Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Simplicity 1849: In Progress and my TNTee

I'm still waiting to hit the wall since I don't know where this energy spurt is coming from but until I smack it, I'll take what I can get and not question it. Tonight I cut out the Simplicity 1849 "muslin" which, as you can see, isn't really a muslin at all. This is actually a fairly new ITY knit, bought from Fabric.com a couple of weeks ago. It barely made it out of the washer/dryer before it hit the cutting table.

So far, so good. At least as far as pieces fitting together. I need to baste the back piece on before I know whether it really fits. I do have a concern about the left overlay piece (on your right), since the way it's supposed to be cut (and was) ends up with no side-to-side stretch. It's basted in place until the try-on and will be easy enough to recut in the opposite direction if I find the stretch is needed. I'm also following Sheila's lead and leaving off the cumbersome facings. I'll just turn the neck edges under and coverstitch, probably over some clear elastic for stability and recovery.

I had a few questions about my Ottobre TNT tee. The issue is 02/2007 and is still available here. Here's all the patterns in this issue and now that I've revisited it, I see a couple of skirts I forgot I wanted to make. Looks like the Carnival of Skirts will continue into November here.

Speaking of skirts, I also cut out another Magic Pencil from the "muslin" leftovers and it's laying on my pattern cabinet waiting its turn. If all goes well, I'll have a 2-piece "dress" and 2 separates that will fit into my wardrobe nicely. I love being in sizes that let me get a 3/4-sleeved top and a skirt from 2.5 yards of fabric on a whim.

Monday, October 29, 2012

I Tried To Finish

All that's left is the hem, which I would've finished yesterday except I'm afraid the invisible zipper is a dud. This is one of the items I made a special trip to Joann's for last weekend, joining the throngs of Halloween shoppers to do so. Of course it went in PERFECTLY first time, including the waistband joining seams lining up exactly next to each other across the zip. Of course. I will probably have to glare at it a week or two before I'm ready to rip out the current zip and replace it. So, I guess technically I finished the Carnival of Skirts challenge even if only one of my two skirts is currently wearable.

There's not much else to say about the skirt. It's black. It has a number of seams. It has pockets. Exciting stuff, eh? But it's the boring makes that usually get the most mileage so I'm OK with a plain black skirt. It also has a decent twirl factor, which I'm also OK with. Here's a close-up of the boring pocket. ;-)

Next up is Simplicty 1849. I seem to be on a Simplicity roll. I finally found a knit to match the burgundy-ish/magenta-ish & white plaid Magic Pencil skirt I made last winter but never wore because it was an orphan. Since I don't have extra of the fabric, I'll be making this one twice. Once to test, and then again in that matching fabric. (And if I like it a lot, maybe even once more as a dress.)

Tonight was pattern cutting night. I seem to have found a second and third wind the last few days. Saturday I dusted/vacuumed/mopped my entire house, including Alex's bathroom. Without going into detail, let's just say Ewwwww! After that, I went to the parts store for a new tail light and to the grocery store. Came home, put food away, and then replaced the tail light. Hung up some pictures. Brushed down the pool. Then yesterday, I detailed my car's interior. I spent THREE HOURS just cleaning and vacuuming. (It was almost as bad as Alex's bathroom. lol) I never did get the exterior washed, but plan to this coming weekend. It's too cold right now to even think about water outside. Although I fear by tomorrow night I will just collapse into a puddle of jelly. ;-)

Anyway, back to tonight's cutting session. I got out my trusty Ottobre TNT Tee. Carolyn has her beloved TNT dress. I have this tee. I've used this pattern as a "sloper" so many times I should be paying Ottobre royalties. Here's the Ottobre front overlaid onto the Simplicity. I cut around the Ottobre armhole, sideseams, and length and stuck to the Simplicity for the neckline. It was a similar set process for the front overlay piece, but there's a bit more "educated guessing" since the overlay has some gathering spread built into the pattern piece. But as many times as I've used this TNT now, it really isn't too hard to just wing it.

This, below, is why my Ottobre fits me so well, and why I use it for 99.99% of the knit tops/dresses I sew. The armhole and shoulder width/ angle are just perfect for me and the Ottobre sleeve goes in like a dream each and every time.

Here's the Ottobre back overlaid onto the Simplicity. I pretty much just cut out the Ottobre, saving nothing from the Simplicity except the shoulder width. No need to reinvent wheels.

Another close-up, this time of the back armhole. That's a big difference.

The Simplicity front is a full piece. I decided I didn't need that and just cut half and will lay it on the fold to cut.

Now I need to go find my tights. It is going to the FORTIES here tonight. Who ordered THAT??

