Monday, January 19, 2015

Undies: The Sequel

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Hello Lovely People! Just a brief post to record my experiences with  another undies pattern. Wait..."brief post" ...I swear I'm not trying to come up with underwear puns. Honestly! :)

I went ahead and purchased the Grace Hipster pattern from OhhhLuLu like I said I would. I was intrigued by the possibilities of mixing woven with knits. I know they look considerably larger than my previous pairs, but I think that's because the front and back are from woven fabric. They are the same size (XL) as the others I've made. (It might be hard to tell the size just by itself, but trust me, they look almost comically larger when placed next to my other pairs - like clown undies.)

This is my test pair. I'm wearing them right now, and so far they feel very comfortable. I'll be sure to include an addendum after I've worn them all day and ran around at work, etc.  - not just sitting around my apartment on a holiday. For future undies, I'd like to purchase some stretch lace - like the pretty examples in Sarah's Etsy shop - but I'm currently on a scrap busting mission, so that will have to wait.

  • I used my serger for most of it, and that seemed to work out well since woven seams need to be finished. 
  • The only thing I don't like is the size (height) of my zig zag; it's way too big. I'll have to change that for next time. 
  • That and not use black serger thread next time. 
  • Very important: The Grace pattern has a 1/2 inch seam allowance and the Lola pattern is 3/8. Just good to remember since it's easy to lump pattern brands together in terms of seam allowances. Probably has to do with the woven fabric factor.
  • The hibiscus Hawaiian rayon challis is my final bit of fabric from a Wanderlust splurge several months ago. I ended up making a top, camisole, boxer shorts (sleep shorts for me), and now this pair of knickers out of it. Not bad.
  • The radiant orchid knit is actually ribbing that I reused from a failed project. It may not have been the best thing to use as it has a tendency to stretch out. We'll see.


Well, have a lovely week and thanks so much for reading. Cheers!

Saturday, January 17, 2015

You'd Be Embarrassed If They Weren't There

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Hello! Hello! Hope you're having a great weekend. I'm just sitting here relaxing - roasting a chicken and writing a whole blog post dedicated to underpants. Hey, why not? Underwear has become one of those things that I just can't bring myself to buy in the store anymore. They're so easy and fun to make.

This time I used a commercial pattern, rather than a free pattern found online; the fit is much better for my body. I noticed that with my older pairs the crotch wasn't long enough, but the fit feels really good with this pattern.  These are the Lola Brazilian style by OhhhLulu, and I totally love them. The designer, Sarah, has a lot of pretty lingerie patterns in her shop. Next time, I want to try the Grace pattern because I've got tons of woven scraps I'd like to use up.

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I made a couple of test pairs to wear and they turned out to be very comfortable, but these aren't it. It's already kind of odd to post pictures of my underwear on the internet, but posting pictures of previously worn undies just feels wrong. Ew. So these are spanking new. (Whoops, pardon the pun! :)) The fabric I used to make them, however, is not so new. Since I didn't have any knit scraps big enough, I turned to my stash of old clothes that aren't wearable for one reason or another, but I like the color or fabric too much to put in the goodwill bag.

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I can't remember the origin of each piece. The black and white is from an Old Navy top that got worn once before I spilled red wine on it. The pink (it looks more red than pink in the photo, but trust me) is an old Anthropologie top that I wore to death until I spilled something on the front. (Are you noticing a pattern, here?) Not sure where the yellow stripe top came from, but I think I almost never wore it because it was too yellow.

It's not a New Year's resolution or anything, but ideally I'm trying to incorporate some used/repurposed fabric in my sewing on a semi-regular basis. So it feels good that I'm continuing in this vein. I'll finish with a few notes for next time.
  • Great pattern. Easy to make. I was initially confused about sewing the two back pieces at the center back because it's such a curve. But, you know, my bum's pretty curvy too so it makes sense now. It really does make for a flattering backside view. 
  • I'm not sure about leaving the leg holes serged like that. It's an experiment. The instructions said to serge and then fold under and zig zag stitch, but that seems like it would make more of a visible panty line. (Ugh, I was trying to avoid using the word "panty" in this post.) We'll see. Since it's for knits, maybe the leg holes don't really need to be serged and can just be folded under and zigzagged next time.
  • I do like that this pattern does not call for elastic in the legs. It's more comfortable and, of course, cost effective.
  • Zigzag width was set to 4. That seemed to work pretty well. Also, not pulling on the elastic at all works well for this pattern. I love that!
Well, I think I've said pretty much all I can think to say about underwear.  Have a super weekend and thanks so much for reading!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Working Girl

