Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Two More for Knits Month

Knits Momth is just about over on the Stashbusting Sewalong. It's been a fun ride!

I churned out a couple more items in my final days:

These shorts are from the June, 2014 issue of Burdastyle. They're shorts #116a, but made at the length of #118. According to Burdastyle, "These jersey shorts with elastic at the waist ... and practical side pockets, are everything that Pattence needs at the shoreline to pair with her bikini." No bikini for me, though. I was aiming for some loose, comfortable shorts to wear while I'm mucking around in the garden.

I made my usual Burdastyle size 38 at the waist, grading to a 36 at the hip.

They certainly are loose and comfy, plus there are nice big pockets to hold a trowel or a packet or two of seeds. Flattering, maybe not so much. I knew they were meant to have plenty of ease, but somehow they looked trimmer on the model in the magazine. Maybe because she's a flat-stomached 20 year old in a bikini?

They were easy to sew up, even though I did initially put both back pieces in upside down. So glad I noticed before I trimmed and finished the seams! And I was glad that I was using a regular straight stitch instead of the stretch stitch. Made that unpicking so much easier.

My pattern review is on SewingPatternReview.com here.

Photo bombing Zoe
I also made up a quick version of Burdastyle 04-2015-103 (Top with Shoulder Straps). I couldn't resist the squared off arm scythe and the pleats at the shoulders.

Can you see the arm scythe?
The pattern is intended for a woven, but I had a piece of this bright chartreuse jersey that looked just big enough, so I gave it a shot.

Burda wanted you to apply bias binding at the neck and arm scythe and then turn it inside and stitch down. Since I was using a knit, I tried to handle it more like the neckband on a tee shirt. It worked out OK in the end, and if I make this again in a knit I'll know how to manage it more gracefully.

Back view
I would like to try the pattern in a silky woven sometime. It's a nice, simple style and it ends up being pretty easy and breezy to wear. Plus, it doesn't use much fabric, so it's a nice little stashbuster. Next time I'd add a bit to the length and I might try fiddling with the princess-esque side seams to give the top a little more shape.

My pattern review is on SewingPatternReview.com here.

This brings my knit stashbusting efforts to 2 Renfrew tees, 1 Santa Monica tee, 1 Gertie knit pencil skirt, 1 Burdastyle tee and one pair of Burdastyle shorts. I was hoping to slide in some undies, but my Beginning Underwear Sewing class at Hart's was cancelled (cue sad trombone). I was looking for some expert tips on applying lingerie elastics, but I'll have to soldier on alone. Luckily, there was a nice little set of instructions on the Colette blog this morning!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

You Guessed It, Another Renfrew

Somehow I just can't quit this pattern.

Neckband is a little hoiked up because of the "hands on hips" pose
I wouldn't even post it except:

1) The last of my 3 yard Tilton booth bundle is now out of stash

Boy is the color different when photographed inside!

 2) Instead of zig-zagging the neckband to keep it in place, I used one of the decorative stitches on my Babylock. It's kind of like the machine equivalent of the feather stitch. It's just as stretchy as a zig-zag, and I think I like it!

Neckband is laying a little nicer in this photo
3) While this is my 10th Renfrew (or so), it is only my second V-neck.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Knocking out the Knits

Gosh, June is more than half over already. Where does the time go? As you probably know, June is Knits Month on the Stashbusting Sewalong. I've recently taken a brief break to do some woven sewing, but now I'm back in the depths of the knit stash and more eager than ever.

This is a Santa Monica Tee, made from the second yard of that three yard bundle I snagged at the Tilton booth in Pullayup.

Tilton knit bundle - designed for color blocking but it appears I'm too timid
Chesneykat, who blogs at Room for Sewing, has just posted a plethora of cap-sleeve versions of this tee. I've made the pattern a couple of times before, but never the cap-sleeve view. Inspired, I hauled out my pattern and my fabric and got to cutting.

In my enthusiasm, I forgot one of the basic tenents of sewing:

Stripes + Garment = Pattern Matching, and
Pattern Matching + Raglan Sleeves = Heartache and Sorrow

I almost tossed in the towel at a couple of points. And, as is often the case when staring failure in the eyes, my technique got pretty darn sloppy. By stretching things a bit more than required for easing, I got the shoulder stripes to kind of match in the front. The back is another story.

