Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Not Quite a Muslin, Not Quite a Wadder

I can already knock the first 2 things off my list!
As planned, I made this top, intending to use it as a summer pj top. Out of character, I cut size 12, without first making any changes. (Usually, I can't resist tinkering with the fit before I do anything.) I made view D (the yellow one) without the flower, and with a tie closure (like view A). I also made some pj shorts, that took probably less than an hour to make. I used what is essentially my TNT pj pants pattern, but did make one big change (other than cutting it off for shorts). [how many times can YOU use sentences with parentheses in one paragraph!!]

How did it go? Well, it's a super easy top to make. I didn't use the facings, but instead used a bias strip, and stitched it to the outside for a contrast. It turns out, I didn't have enough fabric to make the shorts and top matching, so I used the shorts fabric for the sleeves, ties and bias strips. The sleeves are also finished with bias strips, a nice detail.
 I also really like the split sleeve. But the fit. All the problems are in the chest area. Yep, lots of gaping, necessitating a snap. Also, the darts are a little high. This is not going to become one my Over the Top tops, mostly because I can't be bothered to make those changes. Maybe later in the summer though. For pjs it's fine.

For the shorts, I made these babies as easy as possible! First, I used my coverstitch machine to hem the shorts and the top. Then, instead of a waistband with elastic, I used the coverstitch again, this time to attach the elastic.
Cute, huh? I folded over the top of the shorts 1/2" and pressed. The elastic is 5/8" and I wanted just a bit to show. Then I just cut the elastic a little snugger than my waist measurement, stitched the ends together, divided the elastic into quarters, pinned it at the side seams and front and back seam, and stretched as I stitched. That's it!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

So Unorganized!

So many things I want to make, so little... well, right now, I would have to say, organization. I'm almost embarrassed to show you.
Pattern pieces from 3 or 4 patterns, plus some of them traced as well in this pile.
Oh, yeah, a couple more patterns here. I didn't even take a picture of the pieces floating around my sewing machine. And on the guest bed.

Phase 1 of the organization begins here. With a list. A priority list. And I think I'll duplicate it in the sidebar where you can see that there are 3 sew alongs that I'm planning to participate in. But wait, there's one more! And so aptly named. She doesn't have a badge, but an entire blog that will be devoted just to this sew along. OVER THE TOP... A 15 DAY CHALLENGE.  I think a name like that needs to be in all caps, don't you?! This one also starts April 1, but I'm going to get a little jump on it.

Without further adieu... The List (the sidebar list will have links if you want to check out these amazingly wonderful and of course perfect for me [I hope] patterns).

Butterick 4735 -- a vintage wrap top. I plan to make a pj top muslin.
PJ shorts -- to go with the top.
Butterick 5328 -- modern wrap top. Fabric washed and ready to go. May need a muslin.
Vogue 8640 -- RTW Sew Along jacket. Muslin ready. Need to prep fabric for April 1 start.
Vogue 2967 -- fitted shell top
McCalls 5522 -- button front top.
McCalls 5661 -- classic fit shell. This makes 5 tops for the 15 day challenge. This one is to go under the jacket.
Now we move into the skirt portion of April:
Sewaholic's Crescent Skirt -- for the sew along. Might make one for Laura at the same time. Pattern ordered.
Ann Taylor knock off pencil skirt -- for Laura. We traced around the skirt last weekend, and I mailed her a muslin today. It will need some tweaking.
Simplicity 6606 -- a 1970s vintage dress pattern to make for Laura. I've already made the muslin and have sent it to her. She'll need to pick some fabric.
Colette Crepe -- wrap dress. Pattern is traced, fabric is bought. Awaiting muslin.
Vogue 8640 -- pencil skirt to go with the RTW sew along jacket.
Kwik Sew 3504 -- Men's jeans for Peter's Jeans sew along.
Jalie 2908 -- Women's jeans (see above). Another ambitious plan for a sew along.
Talbots knock off inverted pleat skirt -- I almost won't even need to make a pattern for this one. It's actually kind of even hard to call it a knock off, but more of a classic style.
Butterick 8628 -- a vintage drape neck dress with full skirt.

Is that enough? Yikes! And all those patterns... already in my stash. I suspect I could find fabric in my stash that would work for most of those, as well, but I might have to buy some, too. Denim for the jeans, definitely.

WHY am I still typing away on the computer? I better get to sewing!!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

I've Changed My Mind

It's a girl's prerogative isn't it? This is for the RTW Tailoring sew along, and the jacket I had chosen... well, it was ok, but I wasn't liking the fabric I had chosen, and it was a significant remodel of a vintage pattern, and then I went to Talbots and tried on the jacket that I wanted to knock off, and you know what? Well, other than a possible run on sentence there... it just didn't look that great.

