Sewing Projects

5:10 PM

I mentioned that I was starting to sew more recently.  Here are a few of the patterns I've purchased to make this summer.  Two maternity patterns from Megan Nielsen, a maxi skirt pattern from Leanne Barlow and three children's clothing pieces from Blank Slate Patterns.

The two maternity patterns are your typical patterns - packets containing instructions with the pattern pieces included.  The maxi skirt pattern basically just tells you how to put the maxi skirt together based on your measurements.  And then, one of the new things in patterns is to buy them online as a pdf file. You pay far less than a standard pattern with the actual pattern papers included. But, you have to print the pages yourself, tape the pages together to form the patterns, then cut out those and cut your fabric from that. Quite a bit more work on your part, so it all evens out as far as cost/time.

And if you ever sew clothes at all, particularly knits, you'll know that there is significant value to having a serger. Something I have been considering buying for a few years now, but just putting off.  In particular, knits are really tricky to sew on a regular sewing machine because they are stretchy and tend to have more bunching or pulling issues with sewing machine standard feed dogs (those jaggedy two rows which guide fabric through the needle path).

There are certain "feet" you can use, like a walking foot, but those cost about $35 and you still have issues with seams and hemming. Knits are just a different ball game. I figured that out really quickly. I sewed my maternity nightie on my sewing machine, and it was a challenge. Certain parts of it were, anyway. It could have just been the challenge of sewing on elastic bands and having to stretch the fabric and elastic all while trying to pull the knit fabric through the machine. Tricky.

Well, when I purchased all these patterns, and all of them were clothing (duh) and most were for knits, it just made sense to go ahead and get a serger.  One of the great things about a serger is it makes seams in clothing look professional.  If you sew without a serger, the seam where you join various pieces of cloth tend to get bulky after a few washings. You constantly have to iron them out of the way which is a pain.  If you look at the inside seam of any item of clothing you own, you'll notice how tidily the two sides are joined with what looks like organized chaos - zig-zaggy stitching that keeps fabric from unraveling and makes the seam tight and neat. You have a serger to thank for that.

After much consideration, I found a highly recommended serger made by Brother, the Lock1034D.
I got a great deal on it on Amazon including free shipping! After hours spent watching the instructional videos and tinkering with how the thing is threaded, I decided to begin using it. 

In case you're interested in purchasing a serger, I keep coming across this one as a very good one.

I recently googled exactly how to serge a blind hem, and every blog I found that gave instructions was using this very serger.

It is definitely way more complicated than a sewing machine. For starters, you have to learn about upper and lower loopers and the left and right needles and how and in which order to thread them. Along with this serger came two instructional DVDs and a few manuals. At any given point, I've had them all at hand while I figured this thing out.

Here is the "control panel" for the serger. You can adjust the speed of the feed guide (differential feed), the length and width of stitches and whether or not your knife is in use.

So, now that I have my equipment, fabric was the next item on the list. For my current projects, I turned to some online sites. I did go to JoAnn's but really have the hardest time finding much there.  In the knit department, especially. I did get a basic black knit and a navy knit (you can see them in the stack) and I intend to use the black to make one of the maternity nighties, and the navy to make the maternity ruched shirt. 

I got the fabrics above from Girl Charlee, a great website for tons of really cool knits. I'm going to use the fabrics shown above to make the boatneck shirt from Blank Slate patterns. Brooklyn will have a shirt from the top fabric, Dorien from the middle and August from the bottom.

The top three knits on this stack were from Jo-Ann's, but the bottom charcoal grey fabric was from These are for the maternity nightie, maternity ruched shirt and possibly a maternity dress. Along with a maxi skirt.

Since we officially wrapped up our 2012-2013 school year this past Thursday, I have lots more time to dive into these projects! I'll keep you posted on my results, unless I just totally crash and burn. In which case, I may remain slightly more quiet.

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