Tuesday, January 29, 2013

the dress and a final review

As most of you know I've been working my way through the sewing with knits class of craftsy.  Well here is the final garment and my final review.  I've been having a few sizing issues with this class so I decided to make a large since that worked best for my tee despite the fact that my measurements suggest that a medium would work.  Honestly, I really don't care what size I have to cut in a given pattern I just loathe wasting time and fabric.  For this course I could wear a medium in the hoodie but a large in the tee and dress.  This is not super shocking considering that the medium hoodie pieces are wider then the large tee pieces.  I guess it is supposed to be more over sized them my version. 

Here is my dress.
Its made out of some super cheap gray baby rib knit that I picked up at Hancock fabric a while back.  I'm thinking about dying it but haven't decided yet. 
Forgive the silly picture but my husband thought it would be funny to include our lovely recycling bin since we do photos at such fancy locations.

Here we are mid pose.  Just had to show this one.

Now about the dress.  Its really comfy but I can't quite decide about the style some of the pictures were really bad.  I also have to put a tank under it because it is so low cut.  I liked the construction process though including all the use of clear elastic.  I've shied away from that stuff for years but it turns out I like it and its super useful.

Finally, do I recommend the class.  Um mostly.  I feel like I picked up some great tips for sewing with knits on my regular machine including using some products I hadn't thought to use or didn't know about prior.  The sizing is a little frustrating to me at least the hoodie fit in the size I measured, the dress and tee fit in a size up from my chest measurement, the shorts were a poor fit all around.  Now mind you part of the shorts was my fault because the knit I used was not very stretchy but for me the rise was way to low and the pockets pulled horribly despite the waist band being the right size.  I'm not even going to try to get this one to work since I have the Jalie yoga pants pattern that fits like a dream.  So what I will say in closing is if you can get it on sale like I did its probably worth the money but I would not buy it if it were not on sale.  I would also suggest measuring the pattern pieces and or comparing them to something that you know fits. 

Saturday, January 26, 2013

pondering spring and shorts

Its been cold and icy here the past few days and that combined with the arrival of the spring mini boden catalog has given me some serious spring fever.  This has mostly revolved around looking for the perfect shorts pattern for Emily's spring/summer SWAP.  I love these laundered ones but have no desire to buy them and after digging through my pattern stash discovered that I also do not have a similar pattern.  All of my patterns have a plain elastic waist and I'm just not loving that look as she gets older.  I mean I guess it doesn't matter since she never tucks anything in but still.

So after scouring the internet here are some contenders.  My favorites are these vintage ones but they are way too big.  Perhaps one of you has someone they will fit.
The closest I've found that come in Emily's size are the beach bum Bermudas from Peek-a-Boo pattern shop.  Though while I was there I also saw the bubble shorts and think I might like them more.   I'm not copying her pictures since she doesn't have any that don't have her kids in them but both pairs of shorts are awful cute and seem to have a flat front.

Of course while I was searching I also found these awesome sailor stye shorts on etsy and I think if I left of the buttons they would be very similar.

Oh and last but not least I had never thought about adding a bit of smocking to shorts until I saw these on youcanmakethis but now I think I might want to.
Don't worry I'm not going to go crazy and buy them all but I am having a hard time deciding which one or two I like the best.  What do you think?  Has anyone tried any of these patterns before?  I'm also thinking I might try to alter a pattern that I have on had to be flat front with pleats instead of all around elastic.  Sorry about the blank post earlier this morning I got this all written out once and it had an error in it somewhere that I couldn't find so deleted the whole thing and hadn't quite gotten around to rewriting it before it posted.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

bad pics of a cute shirt

It took me three attempts to get what I think is a good fit for the v neck tee from my sewing with knits class.  I ended up making a large with I think 4 inches of extra length.  Since I was still figuring out the pattern I used some knits that I wasn't particularly attached too but would work well enough if the shirt worked.  At this point I'm happy with the fit but according to my chest and hip measurements I should have easily been a medium and as it turns out the large is quite fitted and yes I retook them just to be sure.

The main fabric is a think navy rib knit that I bought at JoAnn's before I understood just how different knits could be.  In person it still looks fairly nice but in pictures it gives me ripples and bulges in places where there are none.  The very cute 5 year old helps a bit with that in this picture though.  The print came in a flat rate box of scraps that I got free for shipping a while back.  It was only a half a yard though so I made this one with 3/4 sleeves.  I worked out a nice long sleeve length on the first two so I figured it didn't matter so much if these were not long.
This is the best picture well except for the fact that my eyes are closed.  It also didn't help that we were doing them indoors but its cold here this week and I just didn't want to go stand outside for pictures.
Here is a close up of the V neck.  Learning how to sew a proper V neck has got to be one of the best things I learned from this class.  I also took the time to find the triple stitch on my machine and started using wooly nylon in the bobbin for knits but of which have been very helpful.

Now that I've adjusted it I could see this becoming a go to pattern for me.  Well as much as anything is a go to pattern since one of my favorite things about sewing is trying new patterns.  Its going to be nice to have a basic tee that fits though even if I mostly use it to make sure things like the arm holes will work on new patterns.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

the hi kitty cape

Emily does not like to wear jackets.  She will argue with you forever that her dress has long sleeves, its not that cold, and her tee shirt is warm.   That is until you are somewhere without said jacket then she is freezing, miserable and wants to share.  However, a few years ago she got a poncho from a toddler clothing swap that I participated in and loved the thing.  She would even ask to wear it on days when I would have let her out of the house with nothing.  Sadly, she out grew it and strangely enough I had trouble finding a pattern for exactly what I wanted.  I searched for tutorial last year but nothing struck my fancy until Simplicity released their holiday patterns.  Then I saw Simplicity 1706, which as it turns out is a cape pattern, and was smitten.  Perhaps the reason I could not find  tutorial for what I wanted was because I was calling it by the wrong name but who knows I thought capes had arm holes and ponchos did not but perhaps something else distinguishes one from the other.
I made view A out of some lovely Hello Kitty fleece that I picked up with the pattern.  It was on sale and as tempted as I was but just about anything else I knew that her preference would be pink Hello Kitty with polk a dots.  I mean really those are three things she loves all it the same fabric and it was for the only kind of outer wear that she will tolerate.
The pattern was easy to sew.  I do think it runs smaller then your typical big 3 though.  I made her a M 5/6 thinking it would be a bit big and it fits her quite well.  I altered the sewing order a tiny bit and cut the back ruffle into two pieces so that I could sew the back seam as a unit after attaching the ruffle.  I also added a button closure to the front. 

Another nice thing about this pattern is that the body of all three views is a different piece so I could easily make another size in a year or two without having to re buy the pattern.  Views A and B share the hood but it was very easy to fold down the large line.  I think if I make it in a year or two I will do View C though.  I loved the attached scarf but the little bugger is still under 45lbs which means she is still in a five point harness in the car and that seemed like it would get in the way a bit too much.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Slightly updated review

This is not a huge post with pictures but I wanted to update my review of the Sewing With Knits class from craftsy.com.  I still love the hoodie pattern and have the fabric here to make another one soon.  I've got a v neck tee almost finished and now I think I like the fit but it took me 3 tries and making a size up from my chest measurement to get a good fit over my chest.  I also did the shorts last night and made a L which was for an inch larger then my waist and 2 inches larger then my hips.  The waist band was OK but the pockets pulled open in the shorts and looked bad.  I'm pretty sure there was negative ease built in which does not work well with side seam pockets.  Anyways, I've still learned a lot from the class and am still glad I got it but I wanted to warn any of you who might buy it based on my review that you may need to watch the sizing. I should have measured the pattern pieces if I had I would have caught this. I'm going to give the dress a go later this week and will let you know how it goes.  I hope it goes well bc I love the style.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

pins pins pins

I pin more then I make by far but I also took the time to organize my boards last month and have actually used a good number.  Here are some that have gone well and not so well.

Home made peanut butter.  Seriously, I had no idea all you had to do was put peanuts in a food processor.  We love this stuff though.  I'm sure I will still be buying it as well but we are trying to eat less processed food in these parts and this is a great way to get there.

I've been assembling my own HE detergent for months now and this stuff is better then anything else I've tried in my machine.  It does a number on the food processor though.

My bath fizzies puffed up huge and dissolved super fast so I don't think we will make them again.  I'm not sure why it happened but I also don't care to figure it out.

Glitter playdough is fun but makes Emily look a little bit like a Twilight style vampire.

Nothing sticks to my nails for long even salon gel polish only made it a week.  This stuff made it two days and it smells funny.  I guess the positive here is I don't often have to use remover it just peals off in sheets.

The kids liked these smoothies fresh and frozen.  They did not care for the pbj ones from the same sight though.

These egg muffin things have been a huge hit in the lunch boxes.  I've been trying to pack healthier lunches lately.  I'm tempted to start taking instagrams of them.

Friday, January 18, 2013

What Else I've been up to.

Hi lades, no sewing in this post though I promise there are 2 garments sitting in the sewing room waiting for the very last finishing touches.  I also realize that lately I've been saying that I've been busy with other things a good bit without telling you what those things are.  In some ways I'm never sure how much to share here.  I mean this started out as my sewing blog and I do post pictures and such for friends and family over on my old blog but I think this post belongs here.  That said if you just like to pop in and see cute kids clothes feel free to skip it as I won't mind.

