Getting back to my roots…

With Butterick 6494.

Does anyone else remember Jungle January? It was so long ago, but I still miss it sometimes. In fact, the fabric I used for this pattern came from the last swap done for Jungle January that I participated in, and possibly the last one period. I’ve looked at it for years and never had quite the right project for it. Until I found Butterick 6494 for “heavy” knits.

I’m still not 100% sure what this fabric is, it’s sort of like a sweater knit, or maybe it’s a Ponte (I don’t have enough Ponte experience to know for sure), but it sewed up like a dream. I also had a lot of it, which was good, because I cut view B out twice…once with the stretch in the wrong direction, and once with it going the right direction (why do they make a few fabrics with the stretch going only vertically instead of from selvage to selvage?!). πŸ€¦β€β™€οΈ Those hiccups aside, the pattern went together perfectly, and was easy to sew except for one part.

The collar.

The collar was the part of the pattern that originally drew me in, because I enjoy making them (not sure what this says about me, but whatevs.) Between the thickness of the fabric and the giant 5/8 seam allowances (which I always leave on during the first run through, just in case I need the extra.) It was a bit of a trick, and I don’t love how the collar turned out because of the bulk, but visually it’s fine. It just feels bulky and I know how bulky it is, so it’s probably all in my head.

So notes for future me (or you, just in case): the bodice is tight. I dislike this feeling, so I let out virtually all of the seam allowances up to a 1/4″–and on princess seams, that’s a lot! If I hadn’t already made some changes and traced it off, I would consider going up a size, but as it is I have plenty of room now and it fits my shoulders nicely. Strangely, for as tight as the bodice is the sleeves are almost too loose even for my big arms. I did snug it up a bit on my forearms, because I had like 3″ of ease flopping around and I wasn’t a fan. The sleeves also were a bit twisty, though I’m not sure if that was a fault of the fabric or me for trying to eek them out of my tiny scrap after cutting it out twice. I also raised the neckline slit, which was recommended by the reviews on PR. Easy to do at the tracing stage, just measure down your front to an amount of skin you’re comfortable with and adjust the lines/markings accordingly.

Overall, I like it, but I’m not sure if it’s something I’ll make multiple times like I had originally hoped. And I definitely don’t think it needs to be made in a heavy knit. An ITY weight jersey should be fine, or at least, that’s what I would try next time. If I try it again, that is.

I tried to reduce the neckline bulk by making the facing out of fusible knit interfacing only. It helped, but still very bulky, and it was exceptionally fiddly.
Closeup of the neckline facing. Super fiddly, (and worse on this than usual, probably because of how beefy this fabric is?) but the results are worth it. I ended up doing some clipping and overlapping on the interfacing to get it wrinkle free and fused flat.
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Last Minute Wedding Dress M7121

And when I say last minute, I mean it. I think it was hemmed an hour before we left for cousin B’s wedding. You might not know this, but it’s wedding mania around here for my husband’s family. OK, so there’s only 4 this year, but that still feels like a lot. Probably because the one last weekend was for my SIL, which was a very big deal for obvious reasons. πŸ™‚

The pattern was a repeat of McCall’s 7121, which I made way back when in a much fancier fabric. Since I had worn that dress to my brother in law’s wedding, I wasn’t sure I wanted to wear it to yet another wedding from that side of the family. It just would have been weird, you know? <–[Ed. Note: HA!]

So I hemmed and hawed until the day before the wedding. As you do. I ran to the fabric store, bought the last of a really quite gorgeous ITY (side note: I usually hate 100% poly fabrics with the fire of a thousand suns, but this one was actually quite nice.) and hoped that my children would behave long enough for me to sew it. It turns out, my children weren’t going to be the problem–*I* was.

You see, I made that dress in 2015, but stupidly failed to note the pattern size/changes I made anywhere and also in a fit of complete idiocy managed to throw away the pieces I had traced off with the size/changes I needed on them. So, I did my best to recreate them in my limited time and thankfully, it worked out.

So for future me, here’s my changes, feel free to skip them if you aren’t into that sort of thing.

  • I used the shoulders and neckline from the size 12, going to the size 14 at the side seam (lazy knit FBA).
  • I took about 4″ off the hem (which I need to do on the pattern pieces, because I took that off the dress after it was sewn).
  • I left the center back seam to minimize the yardage used (I got this out of the last 2.5 yards on the bolt with very little waste–I also managed to eek out a pair of undies, and am hoping to make a matching bra from the rest of the scraps.) This will not work for a directional print, obviously.
  • I cut the front on the fold by increasing the indentation on the side seam to account for the addition to the center front. If you want to do the same, you need to adjust the pieces as you trace them off and true your grainline.
  • I joined the bodice and skirt pieces of both front and back. This dress has a lot of seaming so that you can make the cool chevron effect with stripes, but I haven’t managed to try that yet. If you do that, remember to take out the seam allowances at the waistline.

The finished dress is gorgeous, and got lots of compliments–probably because no one could see the dog’s breakfast I made of the hem. Pro Tip: Don’t use your serger to trim off excess hem, it will end badly if you goof even the slightest bit. And I did goof, but thankfully it’s impossible to tell when the dress is in motion and/or everyone around you is focusing on the dance/their booze/the newlyweds. πŸ˜‰

Anyway, I’m sure that’s enough ramblings, you’re really only here to see the dress, right? (Hover over the images for captions.)

So these were unintentionally lightened. IRL the color is a dark royal blue, almost a royal navy. And I have to say that my dressform doesn’t quite do it the justice that my body does–which is quite a detour from normal!

Anyway, I loved it so much that I actually wore it to both B’s wedding and my SIL’s wedding because: [spoiler] I had a wadder (more on that later). I did actually buy a backup dress for the other wedding, but I just couldn’t make myself wear it when I’d already wasted so much $$ on the wadder. 😦 And to think I’m the one who harps about ‘sunk costs’ all the time…!

Measure twice, cut once…AKA Jalie 2111

I procraftinated on my wedding guest outfit to make my youngest a dress shirt to wear for the same wedding. It was perfectly drafted, everything sewed together nicely, and while I mad a few mistakes–most notably sewing the cuffs together wrong after getting those curves sewn perfectly–the end result is pretty darn cute.

But.

But.

It’s too big. *smh* And it’s all my fault too. You see, I made it based on Scotch’s neck measurement. I know that’s not what you’re supposed to do, but seriously, this kid has a huge head and his neck is in proportion to it. He’s also one of those people whose height is “all torso”, which is the opposite of his brother. So because he’s all torso and has arms proportional to that, I just up and decided to add an extra inch in length the sleeves and the body of the shirt without taking any additional measurements. You can do that sort of thing on pants, just take up the hem and you’re golden. On a shirt, it’s not so easy–especially one with sleeves that have plackets and cuffs. I’m not taking that stuff off to fix it, so he’s just going to have to grow into the shirt…please just don’t let his neck get any bigger when that happens!

Sorry for the grainy tablet picture–I hadn’t used it before and didn’t realize there’s no flash?

The pattern was Jalie 2111, and it appears to be PDF only now. As I said before, it went together perfectly. All the notches lined up perfectly, the edges lined up perfectly, if you need a men/teen/boys/toddler dress shirt–buy it. Seriously. Jalie didn’t steer anybody wrong on this one, and you can’t beat all those sizes in one package (though I’ll admit that tracing it off is an exercise in extreme patience and good eyesight).

At least the project was a scrapbuster–it’s leftovers from this shirt for my husband. I was hoping to get that piece of fabric out of my stash, but unfortunately there’s still a piece that is too big to throw away and not big enough to do much of anything with…I hate it when that happens.

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Shorts fail

Well, Simplicity 1808 was a big, fat fail for me. I should have known better. I have a lot of junk in the trunk and a belly in the front, but the thought of elastic waistband jean shorts called to me and I ignored all common sense. The crotch curve on this pattern is laughable. I’m pretty sure (though not positive, since it’s never something I’ve had) that these are designed for the flattest butt to ever flat. There is almost no curve, and then they also add in a crazy amount of ease. The size chart said I needed between a size 18 and a size 20 for my 43″ hips. That size wasn’t even included, so I used the finished measurements and cut a size 14, thinking that the stretch in my denim would cover the rest of the ease.

When I first tried them on they didn’t touch my body at all. Literally. There was an “air moat” between the denim and my skin all the way around. Chub rub was all that held them up. I took out 3″ from the center back and then 4″ more in the form of two darts to get them to fit loosely without being baggy, but while they fit, they looked terrible (think mom jeans), and I decided that was enough. I promptly threw them in the trash.

As I said in my review, I’ve been trying very hard to take accurate measurements and then use them honestly instead of lying to myself. But then you have a project that comes out like this and you wonder if you’re going too far the other direction.

My quest for nicely fitting pull on shorts continues…

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.

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.

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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.

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.

A photo posted by Sew Sarcastic (@sewsarcastic) on

Overall though, I love the end results!

4042 Edited

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

My first maxi

I’m not sure what is wrong with me lately, since I’ve suddenly increased my skirt/dress wardrobe by 3 pieces. This is kind of crazy, since I’m very much a jeans kind of girl–not only because I find them practical, but also because I have negative thigh gap. Seriously, they rub together so bad that it literally is painful to wear a skirt or dress for a full day. I wear jeans out quickly too, but at least with the jeans it’s not my skin!

Inspiration dress; who knows how long it will last, but I feel so long and lean in it!

Inspiration dress; who knows how long it will last, but I feel so long and lean in it!

Aaaaaanyway, back to the maxi. Technically, my first ever maxi was the inspiration for the one in this post. I bought it from Walmart a month or so ago, and decided that I should make my own, but it wasn’t a priority. Until I saw a fabric that I knew I had to make the maxi dress of awesomeness out of. I first saw it during my fabric binge, but I left it there, because I didn’t know what to do with it. But it just wouldn’t get out of my head, I kept thinking about it and how it would make a beautiful elegant maxi dress for nights out with my husband… Now I have the perfect dress, I just need to convince my husband to take me out!

