Archive for February 2014

Liar Liar Pants on Fire!

Thursday, February 27, 2014


Pants! Oh, pants.

TMS challenge for February: make pants.  Errr, why does something so simple have to be so hard to fit!?!  My original idea was to sew up a pair of leggings in some crazy print.  That  felt a little like cheating so I tackled the New Look cigarette pant.


Experiment: New Look 0916, cigarette pant
                    size 8
Materials:
Unknown blue and yellow fabric
Navy blue gabardine
Thread




This unknown blue and yellow fabric served as my muslin fabric for the pant.  I was encouraged by the fit and the feel. Thus, I cut into a beautiful navy blue gabardine.  Oh man!  Check out this disaster.

I wish I had wonderful news like "I ripped out the seam and tried again.  Voila-- it worked. Perfect fit!", ummm, the sad reality is that it didn't work.  Endless seam ripping and sewing and those are the pants I have to show for it.  Fabulous fail.  The fit seems to be ok, it is the d@#n waistband that has been giving me heartache.   It does not lie flat.  It is all wonky and pulls away from my waist.  It could be due to the multiple seam ripping that occurred.  I realize that compounding the waistband problem is the fact that the gabardine does not have a lot of stretch and my muslin fabric did.   The pants are a little more snug than I would like.

It has been a busy month (so much so that one example of how hectic it has been is that I put the wrong date on my son's birthday invitations.  :( Another epic fail).  After investing so much time in the New Look 0916 pants and not really achieving the fit or the look I wanted, I went to my back up plan.  Yoga pants. I am quite vocal that I am a newbie at sewing with knits.  Meg McElwee's Craftsy knit class has been super helpful and luckily it included a pattern for a pair of yoga pants.  

Experiment:
Meg McElwee's Yoga Pants
Size: XS

Materials:
1.5 yards Pink Striped Knit Jersey ($3/yard)
White thread (Gutterman)



Details:
These came together in a flash.  The jersey knit is soft with pale pink stripes.  It was found in a remnant bin.  The pattern calls for pockets but I omitted them because the fabric was thin and I was worried about bulkiness.
Meg McElwee's Craftsy class walks you through making these pants step by step.  Ironically, I watched most of it after I had sewn up the pants.  My only dislike about the pattern is that the pants run long (or it could be I am a short gal!).  I took off about 3 inches from the bottom and opted not to hem.  I think it will look cute with the natural knit roll.

This pair of yoga pants has a fold over waist band which reminds me of a pair of beloved yoga pants from before my son was born (My heavens, that will be 7 years ago this week!).
I am also super pysched about my stripe matching.  Ok ok, it is not perfect but pretty close -- that is sewing karma.
Before my son was born and when I lived in Atlanta, I practiced Bikram yoga.  Since moving to a small town, my yoga practice has slowed (from hot hot yoga to yin yang yoga) and now, I catch a class when I have a spot of free time.  These pants are perfect for that.  Well, somewhat.  I will have to make up another pair in a material that is not quite so transparent!  (Could you image how embarassing a downward facing dog would be with see-thru material!?!) Thankfully, these turn out to be the perfect lounge pants or better yet, sewing pants!
Back to the lab with New Look 0916's cigarette pant!  I know I can get it right with the right fabric (That's my excuse for an online fabric splurge!).

In other news, the winning pattern for Miss Bossy Patterns is Megan Nielson's Tania Culottes.  March is around the corner so I better get fabric shopping!

Cheers,
Annie

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Sew Grateful Giveaway

Sunday, February 23, 2014

My Happy Sewing Place

Sew grateful week begins tomorrow.  It is the perfect opportunity to reflect on all the wonderful things in your life and spread a little love.  

Sooooo, I am giving away a copy of The Colette Sewing Handbook.  Brand spanking new! I will ship anywhere.


If you are interested, leave a comment of what you are grateful for by Friday, 28 February 2014.  I will randomly pick the winner on the 1st of March.

For another entry, follow me on Blogger or BlogLovin'.

Good luck and happy stitching!
Annie



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Sew Loved for Valentine's Day

Saturday, February 15, 2014

                     


Experiment: Simplicity 3833
                      View A, size 8


Materials:
3 yards Blue Cheetah Cotton
A 22" white zipper (Coats)
Two 12" by 1" bias strips (homemade)
Coats and Clarks white thread




Procedure:


I admit I am not very good at sew alongs. I love them but I tend to go at my own pace. I started this dress at the end of January. I intended to make this dress with the sew along but, alas, did not have the time. I did, however, take full advantage of the hints, tricks, and visuals. I must thank Lauren from Rosie Wednesdays for her incredible video tutorials -- my lapped zipper looks freakin' amazing!

