Saturday, November 22, 2014

Simplicity 1254 Progress (and zipper clarification)

I was finally able to order my fashion fabric (it's a royal purple wool from mood) so the motivation to sew up my muslin has finally arrived.

There's been some talk on PR about the zipper insertion on this pattern & since I'm working through it, I thought I'd take pictures as I went along. Now, in the interest of full disclosure, I'm not done with my muslin, so at this point there's no proving that I'm doing this right :)  The instructions have you insert the right side of the zipper in step 2, while the left side of the zipper isn't put in until step 17. That's right. There are 15 steps between inserting the two sides of the zipper. Ahem.

Ok. So the pattern originally has 3 lines along the center front seam. These are the solid purple lines on my muslin (I added the blue dashed--more on that later). From left to right we have the Center Front marking, the "fold" marking, and the zipper stitching line.

The instructions read "Separate zipper. On OUTSIDE, pin zipper half with slider & pull tab face down on RIGHT front, placing teeth 1/2" from the fold line & top stop just below seam line at neck edge. Hand-baste along stitching line for zipper. Using an adjustable zipper foot, machine stitch zipper in place along basting. Remove basting. The remaining half will be applied later." (FIFTEEN steps later).

Okay then. I drew a dotted line 1/2" away from my fold line so I could see where to line up the zipper teeth. I also drew the zipper stitching line on the wrong side of my fabric (in addition to the right side). I started hand basting the zipper but that got old real quick & didn't seem to be helping much. So this is what it ended up looking like. You can see that my stitching line is right along my (crooked) basting stitches.

Now, my zipper foot placed my stitching closer to the zipper teeth than the pattern's "zipper stitching line" is. So I used my regular zipper foot & nudged my needle alllll the way to the left. If you look at the wrong side of my fabric, you can see that this put my stitching pretty darn close to where the pattern wanted it. The most "off" I got was 1/8". My stitching line (apparently I used purple in my bobbin thread--sorry) is to the left of the pattern's line.

This is what things looked like with the zipper flipped right side...right. I'm fairly certain that Simplicity could have just marked where to apply the zipper & have you stitch it regularly....but they might have been trying to keep this pattern "easy". In doing so, though, I'm afraid they may have over-complicated things.

 My initial thoughts on the fit  (without sleeves or the other half of the zipper...eye roll) is that I'll need a broad back alteration and I might actually have to take the hips IN. A first for me, that's for sure. 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Simplicity 1254--Plan B and some WIPs

I got the dreaded call from Mood that the fabric I had picked out for my coat was sold out & it's gone for good; not re-orderable. My heart is broken. But I'm on the prowl.

I reached out to Sunni (of A Fashionable Stitch) inquiring to see if her wool crepe is would be suitable for a coat & she very kindly offered to send me swatches. There's one that I really, really like, but it's better suited for maybe a lighter jacket or suit.

I've also ordered some swatches from Mood & I received some wool swatchSd from The Rain Shed, but they're Melton weight & I'm worried that the hood won't drape nice.

All that to say that I'm at a stand-still with the coat; I haven't even started sewing my muslin because (and this sounds over dramatic) I'm inspiration-less without a fashion fabric.

In the meantime, though, I'm in the process of stitching up 2 different tops. The first is the famous scarf collar top from Jalie (which I've sewn twice before) and the other is the my recent purchase Simplicity 1280. I got it mostly stitched up, though, and tried it on and the sleeves were a really poor fit. I compared it to the armsyce of the Jalie top & figured out that the back is too narrow. So I'm considering the first version a muslin & will stitch up a final version soon.  Sorry for the iPhone pictures :)

When I was cutting out the green one I kept thinking "This fabric is too crazy." But then when I put it on I really liked it. It's definitely not something I would even try on in RTW & I'm still not sure what I was thinking when I bought the fabric, but it sure has grown on me.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Grand Plans-Simplicity 1254

Simplicity  1254

Most of the shawl collar coats I've been seeing this season look like wool bath robes. Which is fine, if that's what floats your boat. But because of that I had kind of skimmed over all shawl collar designs. Until now. Behold! The beauty that is Simplicity 1254 by Leanne Marshall. I'd link you to Simplicity, but apparently they can't be bothered to post their own patterns to their own web page. So to PR, you go!

I still adore my Minoru jacket. In fact, I put it on the other day & my husband said "It's pretty warm out, you won't need your coat." I softly replied, "But I love her," as I tenderly stroked her sleeve...


My Minoru is the perfect casual coat, but I'm going to be needing a dressier wool coat this winter. I bought one 4 years ago at a thrift store and the lining is ripping out and the shoulders are too narrow for me, so it really is (past) time to move on. 

