Monday, December 24, 2012

Reusable Grocery Bag: PASS

A few Christmases ago, I decided to make reusable grocery bags for all my friends and family members. I bought ripstop nylon in three colors and got to work sewing up BurdaStyle's Charlie Reusable Grocery Bag. You can download this easy pattern for free. I sewed mine on a regular sewing machine, using a zigzag stitch in contrasting thread on the opening and French seams throughout. This worked well, as the nylon unraveled like crazy.

What also unraveled was my grand gifting plan. I only finished enough bags to give one per couple. It seriously bummed me out. Not only did everyone have to share, but I hadn't made a single one of the lovely orange versions I was saving till last.

That year I learned that I need lots of lead time for handmade gifts. I stick to one gift per holiday now and start working a month ahead.

If I thought anyone still needed a new grocery bag, I would be sewing Charlie bags for birthday gifts. I love this design. The bag folds into its own attached pocket, perfect for stowing in a glove box or purse. When expanded, it can hold an ample amount of groceries, library books, or (as in my fantasy scenario, below) delicious coffee and tea from Roos Roast and TeaHaus. Maybe I'll make an orange bag for myself. I'm still using my husband's from that Christmas past.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Scoop Neck Dress: PASS

I ate the most incredible taco at Maxwell Street Market in Chicago last Sunday. It was a delicious jumble of colors, textures, and flavors. Then it all went wrong. (Which is why you had no post last week, for anyone keeping track.)

This dress was meant to be a practice run for a mixture of patterns from Built by Wendy Sew U Home Stretch (Get the Scoop crew neck + Tiny Bubble dress). I selected my most uninspiring stash fabric: a thin, beige, polyester with a tiny flower print. Expectations were low, poisonous taco low. After a couple hours and one pattern tweak (adding a gusset at the armhole), it all went right!

The shape of the dress elevated the appeal of the print for me. I like the scooped neckline, straight waistband, and full skirt. The cap sleeves make this office-worthy during the summer and also fit well under a cardigan or jacket. You can see a bit more of the neckline and sleeves below. (Is there a name for this type of hunched-over-the-computer photo? I feel like I've seen it A LOT.)

The fit is defined enough that I don't feel dumpy and loose enough that I can eat as many tacos as I like. Which is exactly what I did before the photo at the top of this post. Only this time at Chela's, where the food is always delicious and never makes me sick!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Wrap-Around Jacket: FAIL

Oh, wrap-around jacket 126 from Burda Magazine 9/2009. You're like the homely friend in an 80s teen movie who helps the audience learn heartfelt life lessons. Only there's no makeover montage and boyfriend in it for you. Sigh.

I did learn three important lessons from this homely wrap jacket.

1. A piece of clothing isn't going to change who you are. I love clothes, but I hate fussing with them. My favorite pieces to wear are straightforward and allow freedom of movement without getting in the way. A wrap-around jacket was a terrible choice. I felt uncomfortable every time I wore it. Open, it swished around and got caught under my chair. Wrapped closed, it made me feel like a trussed-up turkey.

2. Sometimes it takes time to recognize a bad decision. When I finished this project in May 2010,  thought I had created something fashionable, practical, and versatile. (Read my BurdaStyle project entry if you don't believe me.) It took a year before I realized this jacket was being pushed farther and farther back into my closet. And it took another year before I decided to ditch it.

Here's a sample of the many horrible looks I tried. (Notice how some look okay from one angle then, AAAGH! freak show.)

3. Mending has its payoffs. I love making new things. That's why sewing is such a thrill. But sometimes mending, which can be equal parts boring and frustrating, is a much better use of time. See that dress under the jacket? It's the bomb! But I haven't worn it in a year because the front interfacing that helps the dress hold its shape is ripped. Though it will probably only take an hour (if that) to fix, I have not yet repaired it. (But I have patched a few holes in the jacket with Mighty Mendit. Which makes zero sense.)

So thanks, wrap-around jacket, for helping me grow as a person. Sorry this story ends with me cutting you into pieces. After I repair the black dress, I might need bits of you for a new project.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Flowery Party Dress: PASS

You might remember me starting this project in July. I set out to make a short party dress with a fitted bodice and a gathered skirt, inspired by one I tried on last winter that was painted by elephants. (Yes, you read that correctly.)

As I didn't have elephant-painted silk on hand, I settled for this border print brocade. I bought it at a thrift store for under $5 and it makes me happy every time I see it. Aren't the print and texture amazing?

