Tagged fabric

Pillowcase for the tall kid

My eldest, who will soon be 14, is a big Legend of Zelda fan. A few weeks ago, I found some awesome Majora’s Mask fabric at Dressew, and bought a metre of it on a whim. I figured I’d eventually decide what to make with it.

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Eldest is going for a sleepover tonight, and needs to bring a pillow, so I figured why not make a pillowcase? I whipped it up yesterday, in about an hour. When I make pillowcases, I base them on the measurements and techniques from the One Million Pillowcase project, and use this pattern from All People Quilt. I modify the pattern a little. In this case, I cut a 3″ wide strip of green broadcloth and pressed it lengthwise in half to make an accent strip between the printed fabric and the plain black fabric. When you prepare the opening, just baste this strip to the edge before sewing the loop. Easy as pie! I also had to make it a little smaller than the pattern tells you to, because my green fabric was 1″ too short and I didn’t want seams in it. The joys of sewing from your stash and using up leftovers!

Kid likes the pillowcase, I got to use up some stash fabric, and I’m a happy mum. I’m hoping to find some kind of awesome must-have fabric to make a fun pillowcase for the boy at some point, but nothing has caught my eye.

A trio of Sewaholic Oakridge blouses

I found these great fabrics on sale at Fabricland in the fall, and knew they’d be perfect for Oakridge blouses. I already have two with the bow, so I decided to make things easier on myself and do the version without the bow.

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This first one is quite possibly my favourite, because the fabric is so unique. It reminds me of a Monet painting, specifically Waterlilies. You got your first peek at this fabric when I posted my machine sewn button tutorial. Excuse the creases in my skirt, I wore this outfit for a job interview this morning. Wish me luck!

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I loved this fabric too, because it is so difficult to find autumn colours. I love orange, and I thought I’d never say that. I still remember the adorable peach dress I had in eighth grade. It suited me really well, except for the colour, which was far too light for my complexion, and resulted in me looking pallid and ill. I generally prefer reddish or rusty oranges, and this fabric has both. I loved that the dots are random and imperfect.

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This is the final blouse. Remember that I said a while back that when I find a pattern that I like, I tend to make several garments all the same?

I didn’t need to make any adjustments to the pattern, since I’ve already sewn it twice before. I did, however, use some cotton lawn for the bias binding at the neckline instead of cutting a bias strip out of my fashion fabric. The reason I chose to do so was that fussing with a skinny bias strip in a slippery fabric felt like torture to me. Because I skipped the bias strip, I have quite a bit of fabric left over, so I plan on making myself some Colette Sorbetto tanks, which I can wear with sweaters or blazers. Thus far, I’ve only made them out of cotton.

I’m pretty pleased with my new blouses, and my work wardrobe is really coming together. Now I just need a job!

Colette Phoebe Dress

Well, I’ve been avoiding posting this one because I was so excited about the pattern and my dress really didn’t work out very well. I’m just going to get this done and over with…

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It looks more or less okay from the front, I suppose. There are definitely issues though.

The neckline is way too high for me. I don’t like a neckline that comes higher than my collarbones, even if it’s a t-shirt. Why? Because I’m rather well-endowed, all that fabric just makes my bust look even bigger. There’s nothing to break it up. Maybe some chunky jewelry would help, but that’s not my style. The neckline needs to be lowered about 2″ in the front, and 1″ at the back, because it’s just a wee bit high for me there too.

The fit in the waist is good. The fit in the bust is good. The fit in the hips is okay. The fit across my tummy is terrible. This is more apparent from the side.

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Look at those drag lines! I have a bit of a tummy pouch, and that’s what is causing them. I blame my kids, but really, I need to exercise more and it would be less of a problem. There’s not a whole lot of room in this dress for my tummy. Because my tummy is bigger than this dress can comfortably accommodate, it is pushing up the waistline, causing weird wrinkles below the bust.

I don’t want to have to wear spanx, which might help somewhat, but I don’t honestly find them all that helpful. They do smooth out lumps and bumps, but they give me a sausage silhouette, which isn’t much better than lumps and bumps.

I’m not sure I’ll try making this dress again. It just needs too many modifications in order to work. I love the idea of sheath dresses, but with my tummy, I’m not sure they’re the most flattering on me. I’ll try this one again someday, after I get my tummy under control, but in the meantime, I have fabric for four more of them that I need to find other uses for.

Not every project can be a success, and this one definitely was not one of them. I’ll keep it on hand, just so that I don’t have to sew it again later if/when my belly is less pouchy, but this definitely is not a wearable dress.

