Monday, January 27, 2014

KwikSew 3234 - Long Underwear


I have used this pattern so many times. Like so many. I’m thinking I’ve used it at least 20 times since I bought it. I’m sad that the “old” KwikSew went away. What they lacked in cover photos and fabric choice, they more than made up for in clear directions, and fantastic patterns. I have a few that I really covet and this is one of them. I’ve used every size now from the XS to the L. I bumped the kids all up one size and you can tell they are too big. I’m hoping to get a winter and summer’s worth of wear out of them. These people are growing like weeds, I tell you.


I made four pairs of long underwear for the kidlets. They have cross-country ski practice and it’s usually cold out. They wear these under their regular ski pants to keep warm. However, this winter is giving us a run for our money. There is no snow out there right now. It’s JANUARY, people. Like January. We have a 40-year average of 14.9 degrees Fahrenheit. Today it was 56 degrees when I was driving home. Fifty-FLIPPING-six. Needless, to day, the kids aren’t needing warm long underwear. They don’t really need any winter gear. Skiing’s been cancelled because there is no snow. Hhhhmmmmph.


They love them. I didn’t put cuffs on the shirt or pants because I didn’t want something bulky to go under some other article of clothing. Instead, I just increased the length of the sleeve and pant leg an inch or two to make up for the cuff. They want to wear them to school and to bed so you know it’s a winner.


I serged on the elastic, flipped it to the inside and coverstitched from the RS. I added tags to the CB of these.


For the girls, I used a Polartec Powerstretch in Electric Blue. It’s 53% polyester, 38% nylon, and 9% spandex. The stretch and recovery is nice. I have a few yards of it and I’m debating putting some up on Etsy. I may want to keep it all though.


For the boy, I used a Wool Ponte Doubleknit. It’s fantastic. There is a wool layer that goes against his skin and a nylon face. It’s a grayish-green. I have several yards of this too. I am debating keeping it all too. Mwaaaa ha ha. I’ll let you know if I put any up on Etsy.


Here you can see the inside and the outside. He is always cold so this is the perfect fabric for him.


Next up for me? I think a cute dress for a cruise!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Burda 01-2014 #122 Gathered Raglan Tee (January Burda Challenge)



Here’s my Burda Challenge garment for January. I decided on the knit raglan top. It’s weird, but I feel like this top looks so much better in person than it does on a photograph. Although, photos don’t lie do they? I love it in person, but these photos don’t look all that great. The light right now isn’t all that easy to photograph in either. It’s been in the high 30s and 40s here so it’s a mess outside. Wet, wet, wet. There is really not much snow left. I want some of the snow you people are getting in the Lower 48.


Anyway, details. It’s a basic raglan tee with a few gathers. One is at the bust on one side, and the other is the front and back hip on the opposing side. The sleeves are long and the length of the shirt is tunic length. I had a really hard time matching stripes because my fabric was off grain. It’s National City Swap Meet fabric and was like a buck.


I love how the top of the back is on the bias. Makes it really fun with a stripe.


I used my coverstitcher for the sleeves, bottom hem, and the self-fabric neck facing.


This shows you the areas with the gathers. And I’m fuzzy.


I have been sewing up a storm so I’ll need to show you people all of that stuff. I’m going on another cruise soon so I need to make some easy dresses and swimsuits to take with me. Really excited about that!!!!!

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Jalie 3241 - X-back Gymnastics Leotard

I used view C, the one with the little legs.


I’m sorry but how freaking cute is this??? Some little person is starting gymnastics and needs gymnastics leotards. Where, oh where can we find one?? Ssssssqqqqueeeeeeeeeeee. Shiny, sparkly, flashy, oh ME, ME, pick ME! Needless to say, Little Person is happy.


This one is fitting perfectly but I’m going to make her one in the next size soon. It’s a little snug but there is actually room since it’s so stretchy. I love, love, love the x-back. This would make fantastic swimsuits too. Well, with the regular leg openings. It was, I know I’m repeating myself here, so nice to have a machine for overlocking and a machine for coverstitch! See that little coverstitched CB opening? You have to do that (they recommend zigzagging) before you put on the straps.


Practicing our moves.


For the CB and side seams, I did a 4-thread overlock stitch and a zigzag stitch because I know how hard little kids pull on their swimsuits. The swimsuit seams seem to bust right at CB about mid-back because they pull up the swimsuits by the top and step on the CB and yank. Hopefully this will reinforce it a little bit.


This pattern comes with the lining panel.


Faux sequin, silver, shiny fabric? Check. I used my coverstitch machine for the shiny knit and I was pleasantly surprised it did a good job. A lot of time the shiny stuff seems to “stick” to the bottom of the foot.


I have a ton of these tongue-out-of-mouth photos. Goofball.



She wouldn’t take it off all night and then she wanted to sleep in it. Not happening.


