Tuesday, February 28, 2012

My Image Dress


It's still crazy birthday month (4 birthdays in a month) and I've been doing birthday sewing. Handmade clothes do make great gifts.

But I decided to squeeze in a dress for myself to try out a new pattern magazine. My Image Magazine offered me a copy of their women's magazine (plus a kids' issue) to review. I thought I'd give it a try since I actually like a lot of the designs.


This dress is on the cover of the spring/summer 2012 issue. The little cap sleeves and the very subtle v-neck really appealed to me. Plus, there are really interesting darts which I thought would look neat in this embroidered cotton with a circle design. Unfortunately, the embroidery hides the darts pretty well!

I muslined the dress (gasp!), my first muslin in years. It was a good idea to test my standard shoulder alterations for a new pattern company, plus I rarely make fitted dresses. My muslin fit perfectly, which was fairly surprising since I rather trepidly downgraded the pattern two sizes.

But my muslin fabric was drapier than this stiffish cotton and I'm getting a little wrinklage in the back view and the side-view hump is the invisible zip curving outward. Any advice about that? The wrinkles resemble pulling, but there seems to be plenty of ease. Maybe I should have used the linen I was considering.







Above you can see the interesting front darts and you can imagine how fun it was to grade them! However, it worked fine and I think they give a great shape to the dress.

Sources:
Embroidered cotton: Mill End Textiles
Cap-sleeve dress: My Image spring/summer 2012 #M1204.



Here's the cover of the spring/summer issue. In another post, I'll give a proper review of the magazine as compared to the other pattern magazines I've used.

What else have I been doing besides sewing? I've been teaching my oldest violin. Here's he's learning the D scale and loving it. He wasn't as eager two years ago when I bought the violin. But the 1/2 size violin is just right for a tiny 11 year old.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Jalie Hoodie

I feel like I've had a slow start to the year, this being only the second garment I've made myself. Sewing for birthdays or "occasions" interrupts my normal wardrobe sewing and makes my brain disorganized.

That being the case, I'm glad to report a success with one of Jalie's most recent patterns. I'd be even happier if I hadn't stained the shirt twice already, but maybe I'll just have to make another one soon.


It's more than a typical hoodie because it has nice shaping and doesn't look like a bulky sweatshirt. The hood is fairly large and comes farther forward than you'd expect because it's built into the v-neckline.

I stitched one size larger than the size indicated by my measurements, and I'm glad I did because of the weight of the fabric (interlock with some stretch). If I used a stable interlock or sweatshirting, I might even go up another size. For a t-shirt weight, I'm sure it'd be fine in my regular size. But, gee, do I really want to trace three sizes?

The tunic has a number of options:
-hood or banded v-neck
-3/4 or short sleeve
-tunic or long tunic length
-with or without pocket
-oh, I almost forgot there's a nursing panel option, which isn't on my radar

I lengthened the sleeves to full length, adding maybe 5 inches. I just used another sleeve pattern to compare. The "estimate" method hasn't always worked for me in the past (:

What you see is the shorter length. The longer version would be really long. I like the length I have now, but might try it shorter, too, particularly for a short sleeve version.

One drawback to using a wimpier-than-sweatshirting fabric is that the kangaroo pocket feels less sturdy and putting my hands in really pulls the shirt down. This fabric wanted to ripple when I stitched the kangaroo pocket in place, so it might be a good idea to interface for certain fabrics.

Final verdict is that I love it - part of the reason is that I like the fabric as well.

Sources:
Jalie 3132
Lilac interlock knit with some give to it: Mill End Textiles

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Age Shirt: Number 6 Edition

We're halfway through birthday season: the time of year when we celebrate four birthdays in four weeks. The three girls were born within three weeks of each other, but thankfully not all in the same year. Great timing, huh?

Grace's shirt announces her new age, in case she forgets. My husband downloaded some groovy 70's fonts a while ago. I think the number 6 is from the font "Shagadelic".

In the photos, you can see some of her new birthday treasures. She specifically requested this "Zhu Zhu Pet", a noisy, moving, brushable dog which I'd never heard of. How do kids know about all these things we don't? At her feet is a Playmobil piano which plays classical music. I have to say she loves her noisy toys more than I do.

The shirt is a pattern I've made many times: Powder Puff Raglan Sleeve T-shirt (Ottobre 6-2008-20).
The leggings are previously made Lily Leggings (Ottobre 6-2007-28).

Grace requested a zoo trip and hot dogs !?!? for her birthday. In case you didn't know already, Wednesday morning is the very best time to visit the zoo or to get 50c hot dogs at IKEA. I guess that's one perk of homeschooling.

Since many of you will never have the chance to visit the Minnesota Zoo, I'll leave with some photos.

A mega beetle.

West African Dwarf Croc.

Flamingos.

Tapir.

Humans.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Romper

The romper (pantsuit, jumpsuit, coverall) may be my favorite type of garment to sew, mainly for its cuteness factor. I really should make one for myself, no?

I made this pattern almost exactly a year ago in velour, but Molly has been doing a lot of that thing they call "growing" and I can tell even these in size 92 won't fit her long. Size 98, here we come. Can you believe how crazy much her hair has grown in a year?

She was super excited to get her new romper (I was surprised she remembered the other one) and the first thing she said was, "Pockets!"

I let her pick the fabric from two choices. Teal with hearts won out over brown with hearts. I'm not surprised. I finally convinced older sister Grace to start wearing her previously-untouched brown clothes by telling her they were "chocolate-colored". Then she wore them non-stop.

I don't do this much, but coverstitching with the fabric upside down gives a nice effect. I did this around the pockets edges and for the sleeve and leg hems. Which means the inside of my hems are two straight lines instead of the usual neat finish. Ah, the sacrifices we make for outward appearances!

Sources:
Sweatshirt fleece with micro hearts: Mill End Textiles
Nylon zipper: Cleaner's Supply
Interfacing: Cleaner's Supply
Jumpin' In Coveralls: Ottobre 6-2010-13

Friday, February 10, 2012

Scrapbooking Software Giveaway Winner


And the winner is...Mom of Fat Dogs (not her real name)! Congratulations! I will email you a code for downloading the software.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Double Take on the Hilda Tunic

First off, my husband surprised me with an "early Valentine's gift": my own domain. (He's very excited about this!). You should automatically be redirected to www.21wale.com instead of the blogspot address. It should all be one nice smooth transition process. Except my sidebar of inspiration (blogs I read) has mysteriously disappeared. If it doesn't magically reappear soon, I'll have to rebuild it.


Now back to the topic of sewing... Grace loved her little sister's outfit so much she wanted the exact same one. Luckily since Chez Ami forces you to buy in increments of 2 yards, I actually had enough yardage to make an identical outfit, this time Grace-sized, for her birthday.

Grace is six now and getting taller and slimming down from her toddler shape. Usually I can't tell what she really looks like under the wacky layers of garments she chooses to wear. I suppose she'll outgrow that soon and decide she wants to wear all black and no dresses, like her older sister.


I made one change to the pattern this time and lined the hood. It's beefier and so much nicer this way. This jersey isn't as substantial as I would have expected and Molly got a hole in the tunic during the first wearing, right in the front bodice. (I ironed a piece of interfacing over the small hole on the inside and left it at that.) The lycra/jersey used in the leggings seems to be really good quality, though.

Sources:
Chez Ami jersey and cotton/lycra jersey.
Hilda Hooded Dress (Ottobre 6-2007-27).
Lily Leggings (Ottobre 6-2007-28).

Sunday, February 5, 2012

The Shirt That Was a Tent

Finally an actual sewing post! I've been sewing birthday gifts and pajamas and some now-lost felt toys, none of which makes a good post.

I didn't take a photo of the tent-structure I had at first, but after chopping off the length and removing four inches at the side seams, I have a normal sized top.

I like all the details which are, of course, what drew me to the pattern: the subtle (read: not huge) sailor collar, the little tab covering the v, and the notched, turn up cuffs in 3/4 length sleeves. I curved the hem while I was chopping off the length.
The shirt is still a little more billowy than I'd usually wear, but if I wanted it slim-fitting I'd really need to overhaul the pattern and change the sleeves and armscyes and possibly add darts. Darts and sailor collar tops don't seem to go together, though. I like it fine enough as is. It's comfortable and will be cool in 3/4 sleeve weather.

I love the names of these Japanese books. The seller translated the book's title as "Easy and Good Looking Clothes".


