Wednesday, June 29, 2011

McCalls 5929

This pattern kept popping up on PR and in blogland, and I've been wanting to sew it for some time. I'm hoping to catch the tail end of the ruffles trend...
The pattern is McCalls 5929, alas now OOP. I think I love everything about it. Cute ruffles, puffed sleeves, shaped front bands - everything!
Alterations I made were mostly for fit. I made view A, but with only one ruffle. I mostly cut a size 10, but I think (I traced and altered this during the crazy week before we moved) I blended out to a 12 in the back shoulder and below the waist. I did a 1 1/2 inch FBA, but took out the added fullness below the bust by including it in the waist contour dart. I also added 1/2 inch to the arm band as the reviews on PR mentioned that it was snug. This isn't an alteration I generally have to do, so if you are making this up, be sure to check and make sure the band is a comfortable size.
The fabric is a pink and white seersucker from Fabric Mart, which is apparently from Calvin Klein. I feel so posh! It was lovely to sew, and it feels very nice to wear. I had plenty left to cut out a matching ruffled blouse for Myra. I think she'll like it.
I used pink pearl snaps as closures rather than buttons. I love the way they look. I also really adore the neckline on this blouse. The front bands angle out above the top snap to form a vee neck. Since I never fully button a button up blouse, I think this neckline looks much cleaner than the typical straight band that flops around when unbuttoned.
The fit is reasonably good. I seem to have been a bit aggressive with the FBA again. I wonder if that has more to do with the fluctuations of nursing than actual fit. It isn't a problem I generally have.
I'm thrilled with the fit in the back! I generally have some pulling across my broad shoulders, but between cutting the shoulders in the larger size and the generous puff of the sleeve, it feels great! It looks like I should have pressed my darts a little better though.
And the final verdict? I think I love it! I can already tell it's going to get a lot of wear. It's great with the white jeans for schlepping kids to gymnastics while still feeling cute, but it'll dress up nicely for church with a black pencil skirt and a skinny belt.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Ottobre 01/2010-13 & 22

Thanks to everyone for the birthday wishes! I really had such a great day and I'm looking forward to sewing up some fun new things.

I took a little detour from the items that I had planned to sew while we waited for our belongings to follow us from Texas. They still aren't here, so I don't have my serger or coverstitcher, but Myra really needed some warm PJs. The kids sleep in the basement and it gets quite chilly at night. The problem was that all of my stash, both fabric and patterns are still on a truck in Texas.(Side note: North American Van Lines was our mover and I DO NOT recommend them. We have been getting the run around about when our stuff is coming for weeks.) Fortunately, I had brought one issue of Ottobre, and fabric shopping is great around here.
Yeah, they aren't a perfect match, but I was shopping the remnants bin and beggars can't be choosers. the patterns are both from the 01/2010 issue of Ottobre. The top is long sleeve tee #22 and the pants are #13, which I have made for her before, albeit in a much smaller size and not as jammies.
I don't have much to say about the patterns. The pants have a nice shape and fit well, although I did make Myra a larger size than she currently wears in hopes that she can wear these through the winter. I did raise the waistline a little on this version as she had some gapping the last time. The tee is your basic long sleeve tee with cuffs. I love the way that Ottobre's cuffs are shaped. Very cozy. I had plenty of fleece so I did go to the trouble of matching that dominant black area across the body and sleeves. That was probably overkill for PJs, but I knew it would drive me crazy if I didn't.
The verdict? She likes them and they keep her warm. That's pretty much all I ask of jammies. And, I have a new long sleeve tee pattern to use! Sweet.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Happy Birthday to me!

