Sunday, September 25, 2016

Refashioner 2016 - Denim

Y'all, taking pictures of oneself is hard. This is the first time I used my camera and remote to take remote pictures of myself and all I can say is thank goodness for that flip out screen! I have so much respect for all of the lovely bloggers who do this on any sort of regular basis. 

This project is my entry for the Refashioner 2016 Denim challenge
Originally I thought I would make a top a la Rachel Comey, but when I saw Carlolyn's scrappy denim dress I knew I wanted to attempt my own dress. 

Materials: 3 pairs deconstructed men's denim jeans 100% heavy cotton denim. On pair of light Levis 50ls that I had on hand, a pair of Wranglers and Polo Ralph Lauren that I purchased on sale at a local Goodwill. Jeans sewing thread and top-stitch thread.

PatternB5745 OOP. I had this in my pattern stash for a while and it actually lists denim as one of the suggested fabrics. It is a fit & flare dress with multiple panels and multi cup pattern pieces.

Cutting Notes: The challenge was to turn denim jeans into another garment, I had to fit the pattern pieces carefully onto the denim. Also, the denim is quite heavy and was to hang from rather narrow straps so I wanted to reduce the flare of the skirt. Therefore, I removed 1" from each panel seam at the hem (2 inches per seam, which is something like 18" total!!!) and blended through the hip. The only place I did not reduce was the CF seam, which are straight. 

I liked that the front was low but the cup shaping prevents it from gaping scandalously and the low back makes it very comfortable in hot weather, which was somewhat surprising given the heaviness of the fabric.

Construction Notes: The CF, CB and side seams are all over-locked before seaming, pressed open and then top-stitched 1/8" on each side of the seam. I used purchased navy single fold bias tape instead of self bias to face the neckline and armholes. My Bernina handled the heavy denim like a champ, but adding further bulk in those areas wouldn't have been a good idea. I installed a metal zipper instead of an invisible zipper and I applied it so that the teeth would be exposed.

To further use the denim material I added two of the jeans pockets to the sides where my hands fall. They feel a little awkward that far to my side, but I like the way the placement looks centered on the side seam. I thought about adding more of the pockets, but I haven't settled on any placement that I liked.

I'm delighted with the way this dress turned out. It's very comfortable, cute, and appropriate to wear as a transitional garment for fall. I've enjoyed wearing it this weekend as the weather cools off and I really enjoyed participating in the Refashioner challenge this year.

Monday, November 23, 2015

How to Sew a Lined Skirt with a Vent

I need more basics in my wardrobe and like wearing pencil skirts so I decided to make one. 
I went stash diving and came up with some wool houndstooth and one vented skirt pattern by McCalls... M3830. It's a favorite TNT on The only problem is that isn't lined. 

Excuse my mini rant: This is the only pattern I was able to find currently available for purchase that has a CB overlapping vent, and it doesn't have a lining. I'd venture to guess that's how they can justify calling it "Quick & Easy", which it certainly is. I'm a just bit peeved that there is no intermediate version for sewists who've made a few garments before and just want to make a basic skirt to rival what can be bought for $90 at LL Bean. Sigh. 

Fine. I can add the freakin lining myself. I like pattern-making after all and have drafted vented, lined pencil skirt in my sportswear pattern-making class at FIT. 

So I located my drafting notes, but unfortunately the sewing order of operations are missing. Drat! Then, after several evenings perusal of my entire sewing reference library I discovered that I have no references for this basic design detail. Vogue Sewing, McCalls, several vintage Singer books and the Singer Reference Series, my beloved Reader's Digest, every book I have by Claire Shaeffer and Nancy Zeiman.... none of them covered how to sew a lined skirt with a center back vent. Imagine my surprise and dismay. 

Well, what could I do other than figure it out my damn self? Nothing, so that is just want I did. 
Of course I took pictures on my cell phone while doing so... someone had to! 

First, a quick note on cutting the lining. I didn't draft a separate lining piece... I was too lazy for that and didn't really think it was necessary. What I did was cut using the body pattern pieces, with the following adjustments made while cutting: 
* I cut the side seams an extra 1/8" wide so that I would gain 1/2" total all around for ease. 
* I raised the center back seam 1/4" at the waist blending into the back waist darts. This adds a little vertical ease in the center back seam for ones bum and ensure that the lining doesn't end up too short which would cause the vent to hike up. 
* I cut the hem 1" shorter than the self. 
* I cut the wearer's Left back lining piece with a cut away for the vent underlap (on the line I'm pointing to in the photo above)

Order of Operations for a Lined Skirt with a Vent

Note: If your fabric has no discernible face as mine did, it helps to do each part of the self and lining prep in tandem to ensure that the pieces are being placed in the correct orientation. Or draw yourself a diagram, as I did.

Prepare the Self/Fashion:

  • Stitch waist darts (press to CF/CB) and stay-stitch waist seam. 
  • Fuse the Vent and the Zipper setting

  • Stay-stitch vent inner corners. Clip to dot.
  • Pre finish the side and CB seams in your chosen method (overlock, zig-zag, etc)
  • Insert Zipper into CB seam above dot. 
  • Stitch CB seam from bottom of zipper to dot above vent.  Press open. (1)
  • Stitch backs to front at side seams. Press open.

Prepare the Lining: Note: seam allowances will be between the lining and the self. 

  • Baste waist pleats (pleat uptake to sides) and stay-stitch waist seam.
  • Stay-stitch wearer’s right Lining Vent corners. Clip to dot.
  • Pre finish the CB seam in your chosen method. (overlock, zig-zag, etc)

  • Stitch backs to front at sides. Finish using your chosen method.
  • Hem Lining shorter than Self final length.
  • Stitch CB seam from dot (bottom of zipper) to dot above vent. Press open. (1)
I actually finished my CB seam allowances after stitching the CB seam, but I wouldn't do it that way again.

