Tuesday, February 21, 2017

More Me Made Printed Fabric using Simplicity 8295


A couple weeks ago, I stumbled upon a $.99 sale. I wasn't looking or planning to buy patterns until I saw Simplicity 8295. I like tunics, mini dresses and that combined with the placket options drew me to this one. 


I am still having fun making my fabric (see previous post) and wanted one for this dress. For the base, I used  a white on white dot cotton from Joann Fabrics. I airbrush painted over it with a paint color that I blended myself. I accented the "Afro Stripe" design with woodblock stamps in double yellow and single black stars. I chose black linen fabric for the contrasts.

I like view A and B and couldn't decide which to make. A poll on Instagram had the results split, so I went with B with modifications.The pattern called for a contrast placket only, but I chose a contrast cuff too. The pattern also has exterior patch pockets, but I switched them out in favor of side seam pockets. 


The instructions for this are straight forward for an experienced sewist. A beginner would need to take it slow on the placket and sleeve details. The sleeve has a continuous lap on the pleated cuff, and a button tab. These elements on their own are not too much, but if you are a newbie, I suggest you take breaks to sew these elements with fresh eyes.


Once it was all said and done, I don't like the fit of the sleeve when pulled up by the tab. I have thin arms and it is tight to wear it pulled up. I am not sure if the linen and my interfacing made it inflexible or if the sizing there is off. It is not a deal breaker for me, but you should know. I think I will lower the button and get some more room.


I like that the back has a yoke pleat detail. It gives a bit of interest to balance the front.


This is a mini-dress. The length I am wearing is as is from the pattern. I thought it would be too short if I hemmed it at this length. I instead added black ribbon to the bottom and folded it back to hem it. When I make another, I will add an inch or two before cutting.


This one is a keeper. I will be making more for the warm Texas weather. I will be making more of this fabric as well.  I have added the other prints I have made to my Etsy store.  I will make this one only by special request in custom orders.

Whichever fabric you choose to make yours, I hope you like yours as I like mine.

Happy Sewing,

Saturday, February 18, 2017

"Peace, Puff, Afro, Love" Fabric and the Urbanista Bag with Vegan Pleather

After making fabric to celebrate the beautiful hair embraced by my daughter, I decided to make some more. In fact, because of her excitement and the enthusiasm shared by my reader friends, I have been bubbling with inspiration. I want to design all the fabric and make all the things!

My most recent print is this "Peace, Puff, Afro, Love" design on 60-inch grey duck canvas. The base is airbrush painted and the accents are hand-stamped for added texture.

The canvas is a prefect weight for bag-making, I searched my stash for a candidate to showcase the print. The Urbanista Hobo by Cheryl Kuczek fit the bill because of its size and no distracting exterior pockets.

This choice also gave me an chance to use the Paradsio pleather kits that I got the same time I got the pattern. Aren't they yummy!

I met Cheryl at Quilt Market a few years ago. I was drawn to her fun patterns and she and I have developed a friendship since. Her patterns are written with a lot of explanation and detail for the novice. I prefer short bullet directions followed by an illustration to show me what to do. These text heavy steps are not a deterrent to making this great bag, but are different from commercial patterns. I find it best to read through them first and highlight the relevant sewing steps. Cheryl is a very approachable designer happy to answer email questions. She also provides online guidance on her blog  and includes tutorials on the following topics:
Many independent bag patterns give dimensions from which you make the pattern. I am so happy to not have to spend time on this step because the main pattern piece is included. I have made MANY bags by Noodlehead, Sew Demented and Amy Butler. They all have their high points and low points. I love the construction details unique to this bag. The body is stabilized with fleece and muslin instead of fusible fleece, or Shape flex and interfacing. I really like this time and cost-saving feature. With the other methods, no matter how I well fused, I have had these layers separate over time and use of the bags and it is very frustrating. With this method, the bag has structure, flexibility and weight that is not floppy or heavy.

Exterior fabric, lining, muslin and fleece 
There are six roomy contrast pockets inside the bag. I made mine without the contrast. The construction of the pockets gives added stability and support because they are secured in the side seams.

The bag is accented with pleather on the base, straps, binding and strap slots.  I sewed this bag completely on my home sewing machine with a regular needle and regular foot. There are suggestions for sewing pleather, but I didn't find I needed them. They are easy to work with.

Pleather base before attaching
Strap in process. Use clips and not pins which leave permanent marks.
The installation of the top binding is brilliant! I won't give it away here, but it is wonderful. I wish I had made this bag when I got the pattern in November. The binding would have saved me so much headache. I made three Noodlehead Maker totes last Fall. The hand-sewing of the binding was a beast! I wish I knew this method before starting. 

