Sunday, December 30, 2012

Embrace Your Outer Diagonals

I've not posted for a while, and I have a lot of great excuses, but instead I'll regale you with horrible photographs taken last night about three minutes before we had to leave for a friend's birthday party.

I got the Sewaholic Refrew pattern from my brother this Christmas and had this blue and white striped cotton jersey in my stash waiting for it. 

You may notice that the stripes are not particularly horizontal. That is because my fabric is cheap crap. I mostly buy cheap crap so I don't have to worry about messing up or being frozen with fear to cut into precious cuts of fabric from far off places (I've got a great piece from my trip to italy over a year ago that is slated for a jacket that falls in this category). 

When I laid the fabric out, I was not so pleasantly surprised to find that the stripes were ridiculously off-grain. I decided to just go ahead and make it a possibly not/possibly so wearable muslin. Turns out, when you sew with wild abandon, magical Christmas surprises happen: 

Those smug smiles on my face are because of the stellar stripe matching that occurred no thanks to any clever cutting I did. I just cut full-steam-ahead and this pleasant surprise happened. The stripes ended up matching on the bottoms of the sleeves and even somewhat on the bottom and sleeve bands as well. 

And the fit... this is my new tnt top. It's seriously fantastic, fast and easy to sew. And it fits my lifestyle of t-shirts and jeans. 

My official pattern review: 

Pattern Description:
The perfect basic tee! The Renfrew Top is a fitted knit top with sleeve and neckline variations. View A has long sleeves and a scoop neckline. View B has short sleeves and a deep V neckline. View C has a dramatic cowl neckline and three-quarter length sleeves.
I made view B with A sleeves.

Pattern Sizing:
0-16. I made a 6 in the bust and waist grading to a 2 in the hip

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?

Were the instructions easy to follow?
Very easy, plus I had read through the tutorials/tips on sewing for knits that Tasia posted on her blog before I got the pattern, so I was very prepared.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I like everything. I put off getting this because its "a basic t-shirt pattern", but it is so worth it. 

Fabric Used:
Cotton jersey. The stripes were printed WAY off grain, so I just went with it and had some pleasant surprise stripe matching in the outcome.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
There is some gathering under the arms in the front that I've noticed in other versions, and I'm not sure if a tuck above the bust would eliminate this or cause more problems. Right now, it fits the same or better than a rtw top, so I'm inclined to leave it alone. The sizing was right on (just the Minoru jacket I made a few months ago). Also, I normally make a broad back adjustment in most tops, but after measuring the pattern piece I decided to leave it. Usually, the width of the back at the armpit needs to be 18 inches and this was just shy, but with the negative ease of the knit it worked out perfectly.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
I will most definitely sew this again. I've got a sweater with an awkward neckline that desperately needs a custom white crew neck. Now if I could only find a decent white knit...
And also, yes, for the love of Pete. Those of you on the fence about this one:  take the plunge for goodness sake.

I'm totally sold. I'm so happy with this top and it took all of a couple of hours to make!

I have more Lekala goodness in the works and a couple of tragic peplum fails so more on that soon.  Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Another jewel of wisdom for beginners...

When you prick your finger on a pin and bleed all over the shirt you are making, it's time to go to bed.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Lekala 4042. I'm a fan.

This was the second of my aforementioned sewing projects that I was able to burn through, and my first ever Lekala pattern.

Review of Lekala 4042:

Pattern Description: 
Blouse with decorative neckline from knit fabric.

Pattern Sizing:
You give them a set of 5 or 6 measurements and they give you a size-accurate pattern.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
Yes, but I lengthened the sleeves.

Were the instructions easy to follow?
There are a couple of places to find the instructions. One translation is better than the other. Look on this website:
The instructions were pretty good for this one. It's a bit tricky, but if you've sewn for a while it should be not problem.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I loved that it was exactly my size and had seam allowances already added. This doesn't take a lot of fabric either and it's a quick make.

