Sunday, December 18, 2016

Achievement Unlocked: Bras!

When I started on this journey of a me-made wardrobe I wanted to get to the point where I made every stitch of clothing that I had on at any given point. The two things that made that seem difficult were pants and bras. Well I have a couple of pants patterns ready and waiting for me and I just finished making my second bra!

It turns out that, although intimidating, bras are actually fairly easy. It took me a long time to work my way up to actually making one though.

First I bought the pattern and a couple of kits. Then I let those sit for a couple months while I caught up on other projects. Finally at Thankgiving I bought the Craftsy class on bra making. I am really glad I bought the class (and even happier I waited for it to be on sale). Following along with the class made it really easy to figure out otherwise difficult steps.

And ta-da! My first bra:

I should probably have put it against a dark background so the picture popped a little more. Oh well. The fit on my very first attempt was good enough to wear, but not perfect. Fortunately the Crafsty class goes through how to fix fit issues, although this one I could have figured out on my own. 

This biggest issue was that I had extra fabric in the power bar, so I just cut the pattern and overlapped it about 1/4" and that solved that problem. The band also felt a little snug so I lengthened it 1/2" my new one feels just a little loose so I think on my third I will only lengthen the back by 1/4"

I think that might be the most intimidating issue of bra making, that something as little as 1/8" or 1/4" inch can totally change the fit. 

Here is my second bra:


I am so in love with the colors on this one! 



It's even fun on the inside!

So, in addition to the changes for fit I also got bolder with the lace. On the first bra I put the lace exactly where the pattern said to put lace. (By the way it's the Shelly bra pattern by Pin-up Girls in case I haven't mentioned that yet). For the second bra I sewed the cups and basically draped lace on them to figure out how I wanted to arrange it. I'm pretty happy with the result and it allowed me to use the cute neckline trim that came with my kit. I didn't use the neckline trim on the first bra because it had lace on the neckline edge of the cups, but I was just so enjoying that fuchsia I had to use it on the second bra.



It isn't quite the "butterfly lace" pattern that Beveryly Johnson recommends in the Craftsy class but I think it came out really pretty.

One word of caution: Check the heat on your iron before pressing. I sew almost entirely with natural fibers so I tend to crank the heat pretty high on my iron. Bra fabrics are mostly nylon and polyester though. I thought I had turned the heat down low enough on my iron but clearly I didn't because I managed to melt the power net for my back band. Oops!


Fortunately the kits from Bra Maker's Supply and really generous with the fabrics. I think I have enough fabric for two more bras, I just need mor underwire and elastics. So I was able to cut out a new back band piece and away I went but it was still a pout worthy moment.

All's well that ends well though and I have two pretty me-made bras! I am so happy with this newly acquired skill. I cannot wait to make more!

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Quilted Skirt

Two posts in two days, it's a miracle! Actually it's just that my husband got me a new computer for my birthday so I'm trying to get (and maybe even stay) caught up. Blogging is so much easier when you have a computer that actually works.

And speaking of birthdays, my wonderful mother-in-law got me Gertie Sews Vintage Casual. I think my love affair with Gertie's designs is pretty well established at this point. The book has a lot of really cute patterns in it. I am really looking forward to trying out the pants pattern. It doesn't have a fly front so it's a bit less intimidating then making jeans, but will give me the chance to practice fitting pants. 

But before I takle the pants pattern I made one of the skirts.


This is the Quilted Skirt from the book. Gertie's suggested using flannel for the inside layer, but being a true Pacific Northwest girl I put the flannel on the outside! The plaid pattern also made quilting it a total breeze, I just threw on my walking foot and bisected the squares on the plaid. Here is a close up of the quilting:


Having squares already there to follow made it super easy and saved me all of the time of marking the quilting lines. Otherwise this skirt would have taken hours longer to make.

I totally love the finished skirt. I think the drape in wonderful and it's super warm and cozy. I think I'm just going to live in this skirt for the rest of the winter. I might even make more in other colors.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Salvedged Skirt

I love Halloween more than any other holiday of the year. I was really excited this year to dress up as a "Mad Housewife" like the image on one of my favorite wines. I picked out a cute 50's vintage pattern from McCall's and some inexpensive dark purple cotton. I borrowed Mom's purls and made those cute lace gloves from this post.

And it all went downhill from there.

It ended up not really mattering because I had a migraine on Halloween and didn't dress up or go out, but man was my dress just one problem after another.

First Jo-Ann's shorted me a yard of fabric. We all know that cotton shrinks, which is why it is important to pre-wash garment fabric, but even the store admitted that I wouldn't have lost more than a yard to shrinkage, but they also wouldn't do anything about it because I had already washed the fabric. I was a bit miffed to say the least.

