Sunday, July 27, 2014



I spent part of this weekend making undies, which is kind of addictive. In fact, I could have made so many more pairs, but I think I should really take these for a test drive before making more. I want to make sure they're super comfy.


I really hate waste, so I love being able to use up all of the scraps that were too small for a tank or tee shirt but too large to throw away. Here were my takeaways to remember for next time.
  • I might try cutting a bunch in one sitting. They're already fast to make, but why break up the flow?
  • Serging the pieces together is fan-fucking-tasticly fast, but I'm not sure if I should serge the elastic on. I tried it on the white ones, and I think the thread might make them too bulky and/or uncomfortable. I love serging knits because they trim everything so neatly, it's nice to get everything locked in before it all curls up. If I do try serging again, I think next time I should switch to a three thread overlock.
  • JoAnn's foldover elastic is a ripoff. I remember experiencing sticker shock when I picked up a couple of packs, which doesn't really happen to me there, but I bought it anyway. I paid 3.99 per yard, and it wasn't even enough for 1 pair of underwear (at least for me). I never think of this sewing hobby of mine as a money saver, but I'm sure glad I was able to look to sewing blogs to discover other options. I wound up purchasing some suuuuper cute patterned elastic, plus the solid grab bag cuz I'm a sucker for grab bags, from Peak Bloom. Can't wait. 
  • I looked at a bunch of tutorials, but hands-down THE best tutorial was from A Very Purple Person. Clear to follow, great pictures, and it covers three different types of elastic. I need more practice with elastic. I haven't noticed it covered a lot in tutorials - maybe because it has to do more with getting a feel for how much to stretch or just something that comes with practice, which can be tough to explain in a tutorial.  
Anyhoo, thanks for reading. I hope you have a lovely week. I also hope these undies make it through their test drive.


Sunday, July 20, 2014

Weekend Clothes


After my somewhat disappointing and boring skirt, I'm so happy to share some fun projects! I went a little knit-crazy this weekend and made three different pieces. Yes, it was bit of a marathon, but they were all easy projects that came together quickly.

First up, it's the Julia Cardigan. This was my first time sewing a sweater knit. So much fun! I spent  most of my time trying to fit all the pattern pieces into the amount of fabric I had on hand (two yards, I think) because I really wanted the double/no hem version. And I'm really glad I took that extra time. I only have a little bit of fabric leftover, which makes me feel good, and the double hem version makes it so cozy - and cozy is what I want from my weekend clothes.


Next, it's a super-duper close up of the Cake Espresso leggings I made. I took a picture of the leggings on a hanger, but they looked a little sad just hanging there. (I'm actually going to finish this post with a rare selfie because I'm trying to be less of a chicken. I've been thinking a lot about body shame and how sewing combats this. And also I'm just really inspired by all the lovely bloggers out there who are showing their (sewing) triumphs and failures, as well as showing the world their genuine selves.  It's important to see images of real people. ) Anyway, rant is over, isn't this a great fabric? I ordered it from Wanderlust Fabrics. They have some really great patterned knits. I'll definitely be ordering from them again. So the Cake pattern was just about the most fun I've had sewing from beginning to end. I measured waist, thigh, knee, etc., and connected the dots to draft a customized pattern. I ended up with one pattern piece, cut two, and sewed them up. Really easy and fun. For next time, I will cut the elastic a little smaller as there was a bit too much room, which means I have to duck into a doorway to hitch them up. I know, super attractive. Otherwise, they fit great and are super comfy. I wouldn't wear them out and about without my butt covered, but I pretty much live in leggings at home and on the weekends.


Finally, the fave top by Tessuti. I had a lot of reservations about this pattern, but since it was free I thought I'd give it a try.. It's super oversized and drapey, and I'm short with a large bust. I don't want to look like I'm wearing a tent. So, admittedly, it's a little tent-ey on me, but I actually really really love it and, again, love to wear stuff like this around the house. I used a super light, sheer, drapey, knit,  purchased on the top floor of Britex for $5 a yard, and I think the fabric is actually perfect for this top. It's not a weighty knit that pulls too much. I kind of wish now that I had gone to the effort to hem it instead of opting for a rolled hem, but I was having trouble with the double needle (even though I'd purchased a stretch double needle). My sewing machine kept trying to chew this stuff up. So I saw this as an opportunity to practice rolled hems. Sadly, the lettuce hem was not intentional, but that's what I ended up with.

