My good friend Tracy sent me a few links to some patterns the other day, and this wrap dress from So Sew Easy really caught my eye. I immediately thought to myself “What if I can turn that dress into a top? It can’t be that hard!” I downloaded the pattern, and got to work cutting and taping pieces together. I had planned to use the yard and a half of yellow burnout fabric I bought that I was on the fence about in case it didn’t turn out, but it turned out great!

The first thing I did after cutting the pattern pieces was measure myself from my armpit down my side to where I wanted the top to end up at. Then I marked out the extension of fabric with my pins and started cutting. This pattern has numerous pleats in it for shaping, which I left in the same places, and just extended the one on the left front out to the edge of the fabric. My first try on alerted me that the top was going to be much too big, but I believe that was due to user error when taping the pattern together.

I took it in a it at the side seams, tried on again, and adjusted from there. I left it a little on the loose side, though when (Not if, definitely when) I make this as a dress I will adjust for a snugger fit. The other change I made to this design was I added bias binding to the sleeve ends and the neckline- I used a contrasting medium grey and I think it really gives the top a more finished look. I tacked a few stitches onto where the binding criss-crossed in the center front as this fabric does not have great recovery and I didn’t want it gaping by the end of the day.

sewsoeasywraptop

 

If I made this as a top again I might add more pleats into the right side. There are four now, but they only run about half of the distance from top edge to bottom hem. I’m not entirely positive on the best way to do that, but the internet offers a host of information and how-to’s on pretty much everything so pretty sure I can sort it out easily enough.

If you like my creation, pop on by Deby’s site and get the pattern for yourself! Make it as a top or as a dress! 🙂

First off, let me say I love this blouse! However, that said, I learned a few things form it about choosing the wrong fabric. This is a really cute blouse with a rounded collar and a giant bow in the front. I think this blouse would be equally cute (and someone suggested almost Asian) if finished without the collar and bow. I fully intent to make two other versions of this blouse, one with neither collar or bow, and one without the bow.

S2154ViewBFront

 

I chose a polyester charmeuse for this blouse, mainly on account of it being pretty, but that turned out to be a bad call. The fabric was so set on unraveling that after I finished it and put it on, the seams just started shredding apart. Eek! I ended up taking some bias tape and binding the seams which seems to have solved the problem.

S2154ViewBBack

 

I hadn’t finished the armholes when I took this pic of the back, but the only changes I made were adding a hook and eye to close the back neck rather than a button and loop as called for.

I love how this blouse turned out, but there is very little ease in this pattern and if you’re between sizes, definitely go up a size! I really should have cut a 20 instead of an 18 because of my large bust. Next time I sew it, I’ll be adding to the seam allowances just a bit to give myself enough room to finish this with French seams and not be quite so snug.

You might remember if you’ve been reading for long that I sewed up View E of this dress a while back. I sewed it out of an inexpensive green stretch velvet for a friend’s prom-themed birthday party and it turned out almost perfect. I realized a few days ago I have never had a maxi dress in my life- the only long dresses of any sort I’ve had have been at least semi-formal. I decided to fix that.

This pattern was not the one I first had picked out for this fabric. The one I initially bought it for is not bra strap friendly, and as an F cup, I need to be wearing a bra. This is my fabric, all ready to cut. Its more turquoise than blue in person. I wish I had the room for a huge cutting table so I wouldn’t have to fold my yardage back on itself when pinning and cutting, but I make do with the space I have. 🙂

ReadyToCut

 

View C is the full-length version without sleeves.

S1612Envelope

 

Its got the twisted back with that lovely opening, and a knotted center front. When I sewed View E of this dress, it was really easy, so I expected this view to be easy too. In a way it was. If I had followed the directions properly and not skipped a step (if this pattern says baste, for the love of all that’s holy, BASTE!) it would have gone together smoothly and easily. Instead I skipped a tiny step, and spent ages undoing my work to go back and do it because the issue could not resolved otherwise.

All told, I spent about 3 hours on this dress. I did have a break when we went out for beer and dinner, buut did the hemming when we got back and my head cleared a bit.

S1612CFront

 

I LOVE how it turned out! So comfortable and the fit is fabulous!