So I bought two more yards of fabric to be able to lay out the remaining pieces. The new piece wasn't from the same dye lot, so even though I doubt anyone else would have noticed I was very aware that the front bodice and sleeves were a different shade than the back bodice and skirt. Grrrr.

So I get to the sewing the dress together part and it has a side zipper so I did a French seam on all but the left side seam, where I did a clean seam. Or at least that's what I was planning on doing. Somewhere I got turned around and ended up with a clean seam on the left side of my bodice and a French seam of the left side of my skirt, so I couldn't install the zipper on either side without undoing at least one French seam.

But that turned out not to matter because the dress was so big that I didn't even need the zipper to get it on and off.

So I put in the back of my sewing chair in time out while I tried to figure out how to salvage it.

At the end of the day I decided that I wasn't over fond of the neckline either, so I chopped off the entire bodice. There was just to much fabric used to not try and get something out of it.



I think the skirt came out pretty darn cute. To solve the issue of it being too big, and the zipper being on the wrong side I cut up the center of the skirt and added a button band. By folding over 1/4" and then another inch on each side I got rid of the 2.5" extra inches, it didn't pull the side seams to noticeably far forward and I think the buttons are really pretty. Then I just added a waistband, hemmed it and called it good.

Here is a close up on the buttons. I added 12 of them, going all the way down the front of the skirt.


I wore the skirt for thanksgiving dinner at my in-laws house and I felt very pretty! So all is well that ends well, even if it was sort of a pain in the patootie.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Wristlet Tutorial

Welp, I had planned a great how-to blog post about this wristlet that I recently made, but I seem to have lost all of the photos that I took of the process. Oops. Here is a photo of the finished object.


It perfectly fits my phone, keys, debit card and ID, and a tube of Chapstick. It used one fat quarter, a 7" zipper and some stiff fusible interfacing. Maybe someday I will make one Ina fiddler the color and actually keep the photos.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Lace Gloves

So, I had a really cute Halloween costume idea, but I ended up with a migraine, so I didn't do anything for Halloween this year. Just as well because the dress I made for my costume was several sizes too big and I still haven't decided if it is worth the effort to fix. But before I knew all that I made myself a pair of gloves to go with my costume.


The pattern is called Ladylike Gloves. It is free on Ravelry. I've actually been eyeballing the pattern for a while but never had a good enough reason to make the gloves. Sorry, the picture isn't so great, it's really hard to take a photo of your own hand. 

The yarn is Rowan Fine Lace that I had left over from a shawl. The yarn is absolutely delightful, one of the most stunningly soft yarns I've ever had the pleasure of knitting with, but I have to say knitting these gloves was a nightmare. They are done on size three needles and when I started the only size 3s that I had were exceptionally slick metal. My needles kept slipping out of my work as I was knitting. 

I had to set the gloves aside while I hunted for a pair of size 3 double points in wood. Fortunately using wood did solve the slipping problem or I would never have finished these. 

Although I'm happy enough with the finished object I'm not really sure they were worth the effort. I've worn them to work once, and I do like that because of the lace pattern over the fingers I can use my touchscreen and not have to take my gloves off, which is cool, they just were not fun to knit.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Banging Out Some Basics

Sometimes a me-made wardrobe is all about cool flashy pieces that you will be super proud of but not wear too often. Other times it is all about the basics. Sunday was a basics sort of day. I managed to bang out two t-shirts, three camisoles, and five pairs of underpants.



Admittedly all of the pieces were already cut out and some of them were even partially assembled already. I had started working on them before my honeymoon but didn't finish because I had to order some stretch lace online. I hate online shopping so I was putting it off for as long as I could. In the end, I was happy with my order from Deb's Lace and Trims. I got a variety of stretch laces that really do have good stretch and for less than $10 I got enough for everything I made and then some.

They may just be basic boring pieces, but man are they comfy. All the fabric is Telio Organic Cotton Jersey, purchased from fabric.com  I bought one yard of the beige, which yielded one camisole and one pair of underpants. I bought three each of the black and the blue. I made one t-shirt, two camies and three pairs of underpants from the blue and two t-shirts and one pair of underpants from the black fabric.

The camisole and panties are both from Patterns by Gertie B6031. If I could live in them I would. The underpants are the most comfortable pair I have every worn. They have full coverage over the bum so you don't get those awful visible pantie lines and I think they lace is a fun touch. I didn't bother making the straps adjustable and I did use the same 3/4" lace for everything rather than a thinner lace. I love love love the camisole pattern because it has adjustable cups. Heaven.

