Archive for 2015

Slouchy Goodness

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Have you ever needed a jumpstart to your sewjo?  I find that the perfect kinds of projects for that needed jolt of sewing energy are the simple, chic, satisfying ones.   Nap-TimeCreations, the brainchild of Emily, has the perfect new pattern: The Slouchy Sweatshirt. I tested this pattern in exchange for the final version.  However, this post contains all my thoughts are my own.  Read on and you'll see why I like this pattern.
Experiment:
Size XS


Materials:
<2 yards of ponte knit
Black serger thread

Procedure:
If you have a name like Nap-Time Creations, then I think it is safe to assume that her projects are suitable for those snips of quiet time.  The Slouchy Sweatshirt can be made rather easily on a serger but if you don’t have a serger, a good ole’ sewing machine does the job.  While this may look like just a sweatshirt, you can make it in a variety of fabrics from sweater knit to French terry to ponte knit.  And the pattern has an elongated shoulder to give it a relaxed “slouchy” look.


I don’t think this looks slouchy at all.  Instead, it could be very upscale in a shimery sweater knit or made to be casual in French terry.  Either way, you’ll have a new shirt in the course of an evening or afternoon.
I used some leftover ponte for the extra small size.   While it fits great in shoulders and bust, my hips are my widest part.  Using the ponte which has limited stretchiness was not the best choice.  It just makes the bottom of the shirt cling to my hips.  Not so bad, just not the most comfortable.
I had a little trouble with my neckband standing up instead of lying flat but I fixed that by folding it under.  This created a boat neck feature (which is covered by my hair -- you'll have to imagine!).  Subtle amping up a basic shirt.  A quick sew to fill your winter wardrobe.

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Halloween Attire... in November. At Least it is Subtle.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

I’m baaaaccccckkkk!! You know when life piles it on thick and work bogs ya down? I tend to sew more....except I can't find the motivation to blog.  With the long days and time change, I can't seem to sit down and write (or read other blog posts) after a long day. I do like blogging but in mid-October when I finished a dress only to begin a post, well, no words would come.   Taping a pattern, threading a machine and sewing a straight stitch are a good stress release for me.  Writing ?!? ‘Meh!’ (imagine shoulders shrugging and a sour crinkled faced). Here is something from my silent blog time: I present to you a subtle Halloween Clemence skirt.

Experiment:
Tilly’s Clemence Skirt
Self drafted sort-of following Tilly's guidelines

Materials:
Slightly less than 2 yards of a Cotton Blend 
Black 9” invisible zipper
Interfacing
Coats and Clark Polyester Thread in Black

Procedure:
To remind you, I have been lazily working my way through all the patterns in Tilly’s Love at First Stitch book.  I have never sewn a book from start to finish.   Tilly’s style, for the most part, is close to mine, so why the heck not?

The Clemence skirt is a tutorial for a self-drafted dirndl skirt…or in layman’s terms, a gathered skirt.  This skirt has a classic look and I love dresses with gathered skirts.  Should be a perfect skirt for me!! Alas, while this was an easy sew, the skirt was okay.  I like the look of circle skirts better. 

This gathered skirt imparts what feels like a massive frumpiness centered right at my waist.  A material with more drape may have worked better but I couldn’t resist having a skirt in this fabric….see what I mean???

From afar, it’s a simple gray skirt but up close you get the spooky Halloween vibe.  Clearly, I am late to the blogging world sharing my Halloween inspired skirt.  But.....drumroll, please.... I did finish this at the beginning of October.  And I wore it a lot.  I’ll probably wear it past Halloween since no one really notices except me.

Here is the quick and dirty description of construction of the skirt:
  • ·      Cut a 3 large rectangles
  • ·      Add some pockets if you like
  • ·      Sew the rectangles together
  • ·      Gather
  • ·      Gather again
  • ·      Gather some more
  • ·      Add a waistband and zip
  • ·      Hem the sucker

Yep, that is it.  The biggest pain was removing all the basting stitches.   Will I sew it again?  Maybe…honestly, onwards with new adventures.  




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Sunday Sevens #22

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Errr, last week came and my Sunday Sevens post did not.  I am back on the bandwagon...

Here is what happened over the last two weeks:

1.  Homecoming week and I happened to walk across campus to see this WWII plane.
2.  Attended the seminar of Mr. Jarvis, head of the National Parks.
3. Happy mail. Patterns...I am so bad.
4.  Nine year anniversary selfie.  And to boot, a fab dinner.

5.  Chewie graduated from puppy training.  Now he can somewhat lay down, shake, leave it.  He had mastered sit.
6.  We tried Dragon Fruit and a pineapple from South Africa.  I am very thankful we are all adventurous eaters!

7. Shopping with Jules for a 3-D project of an animal and its habitat, we came across this.  We laughed at how disturbing it was for heads and arms to be in bags!



xx






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One Hour Blouse, So What D'Ya Think?