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Hello! Well my lovely break is over and now it's back to work for me. Based on my first three days, I know I'm going to love my new job, but starting anything new demands a lot of time and energy, which is as it should be. I'm feeling pretty exhausted just from taking so much in. While at the same time, I can't help feeling a little like a racehorse at the gate. I'm so ready to get started and be a productive and a vital member of the team. But enough about work, I should probably talk a little about this stripey jacket against my double doors.

It's By Hand London's Victoria Blazer sewn up in a ponte. I made it especially for the new job so I could have some more office-appropriate work clothes. Normally, my standard work uniform is pants, a top, and a cardigan. This loose-fitting, casual blazer done up in a stable knit feels a little more elevated but not super corporate like a structured blazer. (Although I am really looking forward to making the structured blazer pattern that I received in the Curvy Collective's sewing swap. I can't wait to try a petite pattern.) I'm trying to ease myself into this new role and look professional but still feel like me. It's a bit of a compromise.

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Alas, I made it a little too big. I sewed the largest size and could have easily sized down. Also, I shortened the jacket body but forgot to shorten the arms, which I sorely regret. Oh well, it was fun and fairly simple to make, so I'll definitely make another. I'm going to try it in a woven with the lining. Just a few details since I've pretty much gone over everything.
  • Fabric is from Fabric Outlet. Bought a while back when I wasn't paying as much attention to fabric details. I think it was $8.99 per yard. It has a nice weight to it - especially for a jacket.
  • As mentioned, I didn't see the need for lining it. It's supposed to be light and the fabric looks nearly identical from either side. Much of it came together on my serger, so the insides are pretty tidy. 
  • I interfaced the collar and lapel, but, sadly, forgot to interface the cuffs. They're a bit droopy. Collar, cuff and lapel are all hand tacked down to make them less floppy.
  • I mentioned in my last post that I'd like to improve my hems, and I'm pleased with this one. I used wondertape to avoid a wavy hem but skipped the double needle. I don't really like working with wondertape just because it's a pain to get the backing off and it crinkles up and wants to stick everywhere. 
  • I did, however, discover a new way to improve my hems that doesn't involve measuring or special products: I sat down. Before, I would stand at my portable ironing board, which sits on my bed, while pinning my hem. The whole thing sits too low and would cause back pain. As a result, I would rush through the tacking my hem part because my back was killing me. Simple change. 
Well I'd better get to bed so I can be bright-eyed tomorrow and ready to learn a lot of new procedures and policies. Thanks for reading. Cheers!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Top/Bottom 5

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I love Gillian's Top 5 idea - the five I like the most and the five that didn't quite work out.

 I started sewing (seriously ;) ) in April because...well, I think for a lot of reasons. Mostly, though, it was a creative outlet, a challenge for me during a time when I wasn't feeling challenged enough at work, and a path to a more positive body image. As I've mentioned before, I tried to learn to sew a few years ago and did make a few things that I only occasionally wore outside of the house...and then I couldn't wait to get home to take them off. I think I was overwhelmed by all the variables in sewing but also impatient. I wanted to make all kinds of cool stuff right away before taking the time to learn some of the more tedious, but important, parts. I also think I didn't have an honest or healthy perception of my body.

For my misses, I'm not focusing much on the stuff I made the first couple of months when I was just learning. Somehow that doesn't seem helpful or informative. Instead, I'm looking at items that missed the mark because they aren't my style, I never wear, don't fit my lifestyle, etc.

