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.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Ottobre 5/2015 #15: Hooded Sweatshirt

I've washed my hands of summer sewing maybe a month ago.  I am really loving the latest issue of Ottobre for women--5/2015 aka the Autumn/Winter issue.  There are just so many really functional patterns in here. I've nearly decided to make them all, but I'm easily distracted by all of the shiny new patterns that keep popping up.  I made pattern #15, the long sleeved hooded sweatshirt.  I was a tad bit lazy here on sizing.  I had it in my head that Ottobre is equivalent to Burda.  It is not.  After 2/3 of the way through sewing I realized it's a touch smaller in the hip.  I cut my regular Burda size of a 42 bust and 46 hip.  After reviewing the size charts, it looks like the larger the size for Ottobre, the SMALLER the hip is-- and the smaller sizes have FULLER hips.  Their block is not meant for the pear-shaped gal like me.  

For example: Size 34 hip-->Ottobre 35 3/8" Size 34 hip--> Burda is 34" Ottobre is 1 3/8" LARGER here.

Size 46 hip--> Ottobre 43 1/4" Size 46 hip--> Burda 43 1/2"Ottobre is 1/4" SMALLER here. 

Size 52 hip-->Ottobre 49 1/4"Size 52 hip--> Burda is 50 1/2"Ottobre is 3/4" SMALLER here.

Here is the Ottobre size chart in inches.  And here is the Burda size chart.  I went back to see what I did for sizing my Ottobre coat last winter, I actually used my measurement and the size chart for accurate sizing. But apparently that was too difficult this time around for me?  Back to the sweatshirt!

Even though the hip runs a tad small, this hoodie really is just fine I do think so.  I wore it some this Labor Day weekend while camping.  I was surprised by the overall length of it and the sleeve length.  I added 1" (2.5 cm) to my traced out paper pattern to the hems considering I'm a couple inches taller then then what they design for.  I had to remove the extra length!! Whaaa? And look how long the sleeves are still.  I love that!  The magazine refers to the sleeve style as "saddle sleeves" and I am confessing here that I've not ever heard of this sort of sleeve... it's basically a fancy version of a raglan sleeve.

It has slash pocket in front, totally useful!  My fabric is a really heavyweight double sided ponte (??) I picked up from Fabric Mart last year when I went to their Pennsylvania brick and mortar store... it was dirt cheap and in their front room that is chocked full of deals.  One side is dark brown while the other is a heathered brown and white.  I have more of this stuff in blue, it's really nice.  Maybe it's not a ponte, but it's a very heavy knit likely with poly/nylon and definitely some spandex.

Boy, I had trouble making any decorative stitch happen with my sewing machine on this stuff because it's so thick and tightly woven.  I ended up with a zig zag on the hem along with the saddle sleeve seams and top of the hood.  I used my serger for all my seams and wooly nylon for my thread.

I had THE MOST freakin trouble finding dual holed barrel toggle stopper thingies locally for the hood.  My local big box fabric store had only navy or black.  Then I had a lightbulb moment and remembered seeing them at Tuesday Morning.  I've picked up a fair amount of random sewing things from their little craft section including elastics and needles.  (If you don't know this store here in the U.S., it's like a smaller, simpler version of a Marshalls or TJMaxx... housewares and stuff).  49 cents for a three pack.  Done.  And the metal eyelets I had in my stash of vintage sewing stuff.

The pattern was really easy to sew up.  I vaguely followed the directions in the magazine... there's not much to figure out so I had no problems.  

I have this swanky new camera.  I just set it up on the picnic table at my campsite and kept pressing the remote to take pics.  Most of the photos ended up looking like this one above... me looking off in the distance at a bird or something like that and looking like an idiot waiting for the shutter to click.  I could not find the exact right spot to point the frickin thing to get a picture taken. I am not the sharpest tool in the shed sometimes.

And check out my juicy new tags for my sewing creations!  Simple and nice.  Yes, I blocked out with my hand my full name... I don't know how I feel about the internet seeing that yet. 

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).