Saturday, June 11, 2016

Birthday PJs *cute baby warning*

My baby has transformed from little fishy to infant, baby and now toddler! She recently turned 1 year old.  We have loved having a baby this past year.  She has brought so much joy to our family!

To celebrate, I made her this pair of pajamas.  I guess they could work for every day clothes - maybe - but I'm a little pink-phobic so I like to reserve the all-pink outfits for night wear.

I used 2 FREE patterns that I found on A Raglan Tee for 18 months to 10 years old by Nap Time Creations and 18 month Toddler Leggings Pattern by Renee Sherwood.

I, of course, made alterations to these patterns...'cause that's what I do.  I wanted the raglan to be more feminine, so I redrew the sleeve seam line and made the sleeve more slender and skinnier.  I dropped the neckline in the front and back.  I used a 1 1/2" strip of ribbing (from a womens' thrift store tee - great place to find ribbing, by the way) instead of a 2" strip.  The neckband is done at 85% of the neckline.  The sleeves ended up being too small - oops! Even if the fit isn't great the outfit is still cute.

I cut the seam allowance on the leggings down to 1/4" because I think it's just too much work and waste to cut off later.  I made a full seat and full gut adjustment and added a little length to the top of the waist bc my baby is in cloth diapers and her fluff butt needs room!  I love, love the fit on the pants!

Kids knit clothes come together so quickly and I love these Art Gallery knits.  The Orni Incandescence print called to me every time I went to the store so I, like a bug to the light zapper, bought a yard and a half.  Gulp! And then it sat in my stash and I had no idea what to do with it because it is so loud.  Pajamas, folks.  It wanted to be made into pajamas, because it's at night that we show our wildest side!

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Scoop Neck T-Shirt with an Invisible Neckband

I'm not really sure what to call the neckband thingy, but I ended up finding Made by Rae's tutorial that explained how to make the neckline I wanted.

This pattern is based off of Craftsy's Sewing with Knits class.  I made a striped knit t-shirt from this pattern a few years ago.  The fabric is a Joann's poly/cotton knit with minimal stretch, only 25-30%.  The fabric is a little see-through, so I lined the front bodice with very thin jersey fabric I bought in the LA Fabric District.  So glad it finally came in handy!  I also used that fabric for the neckband, 85% of the length of the neckline circumference.  The neckline is gapey.  Next time I'll try 80% length on the neckband.

I drafted a new neckline lower, for summer, and left a 1/4" seam allowance.  My neckband was 1" wide and I topstitched 3/8" from the edge.  I think it fits well, and I'm pleased with it.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Envelope Tee with Peplum

I made this top for my 9 month old last month.  She is SUCH a wiggles!  It is very hard to snap a photo of her sitting still.  The pattern I used was a free one, Small Dreamfactory 'Envelope neck long sleeve' pattern.

I took the pattern, hacked off the long sleeves and added a peplum.  The fabric I used was a remnant from an AG knit I used to make a nursing shirt with last summer.  I had the hardest time finding navy rib knit, so I took a tip from a lady online and bought a large thrift store shirt and cut it up.  I got the best of both worlds - being able to shop in person for my fabric and having a wide range of fabric (or t-shirts) to choose from.

For the peplum, I took the width of the shirt and nearly doubled it.  I serged with thin clear elastic in the seam that connected the peplum to the shirt.  This is a must!

I love the way it turned out, but I am noticing that she is already outgrowing the shirt in the tummy.  I might consider using rib knit for the body of the garment next time because it allows for more belly room.  My little girl seems to be taking a page out of my book as her narrow shoulders are the last thing to outgrow her shirts.  Maybe that will husband's family is known for their broad shoulders.

This little lady is getting to be so much fun! She loves to gab, chews on everything, crawls like a mad woman, and is a pro at taking toys from the dog.  Today she almost took a dive when she stood up in her high chair and tried to reach for the kitchen island. (Now we know the chair buckle is a necessity!)

I have a slight Art Gallery knit addiction. Their knits are soft and scrumptious!

Monday, March 7, 2016

The Lane 2.0

Just before I was about to cut out my second Lane Raglan, I heard rumors that there was an update coming out.  I waited a week and was able to cut out the new and improved version!  I love the new contoured shoulder and bust areas.

