Sewing funk: Butterick 5679

I haven’t been having the greatest of sewing months.  After my failed Juniper pants I made a Alma stop (which I do love,) and then tried to make Vogue 8847:
V8847 (1)

Now, I know better than to trust a drawing. I knew it would be a sack without the belt (there is a modeled photo which shows this.)  But I wasn’t expecting exactly how terribly large it would be.  I cut the smallest size, but it was enormous.  The chest was way too wide, which made the sleeves bind.  And I don’t like the way the V-neck is constructed.  I ended up throwing it away, which is sad because I loved the fabric, but  I was pretty much set against it at that point.  It might be cute in a knit, but quite frankly life is too short!

I decided to make myself a simple knit project, in order to get over the disappointment.  I chose Butterick 5679, which has the most God awful modeled shot ever:
B5679

For real, what is that?  I think it’s just an odd design, but the raglan depth on that top is much longer than the one on my shirt.  And what’s up with the single useless pocket? I was making the version in gold above.  I had a striped wool jersey, and I thought it might be fun to chevron the front and back panels.  It took only a  few hours to construct, even with all the matching.  But in the end I find myself conflicted:
Picture 832

Is this cute in a Dr Seuss kind of way or crazy (in a Dr Seuss way?)

Picture 822

The bottom hemline has to be redone.  You can see how it wants to roll, even though I hemmed and serged.  I’m considering removing the point and making it all one length.  I’m pretty sure I would like that better.  The only kind of strange hemline I like is a peplum – I knew I hated the hems that were longer at the sides, but I thought this would be better.

Maybe I just need to wear a different outfit?  I wore it Monday to voice juries (basically final exams for music students… I listened and judged singers for six hours).  I wore it with skinny black pants and flats, and I did like that better.  These jeans are too big to be skinny, and they twist around my legs (I didn’t make them – blame Gap!)

Eh… I think I just need a few days break (not just from sewing… I am super busy this year, with the new job and responsibilities and my usual December concert schedule!)  I’m having a hard time picking projects to start.  I’m starting to think I’ve got a touch of decision fatigue.  After the semester is over (graduation is the 19th, but I’ve already turned in my grades) I might post here and have you all pick one.

So, not a total win.  But I think it’s important to post my failures along with my successes.  I don’t want to give the impression that I’m perfect, because goodness knows I’m not!

I’m planning a year end roundup post.  I’m hoping to post about the actual wearability of the things I’ve worn (some are definitely more than others!)

 

Sewaholic Alma

Sewaholic Alma blouse

Pattern: Alma blouse from Sewaholic patterns

Fabric: Rayon challis and cotton poplin

Notes:

I must confess that I love Peter Pan collars.  I don’t wear them often because I fear looking a bit too twee, but I still adore them!  I knew when I saw the Alma blouse pattern that I wanted to make it, but I didn’t want it to be too adorable.

I bought this fabric from Fabric Mart (now sold out!) and immediately loved the pretty watercolor flowers.  It’s a medium weight challis, which is the weight I would recommend for my version of the blouse.

I actually made two major changes to the pattern:

1. I lengthened the pattern by 4 inches at the hem.  I could tell from other completed projects that this shirt would be too short for me.  I have what could be called a long torso – it’s only now that tunics are in style that I can find shirts in stores that don’t appear cropped!

Sewaholic’s patterns are drafted for the pear shaped.  I measure larger in the hips than the bust, but I’m not a true pear.  I have a short waist and a long torso (according to Trinny and Susannah I’m a skittle, which I believe is a type of bowling pin.  We are indeed separated by a common language, because I had no idea what that was!)

I prefer tops to either be tucked in or hit me at this length.

2. I redrafted the sleeves. I wanted long sleeves for winter, but I don’t like sleeves with cuffs.  Bishop sleeves are in style this year, so I hit on the idea of widening the sleeve.  I basically turned the sleeve piece into an A shape, keeping the same cap shape.  After sewing them in place I folded under 1/2 inch to make a casing and threaded through 1/4″ elastic (it measured 1 inch longer than my wrist.)  I really love them – I think they work really well with my fabric and look elegant!

Pattern review:

I thought the pattern was very well drafted.  It included helpful bits like corners that actually match up, rather than expecting you to match triangles at (for example) the shoulder seams.   The instructions were fine, and the illustrations were clear.

The only issue I ran into was with the collar:
Peter pan collar

I made the collar with a navy/white pindot poplin.  It’s fairly light weight though not as light as the challis.  I thought it would hold the shape better and it does.  The pattern calls for interfacing the collar, which I did, using a lightweight fusible (pro sheer elegance.)

The interior is finished with a facing, and that’s the only place where I had trouble.  I don’t, as a rule, like facings.  I leave them off whenever I can, but in this case I chose to use the facing pieces.  You interface the facing pieces and then sew them together.  Here is where it was a little confusing – you must baste the collar to the neckline with both RS facing you.  Then you put the facing on top of the collar and blouse, RS together, and sew.  You’re supposed to then trim, clip and understitch.  I did all that, but I’m still not happy with the facing.  It makes for a lot of layers around the neckline, and even though I secured it to the shoulders it tends to stick out when I put on the blouse.  Once it’s on they stay in place, but I think there’s probably another way of securing the collar that I would prefer.    Suggestions are welcome!