The photo in the book really appealed to me but, suspecting it would be fairly wide and loose, I added ties in the side seams right away. However, I didn't foresee that pulling the sides back with ties would move the side seam pockets into the back!

I originally planned to use an interlock knit, but decided on linen. Maybe the knit would have done better than the linen as a dress?

The construction was fairly easy except for the collar, of course. The collar and the cuffs are given extra illustrated instructions, which is nice, but I found it fidgety doing the collar their way which was new to me instead of relying on my familiar method. One good thing is that I learned a new technique: the notched turn-up cuff!

And lastly...it was a little risky, but since my shoulder alterations include adding to the shoulder seam at the neck, I had to alter the whole giant collar which distorted the paper pattern a bit. The collar seems to lay just fine, though. However, I'm still getting some drag lines from neck to shoulder and may need to add more to that adjustment.

Verdict: I really like the end result. I feel a little sad about wasting the linen I chopped off, but it'll appear in another garment someday.

Sources:
Easy and Good Looking Clothes by Machiko Kayaki (ISBN 4579113500): Sailor Collar Dress pattern Q
Linen (possibly a blend) from Mill End Textiles

Friday, February 3, 2012

Scrapbooking Software Review and Giveaway



I was surprised a few weeks ago when My Memories Digital Scrapbooking Software offered me a copy of their software PLUS a copy to give away. I was surprised because I don't consider myself very crafty, particularly in the scrapbooking sort of way (all of my pre-digital-camera-acquisition-photos live in shoeboxes and the rest are on my computer). Cutting and gluing don't hold as strong an attraction for me as they do for others and, besides that, I have a hard time cutting up photos.

However, digital scrapbooking is a whole 'nother story. Clicking the mouse can make your hand sore after a while, but it's not messy. And you can easily undo any ill-conceived design choices.

Hmmm....is there such a thing as digital sewing?

I took some time to review the software, creating some pages, trying out features, and figuring out how to export pages, etc. What follows are my own observations, along with samples of pages I made and photos of adorable kids.

1. I was expecting something simple, a little like picasa, but was pleased to see the software is very comprehensive. In fact, there's tons of stuff, which means it uses a lot of memory. My computer was happier to use the software once I shut down the 50 browsers I had open (:


I made a little book for Grace - one page for each year of her life.

2. You can choose to make your pages completely from scratch, choosing elements from the sidebar. Or you can choose a pre-made template.

3. Even if you choose a template, every element on the page is adjustable or removable.

4. It's easy to add photos from your computer. You click on "add photo", which opens up your folders; you select your photo, and it pops up on the page. You drag it over the photo "frame" and it automatically snaps into position. From there you can crop, resize, remove red eye, etc.

5. All the pages in the book you're making appear in miniature at the bottom of the screen and you can click and drag them to change their order.

6. Before you start, you can decide the size you want your pages to be, and a guide is placed on the screen to help you stay inside the parameters.


7. You can print a scrapbook through My Memories' printing service, save everything to a pdf and print on your own printer, or send it to an outside printer to be bound into a book.

8. It was easy to save my pages to a jpeg for my blog to show all of you.


I decided to make a 2011 Family Album. This is from our August vacation.

9. I like that the software is not proprietary: you can import outside content and print using your preferred printing service.

10. You can buy additional templates/designs to add to your software and there are a number of free downloads.

11. My Memories has created a number of tutorials to explain how to use all the different features.

12. Although there quite a few options, it didn't take me too long to get my bearings and create some pages. I think if you're familiar with the standard ways to resize photos, create word art, insert text boxes, that sort of thing, you'll have no trouble using the software.

My 9 year old (the artist in the family) was hanging over my shoulder hoping to try his hand at this new toy. I helped him find the photos on the computer, but he did the rest of the page below without a template.

Yes, he made a scrapbook page featuring....himself.


If you're curious about anything I forgot to mention, feel free to shoot me an email (look in my profile).

And now for the GIVEAWAY.

What you need to do:

1. Visit My Memories and look at the album templates available.

2. Leave a comment telling me the name of one of the templates you like most.

3. Make sure I have a way to contact you.

Friday, February 10, I will do a random drawing.

I'll email the winner a code to download a free copy of My Memories Suite Digital Scrapbooking Software.