Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Blue French Terry Dress

  Last fall Booper requested some long-sleeved dresses. I had a floral French Terry that I thought she would like, but decided to a trial run in a heathered blue French Terry first to make sure things fit right.

  I started with Jalie 2805, as usual, and widened and sloped the shoulders a bit. I also added a bit of width through the bodice and sleeves to account for the reduced amount of stretch in the fabric.

  I had the short sleeves already traced in this size, so I ended up just lengthening those to fit Booper, rather than trying to find where I'd (misplaced) the long sleeve pattern piece.

  I measured the bodice height to her actual waist, then added some length because she has a high natural waist, and prefers longer dresses, so it looks more balanced with a longer bodice. I wish I'd added two more inches though, it still ended up looking high!

  I went with a half-circle skirt for this one- it's still a little bit twirly, but isn't as heavy or as much of a fabric hog as a full circle would be.


  I added a facing instead of a neckband, and chose to leave the neckline at the original line so it would be a little bit wider and more comfortable. I stitched the facing down in a collar shape with white thread- that was much more difficult than I expected, because my usual machine was out of commission and my backup machine's foot pedal doesn't work. I had to use the start/stop button, and found it quite awkward! But it turned out all right anyway, although it's more subtle than I'd intended.

  I stitched the back facing the same way. After stitching, I trimmed the facing down close to the stitching so it wouldn't curl up.

  I added some non-stretch embroidered lace trim at the ends of the sleeves and at the hem. I wouldn't use it at the end of the sleeves again, because Booper couldn't push her sleeves up, but it worked fine on the hem.

  I ended up sewing the hem in four passes- I stitched the lace right sides together with the dress, then serged to prevent the fabric edge of the lace from fraying, then pressed it to the wrong side, edge-stitched, and top-stitched. I couldn't get a twin-needle to work on on the machine I was using, or I probably would have gone with that.

  I also added some lace-trimmed pockets.

  The pockets ended up being Booper's favorite detail! I would move them down on the skirt next time so it wouldn't drag the whole dress to the front when she shoved her hands in them. ;-)

  Although there were a few changes I wanted to make, Booper loved this dress and wore it quite frequently last winter. And I ended up loving this color on her!

  I never did get to the floral version though, and I'll have to start with a larger pattern size if I sew it up next year because the armscyes on this one are starting to get too tight for Booper!

  I'm still glad I managed to fit this one in though. =)

Thanks for stopping by,

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Finlayson Sweaters

A couple of years ago I bought a handful of patterns from Thread Theory in their Black Friday sale. When my brother-in-law's birthday came around last November, I decided to make the Finlayson Sweater for him. I had bought a mystery color palette sweater knit box from Sincerely Rylee about a month before, and it had a lovely thick, soft, charcoal rib knit that I immediately decided was perfect to make something for myself. However, once I decided on the Finlayson for my brother-in-law, that particular sweater knit had to be used for it! So I sacrificed it, and after some hours of working at it, managed to get the pattern pieces all to fit!

  I've only worked with unpleasantly difficult hacci fabric before, and not a sweater knit like this one, so I was a little concerned that it would be a beast to sew, but I didn't have any issues with it! It pressed much more nicely than I'd expected it to as well, even though I'm pretty sure it's mostly polyester.

  I used a solid black knit for the hood lining, and didn't add the twill tape at the back neckline, because I thought I didn't have any, and didn't want to take a trip to the store for it. I also left off the decorative facing. The hood edge is supposed to roll to the inside more, but since the knit I used for the lining had more stretch than the sweater knit, rolling it more made the hood lining baggy, so I just did a thin edge.

  The pattern seemed pretty decent, although not perfect. I added just a little bit of length to the sleeves and hem for my taller-than-average brother-in-law by using a smaller seam allowance- I didn't have enough fabric to lengthen them otherwise, although I probably could have fit the pieces on my fabric more easily if I'd reduced all of the seam allowances to 1/4", then lengthened the sleeves and body slightly.

  The way the neckline was sewn leaves a gap to either side of the center at the front crossover. I'm not sure if that's intentional, or if the markings are wrong, but I ended up going back in and sewing past the markings.

  I felt like the cuffs were too narrow for the sleeves.... there is a secondary piece included for cuffs in fabrics with little to no stretch, by my fabric had a nice amount of stretch (about 45%) so I used the regular ones. The sleeves are wide enough that I think narrowing them would be the best option, instead of using the wider cuffs.

   I used the kangaroo pocket for this one... it sewed up nicely!

  I haven't sewn a lot of sweaters as gifts prior to this, but I love the idea- it's like a wearable hug!

  And I got to see this one on my brother-in-law, so I know that it fit well, and looks significantly better worn than in flat photos.