Things get complicated from here. 

I fell in love with Simplicity 2250, though I wondered if I should go with something more fitted. I think all the pleating on the bodice distracted me.

Doubts pushed aside, I forged ahead. First, I made a muslin for the bodice which turned out surprisingly fine. Then I spent hours honing my spacial relations skills with pattern layout. I wanted to maintain the character of the print, from dense on the bottom to a few stray flowers on top. I almost got it right: the left and right sides are reversed in my version. Progress was slow, but steady.

Then I decided to turn this into a learning experience by making a somewhat-couture dress. I know. CRAZY.

I credit (blame?) Susan Khalje's article on couture construction in Feb/March 2012 Threads. I decided to underline the entire garment (to give the fabric some body and support) as well as line it (to keep the seams from getting jacked up when I take the dress on/off). Moving the zipper to the side seam and adding a waist stay to support the dress were also on my agenda.

It nearly exploded my head and my fingers are still sore from hand sewing. But I learned the pickstitch! 

That would have been it, but what did I find when I picked up October/November 2012 Vogue Patterns? Articles on how to neatly insert invisible zippers to seams and pockets. And a picture of my Aunt Mary (sewing rockstar) in her meticulously crafted silk dress! With Aunt Mary looking on, there was no way I was going to slack off on my zippers or pocket facings.

Did you ever have a term project that blew up right before it was due? Yeah, it's like that.

I was nearly done with the dress, when the zipper pull came off the side zip! There was no f-ing way I was going to replace the whole thing. So I used the power of YouTube to learn zipper repair. Yay for new skills!

When I was inserting the waist stay, poor pattern selection came back to bite me. A waist stay is attached to the bottom of the bodice and is meant to fit snugly around the waist. (That way the top of the dress stays put and the bottom doesn't drag it down.) But this pattern's bodice doesn't come all the way down to the waist and is only semi-fitted. D'oh!

Again, no f-ing way I'm redoing the bodice. Instead I made some janky pleats to make it fit the waist stay. The bodice looked absolutely awful (though the dress felt better, so yay). It was time to make some impromptu folds and sew them in place. The result makes me look a bit thick, but that's easily fixed with a belt.

So there you have it, the long story of my short flowery dress. A July project finished just in time parties?

Sunday, November 11, 2012

"Perfect" Knit Dress: PASS/FAIL

Here's a tale of two dresses, both McCall's 5752 (the self-proclaimed "perfect knit dress"). I'll spare you the Dickens quote, as you're probably already thinking it to yourself (ha!). If I had read the book I could pepper this post with all sorts of literary allusions. Instead I'll settle for Patty Duke Show references. (I watched a LOT of those reruns.)

I recruited my identical cousin to help illustrate how fabric selection can make or break a garment. The dress on the left was my practice version, made from a jersey advertising banner rescued from a Dumpster. This fabric has a beautiful drape, great recovery, and feels as cozy as pajamas.

The dress on the right is from a visually interesting, but utterly awful, clearance rack knit. (What you can't see in these photos are rows and rows of subtle light brown stripes.) It doesn't hold its shape, hangs like a sack, and clings like a sock out of the dryer. The fit was so loose that I slit the dress up the back and took it in by several inches. And yet I still look like a Jedi reject.

Let this be a lesson (most of all to me, who keeps repeating this mistake): not all knits are identical. Get to know a knit fabric's personality before you invite it to live with you.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Denim Pencil Skirt: PASS

On a whim, I picked up The Joy of Less at the library. It's about how owning fewer possessions can clear your mind. I was digging the concept until the author suggested keeping one box of craft supplies and chucking it if you decided to pursue a new hobby for a while. This skirt would never have happened if that were my approach. 

In the early 2000s I purchased New Look 6843 and lots of fabric. The plan was to make a bountiful wardrobe of work-ready skirts. I sewed up plenty, but never got to this length of dark blue denim. So I donated the pattern and fabric in the name of minimalism. So I hung on to them until inspiration struck.

Fast forward to last winter, when I was overcome by the desire for a denim pencil skirt and realized I had the perfect pattern and fabric ready to go. I used view B and moved the side slit to the back. I also inadvertently added an extra set of darts in the front. The tighter fit emphasizes my waist and keeps me from eating too many brownies at staff potlucks.

