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!

Monday, September 26, 2016

Project Runway recap

Looking over this week's looks for a second time, most of them were bad. Normal people would not wear them, yet they were also far from high fashion. PR seriously struggles when it comes to these "real women" challenges. Although, most real women I know tend to shop at Target, and maybe that's just not the TARGET audience here? (GET IT??)

Spoilers ahead...

Best moments: I was SHOCKED how few jumpsuits there were. Was that last season when there was at least one jumpsuit each week? Don't tell me the world is over rompers. I have spent the last two years pregnant and unable to wear mine and I will not put them away forever!!! That said, on this show people tend to make jumpsuits when they're out of ideas, so I'm okay with fewer of them.

Worst moments: I was disappointed that they weren't using "real" women as models. I mean really? Design for all women but don't put your clothes on them. Got it. No double standard there at all *eye roll*.

Laurence's story about her dad was so sad.

Cornelius, "Lady of the Shade", was beyond juvenile. I guess I'm getting old. Who has time or energy to talk crap about other people? Also, his design was ugly.

Final looks here.

Best garments: The more I looked at Alex's outfit the more I liked it. On the model, that is (see my complaint about midriffs below). But a "regular" person could wear a long cami under the sheer top instead. I also loved Laurence's jumpsuit, but again, only on the model. I haaaate a drop crotch, but the rest of it was well-planned and executed.

Worst garments: Whyyyy were there so many midriffs? I live in a college town so I happened to see a lot of midriffs in my daily life, and you know what? They're 18 year old midriffs. NOT 30 or 40 year old ones. Erin's neoprene dress did look like a costumey joke, and it made no sense at all that her model did not change the silhouette on the runway. Linda's knit dress and tarp coat were just kind of sad. I didn't understand all the hate for knitwear but she did choose a silly silhouette by making it so tight. And I'm going to link to Sarah's garment directly, because it was by far the worst despite getting no screen time. You can buy that now. At Wal-Mart. HOW did she stay safe??

Best quote: "Can I see the back? ...I have so little to say." --Zac

Next week: black Light!

Update: Thanks to SewCraftyChemist for reminding me to check out the final production version over at JustFab. I see that they lost the drop crotch, so now I love this even more!

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Pink Lane Raglan Hoodie

I must be the last person in the world to make the Lane Raglan, and this doesn't even count since it's the hoodie version! One of these days I'll get around to making the t-shirt. But for now, enjoy this most marvelous pink French terry hoodie!

Oh, ummm, don't mind the completely not-matching tribal knit peeking out. It's this super awesome romper. Not gonna completely change a romper just for photos, sorry!!

I'm in love with this hoodie. I've been a fan of Raspberry Creek fabrics for a while, but this is my first time working with their heathered French terry. Initially I shied away from it since it's polyester (although she has non-heathered FT in cotton/spandex) but I'm glad I took the plunge with it. It's so fun!

I got super confused about sizing (my mommy brain fault) and printed the medium Lane. My high bust measurement (as the pattern recommends) puts me at a small but I think I accidentally went off my full bust. Better to error bigger as this pattern only has a 1/4" seam allowance. For a hoodie, I think I made the right choice. The only change I made to sizing was to sew the underarm/side seams with a 1/2" seam allowance instead of 1/4". I can comfortably wear this over another shirt, but I don't think it looks TOO baggy. The loops on the terry are pretty big, so they're kind of rough. I don't know how comfortable I'd be in a shirt made from this fabric but it works for a hoodie!

The hood is very big. If you pay attention to how wide the neckline seam is, you can tell. A medium t-shirt would definitely fall off my shoulders. Not a huge deal but worth noting.

I opted for the curved baseball hem instead of a band. I love it, I think it makes this into a hoodie/shirt hybrid and it's unexpected. Also necessary, for me, because it will be easier to lift up for nursing.

I also went with the thumb hole cuffs. Super fun! And great for carrying hot coffee. Just make sure to check the length of the thumbholes in relation to your outstretched arms before you serge the cuffs to the sleeves. I didn't have any issues but if you have short arms, you might.

