Thursday, May 28, 2009

T-shirt Dress

I did indeed find time to work on the dress for my younger daughter. It was done mostly in 10-20 minute bits of time throughout the day. My sewing room is centrally located in the house and it's easy for me to do that sort of thing. Certainly, I would prefer a larger chunk of time to work, but I'll take what I can get.

The dress is a version of Kwik Sew 2918. The bodice is cut off about three inches below the armhole. A large rectangle gathered at one long edge and hemmed at the other long edge makes the skirt. I initially bound the neckline but it didn't look good, so I took it off and put on a narrow neckband instead. The puffed sleeves are bound at the bottom.

The bloomers are Butterick 3782. Instead of making a casing for the waist and leg elastic, I serged the elastic to the wrong side, turned it down to the inside so that the elastic was covered and then sewed it down with a triple zigzag stitch. The gathers stay evenly distributed this way and the elastic can't twist up.

I also used this fabric to make a T-shirt for my other daughter. This dress and bloomers used up the rest of it.

I was hoping to get a dress for my older daughter cut out tonight, but the kids weren't particularly interested in going to bed easily. Starting it now wouldn't be a good idea. Maybe tomorrow...

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Still More T-shirts

Two more T-shirts for the little guy. Nothing too exciting....made from Kwik Sew 2918, of course.

The blue camo fabric is from a thrift store. It's a pretty hefty waffle knit and I think the rest of the piece will become pajamas. My son's impression: "It's a little wierd." But, he likes it.

The striped fabric is rather awful. I believe it was a JoAnn's clearance buy from a couple years back, but I'm not sure about that. A cotton jersey, it is thin and doesn't stretch very much and the stripes feel very "painted on." We'll see how long it lasts.

I just finished cutting out my younger daughter's new dress. Perhaps there will be time to work on that tomorrow...

Recycled Skirt and Another T-shirt

The work on more warm weather clothes for the kids has begun. A friend gave me a box of clothing that her kids were done with. The yellow flowered fabric was the skirt part of a dress that was too small for my older daughter and too big to keep around until it fit my younger daughter. I cut off the bodice of the dress and used Burda 9826 to make an A-line skirt.

The pattern has a seam at center front and center back and is cut on the bias. I eliminated the front seam and cut it on the straight grain. I added the 2.5" ruffle, using the hem from the dress. With an elastic waist, this is a really simple pattern. I would have been done in about half an hour, but I added shorts under the skirt.

For the shorts I used Burda 9615 again. This time the shorts are attached to the skirt at the waist. I cut them out without an allowance for the casing, assembled them and then tucked the top edge under the casing.

The top is Kwik Sew 2918 with a gathered center front and puffed sleeves.

Today I finished a couple of T-shirts for the little man and I'm hoping to get a dress cut out for my younger daughter tonight.

Monday, May 25, 2009

More Jacket Pics

I feel like I don't have too much left to say about the jacket. I've been going on and on about it for awhile now.

The cap of the sleeve has some issues. I found there to be a lot of ease in these sleeve caps. Other reviewers didn't note this as a problem, so it might have just been me struggling to set them in properly.

I love the seams in the back. Nice details. I really like topstitching - the way it looks, not always doing it. It looks like I could have made the back smaller at the waist, but I like how it feels when wearing it.

The pockets are too small to be useful. This was obvious from the pattern piece, but I didn't bother to change them. Useful or not, they are a nice detail.

I used Connie Long's instructions in Easy Guide to Sewing Linings to draft a lining for the jacket. The front lining pieces consist of a yoke and a lower front piece. There is no vertical seam and no pleat as there is in the jacket. The back lining pieces are the same as the jacket pieces except there is no pleat in the lower back and there is a pleat in the main back piece. The lining hem is free hanging as seen here and is connected to the jacket at the front facing, side seams, and center back with French tacks.
The jacket fabric is a brushed cotton stretch twill that I purchased in NY. It is very soft with a nice weight for a jacket and has a good amount of stretch. However, I think it will always look a bit rumpled. The lining fabric (stretch cotton sateen) also came from NY, but wasn't really intended to be the lining. You can read about that dilemma here. I decided to use it because I had it, it was a perfect match and it had stretch just like the jacket fabric. So, while it is a bit boring, it does work well. I tried to reduce the yawn factor with the piping.
Okay, so I did have a bit left to say. Now I'm stuck on what to do next. I'd like to return to those Jalie pants, but the kiddos still need a lot more warm weather clothes. I should probably work on that again for a bit.
ETA: full review here.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Jacket Details

On Tuesday evening I moaned to the Preacher that this jacket was whipping my tail. I was in over my head. He laughed and told me that was good for me. I kindly thanked him for his empathy and encouragement and soldiered on. As I got closer and closer to the finished product, I got more and more excited about it and more confident that it would be successful. That was until I tried it on a couple of days ago and my four year old (but counting down the DAYS until she is five) daughter said, "Mom, you look silly in that." Sheesh. Thanks. I can't wait for this one to become a teenager.

