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!

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    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.

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    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! 😀

Nope.

#Sewcialists will understand. 😠 Kwik sew 3672.

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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. 😉

*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! 🙂

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! 😉

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! 😛 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. 😉 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. 🙂 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?

Belated birthday sewing

My husband’s birthday is at the end of November. It has been on the same day as long as I’ve known him ;-), but for some reason, this year I struggled to get my gift for him done in time. As in, nothing would go right…it was as though I’d forgotten how to sew. SMH.

  • I sliced into the front bodice (is it still called that for men?) trying to fix a button band and had to recut it.
  • Any pieces that could have been sewn on backwards, upside-down, or wrong side out, I did it.
  • Nearly cut too far snipping the corners off pretty much every single collar point/cuff.
  • My cuffs still don’t look sharp and pretty as I’d like.
  • I interfaced the button bands with too stiff of interfacing so had to recut them.
  • My hems still weren’t level, even after adding length to the pattern pieces–which I still don’t understand, since I compared the side seams of the pattern pieces and they matched after my adjustments. You sure couldn’t tell it by the finished seams though. Hmph!
  • There wasn’t a package of bias tape to be found that came anywhere close to the grey-green striped fabric–in fact, notions for that fabric were nearly impossible all around.

All I can say is thank goodness past me (because these fabrics were both in my stash for the last 4+ years) bought the full yardage recommended by the pattern! I wouldn’t have needed but about 2/3 as much, but all my goofs meant that the extra came in very handy! I guess the other thing that turned out really well was the sleeve plackets and my topstitching–both of those things are gorgeous on both shirts. Neither of them are something that anyone but me (and you–since you’ll get close-ups) will notice, but at least something turned out right! And all of this trouble on a TNT! I’ve made this pattern at least 6 or 8 times before!

I only included ^ one because it shows the blue shirt in progress in the back–proof! 😛 (Trust me, it’ll make sense in a moment.)

So here are the pictures of the finished shirts, all ready to be worn by my wonderful husband:

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OK, so this picture is actually from this post, but it’s the exact same pattern, fabric, and size. So I’m cheating by not retaking the pictures. Call me lazy if you’d like. 😉

 

In the end, I’m glad I did these. Hubby’s closet was getting rather shabby–all those clothes he’s been wearing since 8th grade (Grrr! I wish I could still wear stuff from that long ago!) are finally starting to wear out, and all at once too! If I had more time, I’d probably replace a few more in his wardrobe, but the money is the same whether I make ’em or buy ’em, and I’m a selfish seamstress at heart. 😉

PJs for Scotch

Fleece footed pajamas are ubiquitous, and also very hot. I finally had had enough of Scotch waking up every morning stinky from sweat. So last weekend I decided to take action.

Enter KwikSew 3126. It’s a toddler pattern I’ve had since Irish was a wee one, and it makes some really cute PJs. I also knew that I had some scraps of flannel in the stash from some PJ’s from Irish, so I got to work. I managed to get the measurements from an uncooperative toddler, and he was a perfect size T1 with the shirt length from T2.

The first version I made collarless because of the way I sewed the facings, and honestly, I wish I’d have just picked out the topstitching and made the collar–flannel doesn’t make very good bias tape. The seams are bulky, so they didn’t fit through the tape maker very well and it sews up bulky too. I should have known this, but I wasn’t thinking.

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OK, so I had to buy some red flannel because I ran out of the brown…I made it work though. 😉

The second and third versions have collars, but I used some white voile scraps from my stash to make the button placket facing and under collar. I wanted lightweight to reduce bulk, but the voile maybe wasn’t the best choice. A slightly heavier cotton would have been a better choice, but voile was what I had, so I made do. Again I used leftover flannel from pajamas from Irish, and I was a bit short, so made the sleeves and collars in contrasting colors. I think they turned out really cute. 🙂

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Cute!

I used my Singer 301a with her buttonhole attachment to make all the buttonholes, and while I’m getting better at using it, it still seems fiddly. I can’t complain about the quality of the finished product though. If anyone knows of a tutorial for tips/tricks on using one, I’d be interested.

Overall, I think they turned out cute, and Scotch wore the trial pair last night and didn’t wake up stinky!! Winning!

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Bonus action shot on big brother’s bed. 🙂

Some quick Tee-NT’s

Ha, see what I did there?:-P Anyway, I recently went on a fabric binge at Needle Nook. Since I haven’t bought hardly any fabric in the last two years (>15 yards), I figured I was due.

