S1620Simplicity 1620 is a cute set of separates, which includes tops, dress, and pants. I decided to do the pants but oh my god was I shocked, disappointed, and completely confused as to how these pants that I made were the same pants as seen on the envelope.

I did use a heavier fabric than it called for, however, these pants are awful. For one, they are huge. I’ve gained weight so I remeasured myself to make sure I was making the right size. The pattern is for an elastic waist, pull-on pant, and I initially followed the directions to a T and I think I could have fit two of me into them.

I wish I had taken a photo of these pants when I first made them so you could see how bad they were, but I was honestly so shocked at their awfulness I set to work right away ripping them apart and remaking them.

S1620CutWhen I started, I started out right. I traced my original pattern pieces onto kraft paper so not to cut the original pattern up. I elected to add pockets, which are easy enough to draft yourself. The trick is just making sure the opening edge is large enough to admit your hand easily after sewing it in.

I cut my fabric, which was a not-very-heavy red corduroy that I originally bought to make a jumper with. I figured I’d either have really cool pants (That make unfortunate noise when I walk) or I would have wasted the approximately $10 I spent on this fabric off of eBay.

I followed the directions to a T, as I said above, and ended up with awful, super bulky pants that made me look like I weighed about 400 pounds.

I ripped out the waist casing and tossed the elastic aside. I grabbed my tape measure and started marking darts- 4 front and 4 back. That took up about 12 inches of fabric from the waistline and when I tried them on I could just wiggle them over my hips. I took the extra fabric and cut a waistband and stitched that in place, and I added a front zipper with a button and loop closure on the waistband.

I tried them on. The fit at the waist and upper hip was good, but they were so big everywhere else. I decided to take them in from about 3 inches down from the waistband to 3/4 of the way down the leg about 2″. Basically I cut a straight line from one point to the other. Stitched them. Tried them on again.

They were better but still not great. The back fit pretty well but the front was really poofy and just awful. I now looked like I weighed about 300 pounds. An improvement from 400, but still not okay. 😉

Finally I stitches a line of basting down the hips, closing off the pockets. My beloved pockets. I tried them on. I saw most of the poof was gone out of the front and they laid much flatter. I looked closer to my actual weight. Time to grab the scissors and cut off the pockets and sew things up for real!

Here’s the final outcome after all of those adjustments and changes.

I feel like I finally have a wearable pair of pants, though not the best fitting ones.

Would I use this pattern again? Probably not, even knowing what mods to make to make them “okay”, because in all honesty, they are barely what I can call okay. I will however, look forward to sewing other pants that are hopefully much better fitting and not needing so many modifications just to make them semi-wearable.

Oh, and did I mention I bought a serger? Its just a basic model but I for to use it for most of these pants! That was after my first one broke after less then 30 seconds of use and i had to return it to Amazon for a replacement. This one seems to be doing much better though!

 

 

 

elasticI have a skirt here belonging to someone else that I was asked to take the waist in a bit. Its an elastic waist, so I figured I’d open the casing, take up a few inches of the elastic, and close it up again. Instead, I opened it up and I see this (at left). I’m not sure if you can see it or not, but instead of making a casing, the manufacture folded the fabric over the elastic, and then stitched the fabric edge down through the elastic. This makes it pretty much impossible for the elastic to twist, but it also means that I had to rip out the entire waistband before I could take up the extra length of the elastic, and then I need to either create a casing, or I need to put it back together again in the same manner.

The good thing is it took only a few minutes more to tear out all the stitching, and I got to watch another episode of House while I did it.

This evening I have some other sewing work coming by (this time some shirts) and I’m hoping these will be more straight forward to fix than the skirt waistband has turned out.

S9723EnvelopeSimplicity 9723 features a dress with two styles of skirt, and a jacket. At PatternReview.com, two people have reviewed this pattern and they have had mixed things to say. One, its extremely historically inaccurate. Two, there have been various issues with the pattern, which I was glad I read about before getting started. The bad comments were almost enough to make me search for another pattern to use for Halloween (yup this is the basis of my Halloween costume this year!) but in the end I decided to go with it and make corrections as needed.

