Thursday, December 1, 2016

Birthday Gifts for September, October, and November

I've already shared a handful of the gifts I made in October, but I thought I'd save all of the shirts with vinyl for a single post... and here it is! I used Jalie 2198 for all of these. The black and blue fabrics are from Nick of Time Textiles, and the olive green is from Girl Charlee.

  My twin nephews' birthday was in September... and I made coordinating shirts for them! For one, a shirt that says 'double':

  And for the other, a shirt that says 'trouble'! I'm so happy that these boys' mama has a great sense of humor and loved the shirts. ;-)

  I was initially planning on applique for the words, but I didn't have fabric in a color that I liked with this blue. I ended up using the last of my orange vinyl.

  I wanted the stripes on the arms to be thicker too, but I had just barely enough to squeak out this width, and I like the effect anyway! Next time I'll put the stripes a little higher though.

  I also added tags to the back of these shirts.

  The next birthday was my brother-in-law's. He's pretty awesome. ;-)

  This fabric is actually olive green, but my camera picked it up as muddy brown!

  I prefer the 12oz knits over this one for t-shirts... this one just doesn't feel sturdy enough to me.

  Another brother-in-law's birthday was in early November... he's a photographer, so I put this on the back:

  and a simplified version of his logo on the front. I simplified it because the original had lots of tiny pieces that I would have had to weed out! ;-)

  I'm really pleased with this one!

  I used this free clip art for the camera.

  And finally, my vocal middle brother's birthday was also in November! It's a little hard to see in the photos... it reads, 'I am not bound to please thee with my answers -Shakespeare'.

  I didn't have enough white vinyl left for this one so I went with black... it's a little easier to read in person because of the sheen of the vinyl, but white would definitely have been better.

  The hems turned out fantastic on this one!

  I only have one birthday gift left to make this year, for Gaiw. I really enjoyed making birthday gifts instead of Christmas gifts, but I haven't quite decided whether I'll do it again next year. I also somewhat unexpectedly gained a new brother-in-law this year, so I didn't actually end up making gifts for all of the extended relatives!

  I'm currently working on a Christmas dress for Booper. I have a coordinating set of dresses planned for the girls', but with how long it's taking me to sew the trim on Booper's I'm really not sure that I'll get them all finished. I need more sewing time! Maybe I can just skip sleeping this month. ;-)

Thanks for stopping by,

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Sewaholic Alma Blouse

  For my mom's birthday in October, I wasn't quite sure what she would like most, so when I asked for her size, I also asked if she would prefer a shirt, skirt, or dress. She wanted a dress. But from woven fabric, not knit! And then she requested that it be made from brown floral, so I took a trip to Jo-Ann's.

  Unfortunately, the only brown florals at Jo-Ann's were either quilting cotton, or shiny. I finally found a medallion-print rayon challis that seemed like it might work, and went to buy it, but sadly there were only 1.5 yards left. I'd already had a yard of brown suiting for the contrast cut at that point, so I just bought two more yards of that, and figured I'd just do my best to make it work for the full-priced dress pattern that I'd also bought!

  Then upon request the next day, I sent a photo of the medallion print to mom, who decided she would rather have a jacket. I suggested a blouse, and she agreed, so I bought the Sewaholic Alma blouse pattern to use with it. I made view C with no sash (not enough fabric) and raised the neckline 1" in the front as well as lengthening the bodice 2 inches at the lengthen/shorten line.

  The pattern was well-made, and the instructions were good. The armscyes seem pretty low as drafted. It prints over 43 pages for all of the views, but that's including a separate front bodice for the notched neckline version, as well as under and upper collar pieces.

  The sleeves are on the long side, and the cuffs were quite loose, but otherwise this fit my mom pretty well! Better than I hoped, for sure! The sleeves have a simple continuous bound placket for the vent... I probably would have found the instructions for that part confusing if I hadn't made this type of placket before.

  I under-stitched the facing, although the pattern doesn't call for it, and added a label to the back:

  I serged all of the seams for a simple and quick finish. This was my first time using rayon challis, and it really wanted to shift around on me until I lightly starched everything, after which it behaved beautifully for both sewing and pressing.

  Next time I'll be a little more specific when I give anyone options for their gift... it'll make things simpler! ;-) But I'm glad I had a chance to sew this pattern, and I may sew it up again for myself at some point... I'm just outside the size range but the pattern has just enough ease that it'll probably work anyway. (And yes, I'll muslin it first!)

Thanks for stopping by,

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Eva Dress

  Here's another dress I made for another sister-in-love in October!

  This is the Eva dress, a free pattern from Your Style Rocks, and one that I've admired since it was first released. 

  I wanted to make this in dark pink jersey knit, but the only pink jersey I had enough of was a baby pink, and, procrastinator that I am, I didn't have enough time to order anything, so I spent some time in Jo-Ann's searching for something that would work. Of course, they don't have much in the way of nice knits, so I ended up with an overpriced cotton interlock. And honestly, I wish I'd just used the baby pink.

