Thursday, June 04, 2020

It Feels Like Winter...

We had a super nice week in April, but then winter came back and we continued to get random snowfalls into May! Then, all of a sudden, summer hit. Nonetheless, I did actually make these back in the middle of real winter. 

If you've been around here for awhile, you know I love mittens, and am always trying to find the best mittens. I love to knit wool mittens but I recognize how much faster sewn mittens are. Naturally then, mittens from sweaters was a natural next step. I tried other patterns but I don't understand why they had thumbs coming out of the palm LOL. And, what about flip tops?

When I saw these flip tops at Melly Sews, I knew I had to make them! And from a recycled sweater of course! First up, though, a test pair with actual fleece.

I don't appear to have any issues with them. I might have adjusted how the thumb gusset was done so I could use the serger. They fit looser than I'd like, but  going by the picture with the pattern, that is how they were designed.

Up next, a sweater. I chose this teal sweater because I have a teal scarf I love, and at the time, I was picketing with the elementary teacher union, and our signs had teal on them LOL. 
The ribbing on sweaters make for awesome edges, as long as they're not overly felted. Thinking that I might want a matching hat, I realized that sleeve cuffs are already sized to fit your wrist LOL

But....but...the cuff is much bigger than the pattern! And why should I have to cut the cuff just to seam it again? Oh, the brain power I used to figure out how to make the mitten body into one piece!

I realized I had to make a snip into the body, between the curved top and the straight portion, so I could sew on the partial piece for the flap.

Can you see, on the right edge, where the serged piece overlaps the curved piece, there's a bit of a slit?


Serged the thumb on

Not sure what I was trying to show here, I think it was serging on the thumb, very carefully
Not sure about this either LOL. 
They ended up way too long for my short fingers so I had to keep trimming the tops. Also, I thought it would be cool to have the cuff at the top of the thumb so I didn't have to hem. I didn't measure very well though LOL. Fully down, it does keep my thumb warm and I can fold it back if I need my thumb.

These aren't as warm as the two layer mittens from felted sweaters--this was a thinner, less felted sweater as well. Even with all the thinking and the adjustments, it was still quicker than knitting them. I do find that they slide down though. I was at one of the pickets events and the union send an email with photos of the event, and there I was, at the front, tugging on my mitten LOL. 


Monday, May 18, 2020

Pretty Much Done

I wrote earlier about the process of making the skating skirt for Megan. Not the quick sew it could have been, and this dress is similar....though partially for different reasons.

The whole first part of that post, about buying and printing the patterns holds true for this one too (This is Jalie 2684 Mock Neck Dress), so I won't discuss those issues again.

I also wrote in that last post about the fabric offer I received from https://fabric-online.com/.  Megan decided on a red velvet! So exciting! It came and we petted it! I realized though that there was no vertical stretch. Oh no! Will it still work? How?

I consulted with other costume sewists in a great Facebook group called "Spandex Doesn't Scare Me". It was suggested to use the velvet "sideways", with the stretch going vertical instead of horizontal. Another suggestion was to add a bit of extra length. That's what I went with. I also figured the stretch mesh on the upper chest would give some stretch, and I decided to make the panties with some cotton-lycra. After going through my stash, I actually decided on a slinky knit. I figured it would help ensure the skirt doesn't stick to it. I also wanted to make a shelf bra.


It all went together pretty well. At the sides of the beige mesh, I used clear elastic. By now, everything was shut down and I couldn't just browse the fabric store for options but I really thought the clear elastic would be a good option. I think it worked okay. However, once it all got put together, I had her try it on before stitching the back of the collar down. The beige mesh (which was wonderfully donated by the woman who owns the sewing studio that does the classes I've attended! I had put out a plea in her local sewing group on FB because the stores were closed, and I really didn't want to order 1/2 meter of mesh online!) section was not laying right. It seemed to be too long. So I had to re-work it. I'm not 100% sure it's "perfect" but Megan is happy.

