Sunday, February 27, 2011

What a Week

Hello everyone!  I don't have anything new to show you tonight, but I wanted to check in.  I was feeling so sassy and confident after my last outfit posting, but that feeling quickly evaporated when I woke up the next morning with the stomach flu.  Let me just say, it's been a long week!  I managed to get some bags made,  and I am feeling much better, but I have really struggled with fatigue the past several days.

I am happy to report that today was different.  I went to church and wore my Avatar dress.  This is still one of my favorites!  I also went for a run tonight. I was a whole minute per mile slower than my normal, but I managed to get four miles in, and I am feeling re-energized.  I sure didn't feel like going for a run, but sometimes you just have to push through the apathy to get jump started!

On the sewing front, I've plotted my next outfit which will be a combination of a couple of Burda patterns, both new to me.  I'm not totally sure on the fabric for the skirt yet, but the blouse will be a linen blend in an off-white color.  The blouse is cut out.  I like the shape of the sleeve and the button tab detail.   
Since I don't have anything new to show you, how about a couple of outfits from the sewing archives?
Both skirts were made with Kwik Sew 3513.  I shortened the length and layered the mauve and brown one.  I also left the hem unfishished on this one.  The fabric for the black stormy looking print came from Emma One Sock and is a rayon/lycra knit, and the fabric for the other came from the Fabric Fairy and is a bamboo/lycra knit.  A neat feature of the skirt is a wide self-fabric waistband that folds down on itself.  The top on the mauve outfit is made with Jalie 2804.  I remember I had to add some width to the hip area or this top would have been way too tight on the lower half.  I wore both these outfits quite a lot in 2009.  Here are the patterns:

Hope you all have a productive week, myself included.  Here's a little bit of lava rock fun!  I'm glad to be smiling again! 

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Crustacean Creation

By special request, the crustacean's are cruising their way to Canada!
 Uh oh....More distraction arrived in the mail yesterday.
I loved reading all your comments on the last outfit.  Thank You!  I wanted to highlight something that Velosewer said, "It's great to try a different type of style."  She is so right.  This is a huge benefit of sewing our own clothes.  We can try different styles without a huge monetary investment.  If we love it, "Yippee!"  If not... well we've learned a lesson without too much invested...hopefully.  And personally, I love all kinds of styles, shapes, and textures.  Sewing allows me to explore to my heart's content.   

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Wedges Made Me Do It

"Made you do what?" you ask.  Well...ever since around Christmas I have been thinking about a certain pair of shoes that I fell in love with...kind of edgy, black, high, wedge-shaped.  I recently succumbed to the purchase, and they have been sitting in my closet just waiting to be let out of the box.  Of course, they would require a very special fabric for their first debut.  I began the hunt...I had to be patient....finally just the right print came up.  I've known for some time which pattern I wanted to make.  It is from the March 2009 issue of BurdaStyle and is #103.  Here is the technical drawing:

I was temporarily drug away from Simplicity 2648.'s only temporary!  And here is the crazy, fun, 80's inspired look!
I found the fabric at Hart's Fabrics online.  It is a poly Spandex blend.  It is very slippery, which made it a bit challenging to work with.  When I am working with fabrics like this, I just take my time and use a lot of pins.  I also find that I need the hard surface of a table to spread my project out on so that I can pin and line the fabric up easier.  Normally I stand at my ironing board to pin pieces.

The Pattern: BurdaStyle Magazine 03-2009-103:
This pattern consists of 4 pattern pieces.  It is not too difficult to assemble.  I understood the first half of Burda's instructions, but not the second half.  I too am a visual hands-on learner, without pictures or someone to show me, I have a very difficult time understanding something new when it comes to sewing.  This pattern reminds me of a Kwik Sew pattern I have made for my mom.  It also has four pieces with the yoke forming part of the sleeve.  So I made up this pattern using those instructions and it worked out fine.

