Week 47: Underwear & Grocery Bag

Well the last part of the underwear, as expected, was a ridiculously quick sew. Batch-working these seems like the way to go. My yard of cotton jersey got me three pairs total, so next time I buy a yard for underwear I might just make all three pairs at the same time and save some time.

I know I said I was just going to cut the fabric for my bag this week, but my sew-jo came back and also Thanksgiving weekend came up and things

just

 

spiraled

out of control.

I was so worried about being able to sew and cut through this nylon, but actually it cut beautifully and the major sewing problems I had were (I’m fairly sure) related to the thread, not the fabric. Sewing through the D-ring tabs (four layers, plus whatever I was stitching it to) was the hardest part, and definitely getting those attached around the bottom curves of the bag was a challenge, but basically the whole thing just went extremely smoothly, and now I have a nice grocery bag with sturdy seams and the ability to turn into a backpack for those long walks home with heavy stuff!

There were a few moments of confusion with the pattern, but in general the pictures explained most everything without me needing to use a ton of my Japanese skills (although they were nice to have as a backup). I like the book a lot, and will gladly use it when I want a new backpack.

I also sort of went a little overboard on Craftsy classes during the Black Friday sale. (Even though $17.87 isn’t that much better than the $20 sales they have all the time, I know.) I bought the last two of the Alison Smith Tailoring classes because I love every class she’s taught and also I’ve always secretly wanted to do tailoring, along with some others that either had been on my wishlist or just sounded appealing in the moment after a few beers.

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That brings me to my next project! Ever since I got this fabric in Japan, I’ve been envisioning a short, tailored coat for it. I wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted with the style, and I wasn’t sure exactly how I needed to prep it, because it’s a very loose weave and I knew I was going to need to know before I started on it. But after watching the Structure and Shape class I’m feeling like I have a basic idea of where to start, at least, and then Seamwork’s Lilliana pattern came up when I was looking for a jacket pattern, and while it’s not exactly what I want, it’s close enough and a simple enough pattern that I think I feel comfortable making pattern modifications to get it there. (I’m going to add a lining and facings, more structure in the shoulders, and probably patch pockets because a jacket without pockets is no jacket at all.)

I’m going to start with a muslin, because I’ve had shoulder fitting issues on every top I’ve made, so better to get that over with in cheap fabric before hitting the good stuff.

Goals for next week:

  • Get this new pattern printed
  • Make any pattern adjustments I know I’m going to need right off the bat
  • Cut out muslin
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Week 46: Underwear and More Fabric

I was totally planning to have those underwear done, but then my sister got me back into Skyrim and all my time was built killing draugr and building my virtual house, so the only part I actually finished was the enclosed gusset.

Pattern matching on underwear is for chumps - or at least people who care a lot more than I do.

Still, it should be pretty quick (if mildly annoying) to attach the elastic and finish these up.

My friend EV came to town today for my birthday weekend, and we made a trip to Fabric Depot that wound up being the entire afternoon – mostly just gawking at stuff, because while Fabric Depot isn’t far, it’s not nearly as close as Joann, so I don’t get over there very often. (I’m going to have to change that – FD has a much better selection. It’s probably worth the extra time to get over there if I’m looking for anything that isn’t extremely basic.)

My haul:

I decided that my next project is going to be that bag from the Japanese bag pattern book, done up in red ballistic nylon with navy accents. I briefly looked up needle types for ballistic nylon and am now terrified of this project, but I have all the pieces now, so it’s going to happen!

Just searching for the notions was exciting, since all the lengths were in metric and I don’t convert very well in my head. Then I bought piping and I’m still not sure if that was supposed to be nylon cord instead? Since something is being fed through into a cord stopper, but then something was also being covered with fabric? Anyway I really didn’t know which one I needed and I didn’t want to be mid-project and have the wrong one, so now I have both cotton piping and also nylon cord. I’m sure I’ll find some use for the one I don’t use.

