Saturday, May 19, 2018

Made by a Fabricista: Summer Blues

Here comes SUMMER!!

Happy Saturday! I am so excited about Memorial weekend and a mini getting away for a few days.  It has been raining all week and my plans to go the beach was ruined. I have 13  more work days and I am counting down by the hour.  Being an educator is so rewarding and honestly, one of the perks is I look forward to is my summer break with my children. Over the last few months, I have really spent time understanding my lower body measurements with a focus on the fit of pants, shorts, and culotte just in time for Summer.
Made using Simplicity 8558 (CROP PANTS). Fabric: PRE-CUT DEALS!

The last 3 months I have been working on learning how to make adjustments to pants and shorts patterns based on my body type.
TOP: Ogden Cami, Shorts: Simplicity 8558 (SHORTS)
I have always wanted to make linen shorts that are perfect for these hot summer days that can be dressed up or down.  I had cut these a few months ago and finally took an hour to sew them up. These for sure are beginner friendly and  I honestly love the fit of this pattern and the minor adjustment needed.  After measuring the pattern pieces, the only adjustments needed was to add an inch to the width on the front and back pattern pieces as I only purchased the size (6-14).  I also opted NOT to include the string and to only add elastic in the middle row. When I first started sewing, I would purchase 2 patterns as the range is typically 6-14 and my pants measurement typically fall in the 16 range and the top a size 8 or 10.  After gaining some experience, I have mastered the art of grading patterns and making adjustments.

 To make the shorts, all you will need is 1 yard of linen (royal blue) if you are not adding the pockets.  Fabric Mart has a wide selection of LINEN fabrics here

Added only 1 row of elastic to make it a paper bag waist shorts!

Opted NOT to include pockets!

Top Pattern: Ogden Cami



After making my first pair of high waist pants (here) using McCall M7726, I knew I wanted to try a pair of shorts using denim twill to test a few adjustments and rock it on my trip to Jamaica and during the month of July for Sewcation Miami.


These shorts and the adjustment I made are perfect but I am not sure about the style for my hip to waist proportion.  I also purchased the book Pants Fit for Real People and have bookmarked a few sites that shares adjustments.  Check out the Sewalong website here to learn about adjusting based on your derriere which has great visuals.  For this pair of denim shorts,  the only adjustments I made was to the back pattern piece using the SPREAD method shown here in yellow.


Learning and understanding my body and the patterns that work for me has been my focus this year.  I know for sure that I will be making a few more summer crop pants and shorts but will attempt to draft my own pattern and create a few muslins to work on the fit.


M7726 - VIEW A shorts - VIEW B pants

 I just ordered a few yards of the Ralph Lauren cotton sateen from Julie's pick for the month of May and I am super excited to try a skinny fit tailored pants. Fabric Mart has the denim twill here so grab a few yards for your next summer shorts or pants.



Top stitched to give it a MORE denim look!





Do you have any special sewing projects for your this summer?  I have tons and will definitely make pieces that are versatile and fun. As always, thank you so much for reading and I be sure to check out my blog to see my latest makes!










Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Made By A Fabricista: Birthday Skirt in Red!

HI Fashionistas!

The month of May is a month of celebration for me and my family. We celebrated my birthday and Mothers Day this past weekend, and my husband and I will be celebrating our 9th wedding anniversary this week.

So for the month of May, I sewed up a voluminous pleated circle skirt in a beautiful red shirting fabric. Here it is:



Initially, I had planned on creating a high low dramatic hemline, and that is what I was planning on wearing until mid of last week. But after trying it on, it felt very heavy and was not too flattering on me, so I chopped it off to an even hemline about 19 inches from the bottom of the waistband to get this look.

The skirt is completely self-drafted and I will talk about that more in this post.  Here is the back view:





A bit obsessed with these owl earrings lately..