The first thing I did was to interface the outside yoke pieces with Pro-Sheer Elegance from Fashion Sewing Supply.  I sewed the shoulder seams together on the yoke and the facing pieces then put them right sides together and sewed the neckline.  I clipped the curves then understitched the neckline.  Here is a close-up of the yoke on the inside and you can see the understitching.
Understitching and hand-sewn facing along lower edge.
The next step is the hardest to describe, but what you do is pin the armholes of inside and outside yokes, from one side of the garment, right sides together, with the armholes from the other side in between.  Then you turn that armhole right side out and do it on the other side.  (I've taken this explanation directly from Kwik Sew 3595).  Here is a picture of what I am describing:
This illustration is from the Kwik Sew 3595 instruction sheet.
The rest of the tunic is a breeze.  Just sew the side seams.  Instead of turning my armhole edges to finish, I trimmed 5/8" off, then bound the edge with self fabric.  This is a close-up of the armhole:

Notice how the facing roles to the outside on my sleeve cap.  I actually don't mind that.  I think it looks like piping.  I did try to understitch by hand, but I didn't like the way it turned out.  So I'm going with the "piping" look!  Once the armholes are finished you can attach the tunic to the yoke.  I hand stitched the facing down so that I would have a clean finish on the outside.
 I've never worn a print, that I can recall, that had illustrations of people in it.  But I really like this one!
That's my story and I'm sticking to it!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

A New Tool and Other Odds and Ends

We are more than half-way through this long weekend for those of us who have Monday off.  I've been doing a fair amount of sewing, but not on clothes for me.  I am in the "building up inventory" phase for my shop so I thought it was important to focus on that.  I had a good time choosing fabric combinations for the latest bags.  These four were added to my shop yesterday and today.
I also desperately needed a new iron.  I have been happy with the Rowenta irons.  The last two I've had served me well, and so I bought another one.  New sewing tools make me happy, but not only is the new iron fabulous,  (I can't believe how much steam power I was missing!) it unexpectedly matched  the ironing board cover I purchased last week.  Bonus!
In other sewing news.  I am working on a muslin of Simplicity 2648.  Let me just say, the first round is UGLY.  I have so much work to do.  This will be an exercise in patience for me.  You all know I like to crank things out, and this won't be like that.  I'd really like to have a perfect fitting princess seam bodice.  That way I can change neckline, sleeves, and skirt portions to make all kinds of dresses.  I have a few beautiful floral prints I really want to make up into pretty spring dresses.  I chose the Simplicity pattern because of the individual cup sizes.  Alas, even the A cup will require some adjusting.  My muslin also shows a wrinkled back, wrinkled side seams, too large armsyces or in-other-words a lot of work.  I'll certainly keep you posted on my progress.  I was truly inspired by Angie's recent post.  Her finished dress was so worth the effort she put into getting her muslin just right!

Also, thanks for your thoughts on the latest skirt.  I didn't think I would make that pattern again, but Andrea mentioned that she made it in a longer length with a tencel twill and loves it.  Ever since her comment, I can't get it out of my mind that it would look wonderful in this inky purple linen/rayon blend I have in my stash.  So keep your eyes out for that and thanks for the encouragement Andrea.  Ruth asked if I don't have a project in mind how much fabric do I buy for my stash.  That's a good question.  I generally do have an idea of what I think the fabric will be good for whether it be a skirt, dress, top, jacket, pants etc.  If the fabric is 56-60 inches wide I'll generally get 2.5 yards in wovens and 2 yards in knits.  On rare occasions I buy 3.5 yards, mostly when I have a woven dress in mind.  Although I do buy fabric when a print or color or weave moves me, I do plan to be a little more organized and order at least some of my future fabrics based on what a pattern envelope recommends.  We will see how that goes!   Thanks again for the question.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

New Look 6944 Revealed

I had fun rounding up those spring fabrics for your viewing pleasure, as well as mine.  I am thinking about what I might like to sew for the rest of this month.  I don't normally go for pastels.  I like bolder prints and colors on me, but I am still trying to use some of my older stash fabrics so that I can feel good about adding some new spring and summer prints.  On-the-other hand, not all the fabrics in my pile are old.  The one that looks like a brocade is actually a beautiful metallic lace I purchased from Gorgeous Fabrics around Christmas time.  The pink and blue aloha fabric is a recent addition too.  I am really surprised I bought this.  It is very far from my normal, but I liked the way it made me feel when I saw it (soft, romantic,sweet, feminine), so I got 3 yards.

