Saturday, December 31, 2011

Three Layers

I have two DIY projects going on right now. I'm crocheting a multicolored sweater inspired by a retro crochet pattern book from the 80's.

And I'm also knitting a multicolored vest. Once I worked at Macy's and their dress code said always wear 3 or more layers to look more professional, like pants, skirt and jacket or skirt, blouse and vest. That stuck with me all these years and I thought I'd go back to doing that, especially in the colder months.

Yesterday I also bought new blank t-shirts. I'll decorate them in a way that means something to me and use them as part of my wardrobe. I'm thinking of using Solvie (dissolveable fabric) and use it to do some machine embroidery on some of the shirts. Here is a tutorial on Threadbanger.

Friday, December 09, 2011

Red Sweater

I just bought a scarlet red cable sweater to go with my autumn wardrobe theme of pink, red, and gray. Since winter is already knocking at the door, I decided to wrap up the autumn thing and move on to my winter designs.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

This Brings Back Memories

I was visiting my daughter and ran across some old photos of gypsy skirts I had made for them. My daughter scanned the photos for me so I could share them with you. They are all grown up now.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Cutting out B5100

I got the dress cut out from B5100. As I was studying the envelope and cutting out the c shaped back neck facing I thought, 'wait a minute'. In one of the photos the V is on the front and the other photo shows the V neck on the back.  So the only way to do that is to wear the dress backwards.  I don't mind doing that, but shouldn't they have noted it somewhere in the description?  Or if they did I can't find it.

The pattern does mention you can use a purchased belt or a self fabric belt. Since I had to add width to the side seams I also made sure to make the belt longer.  The reason I went ahead and cut out the belt is it will come in handy in tying all the colors together in my 3 color wardrobe system.  It can also be worn in my hair as a headscarf.

My boyfriend took the table I have been cutting out patterns on with him to the SCA event.  So I used a lower table and my back and shoulders and neck are killing me now.  To add the cherry on top, my cat tried to jet out the door as I was cleaning up and I lunged for him and now I have a cramp in my right shoulder.  Gads.  I don't remember sewing being this painful when I was younger.

My neighbor came over to see what I was making.  I said, "Oh I'm sewing a dress."  She shook her head and said, "I tried that once.  It didn't turn out well.  Good luck." Haha. I guess I'm just too stubborn to give up.  I was going to sew today too, but it took forever to do all the alterations and I'm too stiff and sore to sit at the sewing machine. Tomorrow is another day.  I did want to finish before my boyfriend gets hom on Monday though.

Sewing a Dress Today

This morning I'm ready to work on Butterick B5100, view C.  I have a feeling I'm going to have to make it a little bigger or maybe a lot bigger. It's a sheath dress and I don't want it to be too tight. And I need to layer things over and under it. Remember, more than likely you cannot sew any pattern straight out of the envelope and have it fit you.  You will always need to make some changes in arm length or where the darts point or how short the waist is or something.  I read in an alterations book only 6% of women can fit into a pattern made straight out of the envelope. So take the extra time to measure yourself and compare it to the pattern specs.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

First Outfit From Things I Already Own

I gathered some of the pink, red and gray items I already own and came up with this outfit.  The only down side is though this skirt is new, it's too tight for me to wear for long, the belt is two belts hooked together and I need to find a better way to do that and I'm not a big fan of bandanas on my neck.  It looks fine but I feel like I'm being choked after a while.

And without a bra it's a bit too revealing.  With a bra I feel suffocated. Dilemmas. But at least I got off of top dead center. I may let the skirt out.  The long sleeved t-shirt has a Halloween design on the front, so I either have to keep covering it up, or just wear it in October. But it's progress. The longest I could wear this outfit is 2 hours tops.

Fabric Decisions

I'm plugging away at the wardrobe project. I got my four new fabrics into the washer to pre-wash them. Three of them can go in the dryer but I don't want to risk drying the organza.  I'll have to hang it. I wanted to make a frou-frou shrug like I saw at the Pasadena Bead Show once. Just in case I ever do get invited to an opera or a ballet. A girl can dream you know.

If I don't run out of energy I hope to get a dress cut out today as soon as the fabric is dry.  But after doing laundry all day I'm kinda pooped. If you want to read up on how the wardrobe project is going click on the link, scroll down, and look for 'shopping your own closets' in the subtitle.

