Monday, August 25, 2014

Hearts All Over City Gym Shorts

One of these days I’ll get back to quilting, but in the meantime, here’s my latest make: a pair of City Gym Shorts for my sweet girl. You can find the free pattern at The Purl Bee. What you see pictured here is the 4-5 size.

The fabric is Hearts All Over for Michael Miller. My daughter picked it out ages ago when I dragged her to a fabric store for something else, so I thought it was a good choice for the first handmade garment I sewed for her! Also, since it’s pink, she’s actually wearing it! (For a while there, we didn’t buy any clothes for her that weren’t pink, because it just wasn’t worth the morning temper tantrums trying to get her to wear anything that wasn’t pink.) Since she has happily worn these multiple times, I consider them a success! That, and the fact that she tried to climb a tree in them.

Initially, putting the pattern pieces together puzzled me, but that obstacle was quickly surmounted. The bias tape was a breeze, as I used the white lawn left over from lining my Triangle Tokens Belcarra Blouse. The waistband did me a little trouble, I must admit. Due to the fact that I used a directional print, I accidentally sewed it on upside down the first time. That was quickly remedied. Since I had recently finished a Myrtle Dress, I already had the 1” elastic on hand, so I was able to make the shorts out of 100% stash materials. I love it when that happens.

These shorts were a fast sew all around. While I had printed out the pattern and cut the fabric out earlier in the week, I did all of the actual sewing in one Friday night. The City Gym Shorts are definitely going on next Spring’s must-sew list. I might even make some for myself!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Triangle Tokens Belcarra Blouse

This is my fourth Belcarra Blouse and it is by far my favorite. What’s different about this one? Two things: the type of fabric and a new-to-me technique.

The main fabric is Triangle Tokens in Voile by April Rhodes for Art Gallery. I bought 5 yards from Pink Castle Fabrics sight unseen and was a little disappointed to discover how sheer it was. (Are all voiles sheer?) I loved the fabric too much to give up on it, so I decided to try my hand at underlining. The underlining fabric is a white lawn or voile whose provenance I neglected to write down. Both fabrics were lovely to work with and even lovelier to wear. They make the garment feel more like a “real” shirt instead of an amateur one made out of stiff-by-comparison quilting cotton.

For starters, I cut out all the pattern pieces from the main fabrics, and then cut out another front, back and sleeves from the underlining fabric. I didn’t bother underlining the cuffs, since I didn’t think they needed the extra bulk. In fact, the lighter weight voile made for the easiest cuffs of all the Belcarra Blouses I’ve made so far.

Since I was so comfortable with the pattern, I just pinned the underlining pieces to the main fabric pieces and sewed the shirt together as I usually do. The French seams turned out nice and clean, just how I like them.

I’m not kidding when I said this is my favorite Belcarra Blouse. It’s light and soft, fresh and summery, perfect for hot, humid days.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

One Week One Pattern 2014

Have you heard about One Week One Pattern? It’s a handmade fashion challenge in which you wear the same pattern every day for seven days. For example, you could wear your favorite handmade garment seven different ways, or make seven of the same pattern and wear one each day, or anything in between. The event was started by Tilly and the Buttons in 2012 and this year is hosted by Handmade by Jane. I signed up for the challenge with my current favorite pattern, the Sewaholic Belcarra Blouse. (I was already working on my fourth one when I learned about this event.) The challenge doesn’t start until September, but once it does, I’ll be keeping a close eye on the #owop14 hashtag on Instagram. (Speaking of Instagram, if you’d like to follow me, my handle is @snippetsofsweetness.) This is going to be fun!

My Current Belcarra Blouses

Monday, August 11, 2014

Get a Clue Myrtle Dress

After making three Belcarra Blouses in a row, I was ready to try a new pattern. Then along came the Myrtle Dress. Now, if you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you know that I haven’t had the best of luck with Colette Patterns. This is no fault of the patterns themselves. I think it’s a combination of my own inexperience, the fact that the patterns aren’t drafted for my body type, and the highly fitted nature of what I’ve chosen to attempt. When I saw that the Myrtle Dress had a looser fit and could work with either knits or woven fabrics, I thought that maybe, just maybe, I had found a Colette Patterns design that could work for me.

The fabric for this particular dress came from Drygoods Design, one of my favorite local fabric stores. I picked it up last fall when I was taking the Staple Dress class there, and I had intended the magnifying glass fabric for a Sherlock Holmes costume. (That fabric’s actually from a retired Moda line called Get a Clue, Nancy Drew.) The solid fabric is anonymous. For my first attempt at this pattern, I chose to sew View 1, which is the longer version, without the shoulder tabs. Now, I know this dress would look better in a fabric with more drape, but I was too scared to work with anything other than reliable quilting cotton for my first try. Call it a wearable muslin, if you will.

Because of the looser fit, my measurements fell within one size and I didn’t have to grade the pattern. (Whew!) Since I chose to work with woven fabrics, I used the alternate instructions. Working with 3/8” seams instead of a 5/8” seams threw me a bit. I tend to use 5/8” French seams whenever possible, so was a bit disconcerted when I came to the “finish seams” instructions. I used bias bound seams in some places, and a mock overlock stitch in others. The way the bodice is made encloses quite a few seams, which is nice. I think I did something wrong when it came to finish the back, so the shoulder seams are a little wonky. I don’t think you can tell, though.

For the pockets, I used the magnifying glass fabric and I love the contrast. I also love being able to carry my cell phone when I wear a dress. Pockets should be standard in all dresses and shirts these days, don’t you think?

The part that I was dreading was the elastic waistband, but I shouldn’t have worried. I made a couple of mistakes on the first try, but they were easily fixed with a bit of unpicking. The first time I made the waistband, it was too large, and I was pleased that I could adjust the fit on the fly by simply cutting a few inches off the elastic and sewing it again. The elastic waistband is actually super comfy. I prefer it over the elastic thread that I used on the Staple Dress.

All in all, I am very proud of how this dress turned out. I’ve already purchased knit fabric for my next version, and am optimistic about my first foray into sewing knits. If you’d like to make a Myrtle Dress yourself, they just started the sewalong last week!