Saturday, June 25, 2016

Burda Challenge May and June!

Well first, a quick photo of my second Style Arc Cara top. I finished the first one and knew immediately that I needed a white one! Really, almost any top you love can stand to be done up a 2nd time in white! :) I also knew it needed to be eyelet! And then I saw this fabric with a scalloped hem at Hancock and had to have it.



It's pretty narrow so while it calls for just under a yard, I got 2 to be safe. I left as much of the other side that I could in case I can find another use for the scalloped edge.

The only changes were to add side seam length so I could use the scalloped edge - so the proportions are a little different than intended but it's okay to me. And I cut the back elastic to 14" instead of the recommended 15.5" for my size.



I still need to hem the sleeves and it'll be ready to wear! I think it's so cute!

I mentioned in my June planning post being unsure of what to sew for May and decided to go with the slip dress as a nightgown. PERFECT pattern for it!

I used a size 40 neckline/armhole and graded to a 42 as per usual. I used a really soft knit that I got in a Fabric Mart bundle so composition is unknown. I added no hem allowance and removed 1" from the hem and then hemmed it at 1 1/4".

One of the views had braided straps and I thought that was pretty awesome. I cut strips, on the crossgrain that were each 1/2" wide. I safety-pinned the 3 together and braided them, keeping my tension as consistent as possible. I then passed it through the back strap, which is stitched down, and adjusted the length in front. They're just topstitched in place and feel pretty secure.


It is extra comfortable and I can't tell you how many times I've worn this to bed. I did a load of laundry just to have it available to me again! Must find more suitable fabrics in the stash!


The braided straps are my favorite :)

For June Burda (and Fabric Mart!) I sewed up this awesome little A-line number in an animal print stretch cotton twill.

Spoiler Alert: I LOVE IT!!!



Read all about it HERE on the Fabric Mart Blog

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Sew-Crafty-Copycat; Burda 6769 and Style Arc Cara

The Style Arc photo for the Cara top shows it with a denim skirt. My interest in this pattern came after seeing Very Purple Person's Cara top...and she paired it with a denim skirt!

Imitation...flattery...all that :-p

I mentioned wanting to enter the PR contest because 1) Summer=skirts and 2) Fabric Mart. No brainer. 3) I had become obsessed with having a distressed denim skirt.

I scored this pattern for cheaper than usual at the Hancock liquidation sale.



This skirt is very 'traditional denim skirt' in some ways and in other ways, not.
1) Why were there no back pockets included? SUPER weird.
2) I think I normally see denim skirts with a slit, not a vent. And the vent was handled weirdly.
3) The coin pocket is weird and not like 'normal' coin pocket
4) The waistband is shaped like a 'normal' skirt. This was different but good! Straight waistbands don't work for my figure.

Yes, I just used 'weird' in 75% of my list. HA!

BUT I LOVE THE SKIRT!!!! This is an epic post of epicness so settle-in for lots of construction info or scroll ahead for some photos!





I say very often that I am not a teacher. Anyone who knows me well will tell you to save yourself from me teaching you anything. I'm a doer. I just...do. And I am impatient (oh,  you probably knew that!) :) But I love sewing denim (and shirts!) so much detail and nuance even if it's not quick. So I took a lot of photos this time around since it was progressing slowly anyway. Lots of these made it to IG already.

Fabric
I have a few cuts of denim in the stash. Long before I ever sewed a pair of jeans I was buying it all the time. Especially when SR Harris had Rock and Republic denim and Selvedge denim in stock. I chose this for the color; I am a fan of dark denim! What I didn't realize is that this is likely a cotton/poly blend vs being just 100% cotton. Which, my favorite pairs of RTW jeans area a blend; the poly helps them keep their shape I think. And I try to never go above 1% Lycra if it's present. I just hate super stretchy jeans.

Cutting
I cut wrong side, single layer, and trace my pattern piece instead of cutting around it. I take the time to line up the fabric and pattern piece, and measure the distance from grainline to the edge of the table in several places to ensure my piece is straight. Off grain fabric is bad and in denim seems to be WAY worse. I normally use a gel pen (ballpoint doesn't work well), but when I can't find it, I use a sharpie, and cut inside the line since it's so thick.



With the tracing paper I use (Bifeng paper from Blick Art), it's not completely transparent. I crease the grainline before flipping the pattern piece.



