Monday, May 2, 2016

My Lilly Pulitzer Inspired Dress: Simplicity 1609

Hey, sewing people!!  I've not added anything to this blog in how long?!!  Well, I've been sewing a little less then usual because I have been a bit busy.  Life happens.  But that's not to say I'm not constantly thinking about sewing or having a project on my sewing table at all times still. I have been on Instagram pretty regularly though posting random projects, follow me if you want.

This here shift dress was sewn up for my latest Fabric Mart blog post.  I spotted this Lilly Pulitzer cotton pique on their website... but honestly I had no idea it was from that designer until I did a little internetting for inspiration and found it on some fashion bloggers' sites.  I was not a Lilly Pulitzer fan before exactly, I guess her clothing line has flown under my radar.  But this fabric is soo fun and summery and has lighthouses!!  I used Simplicity 1609, a reprint of a 1960s vintage pattern.  You can go on over to Fabric Mart's blog if you wanna read my full post of my lighthouse dress.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Jungle January!!! Jalie Cora Tights & Two Half Zip Tops

I've sewn up more running stuff for New Year's.  Surprised?!  But I made sure it was in keeping with the awesomeness of Jungle January.  This fabulous trio of Jalie things (the animal print tights, the animal print half zip and orange/black one as well) were all sewn up for my monthly Fabric Mart post found right here.   My two patterns are Jalie 2682 & 3462. I had most of the fabric in my stash already but if you're feeling saucy, they still actually have that print on their website in their Activewear category today.  I've nothing more to add here about the sewing of these fine wares, so go off and read the blog post over yonder if you want.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

My Batik Quilt

I rarely sew quilts and for other people.  I can count on one hand the total number of quilts I've made in my lifetime and how many people I've sewn for in the past few years.  I love me some quilts and the idea of making them but I've not made time to sew them up.  This one is for my mother-in-laws' Christmas present.  (Maybe you're reading this and I am ruining the surprise!?!) I went to the local quilting shop called Bears Paw Fabrics out in the burbs of Baltimore.  I am so overwhelmed with the options and colors and prints and solids and stuff that I chose to buy a couple of precuts.

I picked up this batik collection of 2 1/2 x 40" strips plus a jelly roll of solid whites.  I also got a few yards of solid white and an extra yard of a matching batik for the binding.  I used Cantik Batiks Gemstones, the colorway is called Canadian Rockies.  SOOOO juicy! This fabric is stunning!!  I was inspired by the Jelly Roll Race video here.  I didn't end up using this technique for this project though and just sewed all the batiks together into a huge rectangle.  This took on a couple hours on a day off work after getting all my wisdom teeth pulled the day prior.  The back of this quilt actually took a bit longer to make.

It was after I did my quilt top that I did my math for the yardage needed for the back.  Maybe it was the residual anesthesia but I was about a yard off in continuous white fabric.  So I got fancy and did some improvising with my cutting an piecing and used some of the batiks.  I think I love the design of the back more then the front.  My actual quilting is all straight lines, one centered in each strip in front.  The batting is Warm & Natural needled cotton batting... it helps give that slightly fluffed and wrinkled look I think.  The final dimensions are approximately 52 x 80" (132 x 203 cm).  It's meant to be a lap quilt or throw.  

After it was all done the other day, there was a bit of a near tragedy.  I wanted to pre-wash the quilt to give it that rumply bumpy look that I really like in a quilt.  So I toss it in the washer and out it comes half covered in both sides with a brownish reddish pinkish dye run on both back and front!!!!! Two of the deep brown tones ran like crazy... and it was dark, dark, dark!.  I didn't take pictures of that because I was in panic mode.  Long story short, I ran it through the wash again (three times!) with a small amount of detergent and a fair amount of that Oxi powder stain remover stuff.  It was maybe 65% gone.  Then I soaked it overnight in warm water with more of that Oxi stuff and ran it through a wash again.  95% GONE! No one would ever know that there was a mega dye stain on the bright white of this quilt... unless they were mean buttholes and got out a magnifying glass and looked closely.  

So there's my technicolor quilt.  I kinda love it, imperfections and all.  I feel like I can get away with not being technically skilled in this particular genre of sewing and still have really awesome results.  When I sew garments, I don't want it to look "handmde"... but with a quilt, I love the "handmade" appeal.  I do want to sew more of them.  And to learn free motion quilting so I can do some fancy pants quilting.  Do any of you guys who normally are garment sewing types quilt?  I generally think that there is an invisible line drawn between quilters and garment makers, you're either one or the other. AmIwrong?   I heart quilts and hope to do more really soon... among the 5894326736547 garments I want to sew as well still.