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Simplicity 2451 In Progress

So far I'm on track to complete my two-skirt commitment to Faye's Carnival of Skirts. This is skirt #2 (and my belly) where I left it tonight. I still need to attach the waistband/yoke, insert the invisible zipper, and hem it. I forgot the first time I made this pattern (the other view) that I thought the pockets were too shallow and so no adjustment was made for that and they remain too shallow. But they're good enough to clip my office pass card onto and that's really all I want from them in a work skirt.

The fabric is a synethetic something bought from Fabricmart last year and it's nice and drapey, which is great for the twirl factor in this trumpet silhouette.

Tomorrow I'm going to wash and vacuum my car first thing (waaaaaay overdue) and then I'm hoping to finish the skirt with football on the sewing room TV.

If I finish, I'll probably wear it Monday with a new long-sleeve wrap top I bought today ... since our temps have dropped to the chilly 60s. Brrrr. ;-) The hurricane going up the East Coast made it quite windy here today and it actually was feeling like autumn. It's nice for us to have good weather from a hurricane for a change, but I really hope it doesn't turn into what's predicted for my northern friends.

Now it's off to look at the new Vogues since I saw a hint of their being out on Carolyn's blog ...

Sunday, October 21, 2012


I now have a new top to wear with my new skirt. Yay me. ;-)

This morning, the "fabric" looked like this, a too-big dress that I didn't think would be flattering anymore even if I took it in. The problem was, I couldn't just toss it either because I really like the fabric. It's just one of those perfect knits — it feels good, drapes wonderfully, and the print works well with my wardrobe.

So after I altered my pattern pieces for skirt #2 — and then chased down Dani who I thought had escaped the yard but apparently had turned invisible instead and was in the way back behind big full plant-y things stalking something in a hole for over an hour (was I ever mad and happy) — I put the skirt aside in favor of a no-brainer palate cleanser, which was repurposing the dress into a top. Enter McCall's 6078, which I have made before, although my pattern is now a morph between the original McCall's (front) and my ever trusty TNT Ottobre tee (back, armholes, and sleeves).

Many knit tops use a narrow self-fabric facing strip to finish the back neckline, which is usually a royal PITA to sew nicely with an ornery, slippery knit. Instead of fighting and swearing, I'll opt to bind with my coverstitch machine and or use clear elastic as the "facing." I couldn't bind today even if I wanted to because I didn't have any fabric to cut for a continuous binding strip. So it was the clear elastic method. I took a couple of pics so you could follow along. :-)

First, if the neckline has 5/8" seam allowances, you need to trim it back to a 3/8" seam allowance (to match the width of the elastic). Then, using a Teflon foot so it glides over the clear elastic, align one edge of the elastic to the cut edge of the neckline and attach to the wrong side with a small ZZ stitch. (f you don't have a Teflon foot, GET ONE. It's great for sewing those ornery knits and lots of other things too.) Leave elastic "tails" at the start and finish so you have something to grab onto when starting and finishing. Trust me, don't skip the tails or there will be swearing involved after all. Also, don't stretch the elastic (but pre-stretch it before you attach it). Just keep it taut against the fabric.

Next, turn the elastic to the inside of the neckline just the width of the elastic and use your coverstitcher to topstitch. If you don't have a coverstitcher, you can use a twin needle or a ZZ stitch. And that's it. See how nice and flat? No ripples, no stretching out. No swearing.

This (below) is what happens when you decide on a pattern and cut out the back piece before determining if you actually have enough length in the rest of the original dress for the cowl front piece. Uh, yes, I did and then I didn't. I ended up piecing the rest of the cowl onto the top edge. In this print and with the drape, it doesn't show at all. But since the shoulders have stitched pleats, close up the piecing seam looks like another stitched pleat anyway. It all worked out in the end. Whew!

Here's skirt #2 altered and laid out to cut. The alterations were minimal but since I do not have a flat tummy, I needed more room for it. I added 1/4" to the sideseams and front princess seams at tummy level, which you can below. Because the waistband fit in the muslin, I had to taper back IN to the waist after adding for tummy, which makes for a weird pattern piece, but hey … if it works …

I may cut tonight or I may just veg in front of the TV. Anyone want to place a bet? ;-)

Saturday, October 20, 2012

How I Spent My Saturday

And, to quote Forrest Gump, that's all I have to say about that.

After this morning's post, I dove right into skirt making of the Magic Pencil variety. And then I realized I had absolutely NO elastic for the waist band. Grrrr. I knew I had a hair appointment so I planned to stop by Joann's before that and make only one trip out. (When I get in a sewing zone I barely even brush my teeth, let alone leave the house. TMI?)

I cut out the Magic Pencil skirt and then my ADHD (not really) took over and I started looking at my other skirt patterns. Before I knew it, one jumped out at me and I had a muslin cut and sewn together.Simplicity 2451 will be skirt #2 in the Carnival of Skirts.It won't go quite as fast as the MP, since I do need to make a few adjustments to this pattern before I cut the real fabric tomorrow.

