26 July 2014


Not so happy stuff:

1. The last two weeks have been quite stressful.  

2. Previously I mentioned a situation with a family member that has consumed almost a decade of my life.  Well, shit met fan two weeks ago and it looks like there is nothing more that I can do.  To say this is heartbreaking is an understatement.  The hardest thing is to be forced to sit back and watch everything unfold without being able to do anything about it.

3. A new development in my social life has left me vexed.  Vexed I tell you!

4. Planes keep falling out of the sky.

5.There's so much violence.  Everywhere. 

6. My allergies are relentless.

7. I finally got around to glazing eight plates (4 salad, 4 dinner) only to find that one of the glazes was contaminated and the other started running like crazy.  So I need to make eight more plates.  Plates take a LONG time to make from start to finish.

8. V.E.X.E.D!

9. After over a decade of loyal service, Sprint needs to kick rocks.

10.  The dog has recently decided inside and outside are the same when it comes to relief.

Now for some happy stuff:

11.  Mmm...retail therapy.

 rayon-lycra jersey (tops/dress)

 poly ITY in colors and print that are rare for me (skirts)

 bright yellow stretch cotton sateen (pencil skirt)

 floral cotton shirting

 cotton eyelet

 dark green poly-rayon-lycra double knit

12.  I won second place in the Outerwear contest.  I am excited to have won and am thankful to all who voted for me.  

13.  I made a pair of skinny jeans out of Jalie 2908 in about two days.  I wore them out last night and got a nice compliment from one of my friends.  He always teased me about not letting go of boot-cut jeans.  He was shocked when he saw this pair!  I'll get pictures up soon.

14.  It's still summer. =)

15.  The anniversary of my hatching is coming up.  Hmm.  I think I shall treat myself to more fabric goodness.

I hope everyone has a pleasant weekend.


20 July 2014

Simplicity 2614 (top) & New Look 6274 (skirt): Complete

Rayon challis is evil.  I hated sewing with it from the moment I started.  It shifts.  It stretches.  It wrinkles.  I swear it called me a name.

Despite the frustrations of working with this fabric, I pushed through and finished the top.

 paired with New Look 6274

The verdict?  I like it, but I don't love it.  I'm just glad it's done.  It looks really cute on the dress form, but when worn the fit issues are amplified.

While I intended to wear the top without a jacket, it's unlikely that will happen.  The armhole isn't too low, but something is wonky with the neck tie; the back doesn't rest properly on the neck.  I suspect the problem is in the facings.

Here's the top paired with my latest version of Kwik Sew 3558:

Fabric & Notions
  • 1.75 yards of rayon challis
  • fusible interfacing for back & front facings
  • regular and serger thread
  • 65/9 universal needle
Fit & Alterations:  I first made this pattern in 2011 out of a stretch cotton poplin.  Although the first version is less fluid than this one, it's comfortable to wear and fits well.  Originally I cut a size 16 everywhere except in the bust area.  There, I cut a size 18 using the D cup piece.  I also lowered the bust seam two inches so that the gathers were properly placed.  I made no additional adjustments.
The back and lower front are to be cut on the bias.  Since my fabric was shifty enough, I cut both on the straight grain.  
Construction:  Since I was OVER this project before sewing the first stitch, I decided to hasten its completion by serging everything.  I was going to do french seams, but quickly ditched that idea in favor of the least swear-inducing option.  
Conclusion:  I do plan to sew this again, but not in rayon challis.  I have a UFO of this pattern in a dark grey cotton that needs work.  I'll finish that...eventually.
As for working with rayon challis, I'm willing to try it again ONLY after I find a way to tame it.  I have several rayon challis fabrics and I'd love to use them, but not if they cause this much trouble.  Bad challis.  Bad.
As for the New Look skirt, there's nothing new to report.  I sewed it like I did every other version of this pattern:  invisible zipper, lining, petersham at the waist.  The fabric is a polyester-nylon lace that I purchased from Joann's.  I was hesitant about the fabric at first because the lace started to pull away from its backing.  The fabric survived washing and pressing, so hopefully the garment will last.
Up next:  I bought some fabric and won a contest.  I can speak on those matters.  As for sewing, I have no idea. =)
Until next time, peace!

