Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Brown Swirl Top

Not to be confused with the Brown Floral Top! Despite needing grey pants, and having lots of grey prints on hand to make tops once I get the grey pants fabric, I went ahead and sewed up a lot of brown print tops. Now I barely have anything to go with the first pair of blue pants I made LOL.

This was an awful fabric to work with. It sort of feels like cheap nylon underwear. It's not quite bathing suit fabric, but it's weird. Pins wouldn't go in. My rotary cutter wouldn't cut it. The scissors had a hard time. It caught on any rough spot on my fingers. It was a bit static-y. I wasn't a huge piece and in the end, I was glad because I don't think I would want to sew with it again. I had picked it up at Value Village probably.

 It wasn't a border print, but I placed the pieces to treat it as such! I actually would have preferred the band that was under the large band, to be around my actual waist, but there wasn't enough length.
 There's that's lower back pooling. Must tweak the pattern to get rid of that. Should be easy since there's a back seam? I did not worry about matching the actual pattern at the seam due to the busyness of the pattern and the lack of fabric. I just matched up the areas of the pattern.
And there's my exaggerated model pose, trying to make the S shape with my body LOL!

This fabric also looks really good with the next pair of pants I made, in a beige/cream colour. Starting to work towards a bit of a capsule wardrobe. Though if I have four pairs of pants (brown, blue, grey and beige), I don't see how my tops would work with every colour unless I stick with white. Or turquoise. I don't really even like black tops with blue pants.

This was another New Look 6735. I'm not sure if I raised the neck on this one. If I remember (I haven't worn it much), the neckband turned out really good. I think I was starting to get the idea of how much to stretch it. I made 3/4 sleeves because of fabric amount and because I wanted a long sleeve top but in reality, I knew I'd just push the sleeves up.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Brown Pants. Or, How To Copy Your Favourite Pants

These pants are actually the second pair of pants I made from copying my old favourites. The first pair, I didn't take any pictures of the process, or any notes. I wasn't sure it was going to work. LOL.  I really, really needed dark brown pants. This was the only suitable dark-ish brown I could find. Not quite what I wanted, but they've worked out well with a couple of the tops I've made.

 I thought this chicken fabric would be great for the pockets, but I didn't have enough to do both sides of the pocket so I opted for the backside of the pocket, thinking it might show a bit more. Of course, once the facing goes on, you can't really see much. I had such a hard time remembering what side is what and what stitching will show. I think it would have been better if the facing was in the chicken fabric too!
 These are the two pocket pieces for one side.  Stitch the facings on (top stitch), having public side showing.
 Stitch the facing down (inside--public side--of pocket down on right side of pant) at the angled edge and baste the top edge and side edge.
 Fold pocket over to the inside and press well. Top stitch as many lines as desired.
 This is the inside front of the pocket.
 Lay the back pocket piece over the front piece
 and serge it all together
 Baste the back pocket piece to the front pocket piece at the top and sides
 Draw the centre front line. Clip the notch where the fly meets the curve. Baste the centre seam.
 Stitch the two fronts together along the fly and down the centre crotch seam (I was off a bit!)
 Press the fly over to the left side.
 Open up basting. Stitch the fly really close to the fold. Most patterns I see don't have this, but my original pants did. Helps to keep the fly laying flat.
 Top stitch around the fly, doing one or two lines.
 Top stitch the seam allowance down through the crotch if you're going to topstitch all the seams.
 Finish off like other pants. Seam the back crotch, top stitch. Seam the legs, top stitch.

One important note. My original pants had a remaining seam allowance of 1/2" and both lines of top stitching were on that seam allowance. When I serged my seams, I did it at the 1/2" mark...but my remaining seam was much smaller so one line of my top stitching was off the seam allowance and looks different than the line that is on the seam allowance. On the next pair, I opted to serge the edges either before sewing together on the regular machine at 1/2", or I just barely skimmed the edge of the fabric as I serged the parts together at 1/2". Just enough to trim raggedy edges. It was a lot of back and forth from sewing machine to serger, but it wasn't too bad.
 Yes, they wrinkle. And collect dog hair.. I did a knit waistband using a scrap of brown print knit.
I'm a little disturbed by all the rear view pictures with these two pairs of pants. They look weird around my butt. Is it from having my hands in my pocket? When I look over my shoulder in the mirror, I swear it doesn't look like this!

