Sunday, January 31, 2016

Vogue 1389 again - Maroon wool knit baseball top

I am continuing to enjoy using up fabric from my scrap pile and making tops. Here is my latest creation from Vogue 1389, a Donna Karan designer pattern.

I first made this pattern back in December and it has seen lots of wear during this mild winter, so I decided to make another one using up a big scrap of maroon wool knit. Four LONG years ago (before I had many gray hairs - sob!) I used this fabric for a top with a draped neckline and wore it for Christmas. It was donated a year or so later because I really hate to wear anything fussy around my neck. But the fabric was perfectly lovely and I'm glad I had a big piece of it to make something that will actually get some wear.

This time I used an exposed seam detail throughout the shirt and love the outcome. It is achieved by stitching the pieces together with the wrong sides facing it, then ironing them flat and topstitching from the outside about 1/8" on either side of the seam. Then I carefully cut away the excess fabric. It looks really cool on fabrics with a terry like texture on the inside.

This is a very fitted pattern. Where I usually size down to a 10 on knits, I cut a straight size 12. I also dropped the armholes an inch like last time, as they are drafted really high. The sleeve bands were thick and dumpy looking so I oped to hem the sleeves right above the elbow. All hems were sewn with a wide set twin needle.

The neckline stretched out a bit when I was making this top so I sprayed it with water and threw it in the dryer with a damp towel. Twenty minutes later I took it out and the neckline had shrunk to a point where it lays nice and flat against my chest.

Even though I'm an Aggie I don't really own a ton of maroon stuff. Well, now I've got a least one top to wear with this cap. Whoop! Also Gig 'em.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Vogue 9026 - Front sequin sweatshirt in gray

Scraps. We all have them – those pieces that are too big to throw away but not big enough to do much with. I keep thinking I’ll use some of mine to make something for my daughter. She’s tiny and her clothing doesn’t require much yardage. I never do, though, and they just keep piling up. However, these days it’s perfectly acceptable to use several different textiles in one garment. I had a rather sizable piece of sequin fabric left over from this skirt and I decided to make it into a sweatshirt. I ordered one yard of Mood fabric’s Cadet charcoal french terry cotton knit and the matching Cadet charcoal rib knit in the hopes that they would match the silver baby sequin fabric I’d used last month. The colors blended perfectly. I pre-washed it all, including the sequins, so I could launder this top easily.

The pattern is Vogue 9026 - now sadly OOP - only 1 year after its release. I really liked the slanted front seams and the V neckline which I've not seen on other sweatshirt patterns. I cut the small and had zero fit issues. The center front and center back seams were eliminated – not sure why they’re there anyway. I used the french terry for the body and sleeves and the rib knit for the binding at the neckline, cuffs and bottom band.

The bottom band was doubled in length, an idea I copied from Amy’s pink cowl top made last year. I also think this pattern would be cute as a short dress. Hmm..

These fabrics were such a joy to work with. Seriously, I’ve got to get more cotton knits. They behave and don’t slip around or stretch out like ITY knits do. They are also SO comfortable to wear and hide a multitude of lumps and bumps.

I used a longer stitch length and topstitched the rib knit down at every seam.

I used a bit of black tricot from my stash to line the sequin area. They’re sewn to mesh and I thought they might be see-through under the right lighting. I sewed the tricot and sequins to the terrycloth burrito style so I wouldn’t have to do any handstitching. This also contained any rough sequin edges that might irritate my skin.

I finished the sleeves and armholes with an overlocking stitch.

Dressform pictures:

This was a really fun project to sew up and it went together quickly. It also got me thinking about the fashion sweatshirt I made 2 years ago that I rarely wear. The body fabric is thick and quilted, which caused a bump at the hemline and just wasn't flattering. It made me look like a brick. So, while I still had this Vogue pattern out, I used the bottom band pattern piece and some leftover black ribbing (more scrap fabric) to band it. What do you think?

I like it much better this way, and will hopefully get more wear out of it.

