Monday, July 18, 2016


At the beginning of this month I finally got around to trying out the Belcarra blouse by Sewaholic.  (It’s been lying around the sewing room for far too many months.)  Not exactly a winter make, so it stands to reason that it should have waited till summer.  Let’s call both of these muslins. Initially I cut the size 2, which has been the size that seems to have been working for me almost perfectly in the Sewaholic Patterns.  It’s supposed to be a loose fit, but … just exactly how loose?   
That would be the bluish one … with a pocket even.  That pocket sort of gets lost on this fabric, and perched there on the upper chest – I’m not quite sure what its purpose would be.  Well, one set of keepers to make sure that this wide neckline won’t go anywhere, and I have a top for around the house.  This was such a quick make, that I decided since the pattern was out anyway, I might as well make another, this time cutting the size 0. 
Much better.  Still probably much looser than I’d thought it should be, however it is a woven t, and it is comfortable, and it’s perfect for hot weather around here, when it also becomes extremely muggy.  And … the keepers keep the neckline in place.  

Without those little gizmos, this top would certainly be sliding off my shoulders.  (Not a look that I aspire to.)  I might still fiddle around with the fit at the hip on the next round at some point in the future.  Fabrics – who knows.  They were “inherited” pieces that are now much more useful as tops than they were when they languished in stash.   As I was finishing the black top I started getting ideas of lengthening this one into a loose dress.  Perhaps belted it wouldn’t be bad as a “house dress”.  And I have yet to try the version with pin tucks on the sleeves …  Enough!  I do tend to get carried away with variations on the same theme.   For now I’ve folded this pattern back into its envelope and put it back in the drawer.  There are too many other patterns that need a chance to be used this summer.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Vogue 1055

This was last summer’s make, but I finished it so late in the season that it only had one wear.  Another one of those patterns that I fell in love with when it came out (copyright 2008), but for some reason managed to ignore for years.  What I really liked was the jacket – single layer, loads of top-stitching – seemed like the perfect summer topper.  Somehow I never could find the perfect fabric to make this work. 
Last year I finally paired it with fabric that was also aging for far too long.  The top and skirt are rayon batik from Distinctive Sewing Supplies.  I bought it years ago at the Creative Festival in Toronto, before it was even called the Creative Festival.  There were actually three pieces in this lot – the plain striated khaki, the patterned khaki and a plain creamy white that all matched.  The white didn’t make it into the outfit.  Rayon would not have worked for the jacket – much too soft and drapey.  I started rooting around until I came up with a damask linen tablecloth that was much too small for the table that I presently have in the dining room.  Funny thing with whites – they don’t all “match”.  This particular linen (let’s not call it a tablecloth anymore) had a creamy undertone, which worked with the creamy print of the khaki fabric.
Having fallen in love with the jacket (probably the reason for acquiring the pattern), it’s the jacket that I’m least happy with.  Somehow, despite my usual tweaks, it still feels too large and sloppy.  I was on the verge of popping it into the giveaway pile, because I just didn’t have the heart to unpick all those top-stitched seams!  On Sunday I decided to give it one more go.  Perhaps by actually wearing it for a while I would come up with some solution to the problem. I think, if I raise the sleeves up by ½ inch on the shoulder seam so that they sit better, may-be, just maybe it will be enough to make me happy (more or less) with this jacket.  Unpicking just the top part of the sleeves doesn’t seem quite so onerous a task.
As for the rest of the outfit…I used the pattern, but I didn’t use the pattern.  The skirt as designed by Adri is bias.  With the obvious lines of the striated batik, that just wouldn’t work.  Who knows where all those lines would be heading.  Instead, I pulled out an old A-line skirt pattern, transferred the “design elements”, those being the pockets, and the stripey lines hang as they should.  Unfortunately, probably because of the soft rayon, the pockets themselves don’t want to behave.
They’re going to have to come out.  They end up looking like lumps under the skirt.  (A rather odd place for lumps.)  And then on to the tank top.
I decided on the version with tucks.  (By the way, tucks are a (hm-hm) pain on rayon.)  Waffling about the fit of the tank in the pattern, I pulled out my TNT woven tank, transferred the tuck details, and ended up having no fitting problems.  At least there was one item in the bunch that won’t need reworking.
Am I the only person who sews something, then has to go back and tweak to make me happy with the results?   Sometimes it takes wearing the item once to realize that there is something off, or that it needs one more snap or hook somewhere, or perhaps it needs a bit of readjusting.  Not every time, mind you.  It would be easy enough to just call it quits and remove the offending garment to some charity shop (someone would be happy with it!).  I’ve become a little wiser in my old age – sometimes it is worth the effort to go back and fix the problem, so that I have a wearable garment instead of closet clutter.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

