Friday, June 29, 2012

New Look 6071 - Green and Brown Dress

I've been wanting to get this pattern and fabric together for awhile now. The fabric is from my last trip to New York. I used the pattern (New Look 6071) one other time and knew that I'd like to try it again.

New Look 6071

This is a very comfortable, easy-to-wear dress. It will be very cool on hot days. The cross-over detail on the front is interesting, but really isn't complicated to do. I was surprised how quickly I was able to finish this dress. The neckline is quite low, so I added the modesty panel.

A fabric close-up:

Fabric Close-up

This is a poly ITY jersey. It was wonderfully agreeable to work with. The neckline didn't stretch out of shape even though I didn't stabilize it with clear elastic.

I think I'll be wearing this dress a lot this summer!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Tan Shorts

Most of the summer clothes I've sewn for myself in the last couple of years have been dresses and skirts. I wear dresses and skirts more than shorts or pants, so that's been working out well, but there are times where shorts really are a better choice. And I don't know about you, but I find it even harder to locate shorts worth buying than pants. So, my delight with the success of these pants was compounded when I realized that the pattern would also work really well for shorts.

Tan Shorts

When I made my son these pants, I was really impressed with the fabric and almost regretted not saving it for myself (but I'm trying hard not to do that "saving the fabric" thing). Turns out, the remaining remnant was enough for a pair of shorts for me. The stretch twill has a really nice brushed surface and from my son's pants I know that it washes and wears well.

I did some triple topstitching on these also, just like his pants. Other than here on the front pockets, it is also on the welt pocket flaps and the hems.

Tan Shorts

I used a neutral plaid for the interior waistband. It's cut on the bias, but it's a curved piece so it doesn't end up on the true bias at the center back. Waistband closures include hooks and eyes and a button. Peter just had a great post about installing these hooks and eyes.

Tan Shorts

Finally, there are the welts and flaps on the back - no pockets. I adjusted the darts so they are parallel to the CB seam and perpendicular to the welts.

Tan Shorts

Even though there are some fussy bits on these (fly, welts, waistband) they came together pretty quickly. Being quite confident they would fit means a lot less time trying on and adjusting. Love having a pattern that just works! Here I am wearing them to blow bubbles with my daughter at her preschool graduation picnic. She's wearing another hand-me-down blogged about here.

Tan Shorts

Monday, June 25, 2012

Burda 04/2010 #114 - Denim Shirt

A denim shirt has been on my wish list for awhile. The ones I've seen and have liked online are too expensive for me right now, and the ones I've tried on in stores haven't fit all that well. It seemed that the answer would be to make one, but I wasn't hopeful about finding the type of denim that I wanted. It couldn't turn out like a jacket - I definitely wanted a shirt. On the next visit to Fabricland, I saw this lightweight denim that would work well for a shirt, but it was more than $20/meter - more than I was willing to pay. I waited until it was significantly marked down before I purchased it.

Denim Shirt

For the pattern, I used Burda 04/2010 #114, the same as I used here (and for another shirt that I have yet to blog about). I wanted breast pockets with flaps and borrowed the ones from New Look 6704.

Denim Shirt

The insides of the cuffs, the undercollar, the inner collar band, and the underside of the pocket flaps are all cut from a blue and white stripe fabric.

Denim Shirt

Denim Shirt

They're a bit overexposed in all these pictures, but I used pearl snaps instead of buttons for the closures. I like the western feel they give.

Denim Shirt

Two problems I had with the snaps: I think slightly smaller ones would look a bit better (these were my only choice at Fabricland) and the prongs were not long enough to go through the top of the pocket. With the pleats and the hem, there are several layers of denim there. The prongs just barely poked through and there was no way they were going to grab the back of the snap to stay attached. So for now the flap is just, well, flapping. I may tack it down later, but I first wanted to see how it wears and washes. Maybe leaving it free will look better.

Denim Shirt

The fabric still cost more than I usually am willing to pay, but it seems to be good quality, isn't an impulse purchase, and I think it will prove to be a good value. I used regular (not heavyweight) taupe thread and a plain straight stitch for topstitching, hoping for a subtle bit of contrast rather than a bold line.

Denim Shirt

The weather has been very hot lately, so I haven't worn the shirt yet. But, I'm happy to have it hanging there in my closet waiting for an opportunity.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Simplicity 2584 - Navy Dress with Gingham Piping

I'm not sure if I should say this dress was a long time coming, or a really quick sew. I cut it out and just started the sewing at the end of last summer. I didn't complete it before the weather became too cold to wear it, so I bagged it up, set it aside and moved on. When I recently pulled it out, it didn't take me long to finish it up.

