That Perfect Fit

ImageAn interest in costuming brought me into the world of sewing, and so the majority of my own projects include original and replica designs for renaissance faires, theatrical productions, comic conventions, and of course, Halloween. (Example on the right is me and some of my male friends as Nintendo Characters.)

Sometimes, I work from a sketch as a reference, and the artist is forming the garments in a way that are pretty on paper, but a bit of a challenge to fabricate. Especially since some of the shapes need to be made from altering existing patterns. There are times when the alterations to the in the finished products end up working well and looking good, but I don’t actually alter the size.

I alter the form, which gives me the shape that I need for what the garment needs to look like..but it’s still not 100% custom fitted to the person wearing it. Rather, it still falls into a fit that is made for a range of sizes.

The numbers we see for measurement ranges on a pattern may not be a perfect match for everyone, because we are all different sizes. It is part of being beautifully diverse as humans. Just going by bust, waist, and hip measurements might not always work the best for what we’re trying to accomplish.

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Enter Fitting for Every Figure (A20783) from the editors of Threads magazine. This book passed my desk, as most of our new items do, and it had me as soon as I read the back description. I knew in an instant that this book was the cure to my pattern-drafting dilemma.

ImagePaying close attention to all skill levels, this book takes you through the many different ways to make your stitched garments fit like a glove. True to its title, it also covers several different body types in a detailed way, showing how to custom fit nearly any shape. It moves from altering manufactured patterns to drafting your own patterns. Image

One of my absolute favorite tutorials in this book was where it shows you step-by-step how to make a custom dress form out of duct tape!

The fact that they also explain a few different ways of how to make patterns from Imageexisting garments without ruining them was the selling point for me. I didn’t know that you could make a pattern out of painter’s tape, either! I now know that I don’t have to take apart clothing that I still love and wear with a seam ripper because I want to make something similar.

This book is an amazing reference for any sew-er at any skill level. Hundreds of detailed, color photos and easy-to-read instructions really help avoid any misunderstanding.

With Halloween coming up fast, maybe this might help you make some custom-fit costumes!

ImagePhotos are from Fitting for Every Figure.

 (To find an item on our web page after clicking on the highlighted words, hold down the “Ctrl” key and touch F. Enter the item number in the box, press enter, and you’ll be taken to that item. Some of the images on this post are also links!)

Remember, you can see What’s New at Erica’s almost every day! Any page of our website has a column on the left that tells you where to find things, and all you have to do is look for “New Items” in purple, and click to find out.

Erica puts rumor to rest …

Jennifer jumped the gun a bit when she said there was a rumor that I was working on a quilt from the Tula Pink book, Quilts from the House of Tula Pink (A18230)Quilts From the House of Tula Pink

At that time, I was working on the newsletters and getting ready to go to Viking Convention in Tucson. (It was a great convention, with great new products!) NOW I’m starting my Tula Pink quilt! Page 127 has Stacks, the quilt that intrigued me. Angela Walters quilted the quilts in Tula’s book.  I love Angela’s  Free-Motion Quilting (A17336).

Free Motion Quilting by Angela WaltersI used her Tiles quilting design on my last “modern” quilt, Ring Toss (A12651).Ring Toss Quilt

So I chose this quilt based on more quilting ideas from Angela. I enjoy the quilting process so much, and that’s how I decide on what quilt to piece. Look at the beautiful Bali fat quarters I’m using, along with a gray background. (Of course, Lacy had to check out the fabric, too.)Bali Fabrics with a Crafter Kitty

Since Bali fabric tends to have extra dye, and they’ll be against a light background, I knew I should set them with Retayne (40287); 4 oz. (40287), 16 oz. (18659).

Several are dark, so I put them together in the Retayne. (There are instructions on the bottle for machine washing.) Before putting them in the washer, I clipped the corners. Have you ever pre-washed several pieces of fabric and taken them out of the washer and the threads that frayed had the fabrics all tied together? Clipping all the corners prevents that. The photo on the right (below) shows the fabrics as I took them out. Every one of them separate! So much easier this way!

Pre-washed fabricsTesting Fabrics If you want to check your fabric for extra dye or possible bleeding when washed, you can swish it in hot water in a white or clear bowl. If the water turns a color, the fabric needs Retayne. Follow the instructions on the bottle.

