Spring tops

9 05 2011

So after all that sewing for myself, I got really tired of  garment sewing.  I took a little break, made a potholder, a purse, and a tiny oven mitt for the kids’ play kitchen.  Then I went for an extended visit to my parents’ house and I get back home and BAM!  SPRING TOPS ARE DUE TOMORROW!  AaaaAAAccccKK!  It’s like being in high school again.  Since the deadline really snuck up on me, I didn’t get to finish all the things I was going to do.  I had planned to draft all my patterns but yesterday realized that wasn’t going to happen.  So I finished this muslin:


Very quickly, before church.  I ended up really liking it; I’m wearing it again now, in fact.  Then we went to take pictures in the park.  Ah, boys.  They were not very cooperative.  We got some cute pictures though, and it was a nice way to spend Mother’s day.  Then my mother’s day gift to myself was to not feel guilty as I ignored my family and made 2 more shirts so I could meet my goal of making 3 tops for myself that were good enough to enter into Rae’s Spring Top Week contest.  I did this one during LB’s nap:


I love this one!  It’s a rib knit from Joann that I got on sale and it’s so soft and comfy.  And my dear husband really humored me by taking these pictures since I left my camera at my parents’ house.  (Double aaaack!)  Then in the evening, when I realized I was out of time to make patterns, I printed the two-piece tunic from Burda Style, and put this together while sort-of watching the Amazing Race:


In the end, as I was assembling it, I realized I was making something that looks a little too much like scrubs for my taste.  And I had to take the pictures myself, with my husband’s camera, which was no small feat and almost took longer than making the shirt.  Sadly, they are all out of focus too.  Anyway, the shirt is OK, the fit is not great, but it’s something I might wear.  I like the color a lot; it’s a fabric I found on clearance at Wal-Mart for $1/yard, so I figured even if the pattern wasn’t that great it wasn’t a big loss.  It was my first attempt at making a shirt out of a cotton woven, and while it was so, so, so easy to sew, I think the fit is not as easy as with a knit, so I really need to find a pattern that works before trying again.  Maybe I will finish that pattern I was drafting from the Design it Yourself Clothes book…

Anyway, that’s my last-minute effort, not quite what I’d hoped but I did manage to get the three shirts done.  Now the kids are really needing supervision so I’d better enter these shirts and be done!

Edited to add: I just saw the deadline has been extended, so I’m going to hold off on entering the pictures I took myself and see if my husband will humor me once again and take some nice outdoor pictures of the shirts.  🙂

Self-drafted skirt, take two

17 04 2011

I found this large, shapeless skirt at goodwill, and bought it to make a (linen) muslin:


Using the same pattern as before, I made another ruffle skirt (similar to the Laura skirt in Design-it-Yourself Clothing, but without a yoke). 

2011 04 April3

The pictures are not the best (but yay for sunlight!).  Here’s the skirt by itself:


I’m really happy with the fit, the construction, the fabric, everything.  In comparison, the previous skirt feels like a burlap sack.  This is a beautifully heavy, yet soft, fabric.  The zipper is really invisible.  I know I said it before, but I might actually wear this!  I only bother with a skirt once or twice a year and this one has a good chance of being the one.  The top of the zipper is a little weird but I love the look of finishing with a bias facing:


So the zipper instructions say to have the zipper stops 3/4” from the edge of the fabric, and the seam allowance is 1/2”, so there is this weird little 1/4” separation at the top.  Not quite sure what to do about that, but it’s covered by a shirt, so at least it’s not noticeable. 

Since finishing this I have been inspired to sew like crazy but sadly I’ve been having one mishap after another and I feel like nothing is coming out quite right.  I hope I can get my sewing mojo back because it’s time for (drumroll please)…

I have been working and working and working but nothing great yet.  It is my GOAL to get something worth submitting together in time.  I am so excited to see what people are making since I steal all my ideas get all my inspiration from the brilliant people of the internet!

Self-drafted skirt

12 04 2011

Continuing my way (ever so slowly) through Design-it-Yourself Clothes, I drafted a pattern for a skirt.  That was the easy part.  It comes first in the book because it’s basically just a trapezoid, one very simple piece for the front and an almost identical piece for the back.  I actually bought a skirt at goodwill to use the fabric to make a muslin (being cheaper than actual muslin, and a nice linen/cotton blend, at that), but then I got sidetracked and decided to cut up an old ring sling that hadn’t been used in a long time and will probably (definitely, now) never be used again.  Here it is before:

IMG_2223 IMG_2224

Isn’t it hideous?  I made if from osnaburg I dyed myself.  I had visions of a lovely blue/purple result, but somehow it ended up looking like a bloody rag.  Needless to say, I didn’t use it much, so for this project I bleached it and dyed it brown.  I wanted to do a ruffle like the Laura skirt in the book but I had to piece together the ruffle so I decided to leave the seams on the outside and let them fray. 

