MeMadeMay 2021 week 2

Alright it’s week two of MeMadeMay and here’s a roundup!

First, I recently made this rayon knit peony dress with fabric from Britex (a San Francisco store I used to visit in person) This is a dress pattern from StyleArc

Next I used some chambray from a local Jersey City fabric store to make this StyleArc Panel dress. To are the fabric a little more interesting I embroidered it with intersecting lines – inspired by the Japanese Sashiko embroidery technique.

From here I had made this top last year. When we originally went to Chicago for the start of the pandemic we only brought winter clothes. We ended up staying with family for so long I made some summer clothes and this was from fabric I ordered from Spoonflower. I like the print but I honestly don’t like the cotton very much -it is not very soft. The skirt used to be a dress but the top got old so I cut it off and made a skirt.

Next is this ruffle top that I traced from the style of a jcrew shirt. This is also a 2020 pandemic project. Fabric is cotton from Joanns

Next is the rayon panel dress from MoodFabrics that I recently competed. This is a StyleArc pattern.

On Saturday I wore a Liberty of London cotton voile dress that has a gathered neckline (self drafted technically, also basically a bag). Also a homemade mask from Joanns. This is me getting my second covid vaccine! Yay! I am lucky and thankful.

This brings us to today – I did not feel that great today so I technically broke my memade streak and only wore old store bought pajamas and a Blackdome t-shirt from my grandpa. I did finish these curtains that I had been working on to add a little privacy to our den.

This was a hard project!! I ordered a brocade from MoodFarbics and I really like the way they turned out. That said – I’ve never made something THIS BIG before. It was a lot of fabric and the execution had to be pretty spot on so they would hang okay. I ended up sewing the bottom and tops by hand so that I could control the fabric. When I tried with my machine, the fabric was pulled around and they became uneven. This also involved a lot of precise measuring. That said, I am happy with how they turned out and now I am going to make even BIGGER ones for our bedroom window.

Liberty Pajamas for my Mom!

I bought a really nice cotton Liberty of London print for my mom from Britex in San Francisco. She wanted some pajamas and I thought it would be a fun project!

I have started using some online patterns and so I decided to try the Closet Core Caroline Pajama pattern. These had a few options and I kind of did a hybrid of their pants with piping but then I cut the pieces to be shorts and short sleeves.

Another thing I finally started to do was add interfacing when the directions call for it. Interfacing is a second fabric layer that can be ironed on or sewn to your outer fabric and it adds a level of sturdiness and structure to the outfit. In this picture below you can see the white fabric getting iron on.

I realized I didn’t take any in progress shots. Well… this was actually a pretty complicated pattern so I was definitely focusing!

The shirt and shorts both have a golden bias tape that I used as piping. This was really interesting because you basically tuck the piping into the area where you’d normally sew a seam such that when you flip it out it appears from within the seam. This was pretty technically challenging and in hindsight using a metallic fabric was also pretty unforgiving since it catches the light. I am still very happy with how these turned out!

Here are the shorts -they have a fake fly, pockets, and elastic waistband.

Here is the shirt! This was a very interesting collar. The shoulders are finished with a flat-felled seam and other seams are french seams. Buttons are from Britex too.

Here’s the inside so you can see the interfacing and inner seams:

This was a fun project that arrived safely through the mail!

Dangerous Polka Dots with a Dangerous Pattern

First let’s be clear, this is sewing so everything is fine.

Second! This fabric has been very runny so it is a danger to avoid converting to a pink wardrobe in the future.

Third, I’ve decided to try a new pattern. This could be considered dangerous because it will require new fit adjustments and breaking away from some of my standard designs. I think I’ll be able to make a nice dress if I extend down the length of view D

I also managed to cut everything out and this is always the point where I feel a second of hesitation regarding whether the plan will work out. But! It’s not the time to give up – it’s the time to start sewing!