My latest skirt is made from two very old quilting cottons.  I didn't purchase them together, but when I saw them in one of my bins, I thought they looked pretty good combined.  Overall, I'm not in love with the shape or style of this skirt.  I would have liked it better if I had made the longer length.  Also, I think this pattern would be more suited to a fabric with more drape, like linen or rayon, especially if you are making the shorter length.  None-the-less, I do plan to wear the skirt this season, and I particularly like it styled with a denim jacket.  It kind of takes the sweetness down a notch.  Both the t-shirt and the denim jacket were purchased; the jacket several years ago. 
 Here is a good representation of the actual color and print in the skirt:

So let's review New Look 6944 which is a skirt pattern that features four godets, two in the front and two in the back.  It comes in a knee or mid-calf length and has a curved waistband.  
I made view E.  The pattern pieces fit together perfectly.  I inserted an invisible zipper on the side.  I cut the size 10, but I sewed my side seams with a 3/8" seam instead of a 5/8" seam to give me a little more room in the waistband.  As already stated above, if you are going to make the shorter length, the style would do better with a fabric that is flowing like rayon or linen.  In the longer length, I think you could still have nice results with lightweight cottons and cotton blends.  I would rate this as an easy pattern to assemble and one with which you could have a lot of fun coming up with fabric combinations or  you could just keep it elegant by using a single color like view A, with the ties.  I'm not sure if I will make this again.  I'm looking ahead to the next challenge.


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Rounding up Some Spring Fabrics and a Sneak Peek

 Give me something pretty to work with this evening....

 Ahhhhh...I needed that.

Monday, February 14, 2011

How Exciting II

The Color Explosion Bag Giveaway
In went all the names....
Bells and Whistles, Drums and Crackles, Confetti and Balloons

And out came one lucky winner!  Congratulations Shiny Green Penny!  And thank you everyone for taking part in the give-away and stopping by to read and comment!

For those of you interested in Maui posts, I thought I would share a new beach my family and I checked out recently.  This one is located on the border of Kihei and Wailea, on the south side of the island.  It has it all: warm sand, treasure hunting in the rocks, snorkeling, and pretty views of the surrounding land forms.  We'll be back.
Looking north along the shoreline.


Looking south along the shoreline.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

New Look 6803 in Knit

Good morning everyone!  Thank you for your comments on the last outfit.  I've already worn it for one full day and it is so comfortable.  I am also surprised how cool a t-shirt can feel when there is a big hole cut out of the back.  That's a good thing for where I live!

I really had trouble deciding what to do with the rayon knit you are going to see in this next outfit.  I loved the color combination and the print, and when I saw it go on sale at FFC I bought 2 yards for $5.25.  When it arrived I realized it didn't stretch or recover well, but had an awesome drape and a nice weight.  After much thinking and perusing through my pattern stash I came upon New Look 6803, which is made for woven.

I thought the tunic look was just perfect for my print.  Believe it or not, the contrast fabric was just recently bought at from its clearance sale and cost $2.50/yard.  I got 2.5 yards.  It is tencel twill in a concrete color.  This is another fabric that feels extremely soft and cool.

The body of my tunic is made from the knit and the contrasting fabric is a woven.  It was a bit of a challenge to do a nice job applying the facing around the neck.  I just went slow and used a lot of pins.

The first thing I did to ready my pattern was to leave out the bust darts.  I also know that New Look patterns run too wide on the back neckline so I took out 1" of width there and in the back bodice.  The other alterations I made were to shorten the tunic by about 3" and to cut the back on the fold instead of having a center back seam.

And here is the completed outfit: 
Notice there is a privacy panel at the neckline.  I added that.  Yes, this pattern has a very low slit.  When I make this again I will shorten the slit about 3" if I don't want to have a privacy panel or wear a camisole.
The tunic also has bell sleeves and I love the belt that comes with this pattern.  Here is a close-up of the top:
Enjoy the rest of your weekend.  I am off to church and am wearing this outfit.  I will let you know how it performs!  Oops, nearly forgot to mention the pants were made with New Look 6005, view E, mentioned in the previous post.  Instead of a drawstring I used elastic at the waist.  

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

New Look 6005 and a Sincere Thank You!

I am truly humbled and sincerely thankful for all of your kind comments and so excited to see who wins the give-away next week.  I love that this has been a fun experience for everyone.  I especially thank you for your willingness to share your advice, encouragement, and personal stories.  Awesome!  I am also happy that several of you mentioned that you enjoy seeing pictures of Maui and hearing about island life.  I'd love to continue to share stories and photos with you in this arena! 

