Monday, February 25, 2013

I have become a PATTERN JUNKIE!

On February 5th, I blogged that I owned 11 patterns. And I listed them out.

Oh my goodness. I had 11 patterns. I now have at least 70. And I have a "must have" list of 25 patterns for the upcoming Vogue/Butterick/McCall's sales at Hancock and JoAnn. I need help! :)

In my defense, my pattern collection has expanded beyond the things I want to sew for myself! I have some duplicates of "my" patterns in the smaller size, for my teen daughter. I have a couple of men's patterns I bought. I have pj patterns for the family. I have several kid patterns now for my two nephews and my friend's baby -- My other nieces are nephews are 13-21 so... :) I have a couple of home decor patterns especially since I'm angling to get a craft room when we move this fall.

I. Must. Have. My. Own. Space! Right now, I occupy the front hall closet (with crochet and tutu goodies) and the back corner of the dining room (and the dining room table during sewing time). I hate having to completely clean up and put everything away all the time. I'm crafting out of totes here!

I can't make a pattern list anymore. I can just fondle them in my spare time, as I often do. I admittedly have mostly the big 4 (McCall's, Butterick, Simplicity (including Kwik Sew), and Vogue). I have a couple of other random patterns and the Collette Sorbetto top (FREE download!). I see I NEED to buy the Jalie 2908 pattern and to explore some of the other independents; after I cut my teeth on the $1-$4 patterns.

AND I've discovered S.R. Harris. :swoon:

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Simplicity 2700 Muslin

Today was a sewing day. All sewing with a trip to WalMart for cheap muslin fabric. They have actual muslin priced fairly reasonably...but were very low on the 45" muslin. They had a ton of 36" muslin for $1.97/yd though! This fabric was $1.00/yd. I bought 4 yards of it and another $1/yd fabric and some cheapie fabric for $2.50 that sort of looks like herringbone that will hopefully become a cute pair of shorts. Since it's February. In Minnesota. Shorts are a little ways away. Hopefully I'll have my trouser making in decent working order by then.

Now, on with it. For some reason, I initially traced and cut a 14 average. Uhmm. Ok. That tissue fitting showed that a 14 average was LAUGHABLE! No photos of that atrociousness.

I cut a 18 average here:

They were too tight though the front crotch area was the least sad of the three attempts at fitting. The thigh is way too tight though and my butt is eating the pants!

Then I thought maybe the seams just needed to be let out a bit (the pattern calls for 1 inch seams). But reducing the SA to 5/8" resulted in a catastrophe. No photos of that either.

So I cut the 18 curvy:

Overall, a better fit I think. The thighs are nice and relaxed, but then the crotch is doing something. And it looks like there's extra fabric under my butt.

Off to research!

Finished Item - Simplicity 2907 & My trip to S.R. Harris

Yay for another finished item!

I visited S.R. Harris fabrics in Brooklyn Park yesterday...OMG!!! Talk about wonderousness. The place is 30,000+ sq feet of fabrics. Rows and rows and rows of denim. 10 aisles of quilting cottons. HUNDREDS of bolts of shirting fabric. Knits, knits and more knits. Silks, wools, EVERYTHING!

It's a somewhat dark place with too-narrow aisles. Fabric is piled on top of itself so you need to be strong or bring your 6'2", 200+ pound husband with you :) It's DIY on cutting most yardage; silks have to be cut by employees, anything over 5 yards has to be cut by employees, and then some fabrics are marked as well. Along the same vein, you must return your fabric to the shelves. Not so bad.

Everything is 50% off the marked bolt price. Quilting cottons looked to be about $11.99 across the $6.00 a yard. Denim varied from $8.99 to $16.99 (and up I'm sure) so $4.50 - $8.50/yd. Shirting fabric was about $6.99 - $8.99, so $3 to $4.50 per yard. How awesome! Obviously, there are more expensive fabrics too...just giving a general idea.

Zippers are 50 cent (50 CENT!) for zippers under 14 inches (I believe). $1.00 if over 14 inches. They have barrels and boxes full of zippers. Buttons were 10 cent to 25 cents each, again, barrels and buckets FULL of them. This isn't my cup of tea, the buttons. I'd get aggravated before ever finding anything.

