Archive | November, 2011

bound buttonholes and… knitting.

30 Nov

look, guys, i’m a featured member on pattern review!
i don’t actually know what that means, but it’s kinda cool nonetheless! my picture! on the front page! wheee!!

leopard & teal jacket
remember when i said i was going to make a leopard print jacket?

i decided to practice my bound buttonholes last night. here is my first attempt:
bound buttonholes

i figured that was good enough & forged ahead with putting them on the jacket front:
bound buttonholes
they are actually fairly camouflaged (hurr durr because of the print, get it?), so it wouldn’t even matter if they were imperfect. actually, i think they turned out pretty good!

bound buttonhole

bound buttonhole

ok ok, that’s enough bound buttonholes for one day!

unfortunately, my progress with the jacket comes to a stop now because i can’t decide if i want to fully tailor the thing & interface the whole front, or if i just want to do some “light tailoring” and only padstitch the back collar & put in a back stay. what would you do?
either way, i’m out of hair canvas so i have to order more. BOO!

in other news…

knitting swatch
i finished my first knitting swatch! bound off and everything! this will be a… dish cloth.

i started my first real knitting project – it’s a scrunchable scarf! the yarn is some soft alpaca i frogged from a scarf i (very poorly!)crocheted a couple of years ago. aha knitting is so thrifty! anyway, i’m really excited! my first knitted scarf!

also, i celebrated black friday by staying home and painting my living room blue.
living room
with special thanks to my patient boyfriend (who did the rolling) and all the hit songs of the 90s – i couldn’t have done it without y’all.


completed: the colette meringue

23 Nov

my first pattern from the colette sewing book! i’ve been itching to try this one, especially after sarai posted a tutorial on how to draft a waistband (which, in case you were wondering – easy easy!). also, SCALLOPS. i think i just jumped on the scallop bandwagon with this. they are a pain to mark, sew & press, but oooh they are so happy!

i used a piece of wool houndstooth that i got from lauren winter, during that awesome yardsale where i bought half of her fabric stash. this piece of fabric cost me a whopping 75 cents. everything else was already in the stash – the lining (a remnant left over from a dress i made 4 years ago – yeesh, do i throw anything away? well, it’s gone now. gone inside my skirt, i mean.), the bias tape, even the zipper & thread. 75 cent skirt, yo!

cutting this pattern out was… interesting. it calls for a lot of yardage, but i only had 3/4 yard of the houndstooth. it was 60″ wide, though, so with some careful folding, i was able to get my skirt cut out with practically nothing to spare. cutting off the top to make a seperate wasistband really helped, as it shortened the length of the skirt so that the skirt & the facing fit exactly at the 3/4 yard length. i suppose one could use a different fabric for the facings (on both the scallops & the waistband) if you were really running short. i had exactly enough, though!

i cut a size 2 in this, no flat pattern alterations. yay! i made a lot of “style” alterations, though – added the waistband, piped the waistband seam, finished the top of the waistband over the zipper with a tab (that was accidental… for some reason, my waistband was too long? bwuh?), added a short lining for comfort. i also finished the inside of the waistband & the top of the scallop facing with black bias tape, so it looks real pretty inside :3

if you want my honest opinion on this skirt, it alone is worth the $18 that the book currently costs on amazon. go get it!


meringue - back

meringue - side
you can see my waistband tab over the zipper here

meringue waistband
i really only added piping because i wanted to test out my new piping foot 🙂 verdict: omg how did i live without a piping foot???

meringue - inside + lining
the lining makes me so happy!

meringue - hem

my only problem now is that i don’t know what to wear to thanksgiving dinner tomorrow! the floral peony was supposed to be my ~thanksgiving dress~, but now i’ve got plaid & pants & scallops and man, i just can’t decide. i love having these kinds of problems, lol


one more thing…
my first bit of knitting!!
i learned how to knit (and purl!) last night! my new friend & fellow nashville bike rider, sarah, taught me over coffee. so pumped about my future cowl 😀

clover: let’s get real

21 Nov

i mean, let’s get real-real here.

