Wednesday, July 27, 2011

A Tale of Two Patterns

Good Morning and Aloha!  Before I share the latest two patterns and a funky fun outfit, I just wanted to let you all know that I am going to take a two and a half week blogging break for VACATION.  Yay!  Some of the next two and a half weeks will be fun, and some will be work.  But that is okay because part of the work to be done is painting and decorating my sewing room.  I can't wait to share the before and after pics with you.  I have a beautiful gift of sewing art from a fellow blogger in Australia, which will be the focal point of the room.  I can't wait to show you that as well!!  So there are good things to come upon my return!

In the mean time I have completed Kwik Sew 3770, view B and McCall's 6242, view A.  Both are fantastic patterns!

I used a rayon/lycra knit, from my stash, for the leggings and a mystery knit for the the tunic.  The mystery knit was found locally on a flat fold table for $3.99/yard.  I didn't worry too much about trying to match the stripes, since it is such a busy stripe pattern.  I like the tunic and will highlight a few of the details, but the shape without a belt is too boxy for me.  Even though this pattern is rated "easy", there are eight pieces and some interesting seams, so I would rate it a bit more advanced than "easy", although the instructions are very well written so construction goes along just fine. 
The way the collar is drafted prevents seams from showing around the neckline. 

Not sure I like how wide the shoulders and extra fabric under the arm look from the back as far as shape goes. 
Fantastic detail: Gusset for modesty.

The epaulet would also be fun in a contrasting fabric.  It encloses the seams on the inside, keeping it very neat! There are 3 pleats on the front shoulder seam and 3 pleats on the back shoulder seam.
I forgot to mention I cut a size small on the tunic and did not make any alterations.  I cut a small on the leggings too, but they were too big.  So instead of sewing with a 1/4" seam allowance I used a 5/8" seam allowance and it worked out much better.  Also instead of using 1/8" wide elastic for the ruching at the ankles, I used 1/4" elastic.  The waist of the leggings come up to just below my belly button, which I think is a nice height for leggings, but I used 1" wide elastic instead of the 3/4" they recommend.  Overall, I am happy with this outfit.  It's fun, funky, and comfortable! 

I will see you again in a couple of weeks.  Thank you for your thoughts on the last knit dress, I think it is one of my favorites!  Keep on sewing if you can, because I plan to pop into your blogs to see what you all are up to!  Aloha for now!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Another Tank Dress

Happy Monday!!!  Do you feel swamped this week?  Boy I sure do!  It's all good, just busy!  I hope you will bear with me, but I am still on a tank dress and nautical kick.  Even though the pattern is the same as in the last post, I decided to make this version out of a matte jersey, which also came from the stash, and I added a couple of different details.

The first thing was to find out whether matte jersey was a good option for this pattern.  I think the answer is, "Yes!"

The second thing I did was to add a contrasting neckband in a textured white fabric.  The texture matches the way the rope looks in the print of the dress.  The fabric for the neckband wasn't very stretchy so it did not lay flat once I attached it.  "No problem", I thought, "I'll just make a dart at the center front to pull it in."  "Uh oh", that left a pucker in the center front below the V.  "No problem", I thought,  "I'll just make a covered button with the same fabric and call it a design detail."  Problem solved.

The only other difference is this dress is about 2 inches longer than the Sporty Stripes dress.  By the way, thank you all for your positive feedback on that dress.  I have already worn it twice.  The first time was a fun day at the park with my boys and a friend and her boys.  I paired it with some knee length white knit shorts.  The second time was dinking around the house.  No...I didn't say drinking around the house...I said dinking...although that probably isn't the right word either.  I should probably have said working around the house :)

Ah, but here is the new, dressier version.
Close-up of the neckline.  I still have a bit of rippling on the left side, but it's much better than it was before I made the center dart.
In other sewing news, I mulled it over and over in my head whether I should make white leggings...I think I like the look of them... and if I did, what would I pair them with?  Stay tuned...

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Sporty Stripes

Aloha everyone!  I enjoyed hearing from you on the alligator pjs.   As mentioned in my previous post I decided to extend the McCall's 6128 racerback top into a sporty little dress by adding an A-line skirt shape to the pattern.  I think it worked out pretty well.  This striped fabric is also a cotton lycra jersey that I had had in my stash for quite a while.  This pattern got me digging through my stash to see if I had any other cotton lycras and sure enough I have one more funky print that you will soon see made up into another pair of pj's.  I think I'd like to make another striped version of the dress too, but will need to keep my eyes out for some more striped fabric, since this was the only swatch I had.  And I barely had enough at that!

