Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Ch-Ch-Changes


Ch-Ch-Changes... is the theme for Sewing By Ti's may blog tour. It was originally going to be called "Transitions" but that wasn't quite as catchy.

Transitions or changes is quite a broad theme. There are so many directions this one can go, and I think you will see a wide range of sewing ideas and inspiration during this blog tour. I'm focusing on sewing for my oldest daughter, as sewing for her has changed over the years. In fact, you could say that we are in a true transition stage as she is now a tween, the age in between a child and a teenager.

Yes, a tween, how did this happen? I can't be old enough to be the parent of a tween, can I?

In fact, when she recently told me she was a tween, I didn't believe her. She is nine years old, and I thought the tween years didn't start until ten. I even turned to google to prove her wrong. However, the first answer that popped up called the tween years between 8-12. This wasn't the first time google sided with Kylie instead of me.

Here is what popped up when I googled:


There seems to be a lot of different definitions and age discrepancies for the tween years, but according to this definition pictured, I actually have TWO tweenagers. Our second oldest is eight years old, and I just don't see her in this category yet. But no matter which definition you choose, there is no denying the tween years will be here in full force soon enough.

The thing about Kylie, my nine year old, is that she still marches to the beat of her own drum. She is very opinionated, loves fashion, but doesn't follow trends or fashion rules. I can't speak of all tweens in my blog post today, just my daughter.

As an example, unlike many of her friends her own age, she doesn't like leggings. She in fact, hates them. Some of her friends will only wear leggings according to Kylie. But not Kylie. I've made her and bought her many pairs that she refuses to wear. Thankfully, her sister Eve was happy to take them off her hands... errr legs?

Things she likes in fashion: the color blue, anything with texture, dresses, small details, jeans, science or dog themed shirts, anything unique...

When I decided I would sew for her for this blog tour, I knew I needed to make her a Daphne by Made for Mermaids. She begged me for one when I recently sewed her sister a dress from that pattern, which I blogged about here.

I chose some dotted chambray from Cali Fabrics, knowing she would like the texture.


Pattern: Daphne by Made for Mermaids (affiliate link)

The verdict? She was so happy to see the dress! The first thing she said was "Wow, I just love old fashioned fabric! And the dress is so pretty!"

Old fashioned? I don't know why, but that made me laugh. I guess it has a classic feel to it.

It turns out, however, that she doesn't like wearing the dress off the shoulders the way the pattern is intended. It surprised me because she loved that about her sister's dress. She just didn't like the feel of it. I tightened the elastic to make it easier to wear around her neck like a peasant dress, and she is very happy with it.


Besides the change to the neckline (i.e. tightening the elastic), the only thing I adjusted was blending the height for her chest size. Her chest size is technically a size 5 according to the size chart, and her height is a size 10. I know from experience that it's best if I don't blend the sizes as drastically, so I went with a size 6 for width of the pattern and size 10 for length. The armscye, ruffle height, and dress length are all adjusted to the length of the size 10, but everything else is a size 6. The fit turned out great. No other adjustments were made.

There are some evidences of this transitional age period in our photoshoot.

Young enough to love ruffles. She tells me she likes ruffles, which she is happy about in the dress. I'm not sure if she will ever be too old to like ruffles. Who knows? I was just surprised it's something she likes at her age.


Old enough to wear wedges (with a bigger heel than I ever wear, I might add.)


Young enough to want to stop and pick the clover flowers.


Old enough to have dyed hair. She has had this blue streak in her hair for months now. It's just now starting to fade, but it's still pretty.


She's obviously growing up, but still enjoying childhood, as she should. There are some days when her attitude reminds me that she is approaching the teenage years, but overall she is the sweetest person you could ever meet. She cares deeply about others, has a passion for learning, and is a creative soul. I hope those things remain constant in her life as she continues growing up.



Here's to the tween years! May they be as fun as all of the other years have been so far.



To see how other sewing bloggers have interpreted this theme, check out the rest of the tour here (links will not be live until the scheduled date):

Sunday, May 1st- Sewing By Ti, Tenille's Thread

Monday, May 8- Sewing By Ti
May 9th- Sewing By Ti
May 10th- Sewing By Ti
May 11th- Lilliepawillie
May 12th- Sewing By Ti

Monday, May 15th- Anne Mari Sews
May 16th- Mahlica Designs
May 17th- Ma Moose
May 18th- The Fairy Dust Bin
May 19th- Harper + Lu

Monday, May 22nd- Margarita on the Ross
May 23rd- Very Blissful
May 24th- Creative Counselor
May 25th- Doodle Number 5
May 26th- Ade Says

Sunday, May 28th- Sew Like a Sloth
May 29th- Anne Mari Sews
May 30th- Stitching and Making

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Mommy and Me Raglan SAL, Day 3



Today in our sew along, we are finishing our necklines.

