I have had several brand new sewers recently and wanted to share our latest project. Maria is modeling her newly created apron. An apron is a great gift project, especially if you are making a holiday apron.
Maria learned how to use the sewing machine basics, how to sew a standard seam using a seam guide, how to sew a 1/4″ seam and how important a steam iron is to you when sewing. The first project was a pin cushion, second was a zipper change purse and then she learned to read the pattern and lay out the fabric. In the second class she cut the apron, marked the pocket placement, made pockets and straps.
We started a second project which was a knit dress. Maria found out how hard it is to cut a jersey knit. We finish the cutting but I learned I needed a new pair of SERRATED KNIFE-EDGE bent handled scissors for the next knit project. Scissors really make a big difference.
I hope you will join me in class during the holiday and in 2018.
Today I started a brand new project. A friend of mine asked me to remake her daughter’s wedding dress into a christening gown. She picked a Simplicity pattern. I set to work tearing the dress apart to harvest fabric and trim for the baby’s dress, slip, bonnet and shoes.
My mom thought I was crazy but I bought a large fancy box to store all the trim, fabric and scraps as I worked on the dress. I told her once I cut into the dress and pattern, I needed to stay organized so I would not loose anything. The next thing I am going to do is buy a padded hanger for the christening gown. The fabric wrinkles fast and I need to preserve the fresh pressed look .
I took pictures of the original gown before I took my scissors to the dress. The first cut was hard because the dress was beautiful. I cut off the bodice to work on the shirt sections. The main dress is an organza with lace appliques. There is a dress lining that I will make the slip, bonnet and slippers from. I cut the dress shirt along the seams to be able to see the open patches of usable fabric. I had to feel for the straight of grain when laying out the patterns. Each step of the way, I would study the construction and fabric grain to make sure I was making the best cutting decision. I steam pressed all the fabric before cutting any pattern pieces. It took me 4 hours to cut the 24 pattern pieces and the dress. I left the accessories to cut last, as they only take small amounts of fabric.
Cutting the front of the christening gown was easy. The wedding dress shirt is cut high in the wedding dress front and long in back for a train. That meant I had to cut off the satin trim from the hem on the train. I will then reapply the satin trim and lace to the back bottom edge of the christening gown. The Christening gown will reveal the design of the wedding gown in the hem.
Once I was able to evaluate the project, the next step was to order the notions needed. I ordered threads, elastic, ribbon and lace. Since we have very little in wedding dress supplies in Salisbury, MD I was forced to order on line.
I embroidered the grandmother’s and grandfather’s initials on the slip 1st. The embroidery says, “All because 2 people fell in love” and includes the grandmother and grandfather’s initials.
My final sewing decision was to line the organza. It added to the shape of the bodice and the flow of the dress. I have included pictures of the whole sewing process for you to see. My mom helped me by holding the dress for pictures before I cut. I think the dress is a masterpiece. See what you think?
If you have a special project you would like sewing help with you can send me an email using the form below.
There are lots of ways you can save time and problems when sewing. I call these helpful sewing tips! There are probably 1000’s of sage advise sewing tips. I will share just a few right now.
My beginner sewers learn all about the seam ripper. Thank goodness for the seam ripper. I like the small sharp rippers. When I first learned to sew I would do lots of extra sewing steps to try and cover up mistakes and not to rip it out. I usually ended up ripping the mistake anyway. It was a lesson I learned early.
A great tip is to use a straight pin at the ends of the buttonhole when cutting a buttonhole with a ripper, so you do not slice too far.
Change your sewing machine needle when starting and new project and throw the used needle away. Most of the time the needle gets burred with little effort. When we had our repair shop the first thing we would do is put in a new needle. Check your book for the best style and size of needle needed. Here is a link to the needles Jenny’s Sewing Studio sells.
Another helpful hint is to check the top threading before you sew your project. I always use a scrap to check the stitch. If you are getting a bunch of loose threads under the fabric it is usually caused but incorrect threading on the top side. Make sure you place tension on the thread as you bring it through the threading path. That way you seat the top thread for correct top tension.