12 July 2014

Kwik Sew 3558 (jacket): Complete

When I don't know what to sew, apparently I sew jeans and jackets.  I liked my first version of KS 3558 so much, I knew I would make it again eventually.

Sewing this jacket was pretty quick.  I didn't bother to bind the facing and hem edges as I did on the first.  

Denim is my comfort food for fabric.  There's no question about right/wrong sides, presses very nicely, and is just easy to sew.  What's not to love? =)

Due to fluctuations in my weight, I added 3/8" to the front vertical seams for extra width.  I could probably take the upper shoulder and waist in a bit.

I started to doubt whether including the back pleats was a good idea.  Trunk junk and pleats are normally never a good mix.  It looks like a little shelf back there.  

Pressing the pleats definitely helped; wearing it for a full day will tell the true tale.  The above picture shows how it rests on my backside.  Yeah.  Methinks this will be the one and only pleated peplum version. =)

I added sleeve heads for cap support and taped the lapel roll line.  I forgot to take pictures of the roll line, though.

I contemplated topstitching the pleats.  By the time I thought this was a good idea, I had already completed the back and I wasn't going to pick all of that apart.

I can see this little jacket paired with quite a few skirts I already own.  I might make this pattern one more time before retiring it for a while.  I'd like a long-sleeved version for fall.

I'll get pictures of me wearing the jacket soon.  

Up next:  I'm working on four projects at the moment:  New Look 6472 (two skirts) and Simplicity 2614 (tie-neck tops).  I'll probably finish the skirts first - despite knowing that I really need shirts.  

Until next time, peace!


11 July 2014

Sunshine Award

This post is two (three?) months in the making! The super-alien-shape-shifting-sewing goddess, who also goes by the name Nakisha at Sew Crafty Chemist, put my name into the ring of bloggers to receive the Sunshine/Shine On award.  Awww.  Thank you!  The award was created to encourage learning more about the bloggers we follow and share with those who follow us.  Here are the rules:
  • include a photo in a post
  • link the person who nominated you
  • write 10 facts about yourself
  • nominate 10 bloggers
  • notify the nominees
I was hard-pressed to find 10 facts about me that I haven't already shared. 
1.  As an undergraduate, I gave a poster presentation of my research project on Capitol Hill.  I met members of Congress from many different states and took pictures with Congress members from my state.
2.  I am semi-obsessed with aviation.  I've always loved flying and know a lot about how planes operate.  Whenever I fly, I try to chat with the pilots.  Most have been very willing to talk.  I've even been invited to sit in the cockpit of a major airliner.  I am considering taking flying lessons and getting a license to fly small aircraft.
3.  I prefer not to have carpet in a house/apartment. 
4.  I played basketball on an intramural team in college.  Don't laugh.  I actually had a pretty good shot.  But my hoop dreams promptly came to an end when in a playoff game, I caught a left elbow across the face trying to rebound and broke my nose. I haven't played basketball since.  Instead, I stick to sports less ouchy.
5.  I played classical piano from elementary school to high school.  I could never read sheet music, though.  I would fake it by memorizing the piece.  My teacher knew what I was doing because I never looked up from the keys.  Hah.
6.  I do not like country music.  AT ALL. 

7.  I am one of three people on the planet that thinks cheesecake is DISGUSTING.  Don't get me wrong...I like cheese and I love cake.  Just not together.  I worked in a cheesecake factory for three days and nearly went homicidal.

8.   I've never been camping and don't plan on it.  I like doing outdoor stuff, but when it gets dark outside, I need four solid walls, a roof, and indoor plumbing.  

9. I never walk barefoot - anywhere.  Not even in my own house.  I have always had a dog and used to live in New York City.  Those two things together have cured me of walking barefoot.

10.  I am a semi-neat freak.  I'm not OCD about it, though.  I can leave dishes in the sink for a day or two and not make my bed.  But I have to keep the house clean. 

We're supposed to nominate 10 bloggers for the award.  Seeing as how I'm way late on acknowledging this, I am not sure if my nominees have already been mentioned.  In any event, I'd like to share some sun with everyone on my blog roll.  I enjoy connecting with sewing peeps and am happy whenever I see new posts. 

