Thursday, October 18, 2018

I Love This Dress; I Hate This Dress!

I've been wanting dresses with sleeves for awhile. I have the blue one I made, which I do love but it feels a little dressy. Not sure why, it's just a simple gauze. Maybe cause I wore it dressed up for my supply teaching interview. To me, woven=dressy, knits=casual. I finally decided to just make a pattern. I took my favourite TNT t-shirt pattern, and added the skirt from Megan's skater dress. I didn't want a waist seam, so it flares out just at the sides. I also added pockets, of course.

I instantly loved the dress. It went together so quickly and easily. I even topstitched around the neck cause it was all going so well. I do need to press the hem again; I did a blind stitch hem and it's not quite flat in a few spots. I wore the dress quite a few times, but never got a picture.

However, this always happens to my rayon fabrics (this fabric was another Value Village find). It gets a halo. Not pilly, like a sweater, but it fuzzes up and looks faded. So now it looks even more casual. But I still love it.


Around this same time, I bought a dress from Avon. It is a slinky material, but the print is so similar. It's much smaller scale, but I like it. It had a "shark bite" hem. Instead of a hi-lo, where the front is high and the back low, this is high in the middle, and low at the sides. Totally odd, and totally too long for me. So I shortened it and made it even all around. Then I took the extra, and made pockets!! Of course! Why wouldn't I? I love this too, but it is an "infinity" dress and I find I can't drive with the knot at my back. I was thinking I might make the straps narrower, but I do want to hem, or just serge?  No sleeves on this dress LOL.

Excited by my new t-shirt dress pattern, I grabbed some more fabric. Initially, this was going to be a shirt for Hugh, but he wears too many stripes, and there was so much fabric (bought in a FB de-stash group), that I figured I should make something that actually uses a lot of fabric. Right? 

 It looks good, right? OMG. This dress nearly killed me. Would you like a list of all the ways you can mess up one item?!


That's a pocket. One side was sewn on the right side. Fixed it. I think the pockets took a couple tries and still ended up rather low.



I don't remember what happened it, but I assume it wasn't good.

While serging the skirt together, the underside got caught up. So I had to take the seam in and lose some fullness.

I could NOT get the stripes to match. I basted,  I sewed instead of serged. Like, WTF. Two spots here it got puckered and nothing matched up. 


I finally got some of the washable WonderTape. Carefully applied it, basted, then serged. It STILL shifted!!! Not only did it shift, but somehow the stripes angle downwards at the seams. WTF. How do you stop that?!

Time for the neckband. Surely I've done everything wrong by now. No, somehow I got this little tail of fabric sticking out of the neckband, on the right side. I just trimmed it really close. 

And  I have no clue why it decided to sag. I guess this fabric is thinner and stretchier, and needed a smaller band. F you dress. 

By the time I got to the hem, I was ready to just leave it raw. I keep reading about how "knits don't fray", but you know what? They DO. They ladder. So I still like to hem them. And of course, no amount of pressing and WonderTape would make this hem lay flat. 
It sort of sags in the back. The stripe matching isn't too bad, in the end, but for all that work, it should have been perfect. 

 I feel like this one makes me look frumpier than the black print one. The way the stripes curve downwards at the side seam? After I washed it the second or third time, I forgot it in the dryer and it got totally dry. When I took it out, it looked like it shrunk. But once on, it fit really well. However, the last time I washed it and later tried it on, the upper back was all stretched out, it looked horrible, I don't know what happened. Maybe it was too damp when I hung it to dry? Maybe it got stretched out in the washing machine and then not enough time in the dryer? Then I tried it on again and decided to just wear it. It seemed fine after awhile.

The fabric is quite thin, and really needs a slip to be work-appropriate. I think I wore it once to work. It feels super comfy.

So, while I loved these dresses, this one  was like the younger sibling that was trying to upstage the older, perfect child.  What happens if I try for dress #3?




Thursday, October 11, 2018

A Dress! With Sleeves and Pockets!

Awhile ago I had seen a photo in the FB "George + Ginger" group of the "Riki Dress". Everyone was gushing over it, but it was "retired". I don't really get the idea of retiring patterns. They're online. What's there to retire? I know sometimes they retire early patterns as they become better designers, use different software, or tweak their size blocks. But why retire a pattern that everyone loves? They then brought it back a little bit later--so I wonder if it was a marketing ploy (like, Stitch Upon A Time's "Spoxxy" tank getting a one day re-release, and then coming back a month later as a totally new updated pattern). I jumped on the chance to buy this dress during the short sale.