I spent a small fortune on fabrics for this project and so far I seem to have overbought across the board but the fabric allowances given on the envelope back are given for multiple pieces of the costume together-  there is no measurement given for just the jacket, its the jacket and skirt together. This left to me guessing at the amounts needed and at this point I have an extra yard+ of silver pleather as well as a good 1.5 yards left over of the black poly-cotton broadcloth.

The jacket is done in a bright silver metallic pleather with a reptile texturing to it, with black poly-cotton broadcloth for the lining. The blouse and petticoat (which I am currently working on) is done in the same poly-cotton broadcloth, and the skirt will be done in a deep red medium weight satin.

S9723Front

 

The biggest complaint with this pattern, and I agree with it completely, is that the blouse and skirt are sewn as one item, not separates. This is easy enough to fix. I added several inches in length to the blouse, and instead of having a center back zip as was intended, I cut the center back on the fold, and inserted a zipper under the arm. The neckline is high and snug though, so I cut a slit into the upper back at the neckline, finished the edges with bias tape, and added a snap closure at the neck. That way I can pull it on easily, but still retain the same look as before. I thought the neckline would make me feel claustrophobic but oddly enough its pretty comfortable to wear.

S9723Back

 

People who reviewed this also complained that the sleeve cuffs of the blouse are too tight to close when worn. All I can figure is they took too large of a seam allowance because not only are they closed when I put it on, but I can slide my hands through them while they are fastened without issue.

S9723Piece

 

I have the main pieces of the petticoat stitched together at this point, and when I resume working on it, I’ll be stitching together the ruffle pieces and adding them to the bottom of the petticoat. Then it will be on to the outer skirt an after that I’m done. I’m not looking forward to the petticoat ruffles as I hate gathering, but its got to be done. I’m looking forward to finishing this one and getting to wear it out for Halloween!

Yesterday I posted that I made the low-volume maxi skirt as explained on So Sew Easy. My first try at it was nothing but problems, and my fabric, a thin slippery knit, kept getting stuck in my throat plate. I did a bunch of research this morning and only found one thing to try that I had not already given a shot- changing my needle. I wanted to try adding a second layer to the skirt because the material is so thin that panty lines are highly visible- more so because the fabric is shiny.

silverfront

 

I grabbed the skirt and cut another layer for it, then attempted sewing it again with the new needle. Amazingly it worked pretty smoothly though I did have to help the fabric along a bit. I am much more pleased with the outcome with the second layer of fabric in the skirt.

silverback

 

I think this will be a great basic piece to have in my wardrobe and should be matchable with a lot of different tops.

After making yesterday’s post about my old ball gown, I repaired the waistband, and spent a ridiculously long time ripping out the stitches on the two panels that hung down the sides of the bodice. You’d think ripping about about 24″ of stitching would be fast and easy, but apparently the girl-who-can’t-follow-directions not only sewed the bodice together all wrong, but she also kept changing the stitch length on different seams making some of the stitches very tight and very difficult to pick out. That’s not so bad though, right? Just slow going?

Oh wait! And then it gets better. On one side of the bodice, I used pleats to make the panel fit. On the other side, I used gathering. What the hell was I thinking? Oh wait. Not only was I not reading or following the directions, I was not thinking either. I’m kind of embarrassed to have done this, even if it was years ago.

gown1

I remembered as I put the gown on my dress form that when I wore it to the ball, we had to use safety pins to hold the skirt up to the bodice in the back because there was a big gap at the waist. If I had sewn the panels on correctly, they would have made an overskirt, and that gap would have been hidden. Oh boy!

gown3

This afternoon I realized the reason the contrast panels in the bodice are not even on both sides is because I sewed one on upside down. I spent some more tie tearing the bodice apart so I could flip the panel over and put it together right. That led me to a new problem. The lace trim was cut and measured with that panel being upside down, so it stops about an inch short of where it should and I don’t have any of that lace now to replace it. I decided to solve that by creating an overlap of the front bodice pieces where it fastens- something I should have originally done because it kind of gaped before.

There was also the fact that the lining of the bodice was cut larger than the outside, so I had to pleat it to make it fit. I resewed a few seams in the lining and that was taken care of.

gown4

Anyway, after hours of work, most of it spent tearing out stitches, I feel like it looks a lot better then it did before and the fit is better too. I’m hoping someone will want to be a princess for Halloween and grabs this dress up. Its not a bad dress, its just a little rough up close. From a distance though it looks pretty damned good!

