making a move

I am moving over to a self-hosted blog, over at http://www.indigorchid.com! From now on I’ll only be posting at my new site, so please join me there, and update your bookmarks and feeds to this new adress. I hope you’ll feel at home there too!

around here

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These past few weeks, I have been…

- amusing myself with six shades of grey at work.
- cooking with red cabbage, so pretty. Sarah B of My New Roots is my new best recipe friend, and I’ve been working my way through a bunch of her recipes, picking up new tricks here and there.
- reading my new favorite magazine. It’s pretty much the life I want to live with growing things, mindfulness, creating, cooking, and travelling – but with the impressive trait of being inspiring instead of preachy.
- altering shirts. Well, at least one shirt. John has a pile of dress shirts he’s been asking me to take in, and I’ve finally started on that pile. This one went from making him look like a 12-year old to actually fitting. I even moved the shoulder seam up! I expect about a dozen more of these, and the threshold to start much lower than it’s been.

trick: anchoring seam-allowances

Remember my printed dress that I fixed up? It’s only been a few days, so I’m assuming yes. I mentioned that I anchored the seam-allowances together, and I wanted to expand on that!

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This is a technique I’m finding myself using more and more – most recently in this printed friday-fixed dress, and also the gathered sundress from before Christmas. Basically, it is sewing the seam-allowances together at strategic points to keep the lining (or some other layer, like an inner structural bodice for example) in place.

I find I use this trick when the lining is hanging free, sewn together to the outside fabric only at the neckline (and sometimes at the sleeve hems). This construction method means that the lining moves pretty independently of the outside fabric at many points, and that’s not always something I want. For example, I really like the waist-seams to be attached to each other and move as one, and not start bunching or twisting!

Ok, let’s do some visuals:

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This is the side-seam of the skirt, where I attached the seam-allowances of the skirt and the lining together. It’s a good idea to make sure the seam allowances are facing the same direction (usually towards the back) on both layers. Hang the dress up, or lay it out as it would normally hand, and then reach in and pinch the seam-allowance where you’re sewing it together before turning it inside out.

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This is the side-seam of the skirt again, just a larger view. After pinching the seam-allowance together, you’ll have the lining to one side and the outside fabric to the other. It might look a little strange, but as long as you did the pinching while the garment was hanging like normal, it’ll be fine. Do keep an eye out for draglines  – I like to sew the one side, pin the other, then hang it up to see if something weird is going on. Fix, and proceed.

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I didn’t sew the seam-allowances together all the way down, since I want the hem to be moving on its own. Also, notice how I stitched pretty much in the middle of the seam-allowance (which is a lot narrower for the lining that I just overlocked, but same principle!).

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I also did the waist-seam. In this picture we’re looking at the skirt lining at the top, and the inside of the self-faced bodice closest to us. I made sure all the waist seam- allowances faced down, then stitched for a few centimeters right at the middle, center front and center back. The lining layer was slightly smaller than the outside, so I only did a small section so they wouldn’t pull and make draglines. In a sturdier fabric where the lining matches perfectly, I’d go ahead and sew a larger section.

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I made a little illustration to further show where I’d use this technique (at least on a dress – a tailored jacket uses this many places, but that’s a post of its own!). I used it two places on this dress; at the side seam and the waist seam. If the lining layer had sleeves attached to it, like a fully lined jacket for example would have, I would also want to attach the seam-allowances at the top of the shoulders. With this particular printed dress I actually sandwiched the sleeves between the outer fabric and the lining layer, so they were all anchored and secured by that.

I hope this made sense, and can be helpful – feel free to ask any questions!

fix-it-friday: african dress tweaks

african_after_front

I love this dress. It was gifted to me years ago by a friend after she had travelled in Africa, and I so loved that she picked this color for me. I also have loved the fabric – a lightweight, gauzy kind; the traditional (I assume as much) print with what reads to me as a typically “Western” dress shape, which all adds up to a quirky dress I have worn and loved for years.

Why have it ended up as a friday-fix then?

african_dress_before

First issue – it wasn’t lined in the skirt. You can probably see in the picture that the bodice is self-lined, but the skirt is a single layer. I’ve always had to wear a slip or an underskirt, and I haven’t loved either option. It was also a smidge looser in the waist than it needed, so I have now taken it in slightly.

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In addition, not all construction details have held up to my use over the years. The (invisible!) zipper was just folded under at the top, and the fabric at the corners were actually starting to tear. I’m a little embarrassed to admit that exposed seams with uneven seam allowance was bothering me a little (how perfectionist are you allowed to be?!), so with the prospect of tweaking some aspects of the dress, I decided to just go ahead and disassemble, neaten, and reassemble.

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As I was trying to decide between reinstalling the invisible zipper or changing it out for an exposed metal zipper, I realized two things. One was that metal is cold against bare skin, and the other was that I don’t think I have actually unzipped this dress a single time. It’s loose enough to just slip over my head, so in a move worthy of Mena of SewWeekly (who has made it almost a trademark to get away without pesky zippers), I did in fact omit the whole thing. It’s of course a little more snug now that I’ve taken in the waist a little, but I can still manage to just pull it on over my head!

african_dress_side

As for the skirt, I lined it with some yellowish green polyester stuff I’ve had around for *ages*, so yey stashbusting too! I did the trick (I used it also on my recent wintery summer dress) of sewing the seam allowances of the outside fabric and the lining together to anchor them at strategic points, which I’ll be doing a tutorial of sorts (more like a guide. I like guides.) in my next post, so look for that!

In my sewing corner I currently have one of John’s dress shirts that I’m taking in, and a Minoru jacket underway, and I’m so happy to be knocking out and actually finishing projects again. After my surprise at how little I actually sewed in 2012, I think this year is getting off to a good start!

around here

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These past few weeks, I have been…
- taking some blueish and blurry pictures to share with you. It’s still dark outside whenever I’m not at work (which also limits a lot of picture-taking to the weekends still), but for the first time now it’s not dark when I *leave* work! Small victories.
- eating green things. We brought back some jugs of our freshly made olive oil from my parents house, and man that stuff is green and bright and peppery! It was especially good drizzled over a bowl of white winter vegetable soup (that is, potatoes, celery root, and parsley root. And lots of cream), with some feld salad to top it off. Feld salad also goes by the names of field salad, lamb’s lettuce, corn salad, and mâche.
- riding a wave of drive and inner calm, and while I’m not quite sure where it’s coming from, I do hope it will stick around. I’ve been clearing off surfaces, tackling projects, and feeling determined rather than overwhelmed. It feels very good. I have been deep cleaning just one small area a day (a table, a shelf, a windowsill), and adding function – I now finally have a place to store my jewellery! Those are soap-dishes from Ikea holding all my earrings now, sitting pretty in the bedroom windowsill. Also, getting back into projects from way back – after a year of hiatus I’ve cut the lining for my Minoru jacket, and I’m so looking forward to getting it  done. It will be purple and cozy.
- dressing for the cold with strategic layers – that tiny pocket tank I’m wearing backwards is hiding the high neckline of my thermal longsleeved underlayer, haha!
- reading again. “The Devil and the White city” is about the 1893 World Expo in Chicago, and it’s making me miss the city, look up buildings and addresses, and relive my Windy city years. I haven’t read fiction in such a long time, but that too is feeling so good.