Sunday, January 4, 2015

So long 2014. Hello 2015!

I have been trying to figure out what I wanted to write for this post for the last week.  I have so much to say about what I did last year and what I want to do this year both sewing and personal.

Personally, we made some major strides towards being able to bring our baby home!!  I know I have been pretty quiet on this topic for the last 6 months.  I haven't wanted to share to much until we were ready.  Well I have shared already how we got a new car for me that will be spacious and safe to drive our child around in.  We also renovated our bathroom, taking it from being a leaking mess to being a beautiful space.  We still have some other renovations that need to happen before, like replacing our floors that were damaged from a leaking dishwasher and water damage from when we first moved in.  These have to be replaced as the floor boards are so warped and damaged I would be afraid of our future baby hurting themselves.  However,  the bathroom and the car are not even the biggest step we made this year.  Eric has been working very hard at work for the last 8 months and it has finally paid off with a huge promotion for his work life and our finances.  So big in fact that we have a goal to be signed up with our adoption agency by April.  Whew!  Big goal but we can do it!

Sewing is a completely different story though!  Let's start with a few stats.  I used 99.5yds of stash fabric.  Seriously, half yard off from 100 total yards.  Grrrr.... Tallying in new fabric used, I sewed up 122.25 yards!  That much fabric is gone and out of my stash!  Then on top of that number I also mailed out 378 yards through my Share My Stash adoption fundraiser!  That means I got rid of 500.25 yards in 2014.  Unfortunately, I did buy 181.5 yards and was gifted 17 yards.  Even with those purchases, I still put a decent dent into my stash.

I made a total of 25 items for myself.  With a 25% of those being tops, 20% pajamas, and 16% being dresses.  Those three categories account for 15 of my total garments.  I was going to post my top 5 favorites and top 5 disappointments but I don't really have any.  I really like everything that I finished this year.  I also made 18 garments for others, mostly costumes.  That is pretty common for what I make for others though.  Eric is really the only other one who gets actual everyday garments.

So, with all that I have done last year I spent most of last week thinking about what I want to accomplish this year.  I have gone back and forth, and finally decided that I just can't do it all!  :(  I picked only a few things to focus on this year and they are some of the bigger projects I have been wanting to accomplish.

1.  Quality of quantity: Last year I started to look at buying better quality fabrics.  I am spending less and less on fabric from Jo-Ann's and instead sourcing better and slightly more expensive fabrics online.  I want to continue this.  I still have way more fabric than I will probably ever get to sew up, so I definitely do not need to buy for quantity's sake and my wallet could use that money for other things, like the baby!

This same theory will apply towards actual garment construction too.  One of the goals I considered making was sewing double the amount of garments I made last year. Like I said, I really want to accomplish some of the bigger projects this year to get them out of my mind and into reality, so quantity will have to wait.

2.  Blogging and social presence:  After finishing the Adoption Dress Project at the end of 2013, I took a step back from blogging and posting to most social media.  Mind you I said posting, I still stalked all the blogs and Twitter and Facebook and Instagram, but I didn't post regularly.  I am guessing there will be a lot more  adoption info to post this coming year.  Since I am going to focus on some bigger projects this year I want to do more work in progress posts and tutorial for different techniques.  I still need to write out a plan for this though.  I am also planning on participating in more of the sewalongs and themed months.  I have already signed on to host a month of the 2015 Stashbusting Sewalong!

3.  Big projects: So what exactly are these bigger projects that I keep talking about?  Well, for starters, I am going to be working on an Albion coat for Eric this month.  I made the muslin in December and it fit perfectly.  Then the holidays got so crazy and I just haven't had time to sit down and make the final version.

After that I am going to make new costumes for the Renaissance Festival.  These will include a legitimate long leather tunic for Eric, which I already have the leather for, and my long thought about noble costume.  The tunic won't be too hard as the pattern and design of it are pretty basic.  The real challenge for it will be sewing the leather.  It is going to fit in great for one of the Stashbusting themes.  I look forward to it.

Then there is my new renaissance costume.  I have been planning this thing for over 2 years now.  I have pretty much everything I need, except some trim, and it is time to finally make this happen.  I have been putting it off partially out of fear and mostly because of the time I know I need to put into it.  The last noble gown I made took me 6 months to complete and it didn't have nearly the amount of bead work this one will have.  I will need to start this project within the next couple of months to make sure I have it ready by September/October.  This is definitely going to be a posts of the process project.