The other fabrics I purchased are fine wale corduroy and lightweight suiting. There’s definitely enough for either pants and skirts, or dresses. I’m inclined to go for dresses, but I need to find the right pattern. I thought about the Sewaholic Cambie as an option, but it isn’t going to be suitable for the corduroy. I made one out of quilting cotton a while back.

I came across this blog post from Sewaholic, and love the finished dress, but Tasia’s body type is very different from my own. I’d end up with the same issue with the neckline being too high. I don’t like the back either, but the front is nice.

This might be a good option, because of the neckline variations. I find it frustrating that the pattern companies don’t list everything that is in the catalog on their websites though. I’d rather go through the patterns at home, then make a trip to the fabric store. Sadly, I don’t have anything in my collection of patterns that would be suitable.

Another Colette Mabel

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Would you believe I made another one? I went to Dressew for notions, and meandered around the fabrics, because you never know what amazing things you’ll find. Lo and behold, I found this gorgeous black and red damask knit, which had to come home with me.

Laying it out was a bit tricky, since I wanted to be sure that everything was lined up perfectly. To do this, instead of laying out on the fold, I traced around half of my pattern pieces with chalk, then flipped the pattern over and traced around the other side with chalk, and cut along the chalk lines. I did the same for the outside waistband pieces. I didn’t have to do the back this way, because it has a seam down the centre, and I didn’t care how perfectly spaced the damask pattern was on the inside.

Hooray for pretty, comfortable clothes! It’s pretty comfortable, too!

Colette Mabel

I’m sick of jeans that don’t fit comfortably. The rise is always too low, and I’m always having to either wear a belt (which is uncomfortable) or pull my pants up every few minutes (also uncomfortable, and not very convenient). In the case of the one pair with a nice, just below the navel rise, the fabric doesn’t have enough memory (2% spandex simply is not enough), so they stretch out of shape after an hour or so, which results in needing to pull my jeans up constantly. No thank you.

I am eventually going to get around to making myself a pair or two of jeans that actually fit, but that’s going to be quite a project, so in the meantime, because pants are STUPID, I have made myself some comfortable skirts that I can wear with tights.

I thought about drafting a pattern, however as my eldest would say, “it would be easy…but, lazy”. I decided to go with the Colette Mabel skirt pattern, with a minor modification… I don’t like my skirts super short, so I added 3″ to the length of the mini skirt. I don’t usually sew with knits, which meant I had very little in my stash, so I had to go to the fabric store. I found two fabrics that I liked, which will go with everything… One was a solid black knit, and the other was a heathered charcoal colour.

DSC_4699After taking my measurements, I determined that I landed exactly in the range for the large size. I made the black skirt first. First lesson with this pattern is that it doesn’t have standard 5/8″ seam allowances, so my usual habit of snipping my notches into the seam allowance meant that I had some fussing to do at the notches, since I snipped too far and ended up with tiny holes everywhere there was a notch. Doing notches this way makes cutting your fabric go much faster, but the time I spent fiddling with the stitching negates any time I saved cutting. Lesson learned: read the instructions before cutting, in case the seam allowances are not standard.

DSC_4698I didn’t feel like making the charcoal right away, so I nabbed this funky, retro heathered print from my stash. I bought it at Dressew a few months ago, from the clearance section. I think it was only $2 per meter, and I couldn’t resist it. I figured if I hated it as a skirt, I could donate it to charity without feeling like it was money wasted. In the end, I rather like it, so long as I balance it with dark tights and a dark top.

DSC_4700After actually wearing the two skirts, I decided that the large was just a touch too big, so I trimmed the pattern down to the medium size and cut the charcoal fabric. The fit is much better, and after making two skirts already, I didn’t need to refer back to the instructions, and I had all of the bugs worked out.

DSC_4701Because my black and charcoal fabrics were 60″ wide, there was quite a bit left over. Not enough for another skirt, but there was plenty to make a colour block skirt! I redrafted the back piece, and cut the centre pieces as well as the waistband out of the charcoal, and the side pieces in black. Talk about making the most of your yardage!

The last two skirts were done assembly-line style, because I could use the same thread for both. It only took me about an hour and a half to make the two, plus cutting time.

As a bonus, I scored on sweater tights at The Bay this week, because they’re clearing them out for the season, so I have plenty of options for comfy tights to wear with my comfy skirts! It was fairly inexpensive too. I spent only about $15 CAD on fabric for four skirts. The pattern is a bit pricey considering that the Canadian dollar is so low, but because I can as many skirts as I want, I think in the end it is money well spent.

