They let me guest post…!?!

Over at the Sewcialists blog I posted about a few of the bloggers that inspire me in preparation for August’s Tribute Month. If you aren’t already following them, go check it out!

Heatwave Sewing Part 2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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? 😉 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!


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. 😉

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. 🙂

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. 😉
  • 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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Last minute stockings

I realized this year that we only have 3 stockings, and there are 4 of us. Considering that our stockings were old, came from Dollar General, and falling apart, I knew there was no way to find another one that matched the ones we had. Which left me with two options: a) make some out of cute Christmas fabric, or b) buy some of those ugly fuzzy ones from Walmart. I think you can guess which option I chose. 😉

I used the pattern from FabricWorm, and the assembly tutorial from Megan Neilsen’s blog. Well, kinda. I used some fleece from my stash to line only one side of my stocking (two layers seemed too bulky), and used the same fleece (it’s white) to make the cuff. I had some off white satin ribbon from who-knows-what laying on the floor of my sewing room, so I sewed it in half and used it for the hanging loop.

I think they turned out pretty stinkin’ cute. 😉

Not really even very close

If you happen to follow the Sewcialists blog, you’ve probably heard that July is/was Lingerie Sewing month. Since I’ve only got 3 bras (which according to the bra queen, isn’t nearly enough), I thought I’d give it another go. I’ve made some before, but not in a long time with many body changes in between (several cup sizes and a baby, anyone?), so it kind of felt like the first time. And it was with a pattern I’ve never made before (though I did apparently trace and cut the pieces at some point??), so unfamiliarity made the feeling more pronounced.

My pattern of choice was the Bra-Maker’s Shelley bra. It looks very similar to the Elomi bras I’m currently wearing, so I thought it would be a good choice. (Note: I still think that.) So over the last few days I have slowly but surely inched my way through sewing it up, but ultimately it’s way too small. The band is pretty close (a smidge on the snug side), but the cups! Oh my! Those are at least a couple of sizes too small. I have full-on-top breasts, so I think the way that Beverly instructs you to measure won’t work for that shape. But, I dutifully followed directions and made up two sizes smaller than my RTW size that my gut was telling me to make. I’m not sure how her sizing compares to RTW, but if anyone knows for sure, I’d be happy to hear what I need before I cut the next one out.

I would recommend the pattern though, it’s a very pretty bra, and it goes together very nicely. The instructions weren’t overly hand-holdy, but they weren’t Burda-esque either, so I’d say go for it if you’re at all interested!

Saber Toothed Swap Goodies!

I’m probably a bit late on this, but if you were participating in Jungle January this year, Ms. Grievances added a SWAP option to the fun. My SWAP partner was Sarah from MusingsOfASeamstress, and she got me some fantastic stuff!

SaberToothed Swap.jpgThere’s a lovely ocelot print cotton(? It feels sort of like a crisp rayon challis), some delicious smelling lotion, and some cute socks (which I’ve already worn, ha!). Thanks Sarah!

Now to finish up with my blouse testing to cut into my new fabric…. 😉

Jungle January 2015

If you follow sewing blogs at all, you’ve surely heard of Jungle January by now. And it seems that every time I participate I sew up something in a snakeskin print. I guess that even though I have no love for snakes I have a thing for a good snakeskin print. And this year, even though I was aiming for bottomweight zebra for a skirt, I found a gorgeous snakeskin rayon challis in the “red tag” section of J’s for 50% off the red tag price + a discount for it being the end of the bolt–it was destiny!! Guess zebra will have to wait until next year. 😉

I was hypnotized by the pretty, it had to be mine!

I was hypnotized by the pretty, it had to be mine!

I used Simplicity 1598 a Learn to Sew pattern. I decided that this was going to be the year of doing simple things very well. Sometimes I do things kind of sloppy, and I decided that sometimes it’s better to do the simple things with precision and skill vs doing more complex things with mediocrity. Plus, it had a cute back detail and looked like it would be as cool and comfy as one can find for summer.

So you know how I just said “do the simple things very well”? I had apparently forgotten that skill and precision isn’t dependent entirely on the complexity of the garment–sometimes fabric can be the sole challenge. I should have starched the absolute hell out of this challis, but I didn’t, so it was tricky to cut and sew neatly. And sadly, it still didn’t have enough drape to keep this pattern from being a “shent” on me. The back of the envelope said I needed a size 16 so I thought; “this is a learn to sew pattern, I’m going to just cut it like they tell me to, they surely wouldn’t misguide newbies, and then I won’t need to make a muslin…” famous last words, my friend. Famous last words. After I cut down about 6 inches total + still keeping the 5/8″ seam allowance (or more), I think everyone can see that it’s still not exactly “fitted”. I tried to add a french dart, but that’s a no go once your fabric is cut (I’d have had enough to make the “flange” if I had thought to dart it before cutting the sides down though). Ultimately, I wore it around the night after I finished it, and it’s comfy (and cool!) and I think it will be great for summer, if not exactly the most flattering item of clothing I’ve ever owned. And hubby and Irish both say it looks nice. 🙂

More baby stuff

I made bibs! I used the tutorial found here. I can’t remember exactly how big/small bibs are supposed to be for a newborn, but these look like they’ll be fine, and I put in an extra snap to make it adjustable (and it’s easy to add another snap if I need to). And I’m stashbusting all over the place lately, because these bibs were made using some fabric from either my eldest or from making burp rags for other people. 🙂

Found the perfect use for the last little bit of the adorable caterpillar fabric. :-)

Found the perfect use for the last little bit of the adorable caterpillar fabric. 🙂

How cute are these? I’ve never had a side opening bib before, so I’ll be curious to see how it stacks up against the typical back closing kind; though it seems like it should be easier–especially for little heads that can’t support themselves yet.

I also made a couple of fleece backed burp rags. I’m not sure how well the fleece will work, but it’s suggested as an insert for menstrual pads and such, so I figured it would be worth a try. Plus, I already had it leftover from a Halloween costume for the eldest a year or two ago, so I figured I’m not out anything but time if it doesn’t work. I decided to try a new shape, I’m not really sure if it’ll make any difference or not, but I like the way it kind of “hugs” my neck, so I think that it should work fine.

Not the best pic, but it'll do.

Not the best pic, but it’ll do.

Now my biggest problem is knowing how many I need! It’s been a lot of years since I had to care for a baby. 😮 The current count is 4 bibs, 5 burp rags.

Back in the sewing saddle!

Hooray! I finally got to sit down and fire up my sewing machine!

I made up one of these headbands for #SewRedOctober. Technically, I made it yesterday, but didn’t feel it warranted a post of its own. Especially since it doesn’t “fit”…I mean, it fits my head, but my hair isn’t long enough, so the back looks really ugly and sticky-outy when I wear it. I also think I’d shave down the sides a bit if I were to do it again–the resulting headband is too wide for my child-sized head. 😉

Today has been another sewing day! I did some repair work on a pair of maternity shorts I had borrowed from a neighbor–the waistband was sewn on poorly by the manufacturer, so some of the stitching was barely on the waistband….needless to say, I pulled them on a couple of times and noticed that the waistband wasn’t completely stitched down anymore. Not a big deal, except that if I’d have paid for them, I’d have been a bit pissed given the cost of maternity clothes!

I’m also working on a couple of pillowcases for our “leg pillows”. I’ve been a hardcore side sleeper my whole life, but didn’t discover “leg pillows” until I was newly married. We ended up with pillows because my hubby started stealing mine. 😉 Sadly, we don’t own a single set of sheets that has 4 pillowcases, so I decided finally to replace the old nasty ones I got from Goodwill with a couple of newer, prettier ones. I used the measurements and such from this tutorial, and the burrito method from this tutorial. Next time I would just use the one from the Seasoned Homemaker, because the measurements have you end up with the same size of pillow case, it’s just that she didn’t provide finished measurements and Film In the Fridge did. (They both end up being about 20″x29″, if you’re in need of that info.)

In other sewing news, I am plotting a quilt. I know, I know. I’m eating my words over here. Really though, if you saw the sad state of my current bedding (and my budget), you’d completely understand why I broke my vow of “never again”. All I need right now is one 2 yard piece of white with a minimalist black or grey print to be the lattice pieces (I really liked a black/white version of Michael Miller’s “Pristine Paisley, but haven’t been able to find enough yardage. 😦 ). My inspiration was this quilt, which I figured even I couldn’t screw up. 😉 I was hoping to have someone else actually do the quilting, but when I found it out would be somewhere in the ballpark of $110 to sew some straight lines in the ditch, I figured I could tough it out. I’ll post more pictures and such Sunday when I’ve for sure got my pillowcases finished and photographed so that I can take pics (and upload them) all at once.

Hope everyone has a great weekend!