Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Butterick 5187 - Brown polka-dots cropped jacket

These cropped loose-fit jackets were all the rage last year. I'm hoping they're still in vogue this year... I told you I usually don't like styles when they first come out. Anyway, here it is! This design was very loose-fitting so I modified the pattern to be less blousy and actually made a muslin to check the fit. Can you believe it?!

I just love the tucks in the front and back and the cute little collar. The sleeves have slits on the bottom.

I added a full lining. The most difficult part of doing this was redesigning the front facing. It was smaller and curved around - hard to describe. I had to design it so it could be sewn to the front lining and also go into the first front tuck without any added bulk. Here you can see the bias tape sewn where the sleeve meets the bodice to cover the exposed seam there.

Here's a view of the back lining. I slipstitched it to the bottom hem.

Okay, about the buttons. The pattern calls for 3 - 1 1/2" buttons. I decided to use covered buttons because they blend into the fabric and with the amount of dots I already had, I didn't want to call attention to any more. Here's the result:

All I need is a red nose and some big floppy shoes to complete the look! So then I tried covered buttons in two smaller sizes. Then I tried no buttons and only snaps. Now I've got two medium sized buttons but only on the yoke. I left the snaps in case I change my mind again. I am usually not this indecisive!!!

My only issue with this fabric is when one of the dots got caught in a seam or here, where there were two right next to each other on both sides. Since they are embroidered I could remove them with the seam ripper using extreme caution. I had to remove about 6 or 7 dots or partial dots.

I made view D. I think it's cute, but won't be making any of the other views. I'm not sure how long this style will last, and it's honestly not the most flattering thing I've ever made.

Vogue 2925 - Winter white knit tank

I needed a top to wear under my new jacket, so in keeping with my resolution to not buy any ready-made garments for a year, I decided on this pattern. I already had the knit in my stash. Instead of tucks where the shoulder band meets the front bodice, I gathered that area. I also cut it a bit more fitted at the waist then the pattern is designed. The bottom band was a total accident. I forgot to add 1 1/2 inches to the bottom and it was too short. But I really like it and think it adds a little interest to the hemline.

Here on the side view you can see the little bust gathers.

I used bias tape around the neck and armholes. I'm glad I did because this knit has some cotton in it and the neck would have been totally stretched out by doing the 5/8" narrow hem that the pattern calls for. I had to redo the front bias tape once because I got it too loose the first time and had some gaping issues.

This is not something I would usually go for. I guess I might consider it too plain or too easy. However, I think I will be making a few more of these in the future. It turned out so cute and is very comfortable. Here's the pattern picture. I actually bought this pattern because I love the jacket and am planning to make it this winter.

Monday, September 29, 2008

I've been tagged!

I got tagged by Christine a week ago so I thought I'd better get around to responding...

Here are 7 things you probably didn't know about me:

1. I am a Christian.

2. I homeschool my 4 year old, Nathan, and plan to continue teaching all my children at home indefinitely, or until plans change.

3. I received my undergraduate degree in Environmental Design/Construction Management, and before I had children worked for a commercial construction company as a project estimator. So I guess you could say I went from building construction to clothing construction.

4. I am a native Texan and love this state!

5. I have a small tattoo of a butterfly somewhere on my body where the sun don't shine. :)

6. I have been skydiving. Once was enough.

7. I love to travel and during college went backpacking through Europe with my sister. We were gone for 5 weeks and were on very small budgets. Whenever I get to go back with Justin, I'm planning for us to stay in hotels and not youth hostels. It was definitely an experience I'll never forget.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Vogue 8416 - Navy penstripe dress w/ sleeve ties

As promised, here's the new dress I finished right before the black & green knit.

I really love the design. It's pretty simple, but the sleeve details and interesting neckline caught my eye. Vogue had this made up in a black pinstripe in their catalog, and I thought it was totally chic. So when I found this navy pinstripe, I knew just what I wanted it made into. My aunt gave me those pearls for college graduation, and now I finally have something to wear them with! Here's the back:

Does this look a little retro to you? The next picture is a neckline and sleeve close-up.

The neckline on this dress was very ornery. It looks like there's a little cleavage showing on the pattern envelope. I decided to cut it 1" higher because I don't especially love making muslins, and I thought I can always lower a neckline if it's too high. If it was too low I would have to cut out the entire front, and I didn't have that much fabric. So I get it stitched up, and since the patten doesn't call for interfacing, the front neckline drooped forward and the lining was visible. I folded down the top to see if it would look okay 1" lower, where the pattern was drawn. It looked fine, so I cut it at the lower level and added interfacing. I get it sewn up again and the neckline is so wide that I'm showing all the goods if I make a slight movement. I made it 1/2" smaller at the very top of each front princess seam, removing a total of 1" from the neckline. Then I thought I was done, tried it on so hubby could shoot my picture, and noticed the piece that goes from the top bust line to my shoulder is a little droopy. Again I go in and have to rip a few seams out. This time I had to do some inside construction stitching by hand, since the dress had been completely finished and I couldn't get the machine in there. After all that work it finally fit and I'm not showing anything I don't want to be.