Today I am 34. 30 was a pretty tough birthday for me, but now that I am firmly entrenched in my thirties, I'm actually pretty OK with it. My 30s have been great so far and I expect them to just get better. Anyway, since we are here in a new city, I've been planning to check out the local fabric scene today. Mitch told me to get some things just for me. Here in Salt Lake, there is one street with 4 fabric stores, including Yellow Bird, which I have been itching to go to since Sunni talked about it on her blog.
If you are itching to go yourself (and you should be) I have to warn you that it is not an easy place to find. It is in the former location of "Fashion Affair" and Google Maps can't seem to get them straight. It is a wee shop hidden in the same parking lot as a frame shop. Adorable and cozy. Also, most. gorgeous. fabric. ever. I couldn't stop touching - silk, linen, wool, rayon - all beautiful. And so much silk! Two rooms full!
Here is a small corner full of linen with silk on the bolts next door. I love her inspiration board. You'll also see on several bolts photos of garments you could create with the fabric. Cute and inspirational!
Here are a couple of little rolls of brocade next to a few remnants. This one is on sale! Her prices were not bargain basement, but they were quite good for the quality of fabric in the shop. She also carries Decades of Style, Folkwear and OOP Butterick (which were only $3!) patterns as well as a small selection of hard to find notions. The proprietress is helpful and friendly, but not at all intrusive. Overall it was a wonderful experience to shop there.
While I could have easily spent a small (or even large) fortune there on lovely fabric, I picked out just one yummy sateen to make a dress, and also got this Butterick wardrobe pattern. Look past the scary orange and pink cover art and the jacket and blouse are very cute.
After Yellow Bird, I popped in to a local quilt shop (why do I ever bother??), then checked out JoAnn (where I bought duckie buttons and nothing else) and then Hancock. At JAs, it was the usual story. Long lines, grumpy customers and not enough sales help. I really don't know why anyone shops there. After that, I went to Hancock's. They were not busy and the sales help were all friendly and welcoming. I found some pique and lining for a jacket as well as some knit remnants for the kids. After that, I was planning to head home, but on a whim stopped in at a thrift store. Now I don't have the kind of luck at thrift stores that you all read about on Mary Nanna and Kristy's blogs. But today I did great!
They had patterns and fabric!!! Now, most of the fabric there was of the scary polyester variety, I did score some lightweight purple stuff that may have some natural fiber in it. It has a linen-y feel. I also got the striped velour for PJs for the kids. The patterns are mostly from the 80s, but there were two (in my size even!) great wardrobe patterns from the 70s as well as a cute little girl's dress pattern from the same era. There was also a mail order Marian Martin pattern!! It's a little big for me and the pieces are cut, but how fun is that? Anyone know anything about dating these patterns? The postmark is 1980, so I guess that tells the story? I didn't realize they were still being produced that late. Guess I have some homework to do but first, dinner out with my family and some cake and ice cream! And in a few days, there will be a package from Gorgeous Fabrics to admire. Thanks, Mom!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

McCalls 5592

These jeans really shouldn't have taken me over a week, but I now have the profoundest sympathy and understanding for those of you who don't have a dedicated sewing space. Setting up and taking down my sewing, even though it is just the basic machine and ironing board, takes forever! It really cuts in to the actual time I have to sew. And since our belongings haven't even left Texas yet (Don't get me started on how annoyed I am at the moving company), it's still slow going around here.
I know white jeans are the opposite of practical, but white has been such a huge trend this spring and I just really wanted a pair. I figure at least if they get gross, I can bleach them. The top is BWOF 04/2009-112, made last April. I wear it all the time, and it was also great during my pregnancy.
The pattern for the jeans is McCalls 5592, alas now OOP. I made them before, here and still wear them all the time. They fit well, are comfortable and I really like the rise - not too low, but not mom jeans. What I neglected to consider as I cut out this pair was that the last pair were stretch denim and this pair is not.
You can see the front whiskers and the wrinkles at the side seams. I could have given myself a bit more room in the hip.
The back is OK, but I probably should have allowed a smidge more depth in the crotch.
Construction-wise, these are made of a lightweight cotton twill from Hancock. In white, the fabric was pretty sheer, but I didn't want to line my summer jeans, so I underlined the main pattern pieces with batiste. I still get a little pocket show through, but not too bad. I serged all the exposed edges (serging together the FF and underlining at the same time) before we packed up.
The topstitching is in cream. Thanks so much for all of your input!! I tried to find lighter grey or silver topstitching weight thread, but couldn't. I really like the way the cream is visible but not obvious. I really missed my Singer for the topstitching. Having to rethread the machine a zillion times did not make for speedy sewing either. The buttonhole was also a hot mess. Janome just didn't want to deal with the thick thread. I'm glad the button covers it, cuz it ain't pretty, but after three attempts, I was really ready to pound in some rivets! Janome is an indifferent buttonholer at the best of times, but this was ridiculous.

