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.

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.

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. #Redneck πŸ˜‰

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?

Down to the wire Jungle January

I come from a long line of chronically late procrastinators. I learned from the world’s best how to stall, delay, and be more-than-fashionably late. Which is why, on the absolute last day of January 2016 I’m here to share my Jungle January projects with you. πŸ˜‰

First up is a second Lekala 4042 in *sigh* rayon jersey (I’m so predictable). This shirt has been a long time coming. I think I bought the fabric for it last August, cut out all but the back, ran out of fabric, couldn’t find more, and then finally did, but didn’t have time to cut it out for a while…I’m sure you’ve been there before. It basically went together like the first one, but I got a bit cocky with the neckline since I’d done it before, and that was a big no-no. I fiddled and fussed with it for at least twice as long as the first time, but I finally wrestled it into submission. And I made sure to stabilize both the shoulder seams and the upper chest seams. I highly recommend you do the same, because it made a world of difference in the end. Trust me.

No modeled pics, but you can see how the pattern looks on a body in the previous post. πŸ™‚

Lekala 4420 in rayon challis (seriously, you knew that was coming, right?) was another one that didn’t seem to want to come together. Somehow it ended up being 4″ too big all the way around, even though I put in the same measurements I’ve used before. I also added 3″ of length that the front needed, but the back did not. If I were ever to wear leggings as pants, this would definitely cover my butt, but I’m not a leggings as pants type of gal. Sorry. I left the length alone though…for now. Some other changes:

  • Raised the front neckline–it showed my bra, and while it still does in certain positions, at least it’s not just a given that my bra will show like it was before. If I’d have known, I would have shortened it above the bust before cutting out the fabric, but I didn’t.
  • French seams. No idea why, and sadly I didn’t get a picture of it. But, you’ve all seen them before, so it’s not exactly earthshattering.
  • Lengthened the sleeves 2″. This was just about perfect, though I almost wish I’d have added another 1″. Bracelet length isn’t one I’m used to, so it feels awkward.
  • Pearl snaps, baby. Oh yes, I went there. πŸ˜‰
  • Instead of bias binding for the neckline, I used a crossgrain strip from my meager scraps that I had left after cutting this out. It has a little bit of give, but my tiny head didn’t need it anyway.
  • This was my first time using a placket like this, so I used Sewaholic’s tutorial. It worked OK, but I couldn’t avoid the puckers completely, so mine are puckery. The busy print covers it though, so I think it’ll be OK.

Overall though, the pattern itself went together flawlessly, notches matched perfectly, etc., etc. And while I seem to have to add length to everything, that’s such an easy fix when you compare it to FBAs and such. And it’s also something that’s easy to spot before you start cutting out fabric.

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Lekala 4042

So I’ve been a bit obsessed with Lekala lately, lurking their website, stalking patterns, hoarding my credits for “just the right one”…I might have a problem, but we’ll worry about that later. πŸ˜‰

I first tried their freebie knit pattern a few months ago, and while it technically fit, it wasn’t exactly what I was going for. But honestly, I think it’s just an ugly design and they have some really cute ones on there, so I toughed it out.

Either way it gave me a baseline for their sizing system, and I really like the way their sizing system works, or at least I do now that I understand that Russian women apparently want bare midriffs (and lots ‘o cleavage!) and I don’t. But that’s easy enough to fix. I’ve also heard that they are super skintight, but I didn’t find that to be the case on this pattern.

Construction and Pattern notes:

  • The line drawing for sleeve length is misleading. The short sleeves are short–not elbow length. Either that or the model has teeny-even-for-a-t-rex arms. A seriously easy fix though, and I wanted 3/4 length anyway, so I added around 10″.
  • I’m short, with a proportionally short torso, and even then the pattern was too short for me. At least it was obvious enough that I could tell as I was taping it together–I’d have been a bit upset if I hadn’t noticed until after it was cut! I added 3.5″ of length.
  • There is no way to cut the front pieces to conserve fabric–don’t bother. You will need more fabric than you think to make this, no matter how good you are at pattern tetris. Ask me how I know.
  • Yep. Sucks when that happens.Β Thankfully, I managed to find the last little bit of the fabric hidden away at the store. (They thought they had sold out, but I just happened to spy the last yard and a half a couple of months or so later and snatched it–there may or may not have been maniacal laughter and a victory dance. πŸ˜‰ ) Also thankfully, I had been unwilling to throw the pieces away or recut them into something else and I had been working around them in the sewing room for months. I hope to sew it up soon, but I need to recover from holiday madness first!
  • Lekala is like Kwik Sew and Burda had a baby. The design is deceptively simple and well drafted, but the directions are like 4 terse sentences. You’re on your own. And with the collar, you’ll want a dressform or some way to situate it “just so”, or you’ll sew it together wrong. Or maybe that’s just me. I had to pin baste part of it together before I could stitch the collar pieces together in the back, because I tried it once without and it was not even close to right.

Doing a little bit of Lekala origami. #sewcialist #lekalapatterns blouse 4042.

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Overall though, I love the end results!

