Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Self drafted skirt

For my last (whew!) mini wardrobe piece, I went with Mitch's excellent advice and decided to make a long, full skirt out of my Ponteroma knit.
Since I didn't have a pattern that matched the design in his head, I decided to draft my own, starting with the basic skirt from the Cal Patch book.  I lengthened it and slashed and spread to add fullness, then added a wide, foldover waistband.  Looking at the pictures, the waistband probably could have been wider, but it is quite comfortable as it is, and I didn't have a scrap of this fabric left over!  This is a nice firm knit, so it didn't need elastic.  I cut the waistband a inch or so smaller than my actual waist measurement and it is just right!
I really think that this is going to become a go to item in my wardrobe.  I may need to get more of this knit as well!  I love this stuff.  This is actually the second time I've used it.  The first was for Myra's top and leggings, which she has worn all winter.  I love sewing it, and it is wonderful to wear.
Now I just have to put together my wardrobe.  Now that I've made all the pieces, I'm not really sure which ones I want to use.  I think I'll just have a big photo shoot with everything and let the pictures decide.  Don't be too shocked if I ask y'all for a consultation!!

Monday, March 29, 2010

She sews!

Not me - the new-to-me vintage Singer 603E that I told you about in this post. I got a new throat plate and bobbin cover on Ebay and oiled her, and she sews like a dream!!
For her first project, I didn't want to tax either of us too much, so I made a pair of quick knit shorts for Logan (who is potty training and needs tons of easy on and off bottoms).  It gave me a chance to check out her zigzag stitch.  I even installed the elastic the Ottobre way by sewing through the elastic and she didn't have any trouble with it at all.  And let me just say, when I push on that knee lever - she GOES!  Janome is fast, but this baby flies through a seam.  So fun!

Now I just have to play with all her feet, cams, attachments and (cackles with glee) the buttonholer!  I have seen some beautiful buttonholes made on vintage machines.  I love Janome, but her performance in the buttonhole department is lackluster at best.  I can't wait to see how the Singer performs.

She needs a name...

Sunday, March 28, 2010

New Look 6704

This should have been the last item for my mini wardrobe.  Alas for the capri fail!  This top turned out better!
Not perfect, but better!  I think my FBA is a little low, so there is some extra space below the bust that is visually making the girls look lower than they are.  Not my best look.
You can see it from the side as well.  I'd try taking in a bit in the princess seam, but that sucker is topstitched.
A decent fit from the back, particularly in the shoulders.  The yoke is quite nice for shaping there.  I could stand to shave off a bit more in the waist, but that may exaggerate the problems in front, so maybe not.  As the surgeons say - The enemy of good is better.

For piece #4 of the mini wardrobe, Mitch suggested that instead of the gauchos I make a long skirt from the heather grey ponte knit.  I think it is a great idea!  I'm going to use the yoga style waistband from the Butterick gaucho pattern and draft a basic A-line skirt in an ankle length.  Thoughts, anyone?

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Alterations to burda style 02/2010-122A

I've had a couple of requests for a few more details about the alterations that I made to my burda style tee, so I took some pictures of the final pattern pieces.  I wish I had a few "in process" pics for y'all, but I'll try my best to describe what I did.  I'm not saying this is the best way, just that it is my way!

So, the alterations that I made were a 1 inch FBA and raising the neckline all around.  Since I made the neckline alteration first, that is where I'll start!  The first thing that I did was sort of tissue fit the pattern pieces to get an idea about how much I wanted to raise it.  I really wanted a neckline that was up to my actual neck in back, but tapering down to a nice vee in front.  It looked like I needed about 3 inches on the side and back to get me there, so I just added 3 inches to the height of the neckline on the back and sleeve pieces.  I just drew the seamlines out straight, since I knew I was going to muslin this, so I thought I'd just work out the shaping on the muslin.  For the front piece, I started with 3 inches at the sleeve side of the neckline, and tapered down to nothing at the neckline.  Now, the height of CF really has very little to do with the height of the front bodice pattern piece, but rather with the amount that you gather and what the height of the loop that holds it in front, so I drafted my own pattern piece for the loop, using the height I wanted my final front neckline to be, and doubling the final width so that I could make a tube.

So at this point I did an FBA.  We won't talk about that one...  OK, I will.  When I did this FBA I neglected to halve the amount that I needed to add for my bust, so I ended up with double the FBA.
Right.  So after I threw away that pattern piece...  No really this muslin was actually quite useful.  You can see how large the neckline is.  I used this to pinch out the raglan seams to give the neckline the shaping it needed to conform to my body.  I shaved the amount that I pinched off of both sides of the seams on my pattern pieces.

