Friday, July 30, 2010

I've Been Won Over

Last night I thought and thought about what kind of top would look good with my polyester skirt, made with New Look 6137.  While I think a fitted vest would still be a good option, I didn't have any fabric in my stash that looked just right.  Finally, I stumbled upon a white matte jersey from Ann at Gorgeous Fabrics and Butterick 3391.  The matte jersey has a subtle crepe-like texture which is similar to the skirt fabric.  Here are the patterns I used for both pieces.  They are both quite old so they might be out of print. 
I made view B for the top which is the white one you see above.  I liked how the asymmetry, particularly the point of the neckline, lines up with the slit in the skirt.  I also liked the waist gathering on the left side.  Here is the completed outfit and I have to say, I just love it.  I've even warmed up to the floral print again! DH just got home and said, "Wow."  I think that's a good sign. 
I'll write about the top first.  I cut a size 10.  Since this looks so fitted on the pattern envelope and I am finding I need to do a forward shoulder adjustment on practically everything, I added 1/2" to the back shoulder piece and cut the sleeve in half vertically and added 1/2" of width.  This gave me a bit more room in the sleeve which seems to have worked out perfectly.  I also gave myself an extra 1/4" at the narrowest part of the side seams because my waist tends to be a bit wider than very fitted patterns allow.  The pattern instructs you to make a casing at the neckline to thread 1/4" elastic through.  I opted to hem my neckline with my coverstitch machine.  It didn't stretch at all, so it lays nice and flat against my body.  However, if I didn't have that machine, I would have finished it the way it recommends. 

Close-up Top: 
For the skirt I cut a size 12.  There are 6 panels and a waistband piece.  The waist is very fitted and sits at the natural waistline.  I inserted an invisible zip in the left side seam instead of a lapped one.  Otherwise, I followed the directions as recommended and didn't make any fitting adjustments.  This skirt is fun to walk around in the way it swishes.  Here is a picture of how the cardigan from my last post looks with the skirt.  Do you see what I mean by a triangle on top of a triangle?  I just don't think the overall look is flattering, but it's ok because I ended up with two outfits I really like instead of one that didn't sit well with me.  Yay!   

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Shades of Gray

Well I have some good news and some bad news.  The good news is I finished both pieces I've been working on.  The bad news is, I made a fashion mis-step and the shape of each garment does not look good together.  A triangle shape on top of a triangle shape does not cool fashion make! (At least not for me)

I will show you the top with a skirt from my second post ever.  Thankfully these two pieces compliment one another and this top will look great with slim trousers or jeans.  Here is Simplicity 2560 in View A, a gathered cardigan pattern.

Whole Outfit:

Let's talk about the pattern.  I love it.  It is super easy to make and gives great results.  I used a light gray RPL (Rayon, Poly, Lycra) knit in a medium weight.  I wish I could remember where I got this, because it feels wonderful and drapes just as well.  I made a size 10 with no alterations.  If I did not have a coverstitch machine I would have left the hem unfinished to avoid any stretching and I think it looks nice this way if your knit drapes well.  I did decide not to hem the collar edge because I like the way it rolls in on itself and you can't see it while wearing it.  I was concerned a hem on it would stiffen it up and not allow it to hang as nice.  So I just hemmed my sleeves and the lower portion of the top.

I generally do not like to use my serger for finishing knits on the inside.  It is old and has tension issues.  So until I replace it, if I want absolutely no puckering on the outside of my finished knits I use Jalie patterns' method of sewing knits together.  First sew your seam with a zigzag stitch, not stretching the fabric as you go.  Then sew a straight stitch seam just to the inside of your zigzag stitch and stretching slightly as you go.  I always get great results and you don't need a serger.  Here is a pic of my finished seams done this way.

I won't leave you hanging too long on the 14 year old polyester fabric I used for my skirt this week.  I really liked it when I bought it, because the color combination is unusual and it has some substance which makes it perfect for a skirt.  However, I'm not sure the print is a favorite anymore.  I do love how the skirt came out, and as soon as I come up with a new topper, which I think will be a fitted vest, I will post pictures of that as well.  Here is a pic of the fabric.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

A Little Blog-Keeping and One Happy Son

Hi there.  I realized that I haven't addressed a couple of thoughts and questions from the comments and I wanted to get that information out to you.  Amanda S (I love seeing everything you make!) asked what skirt pattern was used for the skirt posted with this top.  It is New Look 6153 which is a bias cut skirt with the same pattern piece used for the front and back and a narrow elastic waist.  I borrowed a round-bottomed pocket from a Burda pattern so long ago that I can't remember which pattern it came from for the side patch pocket.  I just gather the top of the pocket and bind it with a self-bias strip before I patch it on to my skirt.  I've made about 8 of these skirts in either rayon or linen. It's probably my favorite skirt to wear.

