Monthly Archives: June 2009

Quick quilt update

Now try to say that three times fast!  I am struggling with the last Kenneth King class write up, so please be patient with me while I try to figure out how to adequately explain what I learned.  In lieu of said post, I thought I’d show you the progress I’ve made with little Ryan’s quilt.

I’ve finished machine quilting, and a little over half of the hand quilting.  I sewed a diamond pattern with my sewing machine creating four full diamonds and 8 half diamonds around the four full ones.  I hand quilted two ringed planets and two rockets in the full diamonds so far.  Two nights ago, I designed a reasonable facsimile of a shooting star graphic for the outer edges of the quilt.  The shooting part of the star will cover two of the half diamonds in an arcing shape, crossing over one of the machine quilting lines separating the two half diamonds.  I asked my mom if it was never “done” (i.e., not allowed or against the rules) to hand quilt across the machine quilting and she said she had never heard that you couldn’t or shouldn’t.  So I just went with that idea and really like how it turned out.  I have no drawing skills whatsoever, but I think I was successful with creating a feeling of movement and I like how the star isn’t perfect.


shooting star

shooting star detail

I have three more shooting stars left to hand quilt on the other outer three quadrants and then it’s on to the binding.  I decided to go with the stars embroidery stitch that came with my Emerald 183 for the binding and Mom approved the choice.

I do have one question for you all and I’ll ask my Mom too:  I used one long thread to embroider the “shooting” part.  So that means there are long stitches on the back of the quilt.  I am concerned that a baby will get fingers or toes caught in these long stitches.  How should I handle this potential problem?  Should I tack down those long stitches with small ones that aren’t evident on the front of the quilt?  Any advice would be very welcome.

Happy sewing!


My creative space

Here I am, airing my dirty laundry for all to see giving you a tour of my creative space.  Since I live in a small NYC 1-bedroom apt, I ask that you stand in one spot and only turn to see the different parts of my creative space.  Be careful not to bump into any of the furniture or step on any of Jack’s toys please.  Ok, you ready?  Wait, I’m not sure you are; maybe I should prepare you for my disorganized chaos.  I wish my mom saw fit to pass on even a little of her organizational skills to me, but alas, none were.  Let’s just say that I could use a little help when it comes to getting organized and staying that way.  My friend Lisa keeps trying to help, but I think she’s losing the battle.  Chores are not my strong point.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s not dirty or gross, just disorganized.  I think you’re well prepared now.  Deep breath.  Here goes…

Creative Space 1

In this first picture is my first attempt at organization, the metro shelving unit.  I have grand ideas of sewing a curtain for it using the fabric I originally bought for a couch slipcover project that never came to pass (fabric on the top shelf).  Also on the top shelf you can see my cutting mat, some felt, a roll of tracing paper, rulers and some yarn.  The second shelf from the top is some of my fabric stash and batting.  Note how nicely folded and stored my fabric is.  😉  Some of it is pre-treated, some not.  The third shelf down houses all of my knitting patterns, burda magazines, various sewing/knitting printouts, tutorials, etc.  There are also knitting and sewing reference books.  The big paper bag holds two knitting UFO’s (a big sweater for me and a pair of socks for me).  The smaller paper bag holds my embroidery supplies.  See!  There is some organization here!  The fourth shelf from the top holds my sewing patterns (behind the brown dotted fabric) and my cook books (no place in the kitchen for them unfortunately).  The lowest shelf holds the empty sewing machine boxes and box of wine.

Creative Space 2

This picture shows the Viking Husqvarna box, my son’s tricycle, some more fabric stash, my bolt of muslin and my now defunct Singer machine.  I can’t bring myself to put it away yet.  Not out of sentimentality, but rather because trying to get to it’s box would mean doing some organization — a no win situation.  😉

Creative Space 3

This third picture shows the left side of my dining room table sewing table.  Here you see the covered newly acquired Husqvarna, and behind that machine is my Brother Serger 1034D (covered by the pattern pieces of the infamous pregnant clown top).  The paper bag to the right of the serger is filled with sewing supplies and tools.  And that puddle of yarn is my in progress Whisper cardigan.  I am at a stage where I have to work on it at home so that I can work on it on the subway (picking up stitches).  Needless to say, until I finish the quilt, it will remain at this stage for some time.

Creative Space 4

Here is the right side of the “sewing table.”  Obviously just a shining example of my concerted organization.  And most of it has nothing whatsoever to do with sewing, knitting or creativity of any kind.

I should have added a picture of the couch as I do all my hand sewing there.  And maybe a shot of the tv would have been in order too, as I am watching the entire 5 year series of La Femme Nikita while I hand quilt.

I bet you’re wondering how I sew in this mess.   Well, the answer is, very carefully!  It actually works for me.  I have never been the neatest person.  My bedroom was notorious when I was growing up.  But my brother-in-law Todd defended me once saying, “I bet if you asked Elizabeth where anything was, she’d be able to hand it to you in 10 seconds.”  And that remains true to this day.  Well almost.

I will post tomorrow, hopefully, about the last Kenneth King class.  Stay tuned!

Happy sewing!


I know I owe you all the last class with Kenneth King debrief, but the end of last week was insanely busy and weekends with Jack just don’t allow for blogging really.  But I thought I’d check in and show you some pics of my niece Katie wearing her top.  It was a great success!  It fits her well and her mommy’s friends all complimented her on it; she wore it to a birthday party last week.

