Friday, April 30, 2010

Kwik Sew 2881

Mitch has been doing a lot of running lately, and has been getting a ton of use out of the shorts that I have made him from this pattern.  He's been running in tee shirts, but they get really hot here in the great state of Texas, so I got him some wicking jersey from Rockywoods Outdoor Fabrics to make him some cooler running gear.  I used the same Kwik Sew pattern as for his shorts (linked above).
I didn't want to use my fancy fabric on an untested pattern, particularly as all this running has had the side effect of significant weight loss, so I started with some cotton lycra interlock from the stash.
It's a  nice design, with a little extra length in the back for biking, a panel under the arms so that that aren't any seams where they might rub and a mock turtle neck to protect the neck from the sun.
Unfortunately, it turned out a bit snug...
In fact, he popped out the hem trying to get into it.  You have no idea how much fast talking I had to do to get these pictures!!
Anyway, back to the drawing board.  Well, tracing anyway.  The pattern mostly got the thumbs up.  I just have to make it in a larger size, and the turtleneck was nixed so I'll make a standard neckband instead.
But hey, it fits me!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

BWOF 02/2009-125

I've been on a bit of a blouse kick lately.  After all of the easy fit knit tops of earlier this month, I've felt more up to the fitting challenge of an actual woven top.  This one is from BWOF, from the famous 02/2009 issue, which I only recently was able to get my hands on.  You'll be seeing more from this issue.  It's awesome!  This  will be my fifth entry for Spring Top week.  I know I haven't a prayer of winning, but it sure has been fun to see all of the creative and beautiful tops coming in.  Check them out here.
I chose this blouse because of all the unique style details.  It isn't often that you see a raglan sleeve with a collar/stand.  I also really like the pleated sleeve with the buttoned band.  It's a nice variation from the usual puff.  The fabric was an impulse purchase from FFC.  It is cotton lawn with a nice soft hand.  I wasn't sure about the print when it arrived, but I think it is perfect for this blouse.
You can see the sleeve better in this view.  As was noted by several reviewers on PR, the bands are snug.  I find them to be just perfect for me, but I wanted them to be fitted.  You can also see that I probably should have done a full FBA instead of just adding a smidge at the side seams.  There is zero ease at the bust. 
Yes, I definitely need to start doing a sway back adjustment!  Otherwise I love the fit in the back.  The contour darts are very nice.

Well, for a first attempt at a fitted blouse from BWOF I am very happy.  I'll be making more, although maybe not this exact one.  The fit is pretty good even with minimal adjustments, which is pretty nice and I love the styling.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Ottobre 03/2008-2 "Puffis"

Myra's summer wardrobe is coming along, but she needs a few knit tees.  Doesn't every girl?  I scoured my Ottobre's for a fun one, and came back to "Puffis", which is style #2 from the 03/2008 issue.  It's such a perfect little tee shirt.
This one is made from cotton jersey from Hobby Lobby.  I hate their knits, but I have a ton of them in my stash, as they are the cutest knit prints around.  I need to use them up and buy better quality!
I love that this is a simple tee with beautiful details.  Perfect for a sweet princess.  It has a gathered neckline, keyhole back and puffed and gathered sleeve.  How girly can you get?  I love it!  This was the first time I tried Ottobre's knit binding application method, and while it isn't perfect, I was quite happy with it.
The trickiest part was the little keyhole, and I think I probably should have stretched the binding a bit more so that it would lie flat.  That teeny hole is a bit tricky...
Sorry for the fuzzy pic, but Myra wasn't in the mood for posing.  The size it an 80, with the length an 86.  For her last one, I made a straight 68, and it got too short before she outgrew the girth, so I thought I'd give her a little extra length this time so that she can wear it longer.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Ottobre 01/2010-13

Myra needed some hippy chick jeans to go with her crazy neon shirt, so I hunted through my Ottobre's to find a flare leg pant pattern in her size.
Perfect!  I LOVE the little pockets, which I think have a very 60s feel.  They are on the back as well.
I skipped the trim on the hems.  I wanted them to be a little more versatile.
But I did line the pocket flaps with the scraps of her shirt.  You can also see that I added some jean-style topstitching, which is all that "fly" is - topstitching.
The fit isn't perfect.  They are a little baggy up front,
but she has some serious gaposis in the back!  She was sleeping when I was making them, so I couldn't measure her waist, and I guess she's slimmed down a little since the last time I measured her.  I still think they are pretty darn cute, and will be a good addition to her wardrobe.  The pattern went together really quickly, since it is just a very simple pair of elastic waist pants with four patch pockets.  What's not to like?

