Thursday, March 31, 2011

Plaid, welts, and a brass zipper

Is it a jacket or a blouse? Once I put the zipper in and tried it on, I wished I had used a heftier fabric because it has a jacket feel to it. I really like having pockets in my shirt!
I was drawn to this pattern because of all the interesting details: the unusual faux waistband (it's just a flap stitched onto the waist); welt pockets with flaps; inverted pleat in the back; waist pleats; a funnel neck; and the front zipper.


The inverted pleat sticks out a bit, probably because of the lighter weight shirting I used. Because of the pleat, the bottom half of the blouse is plenty roomy.


This is my 4th set of welt pockets. My first were pretty funny. The next two pairs were on the boys' trench coats and easily done because of Ottobre's nice pictorial instructions. Burda's welt pocket instructions leave much to be desired.


I finished this blouse, moderately pleased with the details, tried it on and immediately got that familiar suffocating feeling I always get from RTW blouses. (Does that sound melodramatic or what?) What did I do wrong? I thought I had my Burda alterations pretty well figured out. I dug out the pattern pieces and, sure enough, I'd forgotten to alter the sleeves. I altered the shoulders, and even the collar and facings, but not the sleeves. Those pesky shoulder knobs were pulling all the fabric out of whack. Yes, I plan to cut new sleeves with shoulder knob ease.



Sources:

Plaid shirting: I looked through my pictorial fabric swatch file (on the computer) and can't find this fabric. This one slipped through the cracks and is probably from fabric.com or Mill End.

Pattern: Burda 5-2009-112



Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Seersucker and Stripes

Now for a tunic to go with the linen pants I just made. After a few times worn, I still like the pants, so that's a good sign. My first two pairs of khaki colored pants bit the dust (i.e. were donated for some unsuspecting soul to find a the thrift shop), even though I thought I like the fit at first.
The tunic is made from stretch seersucker with white, blue, and green stripes. There's an empire drawstring casing and a convertible collar. The sleeves are an odd length, I think. They have a small pleat in them, but I think the sleeves would look better shorter or with a bigger pleat. That may get changed soon.


Sherry did an excellent tutorial on convertible collars. I didn't rediscover this tutorial until after I muddled my way through Burda's instructions, but my NEXT convertible collar will no doubt be spectacular.


Conclusion? I like the style, but perhaps empire waists aren't for me? Maybe it's just that I'm not fond of ties around my ribcage.


Sources...

Stretch seersucker: Mill End Textiles. 1.5 yards for $2.99/yd = $4.49.

Shirt buttons: Cleaner's Supply. 7 buttons at $0.02/each = $0.14.

Pattern: Burda 8-2008-112

Friday, March 25, 2011

Baseball and Linen

Wearing summery linen pants won't bring spring, I'm afraid. I wimped out and opted for an indoor photo shoot today. Hopefully the blizzard we just got will be the last of it, but the cooler temperatures are good in one way: the slower the snow melt, the less grim the flood outlook will be. Lots of roads are already closed, including the route between me and my folks' house.

My last remaining pair of RTW pants has gotten a hole in the unfortunate front zipper location. How does that happen? I may still try some creative repairs, but it's more fun to make NEW pants. The new pants are an interesting Burda magazine pattern: they have a back waistband, but no waistband in the front. The zip fly goes right to the top and is somehow integrated with a front facing. The waistband instructions were inscrutable, but I thought surely I can figure this one out on my own, right?

The first try was no good. My post-seam-ripper efforts worked but some wrinkles appeared in the stretch fabric, which you can see to the right of the zip. I'm hoping those will, er, come out in the wash.
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I made two errors: I treated the fly/facing combination just like I would a side zip, forgetting the the fly is offset on one side. If the zip is sandwiched in between the front and the facing, it will NOT zip up. The facing must be between the zipper and the front.
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Error two: I forgot about the button (!) and ended the zipper at the top. It looks a little strange, but works for now since the zipper is tight. If it loosens up I'll have to add a snap or hook and eye.


The pants were frustrating because of all the ripping out I had to do, but the final fit is good - after my usual decurving at the side seams. Using a thinner facing fabric (instead of self fabric) would have given the front a much smoother appearance, I think.
I like the look of the back waistband.