Overall, I like them. They are a fun addition to my wardrobe. Next up, some desperately needed PJs. It gets cold at night here!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Vogue 8503

I sewed!! The truck with all of our belongings on it is still in Texas, but I couldn't wait any longer, so I hiked my machine and ironing board up to the card table we're using in the dining room and set up shop.
The pattern is Vogue 8503. I've wanted to sew it for some time. It just looks so cool and chic. I love the dolman sleeve with empire line. I think I've mentioned before that I don't typically find a dolman sleeve flattering, but when the width is balanced by the empire line, I think it has a very slimming effect.
The pattern is fairly simple - darted upper bodice, lower bodice with side seam shaping and hip vents. The neckline is faced. The pattern called for topstitching to secure the facing, but I prefer a cleaner look, so I understitched and secured the facing at the shoulders and center back seam.
Alterations I made were to cut the pattern at a size 12, except for the neckline and facings which I cut on the size 10. I did a 1 1/2 inch FBA, which looks like it was a little aggressive. I didn't want a side bust dart with a cut on sleeve, so I moved all the fullness to the underbust dart, which made it enormous. I transferred about 1/3 of the width to a second underbust dart, which gave me a nicer, more rounded shape.
The fit in back isn't bad. Most of those wrinkles are because it is too snug in the hips and is pooling above them. I probably could have taken out a smidge of a swayback. When I first tried this on, before I had added the facings or marked the buttonholes, I was afraid it was going to be a total wadder. It was too small in the hips, too big in the bust and the neckline gaped terribly. I really like it though, so I wanted to save it. I first tackled the neckline problem.
The neckline is on the bias, so I wanted to stabilize it as well as pull it in a little. My clear elastic is on a truck in Texas, so I decided to use on grain strips of fashion fabric. I stitched them into the facing stitching line with the fashion fabric at the bottom. I pulled the fabric strips taut and allowed the feed dogs to ease the neckline in a little. This stabilized it as well as shortening the neckline, which makes it curve in to my body better.
I also got a little creative with button placement. Since it was too large in the bust and too small in the hips, I just slanted the line of the buttons to lap over a little more at the top and less at the bottom. I also used one more button than Vogue called for.
While it isn't perfect, it is wearable and comfortable and I do really like the pattern, so I think I may give it another try. I'm pretty happy with my save of this version, but next time I should probably give myself a little more time in the fitting stage.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Arrived, and still itching...

to sew, that is. I've been keeping up with all your blogs on my phone, so not much commenting. Sorry! I'll get back into my usual swing now!

We are here in Utah, and wow is this place beautiful!! Everywhere you go there are mountains on the horizon. It's horribly distracting when I drive.
Our house
The drive was long and painful. Every time we hit a bump, I cringed. Janome was back there!! I did manage to prep up several projects to bring with me, but neglected to include in my calculations the need for a table on which to put the machine. D'oh. As a result, I still haven't sewn a stitch. It's making me a little crazy and I may need to improvise something soon.
My sewing space
Once our stuff gets here there will be more to show, but this is my own little corner. In our last house, I shared a very small space with the office, but here I have a much larger room all to myself! I can't wait to get it all set up! So, for those of you with your own space (or those who have dreams of one!), what are your priorities for your studio? A sturdy cutting table? Big ironing surface? Lots of room for your machines?

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Bon Voyage

Well, the bags are packed and the machines are crated. The big truck comes this morning to take all of our worldly possessions to the Great Salt Lake Valley. We'll be heading out today as well, so it'll get pretty quiet here for a while.
My poor, empty sewing room
We'll be driving to Salt Lake, so I won't be sewing at all this week, but I am bringing Janome and a couple of projects that are cut and ready to sew. Hopefully the rest of my sewing gear (oh, and all the furniture and other unimportant crap) will come quickly and I can set up my new sewing room! I can't wait to show it to you!
Dishcloth in progress
I don't drive much (when I can avoid it), so I suspect I'll at least get some knitting done in the car. It actually gets cold in Salt Lake, so I may actually have the motivation to finish the sweater I have been working on for Myra. Let's hope it fits her when I finish...