June 2015 fabric haul

*Most* of the fabric haul…

From top left:

  • Rayon/cotton animal print
  • Rayon polka dots (wasn’t impressed with this, see below)
  • Hibiscus print ITY*
  • Grey and black watercolor(?) ITY*
  • Some sort of textured snakeskin jersey with little shiny “scales”

And, instead of stashing it, I went straight to making it up. <–This rarely happens, just sayin. I’ve been desperately in need of t-shirts for years, some of them are starting to look dated (literally, the one I’m wearing says 2004 on it), but for some reason I always feel like the stuff I make has to be for “good” at least until it starts to look like it should be relegated to the every day pile. I think this is because I get so few things done, that I don’t want to get them messed up right away. It’s probably along the lines of not being able to give up stuff we’ve made because we made it with our own two hands. This time I tossed that notion to the curb, and am so glad I did!

I used the two rayons to make up a couple of TNT patterns, so they were super fast to make.

Firstly, I made shirts:

Vogue 8670, for like the bazillionth time.

Vogue 8670, for like the bazillionth time.

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How amazing is this print?! And it’s so nice to wear! Would I be a total loser for getting it in the other colorways too?

Yes, I know, but I don’t care. I went with a round neckline this time, and they have already been worn several times. The only complaint I had is with the polka dot fabric. It came out of the prewash load already starting to pill, had some small holes, and holy cow it’s a bit sheer–which takes some doing on a black knit! I would say it’s almost tissue weight, and I’m going to do my absolute best to never buy another one like this. The recovery is also terrible, so even though I stabilized the neckline it stretched out and shows my bra straps, and it’s a lot longer (think mini dress length) because it just keeps growing longer and longer. The hot pink though….LOOOOOOVE. So pretty, so comfy, and I’m thinking about going back for the other colorways before they’re gone (if they aren’t already!)

So with the scraps I also decided to go on a knicker-binge with my trusty KS2908!

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Scrapbusting at it’s best–and most practical! 😉

The last time I went on a binge, I had run out of elastic, so this time when I went in to get elastic for the bottom three pairs, I got some to finish up the top three pairs too. Since the top three were already assembled, it went even faster than normal. I will say that the black fabric didn’t even make good undies because it grows so much, so I basically wasted my time on making them because they’ll be shot in a couple of washes. Oh, well. Also, I hate the wide lace elastic–I mean, it’s pretty and all, but it’s not fun to work with. Someday I’ll get the hang of elastic–people who get perfectly tensioned elastic (especially FOE!) must be magicians, because I’ve made lots of undies, and I still can’t seem to put it on smoothly–there’s always a bit at the end where I panic and pull the shit out of it to get it to fit.

Next up? The shiny scales. 😉 Stay tuned!

A sort-of sewing dare

After the birthday dress disappointment, I wasn’t sure what to work on. I knew I wanted to make something, but I kind of felt a bit down on myself for not being able to make the dress work and was afraid I’d screw something else up. So I asked my husband to randomly pick a fabric from the stash and I’d sew it up.

He closed his eyes, threw a pen, and it hit some green stretch plaid. So, I made up a sleeveless KS3199. There’s not much to say about the construction that I haven’t already mentioned, except! I know they say you can’t just leave the sleeves off and expect it to work perfectly. I ignored this, and the shoulders are too wide. Maybe I’ll throw in a tuck or two and call it a “design feature”? Also, I don’t love how this fabric and the interfacing I used interact with each other. So now my collar is doing wonky things and no amount of steam and pressing seems to make a lick of difference. You know what though? I’m not sure how much I care, I need more shirts that I feel can be worn on a daily basis for the non-glamorous life stuff, and if it’s not suitable for nice occasions I’m not going to feel bad if this gets a grease stain on it during harvest or something. Though it’s probably got a little too much poly for it to be amazing in the summer heat…

And I’m still on the fence about how this color looks on me, I am not convinced it’s a color I should regularly wear near my face…

P.S. the more observant of you may have noticed a lack of fasteners. I hadn’t put the pearl snaps (I had an exact match in green!) on yet at the time these were taken–it’s hard to make yourself smash things with a hammer when the baby is sleeping!

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. 🙂

Adventures in bodice-fitting: Empire waist edition

Almost a year ago when I wrote the original Adventures in Bodice Fitting post, I never dreamed it would take me this long to get back around to posting another one. Funny how that works, isn’t it?

Anyway, so this time I made up Kwik Sew 3199, which is a blouse I’d tried before back in my earlier days of trying to fit my bust, and it failed. Rather spectacularly, actually. As I recall, I made up two or three mockups, but never could nail down the fit, so I gave up. Now I have a bit more experience under my belt and so I was successful in altering this one and making it up. I made up a version in a cute teeny floral print, but sadly, two strikes were against it.