PS: I didn't go into much detail about how to copy YOUR favourite pants. This was more about copying MY favourite pants. The important part though, I didn't document. Taking apart your original pair. I know lots of DIY sites say to just lay them down and trace around, but I wanted to be accurate! And my originals had become unwearable, so why not take them apart?

Friday, July 21, 2017

Blue Shirt

Another fancy title.

This shirt was from awhile ago now.  April? It was my first run at New Look 6807. I read a lot of reviews, and many people questioned why there was so much ease for a knit shirt. Style? Maybe? It was styled to be loose. Others complained about doing a seam on the back, and the little opening. Uh, again, that was a design feature!!

I did take out a little bit of ease in the front and back.

 Other people didn't like how skinny the neck binding is and widened it. I did too, but I still sewed it on with a 3/8" seam allowance, which mean a bit of fudging when I got to the back opening. Plus, I didn't really know how much shorter to make the band, after taking out some of the body ease. I couldn't figure out the dots and notches either. So, I eyeballed it and centered it so the ties would be however long they would be. It is a bit droopy in the lower back.
 There's a bit of weirdness with inside the neck band. The SA flips up, even though it's been pressed.
I liked the big floaty sleeves. Sleeves that are too snug make me sweat and then get stained. These are nice and floppy.
The fabric was an old jersey bedsheet. Actually, I don't think it was all that old, LOL.
I made this twice more. Once has already been blogged. Another one is pure white and it's a "wear and wash" shirt so it's been hard to get pictures LOL.
I really love this shirt, especially after raising the neckline.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Yarn Talks

And sometimes it tells you it really just wants to be a scarf!

I have had this Bernat "Denim Style" yarn for a long time. I wanted to make a light summer top, because brown is a neutral, right? Every attempt I haven't liked. It just feels too heavy crocheted and I didn't feel like knitting it. And the brown doesn't seem to match what I have. And, after swatching, I wasn't feel confident about how much yarn I had.

Not having anything else lined up, and just getting plain fed up, I decided to go with a scarf, even though this has cotton (if I remember correctly).  I just did a simple double crochet. To be honest, I can't even remember if I stitched the ends together to make it an infinity scarf.  I was ticked off when I went down stairs later and found more of the yarn. Oh well, it'll make another scarf, I guess.

Yarn In: 1642gr
Yarn Out: 109gr + 2195gr=2304gr
Balance: 662gr more USED than bought
Costs:   $40.73/200 days = $0.20per day

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Test Project

I got an inquiry one night asking if I could make a onesie from a t shirt. I haven't made baby clothes, and at first I was skeptical. I started googling and came across some patterns. Like you find so often, they were of varying quality. One pattern didn't have the crossover shoulders but used the t-shirt neck. One pattern had legs. One pattern you had to import the pictures of the pattern into a word processing program and print them. One didn't have sleeves. Most patterns were too big for what the woman was inquiring about. I ended up using the pattern pieces from HERE and instructions from everywhere.

 The front piece cut out. Isn't it cute just like this? My son had a pile of clothes he was giving away so I found this t-shirt in that pile. It's a little thicker/less stretchy than the onesies I remember, but this was just a test.
I wasn't sure how to finish the crotch. Most of the patterns didn't really show it. Some folded the inside piece to make a hem, but I couldn't figure out how to make the ends of the binding look nice against that. I also didn't want the snaps to go through the binding. I used some interfacing on the inside to beef up the area with the snaps. Of course, none of my snaps looked good and were perhaps a little big. I think doing a band instead of binding would also work. I think the sleeves are a bit stiff. There's not much stretch in this shirt, and I wanted to use the actual hems so they couldn't be much shorter. Babies are flexible, I know. I do like the using the neck band from the t-shirt. That worked well!

This was pretty much a quick and easy project. Unless you have a cheap source for t-shirts though, there's no profit. I was looking at Value Village and the men's shirts were around $9.99. How much would someone pay for a onesie?

Monday, July 10, 2017

Pink Dress

I often wear dresses in the summer, especially if I'm out and about. But I'm a little bored of my dresses. I keep saying the problem is I need dresses with sleeves, but that's not really the issue. I'm just bored LOL. Dress ADD. Some I've had over 17 years.

