Friday, January 24, 2014

Little Black Top

I've been busy.  I'm also trying to make useful well made garments this year.  For that matter I'm trying to keep the stress out of sewing.  I sew for stress relief and enjoyment so that's how it should be right?  Anyways one thing I'm doing to help with this is to only have one project in the works at a time.  Each time I finish a project I can decide which one to do next but I don't have 4 or 5 things cut and ready.  Under this new system the first official all in 2014 make is the renfrew top from sewaholic patterns.
Boy do I need a haircut but that's not the point I guess.  I've been interested in this pattern for a long time and got it for Christmas this year and I'm really pleased.  Technically this is my second attempt.  I made one out of some weird light purple knit in from my stash and decided that it needed to be a bit longer with slightly longer sleeves.  Truth be told I probably added a little too much but I'm guessing that the tall girls out there understand how that can happen.  I just loathe sleeves that are too short.
This one is made from a bamboo rayon mix that was also in my stash.  I think I bought it for remake month but didn't get to the remake.  It is lovely and so very soft.  It was also not bad at all to sew.  It tried to roll a bit here and there but no worse then my usual cotton lycra.  It was a little weird to photograph though.  Every little fabric ripple looked like a different kind of ripple in most of the pictures and I promise most of them are just fabric.
The pattern itself is also great.  Lot's of pictures in the directions.  I did do most of the sewing with my serger though.  I'm also not sure I really like the bottom band.  I get that its supposed to be easier but now that I know how to hem knits it really takes more effort to but the band on then it would to just hem the bottom so we shall see.  Either way I'm sure there will be more of these.

Oh and I'm going to send the link in to the stash diet so let me also share that technically speaking this project took 6 yards out of my stash.  3 of weird lavender knit for the muslin that hit the trash upon creation and 3 of the black for this top.

Up next are Emily Valentines Day outfit which is technically finished and a Jalie cardigan for me.

Friday, January 17, 2014

almost tagless leggings

When it comes to homemade leggings there is a battle brewing here in my house.  Battle may be too strong a term but at minimum there is a major problem.  Emily swims year round so despite being a slender little thing she has a muscular little tail so she need leggings with a higher rise in the back.  The problem here is she also can't stand tags.  I've thought about stenciling them but honestly that is an awful lot of work for a pair of leggings so I decided to try something new with the most recent pair.  So far she has worn them without complaining.
I sewed a strip of fold over elastic to the the back.
Flip it up and top stitch to cover the raw edge.
Sew in elastic and finish the waistband.  This left the foe feeling like part of the waistband but it clearly marks the back.  She wears this pair with a dress so you can't see it on the outside but I think it would look like a cool feature if it were visible.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Winter Pink

I quick peek into my fabric stash would show you that I tend towards spring and summer fabrics and prints.  Perhaps that's why this pale pink baby cord with tiny pink and yellow flowers assaulted me last year and demanded to be purchased.  I mean when it comes to Emily and I it meets all of our preferences.  Its pink, soft, and flowered.  I'm sure she would argue that polk a dots would be even better but she likes this one none the less and since she didn't go shopping with me has no idea that dots were an option.
Now anyone who has  been around my blog for a bit knows that I do not draft patterns.  I like buying patterns way too much to have any need to draft my own.  This is the Oliver and S school picture dress with Lil blue boo leggings and added knit sleeves.  My precious Emily does not like to layer so when I realized this dress did not have full length sleeves I knew that if I didn't add a double sleeve I would spend way too much time arguing with her about the temperature.

Here's a quick breakdown for adding the double sleeve.  Since I don't draft things I just used the knit sleeve from another pattern in my stash.  Since knit fabrics stretch and you can't see the top of the sleeve anyways this worked just fine.
Cut the sleeve and mark the center at the top.
Sew the side seam on both sleeves then finish the bottom either with a cuff or a hem.
Fit the knit sleeve to the arm hole inside the original sleeve.  If you need to stretch or ease it a bit all should still be just fine.
Here is another shot where you can see both sleeves.  Then by all means finish that arm while with a serger or zig zag stitch.
There really isn't much more to say.  As usual the pattern was a dream to sew.  I did shorten the neck piece so it wouldn't bother the buggins.  Light weight cord was a great weight for the design.  Its substantial enough to hang well but doesn't feel too bulky for the pocket or collar.  The leggings and sleeves are out of cotton lycra which I think is my favorite type of knit to sew.  Again its thick enough to be fairly easy to sew while still being soft and stretchy. 

