Saturday, July 30, 2011

Ottobre 03/2011-21

When I was in labor with Duncan, I bought this awesome piece of Echino helicopter fabric for Logan. Isn't technology amazing? Between my iPhone and my epidural, I was fabric shopping between contractions. I only got a yard, since it is a bit pricey and was planning a sport shirt out of it, but when the summer issue of Ottobre came, I knew it needed to be the "Art Camp" shirt.
How awesome is that?! It is design #21 from the 03/2011 issue of Ottobre. It is very economical of fabric, since you don't have any facings and only a short placket at the neckline. I think it is a great design to showcase a fun, large scale print like this one, since the front is not broken up. For further fabric conservation, and to place the print to best effect, I cut this out in a single layer, rather than on the fold. I also cut the plackets and pocket flap on grain rather than on the bias. I didn't want my helicopters flying in different directions.
Here is a closer view of the pocket and front placket. The pocket is pleated on the sides to give a bellows effect. Plenty of room for "stuff" in there. The buttonholes are worked at an angle, although it is a bit hard to tell. I matched the thread to the helicopters so the buttonholes blend in.
Here is a better look at the placket and inside the neckline. This was actually a really easy placket to do, much simpler than a sleeve placket. There is also a very helpful photo of the placket construction here in the Ottobre Flickr pool. The neckline is finished on the inside with a bias strip. I used a piece of linen the same color as the wrong side of the fabric. I also added a little piece of the fabric selvage as a tag. For some reason the word "helicopter" on the selvage tickled me and I had to put it in there.
The pattern also includes a hip vent and has a back yoke. I only did a single layer yoke for this one, which is what the pattern called for, as I had limited fabric, but would generally do an enclosed double layer yoke. I really like this pattern and how well it went together. Logan was excited about it throughout the process. Of course, now that it is done, he won't try it on for me. He says it is a Sunday shirt, so I guess I'll just have to let you know how it fits after church.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Kwik Sew 3299

I'm still working on copying the seam finish on Mitch's fancy running shirts. I made him another, this one with an entirely new technique.
This time, the seam is serged in the typical fashion (right sides together) so that the seam allowance is on the inside of the garment, then the seam allowance is coverstitched down from the wrong side, allowing the loopers to show on the garment right side. The needle stitching flattens the serged seam on the inside without adding too much bulk. I used matching red thread in the serger and coverstitch needles, and black thread in the coverstitch looper. Mitch likes a decorative stitch on the outside, and that seems to be the way most RTW running shirts are done.
I also hemmed with the coverstitch loopers on the right side. I'm not sure I love that. This fabric is a wicking polyester jersey from Seattle Fabrics. It's nice and light and feels very breathable, but it was the devil to sew. It was slippery and strtechy and generally did not want to behave.
My coverstitch machine particularly disliked it. The feed dogs had a hard time gripping the fabric, so the stitch length was all over the place. She also skipped stitches every time a seam crossed, which you can see at the sleeve/shoulder intersection above. I'm not sure how well this will hold up over time. So far, it is the closest appearing approximation to the RTW shirt, but I'm not sure it will end up being as sturdy, since I had so much trouble getting even stitches. I think I'll take a little break before sewing more of these, to see which finish Mitch likes best over time. In a few months, he'll probably be needing something with long sleeves. That'll be novel!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Ottobre 03/04-7&8, 06/08-2

Thanks to all who chimed in about magazines. On reflection, I realize that I have browsed through a few issues of Sew News at B&N and Joann and have never picked an issue up, which tells me I probably wouldn't be too interested in a subscription. I think I'll just stick to Threads and Otto for now and keep up with the fashion part of Burdastyle through their website. Google translate can be pretty funny.

