Friday, April 30, 2010

Got Rivets?

Jean rivets are hard to come by - I've only seen them once in a local store far, far from where we live now. I bought several packages, but still I lived in constant fear of running out. Until now...

Take the need to buy a lot of grommets (for a house project involving canvas, grommets, cord, and a railing, which is too boring to warrant much mention), and my love of buying things in bulk, and you get: Grommet Mart. Happily, this store could also be called "Rivet Mart" since it also sells jean rivets in bulk. These rivets are the real deal. If I want to, I can even have my own logo stamped on them (for a fee...).

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Glittery Stripes

This is BurdaStyle 1-2010-121, a vertically striped shirt which has a "bib" in the front with horizontal stripes. It has a band collar and French cuffs (I think that's what they're called) and I made the hem curved instead of straight, which seemed kind of boring.

After I finished this top I had mixed feelings: elation and puzzlement. Elation because I'm thrilled that, after belaboring (conceptually) over a forward shoulder adjustment, it fits really well. Puzzlement about why I chose this pattern because I'm not sure whether this style suits me. If I saw this shirt in a store, I'd certainly walk right past it. The contrast stripe "bib" seems much more distinctive in real life. And the green/white striped seersucker, which I got from, surprised me by having a silver stripe as well. So I can't help feeling it's a little too glittery for me.
However, it's comfortable and I think I'll wear it anyway. And since it fits, this is a great base pattern for making all sorts of button up shirts.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Assembly Line Style

Since I have a number of baby gifts on my list, I decided to make 4 dress and bloomer sets at the same time. That's really good for efficiency and really bad for interest factor. I kept thinking about what it would be like to make my living in a sewing factory.

Molly participated as a model for the last 3 sets today, albeit not too willingly.

The outfits above and below have reversed colors. It was a challenge to find coordinating fabrics in my stash for the other two outfits.
The above outfit is modeled here.

Here's a close-up of the back.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Pants Adjustments

After I made this pattern in denim for Sara, I decided I would alter this pink corduroy pair for a better fit. Many of her pants dip too low in the back because of her posture, so I made two types of alterations: the prominent seat alteration and the sway back alteration.

Here are some fancy hand-drawn diagrams.

For the prominent seat alteration:
1. Extend the crotch seam at the inside leg.
2. Slash at one or more points from the center back seam to the side seam and spread to add length to the center back seam.
3. If there is excess fabric in the front, remove length from the front crotch seam at the inside leg to match the back alteration. Or remove height by folding horizontally at the front - the opposite of the slash and spread at the center back seam.

For the sway-back adjustment:
1. Remove from the center back seat at waist, tapering to the crotch seam.
2. Add to center back seam, tapering to the side seams. This will compensate for what you remove at the center back and prevent you from getting a v-shape in the back waistband.
3. This isn't in the diagram, but darts can go a long way in helping you get the shape you need. Depending on the size of the alteration needed, it may look better to remove fabric at several points rather than all from the center back.

Daisy Baby

I made this dress and bloomer set for a gift, but Molly was willing to model it for me. I should say, she was willing to model it on her own terms which means perpetual motion.

You know those photographers who specialize in photos of newborns in flower pots and butterfly suits? I'm sure those amazing productions involve a lot of skill and artistry which I know nothing about, but those photos all have one thing in common: the subjects are SLEEPING. I wonder how many photographers prefer one year olds?

The dress is the Alicia dress from Ottobre 3-2009-5 and the bloomers are from Ottobre 3-2009-2.
Hmmm, what's under there?

This is the best shot I could get of the inverted pleats on the front.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

8 Shirt

Somebody in our family turned eight this week. Phew! It won't be long until he's in the double digits.

He's been asking me for this style of shirt for a while, so I thought it'd be a great birthday gift. I don't know if I, personally, would want my age displayed on my shirt front, but it's just the thing for an eight year old.

The striped fabric and the matching blue are from Chez Ami and the white is from I used Ottobre 4-2008-26.
My brand-new serger (my Christmas gift) made its debut on this shirt. Sadly, I was paying so much attention to my serging technique that I made my silliest error yet. I even managed to ignore the giant red flag that the two pieces I was stitching together didn't seem to match very well. I serged a straight line, pulled the fabric out and sat back in confusion and horror - did I just connect the sleeve to the neckhole?

Monday, April 12, 2010

Night Owl

Alex just turned 8 and I don't know how many more times I'll be able to cajole him into posing in his PJs. I made these back in December and they have been worn and washed many times.

The patterns for both top and bottom are from Ottobre 6-2009 - #34 and #35. The top has raglan sleeves. The neckband turned out way narrower than I expected which makes me wonder if Ottobre has changed their neckband pattern pieces or method (I don't know since I didn't read the instructions, oops.) I'll have to go back to making neckband patterns by eyeballing the length and making them the width of my ruler - not very scientific, but I've gotten better results that way.

