Saturday, January 29, 2011

FO: Evangeline fingerless gloves

I've had a hard time finding time to knit, since any time I'm not nursing I'm sewing!  But I recently discovered that nursing and knitting are not mutually exclusive, so I finally finished these mitts!
My hands get cold easily, so even though it doesn't get all that cold in Texas, I wear gloves a lot.  But it's really hard to use a touch screen with traditional gloves.  I've missed a few calls, so I decided I needed some of these.  I decided to knit long ones so that they'll cover my arms when I wear my Simplicity 2808 jacket, which I do all the time.  The cable makes me happy.  It's beautiful and was really fun to knit.  Rav notes are here.

I've got a few irons in the fire right now sewing-wise.  I'm doing a few things for a pair of weddings - making a bolero for a bride and adding sleeves to a bridesmaid dress, so that's been keeping me pretty busy.  I'll share the bolero muslins with you when I get to fit the bride!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Vogue 8603 - SISC #3

Bet y'all thought I had forgotten how to sew, huh?  Duncan's sleep patterns (or lack thereof) are starting to take their toll, but Tuesday night we had our sewing group so I finally got to finish my third Self-Imposed Sewing Club (SISC) project, Vogue 8603.
And I love it!!
I used view D for the front and length, but I  love that peplum in the back,
so I put it in.  Love!!  I keep seeing this pattern pop up on PR and all over the blogosphere, and I can see why it is so popular.  The several views allow for lots of different looks, there are princess seams for a great fit, and if you aren't "sleeping like a baby" like we are around here, it's a quick and easy sew.  The fashion fabric is a tropical weight RPL (rayon/poly/lycra) from Gorgeous Fabrics.  It is completely fabulous - soft with a nice stretch.  The color is a heathered brown that varies from almost black to gold, making it a very versatile color.  Although the polyester content made it a bit resistant to the iron, it sewed beautifully.
It is also lined, although I'd have done that anyway.  Rather than Vogue's method of stitching the facings over the lining/FF unit, I used the Threads quick lining method, where you edgestitch the facings onto the lining and treat them as a unit in construction.  No floppy facings!  The pattern didn't include a lining for the peplum in back, rather it instructed you to leave that section open and slipstitch the lining to the seam allowances around the gathered section.  I didn't like that treatment at all, so I included the gathered section in the lining.  The lining fabric is a floral printed acetate, again from Gorgeous Fabrics.  I think it is too adorable.
Of course, I used an invisible zip and attached my facings and lining by machine, like I did with the Butterick skirt.  I did hem the skirt by hand, but did a serger rolled hem on the lining.  I love my serger!
When I finished cutting out the skirt I had a couple of fat quarter sized pieces left.  It's such great fabric that I just couldn't throw it out.  It turned out to be just enough to make a pair of wee man pants!  I firmly believe one should cultivate a love for finer fabrics early.
The pattern is my stand by Simplicity 3765.
Aren't they perfect with the sweater I knit him?

Next up in the SISC queue is Simplicity 2614 in a green and cream lawn from FFC.  At the rate I'm going, I should have it ready say, by June?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


Mitch came in with the mail yesterday, and both my February burdastyle and the Spring Ottobre had come!  Good timing, too.  Between one sick kid and a newborn who has suddenly decided that nighttime isn't for sleep, poring over sewing magazines is all I'm doing at the moment.  My Vogue 8603 skirt is cut out and waiting for me, so hopefully I can get to it soon.  In the meantime, I was pleasantly surprised to find so many things in the new burda that I am excited about sewing!
This dress makes me wish for spring!  It looks cute but very wearable.  Maybe not in white, though.  I have kids...
Love this skirt!!  I have a thing for inverted pleats.
All this talk about 12 jackets in 12 months makes me want to sew a couple.  I love how streamlined this one is.  The empire seaming is really nice.

With all of the changes burda has been making to the magazine, I have seriously been considering not renewing my subscription when it runs out in June.  Other than the September '10 turtleneck, I haven't sewn anything since the April 2010 issue.  The consolidation of the pattern sheets has made tracing a serious pain in the neck and they have raised the subscription rate.  On the other hand, I love it when a new burda comes in the mail, and the last 2 months have been full of designs that I want to sew!  What about you ladies?  For those lovers of burda out there, is it still worth it to you?

