Thursday, September 30, 2010

My Sewing Day!

My sweet hubby took over my mommy duties for the day yesterday, and I spent the entire day - 11 straight hours - sewing!  I'd been prepping up all week, so I had a ton of things cut out.  I didn't get to everything, but I am happy with what I managed to produce.
Both kids have Halloween costumes!  Logan's will do double duty for the Renaissance Festival as well.  I'll do  individual posts for each pattern later, but in brief, the days totals were, Butterick 4054 both dress and pinafore, New Look 6641 tee shirt, McCall's 5500 tunic and Burda 9671 pants.  Myra is dressing as Little Red Riding Hood, and Logan is a prince.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

FO: Baby Sophisticate sweater

Can you believe I already finished it???  Neither can I!!
I'm definitely a fan of knitting baby clothes.  This worked up so quickly!  The pattern is the Baby Sophisticate by Linden Down.  All my Ravelry notes are here.  I learned a ton of new things making this little sweater.  It is a seamless, top down design, and the sleeves are knit in the round.  I took Myrna's advice and knitted the sleeves using the 2 circular needle technique.  It worked really well!  I'm still a little scared of DPN's.  Also new to me was shaping with short rows and making buttonholes.  The cardigan fronts are knit with a slip stitch selvage, which you then pick up to knit the front band.  I'm so excited to have learned so much on one garment!  Although to be fair, since I know so little about knitting, there is still a lot to learn!
I hope it fits him when he arrives!
What do you think?
From the side?
It looks all right to me!
It feels to me like nothing is coming from my sewing room right now, but I have been hard at work, cutting out Halloween and Ren Fest costumes.  Mitch is taking the kids today so that I can spend the day sewing.  Isn't he a sweetheart?  Hopefully I'll have a costume or two to show you soon!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Vogue 8322 : SISC #1

The first installment in my Self-Imposed Sewing Club (SISC) is finished!  I have to say, that I found it hugely frustrating to be sewing (and fitting!!!) something that I can't actually wear.  Huge props to Amanda for sewing all of those "regular sized" clothes while she was pregnant!
Anyway, the pattern for this is Vogue 8322.  It's an oldie, but is still in print.  This is actually one of the first Vogues that I purchased when I started sewing again.  Then I learned about FBAs and realized that my size range totally changed...  And I had the wrong size of this pattern.  The next Vogue sale I trotted over to Hancock to get this pattern in the correct size, but it wasn't in stock.  For 3 months...  I finally ordered it from BMV, but then it sat.  I'm not even sure why, as I really love it.  Shoulder princess seams are my favorite, the neckline is interesting, the hemline has nice shaping.  Anyway, this was one of the first patterns I thought of when I was considering what to sew for my self-imposed sewing.  Now if only I could wear it.
Here is the back.  The fit looks off here, but that is just the result of the stretching out of my dressform, which is worst around the neck and shoulders, since it spends most of it's time hanging by that hanger in my sewing closet.
Anyway, the fabric I had initially selected for this top was a fun houndstooth charmeuse, but when I got ready to cut it out, I realized that I only had a yard and a half, and the pattern calls for 2.  Normally, I'd have tried to squeeze it in, but the print repeat was pretty wide, so I wouldn't have had enough fabric to match it.  That would have made me crazy, so I swapped it out for this pretty pink stretch poplin.  It's a nice basic and will go with practically everything in my closet.
The pattern is a good one.  Rather than floppy facings in front, the facing actually is identical to the front princess panel, which you slipstitch down to the princess seam after seaming the front and hemline.  It's a very nice finish inside and no floppy facings.  There were only a few things I disliked about the pattern.  One was the cuffs.
I know this is a "very easy" pattern, but come on Vogue!!  The cuff slit is just a section of the underarm seam that you narrowly hem, so the cuff itself faces toward the body instead of toward the back.  The other major issue I had was the sleeve cap.  Seriously ridiculous amount of ease, which I neglected to measure prior to cutting, and had to shave off while sewing.  I cut off 3/4 of an inch at the shoulder seam marking tapering out to nothing at the notches.  That is a lot of ease!!
The other issue I had with this blouse was fitting.  I know my dressform is wonky, so I started out attempting to tissue fit the upper bodice on me.  That was totally crazy and I ended up relying on my dressform.  My first FBA was completely strange, so I went back to basics and did the FBA step by step with my FFRP at my side.  Despite all that, I still ended up pinching out about an inch above the bust that tapered out to nothing at the armhole notch.  Weirdest thing ever, but the end result is nice so I'll take it.
Fitting this was a bit of a frustrating process, so I think I'll be a bit selective with my next SISC project, and select from those that require little fitting, or that I can wear now.  There are a couple that fit into that category!  But before that I have GOT to get sewing for Halloween.  How is it already halfway through September???