This is a peaceful view of our backyard (if you can look beyond the back of Alex). You can just barely see that the trees are starting to green out. It's been a long time in coming.

Saturday, April 10, 2010


Last night I finally found my tailor's curve in the chaos of my sewing stuff and was able to finish off this sloper I started in February. My husband gave me an issue of Mrs. Stylebook for my birthday in the fall, and I've been itching to make something from it ever since, but first I needed to make one of the slopers.

If you're unfamiliar, Mrs. Stylebook gives you directions to make two different bodice slopers: a basic, loose-fitting one and one that is meant to be fitted with darts. The magazine is filled with well-illustrated instructions for making patterns from one of the two slopers. Add so much length here, add width here, move a dart there, and, voila! a new garment. Pants and skirt patterns appear to be drafted directly from your measurements. There is also a pull-out sheet of a number of patterns to trace, just as in Burda or Ottobre. Two other sections are a pull-out booklet of illustrated sewing techniques (very cool) and a section on style advice, which is easy to understand just from the pictures (practical and slightly humorous).

The sloper you see above is the loose-fitting version. Once I'd gone through the mental process (which took a good amount of pondering, studying of illustrations and googling) the actual drawing up of the sloper on paper took about 15 minutes. It's essentially a mathematical formula into which you insert your bust and neck-to-waist measurements.

Next I will sew this up in muslin (well, actually in gingham) to test the fit and make the necessary adjustments. I'm anticipating making my standard shoulder adjustments, but I haven't decided yet whether I should adjust the paper a bit first or just do a fabric version to start out.

Then I'll test my new sloper on a simple shirt pattern.

Here's a photo of the magazine cover. The cover photo is not really indicative of the patterns contained in the magazine. This one seems really frumpy, and it actually doubles as a nightgown. No wonder.

Mrs. Stylebook is, I'm guessing by the photos, intended for 20-40 year olds. Two similar magazines I've seen are Female (for teens-30s) and Lady Boutique (meant for middle age and up, although there are a lot of classic styles that would be fine for any age, I'm sure). Oh, there's also a Child Boutique with patterns for younger children (boys and girls). I've seen all of these for sale on Ebay or Etsy.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Purple Suit

Hopefully it won't be too long until I can take pictures like this at the beach, but this will have to do for now. Sara needed a suit for Easter weekend (although we didn't end up having the time to go swimming after all). She adamantly refused to wear this suit (I don't blame her) and it was a bit snug anyway.

This one is from Ottobre 3-2009-38 and has a very, very simple design: front and back pieces, one binding along the top edge, and four straps sewn on to tie at the shoulders. The pattern includes a seahorse applique, but Sara was very sure she wanted a plain, solid-color suit. I added the black for interest, and I'm glad I did.

It's a little challenging to tie those straps with hair hanging in the way, but I like the look of the back. I wonder how well the straps will stay tied while the suit is in use.

Easter Pants

I have three girls and didn't have the inclination (read: time) to make any sort of Easter dresses. But I do desperately need fitting pants, so these were on the short list, whatever the season.

These are a remake of this pair which at first I thought were extremely comfortable, but became more and more uncomfortable as I wore them because they are too tight in the waist and didn't stretch. I made the mistake of thinking they were a little baggy and taking them in slightly, forgetting that when I sat down I might want a little wearing ease.
I've worn these all day (as you can see) and they remain comfortable with just the right amount of wearing ease. (As an aside, I'm standing in front of one of my next sewing projects: hemming curtains. And yes, that's a sock on the floor.)
The fabric is the wrong side of a very light weight twill. I didn't do this so much because I'm a fashion genius, but because as I was laying the fabric out I kept thinking, "I really like this fabric, but I can't tell what it is. It looks like a soft linen." Then I flipped it over to the right side and realized, oh, it's just a boring twill. So I used the side I liked better.

The pattern is Burda Magazine 4-2009-118/119 without cuffs and with back pockets added. I stitched a straight 34, except added 2cm to the crotch length - I'm not sure that's the perfect amount but it made a huge different in fit and comfort-level.

Oh, and one more note. I referred to Sandra Betzina's fly zip tutorial with great success. It's brilliant. Next time, though, I'll change two things:

1. Flip the zip to a right hand opening, instead the official women's left hand opening. All of my RTW pants open to the right (and I only buy women's pants!), so that is much more natural.

2. Figure out a way to add the fly shield. I just did a quick search and see that Debbie Cook's tutorial includes a fly shield.

©2009 21 Wale | by TNB