Thursday, October 29, 2009

What's Up Next?

What's up next for the sewing room? Good question. I've got at least 10 new patterns twirling around in my brain right now, a couple of UFOs, and my eyes on some TNTs — like another HP Sunshine top.

I cut/sewed a muslin for these HP Marrakesh drawstring pants. They will need adjustment. I bought them on a whim. It's that darn Trudy on YouTube, I tell you! She sucks me right in every time. I will have another look at them but I may end up just morphing them with a similar TNT pattern. I do like some of the details on the HP, like the pockets — which is notable since I don't usually like sideseam pockets. These should be a quick project and I need long pants since lower temps will come here one of these days months. Like as soon as high school football season ends and I don't have to sit in the bleachers and sweat. Yeah, that's how it works around here. There are prices to be paid for 362 sunny days a year. ;-)

Moving along and speaking of long pants. These JStern jeans languish on my treadle table. I may not dust and vacuum as often as I could/should but I hate clutter and usually avoid it by putting things away, right away. Every time I see this pattern pretty much strewn over the treadle table, it irritates me. These have a high chance of moving to the top of the list just so I can clear out that corner. I've already fitted the pattern and just need to make a better fabric choice the next time. The unfinished too-tight first-run capris will hang until I drop 20 lbs. Which could be a while. (See comment re sitting in bleachers, and it looks like the team is going to make the playoffs) ;-)

And the new pretties. They arrived yesterday and have been calling my name ever since, with lies promises of how they'll fit right out of the envelope, make me look 20 lbs slimmer, pay off my mortgage, end world hunger, and so on.

The HP Tie-Me-Down top may actually not be completely lying to me, judging on others' reviews of it on PR. This one is near the top of the list, but not *at* the top of it yet. But its day is coming soon, I know it. (I don't think it will end world hunger though.)

This HP Riviera Cardigan/Jacket is fighting with the pants to be next up. Well, not fighting with the pants but with my OCD sense of *needing* to finish up UFOs before starting something new. I *want* to make this one next, but my urge to clear out the clutter will probably win and push this one to right-after-the-pants status. So, instead of sewing it right away, I ordered some fabric this morning for it. That will keep me from starting on it this weekend. Maybe.

And then there's the Coldwater Creek catalogs that keep appearing in my mailbox, taunting me with their classic, comfortable, rich-looking pieces. Like this, which they call a Poet Shirt. I really *need* a white blouse, especially one that's as easy to wear as this tunic-y style. I already have the perfect fabric for it too.

I bought this during a recent Club BMV sale. (Am I really saving money with Club BMV? Hahahahaha!) The sleeves will need some changing and I'll have to add gathers and reshape the placket, but all quite do-able. I don't need an outright clone, just the essence will be fine.

The next CWC temptation. Gorgeous, no?

And this is the pattern that "fell" into my cart for it. You can't really see too clearly with the print and the small drawing, but it has pintucks down the front like the CWC inspiration. I probably won't use this actual pattern for anything more than to copy the pintuck ease onto a TNT and maybe the sleeve, but who knows — it could be one of those magical patterns that will fit perfectly right out of the envelope. Oh, sorry. I must've dozed off. ;-)

And still in the CWC mood, I'm sure everyone is familiar with all of their great denim-type jackets in those great fabrics they very rarely share with us in the sewing world. (I swear, if there was a CWC *fabric* catalog, I'd be bankrupt! Coldwater Creek - ARE YOU LISTENING?)

For jackets, there's this new-to-me pattern:

And this one:

But what I really should do is pull out this one, since it's already altered with lining pieces made, and now a TNT:

And I wore the HECK out of it last fall/winter, and can't wait until it's cool enough to pull it out again. (Note to self: Check Joann's Home Dec dept next time I'm in for thread.)

Now moving on from CWC and toward the Lemming inspiration. There's been a sew-a-long for these type cardi patterns on PR and I seem to be moving, trance-like, toward the edge of the cliff.

They look quick and easy and comfortable. Perfect for Florida "winter." I don't think I'll make the really long and drapey version of either, but I will probably give one of them a go.

And finally, Christmas is coming. (Bah humbug. Oh, did I say that out loud?) I haven't made my sister any new scrubs in a long time. My mother is retiring this week and moving to a new house and new state (about 12 hours closer to me, but still a long-a$$ drive) and a homemade housewarming/holiday gift is on the list too. I did order fabric for both projects, which arrived a couple of days ago. I want to try a new scrubs pattern for my sister. For mom, I ordered a quick pieced/quilt-as-you-go tablerunner pattern. I read through the pattern and it really seems like it will quick. (Famous last words.) Both of those will need to be squeezed into the next month.

