I feel like it's been sooooo long since I've written a blog post. thanks for all your comments on my last post about using the Ikea kitchen island as a pressing stand. It is really fab. I was using my regular ironing board with my ham which felt really unstable and insecure, and I feel very much in command at the kitchen island. Highly recommend!
I made this a few snow days back, my favorite pajama top, McCalls 3006. The first snow day, I goofed off. The second snow day, I made this shirt. The third and fourth snow days, I had to work from home.
Flannel + gingham = love.
Gingham printed off grain != love. The gingham was printed straight in the middle and then curved/slanted off toward the edges. Kinda weird. Instead of cutting the pattern on grain, I cut it so the horizontal lines would meet up. It means my garment is not straight on grain but I'm sleeping in it, not presenting in it.
I have a RTW sweater that has this bow detail inside and I thought that would be super cute here too.
I love serging the raw edges! Looks so profesh!!
I cut the pocket on the bias. I also fused interfacing to it, but I used Pam's medium weight interfacing which is overkill for something like this. Light interfacing would have been enough.
I placed the pocket higher than the pattern calls for.
I make my pj tops larger than me so I can layer up.
The red gingham just makes me so happy!
Does gingham make you happy?
Because it's a kitchen island, it has a bar for hanging towels and pans off of hooks....but it's perfect place to hang your patterns after ironing them!
Thanks for all your comments about my three Renfrews!! I've been wearing the second and third versions quite a lot!
So in between the second and third versions, I "made" something else....I put together the Ikea Groland kitchen island for use as my pressing table. I needed a sturdy table for the Elna Press and wasn't thrilled with the press stand options which all looked rather flimsy.
I assembled it about a month ago, so any bad memories must have already been repressed, but I don't think it was too bad. I bought it online and paid for the home delivery. I do remember it took me 3 hours and 5 minutes to put together, over the course of two days (I was timing it--my original guesstimate was under an hour.) I remember my hands hurting from trying to screw the screws in with a regular screwdriver, as the pre-drilled holes didn't seem wide/deep enough. So then I got out the drill and cordless screwdriver and charged them overnight. I finished it up the next morning and it was SO MUCH EASIER. Having the right tools for the job and all that.
And here were all the pieces:
So here's what it looked like after I put it together. I put away my big ironing board and put the miniature one on the table top. My sewing room feels like it has SO MUCH SPACE now that the big ironing board has been put away.
I put all my pressing tools and my two irons on the second shelf. By the way, the polka dotted Stitch Nerd ham, seam roll and ham stand are pretty fab. I've been using them over a year now, and I don't know how I lived without them. The ham is a must for darts. I use the Angela Wolf clapper frequently too. The point presser I've only used for one project since buying it, but I haven't been making anything that needs that tool lately.
All the stuff on the right side was corded mayhem: my wireless router and cable modem. Yesterday I traded out my old modem and router for a new modem/router combo unit which is 1) neater looking and 2) much faster on 2 of my 4 wireless devices, yay!
So this looks neater, now doesn't it? There is still some more cord control to be had, but it is much better.
And here's what was replaced:
I really love having the stable table. It weighs 70 pounds so it feels quite sturdy, even when using my Elna Press. It's 36" high so there's no issues with bending. It's almost as long as my cutting table but it's not nearly as wide so I can't recommend it as a cutting table. Definitely great for pressing. (Oh, and I was able to flip it over myself. I wasn't sure if I'd be able to do it because of my back, but I did flipped it in two stages and was fine).
So I highly recommend a table like this. Having the right tools for the job and all that.
Oh, and what animal (or two?) left these prints on my front sidewalk?
I have a two more projects to show you. I might finish a third tonight. I was going to make chicken pot pie but it's hard to make that when you forgot to buy the chicken at the grocery store earlier on!
I'm still behind on posts and this post, like the last one, is brought to you courtesy of another snow day! I think this is our 4th snow day this year, plus 1 early dismissal and 1 delayed opening. Some years there is hardly any snow at all but this year is super, super snowy.
Thanks for all your comments on my serged renfrew from my last post. I absolutely love love love that one and have worn it at least 4 times already. (Fitting the Renfrew was covered in this post).
When I saw this fabric at the ASE last September, I *knew* I had to have it! I bought it in Emma Seabrooke's booth. It's soft, has 25% crosswise stretch, and has tons of texture. I also knew it was venturing into Muppets territory with this fabric, but I was willing to take the risk.