Monday, January 17, 2011

Vogue 8699

I was admiring my beloved stash rearranging my fabric closet the other day and I came across this soft, thick interlock that just screamed that it wanted to be a snuggly cowl neck top like Sharon's.  Fortunately I already had the pattern, so I threw aside all of the other things I should be working on to make a top.
Sometimes you just have to sew what you want, you know.
The pattern is Vogue 8699.  It is a basic top with shoulder princess seams and an attached cowl neck.  The view I made is hip length with 3/4 sleeves.  The cowl really is just an oversized turtleneck.  This is one of the "Custom Fit" patterns with cup sizes, so I didn't have to do an FBA (YAY!).  It made this a super quick project.  The top is simple and quick to sew, and fits nicely thanks to the princess seaming.  With a band in place of the cowl, I also can see using this as a basic scoop neck top.  I think this year I am going to make more of an effort to sew up all of the Vogue patterns I am always buying.  They are always well drafted and have nice details.
The color is a bit of a departure from the norm for me, so I was a bit surprised at how well it coordinates with much of my wardrobe, including the denim skirt I just made!  Here I am wearing it with a pair of RTW slinky knit pants.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Refashion: Men's cords to boy's (Ottobre 01/2009-23)

Logan has shredded two pairs of pants in as many weeks, so I needed a quick way to replace them.  Enter an old pair of Mitch's cords and the pattern I made for him last week (already traced!).
The pattern is a quick and dirty elastic waist pant.  Of course, Ottobre gives you tons of fun pocket and detail options, but for these, I didn't use any of them.
The front pockets came from the original pants and I didn't add any back pockets.  That made these crazy quick to make.  Good thing, since corduroy isn't all that sturdy and these are on their second life already.
I neglected to take a before picture, but here is how I laid them out for cutting.  First I slashed the inseam and the front crotch, then laid them flat right sides together.  I lined up the side seams as best I could, then placed the pattern pieces to incorporate the front pockets on the front pant piece and an unembellished section of the back leg became the new back pants.  As you can see, I'm not going to get away with this for too much longer - Logan is getting too big!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Stretch thread and another Ottobre 06/2010-13 jumpsuit

Since the first fleece jumpsuit/PJs have been so successful, I made Myra a second one, this time out of hot pink velour.   She loves them!
This time I shortened the collar 1 inch so that it wasn't in her face and I skipped the topstitching.  I also did a plain twin needle hem on the sleeves and leg openings.  Last time I gathered them with clear elastic, which is cute, but tends to ride up when she's sleeping.  I thought about adding some rhinestones (Happy Birthday, Elvis!), but she sleeps in it.
It's really hard to accurately photograph hot pink velour...
Mom reminded me, in my post asking about serger thread, about the importance of wooly nylon thread in your upper looper for serging stretch or particularly fray-prone fabrics.  For those who may not be aware, wooly nylon is a thread composed of multiple, unplied threads of nylon.  It is very strong and stretchy.  As the name suggests, it has a wooly texture, as the unplied threads don't "stick together" the way that a plied thread does.  Since it stretches, it is great for knitted and stretch fabrics and adds additional elasticity to your serged seam.  I also love it for a twin needle hem.  Wound loosely on the bobbin (by hand or slowly on your bobbin winder) it adds a significant amount of elasticity.  It is also great for fabrics that are prone to fraying as the unplied filaments of thread sort of spread out.
You can see the difference here.  (It's easier to see if you click on it to blow it up.)  The seam to the right is the upper looper side with the stretch thread (this one is actually Maxi-Lock Stretch, stay tuned for more on that) and you can see that the coverage that the thread gives is very good.  To the left is the lower looper, which is threaded with regular Maxi-Lock.
Wooly nylon has been around a long time.  I can remember Mom talking about it when she taught me to sew, which was a few years ago.  I recently heard, on ~E Made This, about Maxi-Lock Stretch thread.  Since I like to match colors as exactly as possible, I thought I'd give it a try for this project.  Since both threads are Maxi-Lock (color Swiss Beauty if you were wondering), the color match is exact.  But is it as good as wooly nylon??   Inquiring minds want to know!
For me, one of the most important qualities of wooly nylon is the stretch, so that was what I was really interested in.  To compare, I did this very non-scientific test.  I took a 4 inch piece of Maxi-Lock stretch and one of wooly nylon, and stretched them to see which went farther.
And wow!  No contest!!  The wooly nylon (the bottom, blue thread) stretched a full inch farther!  The Maxi-Lock (on top, pink) only managed to stretch 1/8 of an inch.  So, for me I will definitely be sticking with wooly nylon for my stretch projects.  The Maxi-Lock did provide excellent coverage in the serged seam, so it is still a good option if you are working with a fraying fabric and you can get an exact color match to your Maxi-Lock, so there are some benefits.  If you are looking to purchase some wooly nylon, I have purchased mine at Thread Art.  They have the lowest price I've found ($2.99 a spool!), and fairly quick shipping.  You can also find it at Atlanta Thread and Supply and Sew True.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Butterick 5566