Whew! That's a lot of stuff. I wonder how much I'll actually get done. Stay tuned. Whatever comes out of the sewing room will end up here. And, of course, all of this is subject to change. ;-)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

I've Got Sunshine

I. Love. This. Top. And no FBA!

My review is here and just the photos are below.

Belting it was kind of a whim. But I like it so much I'll probably wear it this way most of the time.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Bad Pics

Here's some pics of recent makes. Sorry, the menfolk were off doing men things so I had to resort to the mirror shots as usual.

The recent BWOF seamed jeans, front:


The Hot Patterns Kyoto skirt:

The wallpaper shirt and BWOF jeans (aka S3684/B5300 morph):

I notice that I have 4-legged company in every single photo. ;-)

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Worn OUT (But Done)

Did I actually say last night that I was planning to finish this skirt this morning and then start on the Sunshine top? Hahahahaha! I crack myself up. This is an easy wear, casual skirt but there is a LOT of work to get there. Nothing was particularly hard, but since I chose to use most of the details Trudy shared in her video, there are a lot more steps than just a simple elastic A-line skirt.

As I mentioned yesterday, I omitted the godet flounce. Instead, I created a separate piece from the "hole" in the pattern, sewed that into the hole and topstitched 5 rows on each side of the joining seam. I like the visual interest at the back from the original pattern and wanted to keep some of that.

Here's the pattern piece I created. All I did was trace the hole and add a seam allowance to the new piece.

Here's the back view of the skirt.

In a perfect world, I would either be slim enough to not think twice about cargo pockets on my hips or I would leave them off. But in my Mom World, I need pockets on most everything I wear. I also like the way they look on this skirt even if they are probably not *my* best look. But I'm not entering any fashion contests and it's not like everyone who sees me doesn't already know I have a big butt. ;-) So, Function wins over Form.

The flap facing is from the contrast fabric, a linen floral print. I will probably add either Velcro or snaps to keep the flaps from flapping in the breeze. I'll see how they do after a laundering.

I shamelessly copied Trudy and bound the bottom edge using bias contrast. It's really bound and not just a facing flipped outward.

Here's the reverse. I did not turn under the raw edge on this side because (a) I was too lazy and it's a bias edge so raveling will be minimal, (b) I figured I'd have better luck catching it in the topstitching this way, and (c) less bulk.

I made exactly one fit alteration after "trying on" the tracing. I made a tilted waist adjustment to the front yoke pattern as shown below. This was the easiest way to lower the front waist without affecting adjoining seams. It made the fold edge not quite straight but I ignored that little bend and just laid it on the fold and cut.

I am actually going to wear this skirt with a tucked-in tee so I think a belt is in order. I'm going to cut a long strip from the denim and topstitch the heck out of it to match the topstitching on the skirt, but I'm out of topstitching juice today so I'll do that later in the week. For this pic, I just ran a strip of the denim through a spare buckle I have laying around.

I'm happy with this skirt and after all the work I put into it, I had better wear it a lot. ;-) (Which I will do once the tights I ordered arrive and I decide what shoes I need. Suggestions?). Except for the pattern, it was nearly free. Both the denim and the linen have been in my stash at least 4 years, probably longer. Well, not exactly free because I think I used about 3 miles of topstitching thread.

* * * * *

I will make this skirt again. I really liked the "safari" version Trudy showed and I think overall it's a nice pattern. The sizing was good for me and the pieces all fit together properly. However, I think I'd change the "Advanced Beginner" rating to "Advanced Beginner With a Good Techniques Book" as there are a number of steps that a beginning sewer would probably struggle with sans specific directions. Specifically, the cargo pockets, invisible zipper insertion with a waist facing, the bias hem facing, and piping. Illustrated instructions are included with the pattern, but they are more general than detailed. I hope to write up a proper review for Pattern Review soon.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

They're Here!

My Hot Patterns order arrived on Thursday and it killed me to have them sit until the weekend. But the weekend is here and I've already got the Kyoto skirt cut out and partially sewn. Let me tell you as much as I enjoy topstitching, TEN rows at each curved seam is a LOT. But it looks good so I'm going to stitch on.

I'm not sewing the back godet/flounce. I have to be realistic — I sit on my butt all day long and it would always look like a big mess. I may try it with a future version, so I'm not ruling it out. But for now, no godet.

I'm hoping I can finish it up tomorrow morning and start on a tester for the Sunshine tee. Speaking of which …

How many have seen this Butterick tee and wondered how it compares?

I know I have. So, in addition to my Hot Patterns order I also took advantage of a recent club BMV sale and bought this pattern (among others!) just to satisfy my curiosity. They are similar, but the HP has much more gathering at the front. So much more that I question how realistic those Butterick drawings actually are. When I trace the HP, I'll lay the pieces over the Butterick tissue and take some pics so you can see the comparison yourselves.

