Things That Tick Me Off Thursday

Why is it that everything I like/love is quickly discontinued? It’s like I have a curse–if I like it, there’s a good chance it’s either already discontinued and I don’t know it yet or it will be soon. Everything from flooring to clothing, if I like it, it’s a death knell. 😦

The most recent to hit this curse was my favorite brand of jeans. Yeah, they were cheap and didn’t fit quite as nicely as I would have liked (not enough coverage over the butt, a perennial problem for me), but they were cheap and good enough if I cinched them with a belt. Now I’m facing a dilemma–make my own? Or go do the shop of shame* for new ones?

*The shop of shame is that feeling you get when not a single pair of jeans fit and you leave the store crying and empty handed or with a pair of jeans that is less than ideal, but at least you aren’t naked. I know I’m not the only one who has been there!

If I go the make my own route, where do fellow sewists find nice quality stretch denim in a variety of colors? I’d like to find one “brand” that is nice and then be able to get it over and over. I bought some Kauffman 20% stretch stuff a while back to make the Jalie Eleonore, but I haven’t used it yet because it’s so terribly thin. Denim shouldn’t be something you have the possibility of VPL with!

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The Mrs. Frizzle Dress aka Lekala 4437

Whoa! It’s been a while, hasn’t it? I feel like I should apologize, but then, I’ve always been more of a social media lurker than a participant anyway. Plus, there hasn’t been a ton of sewing going on here, until I needed a dress for a wedding we went to a couple of weeks ago. Coincidentally, that’s why I’m here today. 😉

I’ve had my eye on Lekala 4437 for quite a while, at least since Hila made hers last winter. Her version is gorgeous and she looks fantastic in it. I’m not sure I pulled it off quite as well, but I really like how it turned out, just the same.

Now you may be wondering how it became the Mrs. Frizzle dress, since I don’t tend to name my clothes. My husband named it. He saw the fabric that I made it in and thought it looked like something Mrs. Frizzle would wear on a trip into space, and it stuck. I’m taking it as a compliment. 😉

Galaxy Fabric

What do you think? Does it look like something Mrs. Frizzle would make a dress out of?

The fabric came from a small local store that has a pretty reasonable sized selection of fabric, notions, sewing machines, and the ubiquitous quilting stuff. I went in with absolutely no idea what I was looking for, and within about 5 minutes I spotted this amazing space-themed ponte (ish?) fabric and knew it was going to be mine. So I picked up 2 yards.

BUT.

Then I had to go back and get another yard and a half because my pattern tetris game was so strong I outsmarted myself. I failed to leave enough room for the circle skirts. D’oh! Fortunately, I really like the fabric, because I think I have enough to make a sweatshirt out of it. So, that’s sort of a win, right? And I had the black in my stash already, so that’s definitely a win. 🙂

Aside from overthinking the collar and goofing up on the cutting, this pattern went together like a dream. Not the PDF, mind you, (I’m never printing on legal paper again!), but the pattern sewed up flawlessly. Speaking of knits, I had to take it in by about 5″ because of the ease included (apparently they expect you to make this from a woven?!), and I could have taken it in a smidgen more, but I was worried about the seamlines not matching up if I went any farther. Oh, and I guess I had to redo the sleeves–the late night sewing gremlins got me the night before the wedding. I swear I read the instructions, and what they said made no sense, but I did it anyway. Except it was wrong, so I ripped the sleeves off the next day (the day of the wedding–right before the 3 hour road trip there 🙄 ), cut new ones, and sewed them on the way that made the most sense to me. Let’s just say that it didn’t involve the recommended bias tape. 😉

So while it sounds like a lot of issues, it really wasn’t too bad and they were mostly my own fault. I managed to sew this thing up in a day, which is pretty fast for me! Bonus, I got quite a few compliments on it at the wedding too, can’t beat that! If you hover, you should be able to see the captions, and as always, click to enlarge!

Well, that’s all for this post, catch you on the flip side!

A fail in three parts

But first, a bit of backstory. I made view A of S1589 a long time ago and it has slowly gotten shorter and tighter with every wash, and then it started fraying. I kind of love it though, so I wanted to try it again. But I remembered that I took a lot of excess out of the pattern back when, so I decided to start with the size 14 instead of the 16, (since I know that shrinking in the wash isn’t the only reason it’s tighter now…oops!). So I happily traced off both views thinking that view B was also pretty cute. So cute in fact, that I decided to try it first.