I included the close-up so that you can see how the neck and arm opening are finished with the coverstitch machine.  I noticed my tension is a little tight since there is a slight ridge between the double row of stitching, so I will have to double check that on my next project.  Since all the hemming looks this way, I am not bothered by it.  It's just funny I didn't notice it until I took the picture!  Hope your week is going great!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

McCalls 6128 Alligators!

I was drawn to McCalls 6128, because I wanted a good racerback tank top pattern that could become a tnt.  I also like that panties are included so that you can make a cute set, which I did!  The minute I saw the alligator fabric, a cotton lycra jersey, from Sewzanne's I knew I had found the perfect match for this pattern.   When I finished my jumper from the last post I wasted no time making my muslins.  The extra effort was worth it.  I did have to make some adjustments both to the tank top and to the panties from View E.

I cut out a size 10 for both pieces.  On the tank top I ended up folding out 1.5" on the front straps.  Otherwise it would have been way too low, both under the arms and on the front neckline.  I imagine if you have a large bust you may not have to do this.  I also found out that the back arm openings were cut in too far to cover my racerback bra straps, so I had to add some fabric to the curve on the back of the armholes.  For pj's this wouldn't be a problem, but I also plan to use this pattern for tank tops that I will wear out and about.  I also needed to take the waist in by 2.5" and take the bustline in by 1.5".  The tank top is quite long as well, and I shortened it by 2".  Here are my pattern pieces now:
Oh my goodness, the panties(view E) were indecently low when I made up my muslin.  So I added about 1.25" to the height of the waistband.  I also had to add a little bit of extra coverage to the backside as well.  Instead of using a 5/8" seam on the side, I used a 3/8" seam.  View E panties are to be finished with fabric binding on the waist and leg openings according to the instructions.  But I was given a sample of fold over elastic (foe) when Sewzanne's shipped my fabric, so I decided to try using that.  I only had enough to finish the leg openings, so I used 1/4" elastic for the waist and folded it down and topstitched it in place.  I like this product (foe), and would like to get more of it for future projects.

I did all of the topstitching on this set with my coverstitch machine.  On the tank top the arm openings and neckline were turned in 5/8", the curves were clipped half-way, then I topstitched, and finally I trimmed the excess fabric.  I didn't try to do a narrow hem as the instructions recommend.
The pj bottoms were made using my favorite knit pants pattern Burda 7890, previously blogged about here.  They have a drawstring in the waistband. 
I finished the set just in time to enjoy wearing them tonight!  I'm not through with this pattern yet.  I plan to blend the tank top into an A-line skirt to make a cute, sporty, summer dress, which will also be perfect for a swimsuit cover up. 
Ah...time to relax!
Wouldn't this make the cutest gift set?!
Whatever you are working on this weekend...I hope you are having great success, and thanks for stopping by to visit!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Simplicity 9503 Down on the Farm?

Aloha and thank you for your comments on the last dress.  I ended up wearing it last week for a fun day at the Maui Ocean Center with the kids and some new friends I met here at one of the local beaches.

Do you have a pattern that you like to make over and over again?  Simplicity 9503 is one of those for me.  It's not particularly fashionable, and it may in fact it may be too youthful for me.  But something about this jumper I just like.  It's not really a style I'd want to wear out and about, but I love to wear it at home.  So here I've made it again, although this is the first time you are seeing it on my blog.   A nice feature is the racer back style.  The straps don't fall off your shoulders.  There is a zipper on the side, so that you have a flattering A-line shape on the skirt. 

Every version has been made with a linen or linen blend and this one is no exception.  I found this linen at FFC.  It has blue, white and mint green woven through it.  It's a very easy pattern and a great one for beginners.  Although I'm not too sure how many people would choose to make it.  I had a little fun with stacking two buttons together for the straps.  Instead of inserting a lapped zipper I inserted an invisible one.  This is a perfect pattern for practicing topstitching.  Unfortunately you can't see it very well on my version, because the linen has a lot of white thread running through it.  Linen can also be a little ripply on the edges, so I actually didn't want to draw attention to the topstitching.  But if this were made out of say, a cotton twill, topstitching would look great!  