I did finish my jeans this morning and will be wearing them tomorrow since the temps have dropped from 90+ to a current 52. Brrrr. That's iceberg weather to Floridians. It's supposed to be in the 70s tomorrow and very low humidity, which is still cold enough for long pants in my world. I'm probably going to put on the "wallpaper" blouse too, which Zillie has been wearing since I finished it. I'll try to snag one of the menfolk to take some pics.

I'm not loving the jeans though. I'm not hating them, but not loving them yet. On the first brown pair I felt then that the front pockets may be too low but then I decided they were probably OK. I'm back to not liking how low they are, especially because in denim they cause a hip bump that I can do without. I have enough bumps on my own, thank you. But since I wear tops untucked, it won't be noticeable by anyone but me. Still …

I also had to take in the side- and inseams tons because I wanted more of a jeans fit/feel, not trousers. That's what took the longest for me to call these done. I kept basting the seams narrower, trying them on, not liking it and repeating. Three times I did this during the week, until I had taken in nearly two inches per seam. That means 4 inches per leg. That's a lot. And they still aren't tight. It's partially the denim I used, which has more Lycra than I prefer for jeans. Oh well, they're done. They fit. And amazingly, I finished them just as I need them for the temperature drop. That NEVER happens.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Weekday Sewing

Highly unusual these days, but I actually sewed on a weekday, and that's the proof above. I snuck away from work yesterday for a bit up to the sewing room where I cut out my jeans. Then, since I was on a roll and the bug was biting, I started to sew too. I had to force myself to go back to work. This work stuff really gets in the way of things. ;-)

I love making jeans. I know I'm probably weird but I find all the topstitching to be very relaxing, in that mindless, lose-yourself kind of way. Good thing, because there is a LOT of topstitching to be done on these.

I did add a fly front but kept the same pockets per the pattern. I knew I wouldn't want to spend the extra time to change out the pockets and I was right. I'm also adding traditional jeans back patch pockets. My rear needs something to break up the wide expanse. ;-)

I would've continued working on these last night but I had to go to the grocery store. The cupboards were nearly bare, which is not a good thing in this house. Then I threw some laundry into the washer, got caught up in the football game on TV, and slowly felt all the energy drain from my body. Not the best time to be in the sewing room trying to sew straight lines.

Work is a teeny bit slower this week so I'm going to try to put in some 10-20-30 minutes blocks of time to make more progress on these jeans. Of course, it's still about 900 degrees outside so I probably won't even want to wear them for another month.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Rambling Thoughts

I wasn't very productive in the sewing room today in terms of output, but I did make some decisions on what I'm making next and why.

However, there was a little bit of actual output as I did cut and sew a muslin for these Petite Plus jeans:

Overall, they fit very well straight out of the envelope. That's not to say no alterations are necessary, but really only some of my usual ones and not all of them. So, that's good.

I know they are a tapered leg pant. And ugh to that. Easy enough to change though. But as I contemplated the fit alterations I'd have to do and the lack of time during the week to do them, I decided to put the pattern away for a bit longer and, instead, revisit a Burda WOF pattern I made and reviewed almost 2 years ago. (How can it be TWO years ago already?) These …

… 01/2008 #132, which are very similar to the PP jeans. The main difference is the Burdas are seamed in the front as well as the back, do not have a fly front, and have different pockets. But the best thing about the Burdas is the pattern is already altered — and they still fit (thanks to the semi-elastic waist!). Making these will be pretty much cut and sew. I say "pretty much" because I'm thinking of adding a fly front zip and possibly changing the front pockets. Adding the fly will be a no-brainer. The pockets will take a little more brain power. Knowing my schedule, I'll probably just wuss out and leave them as-is.

So during the week, I'm hoping to get the Burda pattern cut out in some stretch denim so they're ready to sew next weekend. When those are done, I'd like to revisit the PP pattern because (1) they're really close out of the envelope and (2) I think there should be more PP reviews on Pattern Review since I've had such good luck with these patterns so far.

The other reason I wasn't very productive today is because from 6:30-9:30 AM, I was glued to Youtube watching Trudy and Jeremy of Hot Patterns. I've been on/off the fence with this pattern line but Trudy is one heck of a saleswoman — and fun to watch. I ended up buying 3 Hot Patterns this morning. I expect them to be here Tuesday since Trudy and Jeremy live/work only an hour south of me. OK, just kidding T&J if by chance you're reading. Wednesday will be fine. :-)

So, what got me off the fence? Actually seeing Trudy wearing some of her designs (and her wicked sense of humor!). You see, like me, Trudy is decidedly not the same body type as her pattern illustrations. She's a curvy girl and I believe her pattern size is the size she starts with and then grades up/down from there. That gives me hope that these patterns are really better for curvy women than tall stick figures. I hope I'm right. The patterns are easy sew/easy wear so hopefully they won't languish too long before I get to them, especially since the finished pieces would be perfect for my Florida lifestyle.

