Saturday, February 18, 2012

2012 Goals

Wow, I really got off the posting bandwagon, though honestly, my sewing has been non-existent in the last year so I am not surprised. Actually, that's not exactly true. I have been sewing, just nothing exciting, just bibs and burp cloths for baby gifts, and some awesome aprons. I'll post some pictures of those later. I've also been learning how to knit, which is an awesome secondary hobby, given that I live in a tiny apartment and have no dedicated sewing workspace.

That said, I've set some lofty sewing goals for myself in 2012. I haven't finalized the list of patterns I'd like to attempt, but definitely want to try my hand at some new challenges. If - and that's a big if - I am successful, then maybe I'll even try making a dress for a fall wedding. But that's a long way off.

I am starting off of the year by taking a pattern drafting class at a local fabric store called G Street Fabrics. As you know, I'm not exactly svelte, and have a lot of trouble with clothes. If they fit well in one location, they are too big (or too small) elsewhere. It's a problem most of us have, whether big or small. Anyway, in this class I'm learning how to make a sloper designed for my needs which I can then use to make my own designs, or to alter commercial patterns to my specific needs. I'm already jazzed about this class, and I'd like to take some of the others in the series if I can manage it.

Hopefully I'll be good about posting this year. I'm sure I will have lots to share if I am tackling tougher projects!

Thursday, August 19, 2010


That's how I feel about my latest creation, which was made with a cotton gauze material I picked up at either Joann's or Hancock Fabrics (can't recall which one). Anyone who knows me well knows that this exactly the kind of whacky pattern that would catch my eye at the shop. My poor mom would never be caught in such a pattern, so I am not sure where I got this love from, but I guess it doesn't really matter does it?

The pattern for this new shirt was Simplicity 3893, part of the Khaliah Ali collection. I chose to try out View E. Overall, it was an easy pattern, though I will admit that the elastic casing caused me quite a bit of heartache. In fact it remains the one part of the shirt I am not thrilled with and  the part that I hope people don't look at very closely. I hope to do much better next time. I also think that the detail of the front placard gets lost in the pattern - if I could do it over again, I would have used a plain brown gauze for the placard and tie belt.

I definitely will try this pattern again, though next time I would definitely try a lighter-weight, more delicate material - in fact, I have a material in my stash that would probably be perfect once I am able to tackle really thin, light fabrics. I'm a huge fan of cotton gauze, but its a bit voluminous, so it changes the feel of the shirt. I also think it would be fun to experiment with some of the other styles. I also wonder whether I should grade the pattern on the top (smaller) since it's a bit to voluminous and possibly too long. I've got to start modifying the patterns more, but I am not quite confident enough to do that yet.

And now, the pictures!

On the hanger

Front panel and tie details... not that you can see it because of the pattern!

Bust close up

Monday, July 26, 2010

I'm in love...

...with a pattern - Butterick 5001, to be exact. Seriously, I think this 'tres facile' pattern will be a go-to pattern for me when I need a quick and easy dress. I picked up this pattern at a $1 sale and had been trying to find the right material to make it with. That, and to build the gumption to attempt working with knits, which I have been absolutely terrified of doing!

I found some jersey on sale for $2.99/yard at, and decided to take the plunge, ordering enough to make a dress. Unfortunately, it sat in the delivery box for weeks while we entertained guests, I traveled for work, and  I was sucked into the never ending project at work. Last weekend, I decided to finally give it a go and cut the pattern pieces. I also decided at that time to try grading the pattern up to accommodate my very full hips, using instructions in a Singer sewing book my sister bought me years ago. I wasn't sure how it would turn out, but the grading was easier than I expected (at least for this simple pattern) and the cutting (of both the pattern and the material) went pretty smoothly. (Of course, I had no idea how it was actually going to work during contruction, but that challenge was for another day!)

This weekend, I tackled the actual sewing, using my sister's borrowed Brother machine. Overall, it worked out okay, though I was having some serious bobbin thread tension issues. I'm happy to take credit for user error when I am indeed the problem, but I am not sure I was the culprit this time. In the end, though, I figured it all out, and now have a new dress for less than $10 - $7.48 for the material, and then a few dollars for some stay tape for the shoulders. As you can tell, I opted for View A since we are heading to Greece and Turkey in late August, but I will definitely make some View B and C versions for my wardrobe!

The dress fit looks a bit wonky in this picture, but it looks better in person, I swear!


That's what I have to say about work taking over my life for two months. Can you believe that - two months! I'm clawing my way back from the abyss, and finally have started working on my sewing projects again. It was a fantastic feeling to get behind the sewing machine again. First on my list was finishing up a summer blouse I started way back in the beginning of June. It was my second clothing attempt outside of my sewing class and my first attempt at making clothing for myself. I actually got most of it done before I had to head out to Seattle for work mid-month, but didn't get to finish the hem until recently.

