Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Wedding Dress -- Sewing Day #1

I actually started the dress today.
Sewing it together, I mean.
Well, the lining at any rate.
I should be getting this started
after all
the wedding is
1 month from today!!!

The lining is 100% polyester,
very soft and drapy.
A perfect lining fabric.
Light as a feather.
Great to wear.
Not so great to sew with.
It slips, snags, shifts, puckers easily.
Generally a pain in the you-know-what.
But all is not lost.
It can be handled beautifully with soft, smooth seams
that hang just right.
Here are a few tips to help anyone working with this type of fabric.
As with any large project, save yourself some major irritation
and wind several bobbins of the fashion color, in this case white.
happens at the end
of the

If your machine has a walking foot attachment,
use it.
"Load the elephant"
as my former clothing & textile professor
used to say.
The idea with a walking foot is to feed
both layers of fabric
through the stitching process
at the same time
minimizing puckering.
In lightweight fabrics,
puckering is a major problem.
When you have puckering,
the seams aren't flat
and they will hang funny.

Make sure your needle is of the right
size and weight
for the fabric.
I started with a size 10
but I immediately saw that it was
snaging the fabric.
So, I switched to a size 9 and
had a much better result.

Tissue paper.
If you don't know the
wonders of
tissue paper,
then you, my dears, have
truly been missing out.
With this lightweight, soft fabric,
I found the combo of a walking foot
and using tissue paper as a third layer
while stitching
helps to produce
perfect stitches with not a pucker in sight.
This is a sample stitch I did with the tissue paper underneath.
Even along the selvage, I got a very smooth seam.
This will go a long way in the overall look of the dress.
Just cut or tear several 2" strips of tissue paper.
While pinning the seams together, just include
the tissue paper
and sew right through all the layers.
Tear the paper away afterwards.
Try it.

Keep things clean!
I am especially mindful of this with a white fabric and
with this dress being such an important project.
1)  Clean your machine well but be careful with oiling.  Sew with scrap fabric until you are absolutely sure that no residual oil is dripping anywhere.
2)  Keep you hands clean.  Wash, wash, wash.  Stay away from lotions and creams, too.  They can leave oils on the fabrics.
3) Wipe down the table, machine, chair, etc., before each sewing session.
4)  Food, drinks and ink pens have NO place around fabrics.
5)  Have a lint roller handly.  It's so nice to take care of the stray threads, lint, dog hair, etc.  Just a quick swipe and their gone.

After a long day of sewing,
I now have a lining
ready for pin fitting,
seam finishing and pressing.

Coming soon:
Seam finishing
Boning application
Bra cup application

Sew Happy,

I'm sharing my wedding dress experience
with some of the linky parties
found on my linky page.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Taking That First Cut -- The Wedding Dress Saga

You know how it feels.
Taking that first
expensive fabric
meant for a
One slip,
one miscut
bring a
to tears.
Lots of tears.
And then there would
be the bride
and then her

But I did it today.
or at least,
I cut out the lining.
I always work with the lining first,
adding the boning
doing the fine tuning
of the fit before I
tackle the
satin and lace.
But it's still enough to drive
a girl to chocolate.

Sew Happy,

I'm sharing my wedding dress experience with some of
the linky parties listed on my

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Rock-A-Bye Baby

Santa takes credit for a lot of
but he can't take credit for this one!

On Christmas morning,
Aaron and Rochelle
(my second son and his wife)
that they are
expecting a new little
in August 2011.


Can a Grandma get a better present than that?

I think not.

Sew Happy,

Monday, December 20, 2010

O Holy Night

I may not be able to spend much time this week on blogging,
But I wanted to share a special video as my
Christmas Gift
to all of you.
May there be peace and happiness in your Christmas Season this year.
God Bless!

Sew Happy,

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Enjoy a Serious Sugar Rush

Good Morning, Blog Land!
My posts have been kind of
few and far between these past few days.
Busy, busy, busy.
Who isn't?