this is my 4th pair of clovers i have completed thus far. in case you aren’t up to speed with this saga, every prior pair of clovers has been demoted to “muslin” and wadded up & stuffed in the Muslin Basket of Shame (i’ll throw that stuff away… eventually). making anything over & over again – especially if you can’t actually wear it out in public – sucks. it feels wasteful – wasteful of fabric, of precious sewing time, of misplaced giddiness (idk, i get real giddy when i am making a new piece of clothing lol).

this pattern almost broke me. it might still break me because it’s not quite perfect. i’ve made a lot of fitting changes and i actually feel kind of pants-intelligent right now. so that’s nice. i don’t want to dissuade anyone from buying or making this pattern because i don’t think it’s a flawed pattern… i’ve seen many of these made up, and they look GREAT. unfortunately, the body they were drafted for is quite obviously not my body. so i’ve had to do a lot of fitting, and muslins, and more fitting.

anyway, pants #4. i took another 3/8″ off the front crotch length and slightly narrowed the inside of the legs (like, maybe 1/4″. not much). i decided to make these a wearable muslin, so i used a stretch poly-blend suiting fabric i found in my stash ($2 yard sale score!) and a zipper i pulled out of a dress someone gave me for fabric salvage. i did serge everything on the inside in case the wearable muslin turned out awesome.

after wearing them around this afternoon, i shaved about 3/8ish” off the front crotch seam & tapered the curved side seam (on the non-zipper side, sry, don’t feel like re-inserting the zipper) to a straight line. in the future, i may let out the waistband a little because it digs in when i sit down. also, i thought the waistline didn’t look terribly flattering on me – too low – but looking at the pictures it doesn’t seem so bad. what do you think? for anyone who is curious, they hit exactly at my belly button.

i guess my question is, how fitted is too fitted? of course we want a smooth line, but i don’t want to get it so smooth that i can’t move comfortably! this is where i want y’all to be honest – critique! please! 🙂

when i stand normally, they look close to perfect.

when i stand with my legs together, though, i get a little bagginess around the crotch (ughh i’m gonna get some weird google search terms for this one). how to fix this? what is stumping me is that it is all the lower crotch/thigh area, and i can’t find fitting info for that – only the top half. it kind of makes me look like i have a FUPA right now. i don’t want to look like i have a FUPA. help!

another view, another baggy crotch.

clovers back
back looks good! there are a few drag lines on the sides and the darts look like that because i couldn’t get a good press (stupid poly), but i think it’s satisfactory.

clovers side
side looks good!

clover close-up
last crotch-shot, promise
see that bagginess? what is causing it and how can i fix it?

ALL THAT BEING SAID, i like these pants. i think the fitting issues are pretty minor & most normal non-sewing people won’t notice them. so i will continue to wear these, and continue to improve this pattern block. i think they look really cute on me, and i want several pairs!

completed: peony, this time in PLAID

17 Nov

pretty sure the peony is my new favorite TNT dress, y’all. it is SO easy to make up – even with matching plaids! – and extremely versatile in all the ways you can change it up. i am already thinking about making a summertime-approps peony with a chiffon overlay & no sleeves. oooh i just inspired myself again.

anyway, before i get ahead of myself, let’s focus on the peony at hand. this is my second make up, floral being the first. in addition to the previous alterations i made to the pattern, i shaved about 1/2″ off the front neckline, as i felt it was a tiny bit too high. i omitted the facings & instead lined the bodice & sleeves. i wanted to line the entire dress, but i only had 1 yard so it was either sleeves or skirt… i went with sleeves, because i can always wear a slip with the skirt.

the plaid fabric is my new favorite! i bought it from miss lauren winter right before she moved house (and, sadly, out of my neighborhood ::sob!::), although considering she charged me $2 for the whole 2 yards it’s more like she basically gave it to me. it is a very fine/soft wool, super drapey & comfortable. the lining is a pale periwinkle blue bemberg rayon that i found in the remnant rack for super duper cheap & i’ve been hoarding for like a year.

