Monday, December 29, 2014

Bernina 800DL - I got her! I got her!

Here I am picking her up! For those of you who haven’t been keeping track of my life (what!), I entered the Sewing Bee and WON! I won a brand-spanking-new Bernina 800DL serger. Let me give you a little background. I currently use a Huskylock 936 (combo serger and coverstitch machine) for coverstitching and a Pfaff 4872 (another combo serger and coverstitch machine) for serging (I talk about the comparison of them here). Both of these machines are big, because they are built for both functions. They both do a good job with both serging and coverstitching. I would not say they do an amazing job, but they are fine. I have been thinking of moving to a separate serger and coverstitching machine for a while. When I won the Sewing Bee, I saw this as fate that it was time to start down that path and acquire those two new machines and sell my two larger machines to people who will really use the serger/coverstitching capabilities on them.




This is what it looks like out of the box (Bernina’s picture, not mine). I thought I’d give you guys a little review of sorts.


The two combo machines I have right now both have electronic displays that tell you what to set when. It was really helpful when I was new to this whole serger gig. Now, it’s more annoying because I have to push all the buttons every time I turn it on and sometimes it doesn’t want to do what I want to do. This Bernina machine is manual and I love it. When I turn it off, the settings stay where they are. I have spent enough time behind the wheel of serger to automatically know when I need to use the differential feed, change the stitch length, tighten a looper, etc.


Here’s my absolute favorite part of the new Bernina. The knife cuts from above! I know that sounds like boring-sauce, but it’s so much better at cutting thick material like fleece.


Here’s the Pfaff (ack! The picture says Janome!) for comparison. This is as high as it goes. When you have a couple layers of thick material, it can sometimes go over the knife and then it messes up the stitching after that.


Sometimes it’s not a big deal, but sometimes, a big ball of fabric will get over the knife and head into the overlocking part of the machine where it often gets stuck on something and knotted up. Thread breaks, Dawn cusses, and rethreading is inevitable. (Ack! Stab my eyes out! Pfaff! Not Janome!)


The stitching quality is way better than either of my combo machines. It just is.


I was playing around with different types of stitches the other day and the flatlock stitch is really nice as well.


I copied off the page that shows the setting for each type of stitch and I’ve already started writing my little notes on it. I’m a note-keeping fanatic.


Overall, I’m very (VERY!) pleased with the serger. I have always known that my two combo machines were kind of like “Jack of all trades, master of none” kind of machines, but this Bernina really shows me that this is a very true statement. Not that the combo machines do a bad job. They don’t. But this baby just purrs like a dream.


Thanks Bernina and PatternReview!!!!!

Friday, December 26, 2014

Jalie 2804–Cross Top

I just had to use my new serger! I got it last night and made this top up in an hour. This is already traced out and the know the pattern, but still! Jalie’s are my go-to pattern when I want something fast that will fit well. Here is a link to the Jalie website for this pattern. It says Sold Out, so you may be out of luck! I used this Maggy London Scuba Knit for the knit band. The only thing I changed here is to make it 3/4 sleeve (included with the pattern) and add cuffs. Oh, I guess I made the contrast band a bit wider too. I also bought the ITY pink knit print from Fabric Mart, but they must have sold out.


I have a really hard time being serious in front of the camera.


Fits really well!


The kids haven’t noticed yet, but they are all Rudolph! Shhhh!


And happy holidays to all of ya’ll! Hope it was merry and bright. Ours was filled with food, family, and chaos. Just the way we like it!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

End of the Year Wrap-Up


I enjoy graphs (I’m a nerd like that). I made 78 garments this year and used a variety of pattern companies. No surprise to me is that I used Jalie and Burda magazine more than any other company. I used zero McButtKwikOgues and instead tried a few new (to me) companies. I did branch out this year and make a lot more kid’s clothing. I tallied up 11 Jalie leotards. Eleven. That’s a lot of leotards. I have several stand out garments that I love and a few that I don’t. Overall, I think it’s been a good sewing year. Some highlights: I won the Pattern Review Sewing Bee contest (sqqqquuueeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!), I successfully completed my Burda Challenge, I made a lot more clothes for my runner-girls, and I have come a long way in construction (in my opinion). Good sewing year indeed.  

Burda Challenge (each picture is linked to the blog post about the garment):


Overall, I’m really happy with my garments this year. I plan to continue on with the Burda Challenge and make at least one thing out of the current Burda magazine.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Another Winter Street Dress - I know!

I had to make one more. (More husband photos, so bad posing, and weird smiles!) I had this FabricMart houndstooth sweater knit and this black ponte knit. They needed to be together. I added one more inch to the front bodice. I think it’s perfect now. That’s a total of 4.5 inches of length added to this bodice, so keep that in mind if you are long-waisted.


You already know all about this dress, so I’m not going to give you any details. I added a loose turtleneck to it (again) and it’s cozy warm.


