Mpressive Threadz Studio Blog

Sharing my love of sewing

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Creative Sewing – Chapter 6

I have a new battery charger. Yippee! 

I am working on the evening gown.  Today I applied the trim to the bodice, attached the bodice lining and the skirt.  I am very pleased with the look.  I will be finished soon since all that remains is installing the zipper and skirt lining and finishing the hem.  This project has been fun and I need to keep the fun going, so I need to start thinking about the next project. 

A quick note about attaching the trim, please take a few minutes to hand baste it in place.  It takes less time than picking out machine stitches.   I baste the trim in place and then do a row of machine basting using a long machine stitch. I remove the hand basting and continue with the garment construction without worrying about the trim shifting.  It may seem like extra work, but it’s worth the results.



Creative Sewing – Chapter 5

In a perfect world this post would have all the shots of creating the trim and attaching it.  But this is not a perfect world and I try not to sweat the small stuff.  The camera battery died in the midst of me taking pictures as I create the trim for the evening gown.  The battery charger has been missing in action for a couple of months.  My clutter-phobic husband placed it somewhere out of sight and since he’s never been known for having a strong memory, can’t remember where.  Yesterday, I broke down and ordered a replacement charger.  In the meantime I’ll post the pictures I do have. Once I have a fully charged camera battery, I’ll take the rest of the picture and post them.

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Creative Sewing – Chapter 4

Happy New Year!  Wishing everyone a great year of sewing!

I’ve spent the holidays enjoying family and friends and doing very little sewing.  One weekend I intended to sew the entire weekend. HA! That’s a joke.  Saturday afternoon a girlfriend called to say she was leaving work soon and invited a few other female friends over to just hangout.  Forget about sewing; I’m in my car, driving for an hour to spend a relaxing Saturday evening with friends, old and new, eating pizza and wings, drinking PD eggnog, dancing various slides and listening to some serious singing from gospel to rap, and sharing life stories.  Sunday a niece called to say she was at my sister-in-law’s house and they were about to go out to eat.  Did I want to join them?  Forget about sewing; I’m in my car, driving for 30 minutes to spend a relaxing Sunday afternoon with them, eating out, sharing life stories, and doing a little shopping.  The following weekend was devoted to our annual dinner before Christmas.  Forget sewing; this meant baking and cooking on Saturday, and a Sunday of dining, drinking, talking and laughing until midnight.  I did not try to sew the reminder of the year and I did not care.  My holidays were relaxing!

Today, I fired up the sewing machine.  I added another shaped godet to the center of the skirt back.  I did not like the look of the one godet, so I added another.  I smile at the results, which means I like the look.  I also experimented with creating a trim for the dress.  After avoiding a disaster with my Brother machine, which is why I am not 100% enamored of electronic machines with drop-in bobbins, I stitched a sample of the trim.  I smile at the results; again I’m liking the look.

I didn’t feel like getting out the better camera, so I took quick pictures using my cell phone.  I will take better shots later, but I think for now you’ll have a general idea of the trim and the godets.

Here are directions for creating the trim:

  • Cut bias strip the length needed (width = twice your seam allowance plus 1”).  Cut another strip same length and width.
  • Fold one bias strip in half.
  • Set machine to shell tuck stitch (or blindstitch or zigzag stitch).  Set tension of machine so that the bobbin  thread is pulling more than the upper thread. 
  • Stitch along folded edge so that needle hits outside the fold when it zigzags.
  • Place right side of stitched trim to right side of other bias strip, lining up cut edges.  Stitch just inside of straight stitch of shell tuck stitch or blindstitch.  When using a zigzag stitch, you’ll stitch where the needle enters the fabric away from the fold.
  • Fold down bias strip for piping, wrong sides together.
  • Trim two inner layers close to stitching.
  • Stitch close to bulge of trimmed layers, encasing the trim edges, forming piping. 

Click on the diagram to see a full-size version of the trim construction.

I really like the look of the trim, which combined ideas from my sewing machine manual and some of my sewing books.  It’s meant to be inserted in a seam just as you would a piping.  I can envision it with contrasting piping.  I definitely want to use this technique again on another garment.  I hope it inspires you.

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Real Dress

My cousin Tracy thought she would be able to find a gown that would meet her standards in taste, glamour and fit.  LOL!  She recapped her shopping experience after hitting the major department stores. ROTF! She is young and full of life.  So what’s out there for a shapely woman executive in her mid-forties?  You go take a look.

After assuring her that I was fine following my surgery, I made her an evening gown.  She brought her oldest son with her to pick up the gown.  He looked at the dress hanging up in my studio and said, “It looks like a real dress!”  That line is priceless.  What was even more priceless was the look on his face when his mother stepped out wearing the gown.  His big beautiful teenage smile said it all.


Prom Adventures – Final Chapter

Prom night is over and we have all recuperated.  My daughter and her friends looked glamorous and they enjoyed prom night.  They had their red carpet moment and it started with the limo.  This thing was as long as a bus and they walked a red carpet to enter it.  Big different from the brown Buick LeSabre that took me to my prom with my mother in the driver’s seat.  

I only have shots of two of the dresses.  D was meeting them elsewhere, so I did not get a picture of her in her dress.  Bummer.  I hope to get one from her. 

I love making party dresses and I enjoyed making these.  Today in the Washington Post is a story about an organization that gives new and used dresses to any young lady who needs one.  And there are plenty of young ladies who need help in these financial times.  My husband is still complaining about the cost and I made my daughter’s dress.  This organization is called Once Upon a Prom.   There are a slew of similar organizations.  Use the search term “Cinderella Project” and you will find one near you.  If you don’t, you may want to start one. 

Here’s an idea for the sewists out there.  We all have humongous stashes of fabric, which we may never get through.  How about taking a fabulous piece out of your stash and making a great party dress in any size.  Then give your creation to one of these organizations.  It’s a win-win situation.  Some young lady gets a beautiful prom dress that she would never be able to afford and you get a tax-break for a charitable donation.  This would make a wonderful sew-along.   I have to give this more thought.


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Prom Adventures – Chapter 4

Another one bites the dust.  The second dress is done.  I think of two words when I look at it, fun and sophistication.  It’s a beautiful blue, with a ruched midriff and a draped skirt.  I remember wearing the side drapes on the hips when I was much, much younger and much, much smaller.


I am so glad I remembered how to drape the pattern for the skirt on the dressform. 

I will be pulling an all-nighter on my daughter’s dress.  I can’t complain that she focused on school instead of prom dresses.  Her head was in the right place.  Today she received a letter from the school informing her that she is the salutatorian for her senior class.  That will keep a smile on my face as I finish her dress.

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Prom Adventures – Chapter 3

The most difficult gown is done!  G is scheduled to pick up her gown tomorrow and I will get pictures.  She is very petite (height and width). Her gown reminds me of a forties/fifties dream gown; organza over charmeuse with bling and flare.  Here’s the back and front of the gown.

 Work continues on the others.