Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Great Purge of 2013

It is a mere 3 weeks into 2013, and it has been quite a year so far!  It began with a bout with the flu (boo!) and then hubby's mom tried to die on us (hiss!).   We all had the vaccine, so all in all our flu was manageable.  The MIL is back home, and hopefully behaving herself.  (The near death experience was preventable, grrrr.) But on to other things!

Yesterday, I was able to check a major 'to-do' off of my ever growing list.  Do you keep one of those lists, either in your head or written down?  Maybe on a smartphone App?  As I have mentioned once or thirty-five times here on the blog, I shed a good bit of weight in 2012.  My closet was busting at the seams with clothes that were too big and completely unwearable.  A few pictures of the too big clothing:

Jackets and Slacks

Sweaters and casual clothes.

Casual pants, workout clothes, shorts and skirts on the left, tees and tops/sweaters on the right.

Tops, summer jackets/coats.


After purging, I pulled out some old clothes in a smaller size that I had saved because they were good quality, timeless styles, or just my favorites, and I had plans to revisit the size.  100% fit, yay!!! Everything that is immediately wearable is already in my closet, but some need a little work.

Mending/refashioning/resizing pile.
This pile consists of things I've deemed worth keeping but need a little work.  I kept this pile small intentionally, because I hate mending.  On the bottom is my boucle skirt that I made according to the Threads article that showed how to make a lined skirt so it is easy to take in.  So glad I did that!

Nine pairs of pants or jeans that need hemmed. 
The pants need hemmed because I've had to give up high heeled shoes (sniff) due to a painful foot issue.  I have been shopping for shoes that are sensible and don't hurt when I walk (read = unfashionable, and I'm crying on the inside).  I ordered a pair today, so I'll be a hemming fool when the shoes arrive.  

So, what to do with all the too-big clothes?  I have a friend  who is to become the beneficiary of my ex-wardrobe.  She is on her own weight loss journey, and hates to shop (imagine!), so is happy with the haul.  I'm happy because I know my old clothes are going to a good home, and not languishing in a hefty bag at the donation intake center.  Anyhow, I feel another 10 pounds lighter having cleaned out the excess!

What's up next in the studio?

The week of the flu sapped the life out of me, and I just didn't feel like sewing.  Instead, I tackled the piles on my cutting table - organized, did some cutting out, did some planning.  Now I have several projects ready to sew, items that have been on my sewing 'to-do' list.  One pattern I wanted to trace is this Burda from 09/2011, but can't find (only) that issue of Burda. One thing I dislike more than tracing a Burda mag pattern is downloading and taping together a pattern.  So this pattern is TBD.

Now that my closet has been purged and only contains wearable items, I can immediately see the holes in my wardrobe.  Although I have a pair of knit pants cut out, my focus needs to be on tops, because that is what I need now.  And panties.  As soon as I stock up on panty lace, I will be sewing some undies for myself and my daughter.  She loved both pair I recently made, and I've promised her some.  They are fun to sew!

Oh, and window treatments.  Way high up on the sewing 'to do' list is to make curtains for the master bedroom.  That will be soon, and boring, but necessary.  

Also, I've about finished my trial bra for the bra sew-along at Cloth Habit.  More on that later this week.  

Have a great week!


Sunday, January 13, 2013

Kwik Sew 2874 in Nike Dri-Fit Fabric

Kwik Sew 2874
Always in search of patterns that will make good workout tops, I picked up KS 2874 with a recent acquisition of a length of Nike Dri-Fit in mind.  The weather had turned pretty chilly, so I wanted a long sleeve top.  Of course, after I made this top, the thermometer hit 80+ degrees.   Hopefully we will have a few cool days before winter is over so this top can get some wear.

This pattern features a raglan sleeve, a crew neck, a v-neck, and a 'rounded square' neck version.  View C gets all fancy with bell sleeves and some color blocking action. I made view A, the plain vanilla crew neck (is that the right term or am I thinking mens undershirts?) with the regular sleeves.

