Friday, March 29, 2013

I've been featured... and what I'm working on

I'm being featured on Pattern Review today.  What does this mean?  I get my mug on the front page of their website and a coupon for a nice discount on their products... I'll take it! 

P.S. I am working on several sewing projects currently so I've been a bit slow on the blogging.  I have a dress in the works from the the new 04/2013 Burda magazine.  I was a bit uninspired by last month's issue but I found a few possibilities in the newest issue.  I couldn't help myself with another warm weather garment.  It's going to get warm soon... I think?  I'm using a striped fabric and doing some chevron action on the bodice. 

I'm also working on some running gear.  I traced off a pattern from an old running shirt but am not that thrilled by it right now because it's not made with the best fabric.  I'm using McCall's 6453 as a base for another top (or inspiration to draft a new top of my own.)  I want to add extended length sleeves that can fold over to cover my hands during colder runs.  The fold-over will be like the cuffs on newborn baby clothes that cover their little hands so they don't scratch themselves and to keep their tiny hands warm.  I hope to get at least one sassy new thing ready for running soon because I will be meeting up with the lovely Melissa of Fehr Trade here in Baltimore in about a week for a run... another seamstress (quite possibly more) obsessed with sewing activewear!             

Sunday, March 24, 2013


Follow my blog with Bloglovin

We'll see if I like Bloglovin... I'll give it a try.  I use Blogger to read all my blogs, but from what I understand non-blogspot blogs (i.e. wordpress, etc.)  may not appear on my blogroll in July.  I'll look further into this!

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

A Linen Dress for Spring

I have Spring fever.  I want pretty, bright colors in my life.  I want to paint all my walls pretty shades of green and pink and blue to be surrounded by the cheerful colors for the coming of Spring.  I'm too lazy for that so I sewed a dress from this coral linen (a blend with flax or cotton I figure since it doesn't completely wrinkle just by looking at it.)  I actually used this fabric to make a different dress last summer but it shrunk like nuts (even after pre-washing, too.)  I pre-washed the fabric again and let it stay in the dryer til it was static-y, just to be on the safe side.  This is pattern M113 from My Image (Spring/Summer 2011.)  I think this is my favorite issue of theirs- I want to sew about two-thirds of all the patterns in here.   The second I saw this dress I knew I would sew it up.  I'm almost sure the model here in their magazine is the same height as I am at 5'8".  The length and vertical fit is so similar (I didn't hem it quite as short as the pattern recommends.)  This is nice to know as I look at the finished patterns on her. 

I made a size 42 then graded the hips to about 46.  This pattern is evenly proportional from hip to bust, I happen to have a fuller bum and thighs and it was an easy fix.  Their translated directions from Dutch to English are not My Image's strong  point-- (almost) all the info is there for this one but it's not too clear.  I took my time and thought out each step and it all worked out.  What is missing?  The dimensions for the waist pieces.  I measured the width of the front and back skirt and used those numbers for the waist; I used 1 inch wide elastic so I measured 1" and added 5/8" seam allowances.  The directions for the waistband are vague and I had to improvise some.

I used some vintage buttons made from shells.  I wish I knew their approximate age.  I don't think they are mother-of-pearl because they don't have a very strong opalescent shimmer.  Buttons in my collection date back to the 1800s so there's a 100+ year span they could be from but my guess is they are mid 20th century?  Any button geeks out there who would know?  P.S. Hi, Mom and Aunt Barb!  I know you're reading now! And yep... these are Aunt Anna's buttons.   

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Bra & Undies Set

I've been good at making undies and bras... but never a matching set.  I set out to make a perfectly matching set but ended up short of one thing or another so I improvised and came up with these two bits of lingerie that I think it constitutes as a set.  I used Merckwaerdigh BHS10 bra pattern in view A along with Fehr Trade's Lacey Thong Panty pattern (it's free, go download it!)

The bra has no underwire and isn't made for tons of support or shape.  I made a 38A but think I should have done a 36B since it feels a little loose around the band on me.  The pattern calls for one kind of stretch fabric and fabric non adjustable straps.  I used a bunch of random materials and then customized my strap length with some elastic strapping.  I used a pretty pink stretch lace from Porcelynne, some hand dyed peach stretch satin to line the lower cup and cover the peach powernet on the back (this is leftover from a kit I got from Hooks & Wires.)  The black elastics, strapping and hook and eye are all from Sew Sassy.  The sweet little bow is made from a vintage black velvet ribbon from my stash.  

