Sunday, January 13, 2013

Winding Down


Quick and dirty.  Those are the two words I'm using to describe the making of this dress.  It was a fast make.  Super fast.   Which makes pregnant-me very happy.   I'm winding down my maternity sewing.  There are still a couple of things I'm planning to sew.  Only one definite.  But I think from this point forward it's smarter to focus on getting ready for baby.  We are busy working on the nursery.  I've started collecting various types of baby gear.  It kind of makes me panic when I think about how little time there is before she's here.  Three more months!  Ack!


I bought this particular pattern, Butterick 5679 and some double knit at a Hancock sale after seeing Carolyn's version a couple of weeks ago.  In fact, I even picked fabric close to what Carolyn used.  The highest form of flattery, right? ;)  It looked like a pretty easy pattern and I liked the raglan sleeve and cowl.  Like I said before,  I'm all about the quick and easy right now.   I've also never sewn a raglan sleeve before and I was curious.   With a little modification it made a great maternity dress (thanks for the tip, Carolyn!).  The double knit is not the best.  Some of those double knits they have at Hancock are really nice, and some not so much.  This one is extremely synthetic and has a slight smell after drying in the dryer.  But it's fine for winter time wear.  And pregnant girls can't be choosy when it comes to clothes that fit.



I made view B, but I did a quick and dirty full belly alteration (that's for you, Valerie!).  I'm not really sure if that's what it's called, but I like the description.  The lengthen/shorten line was just above the waistline on the front piece.  I cut straight across the lengthen/shorten line and stopped right before the side edge.   Then I pivoted out both pieces and added about two or so inches right where my belly would be.   I lengthened the entire piece by adding about four inches beyond that silly point on the original pattern piece and connected the side seams.  I ended up redrawing the side seam and smoothing it all out.  Actually, I didn't draw anything.  I made all these changes while cutting out my fabric on the fly.  Shame, shame.  But it worked.   I only altered the front piece.  I did not sew a center front seam.  I cut on the fold instead.  I cut the back on the fold as well and added length to accommodate for the alteration I made to the front.


I didn't have enough fabric for the full cowl piece.  The original cowl must be huuuuge.  I cut down the depth by half.  I think I'm happier with a smaller cowl anyway.   I matched my stripes but all the seams are still pretty obvious because it's impossible to match snowflakes, too.  I am not a perfectionist, if you can't already tell.  When I tried it on (after only about an hour and half of sewing!) I loved it but it was just a leetle bit too short for work.  So I added a hem band to add more length.  It took me about as long to add the hem band as it did to sew the whole dress.  I cut the band slightly smaller than the hem to pull it in a bit.  As a result, there is a little bit of misshapen-ness going on there at the side seam.  I can't make myself fix it.  I've worn the dress three times already.  I keep hoping it will work it's way out :)  Lazy, I tell you!


I actually made a muslin, can you believe it?  Well, sort of.   I made up view D (minus those silly hem points again- what is it with sewing pattern companies and pointy hems?!) to take a break from my jacket sewing over the holiday break.   I had high hopes that it would turn out wearable.  Meh.  It did, but I had to majorly modify the back piece.  The neckline was so incredibly wide at first that it slipped off my shoulders completely.  I pinched three or so inches out of the center back piece and re-cut the side and sleeve edges.  Then I resewed the sleeve on to the narrower back to fix it.  It's not the most flattering top ever, but it is comfy.  It sort of reminds me of a nightgown.  I'm planning on re-purposing the knit after baby comes.  I used a nice drapey rayon knit from my stash.  It's so large that I'm hoping I can cut another regular knit top from it later on.   Or possibly a baby onesie ;)


And this is the belly at 28 weeks.  Seven months!  I still feel really good. I was never thankful for my long torso until now (I could never find shirts long enough when I was younger).  I have plenty of room through the middle.  I don't feel too squished yet.  Yet being the operative word here....