I really did throw out and re-trace that front bodice pattern piece and redo the FBA.  I did the FBA on this top in the traditional way and then rotated the dart into the gathered area at CF, much like you would a princess seamed top.  For a great tutorial, check out Debbie Cook's.

So, the pattern pieces - in their final state:
This is the upper front bodice, which is clearly the most altered.  The pink lines represent the original pattern piece.  As you can see, I "shaved" off a significant amount where it joins to the raglan sleeve, but also raised the neckline quite a bit.  The purple lines are for my FBA and the blue line is the original grain line, just for reference.
Here is my sleeve pattern.  Again, the pink line is the original pattern line.  On this one, you can see where I raised the neckline and then shaved off both front and back where they seam to the bodice pieces.  I also took off about 3/4 of an inch from my original 3 inches that I raised the neckline, so the final change was really only about 2 1/4 inches.
This is the upper part of the back bodice.  Pink lines are the original.  As with the sleeve, I just shaved off what I had pinned out on my muslin and dropped the back neckline the same 3/4 inch as the sleeve.

So, I hope that helps anyone who is hoping to make some of these same changes to this top.  I am really pretty happy with how it all came out.  This is probably the most I have ever altered a pattern, so I am fairly pleased that it worked (eventually)!  If you have any questions, or if this isn't clear please leave me a comment or send me an email and I'll try to help clarify.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Vogue 8157 - Tell me what to do!

Item # 3 for my wardrobe should have been the simplest piece.  I managed to completely mess it up, so I'm going to have to replace it in the wardrobe.  For the sake of honesty in journalism, I'm sharing it with you.
This picture actually looks not too bad.  These aren't supposed to be hoochie tight, though.  My major error was actually post-cutting.  I cut a size 12, then once I had sewn all the major seams, I tried on.  I zipped them up, and they immediately fell off me.  So I pinched out a bit at the side seams and at CB and ran back to the machine, made the corrections as pinned, and finished the pants - without actually trying them on again.  Ooops.
From the side you can see  the wrinkles at the hip and how the waistband is straining to hold me in.  Not an attractive look...
The back view actually isn't that bad, but they are saved only by the 25% stretch in this fabric.  I wouldn't be able to zip them otherwise.
It really is too bad that I screwed them up.  This is nice fabric and I like the contrast yoke (done with the wrong side of the fabric).  I think this pattern is a winner, so I'm going to try it again.  Just maybe not right away.  I need the sting to heal first.
I actually would have worn them this way, since I don't tuck.  I'm also not really happy with the way that they look with this top, so I was considering replacing them in the wardrobe anyway.  The problem - with what???
Here is my storyboard as it currently stands.  I'm going for a casual but pulled together look.  I'm thinking about a simple skirt or a different capri, but I have no idea what fabric I want.  Here are a couple of things from the stash I'm thinking about.
They top left is a heathery grey ponte knit.  I've been planning to make Butterick 4807 out of it.  I think it would go with my theme and color scheme, but I can't see it with my last piece, which is a button down shirt.  Next to that is a vertically striped twill, also grey, which I would love to make into BWOF 06/2009-104.  This would be awesome with the buttoned shirt, but I'm afraid there would be too many stripes going on with my burda style tee.  The bottom two are a navy linen and lavender twill.  I don't have specific patterns in mind for them, but I was thinking a simple capri or A-line skirt would work for either.  What do you think?  Would you change it up with a skirt?  Keep the capri?  What fabric do you see here?  I have no idea where to go!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

burda style 02/2010-122A

Item #2 for the Mini Wardrobe contest is done!  Sorry for the dark pics.  We had to take them in the AM before Mitch went to work.
After two muslins, I got the fit ironed out and the neckline is nice and flat.  I like the style of the top, but I'm not sure that I'm in love with it for the wardrobe contest.  I'm going to finish up my other pieces and see how I feel.  As you can see, Mitch talked me out of the boring solid lavender and into this stripe, which is how the top is styled in the burda mag.  You can see it here and here.  Since they made it in a stripe, burda included stripe matching markings on the pattern pieces.  Boy, were those awesome!!  You can see (I hope) in the above photo how well the stripes match across the side seams, despite the bodice being in two pieces and the back only one.  Pretty nice.
And the sleeves matched up beautifully as well.  You can barely see the seam!!  You can also see ow much I changed the neckline from the original.  I added 3 (!!) inches at CB and tapered around to 1/2 inch at CF.  Now it covers my bra straps!  I also added 2 inches to the length and did a 1 inch FBA.  After constructing this top twice, for the third I tossed burda's instructions entirely and did it my own way, which was much better IMO.