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  • I called this my "new favorite" after I made it. And I really do love the Bronte pattern, and the neckline is so very sweet; however, I just don't ever wear close-fitting tops. The raspberry colored one is from a fabric that is so off grain and cheap that I hate the way it feels against my skin. Into the goodwill bag it goes.
  • The Colette Ginger skirt is just really boring, not something I like to wear, and is way too big in the waist. 
3 of bottom 5

  • I actually think the Saiph tunic in a sweater knit is a fun idea that I may very well try again, but the colors/pattern/proportions just do not suit me. I don't hate it, but I don't feel great in it either. 
  • Similarly, the Papercut Clover is a cute and easy top, and I spent a lot of time working on french seams and underlining the sheer fabric. But I don't feel great in it and the black and white ended up somehow too severe. 
  • Finally, the Tessuti fave top is an easy and FREE pattern, and while I like to wear it around the house with leggings, I don't think it's a good shape for my proportions. Dolman sleeves are not my friend.

Since I like to end on a positive note, here are my top fives. These are garments that turned out close to what I imagined in my head, or I felt I turned a corner in understanding a technique, or I just really love to wear.

3 of my top 5

  • True Bias Hudson pants - I made some sewing mistakes around the pockets and along the elastic, but I don't care because I love to wear these ALL the time both at home and around the neighborhood. 
  • I never got around to blogging this, but I really do love this Arielle top from Deer and Doe. I knew immediately when I saw this pattern that I wanted to have some fun with the collar. The only downside is that the rayon fabric is quite thin and wrinkles super easily.
  • The Deer and Doe Sureau changed my mind about dresses. I thought I wasn't a dress person, but I think I just hadn't met the right dress. It was also my first successful FBA. Things started clicking for me.
other top 2

  • I made two Bruyeres and my other one (with the polka dots) is a better fit and more accurately sewn and I like it a lot, but this plaid fabric just makes me really happy when I wear it. I feel great and it must show because I get tons of compliments.
So there you go. What a great year! I can't believe how much I learned and am so grateful to all those bloggers out there who generously share their knowledge and beautiful makes as well as their stumbles. It's certainly made this second attempt at learning to sew easier than the first.

For 2015, there will be more of the same. More attempts at garment making, more experimentation, more challenges, more fabric (but hopefully less waste), more upcycling. I will make an effort to get better at hems, learn to do a blind stitch, and try to avoid UFOs (like the two Colette Anise jackets I never finished). I sure could use them right now since the temperature has dropped. I'd also like to make another quilt. So many things to make, so little time....

That's it. Cheers and Happy New Year!


Saturday, December 27, 2014

Holidaze


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Hello there! It's been a while since I posted - probably for the same reason as most, holiday rush-rush and not as much time to make stuff. I'm not complaining, though, since it involved family and friends and delicious food. Nope, no complaints here.

My hectic feelings might have been compounded by the fact that I've been super busy wrapping up projects at work. Today was my last day at my current job and I will soon start a new one. I posted at the end of November about a navy Sutton blouse I made and actually wore to a job interview. And, well, I got the job. Yikes! I'm so very excited.

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So these oddly hazy pictures are my most recent Sutton blouse. I figure it's my good luck pattern now. :) In this case, I wanted to try upcycling again - like I did with my green V1247 - and used a thrifted maxi dress for the fabric.

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The dress was already cute, I think, but maxis just aren't me.  I would have loved to do something super creative with the embroidered neck piece; I just didn't see a way to incorporate it. I've saved it, though, so maybe it will find its way into another garment. The fabric is quite sheer, with lace panels that sort of angled in when I cut the bias skirt for the front pieces. (Or maybe I just cut it wrong.)  I'm not modeling this because of the sheerness of the fabric. I tried to use the polyester shell that was part of the original dress for a camisole, but when I tried to wear it the camisole got all twisty and I didn't like the feel of the fabric on my skin. Maybe this would be nice over a silk camisole...

