Saturday, April 10, 2021
Tuesday, March 23, 2021
I trust most of you have recovered from the shock of seeing a post from me.
Seriously, thank you for all of your kind comments. While I sincerely appreciate them all, Janet's comment of "While you were gone, I stopped by for 'advice' a couple of times" cracked me up for a good few minutes. And Bonnie@SewPlus, how did I not know about your blog before this week? I spent HOURS reading through it, wanting to make everything you've made, watching your daughter grow up (and you grow DOWN!) — and reliving a hurricane or two. I think we're almost neighbors, right? And Carolyn, I'm out of "retirement." This one's for you. :-)
So, while the pattern was still on the cutting table, I quickly cut out another Niagara and sewed it up over a couple of days/nights. I made a couple of construction changes on this version, but that's it.
Wednesday, March 17, 2021
Five Hundred Seventy-Six Days. That's how long it's been since I last posted. I have no idea how that happened. But I also have no idea how the last year happened either. Holy Toledo! (But I'm pretty sure you're as happy as me to get those damn plates of food off my blog landing page!)
It hasn't been quite that long since I've sewn, but it feels close. And with mostly wadders to show for the effort, I just gave up for a while and watched all that Netflix had to offer. Tiger King anyone? Fun fact: Tiger King is actually a local story here in Tampa, and a couple of street scenes were filmed just a few blocks from my house. I found lots of "new" or returning favorites too: The Queen's Gambit, Good Girls, The Crown, Queen of the South, Greenleaf, Bridgerton, Longmire, and many more.
Thankfully, I've kept my job and have been able to work from home since last March, and like most everyone who's been working remotely, I've been working/living in casual tops and stretchy pants. I had ordered some joggers from Old Navy and a few tops from Amazon after I realized that the "I can make those" sewjo just wasn't happening. I even resorted to RTW undies, for the first time in at least 15 years.
Finally, the sewing fog is beginning to lift. Is it Spring? Vaccines on the way? A new Administration in D.C.? Yes. Life is far from "normal," but I'm beginning to think that light is actually the end of the tunnel and not an oncoming train, and the AWOL sewjo has started whispering.
So, what's the new outfit? Stretchy pants and a casual top. Hah. Although I didn't sew the pants (Old Navy again, and I'm actually impressed with the quality of these joggers originally bought on a whim in a different color. I have them in black, navy, gray, and now this light green. No pilling or visible anything after months of constant wear! I even bought duplicates.).
But I did sew the top, from a new-to-me Indie pattern company I came across by accident when I clicked on a random review on PR. The name of the company is Pattern Niche. At some point in the recent past, they were New Horizons Designs (which is currently how to find them on PatternReview) but the company? owner? someone? changed names after Nintendo started using New Horizons or something like that. I really have no idea if that's correct, but I sorta saw something about it in their Facebook Group. Also, I hate Facebook Groups.
Anyway … the pattern itself is great. (I'll get into what I *don't* like later.) The price is good (I paid U.S. $9.95). The download was fast. The PDF is well-organized, sizes are layered, and the pattern sheets are NO TRIM. Let me say it again, NO TRIM. I think every single digital pattern company should switch to NO TRIM, and PRONTO! This is not the first time I've used a NO TRIM PDF pattern so I've loved them even before now. But it was the first time I printed a PDF pattern on my home printer, instead of the (free) work printers. I have an HP 5660 inkjet and the print-out was perfect, which isn't always the case on the work printers. From the home print, everything lined up perfectly, and assembly was very quick due to the NO TRIM feature. Did I mention NO TRIM? The whole PDF, including instructions, is 57 U.S. letter-sized pages. The pattern itself is 27 pages. I have no complaints about the PDF. And I still have (free) work paper. :-)
The pattern is the Niagara Top and Dress, line drawing below. As you can see, there are multiple views and combos, which can be combined for many different looks. The sleeveless views are not just the sleeved views without sleeves. There are different armhole lines on the pattern for the sleeveless option. I cut the tunic length with the scoop neck and short sleeve options. However, I decided the tunic length was too long in my cotton/Lycra fabric (butt Velcro), so I shortened it about 3 inches shorter than the tunic length. I also lengthened the short sleeves about an inch to be less cap-like. I think I'd like to try this dress length for summer, maybe with some color blocking and a faux button placket (the pattern has a real button placket).
The sizing seems to be accurate and the drafting is good. I used my measurements and TNT to compare and blended from the 18 upper bodice to the 24 hips. My hips and tum have seen some "expansion" during this, Our Year o' the Pandemic.
Front view on good ol' Zillie:
Where things had me starting to grind my teeth were in the instructions and terminology, as I'll describe later. Nothing impacted my sewing of the pattern because I'm experienced and know better, but if one doesn't know what they don't know, well ….
So, here we go.The upper bodice is double-layer (faced) and is sewn/turned using the "burrito" method, once for the front upper bodice and then again for the back. This is a good method and the instructions and diagrams for this are fine, although "burrito" is never mentioned. Which it doesn't have to be, but it would be nice to add it in for those newer to sewing so the term becomes familiar to them since it's becoming ubiquitous.
And then there's some questionable terminology:
- Calling the upper bodice pieces just "bodice" and the lower bodice pieces "skirt."
- Calling the upper bodice facing a lining.
- Calling basting "two long straight lines between the markers."
- Calling notches "markers." Especially when sometimes they are called notches in the same instructions.
- Instructing to hem from the wrong side by "edgestitching." I guess this helps keep things straight, but then say it's a option if you're wobbly but also give real hemming instructions.
I often read Indie pattern instructions and feel like they really need a good editor, someone who is an experienced and properly educated (either formally or self-taught using standards) sewist. (Sorry purists. I hate the word "sewer" when reading.) The solution would be to have such a tester just for instructions. Personally, I would probably do this just for a "free" pattern because I think I'm good at it and I'd much rather edit than sew tests on a deadline. Pattern designers - want a ruthless editor? Hit me up. LOL
Lastly for this pattern, here's the top when it was still tunic length before I added the sleeves and trimmed off about 3 inches. I didn't know where else to stick this pic. :-)
In other sewing news, I finally bought myself a clear foot for my coverstitch machine. Obviously, if I felt a huge need for it, I would've bought one years ago. But it's nice to have it and it was nice to just order it to arrive to my porch instead of trying to find a dealer with one and making a special trip. Especially in These Uncertain Times.
In life news, especially for my "oldie" readers … last July we said goodbye to Dani (b/w dog on left below). She was almost 14 and her heart was failing. Our hearts were broken, but we knew it was time. We loved her a lot and still expect to hear her bark at dogs on TV.
About a month before we lost Dani, this big goofy pit bull found us. Her name is Cali. She looks ferocious but …
… this is her true self.
And her best friend.
And yes, I did get on the mask making/wearing bandwagon. Stay safe out there! I'll be back soon. Definitely less than 576 days.