Friday, April 23, 2010


Smocky Tops!!
Really I think an even half dozen should get us through the summer.  Did I mention - I LOVE THIS PATTERN!

Oh, and the shorts are Simplicity 4203 again.  I'm getting a lot of mileage out of that pattern.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Design It Yourself Tee shirt

Well, I finally got my tee shirt drafted and muslin sewn!
I actually went ahead and hemmed it, since it turned out surprisingly wearable.  It's nice to have a tee shirt that actually holds the girls in...

I have to say that I had a few issues with the way that it was drafted in the book.  This is clearly meant for the less than B cup, hasn't breastfed babies or been affected by gravity set.  I do not fall into this category, so I had to make a few modifications.  The first thing that I had issues with is that the front and back pattern pieces are the same.  I don't know about you, but my front is a bit different then my back.  I'm just sayin'.  My other major issue was the assumption that my bust point and my armpit are at the same level on my body.  Let me just say that my bust point hasn't been within waving distance of my armpit EVER.  Not even as a perky teen.  No never.  I decided to work around these little problems by drafting the pattern with my high bust (which is basically the measurement around the chest at the level of the armpit anyway), and then doing an FBA to accommodate the girls.
Here is the front/back as drafted with my high bust measurement.
Here is how the front looks after my FBA.  I didn't want to end up with a honking large side dart, since I think darts on tee shirts are odd, so I did a Y-dart FBA.  There is a great tutorial for this on Debbie Cook's website, but I can't link it currently, as she's reorganizing her site right now, so everything is down.  You can find a good explanation of it in P/P FFRP.  There is still a dart there, just not as big.
When I put the shirt together, I decided to try gathering the area of the dart instead of actually sewing it.  I'm not sure I love the way it turned out, but I think I did the gathering too low, so it's making me just a little bit saggy looking and I still like the idea, so I may try it again with higher, tighter gathers.

I have enjoyed this drafting journey.  I really feel like I understand a little bit better how patterns go together.  That said, this took forever!!  And all I have to show for it is a boring tee shirt that I could have just made with my Jalie pattern in 30 minutes or so.  I like to have a variety of styles, and I just can't see drafting a new pattern every time something tickles my fancy.  I also am so NOT creative.  So, here I am - a pattern girl.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Vogue 8649

I've had this piece of rayon jersey in my stash for a little while, but I was a bit afraid of it.  It was so soft and slinky that I just knew it'd ripple like crazy when I sewed it.  But I decided to go for it and I thought Vogue 8649 would be a good pattern to try it out on, since the fabric was so drapey.
Turns out that I wasn't too far off.  I was pleasantly surprised at how well this sewed.  I did use the teflon foot and low presser foot pressure that I used while sewing slinky.  To stitch it, I tried my usual straight stretch stitch, but this fabric is so much more stretchy than most knits, even the stretch stitch popped out.  I ended up sewing it with a triple stitch, which is sturdier and stretches well.  My seams aren't quite as flat as I'd like, but they aren't going anywhere.
I really like the design of this pattern.  The shaping and fullness for the bust is achieved with gathers both at the shoulder and at the underbust as well as the lower back.  Fit-wise, this is a cup sized pattern, so I didn't do an FBA, just cut the D cup which should have been perfect by measurement.  I'm not sure if it is the drape of the fabric or if Vogue's drafters were just a little aggressive in terms of ease in the cup sizes, but I have a little drooping below the bust.  I'm not sure if I should use the C cup pattern piece next time or not.  This fabric is crazy drapey.
You can see here how it bags out under the girls.  Not my most flattering look...  I also elected to used picot edged elastic for the neckline finish.  Vogue calls for bias tape, which I think is superior to facings any day, but I need some stretch in my wrap tops since I'm still nursing.  The elastic was perfect, and I think the edge is pretty.
In the final analysis, I really like the way this top feels, but since the fit isn't great and the fabric is super thin (read - must wear Spanx), I think I'm going to make some pants and call this a PJ top.  It will be perfect and I've actually been needing some new PJs, so that works out well.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Great Fabric Disbursement

Want some fabric?  Willing to do a little work for a good cause to get it?
Pop over here to check out this one of a kind fabric giveaway.

