Thursday, October 20, 2016

Love Notions Laundry Day Tee

Free pattern alert! Anyone who joins the Love Notions Pattern Support Group on Facebook can access a code for a free copy of the Laundry Day Tee. I've had the pattern for a while but hadn't sewn it up, figuring it was too close to my lengthened Plantain tee. But this week the Love Notions Spectactular is happening over in the group, and everyone who makes a pattern and uploads a photo is entered into a daily drawing for a 10 pack of Wonder Clips. And since my Wonder Clips have a way of disappearing, I figured now would be a good time to give the LDT a try!

Yes, I'm wearing a black bra under a sheer shirt #rebel

The name of this pattern refers to the fact that it's faster to sew one up than it is to do laundry. I'd say that's probably true, especially since this is a layered, trimless pdf. It's a straightforward t-shirt with two neckline options (scoop or V-neck), three sleeve lengths (short, 3/4, long) and two lengths (shirt and tunic). I made the V-neck, long-sleeved tunic. The Plantain does not have a V-neck option and I'd say my lengthened one was more of a shirt, so I went as different from that as I could.

I'm very happy with how this turned out. I made a small, I probably could size down if I felt like it but I don't think I need to do so. The fabric I used is a tissue knit from my new favorite Etsy shop, UrbanRagTrader. It was a typical squirrelly tissue knit, but hey, I managed a V-neck with it, so go me! The instructions were the same as the V-neck on the Renfrew, so if you're familiar with those you'll be fine (and this is the best method, in my opinion). Remember I have a round-up of V-neck tutorials here.

I did not hem, there is a natural curl on the ends that suffices for me. I can just see my coverstitch devouring this fabric anyway.

The only wonky bit was a few inches on the neckline where I didn't properly stretch the neckband, so it's a little loose. It's kind of driving me insane but the fabric curled so much while I was sewing that it was hard to evenly distribute it.

A nice little pattern, especially for a freebie. I probably won't make any more tunic lengths, I think the proportions kind of dwarf me, but I could see more of these in the top version if I want a V-neck. Otherwise I'll probably go back to my Plantain, which has slightly less volume.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Project Runway recap

This episode was something else! It felt like some bizarro world, where people could work together like adults. Is this the first time in PR history that a team challenge had NO drama and also both teams did reasonably well?

Spoilers ahead...

Best moments: Can you believe the lack of ego in this episode? I was shocked by how well the teams worked together. Both of them! I don't recall a single moment where someone tried to force their idea onto someone else. I have a theory: since there were four designs but six designers, there wasn't an option to work alone. Nobody could hold onto "their" look and go renegade. In the past they've always made their own looks, right? This was a great way to force them all to work together.

I started liking Dexter more this episode. He did a good job in the pitch and even though he was freaking out most of the challenge, he didn't seem to take it out on anyone. And even Cornelius kept his mouth shut for the most part.

Worst moments: Uggh I hated this elimination. Only in a team challenge can a designer like Alex get eliminated while Brik stays. And the moment when Alex told Tim he changed his life? Wow. I was a little surprised Tim didn't use his save, but I'm sure he's been told to keep it until the end of the series for more dramatic impact. He probably couldn't use it after a little speech like that, also, for fear that it would look like sucking up works to save you.

See all the garments here.

Best garments: I feel like a broken record...very few of these items appealed to me. Laurence's leather jacket was incredible, I would wear it and I think anyone would. The suit that Dexter made was also nice but I hated the embellishments that Heidi loved so much.

Worst garments: Team Unity was just a whole bunch of fail. I didn't even like Mah-Jing's vest that much (I'm not a fan of weird dangling pieces). The metallic fabric they picked looked SO stiff. It did not come across as luxe over the TV screen, I felt it tottered on the edge of cheap. And certainly not daytime office wear as Nina pointed out. Alex's dress was just terrible.

House of Bouton wasn't that great either, the mauve dress was a throwaway and the coat...hasn't Erin already done that?

Best quote: "We're House of Bouton. Oh my gosh, I'm sorry about my French. Sorry France." --Dexter

Can we just agree that the guest judges are awful? I don't know if it's how it's edited or what, but they never say anything relevant. And I'm pretty sure the guy from last week was high (who was that??). And being a child of the 90s, I LOVE Boy Meets World, and therefore Girl Meets World, so I was disappointed with Sabrina Carpenter.

