Thursday, January 5, 2017

2016 Biggest Sewing Hits and Misses

Going through last year's sewing projects, I am struck by how many things I made that I LOVE and wear regularly - like 80% of what I made.  I wanted this to be a 10 hits and 10 misses post, but it will be 10 hits and 4 misses.  To be sure, there are things I made that aren't in heavy wardrobe rotation, but there are not many that I just don't wear.

Let's start with the duds in no particular order, shall we?

McCalls 7319  Ugh.  The color.  The super thin fabric.  The shape.  This was a pain to sew, too, but at least the fabric was inexpensive.

Butterick 6021  This actually isn't even as bad as it looks in the photos.  The elastic waist does stay down lower when I wear it, but the straps are too wide, and I certainly don't reach for it with excitement..

McCalls 6886   This is a surprise miss.  I still really like the fabric, but I don't reach for this one.  I think I should have given it short sleeves and made it a little roomier since the fabric doesn't have much stretch.

McCalls 7162  You knew this one was coming, right?  I try to love it and have worn it several times, but I don't feel my best in it.  The fit is off and it's not my most flattering shape anyway.

So here are my 10 absolute favorites, in order:

10.  Yep, I'm starting off by cheating and putting my bags together.  They're just bags but I love 'em...
Market Bag and Kati Cupcake Bag

9.  Vogue 1460 This gray dress isn't setting the world on fire, but it is perfect for wearing to funerals where I do the music.  I wear this often.

8.  Vogue 8379  A great dress for church, but it's too fancy for much else, so I don't get to wear it often.

7.  McCalls 6886  I actually just wore this yesterday.  It is the perfect tee.  Must. Make. More.

6.  McCalls 7351 shirtdress with honorable mench to the bee that made these photos interesting.

5.  McCalls 7351 I am kind of surprised by how much I wear this.  I should definitely make another.

4.  All of my Itch to Stitch Arenal tops.  Yep, totally cheated again by putting 4 in one there.

3.  McCalls 7429  I get compliments from strangers and friends every time I wear this.  It is striking AND comfy.  This must become a dress, and I have the perfect creamy ponte to make it happen!

2.  Vogue 1439 red pants with snazzy zips.  Why oh why have I not sewn more of these pants yet??

And # 1.  Combo Dress Simplicity 1609/McCalls 6886  This dress is everything.  That is all.

My sewing goals this year are to continue making casual separates for my casual lifestyle.  I think I did well with that last year.  More tee shirts and pants for me!

Monday, December 12, 2016

Itch to Stitch Arenal Top in Sweater Knit

Why yes, it is another Arenal Top by Itch to Stitch.  I can't help myself.  I love this pattern, and this version is the ultimate in cosy, snuggly, but not-too-warm perfection.

The fabric is a poly/rayon sweater knit from Emma One Sock that I ordered around Black Friday.  I actually ordered quite a bit of fabrics that day.  A little birdy told me to expect a serger machine and coverstitch machine for my birthday and Christmas, so I obviously needed some nice new knits to use my new machines.  Problem is, I couldn't wait!  I had to sew this top like right that second.  I am trying to be more patient with the others.

Obviously, I used the swing hem and 3/4 sleeves for this version.  I also added cuffs to the sleeves.

Happy sewing!  I promise my next project will be something other than Arenal!

The Itch to Stitch links in this post are affiliate.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Itch to Stitch Arenal Top with lace shoulders

This is my third and final (for now) Arenal top by Itch to Stitch.  You can see my other two Arenal tops here.  It has taken me a long time to post these photos because there is some seriously weird lighting go on, and I planned to take better photos.  It hasn't happened in the past month, though, so I am just going with these.  Seriously, though, how is it both overcast and too sunny?

I used the 3/4 sleeves and standard hem on this version.  The knit fabric is from Pennie Fabrics in Sarasota and is very lightweight and drapey.  I have quite a bit more, and I'm not sure what to make with it.  Suggestions?  I am thinking of checking if I have enough for the dress pattern that I used to make my red tunic.

For this version, I used a little lavender lace I have had in my stash for eons.  I wanted to use the scalloped hem edge, but I didn't want to worry about bra strap show-through, so I just layered it on top of the standard tee.  For the knit fabric, I overlapped the front pattern piece and the front yoke pattern piece (the shoulder contrast) to make one whole front up to the shoulder.  Then, I used the yoke piece to cut my lace.  I just layered the lace on top of the knit fabric and constructed this as a regular tee.  Super simple, and it is a fun extra detail.

 I was a pattern tester for Kennis, and the links to Itch to Stitch pages in this post are affiliate.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Featherweight Cardigan by Knitbot in Ewe2Yarn + No-Pattern Elastic Waist Skirt

Well, I did it again.  I have gotten super behind with my posting.  Good news is there will probably be a flurry of posts for the next two weeks or so.

This is a 2-fer because the skirt is as simple as it gets.

The cardigan is the very popular "Featherweight Cardigan" by Hannah Fettig, also known as Knitbot.  I do mean popular.  Right now, there are 8,490 projects in Ravelry, but that will go up as soon as I post mine!  The beauty of this pattern is its simplicity.  If you look through the projects on Ravelry, you can get so much inspiration to customize it for yourself.  I wanted the basic version, though, since my yarn is fun.  It is hand-dyed by Ewe2Yarn.  The colorway is called Herb Garden.  

The finished sweater actually reminds me of camo, which is fun.

 The only downside to this sweater, for me, is the raglan sleeves.  I must have shlumpy shoulders or something, because raglans always seem to slide down my shoulders.  Super annoying.  I am going to add raglan-sleeve cardigans to my no-no-knit list along with single-ply yarns. (Single-ply rant here.)


