Friday, May 29, 2009

Another Summer Top Done

Remember I cut out five garments last weekend, but only got three finished? Well, I finished another one.

I first made this pattern two years ago and didn't like it at all. After writing a review on PR, I was told that it didn't make me look pregnant, just full-busted. Well, I guess that's better. Everytime I wore the first one, I got loads of compliments. The pattern is Simplicity 5013 which is an OOP Jr. Plus pattern. I sewed the largest size with alterations, of course.

I still think it looks a bit maternity, but that's what's "in" right now. Today I'll cut out a pair of red jeans to go with my new top. I'm not sure if it is proper for a plus-sized woman to wear red jeans, let alone a sleeveless top, but I'm going to do it. If I can keep up this pace up, I'll get my summer wardrobe done before summer gets here. That would be some accomplishment.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Three Days of Success

I had a wonderful time shopping downtown LA for fabric with Karrol and her daughter, Chloie, Jeanette, and Cat. There's nothing like spending time with people who love fabric as much as I do. We didn't stop in a lot of stores so I wasn't too tired when I got home. I usually wear myself out when I go. It was the stop and go traffic all the way home that wore me out.

Here are four of the five fabrics I purchased. Going clockwise, the purple/white floral is a linen/tencel blend and was the most expensive at $10/yd. Next is a beautifully drapy rayon challis that was $2/yd. Both of these and the last one I got at Michael Levines. The pink floral linen was purchased at Mikes for $4/yd and is the most beautiful quality. The print does look a little drapery-ish so it will take some thinking on my part to decide what to make from it. The last is a cotton single knit from the clearance section for $1.50/yd. There are always such great bargins shopping downtown. I don't know why I don't go more often.

After I got home on Saturday, I spent the rest of the day washing my haul plus several other fabrics I wanted to get cut out and sewn this weekend. I got four tops and a dress cut out and two of the tops and the dress actually got sewn.

This is the fifth fabric I bought this weekend. It's a thin poly/lycra knit. I just loved the print and knew they'd go with the long shorts I made a week ago. I used my TNT t-shirt pattern KS 2900 cutting the sleeves to a cap length and giving the crew neckline more of a scoop.

I was determined not to go to JoAnn's for anything during my sewing spree. I found this great decorative elastic with a piping along the edge in my stash and even though you can't tell in the photograph, the green is a perfect match for the green in the fabric. I sewed it on the neckline and sleeve hems using the zipper foot on my sewing machine and the trim came out perfectly. You can also see the varigated pink thread I used in the coverstitch machine.

For the other top I made I used some rayon/lycra knit purchased on a previous visit to Michael Levines with the Los Angeles ASG chapter. The pattern is one I drafted from KS 2900 when someone on PR asked how the RTW top could be copied.

It's hard to see the design detail in my model pose so here's a close-up. I've reviewed the pattern before but this time I did the binding a little differently and used short sleeves. I don't have anything much to wear with it yet so I'm thinking of making some linen pull-on pants to go with it. I have a darker turquoise linen that would match nicely.

Last but not least is the linen dress. This fabric was stuffed in a plastic tub in the very bottom of my closet. I was searching for something when I ran across it. The fabric has probably been in my stash for about six years and I think I purchased it from FFC. It's very off grain and it doesn't drape very nicely. I don't think the bad grain will be a problem since I folded the fabric so that it laid nicely, ignoring the straigt of grain. The fabric had been washed previously and I washed it again before cutting the dress out. The last time I sewed this dress, I was disappointed with the collar. The busy fabric hid my collar. Debbie Cook suggested I make a contrast collar so this time I took her advise. I was worried that with the white there would be show-through so instead of using interfacing I used a double layer of the white mystery fabric I found in my stash. I used spray glue to glue the two layers together and treated them as one. I'm pretty happy with the way the dress turned out even if I'm not thrilled with the fabric. I'm sure I'll get some use out of it.

I still have two more tops cut out and some red denim waiting to be cut so I'm going to stay at it for a few more days. DH is back home so someone can keep the kitchen clean. Now if I could only train the cat to pick up the hair she's sheading all over the house.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Three Days of Sewing

Husband is gone for the next four days so I plan on sewing for three of them. Tomorrow I'm going fabric shopping at the Downtown Los Angeles garment district with a few gals from patternreview. Then I have the rest of the weekend set aside to sew. I may have to stop and clean the kitchen at some point since that's usually Husband's job. I haven't got everything planned out, but I'm going to return to some of the patterns I muslined a couple of posts ago and make some new knock-off t-shirts. I'm teaching a class on how to knock-off RTW shirts in a couple of weeks, so I thought it'd be nice to have a few new ones to present in my trunk show.

Here's me in the denim skirt I made last Sunday. I've had it cut out for two years and I can't remember what pattern I used. That's too bad too because I really like how it turned out.