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Vintage Simplicity 9446

Whew!  I cut this blouse out months ago and finally managed to sew it up!
The pattern is vintage (circa 1971) Simplicity 9446, which is a pattern for a maxi/mini dress.  I really wanted to sew this as a dress for the summer, but the baby bump made that impossible.  Since I had already done the bodice alterations, I decided to make a maternity top.  The fabric I used is an embroidered stretch poplin from Fashion Fabrics Club.
Sure looks awful on the hanger, doesn't it?  The alterations I made were - FBA, converted the underbust dart to gathers, shortened the skirt to blouse length, full tummy/maternity alteration, moved the zipper from CB to side seam and used an invisible zip.
I did the maternity alteration by slashing a spreading the lower bodice/skirt pieces in front and at the side seams.  I also lengthened the front 2 inches at CF, tapering out to the side seams.
Since the poplin was a little sheer, and I didn't want any show-through, I used white batiste for the facings and button loops.  Those buttons are a bit problematic, though.  Since they are ball shaped, the loops keep slipping off them.  You can see in the top picture that they have all come unbuttoned, just while taking 3 pictures.  Fortunately, the neckline is quite high, so even unbuttoned, modesty is preserved, but I'd like the option of keeping it buttoned, so I may trade those out.
Here is my side seam invisible zip.  This was the first time I tried this in the side seam, and it went pretty smoothly.  It really is invisible!
In the final analysis, I'm not sure that I am in love with this top.  It makes me feel immense, which is definitely not what I am going for!  It isn't bad in the pictures, so that may just be my perception of how tent-like it looks on the hanger.  The puffy sleeves feel a bit linebacker-ish, and the hemline flares out more than I'd like (although I suspect that may be the result of baby belly, and not the pattern's fault!).  I'll wear it around a bit and see how I feel about it...
In knitting news, the gauge for the baby sweater was totally off with the Bernat Satin yarn, and on bigger needles it would just be lacy, which was not at all a look I wanted, so I decided to go looking for a new yarn. I really appreciated everyone's input!!!  Knitting is new to me, so I feel a little lost when things don't go *exactly* according to my grand schemes.  When I read Liesl's comment recommending corduroy for the pants, I got this mental image of a baby professor, in cream corduroy pants and a tweed sweater.  I can't get that adorable image out of my head!  So, I found a couple of tweedy yarns in heavier weights, and some cream corduroy...
I've already started the gauge swatch with the I Love This Yarn, and it is knitting up nice and dense, but still soft.  If it knits to gauge, it will be the one!  The Wool-Ease is a more subtle tweed though.  I'm just going to knit up swatches of both and see which one I prefer.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Opinions, please...

