Category Archives: finished item

McCalls 3830 and Cation Designs Dolman Tee

Hello there! I’ve been sewing rather slowly. My old Brother sewing machine decided that it likes to eat knits, even when I’m using the walking foot. I now have a Pfaff (with the IDT!) that my husband kindly got me for my birthday. It handles ITY knits like a champ! I’m excited about it.

I started both of these items about 25 lbs. ago, and it shows–they’re both rather too big for me know. I know I’ll still wear them on the weekend, though, as long as I can without them falling off.

I’ve made the Cation Designs Dolman Tee before. I love it for work because it comes off as elegant and it also has sleeves, which are necessary in a chilly office environment. This one is made of an ITY I got while shopping with my mother-in-law at the Fabric Warehouse in Rahway, NJ. It is a size XL; next time I sew it, I will use a L or M.

Cation Designs Dolman Tee and McCalls 3830 Skirt
Awkward timed selfie.

The McCalls 3830 skirt is made of a rayon/linen blend. I think I got that at Joann’s, as I couldn’t find plain linen in dark colors online at the time I was shopping for it, for some reason. I like the hand of the fabric. The skirt is the shortest view with no back vent and I believe I used a size 18 or 20. I should use a 16 next time, I think, and also take a little off the side seam curve, as my hips are not as curvy as the pattern is. I am closer to success with this pattern!

Cation Designs Dolman Tee and McCalls 3830 Skirt 2
This one is much better and shows the drape of the knit.

I love the idea of #sewmystashseptember. My stash has gotten uncomfortably large from all these shopping trips while traveling and little gifts to myself when I am feeling blah and uninspired. Now it is time for me to make these lengths of cloth into clothes I love.

I am interested in going at it from a capsule + purpose perspective: travel capsule (quick-drying, anti-wrinkling, stretch, chic for tourist photographs); casual Fridays/weekends capsule (structured, but not TOO structured, colorful), and work capsule (basic, dark colors, opaque, full coverage). I wonder how I can fit my stash in there.

My grandmother used to buy me complete outfits whenever we did back to school or vacation shopping. I remember getting coordinated shorts and tops sets with matching socks and a coordinating cardigan (and maybe matching hair bows and barrettes too) when we prepared for our first vacation together to Seattle. So much pink! I would like to approach my sewing this way too: for every top, there must be a bottom, and every bottom must have a top. That doesn’t mean a 1:1 ratio, as many tops can match a bottom. However, the styles and shapes must go together. That’s something for me to think about as I approach the stash.

How do you approach building a wardrobe and managing your resources?

Advertisements

Simplicity 2258, View C: An Easy Skirt

Originally, I’d started out trying to make the shorts pattern (View E) included in Simplicity 2258. However, when it came to the basting and trying on stage, I realized there was not enough room in the seat to actually cover my whole bottom. There was, however, a lot of room around my upper thighs. 😦

So, I decided to try the shorter skirt pattern (View C) included in the packet, with a wedge added at the top back to accommodate the length I need to cover my bottom. I think it’s cute!

Simplicity 2258 in Denim

I particularly like the way the pockets are formed. They are one-piece pockets, where you fold over the fabric to make the pocket bag. Topstitching them keeps things neat. (My topstitching is not particularly neat here.) I like the curvature of the pocket opening as well.

Simplicity 2258 Pocket

I used a chambray from Joann’s, with Gutermann thread. I think I chose the size 20. This pattern uses very little fabric, even in the larger size range–1 5/8 yards of wide fabric. I would say, by that measure, that it is an economical sew.

By the time I was finished making it, I’d lost some weight, so now I need to adjust the elastic so that it stays up. The pattern has a good amount of ease as well.

What have you been making lately?

Simplicity 1716

Yesterday, I decided that I was going to tackle my pile of unfinished items. When I get to the end of a project, I make a mistake, and I get really frustrated right away. So, it goes in the drawer. I moved across the country with this one, unfinished. I made Simplicity 1716, view D, starting in 2012 I think. The problem here was that I sewed the armbands on the wrong way and then I doubled down on that decision. My solution last night was to cut off the armbands, since it would be really really hard to unpick the stitching, and to sew on new armbands. I left the hem unfinished, as the slinky jersey and my sewing machine were having a fight, even with the walking foot on.

Front View
Simplicity 1716, View D, front view
Actual Back View
Simplicity 1716, View D, front view

Looking at these pictures, I have some serious posture issues. My shoulders are uneven, and my high left hip has become even higher after having physical therapy for my right knee. This means that every skirt or dress I make gets caught up on my left hip, and hangs lower on my right hip. I need to learn the adjustment for that. I also have forward head and forward shoulders from using a computer all day for…years, plus a nerve impingement in my left shoulder that the posture probably doesn’t help. You don’t realize the toll time takes on your body until you look at pictures of yourself.

On a brighter note, I took these pictures with a camera and tripod that my kind and generous mother-in-law has lent me. The camera doesn’t use a remote, so I have to use the self timer. I need to learn how to use the setup better.