Goals for next week:

  • Finish off the underwear (this time for sure)
  • Cut out parts for the backpack

Week 45: Selene, complete!

It’s done!

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The hem is actually straight, I promise. I just can’t resist looking at that bias tape hem.

It’s been so long, I barely remember working on anything else. And although I’ve made this pattern before (the version without pockets), my unfortunate pattern adjustments made this one of the hardest projects to date. I’m frankly amazed it’s wearable at all! But actually, it mostly lays smoothly and I suspect I’m the only one who will see the problems. Plus I love some of the details – the pockets are great, I love the gold topstitching, and I am super proud of my hem now that it’s done.

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In hindsight I probably should have gone with a quarter inch seam on my first pass attaching the bias tape, but I don’t really mind the wider strip there.

Lastly, I cut fabric out for two more pairs of underwear from my heart and skull knit fabric – which leaves me with just small scraps now – the first of my fabric stash I’ve officially used up.

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Goals for next week:

  • two pair of underwear
  • ponder the next pattern

Week 26: Harrison Shirt

Happy halfway through the year week!

I leave for Japan on Tuesday, so I’m frantically trying to wrap up everything before then.

I did decide to go ahead and cut out the fabric behind the lace, which may have been a mistake. It’s fine when I’m standing, but when I lean over it pulls away from my chest a bit. Also it feels very fragile – this has become a hand-wash only bra for sure. (I usually machine wash and lay flat or hang to dry.) It looks very nice, though.

Here’s the weird fisheye dart I added:
It really looks like it needs topstitching, and actually the fabric on the back would probably stay in place better if I did that, too. I’ll have to do that by hand, to, though, so we’ll see how I feel after a few wearings. I was worried the dart would leave extra visible bulk but actually it looks much smoother with the dart added because of just how much excess fabric there was. It’s not perfect, but it’s wearable. I’m hopeful that my next one will be even closer to a perfect fit.

I made fantastic progress on the shirt, too! The only thing I have left to do is the buttonholes and the buttons, which I really hope go smoothly. I’m going to have to make a test buttonhole or two before I start so I don’t wreck everything with the final step.


I’m so pleased with the collar – it went together really smoothly (probably due to all the hand basting I did), and the stopstitching is pretty even.

I really enjoyed this pattern – I’ll need to make a few fit tweaks for the next one I make, but there definitely will be a next one. I am also DEEPLY in love with this fabric – the seersucker is super easy to work with, and kind of sticks to itself so it doesn’t slide around while you’re working on it. It’s a nice change from the rayon. (I love the feel of the rayon but dang!)

The only official goal I have for next week is actually a goal for tomorrow – I gotta get those buttonholes and buttons sewn on pronto. But I’m bringing knitting needles and yarn with me, since I have a long flight and a whole lot of train rides ahead of me, and I’m planning to post as usual next week. I just… gotta figure out when to post so that it will come up at the normal time, haha.

Week 25: Pattern alterations

Firstly: I once again did not entirely finish off the last bits of the peach bra. I think my problem is just that I haven’t been able to decide how to finish it. I haven’t decided if I want to trim away the fabric behind the lace on the cups, or leave it and tack it down. And then I can’t decide if I want to take in the extra amount as a dart, knowing that it could be an uncomfortable seam to be right up against my breast. I really need to make those decisions and do the work this week, because I want that bra to come with me to Japan and it’s coming up real quick now.

I did successfully get all but one last thing on the nightgown done, though:

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The neckline trim worked really well, and gives it a more polished look, even if it wants to turn out unpleasantly near the middle. I also hemmed it (by machine this time), so all I have left is to trim the back straps and then hand-stitch them under the back seam so they don’t fray.

I figure some night this week I’ll sit down with a movie and finish up all the hand sewing for both the bra and the nightgown.

What I did do for the bra, however, was move the needed alterations to the pattern. And I took a lot of process pics.

