Archive for August 2014

Maxwell's Super Hero Shirt

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Eeek!  The Perfect Pattern Parcel #4 is here and it is dedicated to boys.  Being the mother of a little boy, my son gets sick of hearing me complain about the fact that boy patterns are limited.  To my delight, PPP #4 introduced me to more great boy patterns.  I think I downloaded it immediately after it was released and that evening had two of the pdf patterns put together and cut out for my little guy's size.

Experiment:
Maxwell Shirt by Schwinn Designs
Size: 7

Materials:
White cotton gauze
Marvel Super Hero fabric (black and white)
Cotton Interfacing
Gutterman White Thread
4 clear buttons


Procedure:
I let my son choose what pattern I would attack first and his response was "You have never sewn me a shirt."  So, the Maxwell shirt pattern it was!  My intent was to have the yoke in the back and the tab as super hero fabric and the majority of the shirt white gauze.   I began and my husband thought it looked too 'homemade' and he said with the yoke having such a busy print that it reminded him of square-dancing shirts.  Errrrrr, not good.  :(

I set it aside knowing that the front needed something to link it to the back.  The next evening I decided to use the pattern pieces but to own it, mix it up, 'make it work'.  The button placard was modified and placed on the front to echo how the yoke was constructed and to tie in color.  I ditched the collard after putting in both a white one and a super hero one -- again it ventured into the realm of corny.  I folded the front facing to give it a nice little v-neck.
I added a 1" bias band around the sleeves of super hero fabric with a black background.  And did the same thing around the bottom of the shirt except in a much smaller width.  The pocket was done in the same fabric to give a nice contrast.  I eyeballed the placement of the pocket so it is a little low but my kiddo is impressed nonetheless!
Seven year-old chic.  Complete with his favorite Wolverine -- I worked particularly hard at fabric placement to get the most of the X-Men hero.  I have a stash of Madras which means the next version will be a proper Maxwell in one color.
It dawned on me while I was sewing that I liked selfless sewing (Here is where I should admit that I really, really like sewing for me. Selfish, I know.  But I don't care!!)  Especially, little kid projects.  They give me that sewing fix I need (or rather an outlet for stress) and result in a project that I can churn out in an evening or two.  The break from sewing for me was needed as the last couple of project I attempted were blah, not even worth putting brain-energy into blogging about all the troubles.  I did score some more fabric including a wonderful African wax print and a pretty J Crew chiffon which means me-sewing is on!

 Here's to the boys!  Happy Stitching.

Annie

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Oh Anna! Where have you been all my life?

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Seriously, Anna is one cool cat.  She arrived in such a pretty package. She was a dream to sew.  My first Anna, bless her heart as the Southerner's would say, met a terrible fate with the dreaded serger knife (Mental note to myself: Must be more careful and pay attention!).  I was gonna call her the Grapefruit Sorbet Anna since I had the most dreamy pink fabric.  I am no miracle worker and with a gaping hole in a rather delicate part of the skirt, well, no amount of patching could not save her.  With a loud sigh, I stashed her away for fabric use later. 
Experiment:  By Hand London's Anna Dress, size 4

Materials:
3 yards floral cotton blend from stash
22" zipper in sand color
Gray Thread

Procedure:
As Hanibal from the A-Team would say "I love it when a plan comes together".  I *love* it when a garment comes together.  By Hand London's Anna dress has taken the sewing world by storm and it is easy to understand why and how.  Anna has a very forgiving bodice, easy for beginners to fit.  She has two different bodice variations -- I chose the v-neck merely because I realized that I tend toward sewing high-neck bodices. I needed something fresh and different in my closet.  
 Anna also has a paneled skirt in varying lengths, including the maxi.  If I had enough fabric I would have done the maxi with the thigh-high split.  Alas, I do not tend to stash fabric at 4+ yards in length therefore not enough fabric and opted for the shorter version. (I am plotting another Anna that will be a maxi with that split!)  I did have a mess-up with the panel skirt: I carefully marked all the panels since they look so damn similar.  I sewed them up and when I was finished, there was a panel hiding, or should I say camouflaged, next to my machine. I think it was a lone "I" piece that was not attached.  I shrugged it off, counted panels from the middle, and attached it to the side in need of another section.  It was not earth-shattering but annoying that I wasn't a tad more focused.
My husband loathes this fabric.  He thinks it looks drab.  I agree that it is not the most spectacular fabric and I can't even remember why I purchased it in the first place but after my grapefruit Anna disaster, this fabric came to the rescue.  I am grateful.  It is not soooooo hideous as he makes it out to be (hopefully, I don't have wobbly eyes).  I am hoping to make a a cardi to go with it.
The husband also dislikes the expose zipper in the back.  I did not have an invisible zipper the right length on hand and I improvised.  Zip was way easy to insert.   Regardless of what Mr. Chemist thinks, I like it!  And I will wear it.  Oi! Put a stopper in your beaker and take me out for a drink in my new Anna!!
I finished my MAGAM dress and now I have to devise a "Let there be cake" garment for TMS.  When anyone mentions cake, I salivate.  How can one focus when there is cake around?  This is going to be a tough challenge -- bhah! what am I saying?  This gives me the perfect excuse to bake a cake and stuff my face with it in preparation for a sewing challenge!

Happy Stitching!!

Annie

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Last of the Summer Wine... errr, I Mean, Dress

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Tomorrow marks the official end of the summer holiday.  Back to school, back to classes, back to the university rhythm.  It also means that we begin to count down to the next holiday off from school.  I am looking forward to the hustle and routine of the school year (as a mom who works it is a very fine balancing act).   Summer time is flexible and impulsive.  I take a little pleasure during school time  knowing that I have a designated sewing time (after my son goes to sleep and chores are complete).

To celebrate, I am desperately trying to finish up my summer sewing list while I really should be focusing on my Fall/Winter to-sew list.  I had several unblogged horrible summer sews:  The Bombshell Bathing Suit (tried it before I got my serger), pants (Pants Why U So Hard!?!), and a knit cardi (picked a horrible knit).  But one thing that I did complete was a summer dress.  Shocker! it is my favorite: Simplicity 2444. Sorry, dear readers, I know you are probably sick of it but I cannot get enough of it.  The more you sew it, the easier and quicker a dress goes from fabric to fabulous.

Experiment: Simplicity 2444, size 8

Materials: 
Navy Polka Dot cotton
22" zipper
White Mettler Thread

Ummmm, I love, Love, LOVE this dress. I promise I will sew something different and showcase it on the next blog post. But, I mean, come on, I can't resist polka dots.  I adore girly dresses.  It seemed like a perfect fit.  Understated elegance -- dressy or casual.

Let's skip the tedious construction details and instead touch on the key points:  I did switch out the pleated skirt again for a gathered skirt, added pockets, and since I am a lazy seamstress I finished with bias tape.  The zipper insert is sort of a double lapped with the zip down the middle. The one thing I did do differently -- I ditched the instructions.  Sounds dangerous, yea?  More and more I find that I only turn to the pattern instructions if there is some bizzaro piece or weird technique.  And I have a quirky way of constructing the garment.   It works.
My WIP is By Hand Lond's Anna dress.  It was almost complete until a serger accident, in which a giant gapping hole was left in the skirt (clumsy me -- must pay closer attention when serging at lightening speed!!! But in my defense, when Doctor Who is on and it becomes harder for me to multitask!), relegated it to the 'Return-to-Later' pile.  Another WIP is a Staple dress for my mother.  I am grooving on my handiness cuz the pattern is cut and fabric pre-washed.  

Here is to a good first week back to school!

Happy Sewing!
Annie

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