Wednesday, December 30, 2009

burda style 12/2009-119

Whew!  In under the wire!  My last sewing project of 2009 is this cozy jacket from the December burda style (or BWOF or whatever!)

It's drafted for a knit fabric, but it has tons of ease, so I made it in a woven fabric without any alterations, and the fit is fine.  This is one of those Walmart mystery fabrics, but it's so pretty that I couldn't resist it.  The right side has a lovely brown and green variegated sheen and the wrong side is fuzzy like a flannel backed satin.  Perfect for a snuggly jacket.  It was allergic to the iron though, so I suspect that it's origins are not in nature.

Here is the side view.  The front view looks a bit bulky - I think because of the multiple layers of collar, undercollar and facing along center front, but the side view is more flattering.

Here is the back.  There isn't any shaping at all, so all the pleats are just the tie belt pulling the excess fabric in at the waist.  Without the belt, it is utterly shapeless.

Here is the inside.  Since the jacket is unlined (and my fabric ravelled like crazy!) I did the straight seams as french seams and bound the armholes.  The seam between collar and jacket body is encased in the collar/facing piece.  I haven't felt much like sitting at the sewing machine for the last few days, so I did a lot of hand sewing as well.  The instructions call for a hand sewed hem, but for the collar facing to be attached by stitching in the ditch and for machine sewn sleeve hems, but I did all of that by hand.  It was quite peaceful, actually.

After all that, I'm not quite decided about how I feel about this jacket.  Will I ever wear it out of the house?  It is very comfortable.  I guess only time will tell...

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Ottobre 03/2004-7

I managed to get this little cutie done just in time for Christmas!

I originally intended to make it out of the vintage corduroy that my mother gave me, but I just couldn't bring myself to cut it for an untried pattern.   I have been in love with Vintage Dots forever, so when I saw some in corduroy at Hobby Lobby I snatched it up.  It's perfect for this little pinafore.

How cute is this little pocket?!  Myra has been tucking cars into it all morning.   This pattern has a lot of sweet little details, like the pleated, beaded pocket.  The hemline has elastic sewn in at the sides, which gives it a sweet shape.  All of the seams are topstitched.  It isn't obvious, since I used cream thread, but it is a nice touch.  The only thing I might change for the next time would be the straps.  They're hemmed on all sides, and I think I'd have preferred to make them as loops so there wasn't an underside.

But Myra's happy!  Bring on the presents!!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Jalie 2908

Merry Christmas to Me!!
My absolutely fabulous Jalie stretch jeans are done!  They aren't perfect, but they fit fairly well, they're comfortable and I like them.
Side view
And from the back.

I made the "low rise" version of this pattern, since I generally like low rise jeans, but this one is QUITE low, even on me, and I am quite short waisted.  Next time I will be making the mid rise for sure.  I made no fit adjustments, since the pattern measurements were so close to my own.  I do think I need to tweak the back crotch curve for the next pair.
See the under-butt wrinkles?  I think it needs to be scooped out just a bit more.
I added rivets and a coin pocket ...
I cut the waistband on the straight grain, rather than the bias, as many reviewers on PR got good results with this.  I also did Emilie's "Gaposis Fix" from the Jalie website.  I can't seem to find the pictures of the original tutorial, but basically you take a small dart out of either side of the yoke before you attach the waistband.
Can you see the little dart?  Mine were about 1/2 inch deep.  Although this did improve the fit, I think I prefer to refine the fit at center back.  For the next pair, I will save the center back topstitching for later in the process so that I can check the fit once the jeans are fully constructed, do any needed alterations and topstitch then.

I did learn quite a few other things while making these jeans.  My first piece of advice to all you intrepid jeans-makers out there is to check out the tips on the Jeans Sew-Along on PR.  There is not only great advice for sewing your jeans, but also great resources for getting notions, fabric, all sorts of cool stuff!