Come on people - FREE FABRIC!!!

Simplicity 2627

As I mentioned, Myra has a serious need for some summer gear, so I hit up my stash and came away with an impressive stack of cotton prints and jersey, all in a hot pink, green or orange colorway.  I decided to do a sort of SWAP for Myra in an attempt to make a wardrobe that was a little bit more mix and match.  This is my first piece of that.
I knew I was going to need a pretty simple pattern for this crazy print.  It is actually somehow even more bright in real life.  I've had Simplicity 2627 in stash for some time, as I actually bought it for Logan, but since I mostly sew Ottobre for him, it has been languishing.  I have to say that I actually was pleasantly surprised at how much I liked this pattern.  The instructions were very logical for the Big 4!  The sleeves are even set in flat, and y'all know how I love that.  There was an excess of ease in the sleeve cap, so I'll shave off about a quarter inch next time and it should be fine.  It is a serious cheater placket, which I am OK with as long as I don't have to match any stripes or plaids across the front seam.  It made for a really easy sew.
And so cute!!  I'm definitely going to make this up in Logan's size.  I have noticed that unisex patterns tend to actually be designed for girls, so to make it for Logan, I'll make a few alterations to "man-ify" it for him.  If you look at a man's short sleeve shirt as compared to a woman's, you'll notice that the man's sleeve typically has a slightly extended shoulder with a longer sleeve that hangs almost to the elbow and has at least a one inch hem, which helps the sleeve to hang well.  A woman's shirt, on the other hand, typically has a fitted shoulder line with a shorter sleeve and a narrow hem.  This shirt is designed more along the lines of a woman's shirt, and in my experience, no matter how "manly" the fabric, your little guy is going to look a little girlie in a shirt like that.  So, just cut the shirt a bit bigger to extend the shoulder line, and cut the sleeve longer, so that it hits near the elbow with a nice deep (3/4 to 1 inch) hem.  You'll be glad you did!
Next up on the Singer will be some denim pants to coordinate with this top.  I find that I really enjoy sewing my kids clothes on that old machine.  Sitting at that table, knee to lever, machine whirring, I feel a bit of solidarity with the mothers who have sewn clothes for their wee ones on machines like this one.  I'm starting to really see the appeal of the vintage machine.  I also have to say, that girl can sew!  She is so reliable.  She may not be fancy, but what she does, she does really well.  And her buttonholes are a thing of beauty.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Fun with polyvore

I know I'm not the VERY last person to hop onto the polyvore bandwagon, but only because there are some Tibetan monks out there who don't have internet access...
Anyway, I guess I just didn't get what all the hype was about.  I mean, so what if I can take a bunch of pictures and make a collage.  Big woo.  I didn't realize that you could clip practically any picture from the web to put in your collage!  OK, I think that is pretty cool.  I just wasted the last hour or so of my life clipping from burda's website archives to put together my 2009 want to sew "list".
2009 Burda mag
2009 Burda mag by kdeshazer on
How fun is that??  It's so cool to see all of the styles in pictures.  Now I want to get tracing!!

So, do you polyvore?

Sunday, April 18, 2010

So frustrating!!

I know I haven't posted in a couple of days.  Partly that is because Mitch has been on vacation since this Wednesday and so I've been sewing a bit less.  We had a great time yesterday at the children's museum in Waco and took tons of cute pictures,
but between here and there, we seem to have misplaced our camera...  So, although I've a project or two to show you, I am without any means.
Fortunately, some wonderful soul turned it in at the museum, and they are holding it for me!  Yay!!  I'll go pick it up tomorrow, and while I am unexcited about the prospect of the one and a half hours in the car with my kids, I am glad that the camera is there.  It renews my faith in humankind just a little to know that someone who could have just walked off with my reasonably decent (although not at all fancy) digital camera decided to take the high road and be honest.  Bless whoever that person was!  Anyway, I'm really glad that we sprung for the yearly membership to the museum, so I'll be able to let the kids go in and play after the long drive.  Maybe I'll take advantage of the proximity of the Joann in Waco as well...

