Sunday, February 28, 2010

Jalie 2805

I have to tell you about my favorite turtleneck in the whole world.  It's perfect.  It fits me perfectly.  The collar is just the right height.  It's made of a firm but stretchy bulletproof poly knit that is just slick enough for ease of layering.  I love it!  I also got it when I was in High School, which since I've since managed to complete Medical School, Residency and subsequently have 2 kids, was a few years ago.  I bought it at a thrift shop, so it wasn't even new then, and has gotten less new over the years.  I should have replaced it years ago, but it's perfect!!  So, here's my first prototype to replace my beloved turtleneck.
It's not perfect, but it's a really good start!  I used Jalie 2805.  I've been pretty happy with the results of Jalie patterns in the past, and this is a good one as well.  For my last Jalie tee, I cut based on my high bust, but ended up with a lot of extra room in the waist, particularly after doing an FBA.  For this one, I wanted it to be a layering piece, and therefore much more fitted.  I am sort of between sizes, if you are using my bust and waist.  So, I cut for my waist size.
Of course, it's snug in the bust.  Here are my drag lines to prove it!  Despite that, I think it will still be fine for layering.  It's comfortable, and since I used a poly spandex blend to make it, it's quite stretchy and slick.  Just right for an under layer.  By itself, I feel a bit like a figure skater or something.  You can't tell in the photos, but it's got a little bit of shine.
I think for my next attempt, I'm going to try drafting a tee based on my new book.  I'm really excited about this book!!  More on that later...

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Kwik Sew 3299 - Star Wars style

Tomorrow is the last day of the "Made Maids" Dana and Rae's "Celebrate the Boy" month.  I sew a lot for my little boy, so today I decided to celebrate my big boy.
And how better to celebrate than with a Darth Vader head on a tee shirt!?  I was in luck because Kwik Sew patterns are actually on sale at Hancock for the first time EVER.  We've had such good luck with KS for Mitch, that I decided to get him a basic tee pattern, as the couple of men's tee patterns that I have aren't terribly great.  This one is awesome!  The fit is pretty much perfect and the style is just right.  Of course, it has the usual fabulous KS directions, although I don't really need them for a basic tee.
Here is Lord Vader, up close and personal.  I think he looks a little cross eyed, but what's a girl to do?  Mitch likes him.  I used a freezer paper stencil technique to add Vader to the shirt.  It is based on this post by Dana at MADE.

For any who were wondering what my sweetheart was doing in Salt Lake, he was interviewing for a Fellowship (in Pulmonology and Critical Care) there at U of U.  He had a great time and was very impressed with the Fellowship and the hospitals there.  Of course, the mountains were the crowning glory!  There is a chance that we will end up there, but we won't know until June, and there are a few other programs that we have to check out first.  I'll keep you posted!

Friday, February 26, 2010

McCall's 6024

Well, this was not my favorite dress to make, but at least it's done, and I'm mostly happy with it.
Sorry for the dress form picture, my usual photographer is in Salt Lake this weekend on an interview.  Anyway, the dress - I like it, mostly.  I love the print and the colors.  I like the style, although the flounces are a bit more, well, flouncy than I thought they'd be, but they may settle down after the starch is washed out of the binding.
Here is the back.  I like the way that the ties work.  Nothing is wrapping over another tie, so it lies nice and flat.
Inside, all of the seams are french, except the sleeves which are self bound and the lower flounce which I bound with more bias tape.  I thought about lining this dress, but decided that I wanted it to be light, and didn't want to add a layer.  Alas, I should have gone with my gut and at least lined the bodice.
Look at these sad little facings!!  They will NOT stay in place, despite understitching.  I even tried topstitching them down under the flounce - nope.  They flip out.  Part of the problem is that the neckline gapes a bit.  I think because I lengthened the bodice and shouldn't have.  Oops.  In my defense, the waist marking on the pattern was way above my natural waistline.  Again, I ignored my gut and lengthened the bodice.  I snugged it up with some clear elastic, which took care of the gaping, but not those darn facings.  The only way to tame them was with the dreaded snap to hold the wrap closed.  I hate that!  If I make this dress again, I'll line the bodice or bind the neckline.  Anything to avoid those facings!!!

My other concern is that there doesn't seem to be a very generous overlap in front, but we'll have to see how it wears.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Sewing Along!

Look!  It came!!
My copy of Design-It-Yourself Clothes!!!  I've been itching to get it in my hot little hands so that I can get going for the sewalong over at Kitschy Coo.  You know you want to be part of that!  Angie has also been using this book to design her own pant draft, and she's making great progress!