S1612CBack

 

The only thing I did not like was the back is just low enough I had to rig up some elastic to pull my bra strap down so it doesn’t show. Otherwise, a wonderful dress and pattern, and I love it!

As you’ve seen, I’ve sewn McCalls 6173 a few times, both the pants view (twice) and the leggings view (once). I was disappointed with the leggings view as they just weren’t tight, but now I see it wasn’t the pattern’s fault but rather my fabric choice. I purchased some of this fancy athletic fabric to make some workout clothes, and while I had to make two orders to get the stuff (it sells out fast!) I was able to get cuts enough for two tank tops and two pairs of leggings. Well, I’m still waiting on one cut for a tank as the wrong item was sent out in its place last week, but I have confidence it will arrive soon.

Anyway, after I got the fabric, I was really pleased with how truly breathable it is, as advertised, and the really nice drape and stretch of the fabric. Its pretty much exactly as I had hoped, and better than I had expected. I made this tank right away and quickly cut the pieces for my leggings. The actual sewing for these takes about twenty minutes- they go together super fast!

M6173ViewBWorkout

 

As you can see, with no modifications except for cropping the length, they fit like leggings! I could maybe take them in a little around the knee but the fit is nearly spot-on on these now that I apparently have the right fabric. That was a super happy surprise to see. Of course when I cut them I forgot that I would want to add a few inches to the back waist because as another blogger said, us girls with some junk in the trunk need some more fabric back there. There is a slightly higher cut to the waist in the back than the front, but its hard to figure out which is which when you’re about to get dressed. I solved the guessing game by stitching a small rectangle into the waistband in the back so I can see at a glance which side is which. If I were cutting these again, I’d definitely add a few inches to the back waist but otherwise, still a favorite pattern for me right now.

I told myself I was not going to get way behind on my sewing again and actually going to make the mock-ups I’ve created and keep my fabric stash flowing. If I buy more fabric, I need to use fabric I already have first, and I need to recheck my closet and see if there is any clothes I just don’t wear that I can part with. The reality is I do not have unlimited space for clothes, and it’s also rather silly to keep clothing I never wear, or stuff that doesn’t fit quite right when I have so many better options at hand.

Anyway, long story short, I pulled 2 dresses I never wear and listed them on my eBay and made myself two new shirts this afternoon. Ive got a half dozen clothing items up for grabs right now, and I will entertain offers on all of it. Seriously, just ask. Chances are I will accept it or something close to it. You can see my eBay items here. (http://www.ebay.com/sch/kittyloafdesigns/m.html?_nkw=&_armrs=1&_ipg=&_from=&rt=nc&_dmd=2) There are also sewing patterns, handcrafted jewelry, accessories, and fabrics listed besides the clothing.

detailweaveOkay, let’s get back on track. The first thing I sewed today was Kwik Sew 3740 View B. I’ve sewn this one before, in dark blue, and I love the fit. Its just a basic tan top, but it offers more coverage in the back- the shoulders and shoulder blades are fully covered. This time I used a tan fabric that is an athletic fabrics, and its supposed to help keep you dry. I’m not sure how good its moisture-wicking qualities are, but the stretch and drape are really nice, and it was super easy to work with. I have more of this fabric type coming in the mail tomorrow to make other workout clothes from. At left is a close-up of the weave o the fabric- as you can see, its pretty airy looking.

The only thing I do not like about this pattern is the stitch in the ditch parts for doing the neck and armhole binding, which I complained about last time as well. And because I never fail to royally screw up if I use matchy-matchy threads, I used a contrasting color on this. The stitching is not as hidden as it should be around the neckline and armholes, its actually very visible, but despite my sloppy stitching there, the fit is good and its very comfortable.

KS3740ViewB

 

So, score 1 for a great fitting and easy to wear top that will hopefully have excellent properties as well.

The next thing I sewed today was Simplicity 6816 View C. I’ve sewn one of the other views before in a polka dot fabric, but really want to do them all as its a nice basic wardrobe builder with a nice fit and they’re super easy to put together.

