May 29, 2010

What's on the sewing table....

First up: an in-progress look at my latest rendition of New Look 6407 (which is still up for grabs on the giveaway--the pattern, not this shirt!) I still need to sew down the facing in the back of the neck, add the sleeves, add buttons/buttonholes, and hem it. I was hoping to get some time to work on it today, but other things (which will be revealed in a few paragraphs) took precedence today.

Check out this plaid-matching job! Seriously! That's the side seam and a back dart, and the stripes actually line up! It's not perfect all the way up, of course, because there's this dart that kind of throws off the groove, but still!

(And yes, Marmota, I guess I do have a bit of a thing for green! That and blue kind of fight for the top spot on my favorite colors list...it honestly depends on the shade, my mood on any given day, what I'm wearing, etc.)

Also, no, I didn't pick this color so that I could camouflage myself against the wall!

And that other thing that took precedence today: the muslin for my jeans class on Pattern Review. Which I'm not posting pictures of me actually trying on, because then my blog would get flagged for inappropriate content. Plus my mom reads this.

Let's just say that it needs a LOT of work. I'm using Jalie 2908, which seems to be the sewing blogosphere's favorite jeans pattern ever. So far, the pattern doesn't seem to like me so much! The good thing: I can actually pull them up over my legs, which is already a huge improvement over my first jeans pattern. The bad things: that gaping hole in the crotch is because the basting stitches snapped completely in the front as soon as I pulled it on, I can't quite pin it together across the top to get an accurate idea of how the front fits (and honestly, my stomach is pretty flat!), I think the inseam might be a little too short above my knee, and even when standing, my underwear is quite obviously showing! Thus the lack of action shot. I posted to the class instructor, and she at least pointed me to what I should try to fix first...I'm thinking it's a good thing I decided to go with 1" seam allowances for fitting purposes, instead of the 3/8" ones that the pattern called for! (She also suggested that part of the problem could be that I'm using non-stretch muslin on a stretch jeans pattern, and apparently I should have traced a size larger...I just don't want to use stretch denim yet because they always gap in the back for me!)

May 24, 2010

Pattern giveaway!

(Or, how my complete lack of organization can be your gain!)

So I'm giving away my favorite blouse pattern, New Look 6407. After yesterday's decision to revisit this pattern for my plaid shirt rather than the less-than-flattering Burda pattern I'd originally picked out, I discovered that my instructions were missing! See, I'm not the most organized person around by far. I have this bad habit of leaving scraps and pattern pieces and such from my sewing projects on the table rather than putting them away when I'm done sewing. And sometimes I've lost things this way. Apparently these pattern instructions are the latest victim of such--I looked around in several pattern bins and around the sewing table, but to no avail. (And things are actually pretty clean right now, since I did a pretty major tidying up several weeks ago, so I know it's not hiding under something!)

It's not like I've never made a blouse before, but I didn't trust myself to quite remember how to do the slanted facings right. And if I ever make the tied-sleeve view again, I definitely wanted the directions for that! So I bought a second copy of the pattern today. And since I don't need two, I'd love to give it to one of you! (Pretty good timing, since I realized that yesterday's post was #450, and it's been awhile since I've done a giveaway, so let's celebrate that, shall we?)

About the pattern: It's size 10-22, and completely uncut and unfolded (save the directions, which I photocopied tonight.) It's both a great basic blouse and a really good one to customize, since the lines are pretty simple. I'm going to leave this giveaway open for the next two weeks, until June 7. To enter, just leave a comment on this post and I'll draw a random number after that!

These are the two looks I've made from it so far--this one straight out of D, (scroll down to see), and this one, which is a version of A that I modified to give the stripes a chevron effect. Just to give an idea of the next version...
Attempting to match up the stripes....hopefully it worked! (At least I know the back is pretty much straight...)


I'm attempting to make a cuffed sleeve. We'll see if this works!

May 23, 2010

What else I've been up to lately....

