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!

 

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! πŸ˜› (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. πŸ˜‰

 

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. πŸ˜‰

Hot Patterns Retro Playsuit

In honor of our “anniversary trip” in a couple of weeks, I thought I’d sew up something cute and sexy. I’ve had this fabric from Hancock’s (why I remember that, I have no idea–it would have been much more useful to remember…I dunno…what it’s content is?!) since I started sewing again (however long ago that was by now). I always kind of figured it was polyester chiffon, with a velvet burnout, but after sewing with it, I’d say it’s better quality than that. Not that it was super easy to sew with mind you, just not as bad as any other polyester chiffon I’ve ever worked with–which are, admittedly, few. Do they make a rayon chiffon? It can’t be silk, not from our Hancock’s.

This stuff is so, so pretty IMO.

This stuff is so, so pretty IMO.

Anyway, I’ve loved the idea of the Hot Patterns Retro Playsuit for a long time (you can get your free copy here), but alas, it wasn’t meant to be.

Isn't this so cute?!

Isn’t this so cute?!

I decided that since technically, this orangey-pink isn’t really my best color, I wouldn’t be devastated if it didn’t work out, so I just jumped in, cutting out the size 14. I chose that size based on the envelope for a completely different HP pattern, which may or may not have been the same size chart they used for this particular pattern. I should have had plenty of room (even bordering on a smidge too big) based on the size chart from their Metropolitan Urbanista Coat Dress (OOP), but I actually ended up with something that was too small. Namely, it was too short lengthwise, which is something that has NEVER happened to me before! I’m 5’2″, with (proportionally) long legs–most 9 year olds probably have longer torsos than me! In fact, the thought of it being too short never even crossed my mind–to tight/loose, absolutely…too short?! Nope. Now, I will admit that it was snugger than I’d hoped, so it probably wasn’t going to work anyway, but when you can’t cover your nips and still snap the crotch, you’ve got a problem. Maybe I have more “junk” in my trunk than Hot Patterns expected? I don’t know. It did seem like the butt was where everything went south…

A few notes on the pattern itself.

  1. It *may* just be that my printer was being a brat that day, but the pages didn’t come anywhere close to matching during assembly, so be prepared to do some “fudging”.
  2. This pattern is definitely beginner level, and has the potential for use of those fun trims you can’t quite muster up the courage to use anywhere else but still love.
  3. Once cut out, the pattern pieces themselves match up perfectly–so obviously my fudging worked out.
  4. I don’t know why anyone would want to fiddle around with teeny buttons “down there”, so I opted to use snaps. I used size 14, and squeezed in 4 of them–I’d go with 3 next time, but it would depend on the width of your trim (I just folded over my serged edges 2x) and what looks/feels right to you.

So here’s the beautiful fail with the straps pinned on. I didnt have the heart to sew them on yet. Seems silly to if no one is short enough to wear it.

Playsuit Front

Even my (petite) dressform has camel toe…

Playsuit Back

Meh.

That sums up my feelings about the StyleArc Barb pants that I just made up. Based on their size chart (which I’ve heard they have a very RTW fit), I’m smack dab in the middle of two sizes, so I made the larger thinking that these were supposed to be fairly slim fitting. Perhaps my expectations were unrealistic for a pair of pull on pants, but these are just kind of frumpy on me. I’m frumpy enough on my own, thankyouverymuch, so I prefer my pants/bottoms to be more fitted. Here is a list of what needs to be changed/where did I go wrong?

  • I think they are simply too big. Being in the middle of two sizes, I felt like bigger should have been better in order to prevent the look of a sausage casing. I may have been wrong, although I haven’t made the size smaller to see.
  • I had a wad of fabric in the front that I cut off. It’s better, but there are still some wrinkles. Maybe with my cylindrical shape, pot belly, and big butt this is just the nature of the beast, IDK.
  • There is 4″ of ease on each thigh. My thighs are each 26″ around, so they’re not exactly slim!
  • The front crotch curve seems exceptionally tiny to me. I’m unsure how this affects fit, but it’s something I noted.

Ultimately, they look (and feel!) like maternity pants. And not just any maternity pants, but ones that have “room to grow”. I did, however, find them extremely easy to put together, sew up, and I even nailed the length I was aiming for.

