They let me guest post…!?!

Over at the Sewcialists blog I posted about a few of the bloggers that inspire me in preparation for August’s Tribute Month. If you aren’t already following them, go check it out!

https://sewcialists.wordpress.com/

Things that tick me off Thursday

Another Thursday, another peeve. Today I’m bitching about the post office. Not the people at our tiny local office–they’re fantastic–but the postal system in general. These are probably pretty universal, so even if you don’t deal with the US postal service, you can probably relate by inserting your local variation here.

  • What part of DO NOT BEND is so hard to understand? Does it need to be in French? (I got an envelope from Canada that said it in French and English and it was actually heeded–but several in English only have been bent all to hell).
  • Why such a long lunch break? What if lunch is the only time I have to get my package mailed? What is so wrong with doing a lunch rotation like everyone else does? Does the post office think they’re employees are speshul?
  • And why does it close so early? If I had an 8-5 job, I have no idea how I’d ever utilize the postal system, since they are closed during lunch AND THEY GO HOME EARLY!! What?! Maybe it’s different at the larger hubs in bigger cities, but I’ve never lived in one of those.
  • Oh wait. I suppose if I worked I could try to squeeze it in during the couple of hours they’re open on Saturday with everyone else. I’d just have to hope that my spot in line reached the counter before closing time. Because when they say they close at 11, they MEAN they close at 11. Maybe I should camp outside like those crazy people do on Black Friday?
  • And why is it so hard to work with their counterparts in other countries? I send a package of patterns to Canada and I have to fill out some “valuation” form, I can’t track it, and it takes an age.
  • Why do they leave packages on my porch when it’s raining?! I’d rather try my hand at picking it up from the office to collect it than hope that whatever I ordered is safely waterproofed inside a melting cardboard box…
  • And lest you think I’m just mad at the USPS, I have similar issues–especially re: rainy days with FedEx and UPS. 😡

Gah! Get it together postal service!

A fail in three parts

But first, a bit of backstory. I made view A of S1589 a long time ago and it has slowly gotten shorter and tighter with every wash, and then it started fraying. I kind of love it though, so I wanted to try it again. But I remembered that I took a lot of excess out of the pattern back when, so I decided to start with the size 14 instead of the 16, (since I know that shrinking in the wash isn’t the only reason it’s tighter now…oops!). So I happily traced off both views thinking that view B was also pretty cute. So cute in fact, that I decided to try it first.

ACT I

I should have traced off the 12. Even though the pattern pieces were similar in width to the blue muumuu, and I used similar fabric, for whatever reason it’s just not as flattering. Possibly because there is even less shaping and no darts? Maybe because the back is so much wider since it has that split? I don’t know. It also ended up being longer than needed (this is my fault, I added about 3″ to make damn sure it never showed my belly), and it’s REALLY wide at the hips–which would be great if I needed to smuggle an entire snackbar into a movie theater, buuuuut no.

ACT II

Why I bought this particular floral is beyond me. Was I drunk? Because this is the coyote ugly of fabric, and it doesn’t flatter my coloring at all. When will I ever learn to stay away from pastel colors?! And while the floral pattern is just OK in flat fabric, I don’t like it in shirt form.

ACT III

Not only did I buy a spectacularly unflattering and homely fabric, I didn’t buy enough of it to make anything! I ended up cutting one of the back pieces on the cross grain because I was desperate to see what it would look like. Which is crap. Absolute crap that doesn’t even look good on the mannequin. Argh!

Lessons learned?

  • Quit buying fabric without a project in mind.
  • Quit buying Joann’s rayons (did I mention this fabric had snags and holes?! 😡 Just like the blue from the blue muumuu. Grrr!!) It’s not like they are a “bargain”!
  • Ignore all sizing instructions *except* the finished garment measurements. With the exception of Lekala and maybe Burda, the size charts seem off.
  • No more pastels–they make me look like a corpse!

Making in May Roundup

My calendar tells me that somehow May is over and June has begun. When I was a kid, my parents used to talk about how the time just went by so fast; I thought they were crazy, because as a kid it just seemed to drag. Guess they weren’t so crazy after all–or at least not about that. 😜

My goal was to sew up at least 4 new shirts. I failed, but here is what I did manage to accomplish.

  • Made up burp rags and bibs for my future niece (she’s still “cooking”, thank goodness, although my sister says she is welcome to come anytime–a feeling every pregnant woman can relate to!) I wish I had gotten pictures of the finished versions, but I forgot. I did get pics of the fabrics I used though, so hopefully that’s an acceptable substitute!

    WP_20170502_08_58_48_Pro

    I didn’t use the crescent moon fabric, just the others.