The inside is finished with facing, but because the facing is wide, it stays put.
 And here is the finished jumper.
Oh and our sweet lop ear bunny, Sugar, wanted to get some press too!  Hope you all are having a grade A week!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

McCalls 6112 in Coral

Aloha!  I've come to the conclusion, after reading everyone's comments on the last post, we all need a HOT PINK t-shirt.  It's a color that makes people smile.  So hop to it.  I wanna see yours!  How's that for drill sergeant encouragement :) 

In the mean time, I have a new dress to show you.  Unfortunately my pictures are not terribly clear.  Sometimes my little point and shoot just doesn't cooperate!  I'm still working on getting a new camera.  This pattern, McCall's 6112, is a recent acquisition.  I bought it when Sewing Patterns had a $1.99 sale.

I made view B, without the studs on the shoulders, in a size 10.  I used Style Studio Stretch Rayon Jersey Knit Abstract in a white and coral colorway.  I purchased 2 yards for $9.98 at  I think the print and color are perfect for the islands, and the loose cut of the dress is extremely comfortable for humid weather.

I also made the obi-like belt from New Look 6803 out of off-white medium weight linen to go with the dress.  If I did not have a belt to define my waist, I would look like a rectangle.  With the belt, I think this style works for a boyish figure like mine.  Although the sleeves are very wide, potentially allowing someone to view your midriff/chest, there is enough fabric that I don't feel like I need to wear a camisole underneath to avoid peek-a-boo.  The fabric drapes and conceals pretty well around my arms.  Another plus for keeping this dress airy.
I only changed a couple things regarding construction.  When attaching the skirt to the top the instructions allow for a 1 1/4" seam allowance so that you can make a casing to accommodate 1" wide elastic.  I have a dress with 1" wide elastic at the waist and I don't think it's very comfortable.  So I only wanted 1/4" wide elastic at the waist.  Therefore, I took up about a 3/4" seam allowance.  This also lengthened the skirt and bodice about an inch to and inch and a half overall.  Also, since I was using a knit with a lot of drape, I finished the neckline by binding it with self-fabric.  I cannot imagine getting good results by finishing the neck edge with a 5/8" narrow hem.  Nor could I see finishing the overarm edges with a 5/8" narrow hem.  Since most jersey knits do not ravel, I turned the overarm edges 5/8", stitched them down, then trimmed the seam.  Here is the opening of the shoulder from the outside.
Finally, instead of finishing the lower edge of the sleeves with a 5/8" narrow hem, I finished them with a 1" wide coverstitched hem.  I also finished the hem of the dress this way.   
Overall, this dress is a winner, and I see more in my future.  I especially want to try view A, with the cowl neck.   
In other sewing news, last Saturday I found this cotton lycra jersey at SewZanne's Fabrics.  (Bought it Saturday...Had it Tuesday = Great Customer Service!)  Having grown up in the eighties, I just couldn't pass this one up.  Talk about a fabric that makes me smile....I have fun plans for it!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Hot Pattern for a Hot Summer

Aloha Everyone. I'd like to say thanks to those of you who chimed in on the last outfit.  I enjoyed reading your thoughts on how the two pieces worked together, or didn't.  I really love being able to bounce ideas off of one another as we work through our creative process of sewing and designing.  

This past week I have been working on bags for my shop.  But I did manage to squeeze in a Hot Pattern's Sunshine Top. I am feeling a need for simple knit tops right now, so I may try to get several done in the next week or two.  The first time I made this top I cut out a size 8.  I thought it was a perfect fit at the time, but after having worn it a lot, I think the size 8 is just a tiny bit snug in the arms and shoulders.  This time I decided to try the size 10.  It is just a little bit too big.  What I think I need to do is keep the neckline on the 8, but add about 3/8" to the shoulder seam and 3/8" to the width of the sleeve.  Thankfully the size 10 is wearable.  I am sure I will find it to be a little cooler too since it will let the breeze circulate with the extra space.

I used a 100% cotton jersey with a slub texture in hot pink that I bought from nearly two years ago.  Even though I pre-washed it, I am hoping it shrinks a little bit more over time.  I love the bright pop of color, and it works nicely with my grey, jersey, Burda, skirt.  This pattern has excellent instructions and is easy to assemble.  I made a 4 inch band at the bottom instead of the 3" band they recommend.  I also cheated and didn't interface the neckband.  I think I will interface my neckband on the next one, like I did with the first version I made, because by leaving it off I think the neckband stretched more that it probably would have if I had used it.  I used my coverstitch machine to hem the sleeves.   

I look forward to catching up on some blog reading this weekend.  For those of you celebrating Independence Day tomorrow, have a spectacular time!