Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Modal Nightgown

I don't typically wear pretty pajamas! But when I planned to stay with relatives for a week in June, I knew I'd need something nicer and with a bit more coverage than my usual. So, with that in mind and inspired by one of my daughter's, I made a nightgown:

  I used my knit tee block as a starting point, and lengthened it to floor-length, as well as giving it a slight a-line. I cut a line just above my bust and added width to the lower section for some gathers. Gathers in this fabric, a dusty rose modal knit from So Sew English, were even more of a pain than gathers I've tried in other knits. I want to try interfacing the flat portion before adding the gathered piece next time. This knit is not as lovely as the black stuff I used for this shirt, but still nicer than your average rayon knit, and with a better drape than a cotton knit.

  I added two rows of wide gathered stretch lace to the upper front portion, one zig-zagged on:

  And the other tucked into the neckband seam, with both tucked into the shoulder seam.

  I split the back piece at around the same level as the front, and added an un-gathered strip of lace to the upper portion- I did a narrow zig-zag along the top edge, and tucked the lower edge into the seam.

I also used this seam to adjust for the pooling I get at my lower back, and added some length to the bottom of the lower piece to compensate.

I made the sleeves longer than wrist-length, and widened them at the hem slightly (not enough) then added gathered lace there too- I serged it on, and used a zig-zag to top-stitch right at the seam so it stay pressed toward the sleeve. The sleeves are extra-long so the lace almost grazes my knuckles, which is fun and totally impractical.

  I gathered the sleeve with elastic thread at the wrist- it's a bit too gathered there, but was still wearable.

  And finally, because it clearly wasn't frilly or feminine enough yet (I'm sure you can imagine how much my husband hates this nightgown) I added a bow:

  I had a lot of fun with this, and it was perfect for that relative visit, so I'm glad I made it, even if I can't wear it at home! ;-)

Thanks for stopping by,


Saturday, November 11, 2017

Rayon Challis Alma Blouse

  Ever since making this shirt for my mother's birthday last year, I wanted to make one for myself, and had some fabric set aside for it. I just kept putting it off because I needed to muslin it, but didn't have a fabric I wanted to use for that. Eventually, I decided to just make the changes I'd noted when I tried my mom's on and sew it up without a muslin. That wasn't a good decision.

  It's technically wearable, but that fit needs some work! I adjusted for a gaping neckline, which seemed like it worked okay, although I think I may have overdone the adjustment a bit. I should have widened the shoulders a tad. I raised the underarm seam, which I might do again, but a bit less, and I'd double-check the sleeve-to-armscye ratio, because it definitely wasn't right afterward! There's a ton of pooling at the lower back that would have been evident in a muslin.

  I added length, at the hem because I prefer a longer shirt but my torso length is average, but I didn't add any width to accommodate my hips. I made shorter sleeves with a cuff, but I made the cuff just a bit too slim, and I should have widened the sleeves by at least an inch. And the darts aren't right either! They are too wide-set, although the height is fine. And unfortunately unpicking and re-sewing in this fabric leaves holes. So yes, the fit needs work.

  I do really like how these fabrics look together! They are from Imagine Gnats sometime last year- I  think in their Black Friday sale. Both are rayon challis, although the solid is unpleasantly thin and shifty, and wrinkles with a glance, while the floral was much more manageable to sew with, and stays smooth a little better.

  I really love the look of the shorter sleeves with the cuffs! I definitely want to try that again- but wide enough. ;-) I used some cover buttons and the solid to button the cuffs- and I actually sewed buttonholes for them, since I had a cam for my buttonholer that fit the buttons!

  I under-stitched the neckline again, and it made a huge difference in how the collar sat. I also used a very light interfacing that played better with the hand of the challis than the lightweight Pellon stuff I usually have available. I've lost a few pounds since taking these photos, and the shirt fits a tiny bit better now, but aside from occasionally trying it on, I haven't worn it even once. I really should have made that muslin!

  The skirt turned out a bit better though! It's a half-circle knit skirt with the waistband from the free Mountain Pose Pants pattern, because who wouldn't want a cute overlapping waistband?

  I do wish I'd gone a size smaller with the waistband though, and interfaced the inside of it instead of the outside, as the knit interfacing stretches oddly. I might remove the waistband, overlap it more, and sew it back on the other way around at some point. This has still been worn a lot more than the shirt though!

  I used black 12oz cotton spandex knit from Nick of Time Textiles for this. It's a nice weight for this, and that's about all I have to say about the skirt! (I just noticed how much better the shirt looks tucked in than un-tucked. Maybe I should try wearing it that way.)

Thanks for stopping by,

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Knit Sunflower Dress

  Back in May I saw quite a few cute versions of the free Dulcie Dress pattern from Sewpony. I had plans to make some without modifications for my own daughters, but first I tried it out with a few small changes for my youngest niece's birthday!

  I used a sunflower knit, bought years ago from Girl Charlee. (I used some of this for a birthday gift last year too!) I paired it with a mustard cotton-spandex knit, also from Girl Charlee. Because I used knit, I removed some width from the back bodice piece and cut it on the fold.

  I wanted to line the bodice in white, but wanted the cuffs in yellow, so I made a separate cuff piece, and used some bamboo (I think) buttons to hold them in place. I added flat piping to the shoulder seam.

  I also piped the pockets. I sewed the pockets on with a twin needle. They really wanted to shift around and stretch out- a walking foot probably would have been helpful!

