Saturday, July 23, 2016

Simplicity 2690 - Version 2

Having lots of projects (pattern and fabric pairings) picked out does not necessarily mean that it's easy to decide what to do next.  So, I figured I would follow my attention and simply pick the one that seemed to stand out from the rest.

I decided to make another top from Simplicity 2690.  I had this one figured out as soon as I finished the pink version.  And of course, I was super excited about this pattern since I fell back in love with my pink version last weekend.
I chose the leftover fabric in this funky geometric, variegated knit.  I think it's an ITY (I still don't know what that means, lol, but I know it's not cotton.)  I have a maxi dress frankenpattern already cut out from the rest of it.  It will be pretty epic.  The variegated colours run from purple at the very top, to dark blue at the waist, and then sort of what you see here from the neck down, but with more of a flow of colour down the skirt until the full border print on the bottom.  I'll get to that one soon, it's pretty awesome.
My original plan in my head was to have the variegated colours flow smoothly from the top down, but I had a limited amount of fabric, and I ended up having to flip the lower back piece upside down to get it to fit.  And I had to add a seam at the centre back.
So, I have the border print on the front, and not on the back, but in squeezing the two pieces as close together as I could, even though they were upside down, I managed to get the print kind of matched!
So, aside from there being a tiny bit of a difference between the blue on the bodice, and the lighter turquoise of the bottom, it's pretty darn good!  And no one will ever notice.
Once I had the main pieces together, of course, I had to try it on.  I was pleased with how comfy it was just hanging loose, without the elastic at the midriff.  But while I was trying it on, I tested out the modesty panel that sits in the V.  This was my original choice.  As you can see, it totally blends in, and the shape of the V disappears.
So I cut one out of white, and it looks much better!
I lowered it a smidge, and I was ready to sew it down.
Note to self, only sew it down at the waistline intersection.  Wait until the elastic is in before pinning the upper portion in place.  The elastic changes the dynamic of the fit.  If you look closely, you can see that the right edge kinda leans to the right.  And in wearing it, it gaped a bit, and I ended up unpicking it and moving it over by about 5/8".  When I stitched it in place, I simply followed the outer line of my coverstitching.
Look how my border print is *almost* centred!  I didn't plan this, and I am lucky that it got so close.  I just cut it out on the fold, and it worked itself out!
Near the beginning of construction, I had to do all my coverstitching, because the neckline has to be done before the waist seam is sewn.  So, I sewed the seams of the skirt, the little bit of the armholes, and the shoulder seams, and then I coverstitched the neckline, the armholes, and the bottom hem.  It's kinda nice to get that out of the way near the beginning, because as soon as the elastic is in the waist and the modesty panel is sewn down, it's finished!  I was very pleased with how my back neckline turned out this time.  Last time I missed the tightest part of the curves, and it was threatening to do it again this time, but I pinned it, and it worked!
Can you tell by the smiles on my face that I am much more thrilled with this project than my last zebra print dress?  I am super thrilled, and feeling flattered.
I have more curves on my front and back than I do on the sides, so I like when patterns show off my curves.
See?  I'm literally a rectangle.  I see no difference between this view and the one above with no elastic.  But the curves show up when I stand sideways.
This time, I added an inch to the bottom of the front bodice, all the way across.  The result is that the side drops down a little toward the back, and I think this is how the pattern was designed anyways.  I like the angle.  And I love the armholes.  I always wear a little cami sports bra over my bra, so I don't have to worry about showing my bra on the sides.
This design is cool and breezy, and I love having lots of air at my armpits.  LOL.  I did an extra little bit of coverstitching across the bottom of the armhole, and I'm very happy with how it turned out.  Kinda finishes it off, and it helps add some stability to the slashed seam.  I'm also pleased as punch with how the orange thread just absolutely fits right in.  I didn't have to change thread colours when I started this, and we all know how nice that is!  
Who else picks projects based on the current thread colours in the sewing machine and serger?  I do!  And I love how on the two far sides of this photo, you can see my orange serger thread on the left, and my orange sewing machine thread on the right.  Tee hee!
I love this shot.  It's a cute pose, but I look like I'm staring at the floor.  All my other photos have the happiest expressions on them, and then there's this one.  LOL.  I love them all.
I am one happy camper!
See my shamrock necklace?  I bought that for myself a couple years ago, because my birthday is on St. Patrick's day, and the shamrock IS MY JAM.
The other night, my friend, Kristi, and I went on an historical walking tour of our downtown, and it was so much fun!  We learned about what old buildings were on what corners, and learned about some of the founding members of the city.  So much fun!  So, after the tour, I asked her to be my photographer.  
I love these shots!  I finally feel like a fancy sewing blogger with real posed photos with lovely outdoor backgrounds.
And I took one more photo the next morning when I unpicked and tightened up the modesty panel by 5/8" on the right side.  Much better!  It's the little things...
And now I am starting to work on the third instalment of this trifecta of Simplicity 2690.  This was my original plan, but I'm super happy with how the sleeveless knit ones turned out, and I'm sure I'll make more.  I can't wait to dig into this one.  It will be fully lined, because it's sheer, except for the sleeves.  So excited to finally get to this one!  I've had it planned out for at least 5 years.
Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Simplicity 2222 - Zebra/Black Romper Dress