S6816ViewC

 

The fabric is navy blue and a pale yellow, and I feel pretty good about almost getting the stripes perfectly straight across the top. I don’t have a photo of the back, but my stripe matching on the center back seam was about as successful. Its not dead on, but its also not super off either.

I made one change to this top as I was sewing, and that was to add 4″ to the length of it as when I sewed the other view I did, it’s really only long enough if I am wearing something quite high-waisted- otherwise its almost a midi top. This way the bottom hem falls just about at my hip and the fit is still good. I’m finally beginning to remember the things I need to do to make things fit the way I want them to as I sew, and not seeing so much “should haves” in hindsight.

I may work on another view of this pattern tomorrow and use another piece of fabric I have destined for it- I’ve still got my orange eyelet fabric and the yellow burnout fabric to use. I’m leaning towards using the yellow burnout fabric first.

So I am pretty sure this is my new favorite pattern, at least for this week. I sewed View A as its supposed to be, then I sewed View A minus the flounce in white satin for the 80’s party, and this morning I sewed View A without the flounce again out of some black moleskin (?) fabric I had in my stash with no idea what to do with. I’m trying to use up some of the fabrics I already have before I buy more the beginning of next month. In May I’m planning on making some workout clothes with the nifty moisture-wicking fabrics I found at Fabric.com and I want room in my stash for anything I don’t use right away, and the fabrics I have stacked up on my tables right now.

M5184BlackFrontAnyway, here’s the latest version of McCalls 5184. I like it, but I did not stop to think about how bad of a dog hair magnet this fabric is going to be. Its going to be horrible… LOL. I added a few inches to the length like I did with the white version- this one got about 4″ added to it. Of course there is no give in this fabric so I have to remember to tug it down a bit before sitting. Thankfully most of my skirts are not this short!

 

 

You also might recognize the top I’m wearing as one of my 80’s Kwik Sew patterns I did last year (I think) from a tiny bit of fabric I thought I would never find a use for. Its one of my favorite tops now- so comfortable, airy, and the bright colors are fun. Its one of those tops I may find myself making again in time.

 

M5184BlackBackMy zipper almost went in perfectly the first time, but then I noticed a tiny edge of my interfacing (which is white) was visible where something wasn’t quite lined up right. This being black, it was super visible, so I had to rip out that side of the zipper and make adjustments to fix it. Still, overall the whole thing went super smoothly. I think I’m done with this pattern for now though and pretty sure I do not need any more skirts either way. Well, maybe a few long ones. I don’t have any maxi skirts.

 

I also spent a quick hour stitching up Simplicity 6816 View C, which is just a basic short-sleeved t-shirt. I remembered after sewing up I think it was View A before that these tops wind up a little short on me, so I added three inches to the bottom hem and it would up being hip length, which is perfect. I don’t have a photo of me in it yet, but here it is on one of my girls.

 

M5184BlackDogIts nothing fancy, just a simple scoop neck T, but I got to use some of the most hideous fabric in my stash (I bought 3 yards on clearance years ago) and it actually makes a good T-shirt. I was happily surprised. The pattern calls for binding on the neckline but I just hemmed it instead. I didn’t see how binding would really add anything to this top and since I really hate doing it…

I decided this year I will play along for Me Made May 2014. I thought about doing it last year but I really didn’t feel like I had enough me-mades to give it a real go. This year though! I took a count of my closet and I might be missing a few items but this is what I found.S6816ViewCFront

  • 13 shirts
  • 1 sweater dress
  • 9 skirts
  • 5 dresses
  • 1 formal dress + capelet
  • 3 pairs of pants
  • 2 pairs pajama pants/shorts
  • 1 piece lingerie
  • 2 fleece jackets/capes
  • 1 belt
  • numerous purses

I’ve got at least 21 outfits without even thinking about it right there- that’s almost the full month just like that. I’m going to try to take a photo each day and show you everything at the end of the month, but no guarantees there. I most likely will not be wearing the jacket, cape, or the formal dress, but everything else will probably have a shot. One of the dresses needs to be taken in a bit, or even better disasembled and re-cut, but otherwise everything listed is in wearable condition.

Here’s my pledge:

I, Deb of http://debsinstitches.com/, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May ’13. I endeavour to wear at least one me-made garment each day for the duration of May 2013.

