Monthly Archives: April 2012

Sewing with Miss Mayzie

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I always enjoyed sewing for my children when they were wee ones.  I still have the little jeans, complete with rivets, that I made so many years ago.  I had three boys and sewed for all of them.  I reached my pinnacle in boys wear with tailored dress coats, and the white duppioni silk short-all with a navy sailor collar complete with silk grosgrain ribbon stripes, you know…  the kinds of things English royal children wear.  Of course, none of the boys were very excited about wearing these things once they became conscious of what other kids were wearing, but I had a few precious years of dressing them like princes.

Every now and then I get the urge to make a little girls dress; I used to sew my nieces but they’re grown now, too.  I made dresses to donate to school auctions, but auction days are over.  So now, when that urge to sew something pink strikes me, I’m at loose ends.  Last summer while having a conversation with a long time friend ( since 4th grade to be precise) who happens to have four granddaughters,  I asked her if she would like to me make a dress for one of them.  Of course, she said yes.

Being that I tend to view children as little sponges ready to absorb experiences, and I wanted to make this project more than just getting a new dress and elevate it into a creative sewing adventure for my little pupil.   I did this by bringing her into the process.  Together we visited the fabric store,  took measurements, selected a pattern, deliberated over fabrics and made a final choice from the many options available; all the major decisions for the dress were made by Mayzie.  Then we had a fitting so she could try on the finished product.

And what should you do when you’re wearing a new dress?  Have a tea party, of course!

See youtube here:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9DqL-yFL_0M&list=UUoDqX3YB19EigDTFVqhm19g&index=2&feature=plcp

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“In the Sewing Universe”

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In 2008 graphic designer,  Melissa Delzio, developed the concept of  publishing a book extolling the virtues of the City of Roses, Portland, Oregon. As the driving force behind the project, Melissa put out a call to locals requesting they write about their favorite things in Portland and submit stories for publication in, Our Portland Story  http://ourportlandstory.com/.  Of course I wanted to write about the fabulous fabric resources we have in Portland and thus, “In the Sewing Universe” was born.  My submission was accepted and included in the groundbreaking first edition of Melissa’s energized book.  My page was designed by the talented graphic designer Marisa Green of studio danae. http://www.studiodanae.com/  and I absolutely adore what she did with my page…  it is so pretty in pink and the vintage touch is in inspired.  The book was published in 2010 with a well attended launch party and book-signing  held at Mississippi Studios:  http://www.mississippistudios.com/  It was great fun and I am glad to have been a part of this innovative and Portland savvy project.

Read here:  In the Sewing Universe by Kerri Jones

                     

Sewing Tutorial – Making An Underskirt

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It’s a cold, gray and intermittently rainy day… so typical of April weather in the Pacific Northwest.  I am so tired of the damp and am dreaming of sunny days that will soon be here.  I will be ready for the warm weather once it arrives, now that I have completed my underskirt to go with my white linen dress.  It turned out just as I had hoped; it’s pretty, it adds interest and best of all it has the practical purpose of providing a lining to what is otherwise a very see-through dress. See-through dresses are… well… embarrassing and while wearing a nylon slip under a natural fiber sundress might sound like an option for some, in my world slips and sundresses somehow just won’t do.  And so you see, I really had no choice other than to make my own cool underskirt.

1)  I started by searching through my pattern library for something I could modify to my needs.  I found what I was looking for in this skirt pattern by New Look.

2)  I chose a rayon lining which is perfect for warm weather, because it breaths, and doesn’t cling, and is quiet (I don’t like to hear a rustle of fabric unless, of course, I’m in my tafetta gown at the cotillion).   I stitched the side seams and serged the edges for a clean finish.

3)  I determined the length and width of the “fashion” fabric (fashion fabric is meant to be seen) I wanted to attached to the bottom of lining (lining is meant not to be seen).  I didn’t want it to be a full ruffle, so I eliminated much of the width from the original pattern piece.

4)  Then the side seams were stitched and serged.

5)  After the side seams were completed, I stitch three rows of machine basting (the longest stitch setting on your machine).  The first row was stitched at  3/8″, then at 5/8″ and the last at 3/4″. Once the three rows of basting were in place, I began to draw up the threads to create gathers, securing the end threads on a pin.

6)  With the ruffle gathered to the desired width, I pinned it to the lower edge of the skirt lining.

7)  I then sewed the ruffle to the skirt lining using the 5/8″ gathering line as a stiching guide.  Once the ruffle was attached, I removed the 3/4″ line of basting .

8)  Next I created a casing at the top of the skirt to run elastic through.  I turned down enough fabric to allow for room to slide my elastic through plus a little extra so I could tuck the raw edges under the fold to create a finished edge.

9)  Then I stitched the casing leaving a space open for elastic insertion.

10)  Then using a bodkin (a sewing tool designed for pulling elastic or cording through a casing… a safety pin will work in a pinch) I inserted the elastic pre-measured to fit my waist.  Once the elastic was through the casing I stitched the ends together and stitched the casing closed.

11) And here we have the finished underskirt ready to be worn on the first warm day that comes along.  I think this might be quite a versatile piece and I may be able to wear it with some other things I have.  I’ll be making a visit to my closet to see what else it might go with.

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Sewing Tutorial – Creating a bias binding finish

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I started working on this silk jacket a long time ago.  It is finished except for finishing the interior seams of each armhole.   An unlined jacket should look as finished on the inside as it does on the outside.  A bias binding applied to raw edges creates a couture finish detail that is very pleasing.

1.  Begin by removing threads or fraying from the raw edge.

2. Create a 3″ bias strip out of left over fabrics and fold in half.

3.  Pin the folded bias strip around the armhole with the raw edges of the bias and garment together.

4.  Stitch using the armhole seam line as a guide.

5.  Trim the excess from armhole edge leaving a scant 3/8″.

6. Pin the finished bias edge in place along interior sleeve using seam line as a guide. (You could also use a basting thread instead of pins.)

7.  Carefully stitch the finished bias edge in place along pinned edge.

8. Finished seam looks beautiful and also serves as a little shoulder support giving shape to the seam line without the use of shoulder pads.

9. Finish the raw edges of the neckline using the same bias strip application.

10.  Pin the  bias strip in place with raw edges together.

11.  Stitch bias strip in place using the neckline seam as a guide.

12. Trim the neckline edge to a scant 1/4″.

13.  Pin the bias strip in place and stitch along finished edge of strip.

14.  The finished interior neckline creates a clean finish.

15.  Completed jacket with inside couture finishes.