Is it exactly like the pattern envelope? No. Probably not even close. But its a lot better and I’d actually be willing to wear it like it is now.

 

 

gownAbout 5 years ago, little new-to-sewing me decided she was going to attend the Labyrinth of Jareth Masquerade Ball for a second time, and she needed a dress. She decided to sew up a pattern she found, but apparently she had no idea how to follow directions.

Today I pulled this dress out thinking “Hey! Halloween is coming up! Maybe I can sell this!” and found the waistband a mess, which I repaired. After doing so (and gathering a waist of 175 inches down to about 36 inches is a pain in the ass!) I discovered I had originally put the zipper in between the wrong two panels, that this skirt has a definite front and back. That means I will have to undo what I did, and move the zipper to the right location or else the zipper has a very odd placement when worn.

I also took a good look at the pattern envelope and found I did not even come close to putting the bodice together right. I knew I never dd the pollinading (however you spell that) but apparently the two purple panels hanging over the hips are supposed to go around the entire bodice except where the blue panels are in the front. I think because of how I put it together I can rip a few lines of stitches out and fix that too. As it stands now, the panels hanging down on one side is noticeably longer than the other.

I honestly cannot comprehend how I screwed this up so badly except by flat out not following or probably even reading the directions. The pattern I failed to follow is Butterick 4315. (Click to see the envelope) I am hoping I can fix this in a few days time without completely taking it apart, and really hope I can sell it. Its been hanging up in my craft room since it became my craft room and every time I see it I kind of cringe. I can’t believe I willingly made myself a purple and powder blue (with glitter) ball gown.

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! 🙂

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.

Since my order I put in to fabric.com finally came in on Monday, I washed and dried my new fabrics this morning and got to work printing, cutting, and taping the pieces for this free pattern at Be My Goth. I’ve had this pattern bookmarked for ages but was on the fence about actually making it. When I saw the fiery red-orange crochet lace on clearance I knew that was going to be what I made it with. I already had a yard of dark grey rib knit in my stash from another project I’d bought for, so that was set.

bemygothlacefront

 

The pattern has three pieces- front, back, and the sleeve cuffs, but I made a few changes to it as I went. I cut the largest size, but did not add the seam allowances as instructed. My crochet lace has quite a bit of stretch, and I’m not sure her pattern was designed for a fabric with stretch in it. She doesn’t mention stretch in it anyway. I tried it on and found the neckline to be too wide, causing it to fall off of my shoulders, so I gently rounded over the corners at the edges of the neckline form the shoulders and brought it in about 3″ total. That helped with that issue, but I still felt it was a bit too open at the neck.

bemygothlaceback

 

I went ahead and cut a piece of rib knit a few inches smaller than the neckline measurement, and stitched that in place. I really liked how it looked, so I did the same for the bottom hemline. Because the crochet knit is so open, its pretty much impossible to finish the edges neatly, which was my other reason for applying the rib knit to the other raw edges, and while you can still see the raw edges on the seam lines, the end result is much neater and cleaner than it would have been just hemming them. The original instructions call for a rolled hem on this, but I’m not sure if that would have worked with this lace anyway.

The back hemline is quite a bit lower than the front one, which was an element of the original design, though Be My Goth’s original version was more of a cropped top. I’ve got enough of a full bust that most tops I make I need to add a few inches to, and this being designed to be short there was no way I wasn’t going to add some length to it. I think I used just over a yard and a half of the lace for this top, and probably would have been a yard and a half even had I not added the length to it. The amount of rib knit used barely put a dent in the yard I had. I’m not really sure what I will wear this with besides my black tank top, but I really hope I can come up with a few options because I am very pleased with it.

blocks21-241I also was able to stitch up 4 more squares for my quilt a few days before as well, and these ones are done using all squares instead of strips. I’d like to say I’m making a dent in my scraps but really I’m not. Its insane how many cotton scraps I have already cut and still more not readied for use.

The square making is going slower than planned but eventually I will get them done. I’m looking forward to that day when I can start arranging the squares and start stitching them together.

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.