Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Finally Getting Below 100 yards of Fabric!

I am going to try and keep this short, sweet, and picture heavy.  That's what y'all want right?  It's all about the clothes, less about what I am saying.  Anyway, three weeks ago, I bought 4 yards of tan cotton/poly fabric.  I usually shy away from polyester, and need to remind myself that it's just not worth it.  Out of the 4 yards, I made pleated pants, a jumper, and a pleated skirt.  I was super excited because I sewed three garments in something silly like days.  Then I wore the pants.  It may have been the allergic reaction to whatever it was (laundry detergent or lotion), but they were not awesome to wear.  Long story short, as I was not feeling the clothing, I haven't been motivated to take pictures.  Except for the pleated skirt.
I took photos last Friday right after work, but never got around to writing about them.  I'm still meh about all three pieces of clothing.  They're very utilitarian feeling. That's what I get for compromising on the fabric since what I wanted didn't have enough yardage.  I should have just taken the 1.5 yard of the nice wool and made one of the three garments. We live and learn, right?  The pleated skirt was super easy to make.  I took two 28" pieces of fabric, used the selvages as the back seam and front facings.  I am a lazy pleater- meaning I don't do the tricky math, and just wing it.  These pleats are two inches apart and three inches deep.  They turned out nicely.  
We're not here, though, to complain about fabrics, but to talk about how I'm finally below 100 yards of fabric in my stash.  This dress (Ukrainian Burda magazine October 2015) was the clencher to getting below the number.  I also made this as a black top with some miserable to sew black Swiss knit.  That we will not be taking pictures of.  It is definitely a muslin- wearable- but still a muslin.  I only had a little over a yard of this fabric, so the length was restricted to that. 
 The fabric was super easy to sew.  It was billed as a double knit, bought from Gorgeous fabrics last summer. It feels a little more sweatery than double knit.  It's definitely soft.  I felt like I was in pajamas all day.  
The front cowl neck wraps around to the ribbing (binding?) of the v-neck back.  I trimmed the binding pieces by 5/8" in hope of achieving a flat ribbing, but it appears I could have taken out a little more.  I also raised the armhole by 3/8" inch.  I made a size 40 grading out to a 42 in the hips.  I could have likely gone down to a 38, but I didn't want it to have negative ease.  The pattern is printed, so the negative ease would have meant the white underbelly of the fabric would show through.

Since my fabric was limited, I only worried about matching the stripe on the side seams.  The houndstooth is busy enough that you can't really tell that they're two broken ones. 
I paired it with my magenta jacket for work. I think it worked out well.  There isn't much else to write about it.  I used the triple-stitch on my machine and then serged the edges. I will leave you with some more pictures of the first skirt and Alex being super helpful today.  I finally got my embroidery bobbin order, so we were winding them.  He also helped sort the colors, and freaked out when we finished.  After all that organizing, I feel like my next project should have some embroidery.  I have about 75 bobbins worth of the thread.  (Alex also prepped the photo shoot- so that's the other picture.)  Until next time happy sewing!

Sunday, March 27, 2016

A Late Birthday Present and A New Outfit for me

I am going to warn you.  This is going to be a picture heavy post.  It was finally sunny and warm enough to take pictures outside.  You may remember way back in August/September/October, I was working on my lovely husband's birthday present, a handmade leather jacket.  I finished it in early October, only a week or two after his actual birthday.  He wore it one time out to take pictures, and the back shoulder seam busted open.  This was a combination of me not factoring in enough wearing ease, him having broader shoulders than me, and bad thread.  I was out of leather needles and needed new thread, so it got hung up, and left to gather dust.  In my defense, by the time the leather needles arrived (late October/early November), it was too cold for the jacket.  When I saw the good weather today, I knew I needed to get off my kiester and fix this jacket.  I took off the sleeves and inserted a 5/8ths inch wedge on the back armhole.
Of course, that's the one spot that is out of focus on this picture.  It was a bear to do, as I couldn't take out the lining (snaps and stuff).  My machine also hates this leather.  It did the trick, and he can pick up the little guy without any trouble with the jacket. 
Here it is from the front.  If I were to remake it, I would probably extend the front shoulder the same amount.  When he lifts his arms the shoulders pop up weirdly. 
Here you can see the shoulder wedge.  I made the jacket out of two separate hides, both remnants. They were dyed the same color, but in certain lights, you can see a slight difference between the two colors.  Hopefully as it ages, the patina will even out the color.  You can also see that I should have done a forward neck adjustment, oops!  I must remember that one if I ever make him anything else.  Tony is happy with it, so that is all that matters, right?
Final picture of them.  Alex was a super serious model during the shoot.  We were on our way to the park, so he was pretty excited.  I am surprised I didn't get any smiles out of him. 
And now on to what I have been making.  We'll start with the pants.  They are my second version of Burda Bella pants.  I made a major change in the front pocket, raising it 3.25 inches.  I also took 5/8" out of the side seam due to fabric constraints. Lastly, I used snaps instead of buttons, as my machine is on the fritz regarding buttonholes. I think it's the foot.  Alex loves to play with it, so I think he broke it.
A look from the side.  The denim was bought last week at Kashtan in Kyiv.  I know, I know, I have perfectly fine denim in my stash (Cone Mills), but I really wanted a lighter color and lighter weight denim.  I did use up about a half yard of fabric from my stash, the inside waist is leftover denim from my first pair of Ginger jeans. At least I used it within the week, so it did not end up in my fabric collection.  Doesn't fabric collection sound so much nicer than stash?  It definitely takes the negative connotation away. 
From behind.  I really love how these pants fit.  They definitely make the most of my curves.  I don't know if you can tell, but one of the pockets is cut off grain.  I couldn't make it work otherwise. 
The top is also new. It's another Deer and Doe Airelle blouse, this time sans both front and back darts.  I may put the darts in, as I am feeling that it's a little too blousy.  The fabric was bought for the top three weeks ago at a Kyiv craft fair.  It's a lightweight voile, likely made out of rayon.  I did use up a half yard of white/cotton silk voile for the lining/underlining. Which meant no facings.  The cream silk collar is some of the oldest fabric in my collection, left over from my wedding in 2010. 
I cut the yoke with the stripes perpendicular. I thought about cutting the yoke in half, and doing it on the bias, but decided the print is already busy enough.  I used the remains of this fabric for both the pocket lining on these jeans and on another pair of pants.  Looking at this picture, I really do think I should put in the darts.  What do you think?

