Saturday, March 31, 2012

Moving Blogs(!) + Renfrew

YOU GUYS! I'M MOVING! I'm so excited about it. Please follow me over to my new little space on the internets.

I finished a Renfrew top and it's posted over there.

See you soon!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Finished: Navy Knit Dress (M6319)

Pattern: McCall's 6319 - Misses Lined Knit Dresses

  • lengthened the bodice pieces by 3"
  • lengthened the bodice lining pieces by 2"
  • made view c without the asymmetry
  • size 10 without an fba - in fact, I had to take in a bit at the underarms.
  • raw hem

Fabric: textured cotton jersey from Nuttall's

I love knit dresses. I love knits in general, but wearing a knit dress is like getting away with wearing pajamas all day and it looks so put together. This pattern was easy to make with straightforward instructions and very few pieces. I'm SO glad that I checked a few blogs (like Erica's) for a pattern review otherwise I wouldn't have known to lengthen the bodice pieces (I didn't lengthen the skirt). This is one of the very, very few times I didn't make a muslin. I'm 5'9" for reference and the elastic hits right at my natural waist. Next time I'll try to omit the lining and see if I can eke a dress out of just one yard.

Obviously it's feast or famine here, folks! I've been sewing a lot, but not finishing things. Then my mom stopped by. She was appalled (horrified?) by my piles of unfinished projects. I think she seriously regretted asking what I had been making. "Look mom! This is the back left piece of a dress. I'm not sure where the rest is. WAY cute, right??" As soon as she left, I dug in.

Next-up: Renfrew top, Darling Ranges muslin, boxy tops and possibly some knitting.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Finished: Tie-Front Top

Pattern: PussyBow Blouse by Pattern Runway

  • lowered bust dart 1" (?!?)
  • shortened and took out gathers in the sleeves
  • omitted the tie
  • pinched out about 3/4" from the shoulder and redistributed the fullness into the dart - the same effect as going down a size and doing an FBA.
  • lengthened the front ends for ties by several inches
  • omitted interfacing
  • increased seam allowance to 5/8" on all sides for french seams
  • created back yoke and pleat as per instructions in my most favorite book ever 

Fabric: cotton voile from Gorgeous Fabrics that I dyed here.

My thoughts? I love this pattern. The instructions were clear. It's super cute and versatile. The fabric, on the other hand, was kind of a nightmare. It's so delicate that I ripped my first collar in half. I'm terrified that Binks is going to shred it, so I won't be wearing it around the house much.

As it gets warmer, this piece is going to be really fun to style. I picture it with white jeans and sandals. Or black shorts with these. Or over a maxi dress?

Saturday, February 04, 2012

Best Laid Plans

If I always listened to that little voice in the back of my head questioning my fabric and pattern choices, then nothing would get done. But this time I listened. I was working on the PussyBow Blouse. The fit was perfected  and I was ready to go. Then I looked at my Pinterest sewing inspiration board and something else took shape.

I used the pattern as a sloper and made the adjustments I envisioned. Now there's a back yoke, an inverted box pleat, a lengthened front, short sleeves and I'm contemplating pockets. If all goes well it's going to be fabulous. I'm going to fit one more muslin, then cut into this: a voile from Gorgeous Fabrics.

I dyed it last summer and absolutely love the color. I can't rave enough about Dharma's Procion dyes.

The bodice was really close to a perfect fit, but I noticed excess fabric above the bust near the armhole. I get the same issue with ready-to-wear. So I pinched out 3/4" from the shoulder and tapered it to the bust, then slash and spread the pattern to move the fullness to the side dart. That adjustment caused a ripple effect and I had to lengthen the collar pieces as well. In hindsight, I should have cut a size smaller and done an FBA for a similar fit. I also moved the dart down 1/4."

I'm trying not to get antsy. I get really impatient because there are thousands of things I want to sew right now. But it's going to be worth it.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Finished: HP Torque Tops

Pattern: HP 1130 Weekend Triple Torque Knit Top - Twisted Hem with long sleeves

Mods: cut a size 10, but straightened the body out so the waist was more like a 12. significantly reduced the armhole size. adjusted sleeve to fit into cap. lengthened sleeve about an inch. left hems raw.

