Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Pink Overload

There's no particular occasion for me to make the girls matching dresses - and that's probably why I decided to do it now. With a deadline looming, they'd probably have taken me twice as long and I would have enjoyed it half as much. So, 24 darts, 21 french seams and three lined bodices later, we have matching dresses.

I made this dress (Ottobre 2-2002-16) for Grace last year and it's one of my favorites.
Strangely enough, I didn't realize it when I first made it, but the skirt is a full circle divided into 8 gores. I squeezed the three dresses out of 4 yards of this cotton quilting from Hobby Lobby, which meant some of the skirt panels had to be cut on the cross grain. Luckily the pattern allowed for that; if that's affecting the drape of the skirts, I can't really see it.

This one was taken a hundred years ago. No, actually I was playing around with the photo in Picasa when Picasa took the liberty of saving this version and getting rid of my original. Oops.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Draft #1 part 2

Here's version 2 of the t-shirt I drafted earlier this month. I did a forward shoulder alteration to the basic block (sloper) and the fit in the front and shoulders is much better. There are some wrinkles in the bust area - too much fabric? Maybe I can take care of some of that by playing with the shape of the armscye.
In the back there are these diagonal wrinkles from the neckline to the arm hinge (don't you love that sewing term?). I'm thinking I added too much to the back in my alteration or I need to narrow the shoulders a tad. I have this cotton/lycra blend in one more color, so you can look forward to one more iteration.
It's not perfect when I overanalyze it, of course, but I'm really happy that these shirts fit better than any RTW ones I have and I've been wearing them constantly.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Happy PJs

My pajamas pants have been getting threadbare lately and since pj pants must be the easiest garment to make, it'd be a shame not to make some myself. I got 2 yards of this fun quilting cotton at Mill End Textiles thinking I'd have more than plenty, forgetting that quilting is narrower than apparel fabric. I eked these out of 2 yards by using smaller seam allowances.

The pattern is from Ottobre 6-2009-39, which is a kids' issue. Since the pattern goes all the way up to 170 cm height, and since my other measurements fit within the given parameters,
I though I'd give it a try. I cut the pattern for height 164cm. They fit, and are even a little long, but you can see they're not nearly terribly baggy. Next time I make these, I'll add 2 or 3 inches to the height of the waistband since these are sitting right on the hip bone.I definitely plan to make more pairs of these. Besides their obvious use, I often wear these in evening as lounge pants. Or ... since that's usually when I'm sewing, you might call these stitchin' pants.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Matching Mariners in IKEA Curtain Pants

Too bad we don't have matching blue and white striped tops to go with our sailor pants. Someday...

The last time we were at IKEA, I paused in front of the display of curtain panels. You'll hardly be surprised that the sewist in me didn't see curtains; she saw fabric. I was doing a quick calcuation in my head (hmm...that works out to about 3 dollars a yard...) when I heard my husband's voice behind me, "Those would make great pants!"
So here they are. One panel was good for two pairs of pants (one big, one little) so one panel is still waiting in my fabric closet for its turn under the needle.

My pants are an extension of the BurdaStyle Ruby shorts I made recently. If I make them again, I may try to make them less wide-legged.

Sara's pants are simple elastic waisters with flared hems from Ottobre 4-2004-23. I added the decorative buttons on the sides and heart-shaped patch pockets.

No, my pockets aren't heart-shaped.

Sunday, June 20, 2010


Thank you all for your advice on my poufy sleeved blouse. I hadn't thought of gathering the sleeves at the bottom or shortening them to make cap sleeves. On Pattern Review, someone mentioned that it could be I'm simply stepping out of my comfort zone style-wise - and that's certainly true.

Next up is Burda 4-2010-108, a study in asymmetry. I really liked the style lines (i.e. lines of asymmetry) when I saw this in the magazine. If you click on the photo, you can see the bodice pleats a little better.
Here are two normal side views.

Below is how the side view appears if I don't smooth down the bun-in-the-oven-type-bump. I think the laws of physics require that the fabric puffs out below the pleats.
I made this is in a stretch poplin, so it's very comfortable, but I think a drapier fabric would reduce the bumpage. As it is, I'm sure I'll be constantly be smoothing out the front of the dress whenever I wear it.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Big Billowy Burda Blouse

My newest blouse (Burda 7-2009-130) moved my husband to tears. Laughter-induced tears, that is.
I, myself, was fairly surprised that Burda decided to put gigantic gathered sleeves on wide dropped shoulders, which was not at all evident in the pattern photo.
The effect is impressive when the wind catches it just right.

