Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Finally... A Skirt That Fits

Here's the last of the summer sewing.

I'm very  excited about this one.  All my skirts, self made and RTW, usually fold at the top of the waistline in an uncomfortable way.  I've solved that with this one:

Unfortunately I can't seem to locate the fitting instructions I found on the web, but the method is exactly as shown in the  issue of Threads magazine.

My friend Claire helped me fit the skirt muslin.  I used the basic 4 dart skirt from B4461 from which I had already straightened from the hip line down to remove the A shape.  I added to the waist seam allowance another 1" of height.

I sewed the side seams, sewed in horizontal balances line, through in a quick and dirty zipper and marked on the darts the outside , but not sew them up.  When I put it on I pinned a piece of elastic at my waistline.  Claire pinned the darts to fit my body and with a magic marker drew a line below the elastic.

I took the muslin apart, balanced out the darts and copied it on to paper.  I like to use medical (spa) paper.

For this version I did a bit of work to the pattern.  I created a contour waistband by drawing a line 3" below the waistband.  Cut them off, closed the darts and added seam allowances to the bottoms.  I attached the front the back at the side seam to create one piece and added a few inches to the front for the fly.   To the main pieces I added seam allowances at the waist and a fly front which I copied from the Ginger Jean pattern.

Now to find a nice piece of Navy wool.  I'm planning a winter version too.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Give me Liberty

I have a dear sewing and knitting friend who each year, for my birthday, takes me to Mood and buys me fabric.

This year it was just as the Liberty prints had arrived:

Details are very simple.  It's my 3rd version of this as a shift dress and the 6th time I've used  the pattern.  I intend to go back and document all the variations of this pattern as a post at some point.

Full cotton lining.  Simple pinked seam finishes.

I already have a handmade sweater the coordinates very well:

and was recently gifted this yarn which will make a shawl which will go with the dress very well.
You also get a nice close up of the print.

I've been very lucky this year.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

I bought my fabric at Home Goods....

My habit when getting out of the shower (or very occasional bath) is to wear an absorbent terrycloth robe and only use a towel for my hair.   The one I had had long ago seen its best days as when I took it out to get some basic measurements, I noticed more than one hole and that you could see though the material in many places.

Shopping for a new one I found most robes these days were either made of microfiber fabrics of questionable origin or were way out of the price range I was willing to pay.

Then I started thinking about making one, and then I walked into Home Goods and saw this great set of towels.

Bought the towels on a Monday evening and when I came out of the shower on a Friday morning I had this to use:

I totally winged the construction. I took advantage of all finished edges I could, all other edges were finished with the tank serger. Took a crosswise piece off the end off both bath towels  to give me a  good length.  Then from one bath towel I cut a 3"stipe off lengthwise for the belt and the big piece became the back.  The other bath towel was split in half lengthwise for the two fronts.  From the cutoff ends I cut a piece to lengthen the belt and the two patch pockets.  One hand towel was cut in half for the two sleeves.  I stitched the shoulders seams,  attached the top of the sleeves, stitched the underarm sleeve and body side seams in one pass.  The collar was folded back, stitched and then turned and topstitched.  A stripe of purchased basis tape was stitched at the top neck and then the back of the neck was turned down in a curve.  A loop for hanging on a door hook was attached. and belt loops added/

Flat view:

Closer look:

If anyone is interested in a step by step diagram, let me know and I'll put one together.

Goes real well with the living room chair doesn't it?

A fun project that is getting worn more than anything.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Time to make the Donuts

My niece (and nephew) came for a visit and I took the opportunity to take some measurement and custom make her some leggings.  I have had fun shopping with her for clothes and I've had fun making her clothes, but  this time was really special as we went fabric shopping together!!! Nothing better than that.

I used this tutorial, which I had already made for myself.   It is simple to follow and almost hard to believe that you're actually drafting a pattern yourself.

How fun are these:

The next pair has been requested.  Hamburgers next.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The Bread Dress

Apologies for the not so clever post title, but it is what the dress has been referred to all along.

Without revealing what kind of work I do, I will admit that this was an occupational related project:

It was worn to The Fancy Food show being held in New York this week.

The pattern was at one time a shift dress from Butterick 5147 an OOP coordinate pattern. Like a game of telephone it is no longer anything like what it started as.

At some point (like when I get someone to take all the photograph's needed, I'll do a post on the 5 previous versions.  I attended a Kenneth D. King fit clinic at Sew Right last year, so the pattern has been adjusted for my short and narrow shoulders.  I had split the pattern at just above the waistline and spread the bottom for gathers and added pockets.  For this version I replaced the gathers with pleats.

Here's an up close picture of the print to see how much it really does look like handcrafted bread:

Just to show that I was not alone in product appropriate attire here I am joined by a bagel dress and ice cream pants:

Now on to version 6; shift version.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Birthday Girl

For my niece's birthday it was time she had an aunt sewn clothing gift.  Last year she and I had a terrific time shopping together but since my brother's family moved away a part of her gift was sewn and and sent to her.

McCall's 6650 In a lovely cotton lawn.  The hand on this is terrific.

McCalls 6693 shortened to shirt length.  A knit that was too sheer for a dress.

Both Patterns are OOP purchased when McCall's ran a discontinued pattern sale.

Both fabrics were purchased from Kashi  on a lovely shopping trip with Claire.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Palate Cleanser

The timing of completing the jeans coincided with the arrival of this:

I got a great deal on a floor model of the B215.  This model has been discontinued because they are changing the design on the front.

