Friday, April 25, 2014

Scalloped Hem Shorts: pattern review

I've been ogling Pattern Runway's selection of offerings for a while (this one especially, not sure why I haven't pulled the trigger on it yet!), so when I realized I needed a pair of shorts, I finally purchased the Scalloped Hem Shorts.  They are interesting without being odd, and have some sewing details that make them truly feel better than store-bought.
First off, the printed pattern was awesome!  There's a 1x1" grid behind all of the pattern pieces, which made assembly super easy.  Great idea!  The instructions were pretty good, though I did have some trouble with the welt pockets.  It seems as though there are a billion ways to make a welt pocket, and this is yet another, slightly complicated way.  I'm actually certain I didn't assemble them properly (from the inside), but I'm okay with that :)
As for the pattern itself, I had some fit issues.  Mostly, I should have done the crotch length measurement (and didn't), so I didn't shorted the rise (like I should have).  The waist was hitting at my natural waistline, and the crotch was still a little long.  Anyhow, after setting the shorts aside for a while, I decided to chop the waist down by about 1.5" and draft a new waistband.  This helps considerably, but the crotch is still a little long (though not unwearable!).  Next time, I'll be smarter!  I also raised the back leg hem--on me, they seemed oddly long compared to the scalloped hem of the front.
Some of the best parts of this pattern are the pockets!  They are designed purposefully and incorporate some more upper-level sewing skills to ensure a beautiful product.  I am really appreciating indie pattern companies that don't dumb-down their styles for their consumers!

Overall, I'll definitely make another version of these, with some additional fit modifications and perhaps a bottomweight with some stretch.  I don't wear shorts too often, but these are cute and can be dressed up.  Here's a view of how I might actually wear these (think of it like the "serving suggestion" on a food package....)
Fabric is Robert Kaufman's Brussels Washer linen/cotton blend in natural.  I'm owning the slightly rumpled linen look. The pocket bags are Bemberg.

Resewlution 2014: Garment #3.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Patternmaking class homework: the casual shirt

With only about a month left of my semester-long patternmaking class, our first "real" garment (the first made in fashion fabric) is due this Thursday: the casual shirt.  Using our slopers, we were to draft a slightly oversized shirt with collar, collar stand, button placket, and cuffs with buttons and continuous placket. My sloper set isn't my size to begin with, so making an oversized top is clearly not something I can wear myself.  And as such, I wanted to spend as little as possible on fabric :)  I found this apparently vintage fabric (from France!) in the clearance rack at the local shop for $3.99/ yard.  If it were made into a cute fitted top, I think I would totally rock this crazy print, but as an oversized...well, not so much. :(
Hmm...pretty sure this isn't my size.
But the collar meets at the top!  But who wears this sort of shirt all buttoned up...?
That's better: unbuttoned and sleeves rolled up.  The sleeves are comically large--I think I could fit both of my arms into one.  Below, button placket, with some pleats for added volume.
For whatever reason, this shirt gave me such a hard time to construct (over 6 hours!  What?!).  I went into it thinking the sewing would be the least of my worries, but the right and wrong sides of this fabric are only barely distinguishable, so I ended up putting wrong sides out on multiple occasions.  So much of this top was ripped out and redone.  As I've mentioned to my husband, patternmaking class really brings out the obsessive-compulsive perfectionist in me!
Back, with yoke and pleat (for additional added volume :).
At least I have my own sloper set (now complete, after I drafted the skirt and sleeve pieces this weekend) and can use my newly learnt patternmaking skills to create a casual shirt in my own size, should I feel the need!

Does this count as a Resewlution garment?  Probably not, since I'm not wearing it....

