Monday, December 19, 2005

Experimenting with the muslin

I have been working on the muslin for the dress on and off for months now. At first I was trying to draft my own bodice pattern from saran wrap using Heather Clause's wrap method. It was going good until I tried to draft the sleeve pattern. When I sewed the sleeve in, it threw my whole pattern off and I could never get a good fit. It was very frustrating.
This is the saran wrap sloper when I first cut it off my body. For more information about how this works see the Fashion Incubator's blog.

So....finally I decided to just go with a regular pattern with a similar bodice and adjust it to fit. I've been adjusting and re-working the muslin for some time now...changing the neckline, sleeves, etc. Finally, the other day I was down to the final muslin bodice and decided it was time to practice with some cheap satin, organza, and underlining fabric. Here I am basting the 3 layers together for each bodice piece.

It is important to baste these layers together because they are treated as one piece when they are sewed together. I hand baste them because it is the "couture" way to do it, =) and because the layers could slip if I did it with the machine. It is really important that these layers don't slip around.

My dress will have an organza overlaying the satin fabric. The interlining is a stiff cotton broadcloth which will give the bodice stability and body.

I use giant washers for weights...they work great!

This is a closer picture of my bodice back pieces. Because this is a practice run, I used red thread for visibility. I basted right along the stitching lines so that I could make sure I got the seamlines matched up perfectly on the princess seams.

More progress and pictures coming soon!

Bridal Sewing on the Web

Much to my disappointment, I have not found very many good, comprehensive sites online that deal with bridal sewing. I would like to see a sites with good pictures of dress construction, and sewing techniques for specific bridal fabrics. There are a few helpful sites though. If I have any readers who know of other good sites then the ones below, send them on!

Alicyn Exclusives, the designer for McCall's patterns has some helpful tips on choosing bridal fabric and creating a lace bodice.

Denver Fabrics, in Denver Co. has a few excellent articles on working with Alencon lace, sewing in Horsehair braid in the hem, and Embellishing lace with beads and pearls. All of these articles open up in pdf format for a very nice print out. I printed them out and plan to start a notebook of wedding sewing techniques and information.

The only other good resource I've found online is an article by Susan Khalje, Beyond the Pattern Instructions. It simplifies all the major steps for a big project like a wedding gown and gives a lot of helpful hints.

Of course best and foremost bridal sewing resource available is Susan Khalje's book, Bridal Couture: Fine Sewing Techniques for Wedding Gowns and Evening Wear and it answers most of my questions. It is my guidebook, and I've been reading it cover to cover. =)

As I begin to sew my dress, I will be posting lots of pictures and construction details. Perhaps it will be of some use to someone else who is jumping into a wedding dress project like myself!


Thursday, December 08, 2005

Knotted Doll Instructions

I found the url for the knotted doll instructions! Okay, so I only had a bazillion bookmarks to wade through before I found it. I think I need to get more organized.

If anyone makes one of these dolls, I'd love to see a picture.


Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Add This Button!

To include this image and a link to SewChic, copy and paste the following code into your page:

<a href=""><img src="" border="0"></a>
Complements of Katie, we now have our own button. Katie loves any excuse to mess around with html and computers, and she has designed this lovely "button" for our use. Thank you, Katie!

Pictures of Past Projects

I thought I'd post a few pictures of some of the sewing projects I've done in the past since I don't have pictures taken of the more recent things. These little purses were made from an Amy Butler pattern called the Dorothy Bag. Katie and I each made two using fabric from my stash. She gave 3 of them as gifts and I kept one. These patterns were simple to make, but in my opinion, the directions were too wordy. :-) The green purse was adapted from another pattern that I found clearanced at a local shop. I don't remember the name of the pattern, but I love how this purse came out. This was my first time to put in a magnetic clasp, and I found it quite easy to do. The fabric is from Amy Butler's Ginger Bliss collection. Everytime I use this purse, I get lots of compliments. In the second picture you can see all the pockets I added to the inside.