Here are a few other things I've learned:
1)  Get a jeans needle and change it often.  I went through three on this pair of jeans.  Denim is tough fabric and you are doing a TON of topstitching.
2) Get extra thread.  All that topstitching takes a lot and you want it to match.
3) Denim is linty.  Make sure your machine is clean before you start and clean it again after you finish.
4) You can get special thread for topstitching, but I used the triple stitch on my machine and got great results with regular thread.  Then I didn't have to stop to change the thread for every topstitched seam.
5) Edge finish your pattern pieces before construction.  Denim ravels like crazy and if you already have clean finished edges you can make any fit adjustments without fear.

I hope that you all are having a wonderful holiday with family and friends - and some time to SEW!

Monday, December 21, 2009

A completely non-sewing weekend

We spent the weekend full of holiday cheer with family and friends all over south and east Texas.  I'll spare you the gory details, but suffice it to say, my sewing machine hasn't even been turned on since Thursday, and NO progress has been made on my jeans.  I did get a bit of Christmas knitting done during the many hours of driving.  I also got a chance to see my sister, who unloaded her unused knitting supplies on me!

Wow!!  Needles and hooks of many sizes, a couple of circular needles, counters, stitch markers - all sorts of fun stuff!!  How great is that?!  I can't wait to play with those big fat needles!
I also got my shipment of soil separator, which I am pretty excited about, except for the fact that it obviously came from a hardware store...

Both rolls are covered with surface grime, and one has a dirt mark that runs through several layers.  Yuck!  I know that the intended purpose of this material is to bury in the ground, so dirt doesn't matter, but I don't want dingy patterns on nice fabric!  I had to unroll several yards of each roll before it was clean enough to satisfy me.  So, I can't say that I recommend True Value as a good source for pattern quality soil separator.  But, despite tossing at least 4 yards of the stuff, I suspect that this supply will last me several months, so I'll just have to keep you posted if I find a better place to order from.  I think I'll try next.  The shipping was quite reasonable.
Hopefully, I'll get some time to work on my jeans over the next few days, but with the holidays upon us, it'll be slow going.  Both my family and Mitch's will be here for Christmas.  I'm really excited about that, but it means that I will have just that much less time to sew.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Butterick 4222 again

Before I start actual sewing on my jeans, I promised Logan I would make him some pants with a piece of flannel that he picked out of the remnant bin at Walmart.  I love that my kids know that random pieces of fabric can become clothes if they ask Mommy.  Sweet!  Anyway, there was only 3/4 of a yard, but that just perfectly got me Logan's TNT PJ pant, Butterick 4222.

I have no idea anymore how many times I have made these pants.  They are so easy.  One pattern piece.
Logan was itching to wear them as I was sewing them.  Once they were done, on the boy they went, so I don't have a flat picture.  Still, they are perfect for dancing...


and just hanging around.

That's my boy.  Now I have jeans to sew!!!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Ottobre 03/2004-9 x2

And so the tee shirt extravaganza continues...  Seriously, I really want a serger right now!  All these tee shirts would have just flown together.  I think I'm coming to the end of my patience with them though.  I'm ready to sew something interesting.  The timing is good, since my Jalie Stretch Jeans pattern arrived yesterday and Beth let me borrow some soil separator to trace them.  They're already cut out...  But I have to finish the tee shirts first!!  I saved these little cuties for the last, since they are the most detailed and therefore more likely to hold my interest.  These are also the last few things from my November sewing goals.  Whew!  It's only half way through December, so I don't think that's half bad.

I love the little crossover front.  It makes it super easy to get over Myra's giant head.  I realize now that I crossed over the front bodice in the direction opposite Ottobre's, but I like it this way.

Cute!  Her jeans are RTW, but I'm pretty sure I can copy them with the Jalie stretch jean pattern.  I love the ruffled hem!!

This post shall also serve as a reminder to myself to never ever ever buy jersey at Hobby Lobby again.  Seriously, it is the worst quality ever.  I know this, and yet, I buy more.  Their prints are so freaking cute.

