Saturday, January 10, 2015

My Hopes for 2015

This past year has been full of all sorts of challenges for me, some of those challenges I met head-on but many more I fumbled and I'm still barely past those obstacles.  My creative life took a nosedive with me barely knitting or sewing a stitch.  I'm hoping to change that for this year.  I have four major goals this year.

  1. Projects Half Done: I want to finally finish up all those projects that have languishing in various bags and baskets throughout the house.  I have 2 quilts that are sandwiched and just need quilting and binding done.  A pair of toe-up socks where one sock is done and the other I'm almost done with the leg.  A sweater that I barely started.  A few other odds and ends laying about here and there.  I want those done!
  2. The Historical Sew Monthly: I want to go back to what drew me to sewing in the first place.  I love historical clothing.  I love costumes and learning about who wore what and when they wore it.  The past few years, The Dreamstress has hosted the Historically Sew Fortnightly on her blog.  I have watched from the sidelines wishing I had the skills to participate.  This year she is changing it to the Historically Sew Monthly.  I think a historical-based project a month is doable for me and it's time for me to stop watching and starting doing.  And I'm happy to see this includes not just sewing but knitting/crocheting/tatting/etc.  I already have some ideas lined up for the year and my January project is ready for cutting.
  3. Wardrobe Architect 2015: This past year came with a lot of changes for me, and I know this new year there is going to be even more changes.  I have a lot of clothes in my closet that don't reflect who I am and just sit there.  I can't even remember if I ever wore some of those clothes.  Last year Coletterie posted the Wardrobe Architect series and how to create wardrobe that reflects your style.  This year they are using those principles to create a plan of attack to clean out your closet and focus on sewing garments for your own wardrobe.  The series is a year-long plan to develop your own capsule wardrobes.  I really liked the series last year and I've been wanting to do this.  I'm sick of looking at the mess in my closet.
  4. Stashbusting:  Speaking of messes in closets, my craft closet is full of bins of yarn and fabric just begging to be made into something.  I want to sew/knit from stash as much as possible this year.  I think points 2 and 3 will work really well into this plan.  The only time I want to buy fabric is if I absolutely have nothing else that works in my stash for my planned project.  As an addendum to that, I did receive a Jo-Ann's gift card for Christmas, so all purchases will be made with that.
So that's my plan for the year.  Hopefully I can get most of it done!  It looks like a lot, but I know it's doable if I just take it one day at a time.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Simplicity 1910 - The Finished Product

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*Please note I finished this dress back in 2012 and completely forgot to finish blogging about it! -headdesk-  Here's the finished dress with the Pattern Review.

This was one of those trying pieces to sew.  But I'm so happy how it looks completed!  My friend Mary is the wearer in these pictures, and I think she looks stunning!  (If I do say so myself)  :-)

Back detail using chain and gears
Skirt detail - used chains and gears to hold up the overskirt


Pattern Description: 
A special occasion dress meant for proms, dances, etc. I used this as the base for a Belle costume (from Beauty and the Beast). I used the shorter version of the dress and added the overskirt. I made this for my friend to wear to Dragon*Con 2012 as a Steampunk-inspired Belle. 
Pattern Sizing:
I cut a size 20, but ended up taking a lot out of the bodice to get a correct fit. I should have cut a size 18 or even a size 16 considering how big the bodice was. This is what happens when you assume that a strapless dress should not have that much ease built into it. Unfortunately, this pattern has an inch and a half of positive ease. Please beware when choosing a size.
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
Yes, in the end it did look like the drawing/photo. Getting to that part was a different matter.
Were the instructions easy to follow?
The instructions were easy enough to follow. There were a few moments of head-scratching, but I was able to figure it out. There is a incorrect piece. Bodice piece 4 is incorrect and I had to contact Simplicity customer service to get a corrected piece. 
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I disliked how hard it was to fit the bodice. I think too much ease is built into this pattern and maybe a seamstress should cut it a size or so smaller. For a strapless gown you think they would have kept the ease to a minimum, but there's quite a lot of room in there. I do like how fluffy the skirt is and the overlay looks really nice.
Fabric Used:
Polyester Satin and Polyester sheer with a lining.
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
I made the short version and added on the overskirt in a sheer fabric. I left off the trimmings around the bodice. There was a lot of fabric removed from the bodice for fit. It was at least 2 inches too big. The skirt fit perfectly though.
Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
I don't think I would sew this again. If I did, I will be more prepared for size issues. I would recommend this to others, but I would also say do a muslin for the bodice. 
I didn't do a muslin for this pattern, and I'm kicking myself for it. It would have saved a lot of headaches. But live and learn, right? In the end, my friend loves the dress and said it was comfortable to wear all day particularly in the Atlanta heat and craziness of Dragon*Con. 