 And finally, without further ado, Hello World!

Witness a very happy lady wearing her super comfy new weekend clothes. Yay!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Maybe Too Simple


I made this the weekend before last. It's the Colette Ginger pattern that I've had for ages and finally got around to making. I had something simple and minimalistic in mind, but also something kind of sumptuous. I have to say that the end result is pretty underwhelming.


I tried a bit of hemstitching to add a special little detail  - even bought a wing needle and cotton thread - but it's just too simple and not terribly well executed. This is a super close-up. Maybe if I used a longer stitch or more rows of hemstitching...Or maybe if I tried a different color of thread... It's hard sometimes to tell if something will turn out simple and  minimalistic or boring and conventional. Ah well, will keep working at it.

I also did a bad job fitting. It's way too big. So much so that I ended up rolling the waistband up once AND fastening the side with a safety pin when I wore it to work the other day. I felt so schlumpy in it that I couldn't wait to take it off when I got home. 


I also totally mangled the zipper. Here's something they don't mention in most sewing instructions: I guess you're supposed to trim off the top bit of zipper that doesn't meet and position accordingly to accommodate this.  This weekend I plan to go back to tee-shirts and throw in some leggings and a cardigan. I don't really wear a lot dresses or skirts, so I think I'll focus more on stuff I actually wear.

 I just realized that this post sounds kind of negative, but I'm not all that disappointed that it didn't turn out so great. I got some practice in with zippers and will focus more on fitting. Everything - the pattern, fabric, even the zipper - was stuff I had laying around. Overall, I wasn't particularly invested in the project, which, come to think of it, is probably why it ended up humdrum.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Sewing For My Sweetie


Look what's in front of my double doors! It's a person, not a garment on a hanger! And not just any person - it's my very sweet and patient husband. He's been such a good sport about all the sewing stuff everywhere lately, so I wanted to make him something. He'd requested an orange tee-shirt to be worn on Orange Fridays - that's when the SF Giants have home games on a Friday. Makes sense, right?


I used a very stable knit - like hardly any stretch. It would be too stable for me as I like soft drapey things, but it's perfect for a man's shirt. As usual, I had a little trouble with the shoulders (maybe because of the lack of stretch), but overall I like how it turned out. And it's so gratifying to make something for someone you love and know that they're not embarrassed to wear their handmade garment in public.

I used the Strathcona Henley pattern by Thread Theory, which seems to have a nice, narrow cut (I just had to grade out a little towards the bottom to accommodate the food-baby).


This last picture is an "action shot." Viva Gigantes!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

More Tee Love

I am addicted to making t-shirts. So. Much. Fun. ...Seriously, even when I mess up, which is quite often, I still love seeing something so soft and comfy come together so quickly.

So this is the famous Renfrew pattern from Sewaholic. It would have turned out much nicer if I had chosen a more appropriate fabric, but I'm happy because it is so very soft - like baby butt soft.  I think I may have used what I've heard referred to as "tissue knits." Appropriate name, I think, since working with it was like handling wet toilet paper. The v-neck went a little wonky, so I tried to clean it up by trying to top stitch at midnight. Totally made it worse, and I was up until one trying to gently rip out the stitches. Sometimes you have to know when to quit.


My super soft tee without the circle scarf, which I also made this weekend and can't wait to wear to death. This yellow and white  burnout knit is super soft and sheer. I absolutely love it! P.S. Do you like my "photo styling" with the glasses? Silly, I know.


Here's another toilet paper knit, but this time I reverted to the awesome tonic tee by SBCC. I liked the Renfrew, but at this point I knew what I was getting into with the tissue knits, so I wanted something more familiar and with fewer pieces. I just love those little polka dots.

