Archive for January 2017

He seduced me with popcorn

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

I have been searching for a good woven tank pattern.  One preferably that could be made with a scant yard or possibly a meter of fabric.  Nothing fancy just a woven tank to wear with skirts or shorts.  A tank perfect for the hot and humid summers that can transition to other seasons with layers.  Yep, I have been searching.  Combing the blogs it is obvious that seamstresses love Grainline Studio's Tiny Pocket Tank (which I cannot find in Grainline's pattern shop so maybe it is retired....?!?) or Wiksten's Tank pattern.  I opted for Big 4 version because for next-to-nothing during a sale  (You know me.), I found the Kwik Sew 3848 Tank pattern.  Et voila!  A Saturday afternoon well spent.
Experiment:
Kwik Sew 3848
Size: Extra Small
View B

Materials:
1 meter of geometric cotton
Homemade bias tape
Meter Thread in Eggshell
Procedure:
Continuing my Kwik Sew experiments, I should have anticipated the pattern would be long.  I should have remembered their generous amount of ease.  Lately my brain resembles Swiss cheese (Thanks new job that has a cray-cray pace!).  Remembering details like this seems hazy (Kind of reminds me of pregnancy brain where I could not for the life of me remember details.  I am going to dub this episode of my life 'director brain' cause managing a large area really has sucked all sewing memory cells not to mention my free time.).  I am learning I have to write down everything or it will not stick.  Any who, Kwik Sew -- I love your patterns but I don't think you designed them for my body type.
Good thing I have ninja pattern skills.  I had a meter of fabric for this test woven tank.  I am considering this a muslin because I am on a mission for perfecting the woven tank.  After I traced the pattern, I did a quick tissue fitting.  It was obviously that it was waaaaayyyyyy tooooooooo loooonnnngggg.  I removed four inches from the bottom of the pattern.  The adjustment allowed the hem to sit right a my hips.  I like this length because it works for tucking in or leaving untucked.  The neckline was a little low so I adjusted the pattern to raise it about a half of an inch.
Boom.  Off to work I went.  A couple of hours (two pattern pieces and a bunch of bias tape) and here is my tank.  I am generally happy with the overall product (although it is a bit boxy and could use some shaping).  My biggest peeve is that the arm holes gap.  See?  The arm holes are slightly too large.  The adjustment note has been recorded in my sewing notebook and  I will definitely have to fix this on the paper pattern.  I can make this work as a layering piece so it is not a failed experiment.
Any other recommendations of a woven tank that doesn't require gobs of fabric??

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Cloudy with a Chance of a Tova

Monday, January 16, 2017

I know a lady who is absolutely obsessed with the Wiksten Tova pattern.  Every time I see her, literally, I declare how I love her top...it is almost comedic because she shrugs her shoulders and always responds "It's my favorite: The Tova."  This was why I came to know the Tova pattern.  It was added to my long list of patterns to buy and sew (I know we all have a never-ending list!).  Well, I was at my husband's holiday party and I happen to again comment my love for her top.  About a week later Mr. Chemist came home with an envelope.  Inside was the Tova pattern with a note to enjoy (Thank you T. J.)!
Experiment:
Size: Small

Materials:
2 Yards brushed cotton flannel
White Mettler Thread (#15 White)

Procedure:
I unexpectedly got all of Saturday to sew since Mr. Chemist took students to a Quiz bowl tournament and my son endured a long standardized test in the morning and then played with friends all afternoon.  I was very thankful that I had the Tova cut and marked.  A frigid cold spell descended into our region when I was cutting this pattern which inspired a warm, snuggly brushed cotton flannel Tova. 
I had to scratch my head a couple of times with procedure.  Especially when putting together the yoke.  The directions sound counterintuitive but basting and pinning (this is the experimentalist in me!) convinced me it was going to work.  The yoke was challenging in that good sort of way.  And I survived.
The pattern calls for a little over 2 yards.  I had only two yards so instead of cutting the back piece on the fold, I just added seam allowance.  I also cut the cuff pieces off grain.  It was a puzzle but I consumed that two yards.  I did end up with excess fabric around the neck in the back and added a  petit-pleat to remove it.  Hard to see in the picture below but you can kind of make out the center back seam.
With the yoke down (and the collar), the rest of the shirt sews up quite effortlessly.  Or could that be my new machine??  Sappy moment ahead:  I. Love. My. Bernina.  She is absolutely luscious but hardcore enough to conquer thick seams.  I almost expect her to sew autonomously... but where would the fun be in that?

If I am honest, this top is very, very roomy.  I haven't made up my mind if I like it.  Because of the roominess, I styled it with slimmer jeans that taper.  I wanted to wear the Tova with my Birkin Jeans today but Mr. Chemist wrinkled his face which I can translate to "Are you sure?!? Are you really sure you are going to wear those two things together? Please carefully look at yourself in a full-length mirror"   Years of knowing each affords us this essential non-verbal communication skill.  I did look at myself and I'll admit it: He was right.  the roominess and flare of the jeans looked comical.  I have a feeling that the Tova will be a perfect travel (plane, train, car or bus) shirt.
Happy Monday!

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New Year, New Job, New Sewing Machine

Saturday, January 7, 2017

I made it through my first week of my new job.  It was quiet -- a lot to learn and little time but nonetheless, it is past. Th exhaustion of adjusting and my son's basketball game in the middle of the week, there was no time to sew. I did cut the Wiksten Tova in a lush warm flannel -- took me all week.  Anywhos, new year, new job and a new sewing machine but I am here to share one of the my last makes of 2016.
Experiment:
Karri Dress
Size: Small

Materials:
3 yards of blue cotton voile
3 yards of polyester lining (yikes! All I had in the stash)
Blue invisible zipper
Gray Mettler Thread

Procedure:
I was a tester for Megan Neilsen's Karri pattern. This is a scrap busting pattern with many tiny pieces so you can go to town on all those scraps of fabric that are stuffed into a bag (clearly I am assuming everyone stores scraps like I do -- stuffing them into a bag which hides in the odd corner -- I've got so many scraps I don't even know what to do with them.)!  It has a paneled bodice with princess seams and a paneled skirt with pockets.  I opted to make a sleeveless version as I prefer the ability to wear my dresses in summer or winter!
I have tested a lot of different patterns and so I tend not to invest really precious fabric into the testing process.  I have had disaster makes before and it bums me to waste fabric. Sooooo, I used a blue cotton -- it was lightweight of unknown origin in my stash.  And yes, I didn't use scraps even though I had a bag, even though I could have.  To be honest it was because ...I didn't want to look like some psychedelic girly hippie... I was more concerned with directions, fit, and pattern pieces for the testing processes than making a awesome scrap dress.
It turns out that it all came together rather nicely.  I chose small based on my measurements but I probably should have gone with extra small.  I ended up have to take in to make it work (Very Tim Gunn moment) especially since there was a deadline. I have to say that my favorite part of this dress is the back.  I would also probably adjust the neckline on the second go-round as well - lower it just a smidge.  Woulda, coulda, shoulda and I didn't.  Here is the Karri with a belt:
I am an uber fan of Megan Nielsen.  Her patterns are well-designed and her directions are superb.  I haven't met a pattern I don't like of hers.  Actually, writing this post and gazing at these pictures makes me wish for warmer weather!  Yesterday the Southern US got slammed with winter weather. Northern Louisiana had freezing rain and today it is just arctic.  Guess that means I just have to stay indoors and sew.

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