Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Dani Pants

Edited to add more photos, below, including Dani Pants #2.

Dani went into heat last night. Ugh. I thought we had a little more time. We're going to let her go through this cycle and then get her spayed before the next one.

So, there I was last night at midnight making up "doggy sanitary pants" at the spur of the moment. I can honestly say I never thought I'd be sewing those! But necessity being the mother of invention and the pet stores being closed …

The first pair was basically a belt with elastic attached to go around legs and tail, designed and sewn in about an hour. Luckily I had human "supplies" I could use for the disposable part. That prototype worked pretty well and we could all sleep without worrying about a mess in the bed but Dani really needed a little more coverage between wee-wee and tail. ;-) This morning, I drafted full coverage panties after looking around on the internet for ideas, and then I started sewing.

The panties Dani is modeling in the pics is from that pattern.

They are, appropriately, lined with Scooby Doo flannel (and a pantyliner!) but I forgot to take a pic before putting them on her.

I thought I was done sewing underwear for a while, but Mother Nature had other ideas. I'll make one more pair tonight and then get back to my Burda top tomorrow. Do you know that the similar doggy pants I found during my morning research were going for $25-$35 each? Yes, it would be easier to go to the pet store and buy some but even at probably $10 each for mass-produced versions it still adds up to more than a couple of dollars. Versus shopping my stash and a few hours at the drafting table and machine? No brainer! ;-) Especially now that I have the custom-fitted pattern and construction perfected.

It's amazing what one can do with a sewing machine!

That's More Like It

I've finished tracing and cutting out the new pieces for my "up-graded" pattern, which is now a straight size 48 with no alterations (yet). I think I did pretty well. The seams line up correctly and the fit on Zillie is what I'd expect for a Burda size 48. The only glitch is the neckband but that's because I altered for my square shoulders as I was tracing. Adjusting the neckband to match will be easy.

As for alterations — I will have to do an FBA …

and add at the waist and hip …

and it looks like the shoulder-to-waist length is too long, which is disguised in the front because of Zillie's (and my) full bust.

But these are all my usual alterations, so I'm quite pleased with myself and the grading!

Tomorrow, I'll make those adjustments and make an ugly muslin.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Plan A & Plan B

Plan A: I traced the pattern. Then I cut it out without seam allowances to have a look at on Zillie and decide how to proceed. The good news is that I'm pretty sure I'll like this top on me if I can work through the alterations. The bad news is the alterations are going to be many. But I knew that going in.

As you can see below, the underbust band is under Zillie's bust. But …

… that's just an illusion! I have the whole garment pinned a couple of inches down from the true shoulder.

And there's still quite a bit of real estate in the nether regions left uncovered.

I stared at the pattern draped on Zillie many times today. Part of me wanted to start slicing & dicing to add length and width "by eye." The other part of me was thinking how messy and unexact this would be and how I want to preserve the original lines as much as possible.

Plan B: Returning to Square 1 and grading up the pattern in a more controlled manner.

I used the grading lines on the pattern sheet (the pattern in pink) to go up 3 sizes, from 42 to 48. More specifically, I measured many points on the pattern between the printed sizes and then increased by those amounts at corresponding points on the pattern sheet to create my new size. I did this on the pattern sheet itself because, hey, what's one more set of lines, right? If you click the photos to enlarge them, you should be able to see my black pen lines a little more clearly.

This grading process really didn't take that long. I sat at my cutting table with the TV on in the background and I was done in about an hour. Next, I'll trace again but this time following the lines of the "new" size and adding seam allowances so I can cut a muslin. I know I'll have to do regular pattern alterations, but first things first. Let's see how this up-graded pattern fits Zillie and how accurate my grading is.

Judy asked in the comments about the origin for the Duro name. Duro refers to the London-based designer Duro Olowu who reincarnated this style a couple of years ago and made it his own for the runway, with bold prints and colors. It's trickled down to the masses and it seems that all dresses (and tops) with this basic look are becoming known as Duro dresses (tops) even if they're not Duro originals.

Can I Make The Grade?

I love this top. I've seen a few versions reviewed on Pattern Review which make me love it even more. The problem is, it's sized 34-42 (Euro) which is definitely too small for me.