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And here's a pair of Hudson Pants, since I'm on a True Bias kick. These are, without a doubt, the most comfortable pants ever. And I mean ever. It makes me so happy to put these babies on when I get home from work.  Some details:
  • I used a brown french terry from Wanderlust at 6.50 per yard. When I went back to check some fiber content details, it was sold out. It's so soft and lovely and has held up really well.
  • I lopped off about 3 inches in length but then had to cut down more when adding the cuffs. So, note for next time, decrease the length by another 1.5 inch.
  • Since I'm so short, I'm actually tickled to have cuffed sweat pants that aren't too long on me. Sewing's awesome.
  • I guess the pockets gape a bit, but it doesn't really bother me. I love having pockets. And I'm wearing these for comfort.
So that's me. The holidays have been kind of kicking my butt, but I'm so, so grateful and so very excited about what's ahead of me in 2015. I have a week off between jobs and hope to make at least one garment for work. I don't think either sweatpants or a too-sheer blouse are appropriate for my new corporate/conservative workplace. Anyway, I hope you're having a wonderful time out there and wish you and yours a very happy New Year!



Sunday, November 30, 2014

Polar Opposites

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Hello and a very happy Thanksgiving to those who celebrated on Thursday. It's been such a lovely weekend. I have been feeling so languid - must be a long term turkey coma - and have found myself not wanting to do much this weekend but sleep and stare out the window. I did, however, manage to create an impulse project that I want to share with you. So I actually have two projects I'd like to share. I could save the second for another post, I suppose, but I tend to forget the details.

But first, I finally finished my second Bruyere! And here I am, standing, I think, a bit like Yul Brynner in the The King and I. It's one of my standard, see I really do have a waist, poses.

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I know I look smug. I'm trying not to grimace or look terrified so much in my photos, so you get smug instead. But I am proud as this time I didn't make so many mistakes. Unlike my first bruyere, the pleats were done correctly, so the other pieces matched up. I think the fit is good. Here, check out the back.

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Okay, here are my notes:
  •  I used the same front bodice piece that I adjusted last time (largest size, plus fba and grading out at the waist) since my size falls outside of Deer and Doe's size range. It's a closer fit this time because I sewed the box pleats and button placket correctly this time. I actually think it might be a bit too close fitting. It feels good standing, but I'm not sure about sitting at a desk all day. ETA: Wore it all day at the office and it was completely comfortable.
  • The fabric is Robert Kaufman cotton - a remnant from Britex purchased for 19.99. I've been trying to stay away from cottons since my early endeavors, but after reading so many sewing blogs and hearing "Robert Kaufman this"and "Robert Kaufman that" I thought I'd give it a try. Plus, the price was right. Verdict: It was easy to sew and doesn't feel quite as heavy as a lot of novelty cottons. I do see a lot of ironing in my future, though. I'm definitely gonna have to pull this one out of the dryer immediately! :) Also, there is no stretch, which might not be best for a fitted button-up on a large busted lady. ETA: The fabric kept its shape all day. No straining, no stretching out the way linen does.
  • I'm proud of my cuffs this time. Must remember: It's a lot easier to sew the sleeve plackets on before I sew the sleeve seams together. 
  • Being a shorty, I almost never have sleeves that aren't too long. This is awesome!
Okay, on to project number 2, which couldn't be more different in terms of personal style:

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This is the Papercut Saiph sewn up in a knit fabric. I made this before. And while I loved wearing my birthday blouse while I was on vacation, it hasn't gotten a lot of wear since.  Partly because of the Hawaiian print and partly because it's way too large and the style is too boxy for my frame. So why spend my precious free time sewing a top that doesn't suit me?  Basically,  I saw this gorgeous sweater dress on Sallioh and fell in love. Now Sallie looks to me like she could wear anything and look great, and I certainly didn't expect to look as fab as her. I just really love a cuddly sweater mini in an unusual pattern. Also, I was intrigued with the idea of sewing the saiph up in a knit.