  • A “test” version of Lekala 4562, which has been worn basically as soon as it has come out of the wash every time. The question isn’t “if” I’ll be making another, it’s “how soon?”
  • Another kind of tester version of Lekala 4420, which I don’t like near as much as the first version, and much less than the blue muumuu. I took out the neck pleats and turned them into a bust dart, but I’m not sure it worked quite right. And I really wish I would have narrowed up the shoulders, because it’s got a weird dropped sleeve sleeveless vibe going on. Totally my fault though, because I was planning to put the sleeves from 4562 on it until the absolute last second. However, the pocket I put on it is perfect, and will be replacing the useless flap on the next version of 4562, because pockets are cuter and can be useful for small “treasures” Scotch picks up on our walks.

    WP_20170525_09_01_29_Pro (2)

    It’s also slightly tighter than I’d like, not constrictive, just not quite as loose and flowy as it should be.

  • I managed to get 7(!) pairs of undies stitched up only to stall out when it came time to apply the elastic because I didn’t have enough matching elastics for the job. I’m hoping to finish them soon. It will be nice to not have hol(e)y underwear again, LOL!

In related news, I’ve got a pretty good sized order of stretchy denim and navy twill winging it’s way to me for making up some Jalie Elenore’s and some Burda shorts. I thought at first I’d maybe just try to find some shorts at a thrift store, but all the cute ones I found weren’t in my size and I got tired of digging. Kudos for those of you who have the patience to thrift shop–if the sizes aren’t grouped together, I wear out quickly.

Cleanup!

Last night, I wrapped up a second version of Lekala 4420 minus the sleeves and with some contrast bands and a pocket that I literally traced from my Jalie 2908 jeans pattern. It’s in the wash right now, so we’ll see what happens when it comes out, but no matter what I’m sure it’ll be fine for a summer work shirt, which is another hole in my closet that needs some serious filling. (Let’s put it this way, it’s summer, and the only things in my closet besides a half dozen less crappy t-shirts are the long sleeved shirts/sweaters that I’ve made over the last couple of winters, and that isn’t even an exaggeration.)

After finishing that though, I started doing some cleanup in my disaster zone that I lovingly call a sewing room. I filed away the pattern pieces for the McCall’s maxi I made for the wedding, cut up a bunch of knit scraps into undies, fixed a couple of missing buttons on an old Kwik Sew blouse, sewed down the facing on my velvet Jetson’s dress, and sewed on some patches for my son’s Cub Scout uniform. Sometimes I’m amazed at how much I can get done in a short period of time when I set my mind to it. I think that all took about an hour and a half. And bonus, now I’m not stepping on it or tripping over it!

P.S. on my Making in May challenge, I’ve got two shirts, some bibs and burp rags for my coming-any-day-now niece, and by tomorrow I hope to have some new undies and a t-shirt. Progress is being made, just slower and more crammed into the end of the month than originally planned, HA! Procrastination should be my middle name…or maybe my first! 😀

SOLD!

So I wore my blue muu muu yesterday, and it’s seriously amazing to wear.

Flattering? Probably not, though the color of this particular one is perfection.

Low maintenance? HAHAHA NOPE (I’ll be ironing that bitch every time it comes out of the washer. 😦 )

Comfortable? If feeling like you’re wearing nothing at all, whilst still being appropriately covered is comfortable, then WINNER WINNER CHICKEN DINNER!! 😉

So, I guess while I say that I’m sold on it, I do wish it were in a lower maintenance fabric that still had the same drape and breathe-ability as the challis. Anyone got some suggestions of this miracle for me?

I’m nearing the end of the May deadline, and I’m frantically working on another Lekala frankenpattern. Fingers crossed that it fits when I’m done–it seems like it is going to be a smidge tighter than expected, so some extra hacking may be in order. After that, I think I’m going to make some TNT t-shirts to help fill out my closet, because I can’t keep wearing this 😛 :

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#keepingitclassy 😆 but also #keepingitreal

On the fence

I just finished sewing up a test run of Lekala 4562, and I’m just not quite sure about it. I mean, I think it would get a lot of wear during the summer when I’m working outside and sweating like crazy because it’s loose and flowing, but I was hoping it would be a bit more…flattering. I don’t know. It’s currently running through a load of warm water clothes to see if it looks better once the starch is washed out and it maybe shrinks a bit, because right now it’s a muu-muu. 😕 We’ll see. I’m keeping my fingers crossed because I was hoping to make 2 or 3 actual versions with fabric that doesn’t have holes in it from the prewash. 😡 (Side note: why is it that Jo-Ann has all the cute prints/good selection in challis, but the quality is so hit and miss that it’s hard to buy it there?) In fact, the shirt has a hole right under the bust dart–grrr! I was trying to miss it, but I didn’t technically have enough fabric for the pattern, and even though I marked it with a pin, it must have shifted when I went to cutting. Oh well. For a work shirt I don’t really care.