Oh - the baseball tee? Another iteration of my basic raglan block. I keep tweaking it with each new round.
Sources
Trousers: Burda 5-2009-101
Made from super stretchy medium weight linen/cotton/lycra blend from Mill End Textiles.
Top:
Self-drafted from raglan sleeve t-shirt block
Heathered pink jersey from Mill End Textiles




Sunday, March 20, 2011

What You Could be Doing When You're Not Sewing

Photo from here.

When you're not sewing, you could be birding!
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Note: The following will appeal particularly to you data nerds out there.
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Check out ebird. It's a data-lover's and a nature-lover's resource all in one place.
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The basic idea is that you watch for and count the birds you see. Then you record the species, quantity, location, time, and other information if you want. Obviously, having a bird guide on hand is useful. I use Sibley's Bird Guide for North America. [I need to buy this, since my library will want it back eventually...]. Happily, the database is global: if you live on earth, you can submit data.
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My inner scientist likes contributing raw data for actual scientists to use in real life.
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I was surprised to spot a great blue heron in the wetland beyond my yard the other night. I think we never notice the variety of wildlife around us because we aren't looking for it.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

A How-To-Do-It in Pictures: Freezer Paper Stenciling

After you've sourced all your materials and have tried it once, you'll discover freezer paper stenciling is neither labor intensive nor very messy. Therefore it is suitable for both the ultra crafty types and the not-so-crafty types who hate glue and paint on their fingers.


Step 1: Gather your materials:
-freezer paper (I found this at my grocery store. The plastic coating is the part that adheres to the fabric. If you're curious, the wax on waxed paper just melts.)
-stencil design
-pen
-craft knife (exacto knife)
-rotary mat
-fabric paint (Look for this in a craft or fabric store. There are many different types and they may not clearly state "fabric paint". Check for a list of suitable applications.)
-paint palette or paper plate
-painting sponge or small paintbrush


Step 2: Draw or trace your design to the paper side of the freezer paper.
I like to use the assortment of little Dover Publications stencil books we have.



Step 3: Cut out the design with your craft knife.


Step 4: Place the stencil on your garment, plastic side down.


Step 5: Press for a few seconds with a dry iron.
The plastic will melt and stick firmly to the fabric.



You can see the stencil has adhered nicely to the fabric. Paint won't be able to seep under the paper.


Step 6: Squeeze some paint onto your palette.


Step 7: Sponge the paint evenly onto the fabric.
Optional: place a sheet of paper under the area you're painting to protect the rest of the garment from any paint that seeps through. I didn't do this with the sweatshirt here, but I would on a thinner fabric.



Step 8: Let dry flat overnight.
Also, wash out your sponge and paint palette (:
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Step 9: Add more coats of paint if necessary, allowing to dry in between coats.
This will depend on the type of paint, color of paint, color of fabric, absorbency of fabric, and possibly your elevation (: Here I did three coats.

Step 10: Carefully peel off paper, pressing with your fingernail to break the seal between painted fabric and painted paper.
Your paint bottle may give you additional instructions for setting the paint (such as pressing) or for washing (such as waiting 72 hours and turning garment inside out).
The sweatshirt you see here has been washed and dried many times and the paint still looks good.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Petits Fleurs

This is my first (completed) Japanese pattern for adults. I was drawn to this particular one because of the interesting yokes and hem bands. I thought it looked less billowy on the magazine model, but billowy is necessarily the nature of a shirt that's pleated at the bottom to fit a hem band.
In the side view, I've pushed the fabric in, when normally it will stand out a bit.
I got to use my current favorite sewing technique: what I call the yoke sandwich, or maybe burrito would be more accurate. It gives a clean finish. However, here I stitched the buttoned edges first, before turning the yokes, so I serged the back yoke/back bodice seam.
How do you do this yoke finish? Karen has done a photo tutorial if you're interested.


Conclusion: I really like the unique details of the shirt, but am a little conscious of its pouf. If I made it again, I might simply take the whole thing in at the sides. OR I might keep the top half the same but leave off all the bottom details and slim the whole thing with a narrow hem.
What do you think? I do appreciate all my readers' opinions!

The pattern is #27 from Pochee Volume 10 (the Petit Fleurs Blouse). All the patterns in this magazine are traceable, but they come in only two sizes. Oddly enough, one of the sizes is my size. What are the odds of that? That said, the garments are not fitted - as you can see - making them more amenable to quick altering.



