Sewing room updates

I finally bit the bullet and invested in some storage for my sewing room (all be it Ikea so it could have been a lot worse). Tony valiantly helped me assemble it and we were nursing sore hands for the rest of the day. I am very happy with how it turned out and now I can see all my pretty fabric so no more forgetting what I have. I got the high gloss in a muted grey turquoise color. I think it will look good in the room when I finally get around to painting it.

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I organized it by fabric type. From the top left: Denim, Patterns, Patterns, Summery Cottons, Interfacing (bin), Serger Thread and Embroidery Thread (drawers), Scissors/Rotary Cutters and Miscellaneous Notions (drawers), Bra Supplies (bin), Wools, Practice Fabrics, Silky Fabrics, Darker Cottons, Knits, 2 empties for uzzi to sleep in, and finally flannel cotton.  Seeing it all out like this my stash isn’t nearly as big as I thought it was so I guess I shouldn’t feel too bad that the Ikea trip also resulted in 2 more fabric purchases.

The first I am absolutely in love with.  It’s like this watercolor rorschach with some beautiful inky blues, greys and deep green hues. The camera does not do it justice.  The cotton is 60″ wide so the design is quite largeDSC_0944

 

Tony picked out this black and white graphic print. I’m not head over heals for it but it is so rare that he has an opinion on fabric that I thought I should at least appease him.

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He has already picked out the pattern for this fabric.

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The last new fabric addition came from ebay not Ikea but I thought I would show you anyway. It’s Irish Linen in a natural oatmeal color with some gridded see through bits. I read that repeated washings will soften it and relax some of the wrinkling linen is notorious for. This is after 2 washes. I might give it another 1 or 2 before I cut into it.

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My plans for this are a midi  sleeveless shirtwaist dress a la Vogue 8577 view B. I’m thinking it will be a comfortable dress for outdoor parties…like a BBQ 🙂

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Madlynne by Simplicity 8229

After all my successful Harriet bras I was ready to tackle some other underwire patterns. First I printed out the free Maya pattern by AFI Atelier but I got as far as sewing the cups together before I realized that they were about 2″ too big to fit in the cradle. I’m not sure what I did wrong but I binned it and moved on. Next up I chose another madlynne pattern. I read that a vertical seam cup is good for someone with my shape.

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Unlike the harriet bra this pattern calls for stretch lace and stretch lining.  Which makes it really comfortable but a little less supportive. Not that I need a lot of support.

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I love the shape these give me. If you asked me 2 years ago I never thought I would be confidant in a bra without pushup foam. Turns out all you need is a custom made bra to give you the look you want.

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I made an oops and didn’t cut down the bands to fit into my hook and eye so instead I scooped out the back and attached the straps in a U shape and put the adjusters on the front.

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McCall’s 6954 Reimagined as a shirt

I don’t know why but I have been on a floral kick lately.  Normally pink isn’t my color but my mom pointed out that this looks quite good with my skin tone so I guess it just has to be the “right” pink.  Having a bit of a tan doesn’t hurt either.   When I saw this lightweight floaty polyester floral at Joann’s I thought it was just screaming to be a tank top. I had previously deemed McCall’s 6954 to the don’t make again pile but I pulled it back out for this project because it had the racerback and floaty fit I was looking for.

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I cut off the pattern at 17″ below the neckline to turn it into a top. I cut the front and back on the fold and narrowed in just a tad on the side seams to allow me to get the shirt out of a single yard of fabric.

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The neck and armholes are finished with self bias binding folded to the inside and sewed down. Just like the last time I made this pattern I had a heck of a time getting it to lay flat along the curves. Even with extensive stay stitching and stabilizing tape I must have still warped it.  Despite that this was exactly what I wanted and was very comfortable on a recent business trip to San Francisco.

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This was a fast project and I can certainly see more of these floaty woven tops in my future.

My Cloth Habit: Watson and Harriet

I can not seem to stop making bras I never knew I would get so addicted.