Anonymous thought maybe one could use the hem tie from this blouse for this Burda blouse, particularly if you didn't want to have such a wide hem, and I think you could certainly do that, especially if you are short on fabric.   I am going back over my old posts and trying to add links so that I can add a search button when I figure out how.  I really need to read up on the mechanics of blogging.  I hope I have covered all the questions, but if you have one please let me know and I will do my best to respond. 

As predicted, I've gone rogue for my next project.  No navy, red, or cream, although I still have projects churning in my head to complete that theme. No, this time I am using a polyester print that's about 14 years old and a light grey knit for the top.  I hope to have it done this week. 

In the mean time, my youngest DS has been literally begging me for a fleece blanket made out of a cartoon theme print.  He saw one made up in our favorite local fabric store, and he just loved it and wanted it every time we would go in.  I was able to keep him at bay for the longest time by telling him that fleece just wasn't practical for Hawaii.  However, the last time we were in the fabric store I won a $10.00 gift certificate and fleece was on sale for 40% off.  How could I keep saying, "No"?  You guessed it, I gave in.

DS wanted it made, "just like the one at the store." What luck, it is a no sew blanket.  It took  maybe 1.5 hours to complete.  And the little guy gave me the sweetest hug and thank you when I finished.  Gosh, they can sure melt your heart sometimes!  Here are a couple pics of the process.

You need two pieces of fleece, one for the front and one for the back.  I bought 2 yards of each.  I laid them on top of one another wrong sides facing and evened up the edges.  I then cut a 4" square out of each corner.  From corner to corner I cut into the edge 4" deep by 1" wide all the way around the blanket.  Now you are ready to tie.
Tie a square knot with each strip of fabric along the edge using the top fleece strip and the bottom fleece strip.  I skipped every other set of strips then turned it over and did the rest.  Apparently you will get a better result this way.  I viewed a couple of You Tube videos to see how to make this.  Here is the blanket with half the ties done and ready to flip over to tie the rest.    
Finally, enjoy your new blanket, even if it is somewhere between 80-90 degrees in the house!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Vogue + Kwik Sew = SWAP Outift #3

One pattern company I haven't sewed with yet, since writing this blog, is Vogue.  I've had this skirt pattern (7805 OOP) in my stash for a long time and have always wanted to make it.  I was sure I would have fitting trouble with Vogue, especially in the waist, but I was surprised to find the waist and hip final measurements printed on the pattern paper and decided to go with a size 10.  I added about an inch to the waist because I wasn't sure how low the skirt would sit.  Turns out I didn't end up needing the extra inch and sewed a straight size 10.  I also used Kwik Sew 3463 for the sheer top.  Here is the outfit.

The fabric for the skirt was purchased locally at Discount Fabric Warehouse.  It is a cotton ripstop in a mushroom color.  It was a dream to sew with.  The Vogue instructions were crystal clear.  This zipper application is the nicest one I have sewn so far.  The skirt features topstitching, patch pockets blending into belt loops, back vent, front and back darts, and a blind hem.  My sewing machine came with a blind hem foot.  Glad I pulled out the instructions and figured out how to use it!  I used a 2 3/4" hem instead of a 2 1/4" hem, which the pattern recommends.
Skirt Front:
Skirt Back:

Blind Hem & Back Vent:

Kwik Sew 3463 is a pattern for leggings and long tunic t-shirts.  I used a navy blue gauze knit from FFC  to make the t-shirt.  I altered the arm piece to be more narrow and longer than it was originally drafted.  This is a perfect transitional piece from summer to fall.  I am wearing it with the striped tank from my previous post.  Here are a few more mix and match outfits.  Happy Sewing!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Retail Re-Fashion Leads to Outfit #2

