Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 Year in Review

I'm enjoying reading everyone's "end of year" posts.  I've even found a few new-to-me bloggers by looking through other people's blog rolls and reading their "end of year" posts...

Once again, I'm cutting it close with my own "end of year retrospective" post.    I was thinking of skipping writing this altogether to go work on my Sewaholic Thurlow muslin, but I'll work on them after finishing this!

How much? Of what type?
This year I made 14 garments (6 dresses, 3 skirts, 2 shirts, 1 slip, 1 pair of jeans and 1 pair of corduroys), plus 5 pairs of underwear, 1 bag, 1 apron, 1 pillow, and 3 pillowcases.

Dress review
Since I only made 6 of them, it's easy to review them....

Favorite dress:
argyle concept dress done!
The argyle concept dress.  
It's a Frankenpattern but uses NewLook 6071 as a starting point.
First time I made my own piping.

First dress of 2012
New Look 6067 done
New Look 6067 

First time using a narrow hem foot

Butterick 5638 blissfully done
Butterick 5638.

 Dress that made me almost give up sewing entirely
Burda Style 7253
BurdaStyle 7253 

Dress that's like a wearing a costume:

BurdaStyle 7287 done
BurdaStyle 7287

Dress that is fine to wear in the general public but will never, ever be worn to a sewing event:

New Look 6968 done
New Look 6968
Worn in public....

Biggest project:
My first pair of jeans were full of firsts!  

J Stern Jeans day 3 in progress
My first pair of pants with a front fly zipper.
First time using an edgestitching foot.
First time using jeans topstitching thread and topstitching needle.
First time using Wonder Tape.
First time using a shank button.
J Stern Jeans day 3 in progress
First time I embroidered my name in a garment.

My second-ever pair of pants:
J Stern Designs corduroy jeans done!
My cords. 

Favorite underwear of 2012:
oh the inaugural UW of the year
Favorite skirt of 2012:
July 2012 New Look 6843
New Look 6843 skirt, redone 6 years after the first version. 

Favorite 2012 shirt
It wasn't for me!  I broke a few of my personal sewing rules to make this shirt for a friend of mine as a going-away present, and she loved it!
Simplicity 2892 on my friend

Misses in 2012: 
This fabric is terrible. After sitting in it for 10 min it looks incredibly wrinkled.  I think the pattern is great though, and may try it again.
New Look 6103 view A done!
New Look 6103 

The one shirt I made for myself this year was a horrible failure--I'm not revisiting that one.

Noteworthy items 
I was honored to be the Pattern Review Member In Focus for January 2012
Member in focus page

New Look 6067 was featured on the New Look Facebook page, while it was still in progress!
New Look's Facebook page on 1/17/12 with my NL 6067 in progress dress:  Thanks for the love, New Look!
Sewing-related Trips
In April, I met up with blogger Vanessa in Atlanta during a work trip, where we went to Gail K Fabrics, Atlanta Thread and I later went to Whipstitch
Vanessa, me and our fabric purchases at Gail K fabrics

In May, I attended Pattern Review weekend in NYC for my third year in a row of PR fun!
me and Swatch at Mood
Me with Swatch at Mood Fabrics 

In August, Antoinette and I attended Male Pattern Boldness Day in NYC.
me, Peter, Antoinette
In September, Bonnie and I attended the American Sewing Expo in Novi, Michigan.  It was SO fun to have Bonnie there with me in class! 
Me and Bonnie with samples we made at Jennifer Stern's jeans class.  
And it was great to see Lynnelle again!
me with Momma Askey and Lynnelle  

Classes/2012 goals
I took two Pattern Review classes: "Breaking Your Serger Out of the Box" and "Blue Prints to Blue Jeans" both by Jennifer Stern. I also took Jennifer's hands-on class "Professional Jeans Construction" at the ASE.
She is such a kind, patient instructor and without those classes I wouldn't be using my serger, and I definitely wouldn't have made pants that fit! (those were two of my 2012 goals--use my serger and make pants with a fly front).
my dressform final padding
I finally bought a Roxy dressform and padded it out in Fabulous Fit.  It has changed my life!  (Another 2012 goal completed--actually that goal dates back to 2009 or so!).   Read all about the experience here.