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Here’s the amount that needs to be pinched out. I followed recommendations from the Craftsy comments last time in order to make my dart, but this time I decided to take out fabric where I need it. There was a very obvious pleat while wearing this, so I just traced the edges of it on both sides with my fabric marker. You can see it forms sort of a fishtail dart.

I measured where it started and ended, and placed the two relevant cup pieces together at the seams so I could mark it on the pattern:

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I’m glad I did that bottom cup split last time, it makes for a very convenient ending point for my weird pleat.

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Left is the 2nd draft, with the split cup and the initial cross-cup pleat taken out. Right is my new version, with a more substantial cross-cup pleat.

You can see that  the new version is much narrower to the left of the strap. I actually made one further modification after this that isn’t worth picturing – I had to take a 1/4″ dart out of the bottom cup to true up the seam lines.

It’s not worth ordering materials so close to my trip, but I think after I’m back I’d like to try out my new pattern modification. I have enough fabric left from the two kits I’ve ordered that so long as I’m willing to have a two-tone bra (spoiler alert: I am), I should just need to order the elastics and hardware, which will make it a much cheaper experiment.

As far as button-down shirts go, I decided on the Cashmerette Harrison pattern, largely because I’ve heard such great things about the fit. I’m a size 18 on top and between a 20-22 on the bottom, so I graded the pattern to a 20 and am hoping that the design ease will make up for the extra inch. I’m also planning to leave one-inch seam allowances on the sides to allow for anything I need to take in/out.

You’ll also notice that I traced off and shortened the sleeve pattern, because no way do I want long sleeves in July. I haven’t decided if I want to try to mod the cuff to work on the short sleeve or not. Given my time constraints, I’ll probably just hem it up and call it good. (I should probably add an actual hem allowance – I just sort of held up the sleeve at the shoulder and eyeballed where I wanted it to end, which means I probably don’t want to just cut the fabric there.)

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Taping this together and cutting it out took way more time than I anticipated, and I think there are more pieces to this pattern than any pattern I’ve made before (with the possible exception of an ill-fated Halloween jacket I tried to make many years ago). I’ve also never sewn princess seams, and I haven’t sewn a collar in god knows how long. I’m pretty nervous about trying to get this done in a week (a week, that is all I have left, holy crap), and I don’t want to stress myself out too badly before the trip, so I may reach the end of the week and just say “You know… let’s not,” and call it good. WE’LL SEE.

The handsewing I have left really does need to get done by next week, though.

Goals for next week:

  • Bra: handsewing (around lace, dart) and closing up the underwire channels.
  • Nightgown: trim and hand-stitch the strap ends.
  • Harrison shirt: as much as possible! Hopefully the whole thing!
  • Pics of the wardrobe I’ll be packing

 

Week 24: Nightgown

The problem with cutting out fabric is that I usually want to start sewing immediately afterward.

Which is why the nightgown is almost entirely done, haha.

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This fabric is 100% rayon, and it’s amazing how fragile it felt while I was working on it compared to how it felt when I tried it on. I’m not really convinced I made a good choice in using it for a nightgown, but I guess time will tell. (It’s almost too pretty to sleep in; I’m having second thoughts all over the place. But I certainly can’t wear it outside.)

It was a nightmare to cut. I don’t have a large enough cutting surface to hold the entire front skirt piece, and it was cut on the bias in a single layer, so trying to get it on the bias grain without stretching was a feat I only sorta succeeded at. The front skirt in particular wound up about half an inch shorter than it should have been, due to having to move the fabric around while it was pinned to the pattern. I have heard that spray starch is useful for keeping fabric from slipping around too much, so I might try that when I make something with the remainder.

Unsurprisingly, given the grading I had to do, the fit isn’t quite right – the cup size is a bit small, and the underbust actually wound up a bit too large – I took in the side seams and graded out under the waist to help a little, but it’s never going to be my best-fitting garment. Thank goodness it’s for sleeping.