Fabric: slightly slubby, kinda shiny rayon jersey from Designer's Resource.

Cost: $4.

I really like this top. It's exactly what I was going for - comfortable and stylish. And it was so cheap! How often can you find a shirt that you love for $4? NEVER. (Pattern prices don't count in the total.) I'm sure I'll make another one with short-sleeves for summer.

Pattern: HP 1130 Weekend Triple Torque Knit Top - Wrap with elbow-length sleeves

Mods:  cut a size 10, but straightened the body out so the waist was more like a 12. significantly reduced the armhole size. adjusted sleeve to fit into cap. lengthened sleeve an inch.

Fabric: 11 oz. rayon jersey in soft light green from Gorgeous Fabrics.

Cost: I was mailed a very generous yard, so this top was only about $10.

I may just count this a wadder. There's tons of potential. There really is, but I'm not thrilled with the outcome. I was constantly adjusting the shirt to make it look normal in pictures. I think the over-sized fit works with the twisted hem top, but not this one. The shoulders and arms are too big and the wrap pattern pieces need to be adjusted. It's also too long. I may try again with a size 8 and make some other adjustments. The other problem is that I cannot hem this fabric! I've tried every size of twin needle, but it's not havin' it.

So what's next?? I've had it with knits for the time being, so I'm leaning towards a woven top. I also have lots of small knitting projects that I've been wrapping up, so I'll post those soon, too.

*Thanks to my new bangs and countless hair tutorials on Pinterest, I am obsessed with sock buns. By next week it will be braids. Hopefully.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Weekend in AZ

I finished a couple of tops last week, but haven't found the time to take pictures. Eric and I took a long weekend and headed south with friends. Way south. Lee's Ferry is a mecca for waterfowl hunters and fishermen that's in the middle of nowhere. While the guys spent their days on the river, we, the wives, went on our own adventure. The most notable one being the Tuba City dinosaur tracks. The experience was slightly sketchy and I have no idea what kind of dinosaurs the tracks really came from - we were told t-rex, triceratops and pterodactyl - but it was neat all of the same.


I love Indian jewelry and Zuni pieces in particular, so I was super excited to find that middle ring at a trading post in Cameron. It fits on my pinky. I'm assuming the one on the right is Navajo. I've never seen anything like it.

There are California condors in that area, but we didn't see any. With less than 200 left in the wild I shouldn't be surprised, right? Maybe next year.

See you tomorrow with finished tops!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

WIP: HP Torque Twisted Hem Top

The only review that I could find for this top mentioned that the armholes were big. Given the amount of effort that went into making my Hot Patterns sleepwear look normal, I was not surprised by the strange sizing. The blue knit top is a slouchy fitting favorite of mine. Obviously there was work to be done. I cut out a size 10 and ended up with something closer to a 12, but with the armholes drastically reduced.

The side seams had a really intense curve for a defined waist, but I prefer a straight cut on my knit tops.

The sleeve pattern piece was a little intimidating, but I did it. Hooray for a semester of pattern-making at community college! Totes worth it.

Alright, alright. It's a bit anti-climatic on the hanger, but believe me that it is cute on (I'm too lazy/disheveled to model tonight). I AM SO EXCITED ABOUT IT. I think I'll use a grey rayon blend that I picked up for cheap at Designer's Resource for the real deal. But don't hold me to that.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Frogging & Small Wins

I've been MIA because I finished Anhinga, hated it, immediately began ripping it out, swore off crafting of all kinds forever then watched four seasons of True Blood.*

There are a few sweaters that have been in my discard/frog/giveaway pile for years, so I got started on those as well. Frogging is kind of an ordeal as the yarn has to be soaked to get the kinks out, then dried and rewound. The buttonless Tangled Yoke Cardigan has finally met its end.

I actually can't go that long without a project and certainly can't watch tv without keeping my hands busy, so I made fingerless gloves for my mom and and a pair for my sil. These are my small wins.

They are both made up of the slubby goodness that is Manos del Uruguay Wool Classica. The pattern is 75 Yard Malabrigo Fingerless Mitts though I used a bit more yarn than that. 