Monday, January 6, 2014

2014 Planning?

I would love to tell you that I've put together a list of very serious goals for 2014.  Many of you out there in blog land have some great ideas that I've been tempted to copy.  In the end though I've decided to stick with sewing what I want to sew when I have both the time and inclination to do so.  That said here are a few basic plans.
  • In terms of specific projects I'll be making monthly plans.  This month I want to finish challenge 1 for Project Run and Play (probably the only sew along challenge I will be doing).  I also want to make a Renfew top.  I got the pattern for Christmas and I'm very excited.  If my first attempt doesn't go super well I plan on combining it with the Lady Skater dress since that did work well.
  • Stash diet.  Honestly, this will be for both fabric and patterns and the rules are these.  If I buy a new pattern it has to be for fabric that I have and I must be ready to use it right that moment.  I can only buy now fabric to complete a project unless it is for a pattern that my daughter has picked out.  Oh and fabric for hoodies for Elijah being as I have no good boy fabric at the moment.
  • I got myself a subscription to Burda Style USA.  I would like to make at least 1 thing from each issue.
That is it and they are not even firm goals.  I will update you through the year on projects that I've taken on but I don't want to commit myself to a bunch of projects that over time I may or may not want to do when the time comes.  I'm also working more these days and Emily has been like ready to wear clothes more then big dresses lately.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Making the Wahoo

This is a follow-up post on how to put together the upcycled Wahoo dress that I made Emily out of old tee shirts using the Farbenmix Henrika pattern.  Now to tell the truth if you already know how to put together a basic knit dress there is nothing new here but I promised my friend Kristen that I would take some pictures of the process.  Add to that I know when I first started sewing I could have used a photo guide to putting this thing together.

At this point you should have all your pieces if not see this post on cutting the dress completely out of old tee shirt.

Now a few quick notes on sewing knit fabric.
  • Use a ball point or stretch needle.  The are for sale at any sewing store.  Universal needles can poke holes in knit fabric.  You may also want to consider ball point pins.
  • If you have a walking foot use your walking foot.  If not try not to stretch the fabric as you sew.
  • For that matter if you have a serger use your serger.
  • If you are using your regular machine you either want to use a stretch stitch (check your manuel) or a zigzag.  I usually use a zigzag because I like it better then my machines stretch stitch for most knit projects.  The only exception is the crotch seam for leggings but that is not an issue here.
  • I sometimes use wolly nylon in my bobbin to help with the stretching a bit more.  It comes on a cone and is available in the thread section at most sewing stores.  Its not 100% necessary though.
Now on to the sewing. 
Start by sewing the gores together.  If you want the seams on the outside put wrong sides together.  If you want seams on the inside put right sides together.
This is almost but not quite a full circle skirt so once all 4 seams are sewn this is what you will have.
I wanted to have the look of a contrast waist band.  I did this by measuring up about 3 inches on my pattern piece and cutting the paper for both the front and back.  Then I cut those pieces out of contrasting fabric.  Before sewing the side seams I sewed the contrast pieces to the front and back.
Next I sewed both shoulder seams.
Now for the sleeves.  I like to install sleeves in the flat most of the time so I just pinned the sleeve into the arm whole part of the top before sewing the side seam.  You still must ease the piece in so that the edges all match up like they should but I think this is much easier.
Here is what that step looks like when completed.
Then I sewed both side seams.  I just made sure to match the seams of the arms and the waist band.
I didn't take a great picture for finishing the neckline.  I decided to use fold over elastic so I cut a piece that was a bit shorter then the neckline, sewed the ends together, and added it to the neckline using a zigzag stitch.
Not much to say about this step either.  I matched the center front and back of the skirt to the center front and back of the bodice. 
I used one of my favorite sewing tricks here.  I hemmed the sleeve with stitch witchery before sewing over it with a zigzag stitch.  I don't trust it to hold without actually sewing over it but I think the stitch witchery makes it much easier to get nice even hems.  It also adds some stability.
There you have it.  This one is a little different then Emily's and now resides with one of her little team mates.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Top 5 Hits and Misses

If you will forgive me I would like to jump on the top 5 bandwagon but I'm not sure if I will really get my hits and misses ranked 1-5 or just do 5 worst misses and 5 biggest hits.  Either way lets start with the misses.
The grey dress from Sewing With Knits Craftsy course.  Honestly the whole class was a bit of a miss.  I did pick up a few good tips though so it was worth the sale price I paid.  I had high hopes though and only 1 of the 5 garments I made didn't end up in the donate pile.
The purple crushed panel dress.  I actually did like it but it was such a static monster that it rode up on the slip.  Also the neckline was uneven and gaped on one side when I sat.  Oh well live and learn.
She picked the fabric and approved the pattern.  I think its great but it turns out I made the wrong view so this dress almost never got worn all because she didn't like the little flaps at the neckline.  Ugh!
I made two muslins of the Colette Zinnia pattern and both looked awful.  First one was way too big as I measured the waist band for this version and thought that was the size I needed.  The second was just a bit tight and was the point when I realized that the pleats being in the same place for all size means that while it looks cute on smaller sizes on me it just puts a bunch of big pleats over my tummy not cute.  Honestly, I think I need to accept that as cute as most Colette designs are they are not drafted for my body type at all.
I stalked this pattern and hoarded the fabric but the style just isn't that flattering.  Also I rushed on the neckline and it doesn't lay well.

Now for the Hits.
Proof that fitting is worth the effort I may not have many TNT patterns but this skirt pattern rocks the house.
He loves these hoodies.  I should sew more for him but I'm glad he appreciates these so much.
The pattern itself was a bit of a pain but I loved the way this dress turned out and I think she looks beautiful.
I know this one is super recent but it looks great, I get lots of compliments, the fabric is from Paris, and I'm sure it will be getting some friends soon.