Tuesday, August 26, 2014

My first, but not last Scout Woven Tee!

Introducing my first, and definitely not last, Scout Woven Tee!  Once again, what too me SO LONG???
For some of these Indy patterns, I truly feel like I am the very last person in the sewing world to try it.  There are so many pretty versions of this tee and I finally, finally gave in and purchased that damn pattern so I could make it!

Yes, so this is exactly what the pattern says, it is a tee made from a woven....not a stretch woven but a true woven and my fabric, that was from my stash, had zero stretch in any direction, even the bias!  It is a loose-fitting top because it slips over your head and down over your body with no zippers, nothing!

I decided to use a stash fabric because as much as I try, I can't seem to do a very good job of using up fabric before purchasing anything else so if every once in a while I use something I already have I consider it a huge bonus!

So about the pattern...super easy with a front, back, sleeve and neckband facing.  That is it which makes total sense when you look at the photo, amirite?  This is an ideal pattern for a beginner or someone leery of knits but wanting to learn how to construct a basic tee. All in the total time commitment from taping together the pdf to stitching the hems was about 1.5 hours.  That's it!  Yippee!

So, alterations since this is large were sort of significant.  I took out my usual 1/2" swayback adjustment and after trying it on when it was basted together, I ended up taking a total of ---wait for it--six inches from the hemline and tapering to nothing at the armhole.  What????  Yes, you read that right!  This was HUGE in the waist and hips.  And, it doesn't look that huge in the pattern photo above, right?  Here is what I am wondering....maybe I need to start using my high bust measurement for the bust and make a FBA....any thought on this for similarly built gals?  Also, the drag lines from the bust are significant too.  I may also have to add a dart....I think I will make a note to myself to try that for next time.

I made a size 12 based on my FBA but as I noted about took the hips and waist dramatically.  I don't think I want it any looser but tighter might be difficult as well.  Any thoughts on this problem?

Thanks for reading!  I do so look forward to reading your comments!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

McCall's 6886 Or ANOTHER floral dress!

 Ok, so I had no idea until today, August 24, 2014 that all the dresses I make that are floral print remind my husband of his great aunt who practically raised him when he was a youngster.  How did I find out?  Well, I went to ask what he thought of my new dress and he gave me the story of his aunt and how he'd have to go to lunch with her and her 'old lady friends' at places that serve food buffet style and how the dress I made reminded me of her.  What's wrong with this?  I am pretty sure his great aunt was in her 80's and I was thinking the dress was pretty cute until that remark.  I mean the fit is great and I was super proud of how well my neckline turned out.  On another note, I noticed how many floral dresses I've made lately and I am thinking I do nothing but make my husband think of his great aunt Della. 

M6886Line Art

So, back to the pattern and dress....
This is a very well drafted pattern.  It fits great with just enough ease to make it comfortable and not tight or restrictive at all.  I love the shaping at the waistline...not too much nor too little.  The length is awesome, a few inches above my knee which is perfect as well.  I also love the neckline options.  High neck, lower neck and a v-neck.  I made the lower neck, obviously.  I also love the sleeve variations and length variations that make this pattern versatile and a classic.

What is really awesome is that my fabric was left over and in my stash so this makes the dress basically free, right?

What I am proud of is how I finished the neckline.  What I did was to do the following:
1. Sew just one side of the shoulder seam
2. Staystitch the neckline
3. Attach stay tape to the RIGHT side of the neckline to further stabilize it
4. Attach the bias cut neckline's right side to the neckband's wrong side
5. Trim any staytape that is showing on the neckline's right side
6. Trim the seamline for the neckband seam to about 1/8"
7. Press the seam towards the neckband
8. Pin the neckband over the seamline and stitch with a stretch stitch a few millimeters from the edge
Check out your amazing work!

Also notice how clean the neckline is on the inside as well as the outside!!!!

Ok, so I like the dress better with the black belt rather than the sliver chain belt.  DH suggested the silver chain but I think the black gives it a nice contrast.  Believe it or not, I did my usual 1/2" swayback adjustment and I still have some wrinkles on the backside!  Argh!  Next time I will have to make a deeper swayback if I use this stretchy of fabric for this dress again.

This is a great pattern.  Just make sure that your significant other doesn't think about his great aunts when you choose your fabric.  If you think I look younger than 80 while wearing this dress, I'd love to hear it!

As always, thanks for reading!
Sue :)     

Stash buster playhouse complete!

So Simon's playhouse, I am proud to say was finished yesterday, just in time for today's birthday bash.  While it wasn't super excited about it at this point, as he gets older, he'll love it and spend a lot of time there. 

I had a blast making this.  I personalized it a lot as you can see from the embroidery I completed on it.  I finally had to say enough!  Some of these motifs took an hour each! 

