Deby at So Sew Easy made a post on her blog that I think would be very useful to people just starting to sew. She breaks down the front and back of the envelope section by section and explains everything- including a use you might not have thought of for the side of the envelope that’s printed in other languages. Check out her post here. I wish someone had sat me down and explained the envelope back like this for me. I think the moment it finally clicked on how to measure myself to correlate to the envelope came when I emailed one of the “Big Four” and asked them exactly how I was supposed to be doing it. Lucky for me customer service at that company was great in helping me out and setting me straight!
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.
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.
Okay, 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.
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.
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.
Simplicity 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.
I 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!
I set out today to clean my craft room. To says it a mess is an understatement. My craft room is divided into two sides- one side for beading and jewelry making and the other side for sewing. I have two 6 foot folding tables, one on each side of the room. When its clean, its easy to find anything, and there’s plenty of room to work. But when its messy? Forget it. Finding things is a nightmare, and getting stuff done is almost impossible.
This was my craft room after I put most of my fabrics away, and stowed the ones that are for sale into a container pushed under the beading table. You can see it there on the right. Under the table is a huge mess of larger fabric scraps, interfacing pieces, and who knows what else.
This was after I tackled the pile of scraps, throwing quite a few away and stowing the rest. I had to empty my little trashcan twice. I put away pattern pieces from the project I finished yesterday (whoops!) and picked up as many tiny bits of fuzz off of the carpet. I found tons of safety pins laying everywhere. I found my bolt of interfacing, which was buried under all those scraps.
That plastic trash bag you see under the table has a hoop skirt in it. Where does one generally store their hoop skirts? I honestly don’t know.
I also found these. My long missing thread snips. I’ve bee looking for them for ages and all along they were buried on my sewing table.
Of course there’s still that big stack of fabric sitting on the end of my beading table I need to do something with. Two of the cuts of fabric are supposed to be pajama pants, so I figured I’d jump in and make one pair today and will probably make the other pair tomorrow.
I used Simplicity 4101, View D (pants), cut in a medium. Its a unisex pattern, technically for scrubs, and the sizing is huge. Except for my hip measurement, I really could have cut a small and been okay. Anyway, it went together super easily, though I left off the patch pockets that are on the legs halfway down. The slash pockets at the hips are more than enough for pajamas.
I had a little scare as I was sewing when I looked up and saw this much thread left on my spool, and my bobbin had just run out. I only have about 6 more inches to stitch, so I hand-wound the bobbin a few times around, and hoped I’d make it. I literally finished as the end of the thread from the spool was feeding through the machine, and there’s a tiny bit of thread left on the bobbin. Close call!
Sorry my photos of the pants aren’t very good ones. I see to have been suffering some sort of difficulty with my tank top- no matter how I adjusted it for the pictures, something was showing that wasn’t supposed to.
Here’s the front.
Here’s the back.
And here’s the side.
These are insanely comfortable, and the flannel I used is soft and warm, and the print is really fun. Lately I’ve been all about the owls and the foxes. I would love to make a few more pairs of these, but I really don’t need any more clothes actually designed to lounge around the house in. I do enough of that already.
Tomorrow I’ll make another pair in plain black for Mattie, and that will be two cuts of fabric gone out o that stack.
I sewed these leggings twice today. Seriously. Twice. The first time I used a black rib knit which while I really liked, it was my least favorite of the fabrics I had purchased for this project. I’m glad I did because not only did they turn out horribly, but the fabric was all wrong- It had the right amount of stretch, but was much less stable than it needed to be, and as a result, well, I’m calling them the horror pants and thinking they might fast track into the garbage.
This was after I took them in by almost two inches everywhere- they are hugely baggy, and fit worse than sweatpants. They are definitely not leggings. I had cut an XL according to my waist measurement but apparently that was not the correct thing to do. I’m not even willing to wear these around the house as they are horrible! I feel like I should be shopping at Walmart while wearing them. Ugh!
I re-cut the pattern down to a L for the second try, and used a much more stable fabric. This time not only did they fit, but they are wearable, even outside of the house. Unfortunately, they still do not look like leggings, but instead look like skinny pants. I saw (after the fact) someone’s review on this pattern with suggestions for making them actually fit like leggings, and may adjust the fit down the legs a bit later on to follow my curves better. There’s a slight bagginess at the knee that just screams “Pants!” when wearing these, even when they otherwise fit.
