New wedding outfit…or not…

I’m terrible. I was so excited about that jumpsuit. But, life (and a bit of bad luck) seems to have gotten in the way.

Last week, I started to feel like crap, and since we had a big event coming up, I went to the doctor. I got a flu test and had my chest x-rayed, and…I have pneumonia*. I took the antibiotics, frantically lysol-ed everything I ever touched for a week, and sent my children and husband away with stockpiles of vitamin C. I didn’t want anyone to get sick–especially not with the wedding coming up this weekend.

* I feel a bit silly saying I have this. Aside from a cough that hits at random (unless it’s bedtime, then it’s fairly constant–grrrr) and some exhaustion mid day, I feel pretty normal. I did feel crappy the first couple of days, but after that, it’s mostly just the cough.

The other thing that held me back was that I bought an exceptionally beautiful dip dyed rayon (double-crepe? is that a thing?) that they didn’t happen to have quite enough of. The pattern called for 3 yards, but I’m a pattern tetris whiz, so I felt fairly confident that I could fit it on my 2-3/4 yards without too much issue. Turns out I was wrong. If I hadn’t chosen that type of “print”, I’d have had fabric to make a whole nother project, but because of it I needed at least another yard. Which was sold out everywhere, even though the website said that they had a one yard remnant that I tried to order twice over a two week period and which was canceled both times…grr! And by then, I was stuck on this kind of fabric because it seemed perfect–thick enough to not be see-through, lovely drape, that tiny amount of mechanical stretch that rayon is known for and I just couldn’t find anything else that seemed right. And in true Joann style, they only buy a limited quantity of anything that a person might want and oodles of rubbish that hangs out on the shelves forever. Which is the opposite of what I’d do if it were my store, but then, what do I know?

So anyway, all of that to say that I’m giving up. I’m just going to wear my fancy maxi dress instead. I did make all the adjustments to that jumpsuit pattern though, so I’m still planning to make it. One does not simply tape together a PDF pattern, make all the adjustments for it, and then just walk away…though finding an occasion to wear it might be tricky. πŸ˜‰

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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Not my grandma’s shirt

I have a not-so-secret obsession with rayon challis. Any time I see it, even if I’m unsure of the print, there’s a good chance that some of it is going home with me. (The exception to this rule is whatever that fugly stuff is on a certain pair of discount fabric websites. Not even I’m that desperate.) So when I was in Jo-Ann’s, I found this challis that was a super pretty combination of purples, but it was a floral. There wouldn’t have been a single moment of waffling if it would have been some sort of splodgy abstract, but florals always make me feel like I’m raiding my grandma’s closet. So there was at least 5 minutes of hesitation, but ultimately, I bought it anyway. And then I decided to make it up into a Burda JJ blouse, minus the ruffles. (One of these days I may have to make it with the ruffles, but today is still not that day.) A long time ago, I did some extensive work on it to make it hug my figure, and while I used those same pieces this time, I used much smaller seam allowances from the apex to the hips on the front pieces. I wanted it to be a bit less fitted, since it’s such a drapey fabric. I think I nailed the fit I was going for.

The other thing you’ll notice is that it has sleeves. This is a big deal for me. I’ve never been able to fit sleeves in this pattern–even the ones it came with–there was just too much ease. I think I’m the only one who had this problem, probably because I didn’t want super puffy sleeve heads and I have fat arms–a deadly combination in the world of the JJ. I stole these sleeves from a Burda magazine pattern that I had in my stash. They’re the kind you roll up and button with a tab. The challis seems a bit droopy for this to be the only thing keeping them up, so I did some handstitching on the underside to keep the rolls where they belong. I may regret this come laundry day, but we’ll just have to see I regret it. Maybe I need to do both sides?

Who knew mother of pearl buttons were so hard to photograph?!

Who knew mother of pearl buttons were so hard to photograph?!

