Wednesday, October 15, 2014

It's that time of year...

stack of fleece, foam, and fur

A large stack of fleece, foam and fur? Yep. Costume time!

Wish me luck!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Kitty Check

In my quest to find my missing mojo, I decided on a quick quilt project to get me going.

Kitty Check, front

This is from the Me & My Sister Designs book, Crazy for Baby, and is called "Teething Rings."

Kitty Check, front detail

Mine is a little different from the one in the book. I decided to add a couple of blocks to lengthen it a bit. I also had to narrow the borders so I could efficiently manage the directional print in my fabric. The main fabric is a woven plaid embroidered cats. It ended up being tricky dealing with this fabric and ensuring every cut stayed along the design lines (so much for my "quick and easy" project!). But it worked out in the end! And the fabric got super soft after washing .

Kitty Check, detail of border block

I quilted the plaid kitty sections with a stipple and then tried to get a little fancier in the block border with some feather-ish action. All the quilting was completed using Aurifil Mako 50/2 in Violet (2520).

Kitty Check, back texture

The fabrics all came from stash, including this wild purple print I chose for the backing.

Kitty Check, back

My mom is not in good health. She is currently in a care facility and misses home and her cats. And her favorite color is purple. So I gave this quilt to her.

Kitty Check, label

Hopefully, it will offer some small comfort. If nothing else, it made me feel good to make it for her. There's lots of love in this little quilt!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

V1351: Hemmed and done!

I finally got some pictures of me wearing my new dress, Vogue 1351!

V1351, front view

I sewed a size 16 with no alterations. The dress is designed for flowy wovens, but I opted for a knit-- a ITY jersey knit (92% poly/8% lycra) purchased from in 2011. For the lining, I used a lightweight swimsuit knit (since it had 4-way stretch like my main fabric). I found that others were able to successfully use knits based on a number of reviews posted on, so I figured I could work it out. But I have to tell you: I stressed!

V1351, back view

I knew I could forgo the zipper, but then I wasn't sure exactly what other instructions I should or should not disregard or otherwise adapt. This meant I had to fend for myself, which was kind of scary. But I think it came out alright in the end, so I guess I was successful.

V1351, neck stabilization

One of the issues I was most worried about was stabilization in the shoulder, neck and waist areas. After trolling about for information, I finally decided to stabilize the neckline with fusible tricot interfacing. I traced the neckline shape and then cut it out along that edge, making it about 1/2" wide. Then I fused it to the neckline such that it was just into the seamline (I think my picture above better shows what I'm talking about). I did this on the lining front and back necklines as well as the outer back neckline.

V1351, shoulder stabilization

I also stabilized the shoulder seam (pictured above). For this, I used a nylon stay tape. In the end, I decided against any waistline stabilization (I have read in a number of places a suggestion to use clear elastic) and opted instead to just follow the directions to handstitch the lining to the outer along the waist seam followed by a regular topstitch. The only issue with this is that I have to be careful when putting the dress on and taking it off so I don't pop the stitches.

V1351, angled front view

I love that this dress is lined! And I think it is beautifully finished. The instructions were a bit labor-intensive, and involved some of handwork, but they were effective. As I couldn't think of an easier way to approach it, I went with it. The lining allows for a perfect finish to the draped neckline as well and everything stays in place-- nothing untoward is gonna be popping out of there! I really wanted an invisible hem, but I could not figure out how to execute it with such a lightweight knit (I tried a blindhem and it was completely ineffective). So the hem was finished with my coverstitch machine.

V1351, hands on hips front view

I envisioned this as a happy, summery sundress. But it almost feels too fancy for that! Almost. I'm totally going to be wearing this one out and about.

The last week has involved zero sewing while my machine made its annual visit the Bernina spa. But-- it is back home, and I'm ready to start stitching again! Huzzah!!!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Last weekend...

I did some sewing! First up, the last-minute birthday gift for a super-awesome 1-year-old:

Turtle coloring wallet, looking cute

It is the "Child's Coloring Wallet" by JCasa Handmade-- my go-to toddler gift! This little dude is apparently into turtles, so I went with it. Because of its white background, I went ahead and interfaced to give it some additional opacity. As a bonus, it got a little more heft, too! Going forward, I'll probably adding interfacing to the outer every time.

Turtle coloring wallet, open view

The inside features a fun Michael Miller bug-in-jars print with some random stash stripes.

I also finished up a dress:

V1351, hanging unhemmed

Here is Vogue 1351 hanging prior to hemming. There will be pics showing it in all of its hemmed glory soon!

With the dress complete, I was feeling the quilting mojo return:

getting started with quilting on my green True Blue quilt

It's a big one, so it is going to take me awhile (quality quilting time is at a premium right now as we're getting ready for back-to-school). But at least it is started. That seems like a big part of the battle for me, just getting the quilting process going.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

A KwikSew skirt!

I finished this skirt, KwikSew 3513, last weekend:

KwikSew 3513, front view

This is View A, the longest version using a poly/rayon blend interlock from purchased in 2011. (Woo! More stash usage!). I just love the color.