Fabric Used:
A very fluid jersey knit in a vibrant raspberry.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
My muslin, made out of a much sturdier knit was much too small in the shoulder width. I added 3/4" to the shoulder width and it ended up being a bit too wide in this drapey fabric (see arrows and circle in pictures). I'm not very familiar with negative ease, so I'll chalk this mistake up to ignorance. It's easy enough to fix if I ever get around to it.
I also made the sleeves long. All I did was measure myself from my shoulder to my wrist, then I added the hem and an additional 4" for rouching:

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
Yes, and absolutely. I was very happy with my first experience with Lekala and I recommend them to everyone (well, maybe not beginners since the instructions are not the greatest). I may make this again in another colour in a slightly heavier knit. I just saw someone else made this with a striped knit which gives a neat effect:

I'm so impressed with Lekala patterns. I've made the other knit top and will review it soon. So far the fit is really great. I've yet to try anything more complicated so my opinion may change.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Advice for Beginners

There is so much I need to post about. I've tackled 3 of the 6 patterns I posted about recently and I need to ask for your help and opinion on one of them, but in the same time frame, the memory card on my camera crapped-out, I've started the candida diet (anyone who has done this knows how traumatic it can be), been given a diagnosis of thyroiditis and had to deal with some stress at work (put your hands in the air if you've ever wished for pregnancy so you could get a year off of work). None of these things alone is really that dramatic, but together, they've really sent me off track.

In the next week, I'm going to attempt to put myself back on track—get a new memory card and take some pics so I can get caught up. As a final thought for the day, I leave you with this:

As someone who keeps fairly close tabs on what the online sewing community is up to, I've come across this question a number of times and never had the perfect answer:

"What advice would you give to a sewing novice?"

Tonight, after sewing my sleeve into my bodice inside-out and backwards, my answer is this:

"Know when to quit and go to bed."

Good night y'all.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Sewjo shirt

I finished my attempt at a grossly modified peplum top. I became tired of it in the end, and realized that if I'm going to be spending a lot of time on one project, I had better love the fabric. The final fit isn't 100% in the chestal area so I'm giving it a rest in my closet for a while... at least until the sweater I want to wear it with comes out of the wash. I'll review in the near future.

On to the new love of my life... Burda 10/12 #117. SO EASY TO SEW!!!. Come on... three pieces, cotton shirting, interesting but easy construction. What's not to love? I thought that I had a white zipper in my stash, and I do, but not quite long enough or invisible. I guess I don't have to squish my hips through it (your welcome for that visual), so probably a slightly shorter zip would be okay.... What am I doing sitting here? I have a shirt to finish! (Actually, I have to do the dishes, and work-out, and then probably go shopping with my sister, but believe me when I tell you that I'll be thinking about sewing the entire time.)

Happy Sunday!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Nuts for Downloadables

There was a sale on Lekala patterns on I've always wanted to try them. I also paid for my first Burda downloadable pattern off of I have a tonne of patterns in my stash already, but you know how it is. My only regret is the printing and taping.

Lekala takes about half of the headache out of downloadable patterns. Unlike Burda, they give you your exact size from a set of 6 measurements (height, bust, underbust, waist, hip/belly, and hip). Also unlike Burda, they give you a seam allowance (either 1/2" or 1/4" depending on the style). Taping was made easier, because I could just match up and tape where the pattern pieces intersected, not necessarily the entire sheet of paper. Unfortunately, the instructions for these are shite. If you are an inexperienced sewer or have trouble thinking in three dimensions, you probably don't want to attempt these. As it is, I'll be faking it the whole way through. We'll see how it goes.

Here's what I got:

1. Lek4097: The bunnyhug (a.k.a. "hoodie". I'm trying to see if I can get this term to catch on outside of Saskatchewan). 
I pretty much live in these. I'm not a fancy dresser and most days I want to be comfortable and WARM. I'll probably use this pattern numerous times (whenever I can score fleece on sale). I love the shape of the hood. Construction seems pretty straightforward.

2. Lek4105: Asymetrical knit top. 
I like that it's different. I may change the sleeves, or make one with straight sleeves (without cuffs) and one as drafted. I can see this in a bamboo knit? Any other suggestions? I'm not sure about how the neck is finished, but if it uses a facing I may try to finish it with a bias strip.

3. Lek5870: Casual swing jacket. 
I have a jacket almost exactly like this in my closet already but it's shorter and red. I probably bought this one because I was wearing the red on a the time. I think it will come in very handy if I made it up in a neutral like khaki or grey, or even denim as shown.

4. Lek5913: Tunic. 
If I only saw the line drawing I wouldn't give this a second look. This is pretty shapeless, which I usually try to avoid, but I've been looking for an excuse to wear leggings and I have a couple of patterns for skinny jeans/leggings that I could pair with this as well. Any thoughts on what fabric I should use for this? Would Ponte knit be too heavy? A lighter weight sweater knit?