I'm sad to see Alex go, but he did carry himself with dignity and that won't be forgotten. I'm sure he impressed with his business ability (even if he was pitching a boring black collection) and unlike other designers, I do believe he'll have a great future after the show.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

A Trio of Triforce Undies

I know that a lot of people think sewing underwear is boring and a waste of time, but I am not one of those people! My me-made undies are the ones I reach for first, the ones that fit the best, and the ones that hold up the longest. I recently placed an order with Raspberry Creek Fabrics and decided to throw in a half yard of some sale cotton/Lycra with the express purpose of making undies. And I love how they turned out!

From a (generous) half yard I was able to get two pairs of underwear and one pair of boxerwear. All the patterns I used were from Stitch Upon a Time (Scrundlewear and Ladies' Boxerwear). I've made them before but I was pregnant when I made the boyshort scrundies and they turned out too big, even then. That was a medium, so I sized down to a small for these two. My hip is 36" which is the low end of the small. Final verdict? I think maybe still too big in places.

Briefs on the left, boyshorts on the right.

If you look at the two pairs of underwear compared to the boxerwear, the waistband is a lot bigger. The boxerwear fit perfectly, so for my next pair of scrundies I'll at the very least shorten the waistband. Whether or not I size down completely will depend on how these feel after washing. It's possible they got a bit stretched during sewing, even though I pressed well. I also feel like the rise, in the back only, is too high. That's a personal preference. I like low-rise jeans so I need my underwear to be the same. Believe it or not, this is the low-rise option on the pattern! I also may take a deeper seam allowance through the crotch (is there a better word for crotch?) because it's kind of wide. But in general, I like the wide bands on this pattern. I'm finishing up some underwear for my oldest and the bands are SO tiny, it makes it very difficult to sew.

This medium weight cotton/lycra (the navy is from Mood) is SO comfortable to wear. Gone are the days of cheap, slinky, "silky" underwear. I'm phasing those out. Am I showing my age? Probably. I did just celebrate my 7th wedding anniversary this week. We've been together for 10 years, I think it's safe to choose comfort at this point ;)

If you stumble across a great cut of cotton/lycra that you think you'd never wear, consider making undies! They're fun, fast and simple, and you can't beat the comfort!

Monday, October 10, 2016

Project Runway recap

The day after I watched this episode, my four year old was playing dress up and appeared in front of me with her very own "swimsuit" design. Somehow, a scrap of actual swim fabric had made its way to their dress up box and she had fashioned it into a bathing suit. Perhaps someday she'll be relating this anecdote during her own PR interview?

Spoilers ahead...

Best moments: Tim looking cute and beach-ready, of course. I also liked seeing the prints being designed. Custom fabric is such a big thing right now and probably the future of design and even home sewing. I liked the brief moment when Erin said she didn't want to win every week, I actually believed her. I think she's being targeted by the other designers and that's probably not a great feeling.

Worst moments: Well. This was a swimwear challenge and as such, terrible garments were being put down the runway. Everyone knows that Heidi has a lingerie line (or should know). An athletic wear line. I wasn't aware she was doing swim but c'mon. At some point there is going to be a challenge with these "specialty" fabrics. Why doesn't anyone practice and learn how to sew them??

It would have been helpful to see Heidi's dossier so we knew what her line was like. I also felt like she was unusually nice during critiques.

See all the looks here.

Best garments: I struggled liking any of these, but Rik's and Roberi's were in a different category than everyone else. They took the challenge seriously and obviously understood it. I liked both the suits and their coverups, which were beautiful. See the $180 suit here. (Sewing your own swimwear saves SO MUCH MONEY.)

Worst garments: All the rest! Clearly Tasha's was the worst (apparently not clearly, since she wasn't eliminated) but the prints were mostly cheesy, juvenile, and ugly. The suits were unimaginative and poorly made. If I were Heidi, I would have been genuinely insulted.