This months issue of Threads arrived as well, so I have plenty of reading material for the weekend.  Doesn't the dress on the cover remind you of this work of art that Gail made for her daughter?

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Sewing Group preview...

My sewing group* is meeting tonight and I am planning to give a little mini lesson on gathering.  I was planning to highlight 3 methods - traditional, elastic thread, and clear elastic.  I wanted to have  little project to show the methods with, but not anything too complicated or large.  It hit me on Sunday - Barbie clothes!!  They're small, and hey - Barbie likes her ruffles, right?  I decided to make two items, a "sundress" with a hemline ruffle (traditional gathering) and a shirred bodice (elastic thread) and a full skirt with the waistline gathered with clear elastic.
Here is my first trial run.  I didn't get too fancy with the edge finishes - they're just overcast.  Funnily enough, we don't actually have any Barbies around here, so I had to look up her measurements online.  Have you ever googled "Barbie measurements"?  Pretty funny stuff...

*For those who might be wondering, my sewing group is a bunch of ladies from my church who are interested in and/or like to sew.  We all get together every other week and work on projects.  We usually have a brief lesson that I teach and then we work on whatever we want, and are all there to help out when we get stuck.  I love it!!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Gadget love

I'm working hard on my Easter dress, McCall's 6024.  I'm making View B, which is the one with short flouncy sleeves and bias bound flounces.  I hate hemming - especially narrow hems on silky polyester, so I knew that bias bound view was the way to go for me!  And it gave me a chance to use one of my favorite gadgets - my binding foot!
Here she is in action.  Basically, the foot takes your bias tape, wraps it around your fabric and perfectly edgestitches it.  Every time.  All 6 yards (!) of it.
Isn't that nice?  It looks exactly the same on the back, which is my favorite part.  Since the foot itself folds the tape, the wrong side doesn't have that hanging over bit, but you don't have to worry about missing the edge on the wrong side either.  This was particularly critical for this project, since both wrong and right sides show on the flounces.
Here's a purty pile of freshly bound flounce.  The other big bonus of the binding foot - it only took me about 45 minutes to do all of this binding, and it seriously was about 6 1/2 yards worth.  If I had done that by hand, it would have taken days!  I love gadgets!!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

New Look 6575

Well, despite my sleeve anxiety, Myra's Easter dress is done, and the sleeves turned out great!
I think it turned out well, overall.  This is easily the most complicated baby dress I've ever done, and of course, I had to further complicate it...
It's fully lined, except for the sleeves, and underlined.  That part the pattern called for, sort of.
I decided to use an invisible zip, instead of the centered one the pattern called for.  I think it looks much nicer, and I got to use the foot Mitch got me for Valentines Day.  If you are using that crappy plastic thing that Coats & Clark call a zipper foot, throw it away and spend the 10 bucks for a real one.  So worth it!  Anyway, the invisible zip did complicate the construction, since the organza overskirt is not incorporated into the center back seam.  It worked out fine.  I just had to do some interesting manipulation to get the zipper in around the overskirt.  And hey, how great is that perfectly matching waist seam?  Not bad, eh?
The other think I changed was the way the lining was constructed and installed.  They treated the lining almost like an additional underlining, which left all but the shoulder and side seams exposed.  What was the point in lining it then??  I elected to construct dress and lining separately, then machine sew them to the zipper and neckline...
and hand fell the sleeve lining into the armscye.  Hey, if it's good enough for Saville Row, it's good enough for my little princess!  I actually did want to practice this technique, since learning traditional tailoring is one of my 2010 goals.
My only regret was that I couldn't find ribbon rosettes the color of the ribbon trim.  I'd loved to have sewn some on the skirt, but it was not to be.  Probably, that is a good thing, as they'd probably just have ended up in Myra's mouth...  Next up is my dress.  I'm using McCall's 6024, which is from this season's new pattern lineup, so it isn't reviewed yet on PR.  It's also one with separate bodice pieces for different cup sizes, so it was great not to need an FBA!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Kitschy Coo mittens

We went to the park the other day, and I was worried about Myra's wee hands, but I wasn't up for a trip to the local Walmart or Target with my wild bunch, so I decided to try out this tutorial by Kitschy Coo for making your own mittens, complete with an actual opposable thumb.  How cool is that?
Here they are!  Pardon the black thread.  I was too lazy to change it...  Isn't that cool!  Mitch thought it was pretty awesome that I made mittens.  They were super easy, and the tutorial was great.
Hmm, what is this about??
Check these out!  Myra really likes them!  I think she thinks that they are hand puppets.  She wanders around with them on her hands going, "La La La!"  Pretty cute.  I was jazzed that she liked her mittens!  Of course, 4 seconds after we got to the park, they hit the ground.  Sigh.  At least she has some cute pink hand puppets.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Butterick 5335

