Monday, 9 October 2017

Athletic Lago Tank

As soon as I saw this fabric in Fabricville, I knew I needed to use it for a tank top. It's the perfect colour, and clearly an athletic fabric of some sort. I used the Lago Tank pattern from Itch to Stitch again, and I've already gotten wear out of it. It's not my favourite, the fabric isn't as breathable as I would like, and it's heavy enough that if I do any exercise inverted it immediately goes over my head. That being said, it's great for cycle-commuting or lounging and pretending that I'm going to exercise, but in reality I just watch television or read and clean the apartment.

The neckband and armbands turned out well, this fabric had the right amount of stretch for the pattern, which was convenient. I don't have much else to say, this is my fourth iteration of the pattern.

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Sea-foam Green Leggings!

Ever since I got my serger for Christmas (which I am still excited about), I have been wanting to sew myself leggings. More specifically, out of the leftover fabric from my dress from last summer. I finally printed out and traced the Patterns for Pirates Peg Legs, so now I can start creating as many pairs of leggings as I want. This pattern is super quick, super straightforward, and fits me well.

To get the right size, I ended up blending 3 sizes. My waist and hips are a size L (yay for not needing to grade at the hips!), my thighs are an XL, and my calves are an XXL. I added 1 inch of length at the shorties length, 1 inch at the bike shorts length, and 1/2 inches at the capri length. I haven't yet tried an ankle length pair to see how accurate this is, but I like where everything hits me in the capri pair. Adding a bit of length when I make a full length pair would be easy anyway.

There is a robust extension pack available for this pattern, and while I wasn't ready to use it for this pair, I will definitely be using it for future pairs. I especially like the side panel with pocket (I have a pair of Victoria's Secret leggings with this feature, and I love it), since I can use up more different fabrics and it gives me a bit more flexibility with cutting. I might give the gusset a try for athletic leggings, and the waistband pocket would be great for a key (for example, the key to the house I just bought and moved into!)

I still love this fabric, but it is not the best for leggings. I can see my cellulite when wearing them, so they are not quite structured enough. I wore these to a spin class to see how to would go for exercise, and they are not great - they don't breathe at all, and my sweat was super visible (it was quite gross). So these will be primarily lounge leggings, I can wear them as athleisure, but not for intense athletics. I just need to decide whether the make a sports bra, a lounge bra/crop top, or just a shirt from the rest of the fabric. They might be alright for side panels for another pair of leggings as well.


PatternPatterns for Pirates Peg Legs (Free when you join their facebook group!)
Material: Scuba knit from Fabricville, leftover
Modifications: Graded out for my leg muscles (genetics and sports combine for a lot of weight in my lower half), added 2.5 inches overall in length
Learning: I can now start making leggings! It will likely now take me an hour or two per pair, I just need to figure out the best fabric.

Thursday, 3 August 2017

Bathing Suit Cover-up

I have had a black and white striped tank dress as my bathing suit cover up for years now. There is a reason I don't wear white often - it doesn't stay white for long. This dress is now getting more towards multicoloured. When the lago tank top came out, I decided I might as well try to lengthen it to replace the cover-up with a newer, different colour version. Despite the fact that I've had mixed results with altering patterns before, I decided to get some lovely teal knit fabric for Patch Halifax and just go for it. Luckily, the pattern and dress are so simple I could likely recover from most mishaps.

This dress took me about 2 weeks longer to make than it should have. This was for 1 big reason: When I pre-washed the fabric, all of the edges curled up, making it really frustrating to cut out the pattern pieces. I complained to my mother about this, and she suggested I use water to iron it flat. This is what ended up working to get me going on the project, thanks Mom! I have come across advice not to pre-wash knits for this reason, just make them about 5% longer to account for the shrinkage. I doubt I'll do it that way, because I really hate it when things shrink and I would probably over-compensate. It also took a long time for me to actually take pictures, these were taken by my lovely friend Amy at a weekend at a cottage, and she also found the flower for the added flair.

I'm clearly getting better at neckbands and armbands, although in this case there was better recovery than the jersey I used for the last 2 tanks. This fabric is 95% cotton and 5% spandex from Patch Halifax, and it is really lovely. I'm really excited to see how it feels over a wet bathing suit, because it's already lovely as a day dress. It's almost a tunic length, so I might wear it around the house, but it's too short to wear out as a dress. Looking at the pictures, I could use a little extra space around the armsythes, since this fabric has less stretch than my other lagos, but I don't really notice it when I'm wearing it.