Lastly, I made the buttonholes with my Singer 301A and her buttonhole attachment. This was mildly terrifying. Mostly because it’s a machine I’m not used to, it’s trickier than you might think to get the fabric under the attachment straight (I have a crooked buttonhole to prove it), and starting is a bit nervewracking too–they aren’t kidding when they say to have the needle DOWN to start!! Otherwise you will bust it trying to keep ahold of the threads.

Confession: I’m on the fence about this. I’m still feeling like this is a bit too mature for me, but I’m going to give it a wear or two and see how I feel about it then. If I don’t love it, my MIL seemed to like it, and I think it would be very pretty on her. πŸ™‚

Pretty and nicely sewn, but is it *me*?

Pretty and nicely sewn, but is it *me*? See more pictures and whining on Instagram @SewSarcastic.

I can’t leave well enough alone

So…you know how I said in my last post that I was walking away from the birthday dress? I lied. I mean, I meant to walk away from it, but then it was just sitting in my sewing room making me feel guilty…and it continues to do so because it’s taken me FOREVER to get this post up!

So I decided to try my hand at turning it into an empire waist dress and see if that fixed all the issues with it. The short answer is an emphatic NO. I used the pieces from KS3199 to get the length correct on the bodice, which worked quite well, actually, but it let a few more worms out of that can.

  • Firstly, I forgot to take into account that the pockets would need to be lowered. So after I put them in and they were too high, I picked them out and just sewed the side seams shut. I’m lazy, sorry. Plus they just kind of showed through, so probably not a big loss.
  • Secondly, the dress is just too damn big. Everywhere. The proportions were all wrong for me. I love that collar/neckline, and I think I’m going to try to use it again somewhere, but it wasn’t sized for me. And that’s OK, I was pretty sure I’m not plus-sized, but this helped firm that in my mind.
  • Lastly, the skirt. In the magazine, it looks like a fairly slim skirt. In reality, it’s not. It’s actually more of an a-line shape. I don’t feel like a-line/circle-ish skirts are flattering to me. They look good on everyone else, but I honestly feel like a slim straight or pencil skirt is the best silhouette for me. No idea why.

It is finished though. I took care to do a good job on the topstitching and such so that whomever ends up with it will get a lot of wear out of it. I’m planning to donate it to charity as soon as I find some buttons and get the buttonholes sewn. I thought it seemed like a waste for all that work to end up in the trash or made into something else, and if it fit, I think it would be absolutely stunning. So, I’m telling myself there’s going to be someone out there who is going to wear it out on a date or something and look fabulous. πŸ™‚

Know when to walk away…

Many thanks to Kenny Rogers for that little tidbit of advice.

Anyway, as I posted yesterday, I am working on a birthday dress. The dress in the Burda mag seemed like a winner, with an open neckline and a slim-ish skirt. Sadly, after basting it together today, I’m walking away. I’ve always been told that with my body shape an empire line is best, but I’ve always just wanted to ignore that, since I haven’t seen many empire lines that I love. (This blouse, the exception.) As it turns out, they say those things for a reason. The shape made me look more like a brick than I’d prefer–a pretty peacock colored brick, but a brick all the same. I will also say that it’s a teeny bit too big for me, which being a plus-size pattern doesn’t really shock me too much, but I thought I might be able to get away with it.

I’ve even got pictures of the unflattering-ness (and evidence of my messy sewing room! 😳 ) to share since I know that I love it when people are realistic about their fails. (Click to enlarge. Right pic is more color accurate, BTW.)

So, even though the dress didn’t work out, it’s OK. I’ve got plenty of this fabric to make something else out of (I’m thinking maybe the blouse from V1440? It even calls specifically for stretch poplin!) And maybe a birthday dress isn’t really what I should make anyway–I seldom wear dresses, and my ideal birthday date isn’t exactly dressworthy. (It’s going two-stepping with my husband, in case you were wondering. πŸ˜‰ )

Fabric help needed!