For my next knitting project, I would like to make a little sweater for Baby Boy to wear for his blessing at church.  My mother made a beautiful silk bubble for Logan when he was blessed, but Logan was a summer baby.  The bubble is lightweight and has short sleeves and doesn't cover the legs.
The sweater I am hoping to knit is the Baby Sophisticate by Linden Down.
It isn't super complicated, but I will be learning to knit the sleeves in the round, which I was looking to learn.  (Here's hoping I can get it done, and that I'm not sitting in L&D, timing contractions and furiously knitting!) I was knitting my gauge swatch with some white Bernat Satin Solid that my mom gave me for Christmas.  It is lovely yarn with a subtle pearl-like sheen that I thought would be a nice compliment to the sheen of the silk bubble.
The picture doesn't really do it justice.  Knitted up, the sheen is more evident than in the skein of yarn.  I'm afraid that it is a little too feminine for the style of the sweater, and for a wee man child.  Even if he is wearing silk.  It is also a lighter weight yarn than the pattern calls for, and I'm afraid it is a little delicate.  Also not a look I'm going for in my man child.
So, here is where you come in...
Should I look for a weightier yarn with a less obvious sheen to knit this sweater, or do you think that for a special occasion, a bit of shine is OK?
And, what do you think would be the best way to cover his wee man legs?  I thought about some leggings out of interlock, but I'm afraid they'd look like tights.  Maybe tuck the bubble into some wee man pants?  If so, what would you make them of?  More silk to match, or a light twill or other bottom weight?
Tell me what to do!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

FO: Little Red

I've been knitting very steadily on this, and trying to get it done in a reasonable time frame.  I'm not a quick knitter, and I'm sure it wouldn't have taken two months for someone faster, but that was pretty great for me!
Myra models her cape for you.  Check out that pointed toe!  My little ballerina...
Here is the side view.  It is really a very simple design.  The body is stockinette stitch with garter stitch borders.  The hood shaping is done with bar increases and k2tog decreases.  None of that was new to me, but the hood is seamed with a 3 needle bind off, which baffled my brain for some time.  Knitting still isn't intuitive to me the way that sewing is. Once I wrapped my brain around how to do it, it was pretty simple, although holding three needles was a little unwieldy.
I knitted the pattern (Little Red by Erika Floury) pretty faithfully, except for adding an extra inch to the hood piece to accommodate Myra's big melon.  As you can see, that was just enough.  I love the little pointy tip of the hood.  Pardon the peanut butter face.  She loves that stuff.
Myra likes her cape, and has been wearing it around the house.  I'm glad I got it finished this early - I still have time for a dress and pinny for Halloween!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Kitschy Coo Reversible Hoodie - the reveal!

Now that the testing phase is done, I can show you my super secret project from earlier this month.  I was so excited to get a chance to test out this pattern for Amanda at Kitschy Coo!  She's been making these adorable reversible hoodies in the most drool-worthy fabrics, and I finally got to try it out myself.
How flippin' cute is that???  I really enjoyed sewing this hoodie.  I don't make a ton of reversible garments, although I do a lot of lining.  I thought it would be more labor intensive, but it went together like a dream.  I had it finished after only a couple of naptimes.  Awesome!  And Myra LOVES it.  As you can imagine, she really doesn't need to wear this at the moment, as the recent cold front took us down into the low 90s out there, but every time we head out, she wants to wear it.
This side is a fun fleece print from Hancock.
And the reverse is flannel from Joann.  Cozy and warm!
Here we have theatrical Myra, showing you how well the hood fits her ginormous head.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Cool girl maternity skinny pants

While the rest of the cool girls are making pants, I didn't want to be left out!!  But our source of all knowledge doesn't really talk about how to make maternity pants, so I was on my own for this one.  I do want a few new maternity pants, and I've been wanting to jump on the skinny pants bandwagon.  (As an aside, I think maternity is the perfect time to try out all those styles and fads that you are a little afraid of.  When else do you have a perfectly reasonable excuse for buying a new wardrobe that you are only going to wear for a couple of months??)  Here is my polyvore inspiration
Hot Mama Maternity Style