ACT I

I should have traced off the 12. Even though the pattern pieces were similar in width to the blue muumuu, and I used similar fabric, for whatever reason it’s just not as flattering. Possibly because there is even less shaping and no darts? Maybe because the back is so much wider since it has that split? I don’t know. It also ended up being longer than needed (this is my fault, I added about 3″ to make damn sure it never showed my belly), and it’s REALLY wide at the hips–which would be great if I needed to smuggle an entire snackbar into a movie theater, buuuuut no.

ACT II

Why I bought this particular floral is beyond me. Was I drunk? Because this is the coyote ugly of fabric, and it doesn’t flatter my coloring at all. When will I ever learn to stay away from pastel colors?! And while the floral pattern is just OK in flat fabric, I don’t like it in shirt form.

ACT III

Not only did I buy a spectacularly unflattering and homely fabric, I didn’t buy enough of it to make anything! I ended up cutting one of the back pieces on the cross grain because I was desperate to see what it would look like. Which is crap. Absolute crap that doesn’t even look good on the mannequin. Argh!

Lessons learned?

  • Quit buying fabric without a project in mind.
  • Quit buying Joann’s rayons (did I mention this fabric had snags and holes?! 😡 Just like the blue from the blue muumuu. Grrr!!) It’s not like they are a “bargain”!
  • Ignore all sizing instructions *except* the finished garment measurements. With the exception of Lekala and maybe Burda, the size charts seem off.
  • No more pastels–they make me look like a corpse!

SOLD!

So I wore my blue muu muu yesterday, and it’s seriously amazing to wear.

Flattering? Probably not, though the color of this particular one is perfection.

Low maintenance? HAHAHA NOPE (I’ll be ironing that bitch every time it comes out of the washer. 😦 )

Comfortable? If feeling like you’re wearing nothing at all, whilst still being appropriately covered is comfortable, then WINNER WINNER CHICKEN DINNER!! 😉

So, I guess while I say that I’m sold on it, I do wish it were in a lower maintenance fabric that still had the same drape and breathe-ability as the challis. Anyone got some suggestions of this miracle for me?

I’m nearing the end of the May deadline, and I’m frantically working on another Lekala frankenpattern. Fingers crossed that it fits when I’m done–it seems like it is going to be a smidge tighter than expected, so some extra hacking may be in order. After that, I think I’m going to make some TNT t-shirts to help fill out my closet, because I can’t keep wearing this 😛 :

93ecb852d37a777a1adde71458133db5

#keepingitclassy 😆 but also #keepingitreal

On the fence

I just finished sewing up a test run of Lekala 4562, and I’m just not quite sure about it. I mean, I think it would get a lot of wear during the summer when I’m working outside and sweating like crazy because it’s loose and flowing, but I was hoping it would be a bit more…flattering. I don’t know. It’s currently running through a load of warm water clothes to see if it looks better once the starch is washed out and it maybe shrinks a bit, because right now it’s a muu-muu. 😕 We’ll see. I’m keeping my fingers crossed because I was hoping to make 2 or 3 actual versions with fabric that doesn’t have holes in it from the prewash. 😡 (Side note: why is it that Jo-Ann has all the cute prints/good selection in challis, but the quality is so hit and miss that it’s hard to buy it there?) In fact, the shirt has a hole right under the bust dart–grrr! I was trying to miss it, but I didn’t technically have enough fabric for the pattern, and even though I marked it with a pin, it must have shifted when I went to cutting. Oh well. For a work shirt I don’t really care.