First of all, a note on the Jane pajamas...they do fit!! (Wearing them right now, actually.) Though I think that the next time I make them, I'm either going to have to add a little bit to the side seams, or use a fabric with stretch--there is basically no ease at all! Maybe I should have made a size up....oh well.

Other than that, here's a little of what I've been up to lately. (Besides watching the Lost finale, which I'm doing as I type! On commercials, of course.) I didn't design these bracelets, but I've been making several of them for my friend whose daughter died last July. She had a whole bunch of them made before to give out to the members of her rather large extended family, and is having a few more made to give to her daughter's closest friends and her ballet class.  A heartbreaking job-- I wish that my friend didn't have to do this--but I'm glad I can do a little something to help her through her grief.

Aside from that, I cut out two muslins yesterday, and basted one of them together enough to realize that the pattern isn't going to work on me without some reeeeeeeeally major tweaking. Like dropping the empire waist all the way down to my natural waist--it's the type of empire-waist top that just doesn't work on my figure, apparently. So I'm going to be making this particular plaid shirt out of my tried-and-true New Look 6407 instead. Hoping to cut that out tomorrow.

May 20, 2010

Bonjour, mademoiselle Jane!

...and that pretty much exhausts all of the French I know. Unless I want to count to three, or start singing "Frere Jacques", or start quoting Monty Python and the Holy Grail.  ("Fetchez la vache!!") Hey, don't look at me like that, the only language options I had in high school were Spanish and German, and I went with the latter. But anyway, it seemed like a fitting way to show my next finished project, which I finished yesterday (except for pressing).

So I've had this fabric in my stash for quite some time. It seriously might have been something like five or six years. I'm not really sure why I bought it, to be honest. I've never really been a Francophile--my European interests lean way more strongly towards the UK/Ireland/Italy. Also, pink is my least favorite color, and I generally go out of my way to avoid wearing it. As you can see, it figures quite prominently in this print. I'm also not entirely certain why I kept it after I freecycled a good chunk of my stash last year, to a woman who wanted to get started with sewing. I was probably thinking that giving her a slippery, silky fabric that frayed easily would be a great way to get her to give up in frustration. But it was time to get it out of my stash, and I needed summer pajamas, so here we go...

Pattern: the Jane Pajamas from BurdaStyle

Pattern Description: from the website: "A delicate and delightful set- neglige and shorts!"

Pattern Sizing: 32-44. I went with a 38.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? The top does. The shorts are close, but I made mine longer.

Were the instructions easy to follow? I have to admit that I didn't really look at the directions for the shorts-- I've made PJ shorts/pants often enough that I know the drill. The only thing about the top that I wasn't entirely clear about was how to attach the straps in the back, but I winged it and it was fine.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? It came together pretty quickly. And I'm actually pleasantly surprised at just how well the top fits! (I haven't actually tried the shorts on yet, so I hope they're ok!)

Fabric Used: See above. Aside from that, polyester silky print.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I added about 3 inches to the length of the shorts--they were practically underwear length! The only change I made with the top was to eliminate the bow. This fabric made it frou-frou enough without adding that. (There you go, more French!)

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Provided that it fits ok, I definitely will. Especially the top. Though maybe out of a fabric that has a bit of stretch instead of a straight-up woven...

And now, back to work on my top-secret BurdaStyle related project. Curious? All will be revealed in due time...

May 19, 2010

Why, hello, my neglected blog!

Been a little lax on the posting lately, but rather than do one super-long post, I'm going to just do a couple of short ones.

First on the menu: My (now actually completed) basic black skirt! I finished this one officially about 2 weeks ago, I think.

Pattern: Skirt #104 B from the 2/10 issue of Burda

Pattern Description: An A-line skirt with waistband and side pockets.

Pattern Sizing: 34-44. I think I ended up starting with a 40?

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes, minus the buckle things on the pockets.And the waistband is a little different.

