Pinterest Test

Blue Painter's tape with on one section with design notes
I recently started visiting Pinterest. I have heard a lot about it, seen posts shared on facebook, and found myself laughing so hard I was crying especially when I looked at the "Nailed It" posts. In case you are not following any of these boards the nailed it posts are where someone tries something they have seen on Pinterest that looks like an amazing project. The newbie's results are usually abysmal at best but the caption is always "nailed it", like they too had succeeded.  

Because my interest are in do-it-yourself knitting/sewing projects I recently saw a post where they had used blue masking tape to tape out the exact shapes of ready made clothing to obtain a perfect knock-off copy. I did not share their idea that it would be a good thing to do because I really don't like "Sticky". I don't like stickers on my windshield even if it is a parking permit or inspection sticker. I detest bumper stickers. And I could not wash my kids hands often enough to keep them from being sticky when they were little. So I nearly let this little gem of a tip get past me. 

I have had success with tracing, and marking knock off patterns before, but it takes a lot of patience because if your don't pin the garment flat, it is easy to have the pattern slip, bunch, gap or just slide away so that accuracy is difficult. The blue tape works because it is not very tacky unless you leave it in place too long. It is also easy to tear into smaller strips to use around the curved seam edges. The garment I used fits perfectly and does not have any darts so if you are using this on something with darts you will have to make adjustments so that you allow the correct space for darts. 

Here is what happened while taping the pattern. Depending on my results with the test sew I may be able to honestly say Nailed-It. 

First I started with a shirt that fits perfectly and pressed it to get out all of the wrinkles. I decided that it would probably be easier to just trace the collar and collar stand and blue tape the body and sleeve. My shirt has princesses seams, a seam down the center back and three quarter length sleeves so I had five pieces to copy. I started with the left center front which I will show you here, start to finish. I could have just as easily used the right center front, but either way, you will only have to copy one half of your shirt because each piece is cut in pairs on folded fabric. 

Center front, marking the seam edges first
This shirt also has horizontal tucks across the front. I did not mark them because if I do put tucks in my shirt, I will sew the tucks first before I lay out the pattern. That will save time and keep the tucks evenly spaced. I did mark on the finished pattern where the yoke and tucks start/stop.  In the photo above you can see how I have torn the tape in smaller pieces to get an accurate mark at the curved seams. Where the seams are straight you can use longer pieces. Once you have taped exactly on the outer seams of the piece you are working on, use more tape to fill the space in the middle. I purchased two sizes of blue tape for this. I used tape that was slightly less than an inch wide on the outer edges and wider tape, about two inches, for the center fill. I thought this would give the pattern a little more structure and be easier to remove without separating and defeating the purpose. 

Center front filled, marked, and starting to lift from the fabric
This photograph shows the pattern piece fully filled in, and design marks added where the yoke meets the lower front that is tucked.  If I make tucks I will probably redraw the yoke and tucked section as two pieces, but I will not need that seam if I do not add the tucks. It would be helpful to mark the straight of grain line here too. After this piece I tried to lay the first center piece of tape down along the grain line so I had the straight of grain marked, but this was the very first section I taped and you do learn a few things as you go. When I get ready to cut this out I will probably compare my taped piece to the shirt again to make that mark. The shoulder section is just starting to curl off of the fabric in this picture.  

Removing the tape from the garment
Don't rush it when you remove the tape pattern. The smaller edge pieces will not all want to lift together and you may have to make gentle tugs from all edges to keep your pattern together. When one part would start to rebel I just moved to another side to loosen the tape's grip, working around until the whole pattern lifted neatly from the fabric.

Front center piece placed on tracing paper so I can add the cutting line
To keep the new pattern together I placed it on tracing paper. This just supports the piece and allows room to make the cut lines and keeps the sticky pattern from attaching to something else.

Back side of pattern on tracing paper
I turned the pattern over and used a burnishing tool to smooth the tape and remove wrinkles and air pockets.

Now do the same thing for every piece you need to copy. On this shirt I still had a front side, back side and center back to trace plus the sleeve. The sleeve was the hardest piece to tape because I could not lay it completely flat from seam to seam so I taped it in two pieces along the press line and marked on the blue tape where the shoulder seam touched the sleeve for future reference. I did not make a copy of the button band. I will just cut a piece double the measured width plus seam allowances on both sides, fold, press and sew onto the front just before I sew on the collar stand and collar. It is straight except for a slight curve near the neck and is not cut on the bias. This will not require a pattern but it is one more piece I need to cut. 

The test sew will probably not be a true muslin as I expect the results to be very accurate with little need for any alteration. It that turns out to be true I will have a tried and true shirt pattern. 


