Saturday, July 26, 2014

Floaty Florals

And now for another quick make: this knit skirt from New Look 6977. I wasn't sure which piece to make from this pattern, as they all seem like good choices. But I had a lovely piece of floral knit that reminds me of the 70s, in a good way... and I thought would look great as a flowy skirt.

I cut the length of the skirt halfway between the really short one with the contrast waistband and the far too long other option. It's just below my knee, and hemmed with a narrow hem. With the flare of the skirt, it swishes nicely as I walk ;)

This is a very simple pattern indeed: two trapezoidal shaped pieces with a rectangular waistband. The waistband is kind of interesting, as it is a foldover with a wide elastic inserted -- it sits just below the waist and creates a waistband that isn't all gathered and bulky, instead sitting quite smoothly. It's really nice!

Just two trapezoids...

Another view. A pretty, swishy skirt!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Am I Blue? No, not really!

PhotoA quick post to share my latest make: a knit tee that worked in every way, that I had no problems cutting or sewing -- what a pleasure! Made it last night, wore it today.

I made my version from a piece of fabric I had left after cutting out an unfinished object from so long ago that I don't even know where it ended up... wasn't sure I had enough fabric left for the pattern I wanted to make, Simplicity 3790, View E (the orange one on the pattern envelope), but when I laid it out, the shoulder yoke stretched right up to the edge of the "tail" of fabric left on the remnant I had, and it fit with about an inch to spare! Meant to be, I guess :)

The yoke was interesting - I didn't get the opening perfectly straight but close enough to be perfectly wearable. Attaching the front and back was a bit of a puzzle for a bit; it was a little bit of fabric origami that confused my tired brain, until I just folded it enough for it to finally make sense. And it wasn't that hard, simply stitching the excess "back" folded over on to the shoulder seam so that when you turned it back right side out it tucked under to make a nice finished edge. Not sure why I was so stumped but those 3D brain glitches do happen!

This was a really simple pattern for a really nice result, I think. The only alteration I made was to add 1/2 inch to each side seam, grading out from just above the waist to the hem. I wanted to be sure the hemline was floaty enough and I think it worked. I also set the sleeves in flat as I thought it would be easier.

Glad the pattern placement worked out too! When wearing, the centre yoke edges tended to fall outward (they aren't interfaced). It looks nice that way too, but I think I may add a pretty button at the join so that I can wear it either way.

So nice to have a make that goes just the way you want it to, especially when sewing a lot all at once. Love this one!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Trio of Purple

The Pattern Stash contest is inspiring me to sew all the time! Well, all the time for me, in between working full time and having other commitments that interfere with my sewing time...LOL. I am a fairly slow sewer as well, but I do enjoy the process. I'm having fun making sets of things this month, and this outfit was inspired by some beautiful purpley-magenta linen blend that I picked up in a sale at my fabric store a month or two ago. I actually have one more skirt cut out of this fabric but we'll see if I get to it this month or not...

In any case, I sewed up a Simplicity 2305 (Cynthia Rowley) skirt, a New Look 6148 top, and then tossed off a Butterick 5470 tank top in a toile de jouy that I have had for years which I realized matched perfectly!

First, here is the purely purple outfit:

Here's a better look at the skirt, in daylight so the colour is clearer -- I love the colour so much! Despite there being gathers front and back on this skirt, I like the way it fits; I was a little worried that it would add a lot of bulk to areas that don't exactly need adding to. But it falls nicely. I added a side seam pocket on the side without the side zip, which was just a lapped zip that turned out nicely. The waistband is under this belt but it is pretty basic too. 

The top. It is a lovely fit, very comfy. The neckband stands up slightly, I don't know what I did, but I think that with this fabric it gives a retro vibe of a kind. Anyhow, I like it. The only thing I wish I would have thought about was raising the pocket. Oh well! Otherwise I really like it. It was a breeze to sew up, and I remembered to pinch an inch out of centre front and back neckline before I cut -- it fits really well now.

B5470Then I added Butterick 5470, which I have owned for so long I have no idea where I got it. I have always planned to make the jacket from this pattern but have never got as far as actually cutting out the pattern tissue and preparing it... at least now I've done that! I made the cute pleated tank, but should have added another inch to the length. It's okay as is but the extra length might have made it fall a little more nicely. The construction of this is pretty easy, even if my front facing wants to pop up (I might tack it down a bit more) It's cute and light, but that front pleat in a cotton means I probably shouldn't wear this out too often unless I'm trying to park in the special "pregnant woman" spot at the grocery store... I think it would work more effectively in a very light and drapy fabric.

In any case, I am amazed at myself for finishing these and having a matching outfit to wear! I think out of the three, I'd be most likely to make the New Look top again; I can imagine lots of variations on it.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down

This week I've been working on a few projects as part of my Pattern Stash contest challenge. I've finished two -- one that went together like a dream and that I absolutely love, and one that I finished reluctantly and haven't been able to rescue even with further alterations. Sigh. These are two OOPs, one understandably so...