A bonus is this fabric has very subtle stripes, so graining it and cutting it out was super easy. Also I did myself a favor and traced the front and back pattern pieces full sized so I wouldn't be cutting on the fold. Too much shiftiness with knits to be cutting on the fold.
Wrong side of fabric is shown above.
What I wasn't expecting was how big that collar would be in such a textured fabric. I'm not sure what's going on with my face here, but that collar is mighty big. actually during the day it "settles down" and flattens out a bit
In this version I added some bust darts and as a result, there are no diagonal drag lines down the front. The fabric has so much texture that the darts blend in.
No thumbholes this time; I was worried I might totally turn into a muppet if I went with the thumb holes.
There is so much texture to this fabric that all the seams blend in to each other.
Here are the dress form shots. You can see how tall I can get the collar to be, but it doesn't stay that way.
I sewed this shirt on the sewing machine and then serged, just like the last one. I like having the stitching from the machine so I have my guide for cutting. Also basting helps with the fit. I basted the arms as entirely 1" SA but this fabric has half the crosswise stretch as my last two versions so I actually needed 5/8" SA in the bicep and 1" in the forearm.
The serged edge looks fine when the right sides are together, but as you can see where I serged the raw edge for the sleeve hem, it had difficulty with all that texture. Looks ugly, but I don't think could have done better than that with, ahem, all that texture. I don't have a wide range of serger thread colors so I went with navy. Turquoise was already on the serger but I felt the navy looked better so I changed it. I have changed my serger thread a few times this year, and it is not so scary anymore. I think in 2014 it started off brown, then turquoise, then navy, and since this shirt I have changed it to white. My main tip is before changing the thread, serge the fabric first in a few test samples, even though the thread is the wrong color. Get all the settings etc right first and have a great test sample. Then change the thread and run another test sample. I have been getting good results doing that...for me, if the sample is really bad after changing the thread, I clip all threads and rethread and then run the sample again. That way I know it's a problem with the rethreading and not with how this fabric is behaving with my serger.
I stablilized the shoulder seam and pressed to back. Raw edges are all serged. Love love love how the inside looks with serged edges.
I blind hemmed the hems. I remember back at PR Day 2011 in Austin, PR member Leslie in Austin wore a sweater knit shirt she made (the Kwik Sew cowl neck one) and I asked her how she hemmed it. "With my blind hemmer" she said. I had no idea what that meant. Now I understand there is a machine called a blind hemmer, but I used the "stretch blind hem" setting on my sewing machine and it worked like a charm.
That's the end of my sleeve. Blind hem is blind.
So this fabric was actually quite easy to work with. Highly recommend!
Ok, so last post Vanessa was commenting on serging sleeve caps. I practised first. I had a little bit of left over fabric from my first Renfrew so I cut out basically short sleeves and the armhole front/back and practiced first. I have been doing a lot of pracicting on every technique before I try it to get the tension right and the technique down. Also every knit is different so....
Here is the inside of one of my two practice sleeve caps.
And here's the outside:
I also practiced pressing the sleevecap on my ham. This made me feel more confident when it was time to sew up the real deal.
Ok, be careful out there if you're in a snowy clime. I got a flat tire hitting a ginormous pot hole and I fell outside after taking a picture of the snow on the trees (though that was more to do with my own inattention than the ice itself). It really shook me up!
I made it again in the same sweater knit, this time in turquoise. (Alternate titles for this post were "Groundhog Day" and "Oops, I did it again".).
I don't normally show you the interior of my garments, but when I do....I make sure to take lots and lots of photos!
This is the first time I've ever serged a knit together!
I sewed the seams on my sewing machine first (that's the navy thread line) with a slight zigzag stitch and then serged on my serger. That's because I wanted to finalize the fit, and also because wasn't too sure I'd hit the 5/8" SA every time on my serger. I used my stitch line as an additional guide. I sewed with navy thread on my sewing machine to make it easier for me to see the stitching.
I feel very grown up with my knit serged seams.
The turquoise serger thread is the first serger thread I ever bought. ATP and I were in NYC and she was determined to show me how to use my serger. I would have chosen brown or black thread and she chose turquoise. It is a great match for this shirt!
I stabilized the shoulder seam and pressed to the back.
