Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Another TNT pattern, Yea!

Well, my new top is all done, with a band and puffy sleeves. Thanks for the input everyone, but the flounce sleeve looked really stupid in my muslin. The sleeves from the pattern just looked wrong with the hem being ungathered so instead of using the band, which would have brought it down to my bust level, I went with an elastic casing. You can read all about my new top in my pattern review which is linked in the right hand column on this page. Be sure to check out the alterations I had to do to get enough room to cover my bustline. The new pattern piece is enormous!

Since I failed to complete my entry into the PR Wardrobe Contest, I decided to enter the Mini Wardrobe Contest. I have one month to complete two tops and two bottoms. I've picked out these fabrics for my mini wardrobe. They are all from my stash.

In the upper left hand corner is a single knit jersey, probably poly but I'm not sure. I want to make the Jalie sweetheart top using a red knit for the binding. The Oriental fabric is a sueded thin poly single knit jersey. My sewing machine and serger hates this fabric but I'll try it anyway. I think this fabric would look great as the puffed sleeve top from Ottobre Magazine that was so popular on PR.

For the black stretch denim I want to make some pull-on capris with some design stitching at the hem in red. Maybe even with my seldom used embroidery machine. I think a short vent at the hemline side seam would look good too. The solid red is a heavy rayon double knit that I think would look good as a straight pull-on skirt. Maybe a hem flounce, but probably not.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Summer Tops - It's muslin time again.

I'm already tired of my Wardrobe colors and have decided to stop working on it. Instead, I'm thinking Summer. It was 92 degrees here today and will probably be even hotter tomorrow. This morning I took my TNT Jeans Pattern and turned it into pull-on capris. I didn't get a picture, but I really like the way it turned out in the muslin. Now, on to the tops.

I've been looking at Vogue 8249 and this pattern Simplicity 2964. I know, it's an "It's So Easy" pattern and you know how great the last one I tried was. Well, this one is much better. It has some things about it I don't like, but there is nothing wrong with it. For one thing, the upper bodice and neckline isn't faced. They have you use bias strips to bind it. I think it would be much more RTW if it was lined instead. However, I don't plan to line my top, so I guess I shouldn't have brought it up.

Before I made this muslin, I added two inches to the center front of the upper and lower bodice and I added one inch to the bottom of the upper bodice hoping that it would then go over my bust. Close, but not quite. After I sewed it up I realized that it was too low. You can't see from this angle, but you can see right down into my top. Since I'm so short, everyone would get an eyefull. The fabric was causing a dart to fold out at the armscye and it's obviously too small in the bust and hips.

For my alterations, I added another 3/4" to the bottom of the upper bodice and then I raised the upper bodice by adding 1" to the top. I added 5/8" to the sides of the neckline so that I would be sure my bra was covered. Then I took out the wedge that was folding above my bust into the armscye. And for a final alteration, I added 1" to the hip in the front and the back for a total of 4 inches. Then I cut out a new muslin.

I've decided to eliminate the band under the bust. It seems that would make it look maternity. That's a look I definitely don't want.

In my last post you saw most of my stash. It's a lot of fabric so you'd think I could find an acceptable fabric to make this top from. But no, I don't like anything in the stash for this top. I refuse to go to the store, so I'll keep searching. I'm wanting either a printed linen or a printed rayon. Nothing I have is calling to me. I'll let you know what I decide. Can you let me know if you think this style would suit me? It's supposed to have puffy sleeves. I'm not sure I need them on this top. I'll try them, but I may add something a bit short and flouncy instead.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

My Fabric Collection

Some people have heard me say this before. My stash isn't a stash, it's a fabric collection. Sometimes I use it to make clothes. I love to take pieces off the shelf and stroke them, drape them together and dream of what they might become. Then I roll them up and put them back on the shelf. No one blinks with the woman who collects figurines and puts them on the shelf and only touches them to dust. They just sit there to be admired. Well, that's how I look at my fabric. Even if some of these fabrics never get sewn up, they still bring me a ton of pleasure. Don't they look great all rolled up? I'm drawn to the colors and textures every time I enter this room. Unfortunately, I'm starting to outgrow the rack. I have had to start sticking fabric in tubs and there's a stack on the chair. I also have two more of those large tubs hiding in the closet.

Because my sewing room is becoming way too crowded, I went to Target looking for different ways to get more space on my sewing tables. I got very excited when I found this little chrome rack. It is in the same style as my stash rack except it's not white. It fits my serger and my coverlock perfectly. I also found a cute clip-on goose neck lamp to get more light. I can direct the light exactly where I want it. Getting old is very hard on the eyes. I need lots of light. DH says he knows when I'm in the sewing room because the electrical meter is spinning extra fast.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Yard Sale Finds

In an earlier post I discussed stopping by a yard sale. Well, I thought I'd share what I found with my blog readers.

