Monday, December 20, 2010

More Burda 09-2010-121 Turtlenecks

Yes, just like everyone else I couldn’t resist making more tops with this pattern!! They’re so simple to make and the top is great as a layer. It’s just the damn fabric I’m always drawn to, it’s *very* slinky cotton jersey (or rayon, I forget!), and handling the stuff is a pain in the neck. To make matters even harder for myself, I only bought 1.0 m of each colour, which is way not enough according to the pattern, but I managed to **squeeze** the top out of it by placing each pattern piece separately, including each sleeve. I think it took more time to cut out then to sew together!!


The colours are vivid, but they’re fun to wear. I’ll probably make more some time, but I did these to take a break from sewing the jeans I started with the PatternReview Jeans course with Jennifer Stern. More on that later.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Abacadabra No.14 Trousers for Boys

I bought this pattern about a year and a half ago, but when I looked at the instructions I just stuffed them back in the envelope! (I was so disappointed at the time, I just love this style.) I hadn’t started sewing Burda Style magazine patterns back then and so was really put off by not having the typical details and diagrams of the big pattern makers.

2010-11-15 003 2010-11-16 23.22.31

After making several Burda magazine patterns this year I thought I’d be able to tackle this one. So I traced it out last month and decided to do a muslin with some of C’s (my husband’s) old jeans that had ripped out in various places. The pattern is actually a great idea if you’re going to be making pants from various fabrics as it consists of 3 and 4 pieces for both the back and front. I used some cute yellow cotton print for the zipper fly and the loops at the back. Here’s a couple of pics; I haven’t put a waistband on yet as I’ve run out of denim!

2010-11-15 004 2010-11-15 005

The pattern actually has 2 large pockets on the back that line up at the side seams with the front pocket top and bottom seams. Since I didn’t have enough fabric pieces, and this is basically a muslin, I thought I’d leave them off. When I make the next pair I’ll definitely put them on, it’s a really nice design detail.

 2010-11-15 0022010-11-15 001

The pattern was actually pretty straight forward, despite the english translation and lack of diagrams. And this was the first fly I’ve sewn in over 15 years! Next time I’ll construct the pieces a little differently: assemble all the front and back pieces using the 5-Thread overlock stitch on my serger and then top-stitch everything with a thick thread in my sewing machine. That way you don’t need to keep switching the thread between seaming and top-stitching.

I’m really looking forward to finishing these pants, I hope O likes them!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Burda 04-2009-110 Top

Last spring I found a beautiful RTW dress. I loved it! But it was retailing for about $225, and I’m not in any position to justify that at this point in time!

Great summer dress I tried on in 240 Sparks. Found similar pattern in Burda Magazine 04-2009, #110

I’d seen a pattern on the Burda magazine website, the photo is gorgeous and really struck me. When I couldn’t find it anywhere in town I became desperate! I tried the Burda site, on their forum, and on PR asking if anyone would sell their issue. Two sewists on PR offered to trace it for me, which I think is incredibly nice of them, and soon received the pattern in the mail. This is it, similar to the RTW, and also very nice.

Burda 04/2009 #110, view B (top)Burda 04/2009 #110, view B (top)

This top is really a muslin, but it worked out OK in the end. With the shaping detail on the front it would probably look much better in a solid colour. But the fabric was just right, it has a nice drape and is quite light.

I had to do some major alterations for petite sizing, and a small high bust. Some of the other reviewers on PR also found that this top has a rather low “plunging” neckline. I shifted the neckline opening up by 1” along with the under-bust seam, and so had to insert 1” to the top of the lower part.

BWOF 04/2009 #110, view B (top) details of garment/pattern piecesBWOF 04/2009 #110, view B (top) details of garment/pattern pieces

With the fabric being so stretchy, I had to increase the back darts and took in another 1” on each, going up into the upper back. The front neckline was still a tiny bit too low, so I fiddled with the facings a bit.

BWOF 04/2009 #110, view B (top) details of garment/pattern piecesBWOF 04/2009 #110, view B (top) details of garment/pattern pieces

I’ll make another one in the future, and maybe even a dress. But a solid colour would really look smashing!

Monday, October 25, 2010

More Kid's Undies

After the first pair of undies I couldn’t resist making more last winter. The black/bugs pair is the same size as the orange, but the fabrics are different and so don’t fit the same. The red cotton/spandex is heavier than the brown and is much tighter on the leg openings. My O (that’s DS1 in other lingo) couldn’t wear those, but he loved the orange pairs; the orange fabric is a double knit cotton from Wazoodle and is super soft. And now that H (my little one!) is 3 and out of diapers, he can have these…but he’s the really fussy one when it comes to clothes!

kids undies, orange and bugs! 2010-04-29 002

I might make more, but I need to find the right fabrics for the leg opening. I’ve got lots of the blue/bug fabric (also from Wazoodle), and don’t know what else I’d use it for! The black fabric is actually from an old T-shirt; I’ve been trying to reuse old garments for these undies!

