Friday, March 29, 2013

Burda 7248 Spring Skirt

I have a bunch of projects that I really should do, but the sun has finally peeked from behind the clouds and melted the snow; my tulips are blooming and I wanted to sew for SPRING!
So I made a pink pencil skirt. With flowers on it.
This is the fabric I used. Isn't it amazing!! Totally quintessential Spring. It is a stretch woven with an interesting interwoven floral design, given to me by the lovely and talented Lady Katza. I think this is actually the wrong side, but I liked it better so I used it this way. It has a ton of stretch, which runs with the grain like bengaline, so I cut the skirt on the cross grain to take advantage of the stretch around my body.
The pattern I used is Burda 7248, a vintage reprint from the 50s. I've used it before to make this Alexander McQueen knockoff, and really like the shape. This time, I actually sewed it as drafted, only making a few alterations for fit, based on the first version. While the skirt is pretty basic, it has all the bells and whistles.

Back vent with a nice fold over facing on the underlap, which finishes it nicely. You can see that I decided not to line this, both because I couldn't be bothered and because I didn't want to mess with the stretch of the fashion fabric.
I cut the waistband on the fabric's grain so that it wouldn't stretch and also to conserve yardage. Myra wants some, too. I accidentally attached the waistband without accounting for the underlap, so the skirt is a wee bit big in the waist, and there wasn't anywhere for a buttonhole. Instead, I sewed on a couple of hook and eyes. I kind of like it though. It's nice and flat without the bulk of a button back there.
You can't really tell from the line drawing, but this skirt is actually really long. I cut off an inch at the hem and added 1/2 inch to the hem allowance (functionally shortening it 1 1/2 inches) and you can see that it still falls an inch or so below my knee. As drafted it is a little bit of a frumpy length on me, but I really like the just below knee length, so future makes will be shortened.
I'm really pleased with this skirt overall. The pattern is great and the fabric is cool and comfortable. It will definitely get a lot of wear this Spring. I'm planning to wear this as my Easter outfit on Sunday. The blouse is Vogue 8747 and I've belted it with a faux leather tied obi that I think is pretty fun. I'm not too sure about these shoes though. What do you think?
And should you doubt the appearance of Spring in the Salt Lake Valley - look! Tulips!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Sewaholic Renfrew tee and Ottobre 02/2007-1 tank

Whenever I want some quick and satisfying sewing, lately I have been turning to the Sewaholic Renfrew tee.
This is my fourth time making it, which is nearly a record for me. It helps that they are so quick to knock out. I love instant gratification sewing.
This time, I decided to make the V-neck with long sleeves, out of a snuggly sweater knit that I scored at Walmart for a dollar a yard. It's insanely soft stuff, but also seriously unstable and a royal PITA to sew.
The drapey, unstable nature of the knit is what makes this sweater so cozy though so I think it was worth the pain and agony. In terms of alterations, the only thing I did was my usual cheater FBA on the front bodice and sleeve. The back was already traced from my prior Renfrews, so that saved some time.
Peek a boo!! Unfortunately, the loose knit that makes it so soft and drapey, also makes it totally see through, so I needed an additional layer for underneath. Since the 02/2007 copy of Ottobre happened to be out, I traced off the Tank top (model #1) and sewed it up.
I had a long, skinny strip of slinky knit left over from this outfit, and it was exactly enough for this tank. Yay for stashbusting and for using my Ottobre Woman magazines! I did the same sort of cheater FBA on this, just grading out to the size 40 at the underarm, then back to the 38 at the waist. Slinky is really forgiving, so I didn't stress out too much about the fit.
The pattern calls for binding at the neckline and armhole, but there are very few things less appealing than trying to do a binding with slinky. I just made a plain band and topstitched the neckband down. It was much less fussy than messing around with a binding.
The neckline on the Ottobre tank is a bit higher than the Renfrew V neck, so it shows a bit, but I like the casual, layered look that results, so I'm pleased. I'm glad I finally tried out this Ottobre tee as well. It's the basis for several other styles in that issue, so it'll be fun to try out some of those!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Jalie 2908 jeans

