Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Sew along, day 11: The ruffle

The ruffle seems to puzzle a lot of people who are making this dress, but it's really pretty simple! I think the point of confusion is that it's not an actual pattern piece, but since you've already cut it out, it shouldn't be too complicated.

You're going to use your handy overlock stitch that you used in the reusable grocery bag practice sew along. Finish the long raw edges. There is a special presser foot for this stitch. If you don't have an overlock stitch, it's ok, just zig zag along the edge to close the open edge. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, check my reusable grocery bag practice sew along post.
My overlocking foot

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Sew along, day 10: Start sewing!

Today is the first real sewing day! We'll sew all the bodice darts and sew the front and back pieces together (for both the dress and the lining). If your alterations included skirt darts like mine, then you'll sew these as well.

You should have marked darts on each bodice piece. Keep in mind that I'm doing a side zipper, so I have a front piece and a single back piece for both the dress and lining. Fold along the center of each dart, "right" sides together. Match up the dart lines you drew with your fabric marker. Pin along them, with the pins perpendicular to your lines.
Bodice lining front--folded along the dart centers

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Sew along, day 8: Preparing your pattern for sewing

This is the last pattern prep day! I'm giving everyone another catch up day tomorrow to make sure we all start sewing at the same time. Pattern fitting, altering, cutting, and marking are my least favorite parts of sewing. If you're bored right now, you'll survive. We're almost over the hump. You'll also be thanking yourself later--when  I rush to cut out something without checking to make sure it fits or decide I don't need fabric markings, I always kick myself later because the final product never turns out as well

This pattern doesn't have a lot of markings--it really just has lines for the darts. You'll also want to mark the center front and center back on each piece, which will make it easier to match up pieces later. I ALWAYS skip this step and then end up screwing things up. So, take my advice and just mark it! You'll also have to copy the ruffle guide to your bodice front and iron on the interfacing to your lining bodice front and back piece.

We'll start by ironing on the interfacing. Most interfacing comes with directions for ironing. First, iron the piece of fabric flat, and place it "right" side down, "wrong" side up. Remember, we folded the fabric so the right side was facing in. Then, bumpy/sticky side down, lay the interfacing on the fabric. Iron it on medium-high heat until it's mostly stuck. Then, flip the fabric over to the "right" side to iron out any wrinkles. Finish by going over the interfacing side again, making sure it's totally stuck. You'll need to do this for the LINING bodice front and bodice back.
Iron lining fabric piece flat 
Lay the interfacing in place 
Iron on the interfacing, following the description in the text

Friday, June 24, 2011

Sew along, days 6-7: cutting out your fabric

Now that you have a perfectly tailored pattern, it's time to move on to your actual dress! The pace will pick up after this post, so make sure you're up to date! We'll still move slowly, but there will be something to do each day. So far this has been all prep work, which is time consuming but doesn't involve sewing, but I'll start splitting things into short sewing tasks.

Today it's time to start cutting out your fabric!

Start by ironing your paper pattern--yes, iron your tissue paper or packing paper, whatever you used! Use low heat, no steam (you don't want to light the paper on fire or shred it by getting it wet.
Ironing paper
Nicely pressed paper--all the pattern pieces

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Sew along, day 5: Catch up day!

There won't be anything new today. Tomorrow, I'll go through cutting out your actual fabric in preparation for sewing. This won't be too different than cutting out your fabric for the muslin, but remember, you have to cut out double (for the lining and the dress) as well as cut out the ruffle. 

In preparation for tomorrow, you should have your tailored pattern all ready to go. I'd recommend tissue paper or packing paper because then you can easily transfer marks from the pattern to the fabric since your fabric pen will bleed through.

If you have any questions so far, just post them as comments!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Mediterranean Beet Salad

I promised to post this about a week ago, but with the sew along and weddings to attend, I haven't had much time! I made this beet recipe from the New York Times with the beets from the first week of my CSA. My friend had made it last year for the 4th of July.

