Thursday, March 6, 2014

A Long Day's Journey into Pants

Remember me?

You'd think that a long (very long), cold (very cold) winter would be perfect for lots of sewing. But sewing requires taking your hands out from under the blankets. So, you know. But I finally struggled out from under the cats and pulled out the trousers.

Look, they actually look like pants! I had a moment of panic when I put them on and they felt tight (you can actually see it in the photo. You can also see that my fly is kind of janky, but it does what it needs to do). I muslined these! They should be perfect! And then I realized that I'd sewn the outside seams of the muslin at 5/8", but the real pants at 1" (what the pattern actually called for). So I re-basted the top part at 5/8" and they're pretty good now. I just need to pull the waistband in at the top of the sides a bit so the front doesn't stick out so much.

So there you have it. I have to properly sew the seams, finish the waistband, and hem them. See you soon with real live PANTS.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

...and so it goes: 2014

Look, it's 2014! ALREADY. And it's a good thing I don't pretend to be a real blogger, because I've totally failed on that point. Of course, it's hard to write about sewing when I'm not doing any! But the holiday season is over and I'm determined to finally finish those pants. Then move on to more!

So. My objective for 2013 was to become a faster sewer. Did this happen? Sort of, I guess. I think my actual sewing has gotten faster - I'm faster at reading patterns and doing the stitching. But the process has gotten slower, since I started tracing my patterns and working with muslins. Is this a bad thing? No. I'd like to speed up the whole process, but I think everything I'm doing is only going to mean better clothes in the end.

I didn't, sadly, complete my goal of one outfit each month. I was doing so well right up to May! And then it slowed down and slowed down, and stopped entirely. Part of that is that I hate cutting out fabric (it's so uncomfortable to do on the floor), so I put off starting new projects. Oh well!

For 2014, my objective is to broaden my horizons - specifically, try things I haven't done before. Use the Craftsy classes I've bought. Learn how to sew with knits! Try sewing with different materials. But mostly, just keep sewing. Happy 2014, everyone!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Muslin take 2

I have a new sewing machine! After many struggles attempting to sew anything more than a couple of layers of fabric, I realized that I needed something better if I were to improve.

It's nothing super fancy, just better. So much smoother! The fabric doesn't bunch up when I cross a seam, which was a continual problem before.

I tested it out on a second muslin of my pants. I forgot to take any photos, sorry! But I think I worked out most of the problems. The only thing is that I'm not convinced of the width of the legs. I did narrow them, but I might narrow them more. These are meant to be wide legged pants, but they are dramatically wider than the pattern pictures.

In other news, a sewing school is opening at the end of my block. I'm hoping they'll offer some advanced classes so I can take one and then have access to studio time with giant tables for cutting patterns. I'm so tired of cutting on the floor.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Pants, round 1

Oh poor blog, how I've neglected you. Don't worry, it's not you, it's me. Let's catch up.

I started a pair of pants! And then I promptly ignored them for ages, because I was scared of them. Hence the silence. However, I finally worked through the pattern and made a muslin.

First problem: I totally cut the wrong size. I was between sizes and cut the larger one. Should have listened to the books that say cut the smaller size when you're in between. These photos are after I took in an inch on each outer seam, hence the giant seam allowance.

After that I was kind of stumped. I could see they didn't fit properly, but I had a hard time telling where the problem was. In the end I shortened the crotch length (so they weren't so saggy in the crotch, and the waist wasn't so high), increased the crotch depth (to accommodate the derriere - this should hopefully also make the side seam straight), took a little off the centre back height (for my sway back) and added a tiny bit to the centre front height (for better stomach coverage). I'm not convinced about the width either - I was looking for something wide-leg dress trouser-like, but these might be too wide for me. I'll play with that in the real fabric, though.

I've cut a second muslin (or really just re-cut the original muslin pieces) since I'm cutting  a new size. Hopefully it'll feel better!