Red Organza with Gold Embroidery

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Dyeing the Shirts

You know that quiet little voice in your head that says 'uhoh' and then you rationalize it and ignore it?
When I ran out of fabric, my boyfriend went out and got another 2 yards.  I just had the yokes to cut out.  As I was cutting them I thought, "This fabric sure seems smoother." It was the same color (natural) but just felt a bit different. I chalked it up to not being pre-shrunk, and maybe a bit of sizing in there. So I cut it out and carried on. But he had grabbed the wrong bolt of fabric.  I recall they had about 5 off-white linens, and I guess they were not all the same.

When my boyfriend dyed it red, the smoother fabric took the dye differently. The yoke is definitely lighter that the rest.  But we lucked out. It looks like a more complicated two-toned shirt.  It wouldn't have looked so good if the back yoke was the old fabric and the front yoke was the new fabric. Now it looks like I meant to do that.

The other frustrating thing was I used white thread for both, but one spool must have been cotton and the other polyester, because the threads on the red shirt resisted the dye and stayed white. My boyfriend said it didn't matter to him.  The inner seamstress in me is crying though. You can't really tell in this photo though because of the shadows.  But he's already left to the event so I can't take another photo.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Dyeing the Shirt

The shirts are being dyed right now. Thankfully that wasn't my job. This is the burgundy one.  I haven't seen the other one yet and it's out in the dryer. He said it's moss green.

Fixing a Buttonhole That Is On the Wrong Side.

It's official. I'm done with both shirts. But after my last blog post I didn't go to bed. I sewed for another hour or more. Then I ended up staying up until 4 AM catching up on all the things I didn't get to  do because the sewing took so many more hours than planned.

On the second shirt I ever so carefully measured which side to put the buttonholes on and which side to put the buttons on.  Then I made the buttonholes. My boyfriend tries it on and comments on how perfect I got the buttonholes.  Then he said they were on the wrong side. *@&%

To do a fix on them, I used a wide zig-zag and closed up each button hole.  Then I cut off the buttons and sewed them over the sealed holes.  Then I sewed new buttonholes on the other end of the cuff.  I wouldn't have done that if the item was being sold to someone, but it's for my boyfriend and he has to dye it today and wear it tomorrow, so he's not picky.  He's thrilled to have them at all. Once the buttons are through the buttonholes, you can't see the old buttonholes at all,  As my calligraphy teacher says, "If it looks good from 10 feet away on a galloping horse, it's good enough."

Of course I could have ripped off both cuffs and replaced them and made fresh buttonholes, but at this point I just needed to be done.

I also shortened the sleeve on the first shirt so both sleeves are the same length now.  I had to cut off the old cuff and make a new one.

So out of 2 shirts, I ended up making 5 cuffs, and 7 buttonholes. I told my boyfriend I put in enough hours to have made 3 shirts, and he said probably four.

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Sewing the Second Shirt.

As I said yesterday, I marked the pattern pieces on the back of each one so I wouldn't have any mix ups.  I was 90% done with the second shirt. All I had left was the underarm seams and the cuffs.   I went to sew the underarms together, and once again the fabric didn't measure up to the same length. Oh no, not again.  So I went under a bright light, and read the name on each piece.  I managed to have the sleeve where the back of the shirt should be, and the back of the shirt where the left sleeve should be.
An hour later I had the 2 pieces removed from the shirt so I could swap them. As I sat there thinking, I realized that the same thing must have happened to the first shirt. I must have the sleeve in the wrong spot, and if so the two sleeves wouldn't be the same length.  I took a tape measure and one sleeve measured 22" and the other 27". After sewing all day that is not news I needed.  But I think it would be quicker just to cut the extra length off, make a brand new cuff and sew it on.  That way I won't have the tedium of ripping out that first cuff. My boyfriend said not to worry about it, he'd wear it as it was.  But I feel funny about that. If I have time to fix it tomorrow I will.
I really didn't want to go to bed tonight without this 2nd shirt finished.  Now I feel like neither shirt is finished and I'm about ready for the funny farm. But I'm afraid to sew any more tonight. It's already 11:30 PM, and except for dinner, I've been sewing since 6:30 PM.

