Thursday, December 8, 2016

Jamie Jeans fit help

Since I've worn my first pair of Jamie Jeans nearly to death, I figured it was time to make another. My first pair is made from a super-stretchy cotton/spandex denim, and I removed a lot of width to make them fit tightly, as intended. This pair is from a more traditional stretch denim, and I need a little help with the fit.

These *feel* okay on, when standing, but looking at the photos I see a lot of wrinkles. My biggest issue is that when I bend my legs, the fabric doesn't seem to stretch much. The pants become tight and uncomfortable. I'm wondering if I should let them out a bit? Finish them as-is and let time stretch them out and break them in? I've pulled out my two fit books but I'm looking for some additional feedback. I haven't made many pants, especially tight ones, so I'll take all the help I can get!

Monday, December 5, 2016

Project Runway recap

Only a few more episodes to go this season! This has been a good group of designers, although I hope they kick it up a notch going into the last few weeks. Maybe more dramatic designers inspire more creativity?

Spoilers ahead...

Best moments: Tim crawling around on the floor and getting tricked by Swatch. Heh. I can relate. Sometimes I think my kids do that sort of stuff to me on purpose.

Worst moments: Another unconventional challenge? Barf. It was only slightly more redeemable because they were asked to combine with fabric.

Best garments: I don't know if I liked any of them. I don't typically like avante garde, though. If I had to pick one, it would be Rik's, since it was still wearable enough.

Worst garments: Did Erin deserve her win? Probably, she did the best combining materials and innovating. But I'm so tired of her and bored with her designs. Oh look, a yellow something or other with oversized pockets and embellishments. Every. Time. She doesn't have any range. Similarly, I was very disappointed with Laurence. That dress could have fit in last week's challenge, which says that it wasn't very avante garde. The only risk she took was length, and that's a risk she's taken before.

Best quote: "You speak Spanish?!" --Roberi

I was honestly shocked by Mah-Jing's elimination. Heidi seemed to like his design so I thought that was a sure sign he'd be staying. I guess they decided that Cornelius' dress was more avante garde (in other words, scarier!). So now we're left wondering, who is going to show at Fashion Week? Surely Laurence and probably Erin, who else?

Next week: unconventional again...but Georgina!

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Cozy Winter Gear

It's been years since I've done regular shopping for myself. I sew almost all of my own clothing, and what I need to buy, I buy second-hand. But one piece of clothing has always eluded me: socks. A few years ago my husband got me a book about knitting, and I learned the basic stitches, but I haven't been able to devote enough time to it. I desperately wanted to learn how to knit my own socks. Well, while time was passing me by, an easier solution came along.

cozy toes socks

These are the Cozy Toes Socks by Peek-a-Boo Pattern Shop (affiliate link). Now if I don't learn how to knit until I'm old and grey, I can still sew my own socks! And obviously, they require such little fabric that it's basically a freebie sew! Can you tell I'm excited! More exclamation marks!

These are stretched pretty tightly around my foot
so my stitching is showing.

This pattern has a lot of options. There is ankle cut, crew cut, and knee-high. There are multiple foot sizes as well as multiple leg sizes (slim, regular, plus). There are templates for making animal faces, if you're so inclined. Following the pattern directions and measuring my foot and calf, I was able to correctly pick my size the first time. I did make a single sock as a muslin before proceeding any further, but it fit without adjustments. This is the ankle cut, with slim width.

 Now for the bad news. I have been sewing Amy's patterns for four years and this was the most difficult to assemble that I have ever experienced. All of the options I noted above are great, but I got very confused trying to put the paper pattern together. The sock is three pieces and not intuitive. Normally Amy provides a diagram of how each piece of paper fits together but for some reason there was not a diagram in this pattern. Maybe I just have mommy brain, but it was very frustrating.  I also could not print pattern without color ink. No matter which options I tried, it refused to print grayscale  or black-and-white. If you do not have access to a color printer you cannot use this pattern.

