Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Made By a Fabricista: Playing with Pre-Cut Fabrics


Have you tried any of Fabric Mart's pre-cut fabrics?  They have been such a remarkable deal that you can use them for experimenting with new trends, which is what I decided to do with mine!  I had two woven prints in four yard cuts- one in white and grey, and one in blue and black.  Four yards each is a lot of fabric!  At first, I thought that I'd make two new Spring dresses, but at the last minute, I thought "Why not make four tops instead of two dresses?"  Flounces, cropped pants, and asymmetrical hemlines are all trends that I wanted to try out this Spring.

I thought of the white and grey print as my "test" fabric, as I liked the blue and black print more.  So, I started out testing Vogue 9067 which is a very loose fitting top with hem and sleeve flounces. The sleeve flounces are doubled, so you don't have to hem them.  I made a size smaller than my measurements would have indicated, and it is still quite voluminous.


This was really easy to sew, and if you like this look, rest assured that it doesn't take nearly as much fabric as the recommendations tell you!  I do like it, but wasn't sure that I liked it enough to make it out of the blue and black print.  So, on to test top #2 from Butterick 6456, a top with multiple sleeve options and a front pleat.  I chose the mid length sleeves with the flounces- they have just enough flare to be fashionable, but they are not long enough to get in the way.


This style I liked a lot better than the first top pattern.  The only downside is narrow-hemming that small circular flounce for the sleeve was a bear! I also made these pants from a white ponte knit, using the pattern from Pamela's Patterns- Pants Perfected.  This is an interesting pattern because it includes a DVD that you can watch on how to do things like fly zippers and mock welt pockets.  Pamela does a great job of explaining things, and her sizing is very generous, which is great for larger ladies.  I really liked the crotch curve on this pattern, and applied the curve to my next pairs of pants as well.

So, here is Butterick 6456 in the blue and black print.   Sometimes I can get away without doing a full bust adjustment, but in making the test version, I could see that I needed one, as well as a couple of other adjustments- shortening the v-neck and a forward shoulder adjustment.


Here you can see the difference that making these adjustments made:


See how the lower front curves upward in the grey and white print?  And see how it's pulling a little bit at the armholes?  Doing the full bust adjustment fixed both of those problems.  The white and grey one is definitely still wearable, and probably no one but me would notice, but I feel better having done it.  I have however changed my mind, and now prefer the grey and white print, so I wish I had reversed the order in sewing them!

For the cropped, slightly flared pants, I used a Shoshanna light blue stretch suiting fabric (now sold out) and Simplicity 8264.  I'm not sure if these pants really work with the top- they are both pretty bold.  I'd be interested to hear your opinions on this.


For fitting, I laid the pattern for the back pants piece crotch curve over the Pamela's patterns version, and blended Pamela's curve into this pattern. It worked great, and I think that this will be the way that I can get a better fit with other pants patterns, but still incorporate the details like leg circumference and flare from the other patterns.  I like the gentle flare on the legs and the pockets on this one, but I don't care for the center back zipper.  I would move that to the side if I make these again.  Also, be warned- I think that these need a stretch fabric, even though the pattern doesn't indicate that. 



I still had plenty of the blue and black fabric left, so I chose one more pattern- McCalls 7579.  This is a pattern for both a top and close fitting pants from Nicole Miller.  In the pattern, the top is actually cut into many different sections,but I didn't think that the seamlines would be noticeable with my printed fabric.  So, I loosely pieced the pattern pieces together on my cutting table, as well as I could, and then traced a one piece front and a one piece back. It worked, and was a whole lot easier than sewing all of those sections together!



 I also simplified the pants by extending the upper edges 1-1/2 inches, and then making an elastic waist instead of a separate waistband and zipper.  I used ponte knit for these too and Pamela's Fantastic Elastic, so comfortable!  You can see the interesting pant seam lines a little in the photo.  I do see that they are bunching up around the knees in the photo, so I think that means I need to tighten it up in that section so there isn't excess fabric.