I'm going to spend some time today working with the pattern, hopefully to the point of sewing up an unwearable muslin to see what I can do to make it fit me and if I even like it on me at that point. Pretty soon, this banded/Duro-esque trend will be completely over and if I don't hop on the bandwagon soon, I may miss it completely. Remember, I don't live anywhere near NYC so trends are slower to pass here in Florida and I do still have time for this one. ;-)

If I can "make it work," I want to use this ebay fabric, with a solid brown for the bands:

And if *that* works out, I have a brown crosshatched stretch denim for a pair of capris to wear with it. But's that's getting waaaaaay ahead of myself because, if you haven't guessed by now, my "up next" list changes with the rise and fall of the sun and moon.

The skirt from the last couple of posts is still on the back burner. It's not abandoned but the project needs to percolate some more while I think about fabric choices and possibly altering it a little more to move the CB zipper to CF. Or maybe just using a more drapey knit and doing away with a zip altogether.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

A New Day

(Or is it a different pair of undies??)

I tried the Burda WOF purple skirt on again this morning and I'm liking it better. It can't be the "Magic Wardrobe" because it never made it that far. I'm thinking that the real magic was a slippery-er pair of panties underneath while I tried it on. I know, I know — proper undergarments, which in this case will have to include silky panties or a slip (or both).

It's still too long, but only compared to my other summer skirts. It should be perfectly wearable after I hem it. I'm still deciding on whether I'll keep it or donate it, but I have made my pattern alterations for the next time while the info is still fresh in the gray matter.

We're off to the dogpark before the daily afternoon thunderstorms hit. The pooches are full of energy and really need a good "burn-off" session. Even Pepper has been, um, Peppy ;-) this morning. I hope there are a lot of playmates at the park today to wear them out. No, Chili won't be wearing his new No Fear shirt.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Little Projects

Chili has a new shirt. (Claire, it's all your fault!)

I've had DS#1's thermal knit shirt sitting on top of the washer for months. He didn't want it anymore but I thought he might change his mind when it got colder so I hung onto it. For whatever reason today I unfolded it and noticed it had a couple of small holes on the front near the bottom. I was just about to finally toss it when Chili wandered in, and the brain began clicking. Chili—No Fear, No Fear—Chili. Perfect!

This pattern (KS 3076) is ridiculously easy and fast. The hardest part was unstitching the neckband from the original shirt so I could re-use the ribbing for the mini version. I also re-used the ribbing at the sleeve cuffs but all I had to do for those was to cut them off without any unstitching and then join them together to make a strip.

I did change up the construction order so I could attach all the ribbing in the flat. It's a LOT easier for those very small neck and "arm" holes. I think I'll update my review with that information and the new pics.

Here's another shot of the dogs new shirt (and DS' feet).

The other little project of the day was a quilt block to send in to be part of the "commemorative" quilt for Pattern Review. It's been a long time since I've done any quilt piecing, but it came back fairly quickly and this project, from design to done, only took a couple of hours.

I haven't done much more than that in the sewing room (unless cleaning up and prewashing a couple of fabrics counts), but I feel it was a productive day.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Not Quite

This is going to end up being my muslin for this pattern. It pretty much fits, but I don't like the way it fits. It's too long overall and the waist is hitting me in the wrong place. I would show you on me but I'm not camera ready today. It was raining all afternoon and I took the dogs for a walk anyway and never did fix myself up after that. But the temperature drop with the rain was a nice change from the usual 6 billion degrees and 400% humidity.

Back to the skirt — I could take some length off at the top, but that will mess with the darts and zipper and, really, I'm not up for reworking this one. The length needs to come out the right way, by removing it from the middle of the pattern, so I can preserve the darting and the slight pegged shape. What bugs me is that I knew this. I had made some initial alterations (adding booty width) but then I set the pattern aside for a couple of days and forgot I still wanted to check the overall length so I just went ahead and cut. Oops.

I like the overall shape a lot, though. I'm obviously into gored skirts with flounces for the summer, which is good because I think it's a flattering silhouette for my curvy shape.

The front of the flounce is interesting. It's more of a handkerchief shape when laid flat than it looks while on.

