Thursday, August 13, 2015

Simplicity 1106: Two Drapey Tops

May I present my latest sewing projects: two drapey tops.  I used a new pattern, Simplicity 1106, View D.  Version 1, the black and white print, was actually meant to be a muslin... but it was turning out so well that I made it an official non-mulsin top to wear.  The material is a polyester crepe that has a really nice drape to it.  It sewed up so easily.  I used my walking foot since it's a little slippery and I was afraid it also may get a little distorted with a regular foot.

I spy with my little brown eye two mosquitoes biting me...

I cut a size medium bodice and graded out between a medium and large.  I sewed up the main bits and then just basted up the sides seams to check for fit.  I needed a tiny snidge of bit more wearing ease in the lowest part of the hip plus had to reduce the upper bodice down about 1" (2.5 cm) overall.  I think the hip is *just* shy of large now and the width across the bust is half way between a small and medium.  Oh, yeah... I added 1" (2.5 cm) to the length right at the hem as I cut my material.

I am SHOCKED at not having to do ANY adjustment to the back neckline!! It's a straight up medium there... I (almost) always need to dart out the back neckline for my shape.  And I'm super pleased that it drapes straight on down and skims over everything so nicely.  I've not made loose fitting tops like this much... they are so much easier to fit on my figure with my smaller top half and fuller bottom half.

Version 2... this fabric is JUUUUUUICY!!  Okay, it's a tad wrinkly from wearing it all day, I hate ironing, so whatevz.  The material is a washed silk charmeuse.  It drapes like a dream, it feels like a dream.  I don't really wear silk charmeuse in normal life, but I knew I could casual-ize this hunk of fabric.   It was so lovely that I had to take photos of it while it was line drying after hand washing it...

Drip drying... I'm so pretty...
I again used my walking foot to help with the sewing... the gentle pressure allowed for more even feeding through the machine.  For the black & white one I used the most simple finish for my seams, pinking shears.  For the brown & rust print, I used french seams for everything.

I need to re-make those jeans I am wearing with the silk top.  The are my pleated denim trousers from My Image magazine.  I sewed them a couple years ago.  The denim sucks and stretches out so fast.  You can really see how they bag on my legs after a day's wear.

Here some of the innards of the one top plus a close up of the material.  I really like "washed" look... there are variations that run throughout the print, almost like it's hand-painted.  I feel like this is my it's-okay-to-think-about-fall-and-fall-colors-and-fall sewing shirt.

And that's the innards of the back of the black & white version.  I actually excluded the facing on the back opening and just folded it over... I was nervous that a facing was going to add to much weight, pull down and pucker.

Dang!  I was being eaten alive by the mosquitos... I was trying to slap them between pics.   My ankles are covered in bites.  If you have super human vision, you can spot squeeters biting my in most if not all of these photos.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Lekala 4824 Top & McCall's 6069 Dress

Alright.  Lack of blogging for me doesn't mean lack of the following: sewing, thinking about sewing, shopping for fabrics and patterns or buying of fabrics and patterns-- I've been doing it all!  I've completed a series of simple sewing projects in the past few weeks but the big scary bugs in my backyard have been keeping me from taking pics.  I sucked it up and hung out with the giant, yet docile, Cicada Killers.  (Cicada Killers-- giagantic bugs that look exactly like a mega sized wasp, but don't bother me ever I've come to find.... just annoy me by buzzing around my head.)

First off is Lekala 4824.  I've never sewn a Lekala pattern ever ever ever!  So for giggles I ordered this simple knit top pattern and made a somewhat wearable muslin.  It needs a major swayback adjustment, I know it, guys.  It's been sitting in my sewing room, done as could be, for say a month and today I finally wore it because I realize no one else around me would ever care about my desperate need for swayback adjusting and what not.  The ladies at work loved it, so that's pretty cool.  (I have a job... did I ever mention that on my blog?  I started back working mid-winter.)

Looking at my majestic corn stalks, they are HUGE!

The front is very plain.  I scooped out a lot in the neckline, that bad boy was way up on my neck before.  I also got rid of the two separate front bodice pieces, uniting them as one.  And of course, I did bindings on the sleeve openings where I excluded the sleeves.  All in all, after trying this easy Lekala pattern, I'd safely say I'd buy another if the mood stuck me.