I actually started really enjoying working with these thin fabrics. I just decided to let go and not worry about controlling the fabric because it's going to do what it wants anyway. Which is not to say that I care less. I really am working to improve and develop my skills, and I believe my finishing is getting a little better, but I also don't see the point in making myself crazy over a tee shirt. 


So I can probably stop making tees for a while. I think I'm set.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Moving Forward With My Minimalist Wardrobe

Finished projects, yay! Simple finished projects, that is. T-shirts to be more specific... Anyhoo, check it out...

So this stripey one is my first try - basically a wearable muslin. I wanted to use up some scraps, which is why there's a seam running up the back, and I wanted to see about sizing. I ran out of bias while sewing the neckline, but I guess I didn't realize it and kept on sewing. Too enamored with the new serger, I guess, to notice. I think this would be great for exercising, around the house, etc.
 It's the free tonic tee pattern by SBCC. LOVE.


Here's my second tonic tee. I really love that I'm learning so much as I go. Specifically, how some fabrics work or don't work depending on the pattern, weight, drape, etc.  This fabric was already cut for a swing cardigan by the awesome SBCC. However, after making a rather unsuccessful cardi in a similar weight knit, I decided to change course. The cardigan pattern is really cute and easy to put together, but the front part (the swingy part) is two layers of knit sewn together, so it should, I think, be a very light knit. Otherwise it just feels too heavy - especially for a short sleeve cardigan. So even though I had already cut my pieces, I decided to cut into those pieces for the smaller tee. Yes, I wasted some fabric, but now I have a cute little basic that I love instead of a cardi I'll never wear. I've already worn this simple tee twice.


My final tonic tee - the long sleeved version. I absolutely LOVE how this bamboo rayon feels on my skin and drapes on my form. Super super comfy. I think the neckline went a bit wide - either by overzealous cutting on my part or stretching when attaching the neck binding. I might add some bra strap ribbons to make sure it stays in place.


So those are my tees. Here's my latest Mabel. A few posts back when I debuted my charcoal grey Mabel I was chiding myself for my lack of adventure when it comes to color, so I decide to go full on Pantone 2014 color of the year Radiant Orchid wild. :) (Maybe it's a wee bit dark for radiant orchid, but close enough I think.) Love the color, super comfy, easy to put together (especially with the serger). I wore it all last weekend when we had a spate of nice weather.


Finally, this blurry-ass picture is the latest progress on my Moneta. Yeah, my Moneta and I need a time out from each other. It's really a bummer because everything was moving along so well until I tried to attach the clear elastic....twice. The whole experience left me a little sad. What's funny, too, is that even though I think this dress looks great on so many people, I don't think this is the dress for me. I will try to salvage it at some point, though, because I want to learn and I don't want to waste fabric - one reason for getting into sewing is to try to get away from a disposable culture. The bodice keeps getting shorter as I keep trying to gather the skirt and reattach, so maybe I could make a more baby doll version. I really like this one from Lux Per Diem.

So those are my happy little basic wardrobe pieces. I look forward to making more. Thanks for checking out my progress!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

My First Moneta: A Progress Report


I spent Sunday afternoon working on my Colette Moneta, while envisioning myself lounging on the lanai in a few short months when we have our little Hawaiian holiday. This turquoise knit, purchased at Britex, is so amazingly soft and supple and feels really great on. Cutting it, however, was super challenging. It was pretty much like cutting water; it slipped and slithered and was nearly impossible to cut accurately.

And then there was the other challenge I had...


Yeah, so I sewed the collar on backwards. I had used painter's tape to mark the pieces, but then I removed some of them too early. Both sides looked so similar.  I knew at once which side was which AFTER I attached the collar. What's funny, though, is that I like how it looks. I goofed and my back collar thingy didn't cross like it's supposed to, so now it just looks like a collar. I think it gives the neckline a bit of visual interest.

The skirt is done for the most part. I just have to gather it with elastic, attach it to the bodice and hem. Despite my difficulties and serendipitous mistake, I have to say it's been pretty fun and easy. And I did it all with this bad boy...


I'm not even going to justify my purchase. I wanted it. I bought it. It makes me happy.

Too much of a big deal is made out of the threading. I watched this video on youtube and have been happily serging away since. No muss. No fuss.