Even the sides of the flounce have an angle.

The only thing left on this skirt is the bottom hem (which is going to be interesting with those points). I think I'll hem it, use it for judging my adjustments, and then put it in the donate pile.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

The Chase

Not high quality and it's silent, but here's our latest entertainment — Dani chasing a laser pointer.

She'll go on and on and on, chasing forever. And when we're done and the light goes away, she sits and stares at the floors and walls waiting for it to show up again. She just knows it's still out there, somewhere, hiding from her.

Up Next?

I think this skirt is what I'm making next. It's from the 04/2005 issue of Burda WOF, the issue with the (in)famous twist top. But I haven't even started tracing it. Life is busy these last couple of days so no sewing-related activities have happened. (Well, last night at bedtime I did read through the Australian Stitches that arrived in the mailbox yesterday.)

Right now my plan is to test this pattern in the stretch poplin print I've had out for the second skirt to match the new lavender tops. If it doesn't work, no big loss. But if it does work, I can see this being a good skirt staple for many skirts to come. This skirt does have an elastic waist, but it's as a facing not a casing. It also has a back invisible zipper and darts all around, for a somewhat sleeker fit (I'm hoping).

DH is going with the boys tonight to see Harry Potter in IMAX. I have no interest in Harry Potter (sorry HP fans!) so maybe that will be my opportunity to trace and cut.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

One More Lavender Tee

This is #3 from the Diana Mode inspired tee pattern I created with my pattern software. It's also the second solid lavender top I've made this week. I don't know why I was stuck on lavendar. It's not even one of my usual colors. But it was calling to me from the stash so I listened.

I wanted to experiment with this one and so I made up a frilly neckband to add some interest up near my face (and away from the fluff!). The front and back neckbands are usually made from two layers each. For the front neckband on this one, I channel-stitched 4 concentric rows (more or less) on the two layers and then I added a third unstitched layer for the back. If you've ever done the chenille technique, it's just like that. I also satin-stitched a vertical line down the middle just because. ;-)

I slashed through the center of the rows, through the first layer only. When I was done, it looked like this:

Then I continued with the rest of the construction as usual and tossed it into the washer and dryer when I was done. I got the effect I was hoping for — curly frills.

I left the back neckband with no frills.

Here's a close-up of the sleeve, for which I again used the original Diana Mode pattern pieces.

So now I'm done with all the patterns I cut out last weekend. I still have one more skirt to make to go with this latest tee but I'm still working on the pattern alterations since I'm short on fabric for my first choice of pattern. I have to say that I've really liked having multiple garments cut out at once so that I get a mini-marathon of just sewing.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Another Tee & Other Stuff

I think Belinda and I are in a race to see who can sew the most tees from 02/2007 issue of Ottobre Woman. ;-) This is my third and she's up to three (four??) too. This one is design #5, but I used plain sleeves instead of the puff, banded sleeves from the pattern that I used for the first one. I also remembered (too late) that I sewed the first neckband with a smaller seam allowance so it would turn out a little wider. This purple neckband is narrower than the other. It's still perfectly fine though, and not anything I'd point out in real life. I've now made a note on the pattern piece so hopefully I won't forget the next time. And yes, there's definitely going to be a next time, and a next time, and a next time with these Ottobre tees!

I edgestitched the neckband with my sewing machine (per the instructions) this time, instead of twin needling with my coverstitch machine. This is good for a little change but I think I prefer the double needle effect. Next time I won't be so lazy about rethreading, which I had to do anyway for the hems.

(Oh, and before you ask, the fabric is from Lucy's Fabrics, but it's sold out.)

Next up, some answers to comments. After that, a little meme. Don't worry, no personal info required! Keep reading to see if you've been tagged.

* * * * *

"I really love the look of this top with the cute tie and gathers in front. Did you use a particular pattern, or is it another variation of one of your TNT tops?"

Thank you! It's from the 06/2005 issue of Burda WOF, and yes, it's a very TNT pattern. It's one of my favorites, as you can see below. I've made it 4 times now. I was trying on the latest aqua top last night before tossing it into the laundry to get it back into shape and I decided that this pattern, with short sleeves and the ties sewn in place, will make a great nightgown too. So that's on my list for someday too.

