25 March 2015

March Muslin Madness

Lovely friends, March is driving me crazy. First it was so warm that I pulled out all my shorts and then it dumped a snowstorm on us. Now it is just rainy and cold. Before my knitter's elbow started acting up again though I managed to get some sewing done, just nothing that is an actual finished garment.

I decided to try something I'd never done before: sew a bunch of muslins and then decide what I really want to sew. Crazy? NOPE. I've found it to be a great way to sew during a month where I can't get decent photos of finished garments anyways, yet still feel accomplished. Really, it was just an excuse to sew fast and recklessly! I lucked out with a huge muslin stash from one of the theatres we worked at - they use it to cover flats and always have odds and ends to give away.

Simplicity 4981 is one I just dove into with the fashion fabric, because now I pretty much know how certain 40s patterns will fit me. It is darling and I can't wait for a warm day to photograph it. All it needs is hemming and a button. As my friend put it, it is very retro lady archaeologist. I can see making several of these in the future.

My next muslin was not so successful. Remember this from my Vintage Pledge post? Well that bodice was so awful I couldn't even photograph it. The darts are all off in every way, the zipper opening needs to come all the way to the top of the side seam and worst of all, it is mysteriously giant in width at the top. So my bust was squished beyond belief, and it seems this pattern was drafted for the bust to be well above the armpit! I'm better off drafting my own bodice for this one, but I don't think it'll be anytime soon.

Thank goodness my Simplicity 6912 (1960s) muslin was a home run (no adjustments, what!?) or I might have gotten discouraged. I think this will be my Spring For Cotton project. I adore the bell sleeves!

Somewhere in the middle of all this I took a break to re-organize my fabric in boxes. I came across this dress I made in 2009, which now fits. It was too small at the time, so I tossed it aside and stupidly later cut a piece out of the back to make an apron. I'm hoping to patch it with the yardage that I also found, re-do my awful bias binding and have a cute housedress! Make do and mend, folks!

Bored with such conservative offerings, I busted out Simplicity 1365, a reprint of a 1970s halter top. It wasn't a loss but there was some fitting to contend with. I need to take out some length in the waist but make the peplum longer. There's also a lot of gappage in the side under the arm that I need to work out. I need to figure out then if I want to keep the tie back version or switch to the buttoned panel. The tie is sort of cute, but because it is lower than the bust line it doesn't keep the waistband tight under the bust - resulting in breasts slipping into the waistband, ack!

Last but not least I started a wearable muslin of Sew Caroline's newest pattern, the Downtown Tunic. I was drawn to it because it reminded me of something I might pick up at PacSun, one of my favorite stores. Basically no pattern companies cater to the beach/surfer/skater chic crowd, which is a big part of my wardrobe. I would have had it done by now, but the "skirt" that you attach to the bottom didn't line up so I need to take it in before re-attaching it. However, I'm almost more in love with the t-shirt itself, all I need to do is even out the hem to get a t-shirt that is perfect for me.

05 March 2015

The Four Month Hat

Back in October of 2014 I began a hat for a penpal that I met through swaps in the Tiny Owl Knits group on Ravelry. I finished it in mid-February. Now I would say that I am truly the world's slowest knitter, but this was not an easy hat.
The pattern is Gloriole Slouch by Becoming Art and I used some Naturally Caron Country, an acrylic merino worsted weight that they discontinued years ago. I bought it on clearance for mere cents a skein, if I remember correctly, which is surprising because I find it to be a very nice yarn for an acrylic. This was a great way to destash it, and the remaining skeins I sent in a box of goodies to Meg the Grand.

Now, this is a pattern not for the mindless knitter. All the asymmetrical cables show any error you make. Even those bits between the big cables are made using cable stitches. That didn't stop me from knitting it everywhere I could, including during the annual New Year's winter camping trip.

I would recommend the pattern for sure, but make sure you use a yarn with more drape than me! If not for the weight of the needles in the below photo, that "slouchy" bit stuck pretty straight out!
What are you all knitting? Do you put away your needles come spring? I'm tackling (for the third time) a tank top in cotton bamboo.

28 February 2015

WIP: 1960's Simplicity 8788

What I've been working on since the New Year, to get a break from sewing constant Lolas, is a project that is a home run in several of my sewing goals this year. It was a long standing WIP, a stashbust and it counts for Vintage Pledge.
Simplicity 8788 is a pattern I'd made up twice before. Once in a flamingo print flannel and again in a beige sparkle linen with pink accents (actually, the same linen I'm making my 1940s shorts in, just a different colorway). At some point I acquired a smaller size version of this pattern, I'm not sure which I used to cut this newest one.
I'm glad I cut the collared version out way back when, because I don't think I would have picked it later, but I am pleasantly surprised by how much I like it. So far I've been shortening the sleeves and hem to be more like the illustration. All that's left is a hook and eye set in the collar but I forgot to buy them when I went shopping. I briefly thought about putting the suggested daisy trim on but everyone I asked nixed it. I do, however, think I want to make pants to go with it. What do you think? White pants? Light blue pants? Sadly I have no more of this crazy sheeting to make properly matching trousers.

