I’ve made a short set!

A few weeks ago I attempted a short set/lounge wear from some unidentifiable knit material I had hanging around. It needed to go to make room for the fabulous new eyelet material I just got from fabricmart. Can I tell you that I LURVES it??!! :-).

OK,back to the short set:



Anyhoo, So I used Simplicity  pattern  2317. I thinK I cut the smallest or next to smallest size.   I immediately ran into several problems:

  1. The shorts were entirely too short for my liking so I attempted to make them longer ( they ended up slightly uneven)
  2. The tee, as cut, was too big in the chest area. I guess I thought b/c it was knit, it would conform to my body. It did not.
  3. The crotch is too short! UGGGG.  ( I think the last time I attempted pants or shorts of any kind was in high school and I can see why now.
  4. I had trouble with the elastic waistband. I may or may not have cut the wrong size elastic. Who can tell? Regardless, it could have been  much looser. I followed the pattern measurements and instructions ( albeit loosely) but I can’t figure out if I need to use a different pattern or if it really was my error.

There were more problems but those were the major ones. Even so, I washed them several times, put them in the dryer ( what was I thinking? Now they are even shorter. Oye.) and wore them.  Anyway, I wore them all day a few days ago and as long as I was sitting, everything was comfy but that dern crotch gave me the blues. I’m still glad I made it. It felt good learning new skills. I will definitely attempt this again as I need more comfortable loungewear.

Skills  I learned:

  • How to make a mock fly
  • Sewing a crotch for shorts
  • Working with a different type of knit ( this material unraveled very easy and did not have a ton of give- IDK what type of knit it was).
  • I learned that I should serge all my pieces up front regardless of what type of garment it is. You’ve probably gathered that I did not do this :-/.
  • How to make a racerback tee.

I will probably keep wearing the top even though it’s a little too big. The shorts tho? Err, prolly only as a last resort :-).

Have you made loungewear before?

~M

Pink Peonies Skirt

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I finished this skirt several weeks ago, just didn’t get a chance to photograph it til now. It is my second make of the Full Gathered Skirt Tutorial from Gertie’s Blog.  I’m pretty pleased with how it came out. After wearing it all day, I noticed the waist was still gaping a little at the front similar to how the waist gaped in the first iteration of the skirt (here) but not as bad. This is weird because when I first tried it on, I thought the waistband was just a tad too tight. After being in the skirt all day ( walking, sitting, lounging), I can say that is held up pretty well. It kept me pretty cool in the hot weather. I originally got the fabric from B&J Fabric in NY lat year and I believe its cotton. As far as new skills I learned:

  • I learned to thread my SERGER!  ( All of the rainbow colored thread the machine came with ran out leaving me in complete panic. LOL. Thank you youtube for helping me b/c the DVD tutorial was COMPLETELY useless. Brother, you should be ashamed. Very ashamed).
  • Improved upon my catchsticth for the hem
  • Improvised the pattern with a limited amount of fabric
  • I’m closer to perfecting the invisible zipper
  • I tried a new waistband technique in which encloses the zipper in the waistband at the back. I got the tutorial here. I really like this technique and think it makes the skirt look more professional.
  • I got better with lining up seams
  • My serging got better ( I serged all seams and bottom of the garment)
  • I stitched in the ditch for the waistband.

Overall, I’m pretty pleased with myself! Next up is a short set/loungewear that I recently completed. Oh, and I almost forgot- I JUST got my Cambie pattern in the mail and I’m SOOO excited! Stay tuned for more makes :-)

~M

bright pink peonies.

Currently working on another full gathered skirt. This time I didn’t use the exact measurements Gertie gave. I had some fabric I wanted to use and I did everything I could to make it work. Here’s  a pic of the fabric.  I got it  from B&J Fabrics in NY last summer. Once I’m all done I’ll post the finished version. I feel  a little scared now that the flowers are too bright. ummmm!

0~M

The Full, Gathered Skirt

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I recently finished the full gathered skirt. Yaaay for completed projects! I got this pattern from Gertie’s Blog. You can find the post here. It was fairly easy to make.  Just 2 large rectangles and 1 skinny small one.