This past weekend my DH kindly gave me Saturday free from parenting and I was able to do some snoop shopping.  I was excited to see that navy blue is incorporated into some of the current fall fashions I ran across.  But what really got me excited was I found this Calvin Klein dress hanging randomly on a rack of clothes at Ross.  It was clearance priced and the perfect color for my SWAP, but the size was too large.  No matter, I could still see the potential for a lovely linen skirt. 
The first thing I did was cut the bodice at a level where the skirt portion nearly fit my low waist.  I made sure the invisible zipper was open all the way to the bottom so that I could use it in the skirt and not have to replace it.  Bonus!  This dress is lined. I  kept the lining in the skirt and basted it to the fashion fabric once I cut the bodice off.  
Notice the sash?  I unpicked the stitches in it and pressed it open to use the fabric to make a waistband.  I interfaced it and left it a little long on one side of the zipper to give me some room to apply a hook and eye.  That was one easy, stylish, and cheap skirt to come by.  On to the top!

I used Kwik Sew 2159 (OOP, I think) to make the tank.  Truth be told, I attempted a different knit top with the fabric and it was a disaster!  I salvaged what I could and thankfully had enough fabric to make this tank, which is much cuter than the original top I had envisioned.  I like that the back of the tank is lower than the front, as you will soon see. 

The pattern has two pieces, although because I had to salvage material my back piece has a center back seam.  I used my coverstitch machine to do all the hemming.  I like how this pattern has a small amount of gathering in the front side seam just under the arm to give you a little more shaping in the front.
Here is the complete outfit:

I couldn't resist making a yellow flower pin.  I was inspired by this tutorial. I made mine out of a scrap piece of fabric from a woman's RTW top and placed a red button in the center.  Instead of sewing it directly to my tank, I sewed it to a metal pin.  I have so many of these from my way early crafting years!  Anyway, this outfit makes me feel sunny.  The red skirt will be ineligible to enter into the wardrobe contest I mentioned earlier unless I use it as my free choice, but it is a keeper in my closet none-the-less.  Here is how it all coordinates so far.


Saturday, July 17, 2010

Off to a Rewarding Start!

Navy Ensemble #1

Burda 7489 is a pattern for a woman's sleeveless top with side tie bow, narrow leg pants with inverted pleats at waist, and a short sleeve jacket.  I made the sleeveless top and the pants, view B & C.  The top is made with a cotton lawn print and the pants are a very dark navy linen/rayon blend.  Here is the amazing news.  Neither pattern needed any alterations.  I sewed up the size 10 on both.  The pants are a departure from my normal style, but I admit I love the look and they are easy to wear.  Here is the completed outfit.

The blouse is very easy to construct.  The neckline and armholes are finished with facings.  The edges were so short before needing to turn a corner that I didn't feel like I could understitch.  That is one thing I am not as happy with in the design of this top, but it is minor and with this print it is hardly noticeable where the facing peeks out a bit. The hardest part is how cumbersome the bow hem is because it is so wide.  The top also requires 3 yards of fabric if you cut the bow on the bias as the pattern recommends. I think you could sew this without it being cut on the bias and still have good results.  Here are a couple of close-ups.

The pants are well drafted.  I am truly amazed they fit me so perfectly.  I love how wide the waist band is.  It will be a nice focal point with tucked in tops.  The inverted pleats are also a stylish detail.  The pooling at the ankles gives you plenty of room when you sit down.  The pants do not pull across the top of your legs even though the ankle is so snug.

This outfit took me a bit longer than I anticipated, though I wouldn't blame that on difficulty.  According to Burda, an average sewer can sew this up, and I would agree.  The instructions were easy to follow.  Yay! Two items down and eight to go!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Sewing with a Plan

I have been perusing through my stash thinking about whether I want to be challenged with making another "wardrobe".  Turns out navy blue is a dominant color in my current fabric selection, and I have definite ideas about what I want to make with some of these. 

So I think I am going to take the plunge and sew up a wardrobe of ten items (4 tops, 4 bottoms, 1 topper, 1 free choice) with a base color of navy blue.  I plan to use red, cream, and gold-tones as accent colors.  If I make the deadline, I may enter it in this contest.  In the mean time, I hope you don't get sick of these colors.  You'll likely see a rogue outfit over the next six weeks as well, so I don't grow tired of these colors either!  Tomorrow I plan to post the first outfit made with Burda 7487.  I just fell in love with the top and pants you see here.  Have a lovely weekend! 