Friday, April 18, 2014

Knit wrap dress (not quite sure about this one)

So the photos make it look lovely, but truth be told, I'm not sold on this dress yet.  I've worn it, and it's fine, but I'm not in love with it like I had been hoping.  The pattern is Vogue V1027.  For the pattern changes: I reduced the length of the dress by about a foot (mostly to save fabric and because I'm too short for that kind of thing) and reduced the sweep of the skirt like so:
I also changed how the ties were finished, making them more like closed tubes instead of just turning and hemming because the fabric is white on the wrong side, and it was pretty glaring
First off, I should have known better and reduced the excess fabric in the bust region on the faux wrap. Again, standing it looks fine (after I inserted elastic along the front edge to hold it better), but sitting or leaning over (as I tend to do with kids, while teaching, and you know, living) is a different story.  
The fabric (Girl Charlee) is odd.  I've washed it once and it is on the verge of pilling already.  Ugh, I hate that!  But I love the color and the weight is good (medium-heavy), and cotton/lycra is a fave of mine, so I'll just have to wash it less frequently.
On the plus side: pockets!  On the negative side: the skirt is full enough that the fabric on the left side is on the bias by the time you get to the side seam, and the pocket is kind of wonky.  You can see it in the photo above.  It's annoying enough that I'm still considering getting rid of the pockets (gasp!).
You know it kills me to have to post photos of the back of garments?  I seriously don't like this view of myself, but it feels disingenuous to not show all views.  Back to the front!
Well, I'm sure I'll wear it, but I'll probably just be annoyed the whole time :)  Suffice it to say, I'm still on the hunt for the perfect wrap knit dress.  And when I find it, I'll wear nothing else!  Any wrap dress pattern suggestions??
Resewlution 2014, April: garment #2.

Monday, April 14, 2014

KCW: Woodland creature PJs for both boys

A few more kid garments finished: some during the official "KCW" and the rest this morning. The boys can always use new pajamas, and they are fast and easy to sew up, so PJs it is!  Plus, who could resist either of these fabrics??
My older boy got some red fox pajamas (fox fabric from Girl Charlee, here and red ribbing to match) in honor of his favorite animal.  The pants are the "Sleeping Johns" pattern from Sew Liberated, while the top is a modified version of the Recess Raglan
The top could be a bit bigger, but the pants have room to grow (and jump!)
He wasn't so excited to try them on the moment he got home from school, but claims to like them, so score!
I even used my coverstitch machine to do some stitching along the neckline for his version!
My littlest man got the same PJs (scaled down) in a woodland animal print from Joann's.  It's a thick and soft fabric, and looks like it will withstand some washing without pilling.
Getting ready...
Don't let the opening image fool you--this is what they are usually like:
Phew, that was rough...all that sewing for not myself!  And now back to the regularly scheduled programming.... 

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Ironing board recover in Olfa Mat!

A a few months ago, with concern for my kids' safety when they're milling around under my ironing board, I bought a sturdier version.  My previous board's cover didn't fit the new one, and after only a short while, the new ironing board was showing some serious signs of wear.  But when I found this "Olfa Mat" fabric at Hart's last week, I finally had the impetus for change.  Seriously. Brilliant.  
Not perfect, but close enough!
The process was simple: remove old, stained cover, iron in half and use as a template.  To create the casing around the edge, I made some 1/2" bias tape with my handy bias tape maker (and here you can see how bad the original cover really is!)
Love a fresh covering board and LOVE the practicality of this print!

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

KCW: knit pants and top

To be truthful, I started my KCW sewing last week, but considering I rarely sew for the kids, I think it counts :)  So, just a super quick post of some new duds.  (By the way, the word "duds" is kind of wacky, but I'm going with it.)
The first is a cute raglan t-shirt.  I absolutely adore the bicycle fabric, and used an old shirt of my husbands for the sleeves.  The neckline is dark gray ribbing, that somehow matched.  I used the Oliver + S Field Trip Raglan T-Shirt pattern and it's lovely.  For the 4.5 seconds it was on my child, it appeared to fit perfectly.  And then he refused to wear it for the rest of eternity (or at least until he forgets that I made it, which seems to be the only reason he detests it.)  The brain of a toddler is a mysterious place.
I also whipped up two pairs of pants in this knit style, the Nature Walk Knit Pants pattern, also by Oliver +S.  I didn't make a big deal about having made these, so they actually got worn!  As a matter of fact, the black pair I made were so dirty that I couldn't photo them until they get washed, so that's progress!  Can I say how much I LOVE this pattern?  They are fitted (perfect for both my skinny boys), they couldn't be any easier to sew and they have the tiniest bit of style.  They're like boy yoga pants.  I immediately bought up some heavy weight knit fabric so I could make more and more and more of these! 

