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,

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Leather And Lace Coin Purse

  I've made another coin purse!

  Like the last one, I used leather for the exterior. This grey leather was stiffer than the brown I used last time, so I didn't interface it at all, and only used a lightweight interfacing on the lining.

  I sewed a strip of lace across the front, then spent 20 minutes deciding which button I wanted to use. It finally came down to a gold rose button or this one, and I chose this one because I liked it better with the silver frame.

  The sewing went pretty smoothly with this one! It was really fiddly, but I didn't have any problems except with the top-stitching, which I had extreme difficulty keeping straight.

  The real trouble started when I went to glue the frame in. My tube of E-6000 appeared to be dried up, so I decided I should pick up a new one in town, since I was heading there anyway that day.

  I stopped by Hobby Lobby and picked some up, then got to gluing when I got home... only to realize I'd picked up a tube of white E-6000 rather than clear.

  I figured I'd use it anyway, and just be careful to not let it show anywhere. I managed to squeeze the purse into the frame, but it kept sliding back out... no matter how long or short a time I let the glue sit, it simply wouldn't stick.

  I finally decided to ditch the project until I could get into town again... but I'm too persistent for my own good. I couldn't leave it alone, and ended up cutting open the dried-out tube just to check if there was any fresh glue inside.

  And there was! I had to use a skewer to get the glue inside the frame, but it worked! Only, somehow when I was sliding the purse into the frame, I managed to get glue everywhere.

  Luckily, my husband had a can of acetone sitting out in the shed, and I used that to get the extra glue off. After that it wasn't so bad. =)

  I'm not quite happy with the way the top-stitching shows inside the frame, but overall I love the way this one turned out! I used a bit of the same fabric as this nursing cover I made last year for the lining.

  As with the last one, I'm not positive what I'm going to do with this one... but I'll probably sell it when I've made a few more.

  And that's about all I have to say about that. =)
Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Fishy Crabbiness

  My twin nephews' turned two recently. In celebration of this great accomplishment, I made them some things. I was making two pairs of jeans, but the day before their party the second pair was barely cut out, let alone sewn. I needed something quick, that a two-year-old might like, and that was at least a little bit boyish. I decided on this little guy:

  and this guy:

  The crab is Casey the Crab, a free pattern from While She Naps. It was a surprisingly quick sew, and took me about an hour total. I didn't have any safety eyes on hand, so I just embroidered those as well as the mouth. I used quilting cotton that I had in my collection (collection is so much nicer a word than stash) and I am really pleased how it turned out! I probably should have clipped my curves better, but the pattern was impressively perfect.

  The fish is another free pattern, this one from Birch Fabrics. I made the small version, and it was a good bit more complicated than the crab. It took closer to three hours to sew this one. There were a few tiny bits that didn't quite line up, but overall it was great, and particularly so for a free pattern. The lines on the fins were the most difficult part to sew because the pieces were pretty small and there was a lot of thickness from the stuffing. I think the larger version would be a bit easier to sew.
  These fabrics are also from my collection. They probably aren't what I would have chosen if I'd been in a fabric store, but compared to anything else I had in the way of non-girly fabrics, they are perfection. =) Again, I should have clipped my curves better. Also, I didn't think of it until too late, but it would have been awesome if I'd fussy cut the head piece so part of the fabric design was in the position of an eye.

  And how did my darling nephews like them? Well, they threw them on the ground and ignored them in favor of toy power tools... such boys. ;-) I'm hoping they'll enjoy them more when they aren't in the middle of a pile of presents, and if not, maybe their baby sister will. My daughters could hardly keep their hands off these stuffed toys, and have been begging for a 'crowd' of their own ever since I started the crab, so there may be more of these in my future.

  Since my last post, I've updated my free gusseted coin purse pattern... it isn't crooked anymore! I'd love to see it if you make one!

Thanks for stopping by,