Thursday, January 30, 2014

Kitschy Coo Penny Pinafore, in the Jungle!

It is with great sadness that I submit my final make for Jungle January.
It would probably not surprise you to know that this is absolutely my favorite themed sewalong. I'm so grateful that Anne is willing to be our valiant leader.
For my coup de grace the month, I used my absolute favorite pattern, the Penny Pinafore by Kitschy Coo.
For this version, I used ponte knit in an ocelot print for the front and sleeves, and black ponte for the side panels and bands. I just love the way this looks colorblocked.
Looks great from the back too. Isn't that a fun print? I'm so glad I bought a lot of it. You'll see it again.
And so I bid adieu to that month of fabulousness that is Jungle January. But fear not! We love the jungle around here. It doesn't ever truly leave us. Just hibernates for a little while.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Deer and Doe Plantain tee

When Deer and Doe patterns announced that they had released a free tee shirt pattern, I didn't jump on it right away. I mean, I have good tee patterns already, and I don't really go for unfitted styles.
Of course, then they started popping up on Flickr and in blogland. I was won over.
And I'm so glad! I've actually been stretching my usual style this Jungle January - 2 unfitted tops! Unheard of. But this is a good thing.
And so, without further ado - the Deer and Doe Plantain tee! As you can see, it is fairly fitted above the bust, but has a loose fit through the waist and hips.
For my Plantain, I used a lightweight, fairly loosely knit sweater knit from FabricMart. It's a little sheer, but the weight really works for this top. For the neckband, using self fabric wasn't an option, since it is relatively unstable, so I went with a metallic double knit from Mood Fabrics. I love this fabric and really wish I had bought more before they sold out. I'm going to use up every little scrap.
Since the fabric is lightweight and drapes well, the loose fit around the waist doesn't add bulk.
In fact, I think it looks quite trim, and I love the way it skims over my hips.
And the fit in back is absolutely amazing! Not a wrinkle or swayback to be seen!
For fit, I graded between several sizes, starting with a 38 at the shoulders. I graded out (using my cheater FBA method) to a 42 in the bust, then back in to the 38 at the waist. I flared out to a 40 in the hips.
I'm so thrilled I tried out the Plantain tee! Have you made yours yet?

Monday, January 27, 2014

McCalls 6232 Ruffles and Leather Ball gown

I had another big scrap of this ruffle knit, so obviously Barbie had to get in on the action. It's award show time of year, so naturally I made her a ball gown.
I used the bodice from McCalls 6232 and just gathered two rectangles of the ruffle knit for the skirt. The bodice is another little scrap of faux leather, which I thought was a fun accent to the girly ruffles.
The back closes with velcro, of course, and I finished the top of the bodice by turning under the hem allowance and fusing it down. This ain't couture sewing, y'all.
I think Barbie looks pretty darn fab in her leather and ruffles ball gown. I haven't shown her to Myra yet. A friend of mine mentioned that her mother would sew Barbie clothes and accessories (like a sleeping bag!!) all year long, then box them all up for one great big Barbie extravaganza at Christmas. I think I'm going to start collecting now...

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Ottobre 04/2004-12 ruffle knit dress

While the serger was still threaded with red after making my sweater, I decided to finally sew up this sequined zebra ruffle knit that I bought for Jungle January last year.
Fabric with this much going on called for an extremely simple design with minimal seaming. I chose a basic a line dress from the 04/2004 issue of Ottobre.
The dress is drafted for woven fabrics, so I went down a size from Myra's usual. I've also found that the older issues of Ottobre tend to incorporate more ease. As you can see, this is a loose fitting dress, despite being a size smaller than she typically wears.
This was my first time sewing with ruffle knit, and I wanted to share a few things that I've learned so far. As I mentioned, it's definitely to your advantage to choose a simple design with minimal seaming. A simple one piece dress like this one is great. A skirt with an elastic waist or a basic tee or tank would also work well.
When laying out your ruffle knit, remember that you must use a with nap layout, making sure that all your ruffles are falling in the correct direction. You will also need to treat the ruffles as stripes, and match them accordingly. I found that if I cut out my pieces on the fold, I ended up cutting into the ruffles accidentally, so I recommend using a single layer layout. It is also ESSENTIAL that you baste the ruffles down in the seam allowances prior to starting construction. You do not want to end up with a ruffle going the wrong direction in a seam! I like using a zigzag stitch to baste them down, as it preserves the stretch of the knit.
For the neckline and armholes if you are making a tank, you'll need to consider an edge finish. I used a rib knit binding, making sure that my ruffles were basted in place prior to applying the binding. Another option would be a facing or lining, but you'll want to use another fabric, as the ruffles would add bulk. A soft tricot knit or swimwear lining would be perfect.
One fun aspect of sewing ruffle knit is that the ruffles provide a perfect easy hem finish! Just trim away the mesh underneath the bottom ruffle. The mesh won't fray, in fact, mine curls up nicely out of the way. The ruffles themselves are already finished on the bottom edge.
Despite the slim skirt on this dress, the ruffles give it plenty of movement, much like a flapper girl fringe. Myra loves twirling in it!
Since Myra's dress left a few largish scraps of knit left, I also made a dress for Myra's favorite doll. Myra insists that her dolls always wear floor length gowns. The ruffle knit drapes in a pretty little cape over her shoulders.
Myra and her Myra doll are both very happy with their new dresses. 
They are perfect for exploring.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Burdastyle magazine 04/2011-105 blouse and Sewaholic Renfrew sweater

