Tuesday, May 22, 2012

My Personal PR Weekend

Hooray! She graduated!
Back when plans were being made for PR Weekend 2012, one of the options was San Francisco.  Britex Fabrics is on my Fabric Store Bucket List. Match made in heaven, right? Wrong.  My daughter's graduation from University of Virginia was the same weekend and I would have missed PR Weekend, no matter where it was held. Fortunately, a scheduling conflict made it necessary to postpone PR Weekend in San Francisco until 2013 and hold PR Weekend 2012 in New York.  Since I'd shopped in New York before, I didn't feel like I was missing out on anything by attending my only child's graduation.  (Does that sound bad?)  I managed to have my cake and eat it, too. I attended DD's graduation and had my own personal fabric shopping spree in Virginia.

First, I went to Les Fabriques, my usual stop when visiting Charlottesville.  I drove to the location and discovered an empty store front!  My heart fell.  I panicked. But then I checked online and learned Les Fabriques hadn't closed, it moved.  The new location is much bigger and more luxuriously decorated.  Here is what I picked up:

teal cotton stripe; teal stretch woven; yellow knit
I strongly suspect the teal stripe above is actually intended for quilting. But it was displayed with the teal bottom weight and matched so well! Since I am the Queen of Matchy-Matchy, I had to get it for a blouse.

It being graduation weekend, hotel rooms were scarce and overpriced.  As a result, my hotel was about 25 miles from Charlottesville in Waynesboro.  Naturally, I searched for independent fabric stores in Waynesboro and found Fabric Warehouse.  This store and Les Fabriques are polar opposites.  Les Fabriques is located in an upscale shopping plaza. Fabric Warehouse is located in a low rent strip mall which translates to lower prices.  I picked up these two pieces for less than $25.00:

magenta twill and cotton check
The check can also be worn with the teal shown above.  The Queen of Matchy-Matchy is pleased!

So, I was not able to join the PR Weekend fun in New York City.  But I was able to score nice fabrics in my own personal PR Weekend.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Finished: Kwik Sew 3866 (Rant & Review)

Chapter 1
The Rant

I have a problem with knits.  It's not a secret.  I was feeling more confident about knits until I met this green fabric last month at G-Street Fabrics in Falls Church, VA.

Ridiculous amount of rolled up edge!
Some knits just will not lay out smoothly for pinning and cutting.  This fabric behaved just like the red knit that made me rant and rave two years ago.  It had a infuriating tendency to roll up at the edges.  I like to match the selvages and fold the fabric in half.  Is that wrong?  Is that too much to ask?  Since it was impossible to place anything on a fold, I ended up tracing a full front, back, and collar pieces and two separate sleeves.  I forgot about folds and laid everything out on a single layer.

Maybe I'm over-reacting.  I've been known to do that.  After I got the pieces cut out, I experimented with the suggestions from my previous rant. I tried pressing. I tried spray starch. Some of the techniques helped, but I still wasn't satisfied.  I just want knits to behave like wovens and that will never happen. Maybe I just shouldn't be sewing knits.

Chapter 2
The Review

Click here or see sidebar for Pattern Review
One can never have too many polo shirts.  Polo shirts are a slightly less casual than t-shirts, but just as comfortable.  Now that I have Kwik Sew 3866 I can pick-up (easy to fold) knits (that don't roll up) suitable for polo shirts every time I see them.  This pattern offers long-sleeved and sleeveless versions as well as the short sleeved version.

Kwik Sew's instructions often are much easier than other pattern company's instructions.   I struggled trying to follow Burda's instructions for a front placket.  Kwik Sew's instructions were as easy as pie.  The band is interfaced and that made the knit behave a little better.

I'm not sure about the fiber content because I found this fabric on the $2.97 table at G-Street Fabrics.  I suspect it's cotton because it pressed so well.  (You'd think I would have been able to press out those rolled up edges!) When it was time to press up the hem, it held the crease better than any knit I've had the displeasure to press.  I had to use my walking foot on any seam that wasn't serged.  The fabric tended to drag and would have made a huge gap when I reached the end of a seam.  I used the walking foot when sewing the upper and under collars together and when top stitching the placket.  So that dragging wouldn't be an issue, I used the cover stitch capability of my serger to hem the sleeves and bottom.

In spite of the knit's idiosyncrasies, this was an easy shirt to sew.  The pattern was so easy, you could almost ignore the knit fabric.  I'll make more of these tops if I can find knits that know how to behave.