This is my favorite of the patterns. It's a Carol Horn designer pattern that has no date in a size 14. I'm guessing its circa 1968 or sometime around there. It's factory folded but has some yellowing on the envelope. The jacket has 3/4 length dolman sleeves and pockets in the side seams. The dress has a u-shaped neckline with cut-away square armholes and side seam pockets. I love the princess seaming and top stitching. I've never heard of Carol Horn, have you?

With the puffy sleeves being a trendy look, I picked this one up. It has a boat shaped neckline wih an optional collar. The elbow length puffed sleeves are gathered to a cuff or there is short dart fitted puff sleeves. The blouse has dropped shoulders. This one is dated 1959 and is size 14. The pattern has been cut but all the pieces are there in an unaltered state.

I really like the jacket on this one. It has a yoke and bust gathering under a wing collar. In the size 14, the leg width on those pants is an impressive 41 1/4" Wow! I couldn't find a date anywhere but do you think I'd be wrong to guess some time around the 1970's? It's still factory folded but yellowed.

This is a high-fitted neckline flared dress. It comes with four lengths and can be sleeveless or with different length sleeves. Ruffle is optional. This one is cut and has all the pieces. It's a size 14 and if there is a date, I couldn't find it.

I had two more, but after checking the envelope, they were incomplete so I threw them out. All the patterns were a size 12 or 14 and that's just too small for me and I have no desire to grade up. So, I thought I'd offer them to my blog readers. If you could use one of these great patterns, please let me know and I'll send it to you if you're the first one to ask.

As for my Wardrobe, I haven't been able to sew at all this week. I started teaching in a long-term position until the end of the year. I'm teaching 7th grade pre-algebra with one class of 7th grade honors algebra. I've had to come home every night and do the homework I assigned so that I could go over it with then the next day. I'm amazed at how fast it's all coming back to me. I haven't had to factor and multiply quadratic equations for about 17 years. Teaching at the board, walking around the class to make sure they know what they are doing and lesson planning and grading papers, not to mention after school tutoring has been zapping all my strength. All I want to do is come home to some high fat soothing food and vegetate on the computer. This month is going to slip by and I won't have my Wardrobe done. OK, I just convinced myself to turn off the computer and finish the knit top I started on Sunday.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Simplicity "It's So Simple" was not so simple.

I consider myself a fairly accomplished sewist, but this pattern tried to do me in. The instructions are not even close to adequate for this pattern. I did fine, up until I had to insert the sleeves. More specifically, Illustration #1o in the instructions.

When trying to insert the sleeves into my muslin, I couldn't figure out how to make it look like the picture and following the written instructions was not helpful either.

See that weird jog? How are you supposed to just pin along that edge? I even had to go ask my friends on Patternreview.com. While describing my problem on the thread, I figured it out. You have to pivot at the jog. Who puts a pivot in a beginner pattern and then not tell you how to sew it? Doh! If you look at the instructions closely, it sort of looks like that's what is happening. But finally, success:

So with my new found success, I cut out my fabric, which is a chiffon poly fabric. It's so thin that I had to line it. With the lining, this top turned out to be more time consuming and couture than anything I've made in a long time. One of my goals for this year was to take my sewing up a notch and this top certainly did just that. Lots and lots of hand sewing and basting.

No stitching shows on the outside except for hems. I attached the facing and the sleeve binding to the lining fabric. The effort was certainly worth it.

More than you probably wanted to know, but now I have another Wardrobe Contest garment done, and I'm thrilled.

Opossum Update:
Husband has sent two more to the park and there's another in the trip cage right now that needs to go away. We have squirrels too, but they aren't coming into my house. Son likes to watch them out his window. Today we counted five of them. They live in the pine tree or oak tree outside his window and they are eating nuts from my pecan tree. They've hid them around the yard. Cute!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Opossum Attack and Some Sewing

My home is being invaded by Opossums every night. My son has been kindly setting out the trip cage and we've caught one for each night of the week. Until last night. We caught two at a time. Son and I were yelling, "SCORE!" at each other and doing high fives. Husband took them to a park to play with the other wild creatures. Husband has taken four Opossums to the park, and he let two out back into the back yard. "But Sherril, I pointed the cage into the neightbor's yard." As if that would really confuse them and they can't find their way back. So, the cage is set and ready to catch some more baby Opossums. Wanna see?

Last night I completed a skirt (skort) for my Wardrobe. It's embroidered laundered cotton and for the undershorts I used a lime green interlock. Oh, and it's KS 3341 which I've made before. This time I added two inches at the lengthen/shorten line and I added one inch to the shorts at the hem. Even when I bend over you can't see the shorts so I'm not sure I should have bothered. I think it goes nicely with my new Ottobre top and my shoes are almost a perfect match. I bought them a couple of years ago at Khol's.

I spent today trying out a new pattern. I could probably be done with three Wardrobes if I didn't keep trying out new patterns. It's S2962, an It's So Easy pattern. Only I'm not finding it so easy. I first made it up as is, with no alterations whatsoever. I don't do that very often, but the envelope says it has a bust measurement of 51" for size 18. My bust is 46 1/2" so I decided to try it in muslin.

