Fleece Beret

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Please excuse the peanut butter face.

I have a bit of blogging catch-up to do! I'm going to start with this fleece beret/tam. This little hat is a great way to use up those pesky remnants of fabric that are too big/"useful" to throw out, but seem too small to really make into anything.

To make a pattern for a hat for a child with a head about 19" - 21" in circumference (in my house, the hat fits the 3.5 year old and the 5.5 year old - but the 5.5 year old has a slender bone structure), you first you make a circle with a radius of 3 1/8" or thereabouts. The idea is to dust off your high school math skills and make a circle with a circumference that equals the circumference of the child's head. Thinking back to those math classes, you might remember that  circumference, C=2Pi r. So, if the circumference of your child's head is 19", then your radius is figured by dividing the circumference by 2Pi: C/(2Pi). (Sorry, I can't figure out how to insert the symbol for Pi). In my case, that's a smidge over 3 inches and since the fabric being used is stretchy, there's no use in quibbling! (I used a scrap of a sheet that I've kept for muslins to make my pattern.)



Then make one circle with a radius about two inches larger than the radius of the smaller circle. The difference between the lengths of the radii controls how big the hat appears on the child's head. I just guessed that two inches would be fine. For a bigger head, you might want to make the difference larger.


Now, take your large circle and cut two of them from your fleece fabric. Then take one of those fleece circles and lay the smaller circle centered on top of it. Trace that circle and cut it out of the larger circle. (Set this small circle scrap aside in case you want to make an embellishment later.) You should now have one large circle of fleece and one large O of fleece.

Next you cut a rectangle of fleece. My rectangle was 19.5" long by 3" wide. That long measurement comes from the head circumference plus seam allowances. I used about 1/4" seam allowances. This rectangle will be the hat band. Edited to Add: Make sure the long measurement follows the stretch of the material!

If you want to underline the hat, cut out the large circle and large O from your choice of fabric, just be sure that the fabric has similar stretchiness. Now attach the underlining to the outer fabric wrong sides together along the cut edges. I used a three-step zigzag. You could also just use a simple zigzag.


Now sew the outer edges of the large circle and the large O together, with right sides together. I used a very narrow (.5 mm) regular zigzag with a stitch length of 3 mm. Flip it right side out and admire your work! You are almost done!

Now take your rectangle of fleece and sew the 3" ends together (right sides together). Fold the loop so that the wrong sides are together, and edge stitch with that triple-step zigzag. Look at the hat band in that photo just above to help you.

Next, divide the inner circle of the hat into fourths, marking those spots with pins. Also divide your hat band into fourths and mark those spots with pins. Attach the hat band to the hat, right sides together, matching up the pins. Sew the pieces together (again with that narrow (.5 mm) zigzag). You should have something that looks like this:


Good work! If you want, now is the time to get a little crazy with an embellishment and stitch it onto the hat. This particular fleece is a bit busy for an embellishment. But I made a plain lavender one for a little friend's birthday, and it required a butterfly.

I hope this tutorial is useful. The hat really does go together quickly. It takes about as long to make one as it did for me to explain it all!

It's Curtains for Me

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Don't fret. Not "curtains" in the melodramatic sense. It;s curtains in the entirely practical keep-the-neighbours-from-looking-in-my-bedroom sense. A careful observer will note that the new curtains in my bedroom are not finished. I haven't hemmed them yet. But hemming curtains isn't interesting to most people. I will do it one of these days, but the curtains work as they are and that is what is important.

Why would I even bother to write about curtains? And fairly plain brown curtains at that? The answer to those questions lies in the window itself. My bedroom window is a whopping 93" long (that's 236.2 cm). Pretty big when you consider that the longest length you can purchase ready-made blinds is 72" (182.8 cm). And then there's the issue of the new, nearby closet. Originally, there was no closet in this space because originally this was not a bedroom. The short distance between the edge of the window and the corner of the two walls eliminated the potential for hanging a curtain rod above the window on brackets.