Way back in April I decided to get a jumpstart on summer. I had this small piece of printed knit fabric. Not much stretch, it was kind of stiff. I went through my patterns and choose New Look 6865. I carefully laid out all my pieces, adding a seam to the back piece so I could fit it on the fabric and still have a decent length. I cut a 18 and added nothing for a FBA. It says the finished bust is 40 1/2", which gives 1/2" of ease. Why you'd want 1/2" of ease in a knit sundress, at the bust, I don't know. I was off to a great start in April, but got slowed down by other projects and the fact that Mother Nature forgot summer comes after spring.

 Played tetris with the pieces until I could fit them on.

 Problems started...I had tried to make sure the patterns matched at the seams, both the vertical side and back seams and the horizontal back seam. But somehow, the top did not come out quite symmetrical. I don't have a picture of it, but when opened, you can really see how the pattern in those points wasn't exactly horizontal.

I tried it on. Exciting! Almost done! Although the top of the front sort of ...drooped. Just like the problem I had with the low scoop neck t-shirts. My chest must be a little concave! I  thought maybe the binding would fix that, but there was also excess fabric in the armpit! I added darts.

Then...I had an idea. This is quite a bare dress. Wouldn't a shelf bra be a great idea?! According to my own tank tops, and various blogs, it's just a couple pieces of lining, held in by the binding pieces around the edges. No sweat! I chose some Power Net because I had it, and if a little support was good, then some high strength control fabric would be even better. And, I also cut it a bit smaller. I really wanted it to hold the girls in, nice and controlled. I went to add the binding, and found out it's done totally different than I thought it would be. And it was a total pain, trying to sew on this narrow binding! It's a bit messy in places (where the front points meet the top edge, for example).
I'm holding the straps behind my back LOL

Big mistake. Between trying to fix the unevenness of the points, and the smaller size of the Power Net, it made the front top piece do weird things. The body fabric was being pulled in, but the top edge was not laying flat. I realized that my tank top with the built in shelf bra also sort of did this. Okay, so that's not entirely my fault. I unpicked the top edge and bindings, trimmed the dress a smidge and lowered the Power Net inside the top hem to give it a bit more slack. That wasn't enough.

Next, I inserted a piece of elastic in the hem across most of the front top (as well as the back top which was droopy). It was hard (especially on the back) to sew the hem/binding and not get the elastic. This seems to have worked to an acceptable level.

 Did I do good with that wide stripe placement at my narrowest point, or what? I know there's an old wives' tale that says wide people shouldn't wear horizontal stripes. I have great success with well planned stripes, in clothes that FIT WELL. Yes, if this wasn't already shaped, the stripes would have no effect.
 Great seam matching too! I see I have a bit of back flub, (and a boater's tan!) so I could probably shorten the straps and pull it up. Well, no, I can't, because see below:
Because of the darts I added, and the shaping, I can't pull this up without it looking weird in other places. This is the view that bothers me now. On the pattern envelope, it's just the dress shapes. It was really hard finding pictures of it on people, since it's OOP. I didn't know just how high the front should go! I feel a little bare on the side, even though nothing is showing. I think it was also because we went from cold spring to hot summer overnight (and back again!). I wasn't used to being so bare LOL. It took a lot of Googling, but I did finally find a picture . That's from 2003. I can't believe her and I are the only ones to have made this dress.

If I make this again, I need to do a FBA. On a "simple" knit dress.  Maybe....if I had had a bigger piece of fabric so I didn't have to do piecing. Maybe if I don't add a shelf bra. Maybe if I don't mess up the binding. Maybe then it'll be simple enough that adding a FBA won't be complicated. I feel that I don't really need width across the front, I just need the shape realigned more to the side. But then the points won't be pointing to my shoulders. So I can just draw that difference. And I'll draw the front a little higher. Keep all the other shaping and even the darts.

Or, find another pattern.

Thursday, July 06, 2017

Brown Floral Shirt

Boring title, but exciting shirt! After a few of the New Look 6735, I wanted to branch out. Something still easy to make and wear, but not so "t-shirt" looking. Enter New Look 6807. I made one using the blue sheet I used for Megan's t-shirt, but somehow don't have pictures of that one. I love it. Actually, I do have one picture but I hope to get more. And it seems I have only one picture of this one. I really need to do a proper photo shoot.

