There was a sale on classes (I feel like there is always a sale, like those sofa adverts) and the Sassy Librarian blouse caught my eye. I don't normally work with commercial patterns as I can draft my own and prefer to as it saves me tweaking someone elses 'fit', but as Leila from Threedressesproject once said to me, it's nice to change the pace. And I thought, yeah, this would be a great pace changer - just sitting and watching a video and being told what to do! Sign me up!
Plus, being a bit of a 1960s girl, I instantly liked the retro feel and the contrast cute bow and arm bands.
So I opted for this (the sleeveless version with the bow, or if you like, the girl looking over her friend's shoulder thinking, yeah I can make that pattern better than you bitch) and thought I'd blog about my first experience of a Craftsy class - here goes. The blouse is not finished yet, I'm actually a bit pissed off with it. But we'll get to that nail-biter later!
I have a tonne of fabric in my stash but all my cotton is either too precious or reserved for my first quilt. However, on a recent trip to Rolls & Rems in Lewisham, I finally found the cherry fabric I had been looking for and thought it would work perfectly.
Getting startedAt first I quite liked sitting and watching the video, but it quickly dawned on me that this could be a slow process. Reading some of the reviews, I agreed that the class should also include a written set of instructions as reference for more advanced sewers. I also found that I didn't necessarily agree with some of the methods Christine Haynes used. Ooooh get me! So, like what?
Well, pinning. She pins parallel to the fabric. When laying out a pattern, after I have checked grain and all the other bits and bobs, I always pin across like this. I had a wonderful yet scary teacher at Sewing School who would scold you for pinning any other way. Doing it like this helps to prevent the fabric from moving under the pattern, whereas pinning parallel risks movement as the fabric can slide up and down the pins. Note: if my sewing teach saw this pic she would go mental as the pins are too spaced out. She ran a tight ship! However, pinning on normal paper sucks!
I have never actually done pin tucks before - it's not something I have incorporated into design, so I am really glad I took this class to get a basic understanding of placement on the pattern. They are mega simple to do but effective. I like how they look with the cherries.
The construction of the rest of the blouse was simple although I hit a rocky patch with the facing, but that was owing to the torrid love affair I have with my overlocker (serger). Last week, we were back on, skipping through flowery fields, me feeding him thread like a King, him serging my edges so neatly, but this week he lets me down again and eats all the facing. Maybe it's because it had cherries on it, or maybe it's because I got crazy and serged a curve but looked at the needle instead of where the cutting knife is. At the end of the day, I always blame him, and he blames me. I guess it's just the way we are.
So, I had to re-cut the facing. No problem except that I had bought end of roll and I barely had enough, meaning my facing is not on grain and was cut at any way it would fit. However, I at least had enough so I redid that and made my overlocker watch while I used my sewing machine to zig zag the edges. I'm such a bitch.
So, last night everything was going to plan and in between listening to Christine's videos, I switch to watching a bit of Don Draper. It was a harmonious evening of sewing and lust. Until I start on the arm bands, which turn out to be about 3/4 inch too short - even Don leaves the room.
Hmm. I re-pinned but nope, too short. I checked the class questions and doesn't seem like anyone else had this problem. I feel that it's unlikely that my armhole stretched and 3/4 is quite a big change. This kind of annoyed me as it wasted the cute strawberry fabric I bought especially for the contrast - yep this blouse will be full-on fruity. To remedy this I cut two more pieces but made them an inch longer. This seems to be fine and stitched okay, but that's as far as I got. I got tired, Don had left, and Christine had pissed me off by not replying to my question.
Again, to note, Christine pinned parallel whereas I pin like this:
I just don't see how pinning parallel works. Surely it would increase the risk of warping your band/binding? But if it works for other people, great, but I prefer to be extra careful or extra goody-two shoes if my old teacher is listening ;)
So that's as far as I have got with the Sassy Librarian Blouse. I have a feeling too that the back of the neck is going to gape. Great. Shoulda done that muslin I thought about. So I may have to take apart the neck and add a couple of darts. Maybe. Depends how much I like the top, but it would be a shame to waste those cherries.
Update to follow...
Meanwhile in the Dixie Lou Sewing Studio...I have also started on a shirt for Mr Szabo. I am using Kwik Sew 3883 and doing the short sleeve version from some cool fabric I bought from Ray Stitch in Islington. That's all cut out, tweaked and ready to go. A muslin was made for this and approved by Mr Szabo - so I hopefully shouldn't run into any fit problems.
Has anybody else done this Craftsy class? What did you think?