July 31, 2012

Sewing sewing sewing weaving....

Oh, I've been having fun.  I've been sewing for the pattern stash contest.  I will never win the most made but I have made quite a few items, some of which worked for me and some of which were disasters that shall never be repeated..  So here are a few pictures to show what I've been up to:

The good stuff:
McCall's 2772
Bathing suit.

3/4m polyester lycra swimsuit fabric;
1/4m bathing suit lining, nude
1" swimwear hook
 1/2" bathing suit elastic for waist and for lower bodice edge
3/8" bathing suit elastic for everything else.

I made this exactly as the pattern suggested (strange), and it looks like the pattern, too!  Only issue was that the band is loose on me, so I've taken out about 2" total on the back by adjusting the hooks.  This one is going to get made again for sure.

Textile Studios 1407 Barcelona dress

I eeked this out of 4 m of 45" rayon batik, and I mean eeked.  I pieced the back to get the full swing of the drape of the skirt. (It is supposed to take 3.25 m of 60 fabric).
none except thread, gotta love that!
Time--about an hour, all together.  Fast and silly, but totally comfortable.  Maybe not the most flattering dress I own (particularly this long and in this almost glow in the dark print print), but it will work as a bathing suit cover up.  And it is comfortable.  

Ottobre Designs 303 Women's best tops

Fabric: 1.2 m of cotton stretch lace
Notions: thread
Comments:  I'm sad this one is not in print any more--it is a fabulous pattern.  If they have back issues of the magazine it is in, I would suggest you run and grab one because it is totally awesome.  Only change I made was to add 1 1/2" to the bicep measurement to give me some ease there.  And the usual shorten 4", since I'm short.  Otherwise, totally easy and quick and perfect.  I like the ottobre block. 

Shown with another yoga skirt, this time shortened about 4" to make it fit the piece of fabric that I had left.  Um, and the waistband was pieced, too.  I had a 4" square remnant when I was finished.

Christine Johnson Swing jacket 519
 Fabric:  2 m lightweight rayon poly lycra, black.
Notions: thread :D
Comments: I shortened the sleeves 3 inches but didn't do anything else.  Next time I'll shorten above the waist by an inch so the pockets don't hang so low, and I will shorten the bottom by about three inches because this hangs to nearly my knees. It works great as a bathrobe! And it is wrinkled because I had to drag it out of the bag I had stashed it in because I've been wearing it non-stop since I made it last week.  For the win! 

And now, for something completely different:

In the beginning, there was just a little bit...
And then some more

And then an awesome 2 m long shawl!

 This is my very first weaving piece on my 'newish' rigid heddle loom.  The loom was a story all by itself, and I will share it, dear readers, another day.  Suffice to say, I was very happy to find out that the Knitter's Loom Heddles fit this, my 20" garage sale bargain! 

My shawl came out just over 2m long, and 15" wide after washing and blocking, and the edges are actually very even, which, for a very first project is just...Awesome!  Squee!  

Warp:  cotton fingering weight, burgundy, 160 threads, far too long in warp length (I cut off another 130" from the end of this after I realized how long the warp was!)
Weft: acrylic fuzzy cream, fingering weight mystery cone yarn (gotta love the Romni basement bargains!)
10 epi heddle
Even weave technique.

July 23, 2012

Yoga Skirt Sihlouette 2010

Fabric: 1.2 m blue cotton rayon lycra knit

Notions: thread, and 33 inches of 1 1/2" elastic

Pattern Silhouette Yoga Skirt 2010

Pattern Description:
3 pattern piece slightly A line skirt for knits, with wide enclosed elastic waistband

Pattern Sizing:
Includes child sizes 8 to 18, and Ladies sizes 1-8, Size chosen for pattern are based on finished measurements of favourite garments. 

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?

Were the instructions easy to follow?
Very easy.  This is a serious doll clothes garment.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
Super easy pattern. 
I found that I did not use the correct size because my hip drop was slightly less than the pattern, so with shortening, pattern was perfect.  I ended up shortening the pattern at the waist by 1" to get the correct size and shape. 

Fabric Used:
Very light weight Rayon Cotton Lycra knit.  This is a lovely clingy fabric. 

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
I shortened the pattern to my preferred knee length.  I also widened the waist based on my own measurements, which are between the size 3 and 4 Ladies. 

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
Well, I made two of them, and plan on making more, so yes. 

This one is a keeper.  I'm trying to make a series of clothing based on easy wear, easy care clothing shapes.  I recommend this pattern highly.

July 13, 2012

A 'new' approach to sewing...

Seriously, this is not a 'new' approach to sewing, but a tried and true approach that I haven't tried before, so it is new for me.  Why it is new for me I am not sure.  I've been sewing for a really long time. I've drafted my own slopers and patterns and made custom wedding dresses.  You would think that I had figured this one out before (!!) but I actually haven't tried it. 