The pattern directions were very straight forward and simple to read and follow.  I am not sure if I ordered the pattern pieces or not or just the directions.  I had to guess quite a bit on what the shapes were for the embellishments on the house.  They look at least close to being sort of right.  If I had a few pieces of advice I would recommend the following:
1.  Purchase your card table first, prior to constructing anything! 
2.  This takes quite a bit of fabric, about six yards or so total for the walls and roof.  Either use coupons or wait for a good sale.  I bought all my materials 50% off and this still cost about 45 to 50 bucks.
3.  Fit the roof before you do anything with attaching the walls.  My roof line had some curves at the edges which greatly effected the fit of the walls.
4.  After I pin fit the walls, I attached them with my serger.  The patterns recommend french seams, but I opted for a serger.

Have fun personalizing this and making it fun for the child and you!  My daughter and son-in-law love animals so I added the kitten and dog embroidery.  I also plan to 'mail' Simon some letters that he can add to his mailbox.   

Now to the important part: a picture of the birthday boy! 

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Saturday Stash Buster in Progress

Simon will be one next week (I can't believe it) and he is getting a playhouse from Grandma.  I can be a procrastinator, I mean I've know his birthday is late August for an entire year and I start on his playhouse a week prior to the big day.  What's wrong with this?  Well, I start back full-time this week and have to work five full days in a row (UGH!).  It will take some getting used to, I love having a few weeks in the summer free but back to work is an adjustment, mostly since it cuts into my sewing time.

I purchased this pattern from Empty Bobbin as soon as I found out DD2 was expecting.  Isn't it cute?  I mean, it has so many possibilities and with all the versions on pinterest, I would say people are letting their creativity roll!  

I wonder if it is possible I only ordered the instructions as I can't find the pattern pieces anywhere.  Hmmm...with the clock ticking and my sewing room at an all time disaster level mess wise, I just went for it.  As you can see, I have two walls complete and the third has been started.  Of course I made some modifications, why not?  

For some reason, I can't get the pictures turned 90 degrees so turning your head to the side will be a must!

I embroidered a dog, kitten, and ball on one side and the third wall I am currently constructing is expected to have a monarch butterfly, bees buzzing above the flowers and maybe ...... it all depends on how much time it takes to get this wall done.  The front door shouldn't take too long, but I do want to have some fun with the 'mail'.  I have photo cloth that I will use to write him some letters on my computer, complete with some stamp clip art.  I am just giddy with excitement at creating a toy that he will hopefully enjoy for hours and hours!  I know my own four children were almost always making a fort with lots of blankets, pillows, and such.  Luckily I was pretty patient when it came to that sort of play.  

More to come, but let's hope I finish in time for the big party!

Thanks for reading!

Friday, August 15, 2014

My Chambray Shirt!

So I finally found a fabric of high quality I felt was suitable to make a dark Chambray shirt that you see, well, everywhere!  They are so cute!  I had to have one, and of course, I had to make my own.  That is what us girls (and fellas) do when we want to create a garment and make it our own.

First the inspiration photo from a recent Eddie Bauer Catalog I received in the mail.  I like the more fitted silhouette and the contrasting top stitching.  I also really like the dark fabric, how cute!

So, I found a dark blue fabric in 100% cotton at a local quilt shop.  The quality is so unbelievable, that I feel like it is one of the nicer fabrics I have worked with lately.  I just love a beefy cotton that holds its shape, is pliable, and needle holes disappear if you take stitching out.  You know what I mean?

Next was to pick a pattern.  I thought about my recent success with the Grainline Archer which is so adorable, but after making three looser fitting tops, I really wanted one that was more fitted to match my inspiration top.  So, I was at JoAnns to purchase some notions and noticed that McCalls patterns were a mere 99 cents--yes, you read right, less than one dollar!  What's a girl to do but peek though the catalog and find a few patterns.    And, as you'd guess, I found 6124 which gave me the fitted shape I was looking for.
I choose view D with the long sleeves but the length of A-B.  Don't let the boring line-drawings fool you, this is a cute top!  I set off to get this top moving along.
Cutting out was simple and I was happy to find the sleeves for view D were two pieces.  Who makes a top with two piece sleeves?  Well, I did because that is what the pattern called for and I like that detail.  Besides, I had enough fabric, so why not?

I also used medium weight couture quality interfacing from Fashion Sewing Supply and my buttons were also from that source.  I just love their interfacing and now I am totally in love with the buttons as well!