Were the instructions easy to follow? Typical Burda--I couldn't make sense of their pockets at all, so I ended up using a different sewing book as reference. (And then went on my own to do a couple things, ended up doing things in the wrong order, and having to improvise from there!

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? It's a really good basic skirt pattern that would have a lot of versatility. I just wish the pockets would lay flatter. (Though they don't look too bad from the side...)

Fabric Used: A linen-blend or linen-look.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: What I ended up doing with the waistband was I sewed in the invisible zipper before I sewed that on, and I was supposed to make the invisible zipper part of that center waistband seam. So I had to improvise a lapped waistband with hooks instead-- I just didn't want to undo the invisible zipper, because it was one of my better zipper jobs! I think it would have looked better in the end with the zipper done the way they said to, but oh well. That's what I get for not paying attention to the directions. I also added a bit of length. And I altered the waist/hips area in accordance with my skirt sloper pattern from the skirt-fitting class I took last fall, though I ended up having to take it in even more. (I'd better check that sloper...)

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes, I think I would sew it again. A-line skirts are my favorite, and I like the idea of having a go-to pattern with pockets!

Conclusion: Aside from the pocket instructions, I think this was a good pattern to work with.

Back with more later-- I have to take my serger to the repair shop, and I have limited time before I have more work!

May 8, 2010

Darn you, Pattern Review!

I had my next several sewing projects plotted out--I even made a list at work the other day to figure out a good order to work on things in. I even started on that list yesterday (at least until I had to stop for reasons I will disclose later in this post), and then you just had to go and offer a jeans-making class! Which of course you knew I couldn't resist signing up for, since I've been trying for what, 2 or 3 years now to get a decent pair sewn up? And especially drawing me in with that class outline saying that two of the topics covered would be denim selection (since that was probably the first major problem with the ill-fated jeans of last summer) and adjusting the pattern to avoid things like gapiosis (which is always a problem with my jeans, and the fit of the last pair wasn't so hot overall either).So much for the best-laid plans....but at least I'll (hopefully) get a successful pair out of this!

I also ordered this pattern, which I've heard a lot of good things about both from PR and from sewing bloggers that I follow. I'm hoping it will be nicer to me than this one, which was a resounding failure on me and didn't even make it past the muslin stage. And let's not talk about that self-drafted one that I had to make out of masking tape....it fit better, but was still somewhat disappointing. I guess that's what I get for using "imperfect-but-basically-best-fitting jeans", as I put it. Oh wait, I guess I just talked about it!

Well, the class doesn't start until the 26th (which is fortunately after I'm done with band for the school year and will therefore have a little extra time!), so I've got a little bit of time. And as I said, I did start on some other projects. Like, for instance, I had an idea awhile ago to turn this sweater into a more summery cardigan. I picked it up at the thrift store earlier this year with the intent to wear it as a winter layering piece, but the open-knit parts of it made it not work quite so well for that purpose, and then I got one I liked much better off of the clearance rack at Kohl's. So my idea was to cut this one up a bit, serge the edges to keep them from unraveling, and piece it back together so I'd have a shorter, waist-defined, short sleeved cardigan that would still preserve that cool zig-zag hem. The kink in the plan is actually my serger, sadly...I don't know if it just didn't like those more open bits when I was trying to go along the edges of the stripes in the chopped-off middle section to use as a waistband, or if something just went really weird in the mechanism, but I had to stop using it because one of the needles is now hitting one of the loopers. I replaced the needle twice (I had to do the first one because it broke), checked the instruction manual, cleaned it, oiled it, tested it again multiple times with just turning the wheel,and it's still making that clicking noise and rather obviously hitting the looper. So I'm not really sure what to do with it at this point, other than take it to the repair shop! :-( So I had to abandon that project for now, as I don't have quite enough serge-edged pieces to start sewing it. But hopefully I'll get this taken care of quickly, as I'd like to have it for my projects again soon!

