You can watch It's Sew Easy show 801 online from June 26 to July 3.
In part one Angela gives a short lesson on taking a basic pattern and turning it into what I like to call a “topper.” In my book a topper is the type of garment that serves dual purpose, adding a little bit of warmth and a whole lot of style to an otherwise ordinary outfit. You’ll see that you can you can make one with anything from sheer fabric to sweater knits.
The next part of the show features Kathy McMakin putting together a baby bonnet with nothing less than tender loving care. Heirloom sewing projects often involve lots of TLC, and include everything from simple bibs and bonnets to delicate dresses that can take weeks or months to complete. If you love the art of heirloom sewing you’ll enjoy every minute of this segment.
Make a point to visit the It’s Sew Easy and download the instructions provided for this segment. Kathy put together a detailed guide sheet that will help you master the art of heirloom sewing.
Have you ever struggled with decorative stitching on thin, soft, or even stretchy fabrics? Watching the show reminded me of a couple favorite specialty stabilizers. Click on the image on the left to download my tip sheet for using liquid, “disappearing” stabilizers.
The show begins with Angela as she highlights custom-crafted embroidered garments. In my book, custom crafted means this; garments sewn from scratch with embroidery added after construction or during the garment making process. She has a variety of tips for you, including how to match up three important elements; the embroidery design, fabric type, and stabilizer.
Embroidering sheer fabric for a peasant blouse is her focus and she uses a stabilizer I am well acquainted with, Brother SA5906. This adhesive backed stabilizer is designed to stay stuck to the fabric during embroidery but dissolve when finished. It is one of my personal favorites. I've used it countless times, on everything from sheers, to fleece, to denim. Just make sure you can thoroughly launder your stabilized fabric with warm soapy water to remove all the residue for this type. It may take several rinses as well.
Let’s talk for a minute about the peasant blouse, known today as the Boho (short for Bohemian) look. Since it skims the over the body from bust to hips, this tunic style can be flattering on just about any figure type. Make sure to proportion the garment for your body type and consider making a muslin from inexpensive fabric for a test garment. I think this blouse looks nice with slim pants. It's particularly pretty with white for summer. I encourage you to try on similar blouses offered in ready-to-wear. Make note of hem length, sleeve style, etc., then try to imitate it as close as you can with a current pattern. Yes, this blouse was popular in the seventies and never really went away, it’s just back big time today. Want to see a peasant pattern from yesterday and one from today?
Take a look at McCalls 6142 from my pattern stash. It’s circa 1978, and a bit tattered because I made it multiple times. The celebrity on the cover shows you just how old this pattern is.
Fast forward to 2015. Butterick 4684 was featured in my recent blog about bobbin work embroidery. CLICK HERE to read more. It’s still a current pattern and the multiple variations in the envelope make it a good choice for all sorts of embellishment techniques.
Marie Zinno is up next. In keeping with the 70’s theme Marie embroiders some “groovy” 70’s style jeans in part two.
It was really fun to watch this segment. Marie and I were at the studio on the same taping day. However, being there at the same time doesn’t mean you get to see the whole show. Maybe a few snippets as it plays in the green room. Most of the time there is just too much else going on as you prepare for your own segment or pack up to leave for home if you taped earlier in the day.
Marie shares her expertise in commercial embroidery in this segment featuring a cylinder hoop. This special accessory is shown but you’ll also get tips for embroidering jeans on a single needle machine. Marie has many years of sewing and embroidery experience. She knows what it takes to turn a hobby into a profitable embroidery business. Perhaps this is something you've already started, or it's your dream for the future. Marie has a great Craftsy class devoted specifically to this topic. You can CLICK HERE for more info.
Ready to watch so you can make your own jazzy jeans and boho blouse? CLICK HERE for episode 813.
It's Sew Easy Episode 812
This was a period of time featuring everything from peasant style prairie dresses to swirling prints and tie dyed Tanks and T-shirts! Ruffles adorned tops and dresses and Ponchos topped off t-shirts and bell-bottom jeans. Perhaps it's time to re-interpret or re-create some of these fashion looks with an updated spin on some popular sixties styles. But first, you may need some guidance for sewing nice neat gathers and for hemming edges on a practical poncho. This week Londa Rohlfing shares her sewing expertise for stitching professional looking ruffles. Next, Coleen Swettman sews a hippie-inspired poncho that goes everywhere today. In episode 812 you'll learn tips you can use for a variety of future projects.