This left me with some sort of inside-the-window-frame lightweight fabric curtain. Enter this clever little device from Ikea (whatever you have to say about them, they do know small spaces). I mounted this inside the window frame, fiddled around for over half an hour to get the length of the wire just perfect, and hung these little hook/clamps over the wire. Now I just needed to buy fabric and make curtains!

The walls in my bedroom are a peachy shade, the closet material is a dark brown as is the bedside table. I decided that a dark brown lightweight fabric would be just the thing. I bought many metres (5? 6?) of a chocolatey brown polyester dupioni/shantung. (I don't know the difference between dupioni and shantung, do you?) For a few weeks we simply clipped the unsewn fabric in the window to try it out. Guess what? You could see right through the fabric! If I were to be changing clothes or smooching my husband in my bedroom with the lights on and the curtains pulled, the whole neighbourhood could set up chairs on the sidewalk and watch the show! This was not acceptable. I have lived without any privacy for a long time, and that time was so close to coming to an end. Another layer of fabric was needed.

At my local crazy fabric store (shout out for the wackiness that is Dressew!) I found, with the broadcloth,  a very lightweight brown poly-cotton. It's as light as a batiste. In fact that's what I was looking for, but it was entirely the wrong season for batiste. Good ol' Dressew. And get this: it was only $3.99 per metre!! Unheard of in fabric stores in Vancouver! I bought many metres (6? 7?). We tried it out and guess what? You can't see anything through the combination of fabrics! Woot! Now I just needed to get sewing.


I should have done a little research first. But I seem to be the kind who likes to reinvent the wheel. Here is what I did:

I wanted the curtains to have a bit of a wave to them when they were closed (not a flat panel of fabric), so I think each panel is 93" wide. I think this is correct because I have lost that page of notes and I am too lazy to go measure the curtains. So I began by cutting the fabric into lengths that, when sewn together, would arrive at my desired width. I sewed those panels together and then hemmed the edges. I did not hem the selvedge edges on the lining where it met the edge of the window. I stitched a strip of interfacing about 3 inches high by the width of the panel to the top edge of either the lining or the outer fabric - I don't remember which now. I then placed the lining and the outer fabric right sides together and sewed a seam 2" from the raw edge.

This was then pressed, turned, pressed again, and pinned back together another 2" from the seam edge. Next came marking the placement of each hook/clamp. I think I put them 7 and 7/8" apart on center - whatever it was, I used eleven hook/clamps per panel. I then ransacked my supply of seam binding from my mother's stash, found a navy blue that would be unnoticeable from outside the window and pressed the decades of creases out of it. The seam binding was then pinned at each hook/clamp placement mark, and a generous 1/4" was measured out from either side of each pin (maybe it was really closer to 3/8") leaving about a 1/2 inch space.

At each of those marks I stitched a narrow zigzag across the seam binding, completely backstitching for security. After all of the spaces for the clamps were made (and checked, and fixed, and checked again), I stitched the top edge of the seam binding to the curtain in the spaces between the clamps (to keep them from getting caught on anything).


I stuck the clamps in their little spaces and hung the curtains up! I could probably cut six inches off the bottom and still be able to have a nice three inch hem, but that will wait for a day when I have a couple of hours to sew and nothing else to do. No breath-holding, please.

Advent 2010

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Hello Friends!

The season of Advent is upon us. Technically, it started on Sunday, but at our house we begin on December 1. (It's easier for us to keep track of that way.) Long time readers may remember that last year we observed Advent with Afternoon Activities. We enjoyed it so much, that we are doing it again! Luckily we saved all of the little envelopes and a few of the slips of paper with the activities written on them.






And yes, those are dirty lunch dishes still on the table, thankyouverymuch.

In the interest of transparency, I would like to point out that while overall the project was a success, several of the activities flopped. We have left those activities out. We added in activities that prepare our house for Christmas. We also replaced a few of the crafty activities with new crafty activities.

Here's our list for the year (and we may switch a few things around yet...)
  1. Make hot chocolate with whipped cream
  2. Play Uno
  3. Make paper snowflakes
  4. Package gifts for family and friends
  5. Go for a walk in the woods
  6. Make a list of gifts you want to give
  7. Get out Christmas CDs
  8. Have pancakes for dinner
  9. Bake cookies
  10. Watch  A Charlie Brown Christmas
  11. Put out Nativity set
  12. Put up outside lights
  13. Make cardboard marionnettes
  14. Make paper chains
  15. Dress fancy for dinner
  16. Sing Christmas carols
  17. Look at Christmas lights after dinner
  18. Get Christmas tree
  19. Build a fort
  20. Begin a puzzle
  21. Decorate Christmas tree
  22. Watch How the Grinch Stole Christmas
  23. Board Game Day
  24. Roll pennies and give them away

Sorry for the Blog Silence

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I have all kinds of things I want to write about, but for the past week my every spare moment has been taken up with this:


I have participated in this sale the previous two years. Last year I volunteered on the committee and organized the vendors. This year I am coordinating the entire thing (with help from two volunteers). If you live in the area, please come. There is no cover charge, and this sale is almost entirely folks from our neighbourhood.

If you like pottery, come to the sale. If you like jewelry, come to the sale. If you like knitting, come to the sale. If you like food, come to the sale. If you feel the urge to compete in an apple pie contest, leave a comment and I will send you the pertinent details, and then come to the sale.

Seriously, this sale is so much more fun and has such a more welcoming vibe than most others I've been to.

Halloween 2010 - Part 3 Elephant

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Clara, thankfully, decided that she would wear the elephant costume that we already had (I made it for Peter when he was four.) I only had to shorten the legs a bit, and did that by adding more wrinkles! This costume was made from a thrifted hoodie and sweat pants with stiff felt ears attached to the hood and a tail attached to the back of the jacket.


The trunk was made from a piece of pipe insulation wrapped around some wire filled foam thing we had around the house. That was then wrapped with grey felt hot glued in place. The trunk is held to the hood with a piece of elastic, but she has to lift it over her nose for the full effect.

She had a pretty good time in this costume and she stayed warm since it was easy to put on over other layers of clothes.


This concludes my posts of Halloween 2010. You can be looking forward to posts about curtain-making and purchased turtleneck revamping (sausage no more!)

Halloween 2010 - Part 2 Tinkerbell

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As I mentioned in my previous Halloween 2010 post, Lucy chose to be Tinkerbell. I was not thrilled with this decision, since I knew she would want to replicate Disney's Tinkerbell as closely as possible. (I do realize that this sounds silly since I did closely replicate Peter's Anakin Skywalker costume. I just have a bit of a love-hate relationship with Disney's portrayal of female characters. So I'm inconsistent - who isn't?) I thought Alice was such a much more interesting costume choice for a five year old. (Actually, I thought she should go as Coco Chanel, as I would have loved to make that costume, but Lucy doesn't know who Chanel is - and neither do any of her friends.)*

Earlier in the spring I purchased a few patterns from Simplicity when they were having a sale, including 2716 , a Daisy Kingdom dress with a layered handkerchief skirt. I never got around to making the dress this summer, but it came immediately to mind when Lucy decided on Tinkerbell. At the fabric store I picked out a lime green poly satin with a bit of a pebbly texture, a similar-coloured poly crystal organza (much shinier than pictured below), and a light green netting that had gold glitter glued on.


I made a quick muslin of the bodice. I wanted to remove the drawstring and casing going on in the shoulder seam and that involved narrowing the straps. I planned to use nude mesh for the bodice with the "strapless" top essentially appliqued on. So I also sketched the line of the strapless top onto the muslin and traced a pattern piece from that drawing.