After wearing this top all day, I pretty much like it.  It's soft and comfy.  The only thing that bugged me about it was that it had a bit of a tendency to ride up over the girls, so I spent a lot of time tugging it down.  I'm wondering if maybe I needed just a tiny bit more length.  If I make this again, I think I'll add 1/2 inch or so to the length of the upper bodice.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

McCall's 5142

The heart-stoppingly cool jeans are finished!
And I am mostly happy with them.  I am still trying out jeans patterns, so this is McCall's 5142, the Palmer-Pletsch "Perfect Jeans" pattern.  I don't know about perfect, but I will give it a pretty darn good!  I have a few radiating lines from the front crotch, which don't make me totally happy.  I did scoop out the curve about 1/4 inch, which improved the situation there, but didn't completely eliminate it.  They are quite comfortable, though.  No binding or pinching.  These are made in non stretch denim, so the fit is fairly unforgiving.
From the side you can see that the fit through the hips looks good, but I have a few diagonal lines that go from hip to knee.
You can see them better from the back view.  I am wondering if I shouldn't have scooped a bit out of the back crotch curve as well to improve the fit back here.  I did take in 5/8 inch at center back starting at the waistline and tapering out to nothing at the beginning of the crotch curve.  Regardless of the wrinkles, these are very comfortable pretty much everywhere.  My biggest gripe for these jeans is that this view, which is a lower rise, has a straight waistband.  Despite my alteration to the back of the pant, the waistband gapes!!  I think a contoured waistband, which the other view (with the "Mom jeans" rise) has, would be better for this view as well.
Here is a better view of the awesome pockets.  I borrowed another cool detail from Mary Nanna and copied her back belt loop, which she copied from RTW.  I think it looks cool.  I realized after taking all these pictures that I totally forgot to apply the rivets!!  I think jeans really need rivets, so I'll be putting them on soon.  You'll see them again, I'm sure!  At least when I post all of the mini wardrobe pics!

So anyway, with regard to the search for the one true jean, I don't think this is it for me.  The things I like are the rise - not too low, not too high, and the shaping of the jean itself, particularly in the hips, thighs and back.  Things I don't like - The front pockets gape open just a little, the waistband would be better if it were contoured and the legs have no shape at all - they are completely straight.  Will I wear them?  Heck yeah!!  They may not be perfect, but they are a whole heck of a lot better than anything I've ever gotten in RTW.  I mean really, have you ever seen jeans for sale with EKG pockets?
I also have to give another shout out to Mary Nanna.  Not only have I blatantly copied so many cool details from jeans that she has made, she gave me several tips regarding this pattern that were very helpful as I was going along, particularly with regard to sizing.  I've gotten so accustomed to the ridiculous amount of ease that you typically find in McCall's patterns, that I generally cut a 10, despite the fact that I measure to a 14.  This pattern actually has a reasonable amount of ease.  I cut the 12, and am really glad that I did!  I also have to credit KnitMachineQueen for her timely post full of jeans sewing tips.  Was that ever helpful!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Winners and Thank you!

Congratulations to the two winners of my pattern giveaway!
For the 8-16 size patterns the winner is Cheryl, who said
All I have to say is oh, dear! If you have too many patterns, I worry for myself. I organize my patterns similarly though, in the plastic drawers. Each drawer is then sorted by type (top, dress, pants, skirt, children's, men's, home decor) I also have one for costumes (love those!) sorted by style and type. Since the Vogues won't fit into these drawers, they have there own box. BWOF are just on a shelf for now, but I have copied all the line drawings into a folder for easy flipping. Most of my patterns have also been scanned into the computer and sorted so I can easily flip through them to find what I have.
For the 12/14-20 size patterns the winner is Shiny Green Penny, who said
I just have boxes on a shelving unit - a box of kids patterns, a box of home dec/misc and my women's patterns are by type - tops, bottoms, jackets. I put all my pattern envelopes and pieces into plastic page protectors (the kind you insert into a binder) and therefore eliminating the need to jam them back into the envelope. Nothing fancy, but it works.
**Random numbers generated at**
Ladies, please shoot me an email at katiedeshazer (at) hotmail (dot) com with your address and I'll get these posted for you.  I can't wait to see what you make from them!  I wish I could have given them to all of you!

I really think I was the real winner here, since I got some great organization tips out of the deal.  I definitely need to find some sort of indexing system that will work for me.  Thanks to everyone who played along!

I also want to thank Sister, for nominating me for the Sunshine Award!  We doctor-sewists got to stick together!