Unmet 2012 goal:
I never learned how to blind hem nor use the blind hem foot on my machine.

2013 goals:
  • To learn how to use more feet, especially the blind hem foot and walking foot
  • To learn more about my brand new sewing machine!
  • My new Brother Project Runway Limited Edition PC-420

  • To complete all the online classes I bought on-sale at Pattern Review and on Craftsy (I went a little overboard buying classes.)
  • To continue to refine the fit on all my garments
  • To make a binder of all the stuff I have collected at sewing conferences
  • To start reading the sewing books that have been given to me over the past year, or purchased by me
  • DSC09961
  • To get the twitter feed working again on my blog
  • Start thinking about redesigning my blog 
  • figure out how to make lined zipper pouches. I spent more hours than I care to admit trying online tutorials and could not make a decent looking one!!! 
  • Attend PR weekend in SF in April, and possibly the ASE in Sept.

Overall I made less than in previous years, but I learned more. I became a slower seamster, but am more careful and did more things the "right" way.  I had more successes and fewer failures.  I learned a lot of new skills and bought a lot of new tools for my sewing room (and reorganized the space, twice!)  I am still kind of shocked that I made my first pair of fly-front pants.

And to you, my dear readers:  Thank you for reading and commenting and helping with my questions--I appreciate your  kind words, sweet thoughts, and tender encouragement every step (and mis-step) of the way! 

Wishing you a new year filled with joy, health, and successful sewing!!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

McCall's 5651 view I: The Slip

This one has been on my "to-sew" list for a long time!

It's McCall's 5651 view I, a slip.
M5651 view I
I wasn't sure how this would turn out, but I think it's cute!
M5651 view I
The back:
M5651 view I
The full back view:
M5651 view I
The side view:
M5651 view I
The bow:
M5651 view I
The ruffled elastic and bow were from Pacific Trimming in NYC.  The elastic was purchased during PR weekend in May, and the bow was purchased during Male Pattern Boldness Day in August.

The fabric is a deliciously soft  knit from Haberman Fabrics in Royal Oak, Michigan, purchased in Sept on my trip to the American Sewing Expo.

It sewed up relatively quickly, within a few hours, and came out better than I expected!
I didn't cut the slit into the slip as there is plenty of walking room already. I also didn't add the elastic under the bust as it doesn't need it. There is no support in this garment, but I think that's pretty typical for this kind of a slip. The cups are a little big for me as you can see on my dressform, but I'm not going back and fixing it.
I sewed this up at the end of Thanksgiving weekend, after the jeans but before my cords. A perfect in-between big-projects kind of project!
I wanted to write this up now, before the big "end of year recap post" that will go up before Jan 1.
Be well!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

New sewing goodies!

Look at what my parents surprised me with for Christmas!!
My new Brother Project Runway Limited Edition PC-420
It's the Brother Project Runway Limited Edition PC-420 sewing machine!!
My new Brother Project Runway Limited Edition PC-420
It's computerized!
Brother Project Runway features
It cuts the thread for you! It puts the needle down for you! It lifts the needle out of the fabric for you!
My new Brother Project Runway Limited Edition PC-420 keyhole buttonholes!!!
It makes keyhole buttonholes and bartacks!!
My new Brother Project Runway Limited Edition PC-420 example stitches
It does a little touch of embroidery!! My favorite is the alligator.

I was impressed. Mom picked the machine out herself, reading amazon reviews to find the right one.  I played with it a lot on Christmas Day.

I'm really excited that it has so many features my current machine  (Baby Lock Companion 2150 circa 1994) does not have, like the bartack feature and keyhole buttonholes that are great for jeans.  I *love* the button for putting the needle into the fabric and the button for cutting the threads.  So great!

So here is my fleet of machines:
My fleet of sewing machines
My 2012 Brother, My 1994 Baby Lock,  and my hand-me-down serger circa mid-ninties.

I'm so excited to have two sewing machines for my next pair of jeans. One machine can be for sewing and the other can be for topstitching.

Also, my custom-made ham, seam roll and ham stand arrived the week before Christmas.
Ham & ham stand from Stitch Nerd
Ham and ham stand.
Seam roll from Stitch Nerd
Seam roll and ham stand
Here's what they look like on the side (half cotton and half wool):
Ham, seam roll and ham stand from Stitch Nerd
At least two of you recommended Stitch Nerd. I love my fabric choices--they are really fun!