i was concerned that this dress wasn’t totally appropriate for plaid, but i think i did an ok job at matching. this pattern really doesn’t use a lot of fabric – even with matching up the plaids, i used less than 2 yards. the side seams match perfectly (if i do say so myself) and surprisingly the darts match up. well, kind of. the bottoms don’t, but that’s just the way they are positioned. furthermore, the waistline doesn’t exactly match up & again, that’s because of how the pattern was drafted. i can’t decide if it bothers me or not. in the meantime, i’ll just wear a belt and pretend otherwise.

i actually cut out the pieces for the cummerbund (in navy taffeta), but decided to go thrifting last night instead of sewing it up. it’s all good, though – look at the belt i got for $3!

plaid peony

plaid peony - side/back

plaid peony - back
the dark vertical line is actually part of the plaid, and not my invisible zipper, fyi.

plaid peony

plaid peony - no belt
here it is without the belt
ooh the mismatched plaid at the darts actually is really bothering me

plaid peony - front, flat

plaid peony - waistline

plaid peony - back
sorry ’bout the rogue white thread lurking back there

plaid peony - lining
really pleased with myself here – i figured out how to attach the lining without having to slipstitch it to the zipper tape. so clean!

plaid peony - hem
tiniest hem ever – this dress is SHORT!

and some bonus shots…
plaid peony & lady grey
with my lady grey

plaid peony & lady grey - back
a result of gertie’s sew-along last year, my first venture into tailoring. this baby is lined, interlined, padstitched… and it is nice & heavy, just like a coat should be 😉

plaid peony & lady grey - open

and, in case you were curious:
my shoes 🙂

plaid peony

i have the whole week off next week, and i think i’ve already overwhelmed myself with all the sewing projects i want to tackle. we’ll see how many actually get accomplished, though 😉 hehe

happy day!

16 Nov

just picked up my fully serviced, fully functioning pfaff 7570 from the sewing machine repair shop!
i also picked up a piping foot – i felt like i deserved it, after dealing with the Back-up Beast (appropriate nickname brought to my attention by prttynpnk!) for the past week-plus. and a pack of bobbins. i am bobbin-rich today!

if you need me, i’ll be spending some ~quality bonding time~ with my machine this evening.

plaid peony to come soon! i haven’t forgotten!

pattern testing: the minoru jacket

15 Nov

time to talk about the minoru! finally! for those of you who don’t follow (the… three of you? ever?), tasia of sewaholic patterns recently dropped her 4th pattern, a darling sporty jacket called the minoru. i was chosen to be a pattern tester (out of 600!! geez louise!), which was awesome, except for the part about dropping all my sewing fun-times for 2 weeks :). this was also during the dark month that my truck had died & i hadn’t replaced it yet… so i actually rode the bus to the fabric store. it took an hour (for maaaaybe a 14 mile drive?). that is some dedication, y’all!

anyway, a few of the pattern testers have already posted theirs, so i will follow suit and post mine.

i’d actually been toying with the idea of making a cycling jacket – something brightly colored, to increase visibility now that the sun is setting earlier & earlier. when i saw that the pattern we were testing was going to be a sporty jacket, it was like god himself had sent the pattern down to me from the heavens. i initially wanted to make my jacket in a bright yellow corduroy, but the fabric store was lacking (and i didn’t have the means to shop around), so i stuck with white. in retrospect, this was not the best idea i have ever had – it gets dirty faster (duh!), my patterned lining shows through, and it is hard as shit to photograph. btw, i think i took over 150 pictures of this jacket. it was that hard to photograph.

anyway, the pattern itself was a total breeze to work through! tasia has it labeled as intermediate, but i think an advanced beginner could easily tackle this. the instructions are great & the pieces lined up nicely! i did have to make a few changes to get the pattern to work for me – the big one was a full bust adjustment. since these patterns are for the pear-inclined, there is not a lot of room up there! i had a bit of trouble since this jacket doesn’t actually have any darts in the front, so i had to add my own dart & then slash and spread from there. i also shortened the jacket, as the original length overwhelmed my short frame.
one thing i wish i had done was interfaced the collar – it doesn’t call for it in the instructions, but it is also assumed that you are using a heavier fabric. my corduroy was very fine & lightweight (hence the see-thru), and my collar just flops. i considered interfacing it while i was making the thing up, but i wanted to stay as true to the pattern/directions as possible so i could offer better feedback. so there’s my feedback – use a sturdy fabric, or use interfacing!