The t-shirt pattern is by Kwik Sew. I find it to be an easy pattern and a well-fitting t-shirt. I've made it so many times now that I have literally lost count. T-shirts are my go-to when I don't feel the need to look pretty and I'm not going to work. I love them.

Sorry for the total lack of pictures. You will just have to take my word for the fact that everything fits like a dream. I don't think I will every get to the point where I am willing to post a photo on the internet of me in my underwear.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Finished Jacket

In my last post I talked about underlining the Butterick 6390 jacket for a bit of extra warmth, well today I'm going to talk about installing the regular lining for the jacket. 

Because of the flannel underlining, I decided to line the sleeves of the jacket, not just the body as originally instructed. So I sewed the front, back, and sleeves onto the jacket then did the same for the lining. 

Here they both are. The shell is right side out, the lining is inside out, that way then they are put together all of the raw seams are to the inside of the jacket. 


Then I inserted the lining into the shell. The trickiest bit here is making sure that the sleeves don't twist otherwise they will bind and not be comfortable. Another note on the sleeves, when sewing them to the body keep in mind that the shoulder seam actual sits forward of the shoulder, not on top, so don't try to match the top of the sleeve to that seam. 


Next, I pinned every opening, starting with the neck, then the bottom, then the sleeves, and finally the front. The front of the jacket folds over to create the button band and to secure the lining to the shell. I followed the fold line on the pattern piece, but I think I messed it up a bit because my collar comes all the way to the neck edge and my bottom band was very nearly too short, but in the end I am happy with the fit and I didn't bother sewing buttonholes all the way up the band so I doubt that anyone would notice the collar isn't right (except of course, that I just told you. Oops). 

Once everything was pinned in place I sewed the button band. 


Next, I sewed on the bottom band. This required the most careful pinning just because it was so long and the lining is super slippery. It really didn't want to stay in place. That was also the reason that I pinned the lining in place even though I knew I would be removing those pins to add the cuffs, collar, and bottom band. 


Finally, I add the collar and cuffs. The pattern directions skip adding the collar. On step 30 they don't show it attached, but on 31 they do with not a word on how to sew it on. Fortunately, it is pretty easy. Unfortunately, I totally forgot to take pictures. Just fold and press it in half, right sides together, sew the two short edges at 5/8", clip the corners and turn right side out, press again. Pin and then sew one edge to the neck, flip it up, fold over the inside edge and top stitch it down. 

The cuffs were means to have button closures, but the sleeves were wide, and I didn't like the pattern's sleeve placket or lack thereof. I was going to add my own, but frankly, I got lazy, and ultimately just sewed the sleeves shut and sewed on the cuffs. 

Ta da! Almost finished jacket. It just needs buttons and buttons holes at this point.


It took me a couple more days to get that far. Gosh darn that whole having to go to work thing, right? Just kidding, I love my job, but it sure does cut into sewing time.

Yesterday I went to the PNW Socktober Yarn crawl, (and yes, I will have a post about that coming up) and took a moment to model some photos of the jacket. 


I just love the contrast top stitching, especially on the back, it really shows off the structural lines of the jacket so well! They are much more eye-catching in person than in the photo. 


And I got the best compliment that a home sewer can get, a random stranger asked me where I bought my jacket because they wanted one too! I love my new jacket, and I am happily anticipating getting a lot of wear out of it. 




Sunday, October 16, 2016

Interlining/Underlining a Jacket

I'm sure it will come as a surprise to absolutely no one that the fall sewing patterns are out and I've started working on one by Gertie. Here is a photo of it that I pulled off of her blog.


To be perfectly honest I think it looks a little dorky buttoned all the way to the top like that, but it would be cute with the top button left undone and it's the perfect jacket for fall weather. 

I was recently gifted significant yardage of a black poly/cotton blend bottom-weight by one of my stepdad's coworkers and I thought it would work well for this jacket. I'm lining it with an anti-static polyester. I wanted some kind of cute print, but I couldn't find one that I liked at Jo-Ann's so I went with my signature shade of blue instead. 

In addition to lining the jacket, I am also underlining or interlining it (I've seen both terms used and I'm not sure if one is more or less correct than the other). 

I've never tried underlining a garment before, but I think it's a neat technique. Basically, you use a second fabric to change the characteristics of your outer fabric. So you can add opacity to a sheer fabric, or add body to a limper fashion fabric. It can also be used to hide stitches when hemming because you just pick up the underlining fabric. In this case, I'm adding flannel to my shell fabric to add warmth without adding significant bulk. 