While the idea of an uncluttered home is attractive, my creative process relies on keeping materials on hand and in view. That said, I'm all for clearing out things I don't need. That first batch of work skirts was donated long ago. And I think today I'll return The Joy of Less to the library.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Halloween Costumes: PASS

Like a good zombie (or a good zombie story), a good Halloween costume is one you can't put down. This owl costume and cape have returned year after year. 

Satan's cape (McCall's 4139) is interlined with fleece and keeps him toasty on nights when Hell freezes over. It's stood up to nearly a decade of terrifying trick-or-treaters.

Little Owl's costume made its debut in 2008, when it came down to his knees. The sturdy felt construction has come out on top after two years of trick-or-treating and countless hours of indoor flight.

As you'd expect, both costumes show a bit of wear, but not enough to stop their slow march toward terror (or, in the case of the owl, unrelenting adorableness).

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Bold Print Pillow Covers: PASS

The first sewing book I ever bought was The Hamlyn Book of Soft Furnishings. This was around 2001. Though I fantasized about making my own clothes, I had more pressing needs. Like a crotchety neighbor who told me to put up a bathroom curtain.

The Hamlyn book guided me through constructing that first wobbly-seamed curtain on the tension rod and the clip ring curtains, futon covers, and custom roller shades that followed. It helped me measure up for pillow covers 1.0 and 1.1, the versions with button or (ack!) Velcro closures.

I knew zip-up covers would be nicer, but applying zippers terrified me like an impending geometry test. Then last summer, this bold fabric I'd been eying for years at IKEA went on clearance. It was time to step up my game for pillow covers 2.0. It was time for zippers.

A class with the fabulous Anne of All Sewn Up! sewing school and a reread of the Hamlyn pillows chapter gave me the boost I needed. I pulled the zippers out of my stash, including some bright yellow ones I had painstakingly removed from plastic packaging. (Packaging that had kicked around our house long after its contents had left. Clutter = justified!)

Once I got the hang of it, I actually enjoyed applying the zippers. It's too bad we don't need any more pillow covers. Those custom roller shades don't fit our new windows, though. Maybe Hamlyn can help me out with replacements before any more neighbors complain.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Orange Tulip Skirt: FAIL

In 2009 I was beguiled by the tulip-shaped Marie skirt from I thought this simple (and free!) pattern would be a lovely way to update my wardrobe.

Well, the fabric is lovely, anyway.

I think I've mentioned I'm crap at tissue fitting. If ever I needed to go a step further and make a muslin, it was for the Marie. I would have realized that this "high waisted" skirt rides unflatteringly low. That the front and back pleats make me look like I'm wearing a balloon. And, most importantly, that I can't walk in the damn thing.

It reminds me of a story my high school English teacher told about his grandmother running to catch a streetcar in a hobble skirt. The side seam was no match for her, slitting up to mid-thigh. If it weren't for the interfacing at the hem (Say whaaa? Why did I blindly follow this instruction?), I may have found similar relief.

As it is, this tulip skirt is being transplanted to the refashion pile.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Zipper-Leg Capris: FAIL

Like a second pitcher of sangria, these capris from 2006 seemed like a good idea at the time. I had a beautiful piece of fabric and a pattern that looked simple and fun. My measurements matched the pattern envelope exactly, so I was good to go, right?

Looking back, I must have been drunk to think I could make pants (pants!) straight from the pattern. Only I don't drink and sew because then I stick myself with pins and get steam burns from the iron. So really, there's no good excuse for this mess.

My first bad decision was making capris. Built by Wendy patterns had just come out and I was intoxicated by the detailing of (now out-of-print) Simplicity 4110. Zippers at the hems and a charming hip yoke do not change the fact that capris make my legs look stumpy.

My second poor choice: barreling ahead without so much as a tissue fitting. Seriously? Like waist and hip circumference are the only things going on in a pair of pants?

I spent a few giddy evenings constructing these capris with loving care. When I finally slipped them on, I wanted to cry. The rise was so low that I got goosebumps, the literal kind, on my exposed hip and midriff. When I moved, the pants shifted even lower. The back pocket flaps made my butt look ridiculous. And did I mention stumpy legs?

I tried to salvage this fail by first adding a button to cinch the waistband, then taking in the side seams. The result? Ugly short pants that don't fall down. The only thing for it is to sleep this one off and repurpose the fabric for another project.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Announcements: Bloglovin

Hey, everyone. You can now follow my blog with Bloglovin.

