Saturday, January 26, 2013

Kwik Sew 2874

I made view A

Fresh on the heels of my latest make, the less than successful Katherine Tilton  V8690, which I feel my choice of fabric was largely to blame for. I decided not to set fire to the remaining four meters in my driveway (sorry Heather), or to put it back in the closet of requirement, or to donate it. I decided to discover if the fabric truly was to blame for the failure of V8690. So I decided the next knit project of 2013 going to be Kwik Sew 2874. Since I already had the sewing machine, the serger and the cover stitch machine  threaded, and I knew how to handle the fabric, I figured what the hell.

this is the fabric of the devil
I did discover something while making this top. It is incredibly freeing to sew something when you could not possibly care less about the outcome. Really. For instance, instead of being thrifty while cutting out the fabric so you use as little as possible, I did the opposite. I tried to waste as much fabric as possible. It was fun and I felt like a rebel (I know, it's sad). The remaining scraps are going in the garbage, where they belong.

the shoulders are held in place with blue tack so you can get an idea
of the shapelessness of the garment
I can state without hesitation, if you ever want to make a completely shapeless garment that will make you feel  unattractive and will hide all those pesky curves you worked out so hard to get and gave up cheesecake and pizza for, this is the fabric for you. I know ladies, control yourself now. You got to get yourselves some of that. The pattern, oh the poor pattern. It gave it's life for the fabric of the devil. I have no idea what this pattern is like. I can say the directions are good, and it goes together easily, but whether it is wearable and a well fitting pattern, sorry I have no idea. As part of my resewlution to sew knits all year and get competent, I will revisit this pattern at some point this year.

Oh yes, the fabric was in very large part responsible for the massive fail of Vogue 8690, whether it is entirely at fault, I don`t know. I will make it later in the year and get back to you.

So far this year month I have made

                             Vogue 8536
                             Simplicity 4076
                             Butterick 5215
                             Vogue 8690
                             Kwik Sew 2874

9 more to go, I think I will make my goal this year, don`t you?

Friday, January 25, 2013

Butterick 5215 and Vogue 8690

Close up of fabric, accessorized with dog hair.
Two more t-shirts on my list made. One is a complete success, the other, not so much at all.

First, the success. Butterick 5215, a Connie Crawford pattern. 

I made view B, which is the semi fitted version. I lowered the neckline by two inches (thanks Dixie!) and that was the only change I made to the pattern. It fits pretty much perfectly and it is in the running for my TNT. I made it from a horrible rayon lycra blend that I bought a while back after I had bought a t-shirt made from the same stuff. Before the purchased version began pilling, of course (sigh). At least it was cheap, if memory serves it was $3 per meter. It wasn't fun to sew as it is slippery and clingy all at the same time. Swearing while sewing was mandatory while making this one. Fortunately I am very good at swearing. Ask anyone who knows me. 

The not so successful. Vogue 8690, a Katherine Tilton pattern.


I made this to wear around the house instead of a sweatshirt, to that end it is successful. This is not a garment I would tell anyone that I made. As a matter of fact, no one that I don't live with will ever see me in it. That includes all of you. Sorry.

The shoulders are tacked on the wall with Blue Tack so you can see how much
the fabric stretched. Not a good look. Fugly.
Ignore that last paragraph. All of it. The Husband just came home, saw this on, and announced "well, that is a look". Keep in mind my husband is incredibly supportive and almost never critical of anything I make. This may be the first time he has ever been that critical. Seriously. Welcome to Wadderville.

I am not sure if it is the fault of the fabric I chose, or the pattern, or a combination of both or the manufacturer. I am in the way of thinking it is the fabric. This is (I think) a poly cotton blend, it is that stuff they make thermal long underwear out of. This stuff stretches in width and shrinks in length. Of course this is the stuff that I have four more meters of, I am too cheap to throw it out, and I would hate to donate it and have someone experience the joy that is this fabric. The karma would be a killer. I am considering setting fire to it in the driveway and then dancing in the ashes, it would have the added benefit of melting some ice. Oh, I don't know, I may just put it back into the fabric closet of requirement.

