Saturday, August 28, 2010

Self-Stitched September

Since Spring of 2008 (just over two years ago), it's been my goal to sew my entire wardrobe, and I haven't purchased myself any clothing since then (except socks and a pair of winter gloves). In May, I noticed that Zoe had a nice following of fellow stitchers trying to wear only or at least one self-made item each day for the entire month. Well, for all those who missed out, she's doing it again for September. I've been stitching up basics this summer - far fewer than I intended, of course. It's my goal to wear only self-stitched items for the month of September (except socks and probably underpinnings.)

Today I laid out my wardrobe:
22 tops
6 pairs of pants (trousers)
2 pairs of shorts
1 pair of capri pants
2 dresses
2 skirts
2 pajama shirts
1 pair pajama pants
1 pair of undies
1 fleece jacket

A large variety of tops, including a camisole, t-shirts, and a new cardigan.

The pants including a pair of black yoga pants.

Shorts and capri pants.



The pajamas.

The lone undie.

Fleece Jacket.
I hope to make at least a jacket and a coat, pajamas bottoms and more underwear in September. And then more of everything else (:

Brown Wailers

This is the last of my summer sewing. The weather has changed noticeably the last few days: chilly mornings and hayfever.

These shorts are the Wailers from Ottobre 3-2010-19, but I shortened them from their "capri" length to about the knees. They should be good through next summer, too.

Alex had a very specific color in mind when I told him I was going to make him shorts: brown and definitely not light brown. After much digging through stash, we happily found the perfect fabric. It's a heavier woven . . . not quite burlap, but it makes me think of burlap.

I like the interesting details here, especially the contrast color for the waistband, drawstring, and pocket openings.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

My Guitar Hero

Being a string instrument fanatic [yes, I collect those in addition to fabric, but fabric's a little cheaper], I of course couldn't pass up this guitar shirt pattern I spotted in a recent Ottobre magazine.

Alex went "fabric shopping" (as he says) in my stash and came up with the colors for the shirt and the guitar. I added two inches to the length because I want him to wear this next summer.

The shirt has raglan sleeves and narrow binding at the neck and sleeve hems. I was a little concerned the sleeves would look too gathered (i.e. girly), but I like the way they turned out.

Pattern is "Riff T-shirt" Ottobre 3-2010-18. I upgraded this to Alex's size and I noticed that the guitar applique is, not surprisingly, a lot smaller in proportion to this shirt than it is on the toddler shirt in the magazine.

Trying to Earn My Stripes

Well, this top was a quick, gratifying venture after the week-long pants. I decided to use my basic t-shirt block/sloper, which I drafted from instructions in Metric Pattern Cutting for Womenswear. I changed the neckline to a boatneckish shape and made the sleeves 3/4 length. I was going to put in side vents, but ended up skipping that when I serged down the sides. I wish I had the side vents, though, since this interlock isn't stretchy like the jerseys I used for my first two drafts from this block, and some more ease at the hem would be good so it wouldn't bunch up at the waist.

I turned under and coverstitched the front and back necklines before stitching the shoulder seams, instead of doing a binding. I've never read instructions for that method of construction before, but in this case....there are no instructions!

With a little more ease at the hipline, I think I'll be satisfied with this sloper/block for stable knits. I like the amount of ease and the shoulder fit is good. Funny...I didn't like the fit so much with the slinkier, lycra knit even though I used the same block.

Monday, August 23, 2010

High-Waisted Rubies

Ack! These were a long time in coming. I've made this pattern - Ruby shorts download from burda style - twice before: as navy shorts and as Ikea curtain pants. When I made them as pants, I found they were pretty loose and billowy and I intended to make these slimmer in the legs. Despite making the pattern twice before, I made one silly and crucial mistake: I forgot that seam allowances were already included!

They were so huge, I could have set sail on a windy day. Remove 4 side button plackets; remove 4 inches total from width and try again. After all that seam ripping and placket applying agony, they now fit even better than the first two pairs, since I was able to pin the side seams to fit exactly. Front fly pants are much easier to fit for that reason; on these pants the plackets at the sides are finished first and there is only so much help you can get from adjusting back darts (yes, I tried that...).

One happy side effect of the seam allowance mishap is that after adding an extra seam allowance to both the top and bottom of the waistband, the waistband is much wider (1.5 inches; 3 cm) and I really like it this way.

Next up is a blue and white striped item to match the pants. I'm really hoping this little streak of silly mistakes is over. I'll be happy with smooth and unexciting sailing for a while.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


Your Finnish word of the day is "Retrokukka", which means . . . retro flower! I just looked that up now, but I see how appropriate it is that I used this retro-y orange flower pot print. I got a yard of it a while ago from the clearance table of Mary Jo's Cloth Store in Gastonia, NC.