The big change I made was to line the hood with floral jersey. My husband actually picked out the lining, although this is my favorite fabric and it's been made into a ton of things. A lining is not included in the pattern instructions, so check out my tutorial I posted earlier this week. I made a big mistake with the hood and put my eyelets through the outer fabric AND lining. Went to thread the drawstring and...whomp whomp. Eyelets need to go through only the outer fabric. I shed some tears and then ripped the serging out connecting the hood to the bodice (because oh yes, I had already done that step too) just enough to wiggle a new eyelet in between the layers and install it. I used 1/4" Dritz eyelets that I bought at Jo-Ann's. Then I kind of patched over the holes in the lining. Not great. Might need fixing later. Might not. If I had completely disconnected the hood I could have fused some interfacing over the holes, but...lazy. And see aforementioned large hood, I didn't want to rip out my serging and end up with an even bigger/stretched out neckline.

The drawstring is twill tape that I purchased from a flash deal website ages ago. It was too wide so I folded it in half and sewed it together.

I used the same twill tape to cover the neckline seam. To add this touch, I sewed the top edge of the twill tape to the seam allowance. Then I folded it down over the SA and topstitched from the outside of the hood, feeling the tape with my fingers to make sure my stitching was catching it.

That's all folks (my oldest has watched Space Jam twice this week so I guess this phrase is stuck in my head)! I know I'll be wearing the heck out of this hoodie and it's such an improvement over my typical ratty one that I bought at Goodwill (did I just admit that out loud?).

Update July 2017: This post contains affiliate links. Text of the original post remains the same!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Tutorial: How to Line the Hood of the Lane Raglan

This post contains affiliate links.

Hi all! Today I'm sharing a short tutorial for lining the hood of the Lane Raglan. When I purchased the pattern, I assumed that the pattern provided directions for lining, but they do not! It must be a common alteration, as most of the ones you see online are lined. Come back later this week to see my completed Lane Raglan Hoodie!

How to Line the Hood of the Lane Raglan

Step One: Cut two lining pieces using the hood pattern piece. Right sides together, sew the two pieces together along the rear seam, using a HALF INCH seam allowance. This is a quarter inch larger than the outer hood, making the lining just slightly smaller.

Step Two: Cut a 3/4" strip from the front of the hood. The "X" shown in the photos is the mark for the eyelets. This is just for your reference. I mistakenly marked it without thinking. The eyelet will only go through the OUTER fabric, NOT the lining! Pay no attention to the fact that I interfaced the lining in that what I say, not what I did!

Step Three: Interface over the marking for the eyelet on the outer hood. Apply the eyelet to the outer fabric only. Again, the lining does not need interfaced in this area.

Step Four: Right sides together, align the front edges of the outer hood and hood lining. Sew these together using a 1/4" seam allowance.

Step Five: Flip the lining inside the outer hood. The lining should sit 1/4" inside the outer hood. Align the raw edges of the bottom of the outer hood and lining, WRONG sides together. Optional: baste this edge.

From here, sew the hood to the bodice as directed in the original instructions. On my hoodie, I went the extra mile and applied twill tape over the seam for a nicer finish. I hope this tutorial was helpful!

Monday, September 19, 2016

Project Runway recap!

Woohoo, Project Runway is back! This year, I did not read about the contestants ahead of time, so I'm going in to the premiere totally blind and without any predictions. I didn't even watch Road to the Runway, so tell me if there was something there I needed to see! It's funny, but I have to watch the show with the captions on, because my kids are SO LOUD. At least now I'm reading while watching TV?

Spoilers ahead...

Best moments: Heidi eating from the chocolate fountain while everyone was! As well as her drinking champagne with Tim. Heh. She's just totally chill while the designers were freaking out.

You know how I feel about unconventional challenges...not a fan. But I was extremely happy to see that this was the first challenge, rather than the third or fourth. Get it over with.

Worst moments: Is it just me, or does this group of designers look like a traveling carnival show? I like to pretend that this show is slightly serious, but if the people on it are all ridiculous that makes it more difficult. I mean, SOME weird is fine, but it seemed like everyone looked cray cray.

See all the designs here...