The chiffon! I tried to be extra careful when I cut it. When I went to sew it together, I could see the pieces didn't match! One edge of both the front and back of one of the colours was too long. I carefully trimmed them, deciding one layer would be slightly longer than the other. You know, for that little extra bit of uniqueness! I sewed it on and let the dress hang for awhile before hemming. It didn't grow anymore, so I must be getting better.

Megan decided she did want back straps after all. I kind of forgot that. I went to gather the materials to make the straps and this sequined stretchy trim fell off the bookshelf! No way. Fate.

I'll get into more details later, I just wanted to get this up because it is basically done. We are waiting for some crystals to arrive because she really wants to "stone" it. I like it as is. Her music is from Sweet Charity, and in this scene, the dancers are in all black. The lead dancer in wearing a square straped halter and  I wanted to add straps to mimic that, but she said no. The dresses in the scene are not blingy at all, but she figures no one will know where the music is from anyway.

We got the news late last week that figure skating can start up again, May 19 (but not hockey or lacrosse!). However, the town facility where she practices is closed till May 31, so we still have to wait. We don't know if the facility will open on June 1; the town has cancelled everything through June, and July 1 (Canada Day) festivities.


Tuesday, May 05, 2020

Beautiful Dreamer

I am almost caught up to real time! There's a couple pairs of shorts I made for the girls, two (almost identical) bathing suits for Lucy and a bathing suit cover up from the cruise that I still need to blog, but the problem is getting pictures.

I bought this pattern Nov 26 2018, which was maybe a day before I left for a Florida roadtrip. I was taking the silver cardi I had made but I wasn't overly thrilled with it.  I saw this one, Beautiful Dreamer by Shwin Designs and liked how you use a piece of contrasting woven in the upper back. It says $5US, however, my records show I paid $9.60US!

I have been wanting to make it, but could never decide on fabrics! Such commitment! Needing a woven, AND a knit, that look good together! Stress! I finally decided I was going for it. I had this neat fabric, I believe from Fabricland, that I thought I would make a pool cover up for the cruise. Never had the time. Thought it could still be a dress, then I realized it was rather revealing with the holes. Doesn't even qualify for a work shirt! Then I realized, a cardigan it shall be. Now, what for the woven? I had some white twill but it just didn't feel right.

I had an idea! I could just take a knit, fuse some interfacing on it, and call it a woven! And...this fabric is striped! I could cut it on the bias so the stripes went diagonal for some neat interest! Yes ma'am, sign me up.

I got it printed and started taping together. I questioned in the Facebook group if I would need an FBA (not really) and how much should I shorten it, and where are the shorten/lengthen lines as indicated in the instructions. I was assured they were there. The quality of the printing was not very good. I had done B&W, but you know how you lose the detail when you print a photo too big? The white areas were a little shady, the lines were a little fuzzy. I could not find lengthen lines.

I opted not to do a FBA (I honestly can't remember if I shortened it). I was moving along fine and appreciated the mirror image rather than cut on a fold, sleeves. But wait a minute! There were no notches on the pattern, as indicated in the instructions. Which was the front of the sleeve? I got the answer in the group, and luckily, that worked with how I had cut them.


It all came together pretty well. I tried to match up the stripes, but they're "rustic" stripes, not precise, so it's not going to line up perfectly. That's fine. Much better than I would have done 5 years ago!  I really love the back! I always feel so wide in my back photos but this is okay!

I don't feel overwhelmed by the fabric in the front, don't feel like I'm swimming! It's hard to see in the photos, but  pale peach  doesn't really show at a distance. Which is good, because I was worried it was too peachy and not neutral enough. 

I really like this sweater! I don't think it was worth the $9.60US I paid (about $12.50Cdn) but for sure it's worth the $5 US. I will likely make more. Maybe even with an actual woven yoke!