anyway, i love my jacket and i love all the fun details that make it so special – the topstitching (btw – buy 2 spools of thread. you will need them!), the fine gathering, THAT ELASTIC WAISTBAND THAT IS BEAUTIFUL AND GENIUS (sorry, i got excited for a second there), the inside pockets, the collar. i will definitely make this again – in my preferred yellow, with an interfaced collar 🙂 and a hood. i think i missed out by not doing the hood.

anyway, pictures!

minoru jacket

minoru jacket - zipping

minoru jacket - collar

minoru jacket - back
lovelovelove the back

minoru jacket - unzipping

minoru jacket - unzipping

minoru jacket - ah-sneeze
i am including this picture bc it cracks me up. i was trying to show the lining & i sneezed!

minoru jacket - pocketssss!

minoru jacket - open

and some detail shots…
minoru jacket - flat

minoru jacket lining

minoru jacket - elastic

minoru jacket - collar open

minoru jacket - zipped up

minoru jacket - open

ALSO one last thing…

minoru jacket & bikey
minoru & bike.
you jealous? 🙂

completed: colette peony, in a floral explosion

14 Nov

first off, i realize i took way too many pictures of myself making the same pose/face in this dress. i’m sorry. i tried to edit them down as much as possible. i also apologize for the crappy lighting – i think i might be the only sewing blogger who’s not married to a photographer? just me & my tripod! and don’t tell me to move away from the coral wall, or i will hit you with the empty paint can 🙂

moving on…

i finished my dress! so happy with the final piece – it is AMAZING! let’s talk shop – i made this using a stretch velveteen fabric. stretch fabric is NOT my choice for this dress, the neckline sits kind of weird & i had to do all kinds of alterations to get it to fit (as it stretched too big, when my woven muslin was a perfect fit). i didn’t realize the fabric was stretch until i received it in the mail… my bad for not reading the description more closely, oh well. i added piping to the neckline & waistline, and interfaced the facing with god ol’ cotton muslin. instead of using an invisible zipper (i was afraid it would bubble under that stretch fabric), i handpicked a lapped zipper, stabilized with a strip of silk organza.

as far as the actual fit of the pattern, me likey! it did require a little tweaking – MAKE A MUSLIN – i had to move my vertical darts over and my horizontal darts up, but the overall fit is good! and it doesn’t use a whole lot of fabric. win win! i cut a size 4 and added a 1/2″ FBA… i think this made the shoulders fit better than if i had cute a size 4.

floral peony

floral peony
using the pockets

floral peony - OMG POCKETZ
omg pockets!

floral peony

floral peony - back
the bunching on the cummerbund is due to there being no stabilization at the buttonhole (i used polyester taffeta for my cummerbund, fyi). next time, i will put some interfacing there.

floral peony

want to see the dress without the cummerbund? you got it!

floral peony - no belt

floral peony - no belt
(no idea what my face is doing here)

floral peony - flat

floral peony - piping at waistline
ooh i love piping.

floral peony - inside
per usual, i finished the edge of my facing with rayon seam binding. i actually found this in my stash – the color is called “toast,” but i think it looks more like “baby shit.” anyway, it matches my dress (should i be unhappy about this?). oh, the red lines are from my markings. they won’t wash off this fabric, awesome.

floral peony - hem
more baby shit at the hem!

floral peony - belt
taffeta cummerbund. i love that this pattern only uses one button – awesome if you’re a button hoarder like me and have jars and jars of awesome buttons and only one of each.

floral peony
so yep! that’s my peony! i really love this dress, the pockets, the fit – everything! so much that i’ve already cut out my pieces for peony #2… and i know y’all want a little sneaky peeky, so here you go 🙂

plaid peony