Friday, June 27, 2014

Button-Down Gift Bags

Last Father’s Day, I planned on making gift bags for the fathers in my life, but ran out of time. This year, I was determined not to let that happen again. Spring is a busy time of year at my day job, so this year I decided that in order to reach my goal, I needed something quick and simple. My husband donated a button-down shirt to the cause, and with the help of a bobbin of elastic thread left over from my Domino Staple Dress, I managed to quickly whip up two gift bags with a masculine flair. After I finished them, I realized they were an unconscious mash-up of two patterns from the book Ruby Star Wrapping: the Simple Drawstring Bag and the Button-Down Shirt Bag. I might have to grab more elastic thread, because these were so quick and easy!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Marbles Belcarra Blouse

This is my third finished Belcarra Blouse, and oddly enough, it took the longest to complete. I made several avoidable mistakes that forced me to break out my seam ripper, which I loathe. After the last blunder, I put the shirt aside until I mustered sufficient energy to deal with it. This past weekend, I was ready to tackle it again, and finished it up in no time.

For this version, I made two changes. The most obvious is the color blocking on the sleeve. The solid was a remnant from another project that I found in my stash and just happened to coordinate with the main fabric. The fabric that I used for the body is Marbles, from Cynthia Rowley’s Paintbox line for Michael Miller. While originally intended for a different pattern, I like it better as a Belcarra Blouse. I had two yards of it, and a quarter yard of the solid, so I made this pattern out of less yardage than recommended again.

The second change was installing bra strap holders. I started with Dixie DIY’s tutorial, but added them before I sewed the neckline so that the ends of the ribbons would be concealed. They ended up a little too narrow to be of any use. However, I really like the technique, and will try it again.

At the end of the day, I’m happy with how this shirt turned out. I have one more Belcarra Blouse on my to-do list, and then I might put this pattern away for a bit. Maybe.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Simply Style Belcarra Blouse

This week, I have my second Belcarra Blouse to share with you, dear readers. Why did I make another one so quickly after the first? Aside from the fact that I really love this pattern, I also really despise tracing pattern pieces. When I find something that works for me, I like to make it more than once to get the maximum benefit of said pattern pieces.

When I made the Celebration Belcarra Blouse, I ended up with quite a bit of yardage left over, given that the pattern called for 2.25 yards of fabric for my size. Curious, I decided to see if I could squeeze a Belcarra Blouse out of less than 2 yards. I happened to have 1.5 yards of Simply Style by V and Co. in my stash, and it worked! I had to piece together the neck binding instead of using one continuous piece of fabric, but I didn’t mind. The amount of waste in garment sewing bothers me a bit. What do non-quilters do with their scraps? What am I going to do with the scraps once I graduate from quilting cottons to more traditional apparel fabric? In the meantime, I will pat myself on the back for using so little yardage on this shirt.

Another change that I made was narrowing the back piece by 1/2”, which makes it feel a little more fitted, but still loose and comfortable. I also used a smaller seam allowance on the neck binding. Both of these alterations helped narrow the neckline somewhat, but it’s still a little bit on the wide side.

All in all, I love this Belcarra Blouse even more than the first one. The fabric has a nicer feel to it, even though they are both quilting cotton, and the grey color is more my style. This pattern is so awesome, I’ve already started on a third one!

Friday, June 6, 2014

Cattitude Mini Quilt

One of the things I like about making garments out of quilting cottons is that the scraps can be easily incorporated into quilts (a novel idea, I know). Even after using up the leftover Catnap yardage from my Crazy Cat Lady Dress on a Cattitude Wiksten Tank, I still have scraps of these two fabrics coming out of my ears. I’m not complaining, though, since the little cat faces are just too darn cute. Since I already had quite a few full size quilts in progress or waiting to be started, I decided to whip up a quick mini quilt to scratch my itch. In addition to the scraps I wanted to use up, I grabbed a few fat quarters from my stash, cut out a bunch of 3.5” squares, and I was on a roll. The finished piece is 15” by 15” and I quilted it in a simple grid by quilting ½” from each seam on each side. It was super quick and super satisfying and will be super cute as a wall quilt.

Linking up with Finish It Up Friday at crazy mom quilts.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Celebration Belcarra Blouse

Isn’t funny how haphazardly we discover things? Partway through Me-Made-May, I was lamenting my lack of warm weather pants and decided to research potential sewing patterns. I had read about Sewaholic’s Thurlow Trousers, so I looked them up online. While I was poking around the website, I stumbled across a new shirt pattern, the Belcarra Blouse. All thoughts of sewing pants swiftly fled my mind. I had also been on the lookout for an easy but flattering shirt pattern with sleeves, and I was pretty sure I had found it. In my haste, I bought the PDF version and spent an hour taping together the numerous pages instead of buying the physical pattern and waiting for it to arrive via snail mail. While the page margins were rather large, the printing instructions allow you to only print what you need, which I liked.

View A called for 2.25 yards of fabric for my size. I was hard pressed to find that much of anything in my stash. Luckily I had received 3 yards of Celebrate by Hoffman Fabrics as a gift a while back. Since Sewaholic Patterns are drafted for a pear-shaped body, my measurements matched one of the sizes almost perfectly, and my hopes were high as I cut out the pattern pieces. I was not disappointed.

Several steps in the instructions called for partial seams, which I am not particularly fond of. I am, however, uncommonly fond of French seams, so I decided to see if I could made this shirt with all French seams. It got a little dicey where the cuffs meet the sleeves under the arm, but it turned out well enough in the end.

In fact, the entire shirt turned out well! The neck is a tad wide, but the pattern itself is so quick, I had no problem making a couple adjustments and whipping up another one right away. More on that later. For now, all you need to know is that the Belcarra Blouse is my new favorite pattern. Sorry, Wiksten Tank. Belcarra has sleeves.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Fresh Sewing Day: May 2014

What a month! Between Me-Made-May, Sew Mama Sew’s Giveaway Day, and oh yeah, actually sewing, May was super busy. So busy, in fact, that each finished project doesn’t have its own blog post yet. You’ve already seen the Poochless Poochie Gift Bags, Otomi Inspired Knot Bags, and Pastry Line Staple Tunic. Stay tuned for the Celebration Belcarra Blouse, Catnap Mini Quilt, and Simple Style Belcarra Blouse. Good-bye May, hello June!

Linking up with Fresh Sewing Day.
Lily's Quilts