I drafted the waistband for the skirt 1first. It is basically a rectangle. For the length, I used my waist measurement, plus 1/2 inch ease, plus an extra 1 inch for seam allowance (since I stitch using 1/2 inch seam allowance to attach the zip on the back). For the hight of the waistband, I wanted a finished measurement of 2.5 inches so the pattern height is 6 inches (double of 2.5 plus 1-inch seam allowance total) 




To get this type of volume, I measured from my side seam to side seam on my body (let's call this measurement W) and then drafted a half circle skirt pattern on muslin using a waist measurement of W. I then cut 3 from that pattern and paneled them together. Once that was done, the waist of the 3 panel skirt was larger than my waist circumference. So then I added some pleats to the skirt to make the measurement of the skirt match the measurement of the waistband. Since the waistband was drafted to my waist, all I had to do was freehand some pleats to make the two fit. And Voila! Extra volume!

So you know I had to twirl in this skirt!


This was so fun to wear!


I wore it for my birthday on Saturday:






I also wanted to share a picture of Connor. He is 3 months now. He has started smiling a bit, although he is stingy with his smiles. He is such a serious lil' dude! 



And I also ended up wearing it for Mothers Day. It's a fun skirt to wear!



I hope you are having a lovely may. It is getting toasty here, we have had temps in the 90's this past week. The summer is going to be super hot, and I plan on staying home a lot and hosting a lot of playdates to keep myself and my kiddo busy.

I'll see you soon with my next make.

XOXO-
Vatsla from Fashion Behind The Seams

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Made By A Fabricista: Ice Dying Linen

Spring sewing is happening everywhere and I have finally broke out the linen to make what I think is a fun top.


Have you checked out FM's fantastic linen selection?  It is such nice quality and I have made numerous garments from it.  This time, however, I wanted to start with simple white and see what happened when I used a process of ice dying.



Do you try embellishing fabric?  I like to but hesitate so much.  I've done some ice-dying before and decided that linen is perfect because it is a natural fiber and I just love linen.  



So, I deviated from the instructions, slightly.  You should wet your fabric prior to the process, however since I wanted to use just one color of dye, I thought I would try putting the fabric in dry.  Had the weather been much, much warmer, this might have worked.  


Let's back up a bit.  The directions don't mention this, but honestly if you are relying on the ice melt as a means to dye your fabric, it is best to ice dye when the weather is warm outside.  I was rather ambitious and tried this at the beginning of April on a day when it was about 50 degrees.  Not ideal, but hey, it's been a very long winter in the northern plains of North America and I needed some creative mo-jo.  


Use some quality fiber reactive dyes.  I like this brand: Dharma Trading Co.  I decided early on that I was going for subtle.  I used a turquoise dye and a lot of ice with two laundry baskets in our whopping 50ish degree weather....I mean, the ice will melt in a few hours, right?  


Not really...don't laugh at my positive thinking.  I really hoped it would melt over the course of 6 or so hours in the sun.  


Well, it didn't so I did what any seamstress would do and pulled out a hair dryer, sat on my front steps and melted the ice with some hot air.  And guess what, the hot air worked!  Remember, I was going for subtly with my embellishment.  


Next, after completing the steps to set the dye, I knew I wanted something with statement sleeves.  I did a hack of two patterns from two very different companies.  The sleeves are a Simplicity pattern see it Simplicity 8415 and the body of the garment is a StyleArc pattern StyleArc .  When I finally decided to frankenpattern these two, I walked the sleeves to make sure they'd fit the armsyces of the blouse.  Lol and behold, it was a great fit with zero alterations!  


I so love this linen from FM.  I've sewn so many garments with it.  I always test drive it by washing in a gentle wash cycle with warm water and also in the dryer.  My hubby helps with laundry and does a great job.  I never want to have him feel bad if a garment shrinks so I prewash everything.  This linen for me, has always behaved beautifully and gets better and better with every wash and dry.

You can see below how I decided to finish off the inside sleeves.  I used a flat-felled foot, just for fun and what a nice edge finish I got!


I highly recommend this fabric and I hope you'll use it!  I hope your spring has arrived like ours finally did.  

Thanks for reading!  
Sue from Ilove2sew!  


Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Made by a Fabricista: Wool/bamboo jersey knit cardigan

Helen's Closet Blackwood cardigan in wool/bamboo jersey knit

Hi everybody, it's Virginie from Jazz Couture and I'm excited to be part of the great Fabricistas team!