I opted for View A (again). I already have a couple woven shirts like view B and C. I like the large flowy sleeves for summer. In reading the Pattern Review reviews, some of them looked too flowy, and some looked too stiff. My fabric did have great drape so I was optimistic.  I also read so many reviews that said there was way too much ease in this shirt and they took out the gathers. Then why use this pattern? The point of it is the gathers and the looseness. Others said they didn't understand why there's a back seam and neck tie and eliminated those. They're part of the styling too!  These little features were why I was choosing it, so it wasn't just a plain t shirt. My fabric was a scrap picked up at Value Village for $2.99. Can't beat that!

Yeah, that photo doesn't really show everything. I raised the neckline by half an inch. I widened the neck binding a tad but still sewed it on with a 3/8" seam allowance, so when I got to the ends that make the tie, I had to play a bit so the tie would be evenly folded (it's just like doing bias binding around the neck, and then the tie ends are just folded in half and topstitched closed). I didn't realize the mathematics of binding. I did a tiny rolled hem for the bottom and sleeves since the fabric is so light I didn't want to weigh it down with folded hems. The overall length is a bit too long now, but oh well.

My biggest complaint is that the fabric is looking worn now. It's gotten a sort of fuzz to it, the fuzz is lighter so the shirt looks faded. I washed it in cold water. I'll still wear it. It just doesn't have that "just bought" look. I wish it was more summery looking. The design is, but the colours aren't.

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

I Like It

I have a love-hate relationship with purses. Some days, I just don't want to be seen as the type of woman that must carry a purse. But I have my water, my phone, my keys, my wallet (on a crossbody strap), my knitting, my camera...I abhor the crazy prices for new purses so sometimes will pick one up at Value Village.  But they're never perfect. I've enjoyed sewing the few bags and backpacks that I've done, so I thought it was time for a real purse.

Colour. Always a concern. Do you go neutral and boring, or bright and statement? My stash had the answer. There wasn't much neutral and boring suitable for a purse. I ended up going mainly by whatever I had that was purse suitable and co-ordinated. I'm not a fan of quilting cottons for a purse.

This was my initial collection from my stash. I loved many of the fabrics, though a few got immediately culled due to size.  I narrowed it down to outside, inside, and pockets. Love playing with fun inside pockets!

 I decided this time, since I was making a "real" purse, I would splurge on some hardware---I can get a small selection of Emmaline Bags hardware locally! And by locally, I really do mean just down the street, not all the way across our big town (which is really a city, 125 000 people, but the people in charge have never gone for city status). I was looking for more of a shiny brass, but this is okay too.

 I measured the pocket for my phone, but then learned that if I keep it in the little zippered pouch, it doesn't fit in the pocket. If it's in the case, then the non-slipperyness of the case makes it hard to slide in and out.
That little pocket should fit the sunglass clip ons coming with my new glasses!
 Real harware! Though so often I don't bother actually doing it up.
 Fun inside pocket. I knew the pink zipper didn't quite match, but I loved that it was vintage and metal and had this cute butterfly. But then a tooth broke off on the first day!

The end result. I love it. The kids hate it. LOL. I don't care. However, although I held my waterbottle up to the pattern, it doesn't really fit in, if I have anything else. And once I get my wallet in, there's not much room for my knitting. And if I'm not taking my knitting, then I can just put my wallet on my body and my phone has a wrist strap that I can clip my keys too.  So, it's still not the perfect purse, and I will keep trying different patterns!
One disappointing thing. I put that "Handmade" badge on, but it's too low and can't really be seen.

Pattern: Phoebe Bag

Monday, July 03, 2017


I bought yarn. How long has it been? Middle of March. Yes. I am doing really good about not buying yard. Fabric? It's catching up on me, but I am trying really hard to use what I buy quickly. Unless it's an awesome deal and I just gotta have it.

I bought a giant ball of that Bernat "Blanket" for a secret project I'll share soon, and three balls of a black velvety yarn off the clearance rack. That's also for a secret project  that I have to get started yesterday.

Yarn In: 600gr + 1642gr=2242gr
Yarn Out: 2195gr
Balance: 47gr more USED than bought
Costs:   $16.57 +$40.73=$57.30/184 days = $0.31per day