This month I've been toiling away behind the scenes on my muslin for the Craftsy pants fitting class. After 3 attempts, I still felt like I was sitting at square one. So frustrated! So naturally, I decided to make a pair of jeans. That makes sense, right?
Are they perfect? No. I didn't even tissue fit them. I just wanted to sew.
But are they wearable? You betcha! And I needed some basic jeans, so I will wear them, imperfections and all. As an aside, I apologize for the picture quality. The DSLR isn't available to me at the moment and the lighting was too wacky for my iPhone. It's snowing and overcast today.
The pattern is Jalie 2908, which I made before here. That pair is no longer in my wardrobe for several reasons, but the primary reason is that the low rise just wasn't working for me anymore. Too much tummy fluff - it needs to be reigned in! This time I went up a size (sigh) and used the mid-rise view.
Over the years, I've learned that there are a few alterations that I always need on commercially drafted pants, so I incorporated those changes here. I added an inch to the height of the rise and scooped out the back crotch curve, to allow for gravity's effect on my assets. I also pinched about 1/2 inch out of the back waist to remove the gapping that always happens back there.
Since I made these just for the fun of it, I went a little crazy and made the back pockets a bit wild. I basically just doodled with my sewing machine, so they don't match at all. I used pink upholstery thread for most of the topstitching, except for the "wings" on my pockets, which are wool Aurifil in a cream color.
The fabric is a stretch denim left over from this skirt. It really has a bit more stretch than I would generally use for jeans, but I was stashbusting and unsure how these would turn out anyway. I think they're going to be fine. Since they are a bit snug, the extra stretch is appreciated. For an on a whim project, I'm fairly pleased with these. Now what next? I'm feeling a little sluggish in the mojo department at the moment, so we'll see...

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Ottobre 03/2004-20 sweatpants

My jeans are just a few stitches away from done (just belt loops and hems), but there was a sewing emergency when Logan blew the knees out of the third pair of pants this week. I asked him if he wanted to go get new pants at Target (He had nothing else to wear to school today.), but he said no. He needs me to make them. Awwww.
Of course, I couldn't refuse his plea, so I burnt a little midnight oil last night making up Ottobre 03/2004, model 20.
This is a very basic pattern, but that really is what Logan prefers, so that works out for me. I used a nice soft fleece backed sweatshirting for the pant. The pattern calls for poplin for the pocket lining and facing, so I used a fun quilting cotton with a Thomas the Train print.
Logan likes his Thomas pockets.
The pocket design is actually pretty fun, as there is a small cutout in front that allows the printed lining to peek out intentionally. I managed to position it so that Thomas is visible on both sides.
In back, the pattern has two pocket options, either a patch pocket or a zippered welt. Since I was strapped for time, I just slapped on the patch pocket, but Logan really liked the welt pocket when I showed him the picture in the magazine, so I'll make him another pair with that detail.
Pants are tricky for Logan, as he has some sensory issues, so trying out a new pattern is always risky, but he really likes these, so happily we've found a winner that I can use for a while. This style is drafted all the way up to size 170! Yay!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Sewing Meetup!

