Monday, January 30, 2017

Vogue 1257 by Alexander McQueen in Linen

When Tany made her version of out-of-print pattern Vogue 1257, it reminded me that I have been wanting to make this dress since I bought the pattern new!  The copyright on the pattern is 1998.  I am sure I bought it a few years later at JoAnns, and I am glad I did since it can sell for quite a bit now.

The thing that kept me from making this dress years ago was the fabric - the pattern envelope shows it in a slinky silk, which was a little intimidating combined with a bias-cut dress for a new-ish sewer.  When Tany made hers, though, I was determined to make this happen.  When I looked through my fabric stash, I found this linen I bought years and years ago and decided to give it a try.  I am really happy with how the fabric and pattern paired together, even though it is quite different from the original look.

This dress is really quite simple to sew.  It is only a few pieces.  The bias-cut design provides the shape.  I had to cut off some length from the pieces due to my fabric constraints, but I don't think it is very noticeable.  I am happy with the finished length.

The biggest challenge was getting the straps just right.  I steamed and stretched them first, as suggested by Tany.  The design of this dress and the weight of my fabric choice means that one side of this dress is pulled down much more than the other.  It took some trial and error to get each strap just the right length so that the dress looks even in the end.

I am very happy with the final product here.  I would still be happy to make a silk version, especially now that I know how easy this is to sew, if the perfect fabric presents itself.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Furry Backpack using Swoon Sewing Patterns Lucy Backpack

Did you see Mainely Dad's furry backpack?  Back in August, when he posted his inspiration, I was hooked.  I HAD to have a furry backpack, too.  I ordered 1/2 yard of this faux fur from Mood Fabrics.  Everything else was from my stash, which was very gratifying.  Actually, scratch that.  I think I had to buy some of the hardware, but almost everything was from my stash.

I kid you not - I am quite certain this is my most-complimented creation. Turns out everyone loves a furry backpack, or at least is delighted by my nuttiness.  Most days I use it, someone tells me how much they love it or asks where I got it.  

The second outside fabric is a denim from my stash.  I like the casual vibe this gives.  Not like I'd be carrying this to a wedding anyway.

The drawstring closure is my favorite feature.  It looks very professional and was not hard to create.  I used the same pattern as Mainely Dad - Swoon Sewing Patterns' Lucy Backpack with some modifications.  At first, I tried using a backpack pattern in a book I have, but I had to make too many changes.  The $6 for the Swoon pattern was worth it, and there are many more bag designs there that caught my eye.

The green lining is actually made up of several green fabrics in my stash.  I was happy to do a little scrap busting there.  I also really like the zippered pocket on the back.  It is an easy place to stash my phone and keys.  If you look really closely on this last photo, you can see the flap seam allowance didn't totally catch in my seam joining it to the back.  I keep meaning to go back and hand stitch that to secure it, but then I keep forgetting, too.  Someday...

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Clockwork in Brioche by Stephen West knit in Ewe2Yarns

This is Clockwork in Brioche by Stephen West.  This is my first brioche stitch project ever and can I just say - so easy!  If you can knit, purl, knit 2 together, and yarnover, you can knit brioche.  Detailed instructions are included in this pattern.

I think many knitters who have heard of Stephen West's designs associate him with kind of crazy shawls.  True, he has a unique style, but many of his designs are very wearable.  I am waiting for the perfect yarn combo to jump out at me for a Daybreak.

The yarn for this project is almost all from Ewe2yarn on Etsy.  I am a big fan of her nature-inspired hand-dyed yarns.  They are mostly semi-solids, which I like.  The colors I used are Haystack (the golden yellow), Buckwheat (brown), and a bit of leftover Herb Garden from my Featherweight Cardigan is in the border.  The white is leftover alpaca from this hat.  I gave that hat away to a very knit-worthy 4-year-old niece who couldn't stop admiring it last year.  I kind of want to make myself another one now.  It is a great hat!  

As usual, let's close with a shot of how I actually wear this shawl.  I generally knit long skinny shawls that I wear more like scarves.  I am also a big fan of a safety pin or even a decorative pin to keep things in place.  

I am off to do a little serger sewing.  I'm still getting used to my serger and coverstitch machines that I received for Christmas presents.  Can't wait to share a couple of things I have made using them.  I hope everyone is have a relaxing, crafty weekend!

Friday, January 20, 2017

Simplicity 8019 Skirt in Corduroy

Here is a simple little skirt to help ease you into the weekend!  This is Simplicity 8019.  The envelope says it is a "Vintage 70s skirt" but I think it looks totally modern for 2017.  The shape is a bit fuller at the hem than a standard A-line skirt, but it isn't a full-on trumpet skirt shape either.  It is basically my perfect skirt shape.

I made my skirt in a floral corduroy fabric from JoAnn fabrics (it isn't on the website now, though).  I also used this fabric to make an adorable dress for one of my nieces for Christmas.  Unfortunately, I did a truly terrible job of documenting my Christmas sewing this year.  The best I can do is direct you to this image from Instagram (the dress on the left!).

I think this skirt turned out great in the lightweight corduroy.  It would also be nice in a lighter-weight cotton.  I could even see this cut without the button-front and a simple side zip.  Lots of options with this simple, flattering shape.  I see more in my future.

If I remember correctly, I cut the knee-length version (not the shortest) and ended up cutting off a few inches when I tried it on.  I found the buttons in my stash. I think I had bought them years ago, from JoAnn as well, for some other project.

This is a truly versatile skirt.  I have worn it with tights and without, with a simple tee and with different sweaters.  It won't work in the summer, but sometimes I need a new winter skirt, too.

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!