One thing I like about this pattern is the pleat detail that helps to make the cowl neck. One thing I don’t like is the lack of waist shaping. I also think that the shoulders should be narrower, although that might be a personal issue and not a pattern issue.

Have you made Simplicity 1716? If so, how do you like it?

Simplicity 1062: Giant, Slouchy Dolman Tee

I’m obsessed with dolman tees. I have made Cation Designs‘ Dolman Tee four times! I decided to try a different pattern to see how it would turn out. Simplicity 1062 caught my eye during one of those JoAnn’s 5 for $1 pattern sales (I love those).

After making the tunic last week, I had some fabric left over, so I decided to make this shirt straightaway. I don’t want to hoard scraps; in fact, I went through my scraps and got rid of a bunch last weekend, saving only pieces large enough to make a garment or cuffs. I think if I make something out of the fabric leftovers right after finishing a garment, it won’t have the opportunity to become save-able scraps.

Here it is on me:

WIN_20160422_13_17_21_Pro_Moment

The back, so awkward, caught up on my bottom:

WIN_20160422_13_17_21_Pro_Moment(2)

Arms down:

WIN_20160422_13_17_21_Pro_Moment(3)

Here it is, modeled by my cutting table:

IMG_20160422_103030

It really looks gigantic in this photo! I haven’t done the hem yet, hence the little serger tails there. I’ve been into wearing oversized soft tops lately. I think they make me look more graceful, and also like a hip young art teacher. I do think I could go down to a medium without an issue, though. I cut a large for this one. There is about 12″ of ease in this top for me: my full bust is 40″ and the finished bust is 52″. Crazy ease!!! I could fit a cat in there.

IMG_20160422_101904
Our cat who sleeps in ridiculously fluffy poses, Fatty.

This top will be loungewear only. I think I will either make another tunic or make a woven shift dress next. I bought a delightful red dot fabric on impulse from JoAnn’s–the fabric reminds me of the woven cotton fabric made in India. It will serve me well in the hot Southern summer!

New Look 6323 Tunic

I tried googling NL 6323 (corrected number) and noticed that no one else has written about it! I made view D, the tunic with an even hem, on Thursday evening.

I chose size L, which was the closest to my full bust measurement of 40 and waist of 33. Why did I not remember what happened the last time I made a New Look pattern? It was too big. The sleeves were a couple inches too long, covering my hands, and the shoulders hung out somewhere at the top of my bicep. I wore it to work anyway. I liked the fabric, a rayon jersey from FashionFabricsClub.

I constructed it all on the server. I liked the neckband directions and thought it made a nice finish. I used clear elastic on the shoulder seams. I ignored the sleeve sewing directions and used Crafting a Rainbow’s instructions.

I’m going to make another one this weekend in size M. This time, I’ll check to make sure the shoulders are narrow enough for me.

I’ve been wanting knit tunics to wear with leggings to work, and this pattern is perfect for that. I bought bulk leggings already, but I’m tempted to make more with the included pattern.

I’ll include photos when I get some taken! I’m blogging from the car on the road. 😀

 

 

New Look 6145 with Collar in Ponte

I made New Look 6145 in a size 18, which correlates with my measurements.

IMG_20160102_142433

It is very loose, even under the arms, which indicates that it is too big. What a difference fabric makes! The first time I made this dress, it was in stiff wax cotton, and I could hardly move my arms, though the dress was loose. I need to take in the sides by at least a half an inch either side.

IMG_20160102_142505

This time, I sewed the sleeves in flat. It was my first time doing so and it was way easier than in the round! I used this tutorial. I also used a zig zag stitch, 1.5 in width, to sew the sleeve hems and side seams. Everywhere else, I used a straight stitch.

I haven’t done the hem yet, as I want to take in the sides first.

The next project will be pants, for the pants fitting class.

Vogue 1247: An A-Line Skirt in Black Twill

I got all excited about Vogue 1247 after seeing so many versions of the skirt portion online. As soon as I could, I went to Hancock’s when the Vogue sale was on and bought it, along with a length of black twill (total of around $5) and the notions that are needed for the skirt.

Skirt Front:

Vogue skirt
Vogue 1247 skirt front (see how high the waist is? it’s the ridge under my shirt)

I was perplexed by how to position the front yoke for sewing the horizontal seam that connects the pockets, the skirt front, and the front yoke. I realized that I had to flip the pockets up, so they were above the skirt front, after understitching the pockets and then match the yoke front to the rest so that both sides of the pockets lined up and so that the middle seam lined up as well. Because the front yoke and the skirt front have curved side seams, the fabric doesn’t quite lay flat as you sew the seam.

I serged most of the seams in this skirt because I am impatient and I also sew very slowly, in short bursts of activity.

Because my waist and hip measurements are 1″ larger than the measurements listed for the largest size on the envelope (18), I reduced the front darts by 0.5″ each, and I sewed the side seam starting under the point of the dart at 3/8″. I thought about doing a full butt adjustment, since that’s where most of my “hip circumference” lies, but I didn’t for this version.