Here in eastern Canada, so far spring has brought us a cocktail of cold, wind and rain and it's not time yet for skirts and dresses. What I need now is transitional pieces, so for my first make as a Fabricista I opted for a cardigan and tried Helen's Closet Blackwood cardigan. Many sewists have made it since its release in spring 2017, and they definitely wetted my appetite for this pattern as there are many lovely versions of it on the internet!

Fabric:

The fabric I selected for this cardi is a wonderful wool/bamboo/lycra jersey, it's a lightweight, fine gauge knit that was just perfect for what I had in mind, i.e. a layering spring piece that is not too heavy but provides a little extra warmth on chilly days (and boy did we have a lot of those lately!).

The colour is called 'Stormy Seas' and it's still available here! It's a kind of gray with sage green undertones, a soft, flattering colour that goes with just about anything! Fabric Mart also has black and some grays available. That jersey knit is very refined and drapes beautifully. It's also very comfortable and not scratchy at all.


The colour of this wool jersey is called 'Stormy Seas'


Sizing and modifications:

This was my first time using a Helen's Closet pattern, and I selected a size small based on my measurements.  The fit is slim and it's just what I expected/wanted.

I elongated the bottom by 1 6/8''; it's not much but I think it makes the difference. As is, the proportions would have been sort of in between for my silhouette. I didn't use the cuffs for this version and instead turned a 1'' hem and finished the sleeve on the coverstitch. The sleeves are still plenty long and go beyond my wrist. I might use the cuff another time for a wintery version.


I turned a 1'' hem on the sleeve and finished it on the coverstitch


I rectified the shoulder seam as the angle was a bit weird (too forward next to the neck, and too backward at the shoulder tip).

I didn't do the pocket in two pieces as per the pattern and drafted my own pocket piece. Since I own a coverstitch, I turned a 1 1/2'' hem and finished it on the coverstitch for a RTW look.

Tip:

Which brings me to a tip I want to share with you. Patch pockets can be tricky with jersey knit material, as if you don't do anything the seams will often (if not always) come out wavy.

That tip is something I've come up with after some experiments to solve the wavy seams problem, and you might want to try it. Personally I don't fear patch pockets anymore in jersey knits, even with the most lightweight ones!

What I do is I make strips of featherweight interfacing, roughly the size of the seam allowances of the pocket (in this case 1 cm - 3/8''). I position them on the inside of the pocket and make sure to cover the seam allowance plus a little bit more.



Then I simply press the seams and topstitch on the sewing machine, preferably with a short stitch and fine matching thread if the fabric is lightweight. In this case what I had on hand is just regular serging thread, but still the result is perfectly fine. Look, no wavy seams!

A patch pocket on the Blackwood cardigan

I would also recommend that you make a test of a seam going across the grainline on fabric scraps and play with the differential feed on your serger, prior to assemble the bottom band to the bodice of the cardi. Often the fabric reacts differently when you sew it across the grain (than on the grain). I slightly decreased the differential feed on my serger to sew that seam and got a pretty even horizontal seam. Also, don't stretch the fabric when you feed it thru the serger!


Back view of the Blackwood cardigan


I think the wind made the two layers of the bottom band shift - usually I don't see those ripples!

I love my Blackwood cardigan; it's a casual layering piece and I know I'll be wearing it a lot this spring! The combination of wool and bamboo makes this jersey knit very soft and a pleasure to sew and wear.

I'll be seeing you again for another post in June - hopefully with a summery make! :-) Bye for now, and let me know if my little tip was useful to you!


Virginie

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Made by a Fabricista: Travel Perfect Pants (in Teal), a Floral Blouse, and a Retro Hawaiian Inspired Dress.


I decided that I would make an old favorite for my May post.  A couple of years ago, I wanted to nail down pants fitting, so I labored over a Palmer-Pletsch pattern (McCalls 6901) and came away with a perfectly fitting pair of pants for all my hard work.  I will tell you, since then, I have worn those gorgeously fitted pair of ponte pants again and again and again.  I wear them at least twenty times in the correct seasons, and almost every trip I take I bring them with me.


