Wednesday, December 29, 2010

9 Pairs of Christmas PJ Pants

I didn't start sewing these until December 16th, which is right around the time I started my 13 pairs last year.  Two big differences.  I had 4 less pairs to sew this year, and I didn't have a chiffon wedding dress alteration to do at the same time.  As a result, this year I finished them all by Christmas Eve; I didn't have to drag them out until New Year's like I did last year, or February *cough* like I did the year before.  I'm getting better!

I had to make one pair early for a gift exchange the weekend before Christmas.
Here are the other 8 pairs.  I love the gray camoflauge!  I found that months ago and immediately bought 10 meters.  That's 2.5 meters per pair, for 4 pairs.  And since all those guys are over 6 feet tall (including my brother, who's 6'8"), I had mere inches left over.  
During my last 2 days of sewing, I entertained myself by listening to a book on CD.  I tried this before during wedding season, and I discovered that you can't do anything that requires thinking, or the book will distract you, and you'll make mistakes (ask me how I know).  Thus, PJ pants are perfect.  I didn't have to think about it; it was all repetitive assembly line sewing.  I was impressed that the book kept me enthralled and I sewed for 3 1/2 hours straight the night before Christmas Eve, and I actually had to peel myself away and go to bed.  I'm going to keep that in mind for all my easy sewing jobs!

We had a wonderful Christmas weekend.  I haven't been this relaxed all year.  I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas, and is about to have a Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Black Pencil Skirt for the Christmas Choir - Vogue 8518

 I took my mom's advice and tried a pencil skirt.  Of course, I couldn't just do an easy straight skirt that I could whip up in under 2 hours.  I had to pick Vogue 8518, which Vogue labelled as "easy".  Ha!  I would only wish this pattern upon a beginner if I wanted them to suffer.  I am intermediate/advanced, and I even struggled with a few things.  From start to finish, this skirt took me 9 hours.  It was a labour of love.  Once I saw that it fit really well and was starting to look quite nice, I decided to spend some time making it as nice as I could. 
Vogue 8518
My pattern came in 6-12, and I needed a 16. I checked at Fabricland while the Vogue sale was still on, but apparently this pattern is now out of print. So, I decided to add 4" to the width on just the side seams and approximate the 16. It worked! I'm very impressed with the fit of this skirt.  I made a muslin of the hip yoke, and it was perfect!  The waist is a little tight, but I left it as is and decided to omit the interfacing (you're supposed to interface the entire hip yoke. ugh.).  I wanted it to have a bit of give.  My denim skirt has no give at the waist, and it's a bit uncomfortable.  I guess that's why they make RTW clothing with stretch nowadays.  It's just more comfy.
I learned my lesson from my last skirt and I made sure to try on my skirt at every possible stage.  At this point, I have the skirt and lining sewn to the hip yoke.  Seams aren't pressed or trimmed, and hip yoke lining isn't in yet.  So far, so good!
I didn't have a lot of black lining, and I wanted the hip yoke to have some give, so I decided to have some fun with it and I used a lime green leopard print satin that was very drapey and slinky.  I think it looks sexy and cute.  
And I remembered to attach my label at the right stage.  It's so easy to forget, cuz it's not in the instructions!  I did a really good job here and hand sewed the lining to the zipper, and all the way around the bottom edge of the hip yoke.  I'm really happy with how it looks on the inside.  Almost makes me want to wear it inside out!
Here is how it fit when the skirt was completely finished, except for the hem.  I hadn't opened up the pleat in the front yet either.
Here you can see my crazy swayback.  I had a couple little wrinkles, and it was a bit tight at the waist at the center back, but I didn't bother making any adjustments.  It's pretty darn good for a first try.  If I make this skirt again, I might tweak a few things on the muslin and see what happens.
I like how it sits nice and high at the back.  I love the design of this skirt!
Here it is after the hem has been sewn. 
And a close up of my label.
And, finally, completely finished full-length shot!  I love how this skirt is knee length, but it doesn't look like a granny skirt because of the style and the fit.  This skirt will live happily in my wardrobe for the rest of my life.  I love it!
And we mustn't forget why I had to hurry and make this in the first place. I needed a black skirt and a white shirt for the Christmas Choir. Black skirt, check. White shirt, meh. I don't like this one (it's RTW from when I had to wear business casual for work), but it didn't bother me too much. Next year, I'll make a funky white shirt.
Did I mention I finished it on Saturday night around 9:45?  Hee hee.  Oh well.  I had fun with this one.  I wasn't expecting it to take me 9 hours, but I'm glad I did such a good job on it.  My mom took pictures at church on Sunday, and she had me model it for her.
Can you tell I'm getting excited?  It's almost showtime!
And finally, my big debut as a choral singer.  It was the most fantastic experience!  I'm going to go through withdrawal until Choir practice starts up in January.  And this picture doesn't quite capture how many people are in the choir.  There are 2 full rows behind me, and I believe there are over 30 of us total.  So much fun!!!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Tree Skirt Finished!

