Friday, June 9, 2017

Paisley Butterick Tunic

I just finished this lovely, flowy tunic made from some paisley print 100% polyester that a friend gave me for Christmas... in 2015!  I couldn't decide what in the world to make from it - I didn't want to waste it, and had to find just the right thing - but finally settled on this pleated tunic-like top, Butterick 5388. I love it!

There are a number of fairly distinct views in this pattern -- different sleeve and neckline options -- and I'd like to make them all. I chose View C this time as I thought it suited this fabric best. 

I really like how this fabric floats out from the front and back pleats. It's very comfortable over the hips, even though I cut 14 at the neck and just a smidge wider at the hips -- let's call it a size 15 ;) There are double pleats in front and one in back, and the sleeves are finished with an elastic casing. 

Front neckline with nearly invisible pleats
Back with single pleat
You can almost see my matching earrings in this back picture - they have the same shape and colour as the yellow motifs in the print - so weird to get such a random exact match!

The pattern calls for "sleeve stays" which confused me at first -- it only states this on the pattern pieces. After reading the pattern instructions through, I realized that it was essentially a self lined sleeve, and with my semi-sheer fabric I really didn't want that. Plus it just seemed like so much extra work for nothing. So I just cut and sewed a regular sleeve and turned under a hem casing for the elastic. It works great and was easy to sew.

Hazy days mean lots of squinting ;)

I really like the fit of this one. It has regular neck facings, and I considered switching them out for a bias strip neckline finish, but thought that with all the pleats there might be some shifting/bumpy issues with any topstitching. As it turns out, the regular interfaced facings have a lot of anchor points thanks to those very pleats, so they are stitched down in many locations. Meaning, no flip-outs and a smooth finish. This time it paid to follow the instructions!

This fabric was a dream to work with - I had none of the shifty, slippery issues I had feared when I began (except for during the cutting out part which was time consuming) and it pressed very well. I pinned a lot and sewed slowly, and fortunately had no troubles with puckered seams or suchlike. 

One very handy tip I picked up from a coworker who doesn't like to use too much anti-static chemical spray - when wearing polyester, place a tiny safety pin in the seam allowance around the hip area. Somehow it discharges a lot of the static that builds up... it really does work! 

You'll see I'm wearing this beautiful new top with my fave yellow tights and flats on a cool, cloudy day. Perfection. I love this one.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

New Look Greenery for Spring, with 6185

Another fun top I made in May, from this bonkers green print -- is it tie dye? Amoebas? Computer sound visualizations?

In any case, it's a lightweight cotton gauze that I picked up from the sale table at the fabric store because it was bright and cheery, and because the hand of it is really lovely. It's quite soft and very light, but not see through, and doesn't cling at all. 

I decided to make a (hopefully) wearable muslin from it, using a 90s era New Look pattern, 6185 (view A), which I picked up while thrifting recently. For some reason I'm really feeling a lack of tops in my wardrobe so I've either made or cut out quite a few lately. 

This one will make a nice summery top, and when I wear it with a skirt and a suit jacket it actually works nicely for workwear as well - it tones down the beach vibes a bit, haha. 

The pattern was very straightforward - two pieces, with cut-on sleeves, and neck facings. I definitely need to narrow the shoulders and/or neckline next go, as when I move this shifts around a lot and I'm doing the readjustment dance too often. I think for now, for this one, I'll sew in some bra carriers to hold it in place... or use these vintage notions I just picked up for their first test!

The pattern is quick and easy, as promised on the cover, and I didn't have to make many adjustments other than shortening it a bit before cutting, as I'm so short myself. This is a great popover top and has a couple more views that could be nice to try. It's nice sometimes to throw together something really simple and new to brighten up the summer wardrobe.

are we done with the photos yet?

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Reusing a Favourite Pattern x2

I didn't join #MeMadeMay this year and one of the reasons, as I mentioned in my previous post, was that I knew I'd have guests for two weeks and that I'd be offline and out of the sewing room for most of that time. 