Anyway, I've had another Vogue pattern in my stash since last year, and it struck me that it would make the perfect spring jacket. You see, it really gets hot here, so you don't need a jacket outside, but sometimes you do inside. The AC can really get freezing in some places. They forget they're supposed to be saving energy I guess. I'm rambling. It's this one:
Here's the fabric... a cotton/linen blend:

You'll notice that it's one of the Very Easy Very Vogue patterns. Well, I think I whipped up the muslin in about an hour.
So, don't hate me or anything, but it was a bit too sunny for some of the details to stand out. It was a little on the cool side today, mid-60s. Feel better? ANYhoo, I think it fits well and I'm not going to make any changes fit-wise unless the RTW flickr group says I should. My only concern is the length. Forget that I am wearing a denim skirt with an elastic waist. I will either wear it with jeans or trousers, or with a straight skirt. I want to try the one in the pattern and see how wide the ol' hips look. The problem is that my jeans and trousers don't come as high as the skirt. They're not low rise mind you. You can see I'm way past that little problem. But I do generally wear them just about an inch or so below my natural waistline, and my natural waistline is exactly where the hem is hitting. That would mean an inch or so of shirt showing. I'm on the fence on the sleeve length.

Friday, March 18, 2011

An Interview with Moi

If you are just not that into March Madness, you can swing on over to The Blue Gardenia and read about my sewing history. There are some amazing pictures of me through the ages! Apparently, I was sewing vintage patterns before they were actually vintage! =)

In other sewing news, I'm working on grading a vintage pattern up one to two sizes. It's the first time I've really done it with the slash and spread method. I'll post pictures soon.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Feeling Spring-y

This may sound counter-intuitive, as you might think you would want to make quilts when it's cold outside, but I really like to make quilted "things", so the seasons aren't as important. Plus, I love bright, springy quilting fabrics. The colors are just so cheery. I decided to pull out a jelly roll, and 2 charm packs that I bought maybe 18 months ago. They were still in the shopping bag, she says *blushing*. It's not quite the first day of spring, but these future placemats might just brighten your day (they aren't finished, and up next are the red and yellow ones).

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Jacket Progress

I've tweaked muslin #1, and I think now I'll let it "rest". I'm pretty happy with the results, but will need to do just a bit of further tweaking. Questions I have for y'all?
  1. Do you like the length?
  2. Do you think I should do a bit more "fitting" to the front? Remember, there are welt pockets to be dealt with if I do.
  3. Did I make the shoulder TOO narrow, or does it look just right (from what you can tell)?
When you look at the pictures, ignore the sleeveless side. I only made changes to the side with the sleeve, except for taking in the side seams, and adding the back darts (which need to be raised or lengthened toward the neckline) just a bit.
You can see all these pictures, plus a few more, in flickr, with better descriptions of what I did. And please don't worry about your eyes, I think the tripod is tilted so it's not you, it's me.

While this project is resting, I have a couple more on the drawing board. I won a fabulous giveaway of four patterns for tops from Faye, and I have the perfect fabric for one of them, so this one is first up:

Thanks, Faye!! I'm going to make the short sleeve brown view.

Finally, many of you know that my son has had some recent difficulties. I've decided to separate out any discussion of that, and have started a new blog dealing with only that. I'm not really going to promote it at all here (except for right now, in this post), as I'm trying to maintain some anonymity, but please feel free to drop by and follow if you are at all interested in the subject of mental illness.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Muslin #1 for the RTW Tailoring Sew Along

I'm anxious to get started on this sew along, so I've made the first muslin for my pattern. Just a reminder, this is the pattern I'm making:
The red one, with some pretty drastic alterations in the style department. The pattern really does have some good "bones" though, and I was pleasantly surprised at the fit. For once, I only made ONE change before I started and that was to shorten it by 2". Here's your first look (admittedly the fabric is very light weight, and the final jacket will be more medium weight):
 Right off the bat, you can see it's too big, but not really that much. Most of the "bigness" is the sleeve, which is too long, and too loose-fitting, and the armscye which is too low. That last problem is kind of a relief after all the modern day patterns I've used lately that have armholes so high they cut off the circulation to your arm. I also think there may be too much double breasted overlap, and for the next version I think I will remove 5/8" from each center side, and also 5/8" from the collar. I also want to round the corners of the collar.

Again, here, mostly sleeve issues. The side seam falls nicely straight (can't see that very well, sorry), and the shoulder seam hits at the proper place. The shoulders are just a bit wide. Since the darts come from the shoulder seam, I think I'll try widening the darts 1/4" on each side to solve the shoulder width problem.

There is kind of a glare on this picture. It's a gorgeous day today, so sunny, but that makes taking pictures a bit harder. Anyway, I want the back to be closer fitting, and I'll add contouring darts to the back to accomplish that. The side seams are perfectly straight, and I'll play around with making them a little more "hourglass". I have more of a rectangle figure, but this jacket does make me look boxier than ever! Finally, it's still longer than I want, so I'll cut another 2" off the hem, and see where that takes us. The welt pockets seem a little high, but when I shorten it, they may have to stay a little high. Of course, the button placement will have to be adjusted.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Shoe Review

Disclaimer: I am not being paid at all by this shoe manufacturer. I just love these shoes!

 I love sandals. Well, I should probably say that I love hot weather, so sandals are the perfect footwear. The downside is that sandals do not love me. I am way past the age where I can get away with wearing a pair of rubber flip flops as daywear, and not because they aren't sophisticated or refined, or should really only be worn at the beach or poolside. Rather, they offer zero support. And cushioning? Nada.

