Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Every Fabric is Its Own Universe: New Look 6843

New Look 6843 as another knit skirt
Since it's snowy and cold, I don't know when I will get to actually wear this skirt to work, hence the sewing room photos.
turquoise vs black/gray
Last fall I was on my quilted fabric kick.   Remember when I quilted these samples above?

 Well, in November I went to Kashi's with Tomasa for MPB Day and he had basically what I was trying to emulate:

LOVE this pattern!
I know, right?  It's not quilted, but it's the look I was going for.

It's also totally indestructible polyester, that thick and scratchy double knit kind, with a lot of body, and is slightly stretchy.
New Look 6843 as another knit skirt
Closeup of waistband on my skirt....on my dressform.
Interior of NL6843
The inside is gray

And it was $2 a yard.  I would have paid $20 because that pattern was exactly what I wanted and I love love love the small scale of it.

Kashi, darling, throw three yards of it in my box.  Thanks, love.
New Look 6843 as another knit skirt
New Look 6843 as another knit skirt
New Look 6843 as another knit skirt
On my topless Izzy.  I have a slip underneath because the fabric is not opaque, but my slip isn't nearly as long as the skirt....
New Look 6843 as another knit skirt
There is some gathering on the back of Izzy, but less so on me.

I went back to my TNT skirt pattern, New Look 6843.  I was thinking this would be a "quick and easy" project.

Don't get too comfortable.  Every fabric is its own universe.    Sadly I took no photographs of the missteps, but there were several!

I actually started with regular NL 6843 and cut it out my usual size and sewed in all 6 darts (2 in front, 4 in back).  and I thought it looked terrible.  It was SO obvious that the pattern was not matching where the darts were.  That little amt of stretch made a big difference.  It turned out to be gigantic.

So then I went to version of NL 6843, the one I traced off and folded out the pleat for knits.  Its stretch is minimal but enough that it makes a difference.

Basted the side seams and tried it on and it was still a bit big....

Sewed on the elastic waistband, but there was too much gathering, especially in the back.

Tried various things including adding darts to the back--small (just under the waistband)--longer ones (that could be seen), totally hated it.

Basted the side seams closer at the waist.  Reattached waistband.

Then I wound up with the waistband being too small!  There was no way I could wear that all day.

Finally I figured it out:

  1. Get the skirt to be relatively smooth front and back by basting the side seams accordingly. 
  2. Press the side seams.
  3. Take a length of elastic, position it over the skirt, find where it feels comfy.  Cut the elastic so there are a few inches on either side of where the join will be.
  4. Baste the elastic into a loop.
  5. Try the elastic on again and sit down in it.  If not comfy, try 2 and 3 again.
  6. Once comfy, cut the tails off the elastic so there is just an inch or so on either side of the join.
  7. Serge the side seams and press.
  8. Move the join to the center back (my preference, the join could be at the side seam).
  9. Now take tailors chalk and chalk where the elastic meets the side seams!!!  This was the key for me.  I was dividing my elastic and waistband into quarters, but my back at my waist is smaller than my front at my waist....resulting in a lot of gathering back there if I quartered it.
  10. Zig zag just the front of the waistband on!  Leave the back flapping around.
  11. Try on again and turn around.  Adjust the elastic.  If you have a sway back (as I do), I wound up pulling up the raw edge of the skirt in the center back, tapering to zero at the edges, to remove some of the slight pooling.  Take chalk and mark where the top edge of the elastic should be.
  12. Now zig zag the back on and try one more time....
  13. Good enough? Now serge it!
  14. If everything is how you like it, DO NOT PRESS the waistband if your elastic is the kind that loves steam.  I used Pamela's Fantastic Elastic, which I like quite a lot, but pressing it will shrink it down (hence the too-small waistband in one of my prior attempts).
Then there was the hem....Turning it under an inch and blind hemming looked terrible!  It destroyed the drape of the skirt.  The rolled hem didn't look good is thick poly double knit after all. I wound up just serging the raw edge to maintain the drape.  And pressed the edge.

Also it is longer than usual....but I think it looks more elegant that way?
New Look 6843 as another knit skirt
Spoiler alert is on my dressform:  another new series I have forming in my head entitled "RTW Hacks".  That is the after.  You will giggle at the before.

Yesterday was a snow day, so I made my first ever skort (yes, skirt with shorts attached) out of performance fabric, for the gym.  Quite the adventure.  I think I'm hooked!

Be well!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Olympus sashiko No. 12: colorful daisies

Symmetry galore!!

See how no stitches pass through the center of the daisy?  Negative space at the intersection?
up close and personal
While in progress, before pressing

red, yellow, turquoise, purple, green, hot orange with hot orange border!
After pressing with the Elna Press

After stitching the Olympus Dragonfly kit, I started searching for more sashiko to stitch.

Purl Soho had a blog post from 2009 of this pillow and I had to have it!!  But they did not have the design in  stock.   Finally I found this seller on etsy (TaDaa) that came with the colors but with two changes.

I  substituted Olympus sashiko thread hot orange #22 for the light pink that came with the kit as I felt it was more striking that way.  

I also stitched it the way it is shown on the Purl website and not the TaDaa way.

So how do you stitch it the Purl way?  Use the 6 fold symmetry of the daisy as a starting point, see below for step-by-step pictures. (There is a LOT of symmetry going on with this pattern for you symmetry lovers).

I ordered the kit on Dec 29 and it was delivered on Dec 31.  Perfect!  I started stitching that night and a week later I finished it.

The start:  it's a preprinted pattern.
red, yellow
Red and yellow (like a "flat helix", for lack of a better description.  Alpha helices are 3D (right or left handed) but because of the negative space in the center of each flower (2D helix), you don't know which strand is crossing over the other's without a hand...thus I'm calling it a "flat helix".)
red, yellow, turquoise
Red, yellow, turquoise (so you're stitching the turquoise on the diagonal)
best red, yellow, turquoise, purple
red, yellow, turquoise, purple  (the purple and turquoise "flat helix" are on the diagonal--can  you see it?)
red, yellow, turquoise, purple, green
Red, yellow, turquoise, purple, green.  (so the green is half the helix on the diagonal that slopes upward from left to right)
red, yellow, turquoise, purple, green, orange
Red, yellow, turquoise, purple, green, hot orange (the hot orange completes the third flat helix)
red, yellow, turquoise, purple, green, hot orange with hot orange border!
Red, yellow, turquoise, purple, green, hot orange with border!!
Done and Elna Pressed!!

Relaxing, meditative, no fitting involved, sense of accomplishment!!

One of my friends said it's pretty but what do you do with it?

Olympus recommends a tea towel or pillow.  I'll probably make it into a pillow.  For now it's draped over a pillow, in a place where I can see it every day.  It makes me happy to see it.   But it's not just about making the sashiko into something else, it's also about the joy of stitching it.   The stitches are not perfect and that's something for me to work on but hey I just started and I want to enjoy it!

I also really enjoy that there's no fitting involved.

Did I mention, no fitting?

No fitting.

Be well!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Sewaholic Renfrew in chunky sweater knit

Sewaholic Renfew in Sweater Knit

Sewaholic Renfrew in creamy sweater knit
I love the giant collar!!

I made the Sewaholic Renfrew 3x before, in thin sweater knit here and here,  and a fabric that I refer to as Muppets here, but this was my first time sewing the Renfrew in a chunky acrylic sweater knit.
Sewaholic Renfrew in creamy sweater knit
I purchased this fabric at Haberman's in Royal Oak, MI, before the ASE in Sept 2014. has what appears to be the same fabric right now if you search on "sweater knit".
Sewaholic Renfew in Sweater Knit
Sewaholic Renfew in Sweater Knit

This is how I make sure I don't use a cut out piece as a "scrap" during my sewing process--I pin the pieces to my dress form also so they don't get lost
 I swore I had bought enough to make a sweater dress but it wasn't enough.  I had to get creative to cut out the collar (which is two pieces of fabric).  I should note that I don't actually cut anything on the floor anymore, this was just to get the  layout.  I rough cut the fabric and then cut the piece out on my cutting table with my rotary cutter and cutting mat. I cut it out at the end of 2014 and sewed it up but it was too big at first....