Notes on the pattern:

  • It has you hem it before you sew up the side seams. This seemed like a weird/scary idea, but it actually worked out perfectly.
  • I’m always impressed at how well Lekala patterns print out on my printer–even when it’s being a brat. The lines match up nearly perfectly every time, and even when I’ve had to fudge it a bit, I’ve never had a problem with pieces not matching up. Knock on wood.
  • The sleeve cap is asymmetrical–it’s subtle, but it’s there, so pay attention and mark your notches accordingly (and put two in the back to make it easier for you!) I think I sewed my sleeves on backwards, they fit, but I’m pretty sure they are backwards.
  • I would have preferred a patch pocket to the weird little flap. That’s an easy change, but I wanted to make it “as-is”, to see if it really was a cute detail that I was sneering at and would end up loving later (tell me I’m not the only one who has this happen?). I remain unconvinced.
  • I didn’t add any length, and I don’t think I needed to for a change. This one is plenty long from the start. I’m not sure if it was a measurement I changed or if something has been updated, but before it seemed like everything I printed was too short. Just keep an eye on it before you cut your fabric, this is super easy to fix on paper, but not with the fabric already cut!
  • I don’t think the sleeve cuffs will stay put in the drapey fabric. Scratch that, I know they won’t. And I’m not sure how to stitch them down so that it’s invisible either. I was thinking blindhem, but it’s the opposite of what my machine does, so…?

Anyway, not sure what else I can say about a super simple woven t-shirt, so I’ll wrap it up. It’s a quick sew, and I’m so desperate for summer shirts that I’ll probably wear it to death even if it doesn’t come out of the washer any better than it went in. Maybe I’ll just take it in a bit…maybe. 😉

Have you ever made an unintentional muu-muu? Did you wear it anyway?

A big fat fail. M7350

So, basically every one of my husband’s family is getting married this year. OK, not really, but there are four weddings for his family in 2017, and two of them were a week apart. 3 for cousins, but this one is his sister’s wedding. Which since we’ve been married since she was about 10(?), she’s basically a sister to me too, and I wanted something special.

Except I procrastinated. I waited until the week before the wedding to decide on a dress pattern, and then picked out my fabric. All was going well, I had made some notes about the pattern and my changes which I’ve detailed below in case I ever want to try again…

McCall’s 7350

  • There is 4.5″ of positive ease in the waistline of this dress. This was good for me (although I still needed more room, so I added it in), but it could be bad for you. Pay attention to the finished measurements which are printed helpfully on the pattern–thanks McCall’s!!
  • I added to the waistline by shifting the pattern piece away from the fold 1/4 of the total amount I needed after taking account of the 5/8″ seam allowances. For me, this meant about 1″. This will mean that my bodice/skirt gathering won’t be as dramatic, but I’m OK with that.
  • I usually trace, but since McCall’s must have been listening to my internal (and possibly on social media) rants and nested the pieces inside each other, I didn’t lose any of the sizes when I cut the size 14. Thank goodness for that!
  • I cut the size 12 around the shoulders/neckline, it didn’t take much off, but hopefully it will be enough based on previous McCall’s experience.
  • I did the lazy knit FBA of going back out to the 14 on the side seams. Since I’m petite, I don’t usually need to add extra length, and should probably start taking it out of the back, but I didn’t do that.
  • The length of this dress is probably perfect for someone who is about 5’7″, but I’m 5’2″ or 5’3″, depending on who does the measuring, so I folded out 4″ at the lengthen/shorten line.

But then, disaster struck. You have to cut the maxi skirt pieces on a single layer because they are so wide. I cut two right fronts. I even swore I checked it because I was nervous about doing that very thing, but it still happened. At first I was devastated. I had gotten the end of the bolt and couldn’t find any more, I was two days until it had be worn, and out of ideas. So I slept on it. I went back to the fabric store to see if just maybe they had some. Nope. Then I decided to just use a shorter skirt view and recut the skirt pieces. Worked like a charm, and I thought I was home free.

Except.