Once the pattern was assembled, the directions do a great job helping you put the sock together. I think a sewing machine was recommended over a serger, but mine was eating my fabric. It worked fine with a serger if you're comfortable on one. And once you've done a single sock, it's super simple to make more. I will definitely be using this pattern over and over. The fabric I used here is modal/cotton/spandex French terry left over from my Irena. Soft and cozy!

woman's beanie hat

The second me-made that's keeping me warm this winter is my Delia Beanie from Named. A month or so ago I suddenly felt the need for a hat like this, and scoured Pinterest for a free pattern. I found a kid's pattern, made my daughter one, made one for a friend's son, then enlarged the pattern to make myself one. And forgot all about it. Only to discover that I already bought the Delia ages ago. This is why it's a good idea to browse your Dropbox regularly!

There aren't a lot of Delias floating around the internet, but I love Named and their other patterns I've tried. This one didn't let me down. The hat is one-sized, self-lined, and finished with a small amount of hand-stitching. There is an option for an applique, which I left off this time but would be easy to do as it's clearly marked on the pattern.

There was some head-scratching going on here to make sure I did it all correctly, but if you make your fabric match the illustrations you can figure it out. It was a fast sew on my serger and I finished the hand-stitching in front of the TV.

This is my impression of a too-cool sk8tr grl.

I did not sew down the "flap" in case I wanted to make my hat taller and slouchier, or in case my 4 year old wants to wear it. She stole it right out of my hands when it was finished. The fabric I used is a cotton/wool/spandex knit leftover from these leggings. It's incredibly warm and I love those leggings, I knew it would be perfect for this hat. I had just enough left for it, and all the rest I can use for socks!

Side note: in these photos I'm wearing Named Jamie Jeans, my Hey June Lane Raglan hoodie, and my New Look 6216 dolman top. Plus a me-made hat and socks! Killin' it y'all.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Cyber Monday sale!

A quick post today to remind you of my Instagram giveaway ending tonight, and to give you the sale code for 40% off any of my books! Grab the large Sewist's Notebook, the go-anywhere 6x9, the kid's version, or the newly-released swatch book, all with a huge sale! See them all here, and use code CYBER40 at checkout!

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Introducing A Sewist's Swatch Book!

Giveaway and sale alert! I'm so excited to share my new book with you today, and one lucky reader will be able to win a copy of it! What exactly is A Sewist's Swatch Book? It's the perfect companion to your Sewist's Notebooks. When I first started sewing and buying fabric, I had an encyclopedic knowledge of each of my purchases. But as time went by and my stash grew, I started forgetting things. Where did this interlock come from? Was I saving it for something? What's the composition of this knit? I had done extensive photo cataloging, but without a physical swatch I lost track of what was what. I started wishing for a physical way to record my lovely fabrics, so I could see and touch all of my fabrics at once (even the ones packed away!).

The book contains over 100 pages for cataloging fabric, featuring the same options for quick-circling that I love from the original Sewist's Notebook.

There is a key for universal care symbols, as well as a guide for determining the stretch percentage of your fabric.

I've started filling up my own book and I'm so glad that I can use it to be more efficient with my projects. I'm always forgetting what has been pre-washed and how much yardage I have. Now I can quickly see if a fabric is ready to go.

110 Creations: A Sewist's Swatch Book has been almost two years in the making. It took a backseat to having two babies, but now it's ready to be brought into the world as well! Pick up a copy HERE (use code BFRIDAY33 for 33% off!), or win your own through my Instagram contest HERE. Sale ends 11/27 at midnight eastern, and giveaway closes 11/28.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Project Runway recap

Wow, this week's episode was very interesting! A healthy dose of karma, some poor decisions at Mood, and some scary heights. What's not to love?

Spoilers ahead...

Best moments: I liked this challenge. They're doing a great job of challenging the designers with just enough wiggle room for creativity. I especially liked Mah-Jing this week, he's getting bolder and seems to be having fun with the competition, which is only going to help him out.

