Saturday, October 31, 2009

Monthly roundup - October '09

October was a pretty busy month for me, but I still managed to finish quite a few things. Of course, the biggest thing was that the wedding dress came together.

I also managed to complete:
1) Simplicity 3775 for me to wear to the wedding
2) Ottobre 04/04-15 twice! Once in linen and once in cotton pique.
3) Simplicity 5695 for Myra's flower girl dress
4) Butterick 4461 at my sewing group
5) Ottobre 04/04-14 in Logan's choice of fabric
6) Butterick 4222 also in Logan's choice
7) BWOF 08/09-114 to go with the Butterick skirt
8) Scrubs from New Look 6857 and a copy of RTW

There were a few things in my October plan that I didn't get to, so they are first on the list for November. I plan to finish my Chanel jacket (New Look 6853), hopefully by the Nov 15th deadline for the SAL. I've made good progress! Since that is such a time intensive project, I will probably take a few breaks to work on other things we need. I am also still planning to make some jeans from McCalls 5592. The cold is creeping up on us, and of course, the kids need cold weather gear!
1. First up will be a black fleece jacket for Logan. I am planning to use Ottobre 03/04-12 for this. I know they designed it for girls, but I think it is simple enough that in black it will be boyish, although I may slim down that collar. It is a bit wide.
2. Then some fleece for Myra. I am planning to make Ottobre 04/04-3 out of this red/purple/pink floral fleece and a pair of basic elastic waist pants out of the red cord to go with. Maybe I'll use a flower from the fleece for an applique on the pants to pull it together.
3. I've been dying to make this skirt ever since I got the October issue of BWOF. Don't you think it will be great in this houndstooth suiting! I'm thinking I'll make a black tee from Vogue 8323 to go with it. I like the wrap neckline, but with the 3/4 sleeves.
4. Then back to Myra with a long sleeve wrap tee from Ottobre 03/04-9. I also think the overalls from the same issue are adorable, so I may make those in the vintage cord my mother gave me.
5. I also am hoping to get to this cute jacket pattern that has been hanging out since last winter. Won't it be fun in pink fleece?6. Mitch needs another set of scrubs, since I still have some tweaking to do to get them right. We are going to give Simplicity 4378 a try, since it has the set-in sleeve that he wants. The pant pattern is pretty good, too. He loves that blue poplin, so I'll be ordering some more!

OK, that is pretty ambitious! Let's see how much of it I actually get done!!

Friday, October 30, 2009


I think I'm running out of it. All this basting by hand and careful plaid matching is making me a little crazy, so I think I'm going to take a brief breather from my Chanel jacket and sew up something quick.

In the meantime, here is where the jacket is so far.
Well, I guess it's really a vest at this point. As you can see, the fit is awesome and the plaid matching went well.The trickiest part for some reason was the back. I expected to have trouble with those curvy eased princess seams, but the front went in like a dream. In fact, for the first side I didn't even line up the plaids before I sewed. They matched up all by themselves - sweet.This was the spot on the back that gave me the most trouble. I'm sure you can imagine why! Don't do this to yourself! When placing a vertical and horizontal intersection do not put it on spot where you have to ease an inward curve into an outward curve!! There was much ripping of seams to get this right, which is probably why I need a break now.

I am not completely happy with the side seams. They shifted just the tiniest bit while I was sewing them. I really wish I had a walking foot for this. I don't have the energy to rip them out right now, so I'm just going to let them hang out and see how I feel about them in a couple of days.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Prototype # 2

Mitch has been in desperate need for new scrubs for some time. The cheap institution he works for issues the doctors three sets of the cheapest scrubs on the planet, and then expects them to last three years. Unsurprisingly, Mitch's are literally falling apart. I've been trying to find a fabric that I'm happy with. It needs to be fairly lightweight, but still sturdy and, most importantly, wrinkle-free. I've tried a couple of different broadcloths, without much success. A few days ago, I ordered some wrinkle-free poplin from here. I got 6 yards, so it ended up being an amazing deal. This stuff is really awesome! It is sturdy and came out of the dryer completely wrinkle free, but still pressed well while sewing. Amazing! I might have to order up some for blouses...

Anyway, here is my first attempt at a scrub top. I used New Look 6857. Now, this isn't a "doctor" scrub top, which would have made it a no-go for me. My patients always thought I was the nurse. Fortunately, Mitch doesn't have that problem, and he wanted all of his pockets on the same side, so I didn't have to make it reversible.
The top isn't perfect. For one thing, it is enormous. Waaaay too much ease in this pattern!! I even sized it down, expecting that, and it is still too big. Also, Mitch prefers a set-in sleeve, rather than a kimono. There is exactly one scrub pattern on the market that fits that description, so we'll be picking that up tomorrow.The pants are a copy of his favorite scrub pants, but with patch pockets on the rear on both sides and front porkchop style pockets. I had intended to do hip slash pockets, but forgot. Next time! They also turned out a little short, so I'll fix that in the next pair.Here is my cute doctor hubby in his new scrubs!And from the back.