I love McCall's 6069 dress pattern.  I've used it about four or five times... but like several years back and never blogged about them. Here's an old Pattern Review with some really awesome fabric, but the blue ran in the wash so I can't really wear it.

 The fabric is a super slinky poly jersey. Holy geez it's impossible to sew a hem on... so it's left raw.  Every needle I used just chewed through it.  BUT it was no problem on my serger sewing up the seams.

The cowl is kinda lower, so for modesty's sake I wear a tank top underneath for work.  I also turned the skirt into an a-line so it could flow nicely over the hips and thighs... no clinginess please with this material.

You can't see it because the ultra awesome crazy print won't let you... but the back neckline is obnoxiously flipping out a little showing the facing.   Oh well.  I still wear it, who's going to stop me!?

That's that.  And OOH MY goodness!  It was my birthday last week and my husband got me and AMAZING gift... a brand new fancy pants camera.  It's a Nikon D5100, a digital SLR.  It came with a whole package deal.  I'm at the "messing around" stage with it... I took these quickie snapshots for this blog post with the camera.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Curtain Panels!

I sewed some new curtains up for my living room... easy home dec sewing goodness!!  I didn't use a pattern, no need to since they are custom made rectangles.  I wanted to rip down my beige, really bland, very dull, very un-hemmed curtains I had up in my house.  I adore the geometric design and the yummy colors of these... lime, lemon, fuscia, orange on bright white.  I explain in detail how I made these over on my latest post for Fabric Mart right here.  There are even some before & after shots of my window for fun.

I might love the reverse side of the drapes more then the right side!

Sunday, July 12, 2015

McCall's 6884 Revisited: Everyday Cotton Jersey Summer Dress

I've nearly worn out several such handmade breezy everyday summer dresses and it's time to re-stock the closet.  I've whipped out several TNT patterns including this one, McCall's 6884, a faux wrap dress with ties around the waist.  I picked up this mid-weight cotton/spandex jersey from one of my favorite online U.S. retail fabric shops with the initials FM.  

Corn, pumpkins, tomatoes, collards, plus weeds a-plenty, oh my!

The last time I made this pattern I used a crazy pink and white hand tie-dyed bamboo rayon knit.  I'm a sucker for colorful, bold prints in the summer... plus I feel like they are flattering, helping to camouflage areas that I may want to cloak some.  I did all the same alterations, used the same size and did all the same stuff essentially.

I didn't use their directions at all.  It's a simple, basic knit pattern,  I finished it just over an hour at my serger and sewing machine.  I often can't up and buy a simple cotton dress like this in a store to fit my measurements properly-- smaller bust/bodice and fuller rear/lower hip-- so in the less time then it takes me to trek out to the burbs to some annoying department store, I've made this highly wearable basic.  Good stuff, right?!

I used a scrap of interfacing to stabilize the shoulder seams.  I made bindings for the sleeves and neckline.  I cut strips 2" (5 cm) wide, serged them on before sewing up the side seams... it's so easy this way, no measuring out lengths to fit in the sleeve or neckline holes.  I've sewn up zillions of knit garments and have a pretty good idea of how much to stretch my binding while I feed it into serger as I attach it to my fabric.  Then I top stitched with a long zig zag stitch.  I have greater success eyeballing my bindings like this rather then measuring and estimating what my binding length needs to be prior to sewing it.

The neckline does dip down fairly low, cleavage city if you have any.  If I wear this to work, I'll feel better with a tank top underneath.  I took these pics after a long, hot day at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C.  I intended to take some ultra cool, super awesome ones there, but I am good at forgetting to take pics while doing vacation-y things often.  Eh, oh well.

There you have it.  It's a bread and butter sort of garment I will wear a zillion times over until it fades or a I rip a hole in it by getting caught on something.  I have another breezy summer dress done and will get to that later on the blog.

P.S. And HELLO! Autumn and winter sewing thoughts are creeping into my brain!!!!!! WHAT!?  I've got this juicy camel colored wool with a waterproof backing waiting in a box... I love coat and jacket sewing!!!!!!!!!!  I adore my purple wool Ottobre coat I made last year, it fits like a dream... but I want to make this one super duper warm for dirty cold days and use some seriously good lining in it.  I feel like it's been colder here then it should be in the past few years. Okay, okay... get out of my head winter sewing thoughts!  

