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).

Monday, July 8, 2013

Sewing beeeeeeeees

Have you heard about the Super Online Sewing Bee? I suppose first I should ask if you've heard about the Great British Sewing Bee, aka look! there are people sewing on tv! Best thing I saw all year. And now there's an online version - 10 sewers, 5 challenges, lots of prizes. I can't wait to see it all play out.

There's also a "play along at home" component. I wonder if I could manage to do any of the challenges? There are prizes involved! And more time than the official competitors get, heh. I'll have to see. The first challenge has been posted, but I STILL haven't finished my supposedly easy skirt. :)

Monday, June 17, 2013

Summer skirt

After all the fitting and finishing of May, I wanted to do something simple for Jume. Okay, really I was secretly hoping to do two quick projects in June, since I'm one project behind for the year. In any case, "simple" means a skirt, since I don't have to make a toile or any alterations. Therefore:

Front, back, waistband, zipper. Done! HAHAHA. First, I realized that the fabric was really light and a little see-through. Whoops. So I decided to add a lining. And then I saw a cute version on Pattern Review and decided to add the pockets. This, as it turns out, was a terrible idea. Not only is the pocket pattern badly made, with markings that don't line up, but they looked horrible once they were on. Like some sort of pocket-y jodphur. 

I'm currently in the middle of picking the pockets off. I think it'll be okay - because the fabric is so thin, it got a couple of small holes just from the stitches, but they're not very visible. And then I think I have to attach the lining - I'm kind of making it up as I go along! Thank pete for the internet.

Friday, May 31, 2013

MMM '13: the final countdown

Yay, it's the end of May! Here's the last of MMM '13.

May 23: I think I wore this entire outfit already this month.

May 29: New dress! I'm so happy I managed to finish something else during May.

May 30: I really can't wait to wear something else.

May 31: Last outfit!

(The missing days were when I was in New York - I didn't include those days in my Me Made May pledge. Although I did wear the new dress one night.)

PHEW. I did it! It was hard - not the pieces, but repeating them so frequently. I like to spread out wearings a little more. If I do this again I'm going to need more me-made clothes!

Least worn: the pink and green skirt. I'm passing it on.
Most worn: the blue skirt, surprisingly. Probably because it was so cold at the beginning of May!
Hardest to style: the flowered shirt - I discovered that it doesn't go with any of my more summery clothes. I mostly only managed to wear it on the colder days when I could pair it with pants.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Sewaholic Cambie

This dress! THIS DRESS. I may never make anything again, other than this dress over and over again, I love it that much. I can't wait to try it again with the full skirt (although I'm totally thrilled with how the a-line fits).

It's the Cambie dress from Sewaholic. I did have to make a ton of adjustments to the top (full bust adjustment, add side darts, shorten front and back, take a tuck out of the back for my swayback), but I think it's a very well crafted pattern, and the dress itself was very easy to sew (even with a full lining!).

Of course, by the time I sewed the real thing I'd already made 3 muslins, so that might be why it was so quick...

The perks of custom fit: I think this is the first dress I've owned since I was 13 where the front waistband didn't end up sitting higher than the back. In fact, it's actually lower, because that's how my natural waistband is due to my terrible posture (aka sway back).

Also, I'm in love with the fabric.

So there you have it - it took 2 months, but it was totally worth it. I even got it finished in time to wear in New York for my parents' choir concert. And one day I'm going to have a closet full of Cambies.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

MMM '13 Week 3

 May 15: Apparently I forgot to turn on the lights!

 May 16: Tired of this skirt. I'm sure I'll get over it once I've had a few weeks away. :)

 May 17: I got a lot of compliments on this outfit - mostly on the pants and shoes combination!

May 18 (okay, and May 20): New shirt! Just in time.

May 21: I got the orange shoes back from the repair guy just in time - they go with almost everything I've made. You'll see them again.

May 22: In reality I wore the little white cardigan with this all day.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Shirt: complete!

Hello! I have, amazingly enough, actually finished the shirt I started back in March. I KNOW.