 

As you can probably guess, these won’t be leaving the house. Actually, they won’t be worn at all. And I’m not sure whether I’ll give them another shot or not at this point. I’m a bit bummed, but there are a lot of ladies who have had excellent results with theirs, so I think the pattern is fine, just not for me. Or at least, not without a lot of tweaking.

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˜‰

Fail parade

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve likely noticed a couple of projects that hadn’t previously made it on here. They were wadders that I just decided to let go and not try to remake. I don’t have endless amounts of time to dedicate to making things work, so sometimes I just admit defeat, and move on. Especially if I don’t really know what needs to be done to fix it anyway.

Case in point? McCall’s 6163. I have no idea what happened. I don’t know if my stay tape wasn’t up to the challenge (doubtful) or if it was a matter of the thick knit getting that pulled out of whack from my inability to change the presser foot pressure, or if I just flat cut the wrong size (though based on my measurements it should have been right…??) Either way, this was unacceptable.

Good grief, it just gets worse every time I look at it!

I’m slightly fuller busted than the dressform, but it still looked indecent. I didn’t even finish it before throwing it away. It’s a bummer too, because the ladies that reviewed it on PR looked fab in their versions, so it’s definitely something I did–I’m just not sure what.

My other fail was this:

So much promise. *Sigh*

I knew going in that there were a couple of bad spots in the fabric, spots where blue dye had somehow ended up in the white portions, but they seemed like NBD to cut around, and it wasn’t. What I didn’t notice was all the little holes that showed up (or at least became more visible) after washing. I really think it was just a very delicate fabric and should have been handwash only. Of course, I only noticed it after I started sewing, and even then I started to ignore it, but I just couldn’t get the fabric into the point in the CF the first try and…..well, let’s just say that no matter how careful you are, the seam ripper just doesn’t like this fabric. So between the holes from washing and the snags from seam ripping I decided to just let it go.

Anyone else been riding the fail train lately? I’m hoping to end my streak soon, because I’ve still got a need for some cute blouses and t-shirts…

Where oh where did my little tub go?

It seems that we’ve lost a few really random things in our move. So far we’ve been unable to locate:

  • An entire cosmetic bag–I had a decent amount of makeup and now it’s lost in the ether.
  • My hairdryer and curling irons. As you can probably guess, whether I like it or not, I officially don’t have a beauty routine…
  • The container that stows away all of my plastic grocery bags that we use to line the diaper pail. This sucks, probably worse than the first two things. Those buggers are kind of expensive.
  • My “sewing essentials” tub. This had my marking devices, seam rippers, buttonhole/eyelet chisels, fray check, one of those expensive Gingher seam razor blade things, and a few other bits ‘n bobs that are kind of crucial to sewing. Not only that, but they’re going to be kind of expensive to replace. πŸ˜₯

I know that there’s always stuff lost in a move, but we’ve never lost this kind (or this much!) of stuff before.

In other news, the sewing room is nearly unpacked, organized, and ready to go. I’ve got a mess with the patterns, but we bought a “new” (ok, I’m pretty sure it’s older than I am) filing cabinet with like 5 drawers for the business, and I’m claiming the bottom drawer for the house stuff that’s currently residing in the lower drawer of my sewing room filing cabinet. So then I’ll have a second drawer in my little two drawer sewing room cabinet for the rest of my patterns. Yay! πŸ™‚ If I fill that one up, there’s going to have to be a purge, because I want organization this time around.

Speaking of organization, does anyone have any good tips for storing the tracings they do of pattern pieces? That’s the one thing that my old sewing room seemed to be inundated with–bits of tissue paper pattern pieces that swirled around, got stepped on, wedged under the door, ripped on the ironing board, etc. It takes a lot of time to trace all those off, so I’d like a good way to store them that keeps them intact, but doesn’t require a lot of space/plastic baggies/etc. I think I’m going to do a better job of throwing the ones that didn’t work away though–I used to keep them to retrace smaller pieces on, but it just makes a mess…

 

Gratuitous sewing room photo/sneak peek.

Gratuitous sewing room photo/sneak peek.

OMG I made a shirt!!

OK, laugh if you want, but it’s been the far side of forever since I’ve sewn something for me that other people can actually see, so I’m kind of excited. I decided to retry sewing Butterick 5495 that I had a wadder from a few years back. It’s made of a purple rayon jersey this time because the last one was a flop because of poor fabric choice. This rayon has drape to spare, so it’s perfect for this. But…

So pretty...*sigh*

So pretty…*sigh*

Turns out that I should really just use a damn measuring tape once in a while. Because clearly the size that I think I should be and the size that I currently am? They are *not* one and the same. They are close, but no cigar…whatever the hell that means. Either that or I got a bit too carried away with the fusible knit tape…maybe I should go with that one? Regardless, the blouse *juuuuuuuust* barely fits over the bewbs, (in a sports bra, no less!) and fits rather snugly underneath them. I mean, I’m all for showing off my smallest point and all, but not at the risk of popping my (rather pitiful) handsewn loopy thing wide open. So now I’m at the point where I try to decide if I should hem the sleeves (bottom is already hemmed) and hope that I continue to lose weight? Or just accept that my ribcage is probably not going to be shrinking any time soon (though it is 1″ bigger than it was when I was pregnant???) and probably hem the sleeves and donate it? I dunno. It’s sure cute though.

Also? I need to remember to put Mildred on a diet–her measurements are mine 20 lbs and one baby ago. And I thought this blouse was snug on me!!! I had to wrestle her to get it on!

So after I figure out what to do with this one, I guess I get to make up the undies I cut out of the scraps of this fabric (2 pairs yay!) and then maybe try my hand at making a robe-like thing to keep me warm–I’m thinking about the Lola from Victory Patterns paired up with a sweatshirting I have with owls on it…

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?

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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!

 

A winner! And other updates

Sorry for kind of falling off of the face of the Earth there for a while, it’s just been kind of crazy around here lately (totally in a good way though!) and I haven’t been all that productive in a “seamly” way. πŸ˜‰

So, anyway, there is a winner in the Pattern Pyramid, and it’s Seraphinalina!! πŸ™‚ So Sera, just drop me an email with your addy in it and I’ll get it on it’s way! I think you’ve got my email, but let me know in the comments if you can’t find it and I’ll send it to you. πŸ™‚ Congratulations!

In other news, since I’ve been mostly offline I’ve managed to celebrate yet another year of my marriage to the most amazing man, turned another year older (and it snowed!! On my birthday!?!), had a mini vacation, won a blog award* from the adorable Ms. Thimble and Cork (check her out! She’s a darling!), messed up an exposed zip insertion**, played some golf, did some garage sale-ing, and also just had normal life thrown in for good measure. πŸ™‚ It doesn’t sound like much typed out, but it felt like a busy time. πŸ™‚

*I’ll refer you to this post, since I haven’t had the time to brainstorm up new answers. 😳 I am, however, grateful that ya’ll appreciate my blog. πŸ™‚

** Yes, there was some crying, scream cussing, and frantic requests for assistance on the exposed zipper. It was quite dramatic…or maybe I should say traumatic? I’m hoping to find some more of that aqua Lisette twill to recut the pieces so that I can fix it, since I (of course) put in the pockets before messing with the zipper. (No, I don’t know why I’m going to so much trouble on a “wearable muslin”…I guess it’s because I really liked that twill?) Fortunately, it was just cool enough that wearing a skort would have been cold on the golf course, so it worked out that I didn’t have it finished.

So while I’m searching for some of that twill (it seems to be available, I’m just not sure why Joann’s won’t let me put it in my cart???) I started on Burda 02/2013/113, a draped shirt made for those who have a ginormously tall torso. I’ve taken about 4″ out of mine and I think it might still be more tunic length than anything, we’ll have to see. I’m using a very….ah…unique fabric for it, so it’ll either be amazing and awesome or terrible and terrifying. πŸ˜‰ And I’m planning to leave off the sleeves, due to fabric restrictions, (it was a cheap remnant) hopefully that works out OK for me.

Anyway, I’d better get to checking out my blogroll, or I’ll be on here all day! Until next time, ciao! πŸ™‚