Friday, June 3, 2011

Jalie 2805

After making my bellbottoms, I kept imagining this striped v-neck tee with puffy sleeves to go with it. Good thing I can sew.
The sleeves are definitely not as puffy as they appeared in my mind...
But I still like it with the bells. The pattern began as Jalie 2805, but with the sleeves of Jalie 2788, the twist top. This is where my vision broke down... I really should have compared the two sleeves, but in typical fashion for me, I just blew ahead, and discovered that the 2805 armhole is bigger than the 2788, so while the sleeves fit, they're a bit flat.
I really like the lapped neckband. It's cute and looks more complicated than it was. This picture shows the fabric a bit more accurately. It is an interlock that came from my Mom's stash. The stripes are yellow, blue and pink. They remind me of sherbet. You can see the corner of the sleeve binding here as well. Jalie cleverly had the binding strip cut on the cross grain, so the stripes go perpendicular to the sleeve. I did not use my binder for this, and I'm really not thrilled with how they came out. Wearable, but not fabulous. Next time I'll use the binder.
Speaking of stripes, they lined up nicely for me! I made the same fit alterations that I did for the scarf collar top, so if you look closely, you can see where the stripes don't quite line up where I eased the front into the back. I think that tiny discontinuity is worth it for a great fit in the bust. Even though it isn't quite my vision, it really is quite wearable and I'm very happy with the pattern overall. I'll definitely be using it again. I love a good v-neck top.
Myra wanted in on the photo shoot. She's getting pretty good at aping my poses. I think those PJs are getting a little small though. Might be time for some new ones...

In other news, I'm getting my white jeans ready to sew and yet again can't seem to make a topstitching decision.
From the top, the threads are white (thanks to montanachic for that suggestion!), grey and cream. I'm using silver rivets and buttons, so I lean toward the grey, but I'm afraid it's too much/too dark. Should I look for a lighter grey, or go with one of these? Or something completely different? What do you think?

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Monthly Roundup - May 2011

May felt like a really great sewing month!  By the numbers, I made;

1) Simplicity 3752 apron (K)
2) Simplicity 2451 skirt (K)
3) New Look 6641 shorts x2 (L)
4) Jalie 2921 top (K)
5) BWOF 07/2009-104 dress (K)
6) Burda 7625 top (K)
7) Vogue 1250 dress (K)
8) Ottobre 03/2011-12 tunic (My)
9) Ottobre 03/2011-12 tees (My & D)
10) Kwik Sew 3299 shirt (M)
11) BWOF 11/2009-125 jeans (K)

which adds up to 13 garments!  Woo hoo! I sewed 16 yards of which 14 3/4 were from stash. I'm happy to say that everything is getting worn, so that makes for a successful month as far as I'm concerned. Beginning the month, I stuck to pretty easy projects - knit tops, shorts and tees for the kids, but I finally just went for it and made my bell bottoms, and I'm so glad I did. They aren't perfect, but I love them. The biggest sewing innovation in May was the arrival of my coverstitch machine. Man, do I love that machine.

June should prove interesting. We are moving to Salt Lake City in one week, so there may be some radio silence here as we get ready for the move and actually make the drive. We are having our belongings moved for us, and the estimated arrival time is mid-month. I'm planning to take Janome and a few projects to keep me sane, but the other machines will be on the truck, as will be my stash and the bulk of my supplies.

I'll likely spend this coming week prepping things to take with me. I've already cut out McCalls 5592 in white twill, and will serge all of the edges prior to packing things up so that I can sew these up just with Janome.
I'm still debating how I'll topstitch these. I initially thought I'd use typical gold thread like jeans, but I think cream or grey might be nice and possibly more versatile. I'll swatch them all and see what I (and probably all of you!) think.
Vogue 8305 is traced and needs an FBA. I'll cut it out of some brown poly/rayon left over from Duncan's sling.
After that is prepped, I have some pink and white seersucker that I was thinking I'd make matching ruffled blouses for Myra and I. Mine will be McCalls 5929, and Myra's will be #15 from the 01/2010 issue of Ottobre. I was planning to use pink pearl snaps as closures.
I am considering coordinating black pleated skirts, but I think that might be OTT. Hopefully those four projects will keep me going until all of my stuff arrives and gets unpacked.

I'm excited to have a new space, and the new house will have a sewing room although we haven't completely decided how we're going to lay everything out. At any rate, I will have more space than I have now and I'm really looking forward to setting up my new studio.