Notes on the pattern:

  • It has you hem it before you sew up the side seams. This seemed like a weird/scary idea, but it actually worked out perfectly.
  • I’m always impressed at how well Lekala patterns print out on my printer–even when it’s being a brat. The lines match up nearly perfectly every time, and even when I’ve had to fudge it a bit, I’ve never had a problem with pieces not matching up. Knock on wood.
  • The sleeve cap is asymmetrical–it’s subtle, but it’s there, so pay attention and mark your notches accordingly (and put two in the back to make it easier for you!) I think I sewed my sleeves on backwards, they fit, but I’m pretty sure they are backwards.
  • I would have preferred a patch pocket to the weird little flap. That’s an easy change, but I wanted to make it “as-is”, to see if it really was a cute detail that I was sneering at and would end up loving later (tell me I’m not the only one who has this happen?). I remain unconvinced.
  • I didn’t add any length, and I don’t think I needed to for a change. This one is plenty long from the start. I’m not sure if it was a measurement I changed or if something has been updated, but before it seemed like everything I printed was too short. Just keep an eye on it before you cut your fabric, this is super easy to fix on paper, but not with the fabric already cut!
  • I don’t think the sleeve cuffs will stay put in the drapey fabric. Scratch that, I know they won’t. And I’m not sure how to stitch them down so that it’s invisible either. I was thinking blindhem, but it’s the opposite of what my machine does, so…?

Anyway, not sure what else I can say about a super simple woven t-shirt, so I’ll wrap it up. It’s a quick sew, and I’m so desperate for summer shirts that I’ll probably wear it to death even if it doesn’t come out of the washer any better than it went in. Maybe I’ll just take it in a bit…maybe. 😉

Have you ever made an unintentional muu-muu? Did you wear it anyway?

A big fat fail. M7350

So, basically every one of my husband’s family is getting married this year. OK, not really, but there are four weddings for his family in 2017, and two of them were a week apart. 3 for cousins, but this one is his sister’s wedding. Which since we’ve been married since she was about 10(?), she’s basically a sister to me too, and I wanted something special.

Except I procrastinated. I waited until the week before the wedding to decide on a dress pattern, and then picked out my fabric. All was going well, I had made some notes about the pattern and my changes which I’ve detailed below in case I ever want to try again…

McCall’s 7350

  • There is 4.5″ of positive ease in the waistline of this dress. This was good for me (although I still needed more room, so I added it in), but it could be bad for you. Pay attention to the finished measurements which are printed helpfully on the pattern–thanks McCall’s!!
  • I added to the waistline by shifting the pattern piece away from the fold 1/4 of the total amount I needed after taking account of the 5/8″ seam allowances. For me, this meant about 1″. This will mean that my bodice/skirt gathering won’t be as dramatic, but I’m OK with that.
  • I usually trace, but since McCall’s must have been listening to my internal (and possibly on social media) rants and nested the pieces inside each other, I didn’t lose any of the sizes when I cut the size 14. Thank goodness for that!
  • I cut the size 12 around the shoulders/neckline, it didn’t take much off, but hopefully it will be enough based on previous McCall’s experience.
  • I did the lazy knit FBA of going back out to the 14 on the side seams. Since I’m petite, I don’t usually need to add extra length, and should probably start taking it out of the back, but I didn’t do that.
  • The length of this dress is probably perfect for someone who is about 5’7″, but I’m 5’2″ or 5’3″, depending on who does the measuring, so I folded out 4″ at the lengthen/shorten line.

But then, disaster struck. You have to cut the maxi skirt pieces on a single layer because they are so wide. I cut two right fronts. I even swore I checked it because I was nervous about doing that very thing, but it still happened. At first I was devastated. I had gotten the end of the bolt and couldn’t find any more, I was two days until it had be worn, and out of ideas. So I slept on it. I went back to the fabric store to see if just maybe they had some. Nope. Then I decided to just use a shorter skirt view and recut the skirt pieces. Worked like a charm, and I thought I was home free.

Except.

As I started sewing up the bodice, I began to have doubts. Something about it just didn’t look quite right, so I pinned it together and had my husband look at it. His mouth said “Well….”, but his face said “NOPE”. So I scrapped it. Well, ok, I didn’t scrap it, I’m hoping to recreate the skirt pieces into something else (maybe a skirt, heh?) And that is how I ended up wearing the exact same dress to two weddings in the same family 2 weeks in a row. After I washed it, of course. 😉

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. 🙂

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. 😉

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…!

I’m bored…

With basically my entire aesthetic. I have no idea what I want to replace that with though. I’d like to step into something a bit different, but not drastically so. I’ve done the t-shirts and jeans thing for the better part of a decade, and I’m bored.