But they are never on grain on the bolt.  Look at how far off this one was!!!  Good thing I was making a shirt for Myra and didn't need the length.  Also, they are thin and roll like crazy.  And wrinkle!!  Why is the jersey wrinkled???  OK, rant done.  No more Hobby Lobby jersey.  But I still have to sew up what is living in my stash...

As a tracing paper update, Mitch did manage to acquire a roll of exam table paper from his clinic for me.  If he hadn't I was ready to hit CVS for some tissue paper.  The exam paper is quite good!  I traced a pinafore for Myra and it worked well.  It is sheer enough to see through when tracing, but sturdy enough that the Sharpie I was using didn't bleed through to the magazine underneath.  Since it doesn't drape at all, I don't think I'll use it much when I need to make fit adjustments, but it will be perfect for sewing for the kids.  Have you ever tried to tissue fit a 3 year old boy?  Hah!  Fed Ex assures me that my soil separator (which I ordered from True Value hardware) is in Arizona and should be here soon, so I'll be back to my old tricks soon enough!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


I'm taking the morning off.  My tee shirt marathon is making me tired of sewing, so I decided to do what I always do when I don't want to sew and need a mojo recharge.  I'm "cleaning" out my sewing closet, and rearranging all my fabric.  It gives me a chance to touch and feel all of the fabrics that I love, and helps me remember what I actually have in this ever-growing stash of mine.  After spending the morning imagining what each piece of fabric might become, I'm usually ready to hit the machine again.

Want to see what I'm looking at?

To the left is my attempt to tame the madness.  There are six drawers, although the bottom two are hidden by the pile of random projects on the floor.  These are mostly cotton, with a few other things thrown in.  On the floor is a completely mismatched collection of about to make and remains of already made.

To my right is a giant pile of new fabrics - everything from cotton flannel to silk chiffon.  Hanging is a bunch of clothes that are destined for refashion.

And behind the refashionables is another pile 'o random fabric along with three more drawers.  These three are mostly knits.

It doesn't look like much, but it's home to me!

I did sit down to the machine briefly this morning.  Logan's green tee shirt needed adjusting.  His giant head didn't fit through the opening.  So I replaced the not-so-stretchy binding with a rib band.  I just hope he wasn't too traumatized by the experience of having it forced over his head to ever wear it again.

I've been contemplating what to do once I finish the tee shirt marathon.  Thanks to all my awesome blog buddies for some great leads for where to get alternate tracing materials until my soil separator order comes.  I'll let you know how all that comes out.  In the meantime, my parents got me the early Christmas gift of a subscription to Threads!  Thanks, Mom and Dad!!!  My first issue came last week and inside is an article about an interesting skirt with square godets.  It is a Merimekko design and the article included complete instructions for drafting the pattern and constructing the skirt.

I have some striped slinky that would make it up nicely.  The question is, should I??  My concerns --  I'm not a slender Asian girl.  I'm not 20 years old anymore.  Horizontal stripes across the hips that have borne two children???  What would I wear it with?  Hmm.  I really think it is fun and fashion forward.  Should I go for it??

Monday, December 14, 2009

Ottobre 04/2004-2 & 03/2004-8

With my last shreds of soil separator paper I managed to eke out a tee shirt pattern for Myra.  She really needs some long sleeved tees, and I wanted some leggings as well, for layering under summer dresses that she hasn't yet outgrown (but will by the time it is warm enough to wear them again!).

Here is her first tee.  I didn't want anything fancy, since she'll be wearing it under things, but I liked the little keyhole at the neckline.

And a pair of basic leggings.

I did the waistband slightly differently than the Ottobre directions and it looks exactly like her RTW leggings.  Basically I attached the elastic in the round to the wrong side of the pant top with a wide triple zigzag and my overcast foot so it finished the edge and sewed it in one step, then folded over the edge and topstitched it down with a twin needle.