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Kitschy Coo Puffed Sleeve Smocky top (and shorts to match)

I just couldn't look at scrub blue poplin any more, (and I needed some fabric glue for the neckline) so I decided to work on Myra's summer wardrobe.  Since she spent all winter busily outgrowing last year's summer togs, she pretty much needs everything.  And since summer lasts about 10 1/2 months here in Texas, she needs it soon - like yesterday.

I got this pattern by the amazing Amanda of Kitschy Coo a few months ago, just as it was starting to get cool out, so I've just gotten around to sewing it up.
I have to pause here and sing the praises of her completely awesome patterns.  They are a-may-zing.  This is the second one that I have sewn.  The patterns themselves are hand drawn on heavy butcher paper.  If it wasn't against my personal code of ethics, you could totally cut them up, since they aren't nested like typical multi-sized patterns.  Each size is individually drawn.  The instructions are a full color photo tutorial, printed on cardstock.  The instructions are so good I really think these would be great "learn to sew" patterns for total rank beginners.  This pattern also includes instructions for serger and standard sewing machine.
Anyway, I'm pretty sure this top is going to be the staple of Myra's summer wardrobe.  I traced, cut and sewed it (and a pair of shorts) all in one naptime!!  Seriously, total time spent was less than 3 hours.  And it is freaking adorable!  OK, so the shorts pattern was already traced, but still!
I know, it doesn't get much cuter than that.  Wait, check out the back!
That awesome little notch makes it possible to get this top over Myra's giant melon (for real, she's greater than the 95% for her head circumference) without buttons or closures.  Love that!  I got this fabric in a remnant bundle at Hobby Lobby, and I used every last shred for this outfit.  The ladybugs are a mid-weight quilting cotton and the solid green is a lightweight, loose weave cotton - pretty much perfect for summer.  It was a total fabric score, since the bundle was 2 bucks and I still have three more 1/2 yard and bigger pieces in different prints left!
The shorts are Simplicity 4203, which I've made before.  There isn't anything particularly special about them, except that the pattern was already traced in Myra's size, but it's a fine basic shorts pattern.
I added a couple of rounded pockets to both the shorts and the top.  Myra loves pockets.  Ariel has already hitched a ride in there.
So, now I'll get back to the scrubs, but I've decided that I'm going to try some parallel sewing, since I have two machines.  Janome will do all of the knits and anything delicate, and the Singer gets cotton and other sturdy fabrics, since she's a bit more heavy weight.  It's nice to be able to switch back and forth when I get tired of something that I'm working on.  Then I can come back with clearer vision for whatever had me slagged.  So anyway, that is why my "In progress..." box on the sidebar has changed.  Now there are two projects in progress - one on Janome, and one on the Singer.  Fun, eh?

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Me Made May

I ran across this post on the Colette Patterns blog, and I thought it would be super fun to join in!
Click here for full details, but the short version is that for the month of May, I'm going to attempt to dress only in clothing (other than underthings, shoes and socks) that I have crafted myself, and document my progress here on the blog.  I might even get the kids in on the fun.  Obviously, I'll still be crafting new things, so there will probably be quite a few quick photo posts and combo posts, but I think this will be a great way to get some of my handmade goodies out of the closet, not to mention encourage me to Be Cute Everyday!  Want to play along?  Click on the link and sign up on Zoe's blog.  You know you want to...

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Vintage sewing video

I found these adorable videos on Laura's blog, It's Sew Chic.  They were produced by Simplicity in 1948!  They actually have excellent sewing information, and they're so fun to watch!  You'll laugh at the intro to the first one where Betty waxes philosophical about her Home Ec. class...  The first video talks about laying out patterns and how they are produced.  The second shows basic dress construction, including stay stitching, constructing a dart and setting a sleeve, then ends with a drool worthy fashion show.

