Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Tool Time!

It's been at least a month since I've made a pair of lounge pants.  I'm going through some serious withdrawal here!

I have grand designs of making shirts, pants, suit jackets, etc. for my husband some day. So far I've only managed to make lounge pants.  Lots and lots of lounge pants. (Knitted projects don't count. I knitted an awesome cabled sweater a number of years ago for him, and a few winter hats.)  Lounge pants are great because he always wears them around the house.

He picked out the tool-print flannel fabric on one of the many times he had the misfortune to accompany me to the fabric store :) He also graciously agreed to model them for me:

McCall's 3019 Lounge Pants

This is my go-to lounge pants pattern, McCall's 3019 (out of print).  The only modification, other than chopping a serious amount of length on the leg (we're vertically challenged in this house), is to reinforce the crotch seams with a line of top stitching. It really helps make these last longer and prevent any rips or blow outs.

McCall's 3019 Lounge Pants

And, my favorite part is the label.  I just get the biggest kick out of making these!

Custom "Ass Goes Here" Label

Honestly, to me this pattern isn't complete without this label.  I did try to get too fancy with the edge stitches, but what's the point if I can't have fun and experiment from time to time?

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Watermelon Cambie in Action

It's been a while since I completed this project, but I haven't had a chance to post "action shots" of my Watermelon Cambie. If you're interested, you can read about the project here.
Finished Watermelon Cambie
Watermelon Cambie - Back
Ms Macy and Watermelon Cambie

Ms Macy is not impressed by these action shots. She wants this photo shoot nonsense to be over so she can go eat her cat treats.

While it's technically spring, it's still freakin' cold in Chicago! This particular Cambie feels like more of a spring/summer dress to me. But, I was determine to wear it out on Friday and needed a way to style it to make it more weather appropriate:

Watermelon Cambie - Warm Weather Styling
I love the color, but it is a bit hard to figure out what other colors work best with this. Black seemed to be the safe and currently only choice, but I'm looking for other ideas.  Fuchia maybe? Go bold or go home, right?

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Burda Kimono

Ever since I saw this Mood blog post featuring a Thakoon silk print kimono, I've wanted one.  This is seriously amazing.  However, I've been trying to talk myself out of buying the fabric for it since it's expensive ($35/yard) and newly responsible me is now saving up for a house. Stash fabric to the rescue!

I found a Burda kimono pattern that I thought would work reasonably well and decided to finally use a very thin silk fabric that I've had in my stash for probably over 15 years. (Wow, has it been that long?) This was acquired back in high school during shopping trip with my friend and her mom to Devon Avenue.  If you're in Chicago and you've never been to Devon,you really should.  It's an amazing collection of Indian and Pakistani stores for blocks and blocks, including a few fabric stores.  This silk been in my stash for years waiting for the perfect project, and reminding me of a happy afternoon.

Burda Silk Kimono
I'm not sure exactly what type of silk this is, but I was surprised by how little trouble I had while sewing.  I expected it to be a nightmare and my machine to snag and catch it like crazy.  Nope, this silk was pretty awesome to sew.

Burda Silk Kimono Band Detail

I probably had about two yards, and really wanted to take advantage of the floral border print.  I cut out a size 38 and did no alterations other than omitting the pockets due to lack of fabric.  I also had to use some extra blue lining fabric that I had lying around for the belt, but I really like the color contrast.

Burda Silk Kimono Seam Details

This is one of the first projects in a very long time that I did not serge.  French seams all the way baby!  It took extra time, but it was worth it.

Burda Silk Kimono

Some "action shots" for you. I think this pattern is definitely a winner. Someday, I hope to make the Thakoon silk dream version but until then, I really do love my new kimono.

Monday, March 11, 2013

T-Shirt Club

Last Sunday, my friend and I got together for the first meeting of our T-Shirt Club.  The idea was that we'd get a group of friends together and decorate shirts. It ended up just being the two of us, but it was definitely fun!

Since I'm still on my "I'm not going to buy any clothes, I'm going to make them all" kick, I decided to see what Renfrew fabric I had.  Then inspiration hit.  I wanted a Doctor Who t-shirt. (You might have seen the teaser image in my