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.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Listen to the Experts


Not only are sewing bloggers knowledgeable, but they also happen to be very generous with their knowledge. Whether or not they sew professionally, they have a wealth of valuable expertise.  So when they say that quilting cotton isn't the best for garments, I should listen. Here's another Skinny Bitch/Curvy Chick top.


It's a quilting cotton purchased at Peapod, an adorable fabric shop a couple of blocks from my apartment. I had read that this type of cotton is not great for garments, but c'mon, just look at the cuteness. Bunnies cavorting against a traditional Japanese pattern. I just fell in love. In hindsight, maybe it would have worked better as a skirt since skirts can look good even if the fabric's a bit on the stiff side. That's the main problem with this fabric; it doesn't really move with my body.

But it's adorable, and I learned my moving on.

I've been reading so many sewing blogs lately. So much inspiration. I love how sewists are always striving towards excellence - the perfect fit, meticulous finishing, garments that look pretty inside and out. These are worthwhile endeavors. I'm still amazed when I don't completely screw up a pattern or bit of pretty fabric, so, while I notice my mistakes, I try not to obsess too much. But I do want to learn from these experts and spend more time on each garment, making the best version I can. This top isn't really an example of that. It's cute, but besides being an inappropriate fabric choice, I rushed to have something new to wear. I could have learned how to use my blind hem foot instead of trampling over those little bunnies with dark blue thread. It's not super obvious, but I notice it and it bugs me.

Fit, fabric, and finishing - so many things to think about and so many variables in the process, but I guess that's why I'm finding it so interesting. Onwards and upwards.


Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Vacation Wardrobe


We're going to Hawaii this summer! Kauai to be specific, and it's still many months away, but still...we're going to Hawaii!! Except for some long weekends in Mendocino and Lake Tahoe, and some trips to visit family, we haven't taken a trip in soooo long! I cannot wait to relax on our lanai and look at the ocean and paint flowers. The above picture is from my tumblr, and was inspired by this beautiful quilt.

I swear the craft a.d.d. is accelerating again because now I'm thinking about making a quilt and I haven't even finished my vacation wardrobe. Must. focus.

So below is another one of those Polyvore thingys. I was thinking about fun things to make and wear on our trip. I'd love to make a Mabel mini with one of the amazing Italian Scuba knits at Britex, but at $59 a yard that's probably not going to happen. But a person can dream...and settle for something cute but a little more within my budget.