edge.

Fit : I love the fit! And I like that all seams are enclose in the crotch area.

 

 

Vera Venus Grannie-Pannie

VeraVenus Grannie-Pannie
Pattern : I like that it has fewer seams, only CB and crotch. When wearing it, so seams show through. But you need a little more room on your remnant fabric to cut the big pattern piece. And note that only 1 size is available.

Instructions : The instructions were minimal.

Fit : I love the fit! Waist exactly at my natural waist, nice bum coverage too.It is my go to panties to wear with panty hose, under skirts and dresses with a waist seam.

 

 

Ohhh Lulu Betty Panties
Ohhh Lulu's Betty Undies

Pattern : This is the only pattern I bought (9$). I was a little disapointed by the pattern itself ; varying line width from page to page and it did not aligned exactly on some pages. Some corner could have been trimmed.

Instructions : The instructions and sew-along were very complete. I still need to try one version with the front panel in a woven!

Fit : They are High waist so hit about 2,5 inches OVER my waist. I didn't liked it on my body, but the seams lines are very pretty because they curve at the waist. For my first pair, I just cut it on top at my waist, but I should try to get them at my waist and keep that sexy curve somehow...

For all my panties

I would have love for the patterns to indicate either the length of elastic needed for the leg holes and waist for each sizes ; I know this measure might vary depending on the fabric and stretchiness of the elastic, but it could be a good starting point!

Finally, I think I will lengthen the gusset piece on every pattern by about 1/2 in in the front.

 

 

Conclusion

If you are new to sewing underpants, I recommend to buy soft and stretchy picot elastic (or maybe some normal and stretchy FOE!) and an inexpensive stretchy knit fabric (or reuse old Tshirt). Starting with a free pattern seems easier to me than copying your favorite pair...

The experiment conclusion : I wanted to select one low rise and one high waist panties pattern. For the low rise, my favorite is the Indigorchid's T-shirt panties. They fit without alterations and have a neat finish inside will all crotch seams enclosed. I might cover the bum a little more by using the back leg opening from the MakeBra's hipster pattern...

For the high waist panties, I will keep both patterns! The Vera Venus Grannie-Pannie for an easy and fast panty to sew, kind of everyday skirt and dresses panties! The lack of side seam is a good choice under tight pencil skirts. I might use the Vera Venus for my first bikini bottom too because it is easy and it fit perfectly without further alterations. (awesome Bikini Inspirations)

I will also keep the Ohhh Lulu Betty pattern to experiment more! The Betty with it's numerous seams could have several very interesting and sexy variations with the use of different fabrics, sheer, woven, etc... I love the back seams of the Betty too and color blocking might offer a slimming optical illusion too. My favorite inspiration from this pattern is the Fuschia and floral set by Ohhh lulu! On her mannequin, the waist looks at the waist ; I am probably a Petite (1,59m/5'2") and should alter her pattern accordingly!

Vintage Jalie 2927
On a  personal note, I learned a lot about sewing stretch fabric and elastic during the experiment. For the less scientific experimentation that will ensue, I will use old Tshirt and try some normal FOE with my fabric too... I have a lot to experiment still!

Moreover, some Jalie patterns are calling my name ; the family undies pattern #3242 and the tight boxer short #2572 not for the tummy control, but to prevent chafing. My mother-in-law also gave me a vintage Jalie panty pattern from 1986 that I will try!

In closing, let me just state that I am very happy that all my trial panties ended up being more flattering and comfortable than my now too big maternity underpants that polluted my drawers for far too long...  Hint Hint to the kleptomaniacs Aliens - Please steal those away from me! ;)

 

 Did you miss anything on my Pant-tastic Mission?