24 February 2015

Completed: A Whole Lotta Lolas

For Christmas, I set out to what I thought was a reasonable task: making 4 Victory Patterns' Lolas. One for my best friend, one for each of my sisters and one for me. I finished mine, the last, on February 20th. That's okay, though, because there is still plenty of snow around!

This one is mine, in organic teal sweatshirting, size 10, with no hem band.

Here's my best friend's (she's at work in a costume storage facility) in navy organic sweatshirting, size 6.

Here's the one I made for my middle sister, size 10, in black organic sweatshirting, size 10, no hem band with sleeves let out as much as possible. She works out (you know you can't not sing that!)

And last, my little sister's, size 14, also in black organic sweatshirting, with the hem band because she is very tall.
Oh wait, you don't see a photo? That's because my ungrateful little sister never took one. But she had plenty of time to take other selfies for Facebook somehow. I never really expected one from her but if I ever get it I'll put it up.

Pattern: Victory Patterns Lola
Size: Sizes 6, 10 and 14
Rating: 4/5  
Fabric, etc.: 2 yards navy, 6 yards black and 3 yards teal organic sweatshirt from Fabric.com ($9.33/yard on sale = $102.63)
Cost: Approximately $25 per dress  
Needle/Tension/Stitch Length: Size 14 Ballpoint/4/3
Time: 4 hours per dress
  • I know a lot of other people who have made this find the arm bands too tight and my sister had that problem so I had to let the sleeves and bands out. I have chicken arms so this wasn't an issue for me.
  • Even though I made a 10 for myself, I wish I'd made an 8 in the end. The fabric was pooling on my posterior, so I had to shorten it by taking in the waist seam an extra 3/8" for a total seam allowance of 6/8". I also found the back to be too broad (check out the side view) and the shoulders feel a bit too roomy as well.
  • The fabric is absolutely wonderful - so soft inside! It isn't too heavy where it feels bulky but it has substance. And it is organic and affordable (not on sale it is still only $10.98)! There are several other colors available as well as a "natural" colorway that you could dye.

18 February 2015

Completed: Crazy Dog Lady Sewing Challenge Doggy Sweatshirt

I truly had no plans to be a part of the Crazy Dog Lady Sewing Challenge, even though I desperately wanted to be. However, I was burnt out from sewing the dogs' union suits (which have been stretched beyond repair after a raucous hour at the dog park) and had no funds set aside to buy dog themed fabric for myself, so I sadly put it out of my head and buckled down to sew all the Lolas I had promised people for Christmas and was late in making.

That is, until it got really, really, really cold here in Jersey. Paisley is double coated so she's just fine, but Honey Bee had reached her cold threshold and was spending her days curled up as tightly as possible on the couch. Every so often she would get up and re-adjust, trying to get just a little warmer. I started putting her in her puffy outdoor coat! In the end my eye was caught by a pattern Rochelle had just picked up for Lucille and well, it was on sale here too so I zipped out and bought it.

After a frenzied afternoon in my sewing room I emerged triumphant! Made from french terry scraps, ironically in my high school team colors, with her nickname applied in iron-on letters too!

Now she's sleeping like this! We did have a little scare though in the night. I was hoping she could also wear it as pajamas, but she scoots forward a lot in her sleep and we woke up to the sound of her gagging because it had pulled back and she was choking herself instead of standing up to relieve the tension. So my advice is don't leave your dog clothed and unattended!
Pattern: Simplicity 1578 $.80
Size: One Size Fits All
Rating: 4/5  
Fabric, etc.: 3/4 yard maroon sweatshirting bought in NYC and grey sweatshirting scraps and iron-on letters from JoAnn's. ALL STASHBUST!!!
Cost: Probably around $7. I think the fabric was originally $10.yd
Needle/Tension/Stitch Length: Size 12 Ballpoint/4/3
Time: 2 hours
  • I'm curious to see how the other views make up because even though the pattern size is "one size fits all" and designated for big dogs, the pattern pieces look like they vary in size. This shirt would be too small for Paisley, I'm pretty sure and she is the size of the dogs illustrated on the pattern cover. For reference Honey Bee is around 50 lbs, but has an unusually lean girth for a pibble and is pretty short. She only has the stout neck and boulder noggin. She's known as a "pocket pittie".
  • The neck band is, not surprisingly, snug on Miss Bee. However, without the band the neckhole fits no problem so next time I will just make a longer band.
  • I chose to topstitch around the bands on the main fabric, tucking the seam allowance in to it to keep it lying flat.
  • I had a lot of fun with this and it was so easy to whip up I'd highly recommend it. Plus it seems like it would be easy to alter.

I'll leave you with a video to show the sweatshirt in action!

Folks Serv