 I finished this last Friday, but we finally got our tree decorations done last night, so here it is!
 For the binding, I used the green batik, as it is my favorite.  I think it adds quite a bit of pizzazz.  I called my mom for some tips on sewing my binding.  She advised me to baste the binding on, but I decided to just pin it, and it worked fine.
 Here is what it looks like under our finally fully decorated tree.  P.S. That angel on top is plastic canvas. My mom made it a looooong time ago.  When I moved out, I begged her to let me have it, cuz I love it so much.  Thanks Mom!
Now that the tree skirt is done, it's on to the next task!  Today I'm making my black skirt for the Christmas choir on Sunday.  Hopefully I'll get it all done today.

Yay for Christmas sewing!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Happy December! Christmas sewing has begun.

I don't know how I managed to do it, but I deflected all my alterations and other sewing jobs, and I have the entire month of December to myself!  Woo hoo!  I'll still be doing upholstery Monday-Wednesday, as per usual, but my Thursdays and Fridays (and subsequent weekends) are free!  

This was taken last year, and if you'll notice, I'm working on a wedding dress.  It was my first bridal alteration of my new sewing business.  I've done several more since then, but I don't have any this month!
 This was my mountain of PJ pants from last year.  I made 13 pairs!  This year, I'm making 9.  I wish I could show you the flannel for all of them, but I have to keep it a secret!
I've always wanted to make my own tree skirt, and last week I found this super easy quilting pattern and some excellent Christmas batiks at Fabricland.
I wasn't sure how long it would take me, as this is my first patchwork project, but I was pleasantly surprised that it went really fast.  It helps that the pieces are huge, too.
 Here you can see the 4 fabrics I chose.  Aren't they cute?  
 Lots and lots of triangles!  I have to say, I'm loving patchwork quilting.  My mom is a hardcore quilter, so I've been thinking about it for a while.  Last year I attempted a couple Christmas quilts, but they were applique.  I like this better!
 When I sew, I'm slow because I'm so picky.  Quilting is perfect!  I got to be totally anal with every seam, and it was pure heaven.  Sigh.  
 Don't tell my mom that I used pins for every seam!  Well, she'll know now.  (Hi, Mom!)  Hee hee.  I found that pinning everything allowed me to sew faster without fiddling with the edges of the fabric.  I know you're supposed to pin big pieces, but I did the little ones too.  
 This is the top.  Next up, I'll be layering it with batting, and binding the edges.  It will also have a hole in the middle.  I have to finish it quick so we can put up our Christmas tree!  

In addition to the pile of PJ pants, my other projects include a black skirt for the Christmas choir on Dec 12, a vest for my mom (don't worry, she already knows about it!), and a fleece PJ jumpsuit (onesie) for myself *excited!*.  I'm not going to set myself any more goals as of yet.  We'll see how week one goes.  I'm hoping that since I get to do all fun sewing, I'll put in lots of hours, get everything done early, and have time to make myself some new clothes!  But I know how it usually goes, so I'll just stick with my essentials for now.  

I hope everyone has some fun projects planned for Christmas!  Happy December!