I think this fabric may be bad luck!  This is the second (and last!) top I've made from it that I've been less than overjoyed with.  I mean, it's not a complete wadder, but it ain't great, either.
It doesn't look too bad on, actually.  What I dislike is the utter lack of shape and the wide, open armholes, neither of which are apparent in the line drawing.  In fact, the line drawing shows an almost hourglass shape to the top.
Here it is flat.  The side seams are almost straight, and this is AFTER I graded up a size at the bustline.  I can't imagine how it would have turned out if I'd sewn it out of the envelope.  It also has a very high neckline.  I lowered it two inches and it still isn't what I would call low.  According to Trinny and Susannah busty girls need lower necklines.  I'm just sayin'.
The armhole is also quite low and wide.  Bra is visible, which I why I am wearing a turtleneck underneath in the top shot.
Here you can see that the sleeve hem actually dips into the bodice front.  I think the only way to fix that would be to totally redraft the pattern, since it would effect the raglan seam.  I'm so not going to do that when there are so many other raglan tops to try!!  You can also see that the neckline treatment was a simple hem.  While I'm not opposed to that, I really prefer a band for a knit top.  Overall, I think this gets a thumbs down, although I like some of the other views in the pattern, so the pattern as a whole may still be a keeper.
I was hoping that this top would work out, as this was sort of a muslin for a lovely piece of knit from Gorgeous Fabrics that I really want to use.  I only have a yard and the print has a big repeat, so I need a simple design.  If you have already seen this post by Lisa about supporting Ann, you know why I'm chomping at the bit to use up my Gorgeous Fabrics.  If not, surf over there.

A big thanks to all of you who shared your sewing nemesis both on the blog and Facebook.  I'm feeling better about my sleeve.  There is a very good chance I will conquer it today...

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

My Nemesis...

It looks so innocent and puffy and cute, but don't believe it!  It had to be set (dum, dum, dum) in the round.  I don't know why I have such a mental block about setting sleeves in the round.  I will do ANYTHING to avoid it.  Raglan sleeves, kimono sleeves, set in flat - bring it on!  But one fluffy puffed set-in-the-round sleeve and I go from Super Sewist to a quivering pile of insecurity.  Why??  I honestly have no idea!  I have set in many sleeves - from puffy to eased.  I like to think that they generally come out looking quite nicely, but I will do anything to avoid this!!  In fact, the sleeve above is only the first of the set.  In writing this post, I'm avoiding the second.  It's staring at me from the ironing board across the room.  I can hear it chuckling softly to itself.

So, fellow sewists, do you have a sewing nemesis?  Some technique or skill that makes you fear?  Share and help me feel better about my sleeve phobia!

Monday, February 15, 2010

McCall's 3830

You already saw my Valentine pencil skirt, but I thought I'd tell you about it as well.
Here it is just hanging around.  I loved the denim one that Amber made, and Amanda's leopard print was super fun, so when I was at Hobby Lobby and noticed that McCall's patterns were on sale, I grabbed this one.  It really is a nice basic.  The pattern is for a straight skirt in 5 lengths from mini to maxi.  The longer lengths include a walking vent.  The waistline is faced and it calls for a centered zipper.  I lined mine and put in an invisible zip.  I used some fabric from my collection that has been there long enough that I have forgotten it's origins.  
Here it is up close.  Based on the way that it behaved, I'm pretty sure that it is a natural fiber, but I'm not sure what.  It has a bit of itchiness, but it doesn't act or smell like wool.  It is also a somewhat coarse weave and reminds me a lot of my favorite vintage suit.  Anyway - the skirt...
Here is the inside from the back.  I lined it with a very lightweight batiste, since I live in Texas and wanted it to be wearable in the summer.  I did use the facing pattern pieces to cut some interfacing which I fused to the lining to stabilize the waist.  I also added some pink piping to the waistline, just for fun!
Here is the hem.  This is the first time I've used lace to bind a hem.  I think it is very pretty and it was easy to sew, so I'm going to be doing more of this in the future.  Overall, this pattern is a winner, but I have to add a small caveat about fit.  I always cut a size smaller than my measurements in McCalls patterns, but since Amber had some fit issues with hers, I measured the pattern, and ended up going down TWO sizes AND taking in the side seams an additional 1/4 inch at the hip during construction.  I really love this pattern, but if you make it, be sure to measure!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Be our Valentine?

