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:

Sunday, July 15, 2012

The skirt comes together - Simplicity 1910

The whole skirt is almost done.  I'm finishing up the slip/petticoat that gives the skirt its poofiness. Here's some pictures of the overskirt/main skirt and being modeled by Mary.  I haven't hemmed the main skirt yet and that's actually going to be the last thing I do, just in case it needs to be a different length than called for.  These pics are without the slip/petticoat so you can't see just how poofy the skirt is.

 This is the skirt front.  You can see how the pleating in the skirt helps give the skirt the fullness and a little decorative touch.  The bodice still needs to be added to the skirt.  -->

<-- This is the back.  There's also pleating back here to give it that some poof.  You can also see how long the main skirt is.  The overskirt will be pulled up and draped with chains so I'm not so worried about the length of it.  The main skirt, when hemmed, will hit right above my friend's knee. 
There's a lot of layers basted together with the skirt: tulle netting attached to main skirt; main skirt; overskirt; and the pleats.  I still need to baste the slip/petticoat to the skirt for a total of five layers.  I'm counting the pleats since they add bulk to the skirt.  That's a lot to attach to the bodice.  I worry about the skirt pulling the bodice down too much because of bulk and weight.  I guess I'll find out when I sew it together.

In fact, the skirt portion of this dress relied on a lot of prep/basting.  The actually sewing of the pieces together was easy.  Don't skip steps!  If you're using slippery fabrics that basting is a life-saver.

The only step I do say to skip is the step where you hem the main skirt.  I say save that for last.  You want the dress to hit you correctly, regardless if you are making the short or long version.  My friend is tall so I don't want the dress to be too long or too short on her but find the right balance.  Contrariwise, I'm short, so if I was making the long version for myself, it'll end up dragging on the ground.  (And then I'll end up stepping on it, which reminds me of my junior prom and how I ripped the hem of my dress because it was too long on me, even in high heels.)

Hopefully I'll be returning to my coat in the next post!  But there's a lot coming up!  Dragon*Con is so close I can smell it in the air!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

About the Ravellenic Games 2012

Since 2008,, a social network site for knitters, crocheters, spinners and weavers, has hosted a challenge in during the Olympic Games.  The challenge is to start and complete a knitted/crocheted/weaved/spun object without the time-frame of the Games: 17 days.  One can also work on some WIPs and get them completed in the same time-frame.

It was previously called Ravelympics, but the name change is due to some legal issues.

Moving along, I'm excited by this year's challenge.  I've competed in both the 2008 challenge and the 2010 challenge.  In 2008, I actually completed the challenge, not so much for 2010.  This time around, I have a lot lined up and am looking forward to making some great knit-wear!  I'm hoping to finish a baby sweater for the niece; some washcloths for gifts, and hopefully, my dad's socks.  This year, I'm on Team TARDIS, so my little picture over there on the side is a mash-up of My Little Pony and Doctor Who.  Why?....Why not?  Those two just bring a smile to my face and make me happy.  ;-)