Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Valentine's Elbow Patches

I was taken by the fashion pin I found of a jumper with hearts for elbow patches and really wanted to do that for my doll. As with so many things these days someone had already done it but it is still a good idea, so I included the little heart shape and placement in my Knitfit Lucy Classic Skivvy pattern.

I used some regular woven fabric in pink for my hearts. Trace two hearts onto fusible applique paper and cut out a rectangle around them. Iron this onto the back of the pink fabric then cut out around the hearts.
Let it cool then carefully peel off the hearts. To position them I held the fabric and pattern piece up to the window and put the fabric heart over the outline that I could see through the sleeve fabric. Iron the hearts in place.

Have you used your edge stitch foot lately?
My overlocker is threaded with black and I just didn't feel like swapping to the cream so I tried out my edge stitch foot on my sewing machine and it worked a treat. The little finger that the zig zag stitch goes over, stops the edge of the fabric being pulled in by the stitches. I used my regular tension with a 5mm zig zag and my regular 2.5mm stitch length.

After stitching the shoulder seams put on the neck band. I used the singlet neck band for this jumper. I forgot that the t-shirt back and front I used has a higher neck line than the singlet and I should have cut 1/2" off the neck band length to make the neck fit a bit snugger.

I cut my sleeves an extra 1/8" longer, left off the cuff and turned up 3/8" hem. I zig zag my hems 1/4" from the fold.
When you put in the sleeves make sure you get them right and left so the hearts go in the right place. The heart is placed closer to the back of the sleeve.

After trying it on the doll a few times I decided to make it a bit shorter and put on some lace edging.
This knit fabric did not hem too well. It stretched a bit and looks a bit loose around the hem. I will have to work on a design that is tight fitting. I have a plan for a fashion skivvy with a few different variations. A tight fitting option will be one of them.

I have plenty of time to play around with my computer as well as sewing. I imported the final photos into Fireworks and erased the background. (I hope to have a studio set up for green screen photos soon). Jessica is now at Binna Burra for a short break :)

Happy Sewing,

Monday, January 26, 2015

Classic Skivvy Pattern

I so love working with knits. Doll clothes look so good made in knit fabrics because they drape so nicely.

My latest pattern is for light weight knits and is the beginning of my Knitfit Collection for light weight knits. I have decided to give each of my collections a different number.
1400's is the Snugfit Collection
1500's is the Knitfit Collection for light weight knits

I have the Loosefit Collection coming out soon as well as a Knitfit Collection for bulky knits and I have two new underwear patterns ready to go as part of my new Doll Design Mini Collection. I have called it mini because the instructions are 99% text with one or two photos for the really tricky bits and I have not included lots of variations as I do with my regular patterns.

Here is my latest design. The Classic Skivvy. Almost a collection all by itself with skivvy, t-shirt, crop top and singlet.

Here are screen shots of the some of the pages

Visit valspierssews's Craftsy Pattern Store »

Happy Sewing,

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Inserting narrow elastic with zig zag casing

This is another method that I have picked up on the web. I think I found something similar when I was trying to make a tu tu. Then I was trying to insert 4" of narrow elastic in the wrist of a puffed sleeve and I just couldn't stretch it far enough. Zig zagging over the elastic without touching it allows you to pull up the sleeve very tightly without having to stretch the elastic at all.

Photo Tutorial
Without cutting the elastic measure off what you need - 13cm (5") for a panties leg, 11.5cm (4 1/2") for an ankle, 9cm (3 1/2") for a wrist, 10cm (4") for an upper arm.
Mark the length with a pencil dot.

Mark a guide line for the elastic on the garment. Pin the end of the elastic and the raw edge level.

Secure the elastic end with  a few 2mm zig zag stitches. Back stitch for extra hold. Widen the zig zag to about 6mm so it just clears the edges of the elastic. Stitch to about an inch away from your pencil mark.

Leave the needle down and lift the presser foot. Gently pull on the elastic in front with your left hand and behind, hold the fabric between the fingers of your right hand so the fabric bunches up and the elastic slides forward.

Stitch again. At the end line up the pencil mark with the edge of the fabric. Zig zag to the end and secure the end of the elastic with a few narrow zig zag stitches. Back stitch for good measure.

Even out the fabric gathers.

Happy Sewing,

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Finishing Armholes, Neck Edge and Hems with Lace

When I made my first petticoat I used narrow lace to finish the armhole and neck edges. You can also use this method to put lace on the hem edge of any garment.

Here is how I did it.

Place the narrow lace on the fabric edge right sides together with edge of the lace you don't want to see level with the raw edge of the fabric.
If you are using gathered lace with a header tape you will find that the header tape is usually 1/4" wide. Just lay the header tape next to the raw edge with right sides together and stitch along the stitching line on the header tape.

Place the lace and fabric right sides together

Stitch it along the edge with a 1/4" seam.