I tried to remain conservative and ended up with:
2 1/4 yards of Rock & Republic denim at $6/yd
1 1/2 yards of white pintucked shirting cotton at $5.00/yd
1 1/2 yards of blue and white gingham at $3.99/yd
2 1/2 yards of printed knit jersey at $4.50/yd
1 yd of purple cotton at $1/yd
1 yd of green/white printed cotton at $1/yd

I used the green and white cotton to make a little blouse for a friend's baby. The purple cotton shall have the same fate! :)

I am REALLY proud of my sleeve work on this little blouse. I think I shall use this same technique always. I used a combination of easing it in the traditional way, with the "cheat" method I saw advertised HERE. I actually did do the ease stitching, eased the sleeve together, matched up dots and notches and the shoulder seam and sewed the sleeve on. Then I turned inside-out and starting with the sleeve, sewed the sleeve seam and the side seam. Worked beautifully and wasn't hair-pulling out at all.

This was after I realized I wasn't getting this tiny little sleeve around my machine arm and not knowing another way to make it work.

I don't know how to do collars. I wing it based on what I think it should look like. I am going to learn the proper way to do a collar, I promise! :) I love making buttonholes - I LOVE IT! It's so cool and fun and the results are always good. I am however, scared to use my machine to sew on buttons. I just hand sew them.

Today, I also made this for my husband:

One of those instant gratification types of projects. 

Next up, muslin'ing for Simplicity 2700!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

HOW Can I Have a Pile of UFO's Already?!

The first thing I cut was Butterick 5610 in a banana yellow broadcloth. Figured it was a nice, firm fabric that I could cut my teeth with. The pattern looked innocuous sleeves, sure, pleats and facings but I charged ahead.

It's almost done. I got hung up on the facings (which I *think* I understand now). And I didn't make my casing for the elastic wide enough. I don't know if I should redo it or use thinner elastic. Right now, there's a piece of elastic trapped in my shirt with safety pins still attached. LOL!

So she got tossed aside for now. (also, I followed the pattern explicitly on sizing and realized there's 5" of ease in the bust. FIVE INCHES. So it's probably going to be too big. But that's okay).

Next up, I cut out Butterick 5566, view C, in a brown woven fabric. I'm having some fit issues :(

Again, I think I cut it too big, and ended up using 1" seam allowances. But, I think the waist is now too small, the hips are puckering and the back, below the butt is just sad. Hopefully the kind folks at PR will give me some tips.

Next I cut NewLook 6150 in black. I used a knit from Hancock's that is somewhat shiny and that I don't love. The sleeve of the black shirt were a tad too tight. And I see NOW that I did a somewhat sucky job on setting it. I think I'm going to remove the sleeve, face the openings, and use this as a black shell. Can't have too many of those.

Next up was NewLook 6150 again - in a grey interlock (HERE). I love, love, love this fabric. I want to make like 10 tees/shirts with this stuff. I only needed to hem the sleeves and do the facing...and then I realized the seams on the black shirt were coming apart. I'm going to wait until I get my walking foot in the mail (hopefully this week) and now that I have stretch AND ball point needles, see which works best. Then I plan on redoing the seams on both these shirts.

Then I cut Simplicity 2594, view C and intended to use a poly charmeuse. OY VEY! I couldn't cut the stuff! I've done some research and will attempt to use freezer paper to stabilize the fabric. I have to figure it out because I have some other pretty printed charmeuse; 4.5 yards to be exact, and it will get sewn!

The coup de grace to my beginning sewing adventures...Butterick 5678. I need button down shirts. I need shirts that won't gape at the bust without being huge through the waist. I started with some $2 broadcloth - fine shirt muslin'ing material...I cut a 14 in a C cup. I probably should have cut a 16. So it'll be too small for me but there were a few mistakes and I'll be glad to move on to my shirting material after giving this one more try with a muslin.

There are some issues...I wasn't 100% on the collar and realized I sewed the raw edge outside - oops. My princess seams could use some tweaking and I don't like interfacing the cuff as a whole. I'd rather leave the "middle" un-interfaced so topstitching doesn't get wonky. I did okay on sleeve #1 but sleeve #2 is kicking my butt.