But, as you can see up above, I did actually finish the Magic Pencil once I was back from my haircutting-elastic-buying-quick-grocery-run trip. The fabric is dark brown stretch bengaline, the good stuff, bought from Joann's of all places. But last year — sorry, and not labeled as such. I used my modified skirt pattern to include a back slit. I think the slit adds about 15 minutes to the cutting/construction time and oh-so-much to the finished skirt. The top shown with it is not really a top, but it will be soon. It's a dress I made that's now way too big, but I love the dotty brown knit and I want to remake it into a shell or draped neck tee.

My hair salon always has a wonderful display of pretty costume jewelry, and at quite reasonable prices. Not Walmart prices but not boutique either, and they *are* boutique quality. I always drool over them but hadn't ever caved. Until today.

I bought this bracelet. It's got different colored metals and jewels and will go with everything.

And this necklace, which is a lot sparklier in real life because the large stones are surrounded by smaller sparkly stones, which aren't showing up well in this pic. This goes great with my hair and general coloring and I'm sure I'll find (or make) something to wear with it.

This set I bought for my work friend, the one who was my drinking buddy last night. She was buying the drinks over my protests and she's also gifted me with a couple other small things. I saw this and knew it was very her, and so it will be come Monday.

And speaking of the haircut ... here's a goofy shot. Nothing different, just a trim. I went curly today.

Parting Shots of the deployed Marine at sea. Since it's been a while since I've updated on him too. He called me from the Philippines the other night. He's probably on his way to Hong Kong now. Most of his squadron went back to Japan but he volunteered to stay on for the Hong Kong leg, just so he could go there on Uncle Sam's dime. Smart Marine. :-) He'll meet back up with them afterward in Japan before coming back to the States sometime in late December.

Yes, that IS a Darth Vader mask. And yes, that's Tyler wearing it.

Aboard Tyler's "home" in the Pacific somewhere.Awesome photo!

Just hanging out.

Five By Five Tampa Bay

Last night my co-worker friend was an artist participant in the Tampa Museum of Art's First Annual Five By Five exhibition. You can read more about the event here. It was a great night! A few others from the office and HUNDREDS of others from all over were there. There were lots of art pieces to look at and buy (I didn't), pop-up perforrmace artists, and full bars (I did).

The "big boss" is on a buying spree in the center of this pic:

"Pop up" dancers in the lobby:

We stayed at the museum for about 3 hours and then four of us (sans big boss) moved on to a downtown Tampa bar for a couple more hours for a couple more drinks and lots of goofy and funny conversation. Did I say it was a GREAT night? :-)

Needless to say, I was a little slow getting up this morning, but now I am and I'm heading into the sewing room to decide on my first skirt for Faye's Carnival of Skirts. I'm pretty sure it will be another Magic Pencil Skirt since they're fast and easy and I love every one I've made. Stay tuned ...

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

New Look 6097: Modeled

Here's the one I made this past Sunday. (And I really need a haircut - appointment for Saturday yay!)

And the first one I made back in July. I took this pic back then but don't think I actually shared it here.

I made the belt but I never actually wear it. I just wear a chain belt with it, or no belt at all. But since the dress has been in the wardrobe rotation a lot in the last couple of months, I knew I wanted another one. Bonus that it's such a fast project to cut and sew. I'll probably make another with 3/4 sleeves for "winter."

But my next projects will be skirts, since I joined Faye's Carnival of Skirts. Hope to see y'all join in too!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

The Two-Month Dress

New Look 6802, finally finished.

A close-up of the twist overlay, which gets lost in the print unfortunately, and so the dress looks kind of blah from a normal distance. Oh well, it's not going to be a wardrobe showstopper, but it will be perfectly fine in the office rotation. And it will move into winter with a cardi layered over it. So, the end result is a win overall, even if a boring win.

The reason it was a two-month dress is this pattern piece right here. I KNEW when I saw it that it looked too skinny for my body but I foolishly plowed on ahead anyway. (Why do I do that?)

I got this far at the end of July. From the front, not so bad.

From the back, sausage casing to the max.

This is where it, and my sewing mojo, sat for the last two months:

To be fair, I haven't been missing because this dress beat me. I've just been involved in some other things, and with a pretty full closet, hadn't felt an overwhelming need to sew and the desire to sew went with that.

But the desire is back and not only did I cut out and sew a new version of NL6802 this weekend, I also cut and sewed another NL6097. So now I have TWO new dresses to wear this week.

And I've also been eyeing the fall fabrics in the stash and inspiration is setting in. I think the mojo may be back for a while.

* * * * *

The fix for the sausage casing was to move the back skirt piece away from the fold 1" and then add a matching 1" to each side of the back bodice:

For completeness, these are the patterns for this weekend's makes:

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Back in the Saddle

Stay tuned. There might even be a completed dress photo and blog post tomorrow.