Monday, December 12, 2016

Holiday Night Pajamas ~ Sew a Little Seam

I recently tested for Sew a Little Seam's new pattern, Holiday Night Pajamas.

Holiday Night PJs

This pattern comes in sizes 12 months to kids' size 12.  It has short or long sleeves, with or without cuffs.  I love the piping detail on the collar, the pocket and the bodice!


This is my daughter's first pair of big girl PJs.  I used a quilting cotton from Hobby Lobby.  I was really pleased with the weight of the fabric. It's thicker than some other cottons I've purchased from Joann's and should keep Serenity warm on winter nights.


I sewed the 12 month size with the 18 month length, because my girl is long and lean.  I liked that the pattern has a higher rise in the back, which allows room for my daughter's cloth diaper.


The size I chose was perfect for her measurements, but roomy enough that this should fit through her next growth spurt.



The pattern is on sale for $4.90 through New Years' Eve. (The sale code is available by joining Kelly's FB group: Sew a Little Seam)  I can't wait to put these under the tree for my little Sugar Plum Fairy!

Kwik Sew 4181 ~ Supplex Workout Top

Today I want to share with you my second Kwik Sew 4181 workout top.  I'm much happier with this make in an XS.  The fabric I used is a space dye supplex and a blue cobalt budget supplex from Zenith & Quasar.  You'll see me mention Lilly's stuff a lot because she has the best supplex selection anywhere! (Although it kind of sucks at the moment because her awesome Black Friday sale cleared out her inventory.)  I enjoyed sewing with this supplex so much more than the Joann's poly/spandex from my last garment.


As I said before, I sewed an XS (this pattern runs large) and I did view B without the front triangle detail.  I added a bit of colorblocking at the front shoulder that continues to the back colorblocking.  I love the contrast!  This matches perfectly with my supplex Peg Legs!

Even though I sewed an XS, the pattern gaped at the armband area, so I took the side seams in 3/8" at front and back side seams (1.5" total each side).  The gaping may have been due to my itty-bitty small bust.  If you know of a better way to fix it, let me know. 


As I mentioned last time, the armbands and the neckbands are too long.  My advice to you is to calculate your own band length. 

Armhole (measure it at the seamline w/o seam allowances) x 0.85 
= Armband Length (add your seam allowances to this)

Would I sew this pattern again? Yes, but I don't think I will be needing any more workout tanks in my wardrobe for a long time.


I did have a little problem while coverstitching the neckband.  The band slipped and got a bit wider at center front, but I was too tired to care.  It seems that my fatigue has been chipping away at my perfectionism.  That's good, or else I would have a ridiculous amount of UFOs!  (unfinished objects)


It's December, and I finally have the workout wardrobe I've been dreaming of since early fall!  
P.S. The shoes are my new Altras and they are zero drop and I love love love them!

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Sewing Washable Cloth Pads

Using washable feminine products was never on my bucket list.  However, after the birth of my daughter I developed an allergy to the adhesives in disposables.  I tried different brands until I gave up and decided to give cloth a try.  I ordered some liners from Caroline's Creations on Etsy and I liked them so much, I decided to make my own pads.


If this idea seems weird or different to you, you might be interested to know that many women who use cloth say it is much more comfortable than disposables.  Since cloth pads can be washed and worn many times, they are more cost effective than disposables and easier on the landfill.  It can even be free if you make your own using fabric scraps and old linens.  And yes, they come out of the wash perfectly clean!

Making pads is really easy; they don't have to look perfect or pretty.  I've been cloth diapering my daughter since birth so the lingo is similar, words like: PUL, AIO, shells and pockets.  I made my first set of pads with materials I already had on hand: flannel, PUL, Zorb 2 (optional), and snaps.  I think it's a good idea to make a few and see what you like before filling out your entire stash.

My favorite pattern so far is the Luna Wolf Pad Pattern, which FREE and includes a variety of pad sizes.  


I really like the 10.25" size for a heavy flow pad.  I experimented with this and used an exposed/removable core that stays in place with some red ric-rack at the top and bottom.  I can use the liner multiple times and just switch out the inserts, as needed.  (The snap on top is from a failed attempt to make snappable inserts.)


I recommend a high quality flannel or quilting cotton for the top because a cheap flannel will pill quickly and won't be as soft.  The gray topper is a jersey ribbed knit from an old t-shirt.  Behind that is a layer of zorb and 2 layers of flannel.  I'm still working on finishing the edges of my inserts.  Sometimes my serging is pretty ugly, but it's functional!  I put my knife in the DOWN position when I serge around inserts and I use wooly nylon thread in my loopers.


These two inserts have quilting cotton on top, then a layer of zorb and a layer of hemp.


