Sunday, May 25, 2014

Dino Jammies: PASS

It was two days before my husband took off for a visit with friends and the Maine Comic Arts Festival. He poked a finger through the giant hole in the crotch of his pj pants and said, "So, I'm going to wear these if you don't make another pair."

That hole was only the latest issue in this raggedy pair of Simplicity 2823 pants. I had made several repairs, but the pants were just too far gone to mend again. Instead of going back to the pattern, I cut open the piggy print pants and laid them directly on the fabric. This meant I could cut just two pieces (right and left sides) instead of the four called for in the original pattern. This is how Made by Rae's Parsley Pants are laid out and it is a real time saver. I skipped making a casing (which I suck at) and applied the elastic directly (like in this Cal Patch tutorial). Start to finish, the project took maybe two hours.

I was just about to pat myself on the back when my husband tried on the final product. "Hmm. Were these legs always so balloony? And the waist so saggy?" he asked. Uh, oh. I had just stolen the elastic stashed away for pj's for leggings, so I had reused his old elastic. Guess it had lost some of its elasticity. And maybe his old pants had stretched out, making for a larger pair when I traced them?

I busted out my serger. We pinched out the excess in the legs and waist, then I ran new lines of stitching. Elegant? Not at all. Effective? Absolutely. My husband had a decent pair of jammies for his trip. And he says that they are the best fitting pair he's ever had!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Striped Renfrew: PASS

As soon as I finished my first Sewaholic Renfrew, I wanted a striped one with a superhero-sized waistband and cuffs. When I found this aqua and spring green striped jersey knit at the thrift store, a perfect match for the baby rib knit in my stash, it was too perfect.

Not for long! I spaced out and forgot to cut the front on the fold. I didn't even notice until it was time to attach the neckband that I had an unintentional cardigan on my hands.

I wasn't going to let one mistake foil my plans. I cut a stripe in the rib knit to join the right and left sides together. The Sew Ann Arbor ladies said they liked it even better that way. Yeah, design element...

The rest came together quite easily.


If I were paying attention to seam allowances, I would have noticed the bottom stripe would be reduced to a sliver in the final product and adjusted accordingly. You'll see I stretched out the center strip of fabric when applying the neckband, which could probably have been prevented by using a double layer of the baby rib.

I should also figure out my back fitting issues. There's an extra flop of fabric at the neckline and some bunching at the waist. Swayback? Rounded shoulders? Does anyone know what's happening here?

Despite its shortcomings, nothing can stop me from wearing this shirt. Well, maybe the crush of indie comic fans at the Toronto Comic Arts Festival or a similar heat-producing crowd. I was roasting in my long sleeves and wide cuffs. Thank goodness it's not a dressing up kind of convention. Neoprene-wearing superheroes probably would have fainted.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Announcements: Spring Top Surprises and Me Made May

When my friend's son was a teenager he used to say he couldn't imagine a life where he wasn't famous. Sometimes things just don't turn out as planned. Like these spring tops.

Last year I took a chance on a pattern with a drape top and loooooved it. But within a month, the facing curled up at the bottom, making a prominent line right across my chest. No amount of pressing could straighten it out. The shirt sank further and further back into my closet until I had to admit it was time for the refashion pile.

Last month I tried the Sewaholic Renfrew and was unimpressed with my results. The shirt grew to enormous proportions while I was sewing, yet stretched across my bust in a schlubby (vs. sports bar waitstaff) kind of way. I discovered a trip through the dryer would stabilize the fabric long enough to wear for a day. A trip to the bra store took care of the rest. This shirt has been in heavy rotation ever since.

Which is all a big lead-in to Spring Top Sewalong 2014 and Me-Made-May 14. I'm hoping to make at least one more spring top before the sewalong ends next week. And I plan to wear one piece of me-made or me-rafashioned clothing during the month of May. My intention is to give some items I haven't worn in a while a chance to shine. Like my friend's fame-seeking son, who is now in his 20s, there's plenty of time left for surprises.