Splitting a digitized design

Here is a pic of Andrea Whitrow’s son in a vest she made using my dragon design. Such a cutie!

connor whitrow vest1

Here are the directions I sent to Andrea for this design in her max size hoop:

This  front vest design will be split into 4 sections. Below is a pic of the design on the pattern, and another pic of the  4 splits with the necessary basting boxes and placement lines for re-hooping so you see how this has been broken up.

 

front

front splits

Notice in the center of the vest that there is a vertical line with a horizontal crossbar on the top and a V to mark the neckline from the pattern piece… this marks the bottom of the neckline for the center front. You want to draw this same line onto your bodice fabric.  You will need this line to place your fabric in the hoop.  (You can read more about this here: https://taoknitter.wordpress.com/2009/04/20/re-hooping-for-large-bodice-designs/ )

Here are the 4 separate files

#1

pt 1 left front

But in the hoop, it will look like this:

pt 1 left front in hoop

#2

pt 2 right front

But in the hoop, it will look like this:

pt 2 right front in hoop

#3

pt 3 center front

#4

pt 4 center front

Part #1:  You will start with “pt 1 left front.”  Below is the pic of the file and the placement lines in the file.

pt 1 left front in hoop

The center placement lines (the longer line with the crossbar on top) will stitch out onto the stabilizer first to help you line up your fabric.

pt 1 left front placement marks

Then, place the fabric onto the stabilizer (sticky back or use temporary adhesive spray) lining up your drawn line with this stitched line.  The basting box will now stitch, followed by the design and then the placement stitches for the next part.

Part #1 is complete.  Remove from the hoop and remove excess stabilizer.  Remove the first basting box but be careful not to remove or pull on the first set of placement lines.  Re-hoop the sticky back and the tear away for the next part.

Part #2:  You will continue with “pt 2 right front.” Below is the pic of the file and the placement lines in the file.

pt 2 right front in hoop

The center placement lines (the longer line with the crossbar on top and the placement crosses) will stitch out onto the stabilizer first to help you line up your fabric.

pt 2 right front placement marks

Line up the placement lines from Part #1 on the fabric piece with the new lines.  Use the points where the lines cross as your center points for each placement.  You want to be as precise as possible because this section includes split lines that cross the design parts stitched first. Finish stitching part 2: the basting box will stitch, followed by the rest of the file.

Part #2 is complete.  Remove from the hoop and remove excess stabilizer.  Remove the first basting box but be careful not to remove or pull on the first set of placement lines.  Re-hoop the sticky back and the tear away for the next part.

Part #3:  You will continue with “pt 3 center front.”  Below is the pic of the file and the placement lines in the file.

pt 3 center front

The center placement lines (the longer line with the crossbar on top and the placement crosses) will stitch out onto the stabilizer first to help you line up your fabric.

pt 3 center front placement marks

Line up the placement lines on the fabric piece with the new lines.  Use the points where the lines cross as your center points for each placement.  Finish stitching part 3: the basting box will stitch, followed by the rest of the file.

Part #3 is complete.  Remove from the hoop and remove excess stabilizer and all placement stitches.  Part #1 is complete.  Remove from the hoop and remove excess stabilizer.  Remove the first basting box but be careful not to remove or pull on the first set of placement lines.  Re-hoop the sticky back and the tear away for the next part.

Part #4:  You will continue with “pt 4 center front.”  Below is the pic of the file and the placement lines in the file.

pt 4 center front

The center placement lines (the longer line with the crossbar on top and the placement crosses) will stitch out onto the stabilizer first to help you line up your fabric.

pt 4 center front placement marks

Line up the placement lines on the fabric piece with the new lines.  Use the points where the lines cross as your center points for each placement.  Finish stitching part 4: the basting box will stitch, followed by the rest of the file.

Part #4 is complete.  Remove from the hoop and remove excess stabilizer and all placement stitches.

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Bodice Neckline Applique

This is how I add an applique to the neckline of a bodice.

I used to use sticky back stabilizer exclusively, because I could not stand when the embroidery shifted and the Celtic knots did not line up. About a year ago, though, I got over myself mainly because the number of thread breaks and the slow stitch speed had finally driven me nuts. Now, I hoop my stabilizer and use temporary adhesive spray.

Since I float all of my fabrics, when it is important I first stitch out a placement cross onto the stabilizer. This same cross has been drawn in chalk on the back of my fabric. I then lightly spray the temporary adhesive onto the stabilizer.