KwikSew 3016 Pants for Kids

This pants pattern is a keeper, I’m happy with how it turned out. Next time I’ll use elastic that’s double the width that the pattern calls for as it seems a bit flimsy, and there’s lots of room in the seat so it wouldn’t hurt to lift it up a bit. It has a closer fit around the hip than the pants pattern from the KwikSew book for kids, which dates back to the 80’s.

The fabric is a stretch French Terry and the stripes are a simple cotton jersey. I like the leg bands, which are self fabric, as they stop the pant leg from falling past the heel. They are a bit too long yet for O (that’s my oldest boy) so when he wears them he doesn’t step on the bottom.

So easy to sew, I’m going to make more of these. And what kid doesn’t like sweatpants?!

2010-09-12 003 (768x1024)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

And another one…Burda 09-2010-121 Top

I love this top, it really is fast and easy to sew. So, I did another one in some funky stretch jersey (from C&M Textiles). I also did the fast neck assembly that I mentioned in my previous post, but it’s a bit stiffer and creates a bit of a jagged edge at the top (it’s a bit hard to describe). The way I did the first one is better, and I think is easier to follow than what Burda have (see pics in previous post).

2010-10-12 003

I didn’t do my usual petite adjustment to the front, and find it tends to hitch up creating a fold across the top at armhole level. Next one will be fixed, as I’m definitely making more of these!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Burda 09-2010-121 Top

(Note: I have updated the pictures with more information for sewing the neck.)

Yesterday was an amazing day: I was home alone for 6 whole hours!! So, after getting the bread machine setup and the lentil soup in the slow cooker, I was able to sew without interruption. This was only possible by having a good friend pick up my little guy from his nursery school at lunch time. What a treat! Next week it’s my turn to look after her little guy and give her a whole day to herself! She’ll love it!!

This pattern is great, and as the other PR reviewers have said, it’s a terrific base piece! It’s simple and quick to sew up. I did just a few alterations on the arms: shortened them by 2 inches and widened the upper arm by 1 inch. The waist and hips were bang on; I made this in a size 38 as usual. Next time I may slope the shoulders down a bit to try to remove some wrinkling at the bottom of the armhole. The forearms could also do with a little more easing as it’s a bit snug; the fabric is a fine cotton/poly (I think) jersey but with no stretch fibre.

2010-10-07 001 (1024x768)

When I read the neck assembly instructions it seemed a bit convoluted! It occurred to me that this was essentially the same as the opening on some pillow cases that I’d made. This is how I did the neck, with pics below (it IS the same top, just different lighting conditions!):

2010-10-06 001 - with text 

2010-10-06 002 - with text 

2010-10-06 003 - with text

2010-10-06 004 - with text

2010-10-06 005 - with text 

2010-10-06 006 - with text

After I did the neck I realized that there’s an even easier way! You don’t even need to do step 1 first, just sew the neck and side seams together in one go at step 4, and baste beforehand. Next top I make I’ll do it this way.

Update: It turns out that this way worked best, it gave the cleanest result. So don’t skip step 1!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Sewing diapers

For the last 3 years I've sewn a lot of cloth diapers. And I have to say, I was really getting tired of them! The first ones I did for DS2 were copies of Happy Heinys, 8 of them, with my own home-sewn hemp inserts. The trickiest part was making the pattern because I had to trace around the original and pull the elastic as I went. Sewing them was quite fast as there aren't many pieces, but the top layer of PUL tended to slide so the ends of the seams didn't always line up. (And who's going to look?!)

PUL and Micro Fleece lining fabrics came from Wazoodle (update: they don’t list the micro fleece lining in their Diaper section on the new website, but they use the DiaperMaker Lining Pique fabric instead…I used it for later diapers, which I write about below), and the Organic Hemp Fleece from Cloth Diapers EH!. (It looks like they don't carry the pure hemp now, but offer an organic cotton fleece instead.) I was disappointed with these diapers, as the leg seams always wicked very quickly, and in the end I gave up and switched to Kissaluvs.

Now, before DS2 was born I'd bought a dozen of the
Kissaluvs Fitted diapers newborn size and loved them so much I had to make them! Over the next 2+ years I made a whole slew of copies: a handful of the newborn size, then about a dozen each of the next 2 sizes, but with Velcro instead of snaps. Snaps would have been really nice, but the presses are quite pricey. This pic is of the first few I made, the rest are simply bigger.

