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

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Yellow Arielle

My little sister turned 28 two days after my husband's stroke, so her celebration got lost in the shuffle.  Once things calmed down a little, I offered to sew her a skirt for her birthday.  I've knit for her before, but have never sewed her anything.  She requested a high-waisted skirt, so I showed her Arielle, which I had been eyeing ever since it came out.

I had to alter the button placement after she tried on the finished skirt, and then she went on a business trip, and by the time I got the skirt back to her it was fall.  I didn't manage any modeled pictures as a result.

Her waist and hip measurements put her in two different sizes, so I cut a 3 at the waist and graded to a 4 at the hip.  She chose a Lisette cotton twill from my stash.

This is my first time using one of Tilly's patterns.  I had previously been intrigued by Mathilde (but wasn't sure it would really work on my body) and Coco but hadn't pulled the trigger until now.  I bought a PDF pattern because a) I didn't want to wait weeks for the printed pattern to arrive and b) when you factor in shipping to the U.S., the printed pattern is nearly twice the cost of the PDF pattern.  At about $30, I just couldn't do it.

In any case, the pattern is well drafted and the instructions are good.  I liked that Tilly suggested using bias tape to finish the facing on the unlined version of the skirt.  I don't think that would have occurred to me on my own.  I took the suggestion and made some bias tape out of a deep aqua cotton from my stash.

Having taken the time to do that, it seemed only right to blind-stitch the hem by hand.

My pattern matching on the closure isn't perfect despite careful measuring, but I'm still pretty pleased with it.

At some point I will make one for myself.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Renfrew x 2

It's fall and I am missing my plaid French terry Renfrew!  It is in my closet, but way too small.  So I decided to make a replacement.

After consulting the finished measurements, I decided to make a straight size 16, knowing full well that the shoulders would be a bit big.  It was late and I did not feel like futzing with flat pattern adjustments.  I think it actually turned out pretty well - the oversized look of the slightly wide shoulders is casual and sweat-shirt-y.  It is very cozy for a cold fall day.

The fabric is a nice thick houndstooth-print jersey at the thrift store a few months back.  I am not sure what the content is - it has great recovery, so there is definitely a good amount of lycra in there.  I think it is probably a cotton/poly blend.  The cowl is Laguna jersey.  

We took a bunch of outside photos, but the top one is the only one that did not make me look ridiculously top-heavy.  I have to figure out where to stand in relation to my husband (or daughter) to get the best angle.  The mirror shots are much better.

After that Renfrew, I decided to make a scoop neck.  This time I used a 12 shoulder, widening to a 16 at the bottom of the armscye.  I ended up taking in quite a bit at the seams from the waist all the way up through the arms.  I used a cotton/lycra knit with good (or so I thought) recovery, but it still fit much wider than the cowl version.

I also noticed while sewing this one, that there was definitely a problem with excess fabric at the sides of my chest.  I did not notice it as much with the cowl version, but it's really noticeable in the top photo in this blog post.    After some Googling, I found that I was not the only one with this problem.  The armscye is too high.  I'd like to scoop it out, but then I will have to alter the sleeve too. Instead I think I will just try a Plantain for my next knit top.

After making the top, it occurred to me that perhaps the print was a bit too loud (I had actually bought it with a summer skirt in mind), but I wore it last Sunday and got a bunch of compliments!  I was really surprised.  It's funny how a compliment can make you think about an item of clothing differently.  

My six-year-old took the outside photos.  I didn't realize she had me lined up right in front of the very attractive composter.  After she was done, she requested that I photograph her.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Something I never thought I'd sew

I'm actually not sure how I ended up thinking it was a good idea to try to sew some underwear for my girls.  I ran across a free pattern one evening, and suddenly I was rifling through my knit scraps and the stash of lingerie elastic I bought when I made my nursing gowns.

That was last week, and now each girl has five pairs.  Clearly it was a success because both of them reach for Mama-made first when choosing their underwear.

I am pretty proud of these because I had to do a lot of altering to make the pattern work for my girls.  My version actually really doesn't bear any resemblance at all to the original.  The pattern was ostensibly a size 5/6 and should have fit both girls, but it didn't fit either one.  The rise was too short, the width was too tight, and the crotch was way too wide.  After nine pairs following the original one, I think I now have each girl's fit down.

N's are on the left and Z's on the right. Both needed a much longer rise, which I accomplished by lengthening the crotch.  I found that for Z's bubble booty, I needed to add fabric to the back at both leg openings.  N's needed to be higher-cut so that they wouldn't show under her ballet leotard.  I actually need to scoop out the upper legs a touch more for the next pair.

I changed the pattern up, too, to be more like the Cosi swimsuit.  The original pattern calls for a back, front and two gusset pieces.  I lengthened the front piece to include one of the gusset pieces, thus only needing to cut one gusset.

Eight pairs of custom-fit unmentionables.  The other two are currently being worn.  Turns out, kids' underwear is super-fun to sew and is a great use for scraps of your favorite knit fabrics.  I used cotton jersey, cotton/elastane jersey and interlock.  The latter two worked best.

My coverstitch played a starring role, though I could just as easily have used a zigzag stitch.  

Totally unrelated, but not really warranting its own blog post, I also made Niko a Field Trip Raglan to match the one I made Gabriel during KCW.

I made a size 6-12 months using the same Art Gallery knits I used for G's raglan. It's a little long in the sleeves but otherwise fits pretty well.