Sunday, March 27, 2011

Bathing Suit Progress - Kwik Sew 3238

I had a very productive day making bathing suit bottoms.  I kept sewing until I got really tired and sewed my "sandwich seam" together wrong and had to pick it out. More on that later.
Kwik Sew 3238
I'm using Kwik Sew 3238.  I cut a Medium in the low cut style to test my first pair.  I pinned them together and tried them on, and once I saw that they were too low, I didn't bother to line them.  The fit was perfect, though.  I sewed them together and tested out the elastic.  I'm using 3/8" clear elastic.  I disengaged my serger knife, and I'm having good luck just sewing the elastic in without stretching anything, except at the back of the bum.  I measured my elastic for the first pair, but it works better just to go free-hand.  That way I also save more elastic, as I'm not throwing out leftover chunks from each piece.
First test pair
For the second pair, I added some height to the waist.  I added 1/2" at center back, 3/4" at the side seams, and 1 1/4" at center front.  I left the leg openings the same, except I shaved off a scant 1/4" from the gusset area.
Second pair.  Wearable!
For the flame spandex, I'm using black thread in the needles, and orange wooly nylon in the loopers.  When I switch to blue, I'll use royal blue thread for the needles, and gray wooly nylon for the loopers.  I just got my serger back from servicing, and it's sewing like a dream.  I haven't used wooly nylon for years, and I'm impressed with how well it's working!
I thought I'd share my "sandwich" method that I used.  I've seen a few other people do this.  The pattern calls for lining only on the front piece.  I wanted to line the whole thing.  Layer front, back, back, and front.  I would recommend pinning it loosely and checking.  At the end of the day, it took me 3 tries to get it right, including sewing it together wrong once.  That was my cue to quit!  Thankfully, I still had my serger knife disengaged, so I didn't cut anything off.
This is what it looks like when it's done right.  I am loving doing everything on my serger, and I'm not even pressing anything.
Once I sewed all my side seams together, I pinned the lining to the outer layer. Once this was done, I serged the elastic on.
As of today, I have 2 pairs of flame bottoms done, except for the coverstitch, which I will be doing after all the other blue items are done.
I also cut out my 4 pairs of blue bottoms, and lining!  It's a lot of work to make 6 of anything, no matter how small!  I will be doing a lot of marathon sewing later this week to finish these bottoms and make the blue halter tops.
I'm so excited about the blue ones!  I love my flame fabric, but I've been handling it a lot lately, and cutting into the blue stuff was the highlight of my day!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Orange Camouflage Cargo Capris - Burda 7991

So, I decided to finish my cargo capris before I start making bathing suits.
Burda 7991
I figured it would only take me 2 hours to get these out of the way.  Ha ha.  Remember, I'm a slow seamstress.  They took me 3 hours and 45 minutes to finish, for a total time of 6 1/2 hours.  My first pair only took me 6.  Tee hee!  It never ceases to amaze me how slow I can be.  Oh well.  I attribute the extra half hour to the contour waistband I had to make, since I'm not a big fan of the straight waistband on my first pair.
Vogue 8131
I used the contour waistband from Vogue 8131.  I attempted to make these pants once, and they were so huge!  The only thing I remember liking about them was the waistband.  It hugged me just right, and was so comfortable!  In order for the waistband to fit properly with my capris, I shaved an inch off the bottom of the band.  It's very wide to begin with, so this was a good adjustment.  Once I had the contour waistband sewn on, I pinned the center back seam and tried them on to check the fit.  So far, so good!  

Check out how bright my zipper is.  I tried taking some close up shots, but the colour didn't show up as well.  It's bright!  Here you can also see the pocket yokes that I love so much.  What a great design feature!  Most comfortable pockets ever.  They always lay flat, and the front of the pants is always smooth.

Now that they're done, the waistband is more comfortable, but it's a little tight at the top of the sides.  I'll let them out by 1/4" on each piece next time, for a total of 1".  The pants sit a bit high right now, so I think I can afford to let them out a bit so they fall a bit lower.
I can't get over how much these look exactly like the line drawing.  Granted, with this crazy print, you can't really tell, but my red ones look just like this!

I still have to add snaps to the waistband, the cargo pocket flaps, and the tabs at the bottom.  I'll do that this week at Dad's upholstery shop.  So much more fun than making buttonholes!
Here's a detail shot of the back.  I love topstitching!
I can't wait to wear these!  It feels weird sewing summer clothes right now.  Spring has arrived on the calendar, but Mother Nature has yet to be informed.  Around here, it's been below freezing and snowing and blowing like crazy.  
Oh well.  In exactly 2 weeks, my hubby and I will be checking into our resort and basking in the muggy heat of Mexico.  I hope my pasty white skin doesn't scare away the locals!  Yikes!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Vacation sewing for Mexico

Today is the first day of spring, but we're still up to our necks in snow, so I'm dreaming of some hot, hot, hot weather in a tropical carribbean location.  We have less than 3 weeks until our vacation to the Mayan Riviera, and I have lots to do!
My first task will be to make some well-fitting bottoms to go with this tankini top I made in college for our activewear class.  I made a pair of bottoms, but they're all kinds of horrible.  Bottoms need to be perfected by trial and error, and I'm expecting these to take at least 2-3 tries to get right.  We'll see if the Kwik-Sew gods are smiling on me...
Once those bottoms get perfected, I'm going to assembly-line manufacture 6 pairs of bottoms.  2 flame, 2 blue stripe, and 2 blue floral.  And if all goes well, I'll have 2 matching halter tops in blue.  And if I can't manage to get that many bathing suits made, my bare minimum is to get 1 or 2 flame bottoms to complete my tankini.  The blue stuff will just be gravy.
This should be a quick task.  These are my orange camoflauge cargo capris that have been lying half-done since the beginning of August.  I can probably finish these in about 2 hours, so I figure now is a good time to get them done and out of the way.  Isn't that fabric amazing?  It's been in my stash for years.  I love me some camoflauge!
My other bare minimum item is this reversible knit dress I dreamed up (literally, day-dreaming in the early morning hours).  This dress is fully lined, so I just thought about how to make it reversible!  That's 2 dresses in one!  I'll be good for the rest of the year with this one.  That black/pink print is what I used for Anita's top last March, and I loved it so much, I had to go back to Fabricland and rescue it from the bargain bin and take it home with me.  I can't wait to see what it looks like!
I'm going upstairs to sew this afternoon, so wish me luck!

Happy Spring!

My wool coat and other favorites...

I've mentioned my wool coat that I made in college a few times, and I wear it quite a bit, so I thought I'd share some pictures of what it looks like!  This is my favorite thing I've ever made, aside from my wedding dress, and probably more so, because I actually get to wear it all the time.
I made this coat in college for our contemporary tailoring course in the winter/spring of 2002.  Contemporary tailoring was very similar to classical tailoring, but we got to learn some "shortcuts".  There's more fusible interfacing and not quite as much handsewing, but there was still a lot, believe me!  I don't remember much about it anymore.  That was 9 years ago!  The pattern is Vogue 9910.  
In college, we didn't learn a lot about fitting or altering what we made.  I did learn the value of the muslin, and we learned a few things about altering for fit, but I've learned so much more from reading sewing blogs and pattern reviews than I ever did at college.  
Aside from lengthening the sleeves, I don't think I changed anything on this pattern, and I didn't make a muslin.  I'm surprised it ended up fitting so well.  This is the 3rd jacket I made from this pattern, and the only one that really turned out.  I attribute that to the quality of the wool.  It's a nice thick melton wool that I bought at Davey Fabrics.  I think they still carry the same wool!
I love this coat.  I call it my crowning acheivement.  I've enjoyed wearing it this winter since wool coats are all the rage, and I get to say I made my own!
This multi-coloured skirt is one of my all-time favorites.  I absolutely love it.  This is made from my favorite A-line skirt pattern (McCall's 3341).  It's a size 14, and usually it's a bit snug and short on me, but I've lost some weight this winter, and it fits better now!  Yay!  The fabric is printed on the diagonal, and I like to think that it adds some curves to my straight hips.  
I also made the black jacket in 2004.  I designed it myself based on the close-fitting bodice sloper we drafted in one of our first year classes in college.  I was always impressed with how well shirts and jackets fit when they were custom drafted for your own personal body.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Funky Ironing Board Cover

I will have lots of fun sewing projects to show you in the coming weeks.  My husband and I are going to the Mayan Riviera in April, and I have lots of sewing to do before then.  Some of my projects include swimwear, tank tops, short skirts, the exciting conclusion to my orange camoflauge capris (still only half done since last August!), and a reversible knit dress.  In the meantime, I just had to show off my new ironing board cover.  I found this at Winners for $10.  How funky is that?  It even matches my wall!  Squeal!