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Couturières au Musée

Sewing Bloggers at the Museum

Rachel, Valencie, Rhonda, Kitty, Catherine, Vicki, Suzie, Caroline, Shannon, Wendy,
Terri, Diane, Claire, Heather, Louise, Julie
  1. Rachel @ Fox Love Gowns, a professional dressmaker from Vermont
  2. Valencie @ Vigil Auntie Quilter : I thought she was a Photo-bomber! But she is a fellow seamstress that arrived at the museum directly and I didn't realized it in the excitements of the visit...
  3. Rhonda @ PR and Rhotos Rag  
  4. Kitty Daly @ her email, a professional dressmaker from Vermont
  5. Catherine @ Ramble on Cat 
  6. Vicki @ Another Sewing Scientist
  7. Suzie @ Fabric Maverick
  8. Caroline @ Sew Eng.
  9. Shannon @ The Finished Garment
  10. Wendy @ Wendy's World
  11. Terri @ PR
  12. Diane from Montreal Modern Quilt Guild
  13. Claire @ 1 seam at a time   
  14. Heather Lou @ Closet Case Files 
  15. Louise from Montreal Modern Quilt Guild
  16. Julie @ SurMesure on Burdastyle

 

Thanks for a wonderful afternoon

The pretext was a visit to the Musée du Costume et du Textile de Montréal. First, we had a nice lunch at Bella Vita, chatting merrily! Some were quilters, some were home seamstress and some were even professional dressmakers - but all of us shared the same love for sewing. The fabulous Kitty Dale gave us maps of the Garment District in NYC with a generous invitation to guided us through NYC one day! I was surprised to learn that Kitty and Rachel come to Montreal often to shop for Fabrics ; but they still need to discover the Chabanel and St-Laurent area for its low prices!

Rachel, Shannon, Vicki, Terri, Kitty

Catherine, Suzie, Louise, Diane

Rhonda, Claire, Julie

Then, we walk to the nearby museum for our scheduled guided tour... I genuinely think that the great knowledge of the people of our group render the visit even more informative and pleasing! It was also funny to see us bend over to peek under skirt to discuss petticoat construction details! The guide was kind enough to show us the inside of some of the dresses too. She was very friendly and let us use their lunch room to have our little patterns and fabrics swap. I couldn't have dreamed of better friends to visit this museum than you ladies! Thank you.





We definitely need to have Montreal Sewing Bloggers Meetups regularly! Heather is thinking about showing us the Chabanel and St-Laurent area for fabrics shopping this Spring... Meanwhile, anyone interested to organize a sewing meetups, by all means, please do!

Finally, many thanks to the man of my life who accepted to, again, entertain the kids all alone on a sunny Sunday and made supper so that I would have time to ramble about my afternoon in this post... 

What a great Sunday!



Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Aliens Love (Sewing) Underpants

Sewing Underpants to Save the Universe!

 

Sewing Underpants 

A few days ago, I started a very scientific experiment to compare 5 different panties patterns. For everyone of them, I will be using the same fabric, same elastics and one generic method to sew them all! At this stage, I will be sewing the 5 panties without modifying the patterns, in a size medium. I even found a way to post pictures of myself in my undies while staying prim and proper!?!

 

Preparing to Sew

Cutting Nylon/Spandex
Like any long outer-space voyage, you need a minimum amount of preparation to sew underpants. First, I decided to prewash my fabric (even if nylon shouldn't shrink) and my black elastic because I read that those might bleed dye. You will want to use the same methods to wash them as you will after with your finish underpants, even a little rougher! I machine washed and dried mine.

Before revving your sewing machine, you need to cut your fabric. It is a good idea to cut the elastic when the panties are assembled, so you could better gauge how long it needs to be. You want snug but comfortable elastic at the exact location the panties leg/waist is going to be.

I have cut all 3 low rise panties (and the side pieces for the Betty panties) in about 24 inch of my 60 inches wide nylon/spandex fabric - I fold it 3 times to save fabric. I recycle an unworn nursing top for the 5 crotch liners ; this took a itsy bitsy amount of fabrics. I needed 21 inches of fabric to cut the rest of the 2 high waist panties. It took less than 3h at my snailstress pace... OK raw material is all ready, now what?