 The top is very dramatic, and perfect for a flowy fabric like this one.  I definitely want to try the pieced version out of a solid silk, now that I know that I like this style on me.  That's what I like about using the pre-cut fabrics- you can try out a style inexpensively, play with alterations or variations, so that you can be much more confident when you are ready to cut into a pricier fabric.


 

I really enjoyed working with these pre-cut fabrics, trying some trendy patterns, and I have several more to sew up as well.  How about you?  Have you succumbed to the call of the pre-cut fabric specials?

Happy Sewing!
Ann 

Monday, March 27, 2017

Made By A Fabricista: Is it pronounced "The-Koon" or "Tuh-koon"?


Hi!

Is it just me or do you find it almost impossible to pronounce most of the famous fashion designer names or labels?  When Fabric Mart received an inventory of Thakoon fabric, I was super excited, because I have seen beautiful makes by this designer!  However, when I attempted to share this great news with one of my new sewing pals, I realized, I don't even know how "Thakoon" is pronounced.  So I pointed it out to her on the screen instead, lol!  Luckily, she is also familiar with this designer and was able to tell me how to pronounce it correctly and I confirmed on you-tube..."tuh-koon".  Now if you are like me, and struggle with saying fancy designer names or labels, check out this cool you-tube video I found for a little help.

Okay, let's get into this month's DIY look!


This is a beautiful double-faced 100% silk satin.  Very luxurious sounding, huh?  Well it is.  The colorful print is gorgeous and I love the contrast black and white design on the other side.  It is very seldom that I feel overwhelmed by a busy print or fabric like this.  When making clothes with bold fabric, it is just a matter of knowing how to balance it out to create an interesting, but comprehensive and stylish look.  I could not wait to get my hands on this fabric to have some fun with it.  Julie from Fabric Mart did a little research and discovered that this fabric was used to make garments for Thakoon's 2015 pre-fall fashion show.  Guess what, there is still some of this fabric left, click here to get yours.  I also picked up a couple yards of the silk chiffon version (see here) and a different Thakoon lawn jacquard fabric (see here) during a sale.  Both are beautiful!  You all PAY ATTENTION to Fabric Mart sales, I have purchased really cool designer fabric for super deals!


Now we all know that sometimes things do not go as planned.  Well, I planned on making McCall's M7537, view C.  As I started stitching together the garment, I did not care for how the dress was looking.  I did not see the look I had envisioned for this fabric coming together.  Therefore, I stopped halfway through (as you can see below) to figure out a look I truly wanted to wear.  I was too excited about this fabric to continue making a garment I was not sure I loved.  I will probably re-visit M7537 with different fabric, because the pattern is very cute.


Since I had cut out all of my pieces for M7537, I had to figure out a look where I could salvage the fabric and remaining scraps.  I decided to go with the crop top for Simplicity 1099, view B.  I used two pattern pieces, the front and back bodices.  Instead of using the facings, I completed the edges with a hem or narrow hem.  Since my torso is shorter, I hemmed the top at 7/8ths of an inch to make sure I got the cropped effect and so that the design and details of the skirt could be seen.  I love the high-low effect of the crop top.  A benefit of using the double-faced fabric is that with movement or if the wind blows, you get a glimpse of the other pretty side. 


I took a little care in matching up the print on the wrong side.  I cut out one piece at a time.  Slippery fabric like this is prone to slide around when folded, which means it is harder to keep print lined up when cutting pieces on the fold.  So for cut-on-the fold pattern pieces, I cut one side, then flipped the pattern piece to cut the other side.  This gave me control over how the print was cut. 



McCall's M7537, view C, is designed in a way that two contrasting pieces of fabric are sewn together to create a gathered bottom for the dress.  I had already stitched the bottom of the dress together and I wanted to continue with the contrasting look; however, I did not want to make a gathered bottom.  The fabric is too stiff for a gathered bottom, plus I could tell it would not hang correctly.  Therefore, I chose to make more of an A-line structured skirt.