Best quote: "I am Brik. I love bricks, I always have, ever since I was a little kid." --Brik

I understand why Sarah was eliminated but it should have been Tasha. As we all know, however, this week alone is NOT what decides eliminations, no matter how much the producers say otherwise. Sarah has made ridiculously boring clothes up to this point. She took a creative risk for once and went home on it. That probably doesn't feel very good, but I can't say I was all jazzed up to see anything else from her. So Tasha dodged a bullet, I hope she is energized by it.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Pink Stripe Willow Wrap Top

A year ago I joined Lauren Dahl's Momiform Makeover tour and had the pleasure of sewing up a Willow Wrap Dress, a pattern from Love Notions. When the top version went on sale a few weeks ago, I quickly snatched it up. I had hacked my own version of the top from the dress, but wasn't super happy with it and decided to go for the real thing.

It's hard to see, but I'm wearing a cami underneath. This is the low-cut/nursing option. There is an option for a higher cut and also a pattern piece for a modesty panel. I opted for this configuration so I could wear a nursing tank underneath. 

The best thing about this pattern was that I already knew what size to make (small) based on the dress. Also, Love Notions patterns are layered, and trimless. It takes very little time to assemble. So while I had this printed, assembled, and taped in no time, it took me a week to sew it. My three kids are not helpful.

It's been a long time since I've worn any close-fitting tops. Or real jeans for that matter. I've been kickin it with maternity wear for the last two years. I just got some new jeans from ThredUp (affiliate link, if you're so inclined to check them out you get $10 free for signing up) and they honestly feel bizarre. Where is my elastic waistband?! Where are my flowing tops?! It's going to take some getting used to, so I hope you can hang in there with me as I figure this out!

Since it's not clear from the pattern description, you need to know that the front of this shirt is two layers. It's not some sort of short piece underneath, it's basically two (mirrored) full fronts if that makes sense. While that's great for keeping the wrap in place, it's not so great for fabric consumption, especially since a good chunk is hidden. I only had 1 yard of this cotton/lycra knit (from the Fabric Fairy, a LONG time ago) so I had to be creative. I pieced together the under layer. You can see the striped part at the top, but the hidden portion underneath is a different fabric.

I sewed the two pieces together with no seam allowance and used a flatlock stitch. That strategy minimized the ridge from the seam, so it doesn't show through outside of the garment. Flatlocking is easier than you think, it's just a tension adjustment on your serger and my manual tells me what settings to use. I always do a test run first, because I find the manual suggests a tension that's too tight for the lower looper (my thread breaks, that's how I know it's too much tension!).

Instructions and assembly for this pattern are straightforward. I used my coverstitch for all the hems (including the neckline) and my serger for the rest. It goes quickly when you don't have children hanging off of you.

I do have a weird fit issue, and I'm not sure how to describe it for Google so I hope you can help! There is some excess fabric below the shoulders and above the bust. I didn't notice this in my Willow Wrap Dress, but that was made from a poly ITY knit that had more drape than this cotton/lycra. Thoughts? How do I correct this?

While you're helping me with that, check out that awesome stripe matching across center-front!

I think I'm just about out of suitable cotton/lycra knits for this pattern, but I may try it with a rayon knit instead if I can figure out the fit issue. The pattern comes with three sleeve options, so I can easily take this into the rest of fall/winter. By the way, Love Notions is having a big celebration/sale starting October 17th, so hop over to their Facebook page for all the fun! I wasn't paid or perked to say that, I just thought you might like to know ;)

Monday, October 3, 2016

Project Runway recap

I'm not sure if a black light challenge is as exciting as a rainway, but I give PR credit for trying something new. This is the kind of challenge where I would totally fall on my face. I seriously had no good ideas, the concept was too overwhelming for me. But I think the designers did well, don't you?

Spoilers ahead...

Best moments: For some reason, the little blacklight flashlights made me laugh. When the designers were running around Mood with them, it made me think of a giant game of flashlight tag. With the lights on hahaha.

Worst moments: I took a class in college that talked about the kind of art that doesn't look like art. Y'know, like thirty plastic bottles stacked on top of each other or a trash can full of cats. And how people say "I could do that". Apparently, the appropriate response is: "Yeah, but you didn't." I wish Cornelius had been in that class. If he can box pleat a skirt and glue some crap on it, then he should do that next time. We'll see how it turns out.

See all the looks here.

Best garments: I guess Erin's was the best. You can't knock her for simplicity, she did all that beading on the skirt with tiny little neon pieces. And her dress was the only one that was actively pretty, unlike Jenni's which was butt ugly. Actually, Roberi's was beautiful as well, although maybe it just wasn't "enough". I wish this had been some kind of evening wear challenge so he could have done a full-length dress.