All the deets on how Sunny Gal helped me fit the Renfrew in early 2014 are here.  After making all those adjustments to make the sleeve fit and to make it larger in the bust for fabric with 25-50% stretch (Muppets:  25%; Stone Mtn knit:  50%), it meant it turned out to be quite large in the bust with this fabric which is almost 75% stretch, and I couldn't fill out the extra space without some socks, ha ha.

I had learned that point in the PR "More Knits" class while doing the homework for a half-scale t-shirt (if you sew the exact same size pattern in a less stretchy knit and a more stretchy knit, the less stretchy knit will be smaller and the more stretchy kit will be much much larger) but this was my first practical application and it totally made sense.  I wound up not including the extra length for bust, and sewed with 1" seam allowance in the arms and side seams, and then taking it in a bit more from the bust to the armpit.

Dressform pix (after fitting)
Sewaholic Renfrew
Sewaholic Renfrew in creamy sweater knit
Sewaholic Renfrew in creamy sweater knit

I understitched the collar so that the undercollar doesn't peek out.
Sewaholic Renfrew in creamy sweater knit

I blind stitched the hems.
Sewaholic Renfrew in creamy sweater knit
Blind hem is blind

After sewing this and with all this cold weather I want to make the Renfrew like 5 more times in various chunky sweater knits, but I have no more chunky sweater knits in stash, just thin ones.  I'm contemplating taking one of my thin sweater knits in stash and just lenghtening the Renfrew into a dress, or frankenpatterning the Renfrew top onto the V1351 skirt.
Sewaholic Renfrew in creamy sweater knit
It like to baste each seam by machine first, fit, serge, repeat.

Out of the scraps, I made this hat (McCalls 4664) which looks sort of ridiculous when worn together with the sweater.  It is not the right fabric to wear as a hat in super cold weather, but I have made this hat before from fleece and wear the fleece one all the time.
Sewaholic Renfew in Sweater Knit
Sewaholic Renfew in Sweater Knit
Sewaholic Renfew in Sweater Knit
In my post about my new serger, someone asked about Differential Feed, or DF, and what it does.    I always run a test through my serger before serging the real deal to make sure everything's ok.  DF can correct issues with knit fabric being stretched or compressed.

Sewaholic Renfrew
Here this shows that with DF set to N, the fabric is stretched and convexes outward.
But with DF set to 2, the fabric is straight across.
Also note that this sample was 3" wide to start, so the finished serged seam should also be 3" afterward.  Sometimes serging stretches the fabric but not in such a crazy convex shape so it is not as obvious that it is stretched out, but if you measured it before serging, you know if it stretched (or shrank) or not.
You should test stitching horizontally and vertically, as you might need to change the DF for one direction and not the other, or slightly different settings for both.  You may even need yet a different DF setting if you are stitching on the diagonal (like an A-line skirt).

After all that winter white, here's some random color for your January!  It's green dianthus purchased at Whole Foods.  I take two bunches and arrange them like they're one giant pom-pom, then rubber band them together.  People love to touch them!  Very soft.

Be well!

Monday, January 5, 2015

Simplicity 9776 gym tank DONE + a new blog for you to follow!

Simplicity 9776 gym tank
This was actually the last garment of 2014.  When I wrote my 2014 recap, I had this down for "half a garment" but I've since decided that it is DONE.

The Fabric, Pattern and FOE Binding Method

The pattern is Simplicity 9776 (it's like 1776, but 8,000 years later), an oldie but goodie pattern that I've used for making gym tanks before....three of them in fact.