First up we have a long line Watson bra and a Madlynne by Simplicity 8228 panty. For this I used a bra kit from Tailor Made. I only had scraps left but I was also able to squeze out the panty with some additional black mesh from my stash. These panties are intended to have scalloped lace on the sides so I had to do some alteration and and seam allowances to make it work.  The bra is super comfortable and good for yoga. The panties are a little too full coverage for my taste. Even my high waisted jeans don’t cover the top of these.

 

Next up was the reason I bought the watson pattern in the first place. My lemon bra! This lemon print cotton jersey from art gallery is quite expensive for me but luckily bras don’t take much fabric and I was able to get it off of Amazon so gift card to the rescue!  I actually made 2 pairs of panties to go with this bra but the other was in the wash.  The other pair is solid yellow with lemon on the sides like the panties above but done in a bikini style.  This is a fun set to wear but it does tend to show through light colored clothing.

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Next up was a sexy little nude number. I got about 12″ of this nude lace in a $5 grab bag from Tailor Made and I am pretty chuffed that I managed to get an entire set out of it. The main body of the bra is nude stretch mesh backed with non-stretch lining. As you can see it’s pretty see-through, incredibly breathable and perfectly nude!

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It was a struggle to learn how to sew with these light fabrics on my sewing machine but I haven’t had any issues for a while until it sucked the fabric into the faceplate when I was doing the bridge and left the fabric a little mangled.  I ended up fussy cutting a flower out of the lace scraps and appliqueing it on. It looks like it was always meant to be there!

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#thesewbackproject

A lovely young UK sewest Hobbling Handmades announced #thesewbackproject on March 30 unfortunately I didn’t find out about it until the last few days of June.

It’s time for a throwback! Recreate or make something inspired by an outfit from when you were younger, share it using the hashtag #thesewbackproject and tag me @hobblinghandmades.

Just my luck she decided to extend the deadline to the end of July and I was in!

I knew immediately what photo I wanted to work with.

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I would say I’m more on the “inspired by” track because I wanted to make sure it would be something that I would wear in my day to day. Instead of short sleeves I went sleeveless. I used my TNT Simplicity 1538 pattern and used the tutorial on grainline for altering it to make it sleeveless.   The fabric I used was a very lightweight indian cotton shirting in a creamsicle plaid.

I was lucky and had these pink buttons left over from my flamingo dress that matched perfectly

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I goofed and attached the back piece inside out. I don’t think you can notice other then the fact its an inverted pleat.

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I did french seams on the side and then sewed them down to look like flat-felled seams. Also can we just take a moment to notice the un-intentional pattern matching across the seam. I love when that happens

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Ideally I would have liked to use the Closet Case Morgan jeans pattern for the pants but I just couldn’t justify the pattern cost.  So I pulled out my Ginger Jeans pattern instead.  I used a grey blue denim from Colorado Fabrics that I got back in May and gold topstitching.  Just to be cheeky I used cotton scraps left over from the shirt for the guts of the jeans.

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I think these are my favorite me made jeans yet!   I still have a little excess fabric right below the zipper. I need to do some research on how to fix it. I wore them several times and then the zipper popped! I was so bummed. But I had originally used cotton for the fly shield and it was too thin so I was planing to replace it with denim anyway so I replaced the zipper at the same time.  As you can see all is well again.

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I appreciate this challenge because it  forced me to make an outfit that I probably wouldn’t have done otherwise but I think both pieces will get a fair amount of use in my rotation.

I will leave you with some out-takes….uzzi can’t resist a photo shoot!

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McCall’s 6754 : Flowery Scuba

One of my favorite youtube  sewers has a penchant for skater dresses in scuba. After seeing a handful of dresses by her I decided I needed one of my own. I used the same pattern as her (McCall 6754) but opted for the sleevless view.