We got to wear our Valentine clothes today!!  Here is the only picture I managed to get where you can see both kiddos!
Oma made their sweet little shirts.
Myra is also wearing her Herrta skirt and seems very happy with it!  Big time twirling today!!
Logan was excited to have pants with enough pockets for a good selection of cars.  His are the Teku pants.  I tried to convince him to wear his black and red Crocs, but he wanted blue.  I guess I should just count my blessings that he liked his Valentine outfit and deigned to wear it...
I had a new outfit, too.  I wore New Look 6816 with my new black skirt, made from McCall's 3830.  I'll blog in more detail about the skirt tomorrow.  Mitch even wore some slacks that I made  him, so my whole family was dressed, at least in part, by me today!  I love that!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

The Final Decision

Did I mention that you all are awesome for all of your input regarding this little skirt?  You are!!  I finally made a decision and set to making it happen.  I decided on...

D. None of the Above.

I went with the suggestion put forth by several of you to use the giant ric rac, but tuck it under a la the pockets.  And so, here it is!
I like it!!  I topstitched it down, to tie it in with Logan's pants and the pockets.  I think it is pretty darn awesome, and neither gingerbread or Christmas-like.  Yay!
Here is the hem and pocket, up close and personal.  It really is perfect.

Y'all rock!!  It'd never have been this cute without your thoughts!  Thanks!!!

Now back to my black pencil skirt.  I feel like we have a mini sew a-long going down, since Kristine and beangirl are making them this weekend, too.  How fun!!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Kreativ Blogger Award!

I'm so pleased to receive this award from 2 talented bloggers!  Peachy and Kathryn nominated me for it.  Thank you, both!!

In my acceptance speech, I am supposed to tell you 7 otherwise unknown facts about myself and nominate 7 bloggers for the award.

About Me:
1. When I was in between college and medical school I worked as a "Bra Specialist" at Victoria's Secret.
2. I've never been to Disney Land or Disney World.
3. I don't have a favorite movie, TV show or book - mostly because I can't decide which one is my favorite.
4. Same for food - no favorite - too many to love!
5. When I was a kid, my brother and I would play together with his ThunderCats action figures and my Barbies.
6. I don't think I've ever gone more than a year without a cat in my life.
7. I've been suffering from some serious sewing ADD lately and can't seem to sew what I've planned.

For my seven bloggers, I'm going to try to spread the love a bit, so I'm not going to re-nominate those who I awarded the Honest Scrap to, or those who have already received this award.  Here they are:
1. Jess from Rose of All Trades.  Jess is an actual IRL friend who has returned to crafting after a hiatus of several years. She has a sweet boy who gets much of her sewing attention.  She just started her blog, so pop over and welcome her to our community!
2. Karen from Sewing by the Seat of My Pants.  She just made a seriously amazing costume out of some seriously yucky poly satin she was provided, but totally saved it and it ended up amazing.
3. Linda T from Seams Well.  She sews; she knits, and she's a fellow Central Texan!
4. Lynn from Living La Vida Loca.  An amazing seamstress who is also a doctor.  You know I love that!!

OK, since I went over by three blogs on my last award, I'm stopping there.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

New Look 6816, Valentine version

Before I plough into my next project I want to thank everyone for the feedback about Myra's skirt!!  You all gave me some great ideas, and I think I'm ready to proceed...  I'll show you all the final result when it's done.

I was planning to make a simple raglan tee as my next project, but at my sewing group last night, the ladies convinced me that I needed to make this.
I'm so glad they did!!  I LOVE it!  It is the same pattern as this sweater, but rendered in a poly spandex that I got to fulfill the 20 dollar minimum order at Spandex World.  It is covered with pink and white abstract swirls, some of which form heart shapes.  It's perfect for a Valentine outfit for me!!  Of course, now I need a black pencil skirt - can you believe I don't own one??

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


Oh, y'all, I just can't decide what to do with this skirt!!  The fluffy trim just made me grumpy, so off it came, but now I can't decide what to do.

I kind of like it without any trim at all.  I could just hem it with white thread like Logan's pants.
Here it is denuded of all trim.
But I have this cute giant rick rack that I kind of like.
Here that is pinned on.

What do y'all think??  Should I just hem it?  Should I trim it with the rick rack?  Should I put the fluffy lace back on???