4042 Edited

Note to self: don’t take pictures after supper… πŸ˜‰

Lekala Nightie v2.0

I finished the second Lekala nightie yesterday. I think it turned out pretty cute, if not a bit risque for the average run-of-the-mill sleepwear. I’ll have to remember that next time I make something that I’m not planning to use for seduction of the hubby. πŸ˜‰ Honestly though, I probably won’t make this one again. There are a lot of other variations out there to try, and this one, while cute, is kind of a lot of work for what it is. Though, I may just be being naive, maybe they are all a lot of work for such a flimsy piece of fabric. That might explain the pricetag they are generally accompanied by in the store. Anyway, here’s the pictures for you.

Same measurements, but my dressform looks skinnier....??


Lace inset that replaced "bows"

This was made using stretch lace and a jersey remnant from the stash. Based on the price still attached to the jersey remnant, I’d say this nightie cost around $8 to make. I still have enough of the jersey left to make a pair of panties and probably a bra if I want. There’s still quite a lot of the stretch lace left too. I used foldover elastic for the straps, and I think I made them about 1.5″ too long (I couldn’t remember from last time, so I just “winged it”.) I haven’t decided if I’m just going to leave it or if I’m going to fix it, guess I’ll know after I wear it a time or two. πŸ˜‰

In other sewing news, I have traced off, cut out and partially sewn the pockets of some Burda shorts (113 of 7/2009 magazine). I think they are going to be a bit too short for my taste, but I really just wanted to see if they’d fit. I kinda traced them based on the Jalie jeans I made up, so I think they should, barring any sort of major miscalculations (which I’m rather prone to). I really hope they work out, because I’d really like to have some decent fitting shorts to wear around this summer, and they seem like they’ll go together quickly, and next time should go even faster. This version will be out of some sort of khaki-colored stretch twill-esque fabric that I had in the stash from Whoknowswhere.

Well, that’s about all for me. Ya’ll sleep tight now, ya hear?! πŸ™‚

Mission(s) Accomplished!

I finally finished my bra project last night, though I have no pictures yet. I’ve never been so glad to finish something ever, which is odd, considering I actually enjoy sewing bras–they are usually a fun challenge. I guess it’s because I felt like I had to make them and get them finished quickly because I need them desperately. Then just because I needed something fun, I decided to make a nightie for myself. My yucky oversize t-shirts are getting holes in them, so I decided to try my idea of making the Lekala pattern from here into a comfy jersey nightie with peek-a-boo lace trim down the sides instead of the bows. I have the pieces cut out (so much faster to sew when you don’t have to trace!!) and the darts sewn/pressed. After that, it should pretty much be a walkΒ  in the park, though I’m still contemplating my plan of action on the straps. I don’t think I’m going to try and make them all one piece with the binding like I did last time. I guess I’ve got a couple of hours to think about that though, so I can surely come up with something. πŸ™‚


In other exciting news, I found my son’s birthday present today. I bought him a “rain train”. It’s used, and most of the paint is gone, perfect for me to repaint it to look like one of those John Deere ones that cost a small fortune and aren’t made quite as heavy as this old one is. (I’m pretty sure it’s cast iron!) You might think this is a silly gift, but it’s like a two-for-one deal–we get the benefit of a sprinkler we don’t have to keep track of/move, and our son gets the cool tractor sprinkler that he’s been asking about to play in. And maybe he’ll even be willing to help put the hose out when he’s ready to play. πŸ˜‰ It’s the holding off until his birthday next month that is going to be a killer….maybe we’ll have to give it to him earlier and get him something small and inexpensive for the actual day.

Lekala V-Day Present Wrap-up

Sorry it’s taken me so long to post about this, I’m not sure what the holdup was. 😳

In case I haven’t mentioned it, this quasi-review is for Lekala 5785, you can get it from the website here under “nightshirt”, but you can’t actually search for the pattern by it’s number. It’s definitely an interesting site to navigate, but their stuff is super cute.

A few notes:
1) Don’t try to do your first time of bias binding on a pattern with no directions when using a slippery charmeuse. It’s just not smart.

2) Making self-fabric bias tape is hard, unless you are using something a little less slippery and a lot more stable, but don’t try to cheat by using iron on hem tape–it makes the binding too thick to flex and fold properly.

3) Pay attention to how you flex the bias tape if you plan to make it a mostly continuous piece for binding and straps like I did. I think I should have went from the underarm seams, instead of a circle that made the shoulder straps and the binding for the front/back neckline all in one piece, because the straps seem like they want to slide off my shoulders.

4) I used this project as a practice run for my narrow-hem foot. The good news? I’m getting a lot better. The bad news? I haven’t figured out how to end the seam without the weird pokey where the fabric stretched as I sewed.

5) Sometimes, I’m not as smart at making up directions as I go as I think I am.

6) If you want the faux bows on the side, you’ll need to cut the bow pieces significantly wider than the pattern pieces–add at least an inch–and that’s on top of the addition of seam allowances. I didn’t do this, and therefore couldn’t do the bows and had to just leave the straps, which gives it a bit of an edgy industrial look or something. Think 5th Element. (Be aware that is a video link.)

