Leftovers (Simplicity 4076)

So after the dress I made last post, I had a lot of odd shaped scraps of that crinkly polka-dot fabric left, and I didn’t want to toss them, so I made a blouse. Specifically Simplicity’s 4076, and spoiler; I LOVE it. I didn’t even wash it before it’s first outing.

In my usual fashion though, I couldn’t leave well enough alone and had to make a couple of changes; some fabric related, some fit related.

  • FBA (a bit trickier because of the weird shaped piece, but I probably could have made it easier on myself if I’d have done the next bullet point first.
  • I cut the weird front twisty piece in half. Partly because it fit on my weird scraps better that way, but mostly because the crinkles would have been going the wrong way on part of the bodice, and that would have driven me crazy. This is fairly well hidden in this dark fabric, but wouldn’t look out of place in a lighter fabric, it would just give it more of an empire line.
  • I flared it at the waist, as I’ve found that shape to be much more flattering on me.
  • I shortened it in the neckline to keep it from being indecent.
  • Flutter sleeves from a different view. I like them because they fit my giant biceps better. 💪 I don’t have little twiggy arms, I have muscular (ok, and a *little* bit flabby) arms.
  • Lazy girl method of taking in the back neckline. AKA I cocked the piece on the fold a little to take out about 1/2″ at the neck. Worked like a charm.
  • Added something like 4″ to the hem. I’m about as short torsoed as they come, and this would have been nearly a crop top on me. I also “mulletized” the back a smidge, adding an extra 2″ in the center back, tapering to nothing at the sides.
  • I didn’t do this, but would next time: add notches to the part where I split the pattern pieces to make lining them up easier.
This is how the pieces are originally oriented in their single piece form, but I changed the grain line of the top when I cut it off and made it perpendicular to the original grain.
Are these not the cutest sleeves?!
Knot a closeup. 😆
Here she is in entirety! I like the subtle flare.

NL6211, but barely

My 3rd and final sibling in law finally got married, and I decided that I needed a new dress. A couple of years ago I lost a decent amount of weight, and while I’ve had to work at it to keep it off, I’ve managed to do so for the most part. So I had to get rid of a lot of old clothes, and I’ve been slow to make new ones. I’ve been a fan of New Look 6211 for ages. I’ve even made it once in a woven, the way God….or at least some dude named Suede intended. But I’m more of a knit dress woman, so I made some adjustments and even did the little side cutouts (which ended up really cute, so I’m glad I did!) So if you want your own version in a knit, here’s a list of what I did.

  • FBA. Every time.
  • Took off the waistband.
  • Lengthened the skirt to make up the difference from removing the waistband (completely unnecessary unless you have the legs of a giraffe.)
  • Left out the zipper.
  • Sweetheart neckline (my hubby said he loved the neckline before he said anything else, guess it made an impression.)
  • Made facings for the neckline. Someone might know how to bind a sweetheart neckline, but that person is not me.)
  • I made a binding on the cutouts to help stabilize them. I’d do it again.
  • I added some elastic to the waist seam to help stabilize it too. I’d also do that again.

So it sounds like a lot of changes, and it is, but it isn’t. The hardest part was the overlapped skirt (that you have to partially hem before attaching at the side seams) in a shifty knit and getting the neckline to stay put with all the staystitching and stuff (I’m going to test some heat n bond on the scraps to see if I can get it to stick without messing up the crinkle texture because I wasn’t completely happy with how it laid.) Update: I did the heat n bond, and it seems to work pretty well. I applied it using steam, and held it with my hand once it got cool enough to handle to help it fully set. Still doesn’t lay perfectly flat, but it’s ignorable at this point.

The result? I LOVE it. The side cutout thingys are surprisingly flattering on an apple/goblet/rectangular body shape. The skirt part is going to be made again into just a skirt. I love how swishy and twirly it is. Plus, mullet hems are 100% cooler than mullet hair, and you’ll never convince me otherwise.

Closeup of the fabric. Very cool looking, super lightweight, and hotter than hades. The cutouts make for nice ventilation though. 😉
I did make a small error on the neckline here…my understitching flattened one of the curves a bit. But on the body it’s not noticeable.
I fill this dress out much nicer than my dressform, I promise!

Jalie Eleonore, it’s…complicated

I finally got it together and made up a wearable muslin pair of Eleonores, of which I’m surely the last blogger holdout who hadn’t made them before. Now, there are lots of people who sing the praises of these, and while I don’t hate them, after wearing them for a bit, I’m not sure I love them either.