Monday, July 12, 2010

Simplicity 2599

Simplicity 2599 is a pattern that I plan to make several versions of.  Adorable results can be had from it.  The pattern is for 4 sleeveless tunics and 2 short sleeve blouses with various ruffle and flower embellishments. Bonus!  It has separate pattern pieces for B-D cup sizes.  I made view D.  My fabric is a linen cotton blend.  I cut a size 4 based on the finished bust "B" width.  I should have made a muslin on this, but I roughly measured the hip width, armhole, neckline, etc. and felt I could make a couple of adjustments without a muslin.  Though my version turned out wearable, there are a couple of changes I will make on the next one.

I made three alterations:
A. Instead of using a neck facing I decided to bind the neck with self-bias.  Reason #1, I didn't want to have to worry about turning the gathered ruffle's seam allowance down into the facing.  I thought this might cause the ruffle to poke out away from the garment, because the ruffle is doubled and a bit stiff.  Reason #2, I cut my ruffles on the bias and thought the neckline done on the diagonal would look cute too.  An advantage to cutting the ruffles on the bias is that the raw edges should not fray too bad. I didn't turn under the self-bias binding on the inside neckline either for the same reason.  We will see if that pans out for me! I'm not much of a ruffles person, but I love how subtle these ruffles are.  They lay pretty flat to the chest.  When I look down my front the ruffles look fancy without being over the top, or too close to my face, if that makes sense?

B. I did finish the armholes as suggested and added the step of understitching the bias before I turned it to the inside and stitched it down.  That way the fabric on the outside rolls in slightly so you can't see the seam.  It's worth the extra step to do this.

C.  The size 4 would have been too small in the armholes as is, so I added 1" to the back shoulder seam resulting in a forward shoulder adjustment and giving me extra room.  I think it worked out fine. 

Two things I will change on the next top:  Raise the bust dart up about 1", add about 1/2" to the side seam under the arm.  Even though the finished chest size on the B cup in a size 4 is supposed to be 35", it feels too tight for me.  An extra inch should do the trick.

Also, I am pleased with the loop I made for the back closure.  It is a small detail, but I think it is the narrowest loop I've ever made and looks cute for the closure.

 I am wearing the top with my tnt bias cut skirt made last summer.  I have more of this linen, and I think I will be making a pair of high waisted shorts out of it to go with this top as well.  I'm looking forward to making this top again.  

Edited on 7/12/10 at 4:38 pm.  You must see Green Apples,  A Sewn Wardrobe, and Vacuuming the Lawn's versions too.  Very pretty!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

A Walk on the Wild Side

For my next project, I was totally inspired by this style of dress by BCBGMaxazria (Picture is from its website).  I love the boat neck and how the top blouses, but the skirt portion is very fitted.  I didn't really have a pattern in my stash that was a perfect match but I found Simplicity 2863 a good place to begin. 
To construct my dress I used view C of the above mentioned pattern.  I didn't add the tabs to the sleeves, since I don't plan to roll them up, and I cut four inches off the hem.  The designer dress has much wider sleeves, but I preferred my sleeves to be more narrow at the hem.  I didn't have enough fabric for the top back piece to be cut on the fold, so my version has a center back seam. 

Next, I determined how short I wanted the finished dress to be keeping in mind that I wanted the narrowest part of the look at my low waist.  For me, a comfortable length was 18" from my low waist.  The fabric is a rayon viscose jersey from Emma One Sock, which I fell in love with the minute it was posted, and has a lot of stretch.  I also wanted the fabric to be doubled on the skirt.  My hip width is 36".  I cut a square of fabric 36" wide and 36" long, which is double the length of the skirt.  I then sewed the square into a tube and folded the tube wrong sides together.  I basted the top of the skirt together. I was now ready to attach my top to my bottom using a zigzag stitch and letting the top edge hang over the skirt edge by about 5/8".  I also sewed a 5/8" seam which gave me 1 1/4" to make a casing for my 1" elastic.  With the elastic in place the dress was complete. 

Voila!  Here it is.  I love this dress.  I am wearing it with a wide black belt.  This dress is so comfortable and has some edginess to it, just what I wanted with this fabric.

Close-up of neckline: