Monthly Archives: March 2009

Quilt and tunic – plugging away!

I’ve been kind of hacking away at my two current projects – a little bit every day!

I am LOVING my quilting setup! Until my Consew 105 is ready to bring home I decided to use my Singer 20U for the quilt. It has a table behind it making it perfect for large projects. I like the fact that I can work on the quilt for a few minutes and then just put the needle down, turn it off and leave everything until next time. It’s great because I don’t feel the need to hurry up and finish and it doesn’t interfere with my garment sewing.


I’m happy with the way it’s turning out. Nothing earthshattering but I thought it would be a great way to practice my freemotion work and I’ll end up with something perfect for curling up on the couch.


The tunic has been cut out as well. Because the fabric is very wispy and slithery I taped it to my cutting board so that everything would stay on grain while I was cutting.


I also pulled out the box of extra-fine Clover pins that I bought several years ago. They are really nice for chiffons but you do need to “weave” them in because they will otherwise fall out. I’m not really a big pinner but I wanted to use a few on the darts to keep everything straight.


Parting shot:

The Phals are blooming! Most of you don’t know this but years ago (before I became a mother) I was very heavily into orchids. They are, without a doubt, my very favorite flower. These days, I stick mainly to the easy ones that don’t require much attention. My phaelonopsis always spoil me with flowers and I love having them around the house!



Filed under Burda WOF, Fabric, misc., Notions, Quilting


So…the freemotion/darning foot for my industrial machine broke. It was old, it couldn’t help it, I guess. Suffice it to say that I am not happy about that. You see, my choices are quite limited as most domestic high-shank feet will not properly fit an industrial – the needle just doesn’t line up properly. Industrial darning/quilting feet are pretty much limited to the banana foot:


or the spoon foot:


and I hate them both. I guess I will have to come up with some other idea.


Filed under Accessories, Sewing Machines

Preparing for the week ahead

I didn’t get a lot done this weekend, unfortunately. The Boyfriend had a softball tournament this past week so I spent all day yesterday at the park. To be fair, he did tell me to stay home and sew but there I was.

Today, I finally pressed the crinkled silk for another WOF tunic. That seemed to take *forever* but now that it’s done I can cut it out tomorrow.


I also put together my quilt sandwich. After kneeling on my tile floor for 45 minutes, I decided that I should stick with smaller quilts in the future -something that will fit on my cutting table.

Renee asked how I planned to quilt this project. I really enjoy free-motion quilting and find it very relaxing. It’s very easy once you get the hang of it but does take practice. I am not particularly *good* at it in the traditional sense. I do not meander as I am really horrible at it. I am better at loops and swirls (which I happen to really like better anyway) so that’s what I usually stick with.

The first step is dropping or covering the feed dogs (check your manual on how to do this) on your sewing machine. I’m working on a commercial machine so I remove my feeder completely.


Next, attach a freemotion or darning foot to the machine. Before beginning bring the bobbin thread up to the top so that you don’t get any snarls or knots on the underside. Then take a few stitches to secure the thread and clip the tails (don’t forget to lower the presser foot). Then it’s time to start the fun! The key is to run the machine fast and move the work slowly. I work with my hands on either side of the foot and concentrate on a 6″ square area at a time. You can wear rubber gloves or gardening gloves with rubber palms to help you guide the fabric more easily. Then just play around until you get the hang of it. I always practice on scraps before I get started to warm up and check the tension.


ETA: When I am working with a larger item to be quilted I spray the sewing machine table with silicone to make it easier to slide around as I’m quilting. Please take care and do not spray the floor – I do not want you to slip and break a leg!


Filed under Burda WOF, Fabric, Quilting

Quilt top 101

I had this afternoon off so I thought it would be a good time to pop in a DVD and piece the top of my Moda Layer Cake quilt. It’s a one-patch, forty 10″ pieces. I don’t have a design wall so I decided to use my just-vacuumed-and-mopped living room floor for the layout. I discovered that my digital camera is very handy as a “third eye”. I played with it and played with it until I said “good enough”!


So, all the pieces have been put together. The inner and outer borders are next. Then comes the fun part! My friend Sharon calls the piecing “foreplay”, lol. We both like the free-motion quilting – it’s very relaxing – and I am anxious to move onto that. I plan on quilting this with hot pink thread. Piecing? Eh, it’s okay, I guess.


Filed under Quilting

I’ve gone to the dark side…

I always swore I’d never quilt. Then I made this quilt for my DMIL’s birthday a few years ago (she collects turtles). I double-swore at that time that I’d never do it again. The fact that I made this start to finish in about two days may have had something to do with that.


Well, lately I’ve been feeling the urge to have some sort of non-garment project to work on when I’m feeling too tired for cutting and fitting clothing. A couple of months ago, I made some silly chicken placemats (I LOVE chickens), which was fun but over too quickly. I needed a long-term project and decided on a quilt.


I attended the Broward County Quilt Expo yesterday and picked up a Moda Layer Cake kit, a really cool pattern/template (yes, I forgot to buy the 3.5″ matching template so I had to order it online today!) and the Cabo Halter. I was too overwhelmed to get anything else!




What can I say? Never say never! But, you can still expect my sewing to be 95% (or more) garments – that will never change. And don’t expect either of these quilts to be done anytime soon. I will work on them whenever I feel like it with no plan to finish them anytime soon.

And, finally, congratulations to my good friend, Sharon Beyer, for winning Best of Show! I had planned to post a photo of her with her award-winner but I forgot to charge my camera battery before leaving the house. 😦


Filed under Quilting

Milly Tunic – final!

I sewed a little bit each day this week and managed to finish the tunic today while catching up on season 2 of The Tudors.

I’m really happy with the way this turned out and am anxious to cut another out of the crinkled silk chiffon.


I know it looks kind of maternity on the dressform but it really is flattering on thanks to the bust darts and fitted back. It will look great with white pants or shorts this summer. I tend to favor tops that are quite fitted through the midriff so it’s fun to mix it up a little.

Nancy asked why I put the eyelets in before joining the upper and lower bodic pieces. I guess I did that by force of habit – sometimes it isn’t possible to get the pliers in when you need to insert an eyelet or snap in the interior of the garment. Of course, because the neckline is open on this garment, it would have made more sense to insert the eyelets after the seam had been sewn. Good call!

Nancy also nominated me for a Sisterhood Award! I am honored and grateful to be your sewing sister!


I am supposed to nominate ten other sewing bloggers for this award. Naturally, all the blogs I already read have been nominated but I will work on that in the next few days. Sew on!

ETA: This pattern is from Burda Nähen: Mode Quick & Easy #E-715 from 2003. It is in German and was sent to me by a friend in Germany. The pattern is Bluse #1.


Filed under Burda WOF, Fabric

Milly Tunic – Part III

I didn’t get a lot done today – Daylight Savings Time is really kicking my butt! But, I did manage to finish the neckline facing, attach the neckline ties and set the eyelets.

First, I marked the seamline and the topstitching line on the lower bodice. You can barely see the lines because I used white chalk. I marked the eyelet placement with the pink pencil.


Next, I fused a strip of interfacing (Palmer/Pletsch Sheer) over the eyelet placement dots before punching the holes.


Here, the eyelets have been set. These are your regular garden-variety Dritz eyelets that come in a bulk pack of assorted colors. They are cheap, readily available and I’ve had no problems with the paint chipping off. I will have to use a zipper foot to stitch both the seam and the topstitching as it’s pretty tight on both sides.


A tool I could not live without: the Prym Vario Plus plier kit. I bought this ages ago from Birch Street Clothing and love it so much that I had a friend pick me up a spare when she was in Germany. I think I paid $49.95 for it around 18 years ago – they really haven’t gone up much in price since. I use it for eyelets, anorak snaps and Color Snaps. As you can see, it’s not looking real neat and tidy but after all these years I know which pieces I need even if they’re not in their special spot.



Filed under Burda WOF, Fabric, Notions

Milly Tunic – Part II

I’ve stitched the darts in the back and in the bodice. The front edges have been finished and the facing is on. I decided on a narrow facing instead of a bias binding since I didn’t have a lot of scraps left.


The bias strips for the ties have been cut and are ready to be pieced and sewn. I had hoped to use the border for the ties but there wasn’t enough (the fabric only had a border on one side) which is fine since bias ties hang better anyway.


I should have this finished in the next day or two. I can’t wait to wear it! As I said in a previous post, I wished I’d had several of these last summer. So, I have already picked out fabric for my next version. This is a crinkled silk chiffon that I bought at Kashi’s 3 or 4 years ago. It’s really beautiful and I am happy to have finally found the perfect pattern for it.



Filed under Burda WOF, Fabric


Jess dropped off a little gift for me on Wednesday.


By Wednesday night I received the following text: ‘how r my pants coming?’. I promised that I would get to them this weekend ’cause I just love hemming, you know? 🙂 This morning I awoke feeling pretty sluggish. I stayed out way too late last night and made too much merriment. I figured it was a good time to hem the pants. Either that or screw up my silk tunic.

I used to dread hemming jeans but the walking foot machine has turned this chore into a super-quick and easy job. I just cut the excess length off with a quilting ruler and rotary cutter. I allowed a 1″ hem – 1/2″ to be turned under twice. I don’t bother to press. I just eyeball it and fold it under as I go.


Here are the cords all finished. The stitches look wonky but that’s corduroy for you. I was too lazy to wind a bobbin with white topstitching thread so I just used the #69 bonded nylon that was already on the machine.


When I got to the jeans I called Jess and told him I didn’t have any orange topstitching thread so these would have to wait until I could get to the store. He informed me that he did not care what color I used and that no one would notice anyway. He suggested black then I was going to use navy but, in the end, I decided on plain old blue jean gold. I’m not thrilled with it but it’s done. I will pick up some orange topstitching thread next week so that I’ll be ready next time.


Now he wants to know when I’ll be finished with the four dress shirts that need tapering…

I also bought myself a present this week:


This is a swing-out adjustable cloth guide for my overlock. It will really come in handy when I’m using knit patterns that have 3/8″ or 5/8″ seam allowances. Too bad I forgot to order the attachment screw…

Parting shot (thanks to Summerset for starting this trend!)-

My dad, who lived in Cannes, sent me this several decades ago. It’s meant for tablescraps. Without it’s lid it is perfect for bits of fabric and thread – very handy right behind the sewing machine, n’est-ce pas?



Filed under Alterations, Sewing Machines

Milly Tunic

It’s all cut out, darts have been pinned in – ready to sew! I had planned to cut this over the weekend but I couldn’t finish because I made the dress for my Saturday night date. That’s okay, I am accomplishing something and that’s what matters, right?

Here’s the upper front:


And the rest of it:


All I need to do now is cut the bias strips for the ties and for the neckline binding.


Filed under Burda WOF