Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Outsmarting a bad pattern, Vogue 8657



I bought this pattern a while ago. Why? I don't know. The nice drape must distracted my attention away from that tie belt. The only thing I would ever wear with a tie like that is my bathrobe. And I would only wear that in public if my house was burning down.



Still, something intrigued me about this pattern. Many times I pulled it out to look at it only to set it aside again. When I read the reviews on PR, I had even more misgivings about it. Rarely have I seen a pattern with worse reviews: poorly drafted sleeves, misplaced snaps, fronts falling open and, worst of all, it's entirely self lined and required three yards for the sleeveless version!

I decided to make a muslin with an old sheet. But first, the FBA needed to be done. Not one but two, since its asymmetrical. It was getting late and I decided to put it aside and leave those FBAs for the morning. Then I had a brainstorm. You know, one of those ideas you have to write down in case you forget it by morning! Morning came and the idea was still rushing to get out: I had decided to make two lefts, one FBA and no tie. I did a narrow hem on on the front, neck and lower edges and finished the armholes with bias. Then I sewed the center fronts wrong sides together and just let the front fall where it may.





I really like how it turned out. Its cool and breezy and perfect for this hot weather. Not bad for a dog pattern and an old sheet!

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Nothing fancy

Just some everyday skirts. This is my TNT knit skirt pattern  (Butterick 5539) which I have made what seams like a hundred times before. Its been hot as blazes around here and these are perfect easy summer sewing. The front and back pattern pieces are the same because I am too. I sew the side seams, serge the elastic to the top edge, flip it to the inside and zigzag though it, then hem. I could do it in my sleep.

I made the necklace and earrings too.
They're quartz, black Czech glass and Thai silver.

The white parts of the fabric are puffy.

This one is a really nice heavy knit. They're both from Haberman's

This white fabric came from the free table.


It's puffy too.

Puffy is fun as long as it's not under your eyes!

Friday, July 17, 2015

Green Goodness

 It's my favorite Bolthouse Farms juice. And it goes perfectly with my new top. 
 

Though I love knit tops and make a lot of them, I'm still always looking for the perfect simple woven top. I pulled this pattern from my horde because it has raglan sleeves like the Textile Studio Santa Monica Tee I've been so much enamored with lately. Its Simplicity 4368. I believe it is out of print.

4368 SIMPLICITY MISSES SKIRT/PANTS/TOP/MORE SZ 12-20

I like this top all right. I like the color a lot. I'm not that crazy about the three little pleats though. The fabric is a bit stiff for my taste. I did an FBA on the pattern and moved the darts down but not enough. It's not perfect, but I will wear it, just not once a week. I would like to make it again in a drapier woven. 




I made this skirt to go with it. The fabric was four home dec samples I recently scored from the free table. Its really beautiful fabric, a cotton linen blend. I even took the time to underline it. I consulted Helen Armstrong's book for making a wrap skirt from a straight skirt pattern. I added 3 inches beyond the center front. This is not just enough overlap! Maybe I misunderstood. It would be enough overlap if the front underneath was a full front, but I cut both fronts the same. Its too bad because there was enough fabric to cut it that way. This skirt looks fantastic as long as I don't sit down. Unfortunately I will not be wearing this. Unless I can fix it somehow. I'm thinking a brass zipper with a green tape might work? Hmm??

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Pattern vs. Print

Look! A Gnome in the Garden!

When I wore this top for the first time the other day a young lady complimented it. "I like your top. I like the pattern." I replied "Thanks. Its a nice pattern but this was the wrong fabric for it." Typical exchange between sewers, right? But this cashier was not a sewer. In an instant, I could see the quizzical look on her face. What she meant was she liked the print not the pattern. I caught myself before I started giving her the pattern number.

V8976, Misses' Tunic

The fabric was so terrible to work with that by the time I finished this top I was thoroughly sick of it. But when it was finally warm enough to wear, I had forgiven it. I really kind of like it. I love how the tails flap in the breeze.



