Saturday, August 20, 2016

How A Journey Girls Doll Can Improve Your Sewing

We recently did a video to share with you guys our cute little model, a Journey Girls eighteen inch doll. The idea to add a doll to the studio has been something I have wanted to do for some time now. I had purchased a couple smaller dolls that I had found at the thrift store, but finally realized that I was going to have some difficulty finding an eighteen inch doll at the same location.

I can fondly remember learning how to sew as a child, by making clothing for my dolls and progressing to matching projects for myself. What seems life a lifetime later; I now have several young students that are eager to learn how to sew by making clothing for their dolls. I have found that the eighteen inch doll clothing is easy to make and is a great introduction to sewing. Several commercial pattern manufactures have developed patterns for eighteen inch dolls and there are lots of books available with patterns and instructions. The patterns are also easy to draft on your own.

As a mother of two boys, I can probably tell you about every video game and Lego set on the market; however, purchasing a doll was new territory for me. The American Girl dolls seem to be the most popular eighteen inch dolls, and most of the patterns I have found seem to reference these dolls. Several of my young students have an American Girl doll and we have done projects for them; however, I was not aware of the price until I started looking to purchase one. I did some research and soon discovered the significant price tag, which I was not willing to invest in a doll. With a bit more research, I found the Journey Girls and My Life As dolls. I then decided to get the Journey Girls (Chavonne) doll, which I purchased at ToysRUs.

As an adult learning how to sew, having a doll can also serve as a learning tool. You can use the doll to sew a complete outfit, see how different fabrics might work together and practice different sewing techniques. You can then transfer those sewing skills onto your other projects. I will share with you guys projects that are made for our little model. I am hoping to add another doll from the Journey Girls collection to the studio. I will also love to hear from you guys, how you think a Journey Girls doll or other type of doll can improve your sewing skills.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Sew-Along - Reversible Jacket

This jacket pattern is the "Kwik Sew K4104" and was originally planned as part of our Fall Sew-Along last year; however, I decided to make the jacket as a reversible spring/summer jacket. It is the first project in our Summer Sew-Along, which will include several fun sewing projects that are great for warmer weather. A picture of the jacket was shared on our social media a few weeks ago. Since then, I have been loving wearing the jacket and will be making another one. This sew-along will share details of how the jacket was sewn together. I hope it will inspire you to try making one of your own.

Style Details
This is a lined, three-quarter length sleeve jacket, with no closure. There are darts in the bodice and sleeves, a waist seam on the front and a centre seam down the back. I decided to sew View A, which includes front welt pockets that I did not include. I chose not to include the pockets in order to achieve a smooth, double-sided jacket with as little bulk as possible.

The pattern ranges from size XS to XL. I made the medium size, which is a tiny bit roomy for me, but allows me to wear various style tops. You will want to confirm your size, based on your body measurements and your desired fit.

I used 100% cotton fabric for both sides of the jacket and finished my seams with my serger (optional). The navy blue and lime green polka dot is a medium weight woven (fabric 1), while the floral print (fabric 2) is "Flourish in Twilight" a quilting cotton by Anna Maria Horner. I also used cotton thread in coordinating colours. No additional notions or interfacing was used.

I prepared my fabrics by pre-washing them to account for shrinkage. I felt this was particularly important since I was using two different types of cotton and was not sure if the shrinkage would be the same. I also reviewed the pattern instruction sheets and confirmed where I could make changes in the design.

Once I had identified the size I was going to make I confirmed if I needed to make any changes or alterations to the pattern, such as dart placement and shortening or lengthening. I did not make any adjustments at these points and proceeded to cut my fabric and transfer markings. I then decided to serge various edges of the fabric. This was particularly useful on the polka dot fabric to reduce fraying.

  • I worked through step 1, skipped steps 2 and 3 (regarding the pockets), and proceeded to step 4 and sewed as instructed.
  • I finished the center back seams by serging the raw edges together after sewing. If you do not have a serger, you can use a pinking shear or use the zig zag stitch on your sewing machine.
  • The side and shoulder seams were pressed open.
  • I then repeated the steps with fabric 2.
  • Once both pieces of fabric were at the end of step 4, I proceeded with step 5 and attached the sleeves. I found it very helpful to hand baste the sleeves prior to stitching.
  • With both the outer and inner sections of my jacket completed it was now time to attach them to each other. As instructed in step 12, I faced the fabrics with right sides together and stitched along the front center edge and around the neckline of the jacket.
  • I then did an under-stitching along the same edges as far as possible.
  • I followed the instructions for finishing the bottom edge of the sleeves and turned the jacket inside out.
  • I followed by stitching along the hemline, leaving an opening to turn the jacket inside out.
  • The finishing touch was closing the opening of the hemline with hand stitching.

