Saturday, February 28, 2009

Not Too Exciting

I made some pajama pants today. And that's all I got to say 'bout that.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Kwik Sew 3617 - the second time around

This is a carbon copy of my first use of this pattern. I did say that I thought the shoulder needed some adjustment, but I cut this out later into the night than I should have and completely forgot about changing anything. DOH! I’ve worn the other one a few times and I don’t notice the shoulder while wearing it, so I’m not too concerned.

The color of this top is really nice, IMO - dark, olive-ish green. I often get compliments when I wear this color because it makes it easy to tell that my eyes are green. Otherwise, are they brown, gold, green, some of everything? No one can tell…

Honestly, I was really hoping to make Jalie 2682 with this fabric, but I didn’t have enough to squeak it out. This pattern has been sitting in my stash for awhile now and I would really like to make it. I guess it’ll have to wait a little longer.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Vogue 2972 – Denim Pants

This is my second attempt at this pattern. The first didn’t turn out all that well. I had major fit issues in the back.
Look at all those wrinkles! And this was after taking at least one full inch off of the back inseam.

Well, this was like an itch that just needed to be scratched and I was pretty determined to get a better fit. Initially I should have started with a smaller size, but the pattern I was using was now out-of-print.

It is nearly impossible to tell what the pants really look like from the picture. Black clothing doesn’t photograph well – even for professionals apparently. The line drawing is much more helpful (click on it for a clearer view).
I bought another, very similar pattern in a smaller size (Vogue 2907). I read and studied “Pants for Real People” from Palmer/Pletsch and then was unsure about whether to just continue with the pattern I had already used and made some modifications to or go back to the very beginning and start with 2907. Hmmmm… Since I essentially had a finished muslin in the first pair of pants, I decided to stick with the first pattern.

These are the alterations I made the first time around….
After making the muslin:
*I took in 1/2" from the top of the yoke at CB. Tapered to 1/4" at CB of pants.
*I lowered the yoke at the side seams 1/4".
*I took in the side seams 3/8".
*I "filled in" the front crotch curve, adding 1/4" at the base of the curve.
*I added 5/8" to each side at the hem for a total addition of 2.5 inches in circumference.

After trying on the “real” pants:
*I took in 1" at the top of the back inseam, tapering to 0 at the knee.
*I took in 3/8" at the top of the front inseam, also tapering to 0 at the knee.
*I scooped out the back of the crotch seam by lowering the seam 3/8" (for a total difference of 3/4").

This resulted in the fit you see above. Clearly more work needed to be done. My biggest fit issue in pants (other than length – RTW problem only) is the seat. My flat bum leaves a lot of extra fabric sagging, bagging and wrinkling around the top of my legs in back. This is very clear from the side view of the first pants.

It seems the best way to fix this is by making a tuck in the back pattern piece parallel to the grainline for the full length of the pants. I took a ½” tuck. I also took ¼” off the back inseam and 1/8” off the front inseam (this is on top of what is mentioned above). Removing fabric from the inseams changes the crotch curve and I scooped out another ½” to make up for it. The PFRP book also suggested lowering the waistline at CB for a flat bum and I took off ½”. If I make these again, I will add that back on. I don’t think I really needed that, particularly with this pattern. They aren’t plumber pants yet, but they aren’t far from it either.

After all that, here’s the back view:

(That's a pretty small, dark photo, isn't it? I guess I was in a hurry to get this up and didn't want to wait for the Preacher to play photographer. I think I'll have to come back and edit it later.)
Perhaps not perfect, but a considerable improvement. It is easy to overanalyze a picture, but in real life you have to be able to walk, bend, sit, crawl around on the floor (okay, maybe not everyone does that, but it is a regular part of my life). So, sometimes necessary wearing ease looks like wrinkles or drag lines in a picture.

Other non-fit changes:

The welt pockets are totally fake! I’ve made quite a few welt pockets, but they’ve all been real. It never occurred to me to make them fake until it was suggested in the PFRP book. They wondered why you would want extra bulk in the back. Considering the problems my flat bum causes, maybe I do want extra bulk there….


I really like the little loop closures except for the fact that they don’t match! The topstitching is on the outside of the loop on one and on the inside on the other. Grrrrr. I’m so annoyed that I missed this when it could have been fixed. It wasn’t until I was hemming the pants that it caught my eye. I let out a yell that startled the Preacher. When he learned the cause for my yelling he didn’t really think that it was warranted.

The pattern calls for a sewn-on fly. I did follow the instructions for this on the first pair and I found the instructions good. But, I didn’t really want to mess with it on this pair and added the fly facing pieces to the pattern before cutting. The fly guard is cut from contrast fabric – a cotton paisley print. I used the same fabric for the front pocket facing and backing for the “tag” (just ribbon from the scrapbooking department of Michael’s).


I also decreased the height of the waistband/yoke by 1”.

The topstitching is done with two strands of grey multi-purpose thread. Increasing the tension and using a topstitch needle helped to get pretty good results. (The more I sew, the more I see that using the proper needle makes ALL the difference!) I wouldn’t describe the grey as “light” but it looks pretty bright against the dark denim. Perhaps a shade or two darker would be preferable.