Here’s Katie modeling the top I made for her…





In my opinion, my niece makes the top!  Check out the invisible zipper insertion.  Not bad, huh?  But let’s ignore the lack of pattern matching.  I’m just not there yet in my skill set.  The actual sewing level, IMHO, is pretty good.  I’m quite pleased.  Now if I could only sew myself something decent now. 

Uh oh, Jack’s waking from his nap.  Gotta go. 

Happy sewing!

Measure twice, cut once…

Day 4 of Kenneth King’s Moulage Class

At long last, some sloper pictures!!!  Thank you all for your patience.   Please ignore the lumpy body and the poorly basted zipper.  I was very tired when I finished this muslin the other night.

pant muslin front 1

2nd Muslin Front

2nd Muslin Side

2nd Muslin Side

2nd Muslin Back

2nd Muslin Back

Apologies for the bad lighting; these were taken at night.  I tried to adjust the contrast and this was the best that I could do.

In last week’s class, I learned just how important measuring is in the sewing process.  I don’t have pics of the first muslin as Mr. King took it apart to transfer his fitting markings to my pattern and I didn’t feel like sewing them back together just to take a picture.   But OMG! my pants were huge.  Not as huge as the pants of the poor man I measured though.  I felt ginormous and fat.  And then Mr. King performed magic.  Ahhhh…  He said he took about 5-6 inches out of the waist.  Wow!  I couldn’t see how the pants looked when he was done as there was no mirror, but they definitely felt better.  I am sure they looked great.  He took a lot out of the waist as I mentioned, and he pinched out some at the back thigh.  And then Mr. King transferred all my adjustments to my pattern.   So obviously accurate measurements are very important, but I think it’s a skill that can be learned.  I just need more practice. 

I was going to write about the method that Mr. King uses to make the adjustments, but it’s really complicated and I need to have my pattern/muslin in front of me to adequately explain it.   So that kind of detail will have to wait for the next post. 

Mr. King checked the fit of each student, pinning and making markings to our muslins.  He used the first fitting to describe methods of adjusting patterns, which, as I already mentioned, I will go into further detail in another post.  But in general, the main thing to consider when making adjustments to any pattern is that if you take away something from one part, you must put the same amount back somewhere else to maintain the symmetry and integrity of the pattern.   For example, I had excess length from the back thigh to remove.  So, by removing a pinch out of my back thigh, that meant I had to adjust the front pattern by the same amount. We took it out of the length of the leg at the hem of the front pattern whereas, the original pinch was taken at the upper thigh on the back pattern.

After our fittings, Mr. King then transferred the pinning he did to pen markings on our muslin and then, in turn transferred those markings to our patterns.  Some pictures below…

back muslin fitting 1

Muslin waist with fit changes marked


Back pattern waist altered after fitting

Back pattern waist altered after fitting


See how different my waist is now on the back pattern piece???  WOW!  The front was not as dramatic a change.  I will post these pictures again and more pics when I describe the fitting process in more depth.  So, that was our 4th class. 

Interesting Tidbit:  There are two girls in the class who are students at FIT and are studying to become designers.  They took great measurements of each other and one of their muslins came out great (the other girl wasn’t there on Weds, so we couldn’t see how hers turned out).  Mr. King had barely any adjustments to make on hers.  However, he did mention that taking good measurements doesn’t ensure that you won’t have to make adjustments, it just decreases the extent of the alterations.  The calculations for the pattern can only go so far to create the sloper.  The muslin fitting is crucial for an accurate and great looking fit.  But seriously, she could have worn that muslin out on the street it looked so good! 

It was amazing to me how good you can look when your clothes fit you well.  Even if you are say 25 lbs heavier than you would like to be (um, I’m not talking about me here, honest! um, well ok, maybe I am.), you can look amazing, if your clothes fit well!  Mr. King mentioned that Queen Latifah always looks fabulous because all of her clothes fit her beautifully.  And he’s right! 

I was so excited by this class.  We’re so close to having our perfect sloper!  I wanted to sew up another muslin right away so I could see how it looked all done up right.  So that’s just what I did this past week as you can see at the beginning of this post.  Now, looking at these pictures, here’s my humble beginner’s assessment.  The front looks great, but I suspect that a little more needs to be taken out of the back thigh (or added to the front thigh) as the side seam seems to thrust forward in that area and there are drag lines in the back.  However, it could be that it didn’t hang right as I didn’t hem the muslin.  I will ask Mr. King about that this week.

And as for the next class?  Well, Mr. King said we were going to learn how to alter the sloper for different styles of pant and add pockets, etc.  I hope he teaches us how to draft a waistband because I am dying to make myself a pair of pants now!!!  I took advantage of Ann’s awesome sale yesterday at Gorgeous Fabrics and bought 6 yds of a navy cotton sateen and 4 yds of a lacy sweater knit (see pics below). 

Navy Cotton Sateen (image from Gorgeous Fabrics)

Navy Cotton Sateen (image from Gorgeous Fabrics)

Lacy Sweater Knit (image from Gorgeous Fabrics)

Lacy Sweater Knit (image from Gorgeous Fabrics)

I want to make capri pants and maybe shorts with the cotton sateen using my new sloper (!) and I’m not sure what pattern I am going to use with the lace sweater knit, but I do know it will be some kind of summer cardigan.  One can never have too many of those, especially in ivory.