I applied three double cap rivets to each strap rather than add buttons and buttonholes. I would also suggest heavy-duty snaps or button studs to allow the strap to be swapped out with others.

When the bag was all made, I was worried that the pleather was too stiff and that the binding wouldn't droop like a hobo should. After wearing it for a day, it softened wonderfully and feels great. 

 I love the strap slot and riveted handle.


Considering the capacity of the bag, I am really pleased with how comfortable it is to wear. The pattern does not include a magnetic snap closure so I added one to the lining before attaching the exterior.

It is the perfect size for a busy mom as demonstrated here by my friend Lisa 

This pattern is available for purchase  in Cheryl's store.

My "Peace, Puff, Afro, Love" fabric is available in my Etsy Store in limited quantities and less than Spoonflower rates. I have also listed the "Puff Diva" fabric. All the fabric is hand painted by me and each is unique. Grab them while you can and make someone's day!

Happy Sewing,

Friday, February 17, 2017

Machine Sewn Reverse Applique Wrap using Terial Magic

I have discovered magic, Terial Magic that is.

At Quilt Market last Fall I was introduced to Terial Magic a liquid fabric stabilizer that makes knits behave like a woven. I was so excited to hear what this product could do that I participated in a live product demo. Seeing the potential for speedy reverse applique I shared my plan with Laurie, the demonstrator and brand manger. She asked if I would be interested in a collaboration to show how I would use the product.

Today, I am the guest blogger on the Terial Arts blog. Pop over there to see the steps I took to make this fast and easy reverse applique project.

What I love is, the treated fabric becomes stiff after the application of the Terial Magic allowing the wrap to be sewn on a home sewing machine. This drastically reduces the time and effort involved in completing a project like this without hand-sewing. 

To further test the possibilities of this stabilizer, I sewed the motifs using silver metallic thread. I loaded it as normal and took no precautions against twisting, breaking or bobbin tangles I have heard occurs with metallic thread. There were no issues at all with the treated fabric! 

I am so thrilled with the end result. This wrap stitched up quickly and could be done in a week of evenings with no stress.

 Be sure to visit the Terial Magic page to find out how you can make your own.

Happy Sewing,

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Create What You Wish Existed In The World: Fabric Printing for Little Miss.

Update! This fabric is available in my Etsy store!

Over a year ago  a child at the YMCA told my darling child her free flowing curly locks were weird. Her feelings were hurt, she was saddened and confused. She wondered how someone could be so ill-mannered and cruel. After a conversation, reading her books, "Happy to Be Nappy" and "The Skin We Are In" and she let it go. It wasn't so easy for me to move on and I made a note to step up my "you are awesome" and "fearfully and wonderfully made" game.  

I looked around for fun fabrics with kids like my daughter represented. I found a few, but they included unicorns, princesses and fairies. I have bought them and think they are great, but feature fantasy and myth. I wanted a normal design based on real people; based on us. When I couldn't find what I was looking for I decided to make what I wanted.


Lately, I have been playing around with fabric printing. I have shared the prints I have previously experimented with on my Instagram. They have been small sample size and border prints, but never yardage enough for clothing. The process is imperfect and time-consuming so I was reluctant to print on a larger scale until now.

I made this Afro Puff Diva using design software and a die cutting machine. After careful consultation with the model, I hand-stamped the diva with black fabric paint and white flowers between. I love the texture the fabric paint gives. Some stamps are completely saturated and others have a weathered appearance. 

I chose to use New Look 6320 to make this dress and it was a fast and easy make.

                                   Image result for new look 6320
I love the collar on this dress. I wish I could take credit for perfect alignment of the diva on the collar when folded down. It was a happy coincidence that the hair and sunglasses matched up. I couldn't have planned for that had I tried.


I didn't want to hope on chance on the sleeve placement. I wanted the image centered, so I printed them directly on the cut sleeve piece.

I modified the dress to have side seam pockets and chose to add a regular zipper instead of the suggested exposed zipper.


I love this and want one for myself! I have made a stencil of this and other designs I am working on. I hope that airbrushing the fabric will be faster enabling me to make more in less time. It will result in a different texture but I think it will be good. 

Can you tell she loves her hair and her dress? The positive messages she receives far outweigh the random carelessness of a poorly raised kid. I love that since that incident she continues to completely embrace her identity, asserts herself when confronted and moves on respectfully. She is so great! I want to be her when I grow up!