Pencil skirts…again.

So, I was going to try a different pattern for my next pencil skirt, but have found that most of the PDF patterns I like are either really expensive (I don’t much like the idea of spending almost $20 for a pattern that doesn’t even have variations) or print on A4 paper. I bought a Burdastyle pattern for $5, which I printed on letter size paper, having set my printer to adjust for the paper size, but it was cut off, so I know the skirt wouldn’t fit. It’s very frustrating.

Rather than go out and buy yet another skirt pattern, I’m going to make the pleated pencil skirt again… but this time, I’m going to skip the lining. Hopefully I’ll have better luck than I did with the last one. I have fabric for three new skirts, but I’m only going to cut one for now, in case I decide that I hate the pattern. It does make a nice skirt, when you get the measurements correct. I do find that there’s a bit more ease in the pattern than is really necessary though, so if you make this skirt, you might want to account for that.

I also have decided on which fabric to use for my Phoebe dress, which I am hoping to make on Monday. I have decided on skirts today, because they’re a bit more versatile than dresses, and I’ve got a busy weekend, otherwise I’d sew it up sooner.

There are a few knitting projects that I need to post as well – a sweater and two shawls. I’ll get to those soon. It’s getting more difficult to get photographs of my large knits, because the weather has been bad on weekends, and my husband gets home after dark on work days. There just isn’t enough space in our apartment to take pictures of a shawl with a span of more than five feet, since there always seems to be furniture in the way.

Pencil skirt FAIL

I wanted to make myself another couple of pencil skirts, because I like the look of them and their versatility, so I sewed some up about two weeks ago. I had made the black one a touch too small, so I remeasured myself and made the size I thought I needed.

The two skirts I made, both out of stash fabric, ended up several inches too big. I don’t know how I could measure myself that inaccurately, but it can happen. I suspect it was because I didn’t write the measurements down, and misremembered them. Pencil skirts are a real hassle to alter, so I offered them to friends, but unfortunately, the size didn’t work for anyone that I know. I’ve put them in a donation bag that we’ll be taking to a local centre that is collecting donations for Syrian refugees. At least they won’t be going to waste!

Unfortunately, I didn’t have sufficient brown fabric to make another brown skirt, but the poppy print cotton sateen had enough remaining yardage to make another two skirts, so I remeasured myself today and cut another poppy skirt. I even made sure to try it on when I basted the zipper, to ensure that it would fit (it was perfect). The zipper stuck a little bit at the waistband seam, but I thought “no big deal, I’ll just trim down the seam allowances and everything will be fine”.

broken zipI tried to zip up my skirt after completing the lining, and this is what happened. First, the zipper got stuck in the same place, about 1/4″ above the waistband seam… it wouldn’t go any higher. When I tried the skirt on, the zipper would unzip, but this time, it was STUCK. It wouldn’t unzip, it wouldn’t zip higher. I have no idea what happened to my zipper, because it worked just fine before I sewed the lining into the skirt. I checked to make sure the lining wasn’t caught anywhere. So I did what any frustrated seamstress would do. I tried to convince the zipper to get unstuck. That’s when the zipper teeth burst apart. I tried to fix it, got more frustrated, and ended up tearing the zipper tape. I just can’t cope with tearing it all apart and fussing with it, so the skirt went into the trash. I still have enough fabric to try again.

I think I’m done with this pattern. Between sizing issues and frustration with the zipper (lining up those seams is not much fun, let me tell you), I just can’t say I’m enjoying this pattern anymore. It’s not a bad pattern, I’m just too frustrated to do it again. I’m not too frustrated to make a different pencil skirt though. The next one I’m trying is from Sew Over It, and it doesn’t have a waistband, or even lining, which means it will be much quicker to sew. I can always wear it with a slip if I need to. The only problem is that the pattern is from the UK, so it prints on A4 paper, so before I even buy the pattern, I need to find out what I need to do in order to make it work on letter sized paper. Page scaling isn’t an option, because then the skirt won’t fit.

Completed Minoru

DSC_4559 I finished my Minoru jacket last week, and have worn it every day since completing it. It has been difficult to get pictures of it though, given that it is dark by the time my husband gets home from work, so we took advantage of this morning’s beautiful weather to walk the dog near the river and get pictures of my jacket.

I didn’t change anything about finishing the jacket, other than making the interior pocket an inch deeper, to accommodate my phone, and serging the raw edges inside the collar, as the edges remain exposed inside of the collar and I didn’t want them to fray over time.