I did finally finish it last night. Overall, I am happy with it. I don't have any pictures of me wearing it today, just detail shots.

Buttons and Buttonholes
I bought the buttons in NY. They could be more exciting, but it is a pretty casual jacket and I think they work pretty well.

If I were doing this jacket over, I would make the bound buttonholes narrower. That would be easy to do with the method I used. Otherwise, I'm happy with the way they look on the front.
The back is another story.... I'm not happy with how this looks. I should have made a faced window like the buttonholes and sewed that down. Now I know...

Collar and Band
This pattern has an upper collar, under collar and band. I haven't made a jacket with the band piece before. I like it. The collar sits nicely at the back of the neck. The under collar pattern did not have a center back seam in it and I don't think it was cut on the bias. I changed both of those things.
Facings and Hem
The pattern did not include a lining. It did include a front facing and instructions to cut two back yokes - one to use as a facing. I changed the back yoke into a traditional facing to make attaching the full lining easier. I added a hanging loop at the collar seam, flat piping between the facing and lining and a "tag" at center back.

I used a Hong Kong finish with lining fabric on the lower edge of the facing. The lining hem is finished by machine and is free hanging. The jacket hem is finished by hand. The pattern instructions say to topstitch it and I was really hung up on that for an embarrassingly long time. Once it occurred to me to finish it by hand, all the pieces came together and it was smooth sailing.

I used French tacks to keep the lining and jacket loosely connected. This was a new technique to me and I was pleased with how mine turned out. Too bad the picture is blurry. My camera and I have had words. I'm not happy with it.
Pocket Detail
I really like the seams on the front of the jacket. The pocket is topstiched and then the pleat is below that.
Pictures of it on me and details about the lining and such coming soon.

Sunday, May 17, 2009


Over the course of the weekend I've made some progress on the jacket. I made the lining pattern and cut it out, did the bound buttonholes, and attached the facings and upper collar. It's been awhile since I've made a notched collar. I think I'll finish the inside of the buttonholes tonight while watching a movie (a tradition the Preacher and I maintain).

I didn't take any close-up shots - this picture doesn't really look all that different from the last one. There is still quite a bit left to do, but I'm hoping to finish it this week.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Moving On?

Yesterday I had given up hope that the book I needed to finish my jacket would ever arrive. I had been making lots of small things (hats, T-shirts, underwear, etc) while waiting as I don't like to have more than one thing in progress at a time, much less more than one substantial thing. But, these dinky projects were getting old and in my library book hopelessness I started working on a pair of pants with a muslin.

Another Jalie for me, Jalie 2561. The pattern is designed for stretch wovens and I used a pretty cheap (and ugly) stretch denim from my stash for the muslin.

The front looks pretty good to me. A little bit of pulling, but that's hard to get rid of in the stretch fabric.

The back is too tight and I think letting out the side seams a bit should do the trick. I'll likely add a welt pocket or two in back. I don't really like pants without anything on the back. I was pretty pleased with the fit right out of the envelope. I only had enough denim to make shorts, so I don't know how much length I'll have to add, but that is pretty easy to figure out with flat measuring.

So, I'd be happily going ahead with these pants, but today the book arrived at the library. Well, of course it did - I had moved on! I've glanced at the book and I think it has the info I need. So, I'll set aside the pants and keep going with the jacket. By the time it's finished I may still be able to wear it once or twice.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Jalie 2568 - Women's Underwear

I get so excited when I try something new and love it. Such is the case with this pattern. I've never sewn underwear before. Now that I've tried it, I sense serious addiction potential.

Jalie 2568 has had some really positive reviews at and I've been very pleased with all the other Jalie patterns I've used, so I thought I'd start here. The pattern includes a hipster and bikini in both high or low waisted styles, a brazilian hipster made from wide stretch lace and a camisole.

I've been playing around with this pattern for awhile now. I'd make a pair and then wear them, evaluate, wash them, evaluate, make a change or two and start over. I did this with both the hipster and the bikini pattern. I'd gotten them both to a point where I was happy with them and today I made five pair, assembly-line style - three hipsters and two bikinis.

After reading about Dawn's experience with this pattern, I followed her example and did not finish the leg openings at all. No elastic, no hem, nothing. I love these underwear. They are comfortable and fit well. I did find that I had to go up a couple of sizes from what the size chart suggested. Other reviewers did not have this problem, so it is likely a combination of my body shape and underwear fit preferences.

I prefer the hipster style, but the bikini is nice, too. It's good to have a little variety. The stretch lace that I used for the four pink-ish ones is five inches wide. You can see it in it's full width on the one pair. For the others, I cut it in half and then serged the cut edge to the top of the underwear. I think I like the pair with the full-width lace. I haven't worn them yet, but it seems like they might be comfortable.

