Threading Lightly

Adventures in amateur sewing

Gray mid-weight sweater


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Winter is…over

Patterns:

  • McCall’s M6796, View DMcCalls 6796
  • Vogue V8956, View C

Since it is now July, you would think that the fact it’s not winter any more would be obvious to me. It is, but I realized that with all the craziness in the last six months, I forgot to blog about some of my winter projects. I’m particularly proud of both of these garments, and not just because I actually completed them in the season they were intended for, but because they both came out really nice. The sweater I am most proud of, since I’ve gotten a lot of compliments on it and was able to wear it quite a bit, even as winter was thawing out a bit.

Gray mid-weight sweaterI am especially proud of the purely decorative buttons on the collar – I definitely chose the right ones for top.

Close up of collar

The lines on this really look as close to perfect as ever. I think this lightweight sweater knit was really the perfect fabric for this project.

This garment got a lot of wear this past season, since it matched a lot of things and was also quite comfortable. Unfortunately, my other winter project did not get quite as much wear as I ended up Vogue V8956finishing it right as I was losing my job. The skirt is not especially uncomfortable, but not something I wanted to wear just bumming around the house.

I usually shy away from straight skirts, since my shape is not very flattering in them, but I decided to give this one a shot since the fabric was definitely not flowy enough for some of the other skirts pictured in this pattern. This is a true wrap-around skirt, with 2 hook and bar clips holding it on the waistband. I ended up adjusting it so that it was a slightly bigger size in the hips than the the waist. Usually I can’t get this to work right, but I think this skirt fits pretty well and I definitely don’t feel any tightness or weird bulges as I might have suspected.

Plaid textured skirt

The fabric was given to me by my aunt when I first started sewing. I had always envisioned a skirt to make with it, but had not gotten around to it until this year. The fabric started shredding the minute I cut into it, so I had to serge all the edges before I even started working with it.

Winter SkirtI definitely do not have a skirt like this and I almost can’t wait for the weather to get cooler so I can finally wear it.

Both of these projects were fast sews and the patterns were very easy to follow. This seems unusual with both of them being Big 4 patterns, but I guess they can get some things right.  Both are recommended for beginners – great wardrobe builders that can give you an outfit in no time.

This week has definitely been the hottest one this year-and looking at these pictures is really making me sweat! I have most of my summer projects cut out – although it’s getting a bit late to have them ready in time for the season. My spring just got away from me and will probably throw my fall off too. Well, I’m not doing too well with my goal of sewing ahead of season, but hopefully I will stay on top of my projects and my blogging in the not too distant future.

Stay cool!

Dog blouse with ties


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Top mistakes: My sporadic sewing

Patterns: 

  • Rhapsody Blouse (bishop sleeves) by Love Notions
  • Vogue V8670 (view D)

This year has been pretty crazy for me so far. It started with me losing my job unexpectedly, then moved on to a big move and a new co-habitation situation with my significant other. All of this occurring while I was training hard and accomplishing my major running goals and then finally shifted to me getting a new job and trying to find some normalcy and a regular schedule for my life. With all these changes taking place in a fairly short period of time, I saw my planned and unfinished sewing projects piling up. Whenever I found myself with a pocket of free time, I would try to hurriedly work on these. Unfortunately these rushed blocks of productivity lead to some large, unplanned mistakes.

Doggone it! It’s upside down!Rhapsody blouse

I had the perfect project in mind – a garment I really wanted ready for this spring. It was one of the Rhapsody Blouse options from Love Notions. The fabric I wanted to use was this very soft, almost gauzy, cotton that had this really cute dog print pattern on it. I bought it thinking it would be cute for some kids clothes, but since I don’t have any kids, I decided I liked the material too much to not keep it for myself. I cut the project out in between packing my stuff for my move. I even attempted to make a small amount of bias tape with the leftover fabric I had (it wasn’t much), but that didn’t seem to work right. I’m not sure if the material was too stretchy, but the shape wasn’t right when I tried to use this method.