While I had navy thread on the serger, I decided to make a denim skirt for me!  I really want to focus on not creating any more orphan garments in my closet, so my plan is as I make a new garment, be sure that either I already can incorporate it into at least one "outfit" from my closet, or that I already have a coordinating garment ready to sew.  Of course, a denim skirt goes with nearly everything, so I'm not really challenging myself with this one.
Here is my new skirt with my fourth version of the burdastyle turtleneck, grey tights and booties.
It doesn't fit my dressform very well.  I still need to pad her lower half a little, but I'd like to lose my last 10 baby pounds first.  Those last few are always the hardest to take off!  Anyway, the pattern is Butterick 5566, which was part of this winter's collection.  I usually let patterns age in the stash a bit longer, but I really love the lines of this one, so I just had to sew it.  The fabric is stretch denim from that I bought intending to make jeans, but at 4% lycra, they really have too much stretch.  I'm hoping that it'll be OK for this skirt and I won't end up with seat baggies.
The pattern has three different views, all of which I really love.  This one is a basic pencil skirt, but with topstitched princess seams for shaping.  No darts!  It is pretty simple to sew.  Aligning the princess panels at the side seams was tricky though.
Mad skills!  OK, it took 3 attempts, but still!  I tissue fit this to me as I currently am.  Stacy and Clinton say you should always dress the body you have.  That said, I finished the side seam allowances separately so that I could take it in later if needed.  It also reduces the bulk at the hip to have the side seams pressed flat, and who needs extra hip bulk?
The only changes I made to the pattern were to do a 5/8 inch swayback adjustment and to hem it 1/2 inch longer.  I also put in an invisible zipper, and attached the facings to the zipper tape by machine.
I think this looks much cleaner than slipstitching, especially as my handsewing is dreadful.  There are a couple of great tutorials out there for this technique, so rather than reinvent the wheel, I'll just leave you with a link.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Ottobre 01/2009-23 "Tarhuri" pants

Logan put a hole in his only pair of dress pants a couple of days ago, so he needed some new ones for church.
This style is from the 01/2009 issue of Ottobre, and is a basic elastic waist pant with three different pocket and detail options.  I made the other two styles last year - here and here, so I knew that Logan liked them.
The front pockets are lined, and are intended to extend up as belt loops, but I omitted the belt loop extension, as I wasn't planning to make the coordinating belt.  Mostly this was to save time (I sewed these Saturday night to wear to church Sunday), but also because Logan doesn't wear belts.  I also skipped the velcro side tabs that hold up the pants when rolled up, since these are church pants and that seemed a bit casual.
Here is the back.  The back pockets are super fun!  They are sewn as a unit, with the flap as a part of the pocket back.  Ottobre intends you to sew them on along the flap fold line so that they hang down and can flap up.  I thought that would annoy Logan, so I sewed them down along the bottom and sides like a traditional patch pocket, so I ended up with a double pocket.
 Tuck something in behind the flap,
or under it!  Logan played around with his pockets a ton!  One thing that I didn't like about these pants was the fabric I chose.  It is a flannel backed twill from FFC, which I chose because it is nice and warm, but it is also too thick for these layered pockets, so they are a bit bulky.  Logan likes them though, so overall they are a win!
Most importantly, they are good for running!

Parting shot:
The Wee Professor sports his gear.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Jalie 2794

I'm starting the New Year off with an old favorite - Jalie's Sweetheart Top, 2794.  I've sewn this several times before, but this time I constructed it on the serger.

Myra was only somewhat cooperative with regard to modelling it for me...  

Here it is, sans child.  The fabric is a hot pink interlock from FFC.  It is quite thick and cozy and very nice!  I'm not altogether happy with the way the gathers and binding over the gathers ended up.  I should have basted, as per the instructions, but I got a little stitch happy.  The bindings ended up a little uneven.  I just need some practice on the serger I think.  That baby is fast!

