Showing posts with label Seam Allowances. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Seam Allowances. Show all posts

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Oliver + S: Family Reunion Dress

This is a dress I made around the end of 2014 in readiness for Christmas of that year.  I never got around to blogging about at the time.  I did however take some photographs during making up.  I bought the digital version of the pattern, printed it all out and stuck it together with tape.  I don't mind the process too much.  My version is sized to 24 months.  At the time the recipient was only 16 months but I pictured this dress getting more wear during the following summer and as it was intended to be a surprise I allowed lots of margin for growth.

I had a nice pale blue 100% cotton print in the stash, a little fusible interfacing and some reused shirt buttons.  The apparently simple, short-sleeved, A-line dress has quite a bit of detail.

The dress is shaped by tucks over the chest and back.  I sewed the dress using the Singer 201K treadle and used a vintage tuck marker to help me form the tucks.  Using the vintage attachment was fun but I would imagine that with careful measurements and thread marking one could easily manage without.

The dress buttons up the back.  I made the buttonholes on the Singer 201K fitted with Greist buttonholer.  The neckline facing is interesting in that it is turned to the right side and edge stitched in place.

The pattern has nice deep seam allowances and gives the usual modern instructions for finishing them with a zig-zag, serger or however else you might wish to.  I cribbed Muv's flat felled shoulder seams from the child's dress pattern she drafted and made.  The sleeves are hemmed, gathered and attached to the armscye before the side seams are closed.  I finished the sleeve head seam allowance with a zig-zag using the Singer 401G.  This was quick but if I made the pattern again I might make matching bias and use that to bind this seam. 

I used good old reliable French seams to close the sides of the dress which just made my zig-zag short cut on the armholes look even sloppier.

The pattern made quite a feature of what Oliver+S calls its signature hem.  This consists of a deep hem facing, worthy of the 1840s, turned to the inside and edge stitched.

The facing is then decorated with an additional five rows of topstitching spaced at quarter inch intervals.  The result is a good looking, firm hem which hangs well and is suggestive of hard wear.

This was a a very sweet little project to sew.  I would definitely make it again and would look at using Oliver+S patterns again in the future.

Monday, 20 January 2014

A onesie for The Much Belovéd: Kwik Sew K3713

It seems like onesies are ubiquitous at the moment even here at Oil and Thread where we seldom follow fashion.  According to the stats the likelihood is that by now you either own a Onesie or know someone who does.  I am guessing that fewer people have actually sewn a onesie.  Unless they happen to have a copy of Kwik Sew K3713 lying around.

I thought this pattern might appeal to The Much Belovéd.  He seemed genuinely pleased when he first saw it and quite excited when I finally got down to work on it.  He tends to run around barefoot quite a bit so we agreed on version B the footless sleep suit.

I was inspired by the colour scheme on the pattern envelope and the very reasonable price of red cotton flannel.  An error on my part concerning the fabric width led me to buying twice as much winceyette as required.  During the weekend I spent shrinking, drying and ironing this fabric it felt like we were swathed in acres of red brushed cotton.

Red rag to a bull?

The pattern really isn't complicated and the instructions are first rate.  The biggest challenge is the size of the pieces.  Laying out and cutting took up a lot of space.  It's lucky the dinning table has that extra leaf!  Once the fabric was cut its size made it more than a bit of a handful.

The pattern includes a quarter inch seam allowances which are finished by zigzagging together - must be a job for the trusty 401G.  I heeded all my old sewing machine instruction books' warnings about shortening the stitch length and lightening the tension when sewing flannel.  I think this is supposed to allow the seams to 'give' a little during wear.  Kwik Sew's quarter inch seam allowances mean no trimming - refreshing!

This shade of red has proven to be virtually impossible to photograph!

The neckband and cuffs are sewn into the main body and finished in the same way.

This was my first go at sewing stretchy knits.  I did invest in some Organ needles designed especially for stretch fabric and I played it safe by sewing with my 'modern' machine.  I quite enjoyed the experience and the results are encouraging.

The pattern includes directions for either buttons or snap fastenings.  TMB put in a special request for snap fastenings so that meant buying some new kit.  I may post a full tutorial on fitting snaps at a later date.  They went on without any trouble at all and I think they work well with this pattern.

The pattern is a very generously sized.  I cut the medium based on the measurements on the pattern envelope but in my opinion the finished garment is a shade too big for TBM.  It's actually a better fit on me and I am nearer a large these days.  If I made another (remember I ended up with enough fabric for two) I would either make the small for TMB or reduce the length of the body by 1-2 inches.  TMB was however delighted with his roomy new onesie.  The proof has been in the wearing with the onesie making regular appearances at the weekend breakfast table!

The owner was not available for modelling today

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Has anyone ever heard of a Hussif?

I hadn't until I was chatting to follower Ken a week or two ago.  I thought I knew what he was talking about until Monday when I treated myself to a copy of the Merchant & Mills SEWING BOOK.  When I saw a photograph of their project Hussif I realised the picture I had in my head was well off beam.  It turns out that a Hussif is a pocket sewing kit with some whimsical etymology thrown in for good measure.

I am rather taken by the Merchant & Mills SEWING BOOK.  It's an aesthetically pleasing object in its own right and the projects inside are, for the main part, non-gender-specific which makes a welcome change for the male seamster.

As a confirmed old bachelor with some heavy unbleached calico on his hands I figured that a Hussif is the nearest I am likely to get to a housewife and resolved to knock one up [perhaps I should rephrase that!?]