I estimate these pants cost about $10.00. The fabric was pretty inexpensive and I was intending these to be a second muslin. But, the more I wear them, the more I like them. I do think the crotch curve could use a little work yet. In the rear view pic it looks like I have a bit of a wedgie, eh? It really doesn’t feel like that when I’m wearing them. I wonder what that means….back to the drawing board….


Sunday, February 8, 2009

New Look 6816 – Sweater Knit Top

“Well, would ya look at that!”
“Mom, are you wearing a blanket?”

Those were the responses of my four-year-old daughter and two-year-old son when they saw this top! I got a pretty good laugh from that.

This top was too easy. It took about as long to put together as it did for my husband to take my kids to the doughnut shop. Hardly even a blip on the sewing radar. The sleeves are cut-on so the only seams are shoulder/top of sleeve, underarm/side seam and center back. Slap on a neckband, hem the sleeves and bottom and you’re done.

I cut a size 12 initially but should have done a 10. I decreased the width of the neckline by .5” on each side and left the depth unchanged. The neckline is still really wide. I increased the length of the sleeves by 1.5” and added 1” in length to the bodice front and back. After getting the pieces together it looked too big on me, so I took it in at the CB and side seams by .5”

I’m really not sure what I think about the top yet. It is a little different from my usual choices, as you can tell from the response of my kids. Rarely do I wear any type of sleeve other than the traditional set-in style. I think I made a good match of pattern and fabric, but I’m not sure I really like either the pattern or the fabric. So what are the odds I will like them together? Hmmmm…

I bought the fabric at a tent sale for a buck or two a yard. I was intrigued by the texture. I had no difficulties sewing with this sweater knit. The hardest thing was deciding what color thread to use!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Kwik Sew 3617 - long-sleeve knit top

Another easy knit top! This came together very quickly. The only alterations that I made were in length: 2.5" to the sleeves and 1" to the bodice front and back. The fit is pretty good. Perhaps the armhole could have been cut higher and I think I should have done a forward shoulder adjustment. I didn't get a good picture, but from the side something looks a little "off" with the shoulder.The picture is a little dark, but I think the color of the fabric is really nice - not sure what the name of the color is...teal? peacock blue? Regardless, I like it. And the fabric is really soft - a nice cotton interlock.


I don't really care for View B of the pattern, but I do like the neckline of View A. I'll probably make it again. The neckband is interfaced and has a facing. So, the neckline is a little nicer than a regular T-shirt, but is still casual and comfortable (good descriptors for my life in general). The shirt isn't anything to be terribly excited about, but it is a good basic.


I have one other easy top to post about and now I'm thinking about pants. I made a pair back in November that turned out less than stellar in terms of fit. Last week I went back and messed with the pattern and I think I made too many alterations - the new muslin was too tight.
I've been looking at everyone's pants lately. It turns out that very few people have pants that fit well. That's both encouraging and discouraging. If I make an ill-fitting pair of pants they might still look "normal." However, one of the reasons to sew is to have clothes that fit and seeing so many people in pants that don't really fit well gives me an indication of just how hard it will be to get it right. Oh, well. I think I'm up for the challenge. Right now I'm on the fence about whether or not to go back to the original pattern and try to fix it or cut apart a pair of pants that fit well and are nearly unwearable because of stains and signs of wear. Hmmm...something to ponder while I finish the laundry and clean today.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Make Them Yourself – Soft Sole Shoes

These baby shoes are a gift for my soon-to-be-born nephew. I used the Make Them Yourself pattern from Misty Marquardt. This is the only pattern of hers that I have, but I would really like to try the soft sole boots and Mary Janes – especially after going to the Robeez site and seeing their new spring shoes!

The pattern is written for use with real leather. I used Ultrasuede. The top of the shoe is lined with fabric and the sole is made with two layers of Ultrasuede. These are the third and fourth pairs of shoes that I have made and I had more trouble with these than the first two pairs. The appliqués were a little more involved on these than the first two, so that may be the issue. Even with a new Microtex Sharp needle I did get a few skipped stitches.

I found the elephant via a Google Image search. I should have scaled it down a little more. I also should have added a tail! Elephants have tails! Somehow I missed that detail until the shoes were all done. I guess these are mutant elephants. Nice that they found their mates, I guess….(they do look affectionate in the picture, don’t they?)

The puppy appliqué is an exact copy of one of the Robeez shoe designs. I printed the picture from the website, traced it and then cut out the shapes. I drew the face on the puppy with a fine-tip permanent marker. Embroidery probably would look nicer, but I wasn’t optimistic about that working well. I’d have to do it by hand and I didn’t have access to the stuff to do it. (We’re temporarily displaced while our home is being renovated).

I highly recommend this pattern. It is drafted well with good instructions, comes in a pretty good range of sizes and results in a shoe that stays on a baby’s foot. The pattern is reasonably priced and takes so little fabric that a few scraps will make several pairs of shoes. Hey, I think I just talked myself into buying that Mary Jane pattern. Seriously, did you see those spring shoes from Robeez? My daughter NEEDS those!