I needed something to sew that I could get going on right away.  I've lots of ideas to sew that are waiting for muslins to be made and fitting adjustments to be done. This was not the time for that.  Sorbetto to the rescue.   It was have been simpler if I could have located the pattern with the FBa from the first time I made it, but in any case doing an FBA was pretty simple especially as I didn't bother retracing the PDA this time.

Last years birthday gift from a dear knitting and sewing friend (the best kind of friend) was a shopping trip to Mood. When bought this fabric was actually intended to be a Sorbetto.

Here's a detail of the print:

This was Sorbetto #2.  Alterations were a FBA and 1" added to the length.   I'm very shortwaisted and usually need to remove not add length.

Got to use one of my new feet:

This was a most exciting purchase with my new machine.  I could not get a stitch in the ditch for my the old Touch and Sew and one for the featherweight wouldn't have been as useful as the needle position does't mover.

I used it with the needle centered to sew the basis binding on and the with the needle moved to the right for the top sticking,  So helpful.

A simple project but this will work very well in my wardrobe.

Monday, April 6, 2015


Do you have to do it all?

When I was making my jeans, there were a lot of firsts.  First time working with stretch denim.  First time in years doing visible topstitching. First fly front.  That was enough.  So when it came to the jean button and the rivets I took them to the professional:

Nancy works in the window at Steinlauf and Stoller.  She sets grommets, snaps, rivets and jean buttons all day long and I've know her a very long time.

Many years ago I had a job doing customer service at a very high end sports clothing company.   One of the products was very expensive skiwear and all the snaps had plastic covers with the company logo.  (It was the 80's everything had a logo.)  Of course they were European snaps.  When a snap needed replacing we would take the returned garment to Nancy to be fixed.  She was the only person who could get the cover back on to the new snap.

I was avoiding buying a wire cutter, but I've been told its not necessary.   Maybe next time I'll trying doing it myself, but it was fun visiting an old friend.

Friday, March 20, 2015

It takes a village

Machines used in the making of one pair of jeans:

Front and center a Berndette 234D.  A little tank of a serger.  To left a Singer Touch and Sew, solely used for the bar tacks.  To the right the Featherweight  221 which was used for all straight stitching and the topstitching.   I was happier switching the top thread back and forth than not sewing on it.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

You've got to be kidding me...

I've got a pair of finished jeans.


Petited the length 1" on the front and 1/2" at the center back angling to 1" at the back sides.

Took an 1 1/2 wedge at the in the back waist from the top of the yoke down into the back.  Made a new waistband to fit.

Straightened out the hip curve on the fronts only.  My hips are very curved at the top where they meet my waist and at the bottom where they meet the thighs, but in-between are a lot flatter than this pattern (which is curvier on the front than the back).

Shortened the legs after sewing.

While I was adjusting the waistline, I also opted to interface the waistband with a rather firm interfacing.  I wanted to ensure that the waistline didn't stretch out on me.

For the next pair:

I'll make a back thigh adjustment to get ride of some of the bagginess.  I also hope that the legs won't twist so much on me if I do.  If not the following pair will have to have another adjustment there.

I will have the buttonhole done at  Jonathan Emboiderey.  My Singer attachment did a beautiful buttonhole on my sample, and then chewed it up on the garment.  Not showing the waist unbuttoned as the hand finished buttonhole looks a bit wonky unless buttoned.

There certainly will be more... just need to find more time and get projects finished at quicker pace.

The, half showing, top is a pre-blog vintage Liberty Sorbetto, with pin tucks instead of a center front pleat.

Oh and the title of the post.  My mother's comment when she asked what I was sewing and I said jeans ...

Sunday, January 11, 2015

We interrupt this sewing

I generally aim to be magnanimous and generally do better at it with sewing than knitting.  Holiday weekends and some days to myself called out for new project.  Especially as the current WIP is a shirt than requires much pattern adjustment and multiple muslins.

I purchased the Kenneth King Jeanius class and have really enjoyed watching it, but realized that none of my jeans really fit well enough to copy.  When you buy $19.50 jeans at Old Navy, you live with waistbands that only look good with shirts worn over them, and hems that are a bit too short cause Old Navy believes that length is proportional to size.  I'm only 5'1" but my small size shrinks too short pretty quickly.

Then Heather Lou (who I met when she was in New York when Lauren was in town) came out with her Ginger Jean pattern.  I figured petite-ing a pattern that everyone is raving would be a better route for me to go.  I'm just using the class for the construction tips.  The how to clone a pattern can always be used for something else another time.

Went to Mood ( please don't hate me too much for living only one subway stop away) and bought a perfect piece of stretch denim.  Put it through the wash three times.

For the last two weekends I've intended to spend an entire day sewing and it just didn't happen.  Today I cut the lining and interfacing pieces and I'm hoping for an all day sew soon.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Starting At The Bottom

Way back when I started following blogs one of the first contests I entered was for a Lacey Thong Kit on Melissa's blog and I won.

And soon after my first pair of undies was made:

Then I made use of some very long stashed Liberty print.  The lace was white but I used my Grandmother's method of "beigeing" linens;  dip in tea.

Then on MPB day I treated myself to some stretch silk charmeause. Again I've tea dyed white lace.

I've adjusted the pattern to use the small heights with the mediums widths and love the results.  Have to make more and I've still got a lot from the yard of silk left. I've also start using the picot edge type elastic on the waistband as well as the crotch edges.  It's softer and works well.  I do put the silk ones through the washing machine and hang to dry. They come out ready to wear.