Archive for January 2014

These Boots are Made for Laurel

Thursday, January 23, 2014


Experiment:  Colette Laurel,  size 2 graded out to a 4 at waist


Materials:
Teal Cotton Broadcloth ~ 2 and 3/4 yards
Hook and Eye
Clarks and Coat Thread (Color: Black)
Colette Laurel Pattern, version 3

Procedure:

Please forgive the wrinkles in these photos but enjoy the afternoon sun and the shadows.  I think I am more excited how my new cowgirl boots look rather than how the Laurel turned out.  I grew up in the north and never in my life dreamed that I would ever own a pair of cowgirl boots. 

This is my first garment for the MAGAM challenge.  Laurel, oh, laurel. I love the cuffs.  This is the whole reason I bought this pattern.  Shift dresses aren't the most flattering type of dress for me.  I need a waist to create the illusion of curves and a bust.  But, those cuffs, well, I had to have them.  So girly, so charming.


My first attempt with Laurel was ill-fated.  The size 0 that I normally cut in Colette patterns proved to be too small.  I did, however, only attempt the shirt version (not that the size matters) so tucked away behind the Laurel directions was the dress pattern.  It was such an easy sew-up that once disaster struck I knew I would try again with the dress version.  I even cut a part of the pattern that afternoon.

Ta-dah!

Since the size 0 was tiny, I started with a size 2 in the bodice and graded out at the waist/hips to a 4.  I should have added some length because the final product was a tad short for my taste.  The hem of the bottom looks wonky because I decided to conserve length so I busted out the rolled hem presser foot.  That narrow rolled hem added a little of the puckers that you see at the bottom which I did not iron out before I took the pictures. 
I opted not to put in a zipper in the back but instead I added a slit at the back neckline.  I topstitched it all fancy and finished it with a discrete hook and eye.  This was partly due to laziness and partly due to the fact that there was ease in this pattern.  It is a shift dress with room around the waist and fighting with an invisible zipper did not sound like a good time (It never fails that I muck up an invisible zipper no matter how many times I do it!).
I am my own worst critic.  I hope that Laurel grows on me.  I wore this to a party with friends for the premiere of the 3rd season of Sherlock in the US.  Yea, I am a nerd but I embraced nerdy long ago (Have you noticed the name and look of my blog!?!).  It was a fabulously fun night -- fish and chips and pints of bitter, oh, and the return of Sherlock.  They all thought the dress looked great.  I, on the other hand, am not yet sold.

I was so excited to get my boots (Circle G boots in the smallest size for my tiny feet).  I had been wanting a pair for quite come time but suddenly I can't come up with outfits that they flatter.  I mean, when I was daydreaming about a pair there were endless sewing adventures running through my mind.  And I feel like the boots only go with two basic kinds of outfits: jeans or a short skirt/dress.  I need to sew up some more things that compliment them.  Rosie Wednesday is currently doing a Simplicity 1960 dress sew along.  One option of the Simplicity 3833 is short enough that the boots would be highlighted.  Hmmmm, this would require a hunt to find a good subtle print.  

Can you think of any other outfits cowgirl boots would go with?

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Surrounded by Fleece: Knits Part Deux

Friday, January 17, 2014


Lurking within my pattern stash was Sew Simple A1490.  It's a rather simple fleece coat but a tad more dressy than the usual jacket.  It just so happens that I scored 3 yards of ivory fleece for the sweet price of $2.79/yard!  It was kismet (could also possibly be the lingering cold temperatures in Louisiana) and so the second experiment of 2014 was underway.

Experiment:  
Sew Simple A1490 , size XS


Materials: 
Sew Simple pattern A1490
2 and 1/4 yards of ivory fleece  
Mettler Metrosene White Thread (col. 0001)
2 metal snaps

Procedure:

I choose the extra small pattern size.  It was slightly smaller than my bust measurement and I was counting on the crazy amount of ease in commercial patterns plus the fact that it was a loose fitting jacket.   


I should have known after cutting out the pattern. I should have gone with the smallest size (XXS).  I am swimming in fleece. Literally. Why is there so much ease?!?  The ivory fleece makes me look paler - not the chic white jacket I imagined!

Ok, for me surrounded by 2 yards of ivory fleece is not flattering.  On the other hand, it was such an easy make that the XXS should be just right and I am going to try again.  The procedure was quite clear in this 'Sew Simple' project.  It really was so simple.  I did add two metal snaps so that the jacket would close. It seemed odd with so much material that there were no closures.  It also looked funny without closures when you had your hands in the pockets.  I also shortened the shoulder dart slightly.  The sleeves took on a better shape.