We are in the
home stretch
here is a bit of
sweet inspiration
and some great recipes
for those last-minute
of the season.
Have a wonderful day!

Need I say more?
I've always been facinated by the whole
idea of homemade marshmellow.
Light, fluffy, gooey, sweet.
Looking for something a little different to give this year?
there is a great recipe for
gummy candy.
Who doesn't love gummies?
What a great tutorial, too!
Nothing says Christmas like
Aren't these great?
I may actually
give these a try.
For the ultimate
sweet treats
this season,
I mean, come on.
Homemade Snickers.
The freshest ingredients.
Made with love.

And last, but not least,
my fudge recipe.
Now, this is not a picture of the fudge I make.
It never lasts long enough
to get a good picture of it.
Nor have I made any
yet this season
having this stuff laying
around the house
causes me
to loose all self-control
eat the
So, I'm waiting until just
before Christmas
when the house is
full of people
to eat it
and leave me
to feed
my serious

Five-Minute Fudge
3(6 oz) pkgs of chocolate chips
1(14 oz) Eagle Brand Sweet Condensed Milk
1-1/2 t. vanilla
1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Melt morsels and condensed milk in microwave
1 minute on high.
Melt 1 more minute on high.
Mix vanilla and nuts.
Pour into a buttered 8" square pan.
Chill 2 hours.
Cut into squares.
Cover and store at room temp.

This only takes about 5 minutes to make.
It is by far the easiest, best fudge

Sew Happy,

Thursday, December 9, 2010

What I've Been Up To...Stocking My Etsy Shop

Today has gotten off to a rocky start, sorry to say.
My other job just isn't going too smoothly.
My fault really.
Too much going on in my real world.
I always
take delight in
coming to by blog and posting fun stuff
and reading great comments.
It lightens my mood.
Brings a smile.
Thanks to all of you and your wonderful comments.

Here are some
Etsy Highlights
that I have, or will be, posting.
Have a great day!!
Sew Happy,

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


I'm running a little
Holiday Special
in my Etsy Shop in time for those
All Journals
are 2/$18.00
with special Priority Shipping rates.
Check them out!
Here is a sampling
of some
of my
I'm listing more every day between
now and the 15th.
back often
to see what's new!
All in my

Friday, December 3, 2010

Fabric Friday -- Satin

It seems odd
for it to be the Christmas season and
about the only thing on my
mind right now is
a wedding dress.
I have to keep reminding myself
that I still have a major
holiday event to
plan and prepare for
but this dress is
what is taking
up most of my brain processes these days.

But can you blame me?  
to do this dress!  

It's the sewing challenge
I have been craving
and waiting for
for a long time.
amid all the 
long lines,
planning of the season,
I'm studying up
on all the finer points
of gown design and construction.

I thought I would share with you
a bit of knowledge about satin and some of the
beautiful dresses
for Fabric Friday this week.  