The fabric, also from Wazoodle, is a 14 oz.
cotton sherpa that was initially made for a diaper maker customer of theirs. I'd bought 10 yards of this stuff anticipating making many, and I'm glad I did. The Kissaluv diaper design was the best of all the diapers I've used (I bought several other kinds to try out over time), but it's the most difficult to sew. The leg elastic is sewn between 2 layers before the inner and outer layers are serged around the edge. Initially I sewed the elastic using a waving stitch to make sure I'd caught it, and only after making about 20 diapers did I start to feel comfortable using a straight stitch. I'd had to do a lot of resewing to catch the elastic, and that tends to stretch it a bit too much. I have to admire the Kissaluv sewists, their diapers look great!

Last winter I needed to make more diapers for DS2 but didn't feel like making another batch of Kissaluvs copies, so I went shopping to see what was new. I decided to copy the
Flip diaper! and then I might be able to make use of the hemp inserts, which were never used. In the end I made 9 of these, the first 4 of which lasted only 1 month before the PUL (from Wazoodle) totally separated! This pic is the result:

I made foldover laundry tabs (red jersey) to cover the Velcro closures, but wasn't too thrilled with them.

The next 5 were made from a (red) 2 mil PUL that I bought from Cloth Diapers EH!, and are still in great shape. I think the original Flip diapers are made from a 1 mil PUL as they have a much softer drape than my red ones. Instead of foldover laundry tabs, I sewed a piece of loop tape onto the back facing and just folded the closure tab back on it when I washed the diapers. These diapers went together pretty well, like a typical pocket diaper, except when it came to the leg elastic. The Flip diaper design has the elastic fixed at each end inside an enclosed casing, and this was a *real* hassle to sew (I had to do quite a few resews along the way). For the leg casing and tab closures I used a medium weight polyester/spandex double knit that is used in dance outfits (according to the label at Fabricland). The original Flip diaper also uses a similar fabric for the closures as it has a nice stretch and allows some give at the infant's waist.

The diaper uses a soaker pad insert, and I made about 8 of them from 2 layers of Wazoodle's
ZORB (it is *FANTASTIC* stuff, I wish I'd had it earlier! I think it's very similar to Sham Wow), with a top layer of their DiaperMaker Lining Pique. This soaker was thinner and lighter than the insert that comes with the Flip diaper, but it holds a bit more liquid. (I did a comparison test with both kinds and was pretty pleased with myself! 2 cookie sheets, one for each, and measuring cups with water!)

Here it is! The final product, with my little white "no-name" label sewn into the seam by the tab closure. You can just make out the soaker pad inside.

Oh, the blood, sweat and tears!...of sewing the darn things! Unfortunately (or maybe not) I potty trained DS2 about 2 months after making these!!! Potty training with him went extremely well.

Summer Pyjamas

At last! They're done...only took 3 years! These are the third pair of summer pyjamas I'd cut out for my older boy, right before my 2nd boy was born. Things got busy...I made 2 pairs before the birth, now this pair is for DS2!! And as luck would have it, red is his favourite colour.

This is KwikSew 3034. The other 2 pairs I made were great for DS1, and he liked the fact that they don't have bands on the bottom of the sleeves and pants. (He still refuses to wear pyjamas with bands.) The fabric is a soft, lightweight cotton jersey that I got from Wazoodle.

This pattern is great, it sews up really fast with a serger, including the waist elastic on the pants. The back of the neckband has a piece of navy cotton jersey covering the seam, like what you find on a lot of RTW tops. I've done this on a few tops now and love the way it finishes off the seam. The hems (and waistband finish) have been done using a triple cover stitch, which was not recommended for lightweight knits (according to my machine). After doing several trials of tweaking with the tensions I found a combination that doesn't look too bad. I sewed it on the wrong side so the looper thread is on the right side, mimicking the stitch you find on many RTW sports wear.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Jalie 2110 Raincoat

I finally started this lined jacket pattern, Jalie 2110, for my oldest son a few months back. Actually, I traced the pattern almost a year ago and when spring rolled around I realized that he may not even fit into the size 5 I'd traced! Luckily though, I'd also traced size 7 at the same time...and I may end up having to make the bigger one immediately!

I bought the laminated cotton fabric for this at
C&M Textiles in a bright yellow and something like a teal. There wasn't much selection in this kind of fabric, so I bought enough for 2 jackets. Even though the pattern has contrasting bands on the raglan seams and sleeves, I'm still not sure if I like this detail. It seems a bit busy. Maybe I won't bother adding them on jacket #2. The lining is Procool Wicking Jersey from Wazoodle.

This is the jacket so far, with the (white) lining hanging behind.

I've also applied Seam Grip on all the seams so far, and it was pretty straight forward. You can see it shining in this shot (I also did the outer hood seams).

I had to do this on the dining table with the ceiling fan going so the fumes wouldn't be too much!