The skirt is simple, but it sat half-finished in my sewing room for months.  It is just a rectangle seamed together to form a tube, and then fold-over elastic is stretched and stitched on the top for a waistband.  The reason it sat for months is that I made it too big at first.  I added too much ease at the hips and it was not very flattering.  The idea of unpicking the elastic, making the skirt smaller, and then re-doing the elastic was just too much.  Finally, I decided to just cut off the elastic and put on new.  Much easier.

Here is a look at the waistband.

I used a narrow-hem foot on my sewing machine for the hem.  The finish looks nice, but it was a super slow process getting the edge to go into the foot evenly.  I definitely need more practice with it.  The fabric is a poly charmeuse from Pennie Fabrics in Sarasota.  I love a nice border print, even if it is polyester!

Monday, October 31, 2016

Teen Titans Go Starfire Costume

Happy Halloween, everyone!

I hardly ever dress up for Halloween, and I have only made one other costume for myself, ever (Tinkerbell, which took about 20 minutes of cutting and sewing a knit tube).  Somehow, I got it in my head that I must be Starfire from Teen Titans Go this year.  Unless you have a kid between the ages of 6 and 12, you probably have no clue who that is, but we watch a fair amount of Teen Titans Go here, and I like her sunny, quirky personality (and also her pink hair).

Here she is, for comparison.  I made this to show as little midriff as possible while still being true to Starfire's original costume.  :-)  Haha I sound ridiculous.  

I bought the fabrics at JoAnn.  They are from the Yaya Han line.  They are both polyester pleather-type fabrics.  The purple is quite stretchy while the white is thicker and does not stretch.  The piping I used to mimic the drawn outlines is a dark silvery pleather piping from Mood.  I totally am the one who made it "sold out."  :-)

As for the patterns, they are a mix of Franken-patterning and making it up as I went along.  The skirt was the easiest.  Simplicity 2564 has no darts and a nice yoke, so I was able to color-block it and add a big circle for the buckle.

I used McCalls 7387 for my boot covers (my pattern envelope says MP281, which is odd), adding the white section at the top.  These came together quickly and stay put over shoes.  The only opening is for the heel of the shoe.  They are quite tight and are a bit of a pain to get on, but they fit well once they are on.

The top is the strapless bodice section of Vogue 8766 with the white section just kind of added on.  I used the shoulders of the other bodice views of the same pattern to get me started on the white section.

My arm thingys are basically just tubes with curved edges and stiffened by glueing plastic canvas inside.  The black lines and the big black circle on the bodice are fabric puff paint.

I am so proud of how this came together.  I kind of can't believe how much time I spent on this considering how often I will wear it (maybe 1 or 2 times more ever) but it was a fun challenge, and those Yaya Han fabrics are fun!!

Friday, October 14, 2016

Arenal Top by Itch to Stitch using Pennie Fabrics

Here is something fun!  I tested the new Arenal pattern by Itch to Stitch, and it is a fantastic pattern.

Here is the line drawing to give you a better idea of the style lines.  The contrasting yoke pieces lend themselves to a lot of really cute details, but the best part of the pattern for me is the handkerchief hem option and the V-neckline instructions that really do ensure a great result.

 This version uses two companion fabrics that I purchased at Pennie Fabrics in Sarasota.  They are both mid-weight rayon knits with sheer stripes.  The sleeve and yoke fabrics have narrower stripes than the body fabric, making the combo a little more fun and interesting than using only one fabric.  (My local sewing friend Myra bought some of this fabric, too, and I can't wait to see what she makes with it.)  I was lucky to find a close-colored cami at Target to layer underneath these sheer stripes.

I am so happy with how this top turned out.  It's always nice when you receive compliments on your sewing not just because someone knows you sewed it, but because they just like your top.  :-)

If I make this handkerchief hem version again, I will lengthen it an inch or two to ensure crotch coverage over leggings.  It is ok with thicker jeggings here, and the cami offers more coverage, but a longer tunic version would be nice, too.

This second version is actually the first that I sewed.  After this one, I determined I needed a wide-shoulder adjustment for future iterations.  This fabric is also from Pennie Fabrics.  It is a beefy cotton sweatshirt-type fabric.  The contrast is a terry fleece that I bought a few yards of from Mood Fabrics for a little lounge-wear ensemble that has yet to be created.

At first, I used the handkerchief hem on this top, but the thicker fabric wouldn't drape down nicely, so I changed it to the standard hem.  This is a great cozy sweatshirt.

I am very happy with this pattern.  I have another that I have already made, but I will share it in a separate post since I made a couple of small changes to the design. .

* The Itch to Stitch links are affiliate links.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

McCall's 7319 Knit Dress

I can't decide how I feel about this.  I mean, I know I don't LOVE it.  I can't quite decide if I even like it.  One thing it has going for it is that it is SO comfortable.

The pattern is McCall's 7319.  My fabric is a very lightweight oatmeal-colored knit from JoAnn Fabrics.  I made a double skirt because of the sheer fabric, and that worked out well.  I left the hem and bottom edges of the wraps raw instead of hemming.  This knit fabric doesn't fray or curl at all, and it is so lightweight that the less I do with it, the better.

I do really like that the crossover detail continues on the back of the dress.  I find it really annoying, in both sewing and ready-to wear, when a detail on the front just stops at the side seams with nary a hint on the straight back.  My knit has only a little stretch, and it does make it challenging to get on and off.  Once it is on, though, it is super comfortable.  

I did a lot of tacking down at the neckline to keep everything just so, and now that I have worn it a few times, I think I need to tack at the waist as well.  The crossovers have a tendency to ride up and show the waist seam underneath.

So yeah, I don't know about this one.  I have been wearing it, but it's not one of my favorites.