I’m working on a shirtdress from Burda that calls for denim as the only fabric choice. On PR, it’s only been reviewed twice, but neither time with with denim. I found what I thought would be the perfect fabric, a stretch poplin in a gorgeous dark turquoise/peacock color at Hancock’s, but it wrinkles a lot worse than I had hoped and I’m nervous that it might be too lightweight. TBH, I was hoping to find a stretch sateen, but this poplin forced me to buy it.

Anyway, my questions are:

  • I’ve heard that you can line linen and such to make it less wrinkled, since this is a summer dress, can I line the skirt only and have the same basic effect?
  • Or do I need to line the whole dress?
  • What should I line it with to keep it cool?
  • Is poplin too lightweight to make a dress like this? I’m starting to worry…

Thanks!

A first (x2!) suit

My son is a second grader this year, and as tradition dictates, this is when the kiddos have their first communion. Knowing that I couldn’t afford to buy a new suit for him (taxes suck!), and that I had a pinstripe wool that’s either black or a dark navy (I’m still not sure) in my stash from a long ago failed project, I figured I could probably sew one up. I even had a Burda suit pattern in my stash. Add in that I had some leftover lining from my coat project a couple of years ago, and it seemed like it was meant to be.

EXCEPT.

It wasn’t. Holy cow. Burda magazine patterns might be drafted amazingly well (no dispute on that), but their “directions” and tracing layouts leave MUCH to be desired. For the sake of brevity, here’s a list of my issues (and they were many!)

  1. After spending probably at least an hour tracing out the pattern pieces from the maze of lines (of course the suit was the green set of lines–the hardest to see, IMO), I realized that I had forgotten to add the seam allowances, so I had to add them as I cut. Since so much of the suit is interfaced forgetting the seam allowances didn’t actually end up being the end of the world.
  2. My interfacing wasn’t sticking. Turns out, while it had always adhered in 8 seconds on other fabrics, I needed a full 15 seconds and some water misted on the pieces to get full adhesion with the wool. Many thanks to my Twitter/Instagram peeps for helping me with that when I was in full-blown panic mode.
  3. Um, the Burda instructions are terrible. Just terrible. Also, I’m pretty sure they tell you to cut the back lining pieces without the facings–which I learned that you absolutely should NOT do!! CUT THE FACINGS!!
  4. Because I cut the lining without the vent facings, I set myself up for a whole host of issues And if I’d been less freaking out because “OMG, I’ve screwed up and I onlyΒ  have a week to finish and …!” then I would have just cut out some facings with seam allowances and stitched them on. I was NOT that clear headed at the time.
  5. Also, I learned that you are supposed to have a notch thing on the center front of the jacket–as this was my first ever jacket (and I don’t even own another pattern to compare pieces)–I was unaware of the existence of a notch thing. I just very carefully blended my seam and hem allowances together. Don’t do that. Use the notch thing, or in the case of this pattern, MAKE the notch thing yourself.
  6. LOTS of handsewing and fray check.
  7. LOTS OF HANDSEWING. Oh, and LOTS OF FRAY CHECK.
  8. Did I mention lots of handsewing and fray check?
  9. Otherwise the jacket went together beautifully, and if it’s not your first ever jacket, or if you have a pattern with a better set of instructions handy, I’d recommend it. My first ever notched collar went in without a hitch the very first time.

I had hoped to bag the lining using the technique I used on my coat, but the Pattern~Scissors~Cloth blog is gone now, and she had the technique I knew with the pictures that made it possible for me to wrap my mind around it. Since I couldn’t use that tute, I just kind of winged it. (Likely would’ve had to anyway given my mistake on the vent/hem notch.) I ended up handstitching the sleeves because I couldn’t remember how to do them (again, losing that whole site was a major loss to the sewing community–she had so much awesome information on there) and I handstitched the whole bottom hem of the jacket up and around the vent and everything. That probably doubled all the handstitching I’ve ever done inΒ  my whole life to that point. Well, that might be an exaggeration. Maybe.

