Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Meta Circle Skirt and a Brontesaurus

Apologies in advance: I set up an elaborate shoot with a friend and forgot to charge my camera so these are all done via phone.
Hey-o! How are you all doing? The school year is winding down here and the weather is gearing up to be a scorching hot summer (joy.). I've been super productive lately, but mostly outdoors.

After making ALL. THE. PORTSIDES., I desperately needed to make something for myself. I hadn't been a selfish sewer in SO long. I thought that now would be a good time to revisit my goal of making a functional tee for wearing with my skirts. Enter the Bronte.
I bought this pattern last year sometime but never got the chance to make it because of the quilt and Portsides. I figured this quick little window of time would allow me to whip one up.
 I found the construction to go pretty quick all in all and the instructions were easy to follow. I used the same gray Ponte knit as both of my mother's day gifts from last year. I like the idea of using Ponte for tees with a bit more substance, but I'm not entirely sure it is a good idea. It is super easy to work with since it is a stable knit, but I found some of my seams, especially the shoulder seams, to be a bit bulky. It took a LOT of steam from my iron to get them to calm down. I'm thinking I might give the plantain a go in some Ponte just to see if it is better without the overlapped shoulder detail. I know, I know, just buy some jersey, but I have like five cuts of Ponte that I'd like to use first.
I cut out a size 10 and graded out to a twelve at the hips. I feel that the fit is pretty good.
Unfortunately, I forgot to check how my fabric would deal with my iron/heat. If you look closely, you can see that when I used the steam setting, I made the fabric shiny on the back. I also did it on the arms, though it is less noticeable.
I accidentally used a different coloured thread to sew on the middle button on the left side so I made the right match. I used a plain wide zigzag for the top stitching and I rather like how it looks.
The circle skirt took a bit longer to make. The fabric that I got was only 45" wide so I had to piece this whole thing together in four panels. And me being me, I HAD to pattern match.

I'm very pleased with how that turned out. I mean it took friggin long enough. As part of my efforts to really take my time with my garments to make a handmade wardrobe that I will wear often and that will last, I bound all the seams inside the skirt.

As you can see above, my side seams are closer to the back than they should be. I didn't stay stitch the waist and it stretched out like MAD so I just took some fabric out of the back....so I suppose this isn't a "true" circle skirt but whatever.
I used my rolled hem foot again, and still had trouble going over the seams. Any tips for dealing with this?
I got the fabric for this skirt at a local quilting shop. It is an Art Gallery Fabrics print called Pointelle Shade and it feels lovely and soft and drapey. I love that it is a circle skirt with circle fabric. What can I say? It's the little things in life.
I made the skirt so it would fit a 29" waist which is a bit bigger than mine but I figured I would ENSURE I could wear this in the winter when I eat all the things. In order to piece everything together, I added a 1/2" of SA to each side of my pattern piece. It seemed to work out pretty well.
Not the greatest picture but you can see how the skirt falls a little nicer.
Overall, even with the issues I had with the top, I'm pleased with the outcome here. I've already gotten a few compliments at work, and I look forward to making some coordinating pieces to go with each separate all while working through my stash. More than anything, I look forward to swishing around in this skirt.
Swish Swish!
Let's not forget our daily outtake (trust me there were lots to choose from):
Shanen: Spin! I'll take a video so you can get the skirt twirling. Me: Ready? I am.
So, big questions: What tee patterns have you tried and liked? Have you ever tried using Ponte for something like a tee and been successful? Should I give up entirely and save the Ponte for a different project? Am I overthinking this entirely? Any tips, tricks, and suggestions are appreciated! I really want to make things I can wear easily over and over again and feedback is always helpful I find.

Take care :)

Friday, 20 May 2016

Clueing for Looks

A few years back, Shanen came over for an evening hangout and--long story short--I got her hooked on Sherlock. So for Christmas two years ago, I thought it would be fun to make her a Sherlock skirt. We only just got around to taking pictures now.
I saw a few Sherlock skirts on Etsy, but figured that if I could find the fabric on Spoonflower (which I did here), then I could easily make one myself. You may recognize the overall theme of this skirt as "Bored Sherlock".
I picked up one yard of the cotton poplin, and figured it would be enough for a subtle gathered skirt.
Channeling the Sherlock collar flip.
When my local Fabricland went out of business a few years ago, I also bought them out of their wide black elastic. I figured that since this skirt was a surprise, I didn't want to sew a skirt with any major fitting. Shanen's mom helped out by measuring her (telling her it was for something that she was working on), so that I could get close to her sizing. I cut the fabric into a rectangle and stretched the elastic to fit the length of fabric, plus seam allowance. Easy-peasy.
I made sure to do my best to not end up with a weird pattern placement on the butt.
Can you spot the magnifying glass? Girl is dedicated to the theme.
I lined the skirt with a lovely blue Bemberg Rayon.
I also bound all the seams with blue binding, but didn't get a photo. One of my favourite parts of the skirt, however, is this:
Wait, what?
I was trying to think of a way to add the smiley face from the wallpaper in the show to the skirt. At first I was planning on getting some fabric paint, then it hit me...embroidery!
I added a patch pocket, because, let's be real, all skirts are better when they have pockets, and then I did a simple split stitch smiley face. I was even extra careful to match the pattern of the pocket to the skirt.
Doing her best to channel Sherlock's thinking face.
Overall I am super pleased with how this turned out, an luckily, Shanen was too.
There is no better way to find fellow Sherlock fans in the world than to wear a skirt made out of his wallpaper print.
Oh! And let's not forget the best outtake of the "shoot":
Someone was having trouble keeping a straight face.

