Sunday, August 30, 2015

Made by a Fabricista: Workout Yoga Pants

I think I have turned into an activewear fabric junkie. I can't get enough of them! Well, I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that I joined a gym again and have been doing a lot of physical activity this summer. The last time I bought activewear clothes was like five years ago when I joined a gym. I went for about a year and lost interest. I would still wear the yoga pants and gym clothes, but honestly, I was really tired of my look. 

So I looked for some good activewear patterns and came across a few from Kwik Sew. I wanted to start with a pants pattern and Kwik Sew #3988 looked perfect! The pattern comes with a two inseam lengths. Since it is summer, I wanted to make the shorter length. Sue made the long pants HERE. And her success with the pattern made it better for me to decide on this pattern too. 


I had an activewear knit fabric in my stash from a previous Fabric Mart buyout a few years ago. So I dug it out from the bottom of the pile and got started. (You can find our selection of activewear fabrics HERE.) I read some reviews that you should almost go down a size with this pattern so you get the best fit. So I tissue fit the pants on my body and one size smaller seemed to do the trick. Remember -- activewear clothes usually fit closer to your body than regular clothes. 


I did not do any alterations to the pattern. I wanted to see how it went right out of the envelope. And it was great! The hardest part was probably the gusset and the inset piece on the side of the pants. But the directions are clear, I just needed to focus a little bit more. Oh, and all the double top-stitching! I was having a hard time getting the double needle to work properly on my machine (I was getting tunneling.) And everything I did to change that didn't work. So rather than messing up the pants, I decided to stitch using a single needle, just doing it twice. I'm pretty good at keeping my stitching straight, so I wasn't concerned. I used the knit stitch on my sewing machine (I have a Bernina). I also serged all the seams.






My only complaint would be that when the pants aren't on me, it has some rippling at the waist. The only thing I can think of is that maybe I was pulling on the fabric when sewing, but I didn't think I was. The waist has elastic stitched in which also helps keep the stretchy fabric on your body. I also may make the legs a wee bit thinner next time because it gets a little loose at the bottom. 


I'm really happy with my workout pants and can't wait to make more! It's time to replace the old ones in my closet. Now on to some tops!


Have you ever made your own workout clothes? Do you have pattern recommendations? 

Happy Sewing!
~ Julie 

Friday, August 28, 2015

Made By a Fabricista: Peplum Love in Off White

We have a new contributor on the Fabricista blog! Vatsla teaches fashion design at the Art Institute of Charlotte and loves to teach through written and video tutorials on her blog. You can learn more about her on our About Us page and check out her blog, Fashion Behind the Seams


Hello Loves!

It's time to start transitioning our wardrobes from summer to pre-fall/ fall and I've been dreaming of a peplum top. I am so excited to share my latest creation with you. This off white peplum top I just finished sewing.


My style is definitely casual chic. I love a comfortable yet cute pair of skinny jeans. These are such a wardrobe staple for me. I love pairing knit tops that are a bit more dressy with jeans. You never feel overdressed, yet you make a statement.

I chose to sew with a soft and comfortable ponte knit from Fabric Mart Fabrics. For the pattern, I chose McCalls 7126 View D as a base pattern and modified the peplum.


I drafted the peplum from scratch because I wanted a much fuller peplum and a more dramatic look. I wanted it to be a full circle (think of it as a mini full circle skirt), but I also wanted a high low effect. The peplum is about 3 inches shorter in the front.You can draft your own high low peplum using my tutorial described HERE. To get the hem to be stiff and show off the ruffles, I used a one inch wide horesehair braid.



The top has a little bit of peek-a-boo action going on in the back as the peplum hangs free on the centre back. I used a separating zipper on the bodice and chose to let the peplum do its own thing. This is definitely a sexy top, but classy and elegant at the same time.



Very pleased with the way the horse hair braid hem turned out. This fabric is not too heavy weight, but given that the peplum is a full circle peplum, it would drape very differently had I not used the horse hair braid. LOVE the stiffness of the hem and it makes twirling super fun!



Even though this is a knit fabric, the look I was going for was a bit more structured, so I treated the fabric more like a woven. For example, I sewed it with my sewing machine instead of a serger, and I paid special attention to pressing the seams, using heat and steam generously, and pressing the seams crisp with my beloved tailors clapper. You can see my tutorial on pressing seams HERE. I also lined the entire bodice with a lighter knit fabric. I applied an exposed gold metal zipper on the back.


Moving on to how I styled this gorgeous peplum. I added this pretty silver and pink necklace, and this clutch purse. This is one of my favorites and looks so cute with the off white and denim. And I paired this look with my favorite snake skin pumps. (faux snake skin of course)



Can I just tell you that I love the fit on this top? Sewing Tip: A peplum is most flattering on the natural waist, which is that narrowest part of the torso. It cinches in the waist and lengthens the legs.