In other news, I've bought a new sewing machine! I'm very excited. When I actually have it in hand (it was on sale and they ran out of stock, but I got the sale price) I'll share all the details. Sadly, I thought I was going to get to pick it up on Wednesday, so I sold my old machine, and now I have no machine at all. Boo.

Oh, and in other other news, I knit a scarf.

Saturday, September 21, 2013


I'm not convinced by this one. The fact that I finished it a week ago and haven't worn it yet says a lot to me. It just doesn't fit right. I did do a muslin, but I was focused entirely on the bust (which worked out quite well, thanks to this tutorial: Gathered bodice full bust adjustment). Here's a little secret. I'm a lazy musliner. I do the basics, but I don't go as far as zippers and buttons. I did get as far as putting on one sleeve - a giant puffed sleeve which I promptly rejected in favour of these slightly fluttery ones. But because I didn't properly fit the closure, I didn't notice that it didn't totally fit around the hips, or in the shoulders.

I don't know why I didn't think to make the two adjustments I made so successfully with the Cambie (swayback adjustment, and an inch off the bodice length). It's too bad, because those are exactly the problems. Note to self: FBA, swayback, and bodice length! Every time. Maybe one day I'll figure out how to do that before the muslin, even.

The thing is, I'm not sure it's a great style for me anyway, at least not around the neckline. Doesn't it look better without the collar? (And it would look even better without the sunburn.)

So, all in all, unconvinced. I'm going to make myself wear it next week and see how it is in real life - with that skirt, I think; it perfectly matches some of the flowers in the pretty yellow fabric. 

Monday, July 29, 2013


I've traced my next pattern, but my scissors are off being sharpened, so I can't get started. Instead, I poked through my pattern and fabric stashes to see what's next. What's actually next is TROUSERS - I figure if I start them after this shirt I might finish them at some point in the winter. If I'm lucky. But after that! So here are a few options.

I bought this silk blend in New York at one of the few fabric stores that was open on Memorial Day. There are 2 other projects in the book before this shirt, though, so it'll have to wait.

I bought this random piece of overdyed paisley at a garage sale. I have visions of making a summery top with wide ribbon straps. That's right, I'm going to attempt making my own pattern ("pattern"). I suppose I should do that before summer is over.

Owls! I haven't looked closely enough at the pattern to see if the owls would be right side up. And I don't have quite enough fabric for the length I want. But I'm going to see if it works.

I want to try another Sencha.

I'm not convinced this random soft material will work for this shirt. Maybe the top view?

I also have a few other pieces of patterned material. Most of the rest of of my patterns are for dresses, though, and none of the fabric has enough yardage. I guess I need to go shopping!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Break's over

Well, that was an unplanned sewing break. I blame summer - even with air conditioning, I find it hard to have enthusiasm for anything in the summer. Even reading! But we're having a few cooler days (bliss), and suddenly things seem interesting again.

Which means I finally managed to finish my skirt. HOORAY.
I blend into my living room. I'll have to remember this outfit if I ever need to hide in plain sight.

The skirt didn't turn out quite like I expected - based on pattern art I thought it was going to sit at the waist, but it sits quite a bit lower. The yoke is kind of oddly curved, too, and I'm pretty sure that's the pattern, not me (see how it comes up again at the side seam?).

I do like how swishy it is, though. The cotton voile I used for the lining is very soft, so it's quite comfortable to wear. I think the white kind of wiped out the funkiness of the pattern in the fabric, sadly - you can kind of see it in the picture below, but mostly it just looks lime green. And it's longer than I had planned, so I might re-hem it. Maybe. If I ever get the energy.

So, what did I learn? I figured out how to add a lining when there isn't one in the pattern - very useful! I also learned not to sew the lining too far into the zipper tape, or else the zipper will be hard to close. Oops.
All in all, a very useful summer skirt, even it's not exactly what I thought I was making. And it perfectly matches the awesome Miz Mooz shoes I just bought (which many people pointed out today, hee).