This plan worked pretty well except for finishing the neckline. The pattern calls for lining the entire bodice (which I did - every little bit of extra warmth helps), and I was going along thinking that I could just stitch the necklines together and then feed it through the shoulder "tunnels to turn it around when it hit me... There is no opening at center front or back! Eeek! I decided to finish the neck edge with a bias strip of the crystal organza. I told Lucy it would look like a matching necklace. I don't think she was really convinced but she went along with it.


There you see a fine example of my nearly-famous Thousand Pin Technique for attaching anything slippery or doing anything tricky. Below is a close up of the finished neckline and shoulder seam. The neckline isn't as crisp as I would have liked because polyester crystal organza doesn't like to be pressed, thankyouverymuch.


The rest of the garment went together well except for the skirt. It was too long and not pointy enough. One of these days I am going to stop buying patterns that only have artist's renditions of the garment on a person. It is just not accurate. Photos only from now on! Anyway, luck was with me a bit because I had not yet hemmed the skirt pieces (satin underskirt, crystal organza overlay, and glittered net overlay). So I made a few marks with pins while Lucy tried the dress on and then whacked at it with my pinking shears. I AM SUCH A CHEATER!! (But wait, it gets worse...)

I purchased the wings at a local "dollar" store, but they had to be altered as they were too wide for Lucy's back and had these annoying little elastic arm straps. I shortened the width of the backing material pretty easily (fold in half, sew off a chunk, trim, press). We tried tightening the straps, but they bothered Lucy, so I ended up sticking ADHESIVE VELCRO to the wings AND TO THE DRESS!! Can you believe it? I stuck something very sticky to a garment that I lovingly made and altered/redesigned! But I just was not going to hand sew large snaps on to those wings through the thick, stiff back material and around the wires that give the wings shape. And you know what? She loved it!

 

She did discover that her mother was correct in saying that a Tinkerbell costume was not appropriate for the weather here in Vancouver on Halloween night. She wore a couple of shirts under the dress as well as tights and another skirt (she refused leggings) and she got very cold. On the way home from trick-or-treating we spoke about how for next year she should choose a warmer costume. She has decided - temporarily of course - that next year she wants to be Sleeping Beauty because she wears a long sleeved gown and a cape. (That's my girl, way to plan another use of that cape pattern!)

Stick around for a shorter post about Clara's elephant costume!

 *Actually, it would amuse me greatly if I could get my whole family to dress up as famous designers. Three women and two men. Peter could go as Karl Lagerfeld. Lucy could be Chanel. Clara could be Betsy Johnson (that last link opens up a little video in the sidebar, sorry). What about David and me? Ideas?

Halloween 2010 - Part 1 Anakin Skywalker

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Hopefully all of you are well rested from Halloween and the post holiday sugar crashes. I thought I'd write a little about the costumes that came gallumping out of my house this year.

After many changes of mind, Peter finally settled on dressing up as Anakin Skywalker. (I was really pulling for Captain Underpants, having been inspired last year by this costume made by Debbie Cook.) Lucy, after nearly deciding on Alice (from Alice in Wonderland) changed her mind to Tinkerbell. And Clara, in keeping with her laid-back nature, decided that she would wear the elephant costume I made for Peter a few years ago. I think it's kind of funny that both Lucy and Peter chose mean characters for Halloween. (Pixies, I think, are usually pranksters.)

Peter's costume wasn't immediately obvious. I did a little research, looking at image after image of Anakin Skywalker. I decided to make a wrap-front shirt, elastic waist pants, the black leather vest-thing, and a cloak. That's a lot of pieces for one costume, I know. I decided to give the lounge pants from Simplicity 9499 a try (I had purchased the pattern for the raglan-sleeved t-shirt). They were fabulous! I made a muslin out of a sheet and all that needed to be adjusted was the length. The pants have enough ease for sitting, but not so much that there is a lot of bagginess at the bum or front crotch. They also have slim-ish legs, not the wide, flappy things one so often finds in loungewear. And of course, with a fold over casing for the elastic waist, and no pockets, they went together in a snap. I made the final version out of brown stretch cotton sateen.



