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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


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The flannel shirt A/B test

Pattern: Grainline Studio Archer shirt

A/B testing is kind of my thing.  I did this a lot at my former job and it’s always exciting to me when I get real results from an idea or theory.  I’m a total nerd for data.  Back when I was just toying with the idea of making a flannel shirt I had bought two different independent shirt patterns and couldn’t decide which one to use.

Sewaholic VS Grainline

I did some initial reading up on both patterns, and made the decision to start with the Sewaholic Granville shirt because the pattern was designed for pear-shaped bodies (like mine).  I liked the result, shown in my previous post, but I couldn’t help but wonder how the shirt would look using the other pattern.  Well, the only way to know for sure is to test it out.

Hypothesis: The Sewaholic Granville shirt pattern is the better pattern for making a plaid flannel shirt

Now this obviously cannot be a real A/B test since there are a lot of factors in this test that make it imperfect and not scientific.  We all know that the first attempt at something has the most learning curve and so some techniques that were new to me when making the Granville shirt, were more familiar when making the Archer shirt.  Also the material I used for the Archer shirt was a lot cheaper, in price and quality, so the overall result would be slightly different no matter what.  There is no way to hold all conditions equal for this experiment, but I decided to still test out the following parameters:

  • Ease of pattern directions
  • Garment details
  • Overall fit and look

Ease of Pattern Directions

Both patterns have clear directions that could help anyone making their first button-down shirt.  The drawings are all well done and precise.  I did find it strange that the Grainline pattern didn’t specify which drawing referred to the interfacing cutting layout.  There is Continue reading


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Waffle Knit: It’s not just for breakfast anymore

Pattern: Sewaholic Renfrew topRenfrew

What do you do with mis-matched fabric?

I bought this fabric a while back because I really liked the waffle-like knit texture it had.  It reminded me of one of my favorite winter shirts.  One that now has a giant hole in it – probably from over-wear.   However, when I brought the fabric up to the register, I noticed the colors were off.  There was a whole section that was missing one of the colors.  The fabric was so soft and perfect for a thermal shirt I wanted to make, that I negotiated a price reduction and bought it anyway.  It would be at least be good to make as a muslin, right?

discolored fabric

I was able to cut out the front and back out from the fully colored section, but I had to cut the arms out on the faded Continue reading

Plaid fabric


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Summer sleeves…make me feel fine

Pattern: New Look 6104 (view D)New Look 6104

While I was in the middle of trying to finish up my cold weather projects that got away from me last season, I realized I would always be a season behind if I didn’t get working on some summer clothes.  So I dropped everything and whipped up this little shirt, made from fabric I got for $1.99 a yard at Sewfisticated in Framingham, MA.

Plaid fabric

When I bought this, I had a vision of making a sleeveless shirt. This New Look pattern that I had already made a muslin from seemed perfect, especially with the tucks in the front and the collar-less design.

Based on my experience from last time, I cut the neckline a bit smaller to compensate for my small shoulders and cut the bottom part a little fuller.  It could probably use more adjustment next time – with the bottom more flared out and the middle part taken it a bit at the waist.   Continue reading