Dress in Burgundy Knit

As soon as I get done sewing these two shirts for my partner, I'm going to sew the first piece in my fall wardrobe. It's a jumper style dress and I got the fabric for it a few days ago. I liked the gray but it was just too thin for the pattern. So I went with the deep maroon or burgundy with a little more weight to it.  I also saw two more fabrics there I want. One is a t-shirt weight gray with black stars and the other is some dark pink corduroy.  But I'm short on cash thanks to my business license being due Oct. 10. That one sure snuck up on me. So unless I sell something on Etsy or book a reading or something, purchasing more fabric will have to wait. If I can make the dress in the 7 days that my boyfriend is at Great Western War I'll feel pretty darn excited.  The pattern says its a 'one hour' pattern.  That must be sewing time.  Cutting out the shirt took me an hour, so the dress is going to take at least 30 minutes just to cut it all out.

I purposely picked a pattern that was plain so I can wear many accessories with it.

Friday, September 30, 2011

A New Adventure

Every sewing day is a new adventure. When I started again this morning, I compared back and front yokes.  They are different, with the neck swooping lower in the front. So I did have the yokes right on the first shirt. What I had wrong was the gathers, but that didn't really cause any issues.
That was the good news.
Now for the bad news.  Last night I cut out the fabric for the second shirt. This morning as I was marking details on each piece, I realized I had only cut out one sleeve yesterday.  The sleeves are huge and cut on the fold.  So I had 2 layers of fabric and a brain fart. Two layers does not equal two sleeves.  Last night we had to go get another yard of fabric for the yokes. I insisted that was all I needed to cut out 2 yokes.  So when I found out I needed a whole sleeve still, I didn't have enough fabric. Again. And my boyfriend was on his way far away to a friend's house for the day. He said he'd have to get another yard on his way home.

Being short on time, I was able to continue on with other parts. I gathered up the top edge of the sleeves and lower front and back. It kept getting bound up so it took me forever. Thank goodness I'd run 2 parallel rows of stitching because one broke under the pressure. It was actually easier to gather it with just one thread.
I applied all the iron on interfacing.  I got the cuffs ready.  I got the collar and neck facings ready. So I'm really hoping I get the shirt done tomorrow.  That gives him a day to dye both shirts. And then I won't feel like I'm under so much pressure. Sewing sure goes a lot faster when you don't make mistakes.

I'm taking the rest of the night off and I got to enjoy a great California sunset.

When my boyfriend got home around 7 PM I knew the fabric store closed at 7.  So I said, "Yay, you made it to the fabric store just in time".  He was taking bags out of the truck. He said, "Oops, forgot all about it."  He'd gone to the grocery store, not the fabric store! We'll have to go tomorrow. I left the iron and ironing board and pattern board and other stuff out on the patio so I can cut the last piece out tomorrow.  My window is right by the patio.  All of a sudden I hear raindrops. So up I get again, and had just got everything inside the house, when it started to pour.  Close one.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

First Shirt is Done But...

I just sewed the last button on the last cuff of the shirt. It is done.  But, I just realized I made another error.  This must be the record number of mistakes I ever made on one sewing project.

This shirt has a front yoke and a back yoke.  On the front yoke because of the neck slot, you leave an ungathered section about 4" wide. But when I sewed the placket on I thought, "Wow, there sure are a lot of gathers here." Then just now when my boyfriend put the shirt on, I could see this flat 4" gap on the back. Jeebus, I put the front of the shirt in the back.  Holy cow. The shirt looks fine.  I think the only difference in the front and back yoke is that flat spot.  I guess I'll find out when I sew the second shirt in the next few days. I'm lucky this shirt is useable at all. I feel like such a dunce. But you can bet your bottom dollar I'm going to scroll on the wrong side of each piece tomorrow 'front yoke', 'front side', 'back yoke', 'back side', and so one.

Now you may ask yourself why I would admit in public that I make sewing mistakes.  I do it so all of you who sew can see that everyone makes mistakes, and you just have to be persistent and keep moving forward. It's not always fun, it's not always a leisurely stroll from beginning to end, but it gives you the freedom to make things you wouldn't otherwise get a chance to own.