But, since I can't see that side anyway, I'm sure the pain will fade with time.

I like the pattern quite a bit. It's well-known that I'm a sucker for a square neck, and this neckline is a bit squared off. The top has a nice shape, and the shoulder darts give a better fit than is sometimes the case with raglan sleeves. They're hell for stripe matching though.

The one thing I'm not wild about is the neckline finish. The pattern has you just turn and stitch. Each time I make this top, I plan to come up with a cleaner solution, and then I get rushed, or tweaked by pattern matching, and I just follow the instructions to be done with it. Next time for sure!

My review of this pattern is at PatternReview.com here.

My other recent F.O. is another version of the knit pencil skirt from Gertie Sews Vintage Casual.

The first time I made this pattern I was fantasizing about a version in a scuba knit print. I have to say, I'm not 100% clear on what the heck a scuba knit is but I'm going to go ahead and believe that this fabric is one. It feels like a ponte, but maybe a bit smoother. It's the most expensive piece of fabric I've ever owned. I got it at Britex, with this skirt in mind.

The good news is, this skirt takes less than a yard. It's like the cashmere scarf of sewing in that it makes a little bit of expensive material go a long way. I kind of fell in love with the print. It includes most of the colors I like to wear.

The elastic at the waist is applied in a very cool way. You zig-zag it to the top of the skirt, turn the band over and then tack it at the side seams. You don't get any of the gathering that you do with some elastic waistbands. I usually wear my tops untucked, but wearing your top tucked in or with a narrow belt are both good options with this waistband.

I'm planning to pop out another tee or two before the end of Knits Month. Possibly a pair of knit shorts too. I was working in the hot sun over the weekend and wished I had some knock-around short pants to wear.

And! On Thursday I'm signed up to take Beginning Underwear Sewing at Hart's. I've made a few practice undies on my own and they came out pretty good. I want to have someone walk me through the whole Fold Over Elastic thing though. I have some in stash, but my previous attempts have been very, very sad.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Burda Challenge 2015, June Edition


Here is my Burda Challenge garment for June!

It's blouse #104 from the June, 2011 issue of Burdastyle magazine. The Man picked up the June, 2015 issue for me (bless his soul), but I didn't find anything therein that I thought I could make with stashed goods. Plus, I had just seen Anniinbc's review of the dress version of this pattern on SewingPatternReview.com, and I'd made a note that I needed to try this pattern STAT.
This is the dress version. The shirt is exactly the same, but omits the pockets and bottom band.
I've been looking for an unstructured blouse pattern that would suit some sheer-ish woven fabric bits in the stash. I wanted something without darts or collar, because I didn't want to have to worry about the structure showing through the fabric in the finished garment. This pattern has a forward shoulder, with a pleat plus a few gathers substituting for darts. There's a button band, but no collar, and sleeve bands that are less complicated than cuffs. Basically, it's very shirt-like but without the fiddley bits of a full on shirt.
Part of my Puyallup haul
The fabric that jumped into my head when I saw Anniinbc's review was the olive green with spots that's second from the right in the shapshot above. It's a gauzey something that I got at the Vogue fabric booth at the Sewing and Stitchery Expo in Puyallup in February.

I'll confess that the reason I have these lengths of sheer fabric lingering about is because they scare me. Fraying, visible seam finishes, slipperiness. Oh, my.

When I actually started cutting this top out, I discovered that my fabric isn't just gauze. It's double-gauze. Holy cow, twice as terrifying! The fabric wasn't too hard to manage while cutting, but the weave is pretty loose. The pieces stretched while being manipulated, almost like a knit. And I admit I manhandled that button band something fierce.

I initially put the collar on upside down, so I had to pick a few seams apart. Not fun with this fabric, let me tell you. My fingers were sweaty, I was so nervous I was going to pick a hole through my neckband. Thank the sewing gods, the button holes went in just fine. I was afraid my machine would stumble and I'd need to pick them out too. I probably would have just turned the seam ripper on my jugluar.

Ertha the Goldfish has decided she approves
I was so sure I was cruising towards a wadder that I got a little slapdash during construction. Once I got the thing done, though, I decided it isn't half bad. Not my finest work, by a long shot, but wearable.