  I liked that charcoal one so much that when my brother's birthday came along a few days later, I knew I'd have to make one for him too. For my brother's version, I left off the kangaroo pocket, and sewed the shawl collar. I used a thinner green sweater knit, also from a Sincerely Rylee mystery sweater box. I had a larger piece of this fabric, so it wasn't such a puzzle to lay out!

  I sewed the same size, and lengthened the sleeves and hem the same amount. For this one, I added the twill tape and decorative facing, and I definitely prefer the finished look when those are included! I didn't want two lines of stitching at the outside from sewing the twill tape, so I sewed the first line to the seam allowances only, then folded it down and sewed the lower edge through all of the layers.

  I added a tag to the facing... next time I'd move that up just a bit!

  I had the same issue with the un-sewn portions at the base of the neckline on this one, and it was a lot more noticeable in this fabric. Once again, I went back in and sewed farther.

  I thought the shawl collar looked a little too narrow once I started sewing, so starting from about three inches from the end I reduced my seam allowance to 1/4", then tapered back at the other end of the neckline. I like the slightly wider collar... it's more proportionate to this size.

  I used the wider cuffs for this one, but again, I think narrowing the sleeves might have been a better option.

  I was very careful not to stretch the knit out at all when sewing the facing down, but I ended up actually wishing I had pulled it slightly, since the facing is woven, and the knit drapes down over it a little bit when it isn't laid flat.

  Once again, this one fit nicely!

  And my brother seemed quite happy with it, even though I didn't get it to him until February!

Thanks for stopping by,

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Painted Mug

Here's another non-sewing gift I made last year- this one was for my brother-in-law, and wasn't as easy as I'd hoped it would be!

  I used a silkscreen stencil set for it, and the set was quite pricey (although I did use a coupon!), so I'll definitely have to use it again elsewhere! That part went pretty smoothly, although the margins around the letters weren't the same size from letter to letter, so it took some playing around to get them mostly even.

   But painting everything else on wasn't so easy! The slippery surface of the glazed ceramic made things go in directions I totally didn't expect. I wiped several sections off with a damp paper towel and re-did them multiple times before deeming it 'good enough'.

 I picked this mug because of the red interior, and the paints I used were Martha Stewart brand. I used red, grey, black, and yellow... I think some were high-gloss and some were satin or matte- I just picked based on color. (I already had the black from this project.)

  I picked some titles that suit this brother in law to paint on, then alternated between script, sans, and serif hands in a few colors.

  I left the opposite side of the mug blank:

  But if the silkscreen set had come with a larger version of the same letters, I would have added a large 'R' there!

  The paint seems to stay on pretty well once baked- I don't have a working dishwasher to test it with, but it didn't scrape off with a fingernail, and water didn't harm it either. And that's it for this gift!

Thanks for stopping by,

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Vinyl-Decorated Shirts of 2017

I didn't make nearly as many shirts with vinyl designs on them last year as I did in previous years, but I did still end up with a few. Aside from my husband's, which I already blogged about, here they are!

  First, one for my youngest brother, in July. As usual, I used Jalie 2918 with a slightly narrowed neckband:

  This brother loves to 'geek out' about photography and music, among other things, and he has a slightly sarcastic sense of humor, so I thought this would work for him:

  I didn't even end up taking any photos of the back, as it was just plain, but I did get one of that twin-needled hem:

  Next, a pair for my sister-in-law's baby and husband. The husband one is Jalie 2918, and the baby one is Jalie 3133. The fabric for these and the prior shirt is grey 12-oz knit from Nick of Time Textiles

  I used brown vinyl and a slightly western-looking font for these- I had a hard time striking a balance with size, since the adult shirt has much less text than the baby one, and the smaller the font got, the busier it looked.

  It worked out in the end though!

  I cut the pattern straight across just above the bodysuit portion of the baby pattern, added a hem allowance, and hemmed it.

  I decided to go with the envelope neck even though it doesn't match the crew-neck of the adult shirt as well, because I wasn't sure how well the crew-neck on the baby pattern would go over a baby head!

  As with last time, I changed the sewing order so the sleeve would be finished more neatly:

  And finally, my favorite, and the one I spent the most time on- one for my sister-in-love. She loves being a mama, and I was actually planning to make a shirt with this design on it for her last year but switched to a dress last-minute. Pink is her favorite color, so I had to use that for the shirt! I was originally planning to use white for the vinyl, but it just didn't show up well enough, so I went with bright pink instead.

  I hand-drew the design for the front of this one, then scanned it in and went over it in Illustrator before moving it into Silhouette Studio and cutting it, which is why it took significantly longer!

  I added a little heart to the shoulder:

  And a pair of them on the back:

  I used Jalie 2805 for this one, but went a size up from A's measurements for a more relaxed fit. The knit is from Girl Charlee- I think it's this light pink, but I bought it a couple of years ago so I'm not positive.

  I used bright pink thread that matched the vinyl for the hems:

I'm really happy with this one!

And that's it for last year's vinyl-decorated gifts!
Thanks for stopping by,