Worst moments: I do just fine with heights, but the idea of the helicopter ride freaked me out for some reason!

Best garments: I've come to accept that Laurence is the only one left whose aesthetic I like. Her dress was adorable (didn't like that she apparently left uncut threads on it?) but also strong. I think maybe the skyline appliqué was hard to see on the runway so perhaps that's why she was just safe, or maybe it's a motif that's just been done before. Cornelius' dress was interesting, editorial enough, but didn't look comfortable, so I'm kind of on the fence about it.

Worst garments: It's pretty unacceptable that Dexter's model wore her own undergarments with his design. He was all talk about using appliqués or doubling up the fabric but he just didn't. Basically, he cheated. And sorry Dex, the jacket shoulders were ugly the first time. I was vastly disappointed with Rik, and Roberi for that matter. Neither design said "strong" to me, and Rik's looked like his model got caught in a windstorm with dirty toilet paper. I didn't understand it at all. I also thought the ruffle on Erin's dress made it look like a nightgown and didn't know why the judges liked it.

Best quote: "What woman wants to look like Patrick from SpongeBob SquarePants?" --Rik

I think Dexter got what he deserved in the double elimination, and Nathalia, unfortunately, did as well. I agree with Nina that he can do more and he did something safe for himself. Nathalia was running on borrowed time after her unfinished jacket last week. But this should have been a triple elimination because I'm so tired of Erin. Send her home already!

Stay tuned this week for a big announcement and something new! Or get a sneak peek right now on Instagram.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Jacquard Knit Cardigan

I really should stay off of Pinterest. Sometimes I get these ideas in my head, and no matter how hard I try, they don't pan out. That's what happened with today's creation, a kimono-sleeve cardigan from McCall's 6802.

First, fabric. I got this medium-weight jacquard knit from the Etsy shop Urban Rag Trader and it is awesome. And it was $4/yard!! It's thick, warm, and behaved like a ponte. This was one of those times where I had a great fabric and didn't want to screw it up with the wrong pattern, but I think I kind of did. Here are my inspiration photos from Pinterest to show you where my train of thought was going:

I chose McCall's 6802 because it had the fewest seam lines of any of my cardigan patterns. I liked the draped front that could turn and show the reverse, which in this case is a nice speckled black. I've made the pattern once before, so it was already cut, which might have influenced me a bit too much. I had the same problem this time around that I did the last time (slow learner?). There was way too much volume. I made a size 8, the smallest in the envelope. I did not add pockets.

Sewn as-drafted it looked way too much like a bathrobe. After I took the above photo, I went back and removed 1" under the arm, starting at the sleeve hem and then tapering to nothing at the hip. It gave me a slightly more fitted look like my inspiration photos. But the more I looked at it, the more I realized I should have made a cardigan pattern with set-in sleeves. I had been trying to avoid crazy directional issues with lots of seams but it just didn't work.

It's possible I just have a styling issue. I tried my best here, but perhaps I should have thought of potential pairings before sewing, huh? After finishing, I realized that what I should have made was a Morris Blazer. I still could have gotten the cool reverse black lapel, but it would be more structured. I'm half-tempted to order more of this fabric just to overcome my regret!

An additional note about this pattern: the waterfall portion is not hemmed or finished in any way. There is a center-back seam behind the neck that shows when you turn down the drape.

I covered my seam by hand with black rayon seam tape. If I were more fired up about this cardi I would do the same for the rest of the seams, since they occasionally peak out. And because the drape isn't finished, there is a part inside where the hem meets an un-hemmed part and just looks sloppy:

I could not double-turn this fabric to hem, it was too thick for my coverstitch, so I only have a single turn here. But you get the point.

I will not make this pattern again, I've learned my lesson. I'd still like to decide on outfit options though so I can wear this one, since the fabric is cozy and warm. Am I being too hard on myself or is everyone else seeing what I'm seeing here?