And here’s where you can sign up for Me Made May 2014 too!

I’m not going to promise to dress head to toe in my me-mades every day, but I will wear something. I’d also like to try to wear at least one piece of jewelry I’ve made each day as well. I have tons of it (and tons for sale!) so that should be no problem.

I’ve posted a few projects in the last few months that have had either lousy pics, or mentioned things without any pictures at all. This afternoon my new camera arrived, and I was able to get a few quick photos of some of the stuff you really did not get to see before, so here’s a quick photo dump.

I’ll start with Simplicity 1612, View E, which was my prom party dress. I had posted photos from the party that the photographer took, but none of them really showcased my dress well. This dress turned out great except for some slightly wonkiness at the neckline, but that may have been caused by user error.

S1612ViewEFront

 

The back of this dress is fairly open, and ties at the neck. I had originally wanted to do the view with the twist back detail, but ended up falling in love with this one after seeing it sewn on another sewer’s blog.

S1612ViewEBack

 

One last shot. Look who needs to redo her nails! Whoops!

S1612ViewEFrontClose

 

Here’s McCall’s 6173, View A. I’ve sewn these pants before but wanted one more pair of them because they are so freaking comfortable. I’m totally channeling my inner Peg Bundy here, BTW. The shirt I’m wearing is Simplicity 7330, which was Mattie’s shirt for the prom party. One of these days I’m going to make my own because this shirt is really nice to wear.

M6173ViewAFront

 

Here’s the back view.

M6173ViewABack

 

I still have the complaint that these pants will never really be the leggings they are supposed to be, despite taking them in many inches from the mid-thigh down. They just don’t fit that closely at all.

Here’s Butterick 5169, View B. This is a nice fitted top and its very easy to wear. I can see this pairing well with quite a few things, and my only complaint is its a little too short for my tastes, so if I make it again, I’ll be adding 2″ to the length of it.

 

B5169ViewBFront-546x1024

And here’s the back view.

B5169ViewBBack

 

I think this top does a nice job of emphasizing my waist with the way it fits, although I did find it a bit odd that it only has vertical darts, no horizontal ones.

I also tried working with my polymer clay on my own the other day, only to find my toaster oven I had does not regulate its temperature at all, and my clay was burned completely black in less then three minutes, and the entire house was filled up with horrible smelling smoke. It took me over 30 minutes with the doors all open and a fan going to clear the air inside before me and the dogs could go back in again.

I’m hoping to pick up a toaster oven in the near future that actually works properly and having another go at it. Tracy keeps sending me all these fun looking ideas and I want to try some of them.

 

purse-cutToday’s project was a new, bigger, more fun purse. Weeks ago I had decided to make myself a new purse. I wanted a bigger purse, and I also wanted to add some zipper pockets to the inside. I had modified my purse pattern I have made several of already for myself to be larger, and but hadn’t worked it out yet so wasn’t sure how it would turn out. I had estimated the fabric usage to be about 50% more than what it takes for my original design, but it actually ended up taking almost double that. I barely had enough fabric to cut everything from using the two one-yard cuts I had chosen for this design.

My exterior fabric, pictured at left, was chosen after I had already picked my lining fabric- a cut of fabric that my friend Jami gave me two years ago. I had to hand draw some of my pattern pieces as our printer wouldn’t print half of the pieces, and gave me duplicates of others.

The actual construction went really smoothly, except for the part where I forgot to put the interfacing in. I actually had to partially disassemble it afterwards to put it in because to just wasn’t stable enough without it.

I added a zipper to the inside of both sides in the center panels, and was really pleased with my zipper skills- both went in perfectly the first time, and I don’t think I’ve ever put a zipper in so well the first time, and especially not two of them.

purse-outside

 

One of the biggest design changes I made besides making the purse bigger and adding the zipper pockets was to make the strap longer so it could be worn cross-body, though it doesn’t sit incredible low and it at about hip level.

purse-inside

 

The lining fabric is a cute grey and yellow polka dot flannel, and its a perfect match for my outer fabric.