And these are the AG Jeans from Pea in a Pod I was attempting to copy.  I wasn't willing to pop down the 225 bucks for jeans I'll only wear until December...
And so....  my version
I think I got pretty close!!  These are drafted with the help of Design it Yourself Clothes, but with my own twist to make them maternity.  I sewed them out of a mystery stretch cord that I found in my stash.  The wale is so small, it actually has an almost velvety appearance.  Kinda cool, actually.  I wonder where it came from?  Having never drafted my own pants before, I pretty much stuck to the instructions in the book, but used three different measurements for the rise, in order to accommodate my bump.
Here is the pattern as I drafted it.  Since these are skinny pants and I used a very stretchy fabric, I did not incorporate any ease in the pattern.  You can also see how CF (at the right) dips low to give me belly room, while CB (left) comes up quite high to help the pants stay up on my backside.  I also gave myself some extra length below the knee to give the pants that scrunch effect in my inspiration pants.  I used my maternity panel method that I talked about in my last post.  Initially, the pants had the same jodphur effect that Amanda got with her first draft.
I shaved off quite a bit from the side seams and got a much better fit.  I also had to nip in the back waist a bit to get a snug fit that wouldn't ride down.  How did that happen when I didn't add any ease to the pattern??  
Even after my adjustments, I still have a bit of a saggy bottom.
I lightened the picture so that you could see all the wrinkles.  It doesn't look this bad in real life!
Overall, I am happy with the end result.  I think it has the feel of my inspiration piece and they are quite comfortable to wear.  I think I may be through drafting patterns, though.  I'm not a particularly atypical size or shape and I generally can find the styles and fit I need in commercial patterns.  I have learned a lot about how patterns go together, so I'm really glad that I've taken this journey.
On a personal note, we had our ultrasound yesterday.  It looks like I will be sewing that sailor suit!  We are having a BOY!  All of his parts are accounted for and in the appropriate locations as well.  It's always a relief to me to be able to see the everything is fine.  Whew!  Now I've got to get sewing!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Maternity Refashion

While I was hunting through my refashion pile for Logan's khakis, I found these cargo pants of mine that were a bit too low rise for me.  I loved everything else about them, so I decided to try out a little maternity refashion.  Nothing fancy, just adding a panel to that pants as they were.
Super cute, hey?  I love that I can wear these awesome pants again!!
Here is how the panel looks.  Since I know a few of you are interested in this maternity path I'm on, I thought I'd put together a little maternity panel tutorial.  But first, I wanted to talk a little about maternity pants in general.  Since this is my third pregnancy, I've tried out a lot of different maternity pants.  They come in two basic types - under or over the belly.  Under the belly is basically a low rise pant with some sort of stretch factor in the back waist to help them stay up.  While I think these are very cute, they are not very practical.  I tend to spend all day hiking them back up, since they only actually fit for about 3 minutes.  While the over the belly style isn't sexy, it is my favorite type of pants.  My very favorite maternity pant of all time is the Secret Fit Belly, made by Motherhood and Pea in a Pod.  I love these pants!!  They fit well for almost the entire pregnancy and they don't ride down.  The panel is basically a seamless microfiber tube that reaches all the way up almost to the empire line.  They are very sleek under fitted styles.  I wanted to copy this as closely as possible, but where was I to get a microfiber tube??  I hit the local Target and found some microfiber brief panties that felt about the same weight as I was looking for, but they didn't come in maternity.  Here is where the genius comes in...
I bought them two sizes too big, and flipped them back to front, so the "butt" side of the panty covers my bump.  And what do you know - it works!!
Here's how to make yours:
You will need - pants that you want to make maternity, a pair or microfiber brief style panties two sizes larger than your typical size (the more "granny panty" they are, the better) and thread
I also think this method would work really well with seamless maternity tights or leggings used for the panel.
First you need to mark your sewing/cutting lines on both your pants and panties.  You can most easily do this by doing them both at the same time.  Put on the panty backwards and pull it up as high as it will go.  You you are looking cool!  Now put the pants on over the panty and zip them up (as high as you can)
(Anything for my readers...)
Now draw a line on the outside of the pants along the bottom of your bump.  If you are making your pants before you are notably pregnant, use the top of your pubic bone as a landmark and draw your line along the top of your hip bone.  Only  do half of your body - center front to center back - as you want these to be symmetrical.
Here is my line, photoshopped in red.  You can see how low rise these were!  I didn't have to take much off...
Now fold down your pants along that line, and draw a coordinating line along the panty.
I pulled the pant down a little so that you can see the blue line.  You want this to be in the same relative spot as the line on the pants.  This will be your seamline.
Now take them to the table and get ready to cut!  First you need to add a seam allowance.  To make your panty lie flat, cut the crotch piece in half, and then fold the panty in half at center front/center back.  It should look like this.
Add your favorite seam allowance (I like 3/8 inch.) BELOW the stitching line on the panty and ABOVE the stitching line on the pants.
If your pants have a fly zipper, you will want to remove the zip, and stitch the fly closed along the topstitching. Don't get too fancy taking the zipper out.  The area will be enclosed once you stitch the fly closed.  You also may want to "debulk" the waistband if your didn't end up cutting it off.  Just rip off the facing pieces.
Line up the panel to the pants right sides together, matching center fronts and center back.  You will have to stretch the panel/panty a bit to fit the pants, so pin around the waistline to even out the easing.  Stitch, stretching the panel as needed as you go.
 If you'd like a little more security, you can topstitch the seam allowances down toward the pants so that you don't get a ridge in the panel.
Now you have your own comfy maternity pants!  I've been wearing these all day, and they are staying where I put them!!  No more hiking up my pants all day!!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Ottobre 03/2004-17 refashion