So anyway, I’m sure you’re all desperate to see the pictures of this monstrosity, right? I aim to please. The question is, bad pics first or good pics first? πŸ˜‰

Good it is then. πŸ˜‰

All right, I’m sure the curiosity is killing you, so here’s the bad…

All in all, while I still feel like it was a miserable failure because it’s not nearly perfect enough for my perfectionist self, Irish looked very handsome on his special day. (You’ll note I didn’t make matching slacks–sometimes you just gotta know when to quit.) And who knows, maybe he’ll even manage another wear or two before I pick the buttons off and throw it in the trash. I may leave it to the professionals when Scotch gets to his first communion though… πŸ˜‰

Adventures in bodice-fitting Part 1: Shoulder Princess Seams

Since summers here can be a hot, sticky, rage-inducing hell, I’ve decided that I need more blouses. For whatever reason, a woven cotton shirt is cooler (relative term, obviously) than a t-shirt, so I wanted to make up some blouses that I could keep cool in this summer while still being semi-professional in case I should need to meet up with any of my husband’s customers. In light of that, I decided that I should try my hand at fine-tuning bodice fit, and being a fairly busty gal, I thought I could share my experience with others and help them out.

You’ve already seen the finished Burda JJ that I tweaked to fit me, but I decided that I would go ahead and show the alterations I made in case they help someone else. Plus, lots of people seem to really like the step-by-steps to go with the end result. This will be a multi-part series to save your brain from boredom overload and as I post them I will link them back and forth so you can find the one you want easily. There will also be some copy/pasting of similar steps to save me some time, so if you’re reading through and feel some deja vu, that’s why.

  • Part 1: Shoulder Princess Seams
  • Part 2: Armscye Princess Seams (with bonus conversion from darted blouse)
  • Part 3: Darted Blouse??
  • Empire Waist Edition
  1. Choose a size (I recommend tracing). I discovered that if I cut a size that was between my full bust size and my high bust size I could skip the FBA (and obviously grade in/out for waist/hips if you’d like). BUT!!!!!! You’ll want the full 5/8th seam allowances for this (at least to start with). And the reason for that is that you will be using that 5/8ths to play around with the bust fit instead of an FBA. (Note: There is a 9″ difference between my underbust and full bust measurements, if you are bigger than this, it may not work, but it’s still worth a try!) One thing to keep in mind is that if you are grading, be sure to copy the armscye portion directly from the pattern so that you don’t mess up the fit of your sleeve–you are more than welcome to grade out once you are below that as needed. Of course, if you are confident and have a lot of sleeve ease or are planning to use a larger size sleeve, you might be able to fudge this a bit.
  2. Cut out the traced pieces and the muslin.
  3. Baste the main seams together using the 5/8th seam allowance. It’s going to be tricky, but you can do it! Just go slowly and DON’T use pins–they prevent the fabric from easing. Don’t use your IDT or walking foot either for the same reason.
  4. Check your fit in the mirror and see where you want to take in/let out. For me, I wanted to take in across the front shoulders, let out over the bust, take in immediately under the bust, and leave alone through the waist/hips.
  5. Mark each area that needs changed with some chalk and make some notes (mental or on paper) about how much you want to take in/let out, remembering that you still plan to eat/chase small children/breathe/etc. whilst wearing this thing.
  6. Leaving in your old basting, re-baste your seam curving gently in/out between your marks. (This way you don’t have to worry about puckers, pinning, slippage, and all that other jazz.)
  7. Pick out your original basting stitches and check your new fit–you should be good at this point–remember, too much isn’t always better, sometimes it’s just too much. We’re not going for sausage casings here. But if you want to take in an area a bit more or perhaps didn’t quite let out enough, re-baste just those areas and check the fit again.
  8. Once you’re happy, then take your colored chalk (in a different color if at all possible) and trace down your stitches (the ones you plan to keep, obv.) so that you can pick out the stitches and see exactly where your new seamline will be.
  9. Transfer those changes to your pattern pieces, adding and subtracting seams allowances as needed or desired–nothing says you have to keep using 5/8th’s seam allowances, but if you change them, be sure to change them everywhere or otherwise make note of it or you’ll have a not-so-fun surprise in the end. Not that I would know that from experience or anything…. πŸ˜‰ I just laid the tissue pieces that I had traced off over the muslin pieces and gently traced the stitching line with a pencil, added more paper where necessary, and cut off the excess paper where necessary. Your pieces will probably look deformed and you’ll question whether you are some sort of mutant, but ignore that and focus on the fact that you looked HAWT in that blouse muslin a minute ago.
  10. If you’re concerned, check the fit of the sleeves, maybe attach a collar to your muslin to try it out in case you haven’t made one before (or just in a long time), and then you’re ready for the real thing! Now sew up several blouses, because you can never have too many, and no one will have to know you used the same pattern over and over because most blouse variation is in the fabric and the sleeves. πŸ™‚