As you can see, they fit. They aren’t totally embarrassing, and they don’t make me cringe. I can actually wear these and be comfortable. But they are still not leggings as is.
Yesterday I posted that I was working on Kwik Sew 3740. I had planned on showing you two versions of that top today, but by 9:30am it was stifling hot in my craft room so I only got this blue version finished. I do really like how it turned out though, save for some minor stitch in the ditch issues. I finally figured out as I was attached the last piece of binding that if I slowed my sewing way, way down, I could stay almost perfectly in the ditch.
Don’t mind my ridiculous sunglasses- I bought three pair off of eBay a week ago and these ones are not the most ridiculous of the bunch. I also got pink cat’s eye frames, ad some black frames the same as these ones.
I also used black thread on this, which really isn’t as noticeable as I was afraid it would be, mainly due to most of the stitching being “in the ditch.” The Kelly green half circle skirt is something I made a few weeks ago to wear with this top to Tracy and David’s BBQ. I think I looked a bit like a Christmas tree but I went with it because I liked it.
You’ll have to excuse my wrinkles- we literally had just come home form a movie and lunch right before I took these pictures. We saw After Earth, which was decent, but I guess its being touted as a total flop. When I walked into the movies and handed the girl our tickets, she looked right at me, and I quote- “OMG! You look beautiful!” Totally unexpected but very welcome compliment. After we had lunch we ran to the store for a few things and a little girl complimented my shoes as well. 😀
This pic is silly, but I wanted to show you guys my earrings- these are some I made, and I have two pair of them available in my Etsy shop right now for $5.00 a pair. They’re made with lime green glass beads with white polka dots, and green Swarovski crystals at the tops.
Anyway, Kwik Sew 3740 View B is a super easy pattern, and if I had done it all at once, probably would have taken me about 70 minutes from pinning the pattern down to finishing sewing it. As I said up there, I had some issues staying in the ditch when doing the edge bindings, but no real issues on this one.
A little while back, I posted these mock-ups. I wanted to add some basic pieces to my wardrobe, things I can wear with pretty much anything, and had selected a few patterns to do that with. Yesterday evening while we were out with Mattie’s dad and brother, I received my latest (and last for a while) package from Fabric.com. The box contained 8 cuts of fabric, including some bright turquoise velvet, black lace, royal blue and chocolate brown slinky knits, an olive drab knit, some dark blue stretch denim, and some light tan twill, both of which will make me some pants. I also got this crazy orange, yellow, black and white striped knit which I have fun plans for. But, if you peeked at the post I just linked, you’d know that. 🙂
Tonight I worked on two sewing projects. One was a plastic bag dispenser I started the other day made out of what was left of the two pink fabrics I made the reversible skirt and the reversible purse out of, and the other was a tank top using the Kwik Sew 3740 pattern I got in my box from Fabric.com last night. I try to use up as much of my scraps as I can, but even with using the majority of them, I still end up with tons to send to Donna every once in a while. She can use much smaller pieces then I can, and I’m glad to send them to her as I get a bunch of them together.
I actually had to tear the plastic bag dispenser halfway apart before I could finish it because I did two things in the reverse order of how I should have done them (its been a long time since I’ve made one) so had to rip out a lot of stitches and do things the right way. Next time, if I make one in the near future, I’ll remember how not to put them together.
Qwik Sew 3740 View B is a basic tank top. There’s nothing really special about it, but as I said, I need some more basics in my closet, and having a handful of simple tank tops fits in with that. I have two that I purchased at Target a few years back, one in bright pink and one in black, and I’m planning on making this pattern twice, one in royal blue and one in chocolate brown. I got as far as cutting the pieces for the blue version, stitching the front and back together, and stitching on the neck binding. Tomorrow I will add the armhole binding, and hem the bottom of it. Then if its not too hot in my craft room, I’ll be working on the brown version of the top as well. Either way I will have something to show you tomorrow evening- I still have a skirt I made a week or so ago that I haven’t shared.
I am also going to try to refashion an old shirt someone gave me that just fits badly into something wearable using this pattern. I will probably have to make a few minor changes, such as hemming the arm and neck holes rather then using binding, but I think there’s enough fabric to do it otherwise.
Anyway, that’s all for now. See you guys tomorrow with photos!