Thursday, September 30, 2010

Muslin for Hot Patterns Relaxed T-Shirts

This is the new T-Shirt Pattern put out by Hot Patterns. I know know know that I usually take one size smaller in these patterns than my measurements usually indicate on the package. (WHY? How hard is it to put the finished garment measurements on the envelope? I know that I can measure the flat pattern pieces but it's hard to know where exactly to measure them and why should I have to.) That's why I always make a muslin with this company, no matter how simple the garment.



This is not "long, lean, and slightly slouchy." Well, ok, it is long. (The hem allowance is only an inch.)

I should tell you that the scoop neck is so scoopy that I have to wear I cami because you don't need to know the brand of my bra.

On a pleasant note, this is the rayon jersey that I bought before my last rayon jersey fiasco. This stuff is much nicer and more like T-shirt material. I may try to save this shirt. I haven't made up my mind yet. I have some ideas though.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Macaron Dress

I have finished my Macaron dress from Colette Patterns and I love it! I spent a lot of time on it, and I'm pretty proud of the workmanship. Here is my mugshot photo (we took a ton of pictures and this one was the best.) There is some wrinkling at the juncture of the bodice and the yoke, but no matter how hard I pressed, the wrinkles wouldn't go. I've looked at other pictures of the finished dress, and a bunch of them have them, so it just may be how it goes.



The fabric is stretch cotton poplin from fabric.com. My original color plan was to have the navy be the body of the dress, but even though the fabrics are from the same company, the light blue is noticeably heavier. Since the sleeves are made with two layers of fabric, I thought that the light blue would be too thick. (It occurred to me later that I could have used lining for the second layer. Oh well.)

I started out with a muslin in my size, a 16, and ended up making the following changes.
  • The sleeves were very restrictive. I tried raising the bottom of the armscye, but that didn't work. I read about some other problems with this on PatternReview, so I grabbed the bodice from my self-drafted block and compared the armhole curve. (This won't work for everything, but the bodice shapes were very similar.) It turns out that the curve of the armhole was much too shallow for me to have full range of movement. So I laid down my bodice under the pattern yoke, put a piece of tracing paper over it and created a new yoke with a more suitable armhole curve. This worked wonderfully to give me a full range of movement. (I think maybe using stretch poplin helped as well.)

  • At the same time, I made a sloping shoulder adjustment.
  • I also raised up the bottom of the armscye just a little.
  • I took some ease out of the sleeve caps, With all of the changes, they were too puffy.
  • The back neck darts stuck out a little too much. I added an inch to them, but they are still not quite perfect. If I make this dress again, I will move the darts over to the shoulders, where the shaping will make more sense for my body.
  • I shortened the sewing on the back pleats by one inch to make it more flattering to my booty.
  • I did not add the pockets because I wasn't sure if I wanted extra fabric at my midsection.
  • In most versions of this dress, the band around the waist is in the yoke contrast color. I chose not to do that because I didn't want to cut myself in half there. It might of worked, and I may try it on a future iteration.
  • I added 5 inches to the length to give myself a two inch hem. It may actually be a a little too long at this point, but I am going to live with it for awhile and see how I like it.
The construction of the bodice curve is interesting and, while very lovely, may be what is causing those wrinkles. (When laying flat, the dress does not have them. Irk!) At the curved part of the bodice, you fold the seam down 5/8s of an inch and then top stitch it to the yoke.

Here is my lovely topstitching. (I used my very handy edgestitching foot for this.) You can click on the picture to make it bigger and see the details.

Inspired by my Susan Khalje class, I used a hand sewn pick stitch to do my understitching of the facing.


Here is a gratuitous picture of my rear taken by my daughter.


And here is another goofy picture of me in the dress.

This dress makes me happy. The stretch fabric is really comfortable and I love the style. If I were to do it over again I might do a few things differently.
  • Move those back neck darts to the shoulder.
  • Make the hem a little shorter.
  • Take a little more ease out of the sleeves.
  • Move the front waist darts in a little.
As much as I love this pattern, I did not like the hem treatment. There is a definite curve to the center front and back seams and the instructions just say to do a blind hem. Really? With that much of a curve? Maybe with a really small hem. I did not want to use a facing or a lining as a facing, so I just slit down the side seams a little and stretched the hem a little to lay flat. I also made a little slit in the center front hem allowance and hand finished the edges. In the picture, you can see the curved edges of the hem. I will figure out a better way to do this next time.


Yay! A new dress.

Friday, September 24, 2010

New Vogue Patterns

Well, there are some new vogue patterns up on the website. And I have to say, a bigger snoozefest has seldom been seen. There is only one super cracktastic outfit (although there is their usual amount of asymmetrical weirdness.) And, there are a lot of very nice dresses. None of them, however, are anything new or outstanding: nice lines, but kinda boring. There are also lots of shapeless tunics, cause I guess that is what looks great on women. Ick. Take a look for yourself.

Here is your coat on crack.

V1213 (Koos Van Den Akker, of course.)

Here is the one dress I was kind of drawn to. This might be fun to make for my daughter. (Don't tell her that though. Then I'll have to make it.)

V1209 (Rachel Comey design)

The two vintage reprints were kind of cool.