I had a few options for fabric. I really wanted to do colour blocking, but felt I should do a "wearable muslin" first since other than the Lovesick Bra, I hadn't made any of their patterns. I don't really fit their sizes though, so a muslin was important. Plus...a FBA on princess seams...Had I done that before? I know I tried to make a princess seamed dress in the summer of 2010, but there were no blog posts. I finally found it blogged in 2011.  I really wish that dress had worked. It was a great pattern, nice fabric, I love the look, etc, but too many issues from trying to fix it. I worked on another version of this dress, but the blog post indicated I still had a lot of trouble and the FBA was difficult. I also really liked that dress. I got rid of both of these when I lost some weight and started sewing better fitting items. Sometimes you can't just keep taking in seams!

Oh yes, back to the fabric. I was sure I had seen a picture where someone did a striped fabric, but had the stripes one way for the centre, and the other way for the sides. Couldn't find that photo again, and my fabric didn't have the greatest vertical stretch, so I worried that might be an issue. A lot of the dresses shown used black for the side panels, but my black is a cotton-lycra and this fabric was likely a poly-blend (shiny). So, I just went for all one fabric.

I followed a tutorial for the FBA. I think it was a mash up of https://sewoverit.co.uk/elsie-sewalong-full-bust-adjustment-princess-seams/ and http://curvysewingcollective.com/princess-seams-an-fba-for-large-busts/  There are LOTS of tutorials for how to do this now. Not so much in 2010!!
I think I also took out a smidge in the upper bodice and sleeves.
 It all went together super fast! The only issue were the large pockets. I saw pictures of others complaining that the pocket sagged. The suggestion was to make the pocket pieces narrower. I tried that on one side, but it still sagged and now pulled in the seams a little. So I experimented with a safety pin, to mimic a snap. I polled my girls, and they said the side with the snap looked better. I couldn't do anything about the side I had already taken in, so I just put a snap on it, and didn't bother to adjust the other pocket.
 The sleeves are long. I think I did the 3/4 sleeves and they were full length on me. So I took some elastic pieces (I keep all my elastic scraps, just for these sorts of things), and ruched both sides of each sleeve. It was tricky, since the sleeves were already seamed, and I thought about taking out the seam, but just persevered.
 Since I wanted this for teaching, I kept the longer length. Some of G+G's designs seem really short!
This is the angle most of the world sees. Okay, the world over 6'2". But most of the world is still taller than me. I would prefer a slighter more open neckline. Got to be careful though, don't want students taller than me looking down, or have it gape when I lean over a desk!!
My husband won a very significant award from Ontario Power Generation (OPG; the provincial corporation that creates electrical power in Ontario) and this dress was perfect for the "business casual" dress of the award ceremony. The day started with a tour of a hydro electric generating station, and we had to wear flat shoes. I wore my Sketchers that are a little more dressy than a sneaker.


Instead of plain black snaps, I used Snoopy. I've always loved Snoopy cartoons and I love adding whimsical touches to my teaching outfits! I wore this dress to a high school recently, but never got to show anyone the snaps LOL.

I do find that even my phone is too heavy for the pocket. Tissues, room key, cough drops are fine.

I want to make more of these...but G+G are having a sale right now and I see a couple contenders. I like the  Daydream Dress and then I saw the Sassy Side Top!  How the heck to do a FBA on that? And my waist is way bigger than the size I would pick going by the upper bust. It wasn't an issue with the Riki because the FBA added enough and there was also pattern ease at the waist. The Sassy Side Top is really slim fitting. I've had a hard time finding tops to wear with my leggings, and this might work. I was going to order the SoTa last weekend during their debut sale, but it was Thanksgiving here and I missed the deadline.

And then in my email this morning, was this new pattern!   I thought Peek-a-Boo used a curvier block, but the sizing seems to be the same as G+G. However, the ruching is lower and the side piece goes straight down, so a FBA might be easier on this one. I don't need ruching over the bust, as evident in the Plitvice  (which I still love, and wear, but would modify next time). I think I will get the  Astoria because it includes the hood and cowl. And, I can probably modify the side panel to make it swoop like the Sassy Side Top. Now, I've got to find the time to sew!! And, I need some thick tights and/or some tall boots. That's been a challenge. My legs are too skinny and short!