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Pattern Review: McCall’s 7121

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? Welllllllll, for my particular purpose, I hated all the seaming, but I think I’d like to go back and do the chevron stripes someday, so I’ll probably love them then, HA! I loved how easy it was, and the V-necklines.

Fabric Used: For the muslin, I used a cotton jersey and for the real deal I used some sort of polyester knit with silver threads woven into it.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: On the final version, I eliminated the waist seams and the center front seam. To eliminate the waist seam I used the highly unscientific method of joining the bodice and skirt together overlapping the seam allowances. To remove the center front seam I curved the side seam in the same amount that would be added when I cut the center front on the fold to help maintain some shaping. I also had to shorten the shoulders by 2″ on each side to keep it from being indecent. This length wasn’t an issue on the muslin, and I didn’t realize it was a problem with the final version until I had it completely stitched, so you can imagine I was a bit annoyed when picking a triple zig zag out of the fabric and doing my absolute best not to snag any of those silver threads.

Goofs: When I cut the back pieces, I ended up with some twinning. It was either deal with it and be happy or buy another 2 yards of this fabric (which is rather distinctive and unsuited for scrappy projects.) I also seem to need some more room across the back for my big ‘ol butt, because it rides up a bit. Again, not a deal breaker, it is just really obvious from the Oona-esque angle I had my husband try out here.

This is the second time that exactly what I envisioned in my head came to reality, but my current project (StyleArc Barb, if you’re curious) isn’t working out nearly so smoothly. We’ll just have to see how it goes. I’m sure I’ll blog about it in great detail later on, regardless of the outcome. πŸ˜‰

Seasonally appropriate? What’s that?

So I finally sewed up something that wasn’t a wadder. Granted, it’s taken me forever (seriously, over a week!) to sew up a simple loose-fitting blouse that should have only taken a couple of hours, but it’s a finished blouse, so I’ll take it. πŸ™‚

Except! It’s really more suited for summer heat than the current freezing temps. So while it’s exceptionally cute, it’s going to languish in the closet for a few months. Not even my high tolerance for cold is going to let me wear a backless blouse made of some sort of polyester gauze (actual fabric type is unknown, but it came from the big green J, so I’m confident it’s poly). But instead of being “late” for summer, I’m totally claiming it as “early” for next year. I’m so on the ball, eh? πŸ˜‰

So what is this garment of seasonal inappropriateness, you ask? Why it’s Simplicity 1614, of course! I made up view D in a size 16. I thought about making it in the 18 to match my full bust measurement, but I figured it surely had enough ease to cover and not be too ginormous everywhere else with the 16. And I was right. And since it didn’t have to fit my narrow shoulders, I didn’t need to use the smaller sizes either (I usually need the shoulders of a 10 or a 12). As is, it’s nearly perfect size-wise, or at least it is what I was aiming for. πŸ™‚

Business in the front

Business in the front

For the most part, this was a fairly easy sew. My problems stemmed from using the most fray-tastic, shifty fabric in the history of fray-tastic, shifty fabrics that snagged on everything, including itself! Gah! Seriously, poly charmeuse ain’t got* nothin’ on this stuff! I suppose I should also point out that two other things gave me grief: 1) I’ve never made bias tubes out of such a lightweight fabric before–it looked like a drunk monkey sewed those tubes up! and 2) My bias tape application still needs some practice. This time it was made worse by the fabric choice. 😦 No matter though; it’s cute, and I like it. πŸ™‚ Besides, who can resist this rear view? πŸ˜‰

Party in the back!! Love me a cute (and possibly tacky) back detail!

Party in the back!! Love me a cute (and possibly tacky) back detail!

And if you’re wondering what happened to the knock-offs, well, one has been sitting in my sewing room in the exact same stage (aka nearly done, but with minor fixes needed) for over a month now. I finally worked up the willpower last night to pick out the side seams and the sleeves so that I can basically recut the front because it got distorted by some seaming. No one needs wrinkles in front of their armpits that look like…well, use your imagination, I’d as soon not get creepy pervs finding me. πŸ˜› Of course, I managed to lose the front pattern piece, so I’ll have to retrace it, which means it may take even more time as I really don’t love tracing…

*Why yes, I did just use the phrase “ain’t got”…my English teachers would all be properly horrified, not to mention reconsidering those A’s they gave me all those years ago. πŸ˜‰

Featured!

I got an email last night out of the blue, and apparently I’m the featured member on PatternReview. Crazy! I have no idea how they picked me, but it’s kind of cool….now I’m off to purchase a couple of indie patterns with the 20% discount that I get for being featured. Hoo-Rah!

Have a great Sunday, hopefully tomorrow I’ll have an update on some sewing progress. I’ve had a blouse in the works for a couple of weeks, plus a FO I haven’t posted yet. πŸ™‚