21 January 2014

KLM Jacket Update & Pressing

I've been a bit under the weather lately and had no energy to sew.  Somehow, though, I managed to find some motivation to continue working on my KLM jacket.  Actually, I'm almost done.  I need to re-do the notched collar on the right, sew the lining to the bottom and sleeve hems, and topstitch the front.


I have *not* completely pressed everything because, like I said, I need to rework the right side notched collar among other things.  However, I took this picture anyway to show how much pressing the garment as its sewn is well worth the effort and time.  I spend just as much time at the iron as I do at the sewing machine.  I press every seam - not always immediately after I sew it, though.  I like to sew and press in groups.  For example, I will sew the CB and side back seams at once, then go to the iron and press those seams open or to one side.  Then I'll construct the front, press; shoulders, press; sides, press etc.
 

The close-ups show that more work is needed on the right (left-facing).  But look how much nicer the other side is once it's been properly pressed with the facing rolled to the outside.

Why am I talking about this?  I recently saw a garment that, in my opinion, lacked pressing pretty much everywhere.  This garment would hang so much more nicely and look more polished if just a few minutes were spent with an iron.  I am by no means an expert nor do I strive to be the perfect sewer.  If you knew the shortcuts I took and saw the insides of some of my garments (I'm talking to you Burda knit dress), you would certainly agree!  I just know that there are some things we need to do whilst sewing so as to produce something comparable to RTW at the very least - hopefully even better.

What are your thoughts?  Are you a pressaholic too?  

That's all for now.  Hopefully I'll be back to normal speed in a few days.  Until next time, peace!

L

15 January 2014

Knit Layering Tops (complete)

I've had this little slinky knit tee for at least 10 years and could no longer deny the fact the top needed replacing.

Originally I was going to make multiple copies of a tank top pattern that I've made in the past:  Jalie 965.  But the first version ended up fitting very poorly.  It was everything that could possibly be wrong with a tank top and rather than continue to fool with that mess, I just cut apart the old slinky knit tank and made a pattern from that.  I used the neckband and armhole pattern pieces from Jalie 965 since the measurements were pretty close to the RTW top.

left (from top to bottom):  cotton striped knit, lime green, taupe, white, grey, pink cotton knit, red
right (top to bottom):  coral pink rayon, bright blue rayon

Of the 10 tops that I made, 8 were based on the RTW top and two were from Simplicity 1945 - a pattern that I made twice before.  Only 9 of the 10 total tops are wearable.  I had problems attaching the neckband on the tenth top and the neckline stretched horribly out of shape by the third attempt.

Fabric 
I used 11 yards of various lightweight rayon and cotton knits.  I've had this fabric in my stash for almost three years and bought it during one of Fabric.com's huge knit sales.  I was really excited about the fabric until I got it in the mail.  Some of it was off grain, too light in weight and had little recovery since it was made of 100% rayon (no Lycra).  Even though I was disappointed, I didn't return the fabric since I knew it would still fill a void in my closet.

Notions/Machine Setup
I sewed the majority of these tops on my serger.  I fused steam-a-seam to all hems and then coverstitched them in place.

Sizing & Alterations
The only thing I did was add two inches to the hem since I wanted my tops to hang a little big longer. 

Conclusion
Though these aren't quite like my old and faithful slinky tank, I'll certainly wear these under other garments.  They're good little tanks and light enough to not be too bulky - perfect for layering!  

Up next:  I've been working on what I'm calling my KLM Royal Dutch Airlines jacket.
Soooooooo blue.  The color actually isn't this bright.  It's more like blue on the handle of the standard-sized seam ripper.  But still.  Welcome to KLM flight number...

I've made much more progress than what's shown here.  The sleeves are in and the under collar is attached.  I need to cut out the lining, attach the front facing, and attach the upper collar.  Hopefully I'll get to work on that this weekend.

Until next time, peace!

L

06 January 2014

Stashbusting Challenge 2014

The stash is still out of control, but I'm getting better at not adding to it.  I participated in last year's Stashbusting Challenge with great success.  I pledged to use 12 pieces and ended up using double that amount.  I also sewed 8 of 10 pledged patterns.