 A wrap-front shirt for a boy is no easy matter. I considered using one of the bathrobe patterns I happen to have (Simplicity 9853), but the thought of having to remove all of the ease and fiddling with armholes didn't sound appealing. I have Jalie 2910 in my collection of patterns, though I had yet to make it. Knowing that children's bodies aren't all that different, I decided to let go of any gender-based sewing hang-ups I might have (not many, I'll tell you) and gave that a go, making a muslin out of a stable black knit. I doubled the width of the neckband to give more coverage and to make it look a bit more costumey. Success again! In this case we just needed to add length to the hems (both sleeve and body). I made the final version of this pattern in a soft brown cotton jersey.



Peter loves the shirt and pants from this costume so much that he wore them the first two nights after they were made as pajamas. He has gone on to wear the shirt to school as a regular shirt.

Now for the cloak and vest-thing. There was a bit of luck, here as well. I originally planned to use the hooded bathrobe pattern from the December 2009 Burda, which would have totally worked. And I planned to fiddle with a basic t-shirt pattern for the vest-thing. But as I walked past the cutting table at Fabricana, I saw Simplicity 5512 sitting on the counter along with a pile of fabric belonging to another customer. Perfect! A pattern for a lined hooded cloak and a tabbard (which could be easily cut down the center front for the leather garment). What's more, there was only one of these pattern left in the drawer. Totally worth the investment, in my opinion, even if it used more fabric than the bathrobe pattern called for. I will use this pattern again and again.

These two pieces went together pretty well. I had to change the slope of the shoulder seam on both garments. Peter's shoulders are not as square as the pattern. I had a limited amount of fashion fabric for the cloak (there was only 1.5 metres on the bolt), so I was limited to making the cape (not the sleeved cloak), but I put slits in the side seams for ease of use. I muslined the cape using sheets, and finished it fully so now we have a purple flowered hooded cape in our dress-up box.


The finished cloak was made out of a brown/black stretch suiting blend. I was certain I would have enough suitable fabric somewhere in my stash to line the cape, so I didn't purchase any. This was a bit of a tricky decision. The only suitable fabric I had was black Bemberg rayon, but I was not about to use up my Bemberg lining on a costume (granted I got it on sale at half price, but it was still five dollars a metre!) After much frustration and disappointment at the size and uselessness of my fabric stash, I decided to use a white all-cotton sheet and two packages of dye that I happened to have - a purple and a brown. I had hoped I would end up with a dark brown, but instead I ended up with a muted dark purple. But it worked. I used a button from my jar and made a loop of bias from the suiting fabric. I covered the raw ends of the loop with a square of the black vinyl that I used for the tabbard.

 

The tabbard was pretty straightforward. I was pretty excited to get to use my teflon presser foot that I received from David for Christmas last year. I made it as stated, with the exception of cutting and hemming the center front, so that the fronts could overlap under the belt. I didn't muslin this garment, just bit the bullet and cut into the black vinyl.


This is what he wore to school on Friday. He added the cloak for trick-or-treating. All in all a success! Everything fit and it was impressive (important to me), but did not draw attention to him (important to Peter). He was also warm enough on Halloween night. This is something to consider around here.

Stay tuned for a Tinkerbell post!

Long Time Gone

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Well, it's been pretty nearly forever. Sorry about that.

The good news is that I have a sewing space again! Hooray! And, since The Blue Gardenia is not terribly likely to ask me to give you all a tour, I'll give you one myself!