KwikSew 3513, back view

I made it in a size Small(!!!). Here's the thing: the sizing on this is whackadoodle. Thankfully, reading the reviews of the skirt on prepared me for this and helped me make an informed sizing choice.

KwikSew 3513, finished waist measurements as printed on pattern

I looked at the pattern piece for more information, pictured above. As an example, my waist is about 32" which would put me in the Large sizing according to the envelope. But then I looked at the finished waist measurement for the Large and saw it was 35.5". This skirt has no elastic and is dependent on the stretch of the fabric to hold it up. If there is no elastic, I'd be swimming in it at the waist, and it might just pull itself off with the weight of the skirt. So I went ahead and chose a size that had negative ease, meaning it would finish smaller than my waist, so the fabric would have to stretch to fit and thus provide the resistance needed to stay up. I picked the Small, which finishes at 28.5", and it resulted in a good fit for me.

KwikSew 3513, untucked view

I LOVE it. It went together quickly and easily. I chose not to hem it because I didn't want to lose any length, and I like the flowy-ness of the skirt without the weight a hem would add. I've already worn it twice!

I'm keeping my eyes peeled for the perfect striped fabric (I'm just feeling the stripes lately!) to make another one of these skirts!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

My first Style Arc!

It was a productive weekend! I managed to get two projects cut and sewn. Woo! Today I'm going to focus on the less successful of the two, the Style Arc Ann-T Top.

Style Arc is a pattern company I've had my eye on for quite some time. They create patterns that reflect very current fashion trends (many inspired by celebrities) and have a reputation for excellent pattern drafting. However, they are in Australia and shipping to the U.S. is quite spendy and they only sell single size patterns, which made me hesitant to invest not knowing how their sizing would work for me. Then I saw they were having a limited time offer in conjunction with Gorgeous Fabrics, offering their Ann-T Top as a free download if you sign up for their newsletter (check it out here!). Score!!! Not only that, but in addition to your requested size, they send the size above and below as well. Double score!!!

Style Arc Ann-T Top, front view

Here's my finished top (with apologies for the fuzzy pics... I seemed incapable of taking a clear photo today):

Style Arc Ann-T Top, back view

I cut a straight size 12 and did no alterations. The fabric is a rayon/lycra jersey from ("Arianne Stretch Slub" they call it), very lightweight and super stretchy. The description calls it brown, but it is definitely more mauve than brown to me.

Style Arc Ann-T Top, side view

Overall, it is not bad. I rather like how it fits, and the side rouching is a nice detail. But I had a tough time working with this fabric-- it just didn't seem to want to do what I wanted. I also struggled with technique. The directions are sparse and there is no detail to any aspect of construction. I should have looked up a video or something to help me with the side rouching, but I just kind of went for it with clear elastic, and it is not awesomely executed.

Style Arc Ann-T Top, neckline detail

The neckline also has issues, as you can see in the detail pic above. Me and neckline stabilization! Ugh! This time I tried a clear elastic all the way around. But I put it on the band, so it is a) super obvious and b) touches my skin. Not sure what I was thinking there. Also, I seemed to be incapable of sewing an even seam along there, so some parts of the neckband are narrower than others. I stitched and re-stitched three times in some areas and finally decided it was good enough. But I'm not happy about it.

On the bright side, there was definitely some learning with this one! Next time will be better. I am envisioning stripes...

Style Arc Ann-T Top, on hanger

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Prepping patterns

Inspired by my recent dress success, I'm finding I want to sew some more clothes (and use more stash!). I've prepped some patterns and am hoping to cut fabric for these projects today:
    Plan for StyleArc Ann-T

  • StyleArc Ann-T. I am so excited to try a StyleArc pattern and this one looks like it could potentially be a wardrobe staple (and it is available for free right now if you sign up for their mailing list)! This is going to be a (hopefully) wearable muslin to test it out before I go and buy the fabric I really want. Here's hopin' it works!

  • Plan for Vogue 1351

  • Vogue 1351-- a pretty cowl-neck dress. I bought this fabric from in 2011 kind of on a whim, and am finally feeling inspired to use it. But, I have to admit, I am also feeling a bit intimidated by this one. It is a pattern designed for a woven, but I'm using a knit (which seems fine-- I've looked at many reviews and it seems that is kind of the norm on this one)-- and I'm concerned about making sure I stabilize everything the right way. Clear elastic? Stay tape? Knit stay tape? Applying said stabilizers? Neckline. Shoulders. Waistline??? It is a rabbit hole, I tell you! Sigh... totally overthinking it. I just need to get in there and do it.

  • Plan for Kwik Sew 3513

  • Kwik Sew 3513-- I've been wanting a flowy knit skirt for quite some time. I ran across this pattern over the weekend and decided I needed to give it a go.
It is a random collection to be sure (no "Sewing With A Plan" here!), but they are all pieces I'm feelin' at the moment. So maybe that means I'll actually get them made.