Monthly Archives: March 2010

New Look 6821 Complete!

So I finished Katie’s dress on Saturday during Jack’s nap.  Here’s the review I just put up on with some added bits:

This is my second time making up this pattern.  I thought it worthwhile to write another review as my skillset has dramatically improved in the last year, hopefully, thereby improving my reviewing abilities as well.  Also, the view I made up this time was so different from my first, almost like a completely new pattern.

Pattern Description: Kids!  Design your look with mix and match pattern pieces.  Girl’s tops, tunics and dresses. Six sizes in one.

Pattern Sizing: 3-8.  I made the size 4 but should have made the size 3 again.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes, except for my fabric choices.

Were the instructions easy to follow? Easier than the first time I read and used them.  What a difference a year makes, right?  😉   I do have one problem with them though: for each bottom piece, the instructions tell you to make a hem, completely ignoring whether you are adding any more pieces, like a gathered ruffle or a contrast band.  Basically, they are giving you the finishing instructions for that piece.  So, if you are going to add other pieces on to skirt, DO NOT hem the skirt first.  You will add unnecessary bulk to the seam and stiffness to that seam, thereby ruining the drape. Maybe this is obvious to more experienced sewists, but to a beginner or advanced beginner, this could be a major trip up.

back of the dress

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I love the mix and match aspect of the different pieces.  Each look is a great little girl look and totally age appropriate.  If I had to complain, the sizing became less true the larger the size.  My size 4 bodice was ginormous on my size 4 niece.  She can grow into it, but I wasn’t expecting that kind of ease (vanity sizing?) for a little girl.

bodice too big

Fabric Used: I originally bought these fabrics for myself for summer tops, but never got around to making them, so they are not juvenile fabrics.  The floral print is a gorgeous cotton voile that has the most beautiful sheen, feel and drape, and is slightly sheer.  The solid purple cotton is batiste weight.  I used a cream ivory batiste to line the bodice. I thought I might use the purple to line the bodice, but when I layed it behind the print, it turned the cream sections of the print grey.  A subtle but important difference.  I love these fabrics and am thankful I have a lot leftover for myself.  They were a pleasure with which to work.

cotton batiste lining to create a finished look on the inside

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I changed a few things to the pattern namely how the bodice lining is finished, and how I treated the gathered ruffles.  For the bodice: the instructions tell you, after attaching the lining to the front bodice at the top, to baste the sides and bottom together.  Why? How are you supposed to create a finished look on the inside of the bodice/skirt seam?  So I completely ignored that instruction and left the lining open until I attached the skirt to the front bodice and inserted the zipper.  I then turned under the seam allowance of the lining, hand slip stitched it to the zipper and then stitched in the ditch on the outside of the skirt/bodice seam to attach it.  Does that make sense?  For the ruffles: If you have a ruffler or gathering foot people, USE IT!!!  This foot is my new boyfriend.  I want to gather everything now.  I might make this dress for myself (since the size 4 will probably fit me – see above notes on sizing).  No more basting two lines of stitches only to gather unevenly.  Nope!  Just strap on your new boyfriend and go to town gathering and ruffling to your heart’s content.  The major change I made to the gathered ruffles though is that I did not sew a narrow hem at the top of each ruffle so that it “sticks out” (fancy sewing technical term) at the top.  I thought that was just a little over the top.  I just gathered and attached each ruffle sans “sticky outy thingy” at the top.  One other note I’d like to make on construction: if you have a serger, remember, as I did not, to serge your seam allowances on the side seams before you attach the ruffles because you won’t be able to afterwards.  I ended up pinking those seam allowances awkwardly.  I did however serge the ruffle seams.

serged ruffle allowances

Any problems encountered?  Yes, unfortunately, but nothing having to do with the pattern itself.  I could not get my invisible zipper to match up in the back.  I tried four times and just accepted it as is because the fabrics I used were so delicate and were starting to look a little forlorn.  I tried all my tricks: pinning then basting (constantly checking the line up of the seams), marking the seam on both sides of the zipper, easing in one side, etc.  Nothing worked.  At least there was no puckering at the start of the zipper in the end. 