When making up the skirt, I thought the first waistband ( made following the instructions exactly)  would be too small after adding seam allowances  so I made a bigger one. That one ended up being too big so I went back to the first one.  I made the skirt out of a heavy navy blue linen. I don’t think that was a good idea because the gathers were bulky and the seams were hard to press flat around the waistband. Also, the fabric stretched (A LOT) while pressing so the skirt ended up being  too big. It also  looks uneven when really it’s just too big and heavy. ARGH.  Despite these issues, I am really proud of the skirt. I plan on sewing another one a tad shorter in a bold floral print ( I’d also love to do it in tafetta like Gertie). I think next time I will try  this tutorial from Coletterie  for the zipper/waistband insertion instead of the one Gertie uses. I want to see if it’s an easier and more professional looking finish. Overall, I’m pleased with the skirt  as this was my first time making it. I probably won’t wear it much though because it’s simply too big and I don’t have the heart to pick it apart and start over.

Let’s throw a party! Cuz why you ask? Well, this was the first  time  I used my new serger! ( Suuuper excited -can you tell?). I purchased  a Brother 1034D  and so far I lurves it. I’m scared as all get- out to change the thread so yes, my seams are finished with the rainbow colored thread the machine came with! Haha.

Full, Gathered Skirt

Front View. You can see the fabric was too heavy/loose as the waistband is sagging down in the front.

Full, Gathered Skirt

The zipper- Somehow the iron stretched out the waistband so it’s not completely even. Bulkiness prevented me from making the top of the zipper invisible.

Full, Gathered Skirt

Full view of the zipper. Mostly ok except for the waistband.

Full, Gathered Skirt

(I love how my face looks so confused/concerned here!  Ha). Had about an inch of extra room in the waistband.

Full, Gathered Skirt

Back view

I think for the first time and wrong fabric choice that it was not bad! I wore it to work that day and got several compliments before ever telling anyone I made it!  ;-) I know, so tacky.  :-P

 I’m ready for my next project!- perfecting the fit on shift dress with princess seams. Stay tuned for an update.

Vogue 1314-Tracy Reese Knit Fitted Dress

Why have I not posted anything since February?  Hmmm, well, let see;- um, life happened. LOL. Anyway, I have not one but TWO completed projects that I’m super proud of! This post  is  about  the Vogue 1314 Tracy Reese knit dress. I’ll do another post on my gathered skirt.  So let’s get into details. I’ve had this Tracy Reese pattern for over a year I’m guessing. It wasn’t on my mind until I saw the version that Mimi G sewed on her blog. ( I can’t get the link to the actual dress but the post is dated August 20,2012). I realized I had the pattern and thought it seemed like an easy project to do. I should mention that easy things take me forever to complete and hard things. This was my first time working with knit fabric. I didn’t have a serger at the time and this fabrics cut edge was seriously curling up on me. I did a little research and realized it would sew better with a stabilizer. The pattern calls for stay tape which helped. I think my material was a little too stretchy though.   I liked it without sleeves but added the sleeves just so I could follow the pattern exactly. I thought it would be a good experience.  It was!  I learned the new skills of how to sew ruching, long sleeves and a neck facing  thanks to this project. It took me about 2 weeks to make this dress- because I’m  so S-L-O-WWWWW . I took my time and did a little bit every few days. There was plenty of seam ripping as well as lots of dirty looks given to my machine. Getting the tension right was torture. I finally gave up and decided a  good enough stitch would have to do.  Overall, I like the dress and I’m proud of myself.

The  pattern instructions were pretty easy and besides getting used to the fabric rolling and stretching  out all over the place, it wasn’t too hard. I wasn’t so fond of the fabric I used for this dress. I feel like if I wear the dress out, I may be mistaken for someone out of the  101 Dalmatians movie but it is ok b/c this fabric was purchased so I could practice sewing with knit fabric. I  didn’t cut both pieces on the fold because I didn’t have enough fabric so there is a center seam down the back. Grrr. Oh well. There is a little pooling of fabric in the back or swayback anddd it’s  a bit clingy for my taste. The biggest concern is that  there is too much ruching which makes my tummy and waist look bigger than they really are. No bueno! I realize I just made that sound so much  worse than it is, actually.   I would  definitely make this dress again with a few changes. First,  think I would reduce the amount of ruching, second, I’d make it sleeveless, third, I’d  use fabric with a little less stretchiness in it and fourth-  use a serger to finish the seams. Did I mention I’m super proud of myself ( boast much?)!! Heh.  I  have to admit, I was close to finishing and just got tired and almost left it as yet another 1/2 finished project.  Something told me to  keep going and not be a quitter. So glad I did!