In sewing news, I delivered the baby gift this weekend, so I get to show it to you now.
My friend favors more classic looks for her kids over frilly and ruffly, and when I was hunting the stash for a completely different reason, I saw this corduroy and I knew it was going to have to be a pinafore for her newest little princess. This will be girl number 3, but the first one to be born in a cold climate, so I thought she could use more cold weather clothing for her.
The underlayer is a long tee and leggings made from a soft ponte knit left over from this dress. I can personally attest to its comfort and snuggliness. The tee is made from the 03/04 issue of Ottobre, and I made it for Myra here. The leggings are from the 06/08 issue (which I happened to have out as I was tracing). They are basic leggings, pretty much identical to the pair in the 04/04 issue that I used when I made this for Myra.
For the button loop, I used a clear hair elastic, which I've seen done by several other bloggers. What a great idea! It was so easy and looks great.
The pinafore is from the 03/2004 issue of Ottobre. I made it for Myra a couple of Christmases ago. You can see that version here. The pattern calls for elastic at the hem on the sides, but I found that interfered with diaper changes, so I left it out. I think it is pretty darn cute with the A line skirt instead. I LOVE the pleated pockets. Alas, the aren't very visible in this busy print. I topstitched with Mettler Poly Sheen thread in the hopes that the topstitching would be visible, but it pretty much disappears, too.
Overall, I'm pleased with how well it turned out. I hope that Laurie and Baby V love it, too!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Sewing Magazines

I just got an offer in the mail for a free year of Sew News magazine, and after reading a few online reviews, I'm sort of considering it. 
As far as sewing magazines go, I only subscribe to Threads and Ottobre (kids only). I let my BurdaStyle subscription lapse in May, since I hadn't sewn from it in about a year and they hiked up the price while making the patterns more difficult to trace. I'm kind of missing it though, if only for the inspiration and have been considering renewing when this offer showed up. So, dear readers, tell me - what do you think of Sew News? Do you subscribe? And, what sewing magazines are always on your nightstand?

Monday, July 18, 2011

Ottobre 06/2008-13 & 01/2010-18

Tired of PJs yet? I promise I'll make something else next. I'm getting tired of them, too.
Here is Myra in her latest set of PJs. Both pieces are from Ottobre, and both are intended to be daywear, but I think the combo of fleece and leopard puts this ensemble squarely in the nighttime only category.
The top is from the 06/2008 issue of Ottobre. Since the print of the fleece has that white area, I wanted a raglan top so as not to break it up over the shoulder.
Here is the line drawing of the original. It's called the "Sweet 'n' Cosy" tunic. I really like the shirred sleeves, but the fleece was just too bulky to shirr well. I'll definitely have to make this again for her with that detail though. It's so cute. I also left off the elastic in the sleeve hems. I tried, but the narrow elastic and the bulky fleece just didn't want to play. Fortunately, the bell sleeves are pretty darn cute without the elastic. I also lengthened the top 1 inch. Those pattern pieces just looked short. I'm glad I did. It's the perfect length. I used my binder to attach the neckline binding, which is black rib knit.
You can see it stretched out just a little bit. It isn't actually this bad - she's holding it up with her arms. The neckline is already a little more of a scoop neck than a crew, which I like. I am also so impressed with how perfectly the binding turned out otherwise. I am so in love with that binder!
I bound the neckline flat, and then seamed the left back raglan seam. Look at how perfectly the binding aligned! Even the stitching is perfectly matched up. I've never, ever managed to do that with binding applied by hand. Something is always slightly off.
The pants are made from design 18 (the Ruusunnuppu leggings) from the 01/2010 issue that you've seen so much lately. I traced these and cut them out before the movers brought our stuff. I really like the cascading pleats on the legs, but fleece was not the ideal medium to showcase them.
Here is how they turned out. As you can see, the loft of the fleece made it difficult to pleat and sew accurately, so some of them don't line up. as PJ bottoms though, they're fine and the scrunch effect at the ankle keeps her nice and warm and keeps them from riding up as she sleeps.
She likes them! She called them "kitty jammies" and spent the evening meowing.

I may be off the radar now for just a little while. I've a few aprons to sew for a church service project and then a baby gift to make, which of course, I can't reveal until it has been gifted. You'll die of the cuteness though. I promise!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Butterick 4222 & Simplicity 2290

This will be a quickie, since you've seen both of these patterns before.
Here's my GQ boy, modelling his new PJs. The top is his TNT, Butterick 4222, which is sadly now OOP. I've made them many times and very much like the pattern. The pants are Simplicity 2290. I've made them before here.
The fabric is flannel from JoAnn, which I bought so many years ago that I didn't quite have enough yardage. I shortened the pants a little (for fit as well), and instead of using the cut on facings, I cut separate front facings from white cotton. Of course, you can see the flash of white at the top of the collar, but we're just calling that a design detail.
Logan wanted to show you his favorite part - the buttons! Aren't those little trains cute? The one on top is blue - He's Thomas. The middle, red one is James and the bottom, grey one that Logan is pointing to is Spencer. You can also see inside the collar in this picture. I decided to break from tradition and try the bias bound collar on this top. Naturally, despite having just written about this method, I managed to flub it up. I ended up with the bias tape on the outside, rather than tucked into the facings. It works fine, it just isn't as pretty. Anyway, the method was definitely less fussy and I think I'll be using it for PJs from here on out. The handstitched method is pretty and I'll reserve it for blouses and such where I don't want any external stitching.
According to Logan, the best part of these PJs is that they have train tracks! See, right here!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Stroller refit