The next several pictures are some items I have made for Emily. Since I mostly use cloth diapers on Emily, I enjoy sewing diaper covers in cute print fabrics. The diaper covers are made with an inner layer of leakproof PUL (polyurethane laminated fabric) and the outer cover is a cotton print. I have bound the edges in foldover elastic.

The knotted star dolls are some that I made for baby gifts. I think I made 10 or so in both blue and pink and have given most of them away. Of course, I kept a pink doll for Emily. The dolls were from a pattern I found online, and when I find the site, I'll post the link. These dolls made up fairly quickly, and they make great gifts. Another gift idea is the embellished burp cloths. I made these for Emily by adding a border of fabric to edges of store-bought prefold diapers. Two of the burp clothes were made from birds-eye diaper fabric, and I hand-embroidered the little animals on the fronts.

Pictured next is a little snuggy blankie that I made for Emily out of one layer of flannel and one layer of fleece with ribbon loops around the edges. After seeing an expensive brand of these little blankies online, I just had to make one myself. I had so much fun choosing the ribbons and sewing this up, and my version didn't cost 1/4 of the "name brand" blankies. Emily loves to finger the ribbons and put them in her mouth.

Well, I just have to add two more pictures! Emily is now 7 months old and is my sweet little darling baby. At times it feels a bit surrealistic to me to have both a 21 year-old daughter (Jessica) and a baby at the same time, but both are dear to my heart (along with my other children of course!) and I wouldn't trade either of them for the world.


Thursday, December 01, 2005

Grand Plans

Wow, I can't believe this is finally up and running! I am so excited! I'm posting my first post. Yahoo!

Many thanks to Katie (my 15 year old sister) for helping us get this together. It wouldn't have happened without her! The background was made from a photo of a vintage bedspread that I got last summer at a garage sale and I am amazed that Katie was able to morph the picture, and fade it out, and make it look just so. She is awesome.

Doesn't it look beautiful? So chic.

I have lots of grand plans for this, musings, links, and sewing discussions. We'll see where it goes...I have to find time to start sewing again first!

Coming soon:
The wedding dress
The bridesmaid dresses
A new cute skirt for self
Christmas presents (posted after Christmas. he he.)

And now for a picture of my wonderful fiancee and me!

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Our Email Address

We now have our own email address.
If you would like to contact us, you may
email us at sewchicblog [at] gmail [dot] com .

We would love to hear from you!

This page was updated 8/22/06.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

About Us

I'm Jessica, Ruth's oldest daughter. Mom taught me how to sew at an early age and it's been one of my passions ever since.

I remember my first sewing project--a pair of red culottes. Then there was the matching skirt and lined vest Mom helped me with. How I hated doing the lining on that vest...and I have never tackled another one since. By the time we got the vest done, the skirt was too small, and I never wore either! Somehow though, clothing construction became my favorite aspects of sewing. I also enjoy handwork, embroidery, quilting, and home decorating projects, and I want to take up crocheting next.

I'm newly married and my husband and I are expecting our first little blessing in February, 2007. We are Christians, and God alone is the one who gives us such joy and happiness as we walk though life as His followers.

Check out our cooking blog at


Hello! My name is Ruth and I love to sew. :-)

My husband of 23 years and I have been blessed with 7 beautiful children, and we've been homeschooling for over 15 years. When I'm not teaching, cleaning, cooking, reading, or playing with the children you will probably find me in the sewing room or sitting with some type of handiwork.

My mother tried to teach me to sew when I was a girl, but it never "took" until I was pregnant with my first child and I needed to make some maternity clothes. After that, I took off and have been sewing ever since. In addition to sewing, I also enjoy crocheting, embroidery, smocking, knitting, quilting, cross-stitching, and tole painting. I don't pretend to be an expert at any of it, but I do enjoy attempting new skills and techniques. Oh, I must confess that I also enjoy spending time on the computer.... Maybe if spent less time on the computer I would get more sewing done! :-)


This page was updated 8/22/06.