Trying to make bias tape

Yeah, I don’t know what’s going on here either. This is what happens when you attempt a new trick at the end of a long evening.

This project was actually a quick sew, so one day post move I dusted off my serger and went to work. I worked fast putting all the pieces together. When I put it up on the dummy to see my progress, that is when I noticed it…

Dog Blouse

Such a rookie mistake! I didn’t pay attention when cutting this printed fabric.

I had cut the shirt completely upside down. All the dogs were on their head.

I couldn’t believe I had made such a big mistake, but I was trying too hard to get the blouse cut out before the big move. Since I hadn’t done a project with a real print in awhile, it didn’t even cross my mind to make sure this was right. I was concentrating too hard on making sure I could fit all the pattern pieces and that I had measured the right size for me. Oh well, at this point I was still going to finish the blouse. It would just be a bit quirky.

Sleeves on dog blouse

One good point is that because I chose the elastic sleeves, it tends to hide some imperfections that exist in the sleeve hem.

Luckily the rest of the construction went very well, even making the bias tape, which I was also a bit rusty at. In the end, I had a nice spring blouse…although it was now summer and too hot to wear it. It’s still light enough to wear on a cool summer evening…and there is always next year.

Dog Blouse

What the…buttons?

The next project I attempted was a solid color fabric so there Continue reading

Black Turtleneck


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The tactile turtleneck

Pattern: Kwik Sew 30933093 kwik sew pattern

Sometimes you get all creative with your sewing: tackling new and interesting projects, using fabrics you’ve never experimented and making clothing you’ve never seen in stores. And other times, you just need to make a wardrobe builder. I’ve always felt that turtlenecks are timeless, however I think that other’s might disagree with me. I’ve always liked the look of them and realized that my only black turtleneck, which was purchased, was getting a lot of use. I figured I would need to have another one on hand for when this one was dirty. Well why not make one instead of seeking one out at stores?

I’m glad I did, because I had this pattern and it was definitely a quick sew (as the pattern implies). Black knit is always available from one of my favorite fabric stores and my serger made this in cinch to sew up. The whole project went together so smoothly, it was like a perfectly planned spy operation…

Archer tactile turleneck

Well maybe that is a stretch. The pattern is simple enough so it is highly recommended for beginners. However, I would recommend you use a serger if you do attempt it as it just makes sewing knits SOOO much easier.

Turtleneck neck

This top matches so many of my me-made skirts, so I can see it getting a lot of use in the cooler months. And I really needed an easy win as I ease my life back into sewing again. Until next time!

Black Turtleneck

 

2018 Pant


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The 2018 pant: Starting off a difficult year

Pattern: New Look 6058 view DNew Look 6058

It’s always nerve-wracking to finally cut into that fabric that you bought a few years ago and you love so much. I knew when I bought the black textured fabric used for this project that I wanted to make some fancy pants with it, ones that could be worn on a night on the town. I even had a name for them – the New Year’s Eve pant, because it reminded me of an outfit I wore a long time ago on New Year’s Eve. Unfortunately, I didn’t go out on the town on New Year’s Eve and I also didn’t finish these in time to wear them until well into February. So instead, these have been dubbed the 2018 pants. A still-hopeful name for pants that I at least finished within the year, right?

Unfortunately this year is not what I thought it would be personally. After starting a new job last fall, I thought finally my career was finally taking off after a slow start and some difficulty. But sometimes these things don’t work out, even when you try your hardest at something. At the start of this year I found myself exactly where I didn’t want to be – struggling to find another job. Some years have so many positive memories that you can’t help but look back and smile. This will not be one of those years. However, it’s okay as I feel I will be a stronger person for it in the end.