For both pieces I used a "ponteroma" double knit from Hancock.  It is super soft and cozy.  I think it will be perfect as a warm winter layer.

"Why are you taking a picture of my in my long johns, Mommy?"  Yeah, not too stylish all by themselves!

But just right with a little dress over the top.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

My first real FO - dishcloths

Beth and I had a chance to sit down and knit a bit a few days ago and she taught me how to work an increase.  Thank goodness, because every time I read the directions in my book I got more confused!!  It was so much better to see it done and then for her to watch me do it and make sure I got it right.  Once I had increasing down, she showed me a simple garter stitch dishcloth pattern to practice with.  I have to say that having a real pattern for practice is a whole lot more fun than just random knitting!

Look, I made three!  I knitted the first two by the pattern Beth taught me.  It is knit diagonally, as you can probably tell, and the border is formed from the increases (k1f&b) and decreases (k2tog) that also form the shape.  The middle is garter stitch, so it is perfect for practicing increases and decreases, and it has a nice knubby texture - good for scrubbing!

This is the first one I made entirely myself.  Beth cast on the first one and knitted a few rows to show me the increase.
For the third one, I thought it would be fun if I knitted the middle in seed stitch, since it makes such great bumps.  I thought that would be good for pot scrubbing.  Somehow, it didn't quite turn out as I planned...

How did my seed stitch end up as ribbing?  Not to mention that it is shaped like some sort of sea creature.

Here is how it looks when it isn't stretched out.  Even more like a weird sea creature.

And why can't I knit anything without yarn overs???  This one has two!
Oh well, at least I think it will still be fine for washing dishes.

Comparing the two side by side made me think about how interesting it is that something as simple as a change in stitch makes such a difference in the final "fabric".  And how a fabric choice and weave choice can really effect the final appearance of a sewn (or knitted) garment.  Think silk twill vs. silk chiffon.  Interesting.

Anyway, I'm pretty happy with my dishcloths!  I even washed up the breakfast dishes with one this morning.  It worked great!  And did a great job wiping down the sink afterward.  How great are these things!  And when it gets gross, I don't throw it away, just toss it in the wash.  No more buying scrubbing sponges for me!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Your favorite?

Have you seen this cool post by Lindsay T?  What a fun idea to look over all of the things you've sewn over the past year and pick a favorite!  I had a difficult time decided which one to post!  I've had so much fun and learned so much about sewing this year.  It was really hard to choose, although it was so fun to look over my older blog posts and reminisce (sometimes with horror!) over the things that I have made.  I decided to only consider things that I have made for myself, mostly because that narrowed the playing field, but also because I can't assess how the kids and Mitch feel about the things I have made them with real accuracy, but I know exactly how I feel about the things I made myself!  My final decision was based on what item I reach for in my closet the most.  The winner?

My McCall's 5592 jeans.  I love them.  I wear them at least twice a week.  I'm wearing them right now!  Why did it take me so long to make my own jeans?  These fit me better than any RTW jean I have ever owned.  I really need to make another pair.

So, what is your favorite thing that you have made this year?  Hop over to Lindsay T's blog and add it to the list!  Isn't this fun?!  Oh, and if you happen to have an opinion about the things that I have made this year, please share.  I'd love to hear!!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Ottobre 04/2004-35

Poor Logan hasn't had much representation in the sewing room of late, but he really needs some warm weather gear, so I started off with a couple of quick long sleeve tees to get his winter wardrobe going.

Pardon the yoghurt stains on the black tee.  He wore it before I could get a picture - before I even hemmed it,  in fact.

I think he likes it.  The applique design is based on an illustration from one of his favorite books, I Love Trucks.  I let him pick which truck to put on his shirt.  I think that this one will get a lot of wear.  I managed to stretch out the neckline while sewing it.  I've been having a lot of trouble with binding knits lately!  It recovered well during the day, though, so I think it will be fine.  I did think the neckline was a bit large, so I raised it on the green stripe shirt.