5. Lek4042: Cross-neck top. 
If I can get this to work out, I'll probably make a bunch of these. I think it will probably be a very easy make, and I can most likely serge together the entire thing.

6. Burda Gathered Shirt Blouse 10/2012 #117:
I've been inspired by Kristy . I have two very different plaids in my stash already that would work with this. One of them was purchased at Mood almost four ago. Originally it was to be a shirt, but on reading the reviews for that pattern I chickened out and it has been left as "too good to cut" for a long time. On our last trip to NYC, I found it again in Mood and realized that it is silk. I like that it is made from a woven fabric and it has an interesting design. This pattern comes as the full dress with cutoff lines for the top.

Right now? I'm finishing up a peplum top. I used a vintage 60s/70s pattern (I'll check the year when I post the finished product) that I graded down two sizes, gave an sba, changed the darts into shoulder princess seams, cut off at the waist and drafted a peplum. I really like the Vogue peplum top everyone is making now, but I prefer a v-neck and like to make things hard for myself. sigh.

I'm not sure how this trend will fit into my life so I didn't want to invest a lot of cash. I used a cotton chintz I got at a second hand store a year ago for probably $2 and everything else I had in my stash. The only investment was a crap-load of time. So far it looks like it's going to turn out. Fingers crossed.

If any of you have sewn Lekala patterns, please comment and let me know how it went. If you have any suggestions for fabrics for any of these, please let me know. I've been reading Tasia's posts about knits, but I'll take all the info I can get.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Megan Nielsen Sewing Gallery Anniversary (and Birthday)

This is just a quick note to let people know that Megan Nielsen Sewing Gallery is one year old (and it's her birthday too!). To celebrate, she's got a huge giveaway. Check it out:

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Liam the Lion

Halloween is very near and dear to my heart. Any holiday that allows me to dress in costume and eat treats all day is okay in my books. I've had some great costumes over the years (I am right now donning  the bee costume I made a few years ago that has made the rounds with all my friends who needed something last minute, and also inspired last year's flower/bee couples costume (B, you were a real champ).

This year, I was very happy to focus on the newest member of the family and welcome him into the tradition.

I used McCalls 6105. I nearly loose my mind from the cuteness every time I look at this pattern envelope.

Here is my pattern review:
Pattern Description: 
TODDLERS' COSTUMES: Included in this envelope are instructions and pattern pieces to make skunk (A), lion (B), monkey (C), elephant (D) and panda (E). I made the lion.

Pattern Sizing:
I had the 1/2 size. Liam is a tall 14 month old. I had to add an inch to the torso length, and it fit him perfectly (but probably not for long).

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?

Were the instructions easy to follow?
They jump around a lot, but they include a lot of good illustrations. I ended up following the instructions for one of the other views by accident when putting in the elastic at the wrist, but it ended up being easier and less fiddly. The pattern envelope doesn't list all of the notions you need to make this, and I still don't know where that information is. I didn't use cording for the hood around the face as a result. Besides the ribbon, I luckily had everything I needed in my stash (zipper, lining, contrasting fabric, velcro).

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I like that it's a basic body suit with really cute details that take it to another level entirely. 

Fabric Used:
I had this sandy coloured sweatshirt fleece in my stash that was going to be used for a hoodie for myself, but I was more than happy to repurpose it. 

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
I asked my sister to measure Liam from the base of his neck to his crotch. Finding that measurement to be exactly the same as measuring the pattern at the same spot, I added an inch to the torso and it was a perfect fit. 

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
This costume is great. If i get the opportunity, I will definitely make it again. 

I need to add that Liam, upon realizing that he had a tail, proceeded to chase it, turning around about 3 times before falling down. It was hilarious.
I entered this in the PR costume contest. Please vote from me if you like it!
Happy Halloween!!!!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Jana's Guilt-Shirt

When I won tickets to SNL, B wasn't sure he could take the time off of school to come with me. My sister said that she would be my backup if he couldn't go. Turns out, B was able to go and Jana was pretty disappointed. As consolation, I offered to make her a top of her choosing. She had already had NL6025 in her pattern stash, we just needed fabric. And so the guilt-shirt was conceived.

She and I have quite different tastes, so when I was at mood, I was unable to find something I knew for a fact that she would like. So I waited until she was able to go to our local fabric store to pick out something she would actually wear.

