Summertime and the sewing is easy

Pattern: McCall’s M7571, View C

I have a new favorite shirt for the summer. I found this very soft cotton shirting in my stash and it looked like I only really had enough fabric for a short sleeved shirt (especially with plaid matching). I was thinking of just making a simple button-down, but lately I’ve been really into shirts with the deeper armholes, sort of like the batwing sleeves. I have another purchased plaid shirt I wear all the time and I think I was looking for something similar. In my search for a pattern, I came across this pattern from McCall’s, and I was intrigued. It definitely was something different than just a plain blouse and I liked the wide sleeves with the cuff. I went for view C, since I was working with plaid, however I did add the sleeve tab shown on view D.

This pattern is pretty decent for beginners. The only real confusing directions I encountered was the section on attaching the sleeves. It just wasn’t super clear that these were not attached like normal sleeves, because they are meant to fold up like a cuff. The seam you are making ends up on the outside of the shirt, and it’s hidden when the cuff is folded up. None of this is really mentioned, so if you didn’t realize it, you may just sew it on like a normal sleeve. I decided to tack two ends of the cuff, so it stays folded. I’m also glad I added the button tabs as it’s one more thing to hold that cuff in place.

These are cuffs, not really sleeves, so they are sewn around the outside with the shirt inside out.
The cuff is folded up so the seam is hidden. I added the tab and button and also a few tack stitches to keep it folded.

I serged the seams, mostly out of laziness, but maybe I was just burnt out on french seams from my bird blouse. My biggest concern for this shirt was that the style would make me look like I had a big protruding stomach, but I actually think the bias plaid at the bottom has a slimming look. I think that I’ve gotten the most compliments about this shirt – or at least the most comments about how people want one for themselves. It actually didn’t take too long, even considering the neck band is slip-stitched on. People who know me, know how much I hate hand sewing, but this shirt is definitely worth it. I don’t think I could have found a better use for this fabric and I’m so glad to have another comfortable plaid shirt exclusively for summer.

I decided to wear this while testing out our new drone for the first time. I thought it would be so cool to get a drone shot of my new shirt. Unfortunately being so new to flying, we couldn’t figure out how to get a decent overhead shot.

When we were trying to get closer…the drone almost crashed into me and I had to run out of the way.

Well at least you can see the shirt here!

Something to strive for another time I guess. For now, I guess just regular photos of my new makes.

The Eyelet of the Beholder: It’s a 90’s kind of summer

Pattern: McCall’s #6582

When I was young and growing up in the 1990s, I had this white summer top that I absolutely loved, made from eyelet fabric. I wore it for many years until the armpits got discolored and gross. I can’t remember when I exactly retired the top, but I remember trying to find one that looked similar, with no luck. Fast forward to just a few years ago when I found some very soft cotton eyelet material and even though it wasn’t exactly the same texture as my beloved top, it still gave me an idea to try to make a summer top with it.

It was hard to remember exactly what the top looked like, but I remember it buttoned up the front and was cropped very short to show off my midriff. Replicating this would not be possible, especially since I am now in my 40’s and there is no way I would be able to pull off something like that. But I did want to make something cute, so the search was on for a pattern that could make use of this airy fabric.

I found this great pattern on Etsy, a real 1990s style top with that off the shoulder look that used to be pretty popular. I liked the fitted bottom and buttons up the front. If nothing else, I figured this could be a great experiment for the summer.

The V-shape on the bottom section is really what reminded me of my old beloved top. It wasn’t an off-the-shoulder style like this one is, but I do love how soft the fabric is with this new version. In the end I would say this one was a success, even though I probably won’t wear this one as much as my old shirt back in the day. I also need to figure out the right camisole to wear underneath, as this one is definitely pretty revealing up top.

Continue reading “The Eyelet of the Beholder: It’s a 90’s kind of summer”
Gray mid-weight sweater

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 Continue reading “Winter is…over”

Happy romper

Ready to romp! My summer one-piece that almost didn’t happen

Pattern: McCalls 6969 (view c)McCalls 6969

Well that is a very interesting pattern number.  I only just realized this as I am writing it out.  I assure you I didn’t purchase this pattern based on that!

What can I say. It is well into November and in New England, the air definitely has a chill.  Every morning I have to scrape a layer of frost off my windshield.  Leaves have pretty much fallen off all the trees and Thanksgiving is next week.  Yikes!  What happened?

This summer brought many changes – the biggest one being a new job and a new commute to work.  I’ve also started getting more involved in my running club and have been racing and training, despite suffering from a nasty sprained ankle injury.  Somewhere in the midst of all these changes, I started a summer romper.  This was a project I have wanted to try for awhile, having bought the pattern years ago.  This summer I saw someone in an arcade wearing a romper and it rekindled my desire to make one.  Never mind the fact I probably wouldn’t wear it that often and one-pieces don’t always flatter me.  Luckily I had some rayon to burn!  As summer drew to a close and the September obligations piled up, I started to cut into my fabric and piece the body together.  Things were going okay…..

Under the collar

Here is where the directions stopped making sense – when I had to install the collar.  I re-read it several times and I still couldn’t figure out what I was supposed to do, so I actually Continue reading “Ready to romp! My summer one-piece that almost didn’t happen”

hooded overshirt

Southwestern Over-shirt: Joys in the hood

Pattern: McCalls stitch n’ save 6681M6681

Skills acquired:

  • Homemade bias tape
  • Hoods!

There comes a time in every sewist’s life when they realize they are still learning.  I’ve been killin’ it on so many projects lately (with some minor complications), I really thought I was heading up to the big leagues.  Then I had to make a hood.  I don’t know why this baffled me so much, but looking back on it, it all seems rather stupid.

