Shorts fail

Well, Simplicity 1808 was a big, fat fail for me. I should have known better. I have a lot of junk in the trunk and a belly in the front, but the thought of elastic waistband jean shorts called to me and I ignored all common sense. The crotch curve on this pattern is laughable. I’m pretty sure (though not positive, since it’s never something I’ve had) that these are designed for the flattest butt to ever flat. There is almost no curve, and then they also add in a crazy amount of ease. The size chart said I needed between a size 18 and a size 20 for my 43″ hips. That size wasn’t even included, so I used the finished measurements and cut a size 14, thinking that the stretch in my denim would cover the rest of the ease.

When I first tried them on they didn’t touch my body at all. Literally. There was an “air moat” between the denim and my skin all the way around. Chub rub was all that held them up. I took out 3″ from the center back and then 4″ more in the form of two darts to get them to fit loosely without being baggy, but while they fit, they looked terrible (think mom jeans), and I decided that was enough. I promptly threw them in the trash.

As I said in my review, I’ve been trying very hard to take accurate measurements and then use them honestly instead of lying to myself. But then you have a project that comes out like this and you wonder if you’re going too far the other direction.

My quest for nicely fitting pull on shorts continues…

Heatwave Sewing Part 2

Quite a long time ago, like June of last year, I attempted a muslin of the blouse from V1440. It’s a gorgeous blouse, or at least the back is, and I wanted it for my very own. The muslin I made didn’t have near enough room in the chestal region, and after a fail I get bored and tend to move on instead of going back and working out what went wrong. Also, I really liked that fabric, so I was a bit upset with myself that I couldn’t make it work.

So a little over a year later, I decided to try again. I had found this super pretty voile(?) print at JoAnn’s, and since it was 100% cotton, I thought it would be the perfect thing for the heat we’ve been having. Being a bit smarter this time around, I made a test garment, added an FBA, and got to work. It’s still too snug to wear with a normal bra, but it works just fine with my racerback sports bra. And with the sports bra, there’s no straps showing, BONUS!

A few notes for next time (and the last couple of people who haven’t already sewn this up):

  • It is designed for someone with a pretty extreme pear shape IMO (and the lovely Amy of almondrock concurred when I mentioned it on Twitter.)
  • This means you can have your tummy and cover it too!
  • I tried the Sewing Lawyer’s method for attaching the facings, and while it worked, it was fiddly. No fault of hers, I just was having one of those days (and outside super wide facings are just plain fiddly in general).
  • I hate the collar. Unless it’s buttoned all the way up (so not my style) it’s just huge. HUGE. No.
  • Also, never EVER try to sew a collar with 5/8″ seam allowances. I’ve made many collars, and this one about broke me. If this would have been my first try at one, I’d probably never have tried another collared shirt, deeming them too hard. And that would be sad.
  • This isn’t meant to be a fitted blouse, and while I know that I could have done a bit better job on it, it’s intended for wearing during a hot summer, and I figure when we’re all sweaty and miserable, not many are going to notice the pooling in the back. Less sticking to my skin for the win!
  • I skipped the hidden placket, they’re just too bulky in an area where I already have enough bulk, thankyouverymuch. Plus, I had the most perfect buttons and I didn’t want to hide them. Seriously, they are perfect, and they just happened to be in my stash!

In spite of it’s flaws (and they are legion), I love this blouse, and am excited to wear it out!

What have you been sewing? I’ve been working on some shorts too, but they may yet be a fail. I’m still trying to work out how to have my pull on jean shorts and have them fit too. They’re almost done, so we’ll see.

Heatwave sewing

I don’t know what the weather has been like where you are, but here it’s been miserable. So I have been spending more time in my sewing loft enjoying the air conditioning.

The first thing I made was Lekala 4119 in a super cheap (and for good reason!) rayon jersey from Walmart. I bought the fabric because I couldn’t resist the perfect shade of red, but the recovery is non-existent. So, it went from shirt to mini-dress over the course of the first day. It’s OK though, because it was more of a test to see how the pattern worked and if I liked it. And I’m glad that I didn’t use a special fabric for it, because it needs some tweaks. On McCall’s 6069, the front drape has a huge lining that just looks better IMO (though it is hotter to wear). This Lekala doesn’t have that, and the drape flips out and you can see the wrong side and your inner stitching (and if you’re like me, a sliver of the black stay tape you applied to the neckline, d’Oh!)

See how long it is if it doesnt fit your hips? The drape looks lovely in this fabric though.

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For next time, I’d definitely make some changes.