After the refusal to wear my beloved bicycle top, I'm reminded, yet again, why I don't make clothes for my kids.  But, the pants are basic enough that if I just put them in the dresser, they might not be the wiser.  I may still sew up some PJs for the two of them, but needless to say, it will be back to sewing my own 'duds' soon!

Thursday, April 03, 2014

My first official self-drafted garment (it's a dress, of course!)

Okay, okay, I've made self-drafted garments before (cute skirt and embellished top), but this one feels official.   After only 2 months of pattern making class, I didn't feel completely ready to rush into a full garment, but on Tuesday I went to make a dress (On the Go Dress, by Monaluna).  After cutting out the bodice in XS and holding it up to my dress form, I was super disappointed to find that it was way too big, (and not in a way I could likely fix).  Ugh!  I still really, really wanted a shirt-dress, so ready or not, the time had come to bite the bullet and draft my own.

In pattern making class, everything we do starts with tracing a sloper (essentially a template of bodice, skirt or sleeve of a particular set of measurements).  My sloper set is size 8, so I can't use it for my own clothing, so I set out to make my own sloper.  A while back I took a Moulage drafting class, so I pulled out the completely unused products of that (a flat pattern of my exact measurements), my ease worksheets from pattern making class, and drew up front and back bodice and skirt slopers.  Just. For. Me.
Here's my size 8 pattern slope from class (measurements: 37-27.5-39) behind my own (measurements: 34-26-36).  The most significant difference is the length.  Clearly, at 5'1", I'm petite!  Also, the waist dart intake is significantly less than the standard, owing to my smaller than average bust.
This dress pattern is simple enough when starting with a bodice sloper.  I maintained the single waist darts, but created a back yoke. It took 2 versions to get the fit right.  It seems a bit loose, but I didn't want the snaps popping open when I sat down!  For the sleeve, I used the measurements of the actual pattern pieces and the general shape of my pattern sloper.
The collar is a Mandarin style, and I actually pulled out my class notes from last week for this one! See, paper drafted from measurements :)  I curved it a bit more by slashing and reducing along the top seam after this initial version.

The skirt is just an a-line, based on the waist length, with a waistband for definition (and a place to put a strategically placed snap!).  And of course, I added pockets.  
Inside front: pockets are done with French seams and the hem is covered with hem tape.  Sleeve raw edges were covered in bias tape.  And inside back:
The main fabric is cotton/hemp ripstop (Hart's Fabric, though they don't seem to have it right now) originally purchased to make the Jedediah pants for my husband.  Yeah, let's be real: with the fit issues I encountered on the muslin, they weren't going to get made, so why let this good fabric go to waste?! 
The contrast fabric is Little Apples Outfits by Aneela Hoey for Moda.  Given the stark (perhaps even a bit institutional? :) outer appearance of the dress, I love the sweet pink trim and paper doll-like contrasting fabric on the inside.

Instead of buttons, I went with pearl snaps (mostly out of fear of lining up my placket properly with buttonholes!) Worried about some gaping at the space below the waist snap, I added a hidden tiny snap to keep it closed.  Works perfectly!  
All in all, I'm pretty pleased with my dress (despite my sour face!).   Now I have to find some accessories that soften it up a little bit! 

Resewlution 2014, garment #1 for April!

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Joke's on me (and then on him!)

It's Day 2 of my Spring Break, which does NOT coincide with my kid's break.  That means I have a list a mile long of sewing projects to work on and an empty house for the entire day!  BUT, in honor of the April 1st holiday, my sly little 8 year old son locked my sewing room door before he left for school.  Thankfully, it was the Internet (and a tiny screwdriver, after pins and skewers didn't do the trick) to the rescue, and I have regained possession of my work room.

Clearly, the only thing to do is relock the door at the end of the day and complain loudly and pitifully that I couldn't sew the whole day!