Saturday, 7 January 2017

Learning to use my New Cover Stitch Machine

Christmas gifts I received recently included a Janome CoverPro 2000CPX cover stitch machine... something I had been dropping lots of hints about in the lead up to Christmas. I also received the clear view foot, as everyone on IG had suggested it was a necessary accessory. I did hubby's Christmas shopping for him and ordered it online from for the sale price of $849.00 with free delivery. This sale price is still current and goes up to $999.00 on 16th January, so if you are after one you had better get in quick. My daughter sent me this adorable Liberty pin cushion shaped like an apple along with a gift card for Spotlight. My son has ordered The Tunic Bible by Sarah Gunn and Julie Starr, which was out of stock, so I am looking forward to receiving it mid February. These were all very welcome additions to my sewing room.

I squeezed the CoverPro in between my overlocker and my sewing machine on my sewing desk. I think this set up works ok, even if it is a little crowded. I just have to be careful to use the right foot pedal with the right machine.

I'm so glad I got the clear view foot too. It makes it so much easier to line up the stitches when sewing in the round. I really knew very little about cover stitching so I searched for info on the internet and I discovered that Craftsy had a new course for beginners on sale, at the time, so I bought it straight away. I'm so glad I did, as it was very informative, explaining the basics as well as showing the more decorative ways of using the cover stitch.

I decided to sew a nice simple project for my first go at using the CoverPro. So a Maria Denmark Kirsten Kimono Tee fit the bill nicely. I have made this tee before and I have tweaked the pattern to improve the fit on me, by lengthening it and scooping out the neckline.

The fabric is a lovely 100% cotton jersey purchased from Spotlight. As it had no lycra or spandex component I used a scrap of white cotton/lycra for the neckline binding.

I used Bondaweb T10, an iron-on adhesive to secure the hems before cover stitching. I buy this from Knitwit. This resulted in nice even stitching with no tunnelling.

I did find it difficult to keep the stitching straight and wrap over the raw edge consistently. I found that it's better to sew slower rather than faster for the best result. I used a piece of tape as a hem guide which worked just fine. I'm not sure it would be worth the cost of purchasing the accessory specifically for this purpose. I did a pretty rough job of cover stitching the seam allowance of the neckline binding down, completely missing the raw edge in places. It looks ok from the outside so I left it as it is, vowing to improve that on the next one.

I was keen to try again, so I dug this red striped cotton jersey out of the stash. This is another Spotlight purchase from a few years ago, but it was printed terribly off grain. I thought I could make it work in this simple tee, so I cut it out, ignoring the grain and focusing on matching the stripes.

This stripe matching business adds so much time to what should have been a very quick sew. I meticulously pinned every stripe and sewed the side seams on my sewing machine, later finishing the seams on the overlocker once the stripes were matched.

Both pairs of shorts worn with these tees are RTW, purchased from Rockmans in the 50% off sales leading up to Christmas. These are the first RTW garments I have bought in ages but I could not have sewn these myself for less than what I paid for them.

The sleeve hems were cover stitched before the side seams were sewn.  

Knowing the difficulty I had with cover stitching the neckline on the first tee, I took particular care with this one, achieving a much better result.

I can see that my skills will improve with practice. I am so glad that I watched the Craftsy course before I started practicing as I didn't have any significant issues at all with that new found knowledge fresh in my mind.

I have had a lovely two and a bit weeks off work for the holidays. I managed to sew two dresses and two tees, participate in Christmas and New Year festivities, enjoy family visiting and do some gardening. Well, all good things come to an end and it's back to work on Monday.


Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Style Arc Adeline Dress #2

On Christmas Eve afternoon I got the silly idea to sew up my second Style Arc Adeline Dress to wear on Christmas Day. I did have a bit of a head start, as I had done all the cutting out and fusing the interfacing to the facings the night before. I thought it would only take a couple of hours as I had sewn it before here, but sadly I was a little over ambitious and I didn't finish it until 9pm and then I still had Christmas food to prepare. Anyway, all the stress has now been forgotten and these photos were taken yesterday in my mother's garden during it's second wearing, at a family New Year get together.

The fabric is a cotton linen blend purchased from Spotlight in a very colourful floral print. This fabric behaved very well and was a pleasure to sew and press. It was also nice and wide and I was able to eliminate the centre back seam. Also, wrinkling that is usually an issue with linen has not been a problem. I don't know the percentage of linen to cotton in this blend, but it wears very well with little wrinkling.

I made my usual Style Arc size 12 and I did make a couple of pattern alterations to this one in order to improve the fit. I shortened the length by 3cm at the lengthen/shorten line to give it a more summery vibe and I did a forward shoulder adjustment following this guide from Sew Hopeful.

The shoulder seam on the Adeline Dress is a relatively straight line. I removed a wedge from the front shoulder, 1.5cm at the sleeve edge tapering to nothing at the neckline. I then added this wedge to the back shoulder. This worked very well and the dress sits better on my shoulders, without wanting to slip back all the time. 

It is very important to stabilise the neckline to avoid any distortion or stretching. I did this by sewing some narrow cotton tape to the stitching line on the wrong side. It worked beautifully and the neckline sits perfectly. All the facings (neckline and hem) were under stitched and then top stitched so there is no problem with them flipping out or misbehaving at all.

The photo above was taken as I was attaching the patch pockets to the front. I posted this on IG, not knowing if I was going to be able to finish it in time for Christmas. I was very happy when I did manage to finish it in time as it was perfect for our Christmas Day weather and it was comfortable and stylish...but best of all, there was plenty of room for all that Christmas over indulging that tends to happen on Christmas Day.

I think I have a new favourite dress, and judging by the number of Adeline dresses popping up on my IG feed, it is becoming a very popular pattern. My darling grand daughter wanted to join in the photo shoot and this shot was just so lovely of her that I had to include it.

Wishing all my followers a wonderful 2017 filled with the joy of sewing.