P.S. Do you guys use Instagram?  I've been using it regularly finally in the past couple weeks now that I've upgraded my phone.  Here I am on instagram, I'm kathhhhhy_sews.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Jalie 2680: A Wool Boucle Coat for Early Winter... & a general update

I've sewn me a late fall/early winter woolen coat.  I've worn it out in the world during the high 30s/low 40s F (2-7ish C) and it was just about right.  I wrote about my Jalie coat over on Fabric Mart's blog.  I love it.  It's very flattering on my figure.  Not much else to add here though.

I've been sewing so much in the past weeks, including this coat... hopefully I'll get to sharing other stuff, too.  I am getting an upgraded replacement phone this week, so hopefully I will be Instagram-ing more often as I work!  Plus, I just got back from Bear Paw's Fabric about an hour ago, a quilt shop in the burbs of Baltimore, where I spent a small fortune on material to make a really awesome quilt for a Christmas gift.  I've made a handful of quilts in my life and they are super satisfying-- they speak to the 2-D artist still hiding in me.  I have all of these ideas to make colorful, contemporary art quilts with urban landscapes inspired by Baltimore on them.  But that takes time and money.  Until then I'm doing a simple jelly roll quilt with modern lines and interesting natural color gradations. Yep, I know, quilting bores most apparel sewing seamstresses to tears.... I love functional art, so it's right up my alley.


Thursday, November 5, 2015

Burda 8/2015 #106A: A Velveteen Blazer

106b-082015-b_largeI sewed up this really great pattern last week and had this really cool black velveteen material and a super awesome red satin lining... and this faux leather that ended up just sucking the awesomeness from my blazer.  But it's kinda my fault, honestly.  I could have scrapped the pleather after realizing it was a slippery, stretchy material that didn't behave or sit flat or have the right hand to it.  But I was bent on a garment with faux leather embellishments.  But how cool is this with the contrast of the bold red lining!?

I feel like this ended up really amateur looking and homemade in some parts... but guess what... I'ma going to wear it any ole way (maybe)!! Even though I worked hard on it... muslin, alterations (minimal ones, though), loads of hand sewing... it just came out,  Not Right.  I'm not going to point out what's not right.  I used Burda 8/2015 #106A.  It's a lovely pattern (minus the usual lame directions... so bad.. like usual... I skipped them mostly).  I love the two piece sleeve, the seam in the center back as well as at the back waist... all elements that made the fitting easy. 

I cut my usual 42 bust and graded to a 46 hip.  I also added 1" (2 cm) length to the sleeve and length of the bodice, a standard alteration for me.  I had to about a 1/2" (1 cm) total to the front seams under the bust for a better fit. Otherwise, that's it for fitting.  I excluded some details of the pattern because I got so frustrated with the faux leather I forced myself to use... including the sleeve detail and changing the pocket up a little.   

If you want more about this blazer, you can see my blog over on Fabric Mart here.  I've got like 4 things I need to blog about that I've made including a Jalie zip top and an Ottobre sweater... and some other stuff my tired mom-brain won't let me recall at this moment.  Coming up in my sewing queue are JEANS and a winter coat and more running gear... I've got me an 8K coming this month raising money for our zoo here in Baltimore... I think I need some zebra stripes or giraffe prints or something!?

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Orange Lingerie Montgomery Briefs & A Marlborough Bra

I'm back in business with sewing up more undies and bras. I blogged more in depth over on Fabric Mart's blog if you want to read that here.

I used my TNT bra pattern, the Marlborough Bra.  You can see all of my adventures in sewing, altering and all that stuff here on my blog since it was released last year.

This was my first go with the Orange Lingerie Montgomery brief.  I didn't really talk about the fit on FM's blog.  I made a size large waist and graded to an XL for hip/backside.  I feel like I want to size up to a straight XL in the waist, it's a tad snug, but totally wearable.  I am a bit surprised at the decent back side coverage, I've often had trouble in the past with coverage in that area with other undies patterns-- always needing way more fabric back there for comfort.  I would classify the amount of coverage as the minimal amount for an everyday pair of undies... meaning I could take a bit more fabric there for everyday wear BUT it's not weird feeling at all.  (I'm trying super hard not to make this sound weird and attract creepers from google to my blog!!!!)   The no VPL (visual panty line) detail is pretty ingenious... it's really true, there is no VPL... BUT since the waist on these 2 pairs are a tad snug, they create a mildly noticeable line if I wear concerned about it under a cute skirt or dress.  As far as ease of sewing... very easy, especially having sewn lingerie for several years now.