The directions in all the Merckwaerdigh patterns are translated from Dutch to English and are sparse.  Not really a problem- but I don't recommend her patterns for someone who has never sewn bras/undies before, they are not an ideal newbie's course in lingerie sewing- otherwise they are quite easy to work with and very well drafted.  This pattern has five different bras, too!  The directions say to use a serger for the seams-- I used a straight stitch on my regular machine and then fold the seam to one side and top stitched.  I wish I thought to use black thread in my bobbin when I sewed on the elastic, you can see the zig zag stitching on the inside!  I think the slight contrast between the soft pink and the pale peach (seen on the side seam here) are pretty.

This is my second time with the Fehr Trade Thong.  I made size large but added about a half inch to the side seams.  When I originally made it I felt like it was just a tad too small around but going up to an XL would have been too much.  This worked out perfectly, the fit is on the money!  I LOVE the black lace, it's my favorite one I've ever had (I made this bra a while back with this lace and wear it all the time.)  The lace is from Sew Sassy, the pale peach waist elastic was part of the set from Hooks & Wires, the fabric is a bamboo rayon knit from an eBay seller (all of my bamboo and modal knits I've used recently are from them.)   I did think ahead for the undies and switched out the bobbin thread to match the elastic.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Cropped Denim Jacket From an Image Wear Pattern

Image Wear/My Image is officially my favorite pattern company right now.  This cropped jacket is the third pattern I've sewn from them (even the chevron shirt is a My Image pattern.)  Image Wear is their printed envelope pattern line for women and girls while My Image is the pattern magazine they publish twice a year for women and twice a year for kids.  I initially chose this pattern to try the skirt- which I haven't yet- but then saw the interesting details in the jacket and had to give it a whirl.  The pattern is IW1003 and I used a white denim with spandex. I went down one size to a 40 from the recommended 42 for my measurements on their size chart since the material has a good amount of stretch.  The pattern calls for 90cm (1 yard) of fabric and doesn't list the width.  My fabric was 32" (82cm) wide and I used about 1 2/3 yards (153cm). 

All through the process I was doubting both myself and the pattern drafting... I was just nervous that all of those pieces would not fit together... and holy cow, they fit exactly perfect!  Amazing!  The directions are short and minimal but it all worked out.  It does not hold your hand, you need to know when and wear to finish your seams as you go and how to set your sleeves.  All not an issue if you've sewn a few tops or jackets previously.  To be honest, this jacket was way easier to sew then I thought it's be. 

I love the top-stitched seams all over the place.  I used a couple vintage notions, a yellow seam binding on the inside of the sleeves and a lavendar lace hem tape.  I used my serger to finish all the seams and raw edges inside.  I love the high neckline and the fact that it's unlined (I was halfway attempted to line it) because it's ideal for springtime here in Baltimore. It's a nice layer over sleeveless tops.   

I've already traced off another pattern from their Summer 2011 issue.  Has anyone else made their patterns? I've seen so few reviews or blog posts about My Image and I want to see what other folks are doing.  

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

More Running Gear!

I just couldn't help myself,  I HAD to make more running clothes.  I wore my original sports bra twice already for a couple runs and it is AWESOME!  I used the same patterns as I did last time, Jalie 2563 (sports bra) and 2796 (running skirt) but tweaked them a bit.  I'm on the fence with using and wearing polyester/spandex fabrics and zebra print for my regular wardrobe but I have a few pieces of it that found their way in my stash via the FabricMart mystery bundles (and the sassy zebra print is a cast-off from a friend, who coincidentally got it from a FabricMart bundle, too.)  I combined Supplex and the poly/spandex to make these three sassy garments to sweat in.

In the summer I am ridiculously hot when I run.  I've been wanting a running top with a built in bra... a serious compression bra that does its job (I've never found that in a RTW sports tops yet.)  Jalie's sports bra 2563 in size U was a perfect fit for me last time so I simply added a lower bodice to it.  I used a tank top I normally wear to trace off a pattern.  I sewed on this fabric bit after I attached the elastic under the bust, but right before folding the elastic up.  I then folded the elastic up and used a twin needle to finish it off.  I could have easily made an entirely new tank to sew OVER the bra (much like RTW running tops I usually see) but I wanted the least amount of layers of material as possible for the nasty summer heat I will be contending with in a couple months.