The 8.5" pads above were modified to try a different wing style. 


The first set of Luna Wolfs I made had a PUL backing and they slipped around.  The ones I make now have a layer of flannel behind the PUL.  The flannel comes in contact with your panties and stays put!  


I bought fabric just to make these pads.  It's such a happy floral, I just love it!  I even did some decorative topstitching.  This 8.5 inch pad has a hidden insert with 1 layer of Zorb sandwiched in between 2 layers of flannel.  I use KAM snaps.  I know everyone rrrraves about how easy they are to install.  It was never that way for me.  My husband has given me dozens of tutorials but I still ask for his help about half the time.  I have TERRIBLE grip strength!

So far I really like using these.  They are very comfortable and it's nice to be able to make them just the way I want to.  I'm really glad I don't make pads for a living.  Miss Caroline would make me slow down!  

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Kwik Sew 4181 & Modified Peg Legs


Today I want to share with you two workout garments I made recently.  But first, can we agree...it's really hard to take good photos when:

1. your backyard is full of splotchy shade
2. your toddler won't let you
3. it's winter, so golden hour lasts like 6 seconds

For several days *in a row*, my toddler woke up just as I got ready to shoot.  So, please forgive me for not caring how ridiculously long the grass is by the fence.

I've been needing some basic workout tanks to go with my leggings so I decided to try this pattern, Kwik Sew 4181.  It has a shelf bra and a weird little triangle applique, which I omitted.  The back bodice is supposed to be color-blocked, but I didn't have contrasting fabric.  I merged the top and bottom pieces, so the back is just one solid piece.  I cut out a small in the shoulders/bust and a large at the waist and a small at the hips.  I used this space-dye lightweight wicking nylon/spandex from Joann that has about 50-65% stretch.  I was a fan of Joann's athletic line until I started sewing with this fabric.  It has a weird sheen to it and does not stretch the way my supplex does.  It's not love, but it served as a good muslin for this pattern.


The top, in my opinion, runs 1 full size too big.  I'll spare you the details, let's just say I had to take this top in A LOT at the shoulders and the side seams and ultimately...it's still too big.  And let's talk about power mesh from Joann's.  Is power mesh always super thin and unsupportive?  You can see my bra straps, so clearly the the baggy shelf bra is useless.  If I ever make a shelf bra tank top again I'll use self fabric, not paper-thin power mesh.

Next time I will cut out a XS-M-XS.  



Also *watch out* the neck and armbands are too long...plan on removing at least an inch from each loop before attaching to the tank top.  (That's before I adjusted the band lengths due to me taking in the shoulder seams and side seams.)