So the big news is I'm officially a certified group fitness instructor.  I took my AFAA exam back in Dec and got the notification that I had passed in Jan.  Now I'm working on becoming a step instructor and will have to try out at my local Y in the next few weeks.  So its still an ongoing process and one that if I'm being honest has been longer, harder, and more time consuming then I thought it would be.  It has also been rewarding and I'm super excited about being able to teach classes and share my love of group fitness in the future.  Well excited and scarred as they say in Into the Woods. 

I'll still be sewing and blogging but my free time is limited so I may post about other things some too.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

New Patterns

As you may know the pattern buying band of 2012 which lead to a year in which I only purchased 4 patterns has been lifted.  At first I thought I would go crazy this January but the truth is I've been much more thoughtful about my purchases.  Now this may have something to do with the fact that I still have quite a few projects here at the house that I would like to finish but I think the year helped as well.  Anyways I thought you might be interested to know which ones I bought.

First was the Craftsy Sewing With Knits class.  Technically this came with quite a few patterns but since they were sold as a unit I counted it as one purchase.  So far I've made the hoodie and am working on the v-neck.  It needs an arm adjustment but most tops do on me.
I also got the Oliver and S badminton skort pattern.  It was on my Christmas list and in my plans for Emily's summer wardrobe so I went ahead and got it when my local sewing store had it on sale in January.
Next up my first pattern sale purchase of 2013 Vogue 1327.  I just love this one.  The twist, the gathers at the waist.  I will be working on it this spring and summer as I have at least one wedding to attend this year and am going to Paris.  Mine will not be red though.  What color do you think it should be?
Then the Simplicity patterns went on sale and they are my most lusted after brand when it comes to personal sewing.  I've also had several positive experinces with their lisette line though sadly those were all sold out when I went so I left with 3 patterns.

Simplicity 1706.  Emily has been asking for a new poncho since she outgrew the one she got in the toddler swap back when she was a toddler.  I also picked up some Hello Kitty fleece and should probably get on that next.
Simplicity 2226 which looks like a great easy summer skirt pattern.  The truth is as much time as I spend sitting on the floor I do best with a full skirt.
Simplicity 2700 See I've been thinking about buying the sewaholic pants pattern for a while but its is specifically designed for pear shaped women and my measurements did not come close to theirs so I decided to give this similar amazing fit pattern a go.  I looking forward to trying out this line since I still haven't done so.  Maybe if I like it I will even use the blouse pattern for 2011. 
I'm mostly done now I think.  There are some others that I want but I'm in no hurry.  I'd also love to find a cute girls shorts pattern similar to these from mini boden if anyone has any ideas.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

rainbows and hearts

Two years ago we had a colder winter causing much griping about cold feet and I bought Jalie 2453.  Then we went to Joann's as a family and picked out fleece to make some socks.  I made everyone a few pairs of socks before running completely out of steam.  Turns out making fleece socks is boring plus they aren't super comfy in shoes so everyone really only needs about 2 pairs for around the house.  However, during that trip Emily discovered this awful fluffy cuddle fabric that I thought was fleece and I bought her enough at the time for socks and a hoodie.  Then it sat on my shelf until it was just barely enough for a hoodie.  Honestly if she hadn't kept asking me about it I probably would have donated it to goodwill but she simply would not forget about this fabric.
I traced and cut the pattern while she was playing with my mom so I just guessed at her size.  I made a 6 which fits pretty well except that the arms are too long.  In her opinion the arms are just right mind you.
The pattern itself went together very nicely.  This fabric is pretty awful to sew though and none of my machines were even loosely fond of how thick and bulky it was.  That said I think the pictures speak for themselves.  She loves everything about it and it is really a summery of all things girly.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Butterfly Hoodie

The first thing I bought when my self imposed pattern buying ban was lifted was the Craftsy sewing with knits class.  Mind you I have already done quite a bit of sewing with knits but I was interested in learning some new tricks and I'm still on the hunt for a basic top pattern that fits me well.  So far I'm enjoying the class.  The teacher is Meg from Sew Liberated and she is pleasant and seems like the kind of lady I'd love to have a sewing play date with. I will be honest and tell you that some of the early lessons were super long and had more info then I needed but I handled this by letting them run in the background while I surfed the web and then clicking over whenever it sounded like information I needed.  You can also skip to specific chapters in the lessons which I did a bit since I wasn't interested in the information about different types of knits. The class is all about using your regular machine though and for the most part I've been sticking with using my serger and cover stitch machine.   I've still picked up some good tips though.  I'm planning to work through the projects in order with other things interspersed of course.  This is my take on the hoodie pattern.

