Fall is in the air

I stopped by Jo-anns to pick up some new patterns while they were on sale 3 /$5. Of course I wavered and ended up looking at fabric as well. For fall the had a huge selection of plaids in and I just couldn’t resist. At first I picked up 5 bolts but I was able to narrow it down to 2. The fist is a blue and black tartan plaid in brushed cotton. I intended to take a picture but it’s currently in the wash.  The second is a rayon plaid, its description says orange and grey but I think its more tomato red.

I just fell in love with the hand of this fabric. It is so soft and flowy which is a delight to wear. Unfortunately that means its a nightmare to sew. My biggest issue was that the fabric just seemed to grow and stretch and shift. I took my time and i’m pretty pleased with the result. I did add some interfacing to the pocket because I just couldn’t get it to sit still otherwise. Its a little stiff as a result but I think a few washes should remedy that. Since I was tired of making shirts I decided to add  an extra front yolk detail on the bias to change things up.

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Did you notice? I cut my hair…also I was so eager to start wearing it that I still haven’t gotten around to putting buttons on it yet. whoops. Unfortunately the grey buttons that I just put on Tony’s shirt would have been perfect for this one so its back to the store for buttons before this could really be called completed.

 

 

Dressing my man

I almost forgot to post this week! I started my new job, which has been stressful. Im such basket of anxiety when it comes to change. I hope things will work themselves out. I just have to make it over this hump.  To make things more stressful for me Tony was on a business trip this week so Uzzi and I had to face the first day alone.

In honor of his trip I made him a new shirt.

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This was really just intended to be my practice shirt so I could work out some fitting issues but he ended up liking it enough to wear it. I wish I had gotten better thread that matched instead of just using what was in my stash.

The biggest change I made was to make the arms slimmer. This draft represents a 2″ reduction but he thinks the next shirt should have 3″ taken out. Other changes I would like to make grading in the shoulders and the waist just a tad.

The hardest part was the cuffs. The chimney placket gave me a fit so I ended up just folding it down . Turns out it didn’t matter because he rolled up his sleeves almost as soon as the shirt went on.

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One new technique that I did was to do Flat Felled seams around the arm holes and down the sides. I really like how they turned out. It seems very strong and feels nice against the skin.

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I am stoked at how the collar turned out. This is my fifth collar since I started sewing and my cleanest one to date!

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He told me he wore this shirt in New York with Khakis, Pink socks, and a blue blazer. Now that he has one shirt he is finally ready to pick some fabric out  for a truly custom experience.

 

To paint a picture

This weekend I just wanted an easy project to rinse away all the stress of the past few weeks. I had a yard of this fabric I bought months ago. It was the end of the bolt so I got a smoking deal…only $1.25 for the whole thing. It  was too short to work for most of my patterns but then I got the idea of making a blouse.  I selected Simplicity 1590

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It took some magical skills but I was able to fit all the pattern pieces on that tiny 1 yard of fabric.

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The fabric is a little coarse in texture and loosely woven but I still adore the print on it. It reminds me of a painters pallet. Once finished I tried it on with a bunch of different bottoms but nothing looked right until I stumbled upon this pencil skirt.  Who knows maybe  will find a job in an office some day and get to wear it.

And now for something completely different

Tony, lacking the double X chromosome, fails to see why I need a closet full of pretty dresses. He thinks I should work on projects that are more practical. Things that I could wear around the house. Things that look like store bought (the horror). In short the very antithesis of what I like to make. In an effort to appease him I picked up simplicity 1538 and some green plaid flannel.

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Darn it he was right. I have worn this shirt every night since I finished it. Its so soft, so comfortable, its like wrapping myself in a big lumberjack hug when I put it on. I can even do yoga in it!

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While the construction of this shirt is very similar to McCall 6696 Shirtwaist dress, its feel is totally different. I also got to use some more of my christmas presents. I used the button foot as well as the edge stitcher foot. I have to admit when I was using the edge stitcher foot for the top stitching the fabric kept pulling and dragging so I switched it out for the walking foot which was infinitely better. I think its the fabric’s fault and not the foot.

This shirt also has my first successfully set sleeves.  Look ma, no puckers!

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The cuff has a continuous placket. I learned that theses are only ever used in women’s wear so for Tony’s shirt I’m going to have to learn a chimney placket.

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I only did one pocket because it took me such a long time and I didn’t think that I was going to be able to do the second one exactly the same.

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My only real change to this pattern was to do a pleat in the back instead of gathering.  Jury is still out on how successful that was.

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Conclusion, practical has its place too….Now Tony thinks I should make jeans, I’m not sure I’m up to that challenge yet.

Nautical Blouse

I found this adorable Navy blue fabric with little gold anchors on it. I thought it would work really well with the Butterick 6217 pattern.