Finally, after all of the costuming craziness is done, I want to make myself another winter coat.  I have a few techniques that I use that I have not seen anyone else post about that I want to share.  They make coat construction amazingly easy and not nearly as intimidating as I used to think it would be.

In between those big four projects I do want to sew at least one garment a month that fits into the Stashbusting themes.  This is because there are some themes that I have never tried and I think it is high time to change that.

Whew!  No pictures and all talk about plans.  If you made it though this entire post, thanks for reading.  I am impressed that you stuck out all my babbling!  Now what are your plans?

Sunday, December 14, 2014

McCall's Early Spring Release

McCall's released there early spring collection and I do not think I could be more pleasantly surprised.  Lately, and by that I mean the last 2 or 3 years,  I have only considered 1 or 2 patterns must haves and a few others as maybes.  I buy the must have ones and the maybes just in case I end up liking them, but everything else has either not appealed to me or have been re-packaged version of their OOP's.  So you can imagine my surprise when I found 9 patterns that I wanted to try!  NINE!!

M7081, Misses' Dresses
This has been compared to the Tiramisu and based on the fabric choice and overall style of the dress I would agree with that.  However, there are some differences that really attract me to this pattern. For example it is for wovens not knits, the skirt is cut on the crossgrain, it has a side zipper, and the 3/4 length sleeve with tabs version.

M7084, Misses' Dresses and Belt
This is view D of this pattern and it is the one I am most excited about.  Again with the 3/4 sleeves with tabs.  I think I have an obsession with those.  Other than that this view has godets making it a spinable dress.  I mean, look at the picture!  This dress just wants to be twirled in.
M7099, Misses' Romper and Jumpsuit
I don't know what it is about a jumpsuit, but I cannot get over them.  I have yet to make or wear one, which is probably why I still want one, but I keep gravitating towards them.  Out of all the jumpsuit patterns I have already I think this will be my favorite once I get it.

M7100, Misses' Jackets
I despise camo as an everyday garment fabric, so it took a lot for me to look past the fabric on this one.  I love the Simplicity 1317's I just made and I think that is why I was able to look past the fabric to the actual design of this jacket.  I am glad I did because this has the potential to be my everyday go to spring jacket when I am walking out the door.

M7092, Misses' Tops and Dresses
This is a terrible fabric choice for this pattern.  I wasn't sold on it until I looked at the line art.  That was when I noticed the contrasting V in the neckline and the short dress and maxi dress versions.  I see some real potential to make a very unique dress here.  It is just unfortunate that the contrasting bands cannot be seen in the top on the model.

M7093, Misses' Tops and Tunic
This was love at first sight!  I don't know what else to say about this other than I want to wear it a lot!

M7094, Misses' Tops
Oh 3/4 sleeves with tabs, how I love thee!  I definitely want to make a chiffon version with contrasting trim like this one.

M7095, Misses' Tops and Tunics
I wasn't and am still not completely sold on the version that is on the model or any of the other views, but I love this view and that is why it made my must have list.

M7098, Misses'/Miss Petite Shorts and Pants

Again another horrendous fabric choice, but a potentially great pattern.  I really like the Butterick 5895 by Gertie pants I made this past spring even though I have not gotten to wear them.  Based on the line art and the fit on these on the model I think they have a very similar look to them.  Only these will be in my size from the get go and they have a front zipper instead of a center back zipper like Gertie's pattern.

These nine are on my must pick up list for next time Jo-Ann's has them on sale.  I am actually looking forward to seeing the spring collections for everyone else now.  How about you?  Where you as surprised as me with their offering for early spring?

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Unintentional Sewcation

Last week I took the whole week off from work because I had bronchitis.  Boo!! It was no fun at all.  I hated not being at work.  I contemplated only taking a day off until the doctor called to check on me and said if I didn't take all the time he recommended it could very possibly turn into pneumonia. Boo!  So, a week it was.  Now, I am not the type of person who can just lay around for a week doing nothing. Even when I am sick.   Instead I picked some super easy sewing projects I could tackle and surprisingly I got quite a lot done.

To start, on Tuesday, I thought I would try out Simplicity 1317, view E. I had not made this pattern before but I was dying to try it. I love the length of the sleeve. I used 3/4 yard of gray metallic chevron, I picked up from Jo-Ann's a couple of months ago, for the front and back and 1 1/2 yards of gray ponte also from Jo-Ann's over Black Friday.  I underlined the front and back with the gray ponte to give it more weight.  It was the right call to underline it as I am beyond in love with this top.  The pattern is super easy and quick to sew.  It has 5 pattern pieces!! That's it!