Now I realize that looks like a lot of steps just to skip an FBA, but I found that it actually took less time than hacking into the pattern pieces using the the slash/spread method, and then still having to cut/sew a muslin. Plus, I’m just not a lover of darts, sorry, not sorry. And one of the things I really like about the Burda block (which is what this tutorial is based on) is that it has high, small armscyes which helps me avoid the weird gaping that I sometimes get there.

And if you are a more visual learner, the gallery below should help clarify some of the wordyness from above. And feel free to ask questions in the comments if I need to clarify something or made a glaring mistake (I am a tired momma, after all!) Good luck and happy sewing! πŸ™‚

Sewing! And a little bit of everything else!

A lot has happened since I last blogged! There’s been a wedding anniversary, a milestone birthday, a sick baby, a fair amount of sewing, stuff from some awesome sewing peeps, and probably some other stuff that I’m forgetting about right now.

Birthday

I’m finally 30. At first I was a bit depressed/stressed/whatever about it, but once it got here and Scotch had an ear infection, it was pretty much just mom business as usual. And honestly, I think that may have helped with the transition. I don’t feel any different than I did the week before, I don’t suddenly have more confidence or more wrinkles, so it’s really NBD. And hubby brought me pizza and the birthday cupcakes in the picture, which we had in picnic form at the city park, so even though Scotch was sick and I had initially been nervous about the “big day”, it turned out OK. πŸ™‚

Also since I last posted was my hubby and I’s wedding anniversary. We didn’t get to do anything fancy since it was a weeknight, but I guess that’s just how it is sometimes. We used to go on golf outings for our anniversary, and I was sad it didn’t happen this year, but I suppose it would have been a bit much to ask my MIL to watch both boys for a couple of days when Scotch is still so little. Maybe in another month or two when he starts sleeping through the night…..again. (The ear infection screwed us on him sleeping through the night, he was for all of two weeks until that happened. 😑 )

And amazing sewing peeps! Gillian from Crafting a Rainbow bought a pattern for me (whom she doesn’t know IRL) and shipped it from Canada. (It got here crazy fast too, I was kind of impressed, given how long other people say stuff takes to go between the two touching countries.) I’ve got an idea of something to send her, but I need to find someone who knows her a bit better before I send it and find out she hates it. The other amazing sewing peep is Miss E from Calico Stretch! She sent me a Burda magazine, and I seriously need to sit down and trace off something from it (or maybe I’ll just hoard it πŸ˜‰ ). I’m in dire need of an entire wardrobe these days after all! I feel like I should send her something too, but I haven’t come up with anything just yet…maybe she’ll leave me some hints? πŸ˜‰