It's the perfect length and it hangs perfectly even. I can bend over and not have my behind hanging out in the classroom. Always a good thing when teaching middle school boys. I had Husband on the floor with a yardstick measuring to make sure. He's a keeper for sure.

I also really like how the stretch denim didn't bag out in the seat after wearing it all day at work. Not that I sat a lot today. I'm wearing some apple green panties and there is no show-through, which is a very important feature for a white skirt IMHO.

Husband took my camera with him on his trip so I won't be able to photograph anything I sew this weekend until he gets back.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Saturday Sewing Success

It was a very good sewing day for me. I decided to sew a TNT pattern. I made either some very long shorts or short capris, I can't decide which. What I did was use my jeans pattern and fold up the leg. I'm not sure the leg length works, but I've got something pink to wear with sandals this summer. Now I need to make some tops to wear with them.

I also made a new knit skirt. It's from New Look 6875, a knit wardrobe and I think it's one of their new patterns. I'm going to wait until I have a nicer top to wear with the skirt. This one has been folded up in the bottom drawer all winter and I just pulled it out. It's seen better days and needs to be replaced.

I didn't have enough of this fabric which I've had in my stash a long time because it wasn't enough to make anything. However, with some careful laying out of the pattern pieces and completely ignoring the pocket grain line and by adding a center front seam, I got it to fit.

The center front seam disappears in the print, luckily. However, I didn't hem the skirt yet and I don't think I will. I know the knit won't fray, so I'll just leave it alone. I'm afraid it'll get too short if I hem it. From the back it looks to be the perfect length. I've got the typical skinny legs of the apple shaped woman so why not show them off?

Oh, and I will definitely NOT be tucking my shirt in. I did it here so you can see how good it fit with minimal alterations, and no muslin either. I know how much to add to the top of the waist in the back and how much I need to remove in the front to get the skirt to hang correctly so I didn't bother with one.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Ottobre t-shirt

I really like this pattern, sort of. It's Ottobre Design 2-2008-4. It doesn't fit well. It's too tight. The sleeves are funky and doesn't fit the armhole or my biceps. However, I love my color combination and the shape of the white stripe, I even like the placement. My next version will be from my TNT t-shirt pattern redesigned to have the stripe.

This pattern has a dart incorporated into the stripe. Problem is that it's too high for my bust. It would work out better for me if it was under the stripe instead of above it.

The sleeve seems wide enough at the cap, but is too tight at the bicep. Strangely, I don't usually have a problem with large arms.

Something strange is going on with the armhole/sleeve cap/shoulders. Any ideas on how to fix this are welcome. Not that I'll fix it on this pattern, but it would be nice to know.

Back is way too tight. This is a classic example of What-Not-To-Wear for the plus sized girl. This picture has made it very clear that I need to redouble my weight loss efforts. I've been failing miserably.

I'm ready to redo a couple of muslins but I've run out of muslin. Meanwhile, I'll start redrafting my TNT to look like the Ottobre pattern. Luckily, I have plenty more of these fabrics.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Ten Yards of Muslin Gone

And nothing to show for it. Well, that's not exactly true. I have five new patterns made up in muslin and nothing that is ready to be cut with the fashion fabric. I get so tired of sewing muslins. I can't wear muslin to work but as a fitting tool, it's the best thing there is. I know I've convinced more than a few of you to make them. But good grief, I just want some woven summer tops made from actual fashion fabric. I think I need some cheese for my whine. I actually know someone who can sew from the envelope. One person. That means I'm not the only one who has to alter. So, without further ado, here's my weeks worth of work.

This is the one that shows the most promise. The pattern was drafted from my block that I made when I was taking my Patternmaking class 3 years ago. I actually drafted it as a wrap dress and then never made it. I took the pattern and traced it, removing 16" from the hem and cutting it on the center front. At least I think it was the center front, I had it marked as the grainline. I've already altered the new pattern to give me more room around the midriff. It could also use just a tiny bit of length removed above the bust. The sleeve fits well, luckily.

This is a new pattern I just picked up today. It's S2599 and is drafted for separate B/C/D cup sizes. I cut the 18 D cup, which probably would have been fine if it was a women's size and not misses. I also sloped the shoulders like I always do, but now the neckline is all wonky and was even before I cut open the bust to see how much more room I needed. This one does have potentional though. It'll need a FBA even though I'm not a D cup. I'm actually looking forward to getting this one made.

This is S4967 and is huge on me. I think I'll abandon this one altogether.

This one is S2697. I like it and I haven't given up on it yet. I need to shorten it above the bust so the neckline sits lower, add some to the hips and work on the darts, but it has potential. Sorry about the picture, I was having an ugly day.