Tip! I did not leave an opening on the side seam as instructed, but inside left the opening along the hemline. I then used hand stitching versus machine stitching to close the opening to create a finished look.

Pattern Matching
As noted before, there is a front waist seam on this jacket, as well as a centre back seam. As a result some pattern matching is helpful in order to achieve a sleek seamless look. I suggest familiarising yourself with pattern matching in order to get the best results. If you are pattern matching some additional fabric may be required. As an alternative to pattern matching, consider using a solid print.

I cannot stress enough how much ironing your project as you sew, can make a difference to the final project. Some of the seams in this project were pressed open, while ones like the center back seams; were pressed over to alternate sides. Some fabrics may require that you use a pressing cloth, while other may be best sent to the dry cleaners after sewing. Pressing tools such as a tailor's ham and sleeve board were very helpful for this project.

Changes I Made
I really like the simplicity of this pattern and it lend itself very easily to be made into a reversible jacket. Outside of attaching both sides of the jacket with the opening at the hemline, the only significant change I made was not including the pockets.

What I Will Change
I really thought about this project and what I will change the next time I make it, but really could not come up with any significant changes. As mentioned before, I did not include the pockets and perhaps I will try adding the pockets in a future version. I may also include the collar in the contrasting fabrics.

Well, I hope you have enjoyed this project. I hope you will try making your own jacket along with the other sewing projects posted on our site. We are also excited to see your creations, so remember to share via social media with the hash tag #cssewalong. Visit us in the coming weeks for our next sewing project.

Happy stitching!

Summer Sew-Along | Next

Summer Sew-Along
How To Take Body Measurements
Selecting A Pattern
How To Prepare Fabric For Sewing
How To Cut Pattern And Fabric Pieces
Reviewing Pattern Instruction Sheet
Sew-Along - Reversible Jacket

Last updated 06/27/16

Friday, May 6, 2016

Giant Paper Flowers

Earlier this week I had the opportunity to share how to make a giant paper flower on Rogers TV Barrie Daytime show. If you are a Rogers TV subscriber you can view the show online or order a copy of the episode. It was a wonderful experience and I had lots of fun. I therefore wanted to share a little more about this super fun craft on our blog, which I hope will inspire you to give it a try.

Yvette-Michelle Cottle Darby on the set of Daytime | Rogers TV Barrie 

Paper flowers can be a great way to decorate a space for a special event such as a birthday party, engagement party, wedding or baby shower. You can also use them in your home as a decorative accent piece. I personally love having them on display in my craft studio. You can create an elaborate backdrop by attaching them to a wall or on a separate piece of material that you can hang from a wall. You can also create a whimsical atmosphere by just sprinkling them throughout your space.

There are many types of papers to work with, including card stock, tissue paper, crepe paper, construction paper, scrapbooking paper, Japanese paper and so much more. You can even repurpose the pages from newspapers, old books and magazines. I suggest you experiment with different types of paper and see what you like best.

On the show I demonstrated using fifteen sheets of white 65lb card stock for the petals, two sheets of green card stock for the leaves, and one sheet of yellow construction paper was used for the stamen. I used a standard card stock paper that can be found at your local craft or office supply store and there are usually lots of colours to choose from. Each sheet is generally 8.5 x 11 inches.

Here is a list of supplies you will need:

Card Stock Paper (65lb or your preference)
Construction Paper
Glue Gun
Glue Sticks
Stapler (optional)
Large Paper Clips (optional)

Tip! I recommend using a hot glue gun with high-temperature glue sticks, because it holds and sets really well. However, you can use low-temperature glue sticks, which will be safer if you are doing this craft with young children. Alternatively, you can use a stapler to secure your individual petals and then use your glue gun at the end when putting your flower together.

If you will like to make a giant paper flower, then try out our FREE template when you sign up for our email newsletter. You can scale our template to 200% to fit fully on an 8.5 x 11 card stock. You can also experiment on your own, or join us for an upcoming class at our Barrie, Ontario studio.

Upcoming Classes |  FREE Flower Template with Email Signup

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