Thursday, December 31, 2009

Still Working

It's been a busy week.  I have worked on some of the coat...just not as much as I would have liked.  As with Simplicity 2427, I'm going to baste the seems of the jacket to see how it fits prior to committing to it.  One of my goals (in a post to come) is to learn to use my serger this year.  It was a gift two Christmas's ago, and while I have used it, I'm not even remotely comfortable with it.  While I plan to do some french seams on the sides and back, those front princess won't want that type of seaming.  OK, I guess they could, but I'm not that comfortable!  I think I'd also like to put lining in the sleeves.  I know, I know, I said no lining.  But I also don't want my jacket sticking to me or making my linen dress any more wrinkled that it will obviously get.  And I have lining material's a thought at least.

Sewing resolutions to come...

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Simplicity 2508

SO. Simplicity's web site says this 2508. And my pattern tissues say it's 2508. However, my pattern envelope says 0571. And it's a brown Project Runway envelope, rather than the blue shown here (and in every other PR envelope I've seen). Which made it hard to find reviews on PatternReview . I just thought I'd start with that.

My second warning on this: There are a billion pieces. And while normally I disregard the amount of fabric needed to sew up a PR pattern, I'm very thankful that this time I just happened to have enough of the stash fabric on hand (and really don't have a great need for a matching skirt is I am being honest...). Here are some things the back of the envelope DOESN'T tell you:
  1. You are going to cut four of the front panels for the jacket - they use the second set for the matching facing. But this isn't clear until you start sewing. I somehow missed that I needed to cut four of the front panels and had to go back and cut more. Had I not had the fabric, I wouldn't have been happy at this point.
  2. Those facings have to be interfaced. But you're not going to 'cut' the pieces out. No, they want you to lay your fabric pieces, right side up on the adhesive side of your fusible interfacing, fuse them, then cut them out. Which works great, if you were planning on using fusible interfacing. I wasn't. I don't like fusible interfacing. And my light weight interfacing is not featherweight, while the fabric is medium weight. So now I'm going to have to run by Joann's or Hobby Lobby and pick some up.
  3. Lots of the detail pieces are on the bias. This is why you need all that fabric. The cuff's? On the bias. The collar pieces? On the bias.
And then there are the design changes I decided I needed to make:
  • omitted the lining - I live in Houston. I don't have the need for a traditional lined coat for warmth (I type as the temperatures are actually quite frigid here today) as a rule. So I took a nifty little idea from a trench I saw at Target. There is an option for a decorative yoke piece on the back of this jacket. For future design options, I'll contemplate embroidery or something decorative like that. But today, I'm using it on the inside of the jacket. I cut the yoke from the linen from my last dress. Decorative yet subtle!
  • french seams - when one omits the lining from a jacket, one must come up with something for those seems. I could serge them and top stitch them down. I could. I just don't want to. The only seams I'm not doing a french seam on is those front princess seams.
Everything is cut (except for those stupid facings, gggrrr) and I've basted most of the pieces that needed interfacing. I'm still considering the fusible interfacing for the facings. I don't see a way around unfortunately. Photo's to come!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

I <3 Simplicity 2724

This, officially, is my new FAVORITE pattern. I actually finished the 'first' dress two days ago. I posted a couple of pictures earlier this week about how well it was working out. And it really did.

First of all, the photo's don't do this dress justice. I chose to use taffeta because this is going to be my Christmas dress. As I mentioned earlier, I really wanted the green that I saw in another blogger's review. Alas, I couldn't find any. However, this navy blue really works for me. I'll have to make sure to get photo's on Christmas. I'm wearing sparkly high heeled sandals too. It was in the low 70's here today, and while we're supposed to drop down to the 50's by Christmas day, it will be warm enough inside to take a picture! I was really worried that that taffeta would be too stiff. I even went up a size to accommodate for the lack of ease in the fabric. I think it was a good choice because the dress fits like a glove.

You can't see the pleats in the sleeve here and it "looks" wrinkled in the photo's. It's not. It's just that this taffeta is a very firm fabric. Very little drape.

Unlike the "second" dress that I'm working on from this pattern!!!

For the second dress, I kept the puff sleeves (I can't go sleeveless at my office, too casual). I want the next dress to transition into summer. If you've never been to Houston in the summer, it's VERY humid here. And while I work in an air conditioned office building, I commute on the Metro. And I wait outside for the Metro. Comfort is a key factor for me. So the second dress is using the scoop neckline and pencil skirt. They call it a slim skirt, but it has all the looks of a pencil skirt to me, just with an attached bodice. I'm also making a jacket to coordinate with it for the winter months here. I'll get to that here in a minute. Here are some photo's of the second dress, done in a light weight linen. As you can see, the dress is almost done. It went together really fast today (aside from sewing the back of the skirt to the front of the bodice the first time...but we won't discuss that!!). The taffeta dress, and that ruffle, took me four days to complete. And yes, as I mentioned, worth every minute of the time it took. But I digress. The first sleeve is pinned in. The fabric was very particular in it's own way. It didn't want to stay on grain while I was cutting it. But with lots of pins and starch, it really came together quickly. You can see the option of the pleated scoop bodice instead of the ruffled one. The third photo shows the slit. I haven't hemmed it yet, and I do have it hanging up to help with the growth factor of linen. I debated cutting on the bias for the bodice portion, but since the grain is so finicky, I didn't want to chance it. I used sew in interfacing which worked well. I just basted it to the pieces I needed interfacing.

I love the color pallet on this fabric. I have a sort of olive green fabric in my stash that has been aging FOREVER that is a perfect compliment to this dress. I'm going to make a light weight coat using Simplicity 2508. And the thing about Houston is, it can get cold and chilly some days, so you need a jacket in the winter. You just don't need a fully lined coat. So look for some changes in the details on a later post for 2508. But what's really great, is that I already have a summer jacket that will work for the office to go with this dress! So it will transition nicely between seasons. I love this fabric, and have been waiting for the perfect pattern to cut into it with. I'm so happy to finally get to use this lovely fabric. I just need to run down to Wally World tomorrow and pick up a cream colored zipper. Or white. Either will work :)

Friday, December 18, 2009

Christmas Sewing

Simplicity 2724

I have to admit, I glanced at this pattern and moved on. First of all, the one dress I don't like pink. As a rule, I do not choose to wear pink (my pink wool cape is an absolute exception to this rule, but I have no clue why). The other two dresses looked "OK" just not something I would wear. But then I was on and saw this dress made up in a beautiful green and suddenly it spoke to me!!! I love green. I really, really love green. So I decided to make this for my Christmas dress.

I couldn't find green fabric that I liked, so I've opted for Navy. I figure this might also carry me through a few other seasons without it looking to Christmas. I normally wear red for Christmas exclusively, so this is a definite change for me.

Let me start by saying this is day 4 on making this dress, and I am at the last sleeve facing insert. The first photo is the "almost" finished bodice. The skirt isn't even cut yet. I don't know if this is a particularly difficult pattern, but for me, it is very time consuming!! The ruffle you see on photo 2 uses a very different technique than I've ever done, and I pinned and re-pinned that sucker to get it to look the way I wanted it to.

The pleats that you see in photo 3 gave me fits too. Also the sleeve facing for it requires hand slip stitching. I'm not good at hand stitching of any type! So I did a blind hem stitch on that except for the pleated part (I didn't want to get those perfect pleats caught!). Then I had to carefully tack the facing to the pleated part. If I make this pattern again (aka, if it looks good on me once it's done!) I'm going to make this a very casual summer dress, and go with sleeve facings so I don't have to mess with these pleats ever again.

When my kids leave for school, I'll cut the skirt out and start fitting that before I pin it to the bodice. The skirt has inverted pleats, which I think are much more flattering for my figure type. Aside from that, it "looks" like it should be pretty easy. I'm also debating putting in a side zipper. I used taffeta for this dress that bought online. It's a little heavier than other taffeta's I've used before. However, I didn't have to use an interfacing as a result, so it all worked out. I'll post the skirt photo's in a bit.
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Friday, July 10, 2009

Vogue 8503

I've been meaning to post this but it's been a busy summer! Not just activities. I've been busy whipping up some sleep shorts for my boys, a new summer nightgown for my daughter, and trying to get ready for my trip next week. I'm sure everyone can relate.

OK, the obvious things. The plaid didn't exactly match up the way it was planned. That being said, I'm not at all unhappy with how it turned out. It matches as close as possible, given the darts in the bodice, and I think very few people (aka, those outside the sewing world) would even notice!

What you can't see on this is the fit. It fits beautifully through the bust and shoulders, but is uncomfortable through the tummy. This is my 'problem' area, so it may be me more than the pattern. Rather than hide this in the back of my closet until I "one day" loose the weight, I've decided that I'm going to wear a white tank under it, and use it as an over shirt. Since it only had 3 buttons on the pattern, I'm re-thinking that it was ever really meant to be a traditional shirt. This looks nice and casual with my denim shorts, and I actually plan to wear this on the airplane when I go on vacation next week, so it's a good choice overall.

I don't see myself making the long sleeved version of this, but if I found the right fabric, it might make a great layering piece for winter too.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Not On Hiatus

I haven't posted in over a month. Not because I haven't been sewing in bursts!!! But because life has a way of getting complicated from time to time!

So the green skirt is "almost" finished. More finished than the lavender dress that I'm putting off until next spring, because summer is basically here! The skirt needs a hem an the facings stitched down. I really like the skirt, not to sure on the fit yet, but I think it's workable.

Also done (why yes, I did say done!) is Vogue 8495. I really, really like this pattern! I think my choice of white organic cotton was a little to stiff, but even with that in mind, I love this shirt. I'll have to come back and add some photo's of it, but I don't have any at the moment. I made a few design detail changes, but they turned out well too.

The other project I'm working on is Vogue 8503. The verdict is still out on this. I like my fabric choices, but I think this is going to be a light weight layering top I end up wearing over tank tops, rather than a cotton shirt for summer, as I intended. It appears to be to snug in the bust, although I don't have the buttons sewn on yet. I used a light blue plaid seersucker from Joann's. I thought I matched everything well, but well, maybe it wasn't as good as I thought now that it's assembled. But I'm still happy with it. My disappointment stems from the sizing. It's just to snug to wear closed it appears. But I could end up pleasantly surprised!

And last, because apparently I don't have enough to do, I have 3 glow worm costumes I'm working on for my kindergartners school play. What I thought would take me a half hour per costume has taken me almost 3 days, but it will be done by tomorrow and it will make the kids happy. :)

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Fabric Give Away!

Bunte Fabrics is having a fabulous give away!!!

Stop by and comment on her blog for your chance to win!!!

Monday, April 06, 2009

Ottobre Woman T-shirt

I have been holding out on buying Ottobre Woman for some time. I don't know why. I love the children's patterns and have bought issues in languages I don't read or speak. But recently I found a copy of the first issue published on eBay for a good price, so I decided to buy it. Flipping through the issue, I found many patterns I knew I would like to sew if and when I have the time. But to jump into it, I decided to start with something easy.

I have been wanting a good fitting t-shirt pattern for awhile. I've tried many different patterns, including Kwik Sew, but hadn't found one that was the fit I was looking for. My problem is that I have...umh...we'll say a well developed bust line. And I've had four kids. I'm not as slender as I was in my 20's. Go figure. But I like fitted t-shirts, not the boxy, shapeless things they try to put on fuller figured women. So I've tried many different patterns. Most of them end up in my workout drawer because they're just not right.

