Ironing Mat/ Ironing Pad

Let’s face it, one of the negative aspects of sewing as a hobby is the ironing. I hate ironing. Especially ironing entire yards of fabric on a tiny postage stamp-like ironing board. Its hard to get started on a project knowing that I will have to spend an hour moving and repositioning fabric on the ironing board before I can start to actually sew anything.

sew ironing board cover
Sew an Ironing Mat or Ironing Blanket

Recently my ironing board broke and I had to throw it out. Instead of just buying a new one I decided to make a large ironing mat. I also decided to fully commit and make a huge one. I followed the ironing mat tutorial on Little Birdie Secrets.

The ironing mat has four layers:

  1. Therma-Flec Fabric: The silver (sometimes tan) surface that you actually iron on. AKA ironing board fabric.
  2. Insul-Bright Needlepunched Insulated Lining – 36″ x 45″
    : Heat resistant material that reflects heat back so the iron can do its thing.
  3. 100% Cotton Batting:Cotton to protect what ever you choose to lay your ironing mat on top of (i.e., the table, floor, or bed).
  4. Backing fabric: Hopefully cute fabric to hold it all together. Sometimes 100% cotton home decorating fabric is recommended for extra heat protection.

The four layers are quilted together and bound at the edges (I used double fold bias tape). I also added ribbon at the edges so the ironing mat can be rolled up and tied to stay shut for storage.

You are not supposed to pin the Therma-Flec to the Insul-Bright or or other layers because the pins will damage the ironing material. Use basting spray to hold it in place for the quilting. I used Basting Spray for the first time, and I have been converted to a believer. Basting spray is the way to go for any quilting project.

The #1 thing I would do differently is sew on the Therma-Flec/ silver Ironing Board fabric last. Each time I attached a fabric layer to the therma-flec, it bubbled up and is no longer flat. Of course you want a flat surface for ironing on, so ugh. I think it will still work just fine but this is kind of disappointing.

I will say that sewing on the binding through so many layers of thick fabric was very difficult! There were a lot of broken needles and broken thread! Is this what quilting machines are for?

Now there is nothing stopping me from starting a new sewing or quilting project, except the tedious process of ironing itself.

Style Arc Susan Top (Knit T-Shirt)

The Style Arc Susan shirt is a simple knit t-shirt pattern to sew up quickly. I chose this t-shirt pattern because Style Arc sewing patterns are apparently supposed to come in sizes that fit a real person better than the patterns from the big-4 pattern companies. So that’s a big plus for this independent sewing pattern company. Although I am a novice, I have made enough failed muslins to know that so far the big-4 patterns do not fit me AT ALL. I suspect this t-shirt pattern has to be one of the simplest designs that Style Arc makes– just what I was looking for.

Susan Top Sewing Pattern
Susan Top Sewing Pattern

I am happy to say that this pattern actually fits me. Of course since I used a stretch jersey knit fabric, the odds were in my favor. I used the cheapest knit jersey fabric I could get my hands on.

The pattern itself was great. It was printed on very nice paper, which is so much better than the awful tissue paper that regular patterns are printed on. The instructions are minimal at best. You will need some experience sewing to understand these patterns. It was a single size pattern, so don’t plan on grading between different sizes. You will need to make custom fitting adjustments on Style Arc patterns to make the sewing pattern match your measurements.

Everything would have been fine, but I faced a lot of technical difficulties that ultimately make this project a FAIL. Big surprise there! My problem was sewing this thin jersey fabric with my sewing machine. The thin jersey fabric kept getting sucked into my sewing machine despite my use of lower tension settings, my walking food, tissue paper as stabilizer, wash away stabilizer, and jersey needles. Ultimately, the fabric was beyond saving and this turned into a practice project.

Next time I suppose I will just try my serger first, and skip the sewing machine as much as possible for knit fabric. But that entails 2 hours of testing serger tension settings– boring! And then I will need a way to cleanly hem knit fabric in the future. Ugh, now I want a Coverstitch Machine. 3 Hours Past (which is affiliated with Cake Patterns) has a post all about stabilizers and sewing on knits which will hopefully help me since I don’t have a coverstitch machine!

I switched to using my serger midway through the project. Even though the tension was not perfectly balanced, it was a million times better than my sewing machine. Actually I am very happy to find a starting point for my tension settings for serging knit jersey.

  • Starting point tension settings for Brother 1034d Serger (Thin Knit Jersey): 3 thread overlock, 4, –, 5.5, 4.3 and a stitch width of 4.7.
  • I found the neckline a bit wide for my taste, which made me feel a little over exposed. I will bring it up and in next time
  • Oops, I forgot to cut the sleeves as mirror images, so one of them is sewn wrong side out. Learning experience.
  • 3 Thread Overlock tension settings: 4, --, 5.5, 4.3.
    3 Thread Overlock tension settings: 4, –, 5.5, 4.3. (That’s left needle 4, right needle not threaded, upper looper 5.5, and lower looper 4.3) (Brother 1034d serger on thin jersey fabric)
    Brother Serger 1034d Machine Settings for thin jersey. (differential feed, stitch length and stitch width).
    Brother Serger 1034d Machine Settings for thin jersey. Differential feed: 1 (default setting); Stitch length: 3 (default setting), Stitch Width/ cutting distance : 4.7.
    3 Thread overlock stitching on thin jersey
    3 Thread overlock stitching on thin jersey. Not too bad!