  I don't know if it's just the quality of Jo-Ann's interlock, or interlock in general, but it's a struggle every time I use it... it stretches completely out of shape and even with new needles my serger hates it. It also pilled up a bit when I washed it, but since I'd spent quite a bit on it even after a coupon and obviously couldn't bring it back to the store after washing, I was committed to making it work! And I think the dress turned out all right in spite of the fabric! A bit wavier in places than I'd like, even after a good steaming, but hopefully not too awful. ;-)

  A gave me her actual measurements in addition to her size, so I used those to figure out which size of the pattern to download. Unfortunately not all of the margins printed (possibly because I was using letter-sized paper instead of A4?) but I think I managed to line everything up right anyway!

  While the actual pattern pieces were pretty decent, particularly for a free pattern, the instructions had me puzzled a couple of times, and I'm usually great at working that kind of thing out! I'm still not sure if I hemmed the sleeves the right width!

  I decided to machine-sew the pleat in the back for a couple of inches instead of tacking it at the waistline by hand from the outside. My hand-stitching usually isn't secure enough for things like this. 

  These front pleats are my favorite bit of the whole dress, even if they did end up a bit wavy in this fabric:

  I used a twin needle with bulky nylon in the bobbin for all of the top-stitching again.

  I haven't heard whether or not this one fit yet. Isn't this style pretty though? I'd like to make it again in a jersey like I'd initially planned... I think the neckline draping would look a lot better in a thinner fabric.

  In addition to all of the October birthday gifts (I still have two left to post about, plus a pair from September and one from November) I've been working on a skirt for myself. I finished the construction last week and have been spending every chance I get adding some embroidery to it... I'm really enjoying the process! 
Thanks for stopping by,


Friday, October 28, 2016

Lady Skater Dress

  I bought the Lady Skater dress pattern years ago in a flash sale, then never made it because it's something I'd have to alter a lot to be comfortable wearing. However, for my sister-in-love's birthday this year, I had some pretty floral Ponte knit (bought here, but no longer available- I believe this is the same fabric though) that I wanted to turn into a dress for her. So I started going through my pattern folders and the Lady Skater looked the closest to what I had in mind.

  H wears a size 4 or 6, so based on how tight the Lady Skater looks on most people, I decided to go with the size 6. The sizing in the pattern is different than ready-to-wear sizing though, so I had to look up the average measurements for a size 6 and compare those to the measurements in the pattern, which means I ended up with a size 4 in the pattern sizing. 

  The Lady Skater pattern is designed for a 5' 5" tall person, and although it's described as 'knee-length', in the pattern photo it's several inches above the knee. H is 5' 11", so I lengthened accordingly. I added 1.25" to the bodice and 8" to the hem of the skirt, to keep all the flare. To my great relief, it fit beautifully, and was just the right length!

  I made some other changes too... I raised the front neckline by 2" and shortened the neckband to match. I also sewed the neckband together before sewing it to the dress- my machine can't make it through the bulk of the folded neckband in the way that the pattern says to sew it, and I don't like the raw edges peeking out anyway. I top-stitched it with a twin needle, keeping one needle in the ditch so it would look like a single needle stitch.

  I used the cap sleeves, but lengthened them just enough to allow for a hem instead of the band:

  And I added pockets!

  I used a twin needle for all of the top-stitching, and my serger for the sewing, as usual.

  Several of the pattern pieces were not trued, but they did all fit together. I wasn't particularly impressed with the pattern, but I have to admit that it looks good on just about everyone who sews it!

  Anyway, I'm quite pleased with how it turned out and fit, and H loved it!

  I have quite a bit more of the fabric, and I'm pretty tempted to make a dress for myself with the rest of it. The fabric pills easily and is mostly polyester (ick), but otherwise it was pretty nice to work with... stretchy but stable and thick. That's going on the 'someday' list though, as I have a lot of things I want to sew first!

Thanks for stopping by,

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

4 Skirts

  I keep forgetting to write about these! For Skirting the Issue this year, I made 4 skirts- 3 simple knit ones and a slightly more detailed denim one.

  The knit ones are basic circle skirts. I made two matching ones with this knit from Nick of Time Textiles, with a simple yoga waistband and a lettuce-edged hem. Please excuse the wrinkles... they sat folded for a few days before photographing, and I didn't have time to press them again.

  This gingham knit (also used here) has very little stretch, so I made the waistband larger than the intended waist size (these are all a standard girl's size 10, and just below knee length) and put elastic in it.

  And the other skirt I made was from stretch denim. It's a 4-paneled skirt with an elastic back and flat front, belt loops, and top-stitching, along with a tatted heart and some couching.

  I tatted the heart with some variegated crochet thread using the free pattern at the very bottom of this page. I hand-stitched it to the skirt with regular sewing thread. I didn't have thread in all of the colors, so I just used one that matched the lightest blue. The tatting was too tight to comfortably stick a needle through, so up close the stitching is a little more noticeable than I'd like:

  But it isn't bad from a distance:

  I also couched some of the same thread around the hem in a wavy pattern. I zig-zagged over it by machine, but I couldn't figure out a good way to keep enough tension on the crochet thread without pulling it away from the curves. Maybe gluing it first would have fixed that... or a couching foot.

  I wish I'd picked it out and re-done it! But overall I think the skirt was still pretty cute.

  And that was all I made this year... maybe next year I'll manage 5 skirts. ;-)

Thanks for stopping by,