*****

I think I'm going to write a separate blog post about this one day (maybe not), but I'm getting to the point where  I'd like for my sewn knits to be a little more polished.  I love knits.  I sew a lot of knits, but I do it on my regular machine and use a narrow zig zag.  I don't have patience for the stretch stitch.  My finish is lacking.  I leave most seams raw.  I overlock occasionally-- if it's an edge that will be seen.  My hemming sucks most of the time.  My machine hates twin needles.  What are my other options?  Are there other techniques out there I don't know about?  Is it time to look in to a serger?  And are there sergers out there that are affordable for a poor teacher with a brand new baby?  I'd love a Babylock, as recommended by a coworker, but I don't buy cars that expensive!  Anyway.  Just wondering if you guys are pro-serger or not.  Is it really worth it?  And if you are- what do you recommend?  Any advice is appreciated.

Happy sewing!


44 comments:

  1. That might just be the best looking maternity dress I've ever seen. As for getting a serger or learning a bunch of new techniques for knits, learning is always enriching and good but you are about to have a baby. Get a Brother 1034D and save your brain cells for learning baby techniques!

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    1. I'm glad you mentioned the Brother, as a lot of others have, too. I saw one on Ebay for less than a hundred dollars the other day. Thanks for the recommendation!

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    2. i also just got a brother 1034D. around $180 on amazon. so far so good! threading was not nearly as bad as i thought it would be. super fast finished seams. and then for hems, i started using some spray starch and an iron, my walking foot and a small zigzap on my reg. machine. soooo much better. i am a perfectionist though.

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    3. I'm going to jump in here too - I have a Brother 1034D as well. I really, really love it. I also got it for around $180 on amazon because I really wanted a brand new one. I have my machines sitting side by side because I use them both frequently. soisewedthis - you use a walking foot? How does that work with knits? I haven't tried one yet.

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    4. Yep, I looked again and the cheap one I saw listed was used. I think I'd rather have a brand new one...

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    5. I bought the Brother 1034D last year - based on the strength of the reviews on PatternReview.com. I've been really happy with it.

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    6. Jenny, the walking foot on my regular machine is fabulous esp. on knits!
      Liza Jane, one other thing about the Brother 1034D - i do love it, but there is one thing it doesn't do, which i wish it did, which is the coverstitch - where it looks like a twin needle stitch from the front and zig zags the back (found on most RTW knit clothing). I actually didn't know that it doesn't do the coverstitch before i got it, but mine was a gift.

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    7. I think that Brother model is the one that my good friend has and she loves it. It gets great reviews and is relatively inexpensive. As for the coverstitch feature I don't think most sergers have that. You can get a combination serger-coverstich machine but those tend to be more expensive.

      I use my serger all the time for knits. The only thing I don't use the serger for with knits is hemming. I love it!

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  2. These are two great makes! I love that your maternity dress is one that I've made too! And congrats that you've only got 3 more months before your daughter makes her appearance!

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    1. Oh yes, I blatantly copied your version, with the addition of a couple of modifications. I hope you don't mind!

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    2. I don't mind at all! Copy anything you see!

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  3. Two posts in raw about serger%)) may be you will find something useful here in comments
    http://kestrelfindsandmakes.blogspot.ru/2013/01/fo-happy-spotty-renfrew.html

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  4. Great dress! And ditto on theBrother 1034d- makes everything sooooo much faster and neater once you get the hang of it!

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  5. yes to the serger! it is totally worth saving for. it makes sewing with knits loads easier! i have a brother serger and love it. the snowflake dress is so cute! aren't raglan sleeves the best? they are so fast to put together it almost feels like cheating!

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    1. I love raglan sleeves now. They are super easy.

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  6. Awww, you look so cute in both of your new dresses! :-) And yes, I highly recommend a serger. I've heard (no actual personal experience) that the Brother sergers are both cheaper and just as good as the Babylock (though they might not have the special air threading), so you might look in to one of those; otherwise, save your pennies and get the Babylock, I love mine!

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  7. I've got a Brother 3034D, and I love it! It's easy to thread, reliable, and never gives me trouble. I managed to get it half off, which helped, of course! It *would* make it easy for lots of baby and toddler sewing... I predict a lot of knits in your future! They are so quick and easy, I imagine it'll be all you manage to have time for for a good while! I vote yes for a serger, if possible!