 

Underpants Sewing Methods Comparison

I always take a tour of the web-sphere beforehand to gather several methods to realize my project. Here is a summary of my research :
  • Very Purple Person Tutorial : (I WILL USE THIS ONE) Novita sew the panties then apply elastic to the legs and waist. Her instructions are very good if your pattern has a crotch in shell fabric too - all the seams end up enclosed under the gusset. Plus her visual are perfect, her fabric has a visible wrong side. She usually set her zigzag stitch on 2.5 in width and 1.5-2 in length. She baste the FOE before sewing it with 3-steps zig zag. Her tutorial include visual instruction for 3 types of elastic finishes : fold over, picot or normal flat ones.
  • So, Zo Tutorial  : Zoe usefully note that to refashion an old T-shirt without lycra/spandex/elastane, you need to increase the side seams (SS) by 0.5 to 1 cm. She sew the crotch, then the leg elastics, then only 1 SS, then the waist elastic and finally the last SS. She recommend very gently pulling on the leg elastics while sewing for a snug fit. SA = 3/8 in.
  • MakeBra's Hipster Sewing Tutorial:  Annele step by step instructions are similar to So Zo as she sew the crotch, then apply legs elastic, then SS and finally the waist elastic. She recommend NOT stretching the elastics with her pattern. I added SA = 3/8 in
  • Indigorchid basic instructions : Brigitte uses the same sandwich and roll method as Novita (Very purple person). She use the recycles T-shirt hem as casing with flat elastic in it at the waist. Then sew the SS with flat felled seams. And finally, uses picot elastic on the legs and stretch it slightly as she sews. extra instructions : Brigitte shows 3 different elastic application : Fold-over, regular flat and stretch lace. She uses the same methods as Novita for the FOE and regular flat elastic. For the lace, she recommend 1 or 2 row of zigzag with threads the same color as the lace. SA = 1/4 inch. 
  • Ohhh Lulu's Betty Sew A Long Posts : Sarah sew the panties and applies the elastic last, like Novita. She finish the gusset front edge first, then sew the crotch seam, then the 4 SS (due to front and back panels), then you can topstitch if your seams feel bulky, then baste the gusset and finally apply elastic pulling gently. She recommend cutting the elastic about 2in smaller depending of its elasticity.   SA = 3/8 in
  • Vera Venus's Grannie-pannie instructions : Her instructions are in the pattern PDF page 2. Since her pattern is different (2 pieces only), she just sew the CB seams (SA=3/8in), then the crotch seam (SA=1/4in), then finish the front of the gusset, then sew the gusset at the back, then stay stitch the gusset in place and finally attach the elastic to waist and legs using your favorite method.

 

My Sewing Method

I chose to use Novita's (Very Purple Person) tutorial to sew my panties, but to account for the particularities (like SA and elastic snugness) of all the patterns I will sew. Please refer to Very Purple Person Tutorial for stunning visuals!

How I will sew all panties :
  1. Finish all gussets front edge (except for Indigorchid)
  2. Sew and Finish all crotch seam(s) (SA=3/8in except 1/4in for Indigorchid and Grannie-Pannie)
    - Lay Front right side up
    - Lay Back wrong side up (Front and Back are right on right like a normal seam)
    - Lay gusset wrong side up (so the seam will be enclosed when flipped over)
    OR (just said differently)
    - Lay Front and Back right sides together
    - Lay gusset on top of Back, wrong side up.
  3. Sew and Finish all vertical seam(s) (SA=3/8in except 1/4in for Indigorchid only)
  4. Try on and cut elastics to desired length... (Hipster's elastic should not be sewn stretched)
  5. Baste and topstitch the legs opening with ruffles elastic
  6. Baste the FOE to the waist
  7. Change thread to black
  8. Topstitch FOE at waist.
Left : Finished seam + Right : RTW seam finishing and FOE