On a side note, I don't know why I was making such goofy faces at the camera.  Once I saw the pictures, I wanted to redo them, but at that moment my camera died. Eh oh well.  I'm just happy that there was some light for these photos.  And on that note, that's all I have.  Until next time happy sewing.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Finished B6074

Hello there, I meant to show some pictures of my finished B6074 last week, but I failed to bring my laptop (or make the quick fix to the jacket) on my work trip.  Then the weekend got in the way.  Oh well, enough excuses.  Here is the jacket. 
I tossed it on today to take new pictures.  I paired it with my teal ponte Gingers (made out of the same ponte of the pockets, patches, and collars).  I don't think I've ever blogged about these Gingers, as they aren't my favorite.  I folded up the hem on them, and I think I like them better like this.  I also want to take them in at the knee.  Meh, sometime.  Back to the jacket.  I added a second button hole to it, and now it looks better.
The single button hole for your comparison.  The bit of skirt showing above it drove me nuts all day while wearing it.  I wasn't sure if I like it with the teal ponte.   It kind of makes me feel really matchy matchy.  The jacket also turned out looking a lot more formal than I was expecting.  From the front, it is giving me plaid tuxedo. I think it's the shawl collar.  I also think that it is me- I don't ever think I will be hip.  I am almost always over dressed.
From the back.  The wrinkles are from how I am standing, I promise the plaid is straight down.  Blergh, you can see some bagging in the pants, they are a little too big.  I should really fix them, but the top stitching is a triple stitch.  I am not sure if I can handle seam ripping them.
And from the side.  I can pretend the messing up on the sleeve plaid matching is a design feature.  Somehow I ended up a stripe off.  It works though, right?  One of my reservations about this jacket is the length. It's roughly 4-5 inches longer than most of my other jackets, so it feels a little bit harder to wear.  I am thinking that it would look good with a camel pleated skirt, maybe?  The plus side to it being longer is the pockets are actual functioning pockets.  I can put my whole hand in there, instead of the little pockets I am usually stuck with.  Well, that's all I have to say about the jacket.  I'll leave you a me trying to look cool pose.  Until next time, happy sewing.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Sneak Peak, Finished B6079 Jacket

Well, thanks to International Women's Day, I was able to spend a lot of time on my jacket and fixed it as much as I could.  I ended up taking the back princess seams in a total of 2-2.25 inches, and letting out the side seams 1 inch total.  Sounds strange, but it makes sense.  I am not a wide person, all my curves go to the front or back, so the extra space is needed on the sides.
A back view, in which you can see the pile of leftover fabric.  I need to reclean my sewing room.  I really love how the elbow patches turned out.  I debated building out the shoulder a little bit, but when I started to do it, it went 80's on me.
A view from the front.  I think that I might need to move the button ever so slightly.  That plaids really do match down the front.  One major change I made to the pattern is that I overlapped the fronts and added a button.  This is one of the reasons that the back was too big, I went up a size to make sure I had enough to do so.  Now I realize, I should have only done that in the front, would have saved me all that extra work.