She actually picked out something that I am in love with. I made a wrap top for my bridal shower three years ago out of the same fabric, but ended up donating it because I never got the fit right across the upper back. Many may find it hideous, and honestly, my photography may not have done it any favours, but it really is beautiful in person.

This is a super easy pattern, made even easier with the fact that I did no fittings. Because of the fray-like-a-sonofabitch nature of my fabric, I did take the time to do french seams, and I ended up hand sewing the neck binding. 

Here is my review from PR: 

Pattern Description:
Misses' tunic or top with sleeve variations and tie belt. New Look easy sewing pattern. I made view B with the E/D neckline.

Pattern Sizing:
8-18. I made a 10

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?

Were the instructions easy to follow?
Yes. I deviated a little with my seam finishes because of my fabric choice.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I like it. It's for my sister and I just finished, so I've yet to see it on her to get my final opinion.

Fabric Used:
According to Simplicity Fabric Guide, the closest matches I can make would be polyester georgette or chiffon. I made a beautiful top out of this same fabric for my wedding shower, but have since donated it because it was too narrow in the upper back. 

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
I only changed the way I handled the seam finished, opting for french seams because my fabric was somewhat sheer and frayed like crazy. I also had to hand sew the neckline binding down. There was no way it was going to stitch-in-the-ditch. 

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
Depending on how it looks on my sister, I may make this again. It looks like other sewers have used it as a maternity top, so that's an option for the future as well. 

Super easy pattern. It's a quick make. I recommend.

Beautiful buttons: 

Neck binding: 

French seams: 

Saturday, October 20, 2012

And the Winner Is....

Thank you to everyone who commented, especially for all of the nice comments.
Special thanks to Kathleen (Scarf) for indulging me in sending a pic of her ugly muslin.
Sophie, I'll be in touch on your blog to get your contact info to send you your pattern. I'm glad it will be put to good use!
Thanks again everyone, and have a great weekend!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

SNL and McCalls 6241 Review

I recently went on a sewing binge that included about 5 or 6 pieces. This may not seem like a lot to you regularly prolific sewers out there, but for me, it's gotta be a record. What precipitated such a vast outpouring of makery? I won tickets to Saturday Night Live!!

Apparently there's only a 5% chance of winning their lottery—every August, you can email (one per household) NBC and they draw the audience for the entire season. If you win, you get an email with the date you were chosen for. So, if you don't live near NYC, you have to make a decision of if it's worth it. People, I am here to tell you that it's worth it! 

I've been a long-time fan of the show, and I admit that I nearly cried a few times when sitting in the audience not believing I was actually there. On previous trips to NY, we went to David Letterman and Conan O'brian, and I wasn't truly impressed. This was an entirely different experience. Our tickets were for the dress rehearsal, so we got to see about a half an hour more content than what makes it to television. We saw the Daniel Craig/Muse episode on Canadian Thanksgiving weekend. Big Bird even made an appearance, with which I was delighted! SNL, and a childhood icon in one night!??? So happy we went. 

Anyways, back to sewing. McCalls 2641 was one of my makes before the trip, and I ended up wearing it, and my Minoru jacket to SNL. No, I don't have any pics of this, because B and I are notoriously bad picture-takers. Mostly, we just can't be bothered at the time. I think we have 4 or 5 photos from this entire trip. Boooo on us.

McCalls 6241 Review: 

Pattern Description: 
Pullover tunics A, B, C have extended shoulders with pleats at one shoulder and side, machine-stitched hems and asymmetrical lower edge; tunic A has cap sleeves; tunics B, C have long sleeves.
I made view B. It took me a while to figure out what the difference was between view B and C (C is slightly longer). It's a useless variation in my opinion. They are almost identical.

Pattern Sizing:
8-16. After reading reviews, I made the smallest size, even though my measurements work out to a 12. I still took 1-2 inches off the sides seams.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
yes? I hesitate, because the line drawings make it look quite a bit more structured than it actually is, and then in the photo, the model looks a bit like she's being swallowed by red fabric. The uneven hem doesn't really show up in the finished garment either.

