Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Sometimes you just know

Sometimes you just know right away that it isn't going to work out. That's how it was with my muslin for the Hot Patterns Plain and Simple Fitted T-Shirt.

I knew right away that I would not finish this, but kept going to see what I could learn.

Bad things:
  • Waaaaay too short for me.
  • Sleeves are too tight.
  • Serious drag lines in the front.
  • (The fabric is too thin, but that is not the fault of the pattern.)
  • Body may be too loose.
Good things:
  • Finally configured my serger not to stretch the hell out of knits. (I've just been using it to finish the edges on woven fabrics. Lame, I know.)
  • I made a bound neckline for the first time, even though it looked like I was drunk when I did it.
  • I will learn a lot from working to get this pattern right.
I will need to check my fitting books to figure out how to solve some of the problems. We'll see. It may just be easier to try another pattern. (Although where is the sewing lesson in that?)

Monday, August 25, 2008


We went camping this weekend in the North Cascades National park and it was lovely. Here is the view from our campsite.

You may notice a familiar theme when comparing this picture to previous vacation photos: the presence of water. I love love love being on the beach or on the river. It just makes me happy.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Plain and Simple A-line skirt muslin

I made a muslin for the Hot patterns Plain and Simple A-line skirt and it turned out pretty well. I got the fabric on sale at Joann's (of course) and it's actually a really nice piece of bottom-weight cotton from their "Craft" apparel line. ( I know I shouldn't use nice fabric for a muslin, but sometimes I am just bad.)

The skirt fits pretty well, but I am not too sure about the darts over the stomach and the line of the hip. (What I'm not too sure about is whether it is me or the skirt I have concerns about.) I think I need to wash the skirt and get a sense of how it really falls before I move on. If it is the skirt, then I will need to make another muslin after I figure out how to fix the areas of concern.

This was the first invisible zipper I have ever put in, and well, it could be better, but it definitely could be worse. I also did not construct the garment in the order given in the instructions. I like to put in the zipper before the front and back are joined to give myself enough room to maneuver around. I also did not line this version since it didn't seem to need it, and I did not use the hem facing. I just serged the hem and turned it up.

I liked this pattern a lot. I think it will make a great starting point for a lot of interesting designs. I have plans for 2 of these skirts and 2 of the Plain and Simple pencil skirts in my basic fall wardrobe.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Janina Pant Muslin #1 - Not So Much

Actually there is not much wrong with this pattern except for the size I chose is too small. I thought I was in between sizes and could compensate by using smaller seam allowances. Nope. I need to go back and trace the next size up.

The patterns I am using is off the Burda Sytle website: Janina. Using the patterns from this site are pretty easy, but a little time consuming. First you have to download the pattern in pdf format and then assemble according to the instructions.

Then you should probably trace the pattern onto some better paper. It is conceivable that you could use the photocopy paper but it is kind of too thick, and if you cut out the wrong size, you might have to print it out all over again. I trace onto the backs of patterns that I bought on super sale and then decided I wasn't really going to make. Maybe not the best way, but it uses materials I already have on hand.

I'm going to go up a size and see how that works for me. Since this is the first time I have used a pattern from this site, I'll need to figure out how the sizing works. I somehow managed to mangle the zipper application on this one, so I might do some reading up on that. I'm also a little concerned that these might sit a little too low on me, so I may play with the waistband in the next muslin. (I didn't bother to put the waistband in this one.) I was a little confused by the hip yoke on the pockets because I had never seen that before, but I can see how that would work to keep the pockets from dragging to the side.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

New Sew Stylish

This weekend when I was up in Bellingham, I picked up the new Sew Stylish at the Local Co-op. I was very pleased because
a. I was glad to see a sewing magazine in a grovery store and
b. This issue rocks.

It's along the lines of the Fall 2007 issue (where they took one wardrobe pattern and modified everything in it several times.) This issue is about designing your own pieces from scratch and includes more info about modifying existing patterns. Topics include a primer on draping and creating your own sloper. This is a great inspiration issue. A lot of the articles are revised versions of earlier Threads issues, but if you don't have a big Threads back catalogue, most everything will be new to you.

Friday, August 8, 2008

New Patterns

I took advantage of this weekend's sale at Joann's and bought 4 new patterns. I used my new sewing goals (fitted, nicer, and more complicated) to help me choose.

Vogue 1026: I don't have any nice dresses at all, and this one looked both fun and challenging enough to get me going. Even though it is in the easy category, the reviews I read on Pattern Review said that it was harder than that.

Vogue 1044: I am totally in love with this. I saw this made up in the window of my local fabric shop and had to buy it.

Vogue 2899: This is for my daughter. She has just the figure for it.

McCall's 5522: I just need a nice fitted shirt.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Two more blouses

I have a very bad habit of making the same blouse over and over again in different fabrics. If I like something a lot, I figure it can't be bad to more than one (or 5) of it. My most-made pattern to date is Simplicity 3887. I have made the short-sleeved version so many times. I'm not ashamed.

These pictures are not so great, but I'm working on that.

Blue Flowers:

Red Tulips:

I know that neither of these fits within my new sewing goals, but I already had them cut out and ready to go. I am waiting for a Hot Patterns order to come in so I can work on my lined skirt. Over the weekend I also cut out a muslin for a pair of Burda Style shorts and traced and graded up a Burda World of Fashion tunic. We'll see how these two projects go.

Saturday, August 2, 2008


Look what I found last night at Half Price Books. Coincidence? I think not.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Not Quite Ready for Primetime

So. I am currently in the process of making some new shirts and I realized that it has been a very long time since I have made anything that was complex, fitted, or special. In fact, I really need to work on my sewing skills. This was all brought home to me when I bought this:

Mrs. Stylebook is a Japanese pattern book where you have to draft your own patterns and then figure out how to put them together. I was completely overwhelmed by this last night. There is no way that I am ready to tackle this. However, I have decided to focus on improving my skills to the point where I could make anything in this magazine. I have loved sewing all of my life, and now that I am no longer in grad school, it is time to focus on what is truly important to me. I'm still gonna make those loose-fitting tops and dresses that I have been enjoying, but am going to try to intersperse learning projects in there as well.

Here is my plan of attack:
  1. Read all of those sewing books I bought.
  2. Go through all of my Threads magazines and pick at least one article in each one to create a learning project.
  3. Make more fitted items.
  4. Make more complicated items.
I am currently finishing all of the stuff that I have cut out and have ready to go. I think my first learning project will be a lined skirt. I have made lots of skirts, but I have never lined one, and I will probably want to work on getting the fit perfect.