Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Shaking My Head

I have been catching up on my blog reading and a clicking through Pinterest waiting for new fall TV shows to start.  Some things have come to light and just can't get my head around them.  I have compiled a preliminary list of "Things I don't get".

Things I don't get:

1.  The obsession with Mason Jars.  If you do a Pinterest search for Mason Jars, you will get a zillion pins of crafty uses.  You can paint them, cover them in glitter, mount them to a board and use them for storing your toothbrushes.  The list goes on and on.  Do you know what I use mason jars for?  Canning.  The end.

2.  The obsession with pallets

The wood is rough and full of nail holes (if you every get it apart).  They spend lots of time in warehouses, in the back of large trucks, or even outdoors.  Who knows what disgusting things, bugs, or animals they have been exposed to or what weather they have endured.  That wood is not anything I'd want inside of my home, even if the wood was smooth.

3.  Everyone's love for the Grainline Archer shirt.  It looks like every other button-down shirt.  I don't get it.  There aren't even any darts!
3.  Colette Laurel:  A shapeless shift dress.  Not worth the money.

4.  Jumpsuits/Rompers: They are onesies for grown-ups.  No way, for many many reasons.

Even with all of this head shaking, quite a bit of sewing has been completed and is in progress.  I have decided to participate in the Fall Essentials Sew-Along.  More on that later.


Friday, September 5, 2014

Because Koalas are really cute

I've thought of making a padded strap for my camera for quite a while.  However, it never made it to the top of the priority list and was always forgotten until I put my rough, scratchy camera strap around my neck.  A few weeks ago we had friends from Australia (whom we met in India) visiting us and we took them to our local tourist "must see": Thomas Jefferson's Monticello.  It is a beautiful place, on beautiful grounds, with a beautiful get the picture.  My neck was very irritated after schlepping my camera around Monticello and I knew I'd be making a padded strap as soon I possibly could.  My Aussie friends had just given me some very cool Australian themed fat quarters and the light bulb went off!  Use the cute koala fabric to make the padded strap! 

So here it is! 

Adorable right?  I used this tutorial for a loose guideline.  I did take the tutorial's advice and make a little pocket for the lens cap at one end of the strap.  In hindsight, I should have measured the size of my lens cap first...the pocket is a little snug.  Oh well.  My neck is happy, koalas are cute, and I get to think about my friends every time I use my camera.  Win-win-win!


Monday, September 1, 2014

A Blue Dress of Happiness: Lady Skater

I debated for a long time about buying Kitschy-Coo's Lady Skater Dress.  I thought that I could use my Renfrew pattern for the top and just draft an A-line skirt for the bottom.  That wouldn't be very hard would it?  No, probably not.  But in the end laziness won out and rather than reinventing the wheel, I broke down and bought the pdf.  I am very glad I did. 

A Swishy Skirt!
What I did:
  • I made a size 6 with the cap sleeves
  • shortened the bodice by 1" based on other reviews (and I am short waisted)
  • swayback adjustment
  • cut the skirt length of a size 8, which was perfect for all 5'-2" of me.  I used a 7/8" hem and didn't trim anything off!
I used a turquoise Cotton Lycra from Spandex World.  It was the first time I have purchased non-swimwear fabric from them, and I was very pleased.  The cotton-lycra was heavy compared to other jerseys I have used, has good recovery, and it pressed beautifully.  It is also one of my absolute favorite colors.

The neckband came out really well and lies perfectly flat.  The sleeves are drafted well and didn't pucker or have any unnecessary ease. 
Next time I will make the back slightly narrower and cut a size 5 for my narrow upper back.  Other than that, I love it!

The next question is: Should I break down and buy the kids version of the Lady Skater Dress?

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

More Red...just not for me

After celebrating an excellent Fourth of July, both of my daughters realized the wisdom in my words "Reapply sunscreen!"  My eldest had been complaining about her current rash guard being too small and didn't want to wear it.  (tsk tsk)
I had her search through my spandex stash to find something she liked which I could make into a rash guard and bikini bottoms.  She chose the red polka dots which I used for my most recent Jalie 3023:

I had only purchased 1 yard of the polka dots so there wasn't enough to make an entire rash guard from it, but I was able to make the bottoms of Jalie 2447 in size M.
The bottoms come in either a high or normal waist version.  From previous experience I knew that the high waist version is quite high...about belly-button high.  I cut the high waist anyway knowing that I could trim it down before adding the elastic.  My eldest thought that the high waist was indeed too high and I trimmed it down 1.25" before adding the elastic.   After finishing the briefs, I made a solid red rash guard for her from Jalie 2566 with a raised neckline and lengthened sleeves.   I had enough polka dot scraps to make the neck band and sleeve bands (Renfrew-style) to up the style factor.


 I topstitched the seam allowances down using a chain-stitch on my coverstitch machine.

So there you go...more red threads.  If this keeps up I will soon need a new huge spool of red thread!  