When I was talking earlier this month about doing some projects for my kids that I have been putting off, this was way up there on the list. A couple of months ago, Logan sat in Myra's toy stroller and tore off one of the ties that holds the little fabric seat on. I promised her that I would fix it, but it just sat in my sewing room. I hate mending. On the other hand, I think it is particularly dastardly to break a promise made to a child, so here is her new stroller.
Isn't it fun? Instead of just sewing the loop back on, I made a whole new seat. The old one was some cheap polyester that wasn't even very cute.
Here is the original seat, taken off the stroller. Sorry the picture is blurry. I took it just for reference in reassembling the seat, then realized that I didn't have a "before" picture to show you. See what I mean, though? Not very cute! I did scavenge the original straps and binding, and used a remnant of quilting cotton from Hobby Lobby for the new seat. The new seat back is two layers, so that the wrong side doesn't show. After scavenging the binding, I used the old seat as a pattern. It worked great and only took about 45 minutes.
Here is Myra and baby trying out the new ride. Myra is happy with it and so am I. She loves that fabric, and I wasn't sure what to do with it since it was a small piece but a large print. I think this is perfect!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Jalie 2792

Myra just started gymnastics classes last week, which naturally means she needs something to wear. While the boys generally just wear knit shorts and tees, a leotard is de rigeur for the girls. And can we talk about how expensive these little leotards are?? Despite my trepidation about sewing this, there was no way I was paying that much for less than a quarter yard of spandex.
Not too shabby for my first attempt at what is essentially swimwear (yikes!).
The pattern is Jalie 2792. This is the simplest view, scoop neck and back without sleeves. All of the openings are elasticated. The fabric is a midweight poly Spandex from Spandex World. I went with a basic cotton candy pink for my first attempt, but once I get the bugs ironed out, there is some pink and purple hologram that she's going to LOVE.
Here is the back. For the leg openings, I used a trick that my friend Beth has had good luck with. Instead of evenly stretching the elastic to fit the leg opening, I left it unstretched on the front half and then stretched the back half only. This really makes sense if you think about it, since most of the roundness in the body is in the back. In the interest of decency, I won't provide an image of that area, but it fits her really well, and after wearing it all day, it didn't ride up at all.
For the topstitching, I was initially planning to coverstitch,but I noticed that the other girls leotards had a three step zigzag, so that is what I used. I think I may try the coverstitch to see how it looks on the next one, but the zigzag is nice and sturdy.
Fit-wise, Myra is long and skinny, so I used the width from the smallest size (F) and lengthened it to the next length (G) in the body section only. Like me, she is smaller in her upper torso, so I left the bodice sections the size F. This seems to have worked well. It looks good, and she was comfortable and had plenty of room to move in it.
Overall, I'm pleased with it, particularly as it is a first attempt. There are a couple of things I didn't like. Mostly they were due to my own inexperience. First was the way the neckline sits.

See how it sticks straight out from her body? I did use regular 1/4 inch elastic, since I haven't yet found the box with my clear elastic in it. The armholes and leg openings, which use the same elastic, lie nice and flat. What did I do? Anyone have any insights into how I can make that look better?
The other thing I didn't love is the wee crotch lining. Since this isn't swimwear, and she wears underthings with it, it doesn't really matter, but it really doesn't provide any coverage. The spandex I used is a little sheer and Myra kept pointing out the Micky Mouse printed on her diaper that you could see right through it. I think I'll line the entire front bodice next time around, at least when using fabric this relatively sheer. the crotch lining is applied by just basting it along the leg holes, so the two ends are not attached to anything and are unfinished. I stitched the back end into the seam, but the front end is flapping free; another argument for a full bodice lining.
Look at that form! She's a natural! And I am really happy with this first attempt. I'm pleased with how well the sizing worked out. Once I figure out the elastic thing, maybe it'll be time to attempt a suit for me? There may be more challenges fitting my figure...