Fit:  Like I said, this pattern runs a full size too big. The fit is better because I took in the shoulder and side seams and adjusted the bands accordingly.  It's still a little gapey at the neckline so I'll have to take in 1/4" at center front/center back next time.  My next tank top will be in a stiffer supplex so I'm excited to see how much support it provides.  

~~~~~

The leggings are my third pair of Peg Legs by Patterns for Pirates.  I used the pattern I drafted for my cell phone pocket (tutorial is here).  Instead of making a curved top pocket edge, I made a straight edge and finished the edge with a coverstitch.  This was SOOO much easier than the curved pocket.  The fabric is heavy supplex in a heathered grey from Zenith & Quasar.  I. LOVE. THIS. FABRIC.  I decided to size up for this pair because my last 2 pairs have been on the small side.  These leggings are a bit baggy and are a tad bit long. Too bad they are SO DARN COMFORTABLE, I don't want to take them off long enough to fix them!!

When it gets below 50 degrees here, I'm going to wish I had lined leggings. But then, I will still be wishing I was wearing these supplex pegs!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Halloween 2016


Happy Thanksgiving, everyone, I thought it was time to post about Halloween, lol!  Our church usually puts on a Trunk or Treat in the parking lot but they didn't plan one this year.  I wasn't planning to 'costume' on Halloween because #1 We had nowhere to go #2 We were going on vacation on November 1st and #3 I have been dealing with serious fatigue for months which makes me not want to make a costume for reason #1 and #2.  A week before Halloween, a bunch of the parents at church decided to put on a Trunk or Treat, and it was nice and impromptu and simple.  So....we needed costumes, STAT! I decided to recycle mine and Scott's Doctor Who costumes from 3 years ago, which basically is dressing up in Sunday clothes.  Easy! (That get up and go feeling that makes you want to do stuff is underrated. Seriously!)  


Serenity went as the Supreme Dalek.  (Don't know what a Dalek is? Think racist robot who will kill anything that is not a Dalek on site.)  I based her dress off of a pattern that I tested for in September. It has still not released, so I'm not allowed to mention it or pics of the actual pattern, but this dress is different enough from the original no one should mind.


All of the squares and dots are fused to the red fabric and the skirt is pleated.  The red is a cotton/lycra from Purpleseamstress.  She has wicked fast shipping, guys!  I love this little dress.  I really only tacked the dots down in a couple of places so I should rip them off and make this into some sort of Christmas dress.

I love my little family!  It really is wonderful to have a little person to sew for!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Tutorial ~ DIY Cell Phone Pocket: Part 2

Last month, I shared a tutorial on how to draft your very own cell phone pocket from a basic leggings pattern.  As promised, I will now show you how to assemble all of the pieces you cut out.


First, we will add the bound edge to your pocket.  Take the curved part of the over pocket piece and match it up with your pocket band piece, right sides together.  In the picture below the edges of the fabric line up (where my index finger is), but in reality it works better if the binding hangs over about 1/2".


Are you confused yet?  I drew over the first picture so you can see how the top fabric will extend past the solid blue fabric.  Sorry about that!  Sew a seam 3/8" from the edge using a stretch stitch.  


Now, flip your binding fabric over so that the right side of the seam is showing.  Press the seam open.  Fold the binding fabric to the wrong side and pin/clip in place.  Ensure that the binding is 1/2" wide across the entire pocket.


  Topstitch or coverstitch the binding in place.  Here I have used a wide coverstitch and the wrong side of the stitch is showing.  It provides a fun, decorative accent!


Line up your over pocket with your under pocket piece and baste them together at the bound edge. That area tends to slip around while being sewn (due to all of the bulk) and we want it to stay nice in place!


Now, stitch the Back Upper Leg Piece to the left pocket side, right sides together.  All of the seams from here on out will be at 1/2".  (As I stated in the first part of the tutorial, I recommend a 1/2" seam allowance so that you have plenty of room to coverstitch/topstitch.)  You will do the same with the Front Upper Leg Piece, sewing it to the right pocket side.  When you are done, press the seams to one side.  The seams are pressed AWAY from the pocket in this example.


When you are done, don't forget to topstitch!  


Now it is time to assemble the last piece.  Place the assembled upper leg piece and the lower leg piece, right sides together at the curve.  When you stitch on the curve, go SLOWLY.  It will ensure that the curve is smooth, without any puckers.


Press your seam to one side (down) and topstitch.  I decided to use the right side of my coverstitch for this seam, so I have a double row of stitching.


I hope you've found this tutorial helpful! If you decide to make your own cell phone pocket, provide your blog link below, I would love to see it!

Noelle Dress ~ Made for Mermaids

This past week I pattern tested for Made for Mermaids for the first time.  The pattern is the Noelle Dress and is part of their Dreamy Winter Collection.  It is available to purchase TODAY and is on sale for $7 through 11/29!  As you can see, it works perfectly for a holiday dress! I love the dress on the left with the red velvet.


However, when I went to order red velvet it was out of stock...so I'm still waiting to make something for Christmas.  But that's okay, this pattern works really well as an informal dress or as a peplum blouse.  We live in subtropical Charleston, so we have little opportunity to wear winter dresses.


I did the version of the dress without the peplum or pettiskirt.  The fabric I used is a Made Whimsy 12 oz cotton/lycra knit from youmadesomething.com.  In case you were wondering, the quality is amazing and affordable, and this lady ships fast!  


I sewed up a size 1/2, which ended up being too big because I didn't realize my daughter had lost a 1/2 inch in her chest size, whoops! That's okay, my skinny Minnie will grow eventually.  This pattern goes from a 1/2 all the way to a 14.