I usually buy my fabric and notions at Fabricville because they're cheap there, and since I'm still learning I'm hesitant to invest too much money in fabrics that may not turn into a nice garment. I think I'm almost ready to start buy nice fabric (I think I've said that before, but I have a lot of fabric to use up first), with the hope that I love the clothing I make more. I really like what Patch Halifax does for the sewing community in little old Halifax - they have indie patterns, classes, lovely fabrics, etc., so even if I continue to purchase a lot of my sewing supplies from Fabricville, I will definitely frequent Patch to do what I can to make sure they succeed.

As you can see, these were taken after I went swimming.
For making this dress, I used the same lago tank pattern pieces as the blue and black one I made, I just continued straight down when I got to the bottom. I ended up needing to take it in some between my waist and hips in order to get the fit right. If I made it again I would grade out a little bit more around the hips, although the fact that it's a bit snug helps it stay down.


Pattern: Lago Tank Top by Itch-to-Stitch (Free!)
Material: Cotton/lycra jersey from Patch Halifax
Modifications: Added 1 inch to the length of the bodice and graded out 3(!!!) sizes for the hips, then continued straight down to the end of the fabric to get the most I could out of the length.
Learning: Getting even better at neckbands, and that I should probably put a little more thought into modifying patterns.

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Lago Tank Top

I have been looking for a tank top pattern for what feels like ages. When Kennis put out a tester call for the Lago tank top, I jumped right on it. This is a basic tank top for a knit fabric - no frills, no extras, just a simple tank top. I was thrilled when I looked at the measurements and saw that I fit exactly into a size 6 in both bust and waist, no grading required except for the usual hip adjustment (Curse you, Dutch Bum Disease!).

The first version (pink), was almost perfect for me. I didn't properly grade out at the hip, so there's some pooling in the lower back, but it's not a big deal. It came together really fast, which is appreciated once in a while in a sewing pattern. The armbands turned out really well, but I should have cut the neckband smaller due to the lack of recovery of the jersey fabric. Speaking of the fabric, you might recognize it as some of the remaining fabric from the blazer I made recently. This tank top turned out wearable.

The second version (back and blue) has a slightly lower neckline and scooped out arm holes. I will be using this pattern more frequently, although I might raise the neckline a bit. If the fabric was less slinky it would not sit as low, so we'll see how my next version turns out with a more structured fabric. You might recognize this fabric from the Charleston Dress I made last year. This pattern is a great stash buster for knits.

Now, everyone should definitely pick up this pattern and give it a try, because it is FREE! I think it would be worth getting if it wasn't, but it is most definitely worth picking up at no cost. Also, my serger that I got for Christmas makes these pretty much the funnest and easiest things to sew ever. I want to keep making them because they are so satisfying.


Pattern: Lago Tank Top by Itch-to-Stitch (Free!)
Material: Leftover discount fabric from Fabricville, x2
Modifications: Added 1 inches to the length of the bodice and graded out 3(!!!) sizes for the hips
Learning: Getting even better at neckbands, sometimes. What a rollercoaster. Still getting to know my serger and loving it more with every project.

Thursday, 11 May 2017

Grainline Hemlock

This past weekend I had the privilege of pattern testing a tank top (post coming soon-ish!). After sewing up the first version of the tank top, I had some time before the second version was available. I decided to use this time to sew myself a sweater using the free grainline hemlock tee pattern with leftover fabric from my green striped boyfriend cardigan (I bought a lot in case I messed up the pattern the first time trying).

Things I like about this pattern:
  • It's only 4 pattern pieces, so it came together super quickly
  • The neck is nice and wide, which makes it easy to pull on
  • It's nice and loose, so it's cozy and comfortable
Things I don't like:
  • Only 1/4 inch seam allowances
  • The sleeves ended up being too short, but that's fixable for next time

This sweater is appropriate for work (I work in a casual environment), but I don't see a lot of space for more of these in my wardrobe at the moment. I will see how much I wear it before deciding how many more to make, I like it enough that I'll be sad if I don't make any more. You know at the end of yoga classes, where the teacher tells you to grab a sweater so that you can lie comfortably on your back for a few minutes? That's what this is perfect for. Or throwing on at the end of a beach day. Or after the gym. Or watching television at home. 

I think I just talked myself into making another one.

The modifications I made were adding 1.5 inches to the bodice and 2 inches to the sleeves. I like the length of the bodice now, but I will add another inch or two to the sleeves on the next one. It's a one size fits all pattern, so I didn't need to grade anywhere, which was nice.