Linked up at The Train to Crazy...

Saturday, July 9, 2011

One piece collars, a comparison

I had a couple of folks ask about the different ways to finish the neck edge of a one piece collar that I referred to in my post about Myra's seersucker blouse. I've noticed that kid's one piece collars tend to be constructed one of two main ways. BMV uses a method that involves clipping the collar at the shoulders, flipping the seam allowance of the undercollar in and hand sewing. Simplicity, Burda and Ottobre tend to use a strip of bias to finish the collar. I've used both methods several times, and I think each has it's pros and cons. Here they are, head to head.

For Myra's seersucker blouse (an Ottobre pattern) the bias finish was used. I've also used this finish here, here, and here.
Here is how it looks on the inside. The collar seam is tucked into the bias strip, which in turn in tucked into the front facings, which in this case are stitched down, but they don't necessarily have to be.
(ETA for Naptime Seamstress, I did enclose the yoke, using kbenco's awesome tutorial.)
Here is how it looks from the outside. As you can see, the line of stitching to attach the lower edge of the bias strip is visible. Since the collar folds down over this, it doesn't generally show, unless you tend to "pop" your collars.
To construct this collar, you start by assembling the collar, just stitching right sides together, trim seam allowances, clipping if needed, turn and press. Topstitch now if you are going to.
For the visual learner, here are the instructions and diagrams from New Look 6638. Basically, you baste the collar to the neckline, fold your front facings "backward" along their fold lines (ie, right sides together) over the collar and place the bias tape right side down on the seamline, overlapping the facings at either end. Stitch this big fat thing all together, then trim and grade the neckline seam. Flip the facings around to the wrong side (where they belong) and press the bias strip over the raw seams, turning under the raw edge of the bias. You should have a prettily enclosed seam with no exposed raw edges. Now comes the trickiest part - stitching down the bias. It is really easy to end up with little tucks in the seamline, so stretch the bias as you go and go slowly.

The second common method is shown here in Logan's PJs,made with Butterick 4222. This is Logan's TNT PJ pattern, and I've made it at least 7 times.
Here is the inside. The facings enclose the collar to the shoulder seam, at which point the collar encloses the neckline seam. A disclaimer - I do not hand sew PJs, so this collar is actually edgestitched rather than hand sewn.
Here is the outside. On this one, there is no visible stitching, even on mine as I stitched in the ditch to attach the collar.
To assemble this collar, you have to start by preparing the collar fairly exactly.
Here are the instructions from Butterick 4222. Since the seam allowances on this collar are both self enclosed and enclosed by the facing, they have to change direction. To make this possible, you have to reinforce and clip BEFORE you assemble the collar. In this case, the collar is notched where it lines up with the shoulder seam. As you recall, this is where the facing ends. Working with the interfaced collar only, you'll reinforce the stitching line at both notches, clip to the stitching line (don't be wimpy either - clip ALL THE WAY to the stitching line) and then press under the seam allowance between the clips. Now you can sew your interfaced, reinforced, clipped and pressed collar to the undercollar, with the undercollar against the garment right side. Trim, grade, turn, press - you know the routine. Now that your collar is assembled, you are ready to attach it.
As with the last type, you'll first baste your collar to the neckline, right sides together. But this time, you don't want to stitch the undercollar in between the clips. I always stitch with the collar side up, so that I can be sure to hold the pressed under edge away from the needle. Once you've basted, you fold the facings again on the fold lineover the ends of the collar. Your facing should come right up to the edge of your clipped area. Again, stitch through all the layers, grade the seam allowances and clip them to the seamline even with the clipped bit of your collar. With your seam allowances clipped, you should be able to tuck them in to the collar where it is still unsewn. Press the seam toward the collar, tucking it inside and then handsew the opening or edgestitch it closed, as you prefer.

So, which method is better? I think that depends on you, your project and your goal for the finished product. Each method has it's pros and cons, and I think you'll find uses for each as you sew.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

It's here!!

