Sunday, 18 October 2015

Unusual Sewing Tools: Sharpened Chalk

This is one that I hadn't realized was unusual until someone on my Facebook asked how to mark on fleece.  I had never thought about it before as I've always used sharpened chalk to mark my fabrics.  But not everyone had my grade 10 Fashion Design teacher to show them that trick.  So, Thank you Mrs.Hammond for being a quick problem solver and coming up with one of the best tools for marking on fabric.

Photo from The Creativity Eschange

It's super easy to do yourself.

  • Get a pencil sharpener with the larger hole (the kind you use for Kindergarten pencils) 
  • Choose an assortment of coloured chalk
  • Sharpen the chalk just like a pencil

Photo from Things That Are Pretty
It doesn't rub off accidentally very easily, but does brush off without too much effort.  Marking on fabrics with some pile or loft is no problem and the markings come out in the wash. As always, TEST ON DELICATE FABRIC FIRST.  

I don't recommend this for every project, sometimes you need a precise, thin mark to follow, and sometimes you need something that absolutely can't be removed.  I tend to use sharpened chalk the most in my sewing.

A quick Google search tells me that this a common technique for really precise chalkboard writing.  I have never thought of that, to be honest.  

Sunday, 4 October 2015

Finished project: Shelly Bra

Being off work is the perfect time to catch up on my sewing.  I had a bra to do for a client that was "No Big Rush", so I had put it off a bit.  

After having her try on the mock up, I made a slight change and then did up the good copy.  The rough one had a bit of hollowness in the upper cup, so I lowered the mid cup seam a quarter inch and that should do it.

The pattern is Shelly from the Pin-up Girls, and the fabric was a kit from Merckwaerdigh's Etsy shop. The wires are also from Bra Maker's Supply.

The only problem I encountered was that the main fabric in the kit is a 4-way stretch fabric, and the pattern calls for a stable fabric.  I solved this by hand basting the pieces to duoplex so there was minimal stretch during sewing.  This worked quite nicely, although it does feel a bit thick.

I'm very pleased with how this turned out and have now cut out one for myself out of another kit I bought at the same time from Merckwaerdigh.

Mum wants one done too, but she's leaving next week with her sisters on vacation for the rest of the month, so I'll have the rough draft done before she comes back.  

Honestly,  I think that the best part of custom made bras is the underwires.  A RTW bra uses the best wires for the size of the bra, but a custom one allows us to use the best wires for the size of you.  I have a full set of Long and Extra Long wires from Bra Maker's Supply, so I can keep switching out wires until the most comfortable ones are found.  This is excellent as RTW bras in my size tend to have wires that go under my arms and poke me in the armpits.

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Finished Project: Birthday Party Dress

Here is the dress I made for Itsa for her first day of school.  She is super happy to have a dress that matches her brother (who she loves to pieces even when he's indifferent to her existence).  I used the same fabric as I used for Aki's shirt, bought at Fabricland.

I used the Oliver + S Birthday Party Dress pattern.  I had been eyeing the pattern for a while, and unsure if I should buy it, but then found it on clearance at A Great Notion for $2 and snapped it up!  Nice deal.

This was an easy and quick dress to do up, with the pleats being the only technically challenging part.  

I decided to use snaps on the back instead of buttons as I had run out of thread and didn't want to leave the house for more.  I love design choices born out of laziness.  I'm not so good at using my snap pliers though, so these snaps took a lot more effort than necessary.  But I really feel I have a better technique now.

I serged the seam allowances.

And added a Varelikatt label.  I really like having those little labels.

The hem facing is a nice touch on Oliver + S patterns.  I basted the hem first, then I blind stitched it.  This was the first time I had basted a hem first, and it was so much easier to do a blind stitch.  I can't believe I haven't done that before.

Itsa really enjoys wearing this dress, and I think this may be my go-to little girl dress pattern.