Don't let the lovely green bushes in my photos deceive you: our backyard looks like this.
But, the kids' snow fort has fallen apart (due to warmer weather) since I took this photo last week and the Canada Geese have just arrived in our wetland area on their journey north.
However, I've seen a few adventurous souls driving their trucks on the (frozen) lake this week. Yikes!









Saturday, March 12, 2011

The Girl in Black and Daylight Savings

These past few months Sara has catapulted out of little girlhood into ...um .... medium girlhood. No more fancy dress-up, fancy birthday cakes, or fancy anything. Please no party, please no decorations on my cake, and please make me black pants. So here are the pants in my favorite pattern: the Neat Beat Pants with the nice flat front yoke and the back elastic. (Top curtesy of Target).

Pattern: Ottobre 6-2009-17.
Stretch cotton sateen: Mill End Textiles. [I'll confess that I bought the bolt. Total: $16 with coupon.]

And it's with great relief that I set our clocks ahead tonight for Daylight Savings Time. I have sooo much time on my hands and have been getting sooo much sleep lately, that it'll be refreshing to lose that surplus hour tonight.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Stylish (?) Times Two


Amber of the Evening Tree and Kristine, the Beangirl were both kind enough to pass along this award. Along with Beangirl, I ponder whether "stylish" is the most fitting descriptor of the blog or the blogger (:


The award stipulates that I entertain you with 7 factoids, which you may not actually want to know. Here goes:

1. One of my favorite foods is asparagus. I eat it nearly every day.


2. One of my favorite movies is "The Princess Bride". When I was in college, my roomate and I could quote large swaths of the dialogue....possibly to the annoyance of our other roomate.


3. I have double jointed thumbs. When in junior high, I would impress people with this, but it hasn't really been useful to me since.


4. With the help of a friend, I spray painted my first car yellow. I bought the car from a family friend and the paint from Wal-Mart. It was sooo boring in pale blue, but with yellow paint it became "The Bananacoche".


5. One early sign of my creativity involving raw materials was when I made an entire manger scene from toilet paper rolls, paint, and glue. I'm not sure why, but my mom has preserved it all these years.


6. Do you know the Myer's-Brigg's personality types? I'm an INTJ, which comprises 1-2% of the population. No wonder all of you are so . . . unusual.


7. I have straight hair. It doesn't curl; it doesn't even bend. Despite a few failed efforts to the contrary, I made it through the 80's without big bangs and the 90's without a perm.
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Choosing 7 people to award is like choosing bridesmaids. You can't include all your friends and you might choose someone who'd rather be left well enough alone. So I'm going to be an award black hole here.
But I would like to highlight one new blog: All the Wyld Things. This gal has been doing some pretty impressive pattern drafting.

Reminiscent of Hospital Gowns?

This is the "it's freezing out here and the sun is glaring off the snow so stop talking and take the photo" look. "But Mom! I cut off the top of your head! I'll take another one."

I made this blouse once before in white, intended for a wardrobe staple. Well, more as an emergency matchable item than as a staple, since I rarely wear plain white - it's too ghostly for me.
I liked the fit of the first version, and I thought I'd wear a print version more often.
I was nearly done stitching this up, had it arranged on my ironing board ready for placket facings when an unpleasant feeling of recognition washed over me. Where have I seen this before? Oh dear, this looks just like those grotesuqe gowns I found myself wearing in the maternity wards! Granted, my shirt doesn't fasten by 2 unhelpful ties in the back nor have equally unhelpful "slits" here and there, but the color and pattern may be a bit too much. What do you think?
Pattern: "The Perfect White Shirt Blouse" (Ottobre 5-2009-4).
Fabric: Can't remember where I got this - probably Mill End Textiles.
Shirt buttons: Cleaner's Supply.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Two Pink

Phew! We just celebrated our 4th birthday in 5 weeks. The latest celebrant was mostly oblivious to the occasion, not attempting to blow out her candles or eat the cake below the frosting part. She also didn't mind getting her birthday outfit a day late.

In the photos she's wondering where Daddy is. "Daddy, go?"
I have a whole month before I need to make one more age shirt, then I'm done for a while.
Big brothers think these age shirts I've been making are great fun and even have ideas for their next shirts (tune in a month from now). We'll see if their interest wanes in the teen years.
Sources:
Rille Raglan Sleeve T-shirt (Ottobre 6-2008-1).
Lelle Leggings (Ottobre 6-2008-2).
Pink interlock: Chez Ami.
Pink/white check jersey: Chez Ami.