Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Kwik Sew 3238 - Tankini

So it seems that the last thing I'll sew for summer is a swimming suit. I know it is strange to do it at the end of summer, but I had real need for a new one before last weekend, so I snatched up every spare moment in a very busy week to get this one together.

Kwik Sew 3238

I used Kwik Sew 3238 - the top is view B and the bottom is view A.

I found the midriff part of the top pretty short, so I added 2 inches in length.  I wanted the top and bottom to meet, but I have a long torso and used the lower rise bottom. The additional length turned out to be good, but I didn't like the flat stripes, so I added a ruched layer on top.

The bust/cups part of the suit is shaped with darts.  I tried using the darts but had a really difficult time getting them smooth.  I wasn't keen on having that part of my body look pointy, so I filled in the dart on the pattern piece, re-cut it, and then gathered it to get the same shaping. It looks smoother and is less disruptive of the stripes. The pattern instructions don't say anything about sewn-in bra cups, but I thought they were necessary. This tutorial was very helpful as this was my first time working with them.

The bottom was a good fit without any alterations. However, I used swimsuit lining on the inside and it stretches out much more than the brown fabric. So, when it's wet the lining peeks out from the inside along the back.  Not a good look.  I think I'll need to re-make the bottom. All the parts of the top are lined with the main fabric and I think that's a better way to go.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Jalie 2804 - Green Sleeveless Top

I've decided that I'm going to give myself this week to keep sewing for summer and then I'm going to hang it up and move on to fall.  There is no way that I'm going to get to all 14 of the things I want to - oh, wait!  Make that 12, since I finished these two items yesterday....

Jalie 2804 and Burda 02/2010 #104

The skirt is my third edition of Burda 02/2010 #104. (The other two are here and here). I added a center front opening with tack buttons and buttonholes. I didn't want the bulk of a CF waistband closure, so I left the waistband the same with a zipper at the center back. The buttonholes are fully functional, but I can't use them to get in and out of the skirt.

Burda 02/2010 #104

For the top, I used Jalie 2804. I liked the sleeveless version, but knew that the ends of those shoulder ties would always feel like flies crawling on my arms to me, so I left them off. I cut the top two sizes larger than what my measurement suggested on the pattern envelope because I really didn't want to it be too tight.  I find that Jalie patterns fit pretty snug, but I think one size up would have been better than two.

Jalie 2804

I'm not as enamored by the included modesty panel as I once was.  The one in this top is always sliding down or flopping over and it feels like I am continually adjusting it.  The modesty panel of this top pulls the armhole in, as you can (maybe) see in this blurry picture.

Jalie 2804

It isn't terribly noticeable when I'm wearing it and not at all noticeable today since I'm wearing it under a black cardigan.  I couldn't resist repeating the black/white/green thing and having my feet be all matchy- matchy. The sandals were a good find at a thrift store, but don't get a lot of wear.

matchy matchy toes

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Kwik Sew 2605 - Two-Piece Swimming Suit

My daughter is in the middle of swimming lessons now and her other suit was looking too small, so I made her a new one last week. Kwik Sew 2605 worked well for me the last time, so I used it again, this time making the two-piece version (so much easier for bathroom breaks).

Kwik Sew 2605

I cut a size five and the only change I made was to take it in ½” on each side of the bottom.

Kwik Sew 2605

The racer-back is as nice as I thought it would be - no straps falling off the shoulders. I considered using a double needle for the hems, but went with the triple zigzag instead.

Kwik Sew 2605

Sewing this suit felt pretty putzy while I was doing it - quartering all the elastics and suit openings, getting it all lined up, serging the elastic on, etc.  But, really, it didn’t take very long. It was faster than shopping for a suit, I’m sure.

There are no less than 14 things I would still like to sew for summer.  There isn’t that much summer left and I’m working on some window treatments again now. Soon I’m going to have to decide if I want to sew for summer to the very end, or hang it up and get started on fall.  Tough call.

Friday, August 13, 2010

More Lad Bags

One of my goals for 2010 was to work on projects for an art sale that I'm participating in continually throughout the year.  The sale is scheduled for the beginning of November.  I've done a terrible job with this goal.  There's always been something else that seems more urgent. Anyway, I completed six lad bags for the sale earlier this week.

