Sunday, November 30, 2014

A simple dragon shirt

Success! I found a simple shirt pattern, McCalls 6044 and made it for my brother in law... it's so fun to make shirts out of interesting prints!

Here, there be dragons.

Pattern: McCalls pattern, 6044
Cut & Size: Medium without alterations
Fabric: Year of the Ninja Dragon Black, Riley Blake

OMG, this pattern is so much easier than the Negroni. This version doesn't have the back yoke, but it has a simple collar, a simple collar stand, a simple sewn down button placket (no horrible wide flappy thing), sleeves that aren't cartoonishly wide and it is the right length per size. It took barely anytime to make without major adjustments! I can add the yoke or western details for my next version.

Sorry for the blurriness, it was getting late and drinks were plentiful.

Six Negronis!

Six Negronis and I'm done!

The Negroni pattern from Colette Patterns is a great pattern for learning techniques such as flat felled seams, button holes, collars, how to apply interfacing and the yoke burrito method. By my fourth shirt, I was finally confident enough to make the changes to the details that bothered me from the beginning (listed at the end of the post).

Negroni's from the beginning!

1) Negroni test shirt

Cut & size: Large unmodified, version 2 short sleeve.
Details: Single pocket, sleeves rolled out.
Fabric: AGF studio Minimalista darts in black and white ordered from the

My first shirt took over three weeks to make due to nerves!! Yet, even though I was nervous and overly cautious, I still managed to make some giant mistakes, ha ha. The button holes are too far from the shirt edge. This looks bad... I hesitated too long in making the holes and then I screwed up. This taught me that being slow is not helpful and if you are going to make a mistake, just go ahead and do it already. At the time, I could think of no way to fix it but now, 5 shirts later, I am pretty sure I could trim the edge and restitch it...
Anyways, the shirt ended up being too large around the waist, and definitely too long. Easy adjustments for the next one.

Also to note- the shirt sleeves are gigantic and flap around. The pattern appears to be made for some steroid addled brute with giant guns? Not so good for my husband. (Even my muscled rock climbing brother finds the sleeves to be floppy and huge).

2) Negroni #2

Cut & size: Large at the shoulders, grading between large and medium below the armpits to the waist. Shortened length and narrowed sleeves.
Fabric: Japanese print from
Details: Single pocket, sleeves narrowed, medium length.
This fits much better! And it only took two days to make. :) The sleeves are still ridiculously large, but better... and I managed to set the buttons correctly.

The main "new" problem with this shirt is the interfacing. I chose a high quality fusible cotton weave but I must have misapplied it; not enough heat or steam. After each wash, it needs a long pressing to get rid of the little bubbles. It is not unwearable, but it is annoying...

This is what misapplied interfacing looks like after a wash:

3) Crazy negroni- wearable muslin for my brother

Cut & size: Straight medium, no adjustments
Fabric: Quilting cotton Thistle from Anna Maria Horner
Notes: This was a the first shirt for my brother... he was not present during the construction, so I considered it a muslin to test the sizing. He requested the crazy print and loves it... He reported that the sleeves are way too big, even with his rock climbing arms, and the length is too long, but otherwise the fit is okay. He wears the shirt tucked in to hide the length... and wears it to go rock climbing... which is why he likes the thickness of the quilting cotton. Weirdo.
This shirt took one day to make.

Rock climbing in this shirt:

4) Adjusted Negroni for my brother

 Cut & size: Medium at the shoulders, graded to small at the waist. Sleeves narrowed. Button placket is sewn down to pocket to prevent flipping out (And it's crazy big enough to reach that far over!) Shirt shortened to 23" upon request.
Fabric:  Cloud 9 Southwest from Hart's Fabrics
Notes: My brother chose this fabric. It is quilting cotton, but a bit softer than the previous shirt I made him. I hesitated to chop it to 23 inches, but that is what my brother said he wanted. I left an extra 1.5 inches in the hem just in case. My brother reported that the length is good, but again, the sleeves are way to baggy. Again. I keep narrowing, and narrowing and it's never enough!

Rock climbing in this shirt:

5) Chambray Negroni

Cut & size: Large at the shoulders, grading between large and medium below the armpits to the waist.
Fabric: Robert Kaufman Chambray
Notes: This took only an afternoon to make!
I narrowed the sleeves severely this time, and I folded and stitched down the ugly interfaced placket that I've always hated. It is shaped at the collar to keep it flat, and edge stitched along the outer edge to look cool. 

The difference between an adjusted thin placket and an unmodified shirt can be seen here:

6. Aaron's Negroni

Cut & size: Medium to small at the waist. Narrowed sleeves, 26" length.
Fabric: Cloud Nine, Dem Bones Tombstone vine
Notes: This took only an afternoon to make!
I narrowed the sleeves enough for my other brother. He's a bit taller so I kept the length in the shirt. I cut the button plackets/facings to my taste and folded them under again, stitching down. I even modified the shape of the attachment point to the yoke so it could be stitched down too. This made me realize that I really wanted to be making a different pattern.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Autumn Moneta

 I made a new Moneta for the autumn... I want a busy print to wear under simple solid cardigans. 

I did all the construction with my new serger and it took a few hours, tops. So happy! My other Monetas were made with a regular machine, not too hard, but not as easy as this one.

The bodice is lined and the sleeves are 3/4. I haven't cover-stitched them yet, they don't bother me unhemmed... knits are wonderful that way.

The fabric is a ITY jersey knit, very stretchy. I used elastic for gathering the waist but then cut it off when the bodice was too long (now it's too short! oh well). The result is a slightly loose waistline... but that's great for the upcoming holidays. :)

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Cardigan weather

It's cardigan weather! Ha ha, barely... it's chilly here only in the mornings and after sundown. During the day, the sun warms everything up. I've decided to make some casual cardigans anyways.

My second is the Simplicity / New Look 6330 pattern. I made view C, the same as view B without the extra fabric on the bottom. (My first cardigan was a failed Jenna cardi, entirely my fault, will try again)

 The cardigan is made to be closed at the waist with long loops, held taut on buttons by the tension of the waist. This means that if you cut big, you may have to shorten your loops... and sitting or moving might dislodge a loop.

The model in the pattern picture shows that the top portion is fully open in a V down the bust until the loop closures. I hadn't realized that until I tried it on! It's a nice cardigan to wear over something that could use a waist, not so good extra modesty.

Friday, November 14, 2014

My sewing buddy

Helpful paperweight:

Not so helpful paperweight:

Enforcer of breaks:

Demands order and cleanliness or risk this:


Somewhat reluctant model:

Lover of pillows:

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Printed Denim Moss skirt

I made this skirt months ago! Then I set it aside, making and wearing dresses most of the summer. Now that it's getting slightly cooler, I enjoy wearing separates again... It's nice to have a fun denim skirt ready to go.

It was my first fly zipper! I was very excited it worked out. I had a hard time with the instructions, but it came together after some head scratching and viewing other fly zippers. I had to steam and press the fly after using too stiff interfacing. It's a little puffy above, but has improved over time and wear (and steam pressing).

The skirt fits very well, sitting below the waist without causing any muffin top. Thank goodness.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Hot pink Léa!

My second Léa dress is made out of a crazy fun wax print fabric... It is hot pink with small purple stripes and bright turquoise flower/atom symbols or something. It's awesome.

I imagined I'd downplay the buttons, but instead I went with hot pink glass flower buttons on top, and none on the bottom.

I love the pockets!

As you can see, I had a bit of fabric mismatch on the waistline, but I managed in most other places to keep it matched. Thank goodness for belts.