Simplicity 9776 gym tank

The outer layer is a burgundy stretch lace-type fabric that I bought at the FIDM scholarship store in Nov of 2013 with Rachel and Jeanette.

The stretch lace is underlined with black Nike Dri-Fit fabric that I recently bought on
I basted the lace to the dri-fit and then basted the tank together, tried it on and then serged it with my BabyLock Enlighten.  Seriously, if you can get someone to buy that machine for you (or save your $$$) it is an amazing machine.  My old serger enjoyed chewing up lace tanks for lunch, whereas the Enlighten serges through it like butter.
Simplicity 9776

Simplicity 9776
I did not hem the tank, just positioned it so that this wide stripe would be the "hem", and cut it with my rotary cutter.  I also didn't hem the dri-fit.  Neither the lace tank nor the Dri-Fit is curling nor unraveling, score!
Simplicity 9776

The method for applying the FOE (purchased on Etsy as a 10 yard roll) was from the PR class "More Knits" by Sarah Veblen.  You can see that the fabric is just puckering slightly lying here on my cutting table because the FOE is stretched during application.  If you don't stretch the FOE, the binding will not lie flat against your body.  Sarah emphasized this point during the class, but as Jennifer Stern would say, "ask me how I know".

My other gym tanks had plain ol' knit fabric as underlining, which means that by the end of class, they are drenched with sweat.  This typically doesn't bother me as I take a shower right there at the gym, and my limp and sweaty tank is proof of my workout, ha ha.  So using the Dri-Fit fabric was a little experiment.
Simplicity 9776 gym tank
Simplicity 9776 gym tank
Back.  I matched the stripes in the back
Simplicity 9776 gym tank
Side seams
This tank has a dart in it, so I matched the stripes under the dart.  I honestly don't remember whose blog I read where they said to make sure to match the stripes UNDER the dart while cutting out the fabric instead of OVER the dart (because if you match OVER the dart, they will not match UNDER the dart which is where everyone can see because who is looking under your armpit) but that  tip stuck with me.  Thank you, blogger I can't remember!
Simplicity 9776 gym tank
So the reason I felt it was not "done" was because the placement of the FOE is not symmetrical. I thought about ripping it out and trying again but I'm afraid to do damage to the lace.  The risk of total damage and destruction outweighs my perfectionism and I'm letting it go.  I know.  This is a big step for me.

Simplicity 9776 gym tank
So I've worn it twice to the gym now.  On New Year's Day (when I took these pix) I took balletone, which is a somewhat-sweaty but not overly-sweaty class.   The dri-fit fabric was great and wicked away the moisture.
Simplicity 9776 gym tank

I washed the tank yesterday (wash in the washing machine and line dried).

Tonight I wore the tank for boogietone, which is a high-sweat class.  The bra I wore the tank with is not an exercise bra so the bra itself retains moisture whereas the top releases it.  I would say that overall the tank was not as sweat filled as my cotton tanks and probably wouldn't be sweaty at all if I had worn a moisture wicking bra too.
Simplicity 9776 gym tank
The next tank I will make using a similar wicking fabric, but will be cut from a freebie conference t-shirt that happens to be "performance fabric".
Simplicity 9776 gym tank
You can see how my bra strap does not align with my tank strap on my left shoulder, but it does align on my right side.  I'm also going to try to let my perfectionist side let that one go too.....

You can see the sneak peek of the next garment I made....that's the Sewaholic Renfrew on my dressform.  At that point it was gigantic in the bust (because that fabric was waaay stretchier than others I have used for Renfrews) and not hemmed.  I have since made it fit!

New Blog Alert!!
In other news, if you are looking for a new style blog to follow, my friend Ellen has started a really fun one with her daughter Rachael, Style 25 to 55.  The concept is to take a fabric/look/style and show how to rock the same concept at ages 25 and 55 in a really fun, clean, concise and snappy way.  Check it out here!  They will be posting on Mondays and Fridays.

Be well!