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Me-Made-May 2014 and hopefully some actually blogging this year...

As always, I let life carry me away and forget about this blog.  :-(  So let's try again with a pledge and some sewing, shall we?

Me-Made-May (MMM'14) is a challenge that during the month of May each participant will wear self-made clothing as much as possible.  For more information about the challenge and how to sign-up visit: So, Zo...What do you know?  Since I don't have enough self-made clothes to go each day of the month, I determined that the best thing for me is to tackle some WIPs and actually finish something.  So my pledge for the month:
"I, Michelle of, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May '14. I endeavour to finish a me-made article of clothing once a week and actually wear it out of the house during the month of May. Since most of my previous sewing was for costumes and fancy dresses, this will give me an opportunity to create some real-life pieces for myself. Also I hope to resurrect my forgotten blog with this."
So yeah, that's it.  My first project on the table is one that's been sitting there since January.  It's a knit dress.  I'm mostly done with the muslin for it.  I think that's what I hate most about sewing; having to check the fit before actually sewing up the garment I really want.  

Anyway, I'm hoping to have 4-5 garments finished.  Crossing my fingers that I get more out, but since I do need to sew everything twice, that greatly reduces the amount of time I put into something.  Aside from the current dress I do have a couple of knit blouses that I want to make up and hopefully some shorts or pants.

I also have a ton of clothes to tailor and take in. So that is also a part of what I want to do this month.  Here's to keeping my fingers crossed.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Simplicity 2172 - Finished Coat

Sorry for the long wait to update!  Well here it is the finished coat!  I did wear it at Dragon*Con and nearly got heatstroke.  So I'm not going to be wearing it again this year.  I think if I had stayed inside instead of waiting outside in the sun for almost an hour, I probably would have been alright.

Back of the Coat.  Instead of ties I used chains and little gears

Sleeve ruffle detail.  I really liked how the sleeves came out.

Ruffle detail around collar.  I finished sewing this on the night before we left for the Con.

The completed product.  Not the best pic, but it shows the whole coat.

All in all, I'm happy with the way it came out.  It's a good foundation piece, and I'm slowly adding more items to it to get the look I want.  I wanted to work on pants this year, but that really hasn't happened.  I might not wear the coat for Dragon*Con this year.  I became overheated last year and there's just too much standing in the hot Atlanta weather.  This year I'm keeping it easy and doing a cosplay of the Ninth Doctor.  :-)

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Simplicity 2172 - The Coat (Part 3 - Sleeves and Ruffles)

More Coat!

So I don't have too much to say about the sleeve flanges. They went together easily and were pinned on the coat and look nice. There is a lot of basting in this section so: be prepared!  The flanges could easily be left off if you don't like them.  I also saw one version of this coat at Dragon*Con with the flanges and not the sleeves to make a "short-sleeved" version of this coat.  Something that would have been very helpful in the Atlanta Summer weather.  :-)

Full Arm Adjustment
The sleeves are meant to be close fitting, however I have big upper arms.  A quick tissue-fitting proved my assumption that the sleeves won't fit as is.  Even with ready-to-wear clothes, I find the sleeves too tight. I did a Full Arm Adjustment per the instructions in the book Real Fit for Real People by Patti Palmer and Maria Alto. Honestly, I was fearing this portion of the sewing. I never did any sort of adjustment on a pattern with this method before.  It is a lot easier than I expected. In the end, I think I made the sleeves a little too big, but they fit well enough.