I think I will try this pattern again later this year, in a better choice of fabric.  Four patterns down, ten to go.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

1947 Singer Measurement Chart

This little goodie fell into my hands when a friend of mine gave me a box of sewing goodies he came across at an auction. I was hoping for a case of unopened Dritz welt buttonhole makers, three or four thousand vintage pristine cut mother of pearl buttons, four or five dozen eyelet templates for the Singer and Griest buttonholers. Uh, no.

This was the only cool vintage thing, of course I thought immediately of sharing it with all of you. I wish they still made the "Molded to You" form. No more duct tape dress forms. Oh well.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

My resewlutions for 2013

These fabrics are literally on my cutting table, to be cut and sewn soon.
100% polyester 

both are rayon lycra and a total beyotch to sew

no idea what this is made of, it is black with a little bit of a metallic
something or other running through it-I think this will be a little cardigan

 6 meters (what was I thinking?) of black waffle knit, I also have several
meters of the same fabric in gray
Since I completely missed out on adding my resewlutions to Karen`s jar, I was too busy playing with my new toy crafting tool, a Silhouette Cameo, to read blogs, so I am just catching up now.  I have spent a lot of time (1 day) thinking about what I want to accomplish sewing-wise in the next 11 ½ months.

I want to do some stash busting (now there is something you haven't read before!), and the goal has to be achievable and practical. My current job doesn't require me to dress like a grown up, so I live in t-shirts and jeans, or variables on t-shirts and jeans. I am also on a weight loss journey. Making tailored suits and Chanel jackets would just be silly at this point. Yeah right, like I would be capable of producing either. The fabric closet of requirement does have have fabric suitable for both though.

Having just made two t-shirts while participating in Jungle January, I realized what a satisfying sewing project they can be. They meet the criteria, practical and achievable, I have a number (a lot more than I thought) of knits in the stash, and they aren't fitted so I can make them a tiny bit smaller so I can wear them longer while losing weight.

In 2013, I will become comfortable and competent when sewing knits. I will sew every t-shirt pattern in my stash. I will find and/or create a TNT (tried and true pattern) t-shirt. I will experiment with different neckline finishes and seam finishes. I may even try my hand at stencilling or screen printing (silk screening is a misnomer, almost no screens use silk anymore, polyester is cheaper and more durable and it really bugs me when people use the term silk screening), beading or other forms of embellishment.

The patterns that I will sew for sure this year. In case you didn't notice, I like the Tiltons. In my next life I will come back as the far less talented third sister.

I will sew all of these at least once this year, except (maybe) the Burda on the
far right.
Vogue 8793 Katherine Tilton
Vogue 8690 Katherine Tilton
Vogue 8817 Katherine Tilton
Vogue 8636 Marcy Tilton
Vogue 8671 Marcy Tilton
Vogue 8497 Marcy Tilton
Vogue 8582 Marcy Tilton,
Vogue 8559 Marcy Tilton
Stretch and Sew 324
Kwik Sew 2759
Kwik Sew 2874

Butterick  5215 Connie Crawford (already cut out) of the pink fabric in the second photo
Simplicity 4076-already sewn-definitely not my TNT
Vogue 8536-already sewn-could be TNT, if I lower the neckline

I very likely will sew things other than knit garments. When I do, I resolve to "up" my game, mastering flat felled seams and the like, not just serging a seam finish.

Now that I have put this out there, I will have to follow through. Won't I?

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

random thoughts

This is Barney, my sewing helper, he is indicating his approval of my fabric. If fabric hits
 the floor, Barney is on it like a flash. He loves it, silky satiny types are his favourite. 

I have been reading some of the end of the year posts that many of you have been posting, and it got me to thinking how fantastic it is for new and beginning sewists to have access to advanced sewists. Like many people, when I began sewing, I made many wadders. I always thought this was entirely my fault, fed into my perfectionism and derailed me sewing-wise. I so wish the internet was in existence back in the day, sharing with fellow sewists would have taught me it was okay to fail every now and then. I would have sewn much more and would be much more advanced in my abilities by now. It also makes me really grateful for the wonderful and supportive online sewing community, you are all a treasure. A big thank you to all you fellow bloggers out there.