This one is New Look 6179. While it is obviously too small, I like it. I think I need to take new measurements of myself. I don't seem to be as small as I think I am. I have to recommit to my weight loss. Obviously I'm not doing very well.

So that's it. Tomorrow is Mother's day and I'm going to try to get out of going to my MIL's house and stay home to sew. DH will enjoy his day with her without the noise of DS and me. They both have hearing loss and I can't handle both of them at the same time for very long. Too bad too, because she is a really wonderful lady. I'm so lucky to have such a nice MIL.

To all the Mothers out there, have a wonderful day.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Summer Tops

Wow, two posts in two days. Don't think I'm starting a trend or anything. I've been struggling to find a pattern for woven summer fabrics. Since menopause, I'm have some slight personal summers, not bad mind you, just hot. Because of this I'm going to try to avoid poly knit tops this season. I've got my heart set on cotton and rayon woven tops for the summer but can't seem to get a pattern to fit.

I started with Simplicity 2705, put the center front on the fold and stitched up a muslin. The front neckline is cut on the seam line. I already put in a FBA which is rotated to gathers above the bust, eliminating the pleats. I also did a sloping shoulder adjustment. I thought it looked pretty great, until I tried to move my arms.

The cut on cap sleeve restricted my movement. To get some ideas on how to fix this, I started a thread on There were several really great ideas, but I decided that Belinda was right. This wasn't going to work with my bustline and short above bust length.

I'm not one to give up so easily so I decided to cut an armhole and put a cap sleeve that I borrowed from another pattern.

While I think my solution did work, it still doesn't feel right on and probably needs more of a FBA. Since I didn't want to put even more gathers in, I'm thinking I should remove the added gathers, go back to the pleats, and do a side dart. Unfortunately, I cut my original pattern up so now I have to go buy a new pattern. I think Simplicity patterns are going to be on sale, if they aren't already.

I forgot to mention that the back has problems I still have to work out as well. Instead of spending more time right now on this pattern, I'm going to switch patterns and work on these two tops:

I've already done the FBA on S2697, on a traced copy of course. I'll be making the one with the short cuffed sleeves sans the cuff. I'm ready to cut the first muslin. I have the pattern tissue for New Look 6179 already cut out and it needs a muslin made as well. I think I'll skip the FBA for the pesant blouse for the first muslin. I've just cut it a couple of sizes larger. I hope I have some elastic since both patterns call for it. I may be running into some trouble getting these tops made so I'll get the muslins cut right away. Dtwinsis wants her machine back. Mine is ready so this morning I'm going to go get it. Yea! Then it'll be muslin city around here, at least until I run out of the 10 yards I just I bought.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Rummage Sale Score

Yesterday was the ASG Los Angeles Chapter rummage sale. It was our first type yard sale event, but the donations were great. I promised myself that I wouldn't bring anything home, I just went to work the event. Oops!

There was a small collection of video tapes. Lucky for me I still have a video player that works. The first one is Peggy Sager's Factory Tips and Techniques to Making Blazers and the other one is Sandra Betzina's Pattern Sizing and Alterations #2. The strange thing next to the tapes is a Greist Automatic Buttonholer. I don't currently have a need for this, but if I buy an old machine, I can use it then. I know, I know, I shouldn't have but it was too hard to turn down. I found five issues of Threads that I didn't already have in my collection. I also found a box of 5 pieces of tailor's chalk, three white and two blue. I love this stuff. Another great find was a bound buttonhole maker. A few months ago I bought one for $20 on Ebay, but this one came with the package instructions and it's unopened. I'll probably give my other one to my friend Stephanie. Then there was a Clover pocket curve template. I don't already own one of these and it was new and in the package too.

There were boxes and boxes of patterns. These are the ones I picked up for me.

These are the ones I picked up for my great niece who's two years old. I haven't sewn much for her, but I think I might start.

I thought I might enter a stuffed animal to The Los Angeles County Fair this year. They are being donated to the local hospital. I bought these patterns to share with my ASG Neighborhood group. Maybe they'll want to enter a stuffed animal too.

Then there was the fabric. We had about 8 tables piled high with donated fabric. Most of it was easy to turn down, lots of yuck poly and ugly, out of date prints. However these are what I did bring home:

This one was a true find. It's 4 yards of silk suiting. It's a midweight woven with some slubs in it. It's not raw silk, however. I think the wool moths in my house will leave it alone. Anyway, it's beautiful but it doesn't show very well in the photograph.

This panel print barkcloth was especially nice. I'm not sure what to do with it since there is only 2 yards. It will probably become a bag or a summer top if I can find some interesting way to use the panels.

This nylon lace needs to become a bra once I get the pattern perfected.

There is enough here for a t-shirt, maybe for my son, and a shortie nightgown for me.

These cute baby wale corduroy pieces will become something for my great neice.