Lad Bags

Since I had problems with the pencils falling out of the last version, I added a flap to keep the pencils in.

Lad Bag

Lad Bag

Lad Bags

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Running (!) Clothes

Four weeks ago, I started running. Those of you who know me might find this surprising.  But, believe me when I tell you that you are no more surprised than I am.  I've tried being a runner before and never liked it.  I'd even get to the point where I could do it without it being painful and I still didn't like it, so I never stuck with it.  For some crazy reason, right now I'm loving it.  I don't understand it at all, but I'm not fighting it. My initial goal was to run three miles in 30 minutes and I'm just about there. Everything about it feels good.

NOW everything about it feels good because I fixed the problem of having nothing suitable to wear while running. I learned early on that sleeves feel like they are in my way and I don't like them.  I also learned that shorts that ride up are no good. (But, really they only ride up for the first half of the run - after that I'm sweaty enough that they stick in place.  Lovely). Since I was really only after some basic clothes - no high tech fabrics, gussets in unique places, grippy elastic, etc - I thought I could quickly make something.

New Look 6160 and Kwik Sew 3660

New Look 6160 is a pretty good top pattern.  The front pattern piece is drafted with extra ease for the bust and you ease stitch it in between well-marked notches that match up with the back.  I think this is a good feature of a basic T-shirt pattern. Here I used a raspberry rib knit and dark gray interlock. After making a muslin, I took in the side seams 1/2", decreased the width of the neckband, and added bands around the armholes.  The pattern suggests hemming them with a 5/8" hem.  On the muslin, I found that the armhole gapes and I just don't like how it looks as much.

New Look 6160

I should note that I do wear the muslin and will until I can replace it with something better. I made it in record time and the sloppy work is proof (not photoworthy). However, judging from the number of people I see yawning while they're driving at 6:30 AM, no one is going to notice it while I'm running.

For the shorts, I used Kwik Sew 3660. Shorts are not one of the options given in the pattern - I just cut off the pant legs at the length I wanted. After making (and wearing) a muslin of these shorts, I felt that the rise was too high. On the pattern envelope the pants sit below the model's bellybutton. Mine came just above my belly button and I prefer a lower rise. I trimmed 5/8" off the top of the front and back pieces and left the waistband unchanged.  That made a much better fit.

Kwik Sew 3660

The waistband is folded in half and there is a piece of elastic (pattern suggests 1", I used 3/8") zigzagged to the inside.  I have a purchased pair of yoga pants just like this and really like it.  It is both secure and stretchy without being bulky.

I'd like to make more running clothes, but there are some other things that are increasing in urgency.

Thursday, August 5, 2010


Thanks for the compliments on the tote bags.  It's good to know that many of you liked them - hopefully people buy them!

When I dropped off the tote bags, I also dropped off three purses.

The first is my own "design" - a combination of a purse I saw my sister use awhile ago and the one that I currently carry. It has a long adjustable strap and I pictured it worn across the body, but it could go over one shoulder, too.  The top folds over and doesn't have any fastener.

Fold-over Bag

I wanted the sides of the bag to be straight, not angled toward the bottom (like the tote bags), but wanted boxed corners, so I followed the same tutorial as I did for these little pouches, just with different dimensions. It worked well, but since I kept the bag pretty flat/narrow (from front to back) any angle from boxing the corners the regular way probably wouldn't have been noticeable.

Fold-over Bag Body

The tab with rings is primarily decorative, but works as something to grab to easily open the bag, too.  The rings are "harness rings" from the hardware store. They are zinc-plated and come in many sizes. A warning on the tag reads, "DO NOT USE for overhead lifting of a load, support of human weight, athletic or playground equipment." I think handbag use is okay.

Fold-over Bag Tab

The strap is adjustable (more harness rings) and is attached to the bag with rivets. I bound the end of the strap to cover the raw edges.