I did the sleeveless version this time and added 1.5″ to the torso length. Its official the arm holes on this pattern are drafted wrong. I had to cut the facing down by more then an inch AND widen the arm holes just to get the two pieces to fit together.

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Just for fun I used the alphabet feature on my sewing machine to write my name in the collar facing, like a label.

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I serged all the inside seams which was really fast. I’m starting to warm up to how this looks

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Unfortnatly I not as thrilled with the finished shirt. I think its more that Im not in love with how I look that the shirts fault….all those potato chips at work are starting to catch up with me.

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Finished Blouse

It is finally time to make the green blouse. I had trouble laying everything out. I ended up cutting out the mirror image of the pattern pieces so I could move them around and figure out where to put things. I “should” have had enough fabric according to the envelope but I didn’t. I ended up cutting a size down because it was the only way I could get everything to fit on the fabric. I knew from the muslin that the shirt was sort of big so I thought it would work.

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I went ahead and just used the dark green binding. I think i’m starting to get the hang of the binding now though it is still tedious. Tony asked if there was an easier way and I told him about overlocking and sergers. He promptly looked on Amazon. Me thinks a serger might be in my Christmas future. My only qualms with a serger is at the end of the day it just doesn’t look as nice as these bound hems. It seems more commercial and missing the love. Sure it would save me time, but its not like i’m in a race to finish clothes.

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I used my moms advice and hand sewed the end of the sleeve to cover up the gathers.

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I was going to try a hand rolled hem and the tie ends. After 10 inches I wasn’t happy with how it was turning out so I ended up just doing a double folded hem.  The finished blouse is OK. I does fit a little tight around my hips due to it being a size down. I wore it today paired with jeans, riding style boots, and a chocolate corduroy blazer. I love the feel of the fabric but I have to say that I I like the drape of the white one better.

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In other news. I bit the bullet and bought a new sewing machine!

Goodbye singer (thats older them me)

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Hello Bernina!

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I can’t believe how quiet the new machine is. My singer was so loud that whenever I started sewing Uzzi (my cat) would bolt out of the room. I used my new machine to finish up the hem on my next dress and Uzzi was sleeping on the table the whole time. This machine has a crazy number of stitches, which Im sure i’ll never use,  but I ended up going with the 350 instead of the 330 because of the little lever on the right. It allows you to lift and lower  the presser foot with your knee so you can keep your hands on your project. The other most amazing features: 1) I can tell it to always end with the needle up, no more hand wheels 2) I can set it to always start and stop with with the back stitch so I will never forget.

Tony has already requested that I convert a pair of his jeans with a broken zipper into a button flap. I might need to do some practice before I tackle all those button holes.

 

Blouses, Billows, and Nail Biting

While on vacationing Seattle we went to a to District Fabrics.

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I was pretty excited since up until this point I have purchased everything form JoAnne’s which has a pretty limited selection. Although I was really eyeing some fabulous Italian wools I couldn’t imagine forking over that kind of money so I ended up with 2 yards of a beautiful kelly green silk with a sort of a herringbone pattern.

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My idea was to make this blouse from the McCalls archive collection (view A)

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I dutifully bought some silk thread as soon as I got home, I didn’t want to spoil the fabric with a thread that would distort it with the first wash. I laid the fabric out, placed the pattern pieces, and got stage fright. I suddenly was worried that I was going to ruin the most expensive piece of fabric I had ever bought. I decided I should do a wearable muslin first.

Back to JoAnn’s and I walked away with a white shirting fabric with a stipe woven in. At a 1/4 of the cost I felt much more comfortable If I screwed this one up.

As I had intended this to be a wearable muslin I didn’t take too much care to finish the inside. In fact the pattern itself has no finishing suggestions.  I found the sleeves to be interesting. I once again escaped having to do a set in sleeve. Instead is this kimono style with a gathered bit at the end which gives the impression of a nice billowy sleeve.

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The only part on the garment that I finished was the band around the lower arm. My thought was that this was the one part that would be rubbing against me so it deserved a little extra attention. I used  some of my massive amount of left over snug hug.

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Because I picked a stripe you can see the style lines a little better. The lower bodice is up and down but the top  is cut at a bias.

Sorry about the wrinkles. This fabric is not very wear friendly :(
Sorry about the wrinkles. This fabric is not very wear friendly 😦

The end result is OK. Im not a fan of how the tie works. It leaves a lot of extra fabric up top that looks a little messy and not very polished. The construction of the ties also serve to make you feel like you’re being swallowed by a giant origami puzzle until you can orient yourself. As for the fit, this pattern doesn’t have any fasteners which makes it very quick to sew BUT it means it has to have enough ease to fit over your head. I think that it looks a little big but I had so much trouble getting it on that I would be hesitant to size down.

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After seeing the finished blouse i’m not so sure if I want to use my fancy silk on this pattern. What to you think?