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I don’t often see scuba knit at Joann’s but I did happen upon this heavyweight “tulip” print (looks like roses to me)  AND it was 60% off!  I bought 1 3/4 yards to make this dress.  I do think it is a little short  on me. I would like to make the long sleeve raglan view for the fall to wear with tights and if I do then the skirt will also be lengthened.

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Not much to say about the construction of this dress. It’s really a straightforward two dart bodice with a circle skirt. No lining, no closures. I like how the scuba gives the skirt some body.  With the leftover scraps I was able to make not 1 but 2 matching bra’s and a panty….because who doesn’t want matching underthings!

The first was a harriet bra by Cloth Habit. It fits me a lot better then the dress form. I used pale pint notions from Arte Crafts and pink mesh lined with powernet for the wings. The bridge, cradle, and lower cups are lined with non-stretch lining to keep everything nice and stable.

 

Then I made a longline Watson. I didn’t line this one at all so it’s more of a lounging bra then a supportive bra. I used leftover lemon strapping (from a yet un-blogged project). Pink picot and a cream hook and eye.

I used to have to temper my dress sewing doing one project off and one project on. Now I think i’m going to have to do that with bras because pretty soon i’m going to have one for every day of the month!

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New Look 6497

I picked up New Look 6497 because I thought the bodice lines looked interesting.

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I had fun with the fabric on this dress but I was too anxious about the fact that all my dresses are too tight to fit me lately and I got overzealous and made it way too big.

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For the inside of the bodice I did the reverse.

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I also used the yellow accent fabric on the back strap detail.

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I sort of lukewarm on this dress. I think the straps are just a bit too wide to be flattering and it needs to be taken in but I do like the fabric combination so perhaps I will warm up to it.

White Embroidered Dress

The last installment of my catch-up blogging is this lovely white dress I made just after Easter.  I used  my self draped bodice pattern from this dress and the box pleated circle skirt from Gertie’s Ultimate Dress Book.  I had originally purchased 4 yards of this white cotton from Joann’s but I didn’t have enough to do the skirt so I had to go back and buy another 2 yards to complete it. White I was waiting for a sale so that I could get the rest of the fabric I needed I decided to add some interest to the bodice with some embroidery.

I scoured pinterest and liked the look of this picture:

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So I adapted it to fit along the neckline and got this:

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I love the strap details on this bodice and I think they work perfectly with the neckline

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Along the hem I decided to try a new technique of Hem Stitching using a winged needle and the honeycomb stitch pattern on my bernina. I ended up doing two rows of hemstitching to help the 2″ hem stay put. Won’t be doing such a deep hem on a circle skirt again because it was a nightmare adjusting all the fullness out.

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The insides are pretty plain though I did do some bias binding around the zipper to help clean things up a bit.

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The finished dress makes me feel like I should be frolicking on the hillside of a french chateau…until then I wore it to a winery 🙂

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Mandy & Ginger

One of my goals for 2017 was to make Jeans and I am happy to say that I have succeeded!  So far I have made 3 pairs: 1 failure and 2 wearable. I have some really nice Cone Mill Denim but I want to really refine the fit before I cut into that fabric. That’s the problem with buying nice fabric, i’m too scared to cut into it. I also picked up some stretch denims from Colorado Fabrics. They were pre-cut lengths and I didn’t realize until after I pre-washed them that one of them is 45″ wide.  Mom suggested I make pedal pushers with it but Im not sure I can even make that work. Shorts maybe?

One of the things I purchased with my winnings from the Pattern review contest was the Ginger Jeans pattern. I have seen some excellent jeans come from this pattern so I know eventual I will get there.

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The first pair I made was using the skinny leg- high waisted view ( on the left). I used a very dark wash denim and some grey floral quilting cotton for the pockets and teal serger thread on the insides.

 

I used the pattern as drafted except I added 4″ to the bottom of the leg so that I could have a really wide cuff. I’m lucky if I can get RTW jeans long enough for me so having such a deep cuff feels very special.