P.P.S.  I'll be doing some home dec sewing this month.  My living room is full of beige. Beige curtains, beige sofa, beige rug.  Seriously.  I LERV me some color and I have beige all over that room.  Mostly because we needed everything kitty colored for years (we had a kitty who was white and orange).  

Monday, July 6, 2015

Thread Theory Jedediah Pants: MAN PANTS!

Hey.  I made man pants last month.  And I forgot to mention them here on my blog?  This was my semi-annual un-selfish sewing, and it was for my husband.  I sewed up Thread Theory's Jedediah Pants (not Jebediah Pants, as in Jebediah Springfield, which is who I pictured in my head each time I saw these pants mentioned, I mis-read the name every. single. time.)  These pants were sewn up for Fabric Mart's blog, my post can be found here.  A quickie synopsis: Easy to sew, glad I did a muslin, they look a lot like RTW.  I don't have anything new to say about them, except he has worn and washed them more times then I think he wants me to admit here on the internet.  So I think these pants are flying success and call for more man pants sewing on my part.  

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Vogue 9472, Circa 1996: Pique Floral A-Line Sheath

Over the weekend I was up on Long Island for a very dear friend's wedding.  I *rarely* have an occasion to do special occasion sewing for myself, so I was super excited!!  The wedding was on a Sunday at noon near the waterfront-- so I felt like I needed something not too fancy schmnacy, something a little fun but not super wild and detailed.  I originally had very different plans with a different pattern and different fabric, but once that fabric arrived after ordering, it was on the verge of being too curtain-like (not to say I won't use it for another dress, I like it still!)  I whipped out this 2 yard bit of floral cotton pique I had in my stash. I had to dig for a pattern with simple lines that wouldn't compete with the print AND take under 2 yards of material. In walks this "vintage" Vogue pattern I dug up in a bag of patterns another friend gave me.  With a fuller bottom half, I feel a-line sheaths are more flattering for me.  And it's not quite vintage at 19 years old, right?!

I made up a muslin with a 16 bust, 14 neckline/shoulder and 20 hip, adding 1" (2.5 cm) to the length of the bodice-- a normal alteration for me at 5'8" (1.73 m).  I reduced the size later.  Thank goodness I muslined this thing, it was a hot mess that needed work to fit my figure.  I forgot to take pics of the awful initial muslin prior to my alterations.  But the muslin was kinda cute with the yellow polka dot cotton/poly quilting fabric I used for it!
I circled my main alterations, but those were made prior to taking these muslin pics, I forgot to take the ugly pics!

My main alterations are circled in red.  The muslin was initially huge on me.  The most obvious deviation from the pattern is the scooped out neckline.  I did a swayback adjustment on the back waist removing about 1.5" (3.8 cm), added the length tho the bodice like I already mentioned plus took in the side seams reducing the dress down by almost one size.  And the HUGE alteration that made all the difference in the world-- removing a boatload of material in the upper back shoulder area.  There was so much extra fabric up there it felt like I was supposed to store a few hams in there or something.  I also moved the zipper from the back center seam to the side seam... seriously, I could not reach a back zipper.  But I kept that back center seam, those things are perfect for people like me who need to always make back adjustments.

I am so freakin please with the back's fit.  It actually lays perfectly unwrinkled and just right, but I am not a professional photographer slash model, so you see slight wrinkles.  I am slightly annoyed with how the print isn't exactly lined up on back... I had two yards, I did a splendid job with what I had!

I lined the bodice with this odd bit of red bemberg rayon I had.  I intended to line the skirt, but I didn't have enough and nothing else in the stash was similar.  Coincidentally the pattern didn't even line the skirt.  I added a facing by altering the pattern on the upper part of lining, I was afraid the red would peak out.

I added these cute little bands on the front shoulder for a nice detail.  I pinked all of my seams, I didn't want to add bulk with the Hong Kong finish I first planned... or let alone a bulky serged seam.  Plus I was was running out of time, pinking takes what, 2 minutes and is an ideal finish for many garments.

I sewed in a good ole, regular zipper using my zipper foot on the main fabric there in the side seam.  There was a decent amount of hand sewing on this dress between the bodice lining, the inside of the zipper and the invisible hem.  I love me a successful invisible hem.  It's so easy and I feel like a classy lady with them.