A closer look at the front.  I topped stitched the edge of the jacket, as the contrast fabric did not want to lay flat.  Doing this was a pita, as my last jersey needle was getting dull and kept on skipping stitches.  I had to manually make the button hole, as my little guy broke my button hole foot.  It's on my list to replace.
I lined it with the gold bemberg as the last jacket I made.  It really brightens up the inside.  I also did a hem facing rather than fold the hem up.  I feel this makes for a cleaner inside.  I hand stitch the sleeve hems, and about an 8" portion of the hem facing.  This equals 20 minutes of hand stitching.
Since I had to replace the original hem facing, I couldn't use the same bias binding as the neck facing.  So some is turquoise and some is purple.  It's on the inside.  No one will know, right?  I also added a pleat on the back.  (Thankfully, so I didn't have to make the final modifications on the lining, the extra fabric from the pleat made it all right.)  You'll have to tune in tomorrow to see the jacket on.  I will leave you with a close up of the elbow patches.  Until next time, happy sewing.  And also, happy women's day, let's hope in the near future, we won't have to have a day set aside to achieve equality.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Jacket in progress ( or damn my good posture)

Hi there! I'm dab smack in the middle of a four day weekend due to the kiddos being out of school today, tomorrow being a holiday, and my husband having to work today. The plus side is I've gotton to sew, the downside is that the little guy likes to help me sew, making it hard. I have made a good amount of progess on the jacket. I will admit that I have spent the same amount of time seam rippig as sewing. 

I started with the welt pockets made in the contrast color. Alex was using my computer, so I didn't have instructions, but I made it through.  Then I had to insert the sleeves, I think I'll make a sleevehead to take some of the wrinkles out. Then after trying it on, I realize I needed to take fabric out of theback waist and add some to the hips. And now for the fun part, adding the elbow patches.
I used the two circles to make an oval method. Alex really liked this method, so we made several variations. The final version ended up being 5.5 inches by 3 inches. I cut them out of the teal fabric, and safety pinned them for placement. 

Needless to say it took a coupe of tries.  Once I got them in the right place, I seam ripped the sleeve seam and glued the patch down. This way i could machine sew them on, using one of the kajillion fancy stitches my machine has, but I never use. 
I used the blanket stitch feature. Not too shabby, eh?  I resewed the sleeve seam. Now for the problem, I am getting some ridiculous wrinkles in the back, and this is after taking an inch out, maybe it needs a little more?
Suggestions? If this were a muslin, I'd take out a horizontal fisheye dart, but it's not. It's due to my erect back, as if I slouch the wrinkles go away. Anyway, I'll continue to think about it while cooking some lasagne. Until next time, happy sewing. 

Saturday, March 5, 2016

A Ridiculous Pair of Burda Pants and Another McCalls 6649 Button Down

I have pretty much worn this outfit (or variations of it) every Friday for the last three weeks meaning to take pictures of it.  The first Friday was my first day off coffee, meaning the massive migraine prevented me from pictures.  The second Friday we were running late to a shindig so the pictures were skipped.  Yesterday, finally I had my dear husband take some pictures.  They are not the best, but they're taken.  The pants are Burda Style Bella 6011.  The button down is yet another McCalls 6649.
Now that I look at these pictures, I should have re-ironed the pants before the picture.  They are super wrinkled.  I'm not sure if I like them or not to be honest.  I like the idea of them, but during the making I was worried they would be too tight, so I sewed the side seams at 3/8ths of an inch, and they're a little big in the waist.  I also hate how low and small the front pockets are.  It drives me nuts all day long.  I think I could raise the pockets 3-4" and still get the full effect of pleating.  I will say, they are super comfy to wear. 
You can see the pleating on the pockets better in this picture.  The waistband is a series of panels, It creates a lot of shape.  Honestly, I think part of the problem is also the fabric.  It's a little thin, and not the best quality, but it was what I could find here in the color that worked with my current wardrobe plans.  You know what I am thinking-  I need to keep an eye out for better fabric and make a second version to fix my issues.  I know what you are all saying.  I should have made a muslin.  I'll just call these my muslin.  That works, right?
You can see the paneling a little better here.  The drags lines are from how I was standing.  Anyway, moving on to the shirt.  I don't have much to say about it, it's one of those I've made 5 times, so it's a breeze to sew.  The fabric is from my trip to Munich.  It's a super nice cotton lawn.  I have enough left for a simple top, which I'll probably make later this spring/summer.
So I started my jacket last weekend.  I got the lining and the facings done, but now I've been stuck on the cutting the plaid out for the outer jacket.  All I've cut are to the two side front panels.  In a week!  I just need to get off my butt and do it. The panels are in the foregraound, and the jacket lining is on the mannequin.  In the middle is some fabric I picked up today at a Made in Ukraine Expo.  I got it for the first section, which I hope is wide enough for a kimono sleeve top.  I'll have to figure out what to do with the other half, maybe it will make a good pleated skirt?  Anyway, that's all I have today.  Apologies for being super boring about it. It's been a rough-ish week, and I've depleted most of my energy stores.  Luckily, I don't have to be at work until Wednesday.  Hopefully that means there is some sewing time in there. Until next time happy sewing.