What did I buy? (1) The Weekender Sunshine top, which I've wanted forever, (2) The Marrakesh drawstring pants which I could see myself living in, and (3) the Kyoto skirt, which is either going to look good on me or it's going to be so very wrong. LOL! There's a lot going on with that skirt, but I'm attracted to it just the same. Fingers crossed the attraction is not like a moth to a flame.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Finishing Touches Still Needed

It's mostly done, but needs buttons, buttonholes, and a bottom hem. The fabric has still got that wallpaper look going, but I think I'm OK with it for a casual weekday blouse paired with brown pants/jeans. It fits well so the morph between Butterick 5300 and Simplicity 3684 is good. I'll use the pattern with another fabric before winter is over (or maybe even starts!).

It's a lazy Saturday, no shower yet and still in PJ pants so this mirror shot is the best I have to offer.

I shortened the sleeves about 2 inches and I think I may have overdone it to get the same effect as the envelope. They're completely passable this way so I'll just make a note for next time.

* * * * *

DS' team won their game last night, which puts them at 5-1 overall and 2-0 for district. If they keep going like this, football season will get longer as they'll be in the playoffs. I love the games so a few more would be fine with me, but I feel a little sorry for DS' girlfriend as she is NOT into football at all but dutifully attends all the games, albeit with a slightly glazed look on her face. ;-)

Sunday, October 4, 2009

A Weekend of TNT

I'm always seduced by new patterns and continuously add to my pattern stash, especially when I'm *not* sewing. But the reality is right now with my limited time and energy to sew, TNTs are what I reach for first.

Friday sewing was fast and furious. Thank heaven for my TNT Ottobre Woman tees. The football t-shirts arrived on Thursday, but because I was working late on a presentation due the next day I couldn't begin making it over until Friday.

Fast forward to Friday at 4:30 PM. 90 minutes before we had to leave for the game. I quickly cleared the costume-making scraps off the cutting table, cut apart the men's tee, laid out my TNT pattern, and cut. Most of the construction was done on the serger, which was still sporting the red thread from the costume-making for DS. A fast thread change, a set-in neckband because I had no time to test binding with the CS machine, a bottom hem, and I was done — with 20 minutes to spare. Why can't I sew that fast when I don't have a deadline? I didn't slow down to take a pic and the tee is now in a heap in the laundry basket, but it came out fine, trust me. ;-) I'll try to remember to post a pic after I do laundry. This will be my last football tee makeover since DS graduates this year. And in case you're interested, the Cougars won their homecoming game 21-0, and won this past Friday night too, again 21-0, which puts them at 4-1. So far, so good.

Saturday morning the Ottobre patterns were still strewn about the cutting table, so I decided to make another gathered neckline version while the getting was good. This one took me at least double the time of the football tee, because I was not under a deadline. Go figure.

I'm not sure what the count is now for this pattern, but it's definitely pushing 20 if not above. Nothing fancy on this one, just a pretty brown/ivory print and again, a set-in neckband instead of a binding — which is lost in this photo.

Moving on to Saturday afternoon, a morph between TNT Butterick 5300 and never-used Simplicity 3684.

They are both similar side bust dart, back waist dart blouse patterns. But the Simplicity has a slightly different neckline, a sewn-on placket, and different sleeve options and was the one I wanted to sew. I simply laid the Simplicity bodice pieces over the Butterick bodice pieces and, using the TNT Butterick as my guide, added tissue to the Simplicity where there was none and removed tissue where there shouldn't be any. It's hard to explain properly without pictures, but I didn't take any. Luckily, Robin has been doing the exact same thing and has more detail of the process with photos on her blog, here. Thanks Robin. :-)

I cut out the blouse last night and will sew it today. It's looking a lot like wallpaper at the moment, but I'm hoping that some dark brown accents will break up the print a bit. It was actually a lot worse before I laid the fabric on the bias.

I'm planning to return to jeans sewing next week because while it is still quite warm here, all of a sudden (or so it will seem), we'll start having cool days and I'll be wishing I had some new full-length jeans instead of my standard summer capris. This sit-on-my-butt-all-day-work-at-home job is great for the commute but it's made the fluff fluffier and in different places so I really need some new jeans. Or I need to diet. ;-)