I was lazy and did not make a muslin before I started sewing.  Amazingly, things worked out.  I am so excited with this dress because of the two new techniques I learned:

1. Lapped zipper


Lauren's technique for a lapped zipper worked like a dream and her video was so helpful.  It is bookmarked so the next lapped zipper I can refresh how to do it! 

2. Bias tape sleeve setting



I have tried sewing in the flat to get my sleeves to set properly. I have tried one basting stitch all the way to four basting stitches to ease in the sleeve. I never quite got the hang of it. the sleeves didn't look awful but the didn't look perfect either. Enter my friend: Bias Tape. After watching a less than stellar You Tube tutorial, I made a couple of strips of 12" by 1" bias tape and went to my Singer. 

Oh my stars! This s#$t worked. Bias tape to set my sleeves, swoon and sighs, is awesome! I am in love. My sleeves look better! This wasn't a perfect first run as I don't think I pulled the bias tape as hard as I could have since I was trying to guide the sleeve but it worked. 
                                                                           Sorry for the wrinkles!




I did end up shortening View A quite a bit.  When I tried the dress on to gauge the hem length, it was slightly past my knees.  It looked like a hospital gown.  I got out my shears and knicked off a couple of inches.  Tried it on again and decided a few more needed to be removed in order to avoid the look of anything hospital-ly.  I took a total of 5 inches off the hem.  I like the contrast of the short hemline and long sleeves.  Plus it will look cute with my cowgirl boots.  To be honest, this was my only motivation for sewing up this pattern.  I need more outfits for my boots!



My husband was less than convinced that this was a winner when it was on my dress form (Affectionately known as The Brain).  However, it was the perfect dress for a Valentine's date with my science guy. This week we had two days off becuase of snow and ice.  Last evening it had warmed up to the 50s (13C).  This weekend is supposed to be gorgeous (~25C). Crazy Southern weather.  Short dress with long sleeves is just what was ordered.

For Valentine's Day, we went to the Heritage Ball to benefit the restoration of stain-glass windows at St. Matthew's Catholic Church. Dancing, drinks, and silent auction -- lots of fun!  The dress was a hit and my science geek thought it looked fantastic.
                                                            Got to love a sassy cheetah print!


Sew loved on Valentine's day and hope you are too!
Annie

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Miss Bossy Needs Your Vote

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

2014_03_badge



Pre-lab:

The March challenge for the Monthly Stitch is to make something from your pattern stash.  More importantly, you have to ask everyone to vote on which pattern you should make for the month of March, hence, the Miss Bossy Patterns.  :)  Cute!

Oooohhh, choosing what to make is hard -- voting would actually alleviates the stress of deciding what to do next.  When I choose to make a pattern, it usually revolves around a fabric I have found or an event that I want to make an outfit for.   March is rather low-key for me but at the end, I am traveling to see family in Cincinnati.  Here are a few patterns that I keep eyeing but have not attempted to make:

 
What better way to get ready for spring than:
1. Tania Culottes

 
Image via Megan Nielson Blog

Or how about a sweet dress for a date with my guy:
2. Simplicity 1877, Version B (The blue one below)

















I could also always use another dress for work and I like the v-neck version:
 3. Simplicity 1777



















Or I could learn how to make shirring.
4.Gertie's Shirtwaist Dress 

















I need your help!  I am leaving it in your hands to vote which pattern I should make in March.

Which pattern should I make in March?
 
 
 
 
  
pollcode.com free polls 
Cheers,
Annie

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Cloaked in Asymmetry

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Cloaked? Blanketed? Modern Fashion? Hmmmm.......

This week marks the beginning of Project Sewn. To compliment, each week there is a reader challenge. This week's challenge is to create something inspired by a Fashion Icon.  Ummm, that leaves the field wide open.  I am going to go with an interpretation -- aren't Heidi and Nina always saying not to be too literal (wink, wink)?

Every once in a while, I get the itch to try something bold! McCall's Fashion Star asymmetrical dress has been on my mind lately.  After trolling on Pinterest for inspiration for this challenge, I found Michael Kors asymmetrical dress that Mara Rooney famously wore.  Albeit, these are not so similar but both dresses highlight the element of asymmetry.  And bonus points for me in picking a snuggley eggplant double knit for the project.