Were the instructions easy to follow?
Yes. It is very easy to put together. As per usual, I mostly followed the pictures instead of reading anything.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I like the drapiness of it. Before I took it in on the sides, It looked like I was going to need to pinch another drape/gather at the waist on the opposite side of the shoulder tucks, but once a total of 4 inches were taken off the side, I was happy with how it was falling. This would be a great pattern for a maternity top. I also really liked the cowl at the neck. There was no facing at the neck, but it naturally turns in on itself so you don't have to worry about the wrong side of your fabric showing. Because the top is so loose fitting, the cowl/neckline shifts around quite a bit, so be aware that it won't sit like it does like the pics on the envelope. I usually use a twin needle to hem knits, but used a zig zag on this one. I was very happy with the finish.

Fabric Used:
I believe it is a cotton-lycra blend. It's one of those really drapey knits that stretches A LOT but has great recovery.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
I took in about 2 inches on either side pretty much from bottom hem to sleeve hem. This may have been partly due to the amount of stretch in my fabric, but seriously... 4 inches total??? And I was already making it 2 sizes smaller than what I usually make??

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
I may make it again if I find a fabric that inspires me. The top is incredibly comfortable. It's stretchy and slinky, but not clingy. It will work very well as a maternity top too.

After the fit issues were corrected, I am very happy with this top. It is super comfortable and easy to wear. I recommend it as long as you're aware that you are most likely going to be taking it in a lot. on the sides. 

Friday, October 12, 2012

My Minoru and First Giveaway

I finally did it. I've had the Minoru pattern since last Christmas (two of them, actually, but more about that later). I've coveted this pattern since I first laid eyes on it. I struggled with what fabric to choose (I have a history of choosing loud patterns and inappropriate colours that don't end up working with what I have in my closet.) 

After looking around at a lot of various resources, (I'd hope to find something really great at Ikea, but it was all just a bit too weird for a jacket I wanted to wear every day), I spotted this beautiful charcoal grey stretch cotton twill just to the right of the cutting table at Fabricland. I was there to get some baby shower gift supplies and didn't have time to get it, but made a mental note to come back. 

I did go back and get that fabric (obviously), and searched for about an hour to find just the right lining. Again, this is where I'd normally go all mental and pick something I'd regret later, but I managed to find a winner in, of all places, the home dec section. Its a taffeta-stiff blue/yellow cross weave polyester. I'm not really sure what it's intended purpose was, but I found it to be the perfect foil to the grey twill. 

I added an inch to the width of the upper back with by doing this adjustment.

I've avoided raglan sleeves for a couple of years now because I couldn't get this adjustment right, but have finally figured it out. I did the same adjustment to the lining, but took an additional 1/4 inch from the back raglan seam since the lining fabric had absolutely no give whatsoever. I also added room in the sleeves of both the shell and the lining by using a 1/3 inch seam allowance. I cut a 6 on the top and waist grading to a 4 at the hip. I was very happy with the fit.

I added pockets using this tutorial and the pocket pattern piece from another coat I made a while back. This jacket definitely needs pockets (in my opinion), but the side seams seem too far back to feel like natural pocket openings. If I make this again, I'll use some variation of this pocket tutorial instead.

The PR review:

Pattern Description: 
The Minoru Jacket is a zip-front weekend jacket with a secret hood hidden inside the wide collar! If you prefer, skip the hood and let the dramatic collar be the focus. Flattering raglan sleeves are comfortable and easy-to-sew, and the elastic waistline creates a slim, curve-hugging silhouette.

Pattern Sizing:
0-16 I made a 6 at the shoulders, bust and waist and graded to a 2 at the hip. The sizing was right-on for me.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
Yes! I made the version without the hood.

Were the instructions easy to follow?
I'm used to following the directions of the big-4, or I should say that I follow the illustrations and only sometimes read the directions. There were a number of times when I assumed that I knew what to do next from the illustrations, but then had to read very carefully to fill in the blanks. I would have appreciated some notches on the illustrations so I could more easily tell at-a-glance what I was supposed to do. I followed Tasia's sewalong on her blog where she offered some professional construction tricks that weren't in the written instructions. I love that as an independent pattern designer she is able to offer sew alongs on her website. I'm a visual-learner, so that works best for me.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I love that it is easy to construct, doesn't have a lot of pieces, does have a lot of straight lines and, in my opinion, is super stylish. The big collar gives it a real "cool" factor. 

I did find that there was a large gap between the back of my neck and the large collar that let a lot of air in—I need to invest in a pashmina to keep the draft out. 

I think this jacket deserves pockets. I added mine via this tutorial. I would not recommend this, as the side seam is too far towards the back for the opening to feel like a natural place to put your hands, but there's another link on the Sewaholic website to a welt pocket tutorial that I could place anywhere I like.