First of all this pattern is labeled “easy” right on the front.  This should not have been as much of a challenge as it was.  I think some unclear writing and my own inexperience with making a hood contributed to this lesson.

Let me step back a minute on this one.  I chose this pattern because I wanted to make something else besides pajama pants with this cotton flannel I had bought when on vacation in New Mexico.  I specifically searched for patterns for flannel fabric and figured for this type of native-american-like print some sort of over-shirt would be nice.  I thought this pattern looked cute with the hood and everything so I decided to go for it.   Continue reading “Southwestern Over-shirt: Joys in the hood”

A tribute to lounge wear – a few variations

Patterns: Sewaholic Tofino pants, McCalls M6681 & free-form pantsSewaholic Tofino

Skills acquired:

  • Adding pockets
  • Piping 

I’ve made some PJ pants in my time, in fact I’ve made a lot recently.  I decided to consolidate them all in one post, for more efficiency (another one of my job skills – companies take note!).

Pajama pants are probably the most basic garment there is.  It’s the perfect thing to make when you are first learning to sew.  You don’t really need a pattern, there are no zippers and they are made from basic cotton fabric.  There are ways to dress them up and build off the simple design, but for the most part there is nothing easier.  The most basic patterns have two pieces for the front and two for the back.  These all get sewn up pretty much how you would imagine (even the order doesn’t matter too much) and you end up with two legs.  The waistband gets folded down, an elastic is added, the pant legs are hemmed…and voila!  Something you can lounge around in that you made all your own.

Put it in your pocket

I wanted to make my boyfriend a new pair of lounge pants since I felt like I could improve upon the pants I had made him a while back.  He said to me, “If you do make another pair, could you add pockets?”  Hmmm…this was something I never thought of.  There aren’t too many patterns out there that include pockets on such a garment and I didn’t really trust myself to figure this out on my own.  I found this handy tutorial online and decided to experiment with some pants I was going to make myself, just so I could get it right.  I had a remnant of flannel which I really liked, although I did not have enough to make full length, which is why these are cropped.

PJ Pocket pants

It was all pretty straightforward, however I kept messing up because I had a hard time Continue reading “A tribute to lounge wear – a few variations”

The end of an era jumper

Pattern: McCalls 2075 (vintage 1969)McCalls2075

Oh!  Wouldn’t it have been great if I could have finished this right when Mad Men was ending!  Of course that was last May, almost a year ago.  As I watched the final season, I really wanted to make one of those vintage jumpers from the ’60’s.  I think I even had this pattern already.  But work ramped up and I never got around to it.  My mom gave me some royal blue corduroy last fall and I thought, “This will be perfect for this.”  But again things were busy at work and I only managed to cut it out.  As the year ended I started buying the buttons and some of the other notions I would need.  I started making the darts, but had to set it down as the holidays approached.  Obligations and lack of time again.  In January I began to chip away at it, step by step.  But I couldn’t quite finish it until mid-February, especially with all that hand sewing.

But this is called the “End of an Era” jumper for another reason.  A few weeks ago, I lost my job.  I have gone through this a few times, but it’s still never an easy thing.  Especially when it’s just due to some business deal that has nothing to do with you – some company buys another one and wants to clean house.  And suddenly I went from being busy every Continue reading “The end of an era jumper”

Another day, another knit skirt

Pattern: McCall’s M6966McCalls M6966

I’ve seen so many cute long knit skirts lately worn by people at work.  So I thought, why not make my own!  I had just bought myself a serger – exciting news.  So this was the perfect project to test out my skills.

Not much to say about this one.  I had used this pattern before, but this time I decided to try view C, but with the yoke I had constructed for view D.  It’s pretty basic, with just a back panel and a front panel, and the yoke pieces to form a waistband.

IMG_3010

I did start to sew up the waist incorrectly, sewing where the elastic is supposed to fit in the wrong place.   Continue reading “Another day, another knit skirt”

Back pockets

Striking a new corduroy: part 2

Click here for part 1…

Pattern: McCalls M6610IMG_1028

Yikes!  This project fell of a cliff fast.  Okay I’m being a bit dramatic – it’s not a total disaster.  These just didn’t end up being the fabulous everyday pants I imagined.  I tested these pants out using an inexpensive purple corduroy I bought in preparation for this nice green corduroy that I want to use for the real deal .  After making a few jeans with this pattern, I think I’ve decided I don’t like it too much. This is unfortunate because it means I will probably have to start all over again – more test fabric, more fitting adjustments.  Well maybe the practice will do me good.

Where the whole thing falls apart is the waistband.   Continue reading “Striking a new corduroy: part 2”

Back yoke

Striking a new corduroy: part 1

Pattern: McCalls M6610IMG_1028

New skills acquired:

  • Flat-Felled Seams
  • Double Needle Action

I’ve been kind of down on my sewing lately.  Things are just not coming out as nice as I want them and it’s been a frustrating few weeks.  This could be why I haven’t been writing in my blog  – I have been working on projects, but have no feelings of satisfaction.  Also, it seems most visitors are getting to my blog by searching for “amateur in bikini” but that is another issue.

For the past few months I have been piecing together some corduroy pants, which I am affectionately naming Grape-Cord.  I am using a blue jean pattern that I have actually made a muslin of way back in the early days of my blog.  My biggest accomplishment to date is the fact that I can now spell corduroy without looking it up.  No, just kidding, I’m having some wins on these.

What is working…

Drafting a new pattern for a better fit

1. Adjusting the pattern for size

I have big hips and big thighs.  There, I said it.  It makes jean shopping a frustrating task that usually ends in tears and typical sewing patterns for bottoms don’t work so well.  I end up making the size for my measurements and the crotch ends up around my knees.  So I decided to try to adjust the pattern on this one.  I added a good Continue reading “Striking a new corduroy: part 1”