  • Better fabric. Seriously, it has to have some recovery, or it won’t stay snugged up on your hips. And if it won’t stay snugged up on your hips, it’s heavy enough that it will just stretch longer as the day goes on.
  • The armholes on this one seemed REALLY low, but I’m not sure if that was the poor recovery of the fabric and being pulled down or if it is something that actually needs to be addressed.
  • Maybe figure out some sort of facing. I don’t love how big the facing is on that McCall’s, but I don’t like how this one flips out. There needs to be a middle ground, I just don’t know what it is yet. Or maybe I should just do like my RTW drape blouse does and have matching serger thread and simply serge the raw edge and leave it alone.

Anyway, while I’ve worn this version a couple of times, simply because my summer shirt selection is pitiful, I don’t plan to keep wearing it.

Wedding Guest Outfit Idea #234256

So ever since that last post, I’ve been deliberating (and sewing, HOORAY, but not for this, unfortunately). And in my deliberations, it was suggested to go for some palazzo pants. I liked the idea of palazzo pants so much that I kind of set myself on them….until…I saw this:

This is a jumpsuit from the April 2016 issue of Burda. If I can figure out the perfect fabric (it says it’s for jersey, but I’d really rather use a floaty woven with a bit of spandex–rayon crepe perhaps?), this decision is made. I’m aiming for royal blue or teal, silver heels, a sticky bra, and some sort of simple hairstyle that will likely be determined by the weather.

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I’m kinda liking these shoes, though I’ll admit I was originally looking for something a bit more…delicate?

Now, if you’ve seen me comment on my fear of jumpsuits+ calls of nature, this is still a valid concern, but I’ve got an idea that involves an extra long invisible zip

P.S. None of the links are affiliated or whatever–they are so that I can finally close the tabs I have open and find the stuff later.πŸ™‚

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Wait! Where did June go?!?!

Since my last post it has been crazy here, and in that whirlwind of activity I have done some sewing, but it’s all boring stuff like pillowcases and pajamas for Scotch and a couple of “neck coolers” because it’s been fucking A HOT around here. Mostly though, I’ve been doing planning–I have a brother in law getting married in early September that I helped with a shower for the bride to be, and then there was a milestone birthday party for Irish and that basically ate up June. And of course, we can’t forget harvest and swim lessons! I always tell people “we’re pretty much home whenever”, but then I look back and that never seems to ring true. It feels like we don’t have anything going on, but when I look back, it feels like we haven’t stopped “going” for….I don’t know, ever. Know what I mean?

Anyway, so when I was at my in-laws on Sunday, they were all bothered about getting hotel rooms reserved in this tiny town where the wedding will be. At first, I was all “pshh”, but then I realized that we’re basically halfway through July and I’m not sure where June went. So it got me to thinking about the fact that I have no idea what to wear to this event. I’ve been told that it’s bad juju or something to wear a black dress to a wedding, so that eliminates my Christmas Dress. I ruined my Easter dress in the wash (*sob*), it might be salvaged for less “dressy” occasions, but…😦 I have this maxi dress, but it’s kind of itchy to wear for long periods of time (but so pretty!). And that pretty much is all the dresses I own.

Honestly, I don’t even know if I want to wear a dress or not. This isn’t helped by the fact that September on the plains is notoriously unpredictable. It could be blazing hot or windy and chilly. Well, it’s nearly guaranteed to be windy, I suppose.πŸ˜‰ If I do go for a dress though, I waded through Lekala’s website for ideas and came up with these:

Lekala 5962. Not in love with the weird hem, but otherwise it’s OK.

Lekala 5960. Another halter dress. Not totally sold on the color blocking, but I think it could be cute–I struggle with line drawings sometimes.

5463. OK, so I know I’m crazy, but I’m envisioning this with long fringe at the bottom instead of a flounce. #RedneckπŸ˜‰

4451. This one almost feels like the “safe” choice. I just worry about my belly pulling those pleats open unattractively…though, it is supposed to be made to measure, and my little 3D gal is scarily accurate…

4437. This one might be my favorite of this bunch. That neckline is scandalously low for an event with such a religious group of people though. On the other hand, I have a pretty awesome rack that won’t last forever, so maybe should I flaunt it while I still can.πŸ˜‰

I don’t know, at this point nothing is set in stone. I tend to be more comfortable in pants, so maybe I should find a nice blouse pattern instead. I just wasn’t seeing anything that screamed “wedding”. What would you do? Like any of the dresses above? Think I should find a nice blouse and rock some slacks?

Things that tick me off Thursday

I realize it’s Friday, but I didn’t get this post finished last night. Sorry!

Maybe I’m the only one who is bothered by this, but I’m throwing this out there anyway.