While I was working on these shirts, tragedy struck in my sewing room.  I hauled out all of my tracing materials to get this pattern ready.  As I unrolled my soil separator paper (which is what I use to trace patterns), I came to the end of the roll!  I knew it was coming soon, but I thought I had a few yards left.  Oh well - off to Lowe's to get some more - only to discover that Lowe's no longer carries it!!!  In fact, the isn't any available in this whole freaking town!!  Oh no!!  So, I'm going to have to order some off the internet, which means waiting for shipping during the Christmas season.  Which means I won't be able to trace off any patterns in the interim.  So, if there isn't much going on here, you know why...

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Simplicity 2808

And so, my love affair with fleece continues...

I've had this jacket pattern since last winter, but only just got around to sewing it.  I love the style lines, but the model on the pattern envelope isn't quite as well endowed as I am, so I wasn't sure how to go about making it work for me, although with all of the waistline shaping with the tucks I was certain that this would be a great style.  I actually think this would be a great style for most any shape.  Those tucks are perfect for waist definition, even if your waist isn't particularly defined and the back is shaped with long contour darts, which also are quite slimming.  Anyway, since I've learned to do an FBA, I now do not fear shapeless patterns!!

Here is my FBA for this one.  Pretty straightforward.  The only thing to remember was that since this jacket's facing wrapped all the way to the side seam, the facing had to be altered to match the new jacket front.  I also  had to alter the position of the tucks.

You can see the original tuck lines in black, and my new ones in red.  Since the FBA added an unnecessary inch at the waist, I added an extra tuck to trim it back in, then spaced them out evenly.

I love it!  The fit is great, although my dart is just a little on the low side.  I'm still not perfect at placing that side dart.  I also think I could have gone for one more tuck, but I didn't want the jacket to end up overfitted.


And back.

There were couple of things that I don't like about this pattern, and will be doing differently if I sew this again. For one thing, the facings flop out if you wear the jacket unbuttoned, which I tend to do.  I should have lined it, which would have eliminated that problem.  Second, the hemline is weird.  In the front, the jacket is faced all the way to the side seam, but the back is just hemmed.  The pattern calls for you to sew up the (uneven) side seams, then after you've attached the facings, go back and stitch the side seam of the facing to the bottom of the back, both of which you've already edge finished.  Well, this was fussy, and didn't match up!!  I think that for the next go, I would construct the jacket front, including the facings and then do up the side seams so that it could be done in one continuous step.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

My first (sort of) FO!

I bet you thought I'd given up on that knitting thing!  No way! I have been practicing.  I haven't finished anything that might be considered a real project, but I did bind off some practice knitting, so it is a complete work.  My first one!

I started off practicing knitting for about 50 rows, then purled about the same.  After that I tried stockinette stitch for a while, then some stripes.  At the end I got really crazy and did a few rows in seed stitch before I decided it was time to learn to bind off.  This is so darn fun!!!  My friend Beth got me started, which was good because I don't think I'd have been able to figure it out myself with just book diagrams, but now that I have done it a bit, the diagrams are sometimes making a bit of sense.  My friend Britta recommended the book Knitting for Dummies.  I initially just checked it out of the library, but I liked it so much that I bought it for myself.  It sits on my lap as I knit.
I did make quite a few errors, naturally.  For some reason, every time I changed stitches I would put in a few unintentional yarn overs.

In fact, while I have never yo'd on purpose, you can see that there they are!

I really enjoyed doing the seed stitch.  It is so pretty.  Can you spot my yarn over?

I have really had a lot of fun with this so far.  I'm looking forward to my first real project.  Beth is going to show me how to make a dishcloth.  My sister also sent me the cutest pattern for a really simple cape that I am definitely going to knit for Myra.  It'll probably be for next winter though!!

At least Myra likes my first "project".  She spent all afternoon wrapping it around herself and sitting on it.  She even took it with her when she napped.  Maybe I made her a blankie without knowing it!