Pictures first, review below.  I've lightened all these photos to show the detail.  This fabric is a lightweight, textured, dull gray color and exceptionally hard to photograph indoors.

Add caption

Side-ish view trying to show my 'gathered dart'.

Neckline a little big in the Medium

'Wrong side' of coverstitch on the outside.  (On purpose!)

Plenty of room in the bust.  Size medium with 1 1/2" FBA

All kinds of excess fabric here. 

Pattern:  Kwik Sew 2874
Sizing: XS - XL  I cut a medium, based on prior experience with KS running large.
Fabric:  Nike Dri-Fit purchased from Dawn @ Two On Two Off.
Difficulty:  Easy 

1) I made a 1 1/2 inch FBA. (If you need a good review of the FBA on a raglan style bodice, look here on Debbie Cook's blog.) However, I did not want a dart, so instead, as the side seams were sewed I stretched the back to fit the excess that would have been the dart.  This basically created small gathers at the bust level on the front bodice.

2) Cut the length at the XL line instead of the M

Construction Changes:

1) I found the neck opening to be rather generous and too big on me.  To add a little extra to the neckline, I made the binding quite a bit wider than called for.  I serged the binding to the neckline in a single layer, RST, then double folded it to the inside, encasing the serged seam allowance within the fold.  This gave the neck binding some oomph (technical term), since the fabric is lightweight, and prevents it from being floppy.  I finished it with a wide coverstitch.

2)  The hem was double folded, 5/8", then coverstitched with the wrong side of the stitch facing the outside and the coverstitch on the inside.  I like to put this finish on workout clothes sometimes.  Even double folded, it was still pretty flimsy and unsteady in the coverstitcher, and would have been better if the hem were interfaced.  Truth be told, it looks a bit like a drunkard sewed the hem in a couple spots!

3) The sleeve hems were coverstitched in the flat. I did interface the sleeve hem with stretch interfacing (Pam Erny's), then just folded once and coverstitched with the wrong side of the stitch outward, just like the hem.

It fits ok, but not stellar.  It would need further tweaking if I were to make it again, which is unlikely. I did not address the back fit at all, but it would benefit from a CB seam for shaping, as well as a sway back alteration.  There is a lot of poofiness going on back there.  Keep in mind if you want to make this, my back is narrow for my size and I shoulda/woulda/coulda cut a size small back.

It is definitely comfortable, and I will wear it if the weather gets cooler.  Perfect for walking the dogs on chilly mornings.  They don't care what I wear, as long as they get their walk.

I made this particular top because I am looking for a TNT workout top pattern.  I've got some great wicking fabrics in bright colors waiting to become tops, but they won't be this one.  Although I like this top, it's not a home run, not exactly what I am looking for.  I prefer a closer fit in stretchy wickaway fabrics.  The upper arms are rather generous on this pattern, (it's a raglan sleeve, duh!) while in the medium the fit at the lower arm and wrist was nice and close.

This evening as I was putting away clean laundry, I surveyed the workout tops in my closet.  It dawned on me that I have a few RTW short-sleeved tops in this exact same style, and they get very little wear.  I guess this is not my favorite style.  Which begs the question, why did I make the damn thing in the first place??  Head::cutting table moment.

So, my quest for a workout tee pattern continues.  Any suggestions?  For now, back to my bramaking sew-along!

Have a fabulous start to your week.  I hope it involves sewing!


Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Bra Talk

Today I did some preliminary work to prepare to make my first trial bra.  I followed a regarding bra pattern drafting someone posted over at the sew along, which proved to be most helpful. At that site, I learned how to do a "breast root trace" (BRT).  Below is my result.  It involves using a flexible ruler or alternatively, a length of wire can be used.

Once I traced my BRT onto paper, I put my underwire on top of my tracing.  Lo and behold:

I was happy to find that the underwires I chose empirically (and ordered online) were an excellent match to my BRT.  It's a tad hard to see, but the white underwire is sitting on top of the black marker tracing.