What I'm most proud of on this coat are the ruffles.  I don't know why, but I seriously love them!  I used Kona Cotton solids in a color that matched the lining.  I think it's called wineberry.  The cotton is light and not stiff, and oh so nice to sew (especially after fighting with the polyester on the dress).  I also used an adjustable edger foot that I found in my grandmother's tin.  This tin is something I forget about sometimes.  It contains all sorts of presser feet and needles and bobbins and what-nots in it.  I also found a rolled-hem foot and two ruffler feet.  Plus some more feet I'm not sure if they will fit my machine.  Most of them do, so it's pretty cool to have them.  :D

Presser feet from Grandma
The adjustable-edge presser foot really made it easy to sew the hem of the ruffles. They look really neat and straight.  I didn't use the ruffler for the ruffles, though.  I was a little unsure on how to use it.  I made the ruffles the normal way.  The cuff ruffles are sewn between the lining and the coat fabric.  The neck ruffle is hand-sewn around the neck.  Actually the neck ruffle was the last thing I sewn on this coat and I did it the night before we left to go to Atlanta!  Talk about sewing down to the wire!

The sleeves were attached to the main body of the coat.  This was the only tricky part since you have to sew through several layers of fabric.  I made sure to change my needle before I did this part so it would go through those layers easily and not snag.  The sleeve lining was hand-sewn in place around the armhole with a slip-stitch.
So far, the coat is looking pretty sharp!  :-)

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Simplicity 2172 - Coat (Part 2 - The Lining)

Back to the coat I sewed for Dragon*Con!  Let's talk about the lining.  I was originally going to use a broadcloth as the lining but then thought it might make the coat too heavy.  While wandering around Jo-Ann's, I stopped by their lining selection.  I really liked the feel of their "Posh" lining collection.  And it came in a gorgeous wine color!  So it came home with me.

Lining: sewn together but not attached to coat
 Working with the stuff proved to be a nightmare!  Not a slasher-flick-I'm-the-only-one-that's-left-against-the-psycho-killer type nightmare, more like a my-dog-ate-my-sixteen-page-homework-report-that's-due-this-morning type nightmare.  The stuff holds static like crazy and it sheds everywhere.  The cut edges just frayed like no tomorrow, leaving lots of fuzz behind and making it annoying to sew.  But I really like how it drapes.  I can't complain too much since it doesn't add too much weight to the coat and it does feel decent against the skin.

Lining: sewn together but not attached to coat - back view
I did worry about how to understitch the coat since it seemed like it would be unwieldy to me, but I managed without too much trouble.  For sewing up the closing at the bottom (where you turn the coat right-side out after sewing the lining) instead of slip stitching it closed, I just sewed it closed with my machine using the appropriate thread colors for each side.  That part is all the way down by my ankles and no one will notice.  I also think it looks better than slip stitching and makes stronger stitches should I end up stepping on my coat or something like that.

Other than that I have no complaints with the lining.  The only thing I should add is not to cut fabric while drinking wine.  I had to cut a few pieces of the lining out twice due to a little too much wine-age!  :D

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Baby Shrug for Evie

With the Ravellenic Games 2012 far behind us, I'll just do a quick post on the only item I actually completed.  It is the Whirligig Shrug designed by Stefanie Japel, published in Interweave Knits Weekend 2009.

This the second time I knitted this pattern and it is one of my all-time favorite knits for kids.  It is sized for a 12-18 month old, but since it is a shrug there's a good chance of a long wear time.

Size: 12 - 18 months old
Needles: US 6 (4.0 mm) circular and dpns
Yarn: Valley Yarns Longmeadow
Color: Blue
Cast On: Jul 27 2012
Cast Off: Aug 11 2012

 Medals from events that the sweater competed in: