Monday, August 25, 2014

Hello again.

I've had this sewing blog for nearly 4 years now. I think it's appropriate to end my hiatus, firstly, by acknowledging that. Looking back through my archives, it's neat for me to see both how far I've come in my sewing and how much there is yet to learn.

I completely disappeared from the internet sewing community for the last few months. After my last post, I still had a pink pencil skirt to review but decided I hated it. That began what was a long slew of self stitched wadders & UFOs. I did manage to make the kids' outfits for our annual convention & I will post those pictures (if nothing else it is fun to see how much they've grown the last few years).

Not only did I stop blogging, I stopped reading sewing blogs, reviews, message boards. I allowed all sewing inspiration to stop. My failures hit me hard. They made me question what I was doing sewing if it was all just a waste of time and money.  I mostly sew because it feels good. Being able to have something useful that you made; that's cool. Being a homeschooling stay at home mama, my days are full but all too often, at the end of the day, I find myself with many items on my to do list left un-done.  And to spend hours working on a sewing project only to have it fail, and fail hard. It hurt. And it was project after project. I did try to get back on the horse, but man! It just wasn't happening.

The mistakes were always different. Couldn't get the fit right. Bought the wrong fabric. Got sloppy during the cutting stage. Rushed zipper insertion. Took a short cut & didn't line the skirt.  Pre-shrunk fabric shrunk significantly after being sewn. A sewist's heart can only take so much.

But then my sister wore the dress I made her 3 years ago to her baby shower. And being the good little sister she is, she made sure to tell everyone who complimented her that I sewed the dress. That I had made the majority of her maternity wardrobe (that I had sewn for myself 2 years ago when I was pregnant with my third).

And gosh darn it. I CAN sew. I'm good at it (mostly). I love it. This hiatus, though, has taught me a few things. I've learned the importance of cleansing my palate with TNTs. Of focusing on the positive; the things I have successfully sewn. Something is better than nothing. Perfect is the enemy of the good. Stewing a basic t-shirt is better than stewing over the custom dyed lace dress that never got past the muslin stage (sob!)

So. I'm back, I think. My first project will be a color blocked tunic. Vogue 8950. It's rated Very Easy. It's a knit, which, well is the very epitome of my comfort zone and it requires just a smidge over one yard of fabric. Hopefully all goes well.

If that goes well, then I've got big plans. I've had my eye on the Robson pattern every since I made the Minoru and this is what I envision.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Simplicity 1467

I don't typically get really excited about newly released patterns.  I usually end up sewing patterns looooong after they've gained popularity. Some of my favorite patterns were voted "Best Pattern of the Year" in 2010-12. In fact, I think this is the first time I'm the first reviewer of a pattern over on PR.

But Simplicity 1467 was an exception. I loved it from the first minute I saw it. I love wardrobe patterns, in theory. But they always seem to be missing on component or another. I really liked all of the components this one had to offer. I bought it as soon as Simplicity patterns went on sale at Joann Fabrics & ordered fabric for it right away.

Pattern: Simplicity 1467-the blouse, view A
Notions: Fabric, thread, interfacing & two buttons
Fabric: Cotton voile from It was on sale for $3 a yard.
Size sewn: 8 in the bust (though I used a 1/4" seam allowance) and graded out to a 14 at the hips. It is a smidge too tight in the bust. I'll probably grade up next time. I also took the back seam in an inch at the small of my back.
Alterations/Design Changes: None other than the sizing alterations described above.
Likes: I love that it's sleeveless, but has plenty of coverage. I like where the neckline hits, I like the yoke. It looks great paired with pants & skirts.I love the little buttons on the back, too.
Dislikes: None. I had my doubts about the facing, because I tend to hate them. But this was the first time that I'd seen the armholes & neckline both finished with a single facing piece. It worked out very well & doesn't seem to have the problems that I usually find with typical facings.
Time to Complete: Not long at all. I started this top while I was waiting for zippers to arrive. I had it muslined & everything within 3 days.

New Techniques: Just the fact that I used a woven fabric & everything that entails. :)
Total Cost: Pattern: $.99; fabric $5.  So, a $6 top!! Gotta love that!!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Spring SWAP

Rumor has it that Spring is on its way. I live in the Pacific Northwest, and don't anticipate "Spring" weather until May or so, but nevertheless I decided to come up with a plan for my next few projects.  I've found that creating "capsules" really focuses my sewing energies.

Again, I'm focusing on dressier pieces. Jeans & a t-shirt are my day to day at home wear, and though I do have hopes of branching out, I'm just not quite there yet.

I already have all the fabrics & patterns for these pieces. The pink skirt is in progress (along with a non-SWAP tweed skirt) and the geometric print top will be finished today. I love how it turned out.  The jacket is my 'branching out' pattern. It's a woven, and will definitely need muslining (and likely alterations) prior to the actual construction. It also calls for shoulder pads, which is something I've never done.

I ordered a Brother 1034D serger yesterday & it should be arriving next week; I hope to whip out Vogue 1314 as it's maiden project. 

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

A New TNT!

I finally got around to photographing my new top. Dh was home from work for a week & a half on vacation & I just didn't get it done.  But here it is. I do wish I could've taken better pictures, but these'll do. :) Also, I had my husband cut my hair, so, yes, it is different :) in case you were wondering. :)

Pattern: New Look 6735
Fabric: Cotton/Lycra knit from Girl Charlee
Notions: Thread & seam stabalizer for the shoulders. Wooly Nylon in the bobbin for the hems. 
Size sewn: 12 in the shoulders, bust & waist, grading out to a 14 at the hips. I ended up using a 1/4" SA on the side seams instead of the 5/8" as the pattern suggested. Just wanted  a tad more wiggle room. 
Alterations/Design Changes: This is the exciting part! I added gathers to the neckline & sleeve caps to take this from a "t" to a top. I blogged those alterations here.Also, since I messed with the neckline, I drafted one myself using this tutorial.  It worked out well! I also did a double fold hem instead of the single fold that the pattern suggested.