Inside back with slightly bumbled zipper insertion

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I will sew it again and again, especially since my niece Haley’s birthday is coming up this summer.  Since I was making this as a gift, I really didn’t have a chance to fit it, but I highly recommend checking fit if you can.

perfect pintucks (the next best thing to pleats!)

Conclusion: This pattern really works it.  You can have so many different looks mixing up the different pieces and changing up the fabric choices that no one would know it’s the same pattern.  Really worth the money.

Gratuitous Katie shot (isn't she the cutest?)

Now I’m on to Thor’s camp shirt.

Happy sewing everyone!


Meet my new boyfriend

Here he is, my new boyfriend, the gathering foot.  Isn’t he cute?  So sleek and metallic.  He doesn’t argue with you or tell you to go make dinner.  He doesn’t stand you up at a fancy restaurant looking and feeling forlorn.  He just makes beautiful, elegant, evenly placed, sweet, little gathers.  Like these…

Aren’t those the cutest little gathers you ever saw?  Those were my two lines of test gathers.  Thea did show me how to use the gathering foot slit to attach a second piece of fabric to the gathered piece, but it’s a technique I will have to practice for quite a while before I trust my talents on a real garment right now.  But basically the key to using that function of the gathering foot (aka, my boyfriend), is holding both of pieces of fabric firmly, stitching slowly AND, most importantly, every two or three stitches, straighten out the fabric in the slit (as it has a tendency to move to the left).  Do you want to see my boyfriend in action?

I have no idea how my boyfriend works his magic.  None!  All I know is that I love the results and the fact that I don’t have to do two rows of stitching and then gather it evenly myself.  How cool is this????

So I bet you were all holding your breath until I told you which zipper I went with for the dress.  Thank you for all your opinions.  The overwhelming majority of you thought the beige zipper was the best.  A couple chose the pink and one chose the purple.  Most agreed that the bluish purple one was too blue.  And most agreed that as it was an invisible zipper, that the color didn’t really matter.  Thea thought the beige would be best.  I have to note, that Carolyn’s rule of thumb for choosing zippers is to choose a darker color and she thought the purple was the best.  I will admit to doubting Carolyn’s advice as I was worried the purple was too dark for the print part of the bodice and that you would see its shadow.  Well, I sewed the beige zipper in last night and….

I don’t like it.  Also my zipper insertion is not quite perfect.  So I think I will rip it out (not literally of course) and put in the purple one and hopefully the insertion this time will be perfect.  I just didn’t like how the beige would peek out occasional from the field of purple on the skirt section which runs the majority of the length of the zipper.

So before I leave you for the day, here’s a sneak peek of the dress ruffles with beautiful little gathers.  Did I mention my boyfriend made this?  😉  

I am almost done.  Just need to reinsert the magenta/purple zipper, hem the bottom ruffle, serge the seam allowances and finish the lining on the bodice.  I actually think that’s all doable in an evening, but I am known for having unreasonable expectations, so who knows if it will be finished tonight or not.  I hope so though — I have more SFO (Sewing For Others) to do. 

Happy sewing and gathering everyone!

I’m in love!

Yes, you heard it here first.  I am officially in love.  With whom you ask?  With what is the more a propos question actually. 

I have just discovered the gathering foot which came with my sewing machine.  How awesome is the gathering foot people?!?!?!  OMG.  I love it!!!!!!!!  No need to baste two lines of stitching in order to gather.  No uneven gathering when you’re finished.  Just beautiful dainty little gathers (sorry no pictures).


This particular gathering foot allows you to sew the gathered fabric onto another piece of fabric at the same time through a slit in the foot, but I was not able to get that function working very well.  I have a lesson with Thea tonight, so hopefully she can help me out with that.  If I were able to use that function, it would speed up the construction of this dress tenfold. 