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I really goofed the back pocket placement on these. The pockets were just so big and my back is soo small. I put them too close together because otherwise the would have been around the sides. I’m OK with is since I tend to wear skinny jeans with big billowy tops that cover my bum anyways. For the subsequent pairs I used the smaller pocket pattern piece from the low rise view.

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I learned some things from this first pair….firstly the importance of pocket placement. Also I found the rise a bit too high on me. The button in the front tends to rub against my belly button when I sit down which irritates the skin. Also these were a bit big, I accidently cut a hole in the side with my serger so I took in both sides by 1/4″ to fix it and the jeans are still seem more than generous.

For the next pair I used a stretch twill in olive. Based on the last ones I went down a size and just the low rise version. It was only supposed to be 3″ different. Well these were so bad they have been trashed before even getting a picture. The twill had considerable less stretch than the denim so going down a size made me feel like a stuffed sausage. Also the low rise was NSFW… unless you’re a plumber.

I went back to the high waisted version and just redrafted the front to be 1 1/2″ lower at the zipper. For this I used a light grey flannel backed denim. It’s super soft and very warm!

These jeans are almost perfect. I think I need to take out 1/2″ more from the front to be comfortable. Also I did a much better job with the pocket placement. I put fusible interfacing on the pockets before top stitching them but the one on the right had broken threads after just one wearing.

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This denim doesn’t have the best recovery so it gets a little baggy in the knees after a few wearings. The Cone Mill denim is supposed to be very good for that sort of thing so it will be interesting to see if I notice a difference.

 

Along with my skinny jeans I have been sort of obsessed with a free pattern I found online called the Mandy Boat Neck Tee. Its one size fits all and sews up in about 30 mins. For my first version I used a teal terry fabric that I got at Colorado Fabrics. I made it wrong side out because I liked the textured look of the terry.

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I love the boat neckline and the dropped shoulder. I did find the back a little tent like but that hasn’t stopped me from wearing it a ton before the weather started warming up.

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It wasn’t long before I had to make it again. For my second time around I took a triangle wedge out of the back to help it hang better. I also added a split hem that is longer in the back.

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The stripes help accentuate the dropped shoulder and this aqua teal is a personal favorite of mine. This is a ponte and has a little more stretch in the sleeves then the terry so it’s even more comfortable so thats a win in my book.

Harriet, Watson, & Madelynne Oh My: Bra Update

I have recently fallen down the bra-making rabbit hole. It all started with the Madelynne by Simplicity 8228

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I have actually had this pattern for quite some time but a quick perusal of the back showed that it needed all these things I had never used before. Picot? Powder Mesh? Stretch Lace? I never knew where to buy them so the pattern sat in the back of my closet unused. I was planning a trip down to Colorado Fabrics in May  and I figured they might have what I needed. Well they did have stretch lace but it was $10 a yard and since I needed 4ish yards  I wasn’t willing to spend that much on a bralette.  So I bit the bullet and ordered from Debs Lace and Trims  I bought Black, Purple, Cadet Blue, Teal, and Pink Lace. Everything came in 5 yd cuts and most were in the $1/yd range. I also picked up some picot and skinny elastic. From Fabric.com I was able to find the power mesh for considerably cheaper then the bra sites were selling it for so I picked up Nude and Grey. With all the accoutrements in hand I got to work. You will have seen the first bra on hear a few weeks ago. It was the racerback style in cadet blue with nude power mesh underlining.

While I was pseudo-happy with the results I wanted to make some changes. You’ll notice that the seam line falls about an inch to the outside of the apex of the breast. I have scoured the internet and I find this is true of every example I have seen made. I’m not sure if this was a stylistic choice by Madelynne but (to me) it gives a splayed shape to the chest which I find unflattering. For my next attempt I redrafted the cups so that the seam line is more center (along the princess seams of the dress form). I also left out the racerback because this detail looks nice but its quite high. While I am a millennial I’m not into the “look my bra is showing” trend.  It was fairly easy to just leave out the racerback pieces and add some straps instead.

