Thursday, November 16, 2017

Ponchos for fall

Last week I had an hour to myself, as well as a hankering to use up a 2-yard cut of wool jersey I found at the thrift store last year (for $3.50!).  So I made this.


The jersey was the perfect warm, mid-weight, stable fabric for the button-up, drape-neck, fall poncho of my dreams.  I draped it over myself, pinned it, re-pinned and re-draped, and came up with my preferred proportions.  Basically my fabric was a 70" wide pentagon that was 33" long in the middle and 26" long at the sides.  I hemmed the top with interfacing, folded my fabric in half with the 26" sides aligned, and then sewed up all but 12" of the top.  


I sewed the buttons through both layers of fabric rather than making buttonholes.   The bottom is left raw - this jersey won't ravel and I dig the sharp-edged look.  I used two different kinds of buttons because I was working from stash and didn't have enough of any of the ones I liked.  I toyed with alternating them, but in the end I just decided to group them together.  I really like how it looks, and since the buttons are just sewn on, I can replace them later if I want to without worrying about matching sizes.


Immediately after I finished it, the temperature dropped, and I've been wearing it pretty much non-stop ever since.  And as soon as she saw my poncho, my sweet little Z asked if I could make her one. As it happened, I had just enough fabric left over to make that happen.  She's been wearing it proudly ever since.


 I think she looks ridiculously cute in it, though I have to remind her to take it off before eating or (shudder) going to the bathroom.


So there you have it, Mommy-and-me wool ponchos. Keep scrolling for directions to make your own.  And as always, thanks for reading and see you next time! 

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Gallery hack

I made another Gallery Tunic.  You'll be forgiven for thinking that it doesn't exactly look like a Gallery Tunic.  But I didn't actually set out to hack this pattern.  I prepped my fabric (via FabricMart, is originally from J.Crew and was described as a "cotton flannel voile") and started cutting with the full intention of making the pattern as drafted.  As I was cutting, though, ideas kept coming to me.  "I haven't made a shirt with a yoke for myself in awhile.  It really wouldn't be difficult to add a back yoke ..."  Then "I think a ruffly collar would be cool in this fabric."  Finally, "Oops, I accidentally cut my front in two pieces instead of on the fold ... guess I'll just go with it."


So, yeah, it doesn't really look like a Gallery Tunic.

But on to the nitty gritty.  I used the same sizing mods for this one as on my first Gallery Tunic.   I cut a size 8 with an FBA, the body being widened to a 16. The sleeve is also adjusted for a fuller bicep.


The part of this shirt that I'm most excited about is the ruffle collar.  I like the juxtaposition of the girly ruffle and the more masculine plaid.  To make the ruffle, I used the mandarin collar piece, and then cut a ruffle 1.5 times the length of the collar by 2.25".  Then I folded the ruffle in half lengthwise, gathered up the raw ends until the ruffle was the same length as the collar, and sewed it in between the two collar pieces, right sides together.  Using the 1/2" seam allowance, my ruffle finished at 5/8".  My collar did get stretched out somehow at the back, but since my hair is usually down, I'm not going to let it bother me too much.  I do really like how it looks at the front.  This fabric is very thin and drapey, so the collar flops open a little, which is what I was going for.  A ruffle collar that stands too close to the neck is not a look I feel comfortable in, but a floppy ruffle, I can totally do.


Once I realized I had made a mistake in cutting the front as two pieces rather than as one on the fold, I decided to just interface and fold the front edges to the wrong side to create a button placket.  The original pattern includes a 1" pleat at the bust, which then hangs free below the bust.  So I made each placket 1" and topstitched them down.  As you can see above, I didn't bother making buttonholes where I knew I wouldn't fasten the buttons.  The placket looks like it's angled at the top but it actually is completely straight.


The back yoke was another easy modification.  I lined the yoke via the burrito method and I really like the added detail of the bias-cut yoke at the back.  Although I was careful in my handling, and stay-stitched all necklines, I still ended up with some stretching at the back, as you can see below.  That will pretty much always be covered by my hair, though, and I can't see it, so it's ok :)


All in all, I'm quite happy with the way this shirt turned out.  For being super-lightweight, it's quite warm, and just the slightest bit scratchy, which makes me wonder whether there is any wool content.  I don't remember a wooly smell when I washed the fabric, though that was actually a couple of years ago ...