After months of seeing the Bloglovin button on Oonaballoona, I finally clicked. Aptly named, that Bloglovin. Finally I can lurk all my favorite sewing blogs from one place. Makes me feel a bit like a modern day Dr. Claw (or any number of pseudo-Bond villains).

You should really check out Oona's fabulous dress. And comment on her post.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Wild Flag Tribute Skirt: PASS

Don't call it a comeback.

As I cut out hundreds of several pieces of underlining for my crazy ambition dress, inspiration struck for my Wild Flag fail. What if I underlined it (to get rid of the itchiness), cut off the excess fabric around the waist (that won't gather for an elastic waistband, anyway), and added a zipper?

Before Mama could say "knock you out," I had pulled down a close fitting skirt to use as a template. I traced its shape onto the Wild Flag fail and cut away. I added pink polyester knit underlining, a pink invisible zipper, and a white grosgrain ribbon facing. That skirt was disassembled, reassembled, and sewn up before it knew what hit it.

Yes, I realize I didn't post any waistband pictures. Trust me, the fit is much better. Another plus: wearing this skirt makes me feel like a character from Scott Pilgrim. (Even if it is Monique.)

Husband: That skirt looks great on you.

Me: Thanks! (internal: HUUUH!)

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Parking Tee Redux: PASS

September in Ann Arbor means the return of Michigan football and my favorite aspect of this rich tradition: selling parking to out-of-town fans. I picked up this t-shirt last year during student move-out. The previous owner had cut off the neckband for a saucy Flashdance look. After a few football Saturdays, it was stretched out beyond the limits of decency.

Enter my two favorite elastics: clear elastic and elastic thread. I gathered the neckline with clear elastic and added side shirring with elastic thread in the bobbin. After an hour of pre-game sewing, I was good to go. I'm not much of a football fan, but I do love chanting, shaking pom-poms, and extra cash. This shirt should last all season. Go Blue!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Smocked Sundress: PASS

Nothing is more comfortable to wear after an indulgent road trip than the Mendocino Sundress from Heather Ross. Our tour of the Upper Midwest involved a significant increase in beer, cheese, and dessert consumption--and a drastic decrease in exercise. My travel dress reeked of campfire smoke and was spattered in sauces by the time I got home. Thank goodness this old favorite was waiting for me!

The toddler version is also easy to make and absolutely adorable. Here's one I made for a small friend of mine and a photo of my first favorite sundress. (That one was likely made by my aunt, a talented and prolific home sewer. May her impeccable fabric choices and precision be a beacon to me in dark times.)

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Not-Ugly Car Trash Bag: PASS

I've forgone sewing this week for vacation/Black Market Books promotional tour preparations. I'm counting on this car trash bag from One-Yard Wonders  to help me keep my sanity as we peel wrappers, wad kleenex, and generally make a mess of things over 1,300 miles in a brand-new car. I know. It's unfair to put that big a burden on such a little sewing project.

This little bag was such fun to make and helped me chip away at my stash. I used fabric left over from another One-Yard Wonders project, the Leisure Suit Lapdog. The buckle is from my son's old bike helmet. (Compulsive fastener saving = completely justified!)

My son decided one pocket is for trash and the other's for recycling. This system kept things relatively clean in our car from 1997. My standards are a bit  much higher in the 2012 model. We'll see how this puppy holds up.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Laptop Sleeve (and unintentional coasters): PASS

When life hands you lemons, make some coasters to go with your gin. Preferably Leopold's.

Laptop sleeves aren't rocket science: calculate the size of two rectangles and think about how they fit together. That last part that tripped me up.

Elizabeth from Oh, Fransson! shared this impeccably written and illustrated laptop sleeve tutorial on Sew, Mama, Sew! She clearly states that the length is the short side of your laptop and the width is the long side. I got this right for the main panel. But I made the flap eight inches too long. (Oh how far I have fallen from receiving that medal in high school from the Society of Women Engineers.)

There was no way I was going to chuck this beautifully topstitched piece of work. Two cuts and some quick serging turned the flap into coasters. If the mishmash of serged and topstiched sides bothers anyone they clearly need more gin.

This isn't my first foray into laptop sleeves. I've gotten great results from this tutorial twice before. Perhaps I rushed it this time? Next time I'll remember to slow down and think like a preschooler. It doesn't take an engineer to match the big and little rectangles. 

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Jammie Pants: PASS

photo of Simplicity 2823 pajama pants

Since I've spent my down time this week nursing a cold and reading Harry Potter aloud, here's a winner from my sewing past: Simplicity 2823 family jammies.