Sorry, I can't figure out how to rotate the picture. Anyway, here you can see my lining fabric on top, my shell in the middle and the flannel on the bottom.

When you underline a garment you cut your outer fabric pieces, then you cut the exact same pieces out of your underlining fabric and hand baste them together. I maybe could have thrown on my walking foot and sewed them together that way, but you want the grainlines to match and it's easy for fabric to twist on the machine, so I took this as an opportunity to practise using a thimble. 

I've already sewn the underlining to the shell in my photo. The underlining fabric will be completely hidden in the finished garment, so it didn't really matter what color I chose, I picked the blue 1) because I didn't want to risk muddying the color of my lining fabric and 2) because it's easy to see at a glance which fabric is which. The underlining fabric becomes the wrong side, so the contrasting color makes that easy. 

And speaking of wrong sides, if your shell fabric doesn't have a right and wrong side, like mine didn't, you are going to be designating one here, so make sure that you have right and left side pieces, not two rights, or two lefts. 

I've got all my underlining fabric sewn to my shell, so now I'm working on actually sewing the jacket together. From this point on the underlined pieces are treated as normal fabric pieces. Because of the underlining I am having to change the lining too. The original pattern doesn't call for the sleeves being lined, just the body, but flannel doesn't slide well over other fabrics, so I'm adding lining to the sleeves. My next post will be about how I make that change. 


Sunday, October 9, 2016

It's Socktober!

Hey y'all,

Don't you just love the myriad funny words that October gets turned into? I find it really amusing. My favorite one by far is Socktober though. I love knitting socks. I've always got a pair going because they are the perfect project to keep in your purse and pull out during downtime. Just remember to wrap the ends of your DPNs with rubber bands so you don't loose stitches or one of your needles!

On the other hand, I finish socks really slowly because they just live in my purse.

So my most recent pair I started back in August and I just finished the second sock last night. I was putting off doing the Kitchener stitch, the toe has been finished since Thursday.


So there they are. The Pattern is The Weasley Homestead by Erica Lueder. I really love her sock patterns. It tickles me that they are all Harry Potter inspired, but mostly I just like that they fit well, I love the way she does her heels and toes, and I've never had one end up slouchy on me. There is nothing worse than having to constantly dig into your boot to hitch your sock back up, right?

The yarn is Serenity Sock weight yarn, I got it at JoAnn's a while back. It was dirt cheap, but it is more of a light fingering than a proper fingering weight. The color combo is delightful, it's the same brand that I used to make Husband his Wedding Socks. I got a sock and a half out of one skein, so I've got a bit left over now. I might try for a pair of anklet socks before I toss it in the Sock Yarn Scrap Blanket bin. I've got two more skeins in black (I said it was dirt cheap, right? I stocked up). I will probably use the black to make a pair of socks for Husband. He does like boring colors. 

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Linen Tunic Pattern

Ah fall, it is by far my favorite time of year. It is the time of year for showing off cute sweaters before they are hidden underneath bulky winter jackets. It's also got the best color pallet, dark greens, rusty reds, navy blue and black. I love it.

I decided to celebrate the fall this year with a new knitted tunic. I had some wonderful linen yarn (Lindy Chain by knitpicks.com - who I am totally not affiliated with, I just like it) that was recycled from a different sweater that I knit but never wore. Linen has absolutely wonderful drape, which made it perfect for a loose fitting a-line sweater, but less than ideal for the more fitted cardigan I had originally knit. Live and learn.

So I searched Ravelry for a top-down, a-line, crew neck, short sleeve tunic, in a fingering-weight yarn, but such a pattern didn't seem to exist. So, I wrote one, and now I'm sharing it with you.



I think this is a great transitional piece because when it's still slightly warmer is looks great over some leggings with just a cami underneath, but as the weather cools it will work with a long-sleeve shirt and a pair of jeans instead.



Linen Tunic:

Materials:
11 skeins (1198 yds) Lindy Chain in colorway Linen.
US 3 double point needles or 16" connected needles
US 5 connected needles.

Guage:
27 sts by 33 rows equals 4” in St st.

Size:
Would fit 38-42” bust. Pictured on 40” bust with 2” positive ease.

Instructions:

Neck:
On size 3 needles CO 130 sts, join in round, work k1p1 ribbing until neckband measures 1” Switch to size 5 needles.
place marker for beginning of round and at 65th st.

