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.

Details

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.

Details

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.


Details

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.


Details

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.

Details

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.


Thursday, 6 April 2017

Cobalt Blazer


I was listening to the Maker Style Podcast a while ago, when Rachel was interviewing Heather from Closet Case Files, and Heather mentioned that you shouldn't be afraid of projects, just do them. I put that advice into practise when Christina posted a tester call for the Blixen Blazer. One of the complaints I have when shopping is that my shoulders are too broad for many structured clothing items. If I can find something that fit my shoulders and arms, it's too boxy. If I find something that is flattering, the shoulders and arms are suffocating. The obvious solution: Sew my own!


This was my first pass at the pattern, so I made it knowing that it might not be perfect. The pattern itself is amazing - following the instructions was straight-forward, everything fits together really nicely, the darts are in the right places, everything gets finished nicely. I'm actually impressed with how well I did with the welt pockets and the lining and everything. I'm not very happy with the fit - the shoulders are the right size for me without shoulders pads, but the chest is very clearly too big. The sleeves are the right length but could be a bit snugger, although adding shoulder pads will likely help them fall nicer on my arms. the waist hits are the right point and is approximately the right size, and I like the length of the blazer itself, although I might add less length for my next one.


My modifications for this pattern were adding 2 inches in length to the sleeves (and then removing 1 because the sleeves were too long), adding 2.5 inches to the length of the body and grading out the 2 back pieces at the hips for obvious reasons. I cut a straight size 10 this time around.


I definitely intend to sew this pattern again. Next time I will cut a size 8 in the peplum version, then add 3/4inch to the width of the shoulders and add in shoulder pads. I would also only add 1 inch to the sleeves and 1.5 inches to the bodice. This would mean that I don't need to grade out any at the hips, the chest should fit and my shoulders should fit with shoulder pads in.


Quick confession time: I am not one of those people that care that the inside of a garment looks good. I am much happier to slack on finishing the seams so I can start wearing the garment sooner. That being said, having the blazer fully lined was the best of both worlds: It looks good on the inside, but didn't take extra work. The instructions say to hand sew the lining shut, but I just folded and machine sewed it. I hate hand sewing, and I'm not very good at it.


Details

PatternBlixen Blazer by Wardrobe by Me (tester)
Material: A cobalt blue knit with a bit of stretch from the discount section of Fabricville about 2 years ago, probably for under $5/m. Lining is a jersey for $3/m, and for the first time I bought stretch interfacing
Modifications: I added 2 inches to the sleeves (then removed 1), added 2.5inches to the bodice and graded out at the waist to accommodate my rear.
Learning: I've done welt pockets before, but totally forgot how so re-learned that. Learned how to apply a lining, and most importantly learned that sewing a blazer is not that difficult (most excited about this learning. It's just very time consuming).


Friday, 20 January 2017

Plans for 2017


As people who know me are aware, I'm a bit of an obsessive planner. This is a trait that I find helps me stay focused and accomplish what I want to get done. Once and a while, I even follow the plans I come up with. My sewing life is no different. Here are some patterns that I own and have even printed that I have not gotten around to making yet:











I'm not going to lie, I hate buying patterns without making them right away. I am itching to use each and every one of these, and I have had some of them for a shamefully long time. My goal is to sew at least one of each of these by September. I also have some patterns that I would like to make again, and those are:



Hey June Charleston Dress (yes, yet another one...)


I want to do some extra work to the T-shirt pattern - it doesn't fit me super well right out of the package, but it's a good way to practise altering patterns and testing different amounts of slouch for shirts. I love the pants I made so much that I have been hunting for the perfect fabric to make more, but no such luck yet. I have fabric for one or two more Charleston dresses, but I don't think I'll ever be done making more of them.

Lastly, there are tons of patterns that I keep seeing that I would still like to acquire. While all of them are not going to make it to my downloaded pattern list soon, some of them will definitely get purchased in the next year. They are:




Joggers (Either the Mama bear joggers or hudson pants)

Jeans (thinking the ginger jeans, but open to other suggestions)


Flowy Shorts (Magnolia maybe?)

Not on that list is a new tee pattern if I can't get the WBM Tee to fit me that way that I want, and a knit dress with a fitted bodice and flared skirt (maybe the moneta or the boundless knit dress). Those are on my maybe list, but not strong enough contenders that I am confident I will get them in 2017.

I hope everyone is excited to see pictures of my sewing projects for the new year. I know I'm excited to make them and wear them and learn new skills. I'm definitely really looking forward to making patterns from different designers so that I will figure out which ones work best for me and come together easiest. I am also excited to talk so much about sewing that people's ears start to bleed and they fake cardiac arrest to get away from it. Happy (Belated) New Year!