And last but not least! I’ve done some sewing! I made up a bunch of bibs, but I also did some actual clothes sewing for ME!!! And not underwear!!! If you follow me on Twitter, you’ve probably already seen that I’ve been working on fitting/refining the JJ blouse from Burda, and I think it’s pretty close. My boobs are maybe a bit perkier than the space allotted to them would indicate (what a problem to have, LOL!) but I think it’s a really good start, and I hope to make a couple more of these for the summer, though I need to figure out some different sleeve options, because I couldn’t for the life of me fit the sleeve from the pattern into the armhole without some major reworking. Unfortunately, I only tested for size to make sure it would fit my arm, and didn’t think to see if it would fit the hole–because should I really have to? On this one I didn’t bother with pattern matching, I only had 1.5 yards, and I made a 42/44 Burda size. I was worried that I wouldn’t have enough, but actually I’ve got a pretty good sized square left, so I could have maybe tried a little harder. But it’s also kind of a strange fabric with a directional print and I’m not sure I could have matched it up anyway. It’s pretty, but I nearly sent it back because I thought that it had a printing error. I’ve since decided that was just the look it was supposed to have and I was just mistaken. It’s still pretty anyway. And even though you can’t really see it, I opted for a lime green to topstitch with. I topstitched every princess seam, the shoulder seams, and of course the collar and button placket. I even made it with real buttons! I borrowed my SIL’s cheapo Brother to sew up the buttonholes for me, and I only had to pick out one buttonhole, which compared to the nightmare that is trying them on my Pfaff, was a breeze. So anyway, if you want all the muslin and WIP shots, check out my twitter feed. There’s a bunch of them, and linking to them on here one at a time is something ain’t nobody got time for. πŸ˜‰

So anyway, here’s some pics of my finished sewing projects since I last posted. πŸ™‚

Big swaddle blankets made for donation to charity. Our church has a big box that they collect stuff for babies in to give to new mothers or any parent that is struggling. I think I’ll end up making quite a few of these because they are so stinkin’ useful!! πŸ™‚

5 of the 8 new bibs I made for the little guy. I’m thinking he’s teething, because we were going through bibs like crazy to catch all the drool. I used a pattern from PurlBee this time, and since I don’t follow directions well, the neck opening is smaller than the pattern intended. It fits fine though, so NBD.

A quick tip I came up with that worked perfectly was to use little pieces of wondertape to hold on my buttons while I stitched them down. It worked great for putting them on by machine, might be harder to do if you put them on by hand.

Try to ignore the fact that my legs are nearly as white as my shirt...

Try to ignore the fact that my legs are nearly as white as my shirt…

Anyway, hope that all of you mothers out there are having (or did/will have) a fantastic Mother’s Day!!

Never have I EVER

Wanted to look like trailer trash…unfortunately, there’s something* about this shirt that really just makes me feel like I should have 6 kids running around the trailer while I smoke a cigarette and shout obscenities [to the kids] and am barefoot and pregnant.

*And as it so happens, I think my husband has figured it out! He says it’s because the “straps” are too narrow–it looks like a wife-beater–and so it needs some sort of sleeves. Unfortunately, I’m fresh out of enough scraps to make a pair of sleeves.

Even if I could make sleeves though, I still wouldn’t wear it. It’s WAY too tight across the bust, and there’s a bit of poor pattern placement–on me, those red stripes look like they’re “cupping” my bewbs. Not really my best look. Let’s have a look at this catastrophe, shall we?

IMG_0367

I will say that I’m not upset about this “fail” at all, it was supposed to be a muslin to test out the pattern for some better (non ugly/remnant) fabric. The fabric wasn’t even close to my taste, so unless it had surprised me by coming out amazingly awesome, it wasn’t going to get worn anyway. So no sympathy needed, it’s going to be fantastic as super soft undergarments. πŸ™‚ And, I learned that I will like this shirt quite a bit once I figure out how to add in an FBA. πŸ™‚

In other news, I have to give some serious kudos to the ladies at JoAnn’s. I’ve done my share of bashing JoAnn’s, and they’ve deserved it, but the gals the other day really came through for me. I needed some fabric to match some that I had bought at least a year ago to finish off that skort I’d talked about the other day. They happened to have a couple yards of it left on clearance, and they shipped it to me! πŸ™‚ Yay! And they shipped it fast too! I ordered that fabric either Tuesday or Wednesday, and it was on my porch yesterday. And since I washed it and hung it on the line today, it’s ready to rock as soon as I am. πŸ™‚

Have a fantastic weekend!