Monday, February 29, 2016

Colette Laurel and M7053 (or the Monet Top)

At the New Year I made a couple of resolutions, one was to only spend $150 per month on sewing (we'll call that an aspiration, as I'm still working on it), and the other was to work out more days than not.  You may recall I made the same resolution last year for the working out, and it worked.  I do yoga, barre, or Wing Chun (Chinese self defense) at least four days a week.  Why does that matter?  On days I don't have a class scheduled, I tend to do yoga videos on youtube.  I'm currently slowly working through Yoga with Adriene's 30 Day Yoga Camp series.  Today mantra was I release.  This is a mantra that we can all use within our sewing, and our lives in general.  I release that my top is a Monet, so if you look closely you can see that the top-stitching is not great.  I release that I would rather get eight hours of sleep than make all the things I want to make.  I release that even though what I see in the mirror looks good, and I feel good about myself, the photos don't always say the same.
Now that we have that off my chest, let's talk about sewing.  Over the last week I've been working on M7073, a McCall's Archive top.  I got this top because of the interesting sleeves, for whatever reason, I have been totally loving the bishop sleeve.  Ha! you say, you can't hardly see a top with sleeves.  That's because during the making of the top, I was like woah, you know this would look awesome under a jumper.  Then since I work in a fancy schmancy office, I had to wear a blazer on it.  At least my blazer isn't black, right?  Alright, let's take a closer look at the top.
So, yeah, we won't look any closer than this, as this is a total Monet.  You would think I didn't know how to sew a straight line by looking at it.  My last foray into silk charmeuse was a breeze, but this time, my machine was not feeling it.  I really think my machine needs a good service, but I haven't found the Bernina dealer in Kyiv to service it.  Anyone know and want to let me know?  Once I got the top almost made, I questioned my judgment about those sleeves.  But I decided screw it, life is too short not to have an interesting sleeve! They not quite half circles gathered at the bottom and bound. Final details about the top, I made a size 12 graded out to a size 14 in the hips.  It fits rather well.  I love the seam detailing on the front of the top, I think I might make one without the bishop sleeves and the bow, maybe a v-neck that matches the angle of the lower v?
Here are the sleeves in action.  I am feeling very 70's working girl in this outfit.  I really enjoyed wearing it at work today.  The jumper is a sleeveless Colette Laurel.  I have made this dress a couple times before, but I think this is my favorite version, it is most definitely the best fitting one.  As I went to lower the darts, I had an epiphany, drop the shoulder to the front, rotate the darts to shoulder gathers.  No dart to deal with!  In the last year or so, I have come to love gathers acting as darts.  I am a pretty full busted gal, so that usually equals giant darts.  Giant darts equal weird points.  Gathers solves that problem.  It also solves matching plaid on the side problem.
Not to shabby, eh?  I made a size 6, with 3/8" seams at the bust and the hip.  This seemed to work well.  I usually need to narrow the shoulders, so I took 3/4" seams there.  I changed the neckline to a v-neck to accommodate the bow.  I also took about 1.25 inches out of the back neckline by folding it out on the pattern.  I have worked hard on my posture over the last couple of years, so I have less of a curve there than what is drafted.
I also cut the back on the fold, saving me the hassle of matching the plaid.  The pictures how that it might be a little loose over-all.  This was something I wasn't expecting, as the last woven version I made was a little snug.  I think I might put in front darts.  I am pretty pleased with the back darts.  They're fairly invisible. 
I finished the neck and armholes with bias binding.  The seams are serged.  The hem was super easy- I cut the bottom on a line in the plaid and folded up twice, using my glue stick to keep it in place while sewing.  I also did this with the hem on the shirt.  I should have used my glue stick a lot more on the top, it would have turned out cleaner.  Oh well, no one will be close enough to see the flaws.  I release those flaws!  Now, you may have noticed my little guy mimicking my poses in the pictures.  I take most the photos right when I get home from work.  Today, I pulled out the camera and asked my assistant (his brother) to help me, and he decided to show off his outfit:

Way better at it than I am.  What a cutie!  Well that's the end.  I need to get back to working on my plaid jacket.  I am sticking with the 70's theme and making a professor style jacket, with elbow patches.  This is my inspiration, but using the same plaid as the jumper, and turquoise ponte scraps for the collar (shaw) and elbow patches.  What do you think?

Vtg 70s Fitted Buffalo PLAID Boyfriend Blazer Professor Jacket Padded Elbows Patchwork Preppy Boho Mod Retro Kitschy Geometric Elbow Patch
Found here

I'll keep you posted.  Until next time, happy sewing!