I trimmed the seam and lace back to 1/8". If you are using the ready made gathered lace that has the 1/4" header tape don't trim the seam or lace just turn the 1/4" seam allowance to the wrong side.
If you need to neaten the edge, after stitching on the lace you can overcast the seam allowance with zig zag stitch. I think overlocking might add too much bulk.

Don't trim the header tape off your lace if it has one.

Fold the lace and the fabric towards the wrong side. I didn't bother pressing before top stitching.

Top stitch along the middle of the seam shadow.

Be careful when you press that you don't melt your lace.

Great finish for underwear.

Happy Sewing,

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Don't be scared of knits

There are some gorgeous knit fabrics to buy these days and they are such a modern fabric. I am still trying to come to terms with what is fashionable for 18" dolls. I did a search for t-shirts and none of them had ribbing for the short sleeve bands or even the neck bands but I really like ribbing on a t-shirt. I guess it reminds me of the good old days when the t-shirts I bought for myself were made of knit fabric that wasn't so thin you could see through it and the bands were done with ribbing instead of the cheap fabric the shirt was made of.
No matter how hard I try, the clothes I design for my doll look like clothes I would wear. However, I am still working through my classic designs so the patterns can be made to suit the style you like. Cap sleeves look very modern and you can always just hem the sleeves instead of using rib or put a narrow single fold strip on the neck. It also seems that the modern t-shirt is white or at a pinch pink or red. I think the patterned knits I use might be a bit grown up looking for a child which is who the doll is meant to represent.

I have been working on the final stages of my Classic Skivvy. I had all the samples done for the different views, I just needed to make up a skivvy from my finished pattern pieces and take photos for the instructions as I put it together.

Oddly enough I have found that the best way to sew the knit fabric is to use a narrow zig zag on the sewing machine. I set it to 2mm. The only part I overlock is the edge of the back facing.

Because the knits I have been using are two way stretch I had to change the differential dial to stop it stretching out the edge. My normal differential setting is 1.5. I did a couple of test goes on my fabric and found that 1.75 gave the best result. The edge puckered up a bit but I left the thread tails long and gently eased the wrinkles out buy stretching the edge. This makes the thread tails pull up shorter. You don't want the overlocking to come undone while you flatten out the edge so leave the tails long. After the edge is nice and square trim the thread ends.

I probably should have changed my needle to a ball point for knits but I stuck with my universal needle. I found that it tended to cause a jam if I tried to back stitch at the beginning and end of seams. Since most of the seams end up sewn into other seams I just stopped back stitching. I had a little bit of trouble getting past the parts made thicker by seams or hem turn ups but I think this also would have been fixed with a ball point needle. You can always anticipate a problem and go slow or turn the wheel by hand to get past the tricky bits.

Use 2mm narrow zig zag for seams

Don't back stitch at the ends of seams and go slow over the thicker parts.

To neaten up the wrist a bit I stitched across the seam allowance making it stay open and flat.

Have fun with knits. They don't fray so hems don't need overlocking or double folds and seam allowances don't need any finishing. Because the the necks and wrists are so small the fitting of bands is easy. No fiddly measuring quarters. Just find the centres and ends and stretch the bits in between.

Look out for my Knit fit Lucy  - Classic Skivvy for Lightweight Knits. A pattern including different sleeve and neck styles. Other patterns on the go are the Loosefit Jacket and the Snugfit circular skirt and the bulky knit vest with drop shoulders. All of these designs will come with multiple views.

And finally, be on the lookout for my new collection called Doll Design Minis. I have noticed a definite lack of underwear patterns and apron patterns for 18" dolls so I will be designing patterns for lots of different styles. They will have one view and minimal instructions. But if you have my regular patterns you will always be able to find helpful instructions for many techniques.

Visit my Craftsy Shop.

Happy Sewing,

Friday, January 16, 2015

Craftsy Flash Sale

I love to support Craftsy. They are the only market place where I can sell my patterns for no listing fee and no selling commission. They advertise through their affiliate members.

Being in Australia I had to check on what time to post. I must put it on a sticky note on my screen because I keep having to look it up. 5pm Friday here is 12am Thursday in Montana sort of central north west on the Canadian border.


Happy Sewing,

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Cute Open Neck Blouse Pattern

I have just published a new pattern. It is an open neck blouse with a convertible collar (as opposed to a collar with a stand). I am re-familiarising myself with many clothes sewing terms since I started on the doll clothes. I love the way I can experiment in miniature.

The new pattern is 1406 Snugfit Elaine - Open Neck Blouse

There are darts and shirt tails and button tabs and pockets.

Even before finishing the file I had started to play with a jacket idea. Just for fun I added in another short sleeve pattern page so you can make your own long sleeve by just extending the side lines. This was after I decided to include the Market Tote tutorial in the download as well as a nicely drawn up rectangle so you don't have any excuses to put off making the little tote from my previous post.

Visit my shop on Craftsy for a great deal on all my patterns. Only $1.50 US and and $2.00 US and most of the pattern pieces can be mixed and matched to create your own designs.

I love Craftsy. It is such a good place for Indy Designers to sell their patterns.

Online Sewing Class

Happy Sewing,