Here are the photos of the past versions, and the Burda line drawing:

(Regarding sewing lingerie) "What if your machine doesn't have a three stitch zig zag?(Mine doesn't.) What's the next best thing?"

A regular medium zigzag stitch.

"On the panties that I just made, I used my CS machine. Some of the stitches popped. I think that is because I wasn't using wooly nylon. Maybe I should use the 3-step ZZ instead. Is this why you don't use the CS for elastic in panties?"

Wooly nylon in the looper and regular sewing thread in the needles should help prevent the stitches from popping. But, yes, that's why I don't CS for panties. The triple ZZ just seems to hold up better, and it's faster to do since you don't have to keep switching machines, etc.

"On the last picture of the overlapped ends (of lingerie elastic), I can't tell where it's overlapped. Do you zig zag horizontally across, or do a zig zag the length of the overlap?"

I zigzag the length of the overlap. I've added a photo to the tutorial on my website which should help explain.

"I am curious as to whether you have used Curves software to create panties or do you prefer the KS pattern?"

I haven't used Curves for panties. No reason, really, except that I have the Kwik Sew pattern perfected for me so no need to reinvent the wheel. I did like having the instructions for the first time I made them, which you don't get with a self-draft in Curves.

"I like this top a lot. Can you show the trim up close? I see that you bound the neckline, but is that what you did on the sleeve hems? Which pattern is the skirt? It looks great with the top."

Thank you! Here are some close-up pics. The sleeve hems are just straight strips of cross-grain knit, sewn into rounds and pressed in half and then applied in the round with my serger. I coverstitched the seam allowances up with my coverstitch machine. The sleeve pattern (from Ottobre Woman) is gathered at the top and onto the band. I pinned the band onto the bottom of the sleeve 1:1 until about 2 inches on either side of the outward center. Then I just stretched the heck out of it while I serged. ;-) That's why you see a little gathering at that area. It's supposed to be there. After a trip through the laundry, it will be back in shape.

The skirt is my ol' TNT, Kwik Sew 3287.

* * * * *

Finally, here's the meme. The "rules" are simple. Answer the questions, add photos if you want (or steal mine), and tag 5 other sewing bloggers.

1. What kind of seam ripper do you use?

I use this one. They are very sharp and stay sharp a long time. But they're cheap when they need replacing. I buy mine from Nancy's Notions for under $3.98 each. And I buy 2 at a time so I always have a sharp one.

2. What do you use to snip threads at the sewing machine?

I use these little Gingher curved embroidery scissors. They're very sharp, and easy to grab quickly.

3. What do you use to cut out patterns/fabric?

Mostly my Olfa 60 mm rotary cutter, even around tight curves. I like that it covers more "real estate" at once than the smaller cutters. I use the 20 mm cutter to cut traced patterns which need a seam allowance added. I wish there was a seam allowance thingy for the 60 mm cutter. The spring-loaded Fiskars are used mostly for cutting notches/snips and other miscellaneous tasks.

4. Do you stash zippers?

Yep. I love not having to run to the store for a zipper. Not that the local stores ever have the right color anyway. ;-)

5. Which takes up more space in your stash — knits or wovens?

Knits, hands down. Probably 65-75% of my stash is knit fabric.

6. Are you wearing anything today that you made?

Yes. I made everything except my bra, shoes, and jewelry. More specifically, I'm wearing the orangey gathered front top you see above, khaki knit capris, and (TMI) one pair of my newest undies.

7. Does anyone else in your family currently sew?

Yes, my mom sews. My sister owns a sewing machine but she doesn't really sew.

8. What is the last $$ sewing-related (non-fabric) item you bought?

I think it was my big cutting mat.

9. Cutting out, pressing, hemming. Which one do you like the LEAST?

Hemming. I usually just wing it, by eye. ;-)

10. Do you have any non-chain garment fabric stores in your local area?

Yes, there are 2-3. But I usually shop the internet because it's more convenient. These stores are nice, but they are about a 30- to 60-minute drive.

OK, I tag: Belinda, Gaylen, Beki, Erica, and Angie.