I split the center back of the previously constructed bottom and added an invisible zipper. I opened up the side seams and added contrasting pockets and attached a waistband.  I made slight pleats to fit the skirt within the boundaries of the waistband.  Notice that I cut my waistband with the contrasting print running in the vertical direction vs. the horizontal direction of the bottom of the skirt.  I thought it added a cool element to the look.





This is my first time making a garment in silk and/or satin.  I stitched this with a 60 sharp needle, which worked out well.  Here are pictures of the insides.




I hope you enjoyed, until next time...have a great month!

Yours truly, Tee
from Maggie Elaine blog

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Made by a Fabricista: Spring has Sprung - Floral Romper



I loved McCalls 7577 from the very first moment I saw it in the Spring pattern release!!! So I knew I wanted to sew it up for this month's post which will go live just after the start of spring.


I was drawn to this Jean Blue Floral Challis because I loved the denim look and I felt the floral print added the soft feminine touch that I love in the pattern photo. This challis is soft, light and fluid (as the denim is only a print). Thankfully it didn't unravel like crazy or shift too much while sewing which made it great to sew. Unfortunately this print is sold out but take a look at some of the other amazing challis prints and solids here. These solid or striped linen knits or floral crepes would work beautifully as well due their light weight and drape.




Although this is one of those patterns where I like every view, I knew I wanted to make one of the shorts versions first.  Initially I couldn't decide if I liked the contrast lace back of view A or the shorts of view B better. Having never worked with lace I was a tad concerned, but decided to go ahead and give it a go. So here you have the bodice of View A and the bottoms of View B. I selected this white stretch lace because the rose pattern mimicked the floral pattern on the challis. Another choice I debated was whether or not to add the lace trim detail as shown on View A. Ultimately I left it off, but now that I'm done I'm considering adding it to the sleeve and shorts hem. What do you think?



On to the actually sewing! This pattern sews up fairly simply and the instructions are clear. I don't think that the instructions included notes about top stitching. This isn't necessary (especially not for views B, C and D) but I didn't want to see the serged edge of my seam through the lace back so I pressed my seam allowance towards the main fabric at the shoulders and where the back yoke meets the back and topstitched so that it could not be seen. The armsyce didn't get this treatment, but I believe it should have. I may go back and stitch the seam allowance to the sleeve. Thankfully it turns out that I was worried for nothing when it came to the lace. I really didn't have any issues sewing with it.


My decision to go with the straight legs of View B instead of the flounce leg of View A, was mainly due to my hate of gathering. One day I will remake this with the ruffle, as I plan to make each view. I added 1" of length to the shorts because they looked quite short in the pattern envelope. However this was not necessary because and I ended up folding over a 1" hem twice to achieve the pictured length.



A small deviation I took from the pattern instructions was adding bias tape to the sleeve hems. The wrong side shows in these wide bell sleeves so I used bias tape to achieve a clean inside on the sleeve. I also added pockets, because well...pockets! They simply make (almost) every garment better. I keep a copy of a side pocket pattern piece on my cutting table for times such as this. The shorts are full enough that I knew the pocket wouldn't affect the styling. I added them to the side seam 1.5 inches down from the top of the leg pieces because there is a 1" casing allowance to attach to bottoms to the bodice. The placement works well for me!


That's it! I really love this jumper. I do wish I had sewn a size 14 instead of a 16, as I feel like the shoulders are wide. As I was photographing this romper I had to pull at the shoulders to keep them from sliding off. I plan to add a snap to keep the surplice top shut and maybe that will help!

If you like this outfit check out my other creations on my blog and follow me on Instagram @FrougieFashionista

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Made by a Fabricista: Mama and Me Jeans


Hello, all!  My name is Jess and I'm so happy to be here writing my first post.  The sweet toddler is my son, Cheeks.

"Mommy and Me" is a popular thing in the world of girl-moms, but I haven't really seen much of it around for boy-moms. This got me thinking: why shouldn't my boy and I have some matching clothing?  Mama and me for Mama and Cheeks.  YES!