Then on Wednesday I made Eric a new fleece blanket that I had been promising for a couple of months.  I picked up the fleece for it during the Black Friday sale at Jo-Ann's.  I used 4 yards of solid royal blue fleece as an underlining for 4 yards of plaid Indianapolis Colts fleece.  He really liked the weight of the no sew blanket and requested it be two layers.  I don't have any pictures of it, which is pretty common when it comes to things I make for Eric.  But this blanket was meant to replace one of those no sew fleece blankets that he had received as a gift several years ago.  This one, however, is a snuggie at his request!  I used a long since discontinued McCall's pattern.

Then on Thursday I decided that since I still had 2 1/4 yards of the gray metallic chevron left I would make the vintage McCall's 8991 top I had made in October.  This was originally what I had intended to make with this fabric when I  bought it, so I was pleased that I could get both this top and the Simplicity top out of it.  I used only 1 3/4 yards.  I love this pattern as it is only 2 pattern pieces, with 4 seams.  Normally so super quick!  It took me an hour to cut and sew it as I was feeling pretty awful by Thursday and I was also watching Bomb Girls on Netflix.  On a side note, if you have not seen Bomb Girls, go watch it now and then watch The Bletchley Circle after that!

Since I still had more episodes of Bomb Girls to watch I decided I would make view of Simplicity 1317 since the version I made on Tuesday worked out so well.  This time, for the front, I used 3/4 of a yard of leftover pink and gray stripe from when I made the other version of McCall's 8991.

For the back I used 1 3/4 yards of the same gray ponte from my first version.  This version has long sleeves as well as a band around the hem.  I love this version just as much as the first.  I plan on making a couple of other versions of this pattern with some of the new fabrics I got from Girl Charlee.

After I had gotten both tops cut out I realized I had exactly a 1/2 yard of each the gray chevron and pink and gray stripes left.  In the best interest of not putting them back into the stash I decided to make infinity scarves from them.  I think they both work well for scarves.  I think that I am going to put these in my Etsy shop though.  Two tops from each of these fabrics is enough of these prints for me, so I might as well put them in the shop to raise more money for our adoption.  I will have to get some other photos of each one before I can do that though.

All in all, I used 15 1/2 yards of new fabrics in 3 days and ended up with 3 new shirts, 2 scarves and a blanket!  Pretty darn well for being sick if I do say so myself!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Butterick 5145: Part 2

When I last left you in mid-November I had taken 1 1/2" out of the top of the armhole and I was still not sold on my new coat.  Well not being sold on it almost turned this project into a UFO/wadder.  In the end I did finish it even though it took me 3 more weeks to do so.

In my state of uneasy about the this I did decide to make some construction changes because I didn't like the pattern instructions.  The instructions told me to hand sew the sleeve lining into the armhole.  Thanks, but I will pass on that tediousness.  There is a much easier way to do that and still get a similar result.  I machine stitched the sleeve in  and tacked the seam allowances of the shell and the lining together at the top and the underarm.  The red stitching line on the herringbone in the picture above is my underarm tack. Doing this still secures the lining to the shell to prevent bagging in the sleeve.  I will sew all my sleeve linings in this way because it is for sure quicker that hand sewing it in.

I also changed the way I sewed the hem. I stitched the hem face to face at 5/8" instead of hand stitching it like the instructions said too. Same reason as I did the sleeve, it is just faster.  I did leave an opening big enough to get my hand in and turn the coat right side out at one side seam.  I clipped my corners, trimmed out some of the excess seam allowance, and turned it right side out.

I then pulled the waist seams back out and used this same tacking technique as I did on the sleeves.  I tacked it all along the box pleat in the center back.  Again, I did this in the red thread so it would be easier to see in photos.  This will help to prevent the back from bagging as well.

From there it was a breeze.  I had 3 buttonholes and buttons on the front of the bodice and two buttons on the tab at the center back. Give it a final good pressing and boom...


I will say I am much happier with how this turned out than I was while sewing it.  It is not as loose as I thought it would be, which is good.  

I love my lining.  You cannot see it well here, but it has a shimmer to it.

  A few final thoughts on this coat.  At this time I have no plans to make another version of this.  While it turned out well, I have so many other coat patterns I want to make that this one is probably not going to make and appearance again.  This coat was a great use of stash fabrics though.  Everything, other than the buttons, came from my stash.  I used 2 1/2 yards of herringbone, 3 yards of muslin for the underlining and 3 yards of red shimmer cotton for the lining. That's 8 1/2 yards out of my stash!  WOOT!