To begin, I would like to point out that there are now curtains up in my room, but they are not fully hemmed. I bought the panels from IKEA and chopped them to fit. they are sheer white with rows of white nubby bits. Also, with the exception of the stucco wall, everything else is just primed. Eventually this room will be painted green. The flooring is vinyl. I really wanted linoleum, but we couldn't afford it, so we went with vinyl. I would have preferred a plainer dark brown, but this was available, good quality, and a good price (and I can only stand to interact with so many sales people, you know?). The important thing is that it hides art dirt, cleans easily, and doesn't trap pins the way carpet or a grooved flooring (tile or some laminate) would.


The table is a piece of 3/4" plywood leftover from the renovations (bookshelves, I think). A friend sawed it off to the length I specified and I attached my old table legs to one end and the middle. Then I wrapped the top with inexpensive vinyl. This will undoubtedly need to change before too long. The board is too flexible, so I can't sew at top speed. Perhaps I can simply add another layer of plywood to the top. I am able to use the open end of the table to cut small pattern pieces. My cardboard pinning/cutting board fits on it opened partially as does my rotary cutter mat. I could also maybe set up my vintage machine there, but I am afraid it will be too bouncy. Perhaps after another layer of plywood is added.


 
The other end of the table is supported by a set of drawers from IKEA. I almost talked myself out of getting these drawers as they were $80. They are so lovely (in a purely functional way). 

 
The top two are shallow and hold all of the things I use most frequently. 


 
The lower three are deeper and hold thread, notions, and my vintage Singer attachments.

I had hoped to find a wardrobe that would fit in the room and hold my fabric collection, but the space didn't work out. What with the easel and the kids' art table and cupboard of supplies, there is no room for fabric storage in the sewing room. For the time being, the fabric is housed in four Rubbermaid bins in the odd closet off the girls' room. I am appalled at the size of my collection and need to sew it down. No new fabric until one of the bins is empty!*


I repurposed a little cupboard that we have had for years to store a few other notions/tools, patterns, reference books, etc. We bought this cupboard from friends maybe ten years ago when they moved and we have used it in so many different ways over the years. On the top there you see wooden magazine files filled with Burda magazines, envelopes of Burda pattern sheets, traced patterns, and my growing Threads collection. The envelope patterns inside the cupboard need boxes to keep them from shifting all over. One day I will figure that out.


My iron and board live across the room near the easel. I had hoped to put it under the window where the pattern cupboard is now, but it didn't fit. The board needs a new cover, and I have some wool coating to use as padding for a new cover, but I would really like a different ironing board. The pointy end takes up so much room and rarely gets used since I now own two sleeve boards. I have thought about trying to construct a rectangular ironing board, but haven't done much research yet. Any ideas?

Under my ironing board is a crate filled with two sleeve boards, a press mitt, a wooden clapper, and a piece of silk organza that I use as a press cloth.

It was a lot of fun making the kids' Halloween costumes in my new space. So nice to be able to access my tools with ease. Really wonderful.

*I have already broken this resolution. I walked past a bolt of lovely of cotton lawn today as I was shopping for lining for my bedroom curtains.  Two metres of it came home with me. (At least lawn folds up small.)

Little Girl Skirts

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I finally did a little sewing! The work crew is done in my bedroom, so this past Thursday I set up a temporary sewing space in there and whipped out a couple of little girl skirts. My inspiration was this patchwork skirt. However, I was not able to find charm packs of coordinating fabrics at my local fabric shops (not even the quilt shop). So I decided to use only one fabric for the main skirt panel. I chose the fabrics for Clara's skirt (she's the smaller one). The fabric for the ties and the main skirt fabric are quilting cottons. The accent band at the hem is a lightweight polyester satin. Lucy chose her own fabrics. The waistband fabric is a lightweight lavender twill, the main skirt fabric is a quilting cotton with silver glitter accents and the accent band at the hem is a spandex-y silvery dance fabric. Fall is fast upon us here, so I chose to line the skirts with Bemberg to increase their warmth (a minor amount) and to help them keep from sticking to tights later this season.

