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.
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:
- Therma-Flec Fabric: The silver (sometimes tan) surface that you actually iron on. AKA ironing board fabric.
- Insul-Bright Needlepunched Insulated Lining – 36″ x 45″
: Heat resistant material that reflects heat back so the iron can do its thing.
- 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).
- 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.
My poor dog has very sparse, short hair and next to no body fat. We don’t live in a very cold climate, but she definitely needs something to keep her warm on cold morning walks. But, in my area, stores only stock clothes for toy breeds. Time to break out the sewing machine and make my dog a coat!
Sew Everything Workshop has instructions for a self-drafted “Canine Couture Coat”. The pattern is very simple and is based on your dog’s measurements, plus added ease. The most difficult part was deciding on the dimensions for the chest and neck area- I went with wide and shallow, since this seemed to fit her best based on her muslins. My dog is very deep-chested, so I placed the belt a bit higher than the middle so that it would go around the thickest part of her body, not her skinny belly.
The pattern features decorative buttons at the chest and side. Cute! I used silver metal ones. I used my French curve to round the ends of the jacket instead of making them rectangular.
The coat I made is fastened with hooks and eyes because I was worried about my dog undoing the fastenings; you could also use snaps or Velcro. I plan to use Velcro next time.
I made one major change to the pattern; Diane Rupp drafted the pattern with a two-piece belt that meets underneath the dog’s body in the middle of her belly. This seemed like too much trouble to me, so I just made a one-piece belt that attaches to the side of the coat instead. Much easier to get on and off the dog!
This pattern is great- simple and easy. I like my single-piece belt idea, but don’t have any other complaints, As long as you make a muslin or two to tweak the pattern so that it fits your dog properly, it shouldn’t be too hard to make a good dog coat.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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 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
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!