Friday, June 27, 2014

My Red Threads

For some inexplicable reason I have been sewing a lot of red garments lately.  Remember my Polka dot tankini?  Red.  Back in May I whipped out a pair of red twill Jalie 2908 shorts.  I know...Jalie 2908 is the jeans pattern that I have made 4 times already.  Well, the shorts make it 5 times.  Since making them, I have lost a little weight and they are now loose.  I will continue to wear them and bask in my weight loss.  :)

For Father's Day, I made my husband 2 new Hawaiian shirts (to be blogged about sometime in the future).  When ordering his fabric from I ordered myself some fabric too with the intention of making myself a Hawaiian shirt.  Last week's swim meet had a "Red" theme, so I took that opportunity to sew up my Red Hawaiian Shirt.

Big thanks to my 7yo photographer!

 I used New Look 6197 which has both a men's and a woman's version of the classic Hawaiian (aka casual) shirt. 

The woman's version has a shirt-tail hem and bust darts.  I made a size 14 which had a finished bust measurement of 43" and did a 1" FBA. Thank goodness I would have been too tight otherwise.   I learned my lesson from this top:  remember to ignore the ease across the back when considering whether or not it will fit over your chest.

My major complaint was that there was too much ease at the sleeve cap.  I could tell right from the pattern piece and followed this tutorial to remove the excess.    Unfortunately I chickened out and didn't remove the entire 1" of extra ease, so I wound up having to do the basting stitches and ease the sleeve into the armhole.  I will be brave and bold next time and remove it all :)  FYI: The men's version doesn't have nearly that much ease.

My final observation: shirt-tail hems are not the easiest thing to hem.  Seriously.  I'm going to straighten it out next time.

So while there is still some red fabric in my stash, next up is blue...Stay tuned :)

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Swim Shorts! Jalie 3351

I loved Jalie's new pattern releases.  The first one that made me say "Oooh!" was #3351, the swim shorts. 
Jalie 3351
I am pretty conservative when it comes to swimwear.  I always wear a rash guard and typically wear a swim skirt.  While living in India for 3 years conservative dressing was the norm and anything very revealing was scandalous.  I got used to people staring at me no matter what I wore, so it was just better and less stressful/annoying for me to be covered up.  Also, when we first arrived in India, my girls were 2.5 and 4.5 years old; I could not rely on them to get sunscreen on my back so a rash guard was really necessary.

I made the swim short in boring black milliskin matte from Spandex World.   I cut a size X at the waist and a Y at the hip.  I made the shorts as designed with the attached brief.  The leg opening of the brief is very modest and quite low cut.  Like all Jalie patterns I have made, the drafting is excellent.  I had only one issue with the instructions.  The final step didn't mention how to attach the brief to the shorts and waistband.  Strangely, the French version of the instructions didn't mention how to attach the shorts...I emailed Jalie and got a response the next morning:

Hi Meigan,
You attach the briefs at figure 31 (very last step, after the waistband is attached to the shorts):
Pin wrong side of shorts to waistband facing, at the seam allowance, matching centers and sides (fig. 31). Stitch, stretching the band as you sew.

There is indeed a small mistake on fig. 31 (on the label at the bottom of the shorts). It should be like this:
Thanks for pointing it out! 


Have a great day,

Emilie FournierJalie Patterns Inc.
Now, the diagram on my pattern looked just like the one she sent me, but she didn't answer my question about the assembly.  EDIT: I email again before writing this blog post and she agreed that there was a mistake in the instructions and has made a note on the website. (Side note: I still think their errata on the website is incomplete and there is a missing step in their instructions.  I have sent another email and I am awaiting a response.)

I just received a response from Emilie at Jalie Patterns.  She realized that they were in fact missing a step between figure 30 & fig. 31.  She has updated the .pdf instructions.  Here is the link:
Rather than waiting for an answer to my original enquiry, I sewed what made sense to me.  I basted the shorts and briefs together with a zig-zag stitch.  Then I attached the waistband to them both.  Ta Da!
Front view (photo is lightened so you can see the black)

I made the rash guard last summer.  I made it using the Jalie 2566 tee shirt pattern.  I cut at least one size smaller than I would have for a tee shirt, and raised the neckline, added a neck band and lengthened the sleeve.   It was an easy tweak to change the pattern from a tee to a rash guard. 
I wore the shorts swimming before writing up this post, because I wanted to give a complete and thorough review. 
First of all: elastic that is comfortable when you are in your sewing room and dry is a little too loose when swimming.  I did not follow Jalie's elastic lengths and measured what was comfortable on my waist instead.'s a little loose.  Not falling off in the water loose, but "I'd be happier if it were a little more snug."
Second, the shorts stayed soaking wet for a very long time. There is a lot of fabric that holds a lot of water.  Granted, my fabric is not super thin, so it's likely to be wetter and heavier than a thinner fabric, but I was noticeably wetter longer than normal when wearing a swim skirt.  For my next iterations, I may do something fancy and omit the pockets, and also use thinner spandex but for the sake of sharing knowledge, it's something to consider. 
Here are some more photos:
Side view

And because we are all friends, here is what I meant about the briefs being very modest and low cut around the legs:
So in summary, they look great, they feel good.  The length of the shorts was very good.  The instructions are missing a tiny bit of info, and consider the weight of the fabric when wet.  I will get some good wear out of these swim shorts and will make more pairs in the future.  Another winner from Jalie.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Easy Summer top: New Look 6892

The temperatures have been rising and I have become bored with tee shirts and wanted to make a loose summer top.  Enter New Look 6892:
New Look 6892
I knew that this type of top would not work well with a fabric with lots of body, so I looked through my stash for something that would both gather and drape well.  I chose a Lisette cotton print that I purchased at Jo-Anns last summer.  I rarely find any fabric worth purchasing at my local JoAnn so this one sticks out in my memory.