I don't know why but I cut the pieces as I need them. When sewing shirts, I don't cut the collar stand and collar until I'm ready to sew them. I don't think denim is as prone to stretching out as shirt collars but still...just my way!

Front
Skirts and pants with pockets drive me batty because I'm ready to GOOOOO and the pockets take time and are fiddly. I had my fronts constructed as of May 22nd and then it stalled due to being very busy.

The coin pocket is a rectangle, no shaping, and it's a rather large one at that. Should I make this again I'll make it smaller/position it slightly different.



Zipper 
The fly is backwards. I mean, I did it 'right' according to the pattern, but I had a niggling thought about it being on the same side as the coin pocket. The Google confirms it's "normally" on the other side.

When inserting fly zippers I always use Wonder Tape to hold it in place and baste.  All the time. It seems like extra work but it ensures great results. So worth it to take a few minutes and baste.



I'm kind of digging the angled fly stitching over the curved. A bit more precise for me. Most of us need a fairly short zipper in jeans so I ensure my fly topstitching will end well below the zipper stop. I didn't have any short jeans zippers and because I am having a major flare up with my hands, wasn't about to go trying to shorten one.  I think a regular zipper in my skirt is fine, it won't take on near as much stress as it may in a pair of jeans.



By May 27th, I had my front piece fully assembled.



Back
On the 28th I assembled the back. I was confused about my pockets. Where is the pocket piece!? And realized the pattern doesn't include them. I used the pocket from my Style Arc Sandra jeans, cut one out and quickly decided, YES, the skirt needs back pockets.



I used a RTW pair of jeans to decide on placement. I think they're a tiny bit too large and too low. But not horrible.


There was some evil afoot with the back skirt vent. Burda will sometimes give a shortcut way to do a technique and while it works, if you're not a rank newbie, it can be more confusing than just doing it the 'right' way. The inside of my vent is sketchy!



The Rest
By the evening of the 28th, I had a waistband-less skirt! And there it sat, until the 7th!

Tuesday night I was able to get the waistband assembled and topstitched, and I did the hem and belt carriers as well. Oh! this is another place where Burda treats it less like a denim skirt IMO. The carriers are intended to be caught between the yoke and waistband on bottom and then topstitched in place on top. I thought that would be unnecessarily bulky and went ahead and attached them with bartacks. I did not use the place markers on the pattern, on back I measured from the side seam about 1 1/4" and from the front pocket opening 1 1/2". I also measured to ensure each carrier was the same length.


I love making belt carriers!!! I always fray check the ends after cutting.


As of Tuesday night I was so close to the finish line! On Thursday I seriously started to think about whether or not I was going to distress it.


It looked so good! I do have some wonky topstitching here and there, but the fit was nice, the color perfect and how on earth would I take this from everyday wear to just casual wear by slicing and dicing on it?!

Distressing
I was hemming and hawing and going back and forth. I walked across the room, grabbed my Ginghers and cut a slit right in front.

There. Done.

I have about 15 different skirt inspiration photos saved on my phone. I wanted it to look good. Not too much distressing but not one tiny little thing. No gaping holes, but not too perfect.




For the larger areas I cut slits and pulled out the blue threads with a tweezer. You could also just cut, wash and dry and let it happen. For the lower cut on front, I cut about 5-6 slits of varying lengths. 1) cutting more slits makes removing the blue threads easier and 2) I would only pull some of the blue threads out, stopping short at the ends, to allow it to be a little mishapen. I cut some of the white threads away leaving more of an opening, but not a hole.

I cut a small hole in the hem, letting that fray in the washer/dryer. I cut several small slits in other places (front pocket, coin pocket, on the skirt front), also allowing those to fray open on their own.

I have a refinishing job I want to do on a table. When I get sandpaper for that, I'll do a little light distressing to remove a little color in a couple places.

Closure
I've now made 3 pair of jeans and this skirt. My machine does automatic buttonholes but denim gives me a hard time. The bulk at the waistband makes it hard to feed. I have to do it backwards. Not too bad with a skirt, but with jeans, it's a headache.


I got a fairly decent keyhole buttonhole, not perfect, but it's okay. I use fraycheck before cutting (with all buttonholes.) I attached a tack button (buy an awl! Seriously!!) but accidentally bent it with my final hit of the hammer. Boooooo! I was able to use a plier and bend it back in place enough to make it functional. Whew.

I am THRILLED with the fit and finish of this skirt! Thrilled!!

Helloooooo. Are you still here?

Cara top. Made mid-construction on the jumpsuit.

So fast. SO easy. So cute.

I always take a size 12 in Style Arc tops. The PDF is 22 pages I think and because of the layout, doesn't need to all be assembled together into one large sheet. Also, with simple patterns like this (front, back, sleeve, bands), I just assemble and cut the paper, I don't trace first.

Front and back are cut on the fold, sleeve is raglan-style so it gets set flat. Front band is interfaced, back band is not.

The front band is fairly straight and I think it would have been nice if it had a little curvature to it. I ended up taking 2 darts because it was standing away from my body. And I was CERTAIN not to stretch it. I cut it and immediately interfaced it.

SA patterns typically have a 10mm seam allowance. If I made this again I may add a little more at the back piece and band. It was difficult to close that up while also stretching it. I guess another option is to leave one side open and create a casing? But casings are evil so...

It wasn't impossible, just a little challenging.

My fabric is a floral cotton(?) from Fabric Mart. The description was just "linen look woven". But I loved the colors and bought 2.5 yards of it. And this pattern takes under a yard. So I can still have another top from it! :) Or a skirt even! It is opaque but lightweight so if I made anything for my lower half I would use some cotton batiste as lining.

Anyway, it handled beautifully. But the markings. OY! They got lost. Mind your markings with respect to the bands and neckline. Don't be like me. That also gave me trouble...trying to find notches in a 3/8" SA in fabric that was a bit ravelly wasn't fun.

I did narrow hems on the sleeves and serged and turned up the bottom hem. That was a lot of circumference and a double-turned hem was not going to happen. Lastly, I have a short torso and wouldn't want it any shorter than it is currently falling. Keep that in mind if you're more average or tall.

I'm so glad I went out of my comfort zone! I think it's super cute and great for casual days. Obviously, an off-the-shoulder top isn't going to be extremely practical, but sometimes, just being cute is enough!

More photos!! :)


I wasn't being artsy. I heard a noise! LOL!!!!




I'm really digging this little corner of the backyard for photos!

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Graduation Celebration: McCall's 7167

This past weekend was a whirlwind of activity and while I was exhausted on Monday, I was grateful to have spent such a fantastic weekend with family and friends!

Before the ceremony:

He was proud of his big sis!

I didn't cry but I sure felt a swell of emotion at her completing 
one phase of life and moving on to the next!

This is my favorite from during the ceremony. It's like she's 5 again :-D



We had family and friends come in from North Carolina, Georgia, Illinois and Arizona

My parents, 2 of my 3 siblings, 1 sister in law, 12 of my 14 nieces and nephews, my great-niece and great-nephew. 
WHEW!  Plus my nephew's girlfriend and 2 of my cousins. 

There was yummy delicious food and CAKE! And because she loves her name, I ordered this custom wall decal from Wordybird Studios on Etsy (nayy, just cute stuff at good prices with fast shipping!)

This is my all-time favorite baby picture of her! She was 4 months old and full of chubby goodness :)

We got rained out and I ended up with DOZENS of people crammed into my house. It was exhausting but so worth it. 75 days until she moves into her dorm room! :-O

On to the outfit!!

I was all super proactive about starting my jumpsuit and still ended up stitching the final parts about an hour before we were supposed to leave. OY!

This was on Memorial Day! I had made so much progress!!!


(Could be because I sewed up the Style Arc Cara top in the middle of working on it. Hahaha! Review and photos to come)

I have standard adjustments that are needed with Big4 patterns and this one was no different. Tissue fitting the bodice confirmed:

3/4" swayback
3/8" tuck on front (always needed for V-neck and wrap/surplice bodices)
3/8" wedge removed from center back (tapering to nothing at the waist)
Lowered bust point 1"
Added 1" to waist

And also:
3/4" Added to back rise*
1/2" removed from front rise*

I got the bodice and lining done, basted in a zipper and woe is me! There was gaping at the armhole.