I Bought Yarn

Yes, I finally bought some yarn. This has been a bad year for yarn drought. I'm not knitting/crocheting  a whole lot now that I'm not doing custom orders. But I still need to keep my hands busy while watching TV and being a passenger (recently went away for a night, 2+hour trip each way...only took one project and somehow didn't have the hook).  I was recently killing time at a thrift store with my daughter and saw a 1lb ball of Red Heart "Comfort" in a neutral beige. Perfect for these blankets I'm making for a charity. It was $4.99, so $5.74.

The stats are a little skewed because I do have quite a few finished projects to show. Including some mittens according to my scribbles. Two pairs of mittens. Vaguely remember. I've finished one charity blanket and two are in the works, and they take quite a bit of yarn! So far, except for this beige, I've only used stash yarn. I need a bit more for one of the blankets, to feel safe, but not much.


Yarn In:     100gr + 454gr = 554gr
Yarn Out:       466gr
Balance:     88gr IN
Costs:     $2.53 + $5.74 = $8.27/284days= $0.029/day



Thursday, October 04, 2018

More Coral

Coral seemed to be the colour of the summer, so when I found this remnant at Fabricland, I snatched it up. It was only  150cm x 70cm. I knew I probably wouldn't get a t-shirt, but a nice tank top would be fine too. It was marked as $11.55 but with my card I got a 50% reduction.

I used New Look 6807. I was going to make the sleeveless version, but I didn't have enough for the wider neck tie (I think that's what happened. It seems like forever ago). So I made the sleeveless version but with the neck binding like I did before.
I know it looks a little frumpy here. I think it's partly the angle. The pants also have a waist tie which is kind of lumpy. 

Don't have much to say. Simple tank from a TNT pattern. I got my hair cut at the start of September and I wasn't happy with the cut. However, these pictures look better than how I think I look in real life. And I love the colour of my hair. Did that after the hair cut, right before school started. It's starting to show grey again though.
I'm not sure when I finished this top, sometime in the summer, but I didn't wear it until last week. I'm at the point where I seem to have more clothes than I really need. Though I always want more dresses. Unless I get some tall boots, or thick tights, dress season is pretty much done. 

Friday, September 28, 2018

Boxers Update

I wrote briefly abut changing the fly on the Boxers to a "H" style, and using athletic mesh. I made another pair with a totally different mesh, from Len's Mills.

Just a refresher on how the fly pieces now look, and overlap.


There was bright green in this print, but when I cut the pieces out, not much actually showed.


It's kind of a waffle knit athletic mesh. Pretty bright in real life! I did such an awesome job lining up the butt seam with the fly dart!!

My dad has been having a rough patch with his health, so I made him some boxers too. In the green pair above, the elastic is on the outside, and this pair, it's on the inside. I don't know which is better, but no one has specified a preference. I stuck with the regular fly...partly because of habit and partly because my dad's mental clarity isn't all that great some days due to morphine, so I don't want to confuse him at an urgent time :)


 I bought this brown cotton lycra from Midnight Mountain Fabrics to make a brown shirt to go with the skirt from the last post.  I ordered a metre, but when I opened the package, it was only half a metre! I know I'm short, but that's not quite enough for a t-shirt with sleeves. I emailed them, and within a few days I received the full metre. I used the mistake cut to make these boxers. I really appreciated that I didn't have to send it back. As it was, it cost almost $15 to mail these to my dad. I vacuum sealed them, but I think the size of the "envelope" added to the cost. I'm glad I could cheer him up a little and add to his collection.


Saturday, September 22, 2018

Just a Little Tank Top

I wrote recently about sewing due to frugality. I have another example today. Years ago I picked up this cotton knit at Value Village. It sat for awhile, and then I tried making a dress. I didn't have quite enough knowledge yet to get it to look like what I wanted. I wanted a ruched section in the middle. I struggled and struggled and wasn't very happy with my end result.

Fast forward six years and Megan wanted a cold shoulder skater girl dress and this was the fabric she picked from my stash. I was a little disappointed to give it up to her, LOL. 
 I improved so much in those years! I hacked a tshirt pattern into a dress, figured out the cold shoulder sleeves with the help of an online tutorial, and did a V back.  The only thing missing was pockets!