Valentine skirt with "Herrta" pockets

I love a simple gathered skirt.  They are so quick to make!  This one got a couple of cute pockets and some trim, but it was still a super quick project.
I had a hard time deciding on the trim for the hem.  I ended up with this pleated satin ribbon and pregathered lace combo, but I'm not sure I'm in love with it.  I'm thinking I may switch it out for some jumbo rick rack.  It's a bit puffy currently and it feels like Christmas more than Valentine's.
I'm loving these sweet little pockets, though.  What looks like stray thread is actually teeny little bar tacks.  Myra has a pair of RTW cords with heart shaped pockets and they have little bar tacks at the pocket edges.  It seemed like a good idea, particularly since Myra loves to stuff her pockets with all sorts of odd things.
I showed it to Myra when it was all done and she demanded, "On!" and tried to pull it over her head, so I let her give it a trial run.  It's bit long, so if I switch out the trim, I think I will also shorten it an inch or two.  She likes to twirl in it, though, so maybe I'll leave it alone and she can wear it longer.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

For the snowbound...

Trena commented on my last post,
"Wow! What an impressive mail haul. But how are you getting mail delivery???? We haven't had any for several days."
Here it is - a picture from my sewing room window that I just snapped.  It's chilly (37deg F right now), but cloudless and sunny.  Here in Temple, we haven't seen snow in about 2 years.

Let me add the caveat that I am NOT a native Texan and this is the only time of year that I am happy with the weather.  A month from now I will be wishing for snow as I melt in the oppressive, humid heat, but right now, it is just about right.

I am praying for those of you that are snowbound though, and hoping that you have power for your sewing machines and food to keep you sewing.

Best Mail Day Ever!!!

Yesterday morning I picked up a package from my mom.  In it was all sorts of goodies...
These pretty cotton prints from my Aunt Lil.  The one on the left is definitely going to become a vintage baby dress!
This was a Christmas present from my Dad that just arrived.  I love spinning out the holiday gift getting!!  I can't wait to make this.  It looks so fun.
And my Grandmother's pearls.  They were a wedding gift from Grandpa in 1951.  They are absolutely gorgeous and will be needing a Jackie O inspired suit to wear with them.  I have a great old vintage suit that needs a new lining, so I may start there, but I have such grand ideas...
Then, as if that wasn't enough, our mailbox was stuffed with all sorts of yummies!  
My sister knitted these absolutely beautiful socks, but they are a bit too small for her, so she sent them to me.  How great is that?!?  I'm sorry that they didn't fit her, but hey, I'm all about gorgeous hand-knit socks, especially since I can't knit my own yet.
Myra sent me these completely awesome 70s era patterns that I can't wait to dig into.  I love the 50s look, but I also have a not-so-secret love for bell bottoms and crazy floral prints.  Mitch thought that the print of the tissue would be a perfect fabric for the top dress and I think so, too!  Have you checked out Myra's Etsy shop?  She has some amazing patterns for very reasonable prices.
Last was a big box from my mom.  She sent the tees to go with the Valentine gear that I've been working on for Logan and Myra.  Aren't they cute?!?
Here's a closeup of the fun embroidery.  How cute is that?  Mitch was so relieved that they weren't girly.
I'd better get that skirt done!  You'll probably get to see it tomorrow...

Monday, February 8, 2010

Stash question and Ottobre 01/2009-21 Valentine "Teku"

What a fun response to my last post about stashing!  Or rather, collecting.  Thanks for the reminder,  Carolyn!!  You guys are awesome.  I'm glad to see that I am in such good company  :-)  I did want to get some feedback for Sister's question about buying for your collection.  Here is what she said -
"I'm a back-of-the-envelope person - I didn't even know what "stash" meant! And my burning question for you stashers is how do you know how much to buy? I used to sit in the store and flip through catalogs, then walk around with the envelope getting supplies. But now I see that's not satisfactory when the craving hits and I can't get to the store. On my way to stashing!"
So, all you stashers and collectors - How do you know how much to buy?  For me, I know that generally a simple knit top takes about a yard, a skirt a little more and pants generally 2.  I often end up either overbuying, or with not quite enough because I've decided that the fabric that I thought I wanted to make a blouse out of suddenly screamed dress to me.  That's when we get creative with layouts...  I've seen a cool set of cards that help you decide how much to buy based on your size and the general style of garment you think you will make from the fabric, but I've never used them.  You can check them out here.

And in other news - Logan's Valentine pants are all done!
They look a little pink in this picture, but I assure you, they are a vivid, true red.  Mitch would have a bit of trouble with pink on his manly boy...  I like all the crazy pockets,
and as an added bonus, they are the perfect size for a Matchbox garage.  Sweet, eh?

Next up is the matching skirt for Myra.  I'm using the twirler skirt pattern that I drafted for her, but adding the cute heart shaped pockets from Ottobre 01/2009-19 - the Herrta skirt.  It's gonna be cute!