Here are some pictures of my version

Pocket Sewing Kit - open

There are seven pockets for bits and bobs sewing notions.  I made mine the same size as the instructions but the book encourages makers to adjust pocket sizes to fit the objects in their own sewing kit.  The striped ticking covers two layers of cotton quilt wadding which form a pin cushion cum needle case.

Pocket Sewing Kit - closed

Here is the Hussif all furled up and tied shut.  To give you an idea of size the cotton webbing tape is 25mm (yes I've gone metric today) or one inch wide.  I may trim the tape down a bit once things have stretched out a bit.

The first of two big adventures in making this project was printing the downloadable Merchant and Mills graphic onto what can only be described as magic paper and then transferring this to the front of the Hussif using the iron.

I think I may have overcooked the transfer slightly and the instructions on where to position it were not Gavin-proof (I may have got the graphic upside down) but overall I am pleased with the effect.  I am left with some mixed feelings about putting a company logo onto an item I have made but I like the look of the finished project and I have tried out something I never would have done otherwise.  My mind is now teaming with ideas for some kind of Oil & Thread transfer.  Possibly featuring a hen if I can find copyright free image to use.

Adventure number two is a Singer 401G related discovery and one for the seam guide junkies amongst us (you know who you are).  I have discovered that the toe of the general purposes foot can be made to sit under the seam guide.  This is shown in the section of the Manual which shows how to blind stitch hems using the "BO" setting.  I realised that, with the needle centred (red lever at position 3), this gives scant ⅛ seam allowance.

Singer slant shank general purpose food and seam guide
Singer 401G: General purpose foot and seam guide

When would want a scant ⅛ seam allowance?  Well I found it handy when edge stitching the Hussif.  I hope you agree that the results are pretty tasty.

I am planning to hold on to this particular Hussif myself.  I have something in mind for it.  I really enjoyed putting this together.  It's a good way to spend a Saturday afternoon.  At this point in September I am thinking that one or two of these, filled with some 'heritage' style notions might make good Christmas presents.

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Seam Guidance or This one's for Matt C

Of all the sewing machine accessories I own (and they have rather mounted up here over the last year) the one I use the most is my seam guide.  This is probably because I use old black sewing machines with no markings on their throat plates.  To the best of my limited knowledge there are two basic types of seam guide.  The first is quite heavy, T-shaped, and pictured left.  This is the kind that tends to come with black japanned Singers with gold decals.  The second is made of lighter pressed metal and plastic and tends to be found with the later tan, pale green and duck egg coloured Singers.

Early type Singer seam guide
Later type Singer seam guide

Both types will screw into either hole in the machine bed of a black Singer sewing machine [say a Singer 66 for instance Matt]  I've taken pictures just to prove my point.  Notice that the later type can be swivelled about to allow for sewing curved seams.

If you have a zig-zag machine you can also use this type of seam guide to help with making a blind hem.  I haven't done it yet myself but this operation is on my experimental to-do list
Now this is not, as you might think, a six inch/15 cm ruler.  It is, in point of fact, a knitting and sewing gauge.  I know this because it has this written on one end of it.  This gadget, with its sliding marker, has a number of uses.  I use it a lot to set up the seam guides on my black Singers, none of which have markings on their throat plates.
Sewing and knitting guage

Now although these old Singer are not marked in the way that a modern machine would be there are landmarks if you know how to read them.  I've tried to illustrate the first here.  This is the front one of the two screws which actually hold the throat plate on to the bed of the machine.  Check out the seam gauge.  If you use the right edge of this screw as a reference point you'll be sewing a quarter inch seam allowance.  This is useful for those who piece quilt tops and other patchwork projects.

The next land mark is the mystery hole nestling snugly in the D-shaped throat plate.  Don't look for one of these if you have a VS machine like a Singer 28, 27, 128 or 127 because I don't think you will find one.  I'm not entirely sure what the intended purpose of this hole is.  I think it might be something to do with an under-braiding attachment sold by Singer.  The other interesting fact is that by using this hole as a seam guide you will be sewing a ⅝ seam which just so happens to be the industry standard for home sewing patterns.  Don't believe me?  Check the sewing gauge - handy eh?

Now, without the aid of the seam gauge, if you have the older type of seam guide and thumb screw you have two useful default settings.  The first I wrote about last time is for a ⅜ seam allowance and the second is achieved in the following way.  Set the thumb screw in the threaded hold nearest the throat plate and position the flat side of the seam guide as close to the thumb screw as possible.  This creates a spacing of one inch.  I suspect that this might well come in handy for turning hems.

Some people have seam guides and use them, some people have sewn beautifully for decades and have never seen a seam guide never mind used one.  They were a standard in the accessory boxes for Singer sewing machines so millions must have been stamped out over the years.  Bear this in mind if you are going to buy one.  I wouldn't want pay more than a couple of pounds for one.  It might be more cost effective to buy a job lot of accessories that include a seam guide - mixed lots turn up regularly on ebay.  If you can find one to buy cheaply or, even better, get one given to you you will have an easy to use accessory which will really earn its keep.

In parting I leave you with a link to one of Muv's (of Lizzie Leonard Vintage Sewing fame) excellent video tutorials.  If you're not familiar with her videos and blog check them out.  They are a priceless source for the care and use of vintage machines!  I cannot recommend them enough!