Fold-over Bag Strap

The lining is cut longer than the outer bag so that it folds over and forms a sort of binding. I stitched in the ditch from the right side to keep it in place. Here you can see the slider on the strap for adjustments. There is a single pocket on the inside of the bag, but I couldn't get a good picture of it.

Fold-over Bag Lining

For the other two purses, I used the Buttercup Bag pattern from Made by Rae.  I purchased the pattern with limited commercial license.  Her tutorial/pattern is free, but the pattern comes with an enlarged version and it gives you the right to sell it. Both of these are the enlarged version.

Buttercup Bag (large)

I used the same fabric as I did for this bag. It feels a little boring here to me, but maybe someone will like it.

The pattern includes instructions for adding a magnetic snap as a closure, but M really wanted purses that closed completely, so I added a recessed zipper. I'm happy with how it turned out, but it took me forever to figure out how to do this.  Even with two tutorials helping me, I thought and thought and thought about it.  Finally, it just clicked.  I'm not sure why this was such a puzzle for me.  The tutorials I used are here and here.  The second one was much more helpful for me than the first, but I appreciated the modified pattern picture in the first, since it was for the exact bag I was making.

Buttercup Bag (large)

The zipper pull is made from the same fabric as the lining.

The button tab on the front is purely decorative.

Buttercup Bag (large)

There are two interior pockets - one on each side.  The lining is a quilting cotton.

Buttercup Bag (large)

Initially, I was going to make the third bag a different style, but by the time I was getting to the end of this order, I really wanted to be done and the style I had in mind wasn't all that different from the Buttercup Bag. While another style would have been nice for display purposes, I decided against it for time purposes.

So, the second Buttercup Bag is just like the first.

Buttercup Bag (large)

If the other fabric was a little boring, this one is a little crazy.  :)

I chose to add piping (the same fabric as the lining) and leave off the button tab.

Buttercup Bag (large)

I took these rings off of a purse that I wasn't using anymore. They're considerably heavier than the harness rings mentioned above, but a good size and weight for this bag.

Buttercup Bag (large)

Buttercup Bag (large)

Okay, bring on the customers!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Tote Bags

Back in late June, M asked me to make some tote bags and purses to sell in her shop.  I just finally finished them last week.

For the tote bags, I copied the shape, size and style of my Land's End medium tote bag. I wanted them to be attractive and interesting, but also very functional and sturdy. Unlike my Land's End bag, these have a lining and an interior pocket.

Zebra-print Tote Bag

This zebra print fabric is leftover from this skirt. The contrast fabric is a heavyweight linen. The straps are cotton webbing and have reinforced stitching at the top of the bag.

Zebra-print Tote Bag

The inside of the bag has a double pocket - the front part zips and the back part does not.  A key clip is sewn to the binding of the side seam.

Zebra-print Tote Bag

Zebra-print Tote Bag

The other two bags are the same size, but have slightly different features.  The patchwork bag doesn't have any exterior pockets. There is a patchwork strip on the back of the bag, too.

Patchwork Tote Bag

The straps are strips of patchwork covering a double layer of cotton canvas.  They are soft, but strong.

Patchwork Tote Bag

They also have reinforced stitching at the top of the bag.

Patchwork Tote Bag

The interior has two pockets (one large one divided by a line of stitching) and a key clip.

Patchwork Tote Bag

The last one is my favorite. I like green and gray together lately.  It's such a radical change from my usual favorite of green and brown.  :)

Green and Gray Tote Bag

The green and gray fabrics are Kona cotton.  There is a layer of cotton canvas between the outer fabric and the lining to give it weight and strength.

Green and Gray Tote Bag

The straps are gray on the outside and green on the inside.  There is a double layer of canvas inside the outer fabrics.

Green and Gray Tote Bag

The lining of this bag is particularly fun and was the inspiration for the green and gray combination.

Green and Gray Tote Bag

The interior has a double pocket like the zebra bag and a key clip.

Green and Gray Tote Bag

Too bad I cut the heads off those women with the zipper!  Well, maybe it's just too bad that I didn't go back and fix it.

I've made quite a few things to sell in S and M's shops, but these are the first things that I've had a hard time letting go of.  I really wanted to keep them - especially the green and gray one!