Pattern Piece

Me with the missing piece wearing the shirt.
I just went outside to get a photo of the shirt I'm making. I started thinking of where else I might have had my pattern pieces. I had cut the pattern out on the front porch.  I remembered one piece blowing off and landing under a rose bush and my boyfriend had picked it up on his way in the door. So I looked in that direction.  I mean I'd looked everywhere else right? And there it was, nestled behind the jade plant, under the window. It's been out there for days but it was still in good condition. Now I'm thankful that the automatic sprinklers under that bush are broken and it hasn't rained or anything. Whew. I was wearing the shirt with the cuffs still unfinished. And I snagged myself but good on the rosebush when I bent over to rescue the pattern piece.  Trapped! I slowly and carefully untangled myself. I wasn't worried about scratching myself...I was worried about ripping the shirt that's 90% done! 

The Sewing Saga Continues

Today I cut out the second shirt. I wasn't sure I'd have enough fabric, especially since I decided to make this shirt 6" longer all around.   Just when I was patting myself on the back I found another piece I needed to cut.  It was for the back yoke.  Oh *@#). That means I hadn't cut out the front yoke either. So I will need another yard of fabric. All the scraps I have left from the first shirt are too narrow.  Even worse, I can't find the pattern piece for the front yoke. I've already looked through the pattern, the bag, the scraps, and around all my work areas. I'm guessing the ceiling fan gave it a lift somewhere, but for right now, I'm taking a break.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Sewing For Someone Else

After yesterday's wedding I'm pretty tired. But I still have an Oct. 3 deadline to make 2 peasant shirts for my boyfriend. So I'm working away trying to sew the gathered yoke to the shirt front and back.  Seeing how badly the fabric is already raveling I decided to serge that seam to stabilize it. That worked out fine so I decided to serge some other raw edges.  But I snagged the fabric on something and the knife on the serger cut too deeply on the seam line. Ack!  I think I can save it by making the seam there a wee bit wider. Glad it wasn't any worse, but I decided it was a good time to take a break. Gads.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Sewing a Man's Peasant Shirt

My boyfriend had great plans to sew not one but two shirts for the upcoming SCA event dubbed the Great Western War. I don't even get to go. As the date looms closer he had one of those, 'I don't even know how to sew clothes' moments. And before you can say jumping jack flash I found myself the new owner of two shirt projects. He sews bow cases, pavilion sidewalls, and all kinds of utilitarian things, but never got around to how to make garments.

The pattern calls for 4 yards of 45" wide fabric, and he got 8 yards of linen. Normally it wouldn't matter, but this pattern needs exactly 45" of width for the shirt front and back if I cut them the way the pattern shows (folded selvage to selvage). The fabric has already been pre-washed so maybe it shrank, and when I measured it,  it's only 42" wide so it won't work the narrow way.  I had to refold it the broad way to get the width I needed.  After cutting out one shirt, I only have 3 yards left for the second one, but I can use the narrow strips left from the first one for the cuffs, the collar, and other small pieces. I think I can squeak it out. If not, it's back to the store for another yard.

I could have saved time by cutting out both shirts, but I want to make sure he likes the fit of the first shirt so I can modify it if necessary. It's a very full shirt. He plans to dye at least one of them.

I have to wonder about my sanity when I don't even so my own clothes because it's too cluttered to turn around in here, but now I'm sewing his. Maybe I don't love myself enough.

Friday, September 09, 2011

Staying Home to Sew

I have so much sewing to do! And I'm staying home all day tomorrow to do some of it. I usually go to a cycling event with my boyfriend, but it takes up an entire day.  He has fun running the snack table at the Amtrak 100, but I just sit and draw or work on crafts all day so it's not the best use of my time.  He hardly knows I'm there he's so super busy.  So this year I opted out.  I'm sitting at home and making my sewing machine my best friend.

The color scheme of my fall wardrobe are red, pink and gray.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Sewing a Blouse

Yesterday I went to M&L Fabric, which is very close to me and picked out some prints to use for a wrap-around tunic style blouse. By the time I got them all pre-washed and dried it was dark out and I like to cut my patterns out on a table outside.  So today I hope to get it cut out. I'll have to alter the pattern to fit me.  As I've come to learn, if you want to sew accurately, you have to adjust each and every pattern. Women are all lumpy and bumpy and every lump and bump requires a pattern adjustment. Every time I try to take a shortcut and just sew it as it is, I regret it. The pattern is McCalls M5233. Wish me luck.