Sunday, April 26, 2015

Basic Undies: FAIL

With Me-Made-May'15 coming up, it's time to take the pledge.
I, Vanessa of, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May '15. I endeavor to wear me-made items each day for the duration of May 2015. I will also make a wearable pair of underwear by the end of the month.
That's right. A wearable pair. Unlike my last attempt. And definitely not these latest pairs.

Jalie has produced a beautifully drafted pattern with a great fit. A great fit, that is, if you apply the elastic correctly. My first pair was terribly tight in the legs from over stretching the elastic. The second pair is coming apart at the waist from popped seams. Time to visit the Internet for tutorials. I clearly don't know what I'm doing!

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Purple Stripe Raglan: PASS

The idea of wearing this soft purple stripe knit as a cozy shirt has been kicking around my head for at least a year. Enter the Lane Raglan pattern from Hey June to finally get the job done.

The Lane Raglan is a sewing community favorite and I can see why. It's quick to sew and comes with fun variations to play with: hood, thumb-hole sleeves, tiny pocket. (Though I chose the basic model here. Matching stripes was fun enough.)

The pattern sizing is based on finished garment measurements. Somehow I missed the instructions to use a size with no bust ease for stretchy knits. I selected a size bigger than my bust and hip measurements and spent an hour pinning out the excess and re-serging the seams.

The resulting neckline is higher than intended, with some bunching at the back. But at least I don't look like I'm wearing a sack anymore!

One thing I wonder about is stabilizing the seams. Are these going to stretch out? Should I be using twill tape or stay tape as I would in the shoulder seams of a standard knit shirt? If you have knowledge or opinions, please share!

Monday, March 30, 2015

Holy Grail Jeans: PASS

Jeans are my holy grail of sewing. Seriously, is there anything more difficult to shop for and more intimidating to sew? (Well, besides bridal gowns, swimsuits, bras, and couture jackets?) It's taken years to work up the courage to even attempt this project and five months of planning, shopping, studying, and (finally) sewing to reach the end goal. I'll go into more detail below, but the basic idea is HOLY SHIT, I MADE JEANS!

I originally intended to use the ever popular Jalie jeans pattern, but fitting jeans on my own was too terrifying. Fortunately for me, American Sewing Expo was offering an all-day jeans fitting class with Jennifer Stern. WORTH ITS WEIGHT IN GOLD! I left with a perfectly fitted muslin and an altered paper pattern. I had never felt so good in a pair of pants. Ever.

I kept the boot cut leg, but opted to raise the waistline to just under my natural waist. Fit adjustments were shifting the crotch back, taking in some length from the back side, drafting a bias waistband, taking in the yoke, and adding room for my killer thighs. I decided to add a zipper pocket to protect my phone from crashes to the bathroom floor.

The denim is a non-stretch variety from Mood (bought in person!). I used scraps from my son's button down shirt for the pockets and pink thread in the serger. They match the zipper pocket, though no one knows but me (and now you).

Even after I had a perfectly fitted muslin and top notch materials, I was still too nervous to make the jeans. So I bought Angela Wolf's Sewing Designer Jeans class on Craftsy. ALSO WORTH ITS WEIGHT IN GOLD! She slowly and methodically walks through every part of the construction process. Her techniques were simpler and quicker than the ones in the pattern instructions. And her tips for topstitching and distressing were absolutely essential.

I've worn these jeans every day since I finished. The denim stretches a bit with wear, making the back yoke puff away from my body and the waist slide down. The back pockets, which are lined in cotton for durability (and that zipper), are stiff and so flatten out my bum instead of following its curve. Small issues that don't get in the way of me wearing the final product. Because HOLY SHIT, I MADE JEANS!

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Another Navy Renfrew: PASS

Here's the Renfrew (again!) in navy (again!). But this time instead of a sweatshirt,  I made a layering tee.

The fabric is the same as the top layer of my reverse applique Plantain. I thought it was too thin to wear on its own. In fact, today's shirt was originally intended to wear underneath a sleeveless dress at a winter event. (I didn't finish it on time, so wore yet another Renfrew instead.) It has elbow length sleeves and a bottom band that's 1.5 times as wide as the one called for in the pattern. Rushing through the construction process left me with some bumps at the shoulder, but I just finger press them down and forget about them.

This shirt works great as a layering piece or on it's own. Maybe it's the poor lighting of winter, making everything seem more opaque. Or maybe I've been blissfully unaware of showing everyone my belly button and bra.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Welt Pocket Mini Skirt: PASS

Honest, this is the same gorgeous midnight blue corduroy from my son's bight green pocket pants. There was just enough left to squeeze out view B of McCall's M6608. Gotta love a front seam. So great for using stash fabrics!

There is plenty of fitting advice in the pattern and because I'm sometimes careful about fitting I was putting off making jeans, I dove right in. The instructions call for the standard Palmer/Pletsch technique of using 1" seam allowance to allow for fitting insurance. But from what I can tell, the pattern pieces still have a 5/8" seam. WTF, McCall's? I had already traced and cut my pattern pieces when I noticed this, so I didn't go back and add the extra allowance. I did, however try the pattern pieces on and make adjustments before I cut the fabric and as I sewed. I took in the waist and a LOT of extra bulk at the side seams. In this lightweight corduroy, the width at the bottom of the skirt seemed extreme.

The welt pockets also might have worked better in a stiffer fabric. The pockets pull the fabric open so that it looks like two pink slits (which I pass off as a design feature) and also distort the front of the skirt. 

They are, however, supremely useful for stashing my phone and keys. Which is why this skirt, even with its flaws, is a pass. I need more pockets in my life and until I get those jeans done, this is one of my few options!

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Birthday Shirt: PASS

The Flashback Skinny Tee pattern + rainbow stripes harvested from my t-shirt stash continues to be a winning combination for my kid's birthday shirt. (In case you want to replicate, the stripes are cut three inches wide and sewn together with a 1/4 inch seam using a stretch stitch. This makes for smoother seams than using a serger.)

The only thing I would have done differently is follow my sewing instincts and go up a size. My kid says the arms are a bit tight and I can see the shirt rides up as he moves around. That hasn't stopped him from wearing it near-continuously since he hit the big oh-nine. I wonder if he'll want a birthday shirt next year or if he'll have outgrown the idea? I hope not. The pattern goes to size 14!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Rocker Pants: PASS

When I made the StyleArc Elle pants last month, I got on a roll... a rock an roll! (Har, har. There's your dorky joke for the day. You're welcome!) Here is my second of three pairs. Unlike the unintentional sweatpants, I think the color and texture give them a rocker vibe.

It's a crime for fabric this cool to have poor recovery. Alas, it's true. These pants start bagging out by midday. On the plus side, they're probably loose enough to wear when I volunteer in prison. On the minus side, well, bagginess.

I have fit issues to solve in the back. I think the fit over my butt is fine, but I've got excess fabric underneath and the back legs are as wrinkly as an elephant's. If you have any thoughts, please share them. Pants are so mystifying.

With all the griping about this and that, you'd think these pants would be a fail. But, no! I wear these all the time. Why? 1. They look just fine with a tunic. 2. It's too dang cold not to wear pants.

With the poor fit of most RTW pants, I bet no one has even noticed the flaws in this pair. What do you think, do non-sewists notice these things? And do you ever put a piece with fit issues in your rotation?