Sunday, April 29, 2012

Pyjama Party!

OMG! With only minutes UPDATE: hours to spare. Yes, I actually managed to sew these PJs, and my husband is just shaking his head. All for Karen’s Pyjama Party!

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In brief!

  1. Copied from an old pair of PJs, but I made them capri length for the summer
  2. Cupcake fabric from Fabricland, poly/cotton (couldn’t find anything else in my limited time without kids) and it’s so thin you can see through it
  3. Just used pyjama elastic, no ribbon (I thought I was running out of time!)
  4. Red tank, WAS a UFO, now has a new lease on life (it’s amazing how the red just matched perfectly with the cupcakes)
  5. And yes, I am actually reading “A Bear Called Paddington” …no kidding! I bought it last year thinking my boys might like it…no such luck, they’re just imps!

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Total time to trace old PJs, cut fabric and sew new PJs, was……2 Hours!!!! Freak me out! I can’t believe I’ve never made any before!!

And, they fit pretty well. Can’t ask for anything else.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Burda Skirt 10-2011-119

Well it’s finally done, and I’m quite pleased with it. When I saw Mary Nanna’s version (both of them) I had to make one, but hers are absolutely marvellous. My mystery fabric (from Value Village!) is no where as lovely as silk dupioni, but after the final pressing I think it might actually have some natural fibre in it as it was a dream to press with steam! This started out as another wearable muslin, but it’s a keeper. Even my mum commented on it, and that’s praise indeed! (Actually, I did make a real muslin to check the fit before cutting my cheapo *interesting* fabric.)

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I was worried that the pockets would be too much for me, but they’re not too bad.

Here’s the list of alterations:

  1. Shortened the skirt by about 2 1/2 inches.
  2. Chopped 1 inch off the bottom of the front pockets; the proportions just weren’t right with the skirt’s shorter length.
  3. Added a 2nd dart to the back pieces (1st pic below).
  4. Made a swayback alteration: dropped the waist by 1/2 inch at CB, tapering to 0 at the side seams. I might tweak the shaping of the waist band there to smooth out the curve a bit more.
  5. The zip is moved from the side seam to the back. I’m doing this now on all skirts so I can ensure a good fit and make any future sizing adjustments if needed.
  6. I changed the construction order, and attached the facings to the front and back panels separately, before sewing the side seams. Again, this is so I can make future alterations if needed.
  7. It’s lined (a nice bonus), and the lining is hand stitched to the zip.
  8. CB seam is topstitched like the CF seam (2nd pic).
  9. The side seams were taken in by about 1/2 inch at the bottom and tapered to the hips.

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Now, here’s something I never realized before: the lining *should* be about 1 inch shorter than the skirt fabric, and here’s why!

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Yup, there’s the lining peaking out. Aaarrrrrgh! But it is the NEATEST hem I’ve ever done on lining, and it’s all thanks to this Industry Insider video (Hem Shears with Ease) I watched on Threads insider (their new subscription service). Just need to do it again, no big deal!

And now I think I’ll go make another one! There’s some navy ramie (linen-like) that’s been lingering in my stash for about a year. I might try to make the pockets internal though, but I’ll wait and see, and maybe bring the sides in a bit more to less of an A-line. It’s getting to be a lot of fun now, making modifications to patterns!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Spinning Plates, or What’s Happening In the Sewing Room

Yeah, spinning plates. That’s how I’ve been feeling for the last month… actually since the beginning of March when we decided to take Henry out of afternoon daycare (he’s only in school now in the morning.) So now I’ve only got 3 hours from when the boys get on the school bus to when I have to meet H at the bus stop before lunch. Sigh.

Well, just got to deal with it! And in that vein, I’ve been literally frantic trying to get some projects done or at least moved further along. Here is a list of projects on the go:

  1. Pants block with StephC @
  2. Pyjamas Sewalong with Karen @ Did You Make That?
  3. Skirt - Burda 10-2011-119
  4. Colette Sorbetto top
  5. Bodice block, using the book Patternmaking in Fashion by Lucia Mors De Castro

The pants block is in the initial stages right now, but I think it’ll be great. I’ve got several pieces of suiting fabrics with spandex in basic colours (black, navy, dark brown) that will be the beginnings of the basic wardrobe I’ve been wanting to assemble.

Pyjamas Sewalong! Can’t wait to start! I found some frivolous cotton at Fabricland the other day, and have already washed/dried it twice. Unfortunately the colours faded a bit, but it’ll still work. The colour of the cupcake fabric is best seen in the pic with the red tank top. It’s quite thin and see-through, but I hope this doesn’t matter too much!

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I’m pairing the PJs with the tank that’s been a UFO for 2 years! It’s too wide at the neck so I might add a pleat or gathers on the front, and I’ll have to see how the back fits. When I googled PJ pics I found some with appliques on the top, and thought it might be neat to add some cupcakes to the top!

The Burda skirt is waiting for the hem to be done. It would have been done last week but it was a bit too wide an A-line for me; the fabric is a bit on the firm side, even though it’s rather lightweight. I compared the pattern pieces from another Burda skirt I made 2 years ago with this skirt, and chalked in the new line for the side seams. It looks much better now. (I’ll blog about this some more when it’s finally done.)

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After seeing sooo many Sorbetto tops out there, I finally decided to give it a go. I really need a summer tank that’s easy to make, and from what everyone says, this is it. I found two fabrics that I want to make it up in, but only got 1 metre of each since I didn’t have the pattern with me, oops! I’m hoping I’ll be able to piece them out of that little bit!

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And finally something I’ve been wanting to make: basic pattern blocks, in particular the bodice block (because the muslin I did 2 weeks ago for the new
Jalie 3130 shirt didn’t go too well, in fact it’s painfully AWFUL. Thus the *need* for a fitted bodice block.) The skirts I’ve been making are pretty straightforward now so I might just tackle this later. I’m going to be using the books that I just bought:

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The book on the right, Patternmaking in Fashion, was reviewed favourably by Kathleen @ Fashion-Incubator, despite some issues with translations. I love her blog, and am intensely intimidated/awed by it, but it’s fascinating to read about that part of the industry. The Perfect Fitting book has also been reviewed very well, and the time I’ve spent flipping through it makes me glad to have it on my own shelves. These two should be great references for making up the pattern blocks.

Right, I’ve got my arms full with these projects. And then I decided this afternoon that I should adjust the fit of a skirt I made 2 years ago; when I compared the measurement of the waistband on the paper and the skirt, it was off by 2 inches!! How the he** did I do that!! Anyway, simple alteration, at least it’s not lined!

Parting shot: Henry!

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I couldn’t resist adding this! He just *had* to try on his friend’s tutu at school one day! Ran around like a little twirling dervish!

Have a great weekend!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Monday musings… about T-shirt neckbands

The task at hand: folding laundry for 2 adults and 2 boys. Man do these kids make a lot of laundry! Anyway, not quite a daunting load, but enough to make me *prepare* for it:

neckband design on T-shirts

  1. laptop on coffee table (had to shove kid’s books/toys to one side), queued up to watch lesson 1 of The Couture Dress with Susan Khalje on Craftsy (did anyone else get that fantastic sale of just $14.99 last week? Wow!!)
  2. cup of tea and an apple cinnamon muffin (made from the Amish friendship batter that I DO keep in the freezer despite the very STERN warnings to the contrary)
  3. both kids in the basement on the Wii; it’s *better* than the TV, but they still managed to interrupt me and make me go down to “sort something out”
  4. so then, cordless phone with *intercom* feature to allow communication with children who should know when to leave their mother in piece so she can watch her damn VIDEO! (it’s the 4th day of this looooong weekend, and it’s cold and wet outside…uuuhhhh!!)

Oh yes, and the laundry, which luckily I’d sort of folded and sorted when taking down from the clothesline outside. God I love the smell of stuff when it’s been outside on the line.

So anyway, as I was folding the T-shirts, I noticed some variations with the way the back neckline was finished. From the sample in my basket there were roughly 3-4 different ways.

1.   Unfinished, you can see the cover-stitching on top of the 4-thread serged seam. It’s quick, you could do it with a twin needle or cover-stitch, but it does look a bit messy.

neckband design on T-shirts

2.   Band covering the neckband seam, just on the back between the shoulder seams. It’s long enough to hide the seam when the T-shirt is folded flat or hung up, much neater. The ‘grain’ of the band fabric is oriented with maximum stretch widthways, along it’s length.

a)  The first T-shirt is easy enough, the band is sewn on at the same time as the neckband, then folded down to cover the seam and topstitched along the lower edge. It has simple squared ends.

neckband design on T-shirtsneckband design on T-shirts

neckband design on T-shirts

b)  The second T-shirt is a bit different, and seems more complicated. I can see topstitching on the top edge on the inside, but not outside on the back. Curious, I’ll have to do some testing! But I like how the ends are folded back on an angle and tucked underneath the seam, it looks very neat (bottom right pic).

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neckband design on T-shirtsneckband design on T-shirts

This shirt also uses clear elastic in the shoulder seams, something that I’ve tried to do, but is a real kafuffle and I never did it again. It needs practice to keep the elastic from stretching while sewing. Now I just use a strip of self-fabric selvage or lengthwise strip.

3.   Band covering the neckband seam, AND the shoulder seams. This method does double duty, by reinforcing the shoulder seams at the same time. The band is simply topstitched on the top and bottom edges, from one armhole to the other before the sleeves are attached. And by using a contrasting thread it becomes a design detail.

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And for something different, this T-shirt has the band on the bias. Why? It’s a jersey, seems a bit unnecessary.

neckband design on T-shirts

So, that’s my Monday musings. What do you do to make those boring chores move along faster?!