Friday, July 31, 2009

Cheatin' Jeans and Cherry Scraps

I cut out these Loes Hines Cruise Pants in December. The game plan was a quick pair of pullon pants where I could practice sewing on denim and topstitching with the heavier jean thread. The sewing was quick - I just took a long time getting started. Now I really want to make a real pair of jeans and thought it best to get this practicing done. I used a 100 jeans/denim needle and everything behaved like any other fabric. I looked for a 90 needle but there weren't any available at my local store. I just used what I had. I didn't want to wait to order a needle. It's been long enough! For the topstitching, I used 100 topstitch needle and increased the top tension on my sewing machine. The stitches look fine to me. I will invest in a jean double needle for the real pair. I did a fairly good job by using my edge foot twice and adjusting the needle position, but there are places where the distance between stitches isn't precise. Ya' all know how those little imperfections can bug ya. No, they didn't bug enough to rip and sew again. I consider this a learning experience for the next round. I eliminated the side-seam pockets in the pattern and added pockets in the back. I pulled up the top so you can see the pockets. I'm happy with pocket location although I always wear over blouses of some sort. I think I'll use smaller pockets next time. There's not much of me in the back. (I sure do wish I could reverse my body parts so I'd have a nice flat tummy and nicely rounded rear.)

I used the cherry fabric scraps to make the Ottobre 02/09 #1 Camisole Top. I was surprised at how much I like it. The project was quick, used scraps, and (to my surprise) fit pretty well. It's a perfect top for the beach. I doubt that I'll wear it anywhere else. I plan to make many more versions of this. Look out scrap bin! It's perfect to wear under a low-cut top or a jacket. I still have enough cherry fabric left to make a collar or trim for another top. At the present time, that fabric has joined the scrap bin. I love the cherry fabric, but I'm tired of it! Here's a back view of the camisole. The only adjustment I'll make next time is a slight sway back adjustment.

Now, I really should work on the green linen that I've started sewing. I just don't feel like it so I probably won't. I know what happens when I sew a "should" and, so far, the jacket is coming along nicely.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Cherry Pitfall

The sewing on this T-shirt was fine. I love trying different t-shirt patterns and this KS3338 is my TNT for a simple, casual knit top. I like the slight gathers at the side that take care of most of the winkling around the armhole. I took the picture on Dolly so you could see the gathers. The gathers hardly show at all when I wear it. I need a dart in most patterns. The dart gives the shirt a more fitted and often more formal look. That look is great but not always what I want. The fabric for my Cherry T-Shirt was 100% cotton. There were no problems with sewing the fabric.
So...Where was the pitfall? I have been pretty good (for me) about limiting the additions to my fabric collection. Starting with the purchase of this fabric, I have serious concerns that I am a fabric addict. I showed all the signs. I thought I had it under control. I love to look at different fabrics on blogs and fabric sites. I was looking a lot, as usual. For a while, I was able to say "Oh, that's beautiful but I need to sew more of the beauties I have first". Then, I just had to check out what Lucy's Fabrics had to offer. I saw this cherry fabric. My last name is Cherry. (Yes, I know. My name is a flower and a fruit. I get a lot of looks of disbelief and attempts to misspell my name in some way.) Most fabrics with a cherry print have a white background. I look drained in pure white so I've never bought them. This fabric had a cream background. It was a knit that I could sew quickly. I had to have it right away. Well, we all know that fabric shouldn't travel alone. I easily found another nice fabric. Did I stop there? Of course, I didn't. I found serveral more and pretty soon I was close to the $75 for free shipping. You got it. I added another fabric. Why pay for shipping when I could have a cut of fabric instead? That started a roll of fabric purchases that lasted for several days. It really wasn't my fault. All these sites had such great sales. Yea, right. I was like an alcholic who was going to the bar with friends. For a long time, he/she would just have water or maybe a drink or two. Then, one night this game plan resulted in so many drinks that he/she was passed out. Well, I didn't have a hangover at least. I just had a lot of guilt - not so much about the fabric I purchased. I love the new members of my fabric family. I only have guilt about the big gap between what I buy and what I turn into finished garments. I don't know if anybody noticed, but I did not include the yards of fabric purchased in my June Review. I'm too embarrassed at my June behavior! I'd like to think that I don't have an addiction. I only have a lust for fabric. I'm not real sure there is a difference. At least I did finish a garment in the month that I purchased the fabric. That's a first. There may be hope for me yet.

Monday, July 20, 2009

The Aztec Blouse: Gestalt or Fit?