Next up? I think long underwear for four kids. Ski season is upon us. Although, right now it’s in the high 30s and snow is melting like crazy.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Do These Pants Make my Butt Look Loud? (Fehr Trade running pants)

I was so excited when Melissa (of Fehr Trade) asked me to test out her two workout patterns. If you’ve glanced at my blog, you know I’m an avid exerciser. What runner doesn’t love hideously bright running tights? It goes like this when you are running long distances:

Me (in my head): Oh, my gawd, this is so hard. Why do I sign up for these stupid races? Maybe I’ll walk after that water station? Maybe that’ll be okay? Oh gawd, this is hard. Maybe I’ll walk. It’ll be okay, right? Holy crap! Look at my pants! Those are funny! Har, har, har. I’m like a hideously bright fish in this race. Fish don’t WALK! Hee hee. Funny pants . . . .

I swear these types of conversations go through my brain when I’m racing and hitting a low point. Maybe I’m the only one.

But really, is this not a great pattern? Now I can make 100 bright tights.

These have a contrast “swoop” that goes from the back and circles the leg to the front. Perfect to add something bright. The main fabric is from San Diego.


I’m smaller than the XS but not by too much (Melissa added an XXS!!! AWESOME!). That just means I cut a little extra off the side seams. But, duh Dawn, that makes the swoops hard to match. Next time, I’ll pull the extra out of CB. Oh, and there is a hidden pocket I didn’t photograph. It’s as CB, and you can the topstitching lines on the rear picture in the middle. It’s large enough to hold an iPhone and some yummy Gu (Melissa likes Peanut Butter which I consider the Abomination of Gu).

I used mostly a 4-thread overlock for these pants. Can I tell you how much I LOVE having an overlocker and coverstitcher set up. I don’t have to switch over the machine each time. It’s nice. I used the 3-thread flatlock stitch for the CF, CB, and inside leg seams. This is the CF. I meant to have the ladder side of the stitch on the inside but did RST like normal. I used variegated thread because it blends into the tights so well.

I forgot you have to WST to get it to look like this. This CB.

Here’s the inside where the seams meet. This is probably TMI, but I hate the seams on running pants in this area. I’m hoping that these flat seams will be less annoying to me. I’ll keep you updated on how the stitches hold up and all that.


For right now, I’ll be wearing these with warm pants underneath. Come summer though, watch out world! Oh, and I have the workout top too. I need to show you guys that one!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Viking Huskylock 936 v. Pfaff Coverlock 4872 and Flatlocking v. 4-Thread Overlocking

So I’ve some time to play around with the two machines. I thought I would give you guys a little comparison between the two. Remember that the Pfaff is new to me and the Viking has been mine for several years. Is it sad I only use about 4 stitches on my serger? I have used the others, just not often. When I did this little experiment, I tried to make the stitches as close to each other as possible.

I should backup for a minute and tell you about these machines. These are both combo machines meaning they can do numerous serging stitches (3-thread overlock, 4-thread overlock, rolled hem, 3-thread flatlock, etc.) and also coverstitches. These both do narrow, wide, and triple coverstitches. The only downside of these machines, in my opinion, is switching them over between the the two different functions. It really doesn’t take that long and it’s not that hard.

Huskylock 936 Pfaff Coverlock 4872 Click to enlarge!
Wide Coverstitch on heavy fabric Worked well with no adjustments. (Great job, Dawn, making the sample black thread on dark fabric!) Worked well but had to tighten right needle thread. compare_5
Wide Coverstitch on thin fabric Left thread broke about 2” after starting (I know from experience this stitch is not great for anything other than thick fabrics). Worked with no adjustments. No broken threads. Some tunneling and a couple skipped stitches. Machine is too fast to be accurate.  compare_6
Narrow Coverstitch Worked well on all fabrics. Worked well on all fabrics. Oops, no picture!
3-Thread Flatlock Makes a sturdy flatlock. Adjusted needle tension to zero. Makes a nice flatlock stitch. Tension at zero was looser than the Viking which makes a flatter flatlock stitch. compare_1compare_2
4-thread Overlock About the same. About the same although I couldn’t seem to tighten up the stitches on the needle thread. compare_3compare_4


Options Huskylock Pfaff
Differential feed Digital, easy to adjust, pretty accurate once you tell it what kind of fabric you are using. Manual knob on the side. Works fine, but I forget to change it sometimes.
Stitch Length Digital, easy to adjust. Manual knob on the side. The panel tells you what it should be and you manually adjust it.
Thread Tension Manual knobs you turn to adjust. Easy to use. Automatically set by machine and then you push buttons to adjust tension. Easy to use. Worried they might break, stop functioning.
Random Thoughts    
  Seems more difficult to thread even thought I’ve had it longer. Super fast and I can’t seem to slow it down! Makes it hard to coverstitch accurately. (big honking annoyance!) There is a speed control on the right side, but it’s slowest speed is my Huskylock’s fastest speed.
  You have to scroll through all stitch options if you accidently pass by the one you want. (minor annoyance) You have to lift up on the carrying handle every time you want to thread it. (minor annoyance)
  Free-arm, although I think I’ve only used it a few times. Brighter light for the sewing bed area.
  More color-coding inside the machine to help you match threads to holes.  
  More room under the foot. Easier to slide in bulky seams when coverstitching.  
  Tension on thread is released every time you lift the presser foot. Tension on threads is released with a button.