I followed this recipe exactly (except for one mistake, which I'll describe here). I cut the recipe down to a quarter, which was plenty for me (and the max I could make with my one large beet). The recipe says you can use either sherry vinegar, white wine vinegar, or cider vinegar--I chose cider. Finally, the recipe calls for roasted beets. Well I went ahead and cut up the beets/peeled them and laid them out on a cookie sheet. Then, while they were in the oven, I clicked the "roasted" on the recipe. It didn't want me to do that at all! You're supposed to put the entire beet in a casserole dish with a little recipe before even cutting it!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Sew along, days 3-4: the test run

Since Sunday, you should have used the free Coffee Date Dress pattern to cut out cheap practice to play around with for sizing purposes. All the seams should be marked, and you should have cut out along the sewing lines. Now, it's time to make alterations! I'll leave you two days to do this plus a catch up day on Thursday. The next sew along post will be Friday, June 24th. I honestly think alterations are the most complicated part of sewing.

Alterations are really individualized. I'm going to walk you through the process I usually follow when altering a pattern. How you adjust for a problem depends on what the problem is, so you should use your best judgment.

First, pin the fabric along the dart lines. Then hold it up to yourself or your dressform if you have one. The darts should go from your waist to just below each boob (sounds so vulgar in text). If they're too far apart, you'll want to take a little out of the middle. If they're too close together, you should add a little to the middle. If they go up too high, you'll want to move the point of the triangle down, etc. You should do all of this by marking new seams with a different colored marker than you originally used. Mark all changes on the stitching line, not the cutting line. Play with the darts if necessary until you get them right. If you end up having to add to the middle, just cut it open, pin in a little extra fabric, and then go back to your playing around. If there's not enough difference between the waist and bust, you'll have to widen the darts (pinch in more fabric, which means you'll have to add to the sides in the next step.
Pin the darts--you want all "seams" (not real seams since
they're pinned, not stitched) to face outward, like you're
wearing the dress inside out

Darts are too far apart! Take in from the middle

Monday, June 20, 2011

Sew along flickr group

Sorry for multiple sew along posts in a day. I wanted to let you know that I created a flickr group for you to share your photos of finished projects (like the reusable grocery bag you might have just made) or pictures that go along with questions you have. There is no way to post a picture in your comments to the blog posts, so please post the picture to flickr, then link in a comment to the post.

When everyone's finished their coffee date dresses, we'll post them all in the flickr group. If you don't want to show your face, please crop it out of the picture rather than blurring it out because I'm easily distracted.

For example, if you're confused about which way to fold your fabric, you could take a picture of it folded each way, upload them on flickr, then post your question, which someone will respond to! 

Here's the flickr group!

Sew alongs pages!

I created a new tab on my blog to consolidate all the sew along information. You can click the link here or click the tab next to home that is labeled coffee date sew along to get there. All relevant sew along posts will be consolidated there for easy access (so you don't have to search through all the old posts to find what you're looking for).

I hope your pattern prep is going well! Tomorrow we'll start with fitting and altering :)

Two weddings in one day? No problem

My friend and my fiance's cousin got married on the same day, so I made a reversible dress! I wore the pink side to the first wedding (a lunch reception) and the teal side to the second wedding (a dinner reception). The only problem was that the stretch satin was not stretchy enough, so I required a lot of assistance getting the dress on and off.
I love the twisted straps (my hair is kinda in the
way, but see the hint of teal flashing through?)
The pink side
The teal side
The only picture I have of the back...
This is Burda Style 05/11 #107D, called "Sex appeal" in the magazine. My fiance complained that none of my dresses that I make are fitted, so here you go! A fitted dress.

The pattern runs really big (it's like they forgot it was supposed to be made out of stretchy fabric) I made it out of ribbed jersey first, and it fit like a paper bag (I'll post that one when I take pictures). I spent forever altering it, and I ended up taking out an entire foot (6 inches/side), and it doesn't really fit right in the middle front or back. So for this one, I took out about two inches from the middle front, two inches from the middle back, and two inches per side, knowing that the stretch satin wasn't quite as stretchy as the ribbed knit. I guess that was a little too much, though, because I can't get it on and off myself. Also, the front pattern piece is a big C that you gather along the long side to make it straight. Directly under the bust, however, has no crosswise stretch, just to warn you!