I made only two main mistakes in the construction of these skirts: Firstly, made the waistband to their hip measurement plus seam allowances. I should have added another inch or so for ease in getting the skirts on and off. Secondly, I read the instructions incorrectly and made the ties the width of the fabric. Notice:


Clara is holding the end of one of Lucy's ties. I have since trimmed 20 inches off the ends of each of the ties.

But the skirts are still good for a spin!

Almost Sewing

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We are moving out of our temporary residence this weekend and will make do with the chaos in our still-being-renovated home. I dropped by this afternoon and there was a flurry of activity. Painting, assembling cupboards (thanks, Ikea), scrubbing blobs of drywall mud off the floor and laying down flooring - wild times!

Yesterday I was purchasing light fixtures (still haven't found a pendant for over the table) and decided to treat myself to a trip to Fabricana - one of the big fabric stores in the general area. I want to make a couple of skirts for the girls. I spent nearly 20 minutes trying to decide on fabrics for Lucy, but then I realized my effort would not be appreciated - I need to take her to the fabric store herself. So I found fabric for Clara instead.


This is my inspiration skirt. However, I will not be making patchwork for the main skirt body. Two reasons: 1. none of the fabric stores in my area carry a variety of those pre-cut charm packs of assorted fabrics and 2. assembling 6 or 8 fabrics is crazy daunting to me. But I like the waistband with bow and the hem band, so here are the fabrics I chose:



The top two are quilting cottons. The bottom is a lightweight poly satin. I plan to wrap the satin around the raw edge of the main skirt, rather than hem the satin and stitch it to the skirt. Should be nice! I just need to measure Clara and do a little math.

What could be more fun than an Uno game played by a seven year old, two five year olds, and a three year old? (Watch out for that little one, she's good!)

A Little Slapdash Sewing

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So. I still haven't begun to take apart the chambray dress. But I am very pleased with the way I finished the armholes, so I thought I would share that with you all.

To recap: I added both a lining and piping to the bodice of The Monique Dress. Everything was going very smoothly, see?


 I dutifully graded and clipped the neckline seam allowance, then I tried to turn it right side out as described many places about the web (most recently at The Slapdash Sewist). Alas! The straps are quite narrow and with the addition of corded piping, there was no possibility to turn the bodice right side out through the shoulder "tunnels".

I posted the above photo in the pattern modifications forum at Pattern Review.com and got one response telling me that there was nothing to be done with the piping already in place. Well. I knew there had to be something. But here I am, away from home during renovations, all my sewing references packed away, etc. So I made something up.

First, I picked out the stitching along the armholes.

Then, I made bias strips from my lining fabric (bemburg rayon). This is not an easy task without my rotary cutter and mat. Slippy slippy slippy.

I then pressed the bias in half lengthwise and pinned it to the armhole, raw edges together. I used a technique I like to call "The Thousand Pin Method".

Next I stitched the bias to the armhole using my zipper foot.

Here are my stitch settings for that part: a straight stitch almost 3mm long and moved to the left almost 2mm (to get the stitching as close as possible to the piping).

I then graded and clipped my seam allowances. Here you can see that I made a "sandwich", if you will, of the seam allowances. The bodice seam allowance was left as is, but clipped. The piping seam allowances were graded one side shorter than the other. The bias was left as is (it didn't add significant bulk, and I felt it would help hold everything in place).

The next step was to trim away the seam allowance on the armholes of the bodice lining. This proved to be fairly easy because the holes from my previous stitching were visible. Then I pressed the bias back over the bodice lining and secured it again using The Thousand Pin Method.

Finally, I hand stitched the bias to the lining. I think this is called a catch stitch, but all of my hand sewing has been self-taught, so don't quote me on that one.

Here's what the finished armholes look like: on the inside

and the outside

And to entertain myself through all of this craziness, I watched episode after episode of Mad Men. (I am trying to catch up to the current season.) While watching a show with fabulous vintage fashion might be inspiring, I suppose it could also be a tad distracting...