New Look 6705Here is the great one: New Look 6705, a pattern that I've had for a good long while, and that I'd like to make all of the views from, except perhaps the longest jacket. I decided to make the skirt for my first try at this -- I like the high waist and the length of it. I had some olive green stretch suiting in my stash that I have no idea how or why I ever bought, but it seemed like a good choice for this one. I measured, and ending up cutting the 16 at waist and 18 at hips. While I prefer 14/16 as the maximum size, to soothe my vanity, I realized I should actually try to make this fit so that I didn't end up looking like I was stuffed into a sausage casing...

And what do you know? It fits beautifully. I am not sure if it's the higher waist, or the slight stretch, or what, but I didn't even change the length of the darts at the waist and it fits, perfectly. Right out of the package. Very strange... It was superbly easy to sew, and I did a lapped zip at the side which looks lovely; amazing how much easier zips are now that I've actually got a zipper foot.

But I put it on and immediately loved it. I hemmed it up an inch and kind of wish I'd given it only a narrow hem as the unhemmed length was very 30s, but I think it is still fine. It's very, very comfortable but I also feel dolled up in it! I already have another fabric in mind for my next try, which I want to make in August (once this contest thing is all done with...)
Full view for length -- not too flattering
 but it was sooo windy!

Front view, with single darts

Back view, with double darts
Side view, with slit

And now on to admitting the failure...which I was sad about because I used the rest of the soft mustard knit that I'd used for side panels of an earlier top, which is so lovely, and I was looking forward to wearing it in its unaldulterated glory.

However. I used McCalls 6822, a "stitch and save" pattern with some basic variations on a t-shirt. I chose View B for the lovely back gathering:

Line Drawing

and I admit that the back of my shirt is quite nice, and close to what I'd pictured. But the front is a disaster! Maybe I should just walk around backwards all day.... I think I know why this pattern is out of print. Even accounting for the loose, drapey fit of the design, this shirt is ENORMOUS. I cut it in medium across the neck and shoulders and graded out to large at hips, which was completely unnecessary, as I ended up taking in 2 inches on each side in the end, and even that still didn't fix the issue.

Part of it could be my fabric choice, as it doesn't have much body of its own. I added a neckband but it didn't suit; the fabric gathered up oddly and  looks all wrinkly. Plus there were these strange little puckers in the underarm region where the straight front met the gathered back seam. Even stitching it to narrow the sides didn't eliminate them. Argh. I feel like I'm wearing a cleaning rag. Oh well. You win some, you wad some.

Anyhow, at least I found one wonderful pattern that I'll keep and make again, and found out that I have one pattern that I will not be using again!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Multicolour Snakeskin!

As promised in my last post, my next Pattern Stash Buster is a much more colourful top! This print is as close as I get to animal products ;) It was on the sale table of "skin prints" a couple of months ago and I couldn't resist it, as I knew I had the perfect jewelry for it...

I chose Kwik Sew 3756 -- I've been meaning to make this for quite a long time -- I traced it out because I didn't want to cut into the actual paper that old Kwik Sew patterns come printed on. Plus there were only 4 pieces, 2 of which were rectangular!

Snip Snip, so quick
I love how this turned out -- and it was pretty straightforward to sew, too. The instructions were nice and clear, as usual with Kwik Sew but once again I completely disregarded their "DO NOT GRADE BETWEEN SIZES" warning. From cutting a Medium at shoulder and bust, I graded heavily from waist to hip to hem into a Large. The resulting bump in the pattern was fairly noticeable on paper as there must have been 3/4 inch difference between sizes. But made up it looks perfect and I am very glad I made that change as this sits very nicely indeed on my waist and hip area, and I think it actually makes me look a bit slimmer than I would if it was really tight across the middle.

Sneaking out to the side yard between torrential
downpours today for a quick pic! It started pouring again
ten minutes after I went inside. My backyard
has its own pond now...
Other than the grading I didn't make any alterations. Unless you count completely forgetting to put the interfacing on the facing piece that sits across the bottom of the neckline... which has resulted in a not-quite-square expanse. I think the wee sag in the centre also has to do with size. Next time I make this (and I will) I'll pinch some width out of that centre bit. I was also thinking about changing the sleeve binding to a band but decided to stay with the binding. With this busy print I wouldn't notice if there was topstitching showing anyhow.

I'm very pleased with this comfortable and fun top. It's nice and bright for a change and I like the simple details that make it into a more interesting profile.

Basic Black

I'm participating in Pattern Review's Pattern Stash contest right now, so I'll be sharing a lot of my makes in the next while. I've gone through the vast stash of unmade patterns and pulled out a few that are both relatively easy and which I have some need of.