I hate all the extra stitches and complicated menus to find said stitches on new sewing machines. There. I said it. I have no need or desire for dozens/hundreds of fancy stitches that I’ll never use. I want a basic machine that does all the important stitches and buttonholes, and that’s it. All those extra stitches do is make it harder to find the one you want in the menu. I’d rather have a simple machine that does a select few stitches flawlessly than a fancy machine that does a mediocre job on dozens of stitches. Why is it so hard to get a basic machine with all the buttonholes, adjustable presser foot pressure, and a knee lift? Are there seriously that many people who want to stitch lines of wobbly pinecones or deformed maple leaves on their garments?

As an example, my current machine is a Pfaff that I bought in 2009-ish. I’ve had issues with it from the beginning because it’s buttonhole feature isn’t worth a damn. I’ve used the decorative stitches maybe 3 times, and each time I’ve been slightly disappointed with the quality of those stitches when they were done because they weren’t perfect. Yes, I’m a perfectionist, but then, aren’t most people who sew their own clothes? Isn’t that kind of the point? If we weren’t perfectionists, we’d wear just whatever in the hell we could find on the rack and be done with it. I’ve always felt that if it were a few less tricks of a pony, it might do a better job on the critical bits.

Anyone else with me on this?

An experiment in chiffon

I bought all the supplies yesterday to make up a couple (or a half dozen) bras out of some polyester chiffon. I like the “delicate” look you get from mesh, but I don’t like the way it feels on, so I decided that I’d give some chiffon a try. Worst case I’m out like $5 worth of non-reusable supplies, best case I have a pretty bra.πŸ˜‰ I even bought extra fabric to try and make a matching set.πŸ˜‰ I haven’t had a matching set for years, and even when I did, it was very rare that I wore the pieces together, since the knickers with the cheap sets always sucked.

Here’s what the two fabrics I chose look like–obviously I’m not affiliated with Joann’s.

I’m going to try my hand at dyeing the elastic strapping purple or grey and I have beige lace that I really liked with it.

In the right light, this one has an overall red iridescence that is quite pretty and yet impossible to photograph. I’m using black lace and elastics for this one.

I’m hoping to double up the wires to make them stiffer, we’ll have to see how it goes. They may be hard to fit with both sides stitched down (I did test them in the casing as is and they fit just fine). I do have 3 pairs of good RTW wires if I sacrifice my two remaining (and quite worn out, if we’re being honest) bras to this cause. Which, if it works well, I’ll have no problem doing that, but if it doesn’t, I’ll be a bit sad.

I also succumbed to the siren call of a $20/yard silk charmeuse. It’s an incredibly beautiful piece, and I’m hoping to make a pretty cami and tap pants with it. I only bought a yard, but I am hopeful I can get it out of that much. It’s the most expensive fabric I’ve ever purchased, (and it wasn’t even the most expensive piece they had!!) so I hope I can do it justice.

So yeah…that’s what I’m going to be up to.πŸ™‚ How about you?

Nope.

Did some work today on Kwik Sew 3672 pattern, only to discover that I chose a poor fabric mate for it. It happens. It’s annoying, but I’m not devastated. To be honest, I’m not sure that it was realistic for me during exercise anyway, but it might have been ok for sleeping in or lounging in the evening. Basically the fabric felt icky on my skin, it was too lightweight, and too stretchy for the pattern. I might try again someday, but I don’t have anything suitable and I’m trying to minimize my new fabric purchases since we’re hiring contractors to replace our windows and siding* (yay!!!!) instead of doing it ourselves. Because of that, it’s going to be a bit lean and I’ll need to focus on making do with what I already have. And believe me, I have plenty, I just need to focus on it instead of checking out the new and shiny.πŸ˜‰

*This is the first time we’ve let someone else come in and do a whole project. The DIYer/control freak in me is probably going to struggle a bit. But I’m mostly just excited about our house looking nicer and being able to open the windows easily!πŸ™‚

Sewing Plans?

If you follow me on Twitter or IG, you probably already know that I had LASIK done last week. It was a “traumatic*” experience, that while I never want to to do it again, I’m SO glad that I did! I’m still getting used to not having glasses or contacts, and adjusting to what my vision should be like–even though my glasses and contacts made my eyes see, it was different somehow. Hard to explain, even to my eye doctor.

*Read as: I’m an excessively whiny baby. Though, I’m sure it’s not exactly “fun” even if you’re not as much of a baby as I am.

Anyway, so I haven’t had the courage yet to try my hand at sewing (although I did just finish reading an excellent book on my Kindle, so any day now) I’ve been trying to come up with a plan. Before my surgery, I started on Kwik Sew 3672. I haven’t finished it yet, so I don’t know for sure, but I’m not sold on the built-in bra concept, and some of the finishing feels a bit dodgy. Maybe I’ll change my mind when it’s finished though, I’ve been known to do that–both ways!πŸ˜‰

It certainly looks cute on the envelope!

Anyway, after that, it would seem that I need to get back to work on some lingerie. You may have seen my Elomi Betty clone on IG:

Here’s the original, isn’t it cute?