This year, I am going to up the ante.  I have a lot of nice pieces of fabric and there is no sense in letting it just sit there.  So, here's my pledge for this year:

"I, Lynn of You sew girl!, commit to using at least 30 pieces of stash fabric in 2014. I also commit to using at least 10 patterns from the pattern and/or magazine stash. Stash includes any fabric or patterns on hand prior to the date of this pledge, 6 Jan 2014."

Originally, I had a goal of using 24 pieces of stash, but my latest sewing project has already used up 10 pieces (whaaaaat!) and my goal would already be half met and it's just the beginning of the year.

How about you?  Do you plan to join the Stashbusting Challenge?  If so, what's your goal?

********

I leave you with a picture of my deck.  It's under there...somewhere.  

 
L

03 January 2014

2013 Sewing Year in Review: Part 2 (Hits)

It's that time of year to recount the sewing hits and misses of 2013.  This year, I don't feel as if I sewed as much as in the past.  As detailed in part 1 of the Year in Review, I've had a lot of wadders and made many muslins.  Despite the fails, I have some garments that I absolutely love to wear. 

The Stats

 

Kwik Sew

Simplicity

Jalie

BWOF

McCall’s

Indygo Junction

New Look

Total

top

2

4

0

0

2

0

0

8

topper

0

2

0

0

1

0

0

3

dress

0

1

0

1

0

0

0

2

skirt

0

0

0

1

1

0

1

3

jeans

0

0

2

1

0

0

0

3

jacket

2

0

1

0

0

0

0

3

coat

0

0

0

0

0

1

0

1

Total

4

7

3

3

4

1

1

23

 

Favorites

1.  Indygo Junction 740
From the lining to the pop of sea-foam green piping in between the facing and lining - this coat is by far my favorite.  I worked out the fit and tackled the poorly-drafted collar.  I've gotten so many compliments and I am extremely happy with my coat.

2.  Kwik Sew 3558
I jumped on the peplum bandwagon with this jacket.  I've worn it with so many different outfits and will definitely make it again.

3.  Jalie 2908
This will always be a sewing favorite for me.  Jeans are what I make when I need to restart my sewjo.  To date, I've made 10 pairs and have no intention of stopping.

4.  Simplicity 2365
I really like wearing this top.  It's very comfortable to wear and it fits!  I love the pintucks and bias-bound neckline.  One day collar stands...one day...


2013 Sewing Intention Results
  • Shop more of the stash:  I definitely did this.  Committing to the Stashbusting Challenge was a good motivator.  
  • Make a full-length winter coat:  I didn't do this, but I bought the material for the coat and traced the intended pattern.  Next I need to make pattern adjustments and a muslin or two.
  • SWAP on Stitcher's Guild:  Didn't even come close.  I'm all swap'd out anyway.
  • Make a bra:  Nerp.  Ended up buying three bras since the bra situation was beyond critical.
  • Sew all of my clothes for one year:  This wasn't too hard to accomplish.

Stashbusting Challenge
In January, I made a pledge to use at least 12 pieces of stash fabric and 10 patterns.  I used 24 pieces of stash totaling 46 yards and 8 patterns.  Woo hoo!  I definitely plan to make another pledge for 2014 as I found this very inspiring and I have a lot of fabric.

2014 Sewing Intentions
  • Continue to shop the stash:  The fabric is there...well...everywhere really.
  • Work on the full-length winter coat:  I really want this coat and am excited about making it happen.  I've traced the pattern (BWOF) and need to make the muslin.
  • Make a trench coat:  I have a RTW trench coat, but it's black.  I want one in a bright color or a crazy metallic.
  • Go fabric light:  I am still way down on the fabric-buying scale, but I think I bought more this year than in 2012.  I have to get this back under control!
  • Sew a woven button-front blouse:  This has been a goal for a LONG time.  I'd like to resume work on it again next year.
  • Just sew.
I want to thank everyone who stops by to visit and read my blog.  I am very grateful to be a part of a wonderful and supportive sewing community.  I hope to continue our fellowship by sharing our adventures (both good and not so good) in sewing.

May your new year be filled with happiness, good health, laughter, and lots of sewing.
L

02 January 2014

BWOF 1-2009-106 (knit dress): Complete

And the award for the most hacked-up inside of a knit dress goes to...

Man oh man.  Sewing this dress tested my patience for knits and Burda World of Fashion (BWOF).  Despite the fact that the dress will never be worn inside-out, there is some real 'damn shame' going on on the inside.  I will spare you the images.  But trust me, Nina would not approve.

Fabric & Notions
  • 2 yards of grey poly-rayon-spandex ponte knit
  • scraps of muslin selvedge to stabilize the shoulder seams
  • serger, sewing machine, coverstitch machine, thread
  • 1/2" steam-a-seam for all hems
  • helluva lot of patience
Adding Seam Allowances
I add my seam allowances right on the fabric when I'm ready to cut out the pattern.  I like doing it this way because I can make my pattern adjustments right at the seamlines and add whatever seam allowance I want later on.  Depending on the fabric, I either use a chalk wheel or colored pencils to mark the seams.  For this garment, I used a chalk wheel and a 5/8" seam allowance.  

I didn't add a hem allowance because BWOF patterns are drafted for NBA players.  I actually lopped off two more inches from the bottom and sewed a 1.25" hem.

Sizing & Alterations
Since this is my first BWOF knit pattern (I think), I didn't know with what size to start and because I am totally lazy about flat-pattern measuring, I started with a size 42.  It's strange, really.  I won't take the time to measure the pattern, but I will take the time (and fabric) to make a muslin.  Sooooo...yeah.  The muslin showed me that a 42 fit fine everywhere except the bust.  Surprise surprise.  I made a 1" FBA and left the bust dart in tact.


Yah hear that Rachelle??  I sewed a bust dart in a knit.  I hate darts in knits and try my best to avoid them.  Seriously.  But Rachelle is right.  The darts help to shape the knit nicely around my bust. 

The front and back bodice pieces are divided into two sections.  I performed the FBA on the top section and removed the extra width from the side seam.  This kept the top and bottom sections the same size.

In addition to the FBA, I also made a 1 1/4" swayback adjustment.  If I make this again, I will shorten the front and back bodices by an inch above the bustline.  The back-waist length is too long and it shows when I wear it.  You can see what I'm talking about in the pictures at the end of this post.



The Freakin' Sleeves (i.e., Source of Said Hacking)

Sleeve Cap
I have never had so many problems with knit sleeves.  There is an INSANE amount of ease in the sleeve cap.  Why Burda?  Why?  Is this a thing with BWOF?  Are all of their knit sleeve caps like this?  I checked reviews for this pattern on PR and only two people mentioned the extra ease.  Everyone else's sleeves appear to be set in nicely.  Either this is a massive oversight or the three of us did something wrong.  I'm going with oversight because there is something criminal about this sleeve cap.

I could not sew these sleeves in flat to save the world.  The first time I tried to set the sleeve in the round, there were puckers and folds everywhere.  I retraced the sleeve pattern and didn't add a seam allowance along the cap.  That didn't work either.  The second and third tries to sew in the round were also epic fails.  By the fourth iteration, I was DONE and just started lopping shit off.  I could not be more pleased.


Do you see that?  That's how much I removed from the sleeve cap with no seam allowances.  Unreal!

Cute Ruffles, Crazy Pattern Piece



The sleeves are kind of cute with the little ruffled area.  Sewing this, however, is not cute.  The pattern piece looks like this:


You're supposed to gather between the asterisks (corners), attach the inset at the horizontal seam, then sew the sides.  This is fine until you reach the corners.  As BWOF instructions are famously scant, how to handle this area is not explained very well.  I tried to do it.  Twice.

Then I read Belinda's review on PR.  Rather than attempt to sew the crazy corner, she cut the sleeve apart into four pieces:  (1) inset, (2) lower half, (3) front, and (4) back.

photo credit:  Sew4Fun

This worked perfectly.  Even though my sleeve has seams all the way to the hem, I still have my sanity.



Neckline

I knew when I cut out the facings that this part of the construction would not end well.  I sewed the facing on and immediately ripped it out and threw it away.  You know why.  I don't have to go into detail.  Knit facings are evil.
Since I like Jalie's method of sewing a neckband to V-necks, I use the pattern piece from Jalie 2805 and cut it out for this dress.  The neckline lengths were close to the same, so I didn't have to make any changes to the pattern piece.  Awww...my first frankenpattern.  Baby steps.


Conclusion


I'm very happy with my dress.  I will NEVER wear it un-belted because "shapeless sack" is not a look that goes well with my figure. 

After tracing and cutting out the fabric, this pattern is quite easy and quick to construct.  The pattern includes a cut line that shortens the dress into a tunic or top.  I probably won't make either one of those garments, but I may I might make one more in a sweater knit or black ponte.  