Up next is the Albion for Eric!  I got the underling/muslin cut out last night and am planning on basting it together tonight.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Butterick 5145: A work in progress

I haven't been doing much sewing these past few weeks sadly.  I have been working some crazy hours, like 60+ hours a week.  Quite frankly, I get home and just want to veg out on the couch and watch a show or two then go to bed.  That is pretty much all I have energy for.  Hopefully it is almost over and I can get back to regular sewing.  I have quite a few garments I am wanting to add to my winter wardrobe too.

I have been trying to find time to make myself a new coat though.  I started it a little over week ago.  I really needed another fall coat as the one I made previously only has 3/4 length sleeves and it gets chilly here in Indiana.   I decided to try OOP Butterick 5145 view A.  I really like the clean lines of this pattern.  It is definitely a pattern that calls for a fun fabric.  I picked a black and gray herringbone with gold threads from my stash.  For the lining I picked another stash fabric, a red shimmery woven cotton.  

I did underline all of my shell pieces with muslin to add a little more weight and structure to the fabric. I chose muslin over flannel because I want this to be a fall coat, so I did not want to add as much warmth as the flannel would add.

This is the right side of the collar.  I accidentally sewed it in backwards with the wrong side up.  The wrong side is two pieces on the bias.

  I actually prefer the wrong side because the bias pieces match up perfectly at the center creating an interesting detail.

Once I got the sleeves sewn in I decided to check fit.  I am glad I did.  The shoulders hung off of me bad!  Here is the difference in sleeves. My left sleeve is after I took the shoulder in and my right sleeve is before.  I typically have this droopy shoulder problem with most patterns I sew.  Most of the time I let it slide because of the casual style of the garments I sew.  For a coat, though, I could not let it go.  I had to fix it.

To fix this I pinned the coat while it was on me for where I needed to take it into.  I marked it once I took it off.  Before I cut off the excess, I stitched the sleeve down.  I wanted to make sure it fit right and I didn't take too much out.  I ended up taking out 1 1/2" at the sleeve head and tapered it down to the regular seam allowance.  It does fit significantly better now.

I am not sure if I am sold on this coat just yet though.  Looking at the picture of me in it I think I could have used to go down a size.  It looks very loose in the waist area.  I am hoping that is just because it has no buttons and maybe I had it pinned closed at the wrong spot.  We'll see.  I still have the lining to sew together and attach to the shell, plus buttons and button holes.  I just need to make the time to do it soon as winter has decided to come early this year.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Retro McCall's 8991 Review

It has been awhile.  Work has been so hair on fire busy that I have not had time to do much of anything.  I have been working 50-60 hours a week for the last month and am working almost 70 hours this week.  In all of that craziness I have managed to make quite a few things that I need to blog about.  First up is my second version of this domain sleeve top from McCall's 8991.  

This is not my picture it. It cam from here.
So very clearly 80's!  Look at that hair! If I saw this outfit in a current pattern book I would keep on flipping.  That is a whole lotta look happening.  But I was gifted this pattern from my friends mom and I am glad I was.

A couple of years ago I fell in love with this top Selma Blair wore in an episode of Anger Management.  I searched high and low for the right pattern and the right fabric.  That was when I was gifted the pattern.  Perfect!!!  Then I found a navy burnout stripe knit from Fabric Mart.  It was meant to be!  I made it back in 2012 and never got around to blogging about it.  Well that version super shrunk after the first wash, because I am too stubborn to take the time to pre wash.  I have been wanting to make another version because I love this style.  

 Then I found this pink and gray striped knit at Jo-Ann's for $5 a yard. I picked up 3 yards and only used 1.5 yds for this top.  I made this version about a month ago and have worn it a few times since then.  I love this top and there was no shrinkage after washing it.

I made a size 16 that has a 38" bust.  However, there is so much ease in this pattern that I didn't have to add any extra to accommodate my 45" bust.  Just look at the back where my hands are.  There is so much extra fabric just scrunched up there.  I do not think I will be making any of the other views of this pattern, but I will be making more of this view.  It is such an easy style to wear.  On second thought I may make a dress version of this top, but I would have to take out a lot of the ease.

I still have some Halloween costumes and an unexpected garment for the hubs to blog about as soon as possible.  Plus I want to write a couple of posts about the new coat I am making.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Fabricista Fashion Challenge #3

First off, I know I didn't update for last weeks challenge. I promise I will get to that this week.  But for now here is the week three challenge.  This week we were challenged to copy one of our favorite ready to wear garments.  We were to use the RTW garment to get the pattern for our version.  This definitely challenged me as I have never attempted this before.

