Monday, April 29, 2013

Alabama Chanin Fitted Tank Dress

One of the first items from the book the book Alabama Chanin Studio Sewing and Design that I fell in love with is this paisley dress. I have been hesitant to make it because of all of the hand sewing involved. Rather than make the fully detailed dress I decided to make an un-embellished muslin.


The pattern came from the third book. For this dress, I cut the size medium and sewed a 5/8th seam allowance into the dress when I constructed it. So the sizing is midway between the small and medium sizes. I found that to be the perfect sizing for me; not too tight, not too loose.

I used tan colored jersey fabric and "natural" color button and craft thread. I sewed it completely by hand using running stitches. I felled the seams to the inside and kept the knots unseen. I bound the neckline and arms using the cross stitch.


stitch details


Cross stitch detail


I love the shape of the dress and the hem that is long in back and slightly shorter in front. I do not like that the neck line is so low. I cut it higher, but had to readjust it after binding it. The higher neckline flopped over. I redid it by re-cutting to the original depth. 

Full length Fitted Tank dress

Long hem/ train in back


I recommend this dress for a thinner person. This dress is not very forgiving on the figure. I added a poncho I made last year. It works well to hide issues a cheeseburger could produce.
Worn with poncho


Pin-tuck poncho back

I will make this dress again. I think I will make it in a dark color in the paisley design. I do not know when I will start it, but my anniversary is coming up. That may be an incentive to get stitching.

I am very pleased that I was able to tick this off of my list.

Happy Sewing

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Fast sprint to the end of the Sewing Pattern Review Contest.

As the Pattern Review Pattern Busting contest winds down, I realize I have neglected to review a couple of patterns I completed. Here as I sprint to the end, are those reviews.

First up is the Brocade Circle Dress McCalls 5033: Perfect for twirling!

Twirling


Front



Dress back

Pattern Description: Children's' dress in 2 lengths

Pattern Sizing: Children 3 to 12 (I made the 4)

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes with omissions.

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes and no. I was easy for me as I have inserted a lining like this before. I was sewing this with students and they found the instructions on the lining difficult. The pattern called for constructing the bodice by turning under 5/8 at the armhole and topstitching it. With my help, they were able to do it, but all said that without my help they would have been lost.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I liked that this pattern had a full skirt that my daughter liked. I disliked that the length of the bodice seemed short. I would have preferred if it came down to the bellybutton. I found the length of the skirt was too long on the long, but too short on the shorter length. If I make this again, both will need to be lengthened. 


Fabric Used: Silk brocade that my sister bought in Indonesia. 


Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made: I omitted the skirt lining and ruffle. I had intended to sew them, but as I went along changed my mind. I found the density of the brocade with the other elements would have been too much fabric.



Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I am on the fence about making it again. Little Miss loves it, but I have many more patterns  I may try before redoing this.  I guess I would not recommend either as I will not use it again in my lessons.

Conclusion: OK pattern, but not top of my list. 



 Next up for review is this a out of print asymmetrical top  from Vogue.


This pattern came from my mother's pattern stash. It was uncut so I felt good about busting her stash as well as mine. My intention when I started out was to make the top and skirt. I made both, but am unhappy with the skirt. I will continue to work on it until it is at a point I can wear it.

I love the asymmetrical top with contrast binding. It was easy to make and came together quickly. I used a knit fabric I purchased at a resale store. The top calls for 1 1/2 yards of fold-over braid to serve as binding. I had never seen any in the local fabric stores, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that I had just that amount in my notions stash! It is applied like bias tape and went on without a hitch. I don't like that I am dependent on luck to find more fold-over braid for future tops.

I will make another top with this pattern. For the next one, I will add a strap on the bare side wide enough to hide my bra strap. With two little ones tugging on me, it is important be secure :).

Here are the photos of the top.




Next up is  Simplicity 2512 Cynthia Rowley Collection Tulip Skirt 

Here is the review followed by the photos.

Pattern Description: Misses' Skirts. Cynthia Rowley Collection Tulip Skirt

Pattern Sizing:4-12, 14-22 I made the 12 because I find this line runs small.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?Yes.

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes, the instructions are pretty clear and easy to follow.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I like the tulip detail of the skirt.

Fabric Used: Cotton Poly blend

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I installed an exposed zipper in the back. 


 Conclusion: Fun skirt to make. I will make it again in the size 10.


Tulip Skirt detail

 








That is all for now.
Happy Sewing

Friday, April 26, 2013

Pattern and Stash Busting again with Simplicity 2599


I have had Simplicity 2599 in my stash since it was released a couple of years ago.  It was one I liked instantly because of the variations to the neckline. I cannot say why it has taken me so long to make it, but I will be making more.




Ruffled neckline details

Back


Here is my review of this super easy pattern.

Pattern Description: Easy loose fitting top with neckline and sleeve variations. I made view E

Pattern Sizing: 12-18. I made a size 12 because that was the smallest I had. I ended up grading down to about an 8 by reducing the sides by 4 inches.


Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes, but without the bow.

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes, for as much as I used them.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? It is a very simple, timeless design. I liked the variations and ease of construction.

Fabric Used: A polyester silky fabric.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I reduced the sides by about 4 inches because my pattern was too big. I omitted the bow on the neckline and edge finished the ruffle with my Serger.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I will definitely be sewing this again. I suggest others make it too!

Conclusion: This is a great pattern and wardrobe builder.


Happy Sewing!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Alabama Chanin Cap Sleeve

I have been at it again! Sewing up another Alabama Chanin creation. This time I have ventured into a new item from the book Alabama Chanin Studio Sewing and Design.



 I decided to make the cap sleeve tee shirt from the book using the Angie's Fall design.


 Before I received my airbrush from my mother-in-law, I painted some grey jersey with my old spray painting method. I prefer the look of the airbrushed painting as it is smoother and looks better. However, since I had it already painted and knew I was going to do a reverse applique technique, I  choose to use what I had on hand.

I used grey jersey for the top layer, black paint, and a baby blue jersey as the backing layer. It is hand sewn using slate colored button/craft thread. I decided to leave the knots exposed on the top and felled the seams to the sides.

Close up of the reverse applique

 Please pardon my wind blown hair! We had to get the pictures while the kids tapped on the window for us to come back inside :).
Alabama Chanin Angie's Fall Cap Sleeve tee shirt.


Detail of the hand sewn seams felled to the back

Detail of the cap sleeve and neck binding with herringbone stitch
For this shirt, I cut the size medium and did not add the suggested seam allowance. I did however sew a 5/8th seam allowance into the shirt when I constructed it.. So the sizing is midway between the small and medium sizes. I found that to be the perfect sizing for me; not too tight, not too loose.

I love this shirt! It was fairly fast to put together and only took 2 weeks of evening and free time sewing. Using a running stitch rather than a reverse back stitch makes such a difference in terms of speed. I like it so much that I airbrushed three more shirts! One will be yellow with the Little Flowers stencil in black; another is tan with black in the Paisley stencil and the last is black with Anna's Garden in white. For those tops, I will make the neck binding wider. The detail of the herringbone stitch is lost on such a narrow binding.

If you haven't tried Alabama Chanin hand sewing yet, consider doing so. It is so rewarding to complete a garment from beginning to end in this way. Tracing the pattern, cutting, painting, embellishing, and sewing it all by hand is well worth the effort.

Happy Sewing

Sunday, April 21, 2013

I Heart the 80's Swap!

So in keeping with my New Year's Resolution to expand my participation in the sewing community, I joined a few Flickr swaps. The I Heart the 80's swap is a community of sewists and or crafters who create articles based on an eighties theme. This is a blind swap, so you don't know who is sewing for you, but you can suggest the item you would like of a few options. It is pretty fun to see swappers' works in progress and comment on it. It is the only way you get to have some input on the project that may be for you.

It is pretty intimidating to see what others have made in the past, but I felt up to the challenge. Based on the interests of my swap partner, I decided to make a bag based on quotes from some of her favorite 80's movies. The idea for the finished product was slow going, but I started with photo transfer paper and the quotes.



 Once I transferred the images to the fabric, I framed it with a contrasting fabric. To add more interest, I decided to hand embroider accents around the quotes and along the frame. I think they are in keeping with the feel of the 80's, don't you think?

 

Front detail



Bag Front
 For the back of the bag I decided to add a pocket. I thought a non-traditional pocket would be like totally rad! I cut a a swoosh like pocket and allowed a bit of the lining fabric to show as an highlight.

Back detail

Finally, for one more cute detail, I added one more 80's quote inside the pocket for chuckles. SAVE FERRIS!


Save Ferris

It would be like totally awesome to the max if my partner thinks this is bodacious fer sure! What do you think?

Happy Sewing!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

DIY Clothing Labels

Ever since "Little Miss" could dress herself, I have been meaning to order labels for the clothes I make for her. Especially when putting on pants, she would ask "Where is the tag?" so she could know which side goes to the back.

I did a few searches on purchasing custom labels and found the minimum volume required generally exceeded my needs. I don't need 1000! That is just too much pressure! I have enough trouble busting my stash on a small scale! To remedy this problem, I would simply sew a bit of ribbon into the casing and call it a day.

I have been working on a project using photo transfer paper that gave me an idea for custom labels!
Photo Transfer Paper
I used Microsoft Publisher to create my label as though I were making a mailing label. You can adjust the size to fit your needs and print them based on the instructions of your transfer paper. If you have text on your label, type it as usual, but be sure to adjust the print properties to "mirror". This way your text appears the correct way when transferred.

I had 1-inch twill tape on hand and decided to use it as the base for my label.
Twill tape

Printed images (be sure to mirror the text)
Cut a label and iron based on the instructions of your transfer paper and voila!  
Custom labels ready to be sewn into completed garments

So easy, I made a few variations!

I am so happy with the result. I didn't have to buy in bulk and I can mix it up if I choose! Step your sewing up a bit with custom labels!