The sleeves are a bit long, but I didn't find them cumbersome when wearing it and probably won't alter the length if I make this jacket again.

Fabric Used:
Grey stretch cotton twill for the outer, and a yellow/blue cross-weave polyester in a stiff taffeta-weight I found in the home decor area of fabricland.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
I made a broad-upper back adjustment shown in my previous post.

I also cut my elastic quite a bit shorter than recommended. It really hugs my back, and I like how much more of a waist I get with this alteration.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
I only need one at the moment, but now that I've done the fitting, it would be really easy to make another one. I was so careful to pick a neutral fabric with this version that I could make one out of a louder fabric to indulge my inner "weird". I also considered making one out of sweatshirt material and/or colour blocking it. 

I love this jacket. I wish that fall here in Saskatchewan lasted longer so I could wear it more. I made this for a trip to NYC this past weekend. It was perfect. Thanks for the great pattern Tasia!

I asked for this pattern last Christmas, and since men can't seem to communicate effectively between each other, my husband and my dad both got me the same thing. So... I have two Minoru patterns and I really only need one. Since there are no returns on patterns, I would be happy to give one to one of you. It really is a great pattern, super simple and SO good-looking. 
In my last post, I tried to do an ugly muslin contest for my giveaway, but since I don't have too many followers—it was a bust, so all you have to do is comment below and on October 19 (next Friday), I'll draw someone at random as the winner.  

Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Ugly Muslin Giveaway! And Minoru Progress

Have you ever had one of those projects that cause you to exclaim "Man! This is going to be so f#@$'n cool" every time you work on it? I finally found the fabrics for my Minoru and I couldn't be happier with them. The outer shell is a charcoal stretch cotton twill and the lining is a blue and yellow cross weave taffeta-like fabric I found in the home-dec department of Fabricland. I tried to restrain myself when picking out a lining so that I wouldn't be disappointed when it was finished and this choice has just enough kick. It's like lining for the commitment-phobe—sometimes it's yellow, sometimes it's blue, but mostly they blend into a greeny-grey. Perfect. 

This is my Minoru muslin: 
Ugly isn't it? I am trying to use up all of my remnants of fabric in appropriate muslins. I've got about 5 different fabrics going on here (almost the same weights) including some delightfully ugly green brocade originally bought for a halloween costume. Do you use actual muslin to test fit, or do you use fabric you have in your stash that you'd never use otherwise?

The fit, however, is better than I could hope for. I was cautious with this. I've never successfully done broad upper back adjustment to a raglan-sleeve pattern before. I was hoping that there would be enough ease without it, but was forced to finally figure it out. You would do this alteration if, when you lift your arms out in front of you (like Frankenstein), the fabric catches/bunches in front of your shoulders and pulls across the back of your shoulders by your armpits (your lats).

Here's what I did: 

1. Draw a line parallel to the centre back about 2 inches away. Draw two perpendicular lines from that line about 1.5" from the top of the pattern and another about 1.5" under the armpit.

2. Cut along the lines you just made and slide them out the desired amount. I usually need to add up to an inch. I added another 1/4" to the lining because my fabric had absolutely no give. 

3. Blend from the top of the pattern piece into your newly placed pattern piece and back out again from the armpit to the waist. 

Now... on to the giveaway! (It's my very first one!)

I asked for this pattern last Christmas, and since men can't seem to communicate effectively between each other, my husband and my dad both got me the same thing. So, I have two Minoru patterns and I really only need one and would be happy to give it to one of you. It really is a great pattern—super simple but SO good-looking. 

Here's the deal: Show me your ugliest muslin... I mean, really go for it. The idea here is to use up all of those left over pieces and ugly fabrics in your stash. The muslin can be for any pattern.
Make a comment below containing a link to your picture, be it on your blog or flicker or wherever else you post your pics on the web and some way of contacting you (email or link to your blog). I will choose the top three and you can vote. The winner gets my extra Sewaholic Minoru pattern and possibly a little something extra!

Contest closes October 10. Can't wait to see what hideous mockups you all come up with! 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Dinghy Dress and So (sew??) Much More

It's been a long while since I've posted. A LOT has happened.
• went on holiday, was sick on holiday, went hiking on holiday, got hailed on while hiking. boooo.
• finished bathing suit, wore bathing suit, bathing suit did not fall off. sucess.
• tried to finish ufo pants. ufo pants are now unwearable muslin. I will show you soon because everyone needs a good laugh.
• I did not win the trip to Italy this year that I won last year, but I DID WIN tickets to Saturday Night Live yesterday. 'gasp'.