Conclusion: Knits -- I am conquering you. Shout out to Simplicity patterns -- my mother thanks you. She will sport this jacket proudly.  


Other Lab News: To push myself and my sewing skills, I decided to join the Make a Garment a Month group.  This is an excellent group that makes a lot of interesting and inspiring garments.  The idea of the group is that you choose what you make for the month, share with the group, and then blog about it.  No theme.  Sounds like a lot of fun. 

This month I am going to tackle the Colette Laurel pattern using a teal cotton broadcloth.   This pattern has gotten a lot of good reviews and I like the option of cuff ruffles.  Totally girly and totally me.  Guess what I'm doing tonite?

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Not so Knitpicky

Monday, January 6, 2014

Experiment: Tessuti's Fave Top

Materials:
1.5 yards of flamingo jersey knit ($3.25/yard)
Fave Top Pattern
Mettler Metrosene pink thread (col. 0806)
Twin needle
Stretch needle



I had extra flamingo jersey knit.  Woo-who! That meant the second go-round with Tessuti's Fave Top.  I am over my fear of knits and officially have a new skill to start the new year.  With one of these tops under your belt, the second one churns out in no time. And in no time, I mean about an hour (maybe a smidge more).

Still unhappy with the fit, I printed a new pattern, put it together, then removed 4 inches from the vertical and 2 inches from the length.  This time I left the sleeves at their original length.  I think I need to remove another inch or so in the vertical and horizontal.


Is this my fave top?  Nah, but it was soooo easy and comfy that maybe if I spend more time to get the fit right, it would be a favorite of mine.

To increase my knit skills, I enrolled in the 'Sewing with Knits' Craftsy class.  I watched about half of the class after I had made the Tessuti top.  I did learn a couple of tips and tricks at stabilizing knits (oooohhh, the fabric rolling is annoying!).  The class is taught by Meg McElwee (who did a great job at dispelling myths and showing you what a good ole' sewing machine can do with knits) came with 5 patterns for basic items like a T-shirt or, my staple, yoga pants.  I plan on doing some online fabric shopping (another first for me!) for suitable fabric to whip some more knit goodies up.  Thanks to the Craftsy class, I also now want the Sew Liberated Ashland dress pattern because of the square neckline.
 


I was also able to enhance my knit awesomeness by using the Walking Foot and the twin needle that Santa generously gave me (Man, he does treat those who have been good all year!).   


Conclusion
I like this top but need to perfect the length and width (see how long it is above!  My little guy offered to be a model in the picture).  I do love the softness of this flamingo jersey.  It feels creamy against your skin so it begs to be worn.  Will I sew it again?  Probably (half the battle is putting a pdf pattern together, right?), the caveat is that I find the right fabric.



I had planned to take photos of the 'Fave Top' outside around this fountain but, just like most of the US, that polar vortex is sending frigidly cold air our way.  Here's to staying warm and cozy!  Maybe, the next experiment will be with fleece or flannel.

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Diving Right In (... to the New Year and a new technique)

Thursday, January 2, 2014




I began my Monthly Stitch project today and decided to focus on my fear of knits.   I have been lusting to make a Briar top with long sleeves but have not had the courage.  Ironically, I have no fear of shopping for knit fabric. I always manage to buy a couple of yards here or there. Good thing I've got them stashed away.

Today, I broke out the twin needle and a flamingo colored soft knit.  I figured baby steps were the way to approach sewing with knits.  I came across Tessuti's Fave Top pattern.  It's free, it utilizes knit, and it is not complicated.  I thought it was a winning situation.

My only hesitation was that the pattern is one size.  I got a little concerned when I put the pattern together and held it up to my chest.  It was so large -- I began to worry I would be swimming in pink fabric.  I turned to Pattern Review to get a variety of perspectives.  Clearly, the design is roomy which I like, however, I needed to remove some of the roominess before I could begin sewing.

Now I have done pattern alterations (taking in the waist, or lengthening, SBA) but I haven't done multiple pattern alterations at one time. Again, irrational fear that I will do something wrong.  The pattern was sooooo large. I had to do something:  2 inches from the center, 2 inches from the length, and 2 inches from the sleeve.  I also got lazy since, by now, I was convinced that whatever came from the pattern would only ever be a first attempt so I used only the front piece and folded on double layer of fabric.


I sewed.

Guess what? 

I survived.

It was not my finest attempt but a lot of trepidation melted away as I began to sew.



The fit is fine but the neckline is bollocks.  But, I am totally happy with the above.  I will never wear it (maybe as a pajama shirt ?) and I plan on making one with a proper neckline and seams that match up. The real triumph is that I did it. I sewed with knits. And it wasn't that bad. 

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