The post that really blew me away was Claudine's from Adventures in Couture. I am sure everyone knows of Claudine, and if you don't, you should have a look at her creations. She is amazing and has impeccable taste and style. She made three wadders last year. If it happens to her, surely I am not such a failure it I make a wadder or two. Mind you her wadders are better than anything I have ever made in my life, or am likely to.

That brought me to another point. Bear with me, this could take a while to get to there. A good friend of mine and I were talking about cooking, and she said something about getting to be a better cook as she got older. I said (or thought, can't remember), that I think that my cooking skills have remained constant, but my abilities to choose a recipe that will work have improved. I actually read cookbooks, like some people read novels, I know I'm not the only one, right? Sometimes a recipe will sound great and as I read it, I just know that it won't work. I think I have fine tuned my instincts over the years, and often I wouldn't be able to articulate why I know it won't work, but I know it won't.  For instance, Poached Pears with Anglaise Sauce, this is a recipe I found years ago, and it failed spectacularly. I was unable to find pears at the perfect point of ripeness, now I would know not to bother trying the recipe, but when I was twenty something, not so much. I now live in tree fruit country and can find a perfect ripe Bosc pear for at least four months of the year. It would work now, and note to self, find that recipe and try again.

Here is the point. Is it the same with sewing? I think so. The more we sew and try to find the perfect storm marriage of fabric, pattern, are we honing or developing a skill or a sixth sense? I am pretty sure everyone has made a wadder once upon a time, using exactly the recommended fabric and it has failed miserably, so success in sewing isn't just a matter of using the suggested fabrics. As we sew more and read more blogs, and see other peoples successes and less than successes we learn and absorb. Lately I have noticed as I am planning my next project, I start off with one idea and then realize it just wouldn't work, whether that is because of my body, the fabric or the pattern, or most likely a combination of all three, I don't know. I do think that wadders are being stopped before they are being made, at least for me. Part of the reason this is, I have a healthy pattern and fabric stash, and having a stash I have the luxury of time in choosing the pattern and fabric, as opposed to a wanting/needing to sew something and having a limited amount of time in the fabric store, where as often as not it seems they don't have exactly what you want, so you make do. Those of you who live in New York ignore that last sentence, it won't make any sense to you. 8-)

What do you think? Do our decision making skills improve along with our sewing skills?  Or, do you think this post is just a massive justification for maintaining a large stash of fabric and patterns?
What do you think?

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Jungle Janvier la deuxième partie

Or in English, Jungle January Part Two. We do have two official languages here in Canada, so for a change I thought I would use a little (OK very little) French. I wanted to show I have? am? cultured. Do not snort your diet pepsi out your nose now. Be nice.

Oh, yes, once again I am shamelessly using some of my adorable dogs to get me more attention.
once again 100% polyester
When darling Anne announced Jungle January and demanded invited all of us to play along, I went along to the evil Fabricland to use my membership card for the last time. I found that it was strangely difficult for me to buy animal print. This demonstrated to me that clearly I need to get out more, a lot more, and maybe even get a life. So with my trusty membership card in hand I took advantage of a "buy one meter get two free" sale, and bought 1 1/2 meters of the previously sewn print and 1 1/2 meters of this print. It was originally $15 a meter and so I paid $15 for three meters of fabric. This is one of the things that bugs me about Fabricland and their stupid sales, I know I didn't get two meters of fabric free, I paid what amounts to $5 a meter for it.  Another reason that I am not renewing my membership. It just bugs the crap out of me.

Karma channelling her inner movie star, darling isn't she?

So anyway, in short I had two pieces of fabric to play with in Jungle January. Seeing as how they were both knits and I pretty much live in t-shirts, two t-shirts were the obvious choice.

So this incarnation is Simplicity 4076, the darling of Pattern Review, 205 reviews, most of them positive. How could I lose? Always one to be difficult different, I don't love this pattern. This is okay. That's right, just okay. I made View C, the neckline is nice, I don't care too much for the gathering and I HATE the bell sleeves, I mean really really hate, how can one function with them? They are stupid and should be outlawed. It was also too short, yes I know that is my own fault, but shut up. I hacked off the sleeves and serged a band along the bottom, ala Renfrew. Now it is wearable. I will never make this pattern again, but I will wear this top. So, a somewhat successful make. Maybe.