After stitching it up, I did find a few things I wanted to adjust in the final pattern, such as making the purse body about 2″ taller, and I found the pocket pieces needed to be lengthened by about 1″ to fit better into the design and sewing methods. When I sew this purse, the pockets on the ends are held in place entirely by stitching them into the other seams- the only thing I have to do with the pocket pieces is hem the upper edges before inserting them into the seams.

Am I happy with the outcome, despite thinking it should be about 2″ taller? Yes. Hopefully I’ll be making an official pattern download with instructions for this version and adding it to my shop soon.

S1716Simplicity 1716 has two different necklines, two different top lengths, as well as two mini-dress variations, and three different sleeve options. I opted to sew up View D, which is the cowl-necked mini-dress, but to use View A’s sleeves. The fabric I chose was one I had bought sight unseen with this project in mind, but after trying to use this same fabric type for another project several weeks ago, I wasn’t sure it was going to pan out. I really loved the color though, so threw caution to the wind and jumped in.

I cut the pieces, and figured since there were only a few, I couldn’t very well mess it up. I started off by sewing the two back pieces together by their outer edges instead of their inner ones. That should have been a sign of things to come. I should have stopped there and picked it up another day, but I really wanted to wear it that afternoon, so I slogged on.

IMAG0774I got the darts in okay, and I got the shoulder seams and side seams stitched without a problem. Then I moved on to stitching on the sleeves. Easy, right? Nope. I sewed them on inside out. Ripped them out, sewed them on again, this time right side out, but I succeeded in stitching one on upside down. If this has been a woven fabric, it would have been no big deal to rip out all of these stitches, but in a knit, its difficult, and its so easy to put holes in the fabric instead. I put a few into it while I was ripping out all of those stitches.

Anyway, eventually I got finished with it, and tried it on. Due to the instability of the fabric I used, it actually created a much softer, drapier fit because of it and I really, really like how it turned out.

I paired the mini-dress with the purple skinny pants I made last week, and I could not have been happier with the outcome. Sorry for the weird almost-full-body selfie, it was the best I could do without a camera since the image stabilizer finally went on mine.

So despite the difficulties, and the things that went wrong, the bad fabric choice, I still love the outcome and I’d be glad to have a second one of this same pattern in my wardrobe. I’m also loving the solid colors I’ve been using lately.

The belt came from a Chinese reseller off of eBay- I actually bought three of them, one black, one white, and one red all with different ornamentation. I’m apparently at that in between weight where regular sized belts are too small but plus sized belts are too big, which leaves me elastic belts that all seem to come form China.

Anyway, Simplicity 1716 View D was a winner!

A while back I posted View B of this pattern McCall 6173 (here), finding that while the pattern was easy enough to put together once I had the right fabric, they were more skinny pants than leggings. I had cut the pieces for View A shortly after, but only just got around to stitching them up today. While View B has an elastic waist, View A has a zipper and waistband. It also has several darts, front and back. The real question of course, is does it make leggings as shown on the envelope? Nope. Not even close.

pantsThe fit around the waist, butt, and hips is comfortable and decent… for pants. I took an inch and a half from mid-thigh all the way down, and I still have skinny pants. I’d have to take a lot more of for leggings to appear out of this pattern, even though the zip-entry version is a better fit.

I honestly can’t imagine how much modifying I’d have to do to make these into leggings- I cut these as a large according to my waist measurement, but I almost think I’d have to cut a medium and tweak from there to get a true leggings fit. As you can see, they’re still baggy around the knee, and way too loose at the ankle for leggings.

I am really pleased with my fabric though I wish the zebra strips were a bit more obvious. They are in the weave of the fabric, and there’s no color differences, so you can only see them when the light hits just so. Oddly enough when I ordered the fabric, I was worried the stripes would be too obvious. Go figure. There’s also just the right amount of stretch and good stability in this fabric, and I feel like I made a good choice for these pants.

Will I make the other pair I had planned, and already bought fabric for? I think so. That pair is supposed to be this same view, so I anticipate a new pair of comfy (but skinny) pants in my future. This view of the pattern was super easy to work up, and it flew by, except for the part where I stitched a dart into the wrong side of the fabric.

I think I might work on Simplicity 1716 as mocked up here as well.