I am having a ton of fun making tops lately and have another in the works that I'm almost done with. I still like the complicated designer patterns and using fancy fabrics but am really wanting to add some hand made items to my casual wardrobe.

Note: All fabrics used for the sequin sweatshirt were purchased with my Mood Fabrics monthly allowance, as part of my participation in the Mood Sewing Network.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Vogue 8859 - Slim brown pants in quilted cotton

Here's a quick little post to show y'all some pants I made to match an orphan tunic in my closet. Not loving to make pants patterns - even though I keep buying them - I searched around various stores for a brown pair and had no luck. I swatched this chocolate cotton double knit from Mood fabrics and loved the ridges and texture. I also thought a cotton/poly might hold up better then a ponte knit, which in my experience tends to pill after a few washes. 

I used Vogue 8859, a Marci Tilton design which is now sadly out of print. This was the first time I’ve used one of her patterns; most of them aren’t really my style. What I liked about this design was the pleated knee treatment and back yoke. With the fabric being rather thick I decided to leave off the knee pleats on this pair, but will certainly use that design feature in the future.

I was pleasantly surprised by the fit of these pants. The crotch is drafted much more toward the front, which I think helps alleviate those pesky whiskers on the backs of the legs. I cut a straight size 12, my typical Vogue size, but had to cut the waist height down by an inch. These pants are drafted to be VERY high waisted. I have a long torso, so I shudder to think what they would be like on a shorter waisted person. When I make these again I will shorted them below the back yoke before cutting out. For these I had to cut off a good portion of the yoke to not feel like Steve Urkel.

I picked this pattern so that I could play with the ridges in the fabric. From the back of the knee down I turned the fabric horizontal. I topstitched every seam and then graded the fabric to keep the seams from being too lumpy. The hems and waistband I stitched with a wide twin needle.

The waistband is elastic, which is perfectly fine for being worn under a tunic.

This was a simple and quick project, and now I can get some wear out of my top. I am definitely making this pattern up again. With a few tweaks it will become my fitted pants TNT (tried and true).

Note: This fabric was purchased with my Mood Fabrics monthly allowance, as part of my participation in the Mood Sewing Network.

Friday, January 15, 2016

McCalls 7248 - Silver & red silk blouse

It's time for another silk blouse addition! I haven't made one since last July and I'm going through withdrawal lol.

I wanted something simple without a lot of seams for this large scale print, and chose McCalls 7248. I like both of the necklines and the high/low hemline. This fabric is a stretch silk charmeuse that's been a longtime stash resident. I think I got it online somewhere, maybe Denver fabrics? Are they even around anymore? The contrast solid gray is also silk charmeuse that was in my stash but I can't remember anything about it. It isn't a stretchy fabric like the other.

I cut a straight size 10 (am typically a 12) since my fabric had some give and the blouse was oversized as drafted. It went together quickly without any fit issues.

The sleeves have a nice amount blousy-ness - not too voluminous or too constricting.

I interfaced the top and bottom neckline binding and cuffs with knit interfacing to give it a little stability but not make it too stiff.

I found these buttons in my stash bought for some forgotten project. There were four on the card so I just went ahead and used two per cuff.

Dressform pictures:

The yoke was stitched burrito style to encase the raw edges and I used french seams on the sleeves and armholes. The side seams were finished with small double folded hems since I couldn't do a french seam with the side slits.

It's a nice addition to my collection of silk blouses. This big shirt over leggings silhouette is so great for my lifestyle. I'm tempted to make it my daily uniform!

Saturday, December 26, 2015

McCall's 3830 - Silver sequin straight skirt

Just in time for year end festivities I have made something sparkly! A sequin skirt has been on my list for a few years now. This fabric was purchased months ago but has just been sitting there staring at me because I was procrastinating. Sewing with sequins is always extremely messy and time consuming. I finally decided it would be handy to have for New Year’s Eve so I stitched it up. Surprise! Because I chose a fabric with super tiny sequins, they didn’t need to be removed for the seams or darts, and I had no messy piles of them to clean up. I used Mood fabric’s baby sequins on mesh, which they carry in several different colors. I ordered a yard for this straight skirt and have plenty left over.