I ripped the second sleeve for the third time this morning. I'm hoping to finish it up tonight.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Tips From a Novice

I have scoured the internet since acquiring my machine last month, and I'm sure I've only hit the tip of the iceberg for sewing resources.

As a beginner, I have a long road to travel, obviously :) BUT, I do think that sometimes commiserating with people on your level can be just as helpful from hearing the good stuff from the experts.

Here are my beginner tips:

*Be confident.  Can you do this? OF COURSE! Will you do it perfectly the first time? Probably not. Is that ok? YES!!

*Really, start with "easy" or "learn to sew" type patterns. It isn't just about the garment and the construction of it, it's also about the instructions.

*IMO the patterns are designed to give you a little wiggle room on fabric. So you still may be able to make that garment that calls for 1/4 or 1/2 yard more fabric than you have on hand. (this is assuming you're like me and go gaga over fabric and buy 2-3 yards even though you have NO clue what you're going to use the fabric for!)

*READ the pattern instructions. Read them before you start. You may need to research techniques and it'll be much simpler if you're prepared before you get stuck on something. YouTube is invaluable.

*Fit your tissue paper. It's quick and simple.

*Be amazed by your iron! AMAZED!!!!! The pressing of a seam completely changes the look of the item. Instantly!

*Use like-RTW items to help you! I couldn't understand the construction of the collar and collar stand on a shirt and looked to some button down shirts of my husbands to see how it should go together. Same with pleating on another shirt.

*Never sew anything with sleeves. No. I kid. Find some good resources and get some practice in easing in set-in sleeves.

*Get a scrap fabric and try different options for creating buttonholes (e.g. varying stitch width, lighter tension, etc)

Go forward and conquer your machine!

***UPDATE: I am now up to like 50 patterns. It's an addiction.***

Monday, February 11, 2013

An Eager Yet Novice Sewer

I have checked out from my local library, some of the top sewing references mentioned around the interwebs. I have in my hot little hands:

  • Fit for Real People by Pati Palmer & Marta Alto
  • Sew U Home Stretch by Wendy Mullin
  • Sew What! Skirts by Frencesca DenHartog
  • Making Trousers for Men and Women by David Coffin
  • 200 Sewing Tips, Techniques and Trade Secrets by Lorna Knight
  • Fabric-by-fabric's One Yard Wonders
I am armed with a collection that now consists of 34 patterns, including shirts and blouses, skirts, dresses, shorts, pants, jumpsuits, jackets, blazers, coats, swimwear and a toddler pattern for my sweet little Baby K. Baby K isn't *my* baby, she's the most awesomest baby of a close friend. My "babies" are taller than me and have mustaches and go on dates. Oy vey!

Every pattern I've bought has been a part of Hancock or JoAnn's sales; 5/$5 on Simplicity, $1.99 or 2/$3 Butterick, $1.99 McCall's, $3.99 Vogue...and a couple of New Look patterns from Wal-Mart. 

On my hot list of patterns I want to see come to life like, yesterday:
  • Butterick 5525 and 5678. Both are button down/up(?) shirt patterns, something I am completely lacking in my wardrobe.
  • NewLook 6130. I LOVE the peplum. I was ready to make this my first project but opened it and had a missing pattern sheet :( I am waiting on a replacement copy.
  • Simplicity 2255. This is high up on my list. I want to make version D in a kelly green to pair with a pencil skirt done in navy & white knit jersey. (My daughter loves version A and I went back and got the smaller pattern size so I can make it for her).
  • Vogue 8787. Inspired by Mimi G's version in black. This would be great for datenight!
  • Simplicity 2246. Who doesn't want an awesome shirt dress? RIGHT?!?
  • Simplicity 2562 and 2700. I want amazing fitting slacks and I want them now!
  • Simplicity 1887. I love the shorts. But I'm in Minnesota so those won't be sewn up anytime soon...
  • McCall's 5400. In keeping with the theme of the ever elusive summer. I want all but the ruffled version.
  • Simplicity 2508. More in line with where my mind needs to be :) Although this coat is something I'd probably begin to attempt in late summer/early fall.
In my mind I have a few outfits in mind and if I can find the time (I sewed all day on Saturday - ALL DAY!! And completely abandoned my family. I'm guessing this is not an acceptable norm??