As I started sewing up the bodice, I began to have doubts. Something about it just didn’t look quite right, so I pinned it together and had my husband look at it. His mouth said “Well….”, but his face said “NOPE”. So I scrapped it. Well, ok, I didn’t scrap it, I’m hoping to recreate the skirt pieces into something else (maybe a skirt, heh?) And that is how I ended up wearing the exact same dress to two weddings in the same family 2 weeks in a row. After I washed it, of course. 😉

Last Minute Wedding Dress M7121

And when I say last minute, I mean it. I think it was hemmed an hour before we left for cousin B’s wedding. You might not know this, but it’s wedding mania around here for my husband’s family. OK, so there’s only 4 this year, but that still feels like a lot. Probably because the one last weekend was for my SIL, which was a very big deal for obvious reasons. 🙂

The pattern was a repeat of McCall’s 7121, which I made way back when in a much fancier fabric. Since I had worn that dress to my brother in law’s wedding, I wasn’t sure I wanted to wear it to yet another wedding from that side of the family. It just would have been weird, you know? <–[Ed. Note: HA!]

So I hemmed and hawed until the day before the wedding. As you do. I ran to the fabric store, bought the last of a really quite gorgeous ITY (side note: I usually hate 100% poly fabrics with the fire of a thousand suns, but this one was actually quite nice.) and hoped that my children would behave long enough for me to sew it. It turns out, my children weren’t going to be the problem–*I* was.

You see, I made that dress in 2015, but stupidly failed to note the pattern size/changes I made anywhere and also in a fit of complete idiocy managed to throw away the pieces I had traced off with the size/changes I needed on them. So, I did my best to recreate them in my limited time and thankfully, it worked out.

So for future me, here’s my changes, feel free to skip them if you aren’t into that sort of thing.

  • I used the shoulders and neckline from the size 12, going to the size 14 at the side seam (lazy knit FBA).
  • I took about 4″ off the hem (which I need to do on the pattern pieces, because I took that off the dress after it was sewn).
  • I left the center back seam to minimize the yardage used (I got this out of the last 2.5 yards on the bolt with very little waste–I also managed to eek out a pair of undies, and am hoping to make a matching bra from the rest of the scraps.) This will not work for a directional print, obviously.
  • I cut the front on the fold by increasing the indentation on the side seam to account for the addition to the center front. If you want to do the same, you need to adjust the pieces as you trace them off and true your grainline.
  • I joined the bodice and skirt pieces of both front and back. This dress has a lot of seaming so that you can make the cool chevron effect with stripes, but I haven’t managed to try that yet. If you do that, remember to take out the seam allowances at the waistline.

The finished dress is gorgeous, and got lots of compliments–probably because no one could see the dog’s breakfast I made of the hem. Pro Tip: Don’t use your serger to trim off excess hem, it will end badly if you goof even the slightest bit. And I did goof, but thankfully it’s impossible to tell when the dress is in motion and/or everyone around you is focusing on the dance/their booze/the newlyweds. 😉

Anyway, I’m sure that’s enough ramblings, you’re really only here to see the dress, right? (Hover over the images for captions.)

So these were unintentionally lightened. IRL the color is a dark royal blue, almost a royal navy. And I have to say that my dressform doesn’t quite do it the justice that my body does–which is quite a detour from normal!

Anyway, I loved it so much that I actually wore it to both B’s wedding and my SIL’s wedding because: [spoiler] I had a wadder (more on that later). I did actually buy a backup dress for the other wedding, but I just couldn’t make myself wear it when I’d already wasted so much $$ on the wadder. 😦 And to think I’m the one who harps about ‘sunk costs’ all the time…!

Wardrobe planning, if you can call it that

Since my last post, I’ve been doing some poking around through my stash and on the internet to see what options look like they would work best for my time constraints and my fabric stash–I’d like to avoid buying more fabric if possible. I’ve got plenty in my stash already, and some of it has been “marinating” long enough.

I have a fair amount of rayon challis and stretch cotton wovens, so I’m starting by deciding what sorts of patterns work best with those. (Hover over the pictures to see the pattern numbers.)

I’m really smitten with the woven tee and the shirt with the boob flaps. (I’d probably skip the boob flaps on mine though? Depends on how hard it would be to remove them.) I have the JJ Blouse, which is similar to Lekala 4370, but it’s going to take some work to get it to fit me again. The one with the knot intrigues me, but I suspect that the opening below the knot will go clear to my belly button.

In my stash, I have a few Big 4 that might also be appropriate.

I’ve made both S1589 (Love!!) and S1614 (It’s pretty, but meh. I wear it as a nightie sometimes.) 1589 is actually desperately needing to go to the trash, but I haven’t had the heart to toss it yet. Challis is fairly “reversible”, so if I have a big enough piece, I could probably make M6991 (can you believe it’s OOP already?!). And I really love S1373, which might work for one of my stretch wovens that I’ve been hoarding.

So that’s already a lot, and I haven’t even started on my t-shirt selections! I’d like to weed it down to two or three and add a knit tee or two. Anything in particular catching your eye?