Up next:  2013 Year in Review:  Part 2 (Hits)

L



01 January 2014

BWOF 11-2009-124 (skinny jeans): Complete

I'm still catching up with reviewing two last-minute makes from 2013.  This pair of skinny jeans was NOT supposed to happen.  Nevertheless, I love them!

Back Story
Two or three years ago, I ordered a few pieces of stretch denim from Fabric.com.  One piece was WAY too stretchy (50% across the grain) for my liking.  I don't know why I decided to keep it, but I did.  Rather than use it for another project, I relegated it to the muslin stash.

A few days (weeks...months?) passed and I decided to try make the Burda World of Fashion magazine pattern pictured below.  I had already made a couple of pairs of jeans and thought I'd give this pattern a try.  Y'all know I am the muslin queen, so I decided to use my newly purchased stretchy denim to test out the pattern.

11-2009-125
So here I am just a-tracin' and a-alterin' and a-cuttin' and a-not-paying-attention-to-what-I-was-doin'.  Still new to BWOF magazine patterns and the fact that they do not have seam or hem allowances, I cut out every major piece with nary a seam allowance.  Anywhere.  At.  All.  Of course, I didn't realize this until I started constructing the muslin.  Grrrr...

[insert every swear word known to man]

Frustrated and annoyed with my colossal error, I stashed this heap of shame in a box and hid it in my furnace room.  Out of sight, out of mind.

Fast forward to this past week 
In looking for another muslin, I came across the box of shame and surveyed the pieces.  I decided to proceed with making the muslin and use 1/4" seam allowances.  I figured there was no sense in letting the fabric go to waste.  Even if it doesn't fit, I can learn something about sizing.  Right?


As I put the pieces together, I started to REALLY like the fabric.  I'm not a fan of the stretchiness, but I love weight of the fabric and its deep, dark blue color.  After basting everything together and trying it on, I was pleased to find that the pants were TOO BIG!  Woo!

I wasn't a fan of how the godets looked as I felt they didn't give enough flair.  When I looked at the pattern more carefully, I discovered that there were supposed to be four per leg; I only had two.  D'oh.


Anyway.  I ditched the godets and unpicked every stitch and sewed it 'for real' this time.   I never thought I had the figure for skinny jeans.  I have a full bust, lot of trunk junk, muscular thighs, and I'm only 5 feet tall.  I don't know what possessed me to keep going with this project, but I am glad I did. 

This particular pattern is one of Burda's "Take One, Make Four" patterns.  It uses the same 'block' and includes various extras for a new look.  Without the godets, you are making the basic straight-legged pant.  Here are the other variations (126 and 127, respectively):


Fabric & Notions
  • 2 yards of stretch denim
  • stretch fusible interfacing for the waistband
  • 7" nylon zipper
  • machine, serger, and thread
Fitting & Alterations

I started with a size 44 and removed four inches of length.  That's it.  I didn't do anything else because this was supposed to be a muslin.  I omitted the side seam pockets - these never look good on me.  On the next pair, I will make a 1/2" or 3/4" full seat adjustment on the back and shorten above the knee 1 - 1.5 inches.  I'll add the extra length back below the knee.  I have a bunch of fabric pooling in the mid thigh area and I think it's because this area is too long for my height.


Construction

The front and back princess seams were finished on the serger first, stitched together, and then pressed open.  The front and back crotch seams as well as the side seams were stitched first and then serged together.  I took a seam allowance somewhere between 3/8 and 1/2 inches. 

I had to refer to the pattern markings a few times since the front and back side pieces are similarly shaped.  When I make this again, I will definitely take the time to add enough markings.


Conclusion

The stretch of the fabric TOTALLY saved this project.  I love this pair of jeans.  I can see this paired with so many different tops and jackets.   I can add this to my completed garments of 2013.  Woo woo!  In these pictures, I'm wearing the jeans with another version of Simplicity 2560 - also completed a couple of weeks ago.


Update

I wore the jeans pretty much all day yesterday and found that they "grew" over time.  They were not nearly as close-fitting as in the pictures above.  While I still like them and will wear them often, my original preference of denim with minimal stretch still stands!

Up next:  the review that was supposed to happen days ago.  Hah.  

Happy new year everyone!

L

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