Pattern: Hemlock Tee by Grainline Studio
Material: Leftover discount fabric from Fabricville
Modifications: Added 1.5 inches to the length of the bodice and 2 inches to the length of the sleeves
Learning: Nothing new here! Getting better at neckbands, but still a work in progress.

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Red Timeless Tunic Dress

As soon as I saw this pattern I knew I wanted it. There was a Threadcount wardrobe builder pattern that came with a magazine that included a similar dress/shirt pattern, and it just seems really versatile depending on what fabric is used. That being said, my first attempt was a bust (pun intended, as you'll soon find out).

First issue was that my cutting of the bodice was a bit off. After a lot of thinking I figured out where I messed up (and it's totally on me, not the pattern): When I attached the interfacing, I just ironed it on, but the instructions say to sewing it right sides together then flip it right side out and iron. This meant that my lining piece was bigger than it was supposed to be. If the fabric had a bit less structure it might have looked alright, but it is stiffer fabric than I had originally thought (issue #2). The third issue is that my bust is smaller than the pattern was intended, and I cut this before I made my Blixen Blazer, so I didn't realize how big of a difference it would make. It really looked like a sack of flour on me. My extremely helpful sister Sarah recommended that I wear it to a toga party.

On the bright side, I'm really happy with how it turned out with regard to finishing items. I did a good job on the hem, the elastic waist and casing went really well and I like the facing for the arms and neck (other than me screwing up the cutting and interfacing).

I added length just above the bust because I find many sleeveless patterns are too tight on the armpits, and I added length to the skirt. These ended up being the correct modifications for me, I just should not have added any more length to the bodice. Since P4P drafts for an hourglass figure, I didn't modify anything else, although I now know I should have either done a small bust adjustment (SBA) or sized down the bodice. I'm still learning what adjustments I can get away with not making and which ones are required. I have yet to actually try a SBA, but I think it's time I learn to do one.

After I had finished the dress, tried it on and discovered it was possibly the most unflattering dress I've ever sewn, I made some changes in hopes of making it wearable. First, I took in the side of the bodice to make it less baggy. Second, I shortened the bodice in the front by about an inch, because I miscalculated when adding length and it was contributing the to flour sack effect. Lastly, I took it in at the waist, because I found it was not as snug as I wanted it. Usually I find I have a reasonably defined waist, but it just disappeared. It is now what I consider barely wearable, but I don't love it and my modifications didn't really make the waist fit right.

Will I make this pattern again? Not soon, but I might come back to it after I've knocked a few more projects off my list. I really want to make the free peg leg pattern from P4P, they were recently updated and look super cool.


Material: A woven fabric from the discount part of Fabricville (mostly synthetic, unknown fibres, $4ish/m)
Modifications: I added half an inch above the bust, an inch below it and a couple of inches to the length. After finishing the pattern and trying it on I took the bodice in on the sides to try and improve the fit and removed the extra bodice length. Next time I will size down in the bodice and actually follow the instructions. 
Learning: Pay more attention to the bust measurements of the pattern, and alter appropriately. I also learned a fun new method of facing a tank. An important learning was that clothing with a even moderately loose waist does not flatter me at all.

Monday, 24 April 2017

Sarah's Half Circle Skirt

It's only fair that after sewing my sister Elysia a skirt, I sew one for Sarah as well. Sarah wanted a black a-line skirt appropriate for work. I thought about buying a pattern to make this, but then I decided that a half circle skirt fit her description. I used the tutorial here and made it over the course of an evening while she was visiting so she could try it on periodically. I'm happy with how it turned out, and she tells me she wears it regularly, so she must like it as well.

The fabric was from the discount area at the back of Fabricville. The outside of the skirt is actually the backside of the fabric, so if Sarah's skirt ever blows up people will get even more of a surprise than they expected, because the other side is black and blue. It's a knit fabric with a bit of stretch, and was super easy to sew with. To be honest, when I picked up the fabric I didn't realize that I was looking at the back side of the fabric, but once I figured it out I had already decided it was the best choice. I have some left over to make something for myself now :)

I really like the amount of fullness of a half circle skirt, so if I ever start wearing skirts more regularly I will definitely make one for myself.


Pattern: None! Tutorial from It's Always Autumn
Material: A black and blue knit from Fabricville, used the back for the outside
Modifications: None!
Learning: Not much new, I've made a circle skirt before.