The pattern is Simplicity 2584 and I really like it. I combined various parts of the views to get what I wanted - drawstring dress style like View A, sleeveless with the scalloped slit facing like View D.

Simplicity 2584
The neckline edges are even at the top. The dress is just not on the dressform straight here.

You know that I love piping, so I couldn't resist this opportunity to use it here. For a few years I really didn't wear much navy blue, but now I'm really liking it a lot again. Here I like the classic red, white and blue combination.

Simplicity 2584

The scalloped neckline piece is sewn on top of the dress and then a facing is applied and turned toward the inside. The pattern calls for an exposed zipper on the back, but I found I didn't need it to get the dress on and off, so I omitted it.

Simplicity 2584

I had a hard time getting the armhole binding to work out as described in the instructions, so I just did my own thing and am happy with how it worked out. My drawstring is mostly elastic with the fabric ends stitched to it - more comfortable and easier to adjust the gathering.

Simplicity 2584

It's a very easy dress to wear and I can see making some of the other views in the pattern. This particular fabric creases pretty easily. You can see my sitting wrinkles. My younger daughter is wearing the dress I made for my older daughter and blogged about here. I'd put that dress in my Top Ten Children's Garments made by me. (Maybe I should actually make that list up...could be fun...)

Simplicity 2584

Sunday, June 17, 2012

What My Dad Taught Me About Sewing

By far, most of what I know about sewing I learned from my mom. She taught me when I was young and guided me through many projects. I'm like her in many ways. But, as I get older I find that I share many personality qualities with my dad. As anyone who "turns into their parent" will say, some of these qualities I'm happy to have and some, well, a little less so.

As I've been reflecting on this lately, I've noticed that many of the ways I'm similar to him show up in my sewing - both the process and the products. Here are the ones I notice most frequently...

1. Respect tools. 
My dad had an enviable shop at home. Maybe I should say "shops" - a wood shop and a metal shop. These shops were organized and well-equipped. Tools hung on pegs on the walls and then they were outlined in marker, so that there was no confusion at all about what went where. Using a tool was not something that you did without permission. Permission was usually granted but not without a "What do you need it for?" followed by a "Make sure you put it back." It makes sense to me because he used quality tools and it's so irritating to not be able to find the tool you need when you need it.

Part of me really wants to cover one wall of my sewing room with pegboard and hooks and outline all my tools on it. Seems like a brilliant way to have everything handy and organized. Currently my tools do each have their place and I don't let them wander far from it.  My mom graciously shared her sewing tools with me for years, but I think I'm going to struggle with this if my kids want to use my sewing room. They already know not to use anything from the sewing room without permission first and I can hear my dad in my tone of voice when I ask them "what do you need it for?"

Quilting Cottons Organized

2.  If it's worth doing, do it well.
I was an RA during college. To promote community, we encouraged people to keep their suite doors open. I wanted to make this as easy as possible for them, so I asked my dad if he could make door stops for me to  distribute to the girls on my floor. I thought this would be really simple - done with some scraps in a few minutes. My dad was willing to help, but he first wanted to know exactly what I wanted and asked me to draw a diagram with dimensions and everything. I was a little perplexed. It's just a little wedge to jam under a door! Why do you need a blueprint? But, that was how he worked, so I complied. And he came through with a box full of perfectly consistent hardwood doorstops. They were all sanded and beautiful. I was afraid to give them out because the girls wouldn't give them the respect they deserved.

Ottobre 1/2011 Denim Skirt

I have a hard time doing quick, sloppy sewing. Certainly there is room for growth in my sewing skills, but I'm well past the point of just wanting to get something done. I think this is why I really don't enjoy sewing costumes. They aren't worn much, so they aren't worth the time, but if something isn't worth investing time in, then I don't want to sew it. From time to time, this quality does mean that I get paralyzed with perfectionism and sometimes knowing that I won't be able to do something as well as I'd like prevents me from even trying. I try to keep it all in balance - aim for quality, but also be satisfied with my personal best.

2009-08-24 sport shirt 011

3.  When you find something that works, repeat it often and without apology.
I remember giving my dad a hard time about his "wardrobe." He very consistently wore khaki pants of various shades with a striped sport shirt - whatever colored stripes, but usually on a light background. When I'd scoff at his "boring" clothes, he was unapologetic and didn't seem to feel the need to justify his choices to me (much to my teenage surprise!).

Ottobre 1/2010 #24

While my wardrobe isn't nearly so consistent as his was, I operate much the same way. I don't have a huge pattern stash because I prefer to stick with a smaller number of tried-and-true ones. Some sewists only use a pattern once and are always ready to try the next new thing. That's not my style. If I like a pattern, I use it multiple times - sometimes changing the details of it, sometimes not. Now I'm grown-up enough to know that my clothes are really mostly for me, so what do I care if someone else thinks that's a boring way to sew/dress?!?