Speaking of sharing, I do have a new ensemble to share!  I made New Look 6005, view B with the ankle tabs shown on view A.  I also made another Butterick 3028, because I just had to have one in white.  The pants are made out of a lightweight evergreen denim found locally ($6.99/yd and I used 2 1/4 yds.), and the top is made out of an exquisite, pima, cotton, interlock that I picked up at Fabric Depot during my visit to Portland last August (I can't remember the cost).  It is heavenly soft!  I'm bummed out the front view picture is fuzzy.  Sorry about that.  I'll try to update it tomorrow. 
The Pants
I cut a size 10 since the finished hip size was 39.5" and that gave me 3" of wiggle room.  For fitted pants I normally like 2" of ease, but in this case, with the drawstring, I wanted them to be a bit roomier.  I have actually made this pattern once before during Ann's Thanksgiving PJ Sewalong.  Those pj's fit me really well, but I did want to add about .5" to the width of the waistband so that the drawstring sat just a bit higher on my hips.  Since the waistband is turned down on itself, I added 1" to the width of the tissue, resulting in a .5" rise on the waist.  That is the only alteration I made to this pattern.  I decided to topstitch in white.  Here are some close-ups of the details.
One Cargo Pocket on right leg of pants.

Ankle Tab

Drawstring Waist with Front Pockets
What a perfect style of pants for busy moms on the go.  I am certain to add another version or two before soccer season roles around in August. 

The Top  
I've already linked to my original post for Butterick 3028 up above, but I wanted to show you a picture of how I pinned the back open and clipped the tight areas before I did my topstitching on the circle in case someone might be interested.
Hope your week is moving along without too many hiccups!  If you haven't entered the drawing, you are welcome to do so up through Sunday night!  Good Luck!   

Monday, February 7, 2011

A Year in Review - Wow!

I can't believe it's already been a year since I launched writing "MushyWear" and began sewing in earnest to keep it interesting and develop relationships, offer inspiration, use up my stash, try new patterns, and have fun with fashion and style.  Yes, today is my one year blogoversary.  Thank you for joining me on this journey.  I cannot tell you enough how fun this has been for me, and how much I appreciate getting to know so many of you through your blogs and comments. 

I'd like to celebrate with a give-away, but before I get to that, I thought it would be interesting to go back and compile a short list of statistics from the past year.  I had quite the fabric stash and I am happy to say I used a lot of it.  I may have gone overboard!   In each category I counted individual sewing items as one.  For instance, with pj's the top is one and the bottom is one.   No matter how big or small the project, I counted everything up from the past year.  

The Stats:

Home Dec 8
Kids Items 15
Sewing for Others19
Workout Clothes 2
Jackets 2
PJ's 6
Pants 12
Dress 16
Skirts 41
Tops 49

That's 170 items.  Whoa!  I'm not sure I'll keep the same pace this next year.  However, another big reason I sew is because it's my creative outlet.  I LOVE to put outfits together and I like to experiment with fabric, textures and colors.  I feel like an artist when I am creating, and I still have so many ideas bubbling and boiling in my head.  As time permits, I hope to keep creating!  

My favorite item that I made, that wasn't for me, was this outfit for baby I.

And my favorite outfit I made for me was this:

My least favorite outfit was this.  Oh dear, "What was I thinking?"  I do still have the top, which I like and will try to work into another outfit, but the dress ended up being too big for my liking.

I was surprised that I didn't make one pair of shorts.  Especially living here, and I do occasionally wear them.  I should definitely make some shorts this year and a bathing suit or two.  I could use both items.  I also want to make more workout clothes since I wear the set I made quite a bit.  In addition, I'd like to take on some more difficult projects and learn some techniques I'm not familiar with.  Of course, there is always room to learn more about fit!  I tend to shy away from patterns that require too much thought on my part about how to get the fit just right. 

To celebrate and to thank you for reading and participating, I am giving away a "Color Explosion" market/day bag, a Maui beach towel, a package of dry roasted macadamias, an aloha mini note tablet, and Kwik Sew 3614 to inspire the lucky winner to try a pair of shorts with me this year!  If you'd like to be entered in the drawing, which will take place on February 14th with the goodies being mailed on the 15th, please leave a comment with your email written like this: upcountrymom"at"yahoo"dot"com.  I'd love to hear your thoughts on what you like about the blog, what you think could be improved, what you'd like to see related to a specific pattern, fabric, or style, or simply that you'd like to be entered into the drawing and you don't want to have to think about anything.  Ha ha, sometimes I feel like this.  I just want to enjoy the pictures and not have to think.  Anyway, thanks again for making it a richer year.  You are treasured!  Have an awesome week.  
For one lucky reader!