My single gripe with this shirt is the fact that it seems to highlight my bust in a way that my first Gallery does not.  I wonder whether this is because of my back yoke - the shirt is a little tighter across the bust than the first Gallery.  I may need to widen the bottom of the yoke a bit if I make this one again ... and like the first time I made the Gallery, I'm not certain I will try again.  But you never know. 



Thanks for reading, and see you next time!

Monday, October 30, 2017

Gift Tillery

I've worn my Tillery skirts quite a lot since finishing them last month.  Every time my sister-in-law, A,  has seen me wearing the denim one, she has commented how much she likes it.  Turns out that she had been eyeing similar skirts in stores, but that they were all too short for her taste.  So I offered to make her one and she suggested that it be her birthday gift.


I had just enough denim from my skirt left over to make hers.  It is a cotton/poly blend that I got on sale from Joann's with the intentions of making pants.  It's quite drapey for denim, which I think is actually very nice for this pattern.  I sewed up a size 6 graded to a 10 waist based on A's measurements.  It was quite enlightening to measure her, actually, as I would have assumed she was a straight size.  She is slim, and looks very proportionate - the type of figure that I would assume has it easy fitting RTW sizes.  Not so at all, though - because of the difference between her waist and hips, she often has trouble with gaping waistbands.  It was a pleasure to sew this for her because I could tell from our first fitting, how grateful she was to have a garment that fit her exactly the way she wanted.



The sewing of this garment was straightforward, as I had sewn it up twice before.  I was working from the final version of the pattern, though, which has notches on the skirt panel pieces (the tester version did not have notches), and I cut some of the notches slightly too long, thinking that I had a 5/8" seam allowance to work with.  I neglected to take into account that the flat-felled seams meant that some of the seam allowances would be visible.  Luckily I was able to make it work, but if you are making this pattern, be sure to be sparing with fabric when you cut the notches - I wouldn't cut them wider than a scant 1/4". 



Once again I used Dritz Heavy Duty Snaps and found them easy to work with.  I was unable to put belt loops on this one because my sewing machine just would not sew them on.  I couldn't figure out what the problem was, as I had made myself this exact skirt in this exact fabric, but then I realized that I had accidentally interfaced both waistband pieces.  Oops.  So the waistband is extra-firm, but A doesn't mind.  I also added a hidden snap between the second and third snaps from the top - if you look carefully in the photo above you can see where it is.  There is just a bit of pulling in that area, so I probably should have graded the pattern lines a bit differently, but it looks good on and doesn't feel tight on her.

Since I got this skirt sewn up, I've been sewing up a lot of knits for my kids, and haven't been successful in getting photos of them, thus the month-long blog silence.  I am hoping to cut a new pair of jeans for myself after I finish the pile of kid knits on my sewing table, so hopefully I'll see you back here relatively soon.

Until then, thanks for reading!

Monday, October 2, 2017

Corduroy Tillery Skirt

The skirt I'm showing off today has already become a wardrobe staple.  This is the new Tillery Skirt from Blank Slate Patterns, which I tested earlier this fall.  I've worn it at least once a week since completing it, with flats and a t-shirt or a button-down.  And although I'm not dying for the weather to cool off, I am looking forward to wearing it with boots once the temperature drops.  


The fabric calls for a non-stretch woven, but I really wanted to use this corduroy that has been hanging out in the stash since we lived in Tbilisi.  It's a stretch cotton corduroy, but is fairly stiff and stable, so I figured it would work ok (and it did).  I sewed a size 14 according to my measurements, and ended up taking a wedge out of the waistband (1/2" at the top, 1/4" at the bottom), doing a sway-back adjustment and adding 1.5" of length to the knee-length view of the pattern (I am 5'8").


The skirt has three views - mini, knee-length and midi.  It features a snap-front, seven flat-felled seams, pockets and five belt loops.  The skirt is a pretty quick sew despite all the flat-felled seams.  I was also pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to install the heavy duty snaps (I used these).  I changed up the suggested snap placement a little bit to provide more snap coverage at the fullest part of my belly, where the placket wants to gape open.


The pattern is designed to sit at the natural waist, which I was a bit skeptical about, as my natural waist is super-high and I never wear anything there.  But I actually really like wearing the skirt with a tucked-in button-down.  After completing the corduroy one, I made a denim one, which must have gotten stretched out during sewing because it sits considerably lower than the first skirt.  And I find I don't wear it nearly as often.