:-)

Vogue 1314
Back View

Back View

More thoughts on shifty ( the shift dress that is…Heh)

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Here I am again. Still pondering the mystery that is the shift dress.  I will keep hashing my problems out here on the blog til I get some solutions! Am I the only one that has problems with darts? Seems like I can never get them even. Ever. And I have a heck of a time lining up the darts when attaching the skirt front and back to the bodice front and back. ARGH. Part of the problem is that I’m a different size in the bodice than I am in the skirt. Something is not transferring right.  I think the next pattern I’m going to look at will have princess seams. I wonder if that will work better. Hmm. Any ideas for how to consistently make sure your darts and seams line up when you are 2 different sizes?

~M

Link

The Shift Dress Blues.

        At the end of last year, I decided ( in order to improve my sewing skills  and add much needed church clothes to my wardrobe) that  I would make 5 shift dresses in 2013. That was  my goal. I’m talking shift dresses with good quality fabric, fully lined with invisible zippers. It’s now  February and after spending many hours, days and weekends I have finally decided to give up on shift dress number one. This officially  leaves me at zero, which means I’m back at one.

Things started off cool:

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then things got real:

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and more real ( the lining sticking through the neck!! Oh my!):

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So, here’s the story: I  previously made 8( EIGHT!!!) muslins for this usher

Lavender Shift Dress

dress  I sewed this summer. I still wanted to tweak the fit so I made a few more until I was happy. All was fine until I  ironed the wool that I bought for the dress…with steam. I was happily pressing away with the  words (“pressing can make the difference between a homemade looking garment and RTW one” ringing in my ears). Well, Obviously I forgot I was working with wool because by the time the whole thing came together it was stretched waaay out ( the bodice that is). I decided to add pleats to the front and back neckline so I wouldn’t have to remake it. That seemed to kinda work. For a minute anyway…

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When it came to attach the lining, I found that the lining  was way bigger than the dress. This is so odd because I cut out the same size for both the lining and the fashion fabric!

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I put the lining in only to realize I had no idea how to attach a lining WITH an invisible zipper. Much agonizing and research ensued. Anyway, I finally figured it out! At last, bliss. Ummm, no. I tried the dress on only to realize the armhole was too tight and the darts were kinda weird. None of this happened with my last muslin.  I failed to reinforce the free edges of the wool so my fabric was steadily unraveling and all the picking out I did totally didn’t help. I had picked the fibers down to nil and had very little seam allowance at the shoulder  seam by this time.  You can see where this is going. It  seems there was no way to save this dress.  After I chop up the dress I can probably salvage a pencil skirt out of the bottom. I’m totally bummed because I spent SOO much time on this effort and I was loving the fashion fabric! I also had a hard time finding lining to match and the lining color  was spot on!  All that gone. Although I’m really sad but you gotta know when to hold em’ and when to fold em’ as Kenny Loggins would say :-).

I did  learn some really good things though:

1. Reinforce your fabric edges, ESPECIALLY the wovens that fray.

2. Be extra  careful with the iron and there is a such thing as over- pressing a garment.

3. Learn/know more about  the  properties of the  fabric you’re using.

4.  How to FULLY line a dress- YAAAAY me! (Seriously I was nervous and sick at the stomach just figuring out how to tackle this).

5. How to fully line a dress with an invisible zipper. :-)

6.  Draft a pattern sloper before tackling any.more.sewing.projects.

I think those are invaluable lessons! I just had a friend help me with my measurements and from the interwebs, I am learning how to transfer those measurements to a sloper.  Once I have this down set, I am going to get started on shift dress # 1!

If at first you don’t succeed, figure out what lessons you learned and put them in practice for your next project.

:-)

Happy sewing!

I made a shift dress!

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I like it overall! The hem is kinda messy but  IDK what could have been done about that. A smaller hem I guess. I got a lot of compliments on the dress though, so I’d say it’s a good start. :-D

I made a shift dress back in September and am just now getting around to posting about it. I’m so proud of myself! After taking sewing classes for about 1.5 years, I was scared to sew something without the help of a teacher, especially with  fitting. A friend asked me to be an usher in her wedding and I was not having success finding a lavender dress in September so decided to sew one. Honestly, I didn’t feel like sewing a dress under such a time crunch but because I didn’t have a ton of money to spend on more expensive dresses online, I kinda had no choice! It looks cute on no? The picture in no way reflects the weeping and gnashing of teeth involved in the making of this dress. Heh.

I cut out my size in New Look 6968  The bust fit perfect but the neck and armholes were too tight and the skirt was too small. I kept adjusting things not really  knowing what I was doing.  I was majorly frustrated ya’ll. EIGHT (8!!) muslins later ,I finally had a decent fit. I was fit to be tied, no pun intended. :-)  Matching up the darts and seams were a total booger especially because I altered the pattern. It was my first time working with satin too. Why did no one tell me I needed a special type of needle for sewing with satin? And really, I didn’t even think through the fact that this fabric is totally the un-pliable and a fray monster.  Aye yi yi!  I probably should  invest in a serger to help with fabric fraying.   I had to sew the invisible zipper 2 times to get it right. I  never got around to adding  the hook  but I otherwise the dress is finished. Yaay me!

What I would do differently:

I think next time I would  sew the zipper straight to the top and forget about hooks. Seems like such a nuisance. I also would have lined it for a better finish instead of using facings and to for a smoother finish/fit.,etc. I have never lined anything completely before and was scared to attempt it. I was also  out of time.  Anyway, it’s done and hopefully I have a trusty sloper now for a shift dress. I better, after all the work I put into it. ;-) Here are pics of the process.

The innards.  Fray city. Overlocker/Serger anyone?

front/side view

Back view . I can’t figure out how to stop all that puckering. Lining? I pressed this thing silly! I didn’t want to burn it. I also don’t think I sewed my zipper close enough to the seam because it’s not completely invisible.

I added grosgrain ribbon for a belt and a brooch for an accent et voila! A shift dress!

~M

My favorite sewing blogs right now

Here are some of my  favorite sewing blogs right now ( in no particular order):

Oonaballoona

Gerties Blog for better sewing

Miss Celies Pants

Sewaholic

Frabjous Couture

The Selfish Seamstress

A Fashionable Stitch

Lladybird

VeryPurplePerson

I love all of these blogs in different ways! So glad I stumbled upon them. :-)

Basically This pain in the neck 3 month skirt had a silver lining in that it led me to the sewing blogoshpere. Oh, and it fits me to a TEE too! tehee! All’s well that ends well      (once I rip out the zipper and finish the hooks). Heh.

The Three Month Skirt

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You know how Anthro and Modcloth have these quirky names for their clothes like : The bicycle dress, or Color Me Blue dress, or High Tea in the Afternoon dress (those names I just made up for fun but you get the gist)? Well, I have a name for my skirt. It’s called the 3 month skirt. Why the 3 month skirt you ask? Well, frankly because it’s taken me 3 months to make this blankety blank skirt! Actually that’s not completely accurate.  I never added a snap or hooks to the waistband so technically it’s still unfinished.

The start of the 3 month skirt: Skirt front with pleats pinned

I inserted an invisible zipper! I was so nervous about doing it I practiced like 3x on a muslin. :-)

It should have been simple enough, except, I forgot what my sewing teacher told me about ease and slightly round hems and putting in an invisible zipper and… well, almost everything! It was supposed to be such a pleasurable experience but it most certainly was not.  I cut the cloth down a lot and took in the sides. When I finally thought I was having some level of success, I couldn’t figure out how not to make the hem pucker. The only solution I could think of was to sew it with bias tape (ummm). Anyway, it will do I suppose but the thing is, it’s fall. This skirt was made IN summer FOR summer and now it’s fall (autumn is a much prettier word though, isn’t it? I digress…). Oh well, I did learn some valuable lessons and sewing this skirt led me to sewing blogs so alas all is well with the world! What a wonderful, WONDERFUL addicting world it is too.  If I had discovered sewing blogs several years ago, I would probably a ridiculously fabulous seamstress by now. Well, perhaps not but still, a girl can dream :-)

The outside of the zipper. It’s really invisible! Kinda…

~M

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