Happy (confident) sewing,

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Challenge Accepted! Day and Night Dress Blog Tour

Happy New Year!
I hope you all have had a wonderful holiday season with the ones you love. I had an enjoyable time with my family. I have been working on my contribution to the Day and Night Dress Challenge hosted by Elizabeth Made This. 

Typically, I am a jeans and t-shirt kind of woman. When I wear dresses, they 
are usually shift or Mod style in bold prints. As my children get to big to be picked up and carried, I can now begin to expand my dress options. I have pinned thousands of dresses that I want to add to my wardrobe. When Elizabeth asked me to be a part of the inspiration team for her challenge, I was flattered and excited to have a reason to make one of these dresses.

Going into this challenge I knew I wanted to sew from my stash. I pulled a Vlisco Super Wax fabric that I bought last year and had planned to sew before buying more. I didn't keep that promise, but I came close.  I bought it in a 6-yard cut and planned to use most of it in a maxi length wrap dress. 

I chose to make McCalls 7185 in a sleeveless version of view c. I modified it by lengthening it to the floor and extending it by an additional 22 inches. The construction was pretty straightforward for most of it. I however, just about lost my mind on the waistband construction on step 20. I have mentioned before, that I have spacial orientation issues at times. It took me three times of stitching to figure out that the bodice facing needed to be flipped up toward the bodice and not down. When I figured that out, which is obvious to me now, it went along without a hitch.

A few of the dresses I admired on Pinterest had tie belts so I thought I would add one. Now that it is all made up, I don't think I need it. It is lost in the print. In addition to the tie belt, I added side seam pockets and I am so glad I did.

I was slow to make a maxi length Ankara wax print dress before now. I was worried that it would be too much of a good thing. Because the fabric is thicker than regular cotton it feels like a lot of fabric. I was also concerned that there would be too much bulk when worn. I am pleased to say if feels just right.


Now that I have made this, I think it is the right balance of print, pattern and visible skin (the "girls" don't normally see this much daylight).  


I love this dress! It has satisfied my long held dress envy and I don't know why I waited so long.

"I like to party and by party I mean stay at home and sew." I can relate to that quote so much. I don't have much of a night life and I have no complaints about it. I do however, get an occasional whim to have a glamorous night on the town. If I were to follow that whim, I would have nothing to wear. I welcomed the opportunity to add an evening dress to my wardrobe. 

I loved the dress I made for a friend to wear for her 60th birthday party using McCalls 7047. To satisfy my dress envy for that one, I decided to make a version for myself. I would have loved to make it in the same sequin fabric of the pattern cover and my friend's dress. The cost of that fabric and my lack of an occasion to wear the dress, I couldn't justify the cost. Instead, I found a Casa Embellish knit that is a cotton/poly/metallic blend. It has a soft drape and is lighter than the sequin fabric I used for that dress. It is light enough that I also used it as the lining for the skirt portion of the dress.

I made the dress straight from the pattern with no significant adjustments. I omitted the waistline elastic however, because the stretch of the fabric made it unnecessary. I hemmed the dress on my serger to make a rolled hem.

I really like my dress, but must admit to feeling a bit self conscious with how close fitting it is. I don't know what to do with my hands. 

I love that the cowl neckline can be worn on/off the shoulders as well as asymmetrically. 

To add a bit of pizzazz to the dress, I added a crystal belt. Now that it is photographed, I am on the fence about wearing it in real life. I think I prefer it without.

As I satisfied my dress envy with this one, I hope I have given you some.

If I have, why not join Elizabeth's challenge today?  As a participant, you have the chance to win great prizes. In addition to that, some of the sponsors are offering discounts on their fabrics and patterns. Please let me know in the comments if you are taking the challenge.

Be sure to check our all the other participants in the blog tour for your dress envy: 

Sunday, Jan 8th: Elizabeth of Elizabeth Made This, Brittany of Brittany J Jones
Monday, Jan 9th:  Maria of How Good is That?,  Tonya of Sew So Petite
Tuesday, Jan 10th: Je’Tua of Robertswife, Meg of Cookin’ and Craftin’, Melanie of Its Melanie Darling
Wednesday, Jan 11th:  Linda of Elle Gee Makes, Tee of Maggie Elaine
Thursday, Jan 12th: Bianca of Thanks! I Made Them Sew Can You, Daniela of On the Cutting Floor
Friday, Jan 13th:  Melissa of Mahlicadesigns, Rachel of Sew Redy, Renata of Runnningnstyle, Sonja of Sewing ala Carte
Saturday, Jan 14th: Doja of Elewa blog, Judith of Judith Dee’s World, Tanya of Mrs. Hughes
Happy Sewing,