When beginner sewers come to class and I teach them to use the sewing machine I notice one consistent thing. Everyone want to push the fabric or pull it through the sewing machine. I advise the sewer to learn to steer the fabric from in front of the presser foot. I will use my left hand to hold or smooth the fabric before the needle and the right hand to steer the direction the machine is taking the fabric. with practice the correct hand hold on the fabric will mean straighter seams. Sometimes I recommend a magnetic seam gauge. most students love to use the guide.
A oldie but a goodie is the Singer Sewing Book. When I first went to work as a sewing instructor for Singer in 1972 this was my first purchase. Today you might be luck to find a copy on Amazon. It is an encyclopedia of all thing sewing and I use the reference all the time.
That is all for now, till next time, Jenny
The weather this year has been lovely in Salisbury, MD. It is hard to concentrate on my sewing when the outdoors is calling my name. I did send a couple of delight days outside doing yard work. Tomorrow I think I will have to pull the rest of the summer flowers because frost is coming next week. I placed this Fall image up for you to enjoy. It is not from Salisbury, MD. but really gives you the feeling of tranquillity.
I love the Fall time of year. I love the textures and colors. I saw the leaf applique picture and was inspired to make an embroidery that would create the look of Fall to almost anything from purses to hems, to necklines. Be the designer!
A few years ago I made a video that shows some advanced concepts in machine embroidery One of the concepts on the video was how to digitize cut work applique using the Singer Futura software. If you do not have the software you can still embroider the leaves. I will put the design on my web page for you to enjoy.
If you do not have a Futura with FHE format and need another format let me know. Email me at email@example.com
If you need help understanding your embroidery machine I do teach sewing machine and embroidery machine classes. Follow the link.
I have several students who are always looking for a new sewing machine and yes, I still sell a few sewing machine models for Singer.
You should be able buy a very nice Singer sewing and embroidery machine for under $1200.00. The Singer Futura XL580 is what I now use for everything and I love the machine for all kinds of sewing and embroidery. Must have features for a sewing machine include a front drop in bobbin, needle up and down, electronic speed control, easy threading, an easy buttonhole and lots of decorative stitches are also pluses. A custom bed extension can be purchased for any machine and is nice to have. The ease of electronic stitch selection is a must and good lighting helps a lot. The machine will last for many years and is a major life investment.
Here are links to Singer machines and video that show the operation and features of several sewing machines.
I carry a Singer Legacy line of sewing and embroidery machines. The nice thing about Singer is the on-line video instruction that you can watch to learn what your machine can do. Please click on the video links if you are interested. I have the sewing machine version Singer C440. and the sewing and embroidery version Singer SE300
I have recently added the Used Singer Studio embroidery only S10
When I was little, my dad was in the house moving business with his dad. It was very dangerous work. Route 13 was expanding and some houses along the new road were moved to make room. I was too small to understand where or when but I do remember what my dad did. Recently I came across some pictures of the “jobs” as they were called and thought I would share some history with you. I know there is still house moving going on, they moved the Hatteras light house years ago. I remember after hurricane Hazel the phone rang and rang with people needing houses put back on foundations and trees being sawed and moved. I also saw them show how house moving was done on the history channel. I can not imagine seeing this done today. It was very specialized work and physics was a must. Here are some pictures to share of a tastee freez being moved, a ferry being moved, a large houses, being sawed in half and moved. The house had to fit on the street or go over a bridge as it was being moved and power and phone lines had to be pulled so the houses did not interfere, it was quite a feat. Most of these homes and businesses were large structures. Sometimes roofs came off before they were moved. My grandfather, James Edward Friedel and my dad C Gray Friedel did all this. Today we just tear it down and start again.
This has nothing to do with sewing but I wanted to document my memories…
Come to Salisbury, MD right now and you will see beautiful Crepe myrtles blossoms everywhere. These flowering trees are found in Red, Pink, Lavender, Purple and Rose, are chiefly known for their colorful and long-lasting flowers which occur in summer. I want to share pictures of these lovely trees that make a hot, hot summer bearable.