Shape back of neckline:
K60 sts w&t, p55 sts w&t, k52 sts w&t, p49 w&t, k46 w&t, p43 w&t
knit 2 rnds, picking up wrapped stitches and knitting them as you go

Begin shoulder shaping:
Round 1: Place BOG marker k5 m1 pm k1 m1 k53 m1 k1 pm m1 k10 m1 pm k1 m1 k53 m1 k1 pm m1 k5
Round 2: k
Round 3: k to marker m1 sm k1 m1 knit to 1 stitch before marker m1 k1 sm m1 knit to marker m1 sm k1 m1 knit to 1 stitch before marker m1 k1 sm m1 knit to BOG marker

Repeat rounds 2 and three until there are 120 stitches each for front and back and 74 sts between sleeve markers

Place sleeve on holder, CO 5, pm (new BOG marker), CO 5, knit to next marker, place sleeve markers on stitch holder, CO 5, pm, CO 5 knit to end of round



Body:
Rnds 1-10: Knit
Rnd 11: knit to 1 stitch before pm, m1, k1, sm, k1, m1, knit to 1 stitch before pm, m1,k1, sm, k1, m1
Repeat rounds 1-11 until 1” shy of desired length is reached. (pictured length is 29" so knit 28" from neckline)
Switch to k1p1 ribbing for 1”
BO in pattern

(note: the goal for me was using up all my yarn, so after knitting a couple of body rounds I paused and finished the sleeves, that way I could just knit the body until there was no yarn left.)

Sleeves:
Pick up ten stitches from underside of arm
K 18 rounds
knit k1p1 rib for 9 round
BO

I am not great at drawing, but here is a rough sketch to show the finished shape and measurements of the tunic.



I am very pleased with this tunic, and I hope that you like it to, if you have any questions please don't hesitate to leave a comment. This is my first time writing a knit pattern and just because it makes sense to me doesn't mean it's as intuitive to everyone else. 

Shout out to my friend Hilary from The Cutie Life for helping me take pictures. Thank you! 



Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Wedding Quilt and Bedskirt

I have a personal rule for internet equanimity: don't read the comments. If I want to continue happily about my day I do not want to know what the random strangers on the internet think, it's why I rarely solicit comments on my blog (even though I know inviting discussion helps grow readership), because in my experience, usually, random strangers are cruel. A wonderful exception to that rule is ravelry.com where I participate in the Sew Obsessed forum. That is a wonderful group of people who always make me feel so good about my projects.

My most recently compleated project is a queen size quilt. I'm not really much of a quilter and I was feeling a little self-conscious about some of the mistakes on my quilt, so I wasn't sure I wanted to post it, but I did. I prefaced it by saying is was only mediocre and I've received nothing but positivity and support about it. People said things like I must use a different definition of mediocre then them and that there never was a quilt made with perfectly straight lines. Thanks to the support of random internet strangers I am feeling much happier with my finished object so I wanted to share it with you also. I wish the rest of the internet was as pleasant as that group.


When I got married my goal was to make as much that was reusable as possible and to spend as little money as I could get away with (I'm pleased with my success on both counts). One of the ways I did that was making bunting to hang from the ceiling of my venue. 


All of the fabric used in that bunting came from my grandmother, my mom, my mother-in-law or my own stash of fabric. That alone gives me a glowy, happy, peaceful feeling. I thought the bunting was a sweet touch and a nice way to bring in some color and it didn't take too long to make, all things considered. And when I was done with it all that fabric became the triangles in my quilt. Now being wrapped in that quilt is like getting a warm hug from all the crafty women in my family.

Like I said, I'm not really much of a quilter. I've never attempted anything that big before, but I pieced the top together, sandwiched batting between it and a giant piece of white cotton, slapped the walking foot on my machine and I stitched about 1/4" away from each seam on the triangles in nice long diagonal lines. 

I really like the pattern that the quilting made on the backing too. 


I know white on white is hard to see, but it makes a cute little Star of David. 

I used a bright white 100% cotton batting. I like cotton for batting because it's still thin, but it has more weight to it than poly or blends. I like a quilt to be a bit heavy, but not too stiff. I stuck to minimal quilting partly because it was less intimidating and partly because the less you quilt it the less stiff the finished quilt it. This particular batting only had to be quilted every 10" so my 6.5" triangles fit the bill just fine. 

The other fabric you may have noticed in the shot of my venue was the burlap runners on all the tables. 

I was going to just use burlap table clothes, but Husband was convinced that it would be scratchy. I kept saying no one was going to be rolling naked on the tables, but he was adamant. Fortunatly, my mother-in-law had white table cloths so I bought 20 yds of burlap and cut it in half and hemmed it to make table runners instead. At the time I was grumbling about the extra work but now I'm happy about it because the tables looked cute and the runners were easy to reuse. I turned them into a bed skirt.