I plan on writing a separate post about the ham and seam roll after I've used them for a few months.

Sadly my full length mirror in my sewing room met with a tragic end tonight.  It was a total accident.  I really loved that mirror as it was free, had a cool frame and made me look taller and thinner than I am.   RIP mirror! 

I have at least two more posts for you before Jan 1. Lots of end-of-year bonus material (pun!)

Be well!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Judith in Australia shared some scenes from an Aussie's a bit of Kyle-style Jersey Christmas...

 My holiday card this year.
New Look 6071 and Swatch at Mood Fabrics during PR weekend May 2012. 

Christmas cactus!!
My Christmas Cactus at work, barely hanging on, blooming Princeton orange....
Christmas cookies!!
My standard Christmas gift to special people. Nestle Toll House chocolate chip cookies with walnuts, baked from scratch
My Whole Foods Christmas tree
My Whole Foods Christmas tree, with 2 pillows I made in the background.
Mary Englebreit wreath I made circa ??
The Mary Englebreit wreath I made probably 10 years ago
Hallmark pin..
Hallmark Christmas pin made just for seamsters.
NewLook 6731 and J Stern Designs Jeans
My Christmas Eve outfit, New Look 6731 shirt and J Stern Designs corduroy jeans. Thank you for all your encouraging, sweet comments about my corduroys!
NewLook 6731 and J Stern Designs Jeans
Gratuitous daytime derriere shot 

Merry Christmas to all!!  Wishing you a joyous holiday season. I plan on at least two more posts before the year is over. See you then!  

Saturday, December 22, 2012

My first corduroys are done!

18 hours after cutting....they are done!
 J Stern Designs corduroy jeans done!
J Stern Designs corduroy jeans done!
J Stern Designs corduroy jeans done!
J Stern Designs corduroy jeans done!
The full view back:
J Stern Designs corduroy jeans done!
J Stern Designs corduroy jeans done!
J Stern Designs corduroy jeans done!
All buttoned up:
J Stern Designs corduroy jeans done!
Back with two belt loops at CB:
J Stern Designs corduroy jeans done!
Closeup of pocket:
J Stern Designs corduroys done!
Inside.  The button is from deep button stash, probably purchased at Cloth World's clearance bin when I was a teenager.  The card said the button was made in Italy.  It also says it's green.  Hrm.  It looks like a copper color to me! 
J Stern Designs corduroy jeans done!
Inside with flat felled yoke seam, and my name hand embroidered in the back, with the date.:
J Stern Designs corduroys done
This time I topstitched the inseam with my edgestitching foot:
J Stern Designs corduroy jeans done!
The hem. I used this technique from the Seasoned Homemaker this time, it worked very well!  
J Stern Designs corduroy jeans!
I heart tailor's chalk.  Here is how I marked it for sewing on the beltloops.  This time I cut six 3.5inch loops out of the strip instead of the suggested five 4" loops.  That way I could sew two loops, one on each side of the CB seam.  That was a lot easier than fighting my machine to stitch through who knows how many layers!

I also serged the cut ends of the belt loops and used fray check on them. 
J Stern Designs corduroy jeans!

Improvements over my jeans:
  • Sewed thighs with 1/4" SA, resulting in 1" additional space all around the thigh.  This is much more comfortable for sitting!
  • Before sewing on waistband, I sewed the very top of the jeans with a wider seam allowance.  The result is it looks like I won't have to wear a belt with these!  (Whereas I have to wear a belt with the jeans).
  • Topstitched the inseam.  Remember to do that before sewing the side seams!
  • I made fake bar tacks on the fly front.  My machine does not have an auto-bartack maker, so I used a narrow zigzag stitch with a very short stitch length to mimic a bartack.
  • Embroidered the date with my name in the waistband facing.  Maybe I will start doing that for all my clothes? Hrm.
I'm wearing these cords right now and they feel great.  The fabric is super nice.  It feels luxurious and the fact that it's no-wale corduroy means it looks like velveteen.

I still can't get over the fact I have made two pairs of pants with fly fronts.  Last year at this time, the idea was scaring me quite a lot!
J Stern Designs jeans and corduroys, done!
Be well!!!