My favorite one is the brown pair. The fabric is so nice and the lace is stetchy but stable. Too bad I only had enough fabric for one pair. It was leftover from this turtleneck.

The skivvies look enormous in the pics. That makes me unsure about whether or not to be pleased with the fact that they fit well. I'm sure I'll be making more of these down the road. But, for now I need a break from my rear end.

ETA: Full review here.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Summer Hats

I was on a self-imposed sewing fast last week. We live in a parsonage and it was renovated during February and March. On Saturday we had an Open House so that the church could come see the final result. There's nothing like the thought of a churchful of people coming through your home to motivate you to get things in order. Actually, the thought of that really made me want to run and hide away in my sewing room. Thus, the self-imposed fast. Too much to do and no time to sew. It was a rough week, but now it's over. (And the open house went quite well). The sewing machine was humming away again today.

I made summer hats for my girls. The older daughter's came from the April issue of BWOF and is my first attempt at these patterns. I picked up a copy in NY and thought a hat would be a nice simple way to get my feet wet. There are other patterns in this issue that I plan to try, too.
I think it turned out pretty cute. I had some doubts in process - it looks quite a lot like a bucket on the head. When I showed the finished product to my daughter she giggled and said, "It looks like a gardening hat!" I found that curious, so I asked her what a gardening hat looked like. (Pointing to the hat) "Like this!" Gotcha. So, how do you know what a gardening hat is? (Sounding exasperated) "I don't know, mom. Sometimes I just know things." Oh, right. Okay. However she learned about gardening hats, it made a good impression because she is thrilled with her hat.
I added channel stitching around the brim and bias trim at the base of the sides. The hat is lined with the same fabric as the bias trim: a pink striped cotton shirting with embroidered roses on it.
The younger daughter's hat is made from Butterick 3782. I used a cotton floral print that actually looks a lot like the one in the picture. I've found this to be a good infant/toddler hat pattern. I've tried quite a few and this one works better than most. There are four crown pieces and the brim is wide enough to protect the face, but not too wide to be floppy or block vision.

She's not quite as thrilled about her hat. It doesn't stay on very long.
I'm still waiting for one book from the library to resume work on the spring jacket. One book did arrive (Tailoring: The Classic Guide to Sewing the Perfect Jacket) and while it looks like a great book and one that I'd love to have in my own library, it doesn't have the info that I need. I'm holding out hope that the other one (Easy Guide to Sewing Linings) does. Spring might be long gone before I get to finish this jacket. *sigh*

Saturday, May 2, 2009

More Kwik Sew 2918

I made these tops for my daughter a couple of weeks ago. They are both from Kwik Sew 2918.

Look at that little brother ready for trouble, sneaking out from behind the tree!

For this one, I used the same puffed sleeve as I did for this shirt, but shortened it by 1/2". I think that helped with the "puffiness." The surplice front is one that I modified from the regular front pattern piece awhile back. The horizontal seam waved and rippled so badly when I sewed it that I had to rip it out and sew it again with clear elastic to stabilize it. I guess I stretched the elastic a little too much - it pulls a bit, but I didn't want to rip it out again. The fabric is pretty poor quality so I'm not sure it is going to last all that long. This was leftover from something else, but I have no idea what it was.

This is some of the fabric I bought in NY from Spandex House. The elastic trim at the neck is from Pacific Trimmings. It lays flat around the neck when it is worn, but looks like it tips forward in the photo.

So far I have been so pleased with all of the fabric I bought in NY. It has been fun to cut into it and sew it and remember looking at it on the bolt and feeling it in the store. Good memories...and still so much of it left to sew!

A Trio of T's

I finished the Preacher's T-shirts a couple of days ago. The Preacher isn't a large man - he's tall (6'3") but thin. But, after sewing T-shirts for my three and four year-old, these seemed ginormous. Very basic, very plain white T-shirts, but they meet a need.

For the most part the Preacher is a pretty easy going kind of guy. When it comes to T-shirts, however, he has some pretty strong opinions. He wears a T-shirt underneath a long sleeve shirt during the months that have an "R" in their name (that's not a hard and fast rule, but it pretty much works out that way). He's very particular about how these T-shirts fit. He doesn't like a regular undershirt. It is hard to find T-shirts that meet his approval.

A couple of years ago I set out to copy his favorite T-shirt so that I could make them. I thought it would be a real project and take a few muslins, but I hit the nail on the head the first try. I was really surprised that the fit met with the Preacher's approval, but it did. So, that was the pattern that I used for these.

The fabric is from NY - I don't remember which store. It was really nice to work with - soft, smooth and the perfect weight. I hope they wash and wear well.

Next up...underwear?