The pattern itself matched up flawlessly. I’m maybe not the most perfectionist about cutting out fabric–I don’t measure for the grainlines or any of that stuff, but I don’t usually have issues and this was no exception. However, if you have even the slightest hint of a butt, you will need to add to the back side. Sorry. That’s maybe my biggest complaint about the pattern itself.

I wear jeans pretty much every day. I hate belts, but it would seem they are a requirement when you have a booty like mine. I have two kids, I need my clothes to move with me, and I have no patience for having to adjust them all the time. All that to get to this point. These don’t have the staying power needed to make them work for me. The elastic isn’t beefy enough to snap the back waistband back to my skin after wear. I wasn’t convinced by the 1″ elastic, but I went with it because that’s what the pattern said to use and also what I had on hand. I did, however, shorten the elastic in the back by a couple of inches, which is probably the only thing that makes them halfway wearable. The denim itself isn’t bagging out yet, but they are already starting to fall down and it’s only been a couple of hours. I will add some belt loops because I desperately need jeans and these fit as well as anything from RTW, but I really wanted a pair of jeans that didn’t need a belt. That’s why I went with these over the Jalie 2908s, well, that and I thought they would sew up significantly faster. But, because I added pockets, the only thing I saved time on was the fly front.

Has anyone else that has sewn these up actually ended up wearing them on a regular basis? And if you did, did you end up using wider elastic? I want to love these belt free, but right now I’m not sure how to get there. Suggestions welcomed!

3 out of 4 isn’t too bad!

I’ve been seriously in love with the cool, rainy week we’ve had. Maybe it’s in my genes, but I’m happiest when the sun is more of a special surprise and it’s not our typical Kansas summer blowtorch. So you could say that I’ve spent the last week glorying in overcast days. And even though the sun is shining today, it’s still nice and cool with a lovely breeze.

Enough about the weather, but it’s what inspired me to head back to the sewing room to whip up a four-peat. And as an extra bonus, I found a good occasion to break out an ITY and some slinky that’s been in my stash for….forever. As it turns out, those two fabrics work well for sleeping. Who knew?!

To make them, I used a OOP Kwik Sew pattern that I made a lot of changes to.

KO1Edit

A lot of changes might be an understatement.

  1. The first thing I did after tracing off my sizes, was rotate the dart that creates the pleats/gathers into a bust dart. I know that bust darts on knits are kind of controversial, but I don’t mind them.
  2. Then I trued up the front edge, eliminating the excess that would have been gathered/pleated.
  3. Narrowed up the shoulders–even though I cut them at a size S, they were still too wide for a tank/dress to my eye. I shaved off about 5/8″, tapering to nothing at the underarm seam.
  4. And then I discovered after cutting out the first one that it was indecently low–even Burda would blush! So I hacked off 1.5″ at the top of the front shoulders, and then re-narrowed them so that they matched the back and transferred this to my paper pattern.

Because this was a test, I wasn’t too worried about how it would look, but since everything fit the way I wanted it to, I went ahead and used a 12″ wide strip that I doubled over and sewed it to the bottom. It didn’t gather as much as I’d have hoped, but it has a little bit of swing to it that I liked. I was worried that I wasn’t going to like the ITY for sleeping (because I decided it would be a nightgown when I added the “skirt”), but it’s actually much nicer than I thought it would be.

Excited by this knowledge, I quickly grabbed a piece of slinky from my stash and sewed it up exactly the same way–“skirt” and all. I’ll admit that I am not loving this one as much, but it’s actually not bad to wear for sleeping, and no one outside of the house will see it’s flaws…well, except you, but I trust you can keep a secret!

Pride goeth before a fall though, and I stumbled pretty hard on number three. You see, the other two were practice runs to even see if this pattern would look like what I wanted it to before I cut into some super pretty lace to make into something that might actually see the light of day. I liked the way the neckline and shoulders turned out, and the length was pretty close, except I wanted a “mullet” hem and a neckline pleat in the back. So I merrily added an additional inch of width to the back and the mullet part went in great too, until I discovered that this particular fabric stretches the wrong way. Instead of stretching from selvege to selvege, it stretched from cut end to cut end. And I had NEVER EVEN THOUGHT TO CHECK. 🤦‍♀️ I realized it before I cut the front, so I cut the front on the correct stretch line and stitched it together as planned and hoped for the best. Print-wise, it made no difference, and if you look closely you can tell the weave is slightly different, but mostly you can feel it in the fit. I barely got it over my head with the pleats sewn in.