How I will sew my FOE to the waist :
  1. Right side facing up, put fabric on top of FOE, Align fabric raw edge to FOE middle
  2. Pins at strategic interval to distribute the elastic.
  3. Baste while making sure the fabric is attached all around.
  4. Close the FOE ; should not see stitches on right side.
  5. Topstich the elastic.
How I will sew the Ruffles or Picot Elastic to the legs :
  1. Put elastic on top of the fabric right side, ruffles/picot facing away from raw edge. Alight elastic straight edge to raw edge of fabric.
  2. Pins at strategic interval to distribute the elastic.
  3. Baste closest to the picot/ruffles edge.
  4. Turn the elastic under ; ruffles/picot should peek outside.
  5. Topstich the elastic.
Left to right : Ruffles elastic at legs + FOE with picot edge for waist

 

My Sewing Machine Settings

I always do a a test run with my fabric scraps to test the all the methods I am going to use and note the result down. I used a Schmetz stretch needle, size 75/11. I own a Singer Quantum Stylist 9960. Here are the stitches on my machine for references :

My Raw Material :
  • Fabric : Light pink nylon/spandex
  • Lining : Dark pink 100% viscose recycled top
  • Elastic : Black FOE-picot for the waist and Ruffles for the legs. 
  • Threads : Guttermann in pink and black. I sew everything in pink up until the last step to close the FOE elastic at the waist in black.
My Stitching Settings :
  • Seam : #7+ change length to 2.0 (instead of 2.6). Try to vary the length or the tension until your thread do not break when you stretch a seam with your hand.
  • Finishing : #16 + change length to 2.2 (instead of default 2.6) + Fabric rolls on wrong side.
  • Lining Finishing : Same as finishing, but for single layer use silk paper under the fabric.Tear away after sewing. I recycle the paper from gift bags and cut it in about 1in strips to use to stabilize lightweight fabric... Maybe starch would do the same?
  • Elastic Basting : #7
  • Elastic Topstitching : #12 + augmenting tension to 12 (instead of default 6). Try it on your machine because a too loose stitch will be very uncomfortable on your skin. 

Stitches #7, #16 and #12

 

Resulting Underpants

I finished to assemble all panties, but I decided to keep sewing the elastic after assessing the fit, since I still want to end up with 5 wearable pairs. Hence, I will compare them without the elastic first, adjust them and sew the elastics on to finalize my pant-tastic scientific experiment! Of course, in no way I am judging the quality of the pattern, just merely the size and shape of the half sewn pattern in my chosen fabric. It might help some readers to choose a pattern in particular if its closer to your favorite underpants! Here is the visual comparison :

Low Rise Panties Comparison

  • Make Bra Hipster, size M
  • So Zo panties, size UK12
  • Indigorchid T-Shirt panties, size M

Left to right : Hipster + So Zo + Indigorchid

Bottom to top : Hipster + Indigorchid + So Zo (folded)

High Waist Panties Comparison

  • Ohhh Lulu Betty High Waist Panties, size Hips 40-41 inches
  • Vera Venus Grannie-Pannie, size UK10-12
Below : Ohhh Lulu Betty + Top : Vera Venus Grannie-Pannie

Left : Ohhh Lulu Betty + Right : Vera Venus Grannie-Pannie

Photo Comparison on a Human


Here are my measurements, in case you want a better idea how they fits :
  • High Bust : 38 in
  • Bust : 40 in
  • Waist : 33 in
  • Hip : 40 in
  • 5ft 2in and 160 lbs


1: So Zo, 2: Indigorchid, 3: Hipster, 4: Vera Venus, 5: Betty

1: So Zo, 2: Indigorchid, 3: Hipster, 4: Vera Venus, 5: Betty

1: So Zo, 2: Indigorchid, 3: Hipster, 4: Vera Venus, 5: Betty

 

Did you miss anything on my Pant-tastic Mission?