The finished length of my table runners was 2.5 yds and I used 8 of them (so 20 yds of fabric, but the yardage is cut in half, you would need to buy 10 yds of burlap to replicate this). I sewed them to the remains of an old fitted sheet I got from my mom. I didn't want the pleats to look too even and mechanical so I just did them randomly by hand as I was feeding the fabric through the machine. Since I had already hemmed the fabric it only took about 2 hours to finish this project. 


And I think it looks great with the quilt. Now the bed just needs like 6 or 8 more pillows (I love pillows, Husband thinks they are stupid, but I think he is going to lose this battle) and a headboard and it will be perfect! When Husband and I first started dating more than 6 years ago I made him buy a mattress but I bought the sheets and comforter. We've had the same one since then and I am totally sick of it now. I'm really glad that I was able to repurpose wedding items into a nice update for our bedroom decor. The comforter is still under there, the quilt isn't warm enough for winter all on its own, but at least I don't have to look at it anymore and I've still got some burlap left, so I might make it into pillows, or curtains, or something, I'm not sure yet, but for the moment I am pleased. 

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Leggings

I was really slow to embrace leggings as acceptable public articles of clothing. I still don't think they can be worn as a substitute for pants, but I am now willing to leave the house in a tunic and leggings. I've been told by friends that what I think of as tunic length the rest of them just call a short dress. Ah well, the beauty of making my own clothes is that I can always make sure my dresses and tunics are lengths that I am comfortable in.

Anyway, as part of my new willingness to wear leggings, I decided to make a pair. I found some absolutely beautiful rusty red knit fabric at JoAnn's the other day. I don't think any of my pictures do justice to the color. It is a nice thick rayon/poly blend with 1% spandex and about 30% 2-way stretch. I decided to make one pair of long leggings and if I liked the way the fabric wore for the day I might go back and get more.

I'm going to need to go get more in other colors.

I finished the leggings yesterday and I wore them all day and even slept in them to see if they would end up baggy the way some knits do. There were no problems. I woke up this morning with them looking as fresh as they did when I first slipped them on.


I think I am going to make this pattern again, but I am going to make some changes. When I first sewed them together I thought the rise through the crotch looked ridiculously long. It's meant to sit 1.5" below the natural waist. After wearing them for a day I've decided that I would actually like it to be higher, like at my natural waist. They fit alright standing, but I think they were designed for someone with a little less booty because when I sit down they slip too low. Not a problem with a long tunic, but not what I want them to do either. They also stretch oddly around my tummy. Not in a I-made-a-size-too-small way, but just in a they-are-not-the-same-shape-as-me way. Before I put the elastic in the casing it gapped a little in the back, so I think they pattern was designed with more of a teenager's body in mind, you know, very very straight, no tummy, hips, or booty yet. I think I need just a little more room in the front. 

But again, with a long tunic on, this pair will totally do the trick. And speaking of neat tricks, I played with the stretch stitch on my machine for the first time while making these. 



Stretch stitch is a cool stitch that stitched and finishes a seam in one pass. It also makes a strong seam with enough stretch that you can use it on knits without popping a stitch. In the past, I've just zigzagged seams on knits and that also does the trick, but the stretch stitch looks neater and more professional. I learned how to do it by checking my machine's manual. I've actually learned a fair number of neat stitches that way.

I also finally got a twin needle hem that I am happy with on these leggings. Not a super straight hem, mind you, but at least the tension is okay.


I love how professional the twin needle looks because it looks the same as ready to wear, but you also have to hem from the right side because the wrong side of a twin needle hem just looks like zig-zag stitch, so I think it's going to take some practice for me to keep fabrics from slipping while sewing on the right side of the garment. 

Oh, I nearly forgot. The pattern is from New Look. I don't remember the pattern number but the legging pattern was available in a couple different pattern envelopes paired with knit tunics. 

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Works in Progress (WIPs)

Are y'all familiar with the term multicraftual? It's like being multilingual, instead of just speaking one language (knitting) you speak multiple languages (knitting, sewing, quilting, spinning, tatting). Some people see it as a sign of being unwilling to commit/having a short attention span. Others see it as natural branching out of interrelated talents. Guess which school of thought I belong too.

And speaking of opposing schools of thought there are also those who say that you should have only one project at a time, while others believe that variety is the spice of life.

Normally I have three or four knitting projects, a quilt, several sewing and tatting projects and a cross-stitch all competing for my attention. This blog probably makes it appear that I spend most of my time sewing because most of my posts are about sewing, but hour for hour, I am a knitter first and foremost. Of course, hour for hour, it just takes longer to knit something then it does to sew. 