(Nice pyjama pants, right?) To catch you up on all the delays, there was the FBA I had to make that was far too roomy in the centre, requiring me to unpick the sash and figure out a workaround. There was the fact that this material is a complete pain to work with - the needle kept getting stuck in the embroidery. And then, right at the end, when I finally figured out how to the binding in the arm and neckhole (terrible instructions), my machine was too wimpy to sew through all the layers. I think it might be time to upgrade my machine.

I'm very happy with how the shirt turned out, but I'm unconvinced that it's really for me. I think if I'd tried it on in a store I might have put it back. It could use a little more width around the hips. But we'll see! I'm sure I'll wear it a bunch before the end of Me Made May, just so I have another shirt.

And now, I'm hurrying through my dress, which I desperately want to finish before I head to New York (next Friday).  I think it's possible, but there's always the zipper to throw me off.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

MMM '13 Week 2

 May 8. Am I standing funny or are my breasts really that lopsided?

 May 9. I really don't mean to cut off my shoes in these photos. They are cute yellow sneakers.

 May 10. It's a good thing it cooled down again, because this shirt only seems to go with my fall and winter clothes.

 May 11. If nothing else, this is forcing me to wear this skirt in ways that don't involve trying to match the orange thread.

May 12. Yes, it's true, I wore basically the same thing on Saturday and Sunday, with the exception of legwear in honour of the giant HAIL.

 May 13. Monday morning, too tired to stand up. I liked this combo. It's cuter when you can see the shoes.

May 14. I didn't like the shoes and swapped them for boots. I miss my lost mary janes.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Me-Made-May Week 1

Day 1. As you can see by the backwards writing, I was still attempting the mirror shots. :)

 Day 2. Look, I learned how to use the self-timer!

 Day 3. Forgot my sign - I made the skirt. I took this photo after work, so I'm a little wrinkled.

 Day 4 (weekend). I never wear this skirt. It's pretty obvious why when I look at it - I look twice as short as normal. I might try to shorten it, although frankly I think I might just get rid of it. And the shirt, too, really. Super unattractive all around.

 Day 6.

Day 7. I said on Twitter that jean skirts make me feel like I'm 12 years old. They're so useful, though.

I have one more skirt that I haven't worn yet, and then it's back to these! We'll see if I can manage to make them more interesting next time around.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Dress update

I'm actually enjoying doing the fitting adjustments on this dress - surprise!

When we last spoke, I'd made adjustments on the bodice, moved the darts, and had the side seams come out all uneven. So I made a new version of the pattern piece for the front bodice, with my adjusted darts, and evened out the side seam. Then cut out a new muslin of the top.

Here's where I am now: I had to shorten the shoulders - on the front I took it from the straps, and on the back I shortened the whole thing. Amazingly, this made the side seams the same length as the front (they were longer before). Awesome thing #1: I sewed up the back where the zipper will go, and still managed to squish it on, which helped immensely - I can't really figure out how to adjust the back by myself with my short arms, but at least I can see where the problem is! I do need to do a sway back adjustment, since the back is dipping down below my waist. And my adjustments to make the side seams straight means the bottom of the bodice is now bigger than the waistband, so I need to figure that out. Maybe make the darts from the waist bigger? Or just redraw the seams. Phew!

It's kind of hard to see with my crap self-portraits, but in the second photo on the right you can see that the back is dipping below my waist, and is also wrinkling around there. You can see the imbalance a bit in the last photo too. Also, please enjoy my pyjama pants.

Awesome thing #2: the fact that I managed to take a photo of my back in the mirror. SKILLS.

Update! I made the swayback adjustment, which seems to have worked well. And the waistband seems to fit to the skirt now, which makes no sense to me, but okay. Having sewed the waistband on, though, I suspect it's a bit too short right in the front. And possibly too large around the waist. I may be making yet one more copy of the shirt front pattern pieces. I'll attach the skirt and see how it works first.

(As for the ongoing shirt, my adjustment worked this time, hooray! And then I futzed with seam finishes for a while. I'm now ignoring it because the next step is to trim the edges with bias tape, which scares me a little.)