April 5, 2014

Gold Denim mini skirt

Self Drafted Skirt

This is s skirt I've been working on and surprisingly enough has been probably my most successful draft of any pattern I've made. I had a basic straight skirt block and turned it into this, no fitting adjustments needed. Winning!

Self Drafted Skirt

I drew a sketch of this design, like, five or six years ago, crazy! Early pattern drafting days. I had completely forgot about it until I was cleaning up and I found my little sketch. Later I discovered an old UFO bag with green corduroy pieces cut out and some zippers. Apparently at some point I tried making the skirt but I hardly remember it at all and obviously never finished it.

Flash forward a few years and I'm now slowly working on making a PDF pattern for this design. Unlike my past patterns I'm doing 9 sizes meaning I have to draft two blocks to grade up and down from. It's taking me longer but in the end it'll be nice because the pattern can be used by a wider range of sizes.

Self Drafted Skirt

Basically it's a mini skirt with a thick waistband and a bottom hem band (both with facings). It's got a total of 7 "panels," two of which have these slanted exposed zip pockets. It hits about 2" lower than my natural waist.

This fabric is a denim I got from a new Austin store called The Cloth Pocket. The owner said she got it from a local custom jeans designer so that's kinda cool.

Self Drafted Skirt

The pocket interior and facings are left over Liberty of London. Yay for using scraps! (especially expensive scraps...)

Self Drafted Skirt

The back zip is a regular zip and the front pocket zips are some metal jeans zippers. I top stitched all the seams in gold thread.

It's definitely an above the knee mini skirt but I think it can be lengthened easily in either the panels or the hem band.

Self Drafted Skirt

I've been wearing it pretty often which is always a good sign. I made it in a solid so it goes with all kinds of tops but yet the seaming and zips give it some interest so it's not a plain ol' denim skirt.

Well, whatdya think? And would anyone be willing to be a pattern tester for me? More details on that in a future post.

March 22, 2014

Pattern Anthology Parisian and Day Tripper tops

Pattern Anthology
Oh, look, it's two makes in one post. It's like sewing bonus points!

Well, there's a reason for that. Both of these patterns come from the new Pattern Anthology "Just Add Jeans" collection. Pattern Anthology is a collaboration between four indie pattern designers (Kate, Melissa, Andrea and Shauna) who release seasonal PDF pattern collections available at a deep discount for only two weeks. I got asked to try out the new designs and how could I say no? If you've stopped by along the blog tour, welcome!

Their fourth and most recent collection, Just Add Jeans, consists of four knit tops that will become wardrobe staples. Each of the lovely ladies designed a pattern and every pattern file is slightly different. They all cover bust measurements at least 30" to 44" and all comes with detailed instructions and even tips and tricks for sewing with knits (making them easy for beginners).

Let's get down to business, shall we?

Day Tripper top by Shwin Designs

The Pattern: The Day Tripper Top by Shwin Designs comes in a long sleeve version or short sleeves with shoulder tabs (I love me some tabs...). It's got dolmon sleeves, a high low hem, a band at the hem and cuffs.

Day Tripper top by Shwin Designs

The Fabric: I saw this cool double sided red jersey from Girl Charlie (darn, I think they sold out of this one) and thought I could use the front and back sides as contrast. It's really two layers tacked together (like double gauze but it's a knit so I'm not sure what to call it, help?). The tacks are invisible on the front heathered side and barely there on the solid back. The tacks run in straight lines so that made it easy to get the grain straight (laziness wins again!). I bought two white plastic buttons from Joann for the tabs. I like the pop of white on the red.

Day Tripper top by Shwin Designs

The Changes: Really, nothing. I cut a size small, the shirt is a relaxed fit so I wasn't too worried about sizing. What's nice is the pattern offers three length options. I chose the middle, 26" length and it hits right at the hips in front and longer, almost tunic length in back. I can pull the band up a little and it makes it blouse a bit or I can stretch it down for a smooth look.

The pattern also has the option for pockets (how cool is that!). I cut out the pieces but then realized with my double layered fabric I would have ended up with 6 layers where the pockets go, too bulky this time, maybe next time.

Day Tripper top by Shwin Designs
Here's a close up of the shoulder tabs and these cute and dainty little gold bow and pearl pearl earrings from Jacaranda Designs. You know that I love bows...

The Results: Overall, really comfy. I could see why she named it the Day Tripper top, it's the perfect travel shirt when you want to look cute in vacation pics but don't want to be uncomfortable on a long plane/train/automobile ride.

I serged the whole thing which made it super fast. I only needed a little interfacing for the tabs. Win!

and next...

The Parisian Top by Go To Patterns

The Pattern: I knew I wanted to sew the Parisian from Go To Patterns the minute I saw it because, duh, Peter Pan collar! This top has three quarter sleeves and cuffs and hem band.

