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Adventures in amateur sewing

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

Tie Bow close up


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The networking blouse: or how to succeed in business by really really trying!

Pattern: Simplicity 1779 (view c)Simplicity 1779

They say that job searching is all about the networking.  Let me tell you from a diagnosed introvert, networking really sucks.  You really have to put yourself out there, totally out of your comfort zone and start conversations with complete strangers.  You have no idea if they want to talk to you or not.  Sometimes these conversations go well, sometimes they feel as painful as falling down a flight of stairs.  Making that perfect connection that furthers your career can feel like a needle in a haystack.  It’s also extremely exhausting, being “on” all the time.  When I come home after a few hours of networking, I feel almost as if I ran a marathon.  But it is important – applying for open jobs the old fashion way definitely doesn’t get the maximum result.  And getting a job can be more “who you know” than “what you know” in general.

I feel it helps to have some sort of ice breaker prepared.  Which is why last week, Continue reading

plaids


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Anti-fashion in a new age: the improved flannel shirt

Pattern: Sewaholic Granville shirt (1501)Sewaholic Granville Shirt pattern

New skills acquired

  • Plackets
  • Collar & collar stand
  • Flat-felled seams

I grew up in the 90’s. This was the decade where I awkwardly lived out my teen years and a few young adult years as well.  Say what you will about the grunge music movement, but for a self-conscious pre-teen who had spent most of her childhood bullied mercilessly, that music felt like ecstasy inside my head.  I remember spending many hours listening to Nirvana’s Nevermind over and over to try to numb my pain.  And I actually spent an entire family vacation to Arizona with the Pearl Jam Vs. album constantly pumping into my ears.  People say that music was depressing, but life can be depressing when you become a teenager.  The music mirrored all my thoughts and feelings about growing up and trying to find my place in a world that didn’t seem to want me.   And the flannel!  Flannel shirts were the style – a part of the anti-fashion movement that was sweeping the country. We were no longer going to spend money on brand names and store logos.  We would look in thrift shops and re-purpose old clothes from our parents.  It was casual and comfortable and a way to rebel against corporations.

I miss my flannel shirts.

Anyways, this fashion craze was all finished when I went on to college. Continue reading

My First Blouse


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It Seams Complicated: My First Blouse

Pattern: New Look 6104New Look 6104

New Skills Acquired: 

  • French seams
  • Tucks

I’m so proud!  I took one piece of slightly stained discount fabric and made an actual blouse!  With buttons!

As much as I like the end result, I did find this pattern a little difficult to follow.  I think the main problem was it assumed I already had experience making pin tucks and shirt cuffs.  It took some concentration and some interesting maneuvers cutting around a few stains, but in the end I made a pretty nice trial blouse.

Tuck Ever-Exhausting

I decided to make view C because I liked the short sleeves and I didn’t think the ruffles would work with the almost flannel-like material.  The directions on the pattern basically just said to fold the material on the line provided to make the tuck.  I had no idea which way to fold the material or how to make the seam.  Even doing an exhaustive search on youtube confused me, since the videos usually showed using multiple lines for guidance.  Using a practice scrap, I attempted my first tuck.  Annnnddd I folded it the wrong way.  Well I’m glad I practiced.

Tucks are created by basically folding the fabric up on the pattern line, with the wrong sides Continue reading