I have to say, this ottobre t-shirt was perfect, right off the bat! First of all, it was sized two ways. For the ladies that are still nice and slim and have a normal bust line. Then there was the option for the fuller figured bust line, such as myself. Most pattern companies size for C cup. So I'm required to do a FBA. The plus sized pattern for this t-shirt was clearly drafter for us curvier women. I cut my muslin out of a $1 knit I got at Walmart just for testing. I still hate the fabric, lol, but it made me confident to cut out my really soft, rayon knit that I got on sale at Joann's a few weeks back. The fit is exactly what I was looking for - fitted in the bust, not to boxy, but not sausage casing either! I chose to do the v-neck, which was a new technique for me, but I liked it. I do plan to cut out a few more t-shirts in the scoop neck. I think I sewed the binding on a bit to wide, but it's nothing I can't live with.
I'll take some photo's today (it just came out of the laundry!) before I start my next project, a denim skirt in a lighter apple green shade, from this same issue. I'm very excited to have found someone on who was selling two more Ottobre Woman issues. I can't wait to try out some patterns!

Chic Handbags

I bought this book...hmm, at least a year ago, probably almost two. I buy a lot of sewing books. I love to have a wealth of knowledge at my fingertips. I was a little hesitant because some of the reviews were not favorable on, but in the end I figured, what the heck?

Personally, I'm enjoying this book! I like to have handbags for different looks. My one note of caution is that some of these purses are really small. I used to love small purses. They kept me from being to cluttery. However, with having four children and needing an assortment of stuff, I find that I need at least a medium sized bag.

This was the book that I used to help my sister inlaw's make their purses last month. Here are some photo's of the finished products:

The picture on the left, with the plaid print, is my favorite. In the book, this is the "Loves me, loves me not" pattern. We made a matching cosmetic bag to go with it (not pictured) that was a lot of fun too. Those round handles though, are a BEAR to sew in. Also, I wish I would have thought to have sewn in some pockets, but I didn't. She didn't seem to mind, but I like to have a pocket for my cell phone so it doesn't get lost in my bag. Personal preference. The only thing I would change if/when I make this style for me is that I will line it and add a cell phone pocket. Because this was made from a home dec fabric, it really was quite stable. But I liked purses to be lined.

I'm not as crazy about the polka dotted purse, which is a shame, because that one is actually mine. (for some reason, I don't have a picture of the purse my other sister inlaw made, go figure.) I think it's the handles. I thought I would like having real handles. I don't know, they just don't work for me. This was the "Summer Stripe" bag. They had several cute accessories to coordinate with this one including a detachable pocket, which I didn't make this time.

One of the biggest changes I made to this one was to fuse a heavy stabilizer to the body of the purse and add a wallet and cell phone pocket to the liner.

Since these were both quilting fabrics, I really felt the bag needed a heavy stabilizer to give it some body. One thing I noted in this book is that they assume everyone is going to use heavier fabrics. So make a mental check note that if you're using light weight fabrics, you're going to need some stabilizer. There are some excellent notes at the beginning of the book for stabilizing pocket corners too, so take some time read the helpful hints.

Here's a picture of the actual bag:

I don't know, it just needs something more. I think the handles look to small as well. I bought the size indicated and they look fine on the picture in the book - but I think they look freakishly small on this bag. Joann's had very little in selection when it came to purse handles though, so I make look online to see what else I can come up with.
I finished up a lovely apple green t-shirt from a back issue of Ottobre Woman, but I haven't had a chance to photograph it yet. I'll try to get it posted soon!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

I'm Sewing

I mean, I'm really, really sewing. I've even completed projects!! I helped my sister in laws with a purse each, plus one for myself, finished that skirt, and have a t-shirt sitting on the machine, 3/4 done as we speak. Yes yes, I need to post photos and reviews. And I will. But it's SPRING here - beautiful, glorious, sunshine, spring weather. And I just can't sit in front of this computer another minute!!! So photo's tonight. :)

Monday, January 26, 2009

What Do You Think?

So I decided my page needed a new look for the year. Maybe this will inspire me to finish "the dress".
On a side note though, I found the most beautiful purse at the Coach store this evening. I think it would go with "the dress" perfectly. I am a huge fan of Coach purses because of their craftsmanship, and this is a truly fabulous one that I would LOVE to add to my collection. But I have nothing to go with it if I don't finish "the dress"...motivating, don't you thing?!