The Fabric: I thought this black and white floral print (also from Girl Charlee) would make for a pretty classy knit top and I jazzed it up even more by adding this gold metallic linen for the collar (from the stash).

The Parisian Top by Go To Patterns

The Changes: I'm slightly pear shaped so I graded from a size small in the bust to medium in the hips and it worked out great.

As for the collar, the gold was kind of a last minute idea. This is where things got a little messy. I had already cut one collar piece out of the same knit before I realized I wanted a contrast fabric. I chose the linen which, although sparkly, was a woven. I interfaced that layer then for some reason thought I should just use the collar piece I had already cut out as the under collar, even though it was a knit. I clipped and trimmed my collar seams as instructed but then added understitching as an extra layer of protection to make sure the knit side didn't show.

The Parisian Top by Go To Patterns

In the end it turned out fine, I think, although the woven doesn't conform exactly to the knit (obviously, duh) but it still works and looks cute! So if you're going to do a woven collar, don't be like me and instead cut both collar pieces from the same fabric.

The Parisian Top by Go To 

The Results: Another win! I could see myself making this up again, maybe even changing the collar to a pointed one. I liked that the narrow binding as facing meant I didn't need some bulky interfaced neckline facing. I serged this one up as well. I made this top second so I was already on a roll and finished it quite quickly. Love that!

I want to thank the Pattern Anthology ladies as well as Girl Charlee and Jacaranda Designs. I'm at the end of the blog tour so if this was your first stop then you're in luck, you get to see a bunch of other lovely makes from this collection without having to wait! However, that also means that the available time to get the discounted collection is running out. After March 24th the patterns will be sold individually but at full price so if you want to save some cash you should buy the whole collection while you can.

Want to see more versions of the four shirt patterns? Check out the blog tour:
Stef @ The Girl Inspired
Delia @ Delia Creates
Merrick @ Merrick's Art
Julia @ Julia Bobbin
Liz @ Cotton and Curls
Katy @ No Big Dill
Caroline @ Sew Caroline
Suzannah @ Adventures in Dressmaking
Jessica @ Craftiness is Not Optional

March 21, 2014

The Colette Clover Muslin version 2

Yesterday I posted my 1st version of my Colette Clover muslin, here's muslin #2. Some caveats for this version, I didn't add interfacing to the waistband so it's a little droopy and I didn't iron any seams (or some fold lines out of the fabric, either). Still it's quite an improvement over the original, completely non-adjusted version.

I'm learning a lot of about my shape in relation to this pattern. Apparently I have wide hips, skinny thighs and big calves. Gotta work with what you got, right?

I'm still using the same fabric and pattern so I'll just skip to the changes.

The Changes for this version:
Lowered the waist by 1.75", now I think that's a little too much, going to add some back for version 3.

Took a wedge out of the hip at the side, both front and back, tapering to nothing at CF and CB and smoothed out the side seams slightly. Now my side seams are much smoother. Any ripples I think are from not pressing the seam.

Added a full inch to the back rise. Now the back is slightly higher than the front, just as it should be for a lower rise pair of pants.

Added width to the calf area, mostly on the back piece. Now my pants look ankle length and not like capris.

The bum is nice and smooth. Maybe a little too smooth. I think this fabric is going to be reserved only for muslins...

Changes for the next version:

Add some height back to the waist. I still don't want to have the darts so I'll just shave a minute amount off the side seams and CB to compensate, it would just cover the very bottom of the back darts anyway.

The center back was gaping slightly without the waistband so I sewed deeper seam allowances at CB tapering to regular 5/8" about 3" down. I'll need to apply this to the next paper pattern.

Small thigh adjustment. Those back wrinkles (and some in the front) haven't gone away. I'm going to try to take out most of the excess from the back and inseam, as that seems to be where the majority of the wrinkles are and try to adjust the knees both front and back. I'll need to be careful to only fix the thighs and leave my newly widened calves alone.

As for those pesky pull lines at the front crotch. I don't think they'll every go away completely but I have one more trick up my sleeves, sew the seam allowance at that center crotch point slightly smaller to widen the front pieces at the hips, should give me a little more room for the lines to soften out.

Every time I sew with a stretch woven I have the problem of my finished garment stretching out. To combat this next time I'm going to take out 1/2" total from the hips and waist. And try to pre-stretch parts of the pieces with the iron. I don't want to be constantly pulling up my pants, ya know!?

The Results: It's definitely better. If I'm lucky I'll only need one more muslin.

Also, on a side note. I wanted to send a big thanks to all the readers and bloggers sewing up my Summer Concert Tee right now. There's been so many I can't even keep up so thank you all! If you haven't gotten the 1st Perfect Pattern Parcel and want a deal on my pattern and a bunch of other awesome designs, go check it out right now before it's too late!