Attach Self to Lining at Vent:
Note: Some of these seams will require starting precisely at seam lines rather than the fabric edge. 

  • Pin the long side of Vent on wearer’s right side Self to Lining from the top angled seam line to bottom of hem allowance. Stitch. Press seam toward Self.**This side is the underlap** 

  • Pin the long side of Vent on wearer’s left side Self to Lining from the top angled seam line to bottom of hem allowance. Stitch. Press seam toward Lining. **This side is the bend back** 

  • Tuck all the angled seam allowances up. Match the stay stitch lines. 

  • Stitch angled top seam of Vent on self and lining, all layers together, starting at the inner seam-line dot. (4) **This will require reaching between the Lining and Self layers** Press seam up.

  • Topstitch across angle at top of vent through the wearer’s left side self and vent bend back only to secure.

Continue with remaining skirt construction: Self hem and Waistband. 

And there you have it!

Friday, August 14, 2015

Bow-Tie Block - A Baby Quilt

Not just another baby quilt. This one is for a BOY,  and I'm not related to him. 
He belongs to a couple from church and when they told me they were expecting 
of course I jumped at another chance to make a baby-sized quilt.

This quilt is also special because I didn't use quilting cottons. 
The fabrics for this quilt are entirely 100% cotton shirts that I thrifted and washed and sliced up. 
There are lots of progress pics on my instagram so I'm just posting the finished photos on the blog.


I also designed this quilt myself. Winging it means I designed it right?
I got the idea after seeing this Quilty; This Is My Quilt episode on Youtube a long time ago and have been waiting for an opportunity to co-opt the idea of using recycled cotton shirts. Baby quilts are the perfect size to experiment with new ideas. Instead of copying the inspiration quilt's design, I used a basic bow-tie block and arranged them in an "X's and O's" design. I had enough fabric left over to piece a patchwork backing (and plenty more fabric for another scrappier quilt!)


I hand quilted this one using the big stitch quilting technique and DMC perl cotton thread.


I love it! 

Monday, August 10, 2015

Flying Geese - Cotton and Steel - A Friendship Quilt

This quilt was made for a friend this past winter/spring. 
She was furnishing a new apartment and I know a good excuse when I see one.  

Sofa sized.
The fabric is from a kit I bought on craftsy, although the pattern can be acquired for free on the Cotton and Steel website. 

The original layout
I changed the design a lot because with the limited palette I thought the design was a bit boring.
I'm starting to see that I like the limitations of a kit but like to change up the design.


I am very proud of my points. 


The obligatory wrap myself in awesomeness 

Quilted as usual by the lovely Linda Lovett. 

Friday, August 7, 2015

Wee Wander Disappearing Nine Patch - A Baby Quilt

Another one of my cousins had a baby! Last fall. Oops. Bad blogger.
In my defense, I sent this quilt to them right about exactly the time the lovely Lena made her entrance into the world. I just haven't had the blogging mojo to brag about it.
Anyhoo. This is the quilt.

Hubs makes an adorable model. 

The Back

I had to give up on the idea of there being a "right side up", although this is technically sideways.

Focus! The label says "stitched with love" and was given to me by my friend who eventually got her own quilt

These are the details:

Pattern: Disappearing Nine Patch; some variation I made up after a bit of googling. I'm sure I got the idea from one of the Missouri Star Quilt Company YouTube videos.

Fabric: Wee Wanderer Twilight Palette by Sarah Jane for Michael Miller. It was a fat quarter bundle and I got some extra yardage from City Quilter. I also used some scraps from Ali's quilt on the back. 

Quilting: I love this pantograph! It's called Spiral Braid and was quilted by the lovely and wonderful Linda Lovett who has more photos on her blog of the quilting process. Linda is fantastic to work with; I highly recommend her. 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Donna Karen ponte pant construction pics

I love #bpNovember so much. Can we have it all year round? It's like sewing party all month on instagram.

Even though I've been busy with school and work lately I've managed to finish a few things this fall that are totally wearable. Like, a chambray Lisette dress and a gorgeous teal green Sutton Blouse. I'm also chugging along on my knit cardigan project for my knitwear class which I am fancying up with a lining (a-la Chanel) and I'm about one more evening of TV watching away from finishing the binding on my latest baby quilt.  No fancy ponte pants yet but I did sew up my own draft for class a few weeks ago (it's a winner, but a rather relaxed fit) and...AND I just came across a real Donna Karan pant sample and I was able to take some very detailed photos of the construction. You wanna see the photos?? Of course you do!

It had fewer style lines than Vogue 1378, but it does have the same curved hip style lines and it also has side slits.
The waistband is straight stitched to the elastic on the inside. Clean on the outside. There are black satin 1/4" ribbon hanger loops at the side seam.
The waistband is then catch-stitched to each vertical seam allowance. I believe this is done by hand.
ETA: Notice how the front side panel seams are angled in at the waist... this adds a little subliminal waist shaping. The back legs have angled darts at the waist, shown below.

All the seam allowances are 3/8" finished width, 3 thread over-locked (serged/merrowed), pressed OPEN. The picture below is of one of the vertical seams and the bottom of the waistband... I'm viewing the garment upside-down.
Fabric: 85/11/5 Rayon/Nylon/Spandex Ponte.It feels very nice.
The hems are hand blind-stitched. 007

The Fronts are much narrower than the back at the hem, something my knitwear instructor at FIT taught us to do when drafting our knit pants.

I sooooooo need to get to work on V1378 ASAP.

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