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Unfortunately, I don't have photos of me wearing it. Sorry, I know that's lame.
Here are my notes:
  • Since it's a knit, I went for a smaller size than usual (medium). I didn't make any pattern adjustments like an FBA because the finished garment size indicated that there would be plenty of room and I remembered how there was a lot of ease in my first version. I wanted it to be loose-fitting. I did shorten it, which is where I think I ran into trouble.
  • I must have neglected to shorten the front bodice because there was a three inch length difference. I wound up having to hack off the other side to make it match up. 
  • I trimmed 1/4 inch off the sleeve cap, per SallieOh's instructions, and it worked out well.
  • I shortened all the pieces too much. This is not a dress, or even a tunic. It falls just below my crotch, and is only wearable with leggings or jeans.  Basically, it's a boxy sweater.
  • I followed Sallie's advice and skipped the collar facing and just turned under collar, cuffs, and hem. Finished with a double needle. I also skipped the french darts since it's a knit.
  • Fabric is a very light sweater knit from Wanderlust at $7.50 per yard. It's a cotton/poly blend with 40%stretch.  The  printed design is only on one side.
  • Are you ever attracted to colors that don't suit you? These colors bring out the ruddiness in my skin. I need to resign myself to only choosing this palette for interiors. It's the same with buff, oatmeal, beige. I love soft neutrals but they don't love me.
  • The pockets are droopy, I know, but I like the design feature and was unsure about interfacing a knit.
  • Overall, It really doesn't suit me, but man is it comfortable!
Well, my long holiday weekend is over and it's back to the grind tomorrow, but I'm very grateful to have enjoyed some time off. I feel a bit overfed and sleepy, but most of all I feel very thankful for having a fun new hobby to pursue and share. Thank you very much for reading and allowing me to share my project thoughts and progress with you. Cheers!



Monday, November 24, 2014

Back To Basics

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Hello! Hope you had a fantastic weekend. I sort of felt like this was the last weekend before all the holiday madness begins, so I tried to relax and do as little as possible. We started feasting a bit early with the first crab haul of the season. Other than that...some sewing, chores, and trashy t.v.

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So I'm working on a couple of different projects right now - my second Bruyere (almost finished!) and my most favorite thing ever (to date, of course, can't wait to share) - but, as usual, I ran into problems sewing my sleeves, and with its kimono bodice True Bias's Sutton blouse seemed like the perfect vacation from sleeves. It was a fun project. I especially appreciated the extra instructions for understitching the neckline and am most proud of how the neckline sits so nicely.

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(These headless shots always seem weird to me, but I suppose it helps to look at overall shape and proportions without having to look at my cheesy grin or pained grimace.) Part of me feels like this is a bit of a step backwards for me. After all, I had finally started making important pattern adjustments like FBAs and was starting to seek out more fitted silhouettes. I thought about an FBA, but when I read the sewalong she suggested just opting for a larger size since it was supposed to be oversized. I cut a size 16, but I think I could do a 14 and it would be fine.

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I love the back pleat/ yoke, though I think it's a bit too long in the back.

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Yeah, when I look at my arms outstretched and the sleeves, I definitely think I could go one size smaller. I actually wore this for a job interview the other day. (Not with leggings and boots! I'm not lucky enough to work in an industry where that would be okay.) Normally, for an interview I would have worn something with a collar, but it was short notice and I decided I wanted to focus on mentally preparing. I did feel, however, that the blouse was polished enough to wear and I think a big part of that is the (for me) nearly impeccable job on the neckline, and the weight of the fabric.
So here are the details:
  • The fabric is 2 yards of 100% rayon purchased at Britex on the top floor for $5 per yard. Score! It has a textured pattern that doesn't show up well in photos.
  •  The fabric is a little weighty and stretched out a bit while sewing. My french seams are pretty bulky.
  • I can't really think of too many particulars. It came together very easily and quickly. I will definitely make it again, but it has to be in a drapey, solid fabric like this. Otherwise, I think it would look like hospital scrubs. It reminds me a bit of my V1247 except that it fits much better in the back, neck, and shoulders. Hmmm... Sutton top part of bodice plus segmented panels of V1247 might equal color blocking hack?
  • I liked Caroline of Sewaholic's version -with the lace yoke. I have some aubergine lace from an old Banana Republic top, and now I'm thinking about a little refashioning....
I know that a basic, navy top isn't super exciting, but I think this pattern has a lot of possibilities. Plus, I know I'm gonna wear the hell out of it.  Thanks so much for reading. If you're in the U.S., have a very happy Thanksgiving. Everyone, have a lovely week.  Cheers!