That's it for today.  Tomorrow I plan to trace off my pattern and possibly start a muslin, while I await my bra fabrics to arrive in the mail from Canada.

See you soon with more bra talk! 


Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Bra-making Sew-Along

Amy over at Cloth Habit is hosting a Bra-making Sew Along, and yours truly is participating.  I have my pattern, and my findings and fabrics are making there way here via Canada Post from Bra-makers Supply.

It's long been a goal of mine to make well fitting bras.  I had recently purchased a pattern from Make Bra, with the intention of making a bra after the holiday hubaloo had settled down.  I was super excited when Amy announced her sew along and of course signed right up.  It is just what I needed at just the right time!  After signing up, I purchased a Danglez bra pattern "DB3", and have chosen this pattern for the sew along.

The part on the side that is continuous with the strap?  Amy tells me this is called a "Power Bar", a term that was new to me.  I am most curious about the underwire fitting, because that is the part that always bothers me with rtw bras - the underwires just don't seem right to me.  

Anyhow, stay tuned, and sign up if you are interested in bra making!  By the way, Amy has a free undies pattern on her blog available for download, the "Rosy Ladyshorts".  It's a cute undies pattern.

In other sewing news, I made a long sleeve Nike Dri-Fit workout top, just in time for the thermometer to reach the 80's again.  What's up with that?  My top is awaiting some coverstitching to finish it up, which is on my agenda first thing tomorrow.  

See you soon,


Friday, January 4, 2013

Kwik Sew 3167: Two Pairs & Review

I showed you these here.  KS 3167 View C

And tonight I made these in wicking fabric from the same pattern.  KS 3167 View A

Too bad that cute little bralette won't do a damn thing for me.

A little tab on the back to tell back from front easily.

Comparison of favorite RTW pair to KS 3197

Who knew it would be so easy to duplicate my favorite undergarments?  I made this KS pattern in lace, not realizing how close it would be to my RTW skivvies.  

The pattern is 2 pieces, the body and the crotch lining piece.  I assembled both pair using a 4 thread overlock stitch on the serger, and a 3-step zigzag on the regular machine.

Black Lace Pair
I deviated from instructions for View C by using a wider lace.  The pattern calls for 8" stretch lace, mine was a few inches wider, and it came from stash.  The crotch lining is black cotton from scraps.  They wear very well, and are super comfortable.  Creepage factor is minimal, and there are no VPL.  

Grey & White Pair
The fabric for View A came from stash also.  It is a wicking fabric, which will be great to wear when working out.  For this view, I used the same grey fabric for the crotch lining.  The lace I picked up earlier today at Hancock's.  It was the only stretch lace of an appropriate size that they had in the store, and it was kinda pricey (compared to online sources).  I like the look of the white with the grey, even though that would not have been my first choice. 
I haven't worn the grey pair yet, but tried them on and they fit really well.  The side seam measures 9 1/4" top to bottom, including lace.  They stretch a little less than the all lace pair, but I anticipate them to be comfortable.  This pair is like a clone of my RTW pair.

Overall, I give the underwear portion of this pattern an A+.  If you like the "boyshort" style (why is it called that?? ) then you'll love this pattern.  They are so quick and easy, literally, it took longer to write this post.  I think I am addicted after two pair!

I'll be back soon with a review of KS 3425, boxers for DD, camisole in the grey wicking fabric for me - a matching set.   

Try to stay healthy, y'all, the flu is running rampant out there.  

See you soon,


Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Quick Underthings

Or, Why Didn't I Make These Sooner?

First makes of 2013, made on Jan 1st!  Yesterday morning I put on a big pot of soup to keep the troops well fed, then got caught up on the mountain of Laundry I'd neglected during the holiday festivities.  In between loads, I cut out a couple of Kwik Sew Patterns that I knew would not require a lot of mental work.  My daughter set up her machine and worked on a project while I sewed. It was great to have a sewing buddy!