After scratching my head for a minute, I let out the pleat and tried it on again. Much better! I modeled it for the hubby to see if there was a giant wad of fabric at the back neckline, and he said no. So I went ahead and finished it, because I didn’t have it in me to throw it away. It actually turned out pretty good, but the fabric is quite scratchy where my arms rub against my side. I’m hoping this gets better with washing, but it’s not going to be an “every day” shirt anyway, so even if it doesn’t I can probably tolerate it long enough to wear it to church or something.

Then I spied some more ITY in my stash that had been hacked on as a test for something else, but I had enough left to make another nightgown. I got it all cut out and sewn together, exactly as the others, except the neckband just would. not. go. in! I think I ripped that neckband out 4 or 5 times before the seam allowances on the bodice gave out and got holes in them. I decided it wasn’t worth the battle and tossed it in the trash. Sometimes you just gotta pick your battles, you know? At least I got to try out a new toy, right?

So that’s what I’ve been up to. Well, that and building stuff in the garage. I built a little roll around cart for the jointer/planer and my husband and I are currently working on a platform bed for Scotch. Hopefully, he’s mature enough to handle a “top bunk” at the ripe old age of 4 and a half. 🤞 We painted it last night, and hopefully soon we’ll get the rails done and painted so we can mount it on the wall. Because I’m ready to make a corner hutch for my dining room…#toomanyprojectstoolittletime 😆

And I don’t promise that there won’t be another one (or two!) of these coming up soon to wear for every day.

But I’ve got the biggest sleeves of them all!

With apologies to AC/DC for my lame ripoff of their song. (It’s so awesome and classy, you’re welcome! 😉 )

So I have a project today that was 1) a long time in the making for several reasons and 2) has been done for a while, but I never got pictures of it because I kept forgetting until it was in the dirty clothes pile.

So a couple of months ago, I was trolling through the Lekala website, like you do, when I spotted this:

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I thought it was adorable, and I had to have it. So I used one of my credits and bought it. At the time, I was motivated, so I even printed and assembled it. Except, I’m really not a fan of boat necklines, so I thought I’d add a V-neckline to it, which I did on the fly without thinking it through, as you I do.

So I made a facing, cut out my pieces, and went merrily on my way. Except…you really can’t just draw a V in a boat neckline without it looking a bit weird in the final product. You need to make some other alterations as well, so plan accordingly. I didn’t, so I had to recut mine. Thankfully, the lady at the fabric store took pity on me (it was out of stock, so she brought me some from her personal stash, and yes I paid her for it, but she didn’t have to sell it to me, she’s just awesome for doing so. Sewing people really are the best people. 🙂 )

So I recut the front (and the back since I had a whole extra yard), in the original boatneck because a gal can only stand so much fail, and stitched it together. It was going pretty darn well until I got to the sleeves. I couldn’t wrap my brain around them. I tried basting them in several configurations, but they all were either too tight for my arm or too big for the armscye. So I put it down for a while, got busy with work stuff, came back to it and kind of forgot what I had tried–well, you get the idea. So finally I took to instagram and asked for help.

It turns out that one of the people that I happened to tag on my photo appears to be a Lekala employee that I follow. I don’t read Russian, so I kind of just assumed she was just a super fan, but thanks to Google translate and what I’m guessing was Microsoft Paint, she had me up and running in no time. And I just hope my clumsy attempt at thanking her (also via google translate) worked like it was supposed to. Anyone else ever wonder just what exactly is getting spit out the other side when you have zero grasp of the language?

Anyway, so yeah. I was super excited about this project when I first tried it on, but then a couple of things happened. 1) my husband mentioned that I should have used a fabric with a non-white back. So now I’m super self conscious about it when I wear it. 2) I love the sleeves, as long as I’m not doing anything. Standing around looking cute is fine–trying to cook dinner? Potential fire hazard. Trying to eat dinner? Only if you want to drag your sleeve through your salad. And it fits awkwardly in a coat. Basically, it’s so incredibly impractical. But cute, so I’m wearing it anyway. 😉

Sight_2018_03_12_113838_479

*Sigh* first world problems.

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!

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 😛 :

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#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?