Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Return to My TNT T-Shirt Quest

Over the Thanksgiving week I was finally able to get a few t-shirt muslins sewn up. I tried two patterns, and was only successful with one. The Ottobre 3/4 length t-shirt pattern was a clear winner. I know many people have had success with this pattern. It has a good length sleeve and a nice scoop neckline, not too low or too high. In fact, it turned out so well that I didn't quite finish the muslin. This one doesn't have the sleeves or the hem completed. I was too anxious to get started on one in my good fabric.

This is my muslin done in a whimsical fashion diva print. I've had the fabric forever, not sure what I could make it into. The print and colors are very bright and bold so I think it works up great as a t-shirt and if it didn't work out, it wouldn't be too great of a loss.

I cut the muslin in the largest size, and it is slightly too large everywhere. I cut the shoulders in about 1/2" and made a sloping-shoulder alteration. I had added 2" to the hemline, which wasn't at all necessary. I also shortened it at the waist 1".

Just before I cut out the pattern, I decided to shorten the pattern at the waist 3/4 inches more. It was a really good decision, I think. With these alterations I think I got a great fitting t-shirt. I know it's hard to tell in the photo above, but I think I like the fit of this pattern just as much as I liked my missing KS 2900 pattern.

I am so grateful to finally have a good fitting pattern once again. This put me in the mood to sew, so I invited my sister and my niece to come over and sew with me on Saturday. Two years ago I took  my niece to the garment district to buy fabric. Since she wears nearly the same size as I do, we cut out some of my patterns but we never got the chance to stitch them up. Lo and behold (who says that?) we had cut out my TNT t-shirt pattern out of one of her fabrics and then set it aside. No, really! I feel like I just found a buried treasure. I took her UFO and traced out the pattern, front, back, and cap sleeve. It feels so wonderful to have not one, but two TNT t-shirt patterns. Now to trace both again and lock them in the vault so that if I ever lose one again, I still have a copy. OK, so not a vault but maybe a safe deposit box.

Since I was having so much success, I decided to try out another new pattern. This one is Simplicity 2195, a Khaliah Ali collection pattern. It couldn't be more simple with dolman sleeves and a shaped hem. The pattern calls for a neckline facing, but I've decided to do a spiral cowl neckline that Pam at Fashion Sewing Supply, the popular site for interfacing, did on one of her recent garments. Mine will be much shorter than hers because I was running out of fabric, but I think it'll work. While I don't want a whole wardrobe of this top, I like the way it's turning out. I think the underarm curve might have to be resewn closer to my body. Do you think that will work or does the dolman sleeve really sit away from the underarm this much?

Another project I'm working on is this thrift store jacket. It's a Liz Claiborne jacket made in 100% linen with a cotton lining. It must have shrunk in length, because it fits me perfectly except that I need to add shoulder pads. The color is horrible on me so I've decided to dye it using Dylon permanent fabric dye in Bahama Blue, which is probably more of a turquoise color. I had so much fun dying the Fashion Show fabric that I want to do it again. Since this is made of 100% natural fibers, it should hold on to the color nicely.

Don't you think that the trim on this jacket is horrible? The pleated fabric alone would probably have been OK, adding the knotted rope ruined it. Since I'm not sure how the trim would hold the dye, being tightly knotted and layered, I have removed it. I'm spending my evenings going through my Threads Magazines looking for just the right neckline treatment. I'm also replacing the top snap with a magnet. They were selling them at the ETAC conference so I bought a few. I can't wait to try it.

Can you tell I'm super motivated to get back to more sewing? I've felt like such a slacker this year. I hope next year I will be much more productive in my sewing room. Seriously, I've got to start stitching up some of this stash before it all comes tumbling down on my head and kills me.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Pillowtop and Piping

This weekend's sewing project was a DYI home dec project. Have I mentioned that I hate home dec? Well, I do. However, this one turned out to be mostly fun. I've never done upholstery before. It always looked hard. It was hard, but oh so very satisfying to do.

This is the after picture. I'm still amazed that I made this beautiful ottoman. The fabric came from a local home dec fabric shop, Big Y Yardage Outlet. I wanted four yards, but they only had three, but when I took it off the roll and measured it, there was an extra 3/4 yards on the roll. Score! I have plenty now for several throw pillows. The appeal of this fabric was that it goes with both my red sofa and my brown love seat. I'm hoping they will both look like they belong together.

Once I took off the cover, I got a good look at how the pillow top is attached to the board. I would never have figured that out. I still didn't do it how they did it, mine not being quite as professional as theirs, but it got the job done.

My ottoman went with my expensive mission style chair that I just sold on craigslist. It was much too big for the room, but the ottoman can be placed in a corner of the room and pulled out for comfortable TV watching or extra seating so I kept it knowing full well that it needed a new cover. The ottoman is very comfortable to sit on since it has a spring seat instead of a hard board underneath the pillow.

I was surprised to find that the cover included a zipper to install the cushion. I used this method as well. Good thing you can't see the robin's egg blue zipper. I didn't see any reason to go out and buy a matching one since no one will ever see it.

See how well it goes with the brown loveseat? I think it looks great with either piece of furniture.

 Really, the hard part was cutting out the fabric. See what a good job I did matching the pattern. I put the large motif in the center of the top. It looks off center from here, but trust me, it's perfect. Then the box band flows down over the side with a good match and then down to the board cover, it matches as well.

My home is in the middle of a kitchen remodel project so I'm a bit focused on the house. The next few project I sew will be more home dec. I need new curtains in both bathrooms and in the kitchen. I also want to use the ottoman fabric and make pillows for both sofas.

The t-shirt project has been set aside for awhile, but not forever. I'll get back to it during my Christmas break. Two weeks to do nothing but sew. I love my job!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

I'm a Winner!

Today was the Los Angeles ASG Annual Meeting in Calabasas. It was about an hour and a half drive, but fortunately it didn't rain on my friend Karen and I. The meeting was a lot of fun, especially when I won one of the door prizes.

I've won the door prize at the last two meetings I've attended. One was the Chickasaw Tribe Council meeting a couple of months ago. I won a t-shirt. This time, however, I hit the jackpot! Included in the package was a quilt of the month pattern for Halloween, a 5in1 sliding gauge from Nancy Zieman which I've been wanting, a 15-piece fat quarter collection in a lovely metal basket, and a bottle of Mary Ellen's Best Press. When they brought up the package, Karen told me I should smell how good the Best Press was and I told her that I would just have to win the prize--and I did!

The meeting's guest speaker was Leora Raikin from African Folklore Embroidery. While her stuff is really interesting, I'm not going to be picking up a needle and floss anytime soon. However, her stories about South Africa and the life there was fascinating. Next time I have a South African guest to my house, I'll be sure to offer them some tea.

After the meeting on the way home, we just happen to be passing near downtown Los Angeles so we stopped at the garment district where I found 27 yards of knits that needed to be mine. Knowing that I'm close to a new t-shirt pattern, I was on the lookout for some great new fabrics to sew up this fall and winter. 

Starting from the left chair arm to the right, the teal blue and purple flowers is a heavy onionskin type poly knit. The next seven fabrics from the brown and turquoise fabric around to the large black snakeskin print are all poly lycra prints. Under these is an embossed orange heavy acetate slinky, then a non stretchy heavy textured poly knit in a black and white print, and then an RPL double knit in navy for some yoga pants. And last but not least, hanging from my dress form is a poly ruffle knit fabric in a red and black tie-dyed animal print fabric. All the fabrics except the ruffled one came from either Michael Levine, or the Loft. I don't remember the name of the store where I purchased the ruffle. It was sitting outside the store and was calling my name very loudly, so I just followed it inside and got 2.5 yards of it. I only wanted 2 yards, but they threw in the last half yard for free. Again, lucky me!

Tomorrow I'm supposed to go clothes shopping with my niece, but all I want to do is stay home and sew up some of these fantastic new fabrics. So far, the 3/4-length sleeve t-shirt from the 2-2007 Ottobre Magazine is looking like a clear winner for me. I cut the pattern too big, so once I trace it again in a smaller size and make it again, I'll know for sure if it's just right for me. I'm not sure why, but I traced it out in the largest size, and I should have made it in a size 48, which is the size I usually cut for this pattern line.

Thank you to everyone for their great ideas on finding my old t-shirt pattern. Trina had a great idea to make a rubbing off one of my old t-shirts. I tried that and the t-shirt made from the rubbed off pattern just didn't fit right. I'm not sure why. However, I did trace that pattern in permanent ink onto my cutting board so I'll never lose it again. I think I'll do the same thing with my new favorite pattern, when I get it perfected.

It's time to take myself and this lovely feline to bed for the night. Do you see why I prefer prints to solids? They don't show the cat hair nearly so much. That, and I think they hide the flabby rolls around my middle. I promise that my next post I will be sharing some t-shirts.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Doing Stuff

Before I let months go by again, I thought I just do a quick post. I've been tracing and cutting out fabric for my t-shirts. I should get started sewing today since I have Veteran's day off. Tomorrow is my ASG Annual Meeting so I won't get much sewn, but I'll work on my tops again on Sunday.

I also wanted to share the photos from the ETAC fashion show. You can see the video HERE. The fashion show starts at about 9 minutes in. I didn't get any photos on my camera, but Sue from Sew Qwk and Peggy Campbell from my ASG sent me these:

This is the first set of garments. It's what each of would wear to the Friday night get-together mixer. You can see two of us used the border print in a skirt for this event. After seeing these photos, I really hate the way that jacket turned out. The bust fit is awful!

This is the only photo I have of the Memory Lane Photo Shoot garments that I have. Two of the outfits are missing. I think I was the youngest and graduated in the 1970s. The others had garments from the 1960s. Jeanette went way out there in her interpretation of the 1960s with her wig and glasses. She looked great!

This is what each one of would wear to the Big Outdoor Dinner Dance. I really like how that skirt hangs on me. I might consider making it again, just not in a shiny fabric. This one will go into the donation pile. The shawl I made spent the last week in China. One of my friends needed something fancy to wear over a black dress so I let her borrow it. 

I hope you enjoyed seeing how we all used the fabrics and patterns in different and interesting ways. Now back to the cutting table for me. More t-shirt posts to come.