Stay tuned for some actual sewing.  The final reveal of the EKG jeans is coming up tomorrow!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

"Gorgeous" top

I finally figured out how I wanted to use this yard of the most fabulous knit ever that I got from Gorgeous fabrics.
It is the simplest pattern ever; just a front, back, neck and sleeve bands.
I copied it from my absolutely favorite tee shirt, the cap sleeve tee from Shade. This is actually my fourth version, so I think I can count it as a TNT.  I wanted something very simple, since the print is so wild.
You can see from this that the repeat is pretty much a yard long!  The scallops are going in opposite directions and I wanted to match where they meet in the middle under my bust, as well as avoid any medallions over the girls.
Here's the side where you can see the pattern matching.  I also managed to avoid a bullseye on the girls, so I'm pretty happy!!  I've actually been thinking about using this as one of the tops in my mini wardrobe, but I think I'll just see how everything else comes together.  You'll be seeing my jeans next, after the giveaway closes.  You already signed up, right??

Saturday, March 20, 2010

A new member of the family

I mentioned my friend Starla a few posts ago.  She surprised me by giving me this...
Can you believe it??  It is a Singer 603E "Touch and Sew".  It's one of the last all-metal machines that Singer made.  She came in this beautiful cabinet with a knee lever.  I'm so excited to have her!!
It came with a ton of cams for different stitches as well as two boxes of feet and a buttonholer!  There are two rufflers and I think a walking foot.  So fun!  I can't wait to play with her!
Look, she even has her original manual!!  She's missing her universal throat plate (I have the straight stitch plate) and bobbin cover, but I think we may have just dropped them when we moved her over here.  Either way I found an Ebay seller that has them, so I may just buy them and have a spare.
She came with this big bag of cool buttons.  I already found two silver ones in there that are perfect for my capris for my mini wardrobe.  Sweet!!!

I need to go get some oil and get her back into fighting trim.  She's going to be so fun to play with!

Sunshine Award

Thank you Julia for this award!!  My sewing room has been so crazy lately that I haven't had a chance to acknowledge her.

If you haven't visited Julia's blog, you should.  She is a wonderful person and an amazing sewist.  She makes beautiful heirloom clothing that you just have to see to believe.  This year one of her granddaughters dresses has the most amazing bodice made of woven ribbons.  Wow!  She does beautiful smocking and has recently been doing some fun things with wool felting.  She is also a fun writer and puts her personality into her blog posts.  They are always fun to read.  I am very grateful for her and for the chance that we have had to become friends through this sewing/blogging community of ours.

For this award I am supposed to chose 12 other bloggers for this award, but I'm not going to.  There are just too many of you out there that inspire me, and I just can't pick out 12 to single out.  I am so grateful for this sewing community that we have out here in blogland.  I've learned so much from the ladies and gentlemen out there who sew and share.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Patterns to give away!

This giveaway is now closed.  Thanks to all who played along!

My patterns were overflowing the 3 drawer file cabinet in which they were stored, so I got a new one, which led me to contemplate my organizational methods (or lack thereof!).
The top set of drawers is the original - note the duct tape to keep out wee hands.  Within size constraints (why does Vogue and Jalie have to use giant envelopes??), my patterns are organized so that I can choose them based on the fabric I am using, since that is generally how I plan my sewing.  The patterns are divided first into broad categories (Mens, Misses, Childrens, Unisex, Sleepwear and Maternity), then within the Misses and Mens category into subcategories.  Menswear is divided into activewear, pants and shirts and misses is dived into knits and wovens, and within those subcategories into tops, pants, skirts, dresses, jackets and wardrobes.  Children's is divided up just by size.  Other than that they are just sort of thrown in within each subcategory, so if I'm looking for a specific pattern, I just have to rifle through the entire category.  And this doesn't include the large envelope patterns or the magazines, which are in their own areas.  This is beginning to get cumbersome as I continue to acquire patterns, which I will!  Despite my recent forays into patternless sewing, I love patterns.  Aside from the fact that I'm just not as creative as a fashion designer, I'm just to lazy to draft something from scratch every time, and I like variety.

Of course, as I rearranged all my patterns, I found a few that I knew I wasn't going to need, for one reason or another.  Many are from the days before I knew how to do an FBA and was still basing my size on my full bust, which actually put me in a larger size category and a few I have many of the same style and know I won't sew them all.  So, up for grabs are two sets of patterns, one in each size grouping.
In the 8-16 size group is Simplicity 2590, a peasant style dress (easily converted to a top just be leaving off the skirt!) and Butterick 5191 which is a wardrobe with a sleeveless wrap top, kimono sleeve shrug, full legged pants and straight skirt.
In the 12/14 to 20 size group is McCall's 5936, a cute lined jacket with peplum, McCall's 5522 an empire waist, princess seamed top with tons of sleeve and ruffle variations and Butterick 4686, a full skirt with yoke that includes a pleated and unpleated version.