The guests were my Mom and younger sister, and we had a marvellous time together. It was great fun showing them around my town and its surrounding area; we drove all over the place, ate out constantly, and did shopping, shows, and staycationing to the max. (well, at least for me it was a staycation).

But one of the other things I did was make a blouse for my Mom while she was here. The first day she tried on one of my tops -- the True Bias Sutton Blouse -- and loved it. So I offered to make her one, as it fit perfectly and I wouldn't need to make any fitting adjustments, thus thought it would be quite achievable in a week. And it was. 

She picked a nice drapey fabric out of my stash; I believe it was a rayon challis though I'm not 100% sure. It was a gift to me from a friend's mother who was clearing out her own stash, along with about 10 other pieces of varied fabrics. I received it and washed it a couple of days before the visit, and then it went home with my Mom as a finished blouse. Never has a piece of fabric entered and left the stash so quickly - it must be a record! 

The top went together so quickly and easily. The only issue is that I think I slightly stretched the neckline when attaching the bias binding, but probably only me and other sewists would notice at all. The construction notes can be found on the post detailing the first time I made this -- I just made it the same way, though even faster this time as I did not include any piping or trim in the yoke seams. 

Here it is:

The week before they got here I also finished up a couple of summer tops. Here is one I made from an old favourite, KwikSew 3559. I love this dress-into-top; I think it's my fourth rendition. Nothing too new for this one, which I made from a remnant I couldn't resist buying.

I had to be creative with the layout though, to fit all the pieces, which really made the top in the end. It was a 60" wide piece that was just a metre, so I folded it just enough to fit front and back on it, and then cut the yoke lengthwise on the remaining edge.

Since it was most stretchy lengthwise, that worked very well for the design and for the visuals. I love the contrast direction of the stripes in this shimmery green. Otherwise it would have been impossible to match up the stripes and would have driven me mad! 

Do you have a fave pattern that you use and reuse? I love finding a simple standard to fall back on when you want something in a hurry, especially when you have a special fabric that you want to make sure works out!

Friday, May 26, 2017

Thoughts on Me Made May

I didn't join in on Me Made May this year -- obviously -- for a few different reasons. One was simply that I knew I was having company for two weeks and would be offline for much of the month! (and it was glorious)

But another is that I now wear about 70% Me Mades all the time, so didn't feel that I needed to push myself this year. I know, you can sign up with a challenge shaped to fit you, but I didn't think of anything interesting or inspiring enough to get me going back in April. Also, I am finding more and more that I'm feeling overscheduled and overcommitted to so many things -- I need to take a break and not challenge myself right now! 

And I have to admit, thinking of taking all those photos exhausted me just in contemplating the month. But now that I have a new phone that can actually take decent pics, and I know the year ahead is looking a little less busy, I think I'll get back to blogging more regularly. Just not on anyone's schedule but mine ;)

I've still enjoyed seeing Me Made May posts and love the initiative. It's great to see enthusiasm for handmade clothing and fashion. So if you're participating, thanks for the inspiration! Maybe I'll join in again in 2018...

photos via Unsplash


Tuesday, April 11, 2017

I Wore Blue for Weeks...and No-one Noticed

I carried out a small experiment over the last two weeks, rather by accident. I wore three of my handmade dresses over three days, and realized they were all in shades of blue. This made me wonder how long I could continue. Turns out I have more blue clothing than I thought!

The interesting thing was that as I examined my closet each day, putting more unexpected outfits together in order to keep on my blue streak, nobody noticed. No-one at work, coworker or customer, seemed to notice any theme at all. Nobody commented on the lengthy repetition of blue of all kinds.

As sewists, we often feel critical of our own makes -- oh, but the zipper isn't perfect, the stripes aren't exactly matched at the side seam, the collar isn't perfectly symmetrical, and so on. Nobody else but us (and perhaps a few sewing friends) will ever see those so-called mistakes, but sometimes they are all we see, instead of the beautiful finished garment that we are wearing.