...and I sewed some stuff, and I'm planning on sewing a lot more.

When I think about all of the posts I have to write I get WAY overwhelmed, but since I've got to start somewhere, I'll show you a dress I made a couple of months ago when it was still warm enough to wear it. I call it the Dinghy dress, on account of it's charming print.

The fabric is a very light cotton denim with a faint red print consisting of nautical themed objects, such as boats, sails and rigging and words:

I got it on one of my second hand store runs in the spring. I paired it with another find:

(I'm looking at the blue one on the left)

My version: 

It does look a little like a 1940's bomb factory worker uniform, so I have to be in a quirky mood to wear it.

I used red buttons and topstitched everything in red. 

The back collar facing is also red and I serged all of the seams in red as well.

The pattern review is here.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

McCall's 6570, Knomes and Long Forgotten Bathing Suits

I've been sewing quite a bit and have fallen behind on posting. Since this is a long weekend, perhaps I'll get caught up. 

First things first: a pattern review.

McCalls 6570
It's listed as a "Carefree pattern", which may have been true if I didn't find myself making things more complicated than they needed to be by trying to put my own stamp on everything only to have it backfire.

Once again this is a vintage pattern I got for $.50 at the second hand store.

Pattern Description:
Misses' Two-Piece Dress: Buttoned top A, B gathered into neckband has tie belt; top A has elbow length kimono sleeves gathered into bands; top B has extended shoulder line. Four-gore skirt has side zipper.

Pattern Sizing: 8-10-12. I made the 12

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
I changed it at the front closure, and it didn't look as narrow as the drawing, so not really.

Were the instructions easy to follow?
What I used of them, yes

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I liked the lines of the pattern, and it was a simple design (not many pieces). The arm bands were the perfect size so they slid over my elbows and back without restricting my bicep.As with many pattern illustrations, the final garment did not look as streamlined as shown, but generally, everything on the pattern fit together and nothing was missed. I wouldn't discourage anyone from trying it.

Fabric Used:
Cotton crinkly plaid found at second hand store.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
I changed the front button-down to a short button placket using a men's polo pattern I have to work out the changes. I tried lengthening it about 4 inches so I could wear it with leggings, but it ended up looking like a victorian night shirt, so I curved in the sides about an inch at the waist and cut the bottom off at the original cut line. I started to add a 2" bias band to the bottom, but it was not looking good so I just hemmed it normally. I also added fusible interfacing to the sleeve bands which the pattern didn't call for. I cut the bands on the bias, so I felt they needed some stability.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
I don't know if I'll sew it again (right away anyway). I'd like to try the short sleeved version in a smaller size in a finer fabric with the buttons all the way down. I'll wait until I spot something that inspires me, otherwise, it's on to my many other patterns.

This is a well drafted pattern. As with all generously flowing designs, I think you have to have more curves to pull them off ie: larger waist to boob ratio. It would probably help to have a belt on it too. I'm curious to try it in a lighter fabric with more drape, but not now, I have other things to try!

Yikes! Horrendous panty-line.

Trying some outdoor shots since it's so nice out today...

Also showing the world how awkwardly and unflatteringly I can stand for a photograph. Super job Erin!

I'm jealous of all the bloggers out there who take action shots, so I'm going to start taking my own ridiculous action shots.

Not the best light, but if you look carefully, you may notice my little friend standing behind me.

He looks sad

Probably because he has dirt in his mouth. Or maybe he's jealous that he doesn't have a large unflattering billowy shirt of his very own.
Really, he's sad because he's been looking at the grass jungle that is our front lawn for the last two months (our mower is broken).

Just so you don't all think less of us (specifically B), he borrowed my parent's mower a few hours later and the lawn is now cut.

I've also pledged to finish some UFOs, first up, my long forgotten bathing suit copy.
Here's where it was at yesterday morning:

It has been in this state for over a year. The blue is the old and the green is the new. I love this suit. It fit perfectly. The bum was becoming see-through though, so I decided to take the plunge and try to copy it. I did some work on it yesterday and almost finished the top part, but ran out of thread, so after today's work out, I'm running over to the fabric store and picking up more so I can finish it off this long weekend.