I used a splash of fun mint green supplex to line the front of the bra.  This stuff is so nice and comfy.  I sort of see a shadow of the color coming through the top but I don't mind that at all.  I made the lower bodice a smidge too long.  I had already sewn the hem when I notice so I just added a few inches of elastic on the inside of the side seam to help for shirring.  Shirring is quite nice I think... it helps hide any little imperfections.

I made a second racerback top with a pink poly/spandex and a red supplex.  Another super useful top to wear.  I lined the entire bra with the red material. 

Here are the two tops just causally laying on the floor.  The left image is right side out.  The right photo are the tops inside out.  You can see how I lined them with the supplex and where I attached the added lower bodice. 

I've already taken this skirt for a run.  It's pretty great.  No tugging, no tightness, it stays in place and my keys stayed put in the deep side pockets.  In this version of the Jalie (2796) skort I actually excluded the compression shorts meant to be underneath.  So it's not a skort, just a skirt.  I have several pairs of tights and compression shorts already and wanted to try a skirt over them (I always wear tights/shorts under regular running shorts... I find RTW shorts too short!)  RTW running shorts can tug on my thighs some, this skirt felt invisible on me-- I had to actually reach down a few times to make sure it was still there and in place (it was.)  And again, this is made from supplex and polyester/spandex.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Getting into gear for springtime running

I started running about a year and half ago with the Couch to 5K program helping me along.  I started out quite overweight.  Some official chart said I was morbidly obese, which was quite right... I'd been my whole life despite being vegetarian since I was 17 years old and now vegan in recent years.  The lack of regular movement helped cancel out any of that.  I worked hard and pushed myself from being able to run a few feet to reaching over 7 miles at my best so far (I plan to go further soon.)  Over the winter I've been a bit of a slacker and now want some motivation to prepare for Daylight Savings to switch up and better weather to kick in.  So I had to bust out a sports bra and a sassy running skirt! 

I've been bra making for about a year or so but none is more easy then a basic sports bra.  I used Jalie 2563.  Holy cow this was simple!  I am sure because a sports bra is for smooshing and flattening... and my pretty bras are for shape and a natural look.  And it uses minimal material.  I used supplex from Fabric Mart for both the top and the skirt.  It's so smooth and comfortable.  It's described to resist punctures... I don't know how often I'll be jabbing a fork into my running garb, but hey, good to know.   

I went down two sizes in the bra as compared with the Jalie size chart.  I cut and made a size  U.  I want serious compression.  I think I could go down one more size for 100% jiggle prevention... I'd say I'm at 89%.   If I were making one for yoga, I'd stick with the recommended size, it would be fine for that. 

I've been wanting a running skirt but they never fit me right... huge waist, tight bum and too expensive.  I used Jalie 2796 for my pattern and cut a size W and graded to an AA for my back side and thighs.  I used the longest length on the pattern for my hemline.  A pretty sweet fit.  The waist is snug and should stay in place.  And check out the deep side pockets for key/mp3/etc storage.  I usually end up with my car key on a keyring on my finger as I run (I generally drive to a local park to run.)

I've not yet put the skort into action on the road but I knew I had to extend the length of the shorts under the skirt.  I tried it on and ran in place to see how everything worked out and to see where the skirt and shorts settled as I moved.  Oh, boy... the shorts rode all the way up.  I didn't have enough material to make a whole new set of shorts but plenty to add length.  I cut about an eight inches length, folded that in half and serged that to the hem.  Now there's a nice seam hiding under the skirt and the hem looks seamless.  I'm not terribly worried that the shorts peak out from the skirt hem some... better then riding up then paired with awful chaffing.  I love how the seams are all on the outside of the shorts... less chaffing on longer, sweaty runs!  I'm a little nervous the bra may chafe some since the serged hems touch the skin directly.

UPDATE (Mar 2, 2012): I wore the bra out for a little three mile run today!  It was perfect.  I didn't even think about it once while I huffed and puffed, rather I was thinking "keep running, it's only a giant hill in one direction, then sweet, sweet relief on the way back".  That's exactly what I want, not to to think about the clothes I am wearing while I run. There were no chaffing or rubbing issues with the seams. I will be making more of these sports bras ASAP!  

I'd likely never wear just a running bra without a shirt, especially this ensemble since it looks like I'm on some weird 30-somethings cheer squad... or maybe a super cool roller girl without her knee pads and skates?! It gets stupid hot here in the summer and I hate layering.  I plan to make the bra into a top and add a bottom half to another version of this.