It’s not quite perfect, my fabric is too stretchy, some of my sewing is admittedly dodgy, but it’s very close. I’ve had a harder time breaking it in than I thought I would though, so I definitely think there’s room for improvement. I’ve already altered the pattern pieces to move the straps in more and given myself more of a scoop in the armscye to minimize chafing, it’s just a matter of finishing up one project before moving to the next.

I also downloaded the Maya bra pattern from AFI that’s been all over the internet because someday I want to tackle a strapless and hate the saggy boobs you get with a non-foam version. I want mine to be a push-up!πŸ˜› I went with my RTW size though, because I wouldn’t have even come close to the right cup size if I used her measuring method. Confucius say: My wires are narrow and my cups deep.πŸ˜‰ Anyway, it looks like it should be somewhat close based on placing it with my pieces from my Elomi clone. Hard to tell exactly when my clone is a 3-piece lower cup and the Maya is only a 2 piece lower cup.

Other than that, I’ve been dreaming of making some simple, cool, blouses for summer. I’m planning to revisit Simplicity 1598, since I wore my Jungle January 2015 version to death last summer. Literally, it’s falling apart, but I haven’t had the heart to throw it away, which may be good since it was completely the wrong size to start with and I remember cutting like 6″ off of it to make it fit. So maybe that old version can perform one final service in helping me choose the new size.πŸ™‚ I’m also trying to decide if I want to revisit Lekala 4420 with some short sleeves of some type. Lekala offers a lot of sleeves for free, and I would assume that they would fit the pattern without too much work, but I haven’t been able to make up my mind yet.

So yeah, not much going on here ATM, how about you?

Nothing worth doing comes easy

Apparently that’s my new motto, whether I like it or not. It was either that or “congrats on being an incompetent boob”. I think you can see why I chose the former.

The good news is, I managed to finish my dress, just in the nick of time. The bad news is, I don’t love it. I wore it for the whole day, (and didn’t even get too much chafing!) but it reminds me that I’m just not a lady. I’m not ladylike, I don’t sit with my legs crossed, I hate smoothing a dress before I sit down, and I hate zippers touching my skin. OK, that last one has nothing to do with wearing a dress–there are blouses with zippers too, but they just feel scratchy, and I’m not a fan, I can’t be the only person who feels this way. Also, with a fabric this light, I realized how someone actually could get their dress tucked into their pantyhose/knickers and not notice–before I was always kind of like, “how do you not feel that this is happening?!” It didn’t happen, thankfully, but I can see it now.

The dress is (mostly) NewLook 6211, which is a Suede Says pattern. Originally it was going to be all the turquoise with silver topstitching, but it turns out that even 4 yards of fabric isn’t enough to save your ass when you cut the skirt pieces and don’t take your FBA into account. I could have reused the back skirt pieces, but the front skirt pieces were a lost cause (by about 4″), and I couldn’t find any more of this odd shade of turquoise anywhere. Except on this crazy print from Joann’s. I wasn’t completely sold on the idea, not as I took it to the cutting counter, brought it home and pretreated it, and even as I sewed it up. Now that it’s finished though, I think it turned out rather pretty, even if I’m not a dress-wearer. (Seriously, where does one carry their phone, keys, and wallet when purses are a no go?)

The bodice is self fabric lined, and I used this tutorial from Slapdash Sewist to make it clean finished. I also used this tutorial from a blog I’d never heard of before for the french seam under the invisible zip (which mostly worked, but any error was probably my fault for doing it last second and rushing). Oh, and I used this tutorial from Slapdash Sewist for attaching the lining to the zipper. It’s sad she doesn’t post much (or at all??) anymore–she was/is an amazing resource and seamstress.

I just freehanded the sweetheart neckline, and for my first try, I’m pretty pleased with how it turned out. I do wish I would have “petite-d” the shoulders a little more though–I’m incredibly short from shoulder to apex, and this pattern was drafted for a model whose boobs are quite a bit lower than mine. I also got lazy on the FBA, which was OK, but not perfect. Instead of doing an FBA on the provided pieces, I stole an altered piece from my (unblogged) NewLook 6407 that I converted to an armscye princess seam for my Adventures in Bodice Fitting series. It worked alright, but with movement it gets some “bumps” that look strange. Part of that might be that the lining isn’t tacked to the waistband though. (Mea culpa–I was rushing!!)

I’d guess you want to see this dress that I’ve so gloriously described above, eh?πŸ˜‰ You’re in luck!

Easter Dress Back

Pay no attention to whatever I’m doing with my foot there…#notamodel

Easter Dress Front

It’s all about that crazy swirly skirt, but sadly, none of my twirling pictures turned out. Boo!