Poor Logan just hasn't gotten much representation in the sewing room lately.  But, now that I'm thinking and sewing fall, you'll be seeing more for him!  His greatest need is long pants, so I want to sew up a few in quick fashion, but still wanted some cuteness.  Enter the refashion...  Mitch had an old pair of aeropostale khakis that he couldn't wear, but still had plenty of usable fabric in them.  So, now Logan has a pair of khakis!
They are a little big on him.  I had to roll the waistband to keep them up, although perhaps the elastic just needs to spring back into shape, so we'll see what they look like after a wash.
I used Ottobre 03/2004-17 for the basic pants pattern and the waistband/back pockets.  What I really liked about this design is that despite the zip fly (which looks cool) it still has a mostly elasticated waistband, which makes for easier potty breaks.  Logan is very independent in this regard!
I preserved the original side seams and hems, so I didn't do all of the piecing, hip pockets or back yoke of the original design.  I did make the mistake of trying out Ottobre's fly zip method.  What???  I was all over confused and ended up with a little dimple at the base of the zipper.  Grrr.  Of course, Logan will never notice, but I know.  Next time I'll stick with my standby Sandra Betzina/Jalie method.
I also managed to salvage the original zipper, buttons and belt loops!  So, besides thread and a jeans needle, I purchased nothing for these pants!  And I didn't have to make belt loops, which I find tedious and unrewarding.  I don't have a coverstitch with a belt loop attachment, so they never look as even as RTW.
I'm pretty happy with how well these went together (despite the zipper!).  Logan declares that he likes them, so I think I'll be making them again, this time with pockets, yokes - the whole works!  But perhaps a little less elastic in the waistband...

Friday, September 10, 2010

New Look 6816 silk pants

So, I finally did it.  I cut up 5 yards of expensive silk and made...
They are so soft and silky and wonderful that I never, ever, ever want to take them off.  The habotai lining is absolutely luxurious and makes me want to line everything with it.  The crepe flows like well, silk.  I love it!
The pattern is New Look 6816.  I won't bore you by talking about how much I love this pattern again.  Prior versions of these pants can be seen here in jersey and here in poly crepe suiting.

Since I wanted these pants to be pretty special, I did give them some fine finishing touches.  I sewed french seams throughout,
did my first hand-rolled hem (while watching the BBC version of Pride & Prejudice, which always makes me want to hand sew something),
and did the buttonhole elastic casing for maternity adjustment.
I did make a few changes on this iteration of the buttonhole elastic.  I used 1 inch elastic, which is just a bit more stable.  I was so pleased to find it in black at Fashion Sewing Supply!  Thanks, Pam!  She just launched her new e-store, so if you are looking for the best interfacing and notions around, you know where to go.  I also fully enclosed the interior of the casing by sewing together the waistline of both lining and fashion fabric prior to folding down the casing.  This way, the elastic can move freely in the casing when I need to adjust it.  Rather than leaving an opening in the side seam, I sewed two buttonholes to thread the elastic through.  This was possibly the most nerve wracking part of making these pants, as my buttonholer wasn't sewing consistently.  The end result lies much flatter and leaves the button outside the casing, making it easier to adjust so it was worth it in the end.
I'm so happy with these pants and I can't wait to sew more silk!  But first my big boy needs some pants, so stay tuned for a fun khaki refashion.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Thank you!

