Friday, November 14, 2014

Pink Pleats

Today I have the pleasure of being a part of the Betty Skirt tour! The Shaffer sisters have been good friends for a while now, and I'm delighted that they have designed such a cute, versatile pattern. This is the second Betty Skirt I've sewn... the first one is here. =)

  Now I'm going to be perfectly honest here... this isn't normally a pattern I would buy. Even with all of the options, it's simple enough to figure out with some basic math and a good idea of proportions. That said, it is really nice to have a range of sizes available in case you don't have someone handy to measure. This skirt goes from newborn to 16X, plus a doll-sized version.

  For this version, I sewed up a straight size 3T, which is on par with what Gaiw fits in ready-to-wear. I chose the large pleat version this time... I was hoping to make a small-pleat skirt too, but as usual didn't end up with enough time to finish it. =)

  I followed the instructions for the most part, but I made a mistake in marking the pleats the first time (I marked the right side of the front piece and wrong side of the back piece, instead of the right side of both) and had to iron all of the back pleats twice. Since I only have a tiny ironing board, that was definitely not the most fun I've ever had!

  I made two other changes. The first was to leave a couple inches un-sewn on each part of the hem near the side seam instead of sewing the whole hems before the side seam. That way the side seams were tucked inside the hem, which I prefer.

  The second change was edge-stitching the top of the yoke before inserting the elastic, so it would be less likely to roll.

  Gaiw loves this skirt. She saw the fabric while I was cutting out and started begging for a skirt. =) Since that was what I was making anyway, I was happy to tell her so. She hung out around me the entire time I was sewing the skirt up, eyes bright, and started dancing when it was finished. =)

  I love how twirly it is! I was expecting the pleats to be perfectly continuous all the way around, but there is a small bit of extra width at each of the side seams. That does make sense with basting the pleats down before sewing the side seams though.

  I like how the hem is pressed before the pleats, so the hemming doesn't mess them up. Next time I might mark the bottom edge of the skirt for the pleats, as well as the top, so my pleats are straighter.

  I have to admit I was expecting this skirt to be more difficult, judging by the disclaimers in the instructions. Even with re-pressing my pleats it was a quick sew.

  If you'd like to check out a few more stops on the tour, they are linked here as they are posted. If you'd like to buy the pattern it's available here, and it is 30% off during the tour with the code BETTYTOUR.

Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Grey Corduroy Dress

I actually made this dress in... I think it was February. However, I only got one photo of it, and it was soon too hot here to photograph such a wintry garment. Besides which, it was just plain too big. Now that it's not 90 degrees out every day, and Booper has been wearing it constantly, I thought it would be a good time to share. =)

  It's pretty simple, but sweet and cozy. I used a fine-wale grey corduroy from Joann's to make it.

  I can't remember what bodice pattern I used, but it came out quite a bit larger than I'd intended... the armholes are particularly oversized, as you can see here:

  The sleeves are self-drafted to fit the bodice, and the skirt is just a gathered rectangle. At the time that I made it, it fit like a nightgown:

  Now Booper is a good 5 inches taller! It's not nearly so night-gowny now. =)

  I had plans to make the younger girls matching dresses, but with different colored snaps in the back and coordinating sashes, but when the first one wasn't what I'd pictured I put the rest of the pieces away and haven't pulled them back out.

  Maybe I should see if they'll still work! =)

  I wanted to keep the dress lightweight, and didn't have any thin grey fabric, so I lined the bodice with white.... that would have been fine, but I didn't under-stitch, and the white peeks out around the neckline.

  The bodice is finished the same way as usual.

  I made a casing on the sleeves after sewing them up and hemming them and slid some elastic through the casings.

  That's the only part that fit perfectly when I made the dress, and now they are uncomfortably tight on Booper... but it's nothing I can't fix!

  The back snaps up with pale blue heart shaped KAM snaps. I love those snaps! I think I've told you all of the details on this dress now. =)

  I'm working on Christmas gifts most of the time right now, so I'm not posting much.... but hopefully I'll be back with my daughters' gifts in a week or so.

Thanks for stopping by,

Sunday, October 19, 2014

The Ugliest Shirt I've Ever Made

  Here is a picture to remind you all that even when you've had a lot of practice sewing and drafting, things can go quite wrong if you aren't careful. =)

  It doesn't look quite as awful in the photos as in real life, but allow me to list the problems and you'll see what I mean, all right?
  1. I made all of the pleats radiate from central points, instead of using a separate pivot point for each pleat. That means some of the pleats, due to the curved seaming, are almost non-existent, and others are angled oddly.
  2. I drew the curved line too high. The top part of the curve was supposed to start 1" above my bust, and the lowest part 2" below my hipbone.
  3. The middle of the curved line should have been slanted.
  4. I should have made the pleats deeper and more even.
 5. The sleeves are about 3" too long. (Maybe I wrote my measurements down wrong.)
 6. The neckline is a good inch too high all around.
 7. The shoulder seam droops off my shoulder. (This may be due in part to the extremely stretchy knit and lack of shoulder-seam stabilization.)
 8. The sleeves are too tight. If the knit was less stretchy I wouldn't have been able to get them on.
 9. The entire shirt is 3 inches shorter than I'd intended it to be.
10. I was aiming for the back pleating to start at the waist. Somehow, it starts 5 inches lower than that. Not a good look for anyone.
11. I'm not sure about this one, it's hard to tell with the myriad of other sleeve and shoulder issues, but I think the cap of the sleeve is too narrow and too short.