Monday, September 20, 2010

Susan Khalje Class

So, last Saturday I took a class with Susan Khalje sponsored by the Seattle Chapter of the American Sewing Guild. For the first three hours she showed us various garments (many of the featured in Threads magazine) and discussed their construction. She talked a lot about underlining and all the great things it can do. I am a convert. (For nicer garments. Not sure I want to be super fancy in everything I make.)

The second three hours were spent making samples of various hand-stitches. You can tell from the below pictures that I still need some work in some areas. All in all, I had a great time and met a really nice woman named Shelley. (Hi Shelley!)

First we learned how to use a fell stitch to attach lace to silk. (You can click on any picture to make it bigger.)

Here is a close-up were I added some beads. Not much of a bead person myself, or lace for that matter.

We learned how to cover a snap and a nice way to sew it on. I need practice.

This one was easy.

Need more practice.

We also did a faggoting stitch which I forgot to take a picture of. Pretty cool.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Comedy of Terrors

(With Apologies to Vincent Price)

I am about to show you some of the most unflattering pictures on the interwebs. Prepare yourself. (I debated on if I should show them at all. This garment did not work for me in any way. But, sometimes we fail in sewing, and sometimes we fail big. This is one of those stories.)



Ugh. This is my muslin for Jalie 2921. Everything about it is wrong. (Not everything, but we will talk about this later.) It didn't start out as a muslin, but it became one when I realized it was evil.

FABRIC: This is a lovely rayon Jersey from Gorgeous Fabrics. I HATE IT!
  • I swear the site said it was army green. Although the picture is true to color, I bought it anyway. Not army green. I don't think the color looks bad on me, but I don't really care for it.
  • This stuff snags. I had two really bad snags on it before I cut into it.
  • Too clingy. See all those lovely bulges? Mostly, that's my pants. Really? I don't need additional help making me look lumpy.
  • Yucky to sew. (Kind of.) I am not a big fan of sewing/wearing knits. Mostly not that enjoyable to sew and not always flattering. But they are convenient to wear, so I keep trying. I hated this fabric to sew with. It was fine with my serger (I miraculously got the tension just perfect) but anything I had to do on my other machine looked like drunk driving (and not just had one drink either. Hawaiian booze cruise time here.) I can work on that, but it is a pain.
  • I ordered another length of rayon jersey from another vendor before I realized how much I would hate it. Awesome.
Pattern: Actually, the pattern is not too bad.
  • Drafted pretty well.
  • I am unsure where I stand on the 1/4 seam width. If I attempt this again, I will widen the seam allowance on the shoulders, so I can add some twill tape to stabilize them.
  • Arms are a little too tight, but that is easy to take care of.
  • Shirt is too long, also easy to take care of.
I am not sure if I am going to try this again immediately. I may need some separation time. I also got FOOD POISONING last week and was knocked out for 24 hours. (Shudder. It was horrid.)

However, I am recovered. I went camping last weekend, I've started on my Macaron muslin, and I get to see Willie Nelson today. Yay! I am also taking a handsewing class with Susan Khalje this Saturday. We'll see how it goes!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Utilitarian Sewing

Another nightgown out of Simplicity 2585.


The fabric is a cotton Hawaiian print from the Fabric Mart in Hawaii. (I think from an Oahu trip 2 years ago.)

A little project bag from Stitch 'N Bitch: A Knitters Handbook. I have a bunch of these and they come in very handy.


Nothing fancy, but much needed.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Not a Firm Plan

It's a bad idea for me to get too caught up in a sewing plan. I get so determined to finish everything that I start ignoring issues like suitability and good finishing. It's better just to make things on a whim and enjoy what I am doing. However, there are a few things that are in my pile that I would really like to make.

Vogue 8667 is pretty darn cute. I'm thinking view B or C.

I've had the pattern for this Jalie top for quite awhile. I think it might be time to bust into it.


I love these pants. It's been awhile since I've tried pants. (I've made pants before, and wore them, but have never gotten the fit just right.)


I have wanted a Macaron dress for quite a while. I think I'm gonna do it this fall! (Or at least I am going to make a muslin and see how it goes.)


I still need to work on my trench-substitute for the trench sew-a-long, and I have a ton of other patterns I could be making, but I think I am going to start with these. (Before I get distracted and move onto something else.)

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Happy September 1


Hey Folks, it's good to be back. I've only sewn 2 things in July and August (both of them in August) but I've had a great, if busy summer.

  • Went camping
  • Travelled back home (Southern Oregon) for awhile
  • Taught some financial literacy classes for teens at the Boys and Girls Club
  • Was a camp counselor at Rain City Rock Camp for Girls
  • Volunteered at the first Seattle Ladies Rock Camp. (I am the lunch lady to end all lunch ladies)
  • Helped my daughter move
  • Read a lot of books
I've tried to keep up on all my blogs, but if I missed you, I'm sorry. Summer is always crazy busy for me.

Now for the sewing part of our entertainment. Simplicity 2586.


I have made the tunic from this pattern twice before. Not so flattering on me, but I'll wear them when it gets very hot out. However, I needed some new nightgowns and this pattern seemed perfect for a rather shapeless shift and did not take much fabric.


Not a great picture, but I wasn't really going to bother much with this dress. I'm not trying it on for you. It's short. Very very short. Fine for bed. Not so fine for display. However, it was a fast sew, and I have another one cut out and ready to go.

I'm happy to be back and am coming up with some plans for my fall sewing!