Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Two Renfrew Tops

 Here is another well thought out pattern from Sewaholic. 

The pattern is very straight forward and easy to put together.
I have made view C twice because I love cowl neck tops.
The first top is made from a medium weight knit.  I cut a size 16, and it is too big.  I should have used a size 12.  I finished all the seams w/ seam binding which I believe added too much bulk.  I wear this top and add a belt so it doesn’t look ridiculous on me.
The second top is made from a very super thin knit.  You *must* wear a tank underneath it.  I cut a size 14, and once again should have used a size 12.  I still had in my  mind that a 12 would be too small.  I hand sewed all hems, and eliminated the bottom band.  I received lots of compliments on this top, and I am not sure why.  It may have something to do w/ the shiny metallic threads running through it.   Regardless, I am not very proud of it.
The next Renfew will be a size 12! 
I have a feeling that both of these tops will be either cut up and used on something else or given away.  It isn’t the pattern’s fault.  The seamstress went way overboard on the first one, and didn’t choose the best fabric on the second one.  Live and learn, eh?
Take care and God bless.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Sewaholic Thurlows 1 & 2

If you haven’t tried patterns from Sewaholic, I certainly recommend that you do!  The fly zipper instructions for the pants is easy as can be to sew and install.  MOF, all the directions are pretty darn good.  If you have decent experience in sewing, you should have very little if any problems.
First, I want to give thanks to Lladybird and Sunnygal for inspiring me w/ their renditions of Thurlows.  They made me want to try these pants.  Thanks, because these pants are great!
Second, let me apologize for the lack of good photos of these pants.  I have a lady I work w/ take the pictures, and I feel strange about lifting my top up to show the waistband, etc.  I would have my husband take the pictures, but we are too busy in the a.m. w/ the farm, so this is the best I can do.
Thirdly, let me apologize again for my weird stance in the photos.  Apparently, I do a lot of standing placing weight on one side or the other.  I didn't realize I did that until I seen these photos.  Also, my jacket looks weird.  Dangit.  
Navy Muslin
The navy pants were my muslin.  I made it out of a very inexpensive navy poly blend fabric.  I cut a size 16 based on my measurements and pattern envelope, but whoa diggity, they were way too big.  I took up quite a bit in the sides and back ~ approximately 2” from the sides and about 4 or so inches from the back side.  I left the welt pockets and belt loops off because I do not like back pockets on my dress pants, and really despise wearing belts.  I also straightened the legs a bit because wide leg pants look strange on me, or at least I think so.  I also did some rework on the waist band to fit my swayback a bit better.  Since this was my muslin, I just zig-zagged the seams.  At the end of the day, the size 16 became a 12.  While these are passable to wear at work, I have a much nicer quality navy suiting material that I want make into Thurlows at a later date. 
For my second pair of Thurlows, I cut a size 14 but sewed using ¼” French seams, so the finished garment is a size 11/12.  I straightened the legs some more, and worked on fitting the waistband to my body again.  I still have a bit of work to do on that to make it just right because there is still a bit of a gap that I want gone.   I used medium weight stretch cotton in a mini black/white houndstooth  which I love. 

I love the shoes I am wearing in this photo!  I really do!

I love the length of the pants.  The pattern pieces are long enough that you can adjust the hem to fit your height w/o adjusting the pattern.  I am fairly tall, so that makes me all smiley inside.  I love pants that are a bit longer than normal because nothing ticks me off more than sitting at my desk, and having my pants pull up to mid-calf LOL  Seriously, that just irks me. 
Not counting my wearable muslin, I want to make at least 6 more pairs of Thurlows for work.  The next pair will be a khaki color cotton/poly.  I hope I will completely work out the waistband issue with this next pair.   I am pretty confident that I will.   I am working toward slowly weeding out all my ill-fitting RTW pants by the end of this year.  Hoorah for that.
Take care and God Bless.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Leather Lambskin Vest

I started this lambskin vest late last year and finished it early 2013.  I sketched the vest out and then made a pattern.  It probably would have been better had I used a real vest pattern Ha!
This is the first time I have sewn a garment from leather, and it is not nearly as intimidating as I figured it would be.  It was a bit fiddly, but not too bad.
I made roughly a size 12, but I could have went down to an 11.  That is the beauty of sewing your own clothing, you can custom fit everything once you get all the bugs worked out.  So, the moral of this story is that I should have made a muslin.
I had some gapitis at the armhole so I added a seam down each side, but I didn't overlap to have the fuzzy show, and I think it looks weird.  I am going to undo the seam and make it look like the rest of them.
My husband added the snaps for me, and I top stitched all the seams and edges.  Overall, I am pleased, and am kind of anxious to sew w/ leather again.
This vest looks good paired w/ a turtle neck, skinny jeans, and boots.
Take care and God bless!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Butterick B5528 Jacket

What can I say?  I love this jacket.  I made view A (Butterick_5528)  out of knit fabric that I purchased from Hancock’s two years ago.  I think the fabric really makes the jacket.  It is semi-heavy which makes it hang/drape well on the body.  I didn’t get any action shots, but my dress form didn’t mind posing for me.
The second photo is closest to the true color.

I cut size medium and used ¼ seam allowance.  I have never understood using 5/8” seam allowances.

The front of the pattern envelope states “Fast & Easy”, and really it is; however, I added more finishing details than what is specified on the instructions (i.e., top stitching and finishing the seams via bias tape and/or black lace, and tacking down the facings in strategic spots)  These things added a bit more time to the garment, but it is worth it to make it look more professionally constructed.  I forgot to take pictures of the guts, and need to remember to start doing that.
Due to the heaviness of the fabric, I used a 5/8” top stitch w/ gray thread around the collar, sleeve cuffs, and facing edge.  ¼” top stitching would have looked strange – at least in my mind’s eye it did LOL
I didn’t make this w/o an issue though.  Since the fabric I chose was somewhat heavy, I should have used a lighter interfacing, especially on the sleeve cuffs.  They are a bit stiff.  In stating that though, the shawl collar lies very well w/ the heavy interfacing and makes the garment.  I love shawl collar garments.
I did eliminate the frog closure and just added a huge button I found in my button stash.  It looks really good on the jacket IMO. 
Would I make this again?
Yes, yes, yes!  I really love the style.  This jacket is “me”.  This jacket will be good to wear in the Spring, Fall, and Winter. 

As a side note, I have also made view D out of a very thin black knit.  I will take a picture of it and post about it at a later date.  I made it about a year ago, so it is not a new item.
Take care and God Bless!

Friday, January 11, 2013

First post of hopefully many

Hello.  Welcome to my sewing and knitting blog. 

I figure the best way to start this blog is to show my sewing machine.

It is a Singer 4525 - an oldie but a workhorse for me.

I have had this machine for over 22 years.  My husband got it for me as a Christmas gift.  It is probably one of the best gifts I have ever been given.  It has provided alot of pleasure for me.  The only problems the machine has had was from user error.  I have purchased several feet for the machine over the years, and am still learning how to use them all.

I would like to get an embroidery machine, but that will have to wait for another year most likely.

Below are some fabrics that I aquired on my recent trip to Hancock Fabrics.  The pink polka dots will be become a top, as will the black/flower/peacock fabric with the teal/gold fabric as trim (collar, belt, etc.).  The grey material will become pants and possibly there will be enought to make a skirt.  The orange/brown will become a sweater jacket and the last fabric will be made into a skirt.

Next week, I will post some pictures of garments I have recently finish.

God bless.