Jasper in his muscle man t-shirt and me in my new one, not much to see here,
it is just a t-shirt. 

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

It's Jungle January!

In the Jungle January post dated January 7, there was mention of several JJ participants who showed off by sewing garments for their children as well as for themselves. I, of course could not be outdone. The fact that I am without human children could not stop me. Oh no. I made a t-shirt for myself and my daughter girl dog, Karma. Game on people.

Yes, I am one of those people who put clothes on their dogs. I feel this is how they earn their incredibly cushy lives. My particular favourite thing to put on them is booties, you haven't lived until you have seen a dog try to walk for the first time with booties on their feet. Do a search on YouTube. It is hysterical. It isn't entirely for my own amusement that I do this, when it gets to below -20 C (-4 F), the cold hurts their feet, so we do it for their sakes. Every dog loses one outside once and they experience the cold on one foot, the next time they don't fight having them put on. They get it.
Yes, I am aware of the irony of a jungle cat print on a dog.
She is quite cat like with her divaness. She has earned the right to wear it.
Karma's was made from OOP McCalls 5125, size XS (as I wish I was). She isn't nearly as pleased with her t-shirt as I am, she growls at anyone and everyone that comes near her when she is wearing it. She looks adorable in it though and it suits her colouring, don't you agree?

For my t-shirt I used Vogue 8536. It is rated very easy and it is. I made it, hoping to find a TNT, and it is close, but not quite. The neckline looks lower on the pattern drawing than it is, if it was an inch or two lower, it may have made the cut. 

It would have been made in probably under three hours, if I hadn't had to do battle with my cover stitch machine. One of the threads got caught invisibly in my drafting lamp and the resulting disaster was a complete bitch nightmare to rip out. The fabric is 100% polyester, not my favourite fabric to wear (too warm and clammy usually) , but there was no natural fabrics at the evil Fabricland, only petroleum based.  I did it for you Anne.

close up of fabric and close up of cover stitch hem
All in all, this was a fun, quick and satisfying project. I love this t-shirt and I will wear it, which is always a good thing. 

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Happy New Year!

I see a lot of great bloggers are writing end of the year posts detailing their successes and some are writing about their (perceived) failures. I was considering it. Decided not to. No reason, I just didn't feel like it, sue me.

With one exception. If a garment`s success is defined by how much it is worn, I have two major successes (not counting the panties I made, they are far too boring to write about, again). The two robes I made from Burda 2653. One I made for me and the other one for a friend. Each of these robes have been worn EVERY DAY since they were produced. Every single day.  Both of them are washed in the morning so as to be ready to be worn at the end of the day. An unqualified success, so much so that I am going to make another for me soon.

Everyone seems to be doing end of the year posts and I haven't. Why you ask (you are nosy, aren't you?), well, I got a new toy for Christmas and I have been a little obsessed with it. It is a craft cutter, a Silhouette Cameo. I am so obsessed that Amy B.,  who follows me on Pinterest noticed the avalanche of Silhouette pins applied to my new Silhouette Cameo board. The things you can do with that thing are endless. Pretty soon any flat surface in my home and car will be covered with vinyl decorations, distant family who I haven't seen for years will start getting birthday, anniversary and Groundhog Day cards from me, I will be having dinner parties in order to have a reason cut out place cards, a chalkboard menu board will be made for the dinner parties, the birthday cakes I make will now be cupcakes so I can produce cupcake wrappers for them, glass canisters will be etched with the contents, if a garment needs an applique (and you know that will happen)  it will be a ridiculously intricate one that couldn't possibly be cut by human hands, my niece will have nail stencils for applying her nail polish, everything will have a custom label, the dogs are worried about this last one, fortunately for them, the vinyl doesn't stick to fur (not for long anyway). The list goes on and on and on and on and on.

That is what I have been doing.

Anne, I promise to still play with you in Jungle January. I promise. Really.