{Honey, you should see me in a crown}

Saturday, 2 April 2016

Portside Take Two (and Three)

As promised, I am back to report on my second and third versions of the Portside Travel Set by Grainline Studio. As I mentioned in the post for the first version, there are a number of problems with the pattern, but don't let that deter you from picking it up. Even with those wee mistakes, it is easy enough to fix up as you go to make a beautiful version for yourself.
I decided to make my sister and her boyfriend *almost* matching versions for Christmas. Yes, Christmas 2015. Yes, I just finished these last weekend. Shut up.
I went with some home dec fabric from my local Fabricland. I wanted something that was classic and that would suit both of them, hence settling on the grey and plaid.
I tried to match the plaid as much as I could, cutting everything extra carefully. I think it turned out quite well. For Darren's version, I omitted the zipper pulls. I figured that would be the best way for them to distinguish between the bags from the outside.
I did the same thing for my previous bag in terms of using the self fabric in place of the webbing when attached to the bag directly. I didn't realize how good of a choice this was at first...
...as my machine tried to eat the webbing and thread for the long strap. I bought my webbing from AGraffSupplies on Etsy. I fussed with it multiple times, trying different needles, threads, settings, etc., and ended up stitching these mofos by hand. Not really worth the extra time in my opinion, but it does make it look "store bought"...in a good way.
I was careful not to stitch the side pockets down like last time. The only other change I made was to the interfacing layout. I was sure to interface everything on the outer shell of the bag with the exception of the pockets and straps. Again, as mentioned previously, the directions on the pattern piece do not say to cut out interfacing for a few pieces that should be interfaced, hence my mentioning this.

Here's Jamie's version with the zipper pulls:
I omitted the pulls on Shanen's version (v.1), but seeing them on Jamie's, I think I actually rather like the subtle touch they add to the bag. For the leather, I used some scraps off a beaten up leather jacket I bought at the thrift store with sewing use in mind.
Again, I used the double tabbed zipper. I wish it were metal, but I like that you can put a lock on it when travelling.

I added a half inch to the top contrast pattern piece of the pouch and everything lined up MUCH better than previous versions. I suggest you do the same.
Other than that, the only change I made was to Jamie's because the zipper I bought wouldn't accommodate the wide leather tabs. So I improvised.
Now, you are probably thinking, That's it? I mean you did say *almost* the same, but some zipper tabs? Really? Well, no, that it not the only thing that makes these *almost* different.

That's right, different linings! Eeeee! I had SO much fun picking out the lining fabrics. Darren's fabric was picked up in Hamilton by Shanen, who knew I was looking to buy this Force Awakens fabric. The dog fabric was a gift from a co-worker last year that I had been saving up to make something special with.
 I made some changes to the dopp kitt that helped out a lot. First, and most importantly, I took the top piece of the dopp kitt (pattern piece 14), and added a half inch to the height and one inch to the length. Adding the extra height helped the two top pieces and zip line up with the side pieces MUCH better.
 Adding to the width helped accommodate my zipper a bit better, but this time the sides, instead of coming up short, were a bit too long, when lined up with the front and back pieces. I also had a bit of weird stretching going on, though, so this may not have helped that. Easy fix, though, as I just had to trim off a bit of the bottom.

Additionally, I interfaced the outer front pocket pieces, but not the lining piece. Again, directions weren't super clear on this when looking at pattern piece cutting directions, pictures in the instructions, and cutting layout within the instructions, so I made my own mind up and just stuck with it. I also used the lining fabric for the lining piece instead of the contrast fabric as asked. I like it better this way.

Overall, I am just as pleased, if not more so, than the first version I made. Things lined up better, the interfacing was where it should be, and it looks really professional. It took ages (mostly cutting everything out so it matched up), but it was well worth it. I have a fourth one sitting upstairs for Trev, but there is no rush on that one, so I get to take a break with some selfish sewing for the next little while! My sewjo is high and I am excited about what I will get to put together next, as I begin working through my fabric stash once and for all.
I know I've asked before, but have you made the Portside? What do you think about the changes I mentioned? Did you have as much fun picking out fabrics as I did? Please share! :)