Not so bored that I want to suddenly start doing my makeup every single day (!!!) or wear frilly dresses (!!!), but small changes. Something to change it up a bit and get me out of my comfort zone before I turn into one of those people who wears yoga pants everywhere. OK, actually, I’ve been more of a ratty t-shirt and jeans person, but you know what I mean. 😉

So, in honor of MeMadeMay, instead of a daily roundup of stuff that I’m wearing every day, I want to see how much stuff I can make to replace the things that I’ve had to throw away. My goal is to make at least 4 new shirts that aren’t just a boring t-shirt (though there might be a couple of those too!) to replenish my dwindling clothes that are fit to be seen in public. (I threw out a bunch of old holey ones, so now I’m forced to take action.) Given my time constraints, I don’t forsee them being super elaborate or all different patterns, but I need nice wearable basics. I feel like one a week is a reasonable amount, where I can still spend time with my family, help with house projects, and whatever else we have going on before summer break hits.

Anyone else ever get bored with their closet? What sort of things do you make when you have “nothing to wear”?

Home Dec sewing, or how I’m losing my mind…

Happy Spring! I’m a bit late getting this out, but I’ve been up to my ears in projects that need doing. We pulled the last of our siding off a month or so ago, put in the last of the new windows at the same time, and now I’ve decided (partway through installing trim) that I’m going to make the “window treatments” myself instead of just ordering them from a large online blind website or a big box store. Sign me up for the loony bin, I’ve lost what little sense I had left! I’ve got a book that tells me how to make all sorts of decorative furnishings and there’s an excellent video tutorial from Online Fabrics Store (who also, conveniently enough, happen to carry all the bits and bobs you need) on how to make roman shades.

Home Decorating Book

I know, it’s…uh…dated, but the ideas should still be sound. 😉

So last night I picked out my fabric from JoAnn (it’s gorgeous, but expensive), and at some point I’m going to have to bite the bullet and sew at least 3, but probably 6 roman shades. I hope I’m not in over my head, since both tutorials made it sound super easy. If I’m successful with the first three shades, I’ll commit to the remaining three, and if not, I haven’t bought the supplies for the second set (the bigger ones for the main living room) yet. I didn’t want to be out $$$ for something that I was incapable of finishing. I think that means I’m getting somewhat smarter. 😛

So far outside my comfort zone it’s probably on another planet…

I made a dress, and not just any dress, but this dress.

b6241_01

Butterick 6241

My version is actually inspired by a fellow PR member though, who made hers out of stretch velvet. I was *thisclose* to buying the same shade of blue so enamored was I. Ultimately I went with purple because it felt more “Christmassy” than the sky blue, but the blue would have been awesome too. In the end, I feel like it makes me look a bit like the mom from The Jetsons, but that’s OK too. 😉

I actually didn’t finish this dress in time for Christmas, but I did finish it in time for the Pioneer rep appreciation dinner we had the first part of January. Well, mostly. I’ve actually worn it twice without the neck facing sewn down, but who has the patience for handsewing such things when there is an event to wear the dress to?! Seriously though, I need to get that finished, because it’s a royal PITA when I’m ready to wear it to tuck all that nonsense in.

So yeah, I’ve been sitting on posting this dress for a couple of months because I wanted to finish the quilt and get it posted first. It was meant as a motivator, but you can see how well that worked. Ha!

Quick Review:

  • I chose a metallic metal zipper that was a full 3″ shorter than the one suggested by the pattern. It was either that of have a zipper that clashed/was ugly. If you are making it, try to give yourself enough time to order a zipper if you can’t find exactly what you want locally. Learn from my mistakes people!
  • It feels awfully short. I’m 5’2″ and proportionally leggier. I don’t think it looks too short in the pics, but when I’m wearing it I’m constantly worrying that my butt is hanging out–maybe I need to stick to mullet hems?
  • My pockets don’t hang as pretty on me as they do in the pattern image. This may have been due to a sewing or cutting error, or maybe it’s just the fabric, I’m not sure, but be vewy, vewy, caweful when you cut and sew the pockets, they are a bit fiddly too.

Overall, I would recommend it if you want a dress that’s a bit different than the norm. It’s quick to put together, and the end result is quirky and fun.

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