Best garments: There were a lot of great ones considering the materials available. I liked Kimber's gold dress and it got barely a mention, as well as Nathalia's silver one. I guess I have a thing for metallics?

Worst garments: I wasn't really a fan of the winner's Big Bird look. Too much muslin. I'm pretty sure I've seen Jenni's Picasso "masterpiece" in a movie before, on a prostitute. Ian's losing look was pretty dull, he should have seen his elimination coming. Brik's glitter pants were...fine...but the judges were right that the rest of his look made no sense.

Best quote: "It looks like something a unicorn would wear, if, um...well, I guess a unicorn could wear it. I'd have to make some alterations." --Brik

And honorable mention..."It's like you're drunk on the way home and you're just trying to get your key in the door, that's what it feels like." --Dexter

For once, I'm okay with how the judging and elimination went down for an unconventional challenge. I usually think it's super unfair, but Ian defended his garment and was determined to convince us that it fit his aesthetic. Okay fine. Your aesthetic isn't very interesting.

With the unconventional challenge out of the way, I'm excited to see the rest of the season!

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Inky Hey June Santa Fe

At the end of my pregnancy I made two sleeveless Santa Fe tops, one with lace insets and one color-blocked.

I really like these for hiding post-partum lumps, but I'm not a fan of the high neckline. Something about it doesn't work for me, proportionally. I think it makes me look like a triangle? Perhaps I'm not styling it properly. I didn't want to give up on the pattern, though, and I thought that maybe one of the views with sleeves would help balance my proportion. Those views also have a lower neckline.

I ordered some deeelicious rayon spandex knit from Raspberry Creek on Etsy. She sold out of this dark navy ink stripes print right away, sorry! I'm on a no-stripes diet but I had to break it for this one. It's absolutely perfect for a Santa Fe. And hey look! Outdoor photos!

I call this my "senior photo" pose

This is view D except I did not use seams in the center front and back, instead I cut on the fold. I didn't bother to try matching stripes, I didn't have enough fabric patience. I had a hard time cutting even though I did it single-layer. Somehow my front piece looked like this:

I guess it shifted while cutting. I forged ahead anyway and I don't think it had any ill effects. This is a size Small but I could probably get away with a lengthened XS (this one is not hemmed).

For the sleeve cuffs and neckband I used a navy cotton/spandex I had hiding in my stash, from Mood. It was a medium weight and it was just too heavy. It did not combine well with the lightweight rayon. It's fine on the cuffs, I guess, but along the neckline it was flopping open. I ended up turning it to the inside almost like a facing. Make it work!

Stripe-matchers, avert your eyes

I love how easy this top is to wear, but it does take two yards of fabric since it's got a cut-on sleeve and a wide shape. I prefer my tops to be squeezed out of a single yard. I'm cheap. But if you find a spectacular rayon knit, I highly recommend this pattern! I probably have enough narrow yardage left to make a second one with the color-blocked insets and center seams.

The sun came out!

Update July 2017: This post contains affiliate links. Text of the original post remains the same!

Thursday, September 8, 2016

5 Out Of 4 Shenanigans Skort

I hate the word skort. It makes me feel like I'm in a bad 90s music video. I hate it so much that it's actually made me avoid wearing them, just so I don't have to use the word. Sorry skort. It's not your fault. But I love my new Shenanigans Skort so much that I will write this whole post and use the word a bunch of times!

Remember that white skirt I was wearing a few weeks back? The one from Old Navy that was so short it was scandalous, except that it had shorts underneath so it was okay? I've had that skirt for more than a decade, and for that long I've wanted another exactly like it. I intended to draft my own pattern and even bought the fabric, but, life. Laziness pays off, I guess, because now I can use the new Shenanigans Skort from 5 Out Of 4 Patterns!

This pattern is packed with options. Three lengths of skirt, each skirt can have a flounce added, three rise options, and three lengths of shorts underneath. And of course you can make just shorts or just a skirt. I'm no good at maths but even I know that the amount of combinations is...a lot. For my version, I measured the aforementioned ON skirt and picked the closest options. That meant the low-rise waist, with the safe length skirt, and 3" inseam shorts. No flounce.