The pattern is my TNT (Tried ‘N True) straight skirt pattern, McCall’s 3830, which I have made a thousand times. I wanted to keep the sequins from catching on my blouses so I opted for a grosgrain ribbon waistband. I also fully lined my skirt with some silver china silk.

The back invisible zipper has to be gently pulled up to not get hung up on any sequins. It didn’t give me any problems to insert.

I’m on auto pilot when I make this pattern. If only all my sewing could be such a reliably good fit!

I had to add a band of fabric to the bottom of the lining since I cut it a little short. I always like my lining long enough to cover the top edge of the turned up hem. Then I do a sit-down test to make sure it doesn’t peek out.

The waistband is made using a 1 3/8″ wide petersham grosgrain ribbon that I stashed for this project. This is the 3rd time I've used this type of waistband finish and I love to do it. Next time I'll snap some pictures and post a little how-to here for anyone interested. I also sewed a 1″ wide ribbon in the same color to the bottom of the skirt and turned it to the inside for the hem. It was whip-stitched in place by hand. I didn’t want any scratchy sequins touching my skin or chewing up my hosiery.

Finding ways to use fancy fabrics in my non-fancy lifestyle is fun to me. I have it styled here for a casual date night or New Year’s house party with friends but it could easily be paired with a silver silk charmeuse blouse and heals to be cocktail party appropriate.

Note: Both fabrics were purchased with my Mood Fabrics monthly allowance, as part of my participation in the Mood Sewing Network.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Vogue 1389 - Casual coral sweatshirt

After making two lined dresses in a row I decided I needed an easy project. For me, the easy projects I undertake usually end up being a lot more work than I think they’ll be. Not this time, though. I whipped up this fitted top in just a few hours. The fabric, a Thakoon coral sweatshirt cotton, was purchased from Mood fabrics a few years (!) ago and has long since sold out. Mood has a number of similar cotton terrycloth options available. My personal favorite is the grey and metallic terry knit, which I’ll probably get for another one of these tops.

Originally I had a large piece of this fabric which I cut into for a casual dress. Unfortunately it was not matched well to the pattern, and the project ended up in a trash can. I had a large scrap piece left over and loved the color, so I saved it until I could find a way to use it up. I used Vogue 1389, a Donna Karan designer pattern. It’s a bit of a sleeper pattern that hasn’t been made much by the online sewing community. The example garments are all gray and a bit boring but the design lines are really nice.

This is a well fitted top. The sides wrap around to the back and are angled in such a way that they provide some nice waist definition. I cut my usual Vogue size 12 but lowered the armholes by an inch. They are super high as drafted! The wide neckband and sleevebands I sewed using the opposite side of the fabric for a little contrast. I had to piece my back together because I was short on fabric.

That back seam and the side seams were sewn with the wrong sides together, then ironed flat and topstitched so that the wrong sides show on the outside. This is a fun finish that I used on a project a long time ago. I contemplated using it to finish the arm seams as well, but thought it might be too distracting with the contrast along the neckline. Now I wish I’d done it.

I adore the length of these sleeves. Unless it’s really cold, I find myself pushing up my long sleeve tops to just below my elbows. They would be really easy to lengthen if you prefer the longer length.

I finished all the inside seams with the overlocking stitch on my machine. The neckline and sleeve bands were topstitched down to prevent the seam from twisting or flipping out.

The hem was sewn with a wide twin needle.

I first made this top up in a silk jersey and it did not have enough stretch recovery to make the neckline lay flat. The result was not flattering, so keep that in mind if you want to make this pattern up. Also the neckline will get stretched out when being attached and will need to be washed and dried to shrink it back, so a wool knit might not be the best choice of fabric.

Note: This fabric was purchased with my Mood Fabrics monthly allowance, as part of my participation in the Mood Sewing Network.