Skirt Back:

Vogue 1247 skirt
Vogue 1247 skirt back. See how my shirt pulls up in the back. I need more room for the rear (and for, well, everything) in all my clothes.

I lengthened the skirt by 6 inches, going from 15″ in length to 21″. I’m 5’4″. I also plan on wearing this skirt to work and need more coverage. It all still fit on the 1 1/8 yards required by the pattern! Magical!

The cotton twill from Hancock’s is soft and fairly substantial. I bought the same type of twill for my man’s shorts, due to the softness and weight. It shows chalk marks really well and behaves on the machine.

I love the hidden pockets on the front. This will be perfect for going out dancing, when I don’t want to carry a purse.

Edit: I wrote this post three months ago! I saved it as a draft because I didn’t have any photos. Cut to the zaniness that happens after a job change (for my man), a proposal, a move, and a job change (for me). I now live in South Carolina, and let me tell you, there is a big difference between here and New Orleans, Louisiana! I’ve been adjusting to the new environment and haven’t had much time for sewing during this whole move. I did, however, purchase a tiny tripod and a remote to use with my phone, and I tried that setup for the first time yesterday to photograph this skirt. The photos aren’t the best, but they’re my first!

McCalls 6654: My Favorite Straight Skirt Pattern

I love McCalls 6654. I’ve made it several times: in mustard, grey, black, brown, and now floral fabrics. Here is the floral version.

McCalls 6654 elastic waisted straight knit skirt
My old tried and true!

The elastic waist offers comfort, while the cut of the skirt is conservative, which I like. The instructions are also clear for this pattern, which is fast to sew up, even for a slowpoke like me! Usually, I use the lightning-bolt stretch stitch to sew this kind of skirt, but this time, I used the serger to sew the side seams and to finish the edge of the hem before I turned it up. I used the lightning bolt stitch to sew the waistband and to secure the hem. It has a lot of stretch.

I feel stylish in this skirt…probably because this type of floral was in when I was a preteen. 😀 It looks like something I would have worn in the form of a slip dress (with a cropped t-shirt underneath, of course…even though I asked my mother to let me wear it with bare shoulders).

I definitely recommend this pattern to others!

New Look 6145: Completed

New Look 6145 front view
Here is the completed dress!

I was frustrated by the tent-ishness of the unaltered NL 6145, so I took it to Heather at Sew Fabulous and asked her to help me make it more fitted. She suggested that I draw (and sew) in a new waist curve and lengthen the back darts up to around my shoulder blades. I also made the new darts take in about an inch of fabric each. This is definitely an improvement over the original!

Here are some alternate views of the dress. It’s still not perfect, but it’s better. I think the lack of drape in the fabric contributes to all of the weird lumps as I move my body in the dress.

New Look 6145 side view
Here is the side view. The dress showcases my back curves.There are some odd folds back there, though.
New Look 6145 back view
Here is the back view.If it were any tighter, I wouldn’t be able to sit, but it still looks loose here.
6145 side view 2
Alternate side view. See how the fabric blouses in the front when I lift my knee. I think the stiffness of the fabric is contributing to that. What do you think?

I think I might try to make this again, using the alterations that Heather helped me do, but in a knit so that I can be more comfortable and so that there can be more drape. I really would like to have a flattering woven shift with sleeves. Maybe I should also try this in something like a rayon challis.

I will work on finishing the Vogue 9021 dress within the next week and will post it as soon as I can!

Cation Designs Dolman Tee: Making A Copy of a Copy

dolman tee
I wore it all day!

I like the idea of doing a “rub-off,” or a copy of a favorite garment. Sunni of A Fashionable Stitch wrote an informative post (and review of a book) about doing a rub-off that inspired me. I checked out the book she mentioned (from the library) and read it all, trying to memorize the techniques. I haven’t yet tried a rub off of a favorite garment, but I have tried someone else’s!

The first time I made the Cation Designs Dolman Tee, my results looked so twisted and crazy! My sewing machine did not like the fabric, a slippery soft mystery knit with lots of stretch. I used a zigzag and a ballpoint needle, but my machine attempted to eat the fabric at every turn. The worst part was my neckband, which rippled and twisted somehow. I blame it all on the sewing machine. Please excuse the awkward selfie.

Dolman tee

I did XL in the sleeves and L in the body, since people have said the arms run small on this top. The L turned out to be tight around my hips, and the shirt is rather long on my body. I decided I like the shape and general breeziness of this shirt, so months later, I made another–this time in size XL all over and entirely on the serger. Prepare yourself for another selfie!

dolman tee

This version is definitely better constructed than the previous version. I love my serger! I am not sure about the looseness in the body, though. I feel like I should adjust the pattern so that it nips in more at the waist and so that it is shorter. I think the band should be more in the vicinity of the belly than the hips, and currently the hem band is straining over my curves. I think the sleeve bands could stand to be tighter as well.

I would like to get the hang of fitting, and I think working with a simple pattern may help me, as there are only so many ways I can go wrong, I think. I’m also quite interested in doing a rub-off, which seems complicated. I’ll get there!