Sunday, January 25, 2009

Fresh Start

So far, I have been making pretty good on my resolution to sew more.
The first week of the new year I made a skirt:

Pattern: Sidonie; (no longer free L)
Fabric: 2 yards blue wool, purchased for $7/yard at a little shop in the garment district, and white nylon lining.
I modified the pattern slightly, adding 2 inches in length at the hip curve and since I am a bit hippy, blended a smaller waist (44) to larger hip (46). 

After I seamed the skirt together, I basted the lining to the outer fabric and tried it on to assess the fit. Even with the bias taken into account I could see right away that it was too big. This is a re-occurring problem I have with patterns and it drives me INSANE. I measure myself carefully and honestly, pick the correct size according to my measurements, even make adjustments, and it’s too big. GRRRRrrrr! Muslins are an absolute must, but since I haven’t made much with the burdastyle patterns yet I am taking it slowly with the simpler patterns in order to get a better understanding of my size in these patterns and the typical wearing ease. With the Sidonie skirt, I simply re-stitched the seams 3/8” in from my first seams which was the difference between sizes and it fit much better.

The next weekend I finished up a slightly more complicated sewing project that I’d been taking my time with: 

Pattern: Liz Blouse; (purchased – worth it)
Fabric: Striped shirting that I’ve had in my stash since grad school. It was given out by the design department and I was told it was remnants from Marc Jacobs – so I squirreled it away like any fan-girl would, dreaming of the perfect shirt to make with it. Well, the time to make things happen is NOW.
This pattern is very straight forward, with shoulder to hem princess seams which makes a custom fit only a matter of patience and time. I originally cut a muslin in a size 44. When I tried it on, I noticed that the armholes where huge (which I had also noticed with my still un-photographed Anda Dress) and the upper back was too big. I had chosen the size based on my full bust rather than my upper bust (and I’m a D cup) so I re-cut the pattern blending the 44 hip on front and back pieces, to the 42 upper back and front. I also extended the front bust curve a little bit to give my chest some more room. Then, even though I was terrified of cutting the fabric without a second muslin, I went ahead and did it… I decided to get over my fear of failure and disappointment in favor of learning from experience. Also, I knew that my first fit was close enough that it was unlikely to be too much of a disaster if it didn’t go perfectly.

I took my time sewing, pressed the seams out and checked the fit before pinking my seams (I don’t have a serger) and then I hit a mental block when I got to the stand up collar. I had built up in my head the fiddly-ness of sewing in collars and so I set it aside until I could devote time and attention to it. That took a month – most of December. When I finally bit the bullet and faced the “hard part” I realized that the burdastyle instructions, while vague, did prescribe a simple method of finishing the collar: topstitching. No hand stitching! It was easy and fast and that gave me the get-to-it I needed to finish the rest. I even had fun making the button holes (practice on scrap makes pretty perfect). Alas, my button hole thread doesn’t match my top stitching thread, but at least the colors work with the fabric. I am thrilled with the fit and my results.

Buoyed by my successes with the Liz blouse and the Sidonie skirt, I whipped up an instant gratification sort of project: 

Fabric: Stretch lace and elastic all came from my stash (probably purchased from the dollar table at Walmart years ago) 
I didn’t modify the pattern at all (size 38) because I wanted to test the fit as is. Don’t fix what might not be broken, right? Well, the fit is perfectly cheeky and I am well covered. After I wear them a few times I’ll decide if I want to tweak the pattern for size. 
I didn’t add elastic to the legs because it wasn’t necessary for fit, the fabric isn’t fraying, I’d like avoid the panty line thing, and I have limited selections of lingerie elastic in the stash anyway. I just zig-zagged the crotch sides and it’s fine. I didn’t bother with finishing the end of the crotch piece either because it doesn’t fray. If they fall apart in the wash I won’t care, this was basically FREE project start to finish.

Up next: MORE UNDIES. I have some old lingerie patterns that include bias cut panties. I've already cut a muslin out of some violet colored organdy (polyester I think, old stash scraps). If they turn out awesome (hope and pray) I will splurge on silk organza or georgette. I'm thinking Jean Yu for inspiration.

On the Knitting front:
I am still making progress on my Cable Luxe Tunic (see previous post). The KAL has been very motivational and informative. I am this close to finishing the front (sewing is stealing my time) and then I’ll only have the sleeves left. Also on the needles: second half of my Flow tank (rav link) in Lion Brand’s Recycled Cotton, marine blue. LOVE this yarn. Really, I know I’m a bit of LB fangirl, but this stuff is perfect for summer and I am California dreaming. I’ll pick this project up for subway knitting as soon as I finish my current pair of subway socks. 


Stellina said...

I love the way those all came out. Perfect fit I must say.
Lately I have been trying to sew more myself, it's easy to fall into the knitting-all-the-time hole. We should figure out a way to have sewing get togethers :)

shansays said...

So awesome. I really want to make a knitted thong soon. Girls need pretty things.

Michelle said...

Okay, now I'm inspired to dust off my machines and learn to sew for real! By the way, can you suggest a decent book that will teach me how to use my serger?

Anonymous said...

this is all fantastic!
Btw, I tagged you on my blog:-)

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