It's a little big on Myra, particularly the neckline.  I'll remember to raise it a bit the next time I make it for her.  The only adjustment I made to this one was to lengthen the 3/4 sleeve to make it full length.  She needs some long sleeved tops.

And this would be the reason I had such trouble getting pictures of Myra.  Usually she loves the camera and is a total ham, but she loves her Baby Duncan even more!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

2010 in Review and Goals for 2011

2010 has been a great year for us!  Personally, our family has done well, we've remained gainfully employed, matched to a great fellowship program for 2011 and added a sweet little boy to our family to cap the year off.  Sewing-wise, I feel like I've had a pretty good year as well.  I've been pretty productive, learned a few new things and accomplished some of my goals.  I also begun my Self-Imposed Sewing Club, and have sewn 2 of the 12 garments.

Over the year, I made 162 items, 142 of which were sewn and 20 were knit.  52 of those were for me, 19 for Mitch, 20 for Logan, 35 for Myra, 15 for Duncan and 18 were gifted.
I sewed mostly from Simplicity patterns (28), 20 Ottobre, 14 New Looks, 11 burda, 9 each McCalls and Butterick, 5 Vogues and 28 "others".
I sewed 53 tops, 40 pants, 9 skirts, 16 dresses, 9 accessories, 4 jackets and 9 PJs.

My goals for 2010 were:
1) Sew from burda style - at least one garment per month.
- I didn't quite manage this one.  I did sew 10 items from burdastyle, but from only 7 patterns.  I do have a few already traced and started to tackle in the new year!

2) Make a tailored jacket using classical tailoring techniques.  This is probably going to be a year long project, since step one is LEARN classical tailoring techniques!

- I didn't do this one, mostly because I didn't see the point in attempting a hand tailored jacket during the pregnancy, but this one is back on the books for 2011!

3) Learn or practice a new technique in a sewn garment every month.  

- I didn't do this every month, but I feel like I did seek out and learn a lot of new things this year, which was what the spirit of this goal was about.

4) Sew outfits rather than orphan pieces, including for the kids.

- I definitely fell off of this wagon!  I'll be trying again for 2011, but I think with a more "Endless Combinations" approach.

5) Sew more than half of my projects each month from stash fabric and patterns.

- I lost my spreadsheet when the computer crashed a couple of months ago, so I'm not sure that I achieved this one.  Again, the spirit of this was to attempt to cull down the stash, but I'm afraid that it has grown significantly this year. 

6) Participate in a contest at PR

- I did this, but found that I didn't really enjoy sewing under the gun.  I think that for the future, if a contest grabs me and motivates me then great, but I'm not going to make a formal goal.

7) Keep better track of the garments that I create throughout to year.

- I was doing well with this until the computer crashed and all my data was lost!  I'm going to pick it back up though for 2011.  I really like knowing what I'm sewing!

8) Make an LBD.

- I didn't do this, mostly because I already own a black maternity dress and didn't want to sew another.  We'll be revisiting this for 2011!

9) Knit an actual garment(ie, not a scarf) that requires shaping.

- I've done this several times over!!  I'm really enjoying knitting and have already made hats, scarves, mitts, and even several sweaters, although only one for me.  I have tons of knitterly ideas for the upcoming year.  I'll show you the fun ones, or you can follow along with me on Ravelry.

For 2011, I'm not sure I'm really ready to make too many hard and fast goals.  My sewing time is still pretty spotty and revolves around a newborn's sleep schedule.  I know that will change as the year wears on though, and I do want to have some focus to my sewing.  One thing I plan to revisit is the spreadsheet for keeping track of the yardage and garments that I sew.  I also plan to continue on with the goal of making a tailored jacket.  There are several contenders in my SISC grouping.  I am also planning to continue with the SISC sewing, but without a rigid timeline.  As I finish one, I'll choose another to work on, all the while working around the needs of my family and the things that spark my interest.  I want to keep things fluid and fun.  At the same time, I am interested in creating useful pieces that will expand my wardrobe and fulfill needs for my kids.

In the coming few weeks, there are a couple of projects that I need to complete, and a few that I really want to work on.  I already have a couple of knit tops cut out to whip up on the serger.  I really want to play around with what she can do!  My current SISC project, the Vogue 8603 skirt hasn't even been traced, so that is high up on my list.
Logan needs some church appropriate pants, and I have some cozy navy flannel backed twill that will be perfect for the rest of winter, as well as some green cords of Mitch's that need refashioning.
There also might be some hot pink cotton jacquard that will become a ruffly dress for my favorite princess.
I'm sure I'll find lots of fun things to sew and share in between!