This is the second time I've tried this pattern. The first time was the version with sleeves. It was a mess. It was way too big, especially the neck opening. And really long. And I had used a thin knit that wasn't warm enough on its own and it looked ridiculous with a sweater over it. I trashed the top but kept the pattern. It really makes a lot more sense as a sleeveless tunic.

Knowing it was too big, plus I've lost weight and was using this rather spongy knit, I set about doing some serous taking in. First, I moved the center front 1 1/2 inches past the fold of the fabric. I took another inch off the sides. I shorted the front and back 3 inches and took another 4 inches off the hem. I also raised the armhole an inch but my bra still shows under the arms. I've seen a lot more bra than this on a hot day!



I pulled. I tugged. I folded. I had to call in an extra set of hands. This fabric could not be straightened. Luckily, I had a lot of it. Sewing it was pretty straightforward although the fabric was hard to handle. I sewed the shoulder seams then foolishly finished the neckline before checking the armholes. And I ended up with one inch seams on the side. I swear, the more I worked on it the bigger it got. It's got a mile, mile and a half of hemming. This is the first fabric my cover stitch machine has not gotten along with. All I wanted was to just get it over with.

And try again.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

From the Needs Work Department


This is one of the first Textile Studio Santa Monica tees I made. It was made last fall/winter and I wore it all the time since I have several sweaters that go really well with it. It was one of the first things I'd pull out and put on from the basket of fresh laundry. It was one of my favorites.  I go to put it on the other day, it was chilly and it has three-quarter length sleeves, and I can't get my arm through the sleeve. The sleeve is all stuck together. With something minty. It's GUM!! I was a bit cross with the gum chewer who committed this crime, but luckily it was just the sleeve. So now it has cap sleeves and I can wear it all summer too!




Saturday, June 20, 2015

17 colors of ITY!

These two solid colored tops are the last two of Santa Monica tees I had planned. On a whim, I added this fabric to my cart on Amazon just to qualify for free shipping. I've been buying fabric online for many years, mainly from Fabric.com (which Amazon now owns) but this was the first time from Amazon's site. I rarely see anything other than prints, so I was very surprised to find so many solid colors of ITY fabric. The shipping from this seller was super fast and the price good. As you know, buying fabric online can sometimes be disappointing, but not this time. This is great fabric!
(I'll get to that print top later)
I have not been paid for this endorsement,
but will accept either cash or fabric.


Monday, June 15, 2015

Kwik Sew 3756--Another Two Tees



I've been busy in the sewing room making more tee shirts for the summer. This is an old Kwik Sew (3756) pattern that I've made before with long sleeves. I really, really like this cap sleeve version. These are both ITYs recently purchased from Haberman Fabrics.




The square sweetheart neckline is ingeniously made by way of a clever tuck and front facing.  How the hell did they think of that? My hat goes off to whoever came up with this idea. I am totally green with pattern drafting envy!





As much as I do like it now, I have to say I was less than thrilled when I made it before with long sleeves. For one thing, it was a little big, but mostly it was because of this:






Whatever I used to stabilize this seam itched like crazy. I wore it once in a while, but whenever I did, I couldn't wait to get it off. This time around, all I did was serge that seam. It totally doesn't need any additional stabilizing.

Strangely, this pattern included a binding for finishing the sleeves. You can see it on the blue top on the envelope above. I simply turned under the edge and hemmed on the cover stitch.

And, as clever as I think that little tuck is, I thought it looked terrible in a solid colored fabric. Like any dart, I like what it does, but I don't want to have it screaming at me!

I used fusible tricot for the front facing instead of the sew-in recommended in the instructions.

I highly recommend this pattern but would only make it in a print. Like every Kwik Sew pattern I've ever used, it's well drafted and indeed quick to make, especially since I streamlined three of the steps!