M5024 Shirt dress

There are an awful lot of very nice new shirt dress patterns out there, but this one has been sitting in the pattern drawer for quite a few years, and I thought that it just might be time for it to see the light of day. 
It hung around the sewing room for a few weeks minus buttonholes and buttons, and I needed an “occasion” to get it finished and worn.  So I decided that Sunday’s lunch at church (which means that I spend hours in the kitchen) was the occasion.  I got up early and managed to finish it all up in plenty of time to wear.  As should have been expected, in fairly short order my skirt was sporting olive oil stains.  Oh well.  I’m good at laundry.
I do like this dress – the style, that is.  I think I’m even happy with the fit. (Made a SBA and lengthened the skirt.)  The fabric – well … not so sure.  The label said 100% cotton.  My fingers said poly.  At the point where the price dropped substantially, I decided to take the risk.  After prewashing (a definite lack of cotton-like wrinkles) and ironing, and even after cutting out the dress, something about the fabric just didn’t feel “cotton”.  I finally decided to burn some threads.  Now this is a chambray-type fabric.  White threads going one way and blue threads going across.  First I burned the blue thread.  Definitely cotton.  I was beginning to doubt my touchy-feely fabric sense.  I had noticed that the selvage edge felt prickly.  Odd.  Then I decided that I would burn the white threads, to see what the results would be.  Definitely not cotton.  There was a definite hard little nob at the end of the thread.  Most definitely polyester.  I still persevered.  I liked   the denimy colour, the little splatters of colour.  There were a few small hiccups in the sewing, but I overcame those.  It’s not as though I don’t have polyester in my wardrobe.  After lunch clean-up, I came home and my daughter decided that pictures needed to be taken, despite the wrinkles that the dress had acquired.  Her reasoning – we’d have to wait for some time before the dress was worn again. (Now I’m not so sure that taking pictures of an exhausted me is such a good idea.  Posture was abominable, and I looked mean.)  

Pictures taken, I went off to change, and only after I had taken off the dress, did I realize just how much heat that fabric retained.  The weather wasn’t as hot and humid as I’d thought – it was the dress that made me feel that way.  And then I noticed the back …   See what happened to the back darts? 
back dart ouchy
The fabric pulled away from the stitching.  I’m a little upset.  The fit is not tight.  I should be able to lift and move and do whatever I need to do in a dress of this sort without worrying that I’ll ruin it.  Especially when the fabric is supposedly 100% cotton.
Does anyone have any brilliant ideas of how to fix this problem?  I’ll still wear the dress at home (though not when the weather is hot and humid).  The ¾ sleeves do not exactly make it cardigan-friendly, so I can’t always cover up the back.  May-be I just have to take note and only wear knits to the church kitchen??
The insides show my latest bit of craziness.  I seem to have acquired a collection of serger threads in colours that I normally do not sew.  I reasoned that if I can use crazy fabrics to make Hong Kong finishes on the insides of garments, then I can use any colour thread to serge my seams.  There are red spots on the fabric, so why not red thread on the insides??
I’m not the only one who’s recently used this OOP pattern – check out the lovely version on Frogs in a Bucket.   I saw this blog post once my dress was well under way.  I swear this time I am not being a copycat.