I made the pink side a tiny bit longer than the teal so it shows a little bit--I did that on purpose so both sides weren't peeking out on both sides of the dress. I haven't gone around and tacked the hems together yet.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Sew along, days 1-2: prepping for the test run

The day has come! The sew along starts today! Usually I'll post one day at a time, but this first step is basically cutting out the pattern and making variations to your size/taste, so it could take you anywhere from 1-4 days to do it. I'll give you four days so you don't feel pressured, and once we move to actual sewing, I'll post things in shorter, day at a time posts.
The pattern!
You should have printed the free Coffee Date Dress pattern from Burda Style by this point and taped it together. This pattern was generated by Elaine of The Selfish Seamstress Blog. It won a pattern contest with Burda Style, and that's how it ended up on the Burda Style website. Elaine's blog is really fun to read, but unfortunately it looks like she stopped posting at the end of 2010.

Now, using regular paper scissors (not your good sewing scissors), but around each pattern piece. I like to leave a wide margin in case I need to use the pattern again later for a different size. 

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Mom's Zucchini Bread

This was a major favorite while growing up. Everyone in my family loves it, including my dog, who gets it for her birthday every year. This means that any time my mom makes the bread, my dog expects presents. You definitely have to try this recipe!

Reusable grocery bag practice sew along

For those of you hoping to learn to sew from the upcoming Coffee Date Dress sew along, this is for a little practice! By this point, you should have figured out how to thread your machine and sew a straight stitch on some scrap fabric.

My finished Charlie Bag
These groceries came from my kitchen for the picture, which
is why the milk and soda are only half full. I don't actually
drink soda, it was leftover from a meeting.
This pattern is simple, practical, and good experience following a Burda Style pattern. Also, since it's not something you're going to wear, it will be more forgiving of mistakes (unless your groceries are really high maintenance). I'll walk through the steps of the free instructions from Burda Style (click here). The name of the bag is the "Charlie Bag." For a beginner, this whole thing should take 2-3 days. For the real sew along, I will break down the instructions. This way, though, you guys can set your own pace and figure out how long things take. I used a contrasting thread so you can see what I'm doing.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

CSA Week 1!

I joined a CSA with a friend this year. We got our first box of produce last Monday. Between the two of us, we got

1 bunch asparagus
1 bunch carrots
1 green leaf lettuce
1 red leaf lettuce
1 bunch kale
2 greenhouse-grown tomatoes
1 bunch beets
2 zucchini
2 summer squash
2 heads of broccoli
I think I'll post what I do with the contents of each box every week (or at least most weeks). We split it evenly, so I got half a bunch of stuff that came in bunches, half a head of each lettuce, and one tomato, zucchini, squash, and head of broccoli. 

I steamed half the broccoli for dinner one night (I know, it's not really a dinner, but I had had a late lunch that day).
First use of the steamer in the new apartment

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Coffee Date sew along fabric amount correction!

I messed up just a little. If you're doing a separate top and bottom, you should get 2 yards for the bottom, regardless of whether your fabric is 45" wide or 60" wide. If you only bought one yard already, I think we can make it work--you just have to be creative with your cutting.

Sorry about that!!!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Sew along: who are you?

I just finished my big move across town and then left right away for a good friend's wedding, so I'm sorry I haven't been posting updates. I'll post my apartment decorating and my new mini garden at some point, but for now I want to find out a little more about you--the people trying to sew the coffee date dress with me.

Please fill out this anonymous survey! Depending on how many responses I get, I might share some of the general statistics, but I won't share any individual info. I really just want to know for myself who my audience is.

My friend just got a sewing machine as a wedding gift (which I knew she was getting), so I planned this sew along around her schedule to help her learn how to use it from afar. I have three other friends who will also be following, but beyond that, I know nothing about any of you! I hope to see your survey responses soon :)