Today I was thinking about Works in Progress (called WIPs if you are on Ravelry) because since the wedding I have felt like I have nothing going on project wise. Seriously, my sewing table is actually clean of projects right now, it's sort of freaking me out. Husband and I got engaged one year ago today and since then it's been a whirlwind of wedding related DIY craft projects. The post-wedding project void feels very really y'all. But contrary to the way that I feel I actually have a lot going on at the moment. It's just less stressful because there is no "due date" so to speak.

Right now I have a quilt top pieced together and half quilted. This picture is the unquilted top laying on my bed to show the size.


I've also got a bolt of burlap, hemmed and waiting to become a bed skirt. 


I have a pair of leggings that just need to be hemmed, and I have four t-shirts, four camisoles, and five pairs of panties cut out and waiting to be sewed together. I don't have pictures yet, but I will probably bust them out this weekend and then post pics on Instagram. 

Knitting wise I've got a pair of socks I just started two days ago. Also, I love how well the yarn coordinated with my pajamas.


I have a perpetual sock yarn scrap miter square blanket going on.


I have the scarf of insanity that I will honestly maybe never finish, but I enjoy working on it sporadically anyway.


There is also a secret Christmas project on the needles. And there are always washcloths to knit because it is impossible to have two many washcloths.

Non-sewing and knitting projects I have half a skein of alpaca/silk noil yarn spun, and 3/4 of a handkerchief edge tatted.


And I've got a large cross-stitch image that I've been working on for years and probably will continue to work on for years to come.



So really, I have plenty going on. Maybe I've even got a touch of project ADD, but I prefer to think of myself as more of a Renaissance Man. I don't want to specialize, I want to know a bit about everything. Husband is afraid that it's a way to never really master anything and I am not saying that he is wrong, but I do think I would feel limited if I had stuck to only knitting. What do you think? Do you prefer to have only one project at a time, or do you want to be able to switch what you are working on whenever you get bored?

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Princess Seam Blouse Again

About a year ago I made McCall's 6035 button-up blouse with princess seams in five different colors and by the time I finished the last one I was way super sick of the pattern. Well, apparently it takes me a year to get over that because I just finished a new blouse. 


This one is made from the cotton lawn left over from lining my wedding dress. It is rather transparent so tank-tops underneath are an absolute must. So was fully finishing the seams because you can see them through the shirt. At first, that annoyed me, but I've successfully convinced myself that it's just a design feature. I do wish that I had realized how visible they were going to be. I don't think I like how lumpy the clean seams look on the princess seams. I don't know how hard it would be to do a flat fell seam on a princess seam, but I really want to try it now because I can't think of anything else that has a hope of laying prettily and working as a design element. I did french seams on the sides and flat fell seams on the shoulder and arms. The collar and cuffs are both slip-stitched from the inside. 

I did lengthen the shirt by two inches this time around. I have found the when I am working I'm constantly tugging on the bottom of my shirt because they feel a little short. This shirt is a bit too nice to wear to work but I might make a couple more at this length because it does fit better and the whole point of making my own clothes is to have clothes that fit like they were made for me.


One of the reasons that I keep coming back to this pattern is that it has multiple bust sizes. I really like that I can easily achieve a tailored fit without having to do a full bust alteration. It just makes life so much easier. 

I'm not sure that I'm ready to whip out another five of them, but I would like to make one more in a purple lawn because I want to try the different seam finish on the princess seams and because I found some beautiful purple buttons when I was looking for buttons for this shirt. I was inches away from sewing them onto this one but that would have limited what I could wear it with and the point of  a white button-up blouse is that you can wear it with just about anything on almost any occassion. 


Thursday, August 25, 2016

Rose Print Knit

I don't usually wear a lot of tank tops, but it's been so hot recently that the idea of sleeves is just terrible. I know, the rest of the country is like, "shut up, it's 85 degrees" but for Washington that is killer hot. I like it here because it stays between 40 and 70 for 90% of the year. So after I made the two Sorbetto tanks I pulled McCall's M6794 and a rather precious rose print knit out of my closet.

The rose print is really sweet, and although I like it, it's not something I would have bought on my own, but I got it out of my grandmother's stash (which also means I have no idea what the fiber content is, but I'm guessing it's got some polyester in it). I was going to use it to make a ruched t-shirt, but I couldn't find the pattern, I don't actually remember if I really bought it, or just meant to buy it, so I made a tunic length tank top instead. I barely had enough fabric, like not even an inch to spare.