My galoon lace I used on the front panels was a tad too narrow to completely cover it.  I lined it and allowed the lower edge of the lace to show-- it's a pretty scalloped edge so it looks totally intentional.  I used a zig zag stitch to secure it to the lining.

Hurray for pretty underthings!!!!!!!!!!!!  I am working on a smart looking lined black velveteen blazer right now, so I have to put sewing up more undies on hold for now.  Oh my goodness, who told me to use BLACK VELVETEEN!?!?  Every bit of lint is showing up on it as I go.  My pattern is from the August 2015 issue of Burda.  My contrast will be a faux leather!! Saucy!!!!!!  I made my muslin and I barely needed any alterations outside of standard lengthening and grading for a fuller hip.  That back waist seam is AWESOME for me... no swayback adjustment at all. What!?!?!!  It has a two piece sleeve and center back seam-- two of my favorite elements in a jacket when it comes to fitting.  That model lady looks so happy to be wearing her green and mauve velvet blazer.  


Monday, October 5, 2015

Jalie Cora Tights

I waited until cooler weather to finally order the new Jalie Cora tights pattern.  Running is NOT a priority for me in the summer because I melt and die just walking to the car in heat.  Now I'm back in the saddle this fall getting ready for a 8K with some major hills next month... then looking forward to a half marathon again next year, likely with one or two races between. *By "race" I mean that I sign up for a running event (i.e. ye olde half marathon, a 5K, 10K or whatever) and do MY best, not really"racing" with anyone else.  I think I've said it before, I am s.l.o.w. by most standards but I'm a hella lot faster then I used to be sitting on my couch about 70 lbs heavier then I am now.*

I sewed up a muslin to test the pattern to make sure I was doing it right before cutting up my good fabric.  I had to grade between sizes from waist to hip and needed to make sure I got all the puzzle pieces traced correctly to fit together.  I wanted a compression style pair of tights so I went down a size in my hip.  I cut a size X waist and a size Z hip (and leg, too).   I also added 1" (2.5 cm) to the lower leg length by slashing about mid calf.

I was pleasantly surprised by the height of the rise... it sits up high on my natural waist, it is not a low slung "casual wear" sort of legging.  Low rise=tugging and pulling and lack of comfort on runs.  I have a fuller thigh, have a fuller bum and my back side sits lower then the average gal and often will add width to these areas.  I did not here at all.  I think mostly because I am looking for compression tights and don't want to loosen things up.

The zebra print/butterfly wing print/whatever print is a (swimwear, likely) nylon spandex, non-wicking.  The black is a medium weight nylon spandex that is wicking.  The rosey purple solid is a New Balance wicking material.  All of it is 4 way stretch.  I've used that print fabric here and here, and the New Balance stuff (I've got a boatload of it in various colors) was used here, here, and here already-- that stuff is sooooo comfy but not the best for really cold weather running since it doesn't keep the heat in well.  The black material is a fairly recent acquisition, I got a lot of it since it was on sale.

The back pocket it nice and roomy for my keys. They stayed in nicely for a 5K I ran minutes before taking these pics. I don't carry a phone in my pocket but it will hold one for sure.  My favorite RTW leggings have a zipper on the back waist pocket... I would LOVE if it were zippered... hint, hint activewear pattern making gods... er, you know who you are :)  Zippers.  I like little zippers on my pockets.  And that little triangular crotch gusset... it's kinda great.  I feel like it provided more ease of movement and also (TMI here...) no c@mel toe!?   ***UPDATE:  Thank you everyone who has told me about Sewaholic's new leggings with the zipper!  I am a huge fan of her patterns, especially since they are drafted for a gal with a figure similar to mine!! But from what I've seen in the photos and the description of the pattern, they appear to not be ideal for my running.  But why, you say, they are so cute and sassy!  Well, they are drafted to sit well below the natural waist-- I cannot go out for an hour running session in the dead of winter with hip huggers-- they would not provide the coverage and security I expect from my technical running gear-- I can't be pulling my pants up ever few minutes!!  Also, I don't want to re-draft/alter the waist for a better fit after paying $16 for a pattern.  So if there is anyone out there who can disprove my theory on how the Sewaholics are inappropriate for high intensity activewear, please share.  Otherwise I'm steering away from her latest super cute loungewear line of clothes for running purposes.***  

I laid them out to show you another nice feature... the back waist sits HIGHER up.  This equals better butt coverage.  You can see how there is lots of room in the back for my fuller backside with simply grading up and NOT having  to add to the width of the thigh or back crotch.  Oh yeah, I also used the black fabric to line the waistband, wicking side touching my skin.  Plus I topstitched the seam of the crotch as well for added security of keeping it tightly sewn.  You can click to make that little front shot bigger to see the topstitching... I felt a little weird blowing it up huge on my blog.