Especially noticeable on the side where I'm holding my phone


This is something I consistently forget about and thanks Jess (as usual!) for reminding me that since the pattern has sleeves, an adjustment is needed to make it sleeveless. I've seen this discussed plenty on blogs that do a bit more educating. I considered unpicking but seriously, it was sewn and seams were graded and understitched AND I was running out of time. I took a dart at the armhole as close to the side seam as I could. It wasn't perfect but it looked much better than it did before with the gaping. And putting it there meant when my arms were down, it was fairly unnoticeable.

The dart

*I know jumpsuits need a bit more crotch depth but wasn't thinking. IT IS JUST BARELY OKAY! I did my normal crotch adjustments but I should have added MORE to the back and removed NOTHING from the front. OY.

Then, I sewed my two back inseams together. I haven't done that in AGES. And the sad part is, As I was pressing it open (before serging), I was so confused as to how I was going to join the front with the back. Went right over and serged those seams together. Good grief.

L, over at You Sew Girl taught me how to easily remove serger stitches. I can't remember if it was in a blog post or if it was something she mentioned here but...you cut both needle threads every other/every few threads like regular stitches and then you can just pull the looper threads and it all unravels nicely.

Unpicking the regular stitches from the spongey poly crepe almost made me cry though! Plus, I had already trimmed with the serger! I ended up measuring what seam allowance was left (which was more than 3/8" but less than 1/2" (we'll call it 7/16"!) and trimmed the front pieces down to match. Whew.

My next snag came with the zipper. I realized after the fact that the Cara top got sewn because I didn't know what the hell to do with the zipper. I was so confused as to how I would get the invisible zipper in with the crotch seam done up already. And I didn't want to risk that horrible lump at the end. I then realized it was NOT intended to have an invisible zipper, it was a centered zip.

There are very few instances where I like centered zips. Very few. I was going to go exposed but decided this didn't really match that styling and went with a lapped zipper. Once I got that in, I was back in business!

This was 9:30 p.m. the night before!




I sewed the hems by hand and sewed the lining to the bodice by hand as well. Posted on IG one hour before showtime:

Everyone was playing board games and making fun of me working my butt off to finish!

I really love the jumpsuit - even the pleats! Finishing it did not catapult it to a "fave" for June though. I do like it a lot and was very comfortable in it; and the color - LOVE! But the imperfections are frustrating on this one.

I do think the crepe was a great choice for it and besides having to work a little harder at pressing, it was easy to handle and sew. I went with an ivory pongee lining and only after I cut the front pieces out did I have a "duh, you need to line the back too!" moment. So the front, including waistband is lined in ivory and the back in a pale yellow. Hey, it works!



I was going to put it back on today and take some photos but I'm tired! Sorry!! Perhaps the next time I have to take blog photos (ahem, Cara top and Burda skirt??) I'll get some front/side/back basic pics.


Tuesday, May 31, 2016

May Wrap-up and June Plans

Is it that time again? Before you know it we'll be halfway through the year! How crazy is that?!

Perhaps you don't know, but I count yardage as "out" once the project has been cut. Couple of reasons for that:

1) I don't really buy extra yardage. So once a project is cut out it's near impossible for it to become something else.
2) I HATE having large scraps. The exception are nice cottons that can be used for pockets, facings, bias tape, etc.

So I have a couple WIPs here but there's no turning back! :)

This month I sewed 10 3/8 yards:
  • Burda 04/2016 #119 dress in striped ponte - 1.75 yards
  • Simplicity 8138 top in olive crepe georgette - 2.5 yards
  • McCall's 7386 skirt in floral rayon jersey - 2.5 yards (wadder)
  • Burda 6769 skirt in denim - 1 3/8 yards (WIP)
  • McCall's 7167 jumpsuit in peach poly crepe - 2.25 yards (WIP)
At the end of April I had 4 projects planned for May; I got 1 done (S8138) and 1 in progress (M167). I had doubts about the May Burda project and I think I'm going to pass on that for now. Maybe after I see a few more sewn up. The other dress, I didn't get to because I chose to make the maxi skirt over the M7350. Boooo!

Favorite: Right now I'd have to say the striped Burda dress. I am loving how the jumpsuit is looking so far so we'll see how that goes.

FAILS: The maxi skirt just doesn't work for me.