Sunday, May 03, 2020

Sundance Jacket

I have been wanting to blog this jacket for so long!  How long? The class was posted Feb 2018 and there was one in March and one in May; not sure which one I did. It was quite a splurge for me, but I'm glad I did it. The pieces were pre-cut and we did not get the pattern, we were told each step. I bought the pattern later but haven't made another one yet. Still on my to-do list! The fabric was really nice, the zipper was perfect. There were some issues with getting verbal instructions--hard to keep track of six giggling ladies all at different points in the process. I was actually able to think ahead at one stage at prevent a zipper issue that some of the other ladies experienced. 

The Sundance Jacket:

Hideous face LOL. My photographer made me pose again:

So much better LOL

Excuse my Corona hair. 
It's hard to see the details on the back. The one on the website looks like the seams have been flatlocked, which I haven't ever done, so mine is a little less structured looking. 

 I never got around to hemming the sleeves. They are a little long, I usually fold them back.
I was so distressed by the total lack of pockets, that I eventually got around to adding one inside pocket before our Sept 2019 cruise. I took some black cotton-lycra, fused some light interfacing to it,  hemmed the short edges. I folded it in half, and carefully sewed it to the seam allowances on the inside. It doesn't show anywhere on the outside. 

Now. These pictures are the After shots. Yes. The size chosen for me was based on my bust, and the pieces were pre-cut. Which meant that while the bust fit, the rest of the jacket was swimming on me. It was okay, but did not have the nice fitted look as seen on Greenstyle's website. I pretty much took most of the back apart and stitched smaller and shorter, especially the pleated bottom. It was just too long on me. This was all possible only because there are so many pieces. It saddens me when I see someone has sewn a very simple top and is expecting it to be well fitted and custom--the only places to really adjust are the side seams (besides things like doing an FBA). Seams allow precise fitting, exactly where you need it.

I love this jacket. My family does not. They call it the Magician's jacket. They say it looks like a tux jacket (with the tails). I really want to make another, and maybe in a print, it will be more casual. It doesn't have to be made with the pleats--and I could even take these off this jacket--but I thought it elevated it from a simple, run of the mill, yoga jacket, to something a little more upscale.

Friday, May 01, 2020

Same but Different

Similar to the green pants in the last post, I had these brown cords that I loved but never stayed up. So I decided they too needed the knit waist band.

This time it went much quicker, because I wasn't also doing the pockets, and I didn't take the belt loops off. And I didn't need to take them apart twice to get the right size.

Yes, I left the belt loops on. When I restitched them, I didn't fold over the top, I just stitched the raw end down.
I had originally planned to use that beige t-shirt to make the band but decided maybe I do need a beige t-shirt in my dresser. It's a bit snug though.
More on the cardigan later.
These fit so much better now. They're a bit too long if I don't have shoes on, but I just have to  remember to roll them down when I leave the house LOL. I wish they weren't faded/worn looking because they'd be nice for work.
I wonder if I can "fix" any of my jeans now...

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Happy Day Pants

I have these green jeans. A bright apple green. I love them. Their shape never loved me though. They were lower rise and just never stayed up. I wore them with a tie belt I borrowed from a pair of shorts.

Then I started seeing in Facebook sewing groups that people were taking a waistband from a leggings pattern and taking off the waistband from low rise jeans, and using the legging's waistband. In the group "Patterns for Pirates" (not their business page, but their group page), you can get a free download of hacks for their leggings pattern. One of the items is a wide "contoured" waistband. It's kind of like a maternity panel. It's high, more on the front, and the sides are slightly tapered because it's supposed to sit up at the natural waist which is narrower than where low rise jeans sit (which is why they so often fall down).  I knew this would be the fix.

It took awhile to get around to doing this, mainly because of the lack of a printer, and just so many other projects. Totally regret not getting to it sooner! First step, take off the old waist band.  I was dismayed by the fading!!