I really do like the pattern. My issues were all due to my ham-handed technique with this fabric. The fit is loose but not too billowy, and I like the clean, no-collar neckline. I think it's a good match for a fabric that wants simple lines, whether because of a demanding print or a finicky nature. One of the reviewers on PatternReview.com mentioned that the garment morphs nicely from top to light jacket - very true.

I shortened the top by about 4 inches. Before that it looked a little too long to be a top and a little too short to be a dress. I still want to totally copy Anniinbc and make the dress version in a blue chambray.

I have a couple yards of this gauze left over. I'm thinking I might make a skirt to match the top. Then I could wear them together and pretend they're a frock. Now that I've had my trial by fire with double-gauze, I'll look for a very simple style and I'll pop for french seams!

My pattern review is on PatternReview.com here.


Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Very Easy Vogue

I've already mentioned that my friend, Martha, has jumped into sewing with both feet. When I was visiting her place a couple of weeks ago, she showed me a super cute dress she's finishing up. It was a Vogue. Very Easy Vogue 9022, to be precise.

Very Easy is how I like to roll, so when she offered to lend me the pattern, I took her up on it.

I really like how these pockets are constructed.
Vogue suggested I use wool flannel, crepe, linen, or ponte knit.My initial plan was to use a slightly beefy jersey that I've had in stash for a while. It is Knits Month for the Stashbusting Sewalong, after all. Then, while pawing through the fabric closet, I found this remnant of a cotton woven that I got years ago at Findings in Carmel. I thought I might have just enough left to squeeze out this dress.

You know how laying out your pattern for cutting can be a bit like working a jigsaw puzzle? Once I start, I have a hard time stopping until I can make the darn thing fit. This pattern acutally uses more fabric than you might think because of the kimono sleeves. Those things stretch all the way across the width of a 45 inch piece of yardage.

So I ended up shortening them to the "lengthen or shorten here" line. Which, on me, ended up looking like the length of View A in the line drawing. I shortened them by 4 inches, but I used a pretty narrow hem.

I normally wear things a little more fitteed than this dress, which I'd call more of a shift than a sheath, but this pattern includes enough shaping in the side seams that it skims your body nicely. Especially when you move.

Vogue suggests you use a hook and eye to close the neck at the back.  I used a vintage button and a thread loop. The neck is roomy enough that I can pull the dress on and off without unbuttoning, but that little slit in the back adds a nice degree of extra breeziness. I like it.

I finished the dress on a sunny afternoon. The Man took these photos and then we headed off to Kelly's Cafe to sip a cappucino in the sun. This style feels like just the thing for a hot summer day. We're going to be heading up to Sutter Creek for the weekend, expecting temperatures in the 90s. I'm planning to don this dress, move slow, sit in the shade, and sip plenty of chilled prosecco.

My pattern review is on PatternReview.com here.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Yes, Another Renfrew

Another length of stashed knit has moved to a higher plane:

Another Renfrew, V-neck edition
The Renfrew top, from Sewaholic, is truly the pattern that keeps on giving. This is probably the 10th Renfrew I've made, but! This is my first Renfrew with a V-neck!

I've made a passel of scoop-neck Renfrews and at least 4 cowl-neck Renfrews. Those cowl-necks. Oh, so cozy. Like wearing a top with a built in scarf.

I don't know why it's taken me so long to get around to the V-neck. Maybe I was worried about how to get the ends of the neckband to meet neatly in the front? Turns out there were no neckband issues at all. Tasia's directions are super clear and everything came together well on my first attempt.

I used one of the bits of knit that I got at the Tilton booth in Puyallup. It's a gray and green stipe, very soft and drapey. I had one yard, which was just enough to squeeze out this tee.

I got these three lengths as a three-yard bundle, with the idea of trying some bold color blocking. Turns out I'm not that bold yet. Maybe next time....

side view
But I was sassy enough to cut the cuffs witth the stripes going a different direction than the body.

Opposing cuffs
So, now I've tried all three of the neckline variations on one of my favorite patterns. And I'm glad I did. I see a few more V-neck versions in my near future.

Maybe one of these days I'll try one of the other two sleeve lengths!