I also messed up the snap placement on the denim skirt, and it gapes a bit towards the top of the placket.  I keep meaning to sew a snap on the inside, but honestly I will probably end up donating this skirt.


The purple one, though, is a winner.  Here are a few more photos of it.




 Thanks for reading, and see you next time!
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Monday, September 25, 2017

Bonn #4

Another week, another Bonn.  (Don't worry, I've decided that after this one, I should probably crack open a different button-down shirt pattern as I round out my fall and winter wardrobe.)  The newest horse in my stable is made out of what appears to be a cotton/linen blend shirting I recently ordered from FabricMart.



This one is a size 10DD with a 1 1/8" forward shoulder adjustmen. Both the body and the sleeves are lengthened 1.5" and point of the V neckline is an inch lower.  Now, maybe because of the lower-v and the forward shoulder, the neckline isn't as open as I'd like and I notice that the back neckline is just a bit too wide.  I am thinking of reducing the length of the neckline and collar (ok, maybe I will make another one sooner than I had thought).

Like on my last two Bonns, the bust darts are an inch shorter and an inch lower, and the sleeves are a size 10 with a 1.5" full bicep adjustment.  I find on this one that the sleeves are a little too voluminous below the elbow.  I think they look great rolled up, though (and the extra volume makes a neat roll a little bit easier).


I ended up hemming the shirt with self-fabric bias binding.  I did have to redo it once, as I had forgotten to clip the seam allowance before turning it up, but once I did that, the hem fell flatter than the hems on any of my previous Bonns (though still not completely flat, grrr).  I just can't seem to figure out how to hem a curved shirt tail satisfactorily.

Also, I want to note for future Masha that this shirt used up 64 inches of a 57" wide fabric.


Like my other Bonns, this one is sure to be a regular in my fall and winter rotation.  It's not actually warm enough to wear it yet (and I'm totally ok with that), but I imagine I'll be reaching for it in a few weeks.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Last bit of vacation sewing

I know it's September 17, and evidently Target thinks time is nigh to throw the ol' Christmas lights up on the shelves.  (It's not.)  Because, guys, summer isn't quite over.

Here in my part of the world, we've had a few lovely 80-degree days recently.  Today I realized that I hadn't blogged the Pony tank I am wearing with my newly shortened Alberta Street skirt, so I decided to get a few photos and put them up here for future reference.


The tank was one of those it's-almost-vacation-and-I-need-to-make-something-new impulse sews.  Like my previous Pony Tank (the blue and white one, as I ended up giving the other one to my mother-in-law in July), this one is a straight size 16 with the exception of the armscye depth, which I cut on the size 8 line.


I once read a review of a dramatic hi-lo top on a blog (I can't remember which), where the writer described the back part of the top as a "butt cape."  Wearing my first Pony makes me feel a bit like I have on a butt cape, so I decided to shorten the back a bit.  I think I actually shortened the whole thing, but the drapey rayon sprang up higher than I had expected, so I ended up leaving the edges raw. I like these proportions better than the ones on my other Pony.


I also recently shortened my denim Alberta Street skirt.  I love this skirt and wear it all the time, through all seasons.  This summer, however, the length suddenly seemed a little frumpy.  I was really surprised; I've always been a knee-length-or-longer kind of girl when it comes to skirts, usually feeling uncomfortable in a skirt any shorter.  But I think my style is changing a bit, influenced no doubt by the legions of sewing blogs I read.


I'm digging a shorter skirt these days, so I took off about 2.5 inches and I'm really pleased with the results.  I almost can't wait to try it with tights and boots.  Except, I can.  Summer, don't leave me yet!

Thanks for reading, and see you next time!

Monday, September 4, 2017

2017 Outer Banks Collection

This summer I ended up making four full swim suits (each consisting of a rash guard + bottoms), two unpaired pairs of swim trunks, and one unpaired rash guard - 11 pieces in all.  Fair warning - this is a long read, as I've decided to cram them all into one post.

I sewed rash guards for the girls as well as the boys this year, because I've had trouble with the neck ties stretching out on the Cosi swimsuits I've sewn in the past (1, 2 and 3, 4 and 5, 6). Also, rash guards = less sunscreen, which is a plus in my book.