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

The weekend started off with a drastic drop in temperature (a sharp change of 20F or 13C) which resulted in my whole little family feeling rather crummy on Sunday after spending a cold windy day at the soccer fields on Saturday.  Monday morning -- need I say more? In order to amp up my sewing mojo, I turned to Seamwork.  The premise behind Seamwork magazine by default is to provide sewing articles but included in the subscription is a couple of patterns in each issue.  The patterns are beginner friendly and usually take 3-4 hours or less -- that is from start to finish. The September issue focused on simple staples and feature a simple blouse pattern and a track pant.  The Akita blouse is just one pattern piece that can be made in one hour.  That is a lot of ones…the one hour part sold me.

Experiment:
Size: Small

Materials:
2 yards Slate Blue Swiss-dot
Coats and Clark Blue polyester thread
Double fold bias tape

Procedure:
I will admit that I did not time myself.  An hour is a probably accurate for an efficient seamstress.  I am not the paramount of efficiency when it comes to sewing.  I like to take my time and I tend to have distractions (“Mom, I’m hungry” ….” ”Annie – have you seen….?”).  Akita took me a couple of hours from start to finish.   Taping and cutting a pdf pattern always channels a bit of grumbling but the sewing is straightforward. 
While the one pattern piece is novel, I could probably hack it down the middle and cut on the fold to minimize the amount of fabric used.  I used a swiss-dot in slate blue as it was in my stash.  The pattern definitely needs lightweight fabrics with drape.  Meg form Cookin and Craftin made a beautiful version out of batik.  I love how her sleeves turned out.


My sleeves are not nearly as fluttery, but I like the end result.   If I am being critical, then here are a few complaints:
  • It pulls in the shoulder area a tad.  Nonetheless, it is an easy sew and you have a top within a couple of hours.  
  • Meg also noted that the pattern is long.  While it is a tunic with side vents, I do agree that it is a little longer than I would like.  Keep that in mind if you plan to sew this.  
  • There is also room in the waist area and it tapers out ever so slightly around the hips.  I could use more cinching at the waist and flaring at the hips (That is because I have a small bust and no shape).  It is a classic boxy shape.  That kind of shape does not work on all body types. 

I used some packaged bias tape (I admit to laziness). And finished the neckline with a decorative stitch.  My machine has what seems like 100 different stitches therefore I randomly choose one to use, especially on solid color projects.  It is very subtle and special.   Most people will never notice but I kind of like it.

This is an unfussy top.  One pattern piece!?!  A good one to wear with a skirt or over jeans for errands.  I want to try my hand at the Moji pant pattern.  This is a rift on the track pants trend but it is drafted for wovens.  I happen to like the cuffs at the bottom of the pant.  That is low on my queue -- I have a Washi in the works!

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I'm On a Roll

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

I'm on a roll...with skirts.  Yep, I cannot believe it.  My go-to "uniform" is a dress.  I have said it before but with a dress I can mindlessly pick one, grab a cardigan, and get my day started.  Separates usually make me break out in hives because I'll have to coordinate. That means I have to think in the morning and before a pot of tea, well, there is a bit of truth to my husband saying I am addicted to caffeine.  I blame Veronika.  I fell in love with her and now have the desire to make more skirts that I will adore.

Experiment:
Tilly and the Button's Delphine Skirt
Size: 2

Materials:
2 yards Yellow Canvas
7" inch invisible zipper
Medium weight interfacing
Sulky Buttercream Thread (#4002)
Experiment:
I can't get enough of the patterns in Tilly's book Love at First Stitch.  I had a yellow Delphine in mind not only because Tilly's version looks amazing but the golden yellow is one of my university's colors.    A yellow skirt with maroon/burgandy shirt (i.e. my maroon Belcarra shirt in the pictures) is perfect for school spirit or university events.  Yellow also goes with my favorite go-to sew color of blue.
This is a really beginner friendly pattern.  You will work with interfacing, invisible zipper, stitching in the ditch -- and the bonus is that for a true beginner who is not very confident it still sews up really quick (I took an afternoon so I'd gauge a day for a beginner).  If the plain color is not exciting, you could add a contrasting waistband or a special stitch at the hem.  I value the plain basic colors because they are blank canvases.  Each time I wear a basic, it can become fresh outfit by changing the blouse or adding a scarf or belt.
My invisible zipper was not perfectly executed as you can see from the back.  I don't really mind as it is not noticeable unless you are staring at my bum (which I am pretty sure does not occur on a regular basis).  I had to take out a 1/2 inch on the waist to have a snug fit.  I know I changed the hem allowance but in my notebook I can't find what I did (I think I did a 5/8" fold twice).  Not good note keeping for a scientist!
This has a nice feminine shape -- it hides the hips and cinches the waist (Oh I do miss "What Not to Wear" -- that sounds exactly like something they would assert).  This is my kind of look.  For a gal who has proclaimed she doesn't like skirts, I am slowly changing my opinion.  Further, sewing something different is appealing.

xx

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