Tuesday, May 31, 2011

I Thought It Was June

I was going to do my first Me Made June post, and daughter, Laura and I took some pictures, and upon uploading, well, that's when I discovered that it is actually still May. So, I'll show you the top I finished last week with some commentary. It's not one that will get heavy rotation so you won't get bored.

Yep, we've had a hard couple of days around here with some incredibly sad news, and you'll have to forgive me if my brains are scattered. Frankly, I'm pleased that I still kind of know how to type, but this is a welcome distraction.

This top, McCalls 5661, has been cut out for awhile, but I finally got around to it. It's the first Palmer/Pletsch pattern I've made, and it's "The Perfect Fit Top". The instructions are fantastic, complete with fitting instructions. Lines for making alterations are printed on the tissue. Sprinkled throughout are "Fit Tips" and "Quick Tips" (which are sewing tips). I decided to glam up the hem, and for the record, my top was already cut out when Gertie posted about the scalloped day dress.

I will most likely not wear it with this skirt, but I wanted you to be able to see the hem. And it fits amazingly well, Except for one teeny little annoying problem.
I followed the sway back alteration lines to a t, and when doing the tissue fitting, all seemed well. When doing the pin fitting, all seemed well. But you can see that all is not well. The print is busy enough though, that I'm probably the only one that notices, and it feels kind of weird.

I do envision wearing this top with black trousers, and maybe a black cardigan (or an ivory one). But mostly, I made it to wear with this:
How about some belted options?
I even have a wider belt that mimics the black border, but forgot about it when I was taking the pictures.

For the inside facings, I ran into a wee little dilemma. First, here's a picture of how I had to redraw the facings, which I ultimately traced onto their own tissue. This is just the front facing.
Can you see the red line? On the front piece, I had lowered the neckline about an inch, and had to take a tuck at the armscye to make it lie flat. That raised the armpit portion of the armscye. The shoulders and upper bust are the size 12, and then I made my usual widening out to the 14 + to accommodate the tummy and hips.
Oops, not enough fabric to cut out the front facing. After making the scallops, I made a facing to match for the hem, and followed instructions from my Vogue Sewing Book.

Finally, a knitting tragedy to share, but not really a serious one in the scheme of things. Darn dog.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

New Life for a Wadder

Too wide? by downthestreet
Too wide?, a photo by downthestreet on Flickr.
Remember these? One of the comments I got when I made them last summer was to simply go ahead and donate them. Well, I didn't. I stuffed them into a drawer where they've been taunting me ever since.

With Me Made June looming, and one successful pair of shorts made, I decided to see if I could salvage them.

It took about 15 minutes. Basically, I cut them apart at the inseam (no seam rippers were involved at all), turned them inside out, folded them in half, drew a line at the center back and front, and stitched. Still unusually big through the waist, I pinched out about 2" and sewed a new right side seam. There's an invisible zipper on the left side seam, which I totally left alone. The result is a center back seam that is no longer in the center, but can you see it?
(It was getting a little windy here.)

So, there you have it. For a skirt for me, it's a little on the short side, but it'll do. After June is over, it still may be destined for Goodwill, but ya never know. It may turn out to be the skirt of the summer. Or not.

For the record, my top was made by Talbots.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Multiple Choice

When you see the top pictured below, you think:

a) cute babydoll
b) I want one for my toddler
c) boho chic
d) Amy Butleresqe
e) when's the baby due
f) serendipitously spectacular

Do you sense some ambivalence? I used this pattern, and saw lots of possibilities.

It's a super easy pattern, and the only change I made was to line the top instead of doing the facings. I used the burrito method so that the neckline and armholes are all magically machine stitched. I don't know if that's the technical name, but you can find the method described here.

I really will wear it because, you know, it will be 150 deg., plus 347% humidity most of the summer here, and it's cool. Not kewl cool, but I won't be hot (in any sense of the word sadly).

The funny thing is that while I was sewing, I kept thinking of other combinations in my stash that just might work. And I think as a dress, it will be a better look for me. One that will make me do this:

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Crescent and Shorts

The crescent skirt is finished!! Actually, I finished it yesterday, but I'll do the full reveal when I give it to Laura and can get some pictures of her in it. I love the voile fabric. It almost feels like silk. But about the zipper. I might give this technique one more try, but I'm just not happy with the outcome. It does look ok, but it's not really hard to get way better results. And I do love the crescent skirt, and how flattering it is, and how easy it is to make (zipper aside). A sneak peak of just the zipper:

If you're participating in Me Made June, you're probably well aware that June is just around the corner! The gaps in my wardrobe are screaming, so I've been sewing like crazy! I won't show you everything before June, because there could be some boring days full of repeats, but suffice it to say there are a couple of "not my usual style" kinds of things that I'm really loving!

One thing I will show you, that I'm pretty excited about is the pair of shorts I just finished. I haven't really made any pants successfully, so I was a little nervous about this project. I chose Kwik Sew 3614, and read the reviews on Pattern Review. Several said the pockets pooched out, but I got my cocky sewing attitude on, and thought "not MY pockets". *sheepishly* Here's ya go:

I used some cotton twill from my stash, that has a teeny bit of stretch. I felt like these were kind of going to be a "muslin" of sorts, and while the fit is pretty good, it does need some tweaking. For one, my next pair will have some different kinds of pockets. I've got a cute idea for them, so stay tuned for that. Next, the shorts are a little big, so taking in on the sides will be necessary.

I think I'll also attempt some welt pockets for the back on my next pair. And I'll make them a skosh shorter. Finally, there's the issue of the rise. Here's the skinny. I traced the size Large. But I have a super short rise in the front, so after tracing the large, I had the tracing tissue over the pattern, and simply traced the XS (yes, EXTRA small) waistband line, extending it out to the side seams. I took out an inch in the back to help the side seams match better. And it still seems like there's a bit too much fabric at the crotch level. If I pull them up as high as they want to go, they are an inch over my belly button. Oh, my. So, a bit more tweaking there, but that's it!

I'm loving the waistband, too. I don't/won't usually wear my shirts tucked in, but this doesn't really look too bad.

Finally, I finished a top today, that I'm not 100% sure about, but I'll talk about it tomorrow. Do you want a sneak peak though?

Friday, May 20, 2011

Crescent Skirt Zipper Insertion (with lining)

I'll be the first to admit it, I had trouble with my zipper with crescent skirt #1. I'm embracing the imperfection the resulted, and yeah... "I meant to do it that way!" But it was with eager anticipation for the sew along to get to this step, so I could have some visual aids, and I think I know where I went wrong. Nevertheless, I'm going slow, and definitely "sewing along."

Like yesterday, for those of you that are adding a lining, I thought I'd give you your own visual aids of the lining with zipper. The instructions are no different, so I'll just point you to Tasia's post for today (Crescent Sew Along #20) for the words.

And for the visual aids (aka, pictures):
Ready to sew side 1. Note that my center back seam has NOT been sewn yet.

Turn your lining inside out to prepare for side 2.

After sewing (I swear I rotated this picture when I edited it, and for the life of me it won't stay rotated), inside view. I have now gone ahead and sewn the center back seam up to the bottom of the zipper. If need be, I'm a whiz at ripping out stitches.

Right side out view. Can you see that the bottom of the facing doesn't line up? I'm reasonably certain that my daughter won't ever wear her skirt inside out, so I can live with it.

Hope these pics help!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Crescent Skirt Lining

First, for those inquiring minds, the red floral fabric is rayon shirting purchased from my usual go-to online source, fabric.com. It comes in several colorways, and right now is on sale for $2.99 a yard, so don't delay! Clicking on the link should take you right to that fabric.

The Crescent skirt lining. I'm not a "oh, I have to line everything" girl, but for this version of the skirt I'm using a voile, and it is a bit sheer, and decided to line it for practice as well. You youngsters may not remember this, but we all used to just wear slips. Anyway, Tasia gives a good description on how to line, but I have a couple of pictures.

You eliminate the pocket for the lining, and she devotes an entire post to the technicalities of how to do such a thing. I'm lazy, and this is how I did it:
I folded the pocket on the fold line, slipped it into place under the front skirt piece, pinned it all down and whacked away. Notice that I folded up the hem allowance because you want the lining to be shorter than the skirt (duh).

Otherwise, I pretty much followed her steps. I serged my seam allowances, and serged the edges of the center back. I only sewed up about 4" at the bottom of the center back because I haven't yet decided which blue zipper I'm going to use and they are different sizes. I did go ahead and hem my lining because I find it easier to do it without lots of extra stuff in the way.

This is how it should look at this point in your sewing:

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Sneak Peak and What's Next

I've come to grips that the jeans sew along is over, and I still don't have any new jeans. My denim is washed, and the patterns are waiting, but the fact is, that I almost never wear jeans in the summer. It's just too darn hot here. Anyway, I will get them done. Just not now. In the meantime, Laura's dress is almost finished. Just needs buttons, buttonholes and hemming. Easy peasy. There are some pretty major galloping horse moments, and I have a love/hate relationship with the fabric, but here's the peak:

Have y'all looked at the calendar lately? June, and more specifically, Me Made June, is right around the corner!! Eeps! We'll be on vacation one of the weeks in June. And I have no shorts. Well, one pair, plus a couple of workout shorts... that's it. Really. Last year, my biggest wadder ever was a pair of shorts, and I'm determined to get it right this time. But time is short. So, Pants for Real People arrived today, and I recently bought this pattern.