Sewing Machine Maintenance

I had to open my machine this week to add oil, clean lint and do a little preventative maintenance. I managed to do something incorrectly though and ended up having to buy a replacement bobbin case. Luckily the part was in stock and not a special order. 

I think I forgot to fully tighten the face plate before I started sewing again, and the bobbin case popped out of place and got hit by the needle. I was very lucky that I did not cause more damage. They assured me at the sewing store that I was not the first one to ever do this and I would not be the last. So you don't have this same problem, I am sharing here what I learned.

bobbin case exposed, round screwdriver and metal face plate in place.
Dust and lint will collect under the needle and feed dogs.  I make sure to brush this area with a small brush, made for this purpose and vacuum it with a small "data" vac after about every three or four garments. If I sew something that sheds more lint then it may be necessary clean it more frequently. In the picture above, the bobbin case is still in place.  

Bobbin case has been removed
There are two small screws that hold the metal face plate in place. In this photo the face plate is in place and the bobbin case is removed. It is very important that the metal face plate is replaced and secured tightly before the bobbin case is replaced. When the bobbin case is replaced first, it is possible not to tighten the face plate properly which allows it to move. I don't think that I had the bobbin case in first, but for some reason, I think I did not have the face plate secured properly.  

Old and New Bobbin Cases
The bobbin case on the left is the new one, and the one on the right is the damaged one. They look the same, but when the old one got hit with the needle, it created a bur that will not allow the case to sit properly. I was fortunate I did not do more damage. 


B5757 Design Changes

The last time I took a minute to sew I picked this skirt pattern, Butterick 5757.  The drawing 

looks cute, but even in the smallest sizes this skirt would have problems. The waistband casing is the same size as the full width of the skirt which of course is meant to be gathered. The extra fabric is non-cooperative and just bunches unevenly around the waist elastic.
I liked the fullness of the skirt because I picked a fabric that has an amazing drape and swing but to be able to wear this one, I had to make some design changes. 

Ripping out the waistband seams
I removed the waistband casing. It was too big, with the elastic in it it just bunched and did not maintain even gathers. The elastic also stretched out too much so that the waistband was too loose. I did not make it easier for myself as I had already serged the seam so it took some time and patience with the seam ripper.  

New pocket cut, and set beside left side seam so I knew how much to open the side seam for the pocket.
I needed a way to open the skirt for a regular waistband. The only seams were on the side. The original pattern design had inseam side pockets which I had omitted because I did not want any extra fullness around the waist or hip. After removing the waistband, I opened the left side seam enough to include an inseam side pocket. 

Thread tails on the inside pockets show serged area of pocket.
I needed to alter the pocket so that I could easily get into and out of the skirt. To do this I did not sew the inside seam of the pocket, so that the skirt would open wider at the waist to allow easier entry and exit. I attached the pocket to each side, serged about 6 inches down on inside pocket seam to finish the fabric and prevent fraying.

The red topped pins show the bottom of the pocket and where to start/stop sewing.

Then I stitched the bottom of the pocket together. the new pocket seam at the side seams, stitched the pocket seam to the inside of the pocket on each side and serged the bottom of the pocket. With all of these changes I can gather the fullness evenly and add a more fitted waistband to the skirt. Or, maybe something else. 

I have not yet decided if I will add a traditional waistband or if I will make this more like a dress. I am considering adding a flesh tone lightweight slip like bodice and sewing the skirt to that. With a little elastic at the waist to make it more comfortable, like a dress but with the fit and style of a skirt. I would be able to wear a top over it and not worry about the waistband rolling. Once I have made the bodice to fit, I can add the skirt.  It will have to open under the left arm so I have more design work ahead.  If I had not been thinking about doing this modification, I could have just added a zipper instead of a pocket at the side seam.


Spring Inspiration

It has been a warm and almost sunny weekend here with temps in the high 70s on both days. I am pretty sure two warm weather days on the weekend have not happened here since last October.

Between cold windy days and warm spring days, filled with intense bouts of allergy induced sneezing, I have been in the mood for spring sewing.  

The colors in this recent fabric purchase just say spring. The fabric is a very easy care poly blend silky fabric with amazing drape. 

I thought the very dark navy and off-white floral print would make an easy carefree skirt like the Butterick B5757 pictured below. The pattern is easy to make but there is so much fabric in it that even with the waist gathered tight it does not look like the photo. It is a good thing that it has so much fabric. This is going to be a remake. Now I remember why I rarely use a commercial pattern any more.

Happy Spring, I have my work "cut out" here.