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  8. Both of these are super cute! Looks very easy and comfy. As far as sergers go - you don't *need* one, but once you have one you will wonder how you did without it. I have a Brother 1034D, and it is fantastic! Works very well, pretty easy to thread. And not too expensive, especially when compared with a Babylock.

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  9. Yep, I have that same Brother 1034D that everyone else has. I use it on every single thing I sew, and my seams last much longer. It won't help you in hemming knits, because the serger actually kinda stretches out the raw edge. I still have to fight with my double needle on my reg machine for hemming. I would absolutely recommend one, though. It's a worthy investment for creating better quality garments, woven or knit.

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    1. Well, I have to admit that I'm bummed it doesn't help hemming. But I'm glad so many have recommended the same machine since it is so much more affordable. Thanks!

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  10. You look so cosy in that snowflake dress!

    I am having the same issues as you regarding a serger - I nearly bought one for my birthday last year, but felt kind of "meh" about it when it was demonstrated to me so didn't buy it. I still can't decide whether I'd really like and use one, or whether I'd be better off replacing my 20+ year old sewing machine.

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    1. I was on the fence, but I think I'm leaning towards getting one now. Like people have pointed out, it would make sewing baby things quick and easy...

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  11. You are looking so good! I love both those dresses.... is that second one supposed to be a muslin? I like it! This colour is great on you. I have an overlocker, I don't use it for everything, but it does make sewing up knits easy and a heck of a lot faster.
    Liza Jane, I have passed onto you the very Inspiring Bloggers award, if you would like to take it up then the button is here
    http://handmadebycarolyn.blogspot.com.au/2013/01/sweet-nothings.html
    but please don't feel obliged if you don't want it :)

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  12. Adore the colour of your muslin on you! It's so pretty! Full belly adjustment for the win!

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  13. I loved this maternity dress. I shudder when I look back at what I wore during my pregnancies!! On the overlocker issue (as I call a serger -I'm from the UK) - I dithered for YEARS. Totally not worth it, it has transformed my sewing! Everything looks so professional inside now and I can whizz up easy stuff for the kids such as pj bottoms in an hour or so. And baby clothes need a lot of soft stretch ;) My overlocker is very basic as I wasn't sure when I bought it if I should make a big investment or not. It's a Janome 9200D. I won't lie to you, there have been a few tears with threading as it's completely manual, basically there is a thread that you pass under two other ones near the footplate that just seems so counter intuitive but once you've got your head round that it's fine. & sometimes I cheat by knotting the threads at the top when I change colours and get lucky and they pass through without me having to rethread the whole thing.
    Good luck with the pregnancy and deciding on serger issue! X

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  14. Your snowflake dress looks great. What a great idea to extend this pattern into a dress!
    BTW loving to sew knits as you do once you buy a serger you will not know yourself! It makes life soooo much easier. It doesn't have to be an expensive one, just make sure it is new, not used (my first serger was a second hand nightmare).Then I bought a brand new Brother at a mid year sale I've never looked back.

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  15. Both dresses are so cute, and even better quick to make. Especially now, when your um, condition is time sensitive. 8-)

    Yes to the serger. Definitely yes. I have a serger and a cover stitch (which I bought used for a ridiculously low price), the cover stitch is a lovely luxury, but I could do without it very easily, and not even miss it. The serger is another story, I don't want to sew without one ever again. I have a very basic 3/4 thread Kenmore which works great, and is a PITA to thread. I have gotten used to her quirks, finally. When the lottery comes through, I will get one of those wonderful Babylock jet air threading wonders that cost more than my current car. Get a nice reasonably priced serger, you won't regret it.

