I’m still a relatively new sewist/sewer. I’m also a new blogger, still figuring out my camera (how do people take self-portraits in a room with poor lighting and self-timers?), and a lazy ironer. The patterns and finished garments piled up, and the guilt to review them did too. So, here we are, all at once.
My first foray into sewing clothes for people – I followed noodlehead’s sewalong. I was nervous! buying the fabric and the pattern and the interfacing (which I had no idea what/where it was at the fabric store) and the zipper. I must have spent fifteen minutes inspecting zippers and trying to decipher the packages. The fabric is a kona cotton – a bit stiff, but the color was right.
The sew a long was very very helpful and I didn’t even open the directions from the pattern envelope (one less thing to fold back up). I cut a 6, even though the sizing chart said I was a 10. I hemmed and hawed, and decided that if I were a 10, then who would be a 6? Well, the 6 still had way too much fabric at the sides, which meant getting acquainted with my new seam ripper, but because I like my skirts to sit at my hip, I had to rip out the 6 waistband and recut a 10. So, this skirt basically was frankensteined together and the stitching is a bit wonky, but I’m still pretty pleased with it.
Skills learned: seam ripping, inserting pockets, cutting out a pattern, inserting a zipper, using interfacing.
The stitching on the zipper is a mess, as was the side seams, from all the ripping out. I just bought bias tape and bias taped those suckers together to minimize the rough seaming attempts. It’s still not perfect, but the color filled a gap in my wardrobe, and it fits well.
New Look 6104
Well, after my success? with simplicity 226, I decided to try a shirt. With buttons and buttonholes. Daring. (Funny, with most things I am a cautious mess, but with crafts I just dive in and deal with mistakes and tricky parts. If only this carried over to skiing. And driving. I guess the risks are lower with sewing, though.)
I saw this shirt done multiple times by four square walls, and I liked the scoopneck and I wanted to try sleeves and buttons. The fabric was a juvenile selection from joann’s. I don’t know; I think polka dots cross the ages.
I looked for a sew a long, but didn’t find one, and I had a little panic. Then, I decided, I am sure I can figure this out. So, I nervously cut out the pattern and fabric, using a size 10, which was the smallest choice. I am definitely not a 10. But, the shirt came together well, and I’m happy. I had to add front and back darts in addition to the bust darts, but no real issue. I liked this pattern a lot and would make it again. Spoonflower birds, I’m eyeing you.
Skills learned: buttons and buttonholes, setting in sleeves. Reading a pattern on my own.
So, having conquered, or at least learned to coexist, with my buttonhole foot, I tried the ultimate (for me), button up shirts with a collar! And cuffs! Too much, too soon.
I cut out a 6, with the C bust. The thing is, I am bigger than a C, but I didn’t feel comfortable grading it up on my own, and I usually leave the top third of buttoned shirts unbuttoned anyway, with a cami underneath.
Ugh, this fabric. I got it from denverfabrics. It’s all cotton, and I love the colors, but it wrinkles and frays and is a bit too thick. Dangers of ordering online. It fought me the whole time, and it still seeks revenge. The yoke was a nightmare, and I only barely figured it out. The sleeves were too short because I thought after trying it on that the cuffs I hadn’t attached yet were too wide. They were, but the half-cuffs I made were about a quarter-inch too short and they drove me crazy until I ripped them out later and made new ones. The back is too tight. And, because the fabric frays so much, by the time I wanted to finish the seams, there wasn’t much left to seam. I bought bias tape and that seems to help.
Despite ALL of my complaints with my shirt, I still wear it all the time. The plaids match two of my cardigans, and I needed a non-white or pink button up.
Not happy with my near-success, I tried this pattern again, in a second fabric from denverfabrics. This fabric is everything I love – doesn’t wrinkle or fray much, is lighter weight, and was easy to work with. I figured out the yoke for this shirt and it lays (lies?) well. I didn’t attach cuffs after my last disaster, so I just made the sleeves long and hemmed them off, since I knew I would be rolling them up anyway. I didn’t attach the buttony front part as a separate piece – I just taped the pattern pieces together and cut them out as one. This let me avoid plaid matching.I love this shirt and am very happy with it.
Adventures with knits!
I knew I wanted a wine jersey wrap dress, and after looking for a year for a ready-made one, and finding far too many polyester blends or wines that were too pink, I decided to conquer my knit fear. I read tons of tutorials, but I finally just decided to wing it. I used a zig zag stitch, a stretch needle, and pulled the fabric through the machine as I sewed. I got the fabric from the in-store denver fabrics, and even though it’s rayon, there’s no polyester or spandex, so I was happy. Plus, I loved the color.
I didn’t have quite enough to make the tie belt the necessary width, so I had to half it. I think the width is too skinny, but I’m not bothered enough to go back to the store and buy more fabric and unpick seams and then be stuck with two really long skinny pieces of sewn jersey to deal with. The fabric had a darker color on the wrong side, so I used the wrond side for the belt for contrast.
I didn’t make sleeves, and I had to shorten the straps and lop off a few inches from the bottom, but otherwise, the dress has no alterations. I am so tickled with this dress and wear it all the time. Definitely making another soon – maybe in white or navy?
A lot of times, I see patterns that everyone is making out there in blogland, and I think, that would never work on me. I immediately thought that about the Tova – too boxy, no shaping – what a disaster for my body. And then I started seeing it everywhere. And then it was available as a pdf. And then I found this light, stripey fabric at denver fabrics, and thought, “Oh! This would be perfect for a boxy light and easy shirt.” So I bought it. And the pattern. And had a mild disaster at kinkos trying to print the pattern out. And then as usual, a mild nervous breakdown picking out the size (I chose xs – a bit smaller than I am in the bust). And then another breakdown about if I needed to make an FBA. And then I spent so much time folding my one other pullover shirt in a light cotton in half and lining it up on the pattern pieces and shaking my head and sweating. Cutting out patterns makes me stressed out.
So, here’s the thing – I was right. It was too shapeless and boxy as it was. The shoulders were way too wide, so I took them in. Then, the sleeves were too puffy and I looked like a pioneer prairie lady. I ripped them out and put them back in three times before they were okay enough. Then, there still was a ton of fabric billowing out on the sides. It doesn’t look so bad here, because I added these:
a tie belt to cut down on the billowy business in the front. Much like a mullet, now I have a fabric party in the back, and this is even with back darts that are hard to see. Also, man does this fabric wrinkle.
I made the sleeves longer, and my top stitching on the placket is on the wrong side on one side, and the corners of the placket are a disaster because I thought, what’s with all these steps? I am sure I can do a corner without them! Well, I was wrong. But, as usual, too lazy to redo it a third time.
Next time, I’m listening to my instincts. I still like this shirt, but the amount of tailoring made it… not really worth it for me. I love it on other people, just like high heels and peplums and skinny jeans (not necessarily together). Do you know what is strange though? I just love having this pattern in my collection. The cover page is so pretty and fits my style aesthetic.