Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Embroidery FO & WIP

I've been working on a few embroidery projects lately.  I've loved this tote design since the first time I saw it at Sublime Stitching.

My dad used to call me "Medusa" when I was growing up (on account of my untameable curly hair) and for some reason this design reminded me of that...Medusa...but pretty.  Now that I think about it, it is a bit symbolic, I guess. Growing up I hated my curly hair; I would have done anything to have hair like the "other girls". But now, I realize that it's very much a part of who I am.  In fact, I think many of my friends would say it's my best physical asset.  It's still a bit unruly, but I've accepted it, and even come to love it. Anyway, apparently, this design really spoke to me, and I'm really enjoying stitching it. The design is perfect for showcasing a variety of stitches & colors. 

And a few more baby projects.  Simple cloth diaper burp cloths.  These stitch up really quick (the truck isn't done yet) & that little dinosaur has stolen my heart. I want to stitch him on everything.  The car & truck designs are from the Sublime Stitching book I got awhile back; the dinosaur is a clip art image I found online.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

From Seamstress in Training to Sophisticated Seams

I know I've been MIA lately--and I have been sewing! Just not for me :)  Awhile back I mentioned that I had started sewing for some of the gals on a forum I'm on.  And shortly after that, I revamped the blog from Seamstress in Training to Sophisticated Seams. I thought I'd share what's been going on behind the scenes. :)  This is going to get long...and include a lot of pictures. :)

Back in August, a friend approached me to design and sew a custom bag for her--using changing pads from her favorite diaper bags. As you can imagine, there was a lot of planning.  And since we were using changing pads, all the pattern pieces had to be just the right size.  So I made a prototype & sent it to her.

It was just what she was hoping for, so we moved on to the actual purse.  Here's the final product that I finished in December.

So, fast forward to recently & I had a request to make the same bag using different changing pads.  I received the materials at the beginning of the month & I have finally completed another bag.  This one has additional slip pockets on the back. 

(The fabric used for these bags are from Ju-Ju-Be diaper bag changing pads. Both prints, Purple Paisley & Blue Bouquet are now discontinued.)

So that's why the blog switched over to "Sophisticated Seams".  Though now that I'm back to focusing on sewing for me and not as a business I'm having a bit of an identity crisis.

29 Weeks & counting
So with this bag, I'm officially on maternity leave!! Next up: a diaper bag (for myself!), a coming home outfit & a maxi skirt...or five.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Simplity 4037+Megan Nielsen's Ruched Top= Perfection!

When I blogged about my Ruched maternity top, I had mentioned that I'd really like to adapt it to have the gathered neckline of my non-maternity TNT S4037.  I had also noticed that the shoulders of the Ruched top aren't quite "fitted" (the back was much too big--the pattern piece for the sleeve was symmetrical) so I figured while I was at it I would just go ahead & use the neckline, shoulders & sleeves from S4037. Easy enough, right??

Eh. I first traced the S4037 pattern pieces & kind of merged them with the Ruched top pattern pieces. Then I decided to read my review on S4037 before I went ahead & cut out my fabric. And it's a good thing I did. Originally I had sewn up a size 10, but this time I traced an 8 in the shoulders.

So then I had to trace it again. With the right size this time.  I thought it would be pretty straight forward--neck, shoulder & armholes from S4037 & then from the bust on down would be my Ruched top.  But I couldn't figure out where the patterns should match up. The shoulders?? They weren't even similar--which was so bizarre because I totally thought "honestly--how different can shoulders be??" Very.  Same for the necklines, and armholes.  All very different; which makes sense because, well, what would be the point of merging 2 different patterns if they were "very similar"??

Anyway, I just kept tracing.  And when I'm done, I look at my "back" piece & it was really short! It was then that I determined a muslin was no longer optional.  I hastily hacked out the front & back piece, ruched the front piece, attempted to sew them together and that's when it became clear that something went terribly wrong. The front piece was fine, but as I suspected, the back piece was crazy short. So I went back to tracing, but this time I started at the bottom of the Ruched piece & merged it into S4037. And this is what I ended up with:

It is by far my favorite top! I've been wearing it a ton & I think the next one I make I will go ahead & lengthen the back just a bit; maybe an inch, just to ensure extra coverage. I hate it when my top rides up & you can see the maternity panel on my pants.

Also, this is my new favorite fabric. It is Robert Kaufman's Laguna stretch knit & it is absolutely perfect. Thick enough to not need to wear a cami underneath (so many knits are see-through!) but it has 4 way stretch. It comes in a ton of colors and I have 6 more yards on the way to me now (turquoise, hot pink & black...part of it will become a maxi skirt or two)

And also (wow! This is getting long) I refashioned this skirt from a pair of jeans :) I rushed the hem (when will I ever learn?!) but it's still wearable.  I'll take more care next time. :)

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

McCalls 6034: Maternity Style

26 Weeks along
Here's another  version of McCalls 6034.  The shoulders on my last version were a bit too big, so after much deliberation, I cut these ones a size smaller, XS. After all, my shoulders haven't gotten any bigger this pregnancy.  I cut the rest of the pattern out as a S and add 4 inches in length, to accommodate my tummy. Once again, I ruched the side seams to get a gathered look. And again, I omitted the bottom band; to be honest I forgot the pattern even has one.

The pattern itself came together without a hitch. Even the narrow hems that I had trouble with last time were easily tamed. I suspect this is due to the fabric being cotton rather than polyester. The fabric is nice, but since it doesn't have the same drape as my polyester version (of course). I sewed all the hems with a twin needle complete with wooly nylon in the bobbin, so they're nice & stretchy.

Had I realized that the RTW contest was going to start on April 1, I would have waited to cut the top out and entered this top in the contest.  Oh well. I had started it a bit early & it's been done for a few weeks now (bad blogger!!!)

Just for fun--proof that sewing CAN save money (I have a more in depth post on saving money on maternity sewing coming up soon). Motherhood sells a very similar top for the killer price of $26.98.  My pattern took just shy of 2 yards--and I bought this cotton knit on sale for $5 a yard at Sawyer Brook. Since I've already sewn the pattern up once (and bought it during a 99 cent sale) I didn't include that in the cost. So that's what, a savings of almost 60%?? Gotta love that!

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