7) I don’t know what was going on with my sewing machine, but the top stitches looked fine and looked like a hot mess on the bobbin side. I figured it would be OK for the whole hour worth of wear that it’ll get in it’s lifetime. πŸ˜‰

All in all, I would say while not for the absolute beginner, it’s a good pattern. Just be aware of the bow thing and the lack of seam allowances, and you shouldn’t have too much trouble figuring it out. Most of the problems I had with it were kind of self-inflicted, so I don’t hold that against the pattern. In fact, I kind of think I’d like to make it again in some lightweight rib knit–wouldn’t be as drapey, but would be super comfy for sleeping I think.

So, to the pictures!

Front view:

Side view: (sorry it’s from before it was finished, forgot to get a new one, but it still looks the same–except with the shoulder straps you see in the top picture.)

Lekala: 1, Me: 1-ish

I wonder how long it will take me to figure out when a fabric choice maybe isn’t the best before I get the pieces cut out. 😑 If you remember, I’m working on a project for hubby’s Valentine’s day present (which we are actually planning to celebrate this weekend since it was on a Monday) which are a robe thing and a nightie. The robe is a fail. 😦 Not because the pattern was bad, but because I made a poor fabric choice. 😦 I actually don’t know if the robe pattern was a fail or not, since I didn’t get far enough along to try it on. I just know that I starched the chiffon within an inch of its life, got it cut out, and it was raveling so bad that I couldn’t get my serged stitches to stay on. I’ve had this happen before, but have never figured out how to prevent it on certain fabrics–especially if they were rather cheap to start with.

Anyway, so I trashed that part of the gift, and began to work on the nightie portion. Hopefully, I’m not jinxing myself here, but so far it’s going together really nicely. The back has darts already included, and I think I’ll need to add some bust darts, but here it is in its partially finished glory.

I didn’t even try to match up the huge print, but I don’t think it would matter much either way. Ignore that the hem doesn’t line up–I’m not sure how it got quite so far off, but somewhere around the time I started “winging” the seam/hem allowances is probably where it happened. It’ll be OK, it’s not like I’m planning to wear this out in public or anything, so if it’s a bit on the short side, who cares?

I’m hoping to figure out how this tutorial for making endless bias works, because that’s what I hope to use to bind the neckline/make straps out of. I’ve tried to wrap my mind around it once and failed, but I’ve got a little more experience now, so maybe it will make more sense.

Hope everyone is having a beautiful and productive day! πŸ™‚

I got nothin’

Well, except for pattern pieces taped together and cut out. Yay! I can’t believe I got it finished! Finally!



I was a little unsure about how the robe pieces went together, but looking at the line drawing made it crystal clear.

One caveat, and anyone who knows differently is welcome to chime in, is that these patterns don’t include seam allowances. Or at least it doesn’t look like they do. Not a big deal, unless you don’t put them in. πŸ˜‰ And you may want to test a few pages to see if they print off correctly. Parts of lines got cut off or were “floating” oddly because it didn’t seem to account for margins like I expected. Again, not a big deal, but if you are nervous about trying to fix those little inconsistencies yourself, you may want to fiddle with the page setup a bit.

I know I’m planning to do french seams on this, but I’m wondering if I could use bias tape to bind the edges of the chiffon, or if would be too heavy and I’d be better off to just use a rolled hem and call it good. I’d like to do a contrasting bias tape–maybe in a dusty blue to match my nightie? Or even bias tape made from the same fabric as the nightie? But if that won’t work, maybe I could find a similar shade of wooly nylon and get a similar (or at least “close enough”) effect….?

BTW, I’m really in love with the “schedule” feature. For example, this post was written last night, and when it pops up, I’ll be in the gym working on getting rid of my flab. πŸ˜‰

Anyway, I suppose I’ll leave you with one of my favorite songs. I suppose you could say I “rediscovered” it last night. πŸ™‚

All day long I cut and tape, cut and tape

I’m working on a couple of Lekala patterns for my hubby’s valentine’s day present, and they are definitely an adventure! First, I forgot to download (or at least save) the images so that I would know what each pattern looks like, then after I took the time to go through and save the pictures to my Picasa account, I failed to realize that though the pattern number was shown in the uploader view, it wasn’t carried over to the saved file….so I had to go back through the site to find the patterns I was making so that I knew for sure which was which…am I convinced these are worth it? Maybe.

On the ones I downloaded (back when they offered them for free in my size), there appear to be no directions whatsoever, though maybe there’s more on the more difficult patterns, I haven’t taken the time to look actually. Anyway, here are the ones I’m cutting and taping together, cute no?

This would be out of some black “chiffon” from Hobby Lobby that I’ve had for a loooooooooong time.

And this would be made from a “simply silky” stretch charmeuse-type fabric from Jo-Ann’s that has a blue and brown butterfly print–you may or may not be able to tell that from this picture of it…

And since I have my dressform up and running, maybe I’ll even post some pictures of the finished product when I get to that point.

BTW, I plan to start doing a better job of taking pictures–this is supposed to be a kind of “journal” of my sewing projects and such, and it doesn’t do me as much good if I don’t do a good job of posting pictures. Too bad it’s such a PITA to take them, upload them, and then post them….