Tangentical Circle shirt part 3 – little bits of progress

Sometimes unexpected events come up and things take longer than expected. In these times, it can be hard to make time for sewing while balancing everything else. This is when it’s important to focus on little things. Last night I tackled this placket! These are tough and include a few tricky details. I had about 30 min before bedtime and it was really nice to do just a little bit. I forgot to play music this time. Sometimes it’s just nice to hear the hum of the machine.

Here you can see the original pattern piece and the final placket on the left.
Here is an intermediary step where you flip these pieces through the arm slot and then sew them down

Yay!

Tangential Circle Shirt Progress Part 2

After getting everything cut out it was time to start putting things together!

Let’s talk about necklines and collars today! Collars were initially tricky for me but I am starting to feel more and more confident in my abilities. In fact, I am actually pretty proud because it sounds like collar shirts really weird some people out but I find them to be a pretty fun project that includes a nice mix of shapes of fabric and sewing techniques.

Once you complete the back panel and attach the front body pieces, you then have this funny shape that you could wear like a hanging Cape. At this point, you can open and layout the pieces such that you have a nearly straight edge if fabric for the whole neckline. This is where you take the bottom pieces of the fabric and pin them right sides together onto the shirt. This is what you see happening above.

It is easiest to start by aligning the center notches of the collar and back shirt neckline. From there I pin out towards each edge. I also start by pinning down one collar piece and then adding on the second by taking out each pin and layering on the extra piece. This is what you see above.

From here you can sew this down by slowly working along the raw edge and taking out the pins as you go. The pins really help make sure all three pieces stay together and help you avoid any unusual wrinkles.

From here, you sew these little J shapes on the edge of each collar, only through the collar material. You then flip these up from the shirt and press them flat! This makes the neckline of the collar with a nice bit of flappy extra fabric which the outer collar gets attached to.

I have started to skip adding in the collar stays feature of these collars and the nice part about that is that I can choose which side has the best print alignment. I am sure there’s an official technique that I’m missing by doing this, but it does really help me get the best print alignment.

I am continuing to be about on par with getting though the collar approximately on weekends and having the sleeves left to finish up in second and third sessions. Buttons are always usually a 4th session. This will be a long sleeve shirt so it will take longer than the magical Chicago shirt.

Today, sewing music was a little more hardcore and 90s/rock inspired:

System of a Down: Toxicity (very good for threading a bobin!)

Iggy Pop: Passenger

Led Zepplin: When the Levy Breaks

Nirvana: Smells like Teen Spirit

How many poodles can you fit into one outfit? Finished top & surprise finished skirt!

My loud scrap busting sewing continues with the poodle top!

This was the leftovers of the blue squares blouse that was too loud… and I think I’ve transformed it into something else that is also… kind of loud

Here’s where we left off. I was finalizing the fit and it was SO MANY poodles!

This peplum used only a forward facing pleat and not a box pleat. That made it have a little less volume as a box pleat includes two pleats that face in toward each other.

From here, I sewed on the peplum and decided to drop the neckline into a v-neck. I think this makes the outfit a little less busy.

This also inspired me (who are we kidding? D totally said I should just make this) to make a basic black pencil skirt. I used the skirt block we developed at Mood U. That pattern is the ULTIMATE pencil skirt and I’m so happy with it.

I think these go well together. 🙂

The Vancouver Dress – Finished Project!

While I am also working on this Simplicity dress with my friend, I wanted to understand the fit of this pattern better before we completed the project. I hope that this will let her have the most positive experience and not be discouraged by any type of fit issue.

With that in mind! It seemed like a great pattern to use for the linen I picked up in Vancouver at Atex Fabrics.

I cut this fabric perpendicular to the graneline so that I could take advantage of the floral ombre effect.

From here – it was sewing time! This pattern is actually quite nice and pretty easy. I had never sewn with linen before and the weave of this fabric was definitely looser. This meant there was some chances to get wavy seams and cutting straight lines was a bit odd a challenge too. Through lots of pinning and pressing I managed to still make it through pretty quickly.