I'll do a quick check for any real weirdness on Pattern Review, and then I'll get to sewing! I'm planning to wait on some of the reveals so June is repeat after repeat. Oh, and I'm so behind on doing pattern reviews. I've got a bunch lined up to do. Coming soon, I hope. I'm never short on pattern opinions, lol!

Monday, May 16, 2011

The Galloping Horse Theory, and other Catching Up

Whew! I'm back from 10 days in Texas staying with my mom, and helping her deal with a bloody $#@%!@%# mess of crazy. Apologies if I've offended anyone, but this is one time when, if you knew the whole story, you'd totally understand. At least I hope you would. Anyway, I'll spare you the horridness, and get on to some of the better parts of the trip.

First highlight was meeting an online Etsy friend, Wendy, of Sweetwater Gifts. My mom and I made our way out to Allen, TX where Wendy was participating in a craft show for our first meeting. I knew her right away, and even got a chance to meet her hubby who was cheerfully helping her sell her beautiful jewelry. Well, cheerfully might not be totally accurate.
(Note to self... make a cuter denim skirt.)

A couple of days later, we met up on a toasty morning at the Dallas Arboretum, for a stroll through the gardens before a delicious lunch on the terrace. Thanks, Wendy! I'm including this picture because she looks adorable, but. (Yes, I have neck issues, but my therapy dollars are being spent on more pressing problems, lol.)
I also traveled with my mom and sister down to College Station to pack up my niece's freshman dorm room, and carry all her (*&^*(&  belongings down 3 flights of stairs in 96 deg. heat with oven like wind blowing strongly. No pictures of that lovely sweatiness. We did eat at Cracker Barrel... my sister's first time, and she pretty much cleaned her plate.

I won't talk about the Mexican food I ate that was the potential reason for a 24 hour miserable stomach thing that cramped more than my style.

Let's see. Oh, yeah, I started a sweater. This is how far I've gotten:
Hmmm, well, hard to tell what it looks like, but it's knitted from the top down and I'm almost to the armpits.

I also had an afternoon with an newish old friend (an amazing woman I've known since 1995 or so), and lunch with an oldish old friend (another amazing woman who was my best friend from my earliest memories until 4th or 5th grade when we drifted to other cliques. We reconnected about 2-1/2 years ago, and it's all water under the bridge.)

Meet Gibson.
He's my mom's dog, and will jump up on your lap when you're not looking.

I had intended to work on Laura's crescent skirt to keep up with the sew along, and thankfully Tasia is moving at a snail's pace. Not a criticism, but really a relief. I'm right on schedule. I had taken all the cut out pieces, and did work on it a bit, but remember that unfortunate stomach thing. That pretty much ruled out sewing. One of my favorite parts of this skirt is the waistband, and with the fabric I've chosen, I tried very hard to get it to have some matching. I think it looks pretty good.

Oh! Look at my dog's new bed... perfect size, and filled with soft comfy "blankets".
Yes, a bin of fabric.

The galloping horse? My mom taught me this saying that quilter's have to help them not obsess over little mistakes:
If you can't see it from a galloping horse, ignore it.

Wise words, indeed!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Getting Ready

The queue is long, June is coming, and I'm heading out of town for 10 days! Do I have any "me made" shorts? No. Do I have a "me made" beach coverup for our June vacation? No. I'm 100% sure I'm not making my own swim suit. At least not this time around. And I'm "participating" in the jeans sew along. Well, the denim is pre-washed, and measurements have been taken.

This week has been all about the prep work. I have 3(!) things cut out, and interfacing has been fused for all 3. Somehow, even using a press cloth, I ended up with:
My iron seemed coated with stickiness,and you can even see some threads glued on. Yikes. But it only took a couple minutes, and look:

So, what do I have cut out? Two things for Laura... a crescent skirt, and a cute button front dress from a 70s vintage pattern. And a top for me. Look at the pile:
And doesn't Laura look cute in her muslin? I haven't seen pics yet of her in the skirt, but she says it's perfect. Yay for that.
I'm completely caught up with the crescent sew along. Exactly caught up even (never mind that I've already finished one... I'm doing this one with the group). I think I'll pack up the skirt and finish making it at my mom's.   I'll post these next pictures in the flickr group, and Laura please chime in. Rick rack, or no rick rack. I have it on the pocket area right now, but I'm thinking of it for on the waistband, just on the curved seams.

Whew! That's it. I'm out of the house most of tomorrow, so no sewing... just packing.

It's Giveaway Time!

Not here, but over at the adorable blog, What's Up Cupcake? What must you do to enter? Be a follower! She's giving away the cute book, Blogging for Bliss. Check it out!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Me Made June

After doing a quick inventory of appropriate summer wear, I'm going to go for it! There are a few gaps, but I'll either try to fill them, or work around them. These are most noticeably in the jeans, capris, shorts category. Skirts and dresses everyday!! Yippee!!

I, Ellen, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-June '11. I endeavor to wear at least one self made or refashioned garment each day for the duration of June 2011.



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