Okay, the V back isn't perfect, but still looks pretty darn good.

I was amazed at how well the sleeves turned out. 
Even more amazing was that her cousin showed up wearing the exact dress in black---that was store bought. 

I still had some fabric left, but not really a large enough piece for anything. After making the other skirt, I decided to take apart the dress, and make a skirt. Once I took it apart, I didn't have enough to cut the pieces from the other pattern, so I cheated and pretty much just put in a waistband and pockets, onto the skirt part of the dress. I couldn't re-use the top pieces, so I had to get creative with what was left from the stash. 
Colour blocking lace to the rescue!

I didn't have enough for the front so the top of the straps got lace.

 The back yoke got lace! The lace was from a faux "Belly Band" I had made. I just wasn't reaching for them anymore. And yes, it needs a sway back adjustment. I didn't have enough left to cut a one piece back, so with the centre seam I have no excuse why I didn't do it.
 There is a bit of pulling at the sides
 I think this is the Itch to Stitch "Lago" tank (free!), and I don't think I did a FBA. Perhaps next time I will add just a smidge, especially if the fabric isn't too stretchy.
Not sure what I was showing, except my happiness! It had been a hot day at school and I loved my outfit. 

And wouldn't you know...I don't have a picture of the skirt. Imagine the skirt and bodice of that dress at the top, with an elastic waist, and pockets.  I wore it a couple times with a brown short sleeve sweater and a brown t-shirt. I decided the brown t-shirt was too worn for school (but I liked that it had a wide neck band, almost a yoke). So I decided to order some brown fabric to make something fresh. I haven't gotten to that yet. Soon! Maybe that should be next on my sewing list. I was going to make a dress, but unless I find some boots, dress season is coming to a close. 

So, from that one Value Village purchase, I made one tween dress, one temporary dress, a tank and a skirt that both fit into my wardrobe easily. 

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Sequoia Pants

Remember last spring when I made...wait a minute. No, it was summer 2017?! when I started making my own pants? The third pair I made, I tried to slim the legs down, and I wasn't all that pleased--the inner leg seams aren't straight. But I had three pairs of work suitable pants--I just didn't know I was starting a new job in December 2018! LOL! Then, in Jan 2018, Itch to Stitch released the Sequoia Pants/shorts.  Take my money!! I still needed a pair of grey pants! I just couldn't find the right fabric--grey fabric always seems to be too heavy. I made a muslin out of a steel blue sheet, and LOVE them. My only issue was for my width, I'm not very tall, so the full width of the pant leg was perhaps just a bit too wide. It's a fine line between balancing your width, and balancing your height. I tapered them down a little for this pair.

SOOOO many pattern pieces. Quite a few for the waist alone, but I decided to just do a knit band with no snap or button, like I had done on my first pants I made without a pattern. I do a faux fly.

I was getting desperate to find fabric. Finally Fabricland had their broadcloth on sale, so I just went with that. The weather was warming up, so I figured I might as well. I liked the colour. They are on the thin side though.

Washed the fabric, and laid it out to fold up. That's when I noticed that a good portion of one half of one side appeared to be faded!!! The broadcloth is near the front of the store, but I didn't think much light came through the window display. Maybe the bolt had been used in the window display at some time. Who knows. I was going to go back and complain, but I was too busy. Since it seemed to be on one side only, I used that as the wrong side, and cut as much as I could from the other end of the fabric. It did help to keep the RS/WS noticeable.
It's a little hard to see, but you can see a line going up the middle, and to the left of it, the colour is yellowed.

 I told my photographer I wanted pictures of the pants, and the shirt. I'm sure I said the back of the pants. This is what I got. The back fits great, I think.
 Look at all the pockets!! No gaping with the slanted pockets!
 A little slimmer than the other ones.

So, these pictures are crap. LOL. Maybe I'll get more.
I didn't have plain grey snaps. I had Transformer engraved grey snaps. So, the exposed snap caps got Transformer snaps, because I thought that was pretty appropriate, considering the hidden ties to make these into capris. I went and bought cheap buy expensive snaps at Fabricland for the hidden caps, and the other parts of all the snaps (the engraved snaps only come with caps).

So, I do love these pants. The rise feels a smidge low, so after sewing in the waistband, I wore them a while. Then I noticed the seam had split. I hadn't serged the waistband and pants together yet, so I went around and serged them together and I'll take out the original seam for a bit more rise. I like the narrower legs.