Two summers ago, I found a great pair of Clarks leather flip flops, but last summer, much to my dismay, one of them went MIA and has still yet to appear, even after an extensive cleanout of the shoe area in my closet. And this was pre-dog, so who knows where it is. When I saw the above pictured pair of Clarks, they just jumped into my shopping cart. Imagine my delight when I opened the box, and saw all the luscious cushioning, especially for the ball of the foot. Heaven. Of course, if wearing a style that goes between your toes is not for you, proceed with caution, but that's never been a problem for me. They also have a slight heel, or rather incline which is much preferred to completely flat. I have a high arch, and that little bit of inclination can make all the difference in the world.

Anyway, just wanted to share while I await my "muslin" order from Fabric.com. I bought these shoes at 6pm.com, and if you haven't visited that site, go. Go now! Great prices!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Butterick 5173 -- So Comfy

Another quick to make pattern that would have been even quicker if I had only tried it on before hemming it. Take note, and don't do what I did. Actually, I didn't try it on at all until it was finished, which is always a gamble. With knits, I'm more likely to do said gambling.

I bought this fabric last fall at G Street Fabrics in Rockville, Maryland, and readers, I bought a LOT. Not entirely sure why, but you'll see this again. The good thing is that it is a wide border print and I can use the other side for a completely different look. Yeah, that doesn't really make sense.
If this dress were longer, you would see that the pink flowers become white and then that stripe-y bit repeats. Does that help with the making sense? Anyway, this pattern is perfect for the border because it is a really simple design. In fact, if it weren't for the gathering and band part, I would say it's a perfect beginner dress. The band isn't hard, but is a little fussy, and there is some hand sewing involved. I considered simply top stitching the facing down, but wanted (actually, needed) more control around the gathered bit.

I love the back neckline, and that it dips, but not too far. It does appear to be a wee bit snug, but I'm ok with that. Also, if I were to make this again in a less stretchy knit, I might lower the armscye just a bit. As it is, the fabric is so soft and stretchy that it doesn't bother me at all.
I used my coverstitch to hem the sleeves and the bottom hem which became a problem when the bottom hem noticeably dipped in the front. I "made it work" with a semi-haphazard rehem of the front that involved no ripping out of the old hem which was secured with Stitch Witchery anyway. I won't show you the up close of the hem at the sides, and I'm 99% sure that the general public won't notice that anything is amiss.

The only change I made to the size 12 I cut out was to "straighten out" the indent at the waist to give just a bit more ease. Probably not really needed with all that gathering except if I straightened out higher up on the back piece it would address the snugness. Next time. I did it on the front and the back piece.

Finally, in case you were worried that we might be attacked by squirrels here, I have an excellent Squirrel Sentry on duty:

Thursday, March 3, 2011

What Should I Do About This?

I'm feeling indecisive, and thought I'd turn once again to my readers and pick your brain about this.

I bought this dress last year at the Talbot's Clearance Center, and paid something like $5-7 for it. What a deal! Initially, I was going to try to make the bodice fit better, and maybe make the sleeves shorter. Then I thought I would use the fabric to make a couple of tops, one using the existing bodice, and then cutting off the skirt and making a shell type tank from that.

The fabric is 86% modal (whatever that is), 9% silk, 5% spandex, and even though it says dry clean, I washed it yesterday and it looks great, and feels amazing. But is the print too much? Look, it has a long, attached belt. Woohoo!
I am wearing a tank under it, as there is pretty major gaping in the neckline. Now that I've worn it most of the day, I'm thinking it's really ok and it's comfy. What do y'all think?

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Two Quickies

Yesterday, I wanted to post that I made 2 things in ONE day. But. After spending at least an hour changing the thread on my serger and coverstitch, and then an evening meeting, well, it didn't happen. So, 2 things in TWO days. Ok, not as impressive, but what can ya do?!

Simplicity 2603

With temperatures nearing 70 today in Atlanta (note the sandals), you would think that I would be firmly in spring season mode, but this yummy knit from Gorgeous Fabrics was washed and ready to go, and if it hadn't been for Mary Lou, it would have been made 2 weeks ago. [No need to remind me that the temps were high then, too.]

Anyway, not much to say about it. The knit was extremely stretchy, so I machine basted each seam before serging, and I used 5/8" stitch witchery to hold the hem in place while I coverstitched it. Made the small and lengthened the sleeves to be regular sleeves instead of that sleeve band thing, just because. It will be cozy in the fall. OH, look at me! I'm ahead of schedule! And see, there are still leaves on the ground.

Vogue 8649

Not too much to say about this either. The only change I made was to grade out to the 14 from just above the waistline to the hem, and cut about 3" off the hem. Got my hands on my hips to disguise the muffin top, so spanx would be good here.  Or maybe a little Weight Watchers. Oh, shortened the sleeves, too. I should have made a sway back adjustment, because the back is a little wonky. It's a little va-va-voom, so I'll be wearing a tank under it (that might help with the muffins).


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