I'm home alone for a while, savoring moments of quiet, napping in the hammock on the deck just off my studio. Spending the precious cool mornings before the heat kicks in in this summer outdoor 'office' ...sitting right here right now in the cool of the morning
In the studio, I've been sewing prototypes and samples for a future Vogue pattern, a dress and little cardi/shrug. I am so excited about this one...one of my own issues with a dress is finding the right little cardi or shrug to wear with it either for warmth or for those who no longer bare their arms.
Darn! I really want to show it, but cannot....will be released in Spring '14.
Worked with Gwen Spencer over a weekend and between the two of us we made 4 dresses and 4 cardis in 3 days.
....then after she went home I whipped up another dress.
Somehow when it is hot, a dress just feels right.
So, I want to remind you that there is still plenty of time to participate in the
Summer Dress Sew Along
Make your own summer dress
or share something you've already made!
Deadline midnight, Tuesday, July 23
Winner announced, Wednesday, July 24
Win $100 in fabric, plus free domestic shipping
Win $150 in fabric if you use our fabric and/or a Tilton sisters pattern
Send photos to me at this e-mail address:
I've been working with different meshes making shrug/cardis and leggings and want to share some tips and techniques.
And pattern suggestions.
Just posted a new batch of meshes/lace shown here:
Tips for Sewing on Mesh Knits and Laces
True confessions....I don't do a thing to these fabrics before sewing...they don't seem to shrink, and I would never put them in the dryer. If I DID, I'd pre-treat by dipping in warm water and air dry. After sewing, hand launder or machine wash gentle and air dry.
Make practice tests on scraps so you are familiar with what works best and to develop a light hand with these airy sheers (I do a lot of pfutzing and patting the fabric in place). Test for stitch length, edge finishes, seam finishes, iron temp (will your iron melt the fabric?). Figure out what is the hottest temperature you can use without harming the fabric and how long you can leave the iron on the fabric. Many of these fabrics are nylon or nylon/lycra blends which can melt with a high temperature and every iron is different. I use an industrial iron with a heavy duty teflon 'shoe' which I never remove, so I can easily press directly on almost any fabric with success.
Helpful Tools and Notions
- Teflon sole plate for your iron
- Oaktag pressing templates
- Totally Stable: this is a lightweight fusible stabilizer designed for machine embroidery but it works great with meshes and knits if they stretch, distort, bunch up or get sucked down into the throat plate when machine stitching. Matte on one side, satin sheen on the other (this is the fusible side). I don't use the fusible option, simply place it on top of the fabric when sewing. I cut 1/2" - 1" strips andkeep them at the sewing machine, then slip them in under the presser foot if I encounter any trouble when stitching. It tears out easily.
- Double needle: I LOVE double needles and they work well with mesh/lace for different edges
- Stick on labels
- Mark the right side with stick on labels
- Mark notches.dots with small clips. These can be hard to see, so I also mark using colored pencils, making just a small dot of color right at the cut edge. Nearly invisible, but I know it is there so I can see it.
- Stitch S L O W L Y because there are open areas in these fabrics and the thread could break. I find when I stitch slowly things go much better.
- Sometimes the fabric piles up under the presser foot. When this happens, just lift up the presser foot and keep sewing.
- If the fabric bunches or puckers, slip a strip of Totally Stable under the stitching area and tear away when done.
- I like the look of a narrow seam that hardly shows when the garment is worn.
- One option is to stitch the seam and then serge close to the original stitching so the seam is narrow. You could also adjust the width of the serged edge to be narrower.
- Or, simply stitch a second line of stitching 1/4" from the first, then trim cose to this stitching for a narrow seam that does not roll.
- No seam finish at all is also an option...these fabrics do not ravel.
- I have been using a 1" hem with a raw edge, you can see in the photo below, using an oak tag paper template and clapper. Just press and while the fabric is still hot, place the clapper on top and let it cool. The coolness of the wood and the weight build in a more crisp and lasting edge...works on wools and synthetics alike.
Pattern Ideas for Meshes/Lace
Here in our ArtBarn studio, the hands down favorite little bolero shrug is a pattern that comes with the one of our favorite books:
and gets a mention in Natalie Chanin's blog,
as well as:
|The original pattern has been made bigger (longer in the back, more coverage in the front).|
It has a REALLY nice set in sleeve. Beth and Roxy have been whipping these up, sewing the entire garment by hand, as is the one shown in the photo.
Here I used an OOP Kwik Sew pattern for sheer shrugs that must be at least 10 years old.
I wear them every summer.
|Sewn/pieced from lace that is only 18" wide.|
|This one is a double layer of black mesh scattered with sequins, edged with another mesh.|
Simple and flattering lines. I love this NYC designer's Vogue pattern designs
|Good with a dress or tank.|
I'd lengthen the sleeves to elbow length (the next big thing....) or 3/4 length.
I make mesh leggings to wear under summer dresses, and this is my go-to favorite pattern:
by the request of Shelley, Beth and Roxy....
In the weeks ahead, we are going to have an ArtBarn sewing day where we all work with mesh/lace.