Thursday, November 5, 2015

Lisette Moto Jacket

I had great plans for this blog when I began it. I thought I'd be able to see what I've sewn and when, and keep track of wardrobe ideas and sewing tips. Ha!

Teaching on call took up much of the first six months of 2015, and then I was offered a contract for September. You can guess what I've been doing since then!

I did manage to complete this moto jacket. I'm often cold and like a third layer of some sort. Right now I'm an "a la carte" teacher, which means I cart my stuff from room to room. Some rooms are warmer than others, so I like third layers that I can remove, if necessary.

Back to the jacket - once I made up my mind to sew it, it came together without much trouble. I read the reviews on Pattern Review, and checked out the Lisette blog sew-a-long.

The pattern had some errors in the instructions, but the sew-a-long corrected them. I like the two-piece sleeves on this jacket, and the princess seams that add some shaping to the front. It was a bit tricky matching the patterns.

I took the shoulders in about half an inch to avoid looking like an 80s rerun. I normally do an FBA, but didn't have to with this jacket. I inserted the lining as the pattern instructed, but added a hair canvas facing for stability to the hem, and sleeve heads to the shoulders.

Next time I make this jacket (and there will likely be a next time), I'll lengthen it about 1 inch.

On my cutting table (dining room) is a Maria Denmark Audrey dress. Hopefully, it won't take too long to finish up and I'll be able to post another finished project.   

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Lace Top and Linen Skirt

This poor little blog got off to a good start and then was left to languish. But that doesn't mean I haven't been sewing. Au contraire, there's been a veritable flurry of garments created. I hope to add them here, bit by bit, so I remember how I put them together.

The following two garments were stitched for the 2015 Wardrobe Contest on Pattern Review.

I'm so glad lace is back. The stretchy stuff is great. I bought some at Fabricland and then tried to find a t-shirt knit to coordinate with it. I tried white which didn't do anything for the lace, and a darker blue. The blue I finally chose is something I had in my stash and has a purplish tone. 

I thought through the construction of the top a lot before sewing it. It occurred to me, one night as I lay awake, that done properly, it could be reversible. Here are the steps:

1. Stitch the back seam of both the t-shirt knit and the lace knit.
2. Place the back pieces right sides together (lace against t-shirt) and sew the neckline and armholes. 
3. Ditto for the front neckline and armholes.
4. Stitch the sides seams together, keeping the t-shirt and lace separate.
5. Turn right side out.
6. Stitch the t-shirt knit shoulders togethers.
7. Hand stitch the lace shoulders. 
8. Hem each piece separately.

I think I'm going to tack the hems together so one doesn't ride up while wearing it. 

The pattern I used is based off an OOP McCalls 4600. I scooped the neckline, left off the sleeves and slightly curved the hem. I also curved out the bustline on the front sides, easing the extra fabric into the side seam for a little extra room.

To go with the top I made a linen/rayon skirt using Marcy Tilton's Vogue 8499. I love the unique lines and looks of the Tilton patterns, but often find the volume too much for my shape and size.

Because the hem is sewn first and is curved, the length must be determined before cutting the pattern. I shortened the skirt by 4 inches. I'm 5'4" and you can see that the skirt now falls a couple of inches above my ankles. 
For this skirt, I cut a 6 and fit the seams to my waist so I wouldn't need any elastic. I stayed the waist seam with tape and folded the casing over to create a facing. 

I left off the pleats on the pockets, preferring a more streamlined look. Instead of zippers on the skirt, I interfaced and faced the top of the pockets for stability and added three wooden buttons (of two types) on each pocket. 

Instead of the loose-through-the-hips look of the pattern description, my skirt fits more closely over the hips and then falls more loosely. 

I love the fluidity of the skirt and may make another one soon.  

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

SWAP - Sewing with a Plan - Wardrobe Contest

My current wardrobe is minimal - and I want to change that. I entered the Travel Wardrobe at Pattern Review in February and now have the outfits below for summer. (The navy and white top, navy skirt, aqua dress and shrug were for the contest.)

Now I've taken on a bigger challenge - the Wardrobe Contest. Here are the details: 

During this 6-week contest, you'll be required to sew the following 9 items:

4 tops
3 bottoms
2 sewist's choice

The tops may be tee's, blouses, shirts, tunics--pretty much any item that covers the top half of your body!

Bottoms may be pants, shorts, jeans, skirts, culottes, jumpsuits, etc.

The 2 "Sewist's Choice" items may be another top or bottom, a dress, a jacket or cardigan (just examples). Ask me if you have questions but as long as it coordinates with the other items, it works! (Remember it must be a piece of clothing, not an accessory.)

ONE item, and only one item, can be something previously purchased or sewn or purchased during the contest.