Happy Sewing!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Cynthia Rowley Shorts Simplicity 2192


I am pattern busting again and this time I have ventured into the realm of shorts. I am very particular about the shorts I wear. I have bony calves, so I have to choose shorts with details that attract the eyes to the shorts and not my skinny legs :). The shorts in Simplicity  2192 have enough interest to attract my attention. They overlap at the sides and have front ties and an invisible zipper. They are cute little details that jazz up what could be ordinary shorts. I even like the top and skirt pictured and hope to make them too.



I had a black fabric that I bought at a thrift store. It has a touch of stretch and appears to have a wrinkle resistant treatment. So I made the shorts and here are a few pictures:
Front with ties

Side overlaps




Back overlay

I do not like these shorts! I do not think they are flattering. What attracted me about this pattern, are the details I hate in the actual shorts! I don't like the front ties or the front zipper. I like the look of the sides, but I feel like I have to pull on them to keep them closed when I sit down. My husband likes them; he says they look french. I will likely not wear these.

Here is my review of this pattern:

Pattern Description: Misses' Sportswear. Cynthia Rowley Collection
Misses' top in two lengths, mini skirt and shorts, Cynthia Rowley Collection.

Pattern Sizing:4-12, 14-22

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes.

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes, the instructions are pretty clear and easy to follow.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I like the look of the side overlay. See below for dislikes.

Fabric Used: Cotton Poly blend


Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I didn't make any.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I may make the skirt, but not the shorts again. I don't like the look of them; I am not sure what it is.
I do not think they are flattering. I don't like the front ties or the front zipper. I like the look of the sides, but I feel like I have to pull on them to keep them closed when I sit down. My husband likes them; he says they look french. I will likely not wear these. For the effort these took to make, they feel cheap... Maybe it is the ties near the crotch... Just not my style.

Conclusion: If you love the pants make them, but if you are on the fence, I say pass.


Happy Sewing!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Updated to include photos of another version of the: Vinatge Simplicity 7454 dress



I love vintage patterns, fabrics, and retro 70's style. When I resale shop, I frequently look for and snag these items when I find them. About a year or two ago, I discovered this little gem at a thrift store.




With little ones and needing clothing with nursing access, this pattern wasn't very practical to make. Now that Little Man is older, I thought now was a perfect season to make this great dress. I also have the additional motivation to make it since joining the Stash Busting Contest hosted by Pattern Review.com  Below are photos and a review of the completed dress.


Full Length

I love the neckline

Cross back
Here is the new version of the dress made in a Charcoal Grey Linen from Hancock Fabrics. Here, the fabric look almost identical! They are not in reality :).


Full length Linen Dress on B.I.R.A.



Back Detail with the omitted ties.


Here is my review of the pattern:

Pattern Description: Misses Pullover dress in two lengths (out of print circa 1976. This one is as old as I am!)

Pattern Sizing: My range was a medium 12-14, I cut the 12 and graded down to what could be a small. I sewed the entire thing with a 1inch seam allowance. So that amounted to removing 4 inches around.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes! I made the long version.

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes!

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I liked the length, the cross over back, and the huge pockets. I disliked that I had to construct the body of the dress before adding the pockets. With all of the fabric in the long dress, it was cumbersome, but not impossible, to sew.

Fabric Used: Thrift-ed cotton menswear fabric (specific content unknown). It has the look of lightweight denim.

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made: I sewed the entire thing with a 1-inch seam allowance. So that amounted to removing four inches around. I edge finished the seams with my serger. On the linen version, I omitted the ties and sewed in a hook and eye closure.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes, and yes. I love the look of this dress! I plan to make it in the short version using a tan linen fabric. I will also use a twin needle for the top stitching next time. I am still hoping to sew a tan version of this dress. The fabric store didn't have the color I wanted when I bought the grey fabric.

Conclusion: This is a fun dress. Easy to make and fun to wear! If you can find it, buy it and make it!

Happy Sewing!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Super G and Awesome E

Next week at Little Miss's school is "Crazy week". She gets to wear "crazy socks", "crazy hats", "crazy hair" and come to school dressed like her favorite super hero. The first three options are easy enough, but a superhero? Not sure who that would be? She knows only "Larry Boy" from Veggie Tales". I am sure after explaining what a superhero is, she would conclude the Jesus is her favorite. I couldn't see us sending her to school dressed like Him though.

So, I decided to make her a cape and emblem creating an alter ego superhero to herself! I used a store bought tee shirt as the base and added a gathered top rectangle of fabric to the back neckline. I also added a circle initial logo to the front of the shirt. We have two super kids, so I couldn't make just one caped shirt! The Little Man got one too! They loved them! Here they are exhibiting their super powers.

"Super E" on the go


Blast Off!


Super Speed

Let's Go!

Harnessing all his power!
          

Back of Little Man's Cape

We plan to make a mask and wrist cuffs together for craft time to complete the ensemble. I will share pictures when complete!

Happy Sewing!