Thursday, March 30, 2017

March Wrap Up and April Plans

On Monday I posted this list on Instagram:

I had started on the velvet joggers for my daughter and was looking forward to whipping up the Kwik Sew wrap maxi dress to finish out March. 

And then this happened: 

I have influenza! Wahhhhhh! The body aches-oh my gosh. Fever, sore throat, headaches...I have been miserable. It's the first time I've ever had the flu and I've never had the vaccine. As I told a friend, I guess my luck ran out!

I blame going to IKEA and Mall of America on Saturday! So many people. So many germs!!

I have periods of time after sleeping and taking meds where I have a little energy. I don't think I'll be sewing any time over the next few days, but figured I could wrap up the month.

This month I sewed:

Burda 3/2017 #111 dress in cobalt ponte
McCall's 7562 dress in printed poly crepe
Burda 3/2014 joggers in royal blue velvet (WIP for my daughter)

I really love both dresses!! They are on opposite ends of the wardrobe spectrum but both so cute and wearable!

I bought a lot of fabric this month!
2 FM orders - one I snagged a bunch of knits and the other I got a mix of stuff.
Craftsy order - navy Kaufmann cotton gingham to copy a J.Crew dress
Amazon via - Telio raw hide faux leather (here). This fabric looks decent online. I bought it to make a skirt so we'll see how that goes whenever I get around to it. I paid a little more for it on Amazon but then I didn't have to pay for shipping so it was pretty much a wash.

For April, I probably won't get to the Butterick jacket.  I do want to make the other things to take on vacation:

Kwik Sew 4169 maxi

McCall's 7577, the romper, sleeveless
Burda 4/2016 #112

Burda 4/2017 #107

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Finished: McCall's 7562


Eek! I fell for this one right away and decided I had to have it when I booked the Disney vacation. Right away, I also knew I'd be using this fabric. It's a precut piece from Fabric Mart. I had 2 yards and would be cutting it close. 

I ended up having to cut on the crossgrain to get the pieces to fit. I also didn't have any option to try to match the motif at the side seams. I cut a size Medium and made no fit adjustments. I had to change some things about construction as this poly crepe is extremely spongey and takes a lot of work to press.

The ties on the sleeve are supposed to be folded in fourths (press a center line, press each side to the center, fold the entire thing in half and topstitch). Nope. I ended up just sewing a tube and turning it. I used a 3/8" seam so it wouldn't turn out too narrow. It's slightly wider than intended, but that's okay.  I also left off the pockets.

The cold-shoulder was serged, double-turned and topstitched. The sleeve hem was serged and turned up just once and topstitched.

The front placket was to have seam allowances pressed in place before attaching but I couldn't do that. I attached it to the front and then worked it out! I had my front looking pretty good but then realize I didn't fully catch the under placket. I had to rip it out, which the crepe didn't like, and now I have a bit of a fold there. I think with the print and a necklace, it's fiiiiine.

That spot where the print is lightened? That's from me unpicking. 

I have fairly narrow shoulders so the neckline doesn't sit open enough to show the split neck on me. 

The bias neck binding is attached and then the front placket encases it.

Double turned hem

Lastly, the dress has a faced hem. It's a nice detail with the shaped hem but I decided to leave it.  Before I hemmed it I was not happy about the length. It felt very nightgown-ish. But then I hemmed it and it's okay!! It could be a *tiny* bit shorter but I like it. I could do with a slash and spread on the back for the bum. Another 1-2" right at the butt would be perfect.

I want to make the longer view too and could see making the others as well! I predict this pattern will definitely get some mileage this spring and summer!

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Burda Challenge March: 3/2017 #111

As February ended, I realized the wardrobe contest wasn't going to happen and started planning other sewing for March. I passively added this dress and then was all...'heyyyyy. I may need to do that ASAP!" :)

I hadn't touched the machines in a minute and decided to start something easy before tackling another pair of jeans.

This is the petite pattern for March and Burda petite patterns fit me so well! The *only* thing I have to adjust and end up forgetting is the position of the bust darts. On the straight pattern it's okay, on the petite patterns it comes up a bit high. I have to remember that! I could have also added  a small wedge to the back skirt to navigate the butt.