IMG_4902

After I line up the cross on the back of the fabric with the stitched lines on the stabilizer, I run a basting box around the area to be embroidered. Then, an outline of the applique area is stitched. (I have digitized all of these lines into my embroidery file.)

IMG_4904

Next, I spray the stabilized applique fabric with the temporary adhesive so it will not shift on the base fabric…

IMG_4905

…and then lay it over the applique area, making sure to check that the area is covered.

IMG_4907

Now, I run double lines to tack down the fabric.

IMG_4908

Here’s a closer look at the double lines. Why double? I have found that the two lines keep the fabric from fraying (even if the outside line gets clipped here and there) and then pulling away from underneath the covering satin stitch line. Because there are 2 lines, I can trim as close as possible so I can avoid any fuzzies showing.

IMG_4910

Trimmed.

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Finished and ready to be cut out.

IMG_4912

Sometimes, when both fabrics are thick, I might lay the applique first, and then after tackdown of the “base” fabric, trim the larger piece of fabric away from the area, but I always worry that the 2 fabrics might pull apart. I tend to do the above as often as possible.

Moving forward

Yes, several years of reorganizing my life has made me silent. But, I am finally moving forward. There is a new online store in the works. I am figuring this out myself, so it is moving slowly, but it feels good to take control again.

If you want to check it out, it is here: Taoknitter Arts.

There is much to be done to update this blog, and as soon as the store is truly up and running, I will get to it.

Thank you for your patience and for hanging with me.

Slàinte mhath!

So…

I haven’t written in a long time. Thinking about it today…could just be a brain fart.

I have been knitting a lot. Thoroughly enjoying it. Started thinking about blogging about it (as if the world needs another knitting blog), and remembered that when I started this blog over on Blogger way back when, it was a place for me to write about my knitting and Irish dance dressmaking (there were no ID dress blogs at the time). The name, “Taoknitter,” made perfect sense then. As Irish dance dressmaking began taking over my life, the name traveled with me.

I love the name and the creative person she is. Perhaps SHE needs to start writing again.

New things are happening!

Slowly but surely, yes, new things are happening.  I decided last year that I needed to make Taoknitter Arts designs available for automatic purchase and download…and the site is up!  Little did I realize what an extreme undertaking this was going to be!  The sheer time involved in just getting designs ready, converted and then uploaded has been staggering.  So, the site does not have the full catalog of designs up yet, but we will get there.

You can see the new site here – Taoknitter Arts: Irish Dance Dress Designs & Embroidery

Photos of all the designs can still be seen on Flickr.  If you want to see all of the design parts with dimensions and prices, just write to me at taoknitter@gmail.com and I will make it happen.

And I have recently updated my Customer Creations gallery with all of the fantastic work done by dressmakers using Taoknitter Arts designs.  I am so impressed!  Please visit Customer Creations to see all of the creativity!  If you have a dress and a happy dancer to add to the gallery, please just let me know.

So, the old Taoknitter Arts is now a blog for my Irish Dance dress embroidery information to separate it from this Taoknitter blog about actually sewing Irish Dance dresses.  I am still trying to organize the information, but you can get to that embroidery blog here: Taoknitter Arts

I hope I can keep it all straight!

Embrace the alterations!

I have been thinking a lot about what it takes to create a good fitting Irish Dance dress.  Not only have Susan and I been talking about it, but there have been a couple of things that have set my brain going…again.  One has been the recurring statements on the boards that the dresses from the ID dress companies capable of big volume “fit like a glove” when pics posted belie that fact as you can plainly see shoulder seams that are 1/2″ too high at the neck, wrinkles at the waist/bust/armscyes, shoulders are too wide, necks gape, zippers pull, hips pull, stomachs pull, chests pull…does “fit like a glove” mean that it fits tightly since it rarely means it fits the wearer correctly?!

Now, some will say that long distance dressmaking is difficult so some error should be expected, but I say that if that is your business, then you should learn how to make it right, especially if you are charging the outrageous sums that those companies are!  I am sort of sorry if I offend anyone with this, but I think that if one spends a mortgage payment on an ID dress and it does not fit well and the construction is not impeccable, then you should be sending it back at the company’s expense to be fixed and not accepting the crap they hand you!  But instead, it seems that folks are more willing to put on the “Emperor’s New Clothes” 3-D glasses so they can believe the crap they get is the best they can get!  What is that?!  (Ooh, and don’t get me started [again] on the deplorable construction that folks [still] accept.)