2011 04 April

Sadly, the dye job is still terrible.  You can see the dark blue splotches where the dye wasn’t dissolved completely (brown dye is a mix of red, blue, and yellow, it’s a lot of fun to watch it dissolve).  And overall it looks blotchy.  And it was too long, which is not something I thought I’d ever say about a skirt.  So I shortened it and re-dyed it. 

2011 04 April1

In the end I’m not sure how I feel about it.  The fit is undeniably good, which I suppose comes from drafting it to your own measurements.  It has its flaws; you can still see the blotches from the first dye job (upper right picture) and the invisible zipper is not that invisible (lower left).  Beyond that, is it stylish?  Is it ridiculous looking?  The line between the two is thin to begin with and I am not well versed on what falls on which side.  After t-shirts, I am a little bit out of my depth, fashion-wise!  Regardless, I like it well enough and it will probably get worn at least as often as my other skirts, especially since it fits, and after having 2 kids I can’t say that about any of the other ones.  So I guess this is the pre-muslin, and after having made some alterations, I am working on another muslin with the altered pattern.  It should be ready soon if I get up the energy to sew again!

Self-drafted shirts

26 03 2011

Even though I kind of ran out of steam for CTB, all-boy, all the time, I picked up sewing for myself with even greater enthusiasm.  If my posts have been sparse, it is only because my free time has been completely consumed by going through the Design-it-Yourself Clothes book and working on projects from it.  And combing the web looking for ideas for more projects.  Here they are, in all their glory, the first 3 shirts I made from self-drafted patterns!  They are just muslins (like practice shirts), made from a jersey sheet, nothing fancy.  I’m really happy with the fit though, so I might cut into some nicer fabric soon.  The basic T pattern:


The next variation, the Charlotte T:


(Please forgive the goofy pictures, these are the best I could do with the self timer.)  And finally, a V-neck T, my first attempt at altering a pattern, based on instructions at Sew Chicken:


Heehee, still need to hem that one, oops!  I was too excited to try it on.  Actually I made it largely to practice my hand at ruffle-making for another project, to come another day!  I am having a great time sewing for myself, having decided that if I want to sew anything “girly”, this is essentially my only choice.  Plus, I hate clothes shopping and I love fabric shopping, so it should be a lot of fun making some of my own clothes!  And I figure even if they’re not perfect that (1) in the 9 months of winter we have here, nobody will notice the imperfect clothing underneath my fleece jacket, which I am never without, and (2) really, it would be hard for my handmade (not homemade) clothes to be much worse than what I already wear.  I am thankful every day that the people of “What Not to Wear” do not stop me on the street.  So, a fun new set of projects are piling up in my mind faster than I can complete them, or even start on them!  Hopefully I will get a few more done to show off in the coming weeks.  Thanks for visiting!

A little something different

12 03 2011

I guess maybe it was inevitable that making so many boy items I got a little burned out.  So a few days ago I got the itch to try making something for myself.  Just as last year I watched from the sidelines as Celebrate the Boy month went on, I also watched Rae’s Spring Top Week with admiration, wishing I had those kinds of mad skills.  This year I’ve decided I can do it, or at least try, and my goal is to make something presentable enough to submit for the competition (assuming it happens this year, I guess).  I picked up a copy of Cal Patch’s book, Design-it-Yourself Clothing at the library and I’m working through it, but I started by making a pattern from a shirt I had and making a muslin in another $5/bolt Wal-Mart find.  (Seriously, somebody tell me to stop buying those.)  I finished it last night and it’s nothing special but I was thrilled to find that it fit, and it doesn’t even look that bad!  (And if it does, please tell me now to spare me the embarrassment later!)  Here it is, my first attempt at making something for me:


So, like with the “pirate” fabric, this stuff is terrible.  I mean, it’s see through!  It’s fine for layering, I guess, but I don’t like to layer, I like to put on a shirt and be done.  Still, it’s cheaper than muslin, and I have some cute rib knit that I will be trying next, so this made a good sample, since it’s similarly stretchy.  I thought about doing something with a fancy neckline to break up the plain-ness of the solid yellow.  But, that’s not really my style, so I decided to do just a simple binding instead. 

NecklineFalling apart hem

I did a blind hem on my serger but it’s already falling apart.  I think this material is too stretchy—it’s very stretchy.  I need to go over it again to keep it from falling apart. 

So if anyone is reading this, let me ask you a few questions.  Do you make clothes for yourself?  Where do you find good fabric/patterns?  This is all new to me since I’ve only ever looked at kids’ fabric and patterns.  Still, I look forward to this new adventure!  I can never find clothes I like (you know, suitably frumpy), so this opens up a whole new realm of possibilities….