I spent 2 days trying to figure out what I wanted to try.  I decided not to do a t-shirt because it would be to simple.  The problem with that is that T-shirts make up the majority of my RTW.  I thought about doing a jacket that I love but I really didn't want to try to copy the pattern as it has a lot of different pieces.  Plus I had a different idea on how to recreate that garment, which unfortunately didn't fit within the rules of this challenge.  So in the end I decided to copy my newest pair of Express Skyscraper jeans this time and I will be attempting the jacket later on.

Jeans have been something on my must make list for the longest time.  Why not try to tackle them now?!?!  I began by searching Pinterest for different copying techniques.  The first method I tries was where you put tracing/pattern paper under the garment and trace around the piece.  I totally failed at this. It was not good.  Then I tried the painters tape method, I found it on Cheap and Picky.  This actually worked out really well.  

I do not want to write yet another tutorial on how to do this since it was not my original method and because there are already several others out there.  The internets does not need another.  Instead I want to share how this worked out for me, some tips I found that helped and the finished results.

Here is what my taped leg piece looked like. At first I taped in straight lines but when I went to peal it off they did not stick together.  My recommendation would be to put additional strips of tape going diagonally across at several different spots.

Once I pealed it off I traced around it adding 1/2" seam allowance on all sides.

Now, I did not use this painters tape method for every piece. For the pockets and the waistband I drafted those by hand.  They were a lot of straight lines so I figured it would be easier to measure measure measure.  I will stand by this method over taping.  It took less time to do this and all the pieces matched exactly.

So, here is where I had issues.  Remember earlier when I said I had never tried this before?  Coping RTW and making jeans?  Yay, so I don't know what I was thinking when I decided that regardless of those two things I didn't need to make a muslin!  Possibly because I liked the way the RTW fit, but I cannot answer it because I knew the stretch of the denim was greater than the stretch of the fabric I choose.  But I was stubborn and forged ahead.  I cut them out of 1.5 yds of yellow stretch denim that has been in my stash since last year because I wanted yellow skinnies.  I still do by the way.  Well, I spent several hours on these before I was able to try them on.  There is so much detail stitching that needed to be done before I even had a full leg to try on.  I had them stitched all the way to where all I had left was to attach the waistband and hem them.  They didn't fit!  They didn't fit so badly that there is no way I would ever post pictures here.  It was bad!

So, it was back to the beginning.  The next morning I went out to Jo-Ann's and bought 2 more yards of a different color stretch denim to start over.  I needed to add width to the legs and I did not want to add it to the inner seam or outer seam because I didn't want to change the pocket size nor the crotch depth.  So I split the front and back legs, the waistband and the back yoke parallel with the grainline in spots where the split would go from the top all the way to the bottom without affecting the pocket or crotch depth.  For the front I added 1" and for the back I added 1/2", because the back was already so much bigger than the front.   

After many many more hours of restitching I came out with a finished pair of jeans.  On the left are my original pair and on the right are my new colorful pair.  I will say one thing I never noticed about my RTW jeans until I made the red pair is how loose and baggy they are around my knees.  At first I thought it was something I did while sewing until I looked down at the jeans I had on and they did the same thing.  

Uggh... here is the back view of each.  I am not one to willingly post back pics were my rear is the focus.  Sadly my copy pair is a terrible picture.  But they do fit about the same.  Both have the bagginess at the knees and a little bagginess under my rear.

Here is the side view of my version.  I didn't remember to take a pic of the side view of my RTW.

Detail shot of the back.  I put a lot of time into double stitching just about every freaking seam on these.  

Front detail.  See even more double stitching!  One thing you may notice is that I have no belt loops.  Yeah, I completely forgot about them.  I have enough fabric leftover that I can cut some and hopefully add them on this week.

All in all I think these turned out pretty well for my first pair of jeans and my first RTW coping experience.  I would love to make these again.  Luckily I wrote construction details down as I was going.  Way to go foresight!!  I am going to make a few adjustments to the pattern before I do that though.  I want to add a little more to the center front, as these pull slightly, therefore exposing a bit of the zipper.  I also want to find a better stretch denim.  Jo-Ann's has a terrible quality stretch denim selection.  But they did have fun colors and that was what I wanted at the time.  So now I am on the hunt for quality stretch denim.  Any recommendations?

 Click here to vote for me in this weeks challenge!! Thank you!


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