On a brighter note, I did cut out a pair of summer pajamas today, which I just might be able to get sewn together quickly. Since I can't use the serger right now, I'm thinking I can either zig-zag the fabric edges or just trim them with pinking shears to keep the fabric from unraveling. The latter might be more comfortable, actually, and since they're just pajamas, I can probably be a little more lax on the inside finishing than I've been allowing myself to for awhile now. (And this one was on the planned summer sewing list-- #7, to be exact. I did decide to go with the Jane pajamas, and it's probably a good thing as I had barely enough fabric to do it! Particularly since I'd already lengthened the shorts...)

Oh yeah, and the black skirt is done as of Wednesday night. Or yesterday, I suppose, as that's when I pressed the hem as the last detail. Just haven't taken pics yet.

May 3, 2010

A somewhat overdue baby gift

I'm not sure how many of you remember around 14 months ago, when I was going crazy with trying to finish up DIY preparations for this wedding. Well, guess what? A week ago Saturday, the bride had her first baby. And this past Saturday, I finally finished up her baby gift that I started, oh, back in January. (Sheer laziness on my part, as all I needed to do was sew on four sets of snaps!)
A shared love of all things Lord of the Rings was pretty much what got our friendship started, so I thought it only fitting that her baby gift would be connected to that. You know, so she can start raising their daughter properly in all things geeky right from the beginning. So there's a white horse on green (for Rohan), a white tree on black (for Gondor), and since her favorite race is hobbits and her favorite color is cobalt blue, two appropriate hobbit quotes from the movies. Um, yeah, I should probably iron these before I mail them to her...

And a closeup of the Gondor/Rohan bibs. Which I actually made twice, since I sent those to another fellow LotR fan friend who had a baby back in January. (I've also had a couple of other friends tell me that they'd like me to revive this project for when they start having kids! Not that I blame them...should I ever be lucky enough to get married and have kids myself, I'm so making another set for me!)


It hasn't all been geekery around here...I also had some fun with fabric shopping over the weekend while visiting my friend Nicole in Philadelphia. These are only two of the four pieces I bought. The floral print is destined to become this dress, which I picked up the pattern for recently since I've been wanting a maxi-dress. This particular pattern looked like a good bet for me, since it's fitted with darts in the back and therefore won't be so baggy all around the waist. (Also debating whether I should reduce or eliminate the front gathering, since that tends to make me look somewhat pregnant. And whether to make the neckline/empire waist bands out of the same fabric, or make them black.) I'm not sure what to do with that blue stuff yet--it's 2 yards of a sheer, shimmery blue/gold. It was just pretty, and only a dollar a yard!
And remember this fabric? 
I was originally thinking of using it to make this jacket-looking shirt thing. But the more I was thinking about it, the less satisfied I was with that idea. So I found this pattern, which I think will be a much better use of the print. I wasn't sure what to use for the band and ties, but I found a seafoam green fabric at that same store where I got the print and sheer stuff. (It's just currently in the dryer, so no pics.) I'm also going to use it inside the shirt, as the fabric is just a liiiiiiittle bit on the see-through side. I'm just trying to figure out from the instructions whether it would work better to use it as a lining or an underlining...

I did get one other small piece of fabric, which I'm going to use to make straps for this great dress I found at Buffalo Exchange. (No pics of that yet either, as it's still hanging up to dry.) Figures, that the day after I buy fabric to make a maxi-dress, that I find one at the thrift shop! Found a couple of other fun things there... I think I'm going to have to do a thrift store update soon!

I'm almost done with the skirt--fixed the fit of it yesterday, and just need to finish some handwork. Hopefully tonight or tomorrow. And then I think a little bit of refashioning is in order...trying to figure out whether to make that Simplicity top next, or a pair of pajamas....discovered this weekend that the elastic in a pair of mine kind of bit the dust, and honestly, it'll be a lot easier to just make a new pair than to replace the elastic in the shorts of this one!