With a stiffer fabric, the collar will stand up more than it did here.  You may want to interface the collar for a better stand.  Make sure you use lightweight knit interfacing, though.  The midweight one I tried didn't provide any stretch and made it impossible for me to get it around the neckline so I ripped it out and sewed the collar un-interfaced.


I love the drama of this skirt, and with the circle skirt it's so easy to achieve.  You don't even have to hem your knit like I did, many of the testers didn't.  

Sunday, November 20, 2016

First Sweet Tee ~ Patterns for Pirates



Even though I posted another Sweet Tee (Patterns for Pirates) make on this blog, this is the first one I ever made.  If you compare with the first blog post you will notice the original fit is a bit more relaxed. (I took the second one in a bit more on the sides.) I seriously love this shirt! It is a pretty doable project in 2.5 hours.  (I'm sure some of you can whip one up much quicker than that.) This shirt is so comfy!  The print is Idle Wild by Riley Blake that I had been eyeing for way too long and finally sent home with me.  The trim is some bamboo rayon I had in my stash.


I originally made this shirt with the curved hemline, but I really wasn't a fan of the way it dipped down low past my hips.  Sometimes things look great on a model and when you put it on your petite body you have to adjust.  I ended up cutting it a little higher with a little bit less of a dramatic curve.  I think it looks more proportional.  Don't ever be afraid of changing a pattern to fit your body or your style.  It's what being a maker is all about!

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Tutorial ~ DIY Cell Phone Pocket: Part 1


Today I want to share a tutorial with you! I think it's been years since I've done so. I loved the athletic capris that I made last month and decided I wanted another pair, but with a cell phone pocket.  My husband always says that ladies' pants pockets are useless so he has no problem carrying my phone when we're out and about.  Well, this pocket is big enough to carry your big honkin' phone and probably your lip gloss, too!  For reference, I have a Samsung Galaxy s5.  

For this tutorial, you will need your pattern.  I have used Peg Legs by Patterns for Pirates.  You can use another pattern if you wish as long as it has one whole piece for the left leg and one for the right.  The waistband is separate.

When I am pattern drafting, I don't draw directly on my nice pretty pattern.  I trace my pattern first and then I can mark it up as much as I want.

Start with your pattern and find the grainline.  We will start by drawing lines PARALLEL to the grainline.  I like to use a quilting ruler to draw parallel lines.  Find the center point in between center front and center back at the bottom edge of pants.  Find the point in between center front and center back at the top of the pattern piece.  Before you draw the line just check with your quilting ruler that the new line is parallel to your grainline.  Draw a TEMPORARY line between these two points from the top of the pattern piece to the bottom like so:

 Now, draw a line 2" to the left and 2" to the right, parallel to the grey line.

These red lines represent the sides of your pockets.  (The grey line can now be removed.)  My pocket is 4" wide.  (I thought it was 1/4" too wide so you may want to make yours slightly smaller, especially if you have an IPhone.)  Now, we will draw a line bisecting the red lines to define the bottom of the pocket.


Erase the red lines below the bisected line and label these areas:

These are 4 of the new pattern pieces for the right leg.  Lay tracing paper over the top of this pattern and trace each piece, leaving space in between because YOU WILL NEED TO ADD YOUR SEAM ALLOWANCES.  The black lines represent the old pattern, so obviously don't add seam allowances to those sides.  Any sides that are red or purple will need seam allowances added.  

Not sure how much to add? Check your pattern for the seam allowance used and add the same seam allowance for your new pattern pieces.  I like 3/8" seam allowances but for this project, I highly recommend using 1/2" seam allowances.  It makes coverstitching/topstitching the seams much easier.

Now, draw a line to define the top edge of your pocket.

This is represented in green.  Now you can trace the 5th and last pattern piece, the Over Pocket Piece.  This is the only piece that requires ALL seam allowances added to it.  (This might seem confusing, just trace the green curved line for the top of the pocket, the two parallel red lines below that, and the purple line at the bottom.)

Where you choose to draw your green and purple lines is up to you.  The purple line I drew was about 11" from the top of the leg pattern piece.  The top of the pocket piece on the right side (the point where the green line touches the right red line) was 2 1/2" from the top of the leg pattern piece.

You will also need to cut out the pocket band (goes over the top edge of the pocket).  This is a rectangle 1.25" x 7".

Pat yourself on the back, you are now a pattern drafter!  In the next part of the tutorial, I will share how to assemble your pattern pieces.  

Supplex Peg Legs with Smartphone Pocket


This is my second pair of Peg Legs, this time made from Supplex from Zenith & Quasar.  (My first pair is here.) Supplex is a wicking nylon/spandex that is great for activewear applications.  It is easy to spend $20 on one yard of supplex.  I can squeeze one pair of capris and one bra on a yard, so it doesn't end up being more expensive than ready to wear clothing.



When I'm out and about I need a place to put my phone, so I drafted my own smartphone pocket.  For the contrasting blue pocket, I used budget supplex.  It doesn't have quite the stretch that regular supplex has.  So for the left leg, I used my regular pattern piece and for the right, I assembled my smartphone pocket and then sewed leg pieces together.  I coverstitched the cellphone pocket with the loopy side up.  It was a bit tricky going over seams and the thread got messed up.  I took a needle and thread and fixed it in parts and I think it looks great!


I preordered the supplex, but the wait was worth it!  These capris are super comfortable! I'm happy to know that next summer when the heat is unbearable these capris will wick and help me stay during a workout.  And since summer weather doesn't end until November, I'll be comfortable now, too!

The tutorial for on this cell phone pocket is now available! Click the links for Part 1 and Part 2.