They aren't perfect, but they'll do for now. Mitch is wearing them around the house to see how he feels about the fabric. It is a little heavier than most of the scrubs he wears. Will that be a deal-breaker? We'll see...

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Prototype and progress

As some of you may be aware, Mitch is a stud and rides his bike to work. Since it is finally getting cold, he hauled out all of his cold weather gear, as he does every year. Somehow, there always seems to be an integral component that we just can't find. This year it was his fleece ear warmer. So I thought I'd give a go at copying it, rather than forking over 20 bucks to Academy (again).So, here it is! This is my first attempt, to which Mitch declares, "That looks fine." High praise from him. It is a piece of scrap fleece bound with FOE. The narrow part covers the forehead and it widens to cover the ears and back of the neck, without any bulkiness to get in the way of the helmet. Pretty cool, huh? Although I think this one is pretty OK, I think that it is a bit thin and it bunches up a bit at the back of his neck, so I'm going to give it another go, this time with two layers of fleece, and more curve at the back of the neck.

And, lest you think the jacket has fallen by the wayside, here is my progress so far! The lining is fully constructed. I think the fit is good. (Whew! Since I didn't muslin!) I am currently hand basting the underlining to the boucle, so that may take me a while. I am a really slow baster.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Matching Plaids (or stripes)

I've always been a little afraid of plaids and stripes. All that matching and one little screw up results in a garment that I won't want to wear. I'm so picky about stripe matching. I won't buy something RTW if the stripes or plaids don't match. Anyway, since I bought this big windowpane plaid for my Chanel jacket, I decided I'd better do some reading up. I want my plaids to be perfect! So, here is what I've learned.

From Sandra Betzina's Power Sewing, I read about a foolproof plaid matching system, but it involves laying out each pattern piece individually on a single layer, and I don't have anywhere in my house big enough where my kids can't reach, so that method was out, although if you do have such a space, it looks like an amazingly accurate method. Check it out.

Since I had to lay out my fabric folded (my dining room table is just wide enough for folded 60 wide fabric), I wanted to make sure that the dominant pattern (in my case the red stripe) lined up both horizontally and vertically.As you can see, that means that my selvages didn't line up, but my plaids did! Since this is a woven in design, the woven lines give you a grain line you can really count on. Since my boucle is very a "shifty" loose weave, I then went the extra mile and pinned together my folded fabric along the red lines, making sure that they aligned on the two layers. I used really long corsage pins. You might be able to see them in the photo above!

Now, on to placing the pattern pieces. I found this great old sewing text at my library called "Unit Method of Clothing Construction" by the Iowa Home Ec. Association. It has this awesome diagram for pattern matching!Easy right! Just match up the letters!!
And look! It really was! Even with the added complexity of the princess seam, it was really not hard. Of course, there are a few additional pointers to remember, but The Iowa Home Ec Assn said it better. Here is how they said to do it...

"Place pattern pieces on vertical lines first, placing CF, CB and Center of sleeve (marked a in the figure) on the same plaid or stripe repeat. Slide pattern pieces up or down to match corresponding notches for horizontal meeting (marked b). Be careful to match at the SEAM LINE not the cutting line. If sleeve cannot be matched at both front and back notches, matching front notch is preferable."

Happy Matching!!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Renaissance Costumes

Yesterday we took our trip to the Texas Renaissance Festival, and the kiddos all wore their costumes! Here are Peter Pan and Wendy. His tunic is Butterick 4632 and his leggings are Ottobre 04/04-38. Her dress was made from Simplicity 5695 by my friend Laurie. It was her first time sewing clothing and I think she did a great job!!
Another shot of Peter Pan. It was a little tricky getting a good picture of him...
Here is my little pirate lass. Her costume is Simplicity 2561, except for her peasant blouse, which is Simplicity 5695. She wouldn't keep her hat on, of course.
Here is our entire little band. Whew, was it tough getting a decent picture of all four of them!

Friday, October 23, 2009

BWOF 08/2009-114

Whew! I haven't had this much trouble with something I've made in quite a while. I'm just glad it turned out wearable, although I may still shorten it.This is the sweater that I made to go with my Butterick 4461 skirt.
Here is the ensemble. Front.
and back. I'm holding Myra here, so I'm standing a bit weird.

So, on to the troubles... First of all, I should have known better than to try out a new fabric (sweater knit) on a BWOF pattern without the sewing course (which I've never done before) that more experienced sewists than I have had trouble with.

My first trouble was in the layout. I should have stopped there!! I didn't have quite enough fabric to get the sleeve part on grain. So I cut it any which way it fit. I know better, but I really wanted to make this sweater! That actually ended up fine. Turns out that this pattern really doesn't require stretch, and this knit was really stretchy.