I took this picture because I wanted to show you my favorite part of the hoodie pattern.  See how it has a nice waist curve!  This is great for me since so many patterns of this type are just rectangles and I don't want anyone to think all of me is as wide as the girls.  As far as sizing goes I made a medium and for the most part I like the fit.  In the future however I will add a few inches to the sleeves and probably an inch right at the waist line.
Here's a model shot can you tell my kids were bugging me while my husband was taking it?  I'm also shocked at how grey my hair is getting lately.  Oh well such is life.  Its soft and comfy though and I think it looks pretty on.
The fabric is not my favorite.  I bought it on sale a few years ago to make something or another for myself.  I would have preferred some yummy bamboo fleece dyed a pretty color but I wanted to test the pattern with something that I had on hand already.  I didn't list that as an official goal for the year nor do I want to limit my fabric purchasing but I am trying to use things that are in my stash whenever possible.  I figure this will keep me from wasting money on wadders.  Not that I didn't spend money on my current stash but that is just water under the bridge at this point.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

little polk a dot

As I've said before Emily is very into polk-a-dots.  That still seems to be her preferred print even when hearts and flowers are offered up.  Since I made her last two nighties out of fabric from my stash I decided to treat her to some pink polk-a-dot fleece when it was on sale at the end of December.  She loves this one and so do the rest of us since it makes her soft and snuggle all over.   I can't think of much more to say about this one since its the 3rd take on the Amima tunic from Ottobre 4/2011.  If you would like to know a bit more about the pattern itself here is the original post.  I'd like to think I'm done  with nighties for a while but she seems to be outgrowing all of her 2011 nighties so I'm sure there will be more before spring.  No more in the next few weeks though.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

I think I learned something

I've been putting off writing this post as well as my 2013 goals post because I simply haven't been sure of what to say but today in JoAnns I think I figured out at least part of it all.  This was my first trip of the new year and both Vogue and McCalls patterns were on sale.   I looked through both books, was intrigued by many things, but in the end left with on pattern (Vogue 1327) which has been on my patterns list since it came out.  I just didn't feel like investing in anything just on a lark.

First off what did I learn from a year of very limited pattern buying. 
  • Having the pattern is not the same as starting the project much less finishing the project.  It doesn't even guaranty that the project will ever begin.  I still have more unused patterns in my sewing room then I care to count as proof of that.
  • There really are only so many original ideas out there so look at the line drawings whenever possible.  Why?   because that is the best way to see the real design.  I tend to get distracted by fabric choices and what not so if I see something I like I then look at its line drawing and go through what I have to see if there is something similar.  Often there is especially when it comes to kids boutique style patterns.  Trust me at the end of the day you don't need 10 peasant dress patterns and changing a few simply things can completely change the look of a pattern.  Patternreview has a whole contest about that.
  • Finally, the big take away from today.  Think about all the projects at home that you really want to do before adding another one to the list.  I mean really I just spent a full year working from my stash and still have a rather long list of projects that I would really like to complete.  Don't get me wrong I'm enjoying a little break from them at the moment but its still a long list.
Now I promised to disclose what the first patterns of 2013 were.  No I did not go on a pattern buying spree on Jan 1st.  I did buy the craftsy knits course that was on sale for $14.95 on Jan 1.  It came with I think 6 knit patterns if you consider changing the neck line of a shirt changing the pattern.  I bought the Oliver and S Badminton pattern at the inventory reduction sale at my local fabric store and the Vogue pattern mentioned above.  I'm not going to restrict my pattern purchasing this year but I am going to do my best to keep in in check as well as my fabric purchasing.

Forgive the length of this post but I also wanted to post my 2013 goals here.  As I said a week or two ago I really want to focus on sewing whatever I want to this year instead of participating in challenges and sew a longs.  This is not to say that I won't link up to things if what I make fits with the theme but I'm not going out of my way for anyone this year.  Instead I'm going to post a list of projects that I would like to get to.  No promises but here goes.
  • Sew all of the projects for my sewing with knits craftsy class.
  • Use the jeans craftsy class to recreate my beloved grey cords and hopefully develop a TNT pants pattern.
  • Sew all 5 unused Oliver and S patterns in my stash two of which I got from Santa this year.  They are badminton, book report, croquet, apple -picking, and school photo.
  • Make some summer separates for Emily similar to the winter SWAP.
  • Find or develop TNT patterns for shorts, tee shirt, and pants.
  • Sew the Colette Parfait for myself.  I made it to the muslin stage several years ago but didn't know how to alter it to fit.  Now I think I could figure it out but it will be a bit of a project.
  • Use some of my fun woven dress patterns with some of my fabric stash even if I don't need them.  Including the vintage dress pattern that I simply had to buy last year.
  • Make Emily's Easter dress.
  • Make at least one complete project from the Alabama Studio Design book that my husband got me for Christmas.
  • Sew the Manhattan Frock from Sewing Clothes Kids Love.
  • Have fun sewing and creating things that I enjoy.
So there you have it plus a promise that the next post will include some actual sewing.