The question I'm posing to the general public is: is it that bad? Should I cut off the sleeves and make the shoulder narrower? Or remove bulk from the sleeves - or both? I really like this fabric - dotted swiss from

Pondering life with poufy sleeves.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Alternate Energy Source?

After a hot, humid day, we have thunderstorms and tornado warnings in the area tonight.

As I was putting the girls to bed, my husband came in, put his hand on my shoulder, and said in a serious voice, "We need to get an emergency power supply in case the power goes out . . . while you're sewing."

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Dragon Head

He looks miserable and he is; plus he's trying not to squint in the bright sun. I made this shirt as a special treat for Peter after an MRI procedure last week. And this photo was taken this morning after he spent the wee hours of the morning in the ER. Crohn's is an ugly disease and we're still in the early stages of learning to manage it. But it's a bright, sunny day after a week of rain and that's cheering!

A stenciled t-shirt is one way to acknowledge the Viking blood coursing through one's veins - and it's more socially acceptable than piracy. Peter chose this dragon head out of a Dover Publications book of Viking stencils. Dover has quite a few neat stencil books.

I used the Jalie men's t-shirt pattern (#2918) which goes from toddler to men's sizes. It's a slimmer/athletic fitting shirt. I actually made hubby a long-sleeved version a few weeks ago, and I like the fit on that, too. I don't know when I'll finagle a picture of that one (:

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Shorts in a Jiffy from the Salvaged Wreck

I put in the last stitches on my pink plaid top one quiet night this week and thought, "Hmm... Everyone's in bed. Maybe I should make something else before I hit the sack." The sewing machines, the iron, and I communed in the still of the night and brought forth these simple shorts - except the waistband. I figure it might scar a child for life to wake up from a deep sleep to find his mom trying to get a measuring tape around his waist.

These are the "Bert" shorts from Ottobre 3-2009-23. They feature 4 patch pockets and a faux fly, plus some topstitching.

The fabric is part of what I salvaged from my previous capri pants disaster. Although I like this shorts pattern, I'm not so sure about the combination of lightweight stretch khaki poplin and royal blue topstitching for boys' shorts. At least they will be very cool for summer.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Welcome Back, Hot Pink

Madras plaid was on sale the month of May at my local fabric shop, so I acquired 2 or 3 different versions. As I was making up this top, it occurred to me to me, "I don't think I have worn hot pink since 8th grade." I have to say, I didn't miss hot pink, but I think I can stomach it again, at least in a plaid.
This is a simple tunic top from Burda 5-2009-115. Actually, it looks simpler than it is. I'm not fond of fussy little facings, which I don't have a lot of experience with. I should have done a doubled yoke here instead. These are true "cap" sleeves, so they don't attach to the entire armscye. The lower part of the armhole is bound.
I think I like the style and I may try it in another fabric.

It turns out that the back zip isn't vital, but I'd rather just stitch it in than regret leaving it out.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


I feel like I make a lot of jammies but never have enough. Here are two nightdresses to add to the mix - Ottobre's Nightingale Nightdress (6-2009-36). The girls were excited to have "pretty dresses" to wear to bed, but Grace has been trying to wear pajama pants with them.

Striking a toothless pose.

The fabrics I used are leftover yardage from my last batch of jammies. Now what do I do with the small scraps I have left? Those little knit pieces are hard to store.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Shorts Ahoy!

Even though I used my new drafting book, Metric Pattern Cutting for Women's Wear , to draft a pants sloper this week, I decided to download these Ruby Shorts from BurdaStyle. I'm glad I did because I love the fit, and I'll be able to use these for pants, too.

Both sides have button plackets and there's a patch pocket on the back. The fabric is a remnant from Mill End Textiles and I think it's cotton ripstop. It has a faint checkered weave and seems very durable. I debated whether I should really use it for boys' pants (because of the durability), but thought it'd be perfect for these shorts. I, unlike the boys, will at least be able to wear them for more than one season.

I've done many buttonholes with my machine's buttonhole stitch (see top two buttons), but I finally abandoned that less than stellar method and adopted my mom's method (see bottom two buttons). She just uses a small zigzag; I think it looks much cleaner and is easier to control.


©2009 21 Wale | by TNB