Assembling the front bodice was a little odd. There is a partial lining that encloses the side front seam allowances. It went together, although in retrospect, I'm not sure I did it right. Also, that front lining is short and leaves a weird fold right at the waistline, where I do not want a bulk-producing fold. If I sew this again, I will either fully line it or at least make the partial lining full length.

Then it was time for my first invisible zipper!Now that it is all together, I can see that in a fabric with this much stretch, that zipper is completely unnecessary. Anyway, I now LOVE invisible zippers, but I will be getting a better foot for next time. The only one available for Janome at my Hancock was this crappy two piece plastic thing that kept sliding over. Way annoying!!

After that, it was time to tackle the facings. I knew that I would probably have difficulty with this, and in hindsight I probably should have just left them off, but I ploughed on ahead... The back facing made sense, but when I got around to the front, the instructions told me to attach it to the gathered front self facing, but I couldn't see how that was possible.
As you can see here, I ended up slipstitching the facing to the lining. It is secure and seems to work, but I don't think that is what Burda had in mind... I also have issues with the gathered portion. I wish that I had stabilized the gathers with stay tape or clear elastic. They keep trying to flip forward. I put in a couple of hand tacks and that seems to keep things under control.

Finally, after all this trouble and miles of hand sewing, I put on my new sweater, and...
oh no! Why can the world see my purple bra?!?! So, out came all that hand hemming and I sewed up the side seams an extra 5 inches above the pattern instructions.
Much better! I'm still not sure that I love this style on me and I do think it might be more flattering if it were a few inches shorter, although that means ripping out my handsewn hem and resewing it. I'm not ready for that right now, so I'm just leaving it. On the plus side, it is really comfortable.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Butterick 4222 - the golf version

Cozy jammies for the coming winter! Logan's PJ's are all finished. He chose the fabric, which made me laugh, since we are not golfers around here. He totally refused trains, cars and even monkeys in favor of the "ball" fabric.This is my third set of PJs from this pattern, and the sixth or seventh pair of pants. I like many things about it. Particularly, I love the simplicity of design and easy construction. The pattern instructions call for double stitched seams, which is my favorite method for "finishing" the seams of kids clothes in a firmly woven fabric. They are sturdy and if you trim close to the second line of stitching, you don't get any fraying. I really love the pants pattern, for the same reason I love the grown-up version (Butterick 6837) which is that the pant front and back are all one piece, so you only have two seams to sew. Makes for a super quick pair of pants!
I realized after I took the pictures that I put the pocket on the wrong side! Whoops! I guess it really doesn't matter, but it means that the front laps the wrong way, since I put the buttonholes on the pocket side.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The wedding!!

The Bride!!
Alas, that this was the only picture that showed the back of the dress well. It's shot at a weird angle and looks wide. Kali isn't!!The wee Flower GirlIt was a long trek, but both of them made it down the aisle relatively unscathed.
The Ringbearer! He was NOT excited about getting into his fancy clothes.Some food improved his disposition.
I'm so glad that I had a chance to be a small part of Dan & Kali's big day!!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Wedding preview

I was so grateful for the opportunity to be there for the sealing of my brother, Dan and his beautiful bride, Kali. Time is short this morning, but here is a quick picture of a few of the things I've been working on for the wedding.I'm wearing an old favorite (Vogue 8379), and Myra is wearing her Simplicity 5695 flower girl dress. Kali is wearing her wedding gown, of course. Better pictures to come.
Logan contemplates the night sky in his Otto 04/2004-15 pants.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Ottobre 04/2004-14

Here is Logan's fancy new Soccer Ball shirt.I started on this shirt last week, but when I got the fabric for the pants for the wedding, I decided to put this aside, since the pants were a bit more urgent. All that was left was buttonholes and buttons, which doesn't sound like a lot, but there were nine of them in 2 different sizes! Long sleeved dress shirts are trouble...That said, I really love this one!! This is the first long sleeved dress shirt that I have ever made, and therefore, my first experience with cuff plackets. I've always been afraid of them. I read directions, but my mind just couldn't wrap around how they work. Now that I've done it, I think that it is one of those things that I just had to see and do to understand. Ottobre had wonderful illustrated instructions and I was reading David Page Coffin's Shirtmaking, so I used an amalgam of the two.
They turned out quite nicely, although I rather wish I had been a bit more careful with my layout, since this side says "Ick" across the buttonhole.
I love the way that the back yoke curves around to the front. This is also the first Logan-sized shirt that I have made with a full collar with stand. I like! I may not go back to the bad old one piece collar days...
And the little man pleat in the back - Love it!! And so does Logan!Whew! He's been refusing to wear things that I have made him lately, and I thought I was in trouble. Apparently I just needed to let him pick the fabric.
Myra likes it, too. Maybe I'll whip up a pint-sized version for her...

Parting shot: My big boy heading off to Pre-school. At least he is cradled in love. Mommy made his shirt and backpack and Oma made his shorts. We love you, little guy!