If you are sewing the Riviera Raglan, there are quite a few necklines you can choose from: crewneck, V-neck, hoodie, split neck, or henley. You can choose any option you want for our SAL, but my blog post today focuses on sewing the crew neck option. This is a very common neckline in knit patterns, and I have noticed a lot of questions about it in online sewing groups. All the pictures in the blog post are from the Streamline Tee by New Horizons.

I am not trying to reinvent the wheel here, there are lots of wonderful tutorials out there already on how to achieve a nice banded neckline. I'm hoping to add a few tips I have found helpful. This is just a supplement to either your pattern instructions or to other tutorials you might be following.

First, you need to make sure that the fabric you are using for the neckband has enough stretch (at least 50% for most patterns) and good recovery (meaning it doesn't get stretched out, after being stretched it should bounce back to it's original size.)

When it's time to mark your band and your shirt in quarters, I suggest snipping the fabric to mark the quarter placements. You want the snips to be noticeable as you are sewing, but you do not want to cut into the seam allowance.

Keep in mind, the seam on the neckband does not need snipped, but that will count as one of the quarter markings, so just three snips in the neckband and four snips along the shirt neckline.

Here is a picture of one of the snips on the band, and the snips on the neckline of the shirt. They are circled in red:


I promise those quarter points are even, I didn't notice how lopsided the shirt was laying when I took the picture.

Next, turn the shirt inside out and pin the neckband to the right side of the neckline, on the inside of the shirt, using the snips to match up the quarter points.


This arrow is pointing at the seam of the neckband. Line that up with the center BACK marking.


If you are using your serger, I suggest basting the neckline on before serging the neckline, unless you are confident in your neckline length, your fabric choice and your sewing skills. It is easy to go over the stitch with a serger if you are happy with the neckline.

If you are using your sewing machine, I suggest using a slightly longer than normal stitch to give the neckline some stretch. And by using a longer stitch, it shouldn't be a big deal to seam rip should you need to adjust your neckline. Or you could use an even longer stitch and baste it on first. Up to you. Just keep in mind that this might be a high risk area of seam ripping. Just a warning!

When sewing (or basting) on the neckband, I find it easiest to keep the shirt inside out just like you pinned it earlier. I have the shirt against the feed dogs and I have the neckband on top, sewing on the inside of the circle.


As you sew the neckband on, stretch the neckband to fit, but do not stretch the shirt fabric.

Having the snips to mark the quarter points comes in handy at this point because I can take out the needles and still know where the quarter points are. As I'm sewing, I stretch the neckband to get the snips to line up as shown in this picture here:


As you are sewing on the neckband, make sure you are sewing with the correct seam allowance. I have the tendency to take too small of seam allowance here and it makes the neckband too tall and sometimes the neck opening isn't wide enough. Taking too small or big of a seam allowance can make a big difference in the neckline!

Troubleshooting:

If your neckband is too floppy, that means that the neckband was too long. Or it could mean that the  neckband fabric doesn't have great recovery and was stretched out too much. Shortening the neckband will help, but if it's strictly a fabric issue, keep in mind that you might have better luck with something with better recovery. You can try shortening the neckband first if you really want to make a certain fabric work.

If there are puckers in the shirt, that means the neckband was too short. It could also mean that it wasn't stretched evenly across the quarter points. Either go back and stretch evenly or add length to the neckband. This could also happen if the neckband fabric does not have enough stretch.

Usually a neckband is around 85% smaller than the length of the neckline. If you are calculating your own, that is a good place to start. Of course, different fabrics all have their optimized percent based on their stretch and recovery, but that amount works for a lot of fabrics.

When you are all done, sit back and admire your work.


These get a lot easier with practice! Don't stress if you have become good friends with your seam ripper when sewing on neckbands, they become no big deal with a little practice.

Some people like to topstitch their neckband seam allowance down, but I prefer the look without it. And with a good fitting neckband, I haven't had the need to do it. However, if you want to topstitch yours, I will be talking about double needles on the blog tomorrow and you can do it then if you are fine waiting a day.

We are almost done with our shirts for the sew along. Hemming is the last thing left! Don't forget to post your pictures in the group.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Mommy and Me Raglan SAL, Day 2



It's day two of our sew along!

Today we are sewing on the sleeves and sewing the side seams. 

In my opinion, this is the easiest day. You probably don't need this blog post at all and can simply follow along the instructions in your pattern. And if you have made a raglan before or two, you probably don't even need those instructions.

However, I truly want to make this sew along easy for all levels of sewers. So if you want a little extra material to help you make your shirts, this blog post is for you. I would still consult your pattern first and use this pictures/instructions only if you are still having trouble. And if you still need more help, feel free to ask in the Simply by Ti group where the SAL is taking place. 