When planning a project, I am almost always inspired by either a fabric or a pattern (very rarely by a design seen "in the wild"). These projects are no different.  I had an entirely opposite idea in mind at first, but this duo of pants are a definite case of fabric inspiration.

I was looking through the New Arrivals section and happened upon this pinstriped indigo and blue stretch denim.  With a stretch of 20%, it dawned on me that it would be absolutely perfect for Jalie's Eleonore Pull-On Jeans (#3461).
 

For Cheeks, I chose Patterns for Pirates Captain Comfort Jeans.  They have a couple of pocket and waistband options:  I chose the patch pockets, very comfortable knit waistband, and stitched hem (which were rolled for the photos, since I always make his clothes a bit big).  The alternate options include slat pockets, jean waistband, and rolled hem.  The waistband is made from a cotton/spandex jersey I picked up at Fabric Mart many moons ago.


When I got this stretch denim in hand, I was really impressed.  It's surprisingly soft and has great stretch and recovery.  It's firm and has a nice amount of body without being bulky.  Unfortunately, it's sold out now, but you never know what you'll find next at Fabric Mart!


 

I began by making a wearable muslin from a different stretch denim (with comparable stretch) for my Eleonores, and found that the size U grew quite a bit over wearing.  I had also proactively added 3/4" to the back rise to account for my booty, and found that the crotch felt a bit long over the course of a day.
 Had to include this one because Cheeks is so stinkin' cute.

So, when it came time to cut into this fabric, I made a size T and omitted the full seat adjustment.  Big mistake; who am I to test The Sewing Gods when my hips are 39" (which is a size U per the chart!)  It's always hard to account for the ways two different fabrics will behave, and too late I realized this fabric was a bit firmer than what I had used previously.  Even with 1/4" seams instead of 3/8", my pinstripe pull on jeans ended up...tight...  I'm pretty disappointed, especially since this is my first post here.  Le sigh.  Please be kind as you continue to ogle my drag lines...



Even though they are too small, these are still a big accomplishment for me:  they are my second pair of (semi) wearable woven pants I have ever made for myself (the first being that test pair I mentioned!).  I tried another indie pants pattern about 4 years ago and got so discouraged by the way they fit that I gave up on sewing pants entirely:  they were just too intimidating and anxiety producing.



Despite my over-fitting mistake, this pattern is a game changer, and it's no wonder:  I love Jalie.  They really understand how to fit the body.  The funniest thing about these is that I attended Pattern Review Weekend last year, which had an indie pattern theme, and about 30 ladies decided to make the Eleonore in red!  Wishing now that I had taken the plunge then: this pattern is a definite confidence booster!




As for Cheeks' pants, I opt for bigger when sewing for him:  these are a size 3T  shortened 1" (per measurements he should be in a 2T).  This is a fairly newly adopted philosophy on my part.  As we all know, children (especially toddlers) grow like weeds; I'd sometimes cut a garment for him and then wait to sew it, and he'd be almost grown out of it by the time I was done! This has happened enough that I've started cutting his clothes at least a size bigger so there's a good chance he'll actually get to wear what I'm making for more than a split second.



Overall, the pattern is good.  It seems to be drafted well, but it sorely lacks notches and markings in several spots that would make everything crystal clear instead of a bit of guesswork.  Particularly:  notches to line up the front patch pockets, the center front marked so it's clear where to stitch through the faux fly, and placement markings for back pockets.

For example, see how the pockets hang over the top edge?


And some flat shots, including the hem unrolled, the fun lining I chose for his front pockets as well as the rear pockets.




This fabric was really great to work with overall, but topstitching with this tiny of a stripe was a tad disorienting.  I think I'm just uncrossing my eyes now...


All in all, I'm fairly happy with how both of these turned out (Cheeks' more so than my own, of course...) and am very excited about our matching Mama and Me jeans!



Thanks for reading!  Until our next sewing adventure...

Jess