Butterick3579One bad go at pants wasn’t enough. I had to try again. This time I used this simple slacks looking pattern and again, I traced the pattern out on kraft paper and graded up a few sizes. I ran into a few issues in tracing, which may have led to some of my problems with fit. Basically, the pattern was printed lighter than normal so I had to sandwich the pattern between two layers of kraft paper to make the lines visible to trace out. That meant trying to keep all the layers still, which was beyond difficult. In hindsight, I should have pinned them together first. Doh!

Anyway, I finally got my pieces traced and a few measurements told me things were going to be a bit big. My waistline was measuring out at 52″, not subtracting for seam allowances so I know I’d have to take things in. I sewed them as is though and then tried them on and yup, way too big.

I ended up ripping out the waistband, and taking in about 2.5″ from each outside seam, plus adding one small dart that took up about an inch into each side in the back. That was better, and I stitched the waistband back into place like this.

B3579Front

 

Are they great, amazing, fantastic pants? No. But I didn’t expect a miracle because they literally have three pieces and no shaping in the original instructions. They are however, better than the red pants are ever going to be, and they are comfortable to wear.

B3579Back

 

Oh! And that’s another Kwik Sew 3740 view B you see on my top half. I managed to squeeze it out of the scraps I had left over from the Dolman sleeve top I showed you last time with the red pants.

I’ve sewn KS1425 before, twice, actually, but its such a comfy, casual style and I wanted to sew it again. I traced the patter sizes I’d previously cut out to a larger size (boo! weight gain!) and I started cutting. I was proud of myself because I graded things perfectly and all my pieces lined up just right. Of course this top has 4 pieces, plus the little strips across the back, so there’s not a lot to it. I didn’t take process photos but there’s not a lot to see in this one anyway.

Afterwards, I took some photos wearing it, along with the red pants from my previous post. The pants are kind of growing on me, and as I said, they are super comfortable. I’m thinking  after looking at these photos, maybe they aren’t so bad.

Here we go! Picture time!

3

 

I’m still not 100% crazy about the fit in the front but I’ve gone over several fitting cheat sheets and there’s nothing super glaringly wrong with them. They’ve just kind of loose which I’m not sure to, though as I said, I like the rear fit okay.

4

 

So, new top, and the final view of the red pants. I’ll hopefully be posting new projects soon. I have some crazy stuff in mind!

Friday I decided to work on a project using the scant remains of a skein of yarn I had. The knitting bug has bitten me hard to say the least but I’m having so much fun with it! This yarn was the leftovers from my very short lived attempt at crocheting, and it also made up some of the stripes (about 1/4th of them) in my practice scarf. There wasn’t a lot left, so I decided to make a preemie-sized baby beanie with it. Apparently I judged the size of my project well because there was literally only about 18″ of yarn left after I finished it!

It turned out really well and I’m quite pleased with it. I’ve added it to my shop for purchase , so you can see it by clicking the link above. I plan on doing another one Saturday while Mattie is out with his dad and probably while he is playing video games or if we watch TV. Its such an easy project to do and doesn’t take a lot of effort to do it.

I did need some help is figuring out how many stitches I needed to cast on as well as the size of people’s heads at different ages, but I found these two really helpful pages.

Bev’s Size Charts, which gives head dimensions by age and sex, as well as finished item approximate dimensions. Super helpful!

Earth Guild’s Simple Hat Calculator,  which has a handy chart for how many stitches you need to cast on depending on your knit size and the size head you want to fit. Its really easy to adjust the chart downwards into the preemie sizes mentioned in the first link as well with simple subtraction.

I told my friend Christy she helped create a monster in answering all my knitting questions so far. I’ve officially completed two projects, and I ordered some yarn from Amazon Thursday night as well as another circular needle all of which will be arriving over the next few days.

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.

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.

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.

wpid-IMAG0753As promised, I worked up a second pair of these plants today, in some in plain black flannel for Mattie. His pair went together really smoothly except for the past where I manage to stick a pocket on backwards and ended up with two right legs and had to rip out some seams. I didn’t notice until I was about to sew the crotch seam and things weren’t lining up quite right.

Even with that problem, I still managed to knock them out in about 90 minutes from first cut to last stitch.

He claimed they were going to swallow him, I can only assume his reaction to the very wide legs on these pants. Simplicity 4101 is actually a pattern for scrubs so they are very roomy and easy to wear.

I made this pattern once years ago in a really fun, really splashy fabric that was not at all suited towards something that needed to take abuse. I wore them maybe twice, sat down, and the whole butt ripped out. That was when I learned that there are fabrics referred to as bottom weights and what that actually means.

My friend Alix was recently given a sewing machine and I am trying to get her to come over so I can teach her how to sew. Hopefully we can do that soon and I can give hr a small project to work on while she learns.

Today I’m planning on doing some furniture rearranging in my craft room, but not sure how much. I also want to try to reclaim at lest part of the closet nook, but with all of Richard’s car parts in there, that’s looking pretty iffy as I won’t be able to access the space even if I do empty it out.

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.

 

room-before

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.

 

room-after

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.

snips

 

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.

threadI 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.

s4101-d-front

 

Here’s the back.

s4101-d-back

 

And here’s the side.

s4101-d-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.

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.

Today I started on my quilt. I spent a few hours cutting out the smaller 2.5″ purple squares for my quilt. I worked through two of my fabrics, cutting 3/4 of each yard into squares, and started on a third piece. After doing the math, I will need a bit less than 4 yards of my purples to complete those parts of the quilt, which is why I am only cutting about 3/4ths of a yard of each. That will still be more cut squares than I need, but not by a lot, and I’m sure I can find some use for them later on.

I also worked up a mock-up in Photoshop to see exactly how many rows and columns of blocks I need, as well as how much of my main color fabric I will need to buy to both get the quilt to the right size, and have the pattern looking the way I want it to. My quilt will be 20 squares wide by 22 squares high. It will measure 80” x 88”, and I’m going to need 6.5 yards of lime green fabric for the honeycomb-ish parts of the quilt. The green will be cut into 440 squares, and the purples I’ll need 880 squares. When I look at the numbers, I feel like I must have lost my mind somewhere along the way. Just to make each individual square, not even joining them together, I will have to stitch 880 lines of stitches. Maybe it’ll be ready Winter.  :ermm:

I still need to buy the green fabric, but I’ll be using broadcloth, so should be able to get what I need for under $20, and I also need to buy the batting, and I have no idea what that will cost me. Maybe Mattie will buy my quilt batting for Christmas. :biggrin: I also need to do some homework on things like actually sandwiching the layers, the actual quilting part, and I heard they “shrink” up a bit somewhere in the process. Guess I should find out by how much and make adjustments as needed!