A sewing blog about building a functional, cohesive handmade wardrobe, one garment at a time.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Kirsten Kimonos in rayon

Three months postpartum, the most comfortable thing to wear is still my assortment of ribbed maternity tank tops.  So right before our beach trip I decided to round out the wardrobe with a couple of Maria Denmark's Kirsten Kimono tees (sign up for her newsletter to get the free pattern).  

Despite having sewn eight of these tees over the last two years (1, 2, 3), I had never actually sewn the pattern without modifications.  I always scoop out the neckline, and for my maternity Kimono tees I either lengthened or trapeze-d them.  This time I decided to sew the pattern with the neckline as drafted.  

As I had to retrace the pattern to do this, I decided to do a dartless t-shirt FBA using the instructions on Maria Denmark's website.  I used a medium as my starting size and added a 2.5" FBA (yikes), grading the hips out to XL. 

I sewed up two tees using some stashed rayon jersey.  I picked up the blue fabric off the $2.97 table at G Street Fabrics last spring.  I am pretty sure the tie-dye effect is the result of the dye running when I pre-washed the fabric, but I don't mind it.  That spot by the neckline is just water, which did not leave any marks after it dried.  I did not finish the neckline with a band this time.  Instead I just turned over and zigzagged the neckline.  I had read about people doing this before and was skeptical that it would work without stretching out, but it has actually held up just fine.

The black is a rayon/lycra remnant from Joann's; I think it was a little less than a yard. I finished that neckline with a raw-edge band.

These photos were taken on our vacation which, sadly, is now over.  It was a nice escape, and the whole family enjoyed the sand and the surf.  I'm suffering from a mild case of post-holiday blues now.  The girls asked me today why we can't just live at the beach.  Now I'm wondering the same thing.

I did not finish the hems (or even even out the bottoms very well) of these tees, as I plan to hem them once I get my new coverstitch machine out of its box :) There isn't much more to note about these projects, other than that I finally invested in clear elastic, which works much better for stabilizing the shoulder seams than the regular old 1/4" elastic I had been using.  I should have done that a long time ago!

Friday, August 21, 2015

Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo

A few weeks ago I received a lovely package in the mail.

The package was from our sewing fairy godmother, a sweet lady who wanted to do something to help during our time of hardship, and it was filled to bursting with gorgeous clothing sewn from Oliver + S patterns.

Four perfect little bucket hats.

Reversible for fickle beachcombers.

Two adorable Puppet Show dresses.

With matching shorts.

A dapper Sketchbook set (which I somehow managed to leave out of the vacation suitcases).

And a fully lined Lullaby bodysuit in breezy seersucker,

Perfect stripe matching across the snaps.

And on the side seams.

There were even some lovely gifts for me - a beautiful pair of embroidery scissors with a handmade beaded fob, a handmade pincushion and a box of pins.

We are thoroughly spoiled!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Quilty Aspirations

I often drool over photos of gorgeous quilts online, though I myself have never been very good at putting fabrics together. I made this quilted table runner with matching napkins three years ago, but I drew all my fabrics from the same collection (Valori Wells Karavan), figuring that would be foolproof.

Then last week I read a great post at Stitched In Color where Rachel took her readers through her fabric selection process, step-by-step.  It was fascinating.  I realized that, while I very well just may not have a knack for pairing fabrics, I definitely do not spend enough time on it.

We are on vacation right now, and today the stars aligned.  Rachel announced a fabric mosaic contest, and I was stuck inside with a napping infant and a sick toddler while my girls were down on the beach with family.  I spent about 90 minutes making two mosaics.  The theme is "almost primary, as in primary colors."  I spent the bulk of my time on the second mosaic, and I really love how that one turned out.  So much so, that I am seriously considering trying to turn it into a quilt.

For the first one, I focused more on colors than on prints. I ended up with more of a rainbow effect than a primary colored one.  I like it, but looking at it compared to the second one now, it definitely looks a bit more krafty than I think I actually like.

This is the one I spent most of my time on.  I had it in my head that I should avoid using multiple color ways of the same print - and yet, as you can see, I did it twice! Turns out I really love the Alison Glass Handcrafted line - I could not leave out any of the pluses or the flying geese.  I particularly love the chartreuse pluses in the bottom left hand corner and the storm geese in the top center.

The contest is open through August 18, and winners will be chosen by popular vote! Go make your own mosaic or just check out the beautiful mosaics people have put together. And if you like mine, they are #24 and #25 in the linkup ;)

Monday, August 3, 2015

Late to the Mabel Party

I was on the fence about Colette's Mabel when it came out last year.  I liked the idea, but the modeled photos on the web site just weren't doing it for me.  Meg made a couple that I liked, at which time I added the pattern to my mental shopping list.  I didn't actually buy it until a couple of weeks ago when it was on sale for $10 at Fabric Mart.

I used a gray ponte with flocked back diamonds that I bought a year ago for $5/yard (also from Fabricmart - I seriously love that site).  I sewed the XL according to my current measurements.

It seemed to fit pretty well, but after a few hours' wear it had stretched out significantly.  Hate that.  The ponte felt like it had pretty good recovery so I figured the skirt was too big, size chart notwithstanding.  I took it apart and took in the waistband seams and the top of the skirt seams 5/8" inch for a total decrease of 2.5" around (basically the L size with an XL hip).  I tapered the seam to nothing about five inches down.  It fits better but still stretches out more than I'd like with wear.

As you can see, I photographed this skirt on a number of occasions.  I used my self-timer (reasonable), my husband (best quality photos but he stinks at looking critically at the clothes to make sure they aren't on crooked/have a flipped up hem/etc), my 5-year-old (use your imagination) and the old standby mirror shot.

As others have noted, the kick pleat does not behave well in knit fabric.  The ponte would not hold a press, so I edge-stitched the outer fold of the pleat.  It works but still is not perfect.

The skirt really doesn't need the pleat for purposes of wear but I like the idea of it, or something similar, to give the skirt a little flair.  I think I will definitely make another of these*, so I'll have to mull over what to do in back next time.

I did not notice until I uploaded these photos to the blog, that the skirt pulls in front, looking too small.  It doesn't feel too small at all, it feels comfy and snug, but maybe I will grade out the next one a little at the widest point of my hip.  Or maybe some of this baby weight will come off and I will have to resize :)

*Am I the only one who is always blogging that she will "definitely make another one" but then rarely does it?  I should go cut another Mabel right now to avoid making a liar of myself.