I used some fabric I bought of one of the Facebook destash pages.  This paisley is a soft rayon spandex blend.  The black is a bamboo spandex from my stash.  I cut out a small, but it was too big.  This is probably because rayon blends tend to have a lot of stretch and drape.  I cut the blouse apart at the seamlines and cut it out again, this time as an x-small.  I made a few changes - narrowed in the neckline a bit at the sides, because rayon grows.  I took a 1/2 inch length from the bodice and 1 inch from the sleeves.  I hemmed the sleeves and bodice with my coverstitch machine.

This time I made the curved hemline.  The rayon is not the most forgiving fabric on the body, but it's super super comfortable!  I could wear this blouse to bed it's so soft!

Ugh!  I need to go jeans shopping.  These are clearly too big...just haven't gotten around to it.  I really didn't expect to lose so much weight from getting off sugar.

The Little Zinnia

Let me tell you a story about the teal linen that grew up and became a Zinnia: this linen was born in LA and had hopes of being made into something beautiful.  One August day, I walked into the linen shop and forked over 20 bucks, and the linen was mine. The linen got scrunched in the trunk of my old Buick with all my other fabric and camping crap and rode all the way to its new home in South Carolina.  There it sat patiently, waiting for the day that my sharp Ginghers would cut it into a flowy dirndl.

Well, illness came and went and then I got a job and worked full-time and didn't feel like sewing much.  Until one autumn day, I pulled the linen out of my stash and decided this would be the month that I made a Zinnia.  I cut and sewed and pressed until the the linen started to take shape.  I held it up to my waist to check the fit, and what do you know, the skirt was too small!  I was shocked!  I had measured twice, so how come it was too small? But a few days later, I found out there was a little fishy growing inside me, so the linen got tossed in the UFO pile.

Eighteen months passed and I brought out the skirt again, but this time it fit!  I cut and sewed and pressed a little more and garnished the linen with a button until it became a beautiful Zinnia.  

---and I'm soooo glad that I finally get to wear it!

I wear summer stuff year round in sub-tropical Charleston, so even though it's technically winter here, I'm sure my Zinnia will fit right in.  I searched and searched for the perfect pattern to pair with this chambray-esque linen.  I love Zinnia's perfectly proportioned pleats.

I cut out an 8 waistband then freaked out when I held it up to my waist and it didn't fit around me.  So, I cut out a 12 throughout, which ended up being huge and I had to take it in at the sides and the back.  (I found out later that a lot of reviewers said that the waistband was about 2 inches to small, so now this makes sense.)

This pattern was really easy to whip out.  This pattern in a linen is TO - DIE - FOR!  Love it!  Linen is such a joy to sew with.  It gives you such crisp seams and I love the texture and the old world look to it.

I see more Zinnias in my future!  

Friday, February 19, 2016

Jalie 3350 Twist Front Swimsuit

For this project I used the Jalie 3350 One-Piece Swimsuit pattern (blogged), which was released 2 years ago and some milliskin matte poly/nylon/lycra that I purchased three years ago. 

I bought the fabric online at Spandex House in a light blue with a twinge of purple.  When it arrived, it was more of a sky blue (shown above) and I just didn't like it.  The fabric sat on my shelf for 3 years while I decided what to do with it.  Last month, I dyed the fabric a darker blue using a Dharma Acid dye.  The color turned out really beautiful!

I made view B in a size U for height and a W for length.  I had originally cut a smaller size but then I realized my fabric didn't have enough stretch, so I cut out a bigger size.  

The instructions were such a pain in the butt!  It's been a long time since I made something that was intended for intermediate/advanced sewers.  Sometimes I accidentally read steps out of order or interpreted instructions incorrectly.  I used my seam ripped constantly, but eventually I got it right.

I sewed most of this at my in-laws' house. I forgot my twin needle so I finished the elastic edges using a zig-zag stitch.  This really isn't my favorite look - I think the twin needle or the coverstitch looks much more professional, but at that point in the project the smell of chlorine pool water was calling my name and I just needed to get it done! Because, crawling baby, peeps! While someone else watches my squish sewing must happen, STAT!!!

I used the same fabric for the lining. I lined only the cup area, which has 2 lining layers and one top layer.  I would have made less mistakes if my lining fabric had been a different color than my suit fabric.  I'm not a fan of this bust area sans swim cups. I don't like the ones at my local fabric store - they are too stiff!  If anyone knows where to get seamless swim cups for a B/C cup, please let me know.  Otherwise, I will have to find some at Goodwill.