Likes: Everything? It's a super fast sew and I was able to squeak this out of 1 yard of fabric. I really wish I would have made 2 or 3 at once, but I wanted to make sure it worked out first. Next time! I love that it can be dressed up or down.
Dislikes: None. I thought I'd dislike the center back seam, since I don't think I've ever seen it in RTW,  but it really does provide some nice shaping.

Time to Complete: Not too long, but I took my sweet time with it. It could probably be finished in just a couple hours.
New Techniques: Pattern drafting :)
Total Cost: $6 for the fabric, everything else was from my stash! SIX DOLLARS!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

In progress...

I was all excited to reunite with my TNT S4076 for my next project. Those little cap sleeves, that little gathered neckline...swoon. But when I got out my tracings I realized that I did not have my original tracings OR original pattern tissue. All I had was the pattern I made for my maternity version. And the pattern is OOP; I've found a few copies of it on the web, but none in the smaller size range.

After some pouting and a whole lot of rummaging, I decided to just take advantage of this conundrum. I've been wanting to delve a bit into drafting & making design changes to TNTs.  So this was a great opportunity. I started out with the very popular t-shirt view New Look 6735 and set out to add the neckline gathers. I asked the opinions of more qualified seamstresses, and I also found this video.

First I traced the pattern in my size (or what I hoped would be my size). Then I traced the bottom portion onto freezer paper and then I pivoted my pattern piece beneath the armscye.I moved it about an inch at the CF, and truth be told I was really worried about the changed neckline shape, but figured that (in theory) that gathering would pull it back to its shape...more or less.

Here's how my new pattern piece compared:

And then I got to thinking about other ways to dress up a basic tee. I eventually decided to gather the sleeve caps. I used the instructions for the at First I traced my pattern on to freezer paper and removed the seam allowances, just to ensure that I didn't mess those up. :) I never really realized how much space those 5/8" seam allowances take up.

And then I sliced & spread. I probably have sliced the same distance from the center dot on each side,  but it turned out ok in this instance.

After that I traced my new pattern & added the seam allowances back.

I only had 1 yard of fabric for my final top, so I made a practice sleeve & armscye from some scraps  to check my drafting and it turned out great.

I should have pictures of the final project next week, it's just waiting to be hemmed now. 

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Finished x2 Jalie 2921

I was originally going to sew a cowl neck Renfrew for my 6 PAC, but Jalie 2921 kept calling to me. I had 3 yards set aside for this project, so I had lots left over to sew a little dress for Laila. I hope to take some better detailed pics soon, but I wanted to get this post up before 2014 :)

Pattern: Jalie 2921

Fabric: Cotton/Spandex knit from Girl Charlee
Notions: Just thread and seam stabilizer.

Size sewn: I sewed a G (size 3) for my DD and for my self: T in the bust, grading to a U in the waist & a V in the hips.

Alterations/Design Changes: I cut DD's top off at the waist marking & added a pleated skirt. This was my original "vision" Don't be jealous of my mad fashion sketching skillz.
For mine, aside from grading out at the waist and hips, I raised the neckline 1/2" and will raise it another inch next time. I also lengthened it 3/4" and did a double fold 5/8" hem.
Likes: The results are so professional!!
Dislikes: I could have stuck with size T all the way through I think. The sleeves are symmetrical, which is a pet peeve of mine. But, they do seem to have a better fit than other symmetrical sleeves I've sewn.

Time to Complete: Not much! I think mine took one nap time to construct (90 minutes?) and another 20 to hem? Fast.

New Techniques: Rolling the shirt into the collar (the "burrito"). Drafted a pleated skirt for DD.

Total Cost: I had all the notions on hand, so.....about $15 for each.
Fabric: $18 for 3 yards 
Pattern:  12.98

Monday, December 30, 2013

Looking back on 2013

2013 was a good, solid year for my family and my sewing. I fell a bit behind in blogging, but that's just the rhythm of things, I suppose.

I delved into bra sewing, which was more of a miss than hit, I suppose.  It was a confidence booster construction wise, but it was a bad idea to take it on while I was breastfeeding. Too many fluctuations in size & I've never really loved breastfeeding, so I'm a bit more self-conscious then anyway.

That aside, though, the things I did manage to make this year were more solidly built than things I've made in the past & I'm also getting a knack for sewing what I *need*.  I still carry my Necessary Clutch every time I leave the house and it ALWAYS gets compliments. I've been told more than once that I should make & sell them.

I actually had quite few wadders this year. I'm at an odd place technique-wise. I think I'm a solid advanced beginner, moving into Intermediate territory. But when I come across a technique that I'm unsure of, instead of proceeding with caution & being diligent in my actions I just plow through.That's precisely what happened when I attempted the Bombshell swimsuit. I have every confidence that I'll be able to conquer that this summer. A large reason that one blew up in my face is that I was determined to add a bra to the pattern. Which, in theory should have been straight forward. Because I make bras. Or I did. Then. So I think if there is ONE thing that will help me to advance my skills in the next year it will be to SLOW.DOWN. My Minoru jacket is an excellent example of what I'm capable of when I take my time.

Speaking of which, my pièce de résistance was my version of the Minoru jacket. I just love it. I've got my eye on the Robson coat for this spring. It's rated as Advanced....but maybe, just maybe I can pull it off.

It seems that my sewing projects of 2013 were either raging successes or dismal failures that didn't even make it to the blog. :)  Hopefully 2014 will be a little more consistent. And I plan to start blogging my failures a bit more just for my own personal record.

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