Many thanks to Michelle and Heather who have passed this award on to me!  Michelle is an amazing sewist who makes beautifully crafted garments, and whose personal style I LOVE.  Heather impresses me with how well she juggles the many balls she has in the air, and she makes her own lingerie!  She even makes bras for others!!  And they are gorgeous!
For this meme, I am supposed to tell you 10 things about myself that you are unlikely to know, and then pass it on to 5 other bloggers.
I'm not very introspective (does that count as one??) so I'm not very creative when it comes to this sort of thing, but I'll give it a go.  I've really been enjoying the responses from the other bloggers out there, so I hope I can make this interesting...
1) I love to dress in clothing for all sorts of days past, but I'm not very trendy and never seem to like whatever era we are in.  I also tend to go a bit overboard, complete with period inspired hair, makeup, underpinnings and the like.  It can get a bit costume-y, but it's me.  (Today I'm regency, with an empire waist, ankle length dress, soft pink makeup and hair up in a twisty bun with curls.)  The exception is shoes.  I wear stilettos.
2) I've been kissed by a crowned prince.
3) When I was 7 years old, I decided I wanted to be a doctor, specifically a surgeon, which plan I stuck to until my third year of medical school, when I realized that I was much happier surrounded by kids.  I changed my focus to Pediatrics, which was perfect for me.  Once I finished my training I retired so that I could surround myself with my own kids.  They make me happy.
4) I worked my way through college working retail; selling shoes and lingerie. Before medical school, I was a Bra Specialist at Victoria's Secret.
5) I like watching my kids movies, particularly Veggie Tales and Disney/Pixar.  In fact, we had an impressive collection before we even had children.
6) Since I waited to have children until after my training, I am generally the "old lady" at playgroups and kid stuff.  In fact, my mother had already had all of her children when she was the age I was when I had my first.
7) I hate being a patient in a hospital, and will do anything - including hassle interns for discharge papers - in order to get out as soon as possible.  I'm sure I'm a ridiculously annoying patient.
8) I love to sing (although I am not all that good at it) and sing in my church choir, but my son has recently taken objection to this little habit of mine and gets mad any time I try to sing around the house.  Am I really that bad??  He lets Myra sing!
9) I was a princess for Halloween for most of my childhood and into my early teens.  I still like to "dress up" (see #1), but since I'm too old to pretend to be Cinderella, I go to Renaissance Faires, where dressing as a princess is OK.
10) My hubby and I share a deep and abiding love for books.  We really love to buy them, although reading from the library is an OK second best.  We also have a very hard time getting rid of books, regardless of how old and useless they may be.  Case in point, we still have college textbooks for classes that we didn't even take.  Because of this, we are constantly buying new bookcases.

Next I am supposed to tag 5 bloggers to pass this award on to, but I always hate this step.  I read a LOT of blogs and I love them all, so choosing only 5 is nearly impossible, besides not everyone likes to get these things, so here it is - I pick... YOU!  If you are reading this and blogging along with me, then consider yourself beautiful and please play along, if you are so inclined.  And leave me a comment, so I can be sure to check out your answers!

Saturday, September 4, 2010


Or, why one shouldn't cut out interfacing on one's ironing board.
Time for a new ironing board cover.  Again.

I've been sewing up a storm lately, but I have several irons in several different fires, and nothing is finished.  The silk pants are nearing completion and they are looking good.  I just started a super secret project that is sooooo cute.  I'll show it to you when I can, but here is a hint.  I also took measurements and got some supplies for my self-drafted maternity pants, and Myra's Red Riding Hood is actually getting close to finished.  Maybe once my ADD settles down, I'll actually finish something.