My only complaint...the pocket flaps. My phone fits well in the pockets, but I can't snap the pocket flap. The phone is too tall. If the flap was higher though, then it wouldn't be long enough to reach the pocket snaps. Making the flap bigger is not going to look right for proportions. So, I'll have to make the pocket longer, and make sure it all fits together for the next one. But my phone is a bit on the larger size. An Apple 6 would probably fit fine. My Asus ZenPhone and Samsung A5 don't fit.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

The Trouble With a Stash....

I don't do a lot of fabric mixing in individual items, but when knitting, I will often be mixing yarns for certain effects. Often though, I just don't have the right yarn to go with what I already have...so the stash grows. That's not usually too much of an issue for me with fabric. I buy a piece of fabric, I use it,  I keep big scraps for Boxerwear flies, or crotch linings in underwear, or sometimes bands. So as long as I'm sewing as fast as I'm buying (ha!) the stash won't significantly grow.

But sometimes a piece comes in and sits there. Could be I loved it, but it wasn't as big as I thought. Or the material is not right for anything I'm working on. Sometimes I have bought fabric and then changed my mind about the project. That's what happened with this salmonish stretch lace yardage. I picked it out to make a "belly band"--a loop of stretchy material or lace worn over your pants waistband to smooth it out and /or fill the gap if they're a bit low or your shirt is short. Megan liked the colour and also wanted a bathing suit cover up because it matched.

Neither of those things happened. Megan's bathing suit faded so quickly (do I even have a blog post about it?). So the lace sat there. I thought I might use it when I made the rayon "pillowcase" dress. I thought I could colour block the sleeves but the family thought it looked odd. So the fabric sat. I kept seeing lace everywhere though and thought it was time to do something, especially after making the tank tops with the lace down the center back. I wanted to expand out a bit. At first, I thought I'd do the sleeves in lace. Too predictable. Then I saw some shirts with the back yoke in lace. Nice, but not quite right (looking at my photos, apparently I did make a tank top with a lace yoke). Then I saw my mother-in-law in a split back t-shirt  and thought, if she's wearing one, I need one. But of course, none of my fabric was suitable.

Off I trudged to FabricLand with my fabric. I'm so picky about matching colours. I was not optimistic. I walked around, everything was too expensive. I headed to the clearance/remnant bin, and found two good sized pieces of fabric. One was a woven that I thought my girls' might like as shorts but still matched the lace (they turned it down), and one was this knit. It's a little thicker, with a plush feel. Could be a ponte?

I got out my t-shirt pattern, all set to hack. First up, I had to create the back yoke. No problem. The petal pieces weren't hard too, though I had just done a swayback adjustment on something and loved how it looked so I was disappointed to not be able to really do that. I thought about it a long time though. Then I got really creative, and decided I wanted to split the yoke and do the stripes on the bias. Pointing up.

I needed some strong coffee for this. And in the end, though my stripes matched awesome, they were pointing down! LOL. I didn't have a lot of fabric, so I just went with it.

 Everything else on this top was a pure fluke. I decided to cut the neckband going the opposite way than normal (it was still stretchy), so it would have little vertical stripes. I had absolutely no intention of it matching at the back. Never even thought of the possibility while planning.
 And I sure as heck did not think about having the yoke stripes match the sleeve stripes!  Holy cow, I could not believe my luck. Perhaps it makes me look a little wider, but that is a lucky sewing-win if I've ever had one. And even more incredible was that both sleeves turned out like this, not just one. If it was only one, that would have been really odd looking.
The two layers of lace still seemed a little see-through, and with the way they curve and there's only one layer at the sides, I worried about my bra showing and if it would be school friendly. I didn't get to wear it to school, but I  think it's fine. Next time, I could make the yoke longer, or more likely, make the back pieces angle more sharply and meet at the sides lower. However, I doubt I'll do this again in the lace. If I made the angle different, due to my short height, those pieces are going to lose the nice curve and I might as well just totally overlap two normal pieces, sewing them together most of the way down. I guess that is an option, but I wanted a bit of looseness.  My mom's not a fan of the shirt, but this time, it's just she doesn't like this style. It wasn't about how it looked on me. I hope I get to wear it more. I don't know if I wore it again this summer. I've gotten to the point where I have more favourites than I really need. Do I get rid of the old frumpy t-shirts?