Now I just need to get the energy going to pick it up again! I got back from my vacation alone with the boys almost 2 weeks ago, and I was sooo tired! We landed back in Ottawa at 01:15 AM! Over an hour late. And for some reason DS1 woke up at 9:00. I hate the eastward flying, it really messes up your inner clock! The boys were very good on the plane (both ways), and they were running off their cooped up energy at Calgary airport for about 3 hours! It didn't help that I'd stayed up late with my sister the night before we left watching the meteor shower; it was the peak night, and we did see one amazing burn-up. The light was amazingly intense and lasted a few seconds, and the tail lingered for about 30 seconds more. It was well worth it. By 02:00 AM (PST) we were done in.

And it's been busy ever since. A couple of days after I got back I spent 3 days rewiring my parents' bathroom (with BX's really hard to strip at the ends). But best of all, I sorted out my new sewing room. While we were away my wonderful, darling husband rearranged the topsy-turvy rooms in our house, so we're now all sleeping upstairs again. My new sewing room is bigger than the old, and it's got much better lighting. Next project that I'm going to tackle (after the raincoat is done) will be to build a new work table: wider, higher and with storage underneath. I've also got a large sheet of pegboard, but haven't figured out what to hang on it!!! Any ideas?

Monday, August 2, 2010

Burda 07-2009-111 Skirt

Last weekend I bought 3 pieces of denim, a total of 7 metres, from Fabricland, and I think they all have some lycra as there's a bit of stretch. I'm planning on sewing a pair of the popular Jalie 2908 Stretch jeans once the boys start school, and I think I'll need to do some serious muslin making!

But I've also been on the lookout for a simple denim skirt, as the one I've been wearing for the last 4 years is starting to look a bit worn. It occurred to me to search on Pattern Review for reviews on skirts made with denim, and I found a whole bunch. It's a great way to get ideas. The pattern I ended up using is from last year summer. I never thought about this skirt in denim, but I'm happy with the way it turned out.

The buttons come from Darrell Thomas, and they cost 4 times that of the fabric, but they're great!
The top is one of the Jalie tops I made last summer, and I just cut out the modesty panel; it was pulling across the top and the armholes didn't look right.

Burda 05-2010-105 dress

I haven't posted in ages because I haven't been able to do any real sewing until last week! And I've just finished my first dress in years! It's a great dress; sews up really quickly, and it's very comfortable. I was going to use this fabric for something else, but when I saw the reviews on this pattern I knew this was the best.

The fabric is a fine cotton lycra jersey. I added a lining under the skirt, as one of the other reviewers suggested, and it turned out pretty well. I was a bit concerned that it might add some bulk around the waist, which I don't need! When I sewed the lining, I made it a bit narrower at the waist, and just stretched it when I sewed it to the garment.

I'm flying out with the boys to visit my sister and her family on Tuesday, and this dress will be so comfortable to wear on the plane. My mum lent me some nice shoes that are so comfortable and are great with this dress.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Kwik Sew 3234

I've wanted to make pajamas for DS#1 and ran across this pattern, Kwik Sew 3234. He's very particular about the fabric, and so I made the first pair in a very soft double knit I found in the remnant bin at Fabricland (as if he cares!) It's very stretchy, even though there's no spandex.

I made this back in November '09, and it's been washed many times, hence the pilling (it was cheap). I added the orange strip along the back of the neck so he could at least put it on the right way. I've seen this in many of the RTW tops, and it's really easy to add. It also looks much neater than the serged seam! I took Dawn's idea (from "Two On Two Off") about sewing labels into the kids clothes so they know which is the front/back (mine are plain white, I call them my no-name labels). So far it works.
I then made a top for day-wear from the same pattern, also Dawn's idea (thanks Dawn, you have great ideas!)

This top is made from a much stiffer jersey, and heavier than the PJs. It's also a Fabricland remnant! I used a light, bright green jersey for the back of the neck band and as another layer behind the hem. I copied this detail from some other RTW tops that the kids have, but it doesn't show up very well under the hem.

Jalie 2796 Skort

I haven't been keeping up with the blog, but I have managed to do some sewing since last summer, though it's been in dribs and drabs. This Jalie skort caught my eye last year, and I finally made it last month, in time for some unusually warm weather. I made the regular waist height, and it easily covers my belly-button.
I actually did make a muslin for the compression shorts, and found that I needed to make the swayback adjustment; it fitted really nicely after that.

The skirt top layer is a Wazoodle ProCool Wicking Pique, and the compression shorts are a technical wicking fabric that I found at C&M Textiles in Ottawa. You can see the wicking side of the fabric in the interior shot below, it's really soft.

The only thing I did differently from the pattern instructions was to top-stitch the side seams in order to keep them flat (above left), and I cover-stitched the waistband seam too for the same reason.
This skort went together really fast, and I'll definitely make another one with some more fun fabric for the skirt layer.