 The black lacy is for me, the boxers for my daughter, but after seeing the black lacy, she wants those too.  I will be back with reviews after wearing.  And just one more thing. If you've been meaning to make pantiesunderwearknickersunmentionables or whatever you call them, stop what you're doing and do it now! Seriously, the black lace number took literally 5, maybe 10 minutes to sew, and the preliminary report from a quick try-on is that they are fabulous.

See you soon,


Tuesday, January 1, 2013

One Last 2012 Make

And it is not my usual sort of thing.

Remember these skirts that I made for my nieces?  I wanted to make something for their brother, my nephew, as well.  I had a little trouble finding a pattern at Hancock's.  Every pattern I wanted was out of stock (grrr..), so I ended up with Simplicity 4760.  It includes shirts and pants for little and big guys, but I used only the little guy pants pattern.

Not actual color.

I had initially chosen the plaid corduroy for Little Guy's pants, but after seeing the crew at Thanksgiving, and asking his older sister about the likelihood of LG wearing the plaid, I decided on a plain blue pinwale corduroy from the stash.  I made another skirt from the plaid; it made a really cute skirt.

I love this plaid!

The pants turned out really cute, but there are some problems with the boy's pant pattern.  In no particular order:

1)  It was not clear from the envelope when I bought the pattern, but these have a facing as opposed to a regular waistband.  It worked out ok (see #2)  but is not my preference for LG's pants.

2)  The right and left front facing patterns are drafted incorrectly, specifically, they are both too short.  This wasn't apparant until I was pinning the facing to the waist and came up short of facing.  (First thing I did was to stay-stitch the waistline of the pants, so it wasn't stretching.)  I had to add 1 3/4 " to the right facing, and 1 1/4" to the left facing.  I decided to make it a design element, and used a scrap of red corduroy, which, after the turning of the facing, is barely visible.

3) This pattern has 4 belt loops, 2 in front as part of the pockets, and 2 in back.  I think it needs at least one more on each side, and it is my preference to have a CB belt loop.

4) The fly.  I can't be judging a whole lot here, because the last time I made myself a pair of fly front pants was, um...(counting on fingers)...1985-ish, college days. (Out of wool, which I stupidly threw in the dirty laundry, upon which my mom washed them.  They shrunk like hell, fortuitously down to her tiny little size.)  But really, I just didn't like the way this one was constructed at all.  I went with it to just get them done, but I guess I need a refresher course on fly fronts.

5) The instructions were decent with the exception of the way the facing construction was described.  The whole bit on the left front facing near the zipper was a bit of a geometry puzzle, and rather than try to figure out what they were trying to say, I just basted it the way I thought it should be, then stitched it permanently when it worked.

6) This is not a problem per se, just a mention that the pattern made no reference of seam finishes.  I think most people do their own thing with seam finishes anyway, right?  I used mock flat fell seam finishes wherever possible, including the crotch seam, and employed a 4 thread overlock finish as well.

The pants turned out cute in the end.  I like the little cargo pockets on the sides of the legs, and the front pocket/belt loop combo is a cute feature.  (If you ever find yourself making these, I recommend just basting the top of the front pocket/belt loop within the SA, as opposed to the way the directions say.)

Cute little cargo pocket.

Red "design feature".  This is  closer to the actual color of the fabric.

All in all, though, I would not make these pants again if I needed a pattern for boy's pants unless I could not find another.  If I had to make these again, I would make a waistband and make the FF differently.   The top included with this pattern has no collar stand, although reviews I read for the top on PR were ok.

Closest to actual color.

I made these little labels and put one in the pants, and one in each of the skirts.  My favorite is the red one with the black Scottie Dog.  They each say BB, which has special meaning for the nieces and nephew.

That's it for 2012 if you don't count UFO's!

My wish for all of you for 2013 is a year filled with peace, love, happiness, good health, and of course, lots of time to sew!  It's been fun getting to 'meet' all of you and be a part of the online sewing community. I really appreciate you taking the time to read my blog and comment. See you soon.

Be Well,