This time I sewed the sleeves with 1" SA for a closer fit. My photographer Ellen said the shirt seemed to fit me better, but the only difference was in the sleeves (well, color too). The rest is the same.
There is swayback pooling, but my Ellen "fixed it" for the shot, which really made me laugh.
I am very proud of the sleeve cap too! No wavy/bumpiness.
I added the thumb holes again.
This is to show my twin needle hem.
I made one more Renfrew this weekend....which I'll show you next post. The fabric is really neat.
Be well! and if you live where it's snowing, hope your snow day is a sew day!
In February last year I sewed up my first Sewaholic Renfrew muslin. What attracted me to this pattern was the amazing collar in view C, and while the collar turned out great, the rest did not....
I sewed the shirt in a double knit. Oops. Tight fitting + sleeves + double knit != good combination.
I started with the size 8. That was too small to start.
It was too small in the back--the bra lines are not a good look
It was too small in the front in the armpit area, creating lots of wrinkles. It generally felt uncomfortable. Somehow I wore this shirt on a 6 hour flight but I don't know how!!!
I also was not loving the bottom band. It wasn't wide enough really for my hips.
Two weeks ago, I cut out a muslin from blue sweater knit in 33% stretch crosswise. I started with a 12 this time, after following how to do flat pattern measurements in the Tilton's Craftsy Class "The Ultimate T-shirt". I went to the get my hair cut. I came back and Beth had emailed me to tell me her ideas on how to get the Renfrew to fit. Great!!!
We fit the Renfrew through emailing pictures and Skype!
Here is the end result of the pattern adjustments. These pix were taken on the fabric I used for the real deal.
1. Make more space in the armhole area. There's a lot going on in this photo, but essentially the slope of the shoulder seam was adjusted to add a half inch to the armhole. The sides of the front of the top were "fanned" outward to give more room in the bust. An inch was added in the bust area of the front of the top but not the back. I drew in notches on the front and back side seam bust area following New Look 6405 (which had this feature) as my guide. Basically the back of the top is stretched while sewing the side seam in the notch area. This gives more room to the bust without changing the side seam length.
2. Made a 1" CB swayback adjustment. The shoulder area was adjusted just like the front (from original starting place at neckline out to an additional half inch at the armhole. The notches were added.
I cut the pattern across the back at the waistline and overlapped 1". Then I placed the pattern on the fold. This means it is a bit wider across the back here but it is shorter.
So I am laughing at my wonky cutting lines. I had traced the stitching line from my muslin to the pattern in purple and then added SA in black. Sadly it wasn't til near the end that I remembered that Jacqui gave me the SA curve ruler to make that process easier. I evened the lines out while I cut the shirt out.
Here's a closeup of the shoulder adjustment. As Beth explained, this makes the armhole area larger and makes the sleeve drop, which makes the whole thing MUCH more comfy as there is more room!
3. Because a half inch was added to the armhole, the sleeve cap needed a half inch added to it.
Soooo....all these adjustments, plus the fact that my "real deal" fabric had 50% crosswise stretch, lead to a VERY comfy top.
Also, I added a little feature....the thumbholes!
This picture reminds me, I sewed all hems using Emma Seabrooke's SewKeysEinterfacings and then twin needled the hems. I'll have to write about that in another post.
This one was sewn on my sewing machine; the next one I want to sew on my serger. The fabric is the same, it's just a different color.
Ok, some more pix
My coworker took the "at work" pix
Collar close up
It is hard to see but here I have flipped the collar up to show you that instead of cutting off the SA, I edgestitched it then stitched again a half inch away. This makes the collar roll quite nicely.
The fabric is from Stone Mountain and Daughter, from PR weekend 2013 in SF.
I want to make two more of these! Like I said, the next one will be on my serger. I've never sewn a garment on my serger before. Just serged the raw edges of wovens to keep them from unravelling.
Also, a word about the armpit wrinkles. I really wanted to eliminate them and Beth said it's impossible to do that unless you put a dart in, and darts can look weird in knits. The Tiltons put a dart in, in the armhole itself, and I may try that sometime in my quest for a wrinkle free world. But for now, I'm letting it go. ALL of my RTW knit tops have the armpit wrinkles. Part of why I sew is to get a fit that's better than RTW but for now, the top is comfy and I love the collar and the fabric so I have at least 2 more versions I want to sew.
Thank you Beth for helping me fit the Renfrew! I would not have gotten this far without you! Sewing friends are the best, aren't they???