I used a size 40 at the neckline/arms, 42 for the bust, waist and front skirt and graded out to a 44 on the back skirt. A combo 14/16/18 (or 40/42/44 with Burda) is normal for me. The fabric is a nylon/rayon/lycra ponte from Fabric Mart (purchased about 6 months ago).

This sheath is quite fitted and the skirt is pegged nicely. With straight sized Burda I don't usually add hem allowances. With this one I added 5/8" and sewed a 3/4" hem. I also raised the armhole a bit (~3/8") to account for making it sleeveless).

The facings fit nicely. I tacked them at the CF seam and the armholes. I decided to do binding on the armholes. I cut a strip 1" wide, stitched, graded the seam, turned in and topstitched with a twin needle.

The hem is topstitched as well:

I'm liking the narrower twin needle lately. I almost never get any tunneling.

I used an invisible zipper and then when I tried it on to decide on the hem, I put it on over my head. But it was a little tough so I am definitely pro zipper in this one. Especially with the close fit.

I was soooo close to perfection here. That doggone right bodice dart. You can see it came up just a bit short and therefore doesn't line up perfectly.

So. The twist front. 

This pattern was the sewing lesson of the month - the one that is in the paper part of the instructions, not the glossy part of the mag. The photos included with this aren't that helpful, IMO. But again, I find twist fronts always a bit confusing. 

It took a minute. And in the end I had a 'Oh-What-The-Hell-Ever' moment.



Like, I had to show my kids it was so bad. LOL!!!! I'm sure someone else will make this pattern and will fully understand what was supposed to be done - and share it with the rest of us!!! I made it look right on the outside and worried not what the interior looked like. 

I ADORE the neckline on this! It's slightly wide but not too much so, and slightly scooped. Just perfection. 

I could see this being made again for sure. Maybe even with sleeves and a properly sewn twist! :-p

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Simplicity 1499 Vest

This pattern is at least 3 years old and there are a decent number of reviews. Primarily on the quilted version since that was (is?) such a popular RTW style. But view C had the bones of what I was looking for. Score!

I had the smaller envelope and went with the size 14. I decided not to do any FBA or anything and I thought the princess seam was more of a style line. I should have lowered the bust point a tad. Ah well. I don't mind it being "too small" technically through the body. I want it open and it hangs as I envisioned it. I did sew 1/2" side seams after getting it mostly assembled.

The collar instructions are weird. I don't know why they didn't just include a back facing. Booooo Simplicity. So that area isn't very clean on mine.

I also decided to add princess seams as style lines in back to mimic the front. Again, too, too proud of myself for this.  These are the types of details I would look for and buy a whole new pattern.

I decided to topstitch all the things


I went with inseam welts which seem so straightforward but always cause me a tiny bit of head scratching. I used a navy and white polka-dot cotton for the pocket bags. Beware, these are some T.I.N.Y. pockets. 

The armholes include a 3/8" seam allowance. I cut strips 1.5" wide and applied it to be visible on the outside. It's a very subtle detail but it just works for me!!

As you can see in this photo, I'd attached epaulets. But then decided I didn't like them so I removed them. 

Fabric is a cotton twill from Fabric Mart. Not so easy to cut, very easy to sew/press/topstitch. 

Excuse my leggings. I worked from home the end of the day and had a "OMG I HAVE DAYLIGHT!!" moment and decided to get pics.

 If I had any reason to sew it again I would lower the bust point, narrow the shoulder a touch and draft a back facing. 

Really love this one though and it'll make a fab addition to my wardrobe.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Grey Skinny Jeans...

GASP! An actual review! LOL!

Before time slipped completely away from me on the contest, I'd sewn the unreleased Baste and Gather jeans. Because I'd planned to follow my B+G skinny jeans with the flares, I was going to review them together. But alas! :) My hands aren't cooperating and I have to rest them before cutting out some more denim.

I've dealt with carpal tunnel and tendinitis in some combination for 20 years. I've tried it all people. lol! Well, I want to try acupuncture. And I was recently put on to kinesio tape, which actually helps! Anyway...