I made a size 4.  I wanted it a little oversized, but I would go down a size if making a more fitted version.  I love the shaped darts (even though I always hate sewing them!)
I love this blouse!  I would absolutely recommend the pattern.  I will probably make it again someday!  This is the first Sewaholic pattern I’ve tried, and I was very impressed with how professional everything was.  I’ve already ordered her new pattern, the Cordova jacket.  It has a peplum, another trend that I am not yet over!
Sewaholic alma

How to be multi-craftual

So I finished another embroidery:
Oh hai cross stitch
Pattern: Mr X-Stitch (not currently up in his shop, but I’m sure you could message him if you want it!)

Fabric: 28 count laguna in white

Thread: Blue silk (I’ve lost the card, but I got it at the local needlepoint shop.)  

Technic R2-D2 is a fan!

The internet may be over the lolcats, but I am not yet ready to let them go, thus these lions.   This piece is my first foray into blackwork, a kind of embroidery that involves stitching in a single color (outlines only) on an evenweave fabric.  Traditionally blackwork uses double running stitch, but I’m lazy so I just used back stitch over the entire piece.  In traditional blackwork you plan your path and fill in every other stitch one way before returning the other direction and finishing.

I framed it in a plain hoop using this method, which avoids using any glue (I try to never use glue or tape on my projects!)  I used a machine basting stitch, but a hand stitch would have worked just as well.

Completing this piece (my second in a month) made me consider the fact that while I love needlework I rarely do it.  Same with knitting and crochet (these days at least!)  I think that many of us in the crafting community like to identify with one craft to the exclusion of all others .  I know that I myself am a bit obsessive, and I find it very hard to divide my time.

I have several more needlework projects planned this year – we will see if I manage to get to them!

Vogue 8815: Extreme Peplum

 

Pattern: Vogue 8815

Fabric: Leopard double knit (ribbed, sweater like) from fabric mart.  There are 9 yards left as I write this.

Notes:

When I was a little girl I used to spend hours  designing pretty dresses for my dolls to wear.  And since this was the 80s, nearly every one of them contained some variation of the peplum.  Apparently I’ve never lost my fondness for the silhouette, because I’m pretty much super excited about the current peplum revival!

I didn’t buy Vogue 8815 right away.  I didn’t like the crew neckline (they make me feel like I’m choking!) and I thought the peplum was skimpy.  But when I wanted to make a sweatery peplum, I decided I could alter the pattern for my purposes and brought it home with me.

First order of business: making the peplum larger and longer.  I specifically wanted to wear it with these skinny jeans, which were made by a designer with a vendetta against stretch fabric.  Since they don’t stretch, I like to wear longer tops with them, as the top view isn’t the best.  I added a wedge to each peplum piece, adding 6″ total to the circumference before I lengthened it.  Then I added 5 inches in length to the peplum (I wasn’t sure I would keep it all, but I wanted to make sure I had enough.  The result?  A lot of peplum!

It is not, I suppose, exactly slimming.  But I find that I don’t much care about that, so unless strangers start asking me when I’m due (note: probably never) then I’ll enjoy the exaggerated silhouette!

I also had to address the neckline.  I took out Butterick 5562 (OOP) and traced off the boatneck.  It basically sits right on my collarbone, so it requires either a camisole or strapless bra, but I’m fine with that.  I finished the neckline with a strip of the fabric (not bias, as this was a knit.)

I actually had to cut the bodice twice, as the first time I had a serger accident.  Luckily I had extra fabric!  I shortened the sleeves to 3/4 length and removed the shoulder dart before cutting:

After sewing and basting I removed an additional inch from under the arms because I wanted a fitted sleeve.  It looks off in the photo above, but that’s just because I had been moving my hair right before the photo and forgot to readjust.  The shoulders are still just a little bit wide for me – you can see how they extend onto my arm a bit.  I suspect the design is meant to be this way, but if I made it again I would narrow them.

I’m pretty happy with my peplum top, though I’m not sure it resembles the original pattern anymore.  I would recommend this as a good basic!

 

 

 

Finished stitching: Garden of Eerie (and a coat update!)

Design: Garden of Eerie by Plum Street Samplers

Fabric: 32 ct Belfast linen in natural

Threads: DMC (conversions were provided with the pattern.)

Just in time for Halloween!  I loved this sampler because it looks like a traditional Adam and Eve sampler until you get up close.  I’m going to frame it, and then leave it up for the whole year (I have a themed collection of monsters/skeletons on one wall.)

It’s easy to stitch, as it has no fractional stitches at all and just a tiny bit of backstitching at the end.  I left off the leaves on the trees because it would have taken ages – and besides, I like the way it looks with the bare trees better.

I’m very proud of the back:

 

It’s much neater than my backs used to be!

I stitched this while watching the first season of the Vampire Diaries on Netflix (I am vaguely ashamed of this, but whatever… I’m out of shows to watch, and I like this one!)  My right hand was fine with the stitching, but my left thumb is a little sore from holding the hoop – I think if I want to do more embroidery (and I do!) then I need to get a lap stand so I don’t have to hold it up.

I’ve been hibernating and working on my coat all weekend.  I’m caught up with the sew-a-long.  I made bound buttonholes for the first time, and they aren’t perfect but I’m pretty proud!

 

The collar is interfaced.  I bought actual nice interfacing and I am truly shocked at how much nicer it is!  I generally use sew-ins on everything because all I can buy locally is pellon, and I think it’s awful.  This stuff (bought from fashion sewing supply) is amazing!  I think I will turn over a new leaf of using fusibles after this.

Vogue 8827: recital dress

 

Pattern: Vogue 8827

Fabric: Polyester Peachskin, 3 yards

Notions: Grosgrain ribbon (for ties

Notes:

This was not a fun project at all, but I must admit that I love the results!  8827 was my initial favorite from the fall vogue patterns – I like the loose silhouette and the asymmetrical drape.  It looked very modern, and I immediately pegged the long version as a great informal recital dress.  I’m going on tour again this spring (in Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic and Slovakia) and I need dresses that look elegant but will not wrinkle.  To that end I picked up a polyester peachskin.

Peachskin isn’t exactly fun to sew, but it is better than most polyester fabrics IMO.  My advice for sewing peachskin:

1. Use a Microtex needle (to avoid skipped stitches)

2. Pin Sparingly (because pin marks are permanent!)  

3. Best for drapey styles (does not really hold a crease).

4. It will pucker when you sew, but it goes away with ironing (use steam!) Works better with the serger.

5.  Attracts static like mad!

I constructed most of the dress on my serger.  As I said above, the fabric puckers, but I had no issue pressing that out.  I had a little more trouble on the seams that had to be sewn on the machine.

 

I had issues with the pattern.  It’s fairly well drafted, but the instructions are a bit nonsensical.  I would not recommend, no matter what it says, making this from a jersey – there is a lot of hand sewing and pressing that will not work!  I topstitched the front edges to attempt to keep them in place – between that, the belt, and being caught in the hem they stay well.  The pattern wants you to slip stitch them to the dress, which might work on the short version, but there’s no way it wouldn’t pull at this length and weight.  I removed a good 2.5″ of ease from the sleeve caps (peachskin does not ease, nope.)  My belt is quite a bit longer than called for – I wrapped it twice and tied in the front like an obi.  This keeps it secure without the need for a closure on the outside (the insides are closed with a piece of ribbon sewn to the seam allowances.

You can see that it has a little static issue above – it’s better with tights.  It seems to be a time of conquering fears – both this and my coat contain my biggest sewing issue, the inset corner.  I found this video from threads and want to try it, but I can’t buy cotton organdy locally.  I will have to get some and try it out!  This time I managed, but it isn’t the best looking collar ever.

I do recommend the pattern, because I love the style, but it’s probably good to be forewarned that the directions aren’t the greatest.  I’m very excited to wear this to sing!

Pattern review: Jelly Roll floor pillows

Pattern: Jelly Roll floor pillow, from the Moda Bakeshop

Fabric: Amy Butler Jelly Roll from her Cameo collection, plus a few extras and 2 yards of backing fabric

Other: 5 pounds of stuffing, large cording for the piping, covered button kit

Notes:

I wanted to make a cat bed for my kitties that they could share, and at 44″ across this is plenty big enough for two (at least when Leon, the maine coon above, doesn’t decide to make himself enormous!)  The pattern calls for 1 jelly roll, but be aware that non Moda rolls are sometimes smaller – I needed to buy a few extra 1/4 yard pieces to make mine large en0ugh.

The pillow wasn’t hard to sew, but it as a little boring.  I recommend doing as the pattern says and cutting each piece after it is sew onto the whole – otherwise it’s hard to keep the ends from shredding.  If you do make this, be sure to scroll down to the bottom of the pattern, where she mentions trimming it up every 10 strips or so.  This is very necessary – otherwise you will have a hole in the middle!  I thought it would look odd, but you cannot tell.

I bought shredded foam fill from Amazon to stuff the pillow.  It’s sort of bits and pieces of various foams.  It arrives vacuum sealed, but if you open it up it will double in size very quickly.  I used nearly 5 pounds of the stuff (I had to order twice, but I’d recommend just ordering the large size if you don’t have Amazon Prime shipping.)  It’s extremely messy to use – do it outside!  The resulting pillow is very soft and bouncy, perhaps a tad lumpy (it is made of chunks of foam after all) but in my experience cats do not care a bit about softness, and can in fact generally be found sleeping on the most uncomfortable things (Leon likes to sleep on top of pairs of shoes for some reason, high heels and all).

They have since managed to remove the button twice, so I gave up – they don’t get one!  They spend a lot of time now cuddling on the pillow – it’s so sweet, and it will give them somewhere warm to lay this winter (it’s already getting cold here!)  I definitely recommend the pattern, just be aware that it is rather a lot of repetition!