The top is very easy and has only 3 pieces: front, back and sleeve.  I made the casing for the elastic at the neckline by making my own bias tape rather than using purchased bias tape.  Since the fabric was so fine, ready made bias tape would have been too thick, stiff, and bulky.  It was well worth the trouble to make my own.

Here is the finished top:
Front View

Back view

There is a bit of ease built into this pattern and I didn't want too much blousey-ness so instead of cutting a 14 (per my measurements), I cut a 10, which had a finished bust measurement of 43.5".  Now that it's done, I could use a little more room across the bust.  Yes, the finished measurement is bigger than my bust measurement, but half of that ease is across the the next time I make this, I will cut the front in a size 12.

I played around with the neckline elastic a bit.  I was a little worried that the neckline would be too wide, so I adjusted the elastic until it felt right.   I took the photos above in the morning and after wearing the top for a while, I decided the elastic was too tight and was pulling the neckline up too far.  (Grab the seam ripper and add a small length of elastic...)  Now it feels better and isn't riding up.  I also added 1" to the sleeve elastic so that it wouldn't cut off the circulation in my upper arm.  Check the elastic length before you sew it into the sleeve. 

I'm very happy with this top.  It is cool and comfortable and I used some nice stash fabric!  Win-win!

Monday, June 9, 2014

A Polka-Dot Tankini: Jalie 3023

It's summertime so I am sewing swimsuits again!  I have made another Jalie 3023 Tankini.

Jalie 3023
My first one was made last March and I still love and wear it all the time:

First Version: Blogged Here
 I got the idea into my head that I really really wanted a red polka dot swimsuit, and so this one was born:


Ta Da!  I made only tiny changes on this version.  First, I raised the waistband of the bottoms by 1/2".  Second, I lengthened the skirt by 1"; I think the skirt hits my hips/thighs in a better spot now.  Third:  I added powermesh to the front waistband.  It now acts like a little tummy smoother which is awesome!
Once again I'm glad I made the little tutorial about the strap assembly and construction.  I referred back to it before I started sewing and it was a good refresher which sped up my sewing considerably. 
For this version, I used white for the waistband just for some fun contrast.  :) 

Bring on Summer!


Friday, June 6, 2014

Me Made in May

I wore something Me-Made each day of May, but I was shockingly unsuccessful in taking photos each day.  Rather than boring you with me made Renfrews and other tees, I will share my highlights instead:

 Simplicity 2906 skirt

New Look 6735 Tee and beige Jalie 2908 Jeans 
      Sewaholic Renfrew Tee and Simplicity 3628 jacket

Maria Denmark Kimono Tee and Jalie 2908 Jeans in brown non-stretch denim
McCalls 6654 Maxi Skirt
In surprising news...I have been sewing!  While in London at the end of April, I made it to Walthamstow market on my last day there.  In the first shop I went in, I found this very cool striped knit with little accordion-like pleats/wrinkles.  It was 1pound per yard, so I bought 2 yards.  I thought it would make a cool maxi skirt.  I did actually use a pattern for the skirt which is almost silly, but whatever...It was McCalls 6654, and I made the flared version.  I didn't have enough fabric to match the stripes along the side seams but I think it makes the skirt more RTW ;)  For the hem, I marked it about 2"off of the floor and used my coverstitch machine. 
This is my first maxi skirt.  I am only 5'-2" tall and I have always thought that a maxi skirt would make me look even shorter than I am.  I was reading this blog post by Michelle at Happily Caffeinated, where she mentions in her "Pet Peeve #2" about being annoyed by being told what you should and should NOT wear, and that you can actually pull off whatever you feel comfortable wearing.  So all 5'-2" of me made a maxi skirt.  I cut off several inches from the pattern so it didn't use quite so much fabric, which is a benefit of being short.  I still didn't have enough fabric to match the stripes though.  Now that it's done,  I can see the appeal of a maxi skirt.  Unshaven legs stay hidden as well as post-winter pasty-white legs.  (I don't tan and I am an SPF freak so pale legs are pretty much year round).  When your fabric is pretty or interesting, there is a lot of it in a maxi skirt and it's really shown off.  I had a few small chunks of fabric left which got turned into a skirt for my youngest.  So I got 2 skirts for 2 pounds!  :)
In other news, I have been sewing like crazy, so more garment post are coming!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...