I also want to note that I paid extra close attention this time to make sure my insides were much cleaner. I still didn’t use the spray adhesive, but I have bought it now so I can use it in the future.

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I was happy with how this turned out but lurking on all the bra-making blogs had me pining for something that looks a little more bra-like. The patterns by Cloth Habit seem to be fan favorites so I picked up the Watson (a soft cup)  and Harriet (Underwire) Bra Patterns.

I started with the Watson thinking that the soft cup would be easier to tackle first. Now having made both I don’t think there is a huge difference in difficulty between the two patterns and Underwires aren’t nearly as tricky as they look.  My first Watson was intended as a tester to narrow in on sizing. I sewed up  a 38A in a black 4-way stretch jersey with some miss matched notions from my stash. I stabilized the bridge with the black tricot fusible interfacing that I had purchased for my pencil skirts.

The verdict is still out on this one.  I don’t love the shape this gives me, that is to say I don’t love my natural shape and this bra doesn’t do anything to alter it.  The way I see it I have two options either a) use a smaller cup size so the cup shapes (squishes) the flesh in a more rounder shape or b)  perhaps the jersey recovery isn’t enough. I think this could be easily remedied by underlining the cups with power mesh.  I want to fix it but i’m too anxious to get a bra that works so I decided to set this pattern aside and work on Harriet.

The Watson bra calls for all stretch fabric whereas the Harriet uses a stable fabric  for the cups, cradle, and bridge. One blogger mentioned using silk charmeuse for bras as the ultimate in luxury…well I happen to have 8 yards of silk charmeuse wasting away in my stash. It came as part of a mystery fabric bundle purchased with my winnings from the Pattern Review contest. I don’t see me wearing a dress in this colorway but for some reason I think it works for bras.

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I used a pastel findings kit purchased from Tailor Made. These kits are an excellent deal. I find them much more economical than the full bra kits and the only extra things you need to get are the fashion fabrics and mesh. The kit is also pretty generous.  I actually sewed this up 3 times trying to get the right fit. I reused the strapping, underwire channeling, and hook & eye from bra to bra but the kit came with enough picot that I still have some left over after the third bra.

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As for sizing, first I made a 38A just like Watson. The band was way too big and the cups where fine on my larger size but a little generous on my smaller side.   I went back and actually  read the sizing directions and found out I should have made a 34C. If you are familiar with bra sizing you know that  these are sister sizes so the cups are the same between 38A and 34C. Since the first bra was a bit generous I sewed up the next as a 34B instead. This time around the band was way too tight.   I feel a little like goldilocks at this point, too loose, too, tight….the only thing left is “just about right”.  The cups felt right but I was getting a bit of “quad-boob” at the top which is normally an indication that the cup is too small. However I thought this might be happening because I stretched the picot too tight over the top edge of the cup. For the third bra I decided to sew a 36A. Which is a larger band but the same size cup. I didn’t stretch the elastic at all over the top of the cup. I am very pleased with the results.

I’m still having ever so slightly quad-ness with this size but with some tugging I think that I have identified that it’s a result of the straps being too short. I cut the straps at 18″ because I like the idea of it taking exactly 1 yard of strapping to make a bra but I think moving forward I could benefit from just a couple inches more on each strap. Unlike the Watson I think this was gives a nice shape. Probably because the stable cup fabric forces the tissue to conform to it and not vice versa.

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I noticed on my first two “practice” Harriets that the silk charmuse unraveled  like a beast. Since this pattern is unlined it made for messy insides. For this last bra I serged all the seams with matching thread and I am hoping this will keep it much nicer looking.

Now you might think that this was an awful lot of bra sewing but actualy I made all the bras from this post over the course of a single week. I can do an entire bra including cutting and sewing starting after my morning yoga and be done before our 11am walk. I can reasonable get 2 done a day if I wanted. Thats one reason why I am finding bra sewing very satisfying. Its quick but the result looks like a construction master piece. I have many many many more bras in my queue. Here is just a sneak peak.