The fabric is a little bit on the see-through side. I originally put it on with denim capris and hated the fact that you could see the contrast between the dark denim and my skin through the top so I threw on a pair of white leggings instead (M6360 view c that I made a couple of years ago). I feel very all white in this outfit, I think what it really needs is a pale green pair of leggings, but white was what I had, so it was what I wore. I've only very recently embraced the leggings trend, but now I'm thinking I need to make more in more colors. But I will still only wear them if my rear is covered. I've been told by girlfriends that what I call a tunic the rest of them call a dress. 

A couple of notes on the tunic pattern: The pattern envelope says you can make it in a woven or a knit. Obviously, I chose a knit. The patterns works but the instructions and more importantly the grainline markings all assume that you are using a woven. If you make this pattern with a knit think very carefully about the direction of stretch when you are laying out your pattern pieces. The neck and sleeves are meant to have a double-fold bias facing, I changed that to single fold, but I still feel like it's too bulky, I wish, considering that knits don't unravel, that I had just folded it over once and sewed it down. 

I also played with a twin-needle to do the hems on this. On the one hand, it does look more professionally finished then zig-zagging or leaving them raw, but on the other hand, I had a really hard time adjusting the tension on the machine to make it work. I had to set the tension at the loosest that it would go and I'm still seeing a little bit of distortion because the stitches are too tight and I really don't like that.

All in all, I don't think this is going to become one of my favorite tops, but it was cool and comfy on our recent 90 degree day, and since I can't wear it to work anyway it doesn't matter if it's my favorite.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Sorbetto Top

Whelp, I jumped on the Sobetto bandwagon. It seems like every sewer has to make at least one of them (I'm sure that is totally not true at all, but it is a pretty common pattern and I've been seeing a lot of it this summer). If you don't know, the Sorbetto Top is a delightfully versatile tank top and Colette Patterns is kind enough to offer it as a free download.

I had never actually tried printing out and sewing a multipage pattern before. It took me several tries to get it to print the right size. On my particular printer I had to use the zoom function and print at 106% size to get the test square to be the requiste 4"x4" and it took me 6 tries to figure that out. Once I got over that hurdle though the pattern was easy to tape together.

I ended up making two tops in one weekend. After making the wedding vests I had between 3/4 and a yard of mid-weight linen leftover. The pattern calls for both the front and back pieces to be cut on the fold, which would not have fit on what I had left, so instead I added 5/8" to the back and just put a seam down the middle. On the first top I did a mock-french seam because I forgot that I meant to do french seams, but on the second I remembered and did a proper french seam. Linen unravels like crazy so you need a good strong finished seam. Because I have a slight obsession with french seams that is what I used for everything.


Aren't they just so pretty though! That is one of the shoulder seams of the second top that I made. It pleases me to look at, all nice and finished with no unsightly raw edges anywhere. 

Here is a picture of the first Sorbetto Top that I whipped up. For this one, other than adding the back seam, I followed the directions. The blue bias trim is a single fold bias tape, applied the same way you would do a bias facing, but flipped to the front instead of the back to make a cute little detail. 


And speaking of cute details, I also added three buttons. I had way too much fun doing decoritive stitching because they aren't functional buttons. 


The only fit issue I encountered was the arm holes came down too low and part of my bra was visible through them. To counteract that I shortened the sleeves at the shoulder seam. I think I shortened them a bit too much because Husband says it looks like the arms are pinching, but I find the top very comfortable. Unfortunately, because I shortened the top through the shoulders the whole thing is a bit shorter than I would have preferred. 

So on the second top I made a few changes. I added about half an inch of fabric to the underside of the sleeve in order to insure that my bra was covered. I also added four inches to the bottom to get a more tunic length top.


I also inverted the front pleat and left it loose at the bottom. It maybe looks a bit maternity top-ish (Husband says "it is rather ambigious through the torso") but it is also super cool and comfortable and it's been hotter than heck the last week, so I will take looking like I may or may not be pregnant if I can also be a comfortable temprature.


The only other change that I made was using double fold bias tape instead of single fold. I would like to say I had a design reason for doing that, but really, I just grabbed the wrong package at the store. I'm glad that I did though, in the end I like the double fold bias tape better, not enough to change the first one, but enough that if I make this top again I will probably stick with double fold bias tape for the edges. 

And I do think I'm going to make it again. It's a pretty versitle pattern, especially for free. I kind of want to lengthen it an additional four to six inches with the inverted pleat and use it to make night gowns because it is just that comfortable a top. I'm also dreaming of versions with sleeves, but that will never help me get rid of that aweful farmer's tan.