  I added some knit interfacing under the pockets, before sewing them on. The fabric didn't seem sturdy enough for the pockets without it.

  I stabilized the waist seam too, with clear elastic. And I managed to get it in without creating puckers or waves! Not really sure how I did that. ;-)

  I actually made a size 2T, but when it was done it looked quite a bit too big for that size, so I tried it on my youngest, who was wearing a size 24 months at the time. And it was definitely over-sized (so if you make this dress in knit, it would probably be a good idea to go down a size!), and quite a bit too long. I shortened it slightly and added a vinyl 2-3T tag for good measure. ;-)

  I lettuce-edged the hem- this fabric lettuce-edges quite nicely!

  And here's how I packaged it all up:

  I was planning to give the pattern a bit more thorough of a test and try it in some woven fabrics, and even went so far as to cut two dresses and partially sew up one, but life got in the way and everything else has taken precedence to finishing them. Hopefully I'll get a chance to finish them before they are outgrown, even though it's the wrong season for them now.

Thanks for stopping by,


Thursday, November 2, 2017

Raccoon Baby Shirt and Knit Pants

My sweet sister-in-law had a baby boy in July! I had seen this post a few months prior to that and knew immediately what I wanted to make when I was invited to her baby shower. However, when I went back to re-read the post, it turned out that my memory had changed the raccoon significantly from the original, and I ended up preferring the version in my imagination, so I came up with my own template for it. I cut out layers of freezer paper to stencil it on, and used acrylic paint mixed with textile medium to paint it.

  And of course, I made sure to include the tail in the back! I only cut one piece of freezer paper for that, and free-handed the stripes for a furry effect. I love how it turned out!

  I stenciled these on some navy blue knit from Girl Charlee, and used Jalie 3133, version A in size 3 months, to make the bodysuit. I haven't been entirely happy with any of the onesie patterns I've tried, but this is the least offensive of the bunch so far.

 The only change I made was to only partially sew the bindings on the sleeves until after the side seams were sewn up (mostly because I'm a perfectionist, but also because my machines don't like sewing over a big lump of binding like that).

  I like how this pattern has a separate rectangular piece for the snaps, although sewing it to enclose the front was a bit more difficult than a regular binding would have been. I used KAM snaps for the closure.

  I want to try stretching the binding even more around the curve at the bottom next time, as it doesn't lie perfectly flat.

  The way the binding is sewn doesn't leave a good spot for a tag, so I cut the size from a scrap of white vinyl and ironed it on in the back neck area. Of course, it didn't occur to me that I'd have to do that until after the shirt was finished, so it's a tad crooked. Fortunately it's not visible from the outside!

  I'm delighted with how this little shirt turned out!

  To go with it, I made a pair of knit pants using a heavily modified overall pattern.

I used some grey and black checked fabric, from Girl Charlee but no longer available, for the cuffs:

  As well as slipping a bit in at the pockets:

  The waistband is just plain black knit, and the main fabric is solid grey. I was really happy with how the fabrics worked together.

  Next time I'll see if I can find a knit pant pattern instead of modifying an overall pattern, but I think they worked. I never actually got to see them on the baby, so I can't be sure!

  I wrapped this all up with some more of that plaid- it makes a darling bow!

Thanks for stopping by,

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Bow-Back Striped Floral Shirt

  I love this shirt! This is pretty high on the list of favorite things I've ever sewn. It's funny that I like it so much, because the bright pink brings it well out of the color palette I'm usually comfortable wearing- but those details make me so happy!

  I started with my knit shirt block, and divided it at the waist to make a peplum (actually, a bit below my waist, because I like the proportions better that way). I took a small piece out of the back above the waist for fitting purposes, and added that much length to the bottom of the back peplum. If you look closely at the stripes just above the waist seam you can see how it curves up a bit.

  I added ties to the front- this is the only part I don't totally love, as they tend to gape a bit at the top. I still like the concept though- maybe some interfacing would help.

  I moved the shoulder seam forward, and widened the neckline slightly, then bound the front neckline only with a strip of pink knit (from Girl Charlee, also used here). In the back, I added a partial second layer (and third, because I lined the second one for a clean edge, although binding would have been a better choice) and cinched it up to give a bow effect. I really, really love how that bit turned out!

  I sewed it together by capturing the front of the shirt between the back of the shirt and the bow layer- it's a bit bulky, and isn't as smooth as I'd like at the join between the front and back neckline, but it makes up for the lack of stretch in the front neckline. I spent some extra time matching the stripes:

  I was happy to have the tie section in the front though- with the shaping of the front versus the back it was impossible to match the stripes all the way down the side seam, and the ties help hide any un-matched bits.

  For the sleeves, I added a bound keyhole and a knotted cuff. I love how this turned out!

  The striped/floral fabric is from Sincerely Rylee well over a year ago- it was a custom design called Nova and I don't think the shop owner has any plans to run this one again, although I'm hoping I'm wrong!

    The skirt is another re-worked dress... although I really liked this grey dress, I almost never wore it, so I unpicked the skirt and waistband from the bodice and finished the top of the waistband, then re-hemmed the skirt a bit shorter. I'm glad I did, as I've worn it quite frequently in skirt form.

  And I'm really glad I chose a fabric I wouldn't usually try to sew this shirt, because I am so happy with the results!

Thanks for stopping by,