 Recently, I have been planning a capsule wardrobe.  Easy separates that are as quick and easy to wear as they are to make.  Things like knit tops, skirts, pants, capris, vests, and cardigans.  While picking out fabrics and patterns, I was inevitably dragged away from my plan by this cute romper dress.
 It is Simplicity 2222, a Suede Says pattern.  
 I made this once before, back in 2011.  I made a Pocahontas dress for a Cowboys and Indians party.  You can read my blog post about it here.
 I dug out the dress only near the end of my sewing to see what I had done for the buttonholes.
 Five years and two sizes later, it's hilarious how the fitting problems are exactly the same!
 My old version was very snug across the bust, and I had to arrange the buttons accordingly.  This time, the exact same thing happened.
 Besides that, though, I feel like this one isn't as comfortable or flattering as the first one, but I think I'll warm up to it over time.  I am two sizes bigger, after all!  And I preferred the bodice when it was hanging freely (before I attached the skirt).  The blouson style probably isn't the best one for me.
 The back view looks pretty good, though, so I think I'll come around to it eventually.
 In my old version, I remember that the neckline, armholes, and racer back fit beautifully and were absolutely comfortable.  Perhaps that is why I'm underwhelmed with this one.
 I had to cinch in the bias binding a lot around the front armholes, and then I sewed it flat the rest of the way around.  And for some reason, the curves of the racer back did not want to behave!  I pressed them as flat as I could, but it's not as nice as I would like.  Thankfully, this is a very busy print, and no one will ever notice.  I think I'm starting to forget about it already.  :)
 The back seems to sit really well as opposed to the front.  From the back, it looks slimming, but from the front, I look very chesty!  Thankfully it looks better from far away.
 Or from a different angle.  So, in wearing this in real life, I should look just fine.
 I see myself wearing this to church.  I can't really envision much else at this point, but once it hangs in my closet for a few weeks, I might just fall in love with it all over again.
 That happened to me this past weekend with this top.  For the first handful of times I wore it, I just wasn't feeling it!  And now, I absolutely love everything about it, and I can't wait to make another one. Funny how that works, hey?
Anyways, back to the story.  I had a blast sewing this thing together.  I used orange thread and orange serger thread, and I decided that is my new favourite way to sew with black.  I'm wearing it inside out so you can see how colourful the guts of this dress are.
 And I unscrunched the waist blousing so you can see the waist seam.  The pattern instructs you to sew it in a 1" seam and put in drawstring, but I knew it was a little short, so I sewed it at 5/8" and inserted 1/2" elastic.  I'm pretty sure I did the exact same thing to my old version.  Speaking of short (!!!), I lengthened the skirt by 7 inches!  I am 5'10", but I normally don't have to add more than 3".  I have a feeling this pattern is designed for junior sizes, as well as the styling, obviously.  
 I think the vertical lines of the facing are more flattering than the horizontal orange ribbon.  Oh well.  That was the highlight of my design, and this time it didn't turn out the way I envisioned it in my head.  I also feel like this bodice needs an FBA (full bust adjustment), and it would hang way better.  
 And judging by the wonky way the racerback and baggy armholes were, I would prefer a facing.  Speaking of facing, I didn't interface this one.  I figured it would drape better.  And it does.  Mission accomplished.  
 I did, however, remember to sew in my label before I topstitched the neck edge.  I very rarely sew my labels into my own clothes, except for jammy pants, cuz you need to know where the back is!  But I'm glad I did this time.  It gives me a sense of pride and accomplishment.
 Here's a couple more shots of the "inner guts".  
 I feel like I haphazardly picked out colours for this dress, and the result might just be a little "Becky home-ecky".  But I love orange thread!  So there!
It don't look too shabby on the hanger, either!
Overall, I'm a little "meh" about this dress, but like I said, I will warm up to it.  Now, I am ready to do a quick knit project.  I still haven't decided what yet, but I have quite an assortment of pattern and fabric pairings all over the bed.  One of them will jump out at me.

Thanks for reading!