The first few items I've finished are all knit tops. I really don't like plain t-shirts very much, but I've found a lack of quick and comfy tops in my wardrobe. For this project I am trying to use up as much of my stash fabric as possible, so I pulled out 2 patterns and matched them up with two lengths of black knit that were left over from other projects.

The first pattern is Kwik Sew 3559.

This is actually a dress but I cut it off to tunic length, both because I had just enough fabric for that and because I really wanted this style of top rather than another dress. I really, really love it. 

Full view. Perfect length for me

Front view with gathers. You can tell here how
much this thin knit doesn't approve of the iron.

The back is straight, no gathers. It falls nicely.

The only alteration I made on this one, besides shortening it, was to grade from medium at shoulders and bust to large at hip, despite Kwik Sew's regular stern admonition not to grade between sizes. Oh, and I did not use the neckline facings as I didn't think that this very light fabric would look great with facings. I just turned under the neckline. I'm glad I made this one first because it was easy and successful, and a top that I know I'm going to love.

Next up was Simplicity 2181. I had grand visions of this one, even if I was making it out of a thicker plain black instead of a thin and shiny print. It was a bit of a slog, in the sense that the construction had me confused. Probably best not to start a new project instead of heading to bed... but in any case, I got this one done and I do like it. I don't think the sizing is quite right though -- the gathers at the shoulder seams are uneven and cause funny bulky issues. I wonder if that 's because I should have taken some width out of the shoulder. It does make me feel a bit frumpy.

Getting the little band through the front openings to form the gathers was an exercise in patience as well, and I'm not convinced by the final effect. But again, it may just be the fabric choice, or the sizing. I think that if I slightly shortened the upper bodice area as well as the shoulder width it would fit better overall.

There was a fair bit of gathering to do, and an unusual seam that formed the opening for the little gathering band. I did find the order of sewing the sleeve cuffs on a bit odd -- they're supposed to be sewn on flat, before the side seams, but I thought that would leave an ugly inner sleeve, so sewed up the sides then sewed the cuffs on as a band.

But the good thing is when I tried it on tonight I did like it better than last night upon finishing. So perhaps it'll grow on me!

Anyhow, the next couple of planned projects are not basic black -- they are quite bright, in contrast! But I know I'll get a lot of wear out of these black basic tees. Especially the Kwik Sew!

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Holiday reading, drinking, and sewing

This week we had a work-free break, thanks to Canada Day on July 1 -- it's always a bit strange to have a day off mid-week, I'm never sure what day it is for the rest of the week! But I'll take a holiday anytime :)

It also coincided with the celebration of Pattern Review's new web redesign, in which we were encouraged to lift a glass in their honour. Fortunately, the PR Cocktail was also bright red (a vodka & cranberry, also coincidentally my favourite) so I could celebrate Canada Day and PR all together.

I was also reading a Canadian novel (of course) while relaxing, called After Alice, and funnily enough, though the book's theme is not really related to this excerpt, I came across this description:
Through the tissue, the plastic, she sees swatches of fabric, and with almost no hesitation, her memory fills in the rest. Blue broadcloth, mint-green poplin, white pique. Candy-pink madras plaid, blue gingham, blue seersucker. 
Dresses that Alice had made herself; the last years she was at home, the dining room table was perpetually covered with pattern tissue and fabric yardage, as if it were the back room of a dressmaker's shop. And the dresses were lovely, were confections. All with fitted bodices, full skirts; that was the style. Only the necklines and sleeves and collars changed, and Alice drew and adapted these constantly. It was a serious business. Women's magazines elaborated at length on the correct choice of neckline for face shape. The collars and necklines all had names: Peter Pan, portrait, sweetheart. A whole culture of neck openings.
And Alice's clothes were so much a product of her imagination and labour that they might justly be seen as an extension of her. Though they were also the taste of that particular era. Art and packaging at once. Well, that might say something about a woman's lot. 

During much of the last week, my dining room table has also been awash in pattern tissue and fabric! On my day off I was starting my run at Pattern Review's Pattern Stash contest. The goal is to use some of those patterns you've had sitting in the stash since before the beginning of this year, at least. I have so many 'must have' patterns that I bought and then never made up; while I highly doubt that I will win this contest (I am a relatively slow sewist) I thought this would be a great push to get to some of those neglected patterns! I'm also trying to use up lots of my fabric stash in this project as it is starting to get a little out of hand (although that didn't stop me from buying the last 3 metres of a fabulous navy/orange denim at my local fabric shop today...)

So for the last couple of of nights, I've been choosing and cutting out patterns -- my plan for the weekend is to start sewing them up -- here's the prepared stack waiting for the morning. I'm hoping to get all of these made up this month but we will see.

Hope you are all having some relaxing sewing adventures during this holiday week, whether you're a fellow Canadian or are celebrating south of the border.