These pants are easy to sew, but are sized for Hagrid. I recommend tissue fitting or embracing the necessary on-the-fly alterations if you're average human height. (I ended up doing both. I'm a terrible tissue fitter.)

Reinforcing the crotch seam with twill tape will add longevity, especially if you go directly from work clothes to jammies every evening. That's right. Don't show up to my house after seven if you expect to see me in real pants.

chillin in my jammy pants cartoon by luemlove at deviantART
I think luemlove at deviantART knows what I'm talking about.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Undaunted Top: FAIL

"undaunted" top fail

My current project is still in the cutting stages due to binge reading beautifully crafted novels set in zombie infested Manhattan and in N. Korea. The protagonists meet their bleak (and I mean bleak) outlooks with action. In their honor, I bring you the "Undaunted" top. An utter failure.

Error 1: Ignoring what works for my body type. Blouson tops make me look like a potato. A bare shoulder is cute, but can't save this shirt.

Error 2: Using a fabric with too much body. I might have pulled this off if I hadn't used a bed sheet. (Let's be honest, I wouldn't have. See Error 1.)

To be fair, Jennifer Casa, the lovely lady below who shared this free pattern, encouraged her readers to "have fun customizing it to fit and flatter your figure." If I were to try this again, I might lengthen the pattern and put the elasticized thread around the waistline. It's more likely I'll pick up another novel and leave this pattern in the past.

Jennifer Casa wearing "undaunted" top. Photo from Sew, Mama, Sew! website.
Undaunted Jennifer Casa from Sew, Mama, Sew!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Stretch Velvet Wrap Dress: FAIL

Me: Hey, this isn't so bad. Is it?

Husband: It looks like a purple bathrobe. Is that bad?

Me: I don't want to go out in public in a bathrobe. Does it really look like a bathrobe?

Husband: Everything about that dress makes it look like a bathrobe.

Since I'm still slogging away on my current project, here's a fail from yesteryear. I think I made this wrap dress in 2007, #115 from the 9/2006 issue of Burda World of Fashion magazine (now called Burda Style). The dress is incredibly comfortable, like a stretch velvet bathrobe. (Dammit!)

I wore it often for a couple years, despite a comment from a coworker that I looked "like a purple theater seat." (In her defense, she said this cheerfully and without scorn.)

The pattern called for stretch velvet and, being the literal type, I purchased some straight away. The local stretch velvet selection was decidedly more Halloween than the hippie chic of the original.

I don't think this dress will see the public eye again. But at least I can take joy in the fact that the Selfish Seamstress pulled it off. (Of course she did, she's incredibly talented and detail oriented. Curse her!) Maybe I can wear my velvet bathrobe while I polish the floor under her impeccably shod feet.
The Selfish Seamstress in giraffe print glory.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Shocking Pink Shirt: FAIL

This is the best I've ever looked in this shirt. It's perfect for when I stand on a chair and peruse our CD collection with one hand on my hip. Which I do every day never.

I imagined pixielink's dreamy 1 piece Kimono tee pattern as an eye-popping pink summer dress with contrasting orange bias tape trim. Instead, I created this nightmare.

Error 1: Choosing a fabric that was too stiff. This pattern is beautiful in a fluid fabric and sporty in cotton jersey. This polyester version looks like a shiny pink sack.

Error 2: Using a woven fabric for a knit pattern without going up a size and/or adding darts. This pattern is a loose fit, but not loose enough where I need it. See how tight the shirt is around the bust and hips and baggy everywhere else? Ick.

Error 3: Failing to add an inch or two of fitting ease in the bottom half of the dress, which I created by extending the pattern into an A-line skirt based on my hip measurements. Pin fitting got downright dangerous around my hips, with pins popping in all directions across our studio. Rather than attempt to widen the skirt (à la my Wild Flag fail), I chopped it off.

I'm not sure how to salvage this one. Since the sleeves are cut as one with the body, it would be tricky to adjust/eliminate them. Adding bust darts and a zipper may also be too big a challenge. Maybe chop off the top and turn it into a shirred tube top? Because I wear those all the time (not).

Even though this attempt was a failure, I'm still in love with the pattern. I wear this version from last year constantly.

And perhaps there's hope yet for a dress variation? With these lovely pieces as inspiration, it's hard to let the idea go.