Overall, the differences are minimal. Mostly, I forget to change the differential feed and stitch length because my Huskylock does it for me. I think I will set up the Huskylock for coverstitching right now, and set up the Pfaff for the other stuff. It’s going to so nice to have a full-time overlocker and coverstitcher! I’m all squeeeeeeeeeeeeee about it.


Flatlocking V. 4-Thread Overlock

I love the look of flatlocking, but have always heard that the stitch isn’t that strong. I did a few little tests to see if that was all true. I’m a sucker for data collection. Turns out the flatlock did much better in tests than I had imagined. I used the same fabrics, the same thread, and I tried to keep everything controlled.

Test 1) Pull the two pieces apart widthwise as hard as you can (very scientific). Neither one of them popped seams, shredded seam allowances, or pulled apart. I was trying to see if the flatlock stitch would change inside the stitch itself, but no banana.

Test 2) Pull the pieces lengthwise. The 4-thread overlock stretched from 7” to 14” before the threads popped. The 3-thread flatlock never did break. It went from 7” to 17” and the fabric wouldn’t go any further.  

I’m going to make a few garments with the flatlock stitch and we’ll see how it does in real life. It seems to be holding up fine so far.



Both of the machines made nice looking flatlock stitches. The Pfaff was a little looser in the needle thread which makes the stitch a little flatter. I did this flatlock using the knife so the edges where even. My directions for my Huskylock say not to use the knife and to have the stitched go over the side of the fabric, which give it some extra wiggle room. My Pfaff book says you can do it either way.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

More fabric! Another wool knit and a microfleece!

Another wool knit, but it’s slightly different than the other two from the other day. And may I stop for a moment to say you people are animals? I was sold out of the fabric by the afternoon and I posted it the evening before. Good job people, fabric hoarders!

Anyway. This is a soft blue wool knit. 100% wool on one side and 100% hi-wick polyester on the other side. Hmmm, these pictures are coming off a little gray, but I swear it’s more blue than gray. It’s pretty. This one has a diamond pattern that you can really see from the back. Not so much on the front. This one is stretchier widthwise, 80% and not as stretchy lengthwise, about 25%. Blue Knit on Etsy.


This, you guys have seen a hundred times but in another colorway. I bought two bolts a couple years ago and I’ve used us the pink one. This green version I just never used much. It was a roll-end from Patagonia and it’s high-quality stuff. I’ve made a billion pink pajamas with the other fabric. It doesn’t pill and it hold up to anything. And you can iron it (pressing cloth though, people!!!!!!). I always have to add bling to the girls’ jammies! Green MicroFleece on Etsy.


Remember these?



Or these?

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

New Machine! Pfaff Coverlock 4872

Sooooo, I have this (Huskylock 936):

Which does all this:
4-thread overlock, 3-thread overlock, 3-thread narrow overlock, 3-thread flatlock, 3-thread rolled edge, 3-thread narrow edge, 2-thread wide overlock, 2-thread narrow overlock, 2-thread flatlock, 2-thread rolled edge, 2-thread narrow edge, chainstitch, cover stitch wide, cover stitch narrow, triple coverstitch, and 5-thread overlock.


I may have just bought this (Pfaff 4872):

Which does (don’t bother reading, the list is the same): 4-thread overlock, 3-thread overlock, 3-thread narrow overlock, 3-thread flatlock, 3-thread rolled edge, 3-thread narrow edge, 2-thread wide overlock, 2-thread narrow overlock, 2-thread flatlock, 2-thread rolled edge, 2-thread narrow edge, chainstitch, cover stitch wide, cover stitch narrow, triple coverstitch, and 5-thread overlock.

Why, you ask? Why would someone need two really nice combo coverstitch/serger machines that do exactly the same thing? Well, because I’m lazy. That’s why. I’ve had my Huskylock for a while and love it. The stitches are nice and consistent, I know how to change the tensions and I can get it to sew nicely on just about everything. One thing I dislike is having to change it over from the serging to the coverstitching mode. Yea, I know it only takes a few minutes. No, it’s not that hard. I’m that lazy. Don’t judge me. I picked up this Pfaff for less than $300 and it’s in excellent condition. I plan to keep my Huskylock set up to coverstitch and the Pfaff set up to serger and flatlock. I’m loving the new machine.

Keep I mind I haven’t used the new machine very long, really only a few days, but there are some big differences between the two. 1) The Pfaff is faster, much faster. 2) The machines are oppositely (if that’s not a word, it should be) digital. The Huskylock is digital when it comes to the stitch length and the differential feed. You manually turn the knobs to adjust the tension. On the Pfaff, you manually adjust the differential feed and the stitch length, but the tension is set electronically with buttons. I’m planning on doing a few experiments to test the 4-thread overlocking stitch to see if it’s better on one machine over the other. I’m a sucker for data collection. I also want to test the coverstitching abilities of them both too.

One of these days, I need to do an overview of all the machines I have set up in my “studio” (read: spare bedroom). There are six now.