Great Things About Satin 
*Satin can be made from silk, rayon, acetate, polyester or even cotton. 
*It is the staple for the wedding gown industry. 
*It is considered one of the most luxurious fabrics in the world,
especially if made with silk.
*Satin is used in apparel, draperies, lingerie, linings, upholstery
and even shoes.
*Satin derives its shine or luster from the way it is woven.  
*Light reflects off of the warp yarns (lengthwise yarns)
that float over the weft yarns (horizontal yarns).
*It's soft. 
*It has a special luster. 
*It's elegant. 
*It's perfect for a princess! 
Types of Satin 
*Crepeback Satin - Highly twisted yarns are used as the weft or filling yarns while low-twisted yarns are used in the warp.  This produces a very soft, drapy, clingy version with a high amount of shine depending on fiber content. 
The back of the fabric will remind you of the texture of crepe paper.
This is commonly used in evening wear and lingerie.
*Antique Satin -  Uses slub yarn (thick & thin, a natural spun look) in the weft giving the fabric a look of fabric that is hand produced. 
Most common in wedding gowns, costumes or interior fabrics. 
*Duchesse Satin - High yarn count of a finer yarn both in warp and weft.  Crisp, heavier body than most silks.  Luster dependent on fiber content but usually a lower luster. 
Most common bridal satin available on the market today.
*Slipper Satin -  Heavy, stiff satin used in the shoe industry.  Typically, this is not available in your local fabric store.  
Sewing with Satin 
Laying out Pattern & Cutting 
1.  Scissors and pins should be very sharp.  Dull equipment will snag satin.  Once it's snagged, there's no fixing the problem. 
2.  All satin has a nap, or a directional shade difference, caused by the weave.  All pattern pieces need to be layed out and cut according to the nap instruction of the pattern.  Don't ignore this.  
3.  Pin fabric to an old sheet or sheets of tissue paper to keep it from shifting during the cutting process.  No shifting means accurate cutting and accurate seaming.  
4.  Speaking of pins, make sure they are nice and sharp AND pin only in the seam allowances of the pattern.  Pins break the "floating" fibers and once broken and cause pin marks that just do not go away.  Try "silk" pins. 
That being said, pins are so important in helping control satin as it has a mind of its own.  Use pins to keep control,
just be mindful where you put them.
5.  Avoid "ripping" out seams.  Make all the proper fit adjustments prior to sewing and sew carefully.  Too much ripping out leaves unsightly marks. Again, these just can't be fixed.   

1.  Use a new sewing machine needle.  With a large project like a wedding dress, I try and have half a dozen or more of the size I'm using on hand and change every so often, especially if I've hit a pin or sewn for many hours with the same needle.  
2.  Make sure the needle size and thread size are compatible with the fabric.  I tend to use a finer needle, 7 or a 9, with a lingerie thread
for most of my gown sewing. 
3.  For finer satins, use a base of tissue paper under your two layers of fabric that you are sewing to keep it from drawing down into the bobbin area and cazing a nasty jam.  Been there, done that.  Sigh.  This also can help to keep the layers from slipping around on the machine bed. 
4.  Try a walking foot, if you have one, when sewing.  This will keep the layers together and not slipping against one another.  A real lifesaver. 

1.  Keep in mind the fiber content on this one.  Polester will take a bit more heat than silk.  Always test iron temperatures on scrap pieces prior to pressing.  Start low and increase temp as needed.  
2.  Use a PRESSING motion (up and down) not a side-to-side ironing motion.  You can easily over press satin as well as iron in creases or even flatten the weave and dull the shine.  Go easy.  Press just enough to acheive flat seams, crisp point, etc., but don't over do.  
3.  Never use steam.  Water stains satin.  Fabric ruined.  Enough said.  
4.  Use a pressing cloth.  Even tissue paper can be used in a pinch on low heat.  
5.  Prior to pressing, make sure iron is free of dirt, grim, scum and is smooth.  Same with the ironing board.  A new ironing board cover is a good investment at the start of a big project. 

Sew Happy!  

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Sugar Overload or What to Leave Santa With That Milk

These just scream
don't they? 

Cupcakes being all the rage,
it's natural to expect them to
show up at some point in cookie form. 
Aren't these pretty? 
Inspiration found at the The Cupcake Blog
Here's a friendly little guy. 
What's Christmas without Gingerbread Men (and women)
Has tons of great gingerbread recipes! 
The Food Network is a great source
for some fabulous holiday treats like
I love ways to get more cookie
into a cookie!
That means more cookie in the mouth! 
brings us some buttery, light
Spritz cookies,
aways a Christmas favorite! 
And last but certainly not the least,
my mom's
totally awesome
Christmas NEVER happened without
dozens made well in advance,
stashed in the freezer, then
carefully packaged and
handed out to neighbors and friends. 
Try them with red and green M&Ms!

No matter what comes out of your
ovens this Holiday Season,
may there be many
loved ones around you to share! 

Sew Happy,


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