The patch pockets were my own addition. I traced the shape of the pockets from the ON skirt and added seam allowance to make my own pattern piece. In hindsight...I should have been a bit more careful. The ON skirt is fitted through the hips, and this one is more A-line. It means that the pockets are not parallel to the hemline and appear kind of wonky. Of course I didn't notice until the skirt was done. Oh well. Live and learn. The pattern does come with a small patch pocket option or a ball pocket, but I stubbornly went ahead with my own idea.

If you've never used a 5oo4 pattern you'll be happy to know that it's layered and no-trim. Cue tears of joy! The instructions were excellent and the only tricky part included a link to a YouTube video. The shorts contain a gusset and this was the part shown in the video. The gusset makes the shorts SO comfortable with that extra bit of room. And it wasn't really that difficult to sew.

Can I gush about this fabric for a second? It was a designer overstock from Girl Charlee and I bought it at least two years ago, explicitly for a tennis skirt. It's cotton/modal/spandex. YUM! Soft, stretchy, and great recovery. I hope it holds up over many washes. The color is "chrome grey" and I do wish it were a bit more true grey, but only so it would fit better into my wardrobe. It's a great neutral either way.

The waistband is meant to have 2" elastic. I happened to have some on hand, although I can't remember at all where I bought it. Wawak maybe? I tried my skirt on before I added elastic and you *might* be able to get away without, if you have a stretchy enough fabric with good recovery. After wearing this skort a few times, I might go back and coverstitch through the waistband for some extra stability. My elastic is folding a bit through the center when I sit. It would be a cute, sporty addition.

Be sure to check out all the tester photos for this pattern, they're each labeled with the options they used so you can see all the possibilities. This was a FAST sew and I'll be making more, for sure!

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

My New Favorite Shirt

Just a quickie post today to show off my final TNT dolman (New Look 6216).

I stumbled upon this fabric at Hancock Fabrics over two years ago. Variable stripe jersey in pink, white and blue?? Yes please! I bought the rest of the bolt, somewhere around 3 yards. You'll be seeing this again! In fact, you may have already seen it once before if you've paid attention to recent McCall's catalogues.

The only change I made from my previous top was to lengthen it a bit (at the hem) and use a curved hemline. I copied the hem shape from the Hey June Lane Raglan. I used my coverstitch to hem after sewing a basting stitch at the hemline, a trick I like to use on a curved hem.

The one difficult bit about this project was choosing the stripe placement. I wanted a dark section over the bust but also through the waist, to make me appear as narrow as possible. I think it turned out great, and I predict I will be wearing this top until it falls apart! Have you ever found a fabric that seemed to be made for you?

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Extreme Stash-busting Tee

I learned to sew a little over four years ago. I started out practicing with old clothes. When I felt confident enough to sew "real" fabric, I splurged on some high-quality knits from Emma One Sock. I kept reading (on Pattern Review) about this place called EOS and it took me forever to figure out what it was. In the last four years online fabric selling has expanded, but EOS still has some of the nicest stuff around. I had to stop browsing there because it was TOO nice for me and my spit-up/markers/machine-washable lifestyle! I've had a one-yard cut of this striped rayon knit for all that time. It feels almost surreal that it has finally become a shirt!

When I ordered this fabric, I had a raglan t-shirt in mind. In all this time, I haven't landed on a TNT raglan pattern (the Lane is on my cutting table, okay??). Shameful. Lately, I've been stashbusting as much as possible and I decided it was time to move on from the raglan idea, or it'd be another four years and this fabric would still be here.

I'm SO glad I used my now-TNT dolman pattern (New Look 6216) with this fabric! It is deliciously soft and amazing to wear, even in the heat. The metallic stripe is a fun detail amidst somewhat muted colors. Once it was on me, I felt like the colors might be a bit boyish...I can't decide.

I love this hard. It was worth all those iterations and wearable muslins to get to this pattern. And now, of course, I can pattern-hack away! I've got one more of these I want to crank out before I move on to other things.

Four years might not be long for a cut of fabric to languish away, but it felt long to me since that is my entire sewing career. Anyone else sewing up some old yardage lately? I won't dare ask how old your oldest piece is!

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