Mmmm side gather…

Next time, I may make this dress in an even lighter silk or a wintery fabric! Or crop it into a top! I liked this first version.

Here was a process picture pretty far in where I was double checking the fit ahead of finishing the french seams.

I think the ombre makes this looks really nice!

There was one other REVOLUTIONARY element of this project. I finally cut my bias tape for finishing the arms… on the bias. This has always seemed so wasteful to not use straight strips of fabric bit I realized I was starting to get wobbly necklines because the bias tape didn’t have enough give and stretch… I know it’s so obvious… this turns out to be one sewing corner you should not cut. The more you know!

Ta da! The Vancouver dress!

With pockets!

Sewing with Friends!

Recently my downstairs neighbor visited and brought her sewing machine! She has a heavy duty singer and it will be exciting to work through this project together. She made a t shirt quilt in the past but now it seems like she’s really interested in starting to be able to make tops for herself that will fit better than store bought. I am so excited to help support this!!!

Today we picked out a simplicity pattern and took our measurements. We are going to make this dress (one each)

From there we cut out the pattern and copied it because I’m a slightly bigger size. Copying took a while!!!! Oh man. This is always the slow part but she hung in like a trooper.

We will work on it a little next weekend and chip away bit by bit. Stay tuned!

I really enjoyed this because this was one of the first times I’ve been able to think about everything I know and try to explain some of my decision making based on things I learned in the past. It was really fun! We may try knitting in the future too. So much fun!

Vacation Sewing – Exploring Chicago and Vintage Machines!

We headed to Chicago to celebrate the 4th of July and while we are playing some tennis, most of the time is pretty relaxed and I have some free time for a unique project!

This all kicked off with a trip downtown for lunch with friends. We had lovely Giordano’s deep dish pizza. Here is a picture of the “D Special” – bell pepper, mushroom, and pepperoni.

From here we went over to a few streets that had fabric stores! We visited Fishman’s fabric that had an amazing clearance section and a wide array of upholstery as well as garment fabric. 

This is the garment fabric half of the store

I got a cotton for a shirt for D and some tie silk – all for $2.50 a yard!

We then visited New Rainbow fabric and Joann’s. At Joann’s I also got a simple navy polka dot cotton for my mother in law.

Her husband was the sewer in the family and they have a vintage 1970’s Singer! I decided to put my Moodu pattern making skills to the test and draft her a dress.

This is HEAVY!
Getting all the measurements right!
Ta da! Skirt block complete
Top and back bodice done too!
Using all the tools from this other helpful vintage sewing basket
Oh boy! Aren’t we all on the hunt for the perfect pattern!

Stay tuned to see the dress! Hope you all had a great Canada Day and enjoy celebrating the 4th with families in the States. To other international visitors -I hope you’re all having a nice week too!!

Blue Squares – Shirt Part 2

9:30 PM start! And the new Love to Sew podcast is blasting. These are two joyful women from Vancouver! It is so wonderful and a pleasant mix of detail and fun. I am really looking forward to continuing to listen and learn more. Maybe one day they’ll visit NYC or I’ll try to visit their shop in Vancouver – too bad I learned this after I was just there…I happened to listen to an episode about taking care of scraps! This is perfect timing because tonight I cut out all the pattern pieces. An interesting piece of advice included not being afraid to cut off some of the really small stranger pieces. This helps make a shape that’s easier to store and use in a future project.Good bye to this little straggler.This pattern involves 10 pieces and I’ve used it many times now (see menswear shirt category)By 10:10 I had finished cutting all these pieces out – Ta da!At this point – it was time to go to bed. I was staring at the front panel and thinking about starting to iron down the placket but a little voice in my head again said “nope time to go to bed on a work night” But! There was still time for one fantastic discovery! Look at how this matches. I think I will make a color blocked peplum to match my poodle skirt! I can’t wait!

Total project time so far 1hr 10min