The pattern I used was McCalls 5640 - I did View A, the tank top. I love the material I chose - a cheap polyester from Hancock Fabric. I know it seems wrong to say I love a cheap poly material, but the pattern is so cute! I was bummed to realize that the material had an imperfection, but I kept at it since I didn't want to deal with a return and it would still be okay for a knock-around shirt. Overall, I wasn't thrilled with the pattern. It came out looking like a very voluminous muu muu. Not so great. But, I was happy to get more practice and I am pretty impressed (if I can say so myself) with the seams. So pretty looking - so much better than the seams on my husband's pajama bottoms. I also got to work with bias tape for the first time, which turned out fairly well from what I can tell. Then again, what do I know?

Seams and seam binding!
On the hanger

Monday, May 31, 2010

Yay for Yellow!

Okay, so it doesn't look very yellow in the pictures, but this weekend - in addition to canning oodles of strawberry jam and having a shopping spree at JC Penney's for basically free - I managed to finally finish my second clothing project ever: Butterick 6838! This is a huge accomplishment since I've been 'working' on this project since the fall, but I was terrified of the completing the yoke section so of course it sat and sat and sat.

We went to NJ for the weekend for my dad's 6-month memorial (coincidentally being held on Memorial Day weekend) and I was bound and determined to finish the nightgown for my mom. It's not my style, but it is definitely hers, so I knew she would appreciate it. Since I wasn't home, Bessie didn't take part in this weekend's work, though she had taken care of some of the basic early work (side seams, neck gathering). Instead, I used my sister's Brother CS-80, which she hasn't used much at all. I was spoiled! Her sewing machine was so QUIET, and clearly handled the lightweight batiste better than Bessie did. On the fun side, this sewing machine had decorative stitches, so I added some neck and sleeve embellishments. Unfortunately, white thread on light yellow fabric is hard to see in the photos below.

Overall, I was fairly frustrated with the Butterick pattern, even though I figured it out. I think I will always be frustrated by patterns though - all the ones I have looked at aren't exactly user friendly. I did have some snaffus while putting this together - at two points while working on adding the decorative stitches, the Brother machine tried to eat the material and the hubby had to help save the day for one of those times. Then, I accidentally cut the fabric while cleaning up the hem, and had to re-hem. But, it could have been so much worse.

So, without further ado, the finished product! Unfortunately, the pastel yellow doesn't show up well in most of the pictures!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Sew-a-thon 2010

Seriously, that is the best way to describe the past 32 hours! I've been a sewing fiend.

First off, for the Friday Night Sew-in yesterday, I managed to get a lot of work done on two bibs (pics are below) for a baby shower I am attending tomorrow (er.. make that today, since it is now after midnight!). I didn't fully complete the bibs on Friday night - I still needed to topstitch them and add the velcro and did that today.

Today, I finished up the two bibs I started on Friday, and also made ANOTHER bib. Maybe it is because I am Greek and we love to have everything done in threes, but apparently two just didn't seem like enough. But that isn't all. I went a bit nuts and decided I had to have burp cloths also. So I made three of those today! I was going to make a little taggie giraffe softie, but I messed up, and decided I wasn't in the mood to try and fix it!

I'm fairly happy with how it all turned out, though I do have some gripes. First, the terry cloth was a bit of a pain to work with... it shifted around a lot and I seem to have terry bits all over my apartment now. Secondly, it took a couple of tries to figure out how best to add the velcro so you couldn't see the stitches. You can see in some of the pictures I had varying levels of success with that. My topstitching was sort of all over the place, though overall, I am definitely getting better. I'm actually not thrilled with the brown topstitching on the brown/pink/mint bib. I think it looked better without it, but think taking it off might not look so good...

So here are the pictures!!

The 'Friday Night Sew-In' bibs... I don't love the brown topstitching.
The third bib! I love the material on this one!
All three together. First, the fronts...
...and now the backs! You could probably reverse them if you wanted. The back of the pink bib is super cute!
The burp cloths!
The two sides of the burp cloth - the terry side, and the pretty one!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Friday Night Sew-In!

I'm so excited to participate in tonight's Friday night sew in, hosted by Handmade by Heidi.

I'm especially pleased because since my husband is going to be out and I've got the place to myself. I needed something to motivate me to work on some sewing projects that need to be done by Sunday, and this is just the push I needed! Stay tuned to see what I manage to accomplish tonight once I clean off my table and make some room for the sewing machine again.