Friday, September 25, 2015

Sewing Bee Round 2: Fabric Manipulation

Sewing Bee 2015 - Round 2

For this round, we were asked to add surface embellishments to an existing fabric/fabrics to make a piece of fabric/fabrics truly unique. We were then asked to make a garment out of that embellished fabric/fabrics.

There were so many embellishment techniques I wanted to try but with only ten days to complete the challenge, it was not the time for me to experiment into the unknown. So I knew right away what I wanted to do. A couple of years ago, I came across a Threads Magazine article  (March 2012) on how to apply strip-piecing to make a garment. This method is commonly used in quiltmaking and it involves joining two or more large fabric panels and then cutting them into strips of varying sizes. The strips are then sewn together in a staggered fashion to create a unique design. I have done this before but on a wider scale to sew borders for my quilt hangings and to make some minky blankets. It was my first time applying this to a wearable garment. 

I used three fabrics for this project. My main fabric was a solid double-faced polyester shantung in a lovely taupe shade called "latte." It had a shiny and a matte side and I decided to use the matte side for the right side of the garment to make it more versatile as far a wearability was concerned. I also used printed multicolor silk from my stash, a leftover from a previous project. Finally, I added a sheer crepon polyester made of nylon with a very subtle sheen and in a shade similar to the shantung.

I sewed the sheer nylon to the shantung to create one design.

I sewed the printed silk to the shantung to created another. 

So I ended up with strips of joined fabrics varying in width from 1/4" to 3/4".

A sample of how I joined the strips together.

I used 1/4" seam allowance to sew the strips together.

To make it easier to determine how to cut the bodice patterns, I used a transparency film.

 And traced the design on the wrong side of the fabric.

Using McCalls 5927, I sewed a dress to show off the modified fabrics and here are pictures of the finished garment.

I also followed some couture methods when sewing the dress. I underlined everything--the bodice to provide stability to the stripped pieces, the skirt to make it more substantial. Underlining also enabled me to catchstitch the seams open since I could not press them open with high heat. I was able to achieve a truly invisible blind hem stitch by catching the hem stitches to the underlining fabric instead of the main fabric. I used invisible zipper and hand sewed the lining to the zipper allowance to make sure it didn't get caught in the zipper teeth. 

This was such a learning experience for me not just in terms of the sewing process but also with regards to the various embellishment techniques. I invite you to visit Pattern Review and check out
all the wonderful entries in this round. I promise you it's a treasure cove of creative ideas!

2015 Pattern Review Sewing Bee Round 1: Fitted Blouse

Sewing Bee 2015 - Round 1

It's that time of year! The 2nd annual Pattern Review Sewing Bee has begun and I made it through the second round. 

Here's a recap of the first challenge:

Round 1 -- Sew a fitted blouse.  Requirements as follows:

*The blouse must use shaping through the use of darts, or dart equivalents such as princess seams, gathers, tucks, or pleats, to follow the contours of the body through the bust and waist. Review MUST STATE how shaping was achieved.

*Closure required (buttons and buttonholes, loop buttons, zippers, hook and eye, tie, frogs, etc.) 

*Because the blouse is fitted, it CANNOT be a pullover or wrap style.

*Collar optional

*Fabric - Woven or Stretch Woven only. Knits are NOT allowed. Can be a print or a solid - any color.

*Set - In Sleeves required - Either short or long. Raglan/Dolman/Cut on sleeves NOT allowed. Sleeveless entries are NOT allowed.

 We had seven days to complete the project. Out of 116 participants, 50 moved on to the next round.

This was my entry:

I used McCalls 6035. I have never sewn a fitted blouse before so I was a bit nervous about achieving the perfect fit. I went through several muslin fittings before sewing my fashion fabric. As it turned out, it wasn't that intimidating. Armed with a camera on tripod and a remote control, I was able to get a good view of both front and back and determine what tweaks were needed for fitting. 

With the sheer number of participants, I had to find a way to make sure my blouse was creative enough to make me advance to the next round. So in addition to the design elements, I chose a nontraditional fabric combination. 

More views of the finished blouse:

You can see a gallery of all the  entries including the winner at Pattern Review.