Since we were headed to Germany, Denmark, and Poland this April for spring break, I knew I wanted to not only bring my beloved black perfect pants, but also bring a more colorful pair with me, too.  So I arranged to receive a nice long piece of teal viscose/nylon/lycra ponte knit fabric from Fabric Mart to make my new perfect pants from, and the results were as wonderful as the first pair...and I am elated!


I made the pants using my old standby pattern from the original pair (I had copied the pattern on thick pattern paper for longevity), and I even made sure to mark out the odd bit of crotch curve at my upper back waist that I had to account for in my original pair of pants.  (If you recall, the original pair were made from using a woven muslin, but because the black pants were also from a rayon/nylon/lycra knit, they were way too loose at the back upper hip/waistline--due to the stretch--so I created a new curve right there to accommodate the need for a more fitted silhouette.)


I could have just cut away at the crotch curve that I knew would fit, but being Miss Persnickety, I decided it was better, just in case, to use the woven version's crotch curve when cutting, fit to the body, and then cut to the curve as need be.  Well, the need was still there, and just like with the black pair, it fits exactly right.  Yay for consistency!




I did notice that with a lighter color that you can see the wrinkles and saggy bits a touch more than in the black pair, but considering how I have seen pants look on me when the fit is really off (UGH), I am completely fine with a tiny wrinkle here or there.  LOL.

These pants wore well and match SO much in my closet.  I love this color teal, I wear it all the time.

The fabric these new pants were made from is gone, but there is some gorgeous (viscose)rayon/nylon/lycra still available in blue, blackmauve, and a grey-blue, so if you have a hankering for a pair of pants you'll wear constantly, I highly recommend a few yards of that for your stash.


Since I can't just stop at one project, I also added a top to my "must do" list, and asked to have a Julie's Pick from March be sent to me to make a new top from.  This fabric has a bunch of deep jewel tones in it, as well as the exact shade of teal that the pants are.  It is a floral poly charmeuse and is just lovely with the pants.  It is a bit cropped and the sleeves are ruffly, but considering my shape (pear), it is a perfect silhouette for me.  The pattern (Simplicity 8417) is meant to include a ruffled (nearly peplum) hem, but I decided to nix that and keep the bottom simple.  It works for this garment, but I would like add the gathered bottom bit the next time I make the top (maybe in a sweet lightweight knit fabric?).  The poly charmeuse I used is sold out, but this fabric could work in its place for a look that will intrigue.

I decided to go even further with my craftiness, and with a quick stop at Joann's, I made a necklace to match the outfit completely.  I really like making the necklace, so maybe there will be more matchy-match jewelry in the future, too!


Upon returning from Germany, I made the decision to execute another make, this time in preparation for the school's annual auction.  This year's theme was "Copacabana," and we were all meant to wear retro Rio/Hawaiian themed clothing.  Of course I was all, "I'm gonna make something!"

Rather than go traditionally bright with my color scheme, I chose to use this beautifully colored, but subdued printed fabric instead.  I felt it read more "retro" and something that would have been seen on fancy traveling women to warm places in the 1950s and 1960s.  Sadly, this cotton/linen blend fabric is not available (it is awesome for this pattern).  I recommend this one as an option.


For the dress, I ended up choosing a Vogue pattern from Summer 2017, Vogue 9237, and though it is very simple, the effect of this silhouette with a beautiful printed fabric is stunning.  The ruffled hem at the back also makes for a great "exit."  LOL.

I chose to make a small, and this fit fine throughout, even though my hips measure at a large.  The only real adjustment I made were for my very square shoulders, and that adjustment was needed.  The facings are non-existent, so I decided to draft my own, and they fit the pattern well, so I am glad I went that route (I hate bias strip facings).


Here I am with my fly women, some of my most favorite in the world.  It was a great auction, and our festive frocks really suited the night.

I hope all of you are well.  I plan to be back in July!

Happy summer sewing!

--Dina, My Superfluities.