Worst garments: I guess neon=trashy? What was with all the butt cheek this episode? The lack of taste in some of these outfits was sad. I also thought they leaned too heavily on the color white (Brik, Dexter, I'm looking at you). And Rik's hooker outfit was by far the worst. I don't think it was fair to oust Kimber just because she had previously been in the bottom. Rik genuinely thought his was good. I was glad they saved Mah-Jing, it kind of sucked that the pink dye acted so differently than the rest (although I'm not sure it would have mattered). I think he did the right thing by admitting it was off-base and explaining, humbly, that he was just trying to make it work.

I'm sad to see Kimber go because I didn't hate her dress, but I think the judges were over her for some reason. She handled it with grace, which is even further indication that she probably should have stayed. At this point, I'm not rooting for anyone in particular but I'm certainly rooting AGAINST Cornelius. Ugh.

Next week: Swimwear!

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Camas Blouse muslin

Who wants to look at a tortured muslin with me?

And talk about tortured...I apologize in advance for these photos. I could NOT get the color to show up well. Either they were super dark or blown out. It's been raining all week so I can't get outside. Sad face.

I've had the Camas Blouse pattern from Thread Theory for quite a while. I even had it printed at a copy shop in large format. But it's a tricky pattern when it comes to choosing fabric. It's designed for knits with enough drape to gather in a pretty fashion, but the fabric also needs enough stability to support a placket and buttons. Lots of people have sewn it with combinations of knits in stripes and prints, but I'm just not that into crazy fabric mixing. Eventually, I decided to go ahead with a lightweight solid-colored rayon knit and make a (hopefully wearable) muslin.

I honestly forgot I had this fabric. I remember I made a Seamwork Aberdeen from it and it was awful. The fabric was thin and possibly off-grain and just the worst. I actually tossed the shirt, and I never do that. I stumbled upon the rest of the cut in my stash and decided to forge ahead with it for this muslin. At least it would be used up in a useful fashion.

First off, choosing a size was difficult for me, but that is NOT the fault of the pattern. Thread Theory included a TON of help in this area, along with an exhaustive chart of finished measurements.

The biggest complaint I read about this pattern is the low cut, but there is a measurement specifically addressing this ("neckline drop"). My concern was fitting a largeish nursing bust when the rest of my frame is not that large. I also have narrow shoulders and sometimes have trouble with the whole yoke-plus-gathered-back look. I ended up making a size 6.

Right off the bat, I think I can size down. Thoughts?

Now the real sad part. The hem is all crazy wonky, the placket is rippled and uneven. I have not hated a project this much in a long time. I sewed the plackets approximately 80 million times. I basted by machine, I basted by hand, I trimmed the SA for easier easing. Nothing I did helped. When sewing, the fabric inevitably shifted and never matched up properly. It would be correctly pinned and then go to crap on the machine. I was tearing my hair out in addition to my stitching.

I kind of have a beef with the pattern over this, but it's not exactly to blame. If you choose to interface the placket, it will not ease. The above step tells you to ease, which ended up taking place between the shoulders and the seam line of the yoke. I could not make this happen. Even with knit interfacing. And stretching the fabric made my interfacing act all wonky and distorted the whole garment. You can see from my photos that there is pulling all along the placket. I ended up glue-basting and then serging the damn thing on because at least it could handle shifting layers of fabric.

I spent way too much time on this for a muslin. I had hoped to wear it, but the hem is just terrible. I glue-basted it and used a straight stitch on my sewing machine (instead of my coverstitch) just because I was angry.

So where do I go from here? Make another in a smaller size? I still have an issue with fabric choice. If I can't get pretty gathers over the bust I'm going to hate the whole top. You know the stiff kind of gathers where they stick up and don't fall gently? Yeah I hate those. Maybe I need to make it in a print to hide any pulling? For sure next time I will not interface the placket. The shirt pulls easily over my head, so the only button that I need to be functional is the top one, and that's only for nursing access. I can easily interface just that portion, or only one placket, or SOMETHING to make the process easier on myself.

If I didn't love the look of this top I wouldn't be so frustrated. If I can work out the issues I'd make a bunch of these. They're knit, so comfy, have nursing access, but are nicer than a tshirt or even a wrap top. Help!