  1. Not enough fabric. This is what happens sometimes when you try and use up your stash. Although, it would have been OK with contrasting collar/cuffs, if it hadn’t been for…
  2. Belly shirt! Yikes! Unhemmed this thing hit half an inch above my jeans. Part of this is the pattern, and part of it was my fault. See, I shortened the front and back bodice to get it to be remotely close to the empire line it’s drafted for. I have an exceptionally short back length, and as drafted, the size I needed put the back empire line just above my hips. No bueno. I shortened the front less, but had to improvise a bust dart to make the seams match from front to back.

Also on the unintentional muslin, I stole the cuff from Butterick 5284 , View A. It’s a cute wing cuff thing, and I’ll have to restrain myself from using it on every sleeve because it’s that cute.

So anyway, if you’re up to it, here’s my alterations:

  • Shortened the back empire seam somewhere in the neighborhood of 3 inches. Part of it was taken from the armscye, effectively making the armhole smaller by about 2 inches.
  • On the back of the bodice I needed to do a narrow shoulder adjustment (first), so I slashed all the way down to the bottom of the pattern piece and slid the shoulder together about 3/4″. On my unintentional muslin, I hadn’t done this alteration yet and my sleeves looked pretty terrible. I got the explanation for that adjustment from SewBrooke. Thanks, Brooke! 🙂
  • After the narrow shoulder adjustment, I did a broad back adjustment. Apparently, having narrow shoulders and a broad back isn’t the norm, but that’s what I’ve got, so I had to figure out how to work with it. I sort of modified the adjustment suggested in my Better Home and Gardens sewing book, based on what I had seen the Slapdash Sewist do. That adjustment was about 11/16″. One thing I learned from this though is that if you do this, there’s a chance you’ll end up with a very nearly bias angle that will do what bias is best at, stretching. So, I plan to put a small strip of fusible interfacing in the seam allowances on that for next time, because this time I had to cut the excess off, and that’s not so pretty on a plaid. 😦
  • On the front I chose a size that was big enough for my full bust, which I’m unsure of whether I would do that again, because it led to a series of other adjustments.
  • Shortened the front bodice about 2″. All of this was in the armscye area because the armholes would have been peekaboo-ing my love handles if I’d have left them alone. (Ok, maybe not quite that bad…but close!) I need to add some back under the armscye for next time though, since the empire line doesn’t sit *quite* on my chest wall.
  • Added a bust dart to make the front empire line match up with the back empire line when sewn together. No, it doesn’t point exactly where it’s supposed to, but it’s close enough that 99% of people won’t notice. Especially, if I sew them neatly.
  • Narrowed up the front bodice shoulders the same as the back–this actually was a bonus in that it narrowed up the high bust area too, which was desperately needed. I guess I have a fairly narrow chest, which is kind of frustrating coupled with the full bust.
  • I goofed around with the sleeves; scooping, undoing some of the scooping, shifting things around, removing sleeve cap height, adding some back….basically, I retraced (and then proceeded to hack and tape) the sleeve pattern piece 3 times trying to get something that would fit both my flabby muscular arms and the armscye. Turns out, that can be a bit of a trick. Eventually I got there, but I’m not real sure what I did, and I really don’t know if I could ever do it again. It might have been easier to just figure out how to draft my own from scratch, honestly.
  • And finally, I added 3″ of length to all the lower panels. This put it back to the original length, based on what I took out, but I think I would actually add another 2″ next time to go with low rise jeans. My finished shirt has a 3/4″ hem, and with low rise jeans there’s just a smidgen of skin flashing when I raise my arms.

Currently, it’s sitting on my dressform waiting for buttonholes and buttons. Since I can’t do those in house, they haven’t gotten done. (Finished just in time to wear it for Easter thanks to my lovely MIL!) I was also waiting for the second version (stretch poly satin) to be finished. Sadly, poor fabric choice and the puffy sleeves killed it. Mostly the puffy sleeves, but the fabric was also a bit of a pain to sew with, and distorted very easily–not mention it was fraytastic! And with 1/4″ seam allowances, you have no room for fraying! But yes, the puffy sleeve look just isn’t for me. I guess that my arms are too fat for that nonsense, because it just looked ridiculous, and I didn’t have enough fabric to cut new sleeves–I barely had enough to cut out the pieces I needed. So I decided that since it was cheap, crappy fabric anyway, it wasn’t a big loss. I’m not that sad about it. The fabric challenge was good experience for me–how often do you get to work with 4 layers of slippery fabric on a collar? It was a good test of my skills, and quite frankly, I nailed it.

So I know that 1 out of 3 sounds bad, but I don’t feel like it is. I’m choosing to think of it in terms of the things I learned and the quality of workmanship that was used. Am I frustrated? Yeah, a little, but I’ve got the fit nailed down, so as soon as I get the time to try it on a non-dodgy fabric (that I actually have some extra of!), I think I could knock out another or two really quickly.

I suppose ya’ll have probably earned some pictures, so enjoy! (Click to enlarge.)