Up next:  I made another jacket.  I need to get some pictures for the review.  Hopefully I'll get to do it today or tomorrow or Sunday.  Maybe Monday.  You see where this is going. =)


05 July 2014

Kwik Sew 2895 (jean-style jacket)

I make a lot of muslins.  A lot.  I don't want to cut into my 'good' fabric until I'm satisfied with the fit.  I once made a total of nine muslins (4 of one pattern, 5 of another) for a cocktail dress.  The ninth muslin was the one that worked and I used it to produce a lovely dress for which I still get compliments when worn.  I never blogged about it; perhaps I should.

That said, I do know when to quit.  You win, Simplicity 2443.  Your very short boxy design and weird waist flare are the ghostbuster to my Stay-Puft marshmallow man.  (Guess what I watched recently for the umpteenth time...) I tried to make it work, but it wasn't to be.  It's such a cute pattern too, but I am done foolin' with it.

Enter Kwik Sew 2895.

Fabric & Notions:
  • 1 3/4 yards of dark blue non-stretch denim
  • fusible interfacing
  • six gold metal buttons
Machine Setup:
  • first machine:  80/12 universal needle and regular thread
  • second machine:  100/16 jeans needle and topstitching thread
  • serger:  regular serger thread
Sizing/Alterations:  I traced a size medium based on the finished bust measurement of 44".  I compared the pattern pieces to that of one of my favorite jackets, Kwik Sew 3558, and was satisfied with what I saw.  The width at bust level seemed okay.  Notice I said "seemed okay."

The hazard of using finished measurement numbers is that the number is based on how the pattern's standard block measures around the body.  In theory, 44" should be enough room to go around my body since my full bust is 41".  But this circumference isn't divided equally.  At bust level from side to side, I measure roughly 15" on the back and 26" on the front.  This pattern measures 20" across the back and 24" across the front.  This is why most patterns are ginormous across the back and tight on the front.  I don't carry my fullness equally and I doubt many women do.

That said, I didn't decrease the back width because I intend to wear the jacket over blouses/tops and don't want movement to be restricted.  

The only alteration involved adding 1/2" to the center panel seam that is joined with the front/button panel.  The panels beneath the yoke are curved to accommodate the bust.  One seam curved too far away from CF so adding the extra 1/2" helped bring it closer to center.  I couldn't figure out how to do a slight FBA and settled on this quick fix instead. 

I didn't do a swayback adjustment, but probably should have.

The only thing I don't like is the pooling of fabric near the armhole in the upper bust area.
See what I'm talking about?  I searched the net and found that many jean-style jackets fit like this.  I don't like it, but at least my version is as good as RTW.

Note:  The pattern is freakishly SHORT!  I wanted to make view B (blue jacket in pattern photo) with the waistband.  But, view B is about 4 inches shorter than view A.  I suppose the pattern photo isn't quite misleading, but I don't think it's not telling the whole truth.  View A ends below the waistband as shown.  But if you wear low-rise jeans, view A will definitely end above the waistband.  Check the length before cutting into your fashion fabric!

Construction:  Sewing the jacket didn't take long and was kind of fun.  It took me about two and half days to complete, but can probably be sewn in a day if there are no interruptions.  

Others who've made this pattern state that the front self-facing isn't long enough.  I agree.  The end of the facing stops very short of the shoulder seam and makes for an unattractive finish.  Fortunately, it can't be seen from the outside.  When I make this pattern again, I'll do what others did and extend the facing.

When topstitching the front, I used dark blue thread in the bobbin so that it didn't show through on the wrong side. Usually I use the same color for both the bobbin and needle, but I didn't like how it looked since I intend to wear the jacket unbuttoned.  I also did the same for the buttonholes.

I omitted the pocket bags on the front because I don't use chest pockets.  Some say that busty chicks shouldn't wear pocket flaps on the front.  I don't think the addition of these flaps draws any significant attention to that area.  The flaps are above the bust, so I'm not getting the dreaded "headlight effect" either.

Conclusion:  This pattern is a winner.  It's got all of the elements of a traditional jeans-style jacket with great fit.  The flare at the waist isn't dramatic and I can button it if I want to, though that is not likely to happen.

Up next:  I have no idea.  I made three muslins (hah) of button-front shirts and am discouraged from going forward.  My weight has changed a lot and I'm not satisfied with the fit.  Soooooo...yeah...I'm working on getting in better shape.  In the meantime, I don't know what to sew.  Maybe I'll make another jacket.

Until next time, peace!



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