I decided that I would fix the fake pockets and make them into real pockets. Why do they do this? I found an awesome video on doing this.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9e-pK8Bul50&t=2s  Two big take aways--use a slippery fabric, and make them LONG! You know how much it sucks when you have your phone in  your front pocket and you sit down and it pops out? Make the pocket long enough the phone sits on your thigh!!

I left the little "coin pocket" (I think that's what it's called).
I used some green athletic jersey left over from a pair of Rob's boxers.

I laid the phone down and traced around it, adding some ease and seam allowance. I followed the curve of the pocket's old facing.


Pin and sew carefully. This is easier than in the video because there's no waistband

Stitched to the facing. I did have some issues with getting it to line up properly.  I was probably not being very accurate. Just fudged it a lot LOL

Top stitched to the outer pant, following the existing top stitching. I actually had a pretty good match for the thread. Again, much easier to do with no waist band. 


For the waistband, I took this old bright green t-shirt I had that was getting old. It was 95-5 Cotton-lycra. This is the outer portion of the two layer band.  For the inner layer, I used the pocket fabric. I was a little disappointed to notice that after I cut the front outer piece, that there was a tiny hole, and a tiny stain right at the centre front, somewhat low (not that I ever intend to have the band show, but sometimes you have to raise your hands up. 
I didn't take any pictures of constructing the waistband, but I did add clear elastic to the top seam.



So happy!! I love wearing these pants when it's grey outside. They really cheer people up. I often get people telling me they love them. 

They always fit in the back, but with my belly, the front was always an issue

See how the band comes up to my natural waist? So much better. 

I did have some issues, of course. They weren't staying up!  I seam ripped them off, at a side seam, not all the way around, and took in the side seam about 2 inches. Tried them for a couple days. Better, but they didn't hold up to gardening. I seam ripped the entire back side and sewed in regular elastic to the top seam of the band, over the back section, and also took in the other side seam by 2". This has made a huge difference. Don't bother with clear elastic for these. 





Tuesday, April 28, 2020

New Dance Outfit

For a long time I've wanted to make Megan skating outfits. She's been resistant. I had an idea of making a basic bodysuit and then various skirts, for the different dances. Now that she's getting towards the end of her dance tests LOL, she agreed.  What really helped was that I got an offer of fabric from https://fabric-online.com/. I thought making her a skating dress would be a great way to show their fabric and make something new.

We went to www.jalie.com and browsed. I liked the long sleeve Tessa  but she actually wanted sleeveless so I felt it better to go with a sleeveless pattern to start with. We settled on the Tank Skating Dress. I opted to get the PDF version since I didn't want to wait for the mail. Well.

I ordered the pattern on January 17. I order the black fabric (Dream Performance Athletic Knit) from Halo Fabric Addicts . Some awesome fabrics there!! This black is thick, squat-proof and feels great. That was ordered on January 3.

I went to Staples on Feb 1 to print. It wouldn't print the right size. I thought maybe I had saved it wrong. Went home, made sure to save it through Adobe. Went back, and it was still wrong. Went to the Facebook Sewing with Jalie page to inquire. Turns out that you can't print Jalie patterns at the self service at Staples. Now what? My printer wasn't working. I googled for copyshops that did A0/drafting prints and found a franchise shop (not UPS). I sent in a request for an estimate through their website. Got an automated response saying they'd send it within 24 hours. I waited a few days and sent an email. Got a response quickly with an estimate. Not bad, I thought, so I went ahead and sent in the files (I had bought two patterns). After a few days I sent an email asking how long it would take. It was ready the next day.  That was Feb 19. When I picked up, they were a little more than the quote had said. They came to $15 and change and the quote said $13. I didn't have it with me, so I just sucked it up.

