Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Round up before fall

I've been putting the final touches to the new pattern now named
Lullaby, An Infant Sleep Sacque
and it is  off to the printer's this morning for a test run. If all goes well then it should be ready within a week! This is always the scary part because there is always a difference between computers and sometimes things don't come out just as one wants! When this happens it is back to the keypad and tweaking.....

And here it is!
My new little granddaughter wears one every night. I've sized this pattern like my other infant patterns - according to weight and chest measurement rather than age. It just makes so much more sense to do it this way. The pattern is very easy to adjust if you want to smock it using a pleater. But I've found it looks just a cute without smocking and takes a lot less time.
We will get it posted to the web site (www.amberlane.ca) and the order form as quickly as possible. There is always so much to do when a new pattern launches. You can sign up for the newsletter on the home page of the web site. That way you don't miss out on the release of new patterns etc.
Now, my husband donated a Dolly's Bed and Clothes Rack recently and decided to paint this one for fun.

couldn't let it go without a mattress cover and got a bit carried away and made up a little pillow. I used some light weight flannel left over from another project - perfect with the cloud theme for bedding.
Of course I didn't know who was getting this little bed or whether someone would sew for the child or the doll so I added a little pillow and a sheet/blanket to match and just serged around the edges of the sheet. All in all it only took about an hour and a bit.
Here is the clothes rack. The angle from which I took the photo is a bit off but we almost forgot to record these pieces. If I had had time, I think I would have liked to stencil a design on both pieces but I am sure a little girl will love these with or without the artwork.

Watch for the pattern, order lots and keep stitching....

Friday, August 8, 2014

Pin gathering technique

There are loads of ways to gather fabric onto flat fabric but years ago, as a students, we were taught this method, often used by tailors to set in suit sleeves with nary a pucker. It has held faithful over the years and I thought you might find it useful as well. It takes a bit longer but the end product is worth the time taken.

As I was working on the last sample for this pattern I photographed the procedure. In this sample the fabric is a light weight cotton and the fabric is gathered between two notches on the curved yoke front.
Run two rows of gathering threads, one and eighth of an inch above the stitching line and one and eighth of an inch below.   
Reduce the tension on the upper thread so you can more easily pull the bobbin thread.
Set the stitch length to 3 (if your normal is 2.5) to give finer control of the gathers.
I sometimes use up ends of coloured threads for contrast - if they won’t mark my fabric with traces of colour. When removed they are thrown away so it won’t matter.
If you are using thread matching your fabric, to avoid pulling the wrong thread and locking the stitching, clip off the tail of the top thread so the bobbin thread is the only one long enough to pull.

Here you see a horizontal view (as you would hold the fabric.)
Now pin your pieces together. Begin by pinning the ends where the gathers will begin and end, then the CF. The 3rd pin from the left is the CF (Sorry, I was in a hurry to photograph this as the camera's battery was running very low!) On the left of CF is the first division of fabric and to the right you see how it progresses.
Fold one side of the yoke and fabric in half matching up the pins to find the centre of this section.
Mark the centre of these portions with pins or finger press a fold into the fabric. (In the photo above, the first pin and second pin are marking the halfway points and pins three and four are the CF and the far end.) 
Match up the first and second pin, re-pin and then repeat to divide each of these portions. Keep dividing and pinning until you had pinned right across the seam and the area has been 'broken down. as much as possible.
Now you can pull up the gathering threads. The fabric is evenly divided and the fabric doesn't have far to go.
Here is a second view from a different angle.
Here you see the progression of steps. Pull up the gathering threads from one end to the middle and even out the gathers between the pins. Repeat for the other half. Pulling up half at a time ensures that the thread won't break or pull out the far end.
Machine stitch with regular stitch length and tension. Do not stitch over your pins - remove them just as you approach each one.

Check the other side to be sure everything is as is should be. Make any repairs now.
Notice how perfectly gathered the fabric is.
Remove the gathering threads and press. Below is the finished sample.

Note: Here is a little tool that would be so easy to recreate. A student gave me this little laying tool many years ago and it has become so handy. It is a short bamboo skewer with a painted bead glued onto the non-pointed end. Something so simple but so handy when it comes to controlling the fine details when dealing with gathers.

Hope you found this helpful and that you will give it a try. It goes faster with practise but takes loads of pins. 

So till next time, keep stitching!!