Experiment: McCall's M6553, size 6

Materials:
3 yards purple double knit
Coats and Clark purple thread
Iron-on interfacing
Time (Can that be listed as a material? I need to list it since sewing usually happens for me when I fit bits of time here and there.)

Procedure:
After reading about the reviews of this pattern on Pattern Review, I was fully aware of the crazy amount of ease in this pattern.  I cut the smallest size 6 and was still wary because of all the material.  The back portion of the dress (my husband calls it the cape attached to your dress) has a lot of fabric. I didn't bother with a muslin since 6 was the smallest.  Turns out, the size 6 fit nicely.  The belt is way overkill in length -- look at it hanging close to my ankles!  Note to anyone, you can take out several inches of the belt and still come out ahead.
The only change I made on the pattern was adding a zig-zag stitch to the hemline. I used a slightly lighter purple thread to add some contrast.  From far away, it is not visible but up close you can see the stitch. I am debating about going back and doing the same around the neckline and arms.
Attaching the yoke to the back portion of the dress was not as simple as outlined in the direction (Shocker -- I know!).   It took some finagling, a lot of outbursts of "What the pudding!", and several times of ripping out the seams.  In the end it worked (not entirely) but it took a lot of hand stitching. It is covered by my hair (darn!) but it was so cold outside that the thought of going back out to take another picture gave me shivers.

Conclusion: I like. I might like with a turtleneck underneath.  I possible like with crazy print nylon.  It fills my bold fashion category.   
Will it be a staple in my wardrobe?  Probably not, however, there is always room for fashion.  
Do I need more that one of these?  Maybe a tunic version in a linen for summer.

Happy Stitching!
Annie

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Febuary PreLab

Saturday, February 1, 2014


It's Saturday morning. I have the obligatory pot of tea. After a cup of strong Assam tea, it hits me that it is the 1st of February!!  Where does the time go?   The last week of January disappeared!  I spent it plotting and prepping. Prepping fabric, prepping patterns, perusing projects, gathering ideas, and of course, reading a mile-long list of blogs that I love (Thank you BlogLovin for collecting all the goodies!)!
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The Monthly Stitch Challenge is pants. Yes, pants!  How devious in such a short month! Oh, how to proceed?! I have Colette's Clover pattern but my history with Colette patterns is crummy.  I really don't want to cut or attempt the Clovers because it will end in frustration. I have a New Look pattern featuring a simple slim pant with a side invisible zip and in my fabric stash, I have some gabardine.  

But for some reason, the motivation is not there (It could be my sore throat and the feeling that sickness is creeping in and taking hold. Blah!).  I am tempted to get Cake's Espresso legging pattern or Megan Nielsen's Virgina leggings.  It almost feels like cheating though.  On the other hand, it does give me an excuse to make a wicked unique pair of leggings. I have seen so many great pairs of leggings recently that I want one even though I would only wear them around the house on weekends!  At least they would be a kick-ass pair.

Two distinct things occurred last week to inspire my next project:

1. At the last Hancock sale, I found a luscious double knit in a deep eggplanty purple.  It was so soft with a beautiful drape.  Originally, this fabric was $14.99/yard.  I cannot resist a sale so I purchased three yards for $17.  I also got a cotton with a blue animal print (too late for me to whip anything up for Jungle January), a flannel with cloud print, a lovely striped charmeuse, and a pink striped jersey knit (which will probably roll like crazy-cakes after I cut it).  My fabric stash is growing. I should also admit that I picked up a couple of Gertie's Butterick Patterns on sale for $1.99.  Yeah, pattern stash always seems to grow like my kid grows.

2. I organized! To be honest, I grouped my pattern stash in some sorting system.  Lovingly, I looked through all the patterns and imagined what I could make and where I would wear it.  Silly, but I sew with purpose.  McCall's Fashion Star dress, M6553, kept making its way into my imagination.   It is very different from my everyday style and I think that is why I like it.  Or rather, why I want to make it. Ummmm, now.


Long story but I plan on making the M6553 dress with the eggplant double knit.

I have been trying to observe the idea of sewing for at least 15 minutes a day.  Shockingly, it works!   I shouldn't be surprise since as a grad student I was told to spend 15-30 minutes a day writing sciency stuff. That worked too. If sickness doesn't take me down, I hope to have a dress by the end of the week!

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