Monday, May 23, 2011

StyleArc's Lily Ski Pants Fit, Mostly.

Warning, horrifying fit photos to follow. Sometimes you've got to show your panties in order to help a fellow sewer with her fit. So I hope these pics don't scare you off and if I've offended you, I'm sorry. My goal is to help you, not terrorize you. (Sorry about the mirror shots, but you get the idea.)

Before cutting these out, I laid them on top of the legging pattern I made from Style Arc to see if I needed to do any alterations. They looked like they would need some length, but I wasn't sure how much would be needed. After cutting out and sewing up the muslin in a fabric with the same stretch as my final stretch denim, I got a much better idea on how much more length I would need. The center front looked good because a 1-3/4" waistband was going to be added to the top. The sides, however, needed about 1-1/2" longer to come up to my waist. Don't forget that I'm only 5'1" tall so that's a lot. These aren't sold as being low waisted, but trust me, they are!

I already know that my center back is a whole lot higher up than my center front so before I cut the muslin I added 1" to the center back on the yoke only. Obviously it wasn't enough. I wound up also adding 1-1/2" to the top of the pants in the back and kept the 1" in the center back on the yoke as well.

Because of my high full rounded back hip, I rounded up what I added to the back over my cheeks. This sort of gives me a princess seam over my high hip. Did you think the yoke was only for looks? No! It's a great place to add more fabric for those love handles. :D

My pattern alterations were a success. See how they come all the way up to my waist on the front and sides? I'm thinking that if I used the recommended fabric of a 4-way stretch knit, I wouldn't have had so much trouble getting them up to my waist. I might have added some, but not as much as I did. However, this pattern looks more like a jegging, which is why I sewed them up in a very stretchy denim. Obviously I omitted the fake zipper pockets the pattern has you add. The last thing I need is attention on my belly with pockets that don't work anyway.

With my alterations, the pants now come up to my waist in the back. However, there are still problems. Specifically, all the wrinkles under my cheeks. I'm not sure what's going on here. It apparent that the back leg has too much circumference, but I think there is also too much length. I don't mind the circumference so much, but I think I'm going to play with these to see how I might address the issue in my next pair. The problem might just go away if I make them in a less stretchy fabric. This pair feels a tiny bit too large everywhere. Maybe if I just use larger seam allowances. I'll have to experiment.

You can see the length issues in this side view. (Please ignore the giant belly that returned after my MIL died. It will be going very soon, I hope!) Lots of drag lines pointing to the back of my leg and the baggy knee tell me that there is too much length in the leg. Any suggestions on how to get rid of this problem? I have some ideas, but since I'm going back on my low carb diet, these pants fit fine for the moment.

I even plan on wearing them out of the house once I put on some make-up and brush my hair.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Recovered From Chicago Trip

If you've never attended a meeting, you don't know what you're missing. I spent last weekend with the most marvelous women ever and visited such a wonderful city. The organizers of this year's event did an outstanding job. You might not know this but sewers are party animals, so what happened in Chicago stays in Chicago and that's all I'm going to say about that!

One of the fabric stores we visited was Vogue Fabrics in Evenston, IL. That's where I bought these delicious fabrics. Starting with the first row, there's a cotton lycra jersey, a beautiful brick colored rayon/lycra jersey that I might just do some discharge dyeing on, next a lovely Christmas red rayon jaquard crinkle woven fabric, a printed cotton/lycra jersey, next a poly chiffon and a rayon challis. I also bought 4 yards of white silk crepe fabric to do silk painting on. I can't believe I kept my purchases down to only 18 yards. My stash is currently overflowing so I did try to show some restraint.

Now that I'm recovered from my jet lag and my sewing room is back in order, I can get started on my StyleArc patterns. Since I did like the free pattern they sent me, which was the legging pattern, I'm pretty sure I'm going to like the pants patterns I bought as well.

