Thursday, May 19, 2011

Sew Far, Sew Good...

This is similar to the first sewing machine I used to make
doll clothes at my grandma's house.
I have been playing with sewing machines for years, starting with my grandma's antique, mini, hand-crank machine and graduating to my own Brother sewing machine and Singer serger in my craft room/studio. This said, I would still like to take a beginning sewing class. Sure, I can thread both machines, I know to remove pins before I run the fabric through, I know how to select the length and width of the stitch and change from zig-zag to straight, but I have no idea how to set the tension or diagnose the cause of a machine malfunction. Sewing denim always seems to screw up my machine, and I know there must be a way to avoid that. Sewing satin or stretchy materials gives me fits. I don't have the patience for cutting out patterns or hand stitching, and half the things I sew have a fit problem. I would love to take a beginner sewing class, and that desire is especially acute when I am trying an ambitious project, like my current endeavor: princess dresses for my twin princesses.

I started the green dress weeks ago, but I have screwed up the skirt again and again because I just haven't been able to get the fabric to fall right. I have taken out the stitches, re-sewn the waist line, and cut it off again, each time inventing new ways to make the green over-skirt look horrific. I think I'm going to have to bite the bullet and hand sew it, but first I have to pin it on straight... The bodice, of course, I made too small, but spent so much time hand-sewing an applique onto the front that I refuse to turn back. Add grommets and lacing, and it will expand just enough to still be usable. I think.

And the purple dress, well, as of this morning, it was still a piece of uncut stretchy, fake velvet fabric, a type of fabric I swore to myself I'd never work with again after the battle I had with a similar piece making a birthday dress for my sister. I'm planning something much simpler for this one, but of course, it is hard to make something to fit a wiggly two-year-old when you can only work while she sleeps. I spent a little time between scrubbing bathrooms and changing diapers on this dress, and just when it was almost finished, my serger ran out of thread. (The one thing from my birthday list I didn't get: serger thread.) So, I have devised an alternate plan for finishing up the neckline: a ribbon sewn to the edge (crap, that means more hand-sewing). Oh, and I just gave all my ribbon to my sis-in-law because I never use it... So, instead of ribbon, I will be using more parts of the purple shirt (which you may remember from the Roman soldier costumes). I used it to make the sleeves, so a bit of dark purple around the neckline will help to finish it off. But, alas, one of my girls is awake and I must once again put the crafting on pause. Not good, my deadline is in 2 days.

Well, although I can't sew and keep an eye on my little princesses, I certainly can blog and watch babies, so here are some pictures of the progress so far:

The green dress will be Katie's and the purple is Claire's. I still haven't tried
them on yet... (crosses fingers)

I will have to re-pin the green skirt higher so you can't see the white underskirt
above it before I sew it on. I was considering using the piece of trim to help
camouflage the seam, but I don't really love it.

I think this dress turned out pretty well. It, at least, should fit and even if I
don't get much more done with it, it looks princessy.
The girls are excited to have their "Pincess" dresses, and here's hoping Mommy can get the job done! I work best when the deadline is closing in, I like to think, but I'm not going to lay odds either way.

Update: I got the dresses finished in time (just barely) and was so excited when I finally tried them on the girls: they fit perfectly!

The girls acquired matching beads to wear with their gowns.

The back of Katie's dress turned out so much better than I hoped. The trick: a piece of
elastic, grommets, and a gold ribbon from a gift bag.

These pictures don't do them justice, but the girls looked just adorable in their dresses.

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