Friday, November 7, 2014

Windy Days

The hard thing about being able to sew is knowing you can make something and yet being constrained by ... TIME... and needing to weigh the pros and cons of buying vs. making. My boys just keep on growing and although they're almost a year and half apart, they insist being too close in size for hand me downs.

They desperately wanted nice fall coats...I say "desperately" because they sorely want to wear their bulky winter coats for less than six months straight. They keep trying to sneak out of the house wearing just fleeces/sweatshirts. So, I strolled through Old Navy. On one rack of jackets, the left shoulder seam was wonky on every. single. jacket. Target's jackets are no better.

So, I flip through my Ottobre magazines. Ah, so many beautiful boys' coats to choose from. And, as it turns out, my fabric stash also holds plenty of options, hehe.

I make a concession and purchase oldest daughter's fall coat from Children's Place (a disappointment, as it's too short, too thin, and the pockets are FAKE) so I can focus on these jackets.

I've traced hundreds of Ottobre patterns (almost 400 actually), but I always find the patterns with linings confusing, as they do not create separate pattern pieces for the lining, but use dotted lines to indicate where to cut the lining differently, etc. I definitely relied on previous coat and lining experience to figure it out. I ended up cutting the hood lining piece wrong, but it was easily fixed during sewing.

I made the two coats at the same time, choosing a topstiching thread that would work with both to make my life a little easier.

The details are great, if time-consuming. As I was stitching all this up, though, I was thinking I wouldn't mind if Ottobre went beyond patch pockets more often. Patch pockets are easier (except any wonky topstitching shows up pretty well), but on a coat this involved, why not go the whole way and do more professional pockets all around?

Per request, I did add some zippered welt pockets on the inside. So I guess I had my way with the pockets, after all, hehe.

The hems (lining and shell) are topstitched together and not bagged, which is interesting, but actually not a bad idea.

Overall, I'm very pleased with how these turned out. I graded the size up to make the coats slightly too big but, looking at the pictures, I realize they're not too large after all. I hope they still fit in the spring.

Pattern: Windy Days Jacket (Ottobre 1-2013-34)
Lining Fabrics: plaid flannel and plaid shirting
Olive shell fabric: some sort of stretchy brushed velveteen ?
Khaki shell fabric: cotton ripstop

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Bruyère Shirt

Bruyère means "where the heather grows". Despite studying French in college, I had to google that one. A lot of good all that conjugating did me...

I really love shirts, shirtdresses, and variations on the theme. Hence me trying this new Deer & Doe pattern right out of the gate instead of waiting a couple of years. 

Although I've made two other Deer & Doe patterns, I did muslin this one. I'm glad I did. While the drafting seems consistent (unlike my experience with my as-yet-unblogged Colette pattern efforts) and my standard fitting changes worked well, this one was tight in the bust/back. So I made the next size up instead.

Note the sizing runs quite a bit smaller than the other Euro-sized Burda and Ottobre patterns. Trust the measurements on the envelope!

Sizing up affected my alterations somewhat, so I'll tweak them in a future version. Beyond that, I'll cinch in the waist. The arms are also fairly roomy.

Aside from having a tad more ease in the girth than I want (easily fixed), I love this and, ahem, wore it for almost a week straight. It's very comfy with leggings (or jeggings as shown here).

I plan to make this again in a solid (denim?) and whatever other stash fabrics call my name.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Pleated Cardigan

You may have seen this pleated cardigan all over the sewblogisphere. Um, for a while now. Jalie even came out with an updated knit cardigan (last year?) but I still like this one better. The new one could grow on me, I suppose, but this is one pretty classic.

I used a (probable) rayon jersey and with the cozy shawl-like collar and the soft fabric, this might be the most comfortable garment ever.

There are 8 pleats, which are sewn wrong-sides together and pressed to one side. I was surprised my machine didn't mind sewing the pleats on this super thin, stretchy jersey, but the multiple fabric layers surely helped.

The pleats end at the slightly-shaped waist.

I like the length, but think it would work well shortened, as well. Not to mention, it'd be nice to use less than the 2 yards of fabric required by the long length.

 Billowing wind not included.

While I was at it, I whipped up a black version for my mom in another rayon blend jersey. I took a guess and made the same size (sans my shoulder adjustments, so I still had to trace the pattern twice, ha!) but the fit on her seemed really good. Well, you know, it's stretchy jersey, not a tailored shirt.

Friday, September 19, 2014

A Romper and a Unique Sweatshirt

Even though summer has left us in the dust, I still wanted to make this romper for Molly (age 5). I had earmarked some of those last toddler patterns I'd be sad to have skipped, and this was at the top of the list.

I did make it large so she *might* be able to fit it next year.

The fabric is a stash-cured jersey from Chez Ami. The front closes with an invisible zip. It has two patch pockets, and some elastic stitched to the inside of the waist.

I imagine it's comfortable, but she thought it was a little weird and didn't want to wear it at first, despite being excited about the fabric.

The pattern is "Owl Tree Romper" from Ottobre 3-2013-28.

Now this one is more suitable for fall. It is "Tipitii Velour Tunic" from Ottobre 1-2010-30. I made it in a super stretchy sweatshirt fleece that was already pilling, blech. I figured I wouldn't be sad about the fabric if Grace didn't end up loving this unique tunic.

The front bodice is supposed to be gathered to the yoke, but the gathers just stretched as I sewed it. You can see how it should look in the back view. The sleeve caps are also gathered.

The pockets are my favorite part. I also lined the hood.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Swim Shorts, for Swimming and More

Well, summer came and went (whoosh!) and I hardly saw my sewing machine. But I did crank out some swimwear for my weed who keeps sprouting up.

The three suits are identical (saves time!), but they're in different fabrics, so that's something.

This kid spent the summer obsessed with dragonflies. She even started trying to identify some of the species. Let me say, dragonflies are MUCH more difficult to identify than birds are.

But back to the swimwear. I made Jalie's new swimshorts (Jalie 3351) and they are as nice as I expected them to be.

The outside shorts and the inner briefs connect at the waistband. I like the shape and clever construction of the side panels, which create a pocket. Coverstitching all those pieces got a leeetle picky, especially on the 5 pairs I made, but the finish is very nice in the end.

I paired the shorts with Jalie's tankini top pattern (Jalie 3023). Unlike her sisters, this kid had NOOO desire to wear the swim skirt that comes in that pattern, so I'm very pleased to have this new swim short option. For a couple of years, I had been creating my own swim shorts by blending patterns. These are better, hehe.

Above you get a better view of the waistband. The inner waistband is cut smaller than the outer band, causing the seam to stay inside out of sight. Narrow (3/8" ?) elastic is stitched to the upper edge. It holds the shorts up just fine, and yet is comfortable and unbulky.

I made myself two pairs. I didn't photograph the shiny black swimwear lycra pair. Ewww. Much too shiny. They're my swimming pair and I haven't used them yet.

However this matte navy blue pair has seen constant use: I've worn them running, canoeing, hiking, sitting around at the beach, cycling, and doing pilates and yoga (although they're a little floppy for the latter two). Phew! When I make future non-swimming pairs, I think I'll omit the briefs.

I made one fit change for the second pair: I raised the height 2" by adding to the tops of the shorts and side  panel pieces. The lower waist is great for my 10 year old daughter, but the added height for me is much more comfortable in my opinion.

Conclusion: I see many more iterations of this pattern in my future both for swimwear and activewear.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Comino Cap Dress and Top

So, I just beefed up my summer wardrobe: 5 new garments all from the same pattern! This is the Comino Cap Top and Dress from Kitschy Coo. 

I had a lot of fun with the fabric much fun that my girls were getting jealous that I was the one getting all the cool fabrics I had just ordered from Girl Charlee. Too bad, bwahaha!

Well, as you can see, the main feature is the sweetheart style bodice - although I did do a single fabric version as well (see below).

I like the not-quite-sleeveless sleeves. And best of all, probably, is the overall fit: slim, but not quite fitted with an ideal waist-seam placement, which gives the skirt a nice skimming silhouette.

It may look daunting, but the sweetheart curves were really easy to sew. I pinned and serged all the way across. Topstitching helps neaten the seam, too.

The maxi skirt variation doesn't come with the pattern (maybe there will be instructions for it online at some point?) but I just, you know, made it longer and slimmer.

Considering how often I've reached for these garments in the just the first half of summer, I will probably make a few more single fabric versions.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Puffed Sleeves

Well, I've made myself two pairs of Jalie swim shorts and they're awesome! But, I have no tops to go with they'll feature in a future post.

So for today we have the Olivia Puffed-Sleeve Blouse (Ottobre 6-2007-13) and the Ashlee Capri Pants (3-2009-45).

They weren't joking when they said "puffed sleeves"! The non-drapey fabric doesn't help, but the sleeves were bit too 1980s.

It doesn't look wonderful, but it is improved with the stitched-down pleats I added to the sleeves.

But I really like the collar and yoke.

Sara chose the plaid fabric from my stash. Even if the fabric is less than perfect for clothing, I'm happy to report I really AM making a dent in my quilting fabrics (:

But a shortage of this fabric led to the under-collar design feature.

I've made several pairs of these capri pants now, generally a new pair for Sara every summer. The other girls are the lucky recipients of the well-loved pairs. (And it turns out littlest sister Molly isn't as scrawny as her sisters were at her age, since they don't even come close to zipping up!)

These are in a lightweight stretch poplin (?).

The pockets are cute, even if they are too tight to actually use.

And the (largish) side vents.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Summer Trifectas

Summer came. It was time to do some t-shirt supplementation.

I made some long-sleeve versions of Kitschy Coo's Trifecta top earlier this spring. In my short-sleeve versions, it was fun to try out some of the variations ... v-neckline, pocket, triangle inset (which I faked and serged on top instead).

It turns out, I reach for these first whenever they're clean, beating out my custom-made self-drafted tees (boo).

Next up: Jalie's new swim shorts. They must have been reading my mind (or my posts) since up until now I've been frankenhacking assorted swim shorts with varying degrees of success.


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