The last two weeks showed me that not only do others not notice our small errors, they often don't notice anything at all! What was I wearing yesterday? you might ask someone. They will have no clue. Because really, your appearance isn't all that important to them. If you wear a clown suit every day for two weeks people might start to wonder, but dress neatly and averagely and rest assured that NO-ONE CARES what you're wearing.

So wear what you want, don't apologize for your good-enough sewing, don't limit yourself to wearing only styles that you think hide your 'trouble spots' -- own them. Nobody else is going to care; hey, they probably won't even notice your outfit at all! This is a strangely comforting thought.

But after I finish my next two blue projects, I'm probably going to try to branch out colourwise, just a little bit, and brighten up my closet. Blue's not even my favourite colour! What about you? Do you tend to sew in one palette -- intentionally or not? If so, which one -- and why?

Friday, March 24, 2017

The Cat's Away Dress: a Fabricville project

I finished this dress, my latest project for the Fabricville Blog, a week or two ago. But then the weather turned back into something a little more seasonal, so I couldn't wear it outside to get any pics without turning a shade of blue that would clash with the dress - finally a sunny and not absolutely freezing day arrived & I enjoyed taking some photos to share with you.

To learn more about this dress, check out my post at the Fabricville blog!

It's McCalls 7534 and it's made with a Fabricville quilting cotton -- yes it's true, I can't resist fun prints! Considering my last Fabricville dress was made of quilting cotton adorned with marching elephants, I thought it was only fair that these playful mice got their chance.

I made a few small alterations, including adding pockets -- of course -- but didn't have to change much about this pattern to make it fit me. More information will be shared shortly when my Fabricville Blog post goes up!

But I'll leave you with this. Since this IS a dress featuring mice playing while the cat's away (including this image)

I simply had to get out my own hula hoop and play a bit in the backyard. Enjoy!



Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Burda Magazine "Kimono Sweatshirt"

Burda Challenge accepted!

I did it -- I made my first pattern from my stack of Burda magazines! This oversized top comes from February 2017's issue (though if you don't have this issue you can always buy just this pattern from the BurdaStyle website too.)

I have at least a year's worth of Burda mags, and have even traced off a couple of patterns already, but I finally used one of my magazines to make a pattern, start to finish. All the factors came together: the pattern was rated "very easy" and is cute, I found the most amazing knit at the thrift store, and the weather is cold right now but I know it won't last long so if I wanted to make this sweatshirt I'd better do it right quick!

This was indeed a very easy pattern, though Burda instructions, as always, assume some sewing knowledge. The only tricky part of this pattern was the inset kangaroo pocket on an angled seam -- I had to read the instructions over three times before I kind of understood the process, and then only with some advance pinning and flipping before I stitched anything down. Of course once it's done it seems pretty obvious. Although Burda never mentions that after sewing the inside top edges of the pocket bag together, you should really slipstitch it to the inside of the top, otherwise the pocket bag sags down below the hem in a very unsightly manner.

I enjoyed making this one, especially since I remembered to add on the seam allowance while cutting, whew...though it's so oversize it probably would have still fit, haha. As this is my first Burda, I didn't quite have a good handle on their sizing, so cut this all in size 44. I think next time I'll cut 42 at shoulders and 44 at hip for a better fit - this is a little larger around the bust than I'd prefer, and really a little larger all around than the model photo.

But with the triangular inset and the fact that I'm not unpicking a zigzag stitch from a sweater knit, I'm going with this look and calling this my Kimono Sweatshirt. On my next try I may follow Lisa's Carolina Handmade's lead and fold an inch out of front centre & back to get it a little closer fitting around the body.

I do love the way the back swings though!

It's super comfortable and matches wonderfully with my vintage Japanese beads (yay!) I wore it to work today and my very accommodating coworker once again took some quick snaps out in the blinding sun in our back parking lot. So please excuse my closed eyes in some of these photos :) In the sun I was quite comfortable despite the cold wind... Spring really is in the air. I'll have to wear this as much as possible before the weather turns and I start in on my summer dresses.