For the past week I've been pulling fabrics and patterns, doing a little shopping and a lot of thinking. This is what I've come up with so far.

Vogue 1410 in a polka dot chambray
This dress is not my usual style but I saw it made up in a fabric store in town and really liked it. This will be one of my Sewist's Choice items. I hope to stitch it up before the contest begins.

Vogue 8689 in a small print blue and white voile
I've made this shirt twice for my daughters and now want one for myself. 

McCall's 7093 in the red polka dot linen
This is a new-to-me pattern and I still need to measure the pattern and possibly do a muslin before the contest begins.

Vogue 7947 is there for the shell top. I'll make it from the stretch lace with a dark blue under shell (attached).
I'll likely not use this pattern, but a self-drafted one for which I have no photo.

Vogue 8499 from the blue linen/rayon 
I'm planning to make both a skirt and a pair of pants with this pattern. I'm still on the hunt for another fabric before I decide whether or not the blue will be skirt or pants. I put the white fabric alongside just for an idea. White linen might be nice if I can't find anything else.

Vogue 8982 from the red linen
After avidly reading the reviews on Pattern Review, I adjusted the pattern (cut out a 10 based on my upper bust measurement) and did a small FBA (1/2 inch), a narrow shoulder adjustment (5/8 inch) and stitched up a quick muslin. I'll cut it out as soon as the contest begins and it will likely be the first thing I sew. Also a Sewist Choice item.

Vogue 8831 will be the last top. I'm looking for a red and white print knit but haven't found anything yet.

Whew. That's a lot to sew in 6 weeks.  

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Summery Dresses and Two Toppers

 I started this year with the intention of sewing all my clothing and documenting the process here. I've managed to sew quite a bit but the documenting has fallen by the wayside due to illness and a temporary full time teaching job. Perhaps I can play catch up. 

The dress above is Simplicity 2938. I've made it several times as a top and now twice as a dress (the other is in navy linen, barely seen in the photo below).

photo taken at a restaurant in Mexico
What I like about the pattern is the pleating at the neckline and the seams that angle slightly outwards and downwards from it, creating a princess seam.

With both dresses I added a full lining rather than the facings, and an invisible zipper in the back. For the aqua dress, also in linen, I used this tutorial from Coletterie to finish the armholes. That's a trick I'm planning to use from now on - no more leaving the shoulder seams open and fussing over matching them perfectly.

In the restaurant photo I'm wearing a kimono jacket/shawl/shrug that I created from a piece of wildly printed silk chiffon. There are many tutorials on line and I combined a couple of them for the look I wanted. I hemmed it by hand, using this rolled hem technique by Ami Simms. I really enjoyed the way the hem magically rolled over and I'm planning to use this technique more in the future.

So, the reason for this second dress in the same pattern is that I joined Pattern Review's Travel Wardrobe Sewing Challenge. I won't be wearing this dress until May or June at the earliest, and even then I'll want another layer close by. 

The cardigan is Butterick 5528, made from a medium weight ponte. I'm not very pleased with the way the front hangs - I think it needs more weight.

Monday, February 2, 2015

A Simple Tee

This simple t-shirt almost sewed itself. I'll be making more of these for summer. 

I used the Maria Denmark Kirsten Kimono Tee, available as a free PDF download when I signed up for her newsletter. (I also purchased the Audrey dress pattern, but that hasn't yet been sewn up.) 

I lowered the neckline by about an inch. For the neckline finish I used the fabric inside out for contrast. The sleeves are finished by turning the inside out. I basted both the neckline band and the sleeve hems by hand, then stitched them using a double needle. 

The fabric is a cotton rayon lycra mix, I believe, quite drapey. 

Out of the Ordinary

Looking for something fun to sew and wear on a recent vacation to Mexico, I settled on V8499 - a Marcy Tilton design. 

They were comfortable and easy to wear while walking on the beach or in town. I like to keep my legs mostly covered because of skin damage earlier in life and very bony knees.

After reading about these pants on Pattern Review I cut the smallest size available (6). I made a number of changes to the pattern. I used a medium-heavy weight cotton fabric with a bit of stretch in a pale gray.

When I cut out the pattern, I overlaid a self-drafted pattern on top and used that to trace the crotch seams, front and back.  After cutting the pants (full width) I stitched the pockets and center seams on the legs (front and back). I then basted the side seams and inner leg seams, and took them in again and again, for a total of 4-6 inches.

For the waist, I thought of putting darts into the back to take in the fullness, as I'm not fond of elastic waists, but ended up not needing to do that. I'm pretty straight through the hips and waist. I added an invisible zipper as closure at the center back and a narrow (1 inch) waistband in place of the facing and elastic. 

I like the pockets on these pants and will be making another pair for the Travel Wardrobe Contest on Pattern Review. Next time, I'll take some width out at the center leg seams as well.