Oh! And no blog post of mine would be complete unless I struck a Bollywood pose... so here goes....(This is me, staring into the distance, thinking of my prince charming..)




My kid decided to come join me in the pictures! Oh and you know I've been gardening this summer...My iris has a bloom! So proud!



Design details below if you want to make your own peplum top!


PATTERN: I used McCalls 7126 ,View D as the pattern, but instead of using the peplum for view D, I drafted my own since I wanted a fuller peplum with a high low hemline. You can draft your own high low peplum using my tutorial described HERE. I also changed the neck to a round neck line.

FABRIC:  I used an off-white ponte knit from Fabric Mart Fabrics. You can find their selection of ponte knits HERE

SEWING: I seriously loved sewing with the ponte knit. Its my first time working with ponte and I am pleased to say that it sews so well on a sewing machine as opposed to the less stable knits. This is definitely a good fabric to start sewing with in you are a beginner with knits. It's a stable, medium weight fabric and lovely to work with.

I hope you enjoyed reading about my latest creation!

What are you planning on sewing this weekend? I am taking a short break this weekend since my daughter is turning two and it's time to celebrate.

XOXO


Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Made by a Fabricista: Colorful Silk Crepe de Chine



Have you ever sewn with silk Crepe de Chine? I had not. I wasn’t even sure what it would feel like, but the name sounded very delicious. As part of my sewing journey, I like to learn about all types of fabrics, so I decided to order some real Silk Crepe de Chine from Fabric Mart.  



Since we are going into fall, I wanted something in a deep rich shade, and couldn’t decide between a deep periwinkle and a deep teal, so I ordered two yards of each. The teal was sandwashed, whereas the periwinkle wasn’t, so I was curious as to what the difference would be. While I was waiting for it, I went to the J.Crew outlet that is nearby because I knew that Fabric Mart also carried some polyester crepe de chine from J. Crew, and I wanted to compare it to see if there was enough difference in quality to warrant the price difference. The polyester version sells for $6-$7 per yard, whereas the silk version sells for $20-$25 per yard. 



When I got my order, I could definitely tell the difference from sandwashed and non-sandwashed, and the polyester type. The sandwashed silk crepe de chine had much more texture- a little pebbly and seemed heavier. The non-sandwashed was smoother, but both of the silk fabrics still had an interesting way of absorbing and reflecting light. Compared to the polyester crepe de chine, they were softer and richer feeling. It's hard to capture this quality in photos, but here is one that kind of shows the light reflection:



I could tell that this was going to be a challenging fabric to work with, so picking out a pattern with simple lines was going to be important. I wanted to make some simple tops that could be worn to work with either skirts or pants, and I tried out a few patterns with some inexpensive fabric to make sure that I would get a good fit before cutting into the good stuff.   


I decided on Butterick 6187. It was a slip-on style, so I could skip buttons or zippers, with a nice v-neck for wearing necklaces and an interesting hemline. This is one of the Connie Crawford patterns that advertises modern ready to wear sizing, and sure enough- I made a large straight out of the envelope with no alterations, and it fit wonderfully. I didn’t have to do any of the adjustments that I normally do. After making this, I immediately went out and bought all of Connie’s other patterns that are still in print! Here's a peek at the construction from the inside.  The facing is caught in the shoulder sleeve seams to hold it in place. 


Working with the crepe de chine was easy- it didn’t roll, took pressing well, and didn’t stretch out of shape. However, it does have some downsides- wherever you touch it, it will wrinkle, and you cannot hide any mistakes that you make with it- little tucks or waves show up prominently. I’m generally not a very precise sewer, but with this, I had to take my time, and be super careful.  

It also does show water spots. I started out using steam in my iron, but then saw a couple of places where the water had dripped from the iron, that were still visible even after it had dried, so I turned off the steam for the rest of the way. Working with a print would have been way easier. I am a little concerned about perspiration stains with these, so I found this interesting article online about how to get perspiration stains out of silk which uses cream of tartar and aspirins of all things!

To transition these to cool weather, I tried them on with a few cardigans. This cardigan is using a Fabric Mart knit from last year that had a Missoni-type weave.



I didn't make the grey cardigan below, but you might recognize the fabric that I used from my pants in this picture from this post about the convertible skirt.


I'm excited that I learned about a new fabric, and got some great new tops in the process. I will probably be hand washing these in cold water with a drop of baby shampoo for future care. 



If you are thinking about trying silk crepe de chine, I would recommend starting with a simple design, and go slowly. Definitely fit your pattern by making a muslin out of a cheaper fabric before you start sewing with the real stuff. When you are sewing with it, make sure your sewing area is clean and dry so that no spots show up inadvertently. 



Do you have any tips on working with silk crepe de chine? Do you have experience working with the polyester crepe de chine as well? If so, please share!


Happy Sewing!

Ann