Here's the neckline before I removed that 1/2" at each front princess seam. A little exposed, right? I know I'm slouching, but I have the bad habit of doing that and have to make clothing that fits despite my bad posture.

Here's that front piece that goes from the top bust line to the shoulder. I matched the pinstripes here to give it a continuous look. I had to spend one whole evening cutting out just the outside fabric. I wanted it to be symmetrical on both sides and cut each piece out separately.

Here's the inside where the sleeve meets the bodice. I used bias tape to cover the exposed seam.

Here's the pattern. I made the shorter dress. I love it, but it sure was a lot of work.

My husband took our two boys to his parents ranch last weekend and I got to stay home. That is why I've got two dresses to show you when I typically can't sew that quickly. I had this huge ambitious pile of things I wanted to get finished, but reality set in and I had some fit issues. Plus I got a little tired of sewing after the first two days at the machine. *Gasp!*

Up next is a cute little jacket, Butterick 5187, in a brown linen with polka dots. I'm making view D, and altering the pattern so it's not so blousy. Hopefully it will be cute and not go in my wadder pile.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

New Simplicity patterns!

Ever since Adrienne mentioned in one of her posts that new Simplicity patterns were out but not online, I have been stalking their website. I had to go to the fabric store a few days ago and looked through their latest catalog. The following patterns are my picks:

I love this skirt! I'm talking about the gray one in the bottom right corner. You can't tell from the picture, but it's got running white stitching along the waistband, pockets, and hem. I think those pockets are really cute also. In fact, I love the whole outfit with the crisp white blouse. I think I have some gray suiting in my stash. Hmmm...

Super, super cute blouse. I love the long sleeve hot pink number - although not in hot pink for me - and the one with shorter ruffled sleeves - bottom on the left. Maybe in white to match the first skirt pattern?

I think this dress is nice also, although not to the degree that I love the first two patterns. The royal blue is my favorite view. I know that dress with the cowl neck is really hot right now, but I've never been that fond of cowl necks. This is my problem with up-to-the-minute fashion. I usually don't like it at first. And then by the time it's grown on me and I'm ready to make it, the fashion has changed and it's out of vogue.

Anyway, check this new collection out. There's a lot of nice stuff there, including a really cute little girl's coat that I would make in a heartbeat - if I had a girl.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Vogue 8489 - Black & green print knit dress

Here's my new dress, fresh off the machine. I made plans for this dress here, and actually got it made before the weather turned chilly.

This is only my second knit dress ever. I'm a weirdo who thinks knits are way more challenging then wovens. Those black bands are knit as well but interfaced so they have no stretch and act like a woven. Sewing the two types of fabrics together was surprisingly easy. Here's the back.

The sleeves are 3/4 length, perfect for a Texas fall/winter. This dress has so much comfort and swing that I put it on and don't want to take it off. In fact, I wanted to have a picture made while I was twirling in it, but my photographer was slightly grumpy and in a hurry to be done...

I knew it would be low going into the project and planned to wear a cami underneath. I tried a black and it was too distracting. What do you people this about this nude color? The front pieces are gathered along those top bands as well as the front skirt. I think this pattern has so much style and lovely details that I always go for.

Here on the side you can see where I had to match the seams of the bands where they meet the top and the skirt. Also you get a better shot of the front gathers.

Now let's look at the innards. The reason I don't sew with knits more is because I don't have a serger and the insides look messy. And you all might know by now that I don't like messy insides. Anyway, this jersey knit was thin enough that I could do french seams along the shoulders and sides without adding much bulk. This isn't necessary because knits don't ravel, it's just something I like to do. This is a shot of the shoulder seam. I also put bias tape around the sleeve seam. All those facings were slip-stitched by hand.

This is a shot of the underarm.

These next two are pictures of the zipper closing. I have fallen in love with invisible zippers and will never go back to the other kind. It's much easier to match corresponding seams while using one. Perhaps I will do a tutorial on this technique... Also, while attaching an invisible zipper you are actually sewing on the zipper and not the bodice fabric, in turn avoiding all of the stretch of your bodice fabric.

I made the view E, the red dress, but used contrast fabric for the bands.

This was a fun challenge. Now I was going to show you Vogue 8416, which is finished as well. But while putting it on for my "photo shoot", I noticed it needs some attention in one little spot. So I will attend to that tonight and perhaps blog about it in a day or two. Have a great evening!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Simplicity 4698 - Black & white floral jacket

It's been in the 70's for the past few days here in Texas, and I'm thinking fall is early this year! I'm sure it will get hot again before "winter" hits, but for now I'm loving it!