McCall's 3830

4. Finish what you start.
My family had a boat while I was growing up. Many summer Saturdays were spent enjoying lakes and waterskiing. When we'd get back home, the kids would try to pile out of the van and into the house, moving on to the next thing. We'd hear "Whoa, whoa, whoa, we're not done here." Then we'd be reminded of all the things that needed to be taken care of or put away before we were free to move on.

Owls sweater

It's good to fully complete a task. I'm quite consistent about this within the sewing room (won't say much about outside of the sewing room - could use a little growth there). I like to work on one thing at a time. I don't really do UFO's (unfinished objects). I'm fairly careful and calculated about projects that I start and that usually means I want to finish them. Does everything turn out successful? Absolutely not. But, I find great satisfaction in finishing something completely.

The Big One - Finished

My dad passed away a little over 12 years ago. Many of the things I've learned from him are still sinking in, I think. He was a great dad and I'll always be grateful for his influence and my heritage. Sometimes I finish a project and wish that I could show it to him. I'm confident that I'll get to again someday. Heaven wouldn't be heaven without fabric and sewing machines, right?

Monday, June 11, 2012

Colette Patterns Sorbetto Top

On my last trip to Fabricland, I was determined not to buy any new fabric other than what was on my list to finish projects in progress. BUT...I just couldn't pass up this yellow tie-dyed rayon at $3.00/meter. It was a great deal and I really liked it. I knew that if I didn't get it, I would regret it later. To assuage my guilt about my lack of willpower and inability to keep my word when it comes to fabric purchases, I kept the cut minimal with a simple summer top in mind.

It doesn't get any simpler than the free downloadable Colette Sorbetto. Many, many other bloggers have made this top and I don't have much new to add to the reviews. The main thing I needed to change was the length. From looking at the pattern, I could tell that it was going to be a midriff-baring top on me if I didn't change it. So, I added 1.25" in length at the waist right off the bat.

Colette Patterns Sorbetto

Then I did a quick mock-up. The armhole was much too high and tight, the bust dart was too high, and the whole thing was still too short. I added another 1.25" in length across the upper chest, taking care of all three problems at once.

Colette Patterns Sorbetto

The bust darts are perfectly horizontal, which I didn't think much about, but it looks a little weird in the finished product. If I make it again I think I'll adjust them so they have a bit of an angle.

The fabric has a wonderful drape. It's been awhile since I've sewn with a woven rayon. But, the lovely drape did make the bias tape a bit of a challenge to work with. While I was attaching the bias tape I thought it was horribly uneven and wobbly, but now I'm okay with it. Sometimes a little distance helps with perspective.

Colette Patterns Sorbetto

I made an infinity scarf with the remainder of the fabric. I don't have anything in particular in mind to wear it with, but it seemed like very scarf-worthy fabric.

Infinity Scarf

Then, since I was in infinity scarf mode, I used up the remainder of fabric from this skirt for another scarf. I oriented the stripes in opposite directions on the two sides of the scarf.

Infinity Scarf

It didn't turn out exactly as I had envisioned, but it'll be fun to come up with some styling options. I can't get enough of stripes lately.

Infinity Scarf

Friday, June 8, 2012

Simple Summer Stuff - 2012 edition

It's that time of year again. My oldest daughter needs shorts and tops! A few months ago I emptied a box of clothes that I had in storage. They were clothes that I wore after having babies, before I was back to my usual size. I don't need them anymore, so some were donated and some were converted into clothes for my daughter.


Both t-shirt and shorts made from two old tops.


The picot elastic from stash was a good match.


Two more tops cut up and re-purposed here. I used fold-over elastic around the neck and sleeve hems. The striped fabric is so stretchy that I had to staystitch the neck edge before applying the elastic. Then it had just the right amount of stretch to get the elastic on. After it was applied, I removed the staystitching (it's probably not actually staystitching then, is it?)


And, then a different style top also made from an old top of mine. This is Ottobre 3-2012-17, a knit top with ruffled sleeves. Those sleeve ruffles are gathered with clear elastic and even though it looks fine from the outside, it was a mess getting it together. The fabric is another very stretchy rib, which I find challenging to work with.


I don't have a rolled hem option on my serger, so I created a lettuce edge with a zigzag stitch on the sewing machine (explained more here).


I'm not very excited about the shorts. It was stash fabric and matches okay enough, but the print (butterflies and flowers) is largely indiscernible.

I'd still like to make her a sundress, but that isn't as urgent as these outfits were. Bring on the summer!