Not going to work, no way, no how. I think they lied. That is not 51". I knew a pattern not requiring alterations was too good to be true. I spent some time adding a FBA and rotated it to become another pleat. Then I altered the front and back yokes and added some to the back hips. Then I had to make a trip to JoAnn's for more muslin. I got 5 yards thinking I'm so smart only spending $10 but some fabric was calling my name that would be perfect for this top and match perfectly for this wardrobe. So 1-1/2 yards came home with me too. Of course it wasn't the stuff on sale. Of course I didn't have a coupon with me. But not to be deterred, I found a coupon on the back of their FashionFusion magazine. It was 50% off one fabric cut. The magazine was $3 but I still saved $4.50 on it so don't I feel smug? Then on my way home I saw a yard sale and got almost two blocks away before I turned around and went back. I came home with five vintage patterns and a brand new ironing clapper for $5.

Once I got home, I cut out the muslin and sewed it up. The sleeves are giving me trouble. I can't figure out how to sew them on. That's my next challenge. Here's how the muslin looks without the sleeves.

I cut it in the longer length thinking I might like it long with the added pockets. I've already decided to go back to the shorter length and not put bulk adding pockets right over my belly. What was I thinking? As you can see it's a much better fit. I think it will hang even better in a drapey fabric instead of the stiff muslin. After I figure out how to install these weird sleeves, I'll cut out the new fabric. I may get the Wardrobe done before the end of the month after all.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Still Learning How To Blog

Well Darn it. I just spent the last 30 minutes writing a very good blog entry only to lose it after I previewed it. I didn't see the "hide preview" button and used the back arrow. I know it was saved as a draft, but how to get back to it is a mystery to me. Now, to recreate my work.

Wardrobe Contest Continued:

Next up was pants. I altered my perfected jeans pattern into flared leg jeans. Using my Armstrong Pattern Making book, I changed them by narrowing the legs above the knee and then widening them one inch on each seam below the knee. The results, as you can see, is that they are too flared and give me a jodhpurs look that I definitely wasn't going for.

In order to fix this problem, I'll cut down the outer thigh a bit above the knee and narrow the flair some, but there's nothing I can do about the excess fabric below my butt. Why can't I just accept the fact that I need to do a muslin for each and every new pattern? I thought that since this was already a TNT pattern with only a few changes, I could get away without doing one.

I'm going to have to live with the excess under my butt, but I can fix the outer leg problem. Live and learn. The color of these pants is something between the lime in the first picture and the light color in the second. It's a very spring color and should work with the rest of my wardrobe fabrics.

I promised in my last entry that I'd share pictures of my Jalie Sweetheart top. I've made it twice now with two different sleeves and some alterations. I think with the third try, I should have the pattern perfected.

This one is cut from the pattern with no changes. The yoke comes down way too low, cutting across my bust. I don't like the sleeves. They don't do anything for the top, which is a very cute pattern. Sorry about the bad photo. DS takes my pictures from a chair and they are always from an under chin (and bust) angle. Not a good angle IMHO. Sorry I'm not at my best. I didn't want to take the time to do make-up and hair. This is the real me, a la natural. Later today, I have to go get my conditioning lotion, look at the frizz!

I borrowed the sleeves for this one from the Ottobre Puffed-sleeve top. I think they add the right touch. I altered the yoke by shortening it one full inch. Also, I did a sway back alteration, which didn't work so I'm back to the drawing board to get the back to fit. The Mickey top still needs to be hemmed. I think I'll shorten it a inch while I'm at it.

It has been discussed on a thread at Pattern Review that the front band is too long on this pattern. On my next version I'll need to cut this shorter so that it doesn't fold out to expose me more than I'd like. You can see it folding in in the picture above.

And last but not least, I needed something quick and easy, so I made this Burda WOF twist top. This is a TNT pattern so no thought involved and it fits great. However, my big round belly looks like a 9 pounder in this photo. It may be more flattering for me to take my pics in the mirror or wait until DH is home. Or maybe actually lose the 9 pounds. Yikes!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Wardrobe Garments Completed

I've been busy! I got the jacket completed and I like it although I'm not completely happy with it. My fabric didn't behave the same as my muslin so the bust point is a bit too high for my tastes. Oh well, it's still better than anything I could buy RTW and I do tend to be too hard on myself and my work. Maybe I can improve the fit with a new bra. I just got an Elan bra pattern and a kit from Sew Sassy. I'm probably not working next week so I'll try to make a bra then.

After getting the jacket done, I needed something to wear with it. Also, I needed to get going on the Wardrobe Contest. So, I made a pair of pants from an OOP Sandra Betzina Pattern, altering the legs for a wider look. The top is so cute! It's from an Ottobre magazine, 2/2007 #12. The pattern as drafted was almost long enough to make a short dress, but as a dress I think it would look great. I may make it later this summer.

I also finished two versions of the Jalie Sweetheart top. I'm too tired right now to share it. It'll give me something to do tomorrow. Good night.