Most of the blogs I follow are sewing and crafting blogs, but a few style blogs have managed to stay in my reader. One of them is Pink Avenue. I know Corinne in real life, which makes it even more fun to follow her blog, but I also really love her style, and I get a lot of inspiration from her. When I saw this post, I knew I needed a leopard print blouse and red sweater. Stat.
Even better that it's still Jungle January! Perfect!
For the blouse, I wanted something with minimal shaping, but still not bulky so I could wear it layered. Initially I thought about the Grainline Archer. It looks great on everyone! But as I was perusing some back issues of Burdastyle magazine, blouse 105 from the 04/2011 issue caught my eye.
It has very sleek lines - just a bust dart for shaping, lined shoulder yokes that wrap to the front and a nice shaped hemline.
The collar has a stand, which is a nice feature. The cuffs are interesting. There is no placket and the cuff is left open, giving it a slit effect. You may notice that I chose pearl buttons for this. Thanks to my social media buddies for weighing in!
The cuff opens over the thumb, and the sleeves are quite long, so the cuff comes down to cover the hand. When I first put this on, I thought that would annoy me and get in the way, but the slit is in a very functional location and keeps the cuff out of the way as I work.
The back yoke is fairly high, and the back is cut without an ease pleat. The fit is comfortable though, even without the pleat and I really like the sleek look.

From the side, you can see that there is very little waist shaping. The shaping in back is all in the yoke seam, although between the bust dart and the yoke shaping, the fit through the shoulders and upper chest is very nice, which allows the rest of the blouse to drape attractively.
The fabric I used is a rayon challis from FabricMart. I don't know why I haven't made more blouses out of challis! This is so soft and comfortable to wear and the drape is really lovely, especially in this unfitted style.
The sweater is another Sewaholic Renfrew. I've made so many of these, I didn't think it deserved a separate post. This is the long sleeve version with a v neck. I used a very thin Hatchi knit from It's actually sheer enough that you can see the leopard print right through it, but it is rather soft and cozy.
The knit was so unstable that I used red rib knit for the bands. I was pleased to find I had a rib knit that coordinated exactly in my stash! I'm trilled that I got this outfit out of my head and into my closet so quickly, and even more pleased that my stash provided all the materials I needed.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Simplicity 8333 in faux leather and ponte

Making Barbie clothes is strangely satisfying. And I had some biggish scraps of the faux leather after I made my pants. Obviously, Barbie (or Belle, in this case) needed a tough girl look.
The pattern I used this time is Simplicity 8333, which was printed in 1987. This view is intended to be a tracksuit, with a sleeveless top, jogging pants and a sweat jacket, but it has good bones. The raglan sleeved jacket was just begging to be made in leather and ponte. This leather doesn't like topstitching, so I omitted the front closure and fused down the front fold over facing.
The top and pants are excellent basics. The pants are simple straight leg with an elastic waist. The waistband is a bit tricky to attach, since it is so small, but otherwise, these are a simple sew. I did slim them somewhat from the original pattern for a sleeker look.
I think the top is my favorite piece. I made it in this studded jersey from Girl Charlee and trimmed the neckline with picot elastic. The pattern was drafted for wovens. I included the side dart for shaping, but I took a very large seam allowance to give the top a more fitted look. It closes in the back with velcro, to make it easy to get on and off.
I'm getting slightly addicted to sewing these teeny little clothes. They are great for using up little scraps that I would otherwise toss, so I feel good about that. They also go together really fast, so that's pretty fun. And Myra really loves them, so you'll be seeing more. But don't worry. I'm still an essentially selfish being. MOAR clothes for ME!

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Jalie 2908: Faux leather and Ponte skinny jeans

When I originally bought the stretch faux leather that I used to make this Renfrew, it was with these pants in mind.
I knew I wanted this to be a skinny leg pant, but I was hesitant to use my Vogue 8330 pattern, since I wasn't 100% in love with the fit. I don't know why it didn't occur to me to use my beloved Jalie pattern...
You can see from this view that the pant is only leather on the front side. The back half of the pant is Ponte knit from Spandex World. I've been seeing ponte/leather pants everywhere, and I really wanted to jump on this trend. It seems like the perfect pairing of comfort and style.
The only trick about sewing these pants was the faux leather. This stuff really hates being topstitched. So jeans style topstitching on the front panels was definitely not going to happen.
Instead of making traditional jeans, with front hip pockets and a fly zip, I relied on the stretch of the fabrics and constructed these more like leggings, with an elastic waist and no front pockets. The elastic also ramps up the comfort factor considerably. I used 1 3/4 inch wide elastic for a nice high waistband.
In back, I kept all of the jeans details, since the ponte was happy to be topstitched. I did the yoke and pocket hem topstitching on my coverstitch machine, to maintain the stretch. I attached the pockets with a triple stitch for strength.
Since these are constructed more like leggings than jeans, that is how I'll be wearing them - styled with tunic length tops. (This one is Vogue 8831.) They feel much more substantial than all knit leggings though, and I definitely feel comfortable wearing them as pants.
They also look totally fierce with my leopard print coat. Leather and leopard are a total match made in heaven.