Y'all, I'm always so envious of the bloggers in places like New York, London, Wellington - you know, where they all meet up and hang out and talk fabric. But today I got a chance to have my own meetup with the lovely Laura of A Make it Yourself Mom's Diary. She happened to be in Salt Lake for a family wedding and was able to take a couple of hours with me for some fabric shopping and antiquing.
Here we are hanging out in front of the Bridal fabrics at Yellow Bird Fabrics. If you are a garment sewist and you come to Salt Lake, you MUST come to see Yellow Bird. Amy stocks the most beautiful fabrics and the prices are very reasonable. We had fun petting the Liberty Lawn and admiring the quality of the jerseys. While we were there, Sunni popped in and we got a chance to catch up a little. In fact, she was kind enough to take this picture for us. Thanks, Sunni!
After Yellow Bird, we headed over to Capitol City Antiques. Their vintage pattern selection never disappoints! We also had fun checking out all the other fun vintage lovelies - tons of Pyrex and even a couple of vintage sewing machines.
There were a ton of cool vintage cameras from all eras. Check out Laura with the Instamatic! Too cool!
The vintage fashions were seriously rocking! We thing this is a dress. Someone thought it would be a good idea to couch yarn in a vaguely floral pattern and then decorate them with pom-poms. I kid you not... So, we had a super fun time, and I really enjoyed getting to hang out with Laura and get to know her better.

And of course, I found some pretties...
At Yellow Bird, I picked up this gorgeous red cotton lace and the Sewaholic Thurlow pattern. The lace will be a pencil skirt. I've been waffling about getting the Thurlow pattern, as I have a ton of pants patterns already, but these seem to work well for many ladies, so I decided to give them a try.
At Capitol City Antiques, I brought home a few lovely patterns, both for me and for Myra (and her Barbies), as well as some fun buttons.
But wait, check out the buttons!! Seriously, how could I leave those behind?! Perfect for a sewcialist. What an awesome day!! Thanks so much for sharing it with me, Laura!!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Catching up: muslins and pockets and presents

Wow, I can't believe it's been so long since I posted last! The mojo has taken a bit of a nose dive, although I have been sewing some, just all behind the scenes sort of stuff.
Several months ago, I enrolled in the Pants Fitting Class at Craftsy. I've been watching the videos at a leisurely pace, and I finally dove in and made a muslin. Then altered the muslin. I'm not going to show you the first one. It was SO. BAD.
No bad, eh? So, I transferred all of the changes I made to the pattern, and sewed up a second muslin. I never do that, but I wanted to follow the class and get the muslin right before I plow right in to the fashion fabric. I'm glad I did because the second one was WAAAAY too tight. No pictures of that either. I couldn't bear to take any. I slashed open the front princess seams and made some more alterations. Then I ran out of steam. I just don't know if I am going to move forward with these pants.
So naturally, the most logical thing to do when you can't get a pair of pants to fit is to make a pair of jeans, right? Since I know the Jalie pattern fits me with minimal alterations, I traced the higher waist version and just cut. No muslin, no tissue fit. I just wanted to sew. I'm sure this will bite me in the butt, but I'm actually having fun with these, so I don't care. Like my pockets? I was feeling a little wild, so I went with asymmetrical, a la Tanit-Isis.
In between, when I couldn't decided what I wanted to sew, I decided to do some reorganizing of the stash. Whenever new fabric comes into the stash, I immediately pre-treat it so that it will be ready to cut whenever the mood strikes. The exception to this is pure wool and silk (and blends of the two). I've always been nervous about just throwing these fibers in the wash, but I know I won't take finished garments to the dry cleaners, so I need to find a way to make them conform to my clothing care style. I've decided that I'm going to wash all the silks on a delicate cycle and hang them to dry. That way, even if I lose a little sheen, at least I'll actually wear the finished garments. I'm contemplating doing the same with the wools. I've even tried out a wool that wasn't too dear and it came out well, so I'm pressing forward. I really want these fabrics to have a home in my closet and life.
But I saved the best for last! The lovely and talented LadyKatza sent me this wonderful package, and it arrived a couple of days ago. Myra immediately grabbed the Princess patterns and carted them around the house all afternoon, asking me when I was going to make them for her (and me!). The fabric is a fabulous embroidered twill with a generous stretch that runs with the grain. Myra wants it, but I think it may end up as a pencil skirt for me. It's so fun!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Kitschy Coo Skater Dress - Mermaid style