Before the Anhinga fiasco, I was inspired by Lauren of Lladybird to organize my fabric and patterns, which is turning out to be a much bigger job than anticipated. My patterns are slowly being uploaded and tagged in a PRIVATE Flickr set. I didn't want to take pictures of my fabric too, so I just cut swatches, wrote down the measurements and called it good. I have some really great pieces that I'm excited to use up.

Now off to tackle some tees! Wish me luck.

*Sadly, I'm not exaggerating that much.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Planning: Tops & Tees

Thanks so much for all the kind words about my last couple of projects! I've been wearing my gray dress non-stop.

So I guess I need a sewing plan. Every time I go to my closet I reach for the same tops - UO v-neck poly-blend tees - and the same pants - old, holey jeans. Oookay. I have nice stuff, but I wear what's comfortable since I'm not in a situation where I necessarily need to dress up. In an effort to look slightly more put together I'm going to sew some stylish tops that are comfortable. That means using knits! I have a huge stash of knit fabric because I'm a hoarder and cannot resist rayon jersey. I'll make a couple of woven tees, too.

Here are the patterns that I want to sew immediately:

1. The Hot Patterns 1130 Triple Torque Tops - The reviews aren't great and I haven't had the best luck with Hot Patterns, but I love the styles enough to give it a go. I'll make a muslin of the bottom right view first.

2. Vogue 1262 Alice & Olivia Tunic - I love views A and C.

3. BurdaStyle Karen - I think this style will be flattering because I can cinch it around my waist.

4. Grainline's Scout Woven Tee - I have some pretty lace that I'd like to use for this top.

 5. Salme Pleated Top - Ideally this will be made in chiffon. We'll see how that goes....

 6. Pattern Runway Pussy Bow Blouse - I love, love, love this style of blouse.

Not too intense, right? Any words of advice? I know a few of you have sewn from these patterns...

In knitting news, Anhinga is almost done. I just need to sew on the sleeves. Yay! I should make accessories or finish up some old projects next, but of course I want to make another sweater and that sweater is the Riot Yoke Pullover. I know, I know. It's a bit much, but I love it. I don't have the yarn I want to use yet, so maybe I will finish a cowl or some socks in the meantime.

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Finished: The Sweatshirt Dress

I kind of just made a dress out of my cat's blanket.

You see, I've had this fabric for a while now and every time I'd wash and dry it Binker would curl up into the warm fleece and take a nap. I'd move on to something else. The huge swath of fabric finally needed to be used. It took up a lot of room.

Pattern: Simplicity 2054 - by Cynthia Rowley. I cut out view B with the cowl in a size 12.

Mods: lengthened the waist seam by 1", swayback by 1", took out 1.5" from the back center seam, took an additional 1.5" from the top center back to prevent gaping, scooped out the neckline significantly.

Fabric: sweatshirt fleece that I bought years ago from Denver Fabrics.

I'm happy with the dress. It's comfortable and fits pretty well. As you can see, all of my stressing about the back fitting was for naught as there is still bunching and weirdness. Next time I'll just cut it on the fold. This was a blast to sew. It was super quick and I love, love, love sewing with a twin needle. Someday I'll get a coverstitch machine, but for now it's pretty satisfying.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Tackling Swayback

I was told recently of two things that make a garment look homemade - seams not matching up and a center back seam on knits. I completely agree with the seam matching and do a fair amount of basting to make sure that things are lined up correctly. But is there truth to the center back seam myth? Doesn't that seam allow for a better fit? I've been working on Simplicity 2054, a simple knit dress with no center seams. When I made my first muslin there was quite a bit of pooling due to my swayback.

I lengthened the waist by an inch, then pinched that entire inch out at the center back. Now I'm left with a subtle indentation. The seam no longer matches up with the fold. I read somewhere that I could just straighten the line back out and it would work out fine. Not true! I did this and ended up with a cowl above my tush. So in the end, I decided to cut two pieces for the back to maintain the fit. I also ended up taking in 1.25" towards the top of the seam to account for my rounded shoulders. Otherwise there's a lot of gaping.

What are your thoughts? Is the gigantic pool of fabric that will occur due to my swayback really acceptable? Is the center seam worse? Maybe I've over-fitted the dress? Is it supposed to be loose enough to hide my bum AND poor posture??

*Edited to add the answer to my own question.*

1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5

Not a back seam in sight. It seems that blousons and details like this are ways of getting around it. BLARGH.