Monday, April 12, 2010

BWOF 04-2009-112

I've wanted to make this top for some time, but several factors stopped me.
Looks simple enough, doesn't it?  Well, this pattern comes from my very first issue of BWOF, which my sister brought home from Switzerland for me.  She's a wonderful enabler and I love her for it!  It began my love affair with burda.  But, the issue is in French, and while I took some French in High School, it's been a few years.  I also really wanted to use this striped slinky knit to make it.  Stripe matching + slinky knit = definite swearing.  When Mom was here last weekend, she gave me some slinky sewing tips that she learned at Expo, so I just decided I was going to throw caution to the wind!
And check out the mad stripe matching!!  Across the sleeve seam and across the body!  And can you even see the side seam in the top pic?  Now, this pattern is made up in a stripe in the mag, so you'd think it would work well in a stripe, wouldn't you??
What happened to my raglan seams????  There was no possible way to match them.  There are 4 stripes on the body and five on the sleeve.  What's going on, burda??
Of course, the back is mismatched as well, although I did get the bottom stripe to match.  Grrr.

Well, I still like this top, but if I make it again, it won't be in a stripe!!  And I'll lengthen it.  It was way short, so I had to add the band at the bottom.  I actually think it works with the cuffs and neckband.  I think this ends my string of navy.  Maybe I'll actually have to *gasp* thread my sewing machine!

As for the sewing of slinky, I actually didn't think it was all that bad, although I wouldn't recommend it for your first knitwear!  I used the recommendations from "More Fabric Savvy" as well as these great tips.  I used a 130/705 H-S stretch needle with poly metrosene thread and a narrow (0.5 on my machine) but long (3 for me) triple zigzag for the seams.  I decreased the presser foot pressure significantly and used a Teflon foot to reduce stretching in the seams.  A walking foot or serger with differential feed would have been great, but I don't have either of those things, so I made do, and it worked out fine.  Since I ended up using a band at the hems, I didn't need to hem it, but from my reading I had decided that I was going to use the steam a seam lite with twin needle method.  Since I didn't I can't really comment on that.

Despite my stripe mismatch, I'm happy with my first foray into slinky.  You should give it a go, too!  It's such a great fabric to wear!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Butterick 5042

I know I said I needed a white skirt, but apparently I am on a navy blue sewing jag.  Besides, I started this skirt before the burda style blouse.  That's my story and I'm stickin' to it.
The skirt is Butterick 5042, view A.  It is made of navy Italian linen from Fabric Mart.  I added some white topstitching because I really wanted to emphasize the style lines.  My mother came down for Easter and wore a skirt with similar circular gores, which reminded me of this pattern, and I just had to sew it!
Here you can see the shape that the gores give it.  It is a lot like the Studio Tantrum Redondo skirt, but a bit slimmer in the body, and for grown ups.  The pattern is only two pattern pieces, the skirt panel (of which you cut four) and a straight waistband.  Deceptively simple!  The skirt panels all have to be cut single layer, and since they are basically circular flounces, they are serious fabric hogs!
The pattern calls for a hook and eye closure at the waist, but I went for a cute white button.  You can also see my fist ever lapped zipper here!  Yes, in a curved bias seam.  I don't do anything by halves, do I?  I read on PR that several other sewists had trouble with the zipper ending up lumpy, so I interfaced the seam allowances to keep them from stretching.  It seemed to work, as my zip is nice and flat.  I also used the Reader's Digest directions for the zip, rather than the pattern's.  I love that book.
Next up - more navy!  Then maybe I'll find another color of fabric in my stash...

Saturday, April 10, 2010

burda style 04-2010-102

While square and boxy isn't my usual aesthetic, I wanted to make this blouse as soon as I saw it in this month's burda.  I'm not sure why, but I'm all about random whatever I want sewing right now, so I decided to just make it and see...
I had this navy rayon/poly "linen look" in the stash that wasn't too dear, so if I hated it, I could call it a muslin and get on with my life.  I actually really like it!  I'm not sure I love it untucked with jeans, but I actually like the simple shape.  I love the double breasted button placket and the sleeves with the tabs to hold them up.
From the back, not so great.  It pretty much looks like a scrub top.  You can see that there is truly NO shaping.  The side seams are straight lines.
Love that button tab!  Isn't it cute?!
Inside I made french seams.  The shoulder seams were supposed to be felled, but I forgot and didn't put on enough of a seam allowance, so I just frenched them and topstitched them down.
In the magazine it is styled tucked in.
I think it looks better this way, but Mitch disagreed.  He suggested that I wear it over a white below-knee a-line skirt, cinched with a red belt and with blue and white shoes.  No, he really did!  I do love my hubby.  I guess I need to make a white skirt...