Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Layer me up Shirt

This is the Patterns for Pirates, Layer Me Up Shirt available from their etsy store. It is offered in a large range of sizes, XXS to 3X (chest 30-54 inches) and well suited to a curvy figure.

And there is a timely maternity add-on front panel here:

The first shirt I made is with a Girl Charlee cotton/spandex print. I used a serger for all seams, with Maxi-Lock "stretch" thread on the loopers and regular white poly serger thread on the needles. I love "stretch" thread! (It's not actually stretchy, instead it is "woolly" and makes a very soft seam.)

On a hanger, the maternity shirt looks a bit pouchy and weird, but on the figure it is form fitting and very comfortable. 

My first attempt is a bit long, but fits well in the bust, belly and hips. I cut a size large at the shoulders to XL at the hips. The shoulder seams are nicely curved. The neckline is a little low but easy enough to redraft. During construction, I did not use elastic to create the gathers, instead I made basting stitches and pulled the threads. The treads were then cut off during the seam serging. I chose the band option for the bottom hem.

In the end, it is really nice to have a snug shirt that comes in under the belly. I'm not into wearing skin tight things by themselves right now, so this makes the perfect layer under my various wraps/scarves and sweaters.

Serged seams below:

My next shirt has a higher neckline and shorter length without a bottom band. It is made from a Gorgeous Fabrics textured jacquard knit, very cozy and warm for mild California winter.

My third shirt is a thinner burnout print from Joann's which I can't find online for linking. I used a stretchy black knit for the neckband and hemband. I am planning to install wristbands because the hemmed sleeves stretch out too much.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

2016 - In the closet

I started this year by putting my homemade woven dresses away in the spare closet... I hope I can retrieve them at some point in the future.

Some of my knits are still wearable (Thank goodness for the Moneta and Bluegingerdoll Violet dresses) and I've been busy making a few more (Appleton, yay!) each month.

All this is because my dimensions have rapidly changed. My waist has gained 8 inches in girth! And it's still growing! My hips are about same but my bust gained a depressingly expensive (i.e. bra-busting) 4 inches.

My dog is emotionally supportive but he's not sure what to do except chew on anything I leave laying around.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Lilac linen

Posting some old drafts!

I had a summer linen craze.

I bought this lovely lilac linen during a "blue moon sale" at my local fancy fabric store. In my hunt to find the perfect pullover linen dress pattern, I decided to try the Simplicity 1800. The front pleats are cool, and the neckline is very interesting. I really like the pockets.. Even better, the pattern is a multi-size custom fit. I chose the D cup and the curvy butt pieces.
I cut 16 on top, to 18 on the bottom.

As I intended it to be a pullover, I did not stitch the darts in the back bodice. This lets it hang better. I added three inches to the back pieces and made little box pleats instead of the longer shaping darts in the pattern. The result is a very comfortable dress. I love the pockets! I love the linen wrinkles. It's so light weight, like wearing nothing at all.

The only issue is the raglan sleeves and my bust. Even with the largest cup size, the sleeves still don't fit flat on my armscyes, but extend out from the bust. Typical. This is why I usually avoid raglan sleeves, but I thought the special sizing of this pattern would solve the problem.

The bodice is lined with a soft shear patterned voile. I ignored the instructions and just sewed up the dress. The facings in the pattern looked truly dreadful and flippy, so I used bias tape to finish the neckline from shoulder to shoulder. Interior seams are either french seams or finished with bias tape.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Pintucked plantain

I am a little bored with plain t-shirts so I decided to make a few changes to a pattern that I know fits well. I used two fabrics, the laguna knit and a slightly fuzzy rayon knit from my stash to make this shirt.

Using the plantain pattern, I cut the front piece in half.  Then, I cut a strip of the second material to match and sewed a bunch of pintucked seams. My pintucks are not very delicate, I made them rather thickly... Is there something else to call them besides pintucks? 

I attached the strip to the front halves of the shirt. I decided to do the same operation on the sleeves, but make gathers instead of tucks.

The overall result is a slightly more interesting black shirt with some lines in the front. I've blown out the black in the photo so you can see the details, in reality it's darker and the flaws are well hidden. :) I think the use of two black fabrics worked well, using different colors might be a bit silly, but who knows until I try it.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Papercut sway dress

August is a hot month in Santa Barbara, with very little breeze. I pulled out an old linen dress that I bought in Amsterdam years ago. It's been worn so much that the front placket is fraying and I am considering hacking it apart to make a pattern for a similar dress... but until then, I have been trying to find a pattern with a similar feel; pullover, loose but with some interesting seams, good for the fun qualities of linen.

(My first attempt was the Merchant and Mills Factory dress. A disaster. I am curvy, I can't wear a big rectangle. I should have known better. I will finish it and put it in my give away pile.)

My second attempt is the Papercut Sway dress, made in a few hours on Sunday morning and then worn the rest of the afternoon.

 It is a triangle dress, a much better shape for me than a rectangle. When I saw this version of the Papercut pattern, I immediately bought the digital pattern. I was also inspired by this lovely dress. And then True Bias posted how to make similar dress this week!

I do like how the Papercut Sway is such a simple pattern to use and alter... I cut a size medium in the shoulders, graded to a large in the skirt. The shoulders are really the only place to worry about measurement in this pattern.

I added an FBA of about 3" so that the armseyes would not strain out to my bust. I used my successful FBA from the Gallery Tunic to as a guide- the darts are long and slanted upwards. This appeared to work, but the armscyes are cut a little low. It's possible the fabric is stretching as it hangs. An easy fix would be to take in the side seams under the arms by a few inches. There is certainly enough ease by design!

I used my favorite Brussels washer linen in black with a dark grey thread to highlight some of the pintucking I intended to do in the front.

I cut the front piece on a fold instead of in two pieces with a seam. I added an extra two inches of fabric in that fold and then sent pintucks down the center front. I made three seams facing inside, and two facing out that are stitched down. This created seamlines without any projecting fabric. The extra inches are loose and lost in the swingy bottom of the skirt.

The facings in this pattern are my favorite kind of facings. They connect along the neckline and the armscyes, making for a very neat, unflippable interior facing. I did not using any interfacing for them in this dress.  

I got lazy in the end and did not hem it, I simply serged the bottom edge with black thread.  I feel okay about this after searching for designer linen dresses online and seeing expensive dresses with frayed unfinished bottoms. It's a thing, apparently.

I don't care if it could be maternity wear. It's ridiculously comfortable. The V back feels so nice and cool.

My proper camera battery died so a mirror selfie is the best I can do.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Nicola sundress

A sundress with a sunflower pattern on a sunny day in August! 

The Nicola dress pattern from Sewaholic took me only a few days to make. It's a nice simple design and I only had to make my usual adjustments, no surprises.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Tessuti Mandy boat neck tee

The Tessuti Mandy boat neck tee pattern is fantastic... and it is free! It is one-size-fits-all which does actually fit me, with plenty of drape to spare. It must be huge on a smaller person.

The pattern has a drafted guide on the neckline for where to turn under and hem it. This is much easier than inserting a neckband and works very well on this casual shirt. For this version, the sweater knit is so stretchy that I added clear elastic to the neckline and the shoulder seams.

The sleeves lightly grip the upper arms and hold position perfectly so that the shoulders stay put.

I think I first saw the pattern on this blog:  She has made several cool versions!