I really like the pair of jeggings I bought before Christmas and wear them a lot. I'm hoping this pattern called the Lily Ski Pant fits similarly to my jeggings. They are made for a very stretchy fabric and they include a sample of a wool jersey as an example of what to sew them up in. I plan on using a very stretchy denim. I'm cutting these out today.

The Kerry Cargo pant is a very different sort of pattern. It has a straight leg, which I haven't been very successful in wearing since I'm short and have very small legs compared to the rest of my body. After cutting out the pattern (they come in only one size), it looks like they won't be coming in under the butt like their line drawing shows. The sample fabric that they sent looks like a rayon/lycra blend woven pants weight fabric. I'm not sure what I'll make my muslin out of but if they turn out to be a good pattern for me, then I have a pale spring green stretch linen to make them up in.

The third pattern I bought from StyleArc was the Tiffany Blouse. It is supposed to be made from any drapey blouse fabric. I have several nice rayon challis fabrics in my stash that I could use to make this blouse. It looks like it might fit me with very little alterations, even in the bust. Unfortunately, I've been putting back on a few pounds so I need some new blouses.

My summer vacation has begun so I have about 75 days of sewing ahead of me. I expect to make a dent in my fabric stash and get lots of new clothes sewn. Visit often and leave me comments because I cannot get enough of your comments!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Last Second Sewing for Chicago

I got everything made for my trip and then found out that the weather will be really bad during the PR Meeting. In order to make my travel wardrobe work for the cold rainy weather I had to add a few more pieces. Good thing I have such a substantial fabric collection or none of these garments could have been possible. It's not like JoAnn's would have had what I wanted.

Because I wanted to stay warm in Chicago, I made KS 3693 in a slinky printed knit. It's just like Chico's travel knit they use for their garments and it will help to keep me warm on our fabric shopping outing on Friday.

This is how I'll wear it. The beaded flower trim on the top leaves the neckline of the cardi quite lumpy, but I think my hair will cover that up. I haven't hemmed the pants yet. I'll wear this outfit with my black waterproof rain boots I bought for my trip to NYC two years ago. They still look pretty good. This outfit will look really nice with my orange Anne Klein trench coat. Good thing I put back on so much weight or the coat wouldn't fit me. Of course, I could have just bought a new one.

As for the Big Event on Sunday where we get to meet the Lt. Gov. of Illinois, I was planning on wearing my new summer dress. However, we are walking to the meeting place and, while it may not be raining on Sunday, it will certainly be cold. So I went to Target to see if I could find a cardi or shrug that I could wear over the dress because, while I do have one cut out, I didn't think I'd have time to sew it up. And how lucky could I be? I found this cowl neck sweater with 3/4 length sleeves that was the perfect color. I like 3/4 length on RTW because long sleeves are always much too long. It looks OK under the dress and I had to style it with brown tights and my brown flats so my legs would stay warm. I think the dress looks fine styled this way and I'll be warm enough during the walk with the trench coat over it.

A couple of weeks ago I bought some Style Arc patterns from Australia which I will share with you when I get back from Chicago. With my order, they sent me a free pattern for some leggings. In the middle of sewing like mad for this trip, I decided to try out this pattern. If it worked, then I'd have another outfit possibly to take with me and help keep me warm. The pattern worked well enough. The fit isn't perfect and I did have to do some crotch scooping to get it to look this good. I shortened the legs 2" but probably shouldn't have. I still haven't hemmed these and they look like they might be almost too short.

If I find the time tomorrow, I'm going to sew up one more thing. I want to make a tunic to wear over my new leggings. There is going to be a pizza party and celebration with fun and games on Saturday night at the University Center and I wanted to be comfortable and warm for this event. I plan on sewing up the animal print from an earlier order into a long tunic pattern but have yet to decide which pattern. I better get to deciding since I have only tomorrow to get it cut out and sewn and get everything washed up and packed. Yikes! I need to get to bed, tomorrow is going to be a long day!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Almost Finished

I'm almost finished sewing for Chicago. My plane leaves this coming Thursday. There's not much time left so I spent my Mother's Day sewing up B5593. My husband was going to get up and take me out to breakfast, but I'm afraid I would have starved waiting for him so I made myself breakfast and we went out with our son for a late lunch. I didn't wear this dress because the sun decided to hide all day. It was in the triple digits last week and I don't think it got to 65 degrees today. Go figure. There were some scary black clouds out as well. I did want to show you how wonderful the roses were looking in front of our house. Aren't they pretty?

I haven't started on the shrug yet, but the dress turned out better than I thought it would. It wound up being shorter than I wanted so I had to add the brown band at the hem to make it long enough. I think that it turned out to be a fantastic design element and it wouldn't have been as nice without it. I was very grateful for my gigantic stash because that's where this fabric came from. I don't think I could have found a better matching knit anywhere in town.

If you want to read the review with every minute detail I did to make this dress, you can read the review here at I wrote up a very comprehensive review that I don't feel like repeating. Sorry about being so lazy. If you want to know anything specific and can't access the review, leave me a comment and I'll post more info for you.

Aren't the shoes great with this dress?

I'm not happy with this latest version of NL 6735. Nothing wrong with the top really, it's the shape underneath and the fabric that clings to it that I don't like. This is a too-thin rayon lycra fabric from the stash. It's a great color and my trim matched it so perfectly. Maybe if I put a belt around my middle it would look better. I doubt it. I'll probably have to wear my spanx cami underneath. Target sells a very nice one for not a lot of money.

I got the trim from the big trimming store in NYC a couple of years ago. I think it has initials like ML or something like that. I can't think of the name right now. Anyway, doesn't the floral trim make this plain t-shirt look like something special. I'm thinking it doesn't need a necklace, maybe just some great earrings. Do you agree?

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Chicago, Here I come!

I have only nine days left to sew before I leave for the Meeting in Chicago. I've never been to Chicago and I haven't met many of my on-line sewing friends that will be at the meeting. I guess you could say that I'm pretty excited about this trip. Of course, I have to have a new, sewn-by-me wardrobe while attend an event of sewing friends.

The events for this meeting will include a fabric shopping day and dinner, a guest teacher/speaker and a pizza party, and then breakfast with the Lieutenant Governor of Illinois. Also, I'll be doing some sightseeing on my own the day after the meeting. I already have figured out what I'll wear to most of the events, thanks to the PR Mini-Wardrobe contest. However, I need something to wear to the breakfast with the Lt. Gov.

I've decided to wear a dress. Of course it'll have to be a new dress. I just bought this See&Sew 5593 pattern on my last trip to JoAnn's.

I'm going to mix it up a bit from the red/black/gray of my mini-wardrobe and make it from a brown/orange print jersey and also make a tie shrug to wear over it since it will probably be cold. I should pack for the trip expecting rain, and then be ready for the sun to shine as well. The shrug I want to make is NL 6559. I think it will look great over the dress. My only concern is that the dress has a tie in the back and the shrug has a tie in the front. Sounds like a lot of ties for one outfit.

Since I'm adding brown to my color palate for the trip, I've decided to make another t-top and pants like the gray one I did for the mini-wardrobe. The pants fabric is a pinstripe RPL and the top fabric is a rayon lycra jersey. I'm using the same TNT patterns and I have a leopard belt that might work. If it doesn't, the belt is reversible with dark brown on the other side and I'll wear my leopard print shoes. I may even do some of the same embellishments to this top as I did on the gray one. I need to do the tutorial anyway so this would be a good opportunity to take pictures.

I know my plan sounds ambitious, but I do my best work under pressure. I have today off and don't have any plans for the weekend except to sit at my machine and sew. When I put my sewing under pressure like this, that's when my sewing machine usually breaks down. Good thing I have lots of back-up machines just sitting around! Please pray for the serger and the coverstitch machine though.