I had to trace her sizes. Cut that out. I wanted to do a thong since the skirts would have panties attached and I didn't want her to have to worry about conflicting panty lines. The leotard was pretty easy to actually sew, and fit her well.  I did have an issue with the thong and elastic. I forgot that the thong pattern I was using was intended for a tiny band added. I was doing elastic, which gets sewn on, then flipped to the inside and topstitched. If I had done that, the elastic would have ended up over lapping on the  thong part. So I just sewed it down and didn't flip it in. Also makes it a bit smoother if she wears it under leggings.

On to the skirt. Oh my gosh. We went to Fabricland on February 22. We were also looking for her solo dance custome fabric and it was overwhelming. She told me her next dance was "tango-ish", so we were looking at red and black. She liked the idea of red chiffon with a black lay overlap. An assymetrical skirt. And the lace had a nice scalloped edge. Okay.

Well. OMG. The skirt was killing me. My first attempt, the long side just sagged inwards and there wasn't much "fullness". I tried another version, using a flouncy border piece so the scalloped edge was still usable. She didn't really like that either. I was out of the lace.  I have pictures, but for some reason they're not in my Google photos.

Then she played me the music. Ummmm. Not tango-ish at all. Apparently they had been practicing to the "Series 8" option which is the instrumental, old-timey version that Skate Canada offer, and the vocal "Contemporary" song is much different. The first thing that came to mind when I heard it was "1970s Canadian Disco". Turns out it's an American song from the '2000s?! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4H5I6y1Qvz0   I dare you. Go listen/watch.
I texted her coach for suggestions. I thought a bell bottomed pantsuit would be fun but yeah, I knew it wouldn't go over LOL. Next option was a full skirt, and the coach recommended a bright colour. Back to the store we went, March 3. She picked out this nice bright ....magenta? It's not really bright, but it's not dull either.

I found a pattern in my stash from my mother-in-law that was a full skirt. Got all set up, and found out that although the size chart went large enough (up to 18), the pattern in the envelop only went up to size 12. Argh. Thankfully, I didn't have to add much. And in the end, I think I had to take out most of that because she didn't need so much ease.

The skirt pattern calls for a side zipper. I was doing a knit band for the waist, so could I get away with no zipper? Well, no. Not exactly. But how is this going to work with attached panties? Much thinking, and ripping, and I got it done.

Hemming was a nightmare. Well, not the actual stitching, but chiffon! It grows! It does all kinds of weird things! It ended up being way too long and not even!  And Megan kept saying she wanted it shorter. Usually dance skirts are on the longer side. I hung it and trimmed, I laid it out on the floor and marked it and trimmed. In the end, the chiffon matches up pretty close, but I think her right side is a bit longer. The actual stitching was easy. I was going  to do a rolled hem, but didn't really like it, so I went with a narrow, 3 needle hem.

See how it's a bit longer on her right?
It swished so nicely when she skated though! She said it kept going between her legs and bugging her. I wish she had been able to have a test run before the test day. The first go round of the dance was a bit rough but the judge had them go around again and she was able to pass!
I also made her a skinny tie for her hair.

Megan felt the need to add crystals. This was also new territory. She wanted to glue them on, but I did some research and decided we needed to "Hot Fix" crystals. We got our coupon and went to Michaels. There was a cheap Hot Fix "gun" (?) in the crafting section but we weren't keen on it. We looked at the Swarovski  one and liked it better. It is a lot more, but with the coupon (a rare 40% one!), it brought it to about the same price and seemed like a much better device. The cheap crystals were also not suitable so she picked out some Swarovski crystals. However, once she got them out of the package, she realized they had a pink tint to them. Fine for this outfit, and really, I'm sure no one else will notice if there's a pink tint to the crystals when she's wearing, say, a green skirt.



She tested on March 11 and I was finishing up the tie that morning. It ended up being way more rushed that we originally thought, but the end result is much better than the original plan.
I wish I could attach a video of her test. I have posted it on my FB page but not sure if it's public. Maybe it's time to update YouTube LOL.

EDIT---Added on YouTube  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q-jfNGgAFjs