I’m quite pleased with the finished jacket, and wore it for the first time last Friday. It’s a very comfortable jacket – it doesn’t bind at the arms, it’s roomy enough in the bust, and has a really flattering silhouette. It even saw rain on Saturday, and I stayed nice and dry. There’s also plenty of room to wear my down underlayer with it in the winter, so there’s no need to buy a separate winter coat this year.

DSC_4563Would I make this jacket again? Absolutely. I think it makes a fantastic all-purpose jacket. It’s sporty enough for walking the dog and light hiking, but stylish enough to wear around the city or on your daily commute.

There are a few things that I’d do differently next time, however. The side seam pockets are a little too far to the back, thanks to the elastic at the waist, which pulls them away from the front. On my next Minoru, I’ll take the time to do the welt pockets I discussed previously but decided not to do.

The hood is really big. In fact, I don’t like it all that much. I’d make a different style of hood altogether the next time I make this jacket. The hood has a seam down the center, but I find that a hood that has three pieces fits better, and I’d draft my own hood in that style the next time around.

I’d also consider doing a tie belt next time I make this jacket, instead of the elastic waist. It gives you a bit more comfort when switching warm layers underneath the jacket, as it might be a touch snug with my heavier down layer.

Much as the elastic cuffs were a pain in the rear end, I’d leave them as is, because they look nice, and are comfortable to wear.

My pockets need some tweaking, as every time I take my hands out of them, the pocket lining pops out. Tacking them to the hem of the jacket will fix that problem though. I also didn’t make the bottom outside seam high enough when I sewed them, as the pockets aren’t really a secure spot to keep things. When I crouch to pick up after my dog, sometimes stuff falls out of my pocket (such as my phone, the day I didn’t put it back in the interior pocket).

I’m pretty happy with this jacket, considering it was my first time sewing this type of outerwear. Am I 100% happy? No, but I’d say I’m 90% happy, which is more than I can say for anything I’d buy off the rack! I’ll get a lot of use out of this jacket, and when it is time, I’ll definitely make another.

View all of my Minoru Jacket posts here.

 

High Light Quilt – Finished

DSC_4551-001 Remember my post about the quilt I was making for our bedroom? It’s finally finished!

My sister in law has a home-based long-arm quilting business, and because of the size of the quilt, I asked her to quilt it for me. This quilt is massive! I knew there was no way I could ever possibly quilt it on my machine without hating every minute of it, so having it done on a long-arm was the way to go. She quilted it with a series of leaves, in pale yellow thread. I’m really pleased with the quilting, and there’s no way I’d have been able to do it myself.
DSC_4552She gave me the finished quilt in October, but because other projects were a priority, I let it sit for a while. I spent a few hours on Sunday binding it, and threw it in the washer today. Thank goodness for glue basting, or I’d have lost a lot of blood thanks to all of the pins I would have needed! I’m really pleased with my quilt, and love how it looks on the bed. It’s so much better than the boring Ikea duvet we had on it previously.

Minoru, part VII, the collar, pockets & sleeves

DSC_4536There’s a rainfall warning for today – we’re expecting 50-70mm of rain in the city. What a perfect day to spend inside, sewing a rain jacket! I’m excited, because today I get to start making it look like a jacket! First, I had to sew the collar to the neckline of the jacket. Remember my comments on using heavier thread to do the gathering stitches? It won’t gather at all, because of the rubbery backing on the fabric. I ended up doing small pleats instead, facing the shoulder seams, which is better anyway, because they’re not as bulky as gathers. The nice thing is that because this reduces the bulk, I was able to seam seal the collar after topstitching. Look at that nice zipper with its reflective tape! Fancy!

I had to stray from the sewalong again, because I am adding pockets. I decided not to do welt pockets, because of the placement of the waist gathers. Therefore, I used the tutorial that Tasia linked to here. No pictures, as that’s all covered in the tutorial. I did, however, make my pockets a little deeper than the tutorial.

DSC_4535Once I’d finished the side seams, I sealed the sleeve seams, but since I was starting to run short on seam tape, I didn’t seal the body side seams. I topstitched the side seams, but not the underarm seams, because the stiffness of the fabric would have made it really difficult. I’ll use liquid seam sealer on the body side seams. I trimmed all of the seams to 1/4″ before sealing.

My next post will detail how I will make the casing for the elastic, since I don’t plan on following the pattern instructions for that step. I can’t do anything else on the outer jacket right now, because my liquid seam sealer needs at least 8 hours to cure, so I’m going to sew the lining and baste the remaining reflective tape to the front zipper.