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  16. Try the Brother 1034D!! It's on Amazon for $199 but I've seen it around the web for as low as $130. It's what I have and it's never given me a lick of trouble and really makes sewing knits SO much easier! Hemming is still kind of tricky, because it's just an overlocker, not a coverstitch, but I'm still really happy with the level of finish. Also super easy to thread and the manual is really user-friendly and instructive.
    But enough about that! I love your cozy knit dress! Quick and dirty is just sometimes the way to go - pregnant or not! I know exactly what you mean about the lazy hem band - Sometimes I make something and leave the hem unfinished, or something is a little off, but I've already worn it for three days straight so I assume it can't bother me THAT much! Sometimes those are the best makes!

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  17. Oh, these dresses are so cute on you! They look so cozy and nice!

    I'm with everyone else-- the Brother 1034D is awesome. I have never had a problem with it, and it's really easy to use (on top of being totally affordable). All my serged knits have held up really well to machine washing and drying (which, like, let's be honest-- there's no hand washing knits).

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  18. Your dresses look so nice and comfy!

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  19. I do most of my sewing with knits on a regular machine. My serger broke, so I went back to using a regular machine, and I love it. My big tip---use a walking foot. This will change how your machine works with knits!

    Also, I hem knits with a twin needle with wooley nylon thread in the bobbin. The wooley nylon gives the hem a little extra stretch, and for me, it helps the final help lay better.

    I also use Jalie's method of sewing knits with a regular machine. Check out this video:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DTZReQxc9r8

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  20. Adorable. Love these dresses. And don't worry too much about getting absolutely everything before your girl arrives. You'll have plenty of time while she naps to order/make/steal anything else you need...(and much of it you don't need for a while anyway). I also have that serger, and it's awesome.

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  21. I love your dresses, the turquoise blue is gorgeous. I, too, have a Brother 1034D, and it's great but I haven't tried jersey with it yet. Although I do think some of the more expensive overlockers have more features.

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  22. You're so cute! The dress are both very nice - and I think you'll be really happy you have some super comfy dresses when you're a couple more months into this adventure (:

    Like others, I have the Brother 1034D. I bought it because it's one of the cheaper ones, but it's never given me any trouble. If you had a fancy serger and downgraded to the 1034D, you might miss the bells and whistles. But I'm pretty practical, so I don't need my serger to wash the dishes, too, hehe!

    I've sewn every fabric on it (wovens, knits, nylon/lycra), and it's worked perfectly. (I have to admit that I rarely adjust the tension, either, and it still works fine). You can do a flatlock stitch, too, by doing some adjustments which the manual describes.

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  23. I have to say, I like the turquoise one. I think it has a nice relaxed vibe, while still having style due to the cowl front. Both are great!

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  24. I really like the black and white dress. So pretty. 28 weeks?!?!?!?!?!!!!!!

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  25. Ditto again on the Brother 1034D - I use it all the time and it works like a dream. When I want a nice hem I fuse an inch-wide strip of tricot interfacing to the fabric, serge the raw edges, turn it under and stitch on my regular sewing machine. I've found that the interfacing (and I'm sure there are other things you could use, but I bought a bunch of this so it's on hand. I periodically cut strips and keep them on hanging from the bulletin board in my sewing room so that I don't have to do anything extra in the moment) makes the stitching on my regular machine much tidier. One of these days I'd love to get a serger with a coverstitch function, but I think that day won't be here for a while . . .

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  26. Great dresses, practical and stylish. I've just been musing on the same question on my own blog (as was kindly linked above)so interesting to read more comments here too. I'm still debating what is best for me but the Brother 1034D is definitely what I'd go for.

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  27. You are looking so cute! I love how you've been able to make so many pattern for maternity with your clever alterations. Bravo!

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  28. Hi, new follower first comment. I have had an over locker from more than a dozen yrs. First a Janome now an Elna. The Elna was the cheapest model when my Janome burnt out and it was all I could afford so I decided I'd rather have a cheap Elna than no over locker. After 1 yr I can't tell the difference in them. Seriously an over locker is the next best purchase next to a standard machine. I don't sew a lot of knits but I use it for finishing seams most of the time when I'm not sewing knits. My next one will be a Bernina, though I don't know which model yet.

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  29. What a cute, cozy dress. Love that snowflake print.
    I am doing without an overlocker while deciding which continent to live on...zigzagging definitely does the trick for now!

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