Ye Olde Invisible Hem

Overall, a classic design.  I'd use this pattern again, it's such a blank palette.  Plus those pockets are a nice touch.  I was careful of the print placement there, I didn't want to draw loads of attention to that area being I have a wider lower half.

I tried to take photos after the wedding in my dress since I had my hair and makeup done.. but I was a wrinkled mess, my hair looked flat as usual and the makeup wasn't perfect anymore.  The ceremony was outside... in the rain.  I ran an iron over the dress today to get rid of most of those wrinkles.  I hate ironing. It's a rare day I whip out an iron to use on a normal day if I'm not using it to sew.  I bet most of us seamstress types don't iron unless is in the name of the sewing process!

In my fancy hotel room after the wedding, rained on and wrinkly!

I actually got a bunch of compliments before the wedding while we were waiting for the bride to come down the aisle.  She is such an amazing, thoughtful and kind person that she told everyone afterwards that I made the dress, then I got so many more compliments!  I had such a great time driving up to Long Island for the weekend.  What's funny, driving home I took the wrong turn in after getting out of the Manhattan/Queens tunnel, got lost (I was fine, I had my GPS) and found myself in the middle of the Garment District.  I may have screamed a little when I realized where I was and that I could not pull over and run screaming with joy through the streets and buying  a carload of fabric and sewing related paraphernalia.  Next time.  

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Fehr Trade Duatholons & XYT Top: My Maryland Flag Half Marathon Running Gear

Last month I completed my very first half marathon!  And who is surprised that I made my own very special Maryland flag themed running gear?!  I've been dying to get my hands on some Maryland flag printed activewear material for maybe two years now.  Nobody sells it.  So I had it custom made.  I ordered one yard from Spoonflower and printed it on their Performance Pique.  I've had swatches for sometime and wasn't thrilled with this material because it is NOT a 4-way stretch.  It has a 50% stretch widthwise only.  I'm puzzled why they don't offer a multi-directional stretch in their activewear fabrics, it's just not suitable for most of what I sew for running.  BUT I did find a way to use and and really like it.  It's not critical that running tops like this have a vertical stretch, however it does change the overall length of the top, making it a tad shorter when worn.  I used my my TNT pattern from Fehr Trade, it's her XYT Top.  I've made a pile of them and wear them all the time, you can see them here, a dress version here, another top here, and a couple more here.  There may be more, I forget at this point!  The previous entries explain my sizing and alterations.

I really, really, really wanted to incorporate the flags on a pair of full length tights. Since it was likely going to be a cooler morning in Buffalo the morning of my half marathon, I wanted length on those.  So I whipped out another Fehr Trade pattern, her Duatholons.  I've only made two pairs before somehow, blogged here.  Sizing and alterations for me are listed there. But I did alter them a bit further here.  They are drawn up to be capris or shorts so I simply added the length. I also reduced the width of the thigh from my previous pairs I made-- I wanted these to be a tighter fit on top creating more of a compression pair of leggings.  Having the printed Spoonflower fabric only on the side panels did not compromise free movement of my legs as I ran-- the black 4-way stretch stuff let me move easily.

My white mesh is a nylon/spandex from my stash.  The black for the tights and top's binding is a nylon/spandex from Spandex House... and holy cow I cannot recall which one it is at the moment (I will update this when I figure it out).  It's a heavier weight and quite nice.

As for those solid color bits on the side panels, one side is red and the other yellow.  That stuff is a super soft 4-way poly/spandex New Balance material-- I've used it a bunch including on these tops here.  Dang, I got the Maryland colors down!!! Oh, if you didn't get it by now, I live in Maryland.

The red is slightly more pink-ish in the printed fabric and the black is a bit dull.  If I stood next to a Maryland flag with the true shades of red, yellow and black, you'd really see the difference.  And I do have one on a flag pole but I don't think it necessary to get that knit picky here.

Will I run a half marathon again? Likely!  Will I sew more running clothes? Duhhhhh, yes.  But I've reduced my distance and frequency at this point.  It's been dirty hot and humid way too much, that's just how it is here in summer.  It's back to the woods for shorter distance trail running for me this summer.