    I plan on making this t shirt AGAIN with a different fabric or possibly trying a fusible interfacing for the neckline, hem and wrists. Sew There Tammy made a couple of Style Arc Susan tops that she was happy with. Hopefully I will too someday soon!

Black Friday Sewing Sales!

Craftsy classes on sale for $20?? What?!! Right now for Black Friday, there is a Craftsy Class Sale for up to 66% off from 11/29-12/2! Here are the details:

Craftsy Yarn and Fabric sale up to 80% off from 11/27-12/2!
Craftsy has brilliant savings on the craft supplies you want! With up to 80% off yarn and 65% off fabric, get the best prices of the year while you can.

Craftsy Class Sale up to 66% off from 11/29-12/2!
Craftsy has brilliant savings for a limited time only! All their online classes are on sale for $19.99 or less. With classes priced up to 66% off, now is a great time to get the classes you’ve been eyeing all year! Craftsy classes also make a great gift, so do some holiday shopping for the crafter in your life.

Craftsy

I plan on ordering a couple of classes. First I want to get the class on lining, interfacings and facings for garment construcion, “Underneath It All with Linda Lee”. I have no clue how to sew a lining!

I also want to get the class on how to revese engineer a pair of jeans (“Jean-ius”) so I can re-create the only pair of jeans that fit me but are now completely worn out and fill of holes.

New Look 6945 Button Up Top Muslin (pattern review)

New Look 69 45 Sewing Pattern. Lined button up blouse with sleeves or sleeveless.
New Look 69 45 Sewing Pattern. Lined button up blouse with sleeves or sleeveless.
New Look 6945 is a lined button up blouse sewing pattern that comes in sleeveless, short sleeved, and three-quarters sleeve options. I bought the pattern because it said “easy”, not because I loved it. The shirt is casual without a lot of separate pieces and topstitching, etc. It is short and hits just below the waist. There are a few pattern reviews online.

The pattern runs big with a large amount of ease and I had to make a lot of alterations to make this wearable (which never happened). There is a large amount of ease in this pattern. It was a huge pouffy sack with a gaping neckline without alterations.

Changes I made:

  • Went down many sizes on the front piece to try to make this awful pattern fit better
  • Removed 1 and a half inches from the upper bodice back. I guess this is a change I may make often in the future…
  • Brought the front shoulder up 1 and a half inches
  • Removed 2 inches from the hipline on the back pattern piece
  • Shortened the bust darts by 2 inches or so
  • A million other changes that didn’t pan out
new look 6945 top front view muslin
I guess the upper chest is too long?? I had to pin up wedges at the sides of the armholes/ armsyes

Overall, this sewing pattern did not fit me in the least. I went down to a size 8 in the front bodice and the shoulder straps were still superrrrr wide! I had to ad over an inch to the shoulders to make the top stay on my body. And since it was also inappropriately low cut I also had to add a ton to the upper chest or else risk being mistaken for a daytime hooker.

I made change after change to try to make this pattern fit me. In the end I had to concede defeat and give up. At least I tried. On to the next failed project!

new look 6945 top side view muslin
New Look 6945… Doesn’t fit, never will
I cut out over an inch from the upper back, and there are wrinkles in the small of the back and below it.
I cut out over an inch from the upper back, and there are wrinkles in the small of the back and below it.

Vogue 1004 Fitting Shell Update (Craftsy Fast Track Fitting Class)

I have been working on fitting my dress for the Fast Track Fitting Class! I still have a ways to go but I am getting there. At least this current version doesn’t make me look like a stuffed sausage with a gigantic humpback.

Horzontal draglines and diagonal draglines on my Vogue 1004 fitting shell (Craftsy Fast Track Fitting)
Horzontal draglines and diagonal draglines on my Vogue 1004 fitting shell (Craftsy Fast Track Fitting)

There is a diagonal dragline from my underarm towards the center waist, and the bust apex sits much too high, I think I may need to make a larger cup size??? Yet I don’t have a full bust??? I did remove 2 inches from the center seam front bodice, I guess that was too much. Anyway, you can clearly see that the horizontal balance line on the front bodice bust line pulls up. The thighs (and maybe the hips?) are over fitted, which is somewhat to be expected as I removed A LOT of fabric in the back to make my embarrassing flat seat adjustment and did not add any in the front for ease because I was pretty confused by this point. Hmm I still need to brush up on making pattern fitting adjustments on Craftsy.

My most successful change was to remove the giant humpback of extra fabric between my shoulder blades in my upper back by cutting out a strip of fabric in the upper back bodice. In other words, I made the back bodice shorter without touching the side seams. I still need to remove a little more (I think) and possibly lower the arm holes since I brought them up so much, making the arm holes quite a bit smaller.

Upper bodice too long
Humpback from too much fabric in upper bodice. The upper bodice is too long so I had to shorten in the shoulder blade area.

Okay so a million more changes need to be made… Despite his muslin’s shortcomings, this is a major improvement on the original pattern. I would like to remind you that the unaltered, right out of the envelope patterns starts out as the worst fitting garment in the history of humankind, then only gets worse without a bunch of pattern adjustments. The changes would be easier to make if I had a fitting partner to help me with my measurements. Looking at photographs of the muslin helps so much because apparently I tend to pull at the muslin in the mirror to adjust it and then exclaim “Its perfect!! Done! I will just maintain this impossible position and not move all day.”