Here are the other two dresses I have made from this pattern. I may be addicted.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

December Burda Challenge 12-2014 #121 Knit Dress



Here’s my December Burda Challenge just one day after my November one! I told you guys I took a bunch of pictures yesterday. This is a simple knit dress from Burda with crazy draped neck. I needed a festive Christmas outfit for a couple of holiday parties and this metallic gold and red knit seemed to yell HOLIDAY to me. I made my typical size 34 although I used small seam allowances at the hips. I figured with, as short as this is, I would be wearing it over leggings and skinny jeans. You can see I have a textbook swayback, and really need an adjustment. See how short this baby is? I even added a hem allowance which I almost never do to Burda dresses.


Here is the side ruching. I think I should have made it tighter so that the gathers would go across my body. As they are now, they just hang down.


Again, I can’t make serious faces when my husband is taking pictures. The neck on this is a bit weird. It’s much longer on one side than the other, so I always feel like I’m lopsided. You stitch the cowl/drapes to the inside top of the sleeves so it stays down. You can see in this picture that the sleeves are extra long on this dress.


I have one more thing to show you tomorrow.

Happy solstice! We are only getting five hours of “daylight” today. Keep in the mind that the sun only gets 5 degrees above the horizon today, so the “daylight” is more like twilight!! Snow is falling right now though, yay!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

November Burda Challenge 11-2014-113 Knit Top

First off, let’s pretend it’s still November, shall we? Secondly, let’s pretend I don’t have strange expressions on my face. Thirdly, let’s all ignore the fact that this shirt is not the most flattering.


When I first saw this top, I thought it had possibilities. I liked it and Burda is very strong in the knit-top-with-variations category. For me, it’s a miss. I don’t like the fabric I chose, and I don’t like the way they have you put together the sleeve. Another objection from me is the odd blouson/non-blouson effect. Is that girl chunky around the middle? Or is it just her top?


So forgive me for my face. My husband was taking the pictures today, and for some reason, I can’t do serious poses when he is behind the camera. Or even vampy poses. Or even a normal smile. See the saggy stomach portion? It would be better, I think, if the top was a little longer so you could pull the shirt up and make it more of a blouson effect. But, the length is so short, you sort of have to keep it pulled down.


This material was hard to work with. It is a thin jersey knit that curls like the dickens. It’s also off grain which made it nearly impossible to match the stripes.


When I originally looked at this line drawing, I thought that the sleeve was two sleeves with the top one gathered, and sewn on top of the bottom sleeve. Instead, the top one (rainbow) is gathered, but attached to the bottom (pink) sleeve. The results are iffy. For me, this is a miss, but I’m sure there are beautiful versions on the web. I actually did make this in November, but just haven’t done anything with it for a long time!


Up next: Several posts of clothing for me! I did all my photos of clothing today (be ready for all the weird faces). The sun is rising at around 1am and setting around 3:30pm, so I did all the photos on Saturday. During the work week, I don’t even get home until after 4pm!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

PR Winter Street Dress (and Jalie Leotards)

Round 3 of the PatternReview Sewing Bee was to take the Winter Street Dress and pimp it. We were able to download the pattern and make it our own. I had never really noticed this pattern before then, but it’s cute. Like really cute. I can see this becoming a stable in my winter dress wardrobe. Since I had already gotten out all the kinks and it was still in my sewing room, I decided to make another one. I got this fabric from Fabric Mart (my new FAVORITE fabric website) on Black Friday. I did all my Black Friday shopping from home this year and snagged a bunch of doubleknit fabric. This one is Blue/Chile/Multi Floral Medallions Puckered Double Knit (they are NOT a sponsor, so click away!) and I really like it. Sometimes I think it might be too “Grandma’s curtains", but then I look again and really like it. It needs a belt to break up all the pattern, but maybe not this silver glitter belt. A red or dark blue belt would be perfect, I think. 



I didn’t really do a proper review of this dress when I used it for the Sewing Bee, I was too focused on my alterations. It’s a very simple, but cute, pattern. Knit, long-sleeved bodice with narrow skirt. I added the big turtleneck for the winter. It has two box pleats in the front sides and two in the back for shaping the skirt.



I think I need to add just a smidge to the bottom of the bodice, it’s still riding just a tiny bit too high (you can barely see the seam above the belt in the picture below). I originally added about 3” to the front of the bodice tapering to about 2” at CB. I have a long torso, but usually only have to add about an inch to bodices.



The fabric is fun and perfect for winter! I really like this dress. It’s the first thing I’ve made since the Sewing Bee. Well, I lie. It’s the first ME item I’ve made.



These two leotards are actually the first two things I made after the Sewing Bee. Our little cousin gymnast is growing and needing more leotards. She is really good at it and in a more advanced class that meets a few times a week now. She needs variety! I texted her the fabric/patterns I had, and she picked the pattern and the fabrics. I think she has great taste!


I love Jalie’s way of applying the binding on this pattern.


This one is so shiny, it’s hard to photograph.





Because there is really no snow here (2 inches?), we have been doing a bit of hiking. The kids love it, and the scenery is beautiful. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for snow, SKIING!!!!