I'm excited to be gaining this lifelong skill. I have also inspired my sister in law to break out her sewing machine that she bought in 2005!!!! Woohoo!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

My First Finished Item! NewLook 6150

I did it!

Well, mostly. Dang it. I haven't done the neckline yet because facings make me batty. I have to relax and take my time through it. For now the thought is stressful. Bleh.

Here it is:

Please, ignore the quintessential bathroom shot :)

I am so pleased with my shirt and can't wait to make more in various colors of knit interlock! :)

Thursday, February 7, 2013

My First Pattern - Butterick 5610

I bought some broadcloth -- yes, it's thinner than I thought -- but there are so many cool colors!!! :) It's a cheery yellow and I plan to make Butterick B5610, version D (the green one) with it! I might need to wear a cami under it but that's okay. It'll be something that I made!!!

I followed the rules and prewashed my fabric - YAY!  I did not press my fabric (it was fairly wrinkle free), nor did I press my pattern sheets. Now, cutting pattern tissue paper is a sad thing. I just wanted it to be over already. Luckily, this version of the pattern has 4 pieces (plus the guide for the elastic), all cut on the fold. There's two facing pieces for the neckline, the front and the back.  I decided I don't like cutting around the pattern so I tested my water soluble marker on a small piece of fabric to see how soluble the ink was. When I saw that it washed out easily and completely, I traced out the entire thing onto the fabric, removed the pattern piece, then cut it out.

Next up, sewing the pleats. Boy. Oh. Boy. The pleats.

This is a case of overthinking. I had my daughter and husband both look at the diagram and the shirt to help me figure it out. When I stopped thinking about it and did what made sense, it worked out fine.

When I switched to sewing the bottom pleats, I accidentally flipped my fabric and had sewn on the wrong side. I had to rip those seams out and redo them. We live and learn, right??

After sewing the pleats, I washed the front piece because the pink marker was making me sad. All of the water soluble marker washed away. I didn't use any soap, I just did a rinse cycle and a quick tumble dry. The pleats are done well, not perfect, but I'm pleased with my progress. I still need to press them so...

Now, about this puckering, I don't know if it's an issue with my stitch width, length, tension, etc. I have to research that a bit, after I press out the pleats and see how bad it is.

Tomorrow, I'll finish it up. Facings need to be cut and sewn, then put it all together, add elastic and then hopefully model my new shirt! :)

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The Patterns I currently Own

So far, I've purchased:




Simplicity Sew Simple:


I've cut Butterick 5566 in a brown woven fabric and have some nice blue striped shirting fabric for Butterick 5526. I also have some pretty printed fabrics that I intend to use for Butterick 5610, NewLook 6130 and 6150 and McCall's 6565. I bought cotton broadcloth to use for shirts, which patterns I'm not sure.

Update: This is a list of 11 patterns. I'm up to 34 as of February 11th! :)

Another Blog for me!

I have three blogs. I have one for my braces journey that is really just about that; no more. I have my personal blog that is about me and my life. And I want this blog to refer back to my projects (sewing mainly) and other things I might try.

A little about me, I am almost 34 years old. I am married with 5 kids. I am a chemist by profession and have always enjoyed creating things. I have two Etsy shops (which are both currently on vacation) where I sell tutus and crochet items. I've begun to do some hand painting on clothing but again with a focus on babies.

I have always, always, ALWAYS wanted to learn to sew. When I was little, my mom used to bring me scrap fabrics and I'd sew outfits for Barbie. I bought a toy Singer a couple of years ago for $30 and it lasted as long as you'd expect a $30 "machine" to last :)

I own a Singer 3321 Talent. I know it isn't top of the line or anything but I think it's sturdy and handy for my introductory level sewing.

I plan to use this blog to be able to reference my favorite patterns, patterns I'd like to try, outcome of sewing, etc on message boards and forums. It'll also be a nice 'record' of my trials and errors - and joys too! :)