Call it what you want . . . gathers, ruffles, shirring, tiny tucks, or puckered pleats. They all accomplish the same result, a larger strip of fabric is stuffed into the space of a smaller secondary piece. There are many different methods. You may very well have your own tried and true tips and techniques for sewing gathers. I like to experiment with different methods and then use the one that produces the best result with the least of amount of stitch removal, also known as ripping with a seam ripper :-). It’s always a good idea to make samples when testing different techniques. Compare the different looks, and then select the one that works best with your chosen fabric and feels comfortable for your personal sewing level of expertise. Londa demonstrates several different ways to gather in this episode, including the following:
I do love using accessory feet so I think the gathering foot is a great tool for exceptionally even gathers on lighter weight fabrics. This dual-purpose foot is also designed to gather and attach all in one step. However, this secondary technique takes a bit more practice. For more information on the Brother version of the gathering foot CLICK HERE. You'll find an easy pajama bag project with additional information on using this specialty foot for gathering.
Just one more tip from my sewing room to yours . . . Before sewing my gathered strip to the un-gathered edge I like to set the gathers by pinning them to the ironing board and steaming in the fullness. Just make sure to let the steam iron hover over the gathers so they are set but not flattened.
Now on to the Poncho segment. In this episode you’ll learn how to make your own patternless adult size poncho with flannel, along with a child size from a fleece baby blanket.
This would be a fun project to make for a Mother-Daughter or Grandmother- Granddaughter look. You could consider making this from Polar type fleece and then dress up the child’s version with appliqué or trim. Watch this segment and see how to use the Serpentine stitch for hemming the edges on this rectangular piece, and you'll also get an idea for an alternative neckline. Don't forget to join the It’s Sew Easy website so you can login and download the Free instructions.
You’ll hear Coleen say that "Ponchos are on the go again!" Yes, they certainly are, but for many the word poncho conjures up an image of a stiff blanket with tangled fringe and unflattering stripes! These days I prefer to put ponchos in the category of fashionable wrap garments. Consider making one from a novelty sweater knit fabric. Or, how about a quality 100 weight fleece from Mill Direct Textiles? Yet another option would be a knit such as Sophia Knit. A washable wool blend would be ideal as well. Change up the look by adding an opening down the entire center front. This makes the garment more cape-like. In my opinion this dresses up the look of this garment style.
Here are a couple pattern variations I currently have in my letsgosew project basket. I promise you’ll see my finished versions this fall as I’m in the process of using embroidery designs from Wrapped in Embroidery to accent a few new wraps for my fall wardrobe. These will also serve as “how to” and “what if” samples that expand on the projects from the book. You'll find several styles that could be considered a "cousin" of the poncho style in the book. All of these book projects are cut by measurements so no commercial pattern is necessary. Stayed tuned for future ideas and more ways to customize your own wrapped wardrobe additions.
Ready to watch the show? CLICK HERE and Enjoy!
Fashion and fabric prints got a little crazy in the sixties. It certainly was a colorful decade. Short skirts and long hair seemed to be everywhere. Giant floral prints were sprinkled across everything from bedspreads to bellbottoms!
In this episode of It's Sew Easy you'll see appliquéd and embroidered flowers you can use for fashion, crafts, or even home decor. It's usually a little tough to picture something in a different color combination but I suggest you try to do that when you see the show. Contrast colors have their place but you always have the option of using tone on tone or even a single soft color scheme to make your appliqué or embroidery a bit more subtle.
In the first segment you'll see Angela cut fabric flowers and then embroider flowers on top. She used her cut and stitch method for a stunning skirt but this idea would be great for lots of different projects. The Brother ScanNCut makes quick and easy work of cutting the flower shapes and the ability to scan in fabric remnants means you can use small pieces of exotic fabrics. The final look of this technique is super sharp. Last fall Angela taught this technique to our students at the Bayou Embroidery University in Baton Rouge There were so many variations when the students let their imagination go wild with flowers and embroidery design combinations.
Marie Zinno makes a fringed and machine embroidered belt from scratch in part two. Her steps are so clear you will be able to create your own in one very short sewing session. If machine embroidery is not part of your repertoire why not consider adding a band of printed fabric to a base of suede? Most any fabric will work but a slim strip of tapestry fabric might be a good choice combined with suede. I love to make belts from faux suede but I confess I have never made one with embroidery. No time like the present . . . I'm headed off to search my stash for a piece that's long enough to wrap and tie!
CLICK HERE to go watch the show!
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