Week 19: Manila #2 and Bra #1

Hey there! I made a bra this week! I’m going to cover everything non-bra-related before the cut, so you can easily stop reading at that point if you don’t want to read in depth information about (my) boobies.

Sewing

So the first order of business for the week was my second pair of the Manila leggings.

010

I really love this pattern. I should definitely have done some pattern matching, because one of those roses gets cut off right at center front, but fortunately these are leggings, and I subscribe to the “leggings aren’t pants” school of thought (at least on me). That cut-off rose will always be under a skirt, haha.

One of the freeing things about being a mediocre seamstress is that you can’t do much worse than ready to wear when it comes to pattern matching. If it sucks, people will assume you bought cheap pants – not the greatest thing for them to think when you put a bunch of work into something, but at least they won’t secretly judge your sewing failure.

Hand basting the waistband didn’t quite save me this time – I still wound up with one side of the waistband not tacked down in the seam, and had to unpick it and stitch it back down. I realized when I was doing the petal cuffs this time though that pressing this material actually does work, and keeps it from rolling – so next time I use something similar I’ll try pressing the waistband before I stitch it. I’m also tempted to wear gloves next time I use this fabric – it kept catching on nicks I couldn’t even feel on my fingers and fingernails.

As a side project, I’ve been unpicking a pair of black corduroys that met a tragic end by splitting right down the butt while I was out and about. Now that I’m sewing regularly, I was like “ooh, fabric!” and started thinking about things I could do with the remaining good fabric. I figured a knee-length skirt would be a good candidate, and I made Selene awhile back, and although I need to fix some fitting issues with it, it has that center front panel that would allow me to use a smaller piece from the pants. Unfortunately, when I laid the pattern out on the fabric, it became pretty clear I wasn’t going to have enough:

009
Of course Kaylee sat right on the clean fabric as soon as it came out of the dryer.

I might be able to tweak the back pattern to separate it into two pieces, but I think even doing that, there’s not enough good fabric left to cover the whole thing. The seat area has marks from where the pockets were, and the front pockets cut into my usable area on the front. I didn’t even bother to lay out the waistband pieces, because if needed I could have done the waistband in a separate fabric.

So, sadly, Selene is not going to work out for me here. I’m also questioning whether I can manage a skirt just from this one pair of pants at all. I might have to stash it and use it for a much smaller project, or as an accent fabric on something.

Complete tangent here: unpicking these pants was a really interesting experience. When I was a kid, probably even into my teen years, I assumed that ready to wear clothes were made entirely by machine. I don’t think it really occurred to me that real people could be making so many clothes, or that it would be so inexpensive if they were. Unpicking my inexpensive ready to wear pants reminded me that there are people behind the clothes we buy, sewing the same seams I’d be sewing if I made them myself. They do it day in and day out, on the same style of garment over and over again, and they’re paid substantially less than I am so that I can afford to buy a pair of pants that sort of fit me for less than $30.

Unpicking just felt like a weird sort of communion with the people overseas who did the sewing on them in the first place. This whole year of making all my clothes is at least partially to make me mindful of the process that goes into my ready to wear clothes, but this is the first time it’s really hit home.

OK, enough with the serious stuff, on to boobies!

Continue reading

Advertisements

Week 18: Manila

Sewing

My plan for last week was to just sew the first three seams on the Manila pants, right?

004

Well, I sort of finished them. You can’t really tell because the pattern is so busy, but those babies are done. 

So I actually love this pattern. In particular, the first part works up super quickly and suddenly you have a pants-shaped item!

However. I feel like the instructions sort of can’t decide if they are aimed at an absolute beginner or at a more experienced sewer.

  • There are sidebars that tell me about the right vs. wrong side of the fabric and about the notches, but don’t tell me if I need to clip or finish my seams?
  • Similarly, the waistband was smaller than the waist, which did require easing the waist into the waistband. I assume this was intentional, and it turned out fine, but if I were really a new enough sewer that I needed to know right vs. wrong side of the fabric, I would have been very concerned that I’d messed something up.
  • Trying to keep the elastic in the waistband and catch all three edges with fabric that wanted to roll back on itself was not easy. (My gut told me to hand baste the waistband closed before trying to attach it, and I ignored my gut, and had to spend 6 episodes of Yuri on Ice picking that damn seam out.)
  • The instructions don’t tell you to change the overlap on the cuff on the second leg, and I didn’t notice that the cuff overlap was reversed in the line drawing, so my cuffs aren’t mirrored nicely. On this fabric it really doesn’t matter, but I’d probably be taking it out and redoing it if I’d used a solid fabric.
005
Both my overlaps are facing the same direction, when they apparently should be mirrored. 😦

Like I said, I actually really like this pattern, and I’m looking forward to making my second one. But I feel like the instructions could use some additional notes for the brand new sewer they appear to be targeting.

My first attempt also made it clear that I need to raise the center back seam about two inches, so I adjusted the pattern to do that.

 

Knitting

OH BOY.

Do you ever find that when you just want something to be done, everything goes horribly wrong, and it takes way longer than it should? That is what happened with these socks.

003

I mean, I made it. Finally. But first off, because I’m doing two socks at a time, I did 3/4s of the grafting I needed to before I could check if the sock cuff was big enough to make it around my heel. It was not. I left the “finished” sock alone for awhile and took out the grafting and double-knit section on the half grafted sock, and decided I had enough yarn left (because of course I had cut the yarn at this point) to knit one more row of ribbing before doing a new bind off. Halfway through the bind off, I realized I did not in fact have enough yarn, so I went back and took out the extra row I’d just added, and started the bind-off again. I was 3/4ths of the way through that when I realized I still didn’t have enough yarn, so I had to take out the bind-off row and then another ribbing row.

Basically, I attempted to bind that sock off three times before I finally succeeded. At least on the other sock I knew how far back I needed to rip.

Now that they are done, I like them – the toe-up construction was interesting, they fit really well, and I enjoyed the two-at-a-time sock thing. I just think I need some time away from knitting for a few weeks to get my groove back.

Goals for next week:

  • Manila version 2 – just the whole thing. The first one didn’t take that long.
  • Start into the next project, depending on how quickly that goes.
  • Two bullets feels like too few, so… um… watch more Craftsy videos?