I ran into some pattern weirdness on the bodice because I opted not to add lace like the pattern calls for, so I have a long front binding piece that I didn’t need at all, and I had to take out a row of stitching when I realized it was sewn wrong sides together so that it could have the lace attached to it. I went back and did french seams on the yoke instead, then top stitched them down to prevent the seams from flopping around.

The other problem that arose from not having any lace is that the 1/4″ seam allowance that they had me turn over in the first step is a raw edge, and even though I did a 3-step zigzag over it to try to keep it from fraying out, it’s going to fray a little bit right at the neckline unless I do something to stop it. Fortunately, I have some peach neckline trim elastic leftover from my peach bra (that I still haven’t done the finishing touches on…) that I think will work perfectly.

As for my sloper skirt, I finished it off on Sunday night, and then almost wore it out to coffee on Wednesday before I remembered that it still has fabric marker all over it, hah. I’m excited to see how it wears over the course of a full day.

I catch-stitched the hem, and you can see my hand overcasting on the seam edges, too. I left the side seams at 1″ in case I need to make future alterations.

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The last thing I want to make before my trip is a short-sleeve button-down shirt. I have this blue and white seersucker that I think will be nice and cool for wandering around in humid weather (of which, I’m told, there will be plenty).

Goals for next week:

  • Find a button-down shirt pattern and make fitting adjustments
  • Hem and add neckline trim to nightgown
  • Peach bra finishing touches (this time for sure!)

Week 23 – Nightgown Pattern Alterations and Sloper Skirt

Well! This week was filled with time-consuming stuff that doesn’t look all that impressive. Also I sidetracked from my stated goals from last week, but no matter. It’s my blog and I’ll do what I want to. 🙂

Firstly, it turns out that the pattern I ordered with the lingerie Craftsy class is a size bracket smaller than I needed – the largest size on the pattern was about seven inches too small in all three measurements, so I had to do some significant grading to get it up to the right size. I haven’t really done a tone of size grading, and this pattern had more pieces than I’ve had to alter for anything before, so it took quite a bit longer than I’d anticipated.

However! Results:

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Not shown: the front piece, which also had additional width added

Not the most visually appealing image in the world, and I probably should have pressed the tissue before working with it, but I was impatient. The basic width changes are probably fine, but I’m a little worried about the cup – I knew it needed more width at the bottom, but with a quick tissue-fitting before I made the cut, it didn’t seem like the cup needed to be substantially bigger, so I didn’t do a real FBA, just the width adjustment. Hopefully that works out all right for me.

I got the fabric washed and dried, too, so I’m ready to actually get this nightgown started this week.

Meanwhile, instead of putting the finishing touches on the bra, I got annoyed at all the skirt sloper pieces hanging around and decided I really wanted to finish that up, so I made some good progress on that.

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There is actually far more cat hair on it than you can see here, because that is what happens to things that sit around my house.

I fixed the dart positioning, although my darts are still a little puckery (I’m pretty sure it’s a sewing problem and not a pattern problem). It has a nice, snug-but-comfortable fit that I’m hoping will the skirt rotation issues I’ve had with my other pencil skirt.

I’m hand-overcasting the seams because I’m a masochist I need something to do while watching TV, and that is time-consuming enough that it probably won’t be done for a few days. Then I need to hem it up, and probably wash it to get rid of all the fabric marker I used trying to fit this thing. I’ve already made the pattern adjustments, so now theoretically I have a skirt sloper pattern that I can use to help fit my other patterns, which is very exciting!

 

Goals for next week:

My trip is coming up in just over three weeks, and I’d like to get this nightgown and a button-down shirt done before I go, so I’m going to have to be really on the ball.

  • Finish overcasting and hemming the sloper skirt
  • Finishing touches on bra
  • Cut out nightgown fabric and start assembly