I ordered this pattern from Hancock's earlier this week (for a total of $7, the shipping cost about what it would cost to drive to my not-so-nearby store) and in a moment completely lacking of self control I ordered 3 yards of a "Heathered Purple Wool Flannel".  I was originally just looking for a nice grey, but I couldn't resist the purple in this fabric. Mood also suckered me into buying the lining when it listed it under "Related Products." Don't mind if I do, Mood. That's one stop shopping for you. Wanna see what my coat will look like? Of course you do. 

I'm slightly concerned about this project for a few reasons. One: I've never sewn with wool. Two: This is the most expensive fabric I've ever bought. Three: The pattern was just released so there's no reviews of it yet. Despite those concerns, though, I'm really very exited to get started on it!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Finished! Butterick 6031

Pattern:Butterick 6031, Gertie's slip pattern

Fabric: When Gertie did the sew-along, she offered kits in her etsy shop (which I bought)...I think this is a Micro Jersey.

Notions: Stretch lace, elastic, bow, bra strap sliders & rings

Size sewn: Size 10 with the C cup. Which was a mistake. My measurements indicate a size 12 & 14 in the waist & hips, but since the big 4 are almost always too big, I sewed a straight 10, which fit, but it was SNUG. Instead of giving up on it, I decided to go back & add 2" panels to the side seam, tapering to (more or less) nothing at the bust :) It's a design feature (wink wink). 

Alterations/Design Changes: Just the aforementioned side seam panels, heh.Oh! And I used bra strap elastic on for the back straps instead of stretch lace to achieve a little more stability.

Likes: I love this fabric! The pattern is quick to put together, runs true to size (surprise, surprise!) and is just flat out lovely.

Dislikes: None that I can think of. I was unsure about the darts, but they turned out fine.

Time to Complete: It sewed up pretty fast! with the lace & everything it seems like it would be more fiddly but I was pleasantly surprised by how easily it came together.

New Techniques: Sewing lace!

Total Cost:  The kit cost $31 & I imagine I got the pattern for about $2. I was able to find RTW slips for cheaper, but if they fit in my bust they are too small in the hips. They are also usually made out of inferior fabric without lace. Plus! This is purple! I really like that because it will offer opacity to any dress without showing through white. Something else, tricot fabric would be less expensive but still slippery. I would like to make a nude version with black lace. Rawr!

In Conclusion: Love this pattern! It got me thinking about sewing lingerie again. It was a really straight forward make & a welcome addition to my wardrobe! Gertie recently posted about altering the pattern into a bralette, which I really like.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Finished! Belcarra Blouse

When Tasia gave a sneak peak of the Belcarra with the Gabriola, I was pretty excited. But then the pattern came out & I was really unsure about the wide neckline. With my narrow & sloping shoulders it seemed like a recipe for disaster. Not to mention the fact that I'm not so good with wovens. Where most seamstresses fret over sewing knits; wovens make me nervous.  Anyway, Tasia had the Belcarra PDF on sale for awhile there so I bought it.

I've had this silk/cotton blend in my stash for a long time. I originally bought it to sew the Pendrell (the muslin proved difficult due to the fabric choice but I feared it was the pattern) and that was 3 years ago. Since then I had decided to stop using black as my "go to" so in the stash it stayed.  But, really, who DOESN'T need a versatile black top, right??

Pattern: Sewaholic Belcarra blouse

Fabric: Silk/Cotton blend from Hart's Fabric. This was a dream to work with. It pressed nicely & has a really nice sheen without being crazy shiny.

Notions: Just thread :)

Size sewn: 8 & it's a bit big (but not big enough to need to take it in). Next time I need to sew a size smaller. (Do you hear that, Jenna?! SEW A SIZE 6!) I never know what size to sew in any pattern because I'm very small boned but I'm also quite curvy.

Alterations/Design Changes: I narrowed the neckline according to the tutorial found on the Sewaholic blog
Likes:  The pintucks are so simple construction-wise, but they really pack a huge punch.  My hubby makes a habit of telling people I made stuff when they compliment me and everyone was like "You sewed these little tucks?!" LOL. I also really appreciated Tasia's little tips within the pattern when it comes to sewing on the cuffs.

Also, this PDF printed out so nice & straight. Tasia was thoughtful enough to have 1" (I think they're an inch) grid marks on the background so it was easy to make sure everything was lined up. I loved that!

Dislikes: Hmm, the pattern doesn't instruct you to stay stitch the neckline & mine stretched out despite incredibly careful handling.  It was stretched out enough that the binding was a tad too short, but not enough that I could actually gather it as a design feature, so there are some wrinkles at the neckline. I also think the neckline as drafted is too wide. But a contributing factor to that is my sloping shoulders. I'm just really glad to be able to  change it...I don't even try wide necklines on in RTW because they always fall off my shoulders!