Now on to the second thing that has set me thinking about fit again…I have started working with a seamstress who is new-ish to ID dressmaking, new to making school dresses.  I have been working with a teacher of a new school, and in getting to know him and this dressmaker, I found myself rather involved (call it “pay-it-forward,” Susan).  I went for another meeting about 2 weeks ago so I could help her work through the bodice pattern. Now, she did not understand that even though she had taken all of the necessary measurements to decide on the appropriate Feisdress pattern, she still needed to check all of the other measurements against the pattern to make alterations to ensure that it fit the dancer.  She had simply cut out the bodice pattern as presented and was confused about why it did not fit the dancer. 

I arrived that day thinking I was going to have to teach her the logic needed to alter a pattern, but once I got going, it became clear that she actually did know how to alter a pattern…and right behind me was a rack of altered non-ID patterns that clearly showed she understood how to expertly fit a bodice.  So, I asked her why she hadn’t checked the Feisdress bodice before she cut out her muslin, and she said she had assumed that since she took so many specific measurements to begin with that the pattern must have been made to those specs. 

I wondered then if a lot of folks make that assumption.  How many folks order the Feisdress pattern thinking that it will simply fit their dancer because the upper chest measurement is correct?  That upper chest measurement ensures a good, close fit of that tricky part of the body, but the rest of it must be checked and altered to ensure the entire thing fits, and I am not talking simply about the bust and waist.  We have neck widths, slopes, side lengths, bust & waist widths, full lengths, etc….to achieve the close, perfect fit required of an ID dress bodice, so much must be measured and checked.

Since then, Susan and I have both received emails asking why the pattern does not fit “the way the patterns I buy at the store do?”  Ok, do commercial pattern buyers really believe that the pattern they buy based on bust and waist measurements will really fit perfectly?  Most are loose enough that we can go with the flow, but if a close fit is required, we will have to adjust the pattern to fit our respective bodices.  There is no perfect pattern unless you want to send your measurements to Susan to have her make a custom pattern just for you!!

Susan and I have this running conversation going about how most people alter patterns so they look right on us or our children.   I think that most folks use the eyeballing & pinning technique to make a pattern fit, but while that can work for the dancer you have constant access to, it is hit or miss if you don’t.  So, what’s a dressmaker to do???

Learn the logic of patternmaking and altering.  There are books out there that explain things from a variety of viewpoints, and you can learn from them all though of course most authors feel their way is the ONLY way.   We do have an incredible resource in this group in our own Susan Gowin who created the Feisdress pattern.  I am obviously a fan or I would not be her partner in crime, and the day she explained her pattern to me and showed me how to use and alter it changed my approach to sewing forever (cue the violins).  I always had a good eye for what did not work, but once I went to Susan University, I understood the whys and wherefores.  Learning how to alter a pattern to fit a specific set of measurements made everything easier and faster.

I keep telling Susan she needs to put her approach to altering a pattern into a book or at least a PDF that folks can purchase…nudge, nudge…  I know she has her measurement sheet available to IDD members which is a gift!

(Altering the Feisdress Bodice)

Hey…

I have been getting many requests for access to the info I have written over the past few years, so I have decided to re-open this blog to allow that.  I have not re-posted everything like the family stuff and some of my more snarky rants, but the dressmaking stuff is here.  I have only re-posted the alignment stuff that pertains to dressmaking.

I have actually stopped making dresses for the moment.  I got sick (again!) back in November, and the bricks banging on my skull finally made it clear that I am allergic to stress!!!  (Picture a full-blown diva nerve storm here…)  I have been wrestling with my perceptions of “stress.”  I/we Americans (?) think of stress as being an excuse for weenies to cop out.  However, after one lecture from my doc in which he made it clear that he perceives stress to be a real and potentially destructive thing, I finally had the guts to start saying no.  There are so many events and reasons that have contributed to my feeling that my dressmaking had become a burden instead of a joy…none of them worth re-hashing.  For now, I am not a dressmaker.

Instead, I am happily enjoying my newest endeavor of creating, digitizing and embroidering designs for Irish dance dresses.  All of that is here:  Taoknitter Arts.

And now that life is calmer (each new set of tests confirms my health), I am feeling the impulse to write again.  I shall see how it goes.

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