Before cutting, I press all my fabrics using Best Press. That way, if there is some fabric I haven’t preshrunk using the Retayne (the gray, for instance,) it shrinks as I’m pressing with Best Press.

Today I’m cutting my pieces, so I truly am working on the quilt from the Tula Pink book now!

You can see What’s New at Erica’s almost every day! Any page of our website has a column on the left that tells you where to find things, and all you have to do is look for “New Items” in purple, and click to find out.

(To find an item or event on our web site after clicking on the highlighted words, hold down the “Ctrl” key and touch F. Enter the item number in the box, press enter, and you’ll be taken to that item.)

Shhhhh! It’s a Secret!

I have so many things to tell you about! This is the beginning of a fall project that I’m making for a friend. But it’s not finished so I can’t really show you that yet.

Orange Mystery Project

Have you ever made a Crazy Quilt (A12538)? I haven’t made one but the one below is one that was passed on to my family. I have a pile of fabrics at home waiting to be made into a crazy quilt. Hasn’t happened yet.

Crazy Quilt

I bought another quilt top at an antique store with the intention of finishing it. Again, hasn’t happened yet.  (If you want to make one from new fabric,  our postage stamp posies pattern (A15076)is very similar.

Postage Stamp

And my daughter Sarah, also known as Miss Pretty Pretty, the youngest person in the house, may be the person in our family with the most quilts made for her. Both of the quilts below are even hand quilted.

Sarah's Quilt

Wendy's Quilt

And do you put labels on your quilts? Hmm? You do know it’s a good idea, right? Those first two quilts? We have no idea who made them because neither one is labeled. But more on that later, too.

And – one of our owners, Erica’s husband Dick, has some things to tell you about. But he said I can’t tell you until next week. He may have used the words “contest” and “prize.”  But I can’t tell you about that until next week.

All of this “not yet” stuff is making me crazy!  Maybe today would be a good time to start on that crazy quilt. As soon as I do, I’ll be sure to tell you about it!

You can see What’s New at Erica’s almost every day! Any page of our website has a column on the left that tells you where to find things, and all you have to do is look for “New Items” in purple, and click to find out.

(To find an item or event on our web site after clicking on the highlighted words, hold down the “Ctrl” key and touch F. Enter the item number in the box, press enter, and you’ll be taken to that item.)

Giant Panda

I just finished my Giant Panda wall hanging (A13717)!  It’s large, 34″ x 37″ and I think it’s fantastic!  Look at his eyes!  So pensive!

It’s part of Rob Appel’s Endangered Species Quilt Project.  With each pattern in the series that is sold,  $3 is donated.  Michael Miller, whose wonderful Fairy Frost fabric is used in these patterns, also donates $3.  So you can be helping endangered species while you’re enjoying creating a striking wallhanging.

I used Heat ‘N’ Bond‘s new Feather Light (996591) fusible, and even where there are several layers, it isn’t stiff!  And it was easy to do, too.  I was surprised how quick it was, with lots of big pieces, easy raw edge applique and easy quilting.

Here you can see one of our new boys, Bernstein, just a few days after he got to our home, helping me out with the accent strip.  He’s already an avid sew-er!

My next Endangered Species project is the Bengal Tiger (A1371)!  I’m sure Bernie will be excited about this one!

Update:  Many of you know we lost the last three cats from our original cat family, over more than 20 years, in the last quarter of 2011.  We had gotten our new boys, Bernstein and Puccini, in November, and lost our little girl, Kassi, a few days before Christmas.

Our new girl, also from the Humane Society, will come home next week after her stitches are removed from being spayed.  She’s a three-year old Siamese with beautiful blue eyes, and she promised she’ll be a lap sitter for Dick!  I’ll post pictures after she gets used to being here.  (If you have room in your heart and home, please visit your local Humane Society and find someone you needs you.)

Thanks to all who commiserated with us on our losses. Many sew-ers are also animal lovers!

(To find an item or event on our web page after clicking on the highlighted words, hold down the “Ctrl” key and touch F. Enter the item number in the box, press enter, and you’ll be taken to that item.)

You can see What’s New at Erica’s almost every day! Any page of our website has a column on the left that tells you where to find things, and all you have to do is look for “New Items” in purple, and click to find out.