For my own personal use, I'm tacking this at the end.  It is the linked list to each item I completed in 2010.  I'll start a new one for 2011 on the right sidebar of the blog.

Kwik Sew 2881 bike shorts (M)
Simplicity 3765 pant X2 (G)
Simplicity 4378 top and pant (M)
Lekaka 5674 top (K) - wadder!
KS 3570 fleece top (M)
KS 2881 bike shorts (M)
A bag for blocks (L/My)
Sew Chic 7401 dress (K)
Ottobre 01/2009-21 fleece pant (L)
Jalie 2787 top (K)
Ottobre 01/2009-21 Valentine pant (L)
McCall's 3830 skirt (K)
Kitschy Coo mittens (My)
New Look 6575 dress (My)
McCall's 6024 dress (K)
Jalie 2805 turtleneck (K)
Vogue 8598 blouse (K)
New Look 6638 PJs (My)
DIY skirt (K)
RTW copy tee (K)
McCall's 5142 jeans (K)
Vogue 8157 capris (K)
New Look 6641 shorts (L)
Self-drafted skirt (K)
Kwik Sew 2881 bike shorts (M)
New Look 6932 PJs (My)
Little Mermaid pillow (My)
Vintage Simplicity 2823 dress and bloomers (My)
Helicopter pillow (L)
Butterick 5042 skirt (K)
Simplicity 4023 shorts (My)
Kitschy Coo Smocky Top (My)
Simplicity 4378 scrubs (M)
Vogue 8649 top (K)
Kitschy Coo Smocky Top (My)
Simplicity 4023 shorts (My)
DIY tee (K)
Ottobre 03/2008-2 Puffis tee (My)
BWOF 02/2009-125 blouse (K)
Simplicity 2609 skirt (K)
Butterick 5284 blouse (K)
Kwik Sew 2881 top (M)
Jalie 2794 top (G)
Kwik Sew 2881 shorts (M)
Simplicity 2520 skirt (K)
Sew Chic 9005 dress (K)
Kwik Sew 2881 shorts x2 (M)
McCall's 5560 dress (My)
Butterick 4222 PJ top (L)
New Look 6638 PJs (My)
New Look 6932 PJs (My)
New Look 6816 pants (K)
Simplicity 2907 dress (My)
Simplicity 5695 dress (My)
New Look 6816 pants (K)
Simplicity 2563 dress (My)
Kitschy Coo Reversible Hoodie (My)
New Look 6816 pants (K)
DIY maternity pants (K)
Little Red cape (My)
Vintage Simplicity 9446 maternity top (K)
Vogue 8322 blouse (K)
Baby Sophisticate cardigan (D)
Butterick 4054 dress and pinafore (My)
McCalls 5500 tunic (L)
Burda 9671 pants (L)
Knitting needle bag (K)
Coronet hat (My)
Edelweiss neckwarmer (K)
McCall's 6141 dress (K)
McCall's 4530 tunic (M)
Simplicity 4378 pant (M)
Kitschy Coo Reversible Hoodie (L)
Ribbed Watchman's Hat x2 (M & L)
Child's Play crown (My)
Little Boy Blue baby hat (D)
Baby Mitts (D)
Simplicity 4378 top & pant (M)
Simplicity 3765 corduroy pant (D)
burda style 09/2010-121 top (K)
Simplicity 3765 fleece pant (D)
Joyful cloche (G)
Butterick 4910 dress (My)
Baby Mitts (D&G)
Simplicity 2561 belt (My)
Simplicity 3765 pants (G)
Simplicity 2526 pants (My)
Firefly sweater (My)
Kwik Sew 3570 shirt x2 (G)
Ottobre 03/2010-6&7 outfit (G)
Just Enough Ruffles (G)
Vogue 1099 jacket (K)
Simplicity 2290 PJ pants (L)
Ottobre 06/2010-13 jumpsuit (My)
Fleece blankets x2 (L&My)
Butterick 6567 apron (G)
Ottobre 03/2004-19 shirt x2 (L)
Ottobre 06/2010-5 sleeper (D)
Simplicity 3765 pants (D)
Simplicity 2603 cardi (K)