I have mixed feelings about the fit.  I love the way the fabric fits around my bust and it fit *perfectly* after it came off the sewing machine.  I stopped eating white sugar, artificial sweeteners and honey after I realized I had become allergic to it. The resulting weight loss means that the suit is now too big and needs to be taken in. I'm pretty sure I lost an inch in my waist and hips. The neckline gapes a little and the bum area is a wee bit sad looking.  I'm not planning to fix it because I'm nursing and probably will wean my baby in 4-6 months.

My dyed fabric kind of failed the pool test - it bleeds blue when it drip dries.  Well, I'm an Aggie after all, so I guess it's okay.  I just have to be really careful that it doesn't touch anything in my gym bag when it's wet.  Maybe that will stop after I wear it a few times. Also, I need to shorten the straps slightly and adjust matter how I adjust them they look crooked!  

Next time I'd like to order some FILPAR rubber elastic because it is thinner and stays put when you sew.  I'm hoping this milliskin matte holds up to the chlorine okay...I was really disappointed how stretched out my last suit got. Apparently printed nylon/spandex, while pretty, is thin and loses its stretch much quicker than solids.

All in all, I'm satisfied with the suit.  It's wearable, and everything pretty much stays put when I go to water aerobics. (Yes, people, I do water aerobics!)  I'm sure this one will stretch out before too long and I'll get to make a better version of this suit.  (Plus, when I'm done nursing I won't fill the cups out and I'll really need a new suit.)

Monday, February 15, 2016

It's Loud, Too

I decided to jump on the Grainline Archer bandwagon. Its lack of bust darts makes it perfect for when I transition from nursing to weaning my daughter.

I cut out a size 6. Even though my bust was an inch too big for this size I knew that this pattern had a lot of ease and going up a size would be a big no-no.  I took in 1/2" of width at the shoulder area and I took 1" of length out at the waist area.

I loved using a fabric in my stash for this project.  I bought this Art Gallery voile last summer.  Seeing the blouse that Sunni made gave me the confidence that while this print is *loud*, it looks great in a blouse and is seriously so much fun!  I used an aqua and white gingham as contrast under collar and inside collar stand pieces.

Guess what, guys?! It fits!!!  First time, no adjustments after pattern alterations - I didn't even have to fiddle with the side seams!  It's so happy and cheerful it's like wearing a Hawaiian shirt for floral people, such as myself!

Things I did differently than the pattern:
I made a short-sleeve version with a 3/4" hem.

I did Back View A without the pleat.  I had to remove 1/2" width from either side at the shoulder area of the yoke, anyway, so when I drafted the lower back piece I turned that extra width into a gather at the center back instead of taking it out entirely.  Clear as mud?  Good!

I forgot to do the right front pocket.  I don't think I care, but I have enough fabric in case I change my mind.  The thing is, I matched the first pocket up so perfectly you can't even tell it's there.  I also made my own spacing for the buttons.  I like a button right at my bust to keep everything covered.

See?  It's invisible!

Things I Did Well
The topstitching is super even.  I put a little dot of marker on my presser foot so I could follow it perfectly and got an even 1/16" around my collar. 

I did a pretty good job with the sleeves.  I have a long history of dreading putting in sleeves.  This pattern taught me to sew in the sleeves before I sew the side seams.  That way, you can hide all your naughty mistakes and no one will be the wiser.

Things I'd Do Differently
Um...use contrasting thread, maybe?  I don't typically wear button up shirts because they are constrictive.  The relaxed fit made me revisit the classic button up.  Despite loving the shirt, I'm not loving the way it looks on me in it because I came from the era of super form-fitting clothes??  Would taking in the side seams help?

**Special thanks to my in-laws who let me turn their dining room into a sewing workshop and made googly eyes at my baby while I sewed up a storm.  It took about a day from start to finish and it was sewing bliss to have very few distractions.   Hopefully I didn't leave too many pins on the floor.

While I finished up the collar, I had the privilege of teaching my 10 year old niece how to sew.  When she saw what my serger could do she was in complete awe!  By the end of the day, she had made an infinity scarf and a headband out of some vintage fabric her grandma gave her.  She wore both proudly the next day at church!