Time to Complete: Very little! This sewed up so quickly.I could probably make it start to finish in 2 nap times if I needed to :)

New Techniques: Binding the necking. I'd never done that on a woven.

Total Cost: It's been forever since I bought the fabric, but I know it was more spendy that what I usually buy. I'm guessing it was $12-14 a yard. But I'm not counting it because it was eons ago. As in like, one whole child ago :)  And I bought the PDF when it was on sale for like $11. I think this top definitely would have cost way more if it were RTW.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

From Wadder to Wearable-Pleated Skirt

I know. A month ago I was all "I'm back! Yay!" And I was. I've been sewing my little heart out. Honestly. I have 3 finished objects. But apparently sewing and blogging about sewing are 2 different things :) So here goes the blogging portion of the program :) I apologize in advance for the abysmal pictures.  Natural light is hard to come by in my house, and a blank wall is even more challenging to find. Also...LOOK! My in laws found a dress form for $25 at yardsale & got it for me! I still need to pad her out but she's pretty handy so far.
I got a little carried away in Photoshop. Just did away with the whole background

I had originally planned on sewing this skirt to wear at our annual convention. Two (three?) months ago. It didn't go well. The fabric I chose (a lightweight home dec) was too stiff for the pattern and it just looked huge & bulbous. So I literally wadded it up & threw it in the corner.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago, I found a pin of this tutorial & was like "Hey! She used Home Dec fabric for her pleated skirt!" So I dismantled my skirt, pressed it, hacked off a good 8-9 inches from each piece (front & back) to match the dimensions the tutorial gave, and voila! I had planned on cutting a new waistband, but the waistband from the original pattern actually fit!

I stitched the CB pleat closed so it would lay nicely
 Pattern: McCalls 6706, but not really.

Fabric:  Premier Prints Polka Dots Twill

Notions: Thread, 2 hooks & eye, zipper

Size sewn: 10

Alterations/Design Changes: I took in the side seams 8-9" to reduce the overall volume

Likes: The lapped waistband (but that was almost the only thing I kept from the design)

Dislikes: The result was too voluminous for the fabric I chose.

Time to Complete: For.Ev.Er. But not due to the pattern.

New Techniques: Blind hem by machine (which turned out great!) lapped zipper.

Total Cost:  A little under $20.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Hello again.

I've had this sewing blog for nearly 4 years now. I think it's appropriate to end my hiatus, firstly, by acknowledging that. Looking back through my archives, it's neat for me to see both how far I've come in my sewing and how much there is yet to learn.

I completely disappeared from the internet sewing community for the last few months. After my last post, I still had a pink pencil skirt to review but decided I hated it. That began what was a long slew of self stitched wadders & UFOs. I did manage to make the kids' outfits for our annual convention & I will post those pictures (if nothing else it is fun to see how much they've grown the last few years).

Not only did I stop blogging, I stopped reading sewing blogs, reviews, message boards. I allowed all sewing inspiration to stop. My failures hit me hard. They made me question what I was doing sewing if it was all just a waste of time and money.  I mostly sew because it feels good. Being able to have something useful that you made; that's cool. Being a homeschooling stay at home mama, my days are full but all too often, at the end of the day, I find myself with many items on my to do list left un-done.  And to spend hours working on a sewing project only to have it fail, and fail hard. It hurt. And it was project after project. I did try to get back on the horse, but man! It just wasn't happening.

The mistakes were always different. Couldn't get the fit right. Bought the wrong fabric. Got sloppy during the cutting stage. Rushed zipper insertion. Took a short cut & didn't line the skirt.  Pre-shrunk fabric shrunk significantly after being sewn. A sewist's heart can only take so much.

But then my sister wore the dress I made her 3 years ago to her baby shower. And being the good little sister she is, she made sure to tell everyone who complimented her that I sewed the dress. That I had made the majority of her maternity wardrobe (that I had sewn for myself 2 years ago when I was pregnant with my third).

And gosh darn it. I CAN sew. I'm good at it (mostly). I love it. This hiatus, though, has taught me a few things. I've learned the importance of cleansing my palate with TNTs. Of focusing on the positive; the things I have successfully sewn. Something is better than nothing. Perfect is the enemy of the good. Stewing a basic t-shirt is better than stewing over the custom dyed lace dress that never got past the muslin stage (sob!)

So. I'm back, I think. My first project will be a color blocked tunic. Vogue 8950. It's rated Very Easy. It's a knit, which, well is the very epitome of my comfort zone and it requires just a smidge over one yard of fabric. Hopefully all goes well.

If that goes well, then I've got big plans. I've had my eye on the Robson pattern every since I made the Minoru and this is what I envision.

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