On another note, as you know, I am working on a different variation of the New Look 6821 pattern this time.  Reading the instructions this time around is definitely easier.  However, I am still stumped by one step, as I was when I made that first top for my niece.  For each tier of the dress skirt, you’re instructed to make a hem.  Why?  Putting a hem on each tier makes the tier stiff in that area, it destroys the drape of the skirt.  Is it because they assume you only have a sewing machine and no serger so they’re giving you an alternative for a clean finish on the inside?  Do they want that section of the skirt stiffer? I don’t get it?  Another question for Thea I guess.  Last time, I slavishly followed the directions and added the hem, but I didn’t like how it interfered with the drape of the top.  This time, I am questioning it.  This time my dress will have drape AND look just as pretty inside as it does outside.

Happy gathering to you all!

Zipper Dilemma and Some Excitement

I don’t want to jinx anything but I have to tell you how excited I am about the dress (NL6821) I am making for Katie.  I am using some cotton voile that feels so luxurious as I sew.  Who knew that cotton could feel luxurious?!  It looks so special already and I have only completed the bodice.  This was going to be just an ordinary little girl’s twirly dress, but it might just turn out to be a special occasion dress.  It’s so cool how a fabric can make or break a garment.  I can’t wait to see how the rest of this turns out.  See pictures below of the bodice thus far.  Did I mention I was excited????

BUT, I have a zipper dilemma.  When I went to P&S Fabrics last night to get the thread and zipper, I thought I had purchased the right color, at least under their flourescent lights.  But when I was home, the zipper looked magenta rather than purple and was a lot more saturated in color than the print or solid fabric is.  What to do????  So, I thought I would turn to you, gentle readers, for your wonderful suggestions. 

I have lined up several different colors of zippers below.  Let me know which works if any or if I should go back to the store to find another one.  In order of appearance: ivory, pink, beige, magenta, blue/purple.  I have three different light settings in the photos so you can see how it looks in different lights. 

So what’s the verdict?  Which zipper should I use?  Or should I go back to the zipper drawing board?

In other sewing store news, P&S Fabrics is moving across the street from their current store in 6 days.  The new store is beautiful (or so said someone I bumped into at the current store).

Happy sewing everyone!

On the cutting room floor, literally…

I’m back!  So as I have mentioned previously, I have a lot of sewing for others to do:

  1. Birthday gift for my sister (knit top, pattern TBD)
  2. Dress for my niece Katie (New L00k 6821)
  3. Camp Shirt for my nephew Thor (Kwik Sew 3146)
  4. Dress for my niece Haley (New L00k 6821)

As you can probably tell, I love New Look 6821.  It has several different variations as dresses and tops.  I’ve made it before as a top for Katie last year.  Remember?

This time, I am going to make the dress on the top left with the straps and gathered ruffle bits at the skirt.  I have the prettiest purple fabrics which I originally bought for myself for summer tops, but just couldn’t resist using for Katie.  Last night I cut out the fabric.  Today after work, I have to run to my neighborhood sewing store, P&S Fabrics on Broadway, and buy some matching thread and a zipper.  Here the’s fabric all ready to go…

Isn’t it pretty???  I can’t wait to work on it tonight.  Thank goodness my sewing mojo has reappeared.  I was beginning to worry!  The floral print is going to be the bodice and then I’ll alternate between the solid and floral for the skirt and ruffles.  She’s going to be the belle of the ball, especially when she twirls which she loves to do.

Last week, when Jack and I went shopping at, you guessed it, P&S Fabrics, I found a cotton blue check fabric for Thor’s camp shirt.  So cute and utterly classic BOY.  I am using Kwik Sew 3146 for the pattern, View B (it’s unisex, obviously).

Haley’s birthday isn’t until June, so I have some time to figure out which combo of NL6821 I will use and find the fabric.

Anyway, happy sewing everyone!