Natasha was in the most dire need of suits, so I started with her.  We decided color block it, using these daffodil and melon shades from The Fabric Fairy. I made her rash guards (and all the others) using the Oliver+S Field Trip Raglan pattern.  The girls' swim bottoms were made using the high-waisted bikini bottom from the Cosi Swimsuit pattern with a somewhat shortened rise.


Her bottoms are a size 6 with 1/2" taken off each side seam.  I cut her leg elastic at 14.25" (should have made it shorter, it turns out), and her waist elastic at 20".  The top is a 3T that I narrowed by moving the front and back patter pieces 1/2" off the fold.  My girl is nearly 8 but very skinny and the straight 3T would have been too baggy for a rash guard.  I also added 2.5" extra length.  I cut the neckband for this and all other suits about 3.5" wide, to finish at 1.5" or so.  I also lengthened the neckband a little bit to make sure they'd go over the kids' heads, though it turns out I only really needed to lengthen the girls' neckbands because I had sized down their rash guards so much.

I also underlined the front and back panels with swimsuit lining.

I'm not super pleased with either of the solid fabrics I used for Natasha's suit - the daffodil yellow fabric, in addition to being very sheer, ran pink-colored streaks both on this suit (visible in the above photo near her right armpit), and on the rash guard I made for G using some of the yellow scraps.  And the melon fabric faded to a light peach during our two weeks at the beach.  You can see some of the fading in the color below, which was taken towards the end of our trip; the melon is actually even lighter in person now.


I have found that the swimsuit fabric I have purchased from The Fabric Fairy has been very hit-or-miss - as in, either it's fabulous quality, or incredibly pilly and prone to fading after just a few wears.  While the wins have been true wins, I need a bit more consistency in my life and I'm hunting around for another swimsuit fabric source.  Please leave any suggestions you have in the comments!


I made a second suit for Natasha as well, using fabric scraps from suits I'd sewn her the last two years.  I'm expecting the bee print to fade quite a bit based on the condition of the last suit I made her.  The stripe (which isn't yarn-dyed) is the only print I've purchased from The Fabric Fairy that has held up well.

For this one, I added an extra inch of length to the rash guard, and I removed the 1/2" from the side seams instead of the center of both front and back pieces, which I think works better.  I also lengthened the sleeves and I LOVE them in the longer length.  I thought she might resist wearing a "long-sleeved" swimsuit, but she didn't mind it at all, so I will be sewing these longer sleeves on future rash guards, as well.


Z also got a rash guard suit.  I didn't think she needed a new suit at the time, so I didn't include any fabric for her in my Fabric Fairy order.  But then one of her old Cosis bit the dust, and I ended up getting these fabrics from Joann's. I can't recommend them - the seat of the bottoms are already pilling, and the fabric is a bit shiny for my taste - but at least the fabric hasn't faded.



Z's rash guard is a straight 3T with 2.5" extra length.  Her Cosi bottoms are a straight size 6 with a shorter rise and with the same waist and leg elastic as Natasha's.


Niko's set is probably my favorite of the bunch.  The fabrics (from The Fabric Fairy) have held up spectacularly well, and I just love the way the suit looks on him.   This is the navy fabric, which is very thick and substantial and seems to be very high quality.  The floral has also held up nicely so far.


His rash guard is a size 18-24 month with extra length.  His trunks are size 2 of the Euro Swim Trunks pattern, with about 1/2" taken off each side seam.  I also lengthened the bottoms a couple of inches, as I'm digging a longer trunk for my boys these days.


I also made Niko two pairs of board shorts, though I only managed to get photos of one.  They were both made using the Oliver+S Sunny Day Shorts pattern (it's free!) in a straight size 2T.  I added a patch pocket to the back of the gingham pair.  The unpictured pair is just a bright yellow.



G didn't need much.  He is still rocking the gingham trunks I made him two years ago, which match Niko's gingham trunks, though they are now quite faded and likely won't be passed down.  Plus he has a bunch of thrifted and gifted trunks.  He did need a new rash guard, so I sewed up a quick one a couple days before we left for the beach, using scraps from Niko and Natasha's swim suits.  I used the size 3 with a ton of extra length for my tall four-year-old, and made elbow-length sleeves.


And that wraps up Beach Collection 2017!  
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