Accomplishments: 1) I made that Simplicity top work 2) I am kicking butt on my denim skirt, I have a feeling this will be love. 3) Even though I like to sew fast, I really took my time with the bodice of the jumpsuit and it looks amazing so far. 

For June, I have a few things in mind (of course!). The jumpsuit is to be worn Thursday so I have to get that done asap. The denim skirt is being entered in the PR contest which ends 6/15 (I believe) so that'll be up next. Otherwise...

I have not been into the off-the-shoulder trend. 1) Narrow shoulders 2) strapless bra (I DO have a good one; I just do not prefer to wear strapless!!!). And then...(You know where this is going, right?) I saw that Very Purple Person made the new Style Arc Cara Top


So uhmm yeah, I was SOLD!  I am going in with mid-range expectation. If I hate it, I won't be sad (OMG DO YOU SEE HOW LITTLE FABRIC IT TAKES?!?), but what if I love it? 

Uh-huh. What if? 

I imagine I want a fabric with a little bit of drape (but not too much) and stable enough that the band won't do anything too weird (challis: you are not it). So I'm thinking voile or lawn...in a print. (I'm secretly giddy! Shhhhh. Don't tell my cautious self).

Also, I am making this Burda dress for my June --Burda and Fabric Mart-- project and as my (work) birthday dress!
06/2016 #105

I really want to hold firm on sewing from each Burda mag this year so from May I'm going to make this pattern, but to be used as a nightgown (I really need a couple more for summer), not a dress:
05/2016 #113
I saw this new In-House pattern and just had to have it. I am going to try to sew this for the Natural Fibers contest on PR:



I think that's plenty. The Burda shift dress has a ton of detail so I am going to give myself some time for that one. And the Sophie dress less so, but it is fully lined.

(thinking out loud...Jumpsuit --> denim skirt --> Cara top --> June Burda --> Sophie dress...and the nightgown will fit in wherever it fits in).

My *BABY* graduates on Thursday, family and friends will be hitting town Thursday/Friday, party is Saturday. It's been a year (whine) since I've seen my mama's face in front of my face! And a year and a half for my dad (WHIIIINE). So I may be on IG a bit but won't be back in blog-land for about a week! Until later!!!! 

Sunday, May 29, 2016

All the things...

WIP! FAIL! Success!!

I decided to enter the Pattern Review skirt contest because 1) I need more summer skirts and 2) it's sponsored by Fabric Mart (what?!). I decided on Burda 6769 in a dark denim.


I haven't had a ton of sewing time the past 2 weeks but got started on this last Sunday. I'd gotten the front pockets done and for some odd reason thought I would finish this on "cat lady Friday" (that's how I now refer to Friday nights as both kids normally work til close!). What on earth was I thinking?! Pfft. All that top-stitching AND my old machine is being a bugger and so I have to switch between regular and top-stitching thread. Boooooo!

Last night I got the side seams sewn. I really wanted to top-stitch them because of how they wrap around to the front but not sure I can sew inside the tube neatly. And THEN I ran out of top-stitching thread. Sheesh. So I have to grab more today and hopefully can get it finished.

I took a TON of photos while this was in progress so be prepared for a hefty blog write up.

Progress shot posted on IG


I need to get started on M7167 if I'm going to have that ready to wear on Thursday. I also need to get more party stuff and get a bunch of boxes out of the dining room (that's the only room that isn't fully unpacked).


One of my May items was this M7386 skirt. I just loved the look of it and thought it would be cute. Well, this is not the first time I've tried a maxi skirt on me and hated the outcome. Maxi dress? Sure. Skirt? Meh. This fabric (from Fashion Fabrics Club) was awful too. Which I'm sure doesn't help.

I cut out a size L and sewed it up.

And then went back and removed about 3" total from the side seams. I didn't finish the waist before taking these pics because I won't wear it. I just don't like it at all.  I may finish it for my mom though. But I'd have to lose like 3-4" from the length and I don't know how that'll affect the shape of it.  We'll see if I get around to it...


Do I have curves? Yes. But I am still quite rectangular in shape. And this OVER emphasizes that. I don't fancy looking like a column. Even when it's pretty flowers ;-)

Win some. Lose some.

Lastly, I sewed up S8138 in an olive crepe georgette and wore it to see Queen Bey! last Monday. Read all about that project over on the Fabric Mart Blog.