The moving truck really did come!!!
After a month of waiting, our stuff is here. Can you believe how packed in they got it? Up at the very top of the boxes you can see my bigger pattern drawers and one of my fabric totes. Boy, was that a sight for sore eyes! I did have a bit of a scare though. The night before they rolled in I had a nightmare that they had lost one of my pattern drawers. So, as you can imagine, I was a bit, shall we say, concerned when I couldn't find the one containing ALL of my standard sized pattern envelopes of adult patterns. Yes, that is right, my ENTIRE STASH of adult (both men and women) BMV, Simplicity, Kwik Sew, Colette, Burda, vintage patterns - EVERYTHING was missing. We checked the manifest. It wasn't logged as being packed at all!!! I think I stopped breathing at that point. The movers recognized my distress and searched (although they all admitted that they hadn't seen it as they had off-loaded the truck). It was nowhere to be found. At that point I recognized the futility, signed the manifests (after documenting thoroughly the missing pattern file) and the movers headed out. Of course, after getting my kids from the friend who kept them for me, I headed straight to the sewing room. I couldn't imagine why they would have, but my last hope was that they had put the whole thing in a box. I'll allay the suspense now - yes, I found it. After frantically opening every box marked Sewing, there it was, in the last one. Of course, now my sewing room was unpacked, sort of.
Here is one corner of my little domain. I still have a ton to do to get it ready for sewing, but it's a start.
Now to tackle the rest of the house...

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Ottobre 01/2010-19 & 13

I'm going to keep it quick today, partly because PJs aren't very complicated, but also because my truck is supposed to come today, and I have a zillion things to do to get ready. But my stuff is coming!!!

So, on to the sewing. Myra is still in dire need of PJs, so here is another set, modified from patterns in the 01/2010 Ottobre.
The pants are the same pattern I used last time, but the top is a long sleeved version of tunic #19.
As you can see, it has a nice A-line shape, and otherwise is very simple. The original had short sleeves, so I lengthened them by using the total length of another set in sleeve in her size and just extending the seams to that length. It worked fine for this.
I also topstitched down the facings around the neckline and front edges. I think this is a more PJ sort of look and it keeps the facings from flopping around. As drafted, the facings for this tunic are quite narrow. Also, how cute are those ducky buttons?? They cost more than the fabric, but they are so adorably perfect, I had to get them.
The most important thing is that she loves them!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Ottobre 01/2010-15

Thank you so much to everyone who commented and emailed me about my last post. I really appreciate all of the support, advice and words of comfort. In retrospect and taking all of what y'all said into consideration, I think I'm going to dedicate July to "Balance". I have tons of projects that I want to do. Some are for me, but many are not. I'm going to try to find the balance that works for me.


I'm not usually a matchy-matchy mom. In fact, I think this is the first thing I've made for Myra that matches something of mine. It is also the last piece I had prepared to keep me busy sewing while we waited for our things to come from Texas. I really thought I was over prepared, but since we are still waiting, apparently not. Fail, North American Van Lines, fail. We have been told that the truck has left Texas though and is scheduled to arrive on Tuesday. Keep some fingers crossed for me, will you?
This pattern is from my much used 01/2010 issue of Ottobre. In fact, this blouse is the only reason I had this issue with me at all. When the issue first came out, I knew Myra would be getting this blouse, but at the time the smallest size was too big for her. And now she's wearing the second size up! Growing. Too. Fast.
The pattern is so cute! It is a yoked blouse with gathered shoulders and back, a rounded collar and button bands (although I used the snaps again). The sleeves are puffed and elasticated and the hemline is slightly curved and has a little strip of ribbon applied to the right side. Of course, the ruffles just ramp up the cuteness factor. Since I had just made my blouse, I changed up the order of construction from the directions. I found it easiest for me to apply the ruffles and bands to the front first, so that I could do that flat, then construct the shirt. I also did the collar before the sleeves. I always do, since I find that the flatter I can lay the collar, the easier it is to attach.
I just love the back. The gathers are just so pretty. I cut the yoke on the cross grain to take advantage of the stripes and enclosed all the yoke seam allowances. Even without my serger, this little shirt is pretty nice looking on the inside. The only exposed seams are the armscye and side seams. I double stitched those and pinked them.
Here is the front up close. You can see that the shoulder is gathered into the yoke. There was a lot of gathering on this blouse! I finished the ruffles on both shirts with a serger rolled hem. This was actually the last thing my serger did before I packed her up. You can also see that the collar is finished inside the shirt with a bias strip. This is absolutely my favorite way to construct a one piece collar! It is so much easier and cleaner IMO than the way the Big 3 does them with the weird clipping and hand stitching.
Even though both Myra and I really like this blouse, I'm betting that she doesn't wear it much. Myra is pretty much a dresses only kind of girl. Time will tell.