Friday, May 27, 2016

Sewing Updates

Hi!  As an intro to this post on my sewing goings on, I thought I'd throw in this one of me a few days ago.  I was having a good hair day.  I thought it would also make it a bit more personal, as I know some of my new quilting friends are reading my sewing blog for the first time.  :)
 I feel like I have a half dozen projects on the go right now.  But really, I only have four.  This is one of them.  I signed up for the McCall's Shirtdress Sew-a-long because this particular pattern has been on my wish list for quite a while, and I thought it would be fun to follow along.  As of right now, I'm lagging behind a bit, because I got distracted by something new and shiny.  LOL.  But I have my paper pattern pieces cut out, and that's the first step.  Soon, I will do a muslin and check for fit.
 The fun thing about this is, that with the shirtdress sewalong, and my new quilt group that I've joined (more on that shortly), I am now part of two private Facebook groups.  I gotta say, it has made Facebook fun again!  The top of my newsfeed is now full of fun sewing stuff, and I've been commenting and posting on both sites.
 Which brings me to the bright and shiny distraction from my shirtdress.  I have been following Love Shack Quilts for a few weeks now, since I was introduced to it by one of my new quilting friends I made at the quilting retreat in February.  She was telling me about these mystery quilt projects that she got through this private Facebook group, and you didn't know what your quilt would look like at the end, and you learned new and exciting things about quilting, like random colours and values and neat quilting tricks.  
 So, I caved in and joined.  The private group is Prairie Quilt Militia, and one of the projects that caught my attention on their roster was the Ugly Duckling quilt.  The idea is to dig out all the weird, ugly, mismatched, and otherwise 'what do I do with this?' fabrics and put them all together to make something unique and wonderful.  I knew I had a crapload of weird things in my stash, but as I started pulling out fabrics, I was pleasantly surprised at how much funky bright stuff I had, and it soon became apparent that my Ugly Duckling quilt would be really fun and bright and funky.  These 3 photos show all the fabrics I picked out.
 I bought this orange camouflage a year or two ago, with intentions of using it for the back of a quilt.  It absolutely suits this quilt.  I am a sucker for camo, and this is one of many different camo fabrics that I've hoarded collected over the years.  It's not quite big enough to cover the whole back of the quilt (which will be 96"x96" when finished), but I will creatively piece it with something equally funky until it's big enough.
 This was my original inspiration for the entire lineup of Ugly Duckling fabrics that I chose.  I bought 2 metres of this a long time ago, and I think I intended to make a shirt out of it, but I never really felt like that was the right choice.  So, Ugly Duckling, here I come!  The instructions say you need about 2 metres of fabric for the border and the binding, and I have no idea what that will look like, but I hope that this works.
 So, I eagerly started cutting pieces for Step 1.
 I did, however, decide to buy fabric for my background fabric, in a dark colour, to make all these brights just pop.  So, I cut out all the pieces I could, and waited for my chance to go fabric shopping.
Squirell!  I mean, another distraction!  My first attempt to find said fabric was at Fabricland, and I went into the store knowing full well that I probably wouldn't find what I was looking for, especially since I would need 7 metres.  So, instead, I got a pattern on sale that was on my wish list, and I got some turquoise plaid flannel for a new pair of jammy pants for yours truly.  :)
 The next day, I finally got my chance.  I went to Quiltessential in St. Albert, and looked for my background fabric.  I originally had the idea of a black background, to offset the bright colours.  And I was later inspired to find a black on black, because I liked the idea of texture.  I kinda had the image in my head of what I wanted.  And I found it, but it wasn't black.  This fabric is steel blue.  It has an amazing texture.  
 This is what it looks like beside my brights.  It's quite dark.  I really love it.  And the more I look at it, the more I see that it has a denim vibe to it, which is totally appropriate because denim + bright colours = totally me.  It's even better than black, and isn't that the way things are supposed to work out?  Better in the end?
 While I was there, I found a seam gauge, because in the instructions, Sharon stresses the importance of a perfect scant 1/4" seam, so that all the pieces fit properly together, especially the log cabin blocks.
 When I got my fabric home, I diligently pre washed it in hot water, threw it in the dryer, and then pressed it all and rolled in onto a bolt.  In the meantime, while I patiently waited, I made a couple of pinwheel blocks to test out my skill with triangles.  This quilt is my first time working with triangles.  My first attempt was made with thin broadcloth, and I was really happy with how sharp my points turned out, but I stretched my squares out of shape, and they didn't lay flat.
I made my second block out of higher quality quilting cottons, and was more careful.  I paid close attention to which edge of the triangle was bias, and I finger pressed the seam flat, and then carefully pressed.  It turned out much better.  And, I am so inspired by that sewing fabric (which I have a few metres of) that I might just make myself a pinwheel quilt with the sewing fabric as the white, and use a bunch of bright colours.  But, that's for another day.  Inspiration never quits, does it?
 Anyways, the conclusion of my story is that I finally got my background pieces cut out, and assembled the Step 1 blocks.  I finished them this afternoon.  Aren't they cute?
 I sewed them together entirely randomly, and I love the unexpected combinations.
 I am so thrilled with how this looks so far, and I can't wait to jump into Step 2!