I cut a size 14 in the bust and made a slight FBA but modifying the princess seam by extending it a 1/4 inch bigger than called for.  I graded down to a 12 in the waist and hips.  My usual alteration is a 1/2" swayback adjustment and I did that by making a wedge in the pattern piece at the back waistline and grading to nothing at the waistline seam.  After putting the top on early on in the construction process, I realized I needed a bigger sway back adjustment so I raised the back neckline by another 1/4".  I still have some wrinkles at the back waistline, but I am wondering if I have it too fitted?  Any fit experts out there that can help me and give advice would be much appreciated!

So when I constructed the collar stand, I decided to pull out a recent Threads magazine and use the steps an article by Louise Cutting uses to construct the collar and stand without and hand sewing--yep, you read right, zip, nadda, none!  Wow, this is a technique I will use from now on!  I loved it and it really wasn't any more work than putting in a collar and stand with a method mentioned in a typical pattern.

Here is what I did:
1.  Prepare the collar stand by making all the markings needed such as termination points for the collar and the pivot line.

2.  Next, after making the markings, I used my french curve and drew a line connecting the dots that followed the shape of the collar stand.
3.  Sandwich the collar stand pieces between the blouse with the interfacing side on the right side of the top.  Pin in place matching the markings.
4.  Fold the blouse back away from the collar stand to keep it free from the collar stand

5.  Sew the seam and then trim to 1/4 inch.
6.  Press the seam line open and pull the collar stand up and away from the top making sure you pull the unsewn seams that attach the collar upwards

7.  Stitch the collar sections together, trim, press and topstitch the edges

8.  Stitch the collar to the stand to the blouse's right side.  Keep the inside collar stand piece free.
9. Fold the collar upwards causing the remaining unsewn collar stand to fall into the seamline, trim, and press the free collar stand inside matching up the seamlines.  I used steam a seam to get everything lined up nice and pretty!

10.  Edge stitch the collar stand and hot damn, you are done.  This is one of the nicer collar stands I've made lately without handstitching!!!  Try this method, it works!

So....other than that, stitching this top up was pretty uneventful.  I do have to say that the sleeve seam was a little difficult.  The top portion of the sleeve set in beautifully but it was really hard to get the lower portion to lay as pretty as the top did.  Not sure what the issue was, but I need to remember that for the next time I make this top.

Next time, I will try the top on before I put on the buttonholes.  I don't mind where they are now, but I think that tops look better when there is a button at the fullest part of the bust.

Sleeve length is great for me and I am 5'7".  If you are taller or smaller, you might want to check that before cutting and sewing this baby out.

All in all, I like my top!  Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

A Mother of the Bride dress!

Not, not for me, both my daughters are married but a friend of a friend asked if I would create a dress for her from an existing dress she loves.  Why not?  I can do this, right?  Insert what was I thinking face here!  I've never done anything like this before, but I thought that I could find a similar pattern and tweak it.  Well, that didn't happen so I made a pattern from her existing dress and then transferred it to the lovely fabric she chose.

I wish I would have taken a lot more pictures but I didn't so you'll just have to read about what I did!

To make the pattern, I found a very light weight fabric with a good deal of body that wouldn't stretch out and that I could see through to drape over the existing dress.  I laid the existing dress on my cutting table and pinned the fabric over the top, drawing notches and such for the collar seams, the button placement, waistline and such on the fabric with a fabric marking pen.  Next, I unpinned the fabric from the dress, added seam allowances to the muslin and cut.  I sewed the dress and had her try it on.  As I was noting alterations, I made marks with the fabric marker all over so I would remember what I needed to do and when I took it off her, I made even more marks!

Next came the scarier part and that was to transfer what I needed to alter to the main fabric.  She chose this lovely black and ivory stripe from Hancock and it draped beautifully so that is what I went with.  I used Fashion Sewing Supply Interfacing in black and the lovely buttons she chose as well to give it a bit of sparkle.

The original dress was very casual with a great deal of topstitching on the button bands, around the armholes, and collar and I didn't want that addition so I left off those details and instead used either hand stitching around the armhole facings to hold everything in place or a blind hem along the button bands and the hem to hold things securely.  One of the things I noticed right away from the original dress was that there weren't any darts to give the bust line shaping so I added those and to give the back a little shape, I added darts as well. She didn't want a fitted dress, so this is more of a semi-fitted one.

Now that I look at the pictures, I should have straightened her collar a bit more, trust me, there isn't that wrinkle there when it is properly sitting on her neck.

All in all, she is very happy with the dress, which makes me very happy too!

So, have you done anything like this before?  Taken an existing garment and made a pattern from it, and then a finished dress or whatever you cloned?  It truly wasn't as hard as I thought it would be!  Now that being said, this was a super simple style.  Something more tailored might have given me a lot more headaches!

I hope to have a few 'professional' pictures soon of her all glammed up and wearing the dress.

Thanks for reading!