So, a couple of weeks ago, Myra mentioned that she wanted a mermaid costume. Since she asks me for a different princess costume on a daily basis, I sort of blew her off (also, I was in the middle of the coat, so I wasn't willing to be derailed). This time, the request stuck, and when she started asking on an hourly basis, we went fabric shopping for mermaid appropriate knits.
We did have a challenging time agreeing on a design. Myra really wanted a tail that was closed at the bottom. She's 4, so the reality of needing to walk just wasn't that important to her. Finally I convinced her (with the help of Google Images) that she really needed to be able to walk, and we agreed on a tail style. I used this tutorial for the fins.
The basic pattern is the sleeveless version of the Kitschy Coo Skater dress. It's such a great basic dress, obviously easily customizable. I think I'm going to use it for some further princess dresses. It's so nice when dress up dresses are comfortable and durable.
The fabrics we used were a hodgepodge of knits from Joann and Hancock. The nude knit on top is Joann's "Jet Set" poly knit. The sequin mesh for the shells and the green sparkle knit for the tail are both from Hancock's costume collection and the fins are poly organza from the BFF collection at Hancock.
To make Myra's "shells", I just cut a strip of the sequin knit and gathered it along the middle. I appliqued it to the bodice at around the bust level. I don't have a great back view, but I did extend the applique around the back, narrowing the band at center back to better approximate a bikini top.
The fins are just rough semicircles of organza (again, I based them on this 'tute.), pleated randomly along the front hemline for some volume. In the tutorial, the edges are finished with Fray Chek, which looks really nice, but Myra was breathing over my shoulder to wear this, so I serged the edges to finish them. Would have been nice if I had green thread, huh?
For the skirt, I used the Skater dress skirt, but slimmed it by taking several small wedges out of the pattern piece. I lengthened it to ankle length at center front and pegged it just slightly to give it more of a tail shape, but not enough to restrict movement.
My little princess is very pleased with her new mermaid costume. I'm happy with how quickly it worked up (about 3 hours, including pattern alterations) and how much she likes it. I think we'll be hanging out "Under the Sea" quite a bit in the near future.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

New Look 6000

Better late than never, my Polka Dot Frock Fest frock is done!!
Do I look smug? I can't believe how quickly this dress sewed up. When I was was cutting it out on the last day of February I didn't think I had a prayer of getting it done in a reasonable time frame, but once I got it going, it practically sewed itself.
The pattern I used is New Look 6000, and I chose the view with the side pleats. I really love that collar, but since I was trying for a quick finish, I went for simple. For the sleeve, I lengthened the elbow length sleeve to a bracelet length and slimmed it a bit. As far as size goes, I honestly couldn't tell you what all I did. I started with the size 14, since the measurements on the pattern seemed logical for a fitted sheath on me, but I ended up taking it in quite a bit as I made it, so I think I ended up somewhere between a 10 and a 12. I did cut the shoulders at a 12 and took in the back neckline, as New Look patterns always gape at the back neck on me.
Speaking of the neckline, here it is up close. I was concerned that the neckline would be too wide, so I sewed the facings on with a 3/8 seam allowance to raise the neckline a tad. It worked well, and the neckline is still low enough in front that it doesn't choke me.
The feature of the dress that makes it unique is the pleats on the side. They look complex, but they were surprisingly easy to make. The fabric I chose (a poly moleskin from FabricMart) had a good amount of body to support the pleats well, but I think made it a bit too poofy in front. Fabric choice is really key, I think with this dress. Too much drape and I think the pleats may sag, but too much body and...
Well, not my most flattering look then, is it?You can see the pleats aren't doing me any favors from the side.
On the plus side, the fit in the back is pretty awesome. Between the back darts and the center back seam, there are plenty of opportunities to refine the fit if needed, but it is drafted really well back there, at least for me.
From the front though, it is a really nice look, and the dress itself is very comfortable. I wore it on Saturday and the pouchy tummy didn't bother me, so I suspect that I will actually wear this often. I love that it hits the graphic black and white trend, which I like the look of but never seem to manage to do myself. I love COLOR!