L: Nani Iro Fuccra Kimono by katriniella
R: dress (1 piece kimono tee) by yoshimi the flying squirrel

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Birthday Tank: PASS

The ribbing on this tank top is proof that practice really does pay off (duh). Being able to whip up one of these tank tops without trouble is a beautiful thing. But what's even more lovely is the birthday girl. (Isn't she sassy?) She texted me this pic and assured me her present is a "pass." Yay!

Though my obsession with the Tank Girl crew neck variation from Sew U Home Stretch: The Built by Wendy Guide to Sewing Knit Fabrics is far from over, it's time to try new things. Like this Cynthia Rowley Dress (Simplicity 2250). 
The image is from, which predict I'll be relying on heavily.
Or, as I like to call it, the "What the hell am I getting myself into?" dress.

Here's a picture from Idle Fancy of the numerous and bizarre bodice pieces. Gulp.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Bright Blue Dress: PASS

A Frankendress from Sew U Home Stretch: The Built by Wendy Guide to Sewing Knit Fabrics. I combined the Tank Girl crew neck variation with the skirt from the Tiny Bubble dress variation.

The fabric is from an AMAZING estate sale I happened upon this spring. (Seriously, the sewing supplies and fabric could have filled a U-Haul. And we got a Hammond organ for FREE!) It's a 70s polyester double knit that was a breeze to sew. My husband says the end result reminds him of a cheerleading outfit. I was thinking more tennis dress. Either way, I feel like I could take on the world in this one.

I see that Pattern Review is having a pattern stash contest in July. Maybe it's time to bring out those patterns that have been stacking up in my "make this next" pile for the last twelve months. I am, after all, highly motivated by prizes.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Wild Flag Tribute: FAIL

As promised, here is my wild fail from  Sew U Home Stretch: The Built by Wendy Guide to Sewing Knit Fabrics. Last fall I fantasized about wearing a groovy tribute minidress to a Wild Flag concert or while celebrating my birthday. Those possibilities came and went months ago. Now I'm left with this ill-fitting, itchy skirt.

"Skirt?" you say. Yes, I had to ditch the bodice almost immediately.

Error 1: Forgetting the dress patterns in this book have NO EASE.
Result: A sausage casing skirt and impossibly small bodice.

Error 2: Not comparing the stretch of my fabric against the fabric recommended.
Result: A knit garment that acts like a woven, i.e. doesn't stretch. (See "sausage casing" above.)

Error 3: Failing to read the instructions carefully on Wonder Under fusible web.
Result: A backwards applique, which I decided to apply to the back side of the skirt. Additional hours spent cutting out the applique correctly for the front.

Error 4: Rushing straight to the applique instead of pin fitting the skirt first.
Result: A beautifully appliqued, unwearable garment.

Error 5: Using the first thrift store fabric I found instead of shopping for something just right.
Result: An itchy, translucent fabric with a slightly greasy feel. Eew!

After failed attempts at gathering the top for a waistband (what is this crazy material that won't gather?), I tried adding stretchy side panels and hook and eye closures, which look terrible and don't hold the skirt up. It is dark days for this would-be dress. Maybe my hero clear elastic will come to the rescue.

Or maybe I'll scrap the whole thing and start over.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Detroit Public Television Tank: PASS

I made this tank top TONIGHT in less than two hours. I am not generally a speedy sewer. I am challenged by things like spacial relations, measuring, and using pins without poking myself. Finishing this project so quickly makes me feel like a superstar.

The pattern is the Tank Girl crew neck variation from Sew U Home Stretch: The Built by Wendy Guide to Sewing Knit Fabrics. Maybe I'll tackle my horrible fail from this publication next week. Or perhaps I'll keep sewing t-shirts.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

fancy tigers: PASS

I nearly flunked out on this attempt at the Get the Scoop crew neck variation from Sew U Home Stretch: The Built by Wendy Guide to Sewing Knit Fabrics. The neckline stretched by four inches when I applied the elastic, making me look like I was wearing a wavy bag around my neck. Forty-five minutes of picking out serger stitches was well rewarded with this improved version. I switched from standard 1/4 inch knit elastic to 3/8 inch clear elastic, set the differential to 2.0, and stretched the elastic as I serged. Yes, that was overkill. But the new neckline is cute. And I can wear it while biking without flashing oncoming traffic.

Another challenge was choosing an applique to cover up the advertising text under the tigers. My husband, who donated the shirt I cut up for the project, suggested the bow tie. I like the randomness of it.