Like I said, I did run in these.  They stayed put the whole time.  I was annoyed with that black shirt, a RTW one, because it's not quite the right fit on me like my handmade shirt are,  So there you go.  A thick-thighed girl reviewed the Jalie Cora tights... I had not seen anyone with similar dimensions talk about how they sewed these up.  I'm on a Jalie kick at the moment, I just got in the mail an envelope a half zip shirt pattern from them.  More sewing activewear=more motivations to go out and run!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

My Image 1561 Dress: Plus A Review of My Image Fall/Winter 2015-16

I made a plain, black dress.  Sound the sirens.  I make so many colorful, printed, fun things, I needed to calm down already.  Fall brings that out I think... a more settled down color pallette.  Now this pattern is from My Image, a previous favorite of mine.  It's the newest issue. I confess I am not as hot for them after the past couple issues.  I feel like they could explore more variety in their pattern designs, move away from the plain, round necklines, it feels a bit repetitive... and then jumping all around like 3 or 4 websites just to order magazines, a PDF or envelope patterns is wayy to much, it all really needs to be streamlined to one website with their actual magazine title in it.  

How cute is the dress in the magazine?

This dress took a LOT of fitting, thank goodness it was a princess seamed garment.  Off the bat I added 2" (5 cm) to the hem and it's still super short.  I cut a size 42 bodice and graded out to only a 44 hip, where I should have done a 46 if I were following the magazine's guidelines.  It was HUGE-O-MUN-GOUS!!  It was a tent.  I coulda seriously held a circus in there, flying trapeze artists and all.  So I ran each and every seam through the serger again and again until it fit.  I think I removed about 3 or more inches (7.5 cm or more) in the waist alone.  I removed maybe only 1.5" (3.8 cm) in the bust.  The skirt was monstrously huge.  I could have taken out 4 or more inches (10 cm or more) in the hip... likely more, I wasn't measuring, just serging, fitting, serging again.  And the skirt is still really full and swing-y.

When it's cooler and I really where this dress out in the world, I need to wear tights.  It's so short.  I can't lean forward too far otherwise, folks behind me would get a glimpse of something they don't want to see.  As far as the directions... the English ones are still difficult to sort out.  I abandoned them quickly, but not really an issue with a basic princess seamed dress.  I also got rid of the back zipper, it's useless with a knit like this.  I preferred to make a binding for my neckline instead of a facing-- I've found facings on a garments like this is a bit fussy.

I originally was outside taking my pics for this but I was being attacked by a thousand mosquitoes.  So up to my son's room I went... check out that sweet, sweet mess... dirty tissues on the floor and everything.  My word.  This room is not "company ready" at all, let alone "post a bunch of pictures on the internet" ready.  Whatever.  You have a kid or two lying around?  You're house is likely a hot mess in the middle of the week, too. 

The fabric here is a not-very-fancy-a-bit-on-the-cheap-side ponte.  I left this dress all made up in my basement and it picked up their weird odor that I need to get rid of.  In the end, I have a nice little basic I can wear tights and scarfs and jackets with.

Have you seen the latest issue of My Image.  I'm a little underwhelmed. I've often been distracted by the fabrics they use, they just aren't my cup of tea. On the cover, the color palette is blah, even with a floral printed dress.  It gives a solid clue as to what I found inside.  More dull colors.  

I might make the raglan sleeved dress on the lower left (in the above pic).  It's sporty and looks so wearable.  The model with the long curly hair is wearing a full on dress, not two separates.  I like the look and thought I'd want to make it... but looking at the pattern, the skirt is just two rectangles sewn together... no thanks.  The model makes it look like a super cute, shaped and fitted pencil skirt.  And the jacket... I could  do without it.  I like faux shearling, but this one I'm not hooked on.

There's that raglan dress again (above pic) in a different print.  The little jacket and sweatpant combo looks way too junior for me.  I only need so many big faux fur coats.

This page (above pic) is just meh.  Blah print on the dress, ill fitting skirt... but wait there are chickens behind them!  I want to see what that loose fitting sweater looks like untucked, all the photos in the magazine are just tucked in.

Here are the tech drawings.  What's great about My Image is they go up to size 54 on many of the patterns now.  Both the trousers are nice... I might be sewing one or both up if I can find time.