After finishing this S2936 blouse, I had to ask myself a new sewing question. What is more important: an excellant fit or the overall look of the garment?
I have to remember to take "before" pictures when I decide to make a change. Unfortunately, I didn't with this blouse. The blouse pattern has tucks in the front. Originally, I sewed the tucks and was soooo pleased with the fit of the blouse. I've struggled with the fit of woven tops for so long!! The look was not so good as the tucks took away from the design of the fabric. I love this Aztec-looking fabric. It was not happy with the tucks. This time I listened to the fabric and took out the tucks. The Gestalt of the look was much better. The fit is all right but not quite so good. The fabric was happy without the tucks so I left them out. I definitely will make this pattern again in a less busy fabric and include those tucks.
The pattern was easy to make and not difficult to fit. I made a size 12 in the shoulder/armhole area and size 14 in the hips. Next time I'll raise the neckline about 1/2". It's still a bit low although I sewed the neck with 1/4" seams. I had to let out the side seams 1/4" as it was a bit snug (with the tucks, of course). I had to take in the raglan seams on the front and back - probably could have made a size 10 for the neckline and sleeves. I didn't add the band to the sleeves as shown in the pattern. I liked them better with a narrow hem in this fabric.
The fabric is 100% cotton and, surprisingly, does not wrinkle at all. I'm finally on a positive roll - sure hope it continues for a while.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Little Things Make a Difference

I know that little things do make a difference. Why am I so amazed when I actually see the difference? Just goes to show you - When something doesn't seem just right, it probably isn't. The solution takes a while to find. Sooo....Here's my completed BWOF 12-2008-114. It almost became a nightgown (as originally designed by Burda).

I took off the original neck binding. That was so much "fun". I must have patience that I didn't realize I had. I had to be so careful not to stretch the neck. Yes, there were several times that the thought of nightgown sounded pretty good! Once I finished it, I tried the dress on with my new red shoes that I love. Both the shoes and dress instantly looked blah. Amazing!! Fortunately, I had these black shoes that worked fine. For comparison, here's my original dress:
I love the new version. Sometimes a little more time and patience is worth it!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Mending Made Interesting

I hate mending. Actually, I'd rather make a garment from scratch than mend. DH has a lounge shirt that ripped up the side. He also wanted a button or snap to close the front opening. That's not a big whoop, right? So, it sat on my table (hidden under interfacing) for several days. After considerable nagging, I finally decided to get it done. The interesting part is the button loop. I often use an elastic ponytail tie as the loop for button closures on purses. I'd been wondering if that approach would work on garments. Well, it worked well on this shirt. All I do is position the tie, tack it down by hand, and cut off the part not used for the loop. I think it looks pretty good and is easy to slide off the button. That's not always true for thread loops in my experience. I don't think that it would work for any garment that is not casual but it certainly is a speedy way to do a closure.
Yes, I also fixed the ripped seam. I wanted it done to stop the nagging until the next mending project. Poor guy, he really does need to get some benefit from all the time I spend in my sewing room. This "project" took all of 30 minutes max. Once I decided to do a "sewing sample", it was no problem at all getting it done - just an attitude change.

Friday, July 3, 2009

June Review

In my sewing world, June began with a shell that was okay but messy to sew, continued with a dress with good sewing but poor design, and ended with a skirt that I love. That's a pretty good way to end the month! I've posted about the NL6163 shell. The second garment was BWOF 12-2008-114 dress. The polyester knit fabric was not something I usually wear but I really like it. It's been in my stash waiting for the right pattern. When I saw Karen's interpretation of this Burda nightgown pattern, I thought that I had found THE pattern. When I finished it, I was not sure if I had a nightgown or a dress. I put it on the dressform and tried it with a red belt. The belt helped but still "no cigar" in my opinion.
So, I had my photographer and outside designer (DH) take a picture of me wearing the dress. Please excuse the lack of makeup, combed hair, and shoes. I wasn't planning on posting the picture. I decided to go ahead as the picture also shows part of my "organized" sewing room with WIP and I want to have a "before" picture. DH said that something was wrong with the neckline. I think that it is a little too low, but he didn't have a problem with that (men!). He said that the neckline fabric binding makes it look like I sewed it wrong (not so!). I held up some red knit to the neckline and it looked sooo much better. As they say in the Fashion Show, I was "hanging by a thread" although the sewing was fine. Fortunately, I can fix it. Also, I'll add some belt loops. With my high hip, the belt hangs a bit crooked.
The third garment is a stretch linen skirt, BWOF 08-2008-121. I did my usual adjustments: increased the waist at the side seams 3/8", shortened 2 inches, and did a 1/2" high hip adjustment. I lined it with 100% silk that I bought on sale at Fabric Mart. The colors weren't great but it is nice and comfy for lining. The fit was perfect to me. This skirt has a nice swing that makes me smile. I'll do a full review on PatternReview soon.

I will wear it with an over-blouse. I'm just to crooked to show my waist unless I'm showing a design!
I'm pretty pleased with my sewing productivity given that this was a busy month in the garden. Although hubbie is the master gardener, I still have quite a bit of work to do helping him. We"ve closed up most of one of the gardens for the summer.
There are a couple of lima bean and snap bean plants peeking through the covers. Ever try to shell lima beans? I love to eat fresh ones, but they are hard on the nails and patience. We have cucumbers and snow beans still left in this garden.

This picture shows the second garden. If you look closely, you can see the few cherry tomatoes that we have left. There also are collard greens and pineapple plants.I love minature roses. I lost one of my favorites during our three weeks of solid rain. That plant survived 3 hurricanes (barely) and just drowned in the downpour of rain. Anyway, My sweet DH bought me several more. Two of them have been planted in their new homes.

I should be able to spend more time in the sewing room this month. First up is fixing that crazy print dress with a red neck binding. Then, I'll do the buttonholes and buttons for a blouse that goes with the green linen skirt. I almost finished it in June, but didn't quite make it.