There is a  'new' contest running on Pattern Review--the Pattern stash contest. I am going to enter this contest (again).  If you haven't heard of it, the rules are pretty simple: pick a pattern you haven't used that is older than 6 months in your stash.  Make it, review it, enter it.  One point per pattern--she/he with the most points wins, and there is a random draw, too, for those who didn't make the most patterns. So, has anyone seen my pattern cupboard?  When our local Fabricland moved out of the mall, I bought one of their pattern drawer files, and now it is nearly full.  I think it is time to sew something up.  Something! Anything!  It goes with my fabric stash of insanity, which needs to be sewn down to the point it fits on the huge shelves.

But this time, I am going to use my Sure-Fit blueprint to actually fit those patterns to me, so I don't have as many waders as normal (at least for fit--style is another question altogether).  If you haven't tried this system, it is definitely worth looking at.  I've used it for me (petite and pear, but a European 42), for my MIL (14 on top, 28 on bottom), my SIL (18 on top 28 on bottom, but a very different shape) and my other SIL (18 all the way darlhing!) and it has worked for all of us.  Pants that fit, whoohooo. It is kind of like doll clothes for people--measure, connect the dots, sew it up, make tiny changes.  The service is excellent, and the product has been around for many years, but I think it has been under-used. I haven't used the dress kit, so I am going to count that for one of my untried patterns, but I have faith that it will work for me since the pants and shirt kit both worked for me. 

I am not taking courses this summer, so I have time.  I certainly have enough stash to sew stuff up and get it off the floor.  And, if nothing else, I will get some new clothes out of the deal.   

July 10, 2012

A dress inspired by Madmen and Flowers

 Finally, a sewing post!
Yes, I am alive, and I have not been sewing--well, I haven't even really been crafting either. School is out, and I have been sleeping and resting and cleaning.  I had an injury in May, and until today I haven't been near much of anything, except my spinning wheel.  I can spin without my hands hurting, which is nice, but it doesn't finish my husband's anniversary present or anything else on my list, which is huge.

However, today I finally woke up feeling better, so, inspired by the Headmistress Challenge for the House Cup, I have dug into my deep stash, and made something for a portkey--a dress, that can go formal or less depending on my day.  

1.2 m of printed French terry, overdyed with navy blue.  I could have used less, but cut the whole piece for length, and then shortened it after this picture.

Silhouette 109 Hoodie and top
Pattern Description:
Pattern contains v neck hoodie and sleeveless top, both for knits, with multiple dart front pieces B, C and D (French dart style).

Pattern Sizing:
8 sizes, chosen based on finished measurements of favourite clothing. I choose to make a top in size 4, in a D cup with no changes except to lengthen the top into a dress. I was a little afraid it would be small, based on the measurements, but it was fabulous!

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
I will be honest--I hate the drawings this company uses on their patterns. The drawings don't reflect what the clothing actually looks like, and most people will not take a chance on the patterns because of the drawings.

This top is not a cap sleeve top (which is what I originally got from the drawings), but a jewel neck sleeveless shell with French darts and a bit of flare to the hips. It makes up true to size, and without adjustments, it fits perfectly around. The shoulders are at the shoulder seams, not extended like in the line drawings.

Were the instructions easy to follow?
Haha, instructions are for sissies...Really, I didn't even look at them. I sewed the darts, the shoulders and side seams, serged around the openings and turned and top stitched.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
Besides the line drawings? Nothing. This is a great pattern, easy and quick.

Fabric Used:
Printed French terry that I over-dyed using RIT navy in the washing machine to get it an awesome colour.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
I scooped out the neck (1" at the shoulders and back, an inch and a half at the center front) to make this a more boat necked style, which is more flattering to me than the jewel neckline. I lengthened the side seam about 21" with an a-line look, and then cut it off to knee length, which means I should have only lengthened it about 17" total. I have a totally comfortable sleeveless dress that pops over the head and looks classic.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
I took a chance, and just sewed up some languishing stash using the pattern without any real changes except to lengthen it into a dress, and I will say that Peggy rules.

Before making any adjustments, I recommend that others do what Peggy suggests--pick your size based on your favourite finished measurement, trace and go. Based on this first garment, I would agree with Peggy's fir suggestions in her webcases--don't mess around. Start with the bust needed and go from there.

My next one I will actually do petite shortening (1" at the armhole, and one inch between armhole and waist) because the dart actually ends at my high hip which is a little low on me, and the armhole is just that little bit too low. Still, even without the changes, this is a totally wearable garment. I also think this will make a great summer shell that isn't too tight or too loose, which will be nice. My clothes from last summer all need to be taken in.

This is seriously a sleeper pattern. I can't believe no one has ever reviewed the top before. 

And a few more variations of this dress:
Plum double knit, knee length

Printed Rayon Polyester Lycra, with scoop neck and black lingerie elastic trim for contrast