  In addition to the drafting problems, this was a poor choice in fabric selection. It's from Joann's, and in addition to having about double the stretch that I'm used to, it's rather thin and not stable at all. It's mostly polyester, which means that in spite of its thin-ness it's not breathable and is too warm, especially with the long sleeves. I don't love the color either, so I'm going to blame it coming home with me at all on the fact that I was shopping with all three daughters.

  I made some sewing mistakes too... I should have basted all of the pleats down before sewing them, I should have stabilized the shoulders, and I probably should have used tissue with this fabric to keep it from stretching too much as I sewed.

  This shirt is so bad that I didn't even finish the hems or neckline. I'm not sure what I'm going to do with it, maybe just tie off the serger threads and donate it.

  Have I convinced you yet that this shirt is a failure? Still, there's a very small chance that I will try to draft it again, as I was imagining it... but only if I'm really bored. ;-)

  Oh yes, and for those of you who are related to me and trying to be nice: If you tell me that 'It doesn't look that bad, you should just wear it,' I will disown you. =)

Thanks for stopping by,


Monday, October 13, 2014

Tie-Front Cardigan

  I sewed this cardigan up in August. Since then, between multiple washings, I've taken 4 batches of photos while wearing it. Yet somehow, the only photos I have that aren't completely disappointing are ones that my husband took. Those ones were actually supposed to be of the skirt, so I have the ties tucked up out of the way. And Blogger messes them up when I upload them!

  It's super frustrating that I can take photos like this when I'm just playing with my camera:

  But when I try to take photos of a garment I made for myself, they come out like this.

  Anyway, I'm done trying to photograph this cardigan, I think it's impossible.

  Regardless of my painful photography attempts, I love this one! The fit isn't perfect, but it's super-comfortable, I love the sleeves, and it goes with most of my clothes.

  I used my basic tee block (which I need to re-do... I've changed shape quite a bit since drafting it) and altered it to make this pattern. The sleeves have a lettuce-edged circular flounce, the same as the peplum shirt I made earlier this year.

  I had plans to make this cardigan ever since I made this shirt. I made the changes I was thinking about then, and I definitely prefer this version.

  Instead of attaching it to a shirt, I decided it would be more versatile as its own piece. The entire bodice is lined, but the sleeves are not. I followed my tutorial to attach them.

  The knit is from Girl Charlee this spring, and it is gorgeous. Soft, thick, stretchy, doesn't pill and has barely faded over about 30 washes...everything I love in a knit! I think that this is the one I bought, but am not positive.

  That's about it for this garment! =)

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Polka-Dot Fawn Lily Dress

  You've probably seen the Fawn Lily Pattern by now. There are plenty of pretty versions floating around the internet! I held out on buying this one for a long time, because too many of the patterns I've bought have been very poorly designed and drafted, and I wasn't sure how this one would be. As you can see, I did eventually break down and get it!

  I've had a problem for a while now... everyone raves about how amazing a pattern is, I end up buying it, and I end up really disappointed. This was absolutely NOT the case with this pattern!

  I was extremely impressed with how well-drafted this pattern was. Everything fit perfectly together, there were no annoying points or dips, it's sized nicely, and most impressively, the pleats at the curved section lined up perfectly.

 It has notches! It has markings for making the pleats, and markings for lining them up! Seriously, I am REALLY impressed.

  I sewed an 18 month  size since the fabrics I used are more suited to springtime than fall. According to the size chart on the Fawn Lily, I should have sewn a 6 month width and a 12 month height if I wanted it to fit now, which is what fits Beckers in ready-to-wear as well.

  I've noticed a lot of comments about how well the sleeves are finished, and though it's a bit of a pain to stuff the whole dress in such a narrow space and turn it out, it does work nicely. One caveat... with the second sleeve I reinforced the stitching on the armscye before sewing the sleeve to the rest of the dress, as the fabric frayed and stretched after being clipped just enough that the stitches pulled out on the first sleeve.

  Instead of top-stitching, as in the pattern instructions, I slip-stitched the opening closed. I just like the look of it better. I really did iron it, promise! It was just difficult to iron around the sleeves because they are so small, and I don't have a sleeve board or pressing ham.

  Next time I'll insert the back skirt between the bodice back exterior and lining and sew, then flip it right-side-out, so the back waist seam is perfectly finished. Then I will either French-seam or bind the front waist seam, and French-seam the sides and pockets, so it will look just as pretty on the inside as on the outside.

  You can probably tell from the photos, but I sewed the plain sleeve with the crossover bodice and the pleated, below-the-knee skirt. Oh yeah, and pockets, because even though Beckers couldn't care less about them right now, I'm guessing that she'll adore them in a few months. =)

  More on the sleeves... I know everyone adores built-in cap sleeves right now, but I think they are rather limiting. I'm thinking I'll smooth the armscye out and perhaps add regular sleeves for any non-spring versions.

  Booper saw the polka-dotted fabric a couple weeks ago (which came from a sheet that was tucked in a couple bags of fabric that I bought from craigslist last year) and has been begging for a dress ever since, so I might make her one of these too.

 I'm not sure if I'll use the same fabric for the sleeves though... I liked it when I was laying them out but now that it's all sewn together I wish I'd used something a bit brighter. Still cute though! Especially on this little person:

  Speaking of whom, I have quite a few photos of her and am having a really difficult time editing them down because she is SO cute, so prepare to be bombarded!









   Okay, that's probably enough. ;-) Anyway, it's an awesome pattern, and I will definitely make it again at some point.

Thanks for stopping by,