So to enter the giveaway tell me, how do you organize your patterns?  Do you have a method that works for you?  Be sure to let me know which pattern size range you'd like (both is OK, too!) and contact information if your comment doesn't link to a profile or blog.  I'll close the giveaway on Monday the 22nd  at 6AM Central Time and announce the winner later that day!  Sewing buddies from all over the globe are welcome to enter - I'll ship to you.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Are you ready?

For the most awesome jeans back pocket ever??
I know.  I'm not sure the world is ready for my jean-ius.  Heh.  I was inspired by Renee's back pocket design, and she was inspired by Mary Nanna.  The particular tracing came from an old Med School textbook.  I knew I kept Dubin around for something!  I also have to credit Mary Nanna for an excellent tip.  She mentioned that she used her ditch quilting foot to keep her lines nice and straight.  Brilliant!!  Thank you!

Seriously, I am way excited about these jeans!  I still have a way to go before they are finished, but all signs point to greatness.
Check out the curve built into that back yoke!  Major good shaping going on there!  In constructing the front pockets, the pattern instructions specify, "This will not lie flat." to which I respond, Hallelujah!  Neither do I!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Design it Yourself skirt: Done!

I actually sewed this up on Saturday, but only just did the hem.  The muslin was pretty good, with the exception of a little riding up on my back.  Beangirl suggested raising the back hemline at the waist, which I did by taking a 1/2 inch wedge out above the seat.
So, here it is pinned out.
And look, a perfectly straight side seam!!  She's a genius.

I've had this crazy silk twill in my stash for a while, just waiting for a nice springtime skirt project to come along.  It was time...
Perfect!  Well, almost.  I bubbled the zipper a bit.  It isn't bad enough to make me take it out though, since the silly thing is machine sewn to both the FF and the lining.
The side seam is nice and straight, although my twill had a little bit of stretch, so it looks a little ripply at the side seam.  It just needs a better pressing, though.
Perfect from the back!!  Why is it so hard to take a straight, non-blurry picture of your own backside??  You'll all just have to take my word for it - the fit is excellent.
It is lined with this awesome hot pink poly lining fabric.  The waist is stabilized with twill tape, so there isn't any interfacing to interfere with the soft drape of the fabric.
I taped the hem with some funky lace left over from this baby dress of Myra's.

I love my fun new skirt, but I don't have anything that goes with it.  I think I need a new top...  Maybe after my Mini Wardrobe is done.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Expo haul and burdastyle 02/2010-122 muslin

So, my mom and sister got to go to Expo this year.  Although I didn't get to go, mom was kind enough to do some serious shopping for me!
Clockwise from upper right - the modkids Kyoto top and dress pattern, cute owls and cupcakes flannel - soon to be more PJs for Myra, a couple of yards of a fun printed cotton - destined to be a full skirt for me, some Lightning McQueen twill tape - Logan's going to LOVE this!, and some cool jersey mesh printed with frogs and lizards.  I'll have to find a fun tee pattern for this one.
Mom also embroidered me a couple of tee towels.  Aren't they cute!?

Thank you!!
Today also starts the Mini Wardrobe contest, and so naturally I'm kvetching about my choices!  I'm going to start with the jeans, since I'm very happy with my fabric and the pattern is already traced and altered.  But do I really want to make the capris or do I want a skirt??  A skirt seems so much more spring-y.  Of course, I have about 42 skirts in my closet, so I really don't NEED another one.  (Stay tuned for the one I just finished and will post tomorrow - LOL.)  And the all solid tops palette is making me a little grumpy still.  I'm thinking about swapping out the burdastyle top for a simple kimono sleeve tee in a fab print that I got at Gorgeous Fabrics.  I think I'll just make both tees and see which I like better.  Aaah!  Since I didn't want to start a new project yesterday, I decided to trace, alter and even muslin the burdastyle 02/2010-122 top.  I knew that I would need to seriously raise the neckline as well as FBA the upper bodice, so although I don't generally muslin knit tops, I thought all these changes deserved it - and boy am I glad I did!!
OK, done laughing?  I think I may have been a bit exuberant with my FBA...  At least I got the neckline pretty much figured out.  I  threw out that bodice pattern piece  and started over.  Muslin #2 is much better!