The Kendall skinnies were to be based on the same fit of the Birkins from the hip up - very fitted with a slightly high-rise. Lauren, the pattern designer, went back and forth quite a bit tweaking the Kendalls and in the end decided to scrap the pattern. She wasn't happy with the fit through the legs.  I never got the last revision of the pattern - I think those who volunteered to officially test did. So my pattern was from the very early stages.

Right away, looking at the pattern paper, I realized the leg was too straight. There was not much contouring, which won't work for a skinny jean. 

Look at how straight the leg is!

Here is my try on, pinch out, stitch, rinse/repeat:

I may have fitted them a wee bit too tight through the calf but that's an easy fix should I make them again.

The other part, I think, true skinny jeans just require a stretch woven. It seems too difficult to get a close fit like that with zero Lycra. This denim is a cotton/poly/lycra blend (which I don't care for stretch wovens on my lower half but if I must wear a stretch denim, I prefer this blend). I got it from Hancock Fabrics some time ago and was happy to finally sew this denim up! The only thing is, I swear I prewashed this cut of fabric. And yet, when I washed the final jeans, they came out of the dryer looking like they've seen months of wear. That's not a bad thing aesthetically, but it makes me wonder about wear in the long run.

Another fabric-related thing to note; when I topstitched my rear pockets, they stretched out a bit. Using the pattern piece as a guide, I steamed them back to the right size:
When doing something like this before the iron is nice and hot/steamy and allow the pattern piece to fully cool before moving it.
I've mentioned this before I think...and I've passed this tip along to others on IG sewing jeans. For the longest time I couldn't remember where I learned it but a little sleuthing turned it up! I found this through a post by Emily Fournier of Jalie. For whatever reason, attaching a denim waistband (I've never tried it with other pants) to the inside first and THEN folding to the outside and topstitching, results in a much cleaner finish. Whenever I've mentioned this and someone has tried it, they've RAVED about it. So I wanted to be sure credit was given where it was due! I can't find the original blog post but snagged this photo from Pinterest:

I don't even press the seam allowance up before hand. I do it after it's been attached.

The original reason I found this blog post was an even handier trick re: the waistband. For those of us with pronounced curves in our back, stopping jeans from gaping is always at the forefront!

The CB seam of the waistband is sewn with a wedge. It's 5/8" (or whatever your SA is) and tapers in at the center, and then back out to end at 5/8" on the other end. For this pair, I went in a total of 1 1/4". This gives a noticeable 'dip' on the waistband but not so on the body. I didn't transfer this to the paper pattern as I assume the amount I'd need to take in may be fabric dependent. At any rate, NO GAPING!

Lastly, after trying them on so many times trying to tweak the leg fit, I found the back had stretched out a little bit. I ran a basting stitch and eased it up just so that it was back to 'normal'.

My topstitching was done with doubled thread - nice for matching or choosing whatever sort of contrast you wish without trying to track down topstitching thread! Another technique is to use the stretch stitch but I find that so time consuming. I only use that stitch through the seat of my pants/trousers for extra strength. And I'm always #overit by the time do that back crotch seam! LOL!

1 1/4" hem: 5/8" folded up twice

Fun polka-dot cotton poplin as pocket bags.
(see what I mean about them looking well-lived in already?)
I think they are so cute and a nice basic, making them worth all the fiddling!!

The top is M6702, previously blogged here. I can't wait to wear this for summer. That cut out is so cute...and I can dig cute hi-low hems like this one!

You can see they're a little snug on the calves...otherwise, I think jeans + leg wrinkles = totally normal.

While making them I wasn't too jazzed about trying to make this pattern a TNT. But I think it's worth it. They fit so well otherwise!! Minor changes for next time: lower the front rise just a little bit more (maybe 3/8") and narrow the belt loops. And aside from that, try to perfect that fit from thigh-to-knee-to-calf. I do LOVE the leg opening though. They look great with heels!

Up Next:
Finishing the olive green vest and then hopefully I can make the flares. If not, I'll get started on the dress from 3/2017 Burda mag.

And after THAT...vacation sewing! YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yep, I'm *that* excited! I had a somewhat hellish 2014-2016 and am stoked to be taking my giant babies to Disneyworld! I'll have to post plans for a vacation mini-wardrobe.

Until Later!