Here is a cute little jacket with 3/4 sleeves, perfect for my southern mild weather. I loved this embroidered linen the second I saw it. Black and white seems so classic to me. This is one of those patterns where you cut your specific cup size, so the fit is just great with no altering.

I happened to have the perfect white blouse in my closet, so you see the cuffs just peeking out from the sleeves. Here's the back:

Here's a close-up. It also has flap pockets at the sides that are hard to see in that other picture. See my buttons? They have what looks like little stitches all around the outsides, which mimic the white stitching of the flowers on the fabric. I truly love picking buttons out. Except for when I can't find any to match - then I make covered buttons or use snaps.

Here's a close-up of the pocket flaps. There's actually no pocket there, they are purely decorative.

This pattern only included a half lining, so I added a lining to the back with a tuck at the center back for ease. If I go to the trouble of making a jacket, it's going to be fully lined. I slip-stitched everything in place so there are no exposed seams.

I made view B, the jacket on the far left. Will I make this again? Perhaps. The fit is great. But currently I have tons of other jacket patterns calling my name.

Okay, Vogue 8416 up next. I'm making the shorter dress in a navy and white pinstripe. Should be cute!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

New McCall's patterns!

Not that I'm complaining, but it seems like they just came out with new patterns. So what's the occasion? Is this the fall collection and the ones before were early fall? At any rate check out the new collection here. I can't get after them for all being plain, because some of these are very embellished. I found two that I'll definitely be buying:

I just love this jacket pattern. Check out the buttons set in between the body and that outer strip. On the collarless one, I can see using a contrasting fabric for that strip and continuing it around the bottom back. But then again I really like the plaid with matching belt.

I think this dress is really interesting, especially view B, the solid black one. Look down at the blackline to figure out what it's doing. This is for a knit.

They have others that I think are nice, but with a pattern collection as big as mine, I have to find it really special to buy it.

I'll be posting a really cute black jacket in a day or two. Stay tuned...

Friday, September 12, 2008

Simplicity 3690 - Cropped brown vest

I'm jumping on the fall vest bandwagon with this one. After 3 weeks on that black dress, I chose something in my stash that I knew I could sew up quickly. But I can't leave anything too simple, so I added brown piping to the whole thing. Some of you might have a lovely device known as a piping foot. I am not so fortunate. I have a very basic machine that I'll get around to upgrading one of these days. Anyway, all this piping just about gave me carpel tunnel in my left wrist. Ouch! I like the end result, though.

Now I did not measure the pattern myself nor make a muslin. Gasp! The measurement they give is just plain wrong. A size 10 is suppose to have a finished bust measurement of 36 1/2". This turned out way smaller. I had to move the buttons as far over as possible and it's still pretty snug. Not uncomfortable, though. I couldn't let the side seams out with all that piping I wasn't willing to redo. I'm living with the snugness. I had a little gaping problem between the first and second button that I took care of with two snaps.

Here you can see where I tapered the piping under the arm and at the side. I had to think about sequencing here again because it has a full lining and I like neat insides.

I also like the longer vest on this pattern with a long necklace. The shorts are nice as well, although I'm not sure cuffs at the thigh will be very flattering on me.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Mail call!

Everything I've ordered from the internet was delivered today by my friendly postman. First up are 4 high quality knitting needles I won from Ebay. These came from Hong Kong and it's the first time I've ordered something from overseas. With shipping I paid 13 pounds, or $24.32. I paid $16 plus tax for one of these needles when I was working on the split neck tee, so I'm thinking I got a bargain!

I got two books in the mail. This is Inspired to Knit, and boy are these patterns inspiring! And very difficult. This is a book I'm going to drool over and grow into as my skills improve. I like about 40% of the patterns.

I think I can manage this one, though, and might make it this winter. It looks very simple except the cabling along the reglan sleeves. Those little flowers on the sleeves are embroidery. Oh, so cute!!!

This book is Custom Knits. Thanks to Jenny for suggesting this book. It is awesome!

Here is the reason I bought it. I like about 50% of the designs, but I seriously love this bathing suit cover-up. This will definitely be knit for next summer. I'm thinking one for each of my suits...

I can't resist showing off my new shoes. I got these from Amazon, and they retail for $71.95. They were marked down to $21.59, plus had some 20% off deal going on so I got them for $17.27, plus free shipping! I might have a bunch of shoes, but I usually get super deals on them.

And this didn't come in the mail, but is the progress I've made on my knitted vest. I finished the ribbing and have begun the waffle stitch that makes up the top half. I've become somewhat obsessed with knitting. I can't believe the variety of textures that can be created with yarn and needles. Oh, and time, lot of time. I love it!!!