This crazy dress has quite the details and I was very annoyed with the whole thing until I put it on Molly and saw that it's really cute despite all the mistakes I made.
While wearing the finished dress, Molly sat on my lap (her wish, not mine) while I finished stitching the elastic to the bloomer legs. I pulled the bloomers off the machine, snipped the threads, and put them straight onto Molly. I was very pleased that, at such a tender age, Molly was able to witness with her own little eyes the origin of her clothing!

The details: front and back square necks (on both shell and lining, of course), front and back pintucks (the lining is gathered instead), a hem band attached to the sleeveless lining and peeking out of the shell. Oh, and the miserable button placket. Actually, attaching the lining to the placket was the miserable part. In the end, I finally realized that I had misaligned the square front yoke between the shoulders and that caused a domino effect so the lining didn't fit the placket and neckline. Improvisation was necessary.

Despite my disappointment in the lining, I think the error is not terribly noticeable on the outside.

Bloomer views.

The patterns: Retrokukka dress (Ottobre 1-2010-4) and Cassia shorts (Ottobre 3-2009-2).

Friday, August 13, 2010

Baby Ahoy, part II

Now we have sailor baby set #2, for my other cousin's baby. The recipients of these two outfits are cousins and their grandma (my aunt) must be about to die of happiness with two grandbabies born within a few weeks of each other.

The little top is the Skipper Sailor Shirt (Ottobre 3-2009-13). Like the matching dress, it is small but seems wide. Maybe it won't look wide on small, round baby Lucas. I used a nice crisp cotton sateen for the collar - it was the only white fabric I had on hand besides batiste and happily it's the perfect weight.

And the shorts are the Ahoy Baby Shorts from Ottobre 3-2009-13. They have a mock fly front and a back yoke. Both the top and shorts are made of chambray from I used so little of my yardage with these tiny garments, I have plenty left for whatever I was going to make in the first place.

Now back to my regularly scheduled stitching.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Baby Ahoy!

My regular stitching is interrupted this week due to the arrival of two new relatives. First up, for baby Isabelle, is a sailor dress and bloomers (because all sailors wear bloomers, right?). The blue bandana-print fabric is leftover from my recent blouse.

I love the sailor collar with the trim, although I'm sure it's not a style I'll make too often.

The dress is the Mariner Sailor Dress (Ottobre 3-2009-15) and the bloomers are the Cassia velour shorts (Ottobre 3-2009-2), which I've made a handful of times. Both are size 62, which equates to a size 3 months, but the dress seems very wide and roomy.
Stay tuned for the baby boy version of this outfit!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Bandana Blues

It was nice to have a bright and sunny day today following a week of stomach flu (in the middle of summer?). Four year old Grace somehow escaped, but the rest of us went down one-by-one like dominoes. To celebrate renewed good health, we headed out to visit the arboretum, me sporting my new summer top.

This blouse is a somewhat complicated affair: dolman sleeves, gathered side seams, collar and collar stand, pleated sleeve hems, belt loop and belt, and buttons. The front bodice is also gathered at the shoulders to the yoke. I made no shoulder adjustments to this one; instead I played with the size of the sleeve hem pleats for a better fit. The armhole was mighty low, too, and I had to stitch up the sides an extra inch.

I don't normally do belts and I'm not sure I'll wear the belt regularly, although I do like the look of it. The fabric is pretty crisp and I knew it probably wouldn't gather terribly smoothly at the sides, but the aesthetically-pleasing bandana print image in my brain overcame my sewing sense.
The pattern is Burda 6-2008-105.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Pattern Alteration Resource

A while ago, I did extensive googling to find some online pattern fitting help, and stumbled on Texas A&M University's Extension Service. There are a number of books (Fast Fit is pretty good) and websites (such as vintage sewing) out there dealing with fit but this is by far the best online source I've found. The diagrams show you an example of poor fit, wrinkles and all, and then give you the illustrated paper pattern piece solution.

Here are links to individual articles addressing fitting issues (they are pdfs). Please let me know if a link doesn't work.

Principles of Pattern Alteration

Personal Measurement Chart

Bodice Back Width

Lengthening and Shortening

Even Hip Circumference

Shoulder Slope

Protruding Hip Bone


Back Hip Fullness

Location of Bust Fullness

Special Alterations for Pants (crotch depth, thigh circumference, large pones*)

Prominent Posture Problems

Upper Arm Sleeve Width

Hollow Chest

Sway Back

Shoulder Length

Large Abdomen

Increasing Bodice Front Fullness (FBA)

*I'm assuming "pones" refer to a body part, but the best my dictionary sources can give me is "cornbread" or "the player to the right of the dealer". If you have a problem with your cornbread, please refer to a cookbook.

©2009 21 Wale | by TNB