Raglans are a great project for a beginner as the sleeves are mostly a straight line. If there is a curve, it's minor. Raglans are also a great project for experienced sewers as they are a quick and satisfying project and fun to wear. I know I'm not getting tired of them any time soon. :)

The first step is to sew the sleeves to the front of the shirt RST (right sides together.) This is where the notches or markings you made yesterday will come in handy. Make sure you are sewing the front of the sleeve to the front of the shirt.


Next, sew the sleeves to the back of the shirt RST. It will look like this at this point.

The neckline isn't really that small, it's just how it's laying that it looks that way.

Next, press your seam allowance towards the inside of the shirt.

Next sew your side seams RST, starting with the edge of the sleeve all the way down to the bottom of the shirt in one seam. Once you sew both side seams, turn your shirt right side out, and voila! 

You might notice my serger tails in this picture. You do not need a serger to do this, a sewing machine works just fine. If you do use a serger, you can simply trim these tails. They will be enclosed in the hems or seam of the neckband, so they will not unravel. 

If you are feeling impatient, you can try the shirt on at this point. This was Emmett's shirt and although he says he likes it, he wasn't in the mood to take a picture. But I took one anyways. 



Keep in mind that the neckband will pull in the neckline a little bit. If it seems a little loose, that's normal at this point.

You might also take note on if you want to take a different hem allowance on the sleeves or the body of the shirt than your pattern requires. My pattern called for a 1" hem on the sleeves and body and that seemed fine to me. We will do the neckband (or whatever neckline you are doing) tomorrow and the hems the following day. Join us the Simply by Ti group to post your pictures!






Sunday, May 7, 2017

Mommy and Me Raglan SAL, Day 1

Welcome to the Mommy and Me Raglan Sew Along hosted by Simply by Ti!


To follow along with the sew along, post your pictures, and win prizes, please join us in the Simply by Ti facebook group.

In the facebook group, you will find coupon codes for Simply by Ti fabric and for the Riviera Raglan (women's) and the Streamline Tee (kids) from New Horizons. However, you  may use any fabric or raglan patterns that you wish! Simply sew two raglans, one for you and another for your child.


The schedule:
Day 1 - Cut out fabric
Day 2 - Sew sleeves and side seams
Day 3 - Finish neckline
Day 4 - Hemming
Days 5, 6, 7 - Catch up, post photos in the group for a chance to win!

Today is Day 1!



Today is simple, it's time to print your pattern, and cut out your fabric. Although simple, I will admit this is my least favorite part of sewing. Sometimes this takes me just as long as the actual sewing for a garment, but it must be done. The good news is, we are cutting out two shirts today, one for you and one for your child. I always feel better when I cut out multiple items at once, it's like getting more dirty work out of the way at once.

If you need any help printing and/or assembling your pattern, please ask in the Facebook group. Most patterns will have good instructions on how to print. Make sure you check your 1" (or whatever size is included in your specific pattern) square to make sure you printed at the correct scale!

As for the cutting, I do have just a few tips for you that I will share in this blog post. However, if you have any questions, feel free to ask in the group!

First tip for cutting out your raglans: make sure that when you cut out your sleeve, you are cutting two mirror images. This way you have a right and a left sleeve. This is an easy mistake to make if you are new to cutting out patterns, if you are in a hurry or if you aren't paying attention while cutting. Forgetting to cut out mirror images happens to even experienced sewists too, I promise! Let's just say I have been known to daydream while I'm cutting out fabric.

My second tip is: when you cut out your pattern, you will want to make sure that you clearly mark front and back on the sleeve and main fabric. I will demonstrate in pictures.

The Riviera Raglan includes notches, make sure you cut those out!

Notch on the front shirt piece along the armscye: (is it still called an armscye on a raglan? I don't know)


And the whole front piece, with the notches cut out:


The back shirt piece has double notches:


And here is the sleeve with the single notch on the front side of the sleeve and the double notches on the back side of the sleeves. Actually, I have both sleeves here, just stacked, it's just how I cut them out to get mirror image sleeves:


As you can see, the back and front curve of the sleeve are a little different and you will appreciate the notches when it is time to sew on your sleeves.

As for the Streamline Tee, the front and back of the sleeve was marked on the pattern piece, but notches weren't included. I could have easily made my own notches, but I felt a little lazy, so I marked them a different way. Whichever you choose to do it, is fine, just make sure you mark your pattern pieces in some way!

Here is my lazy way of doing it. This is on the Streamline Tee. I simply cut a little snip on the front curve of the sleeve on the front shirt:


And I cut a snip on each of the sleeves along the curve for the front:


I didn't mark the back, just the front, as I would know it was the back if there were no snips. Tsk, tsk, told you I chose the laziest way.

Keep in mind, you want your snips to be obvious, but you don't want to cut too far and past the seam allowance.

Once you are done cutting out your fabric, please post your photo for the day in the Facebook group. I look forward to seeing what fabrics everyone choose! Please don't hesitate to ask if you have any questions! I am very excited for this sew along and I hope you will join us!