These pants gave me almost as much anxiety as my newly realized unemployment. Fitting pants is quite difficult with my body type and I knew that I needed to make a muslin to feel things out. I took my measurements and first made sure to adjust the crotch, which tends to hang really low on pants’ patterns for some reason. When I sewed the legs up, I realized these pants were really huge on me and even with the zipper seam allowance it was not going to work. Part of the problem was also that Continue reading

Flannel shirt


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The quest for perfection: or just another button-down

Pattern: Granville shirt by SewaholicSewaholic Granville Shirt pattern

Skills acquired:

  • Flat-felled arms
  • Patience

It’s gonna be different this time.

Or at least that is what I told myself when I purchased yet another 3 yards of plaid flannel. I wanted to make another flannel shirt, one that I could be proud of. I had made 2 before that were okay but had some obvious imperfections. This time I was going to do it right – I was going to practice the techniques making a muslin with some cheaper fabric and make sure I knew what I was doing before I stitched into the flannel. I used the Granville shirt pattern from Sewaholic since I had really liked the fit on the flannel shirt I attempted before. I made it a size smaller since I wanted a more fitted look and I had obviously made it too large last time.

What I really wanted to accomplish was flat-felled seams on the whole shirt. I had tried this with the first shirt, but I found it difficult when installing the arms in the arm hole. It got a bit messy. When I attempted it on the second shirt, it looked so bad that I just unpicked it and sewed them in using my serger, abandoning the whole flat-felled looked for the arms. I cheated. This time, I wanted to get it right so I asked someone I knew who had successfully done this on a flannel shirt of her own. She directed me to this online tutorial. Aha! It all made sense now.

It had been a long time since I had made a real button-down shirt, so I had to re-learn a few things, which made me glad I had this practice fabric. One of those techniques Continue reading

skirt front


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Rosari skirt: Super skirt of the 70’s

Pattern: Rosari Skirt by Pauline Alice, midi length

I totally love the skirts of the 70’s, so when I bought this unusual-looking corduroy, I knew I wanted something inspired by that decade. I actually bought a number of patterns with similar themes – A-line with buttons up the front. However, when I saw this pattern, I knew it was the one I wanted to try. I really liked the pockets and I’ve also been digging these indie patterns lately. It seemed like the one to try. This is a pdf pattern, which I’m still not loving, but I am getting used to the process of taping the sheets together. I just hate that it doesn’t fold up into a nice little envelope like the paper patterns, but I have made things a little better by storing them in those larger size manila mailing envelopes.

plaid corduroyThis pattern has a lot of options to choose from. There are 2 different lengths and about 4 different pocket styles. I went with pocket C, which was an inverted pleat patch pocket and flap. I cut two of these out, but when I read the directions, it seems that I Continue reading

Oslo sweater


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Time for the warm & fuzzies: The Oslo cardigan

Pattern: Oslo Cardigan by SeamworkOslo pattern

It’s been a pretty strange winter, weather-wise. An overly warm fall turned into a very mild November. And then all of a sudden, the snow rolled in by mid-December, after what seemed to be spring-like temperatures. By the time Christmas and New Years hit, we were plummeting into single digit and negative temperatures. January in New England began to feel like Minnesota. Lucky for me that I had already completed this project – a new cardigan that I can wrap myself in on those bitter cold days.

This was my second Seamwork pattern and again I was amazed by how fast I was able to sew this project up. I used a fairly thin sweater knit fabric that I had envisioned would be perfect for a large cardigan just like this one. The pattern lived up to most of my expectations, however I was surprised at how huge it ended up being, even making the XS size. I even tried to take the shoulders in a bit so they didn’t droop down so much, but it still ended up a bit too large in that area.

Elastic installed on shoulders

The only extra notion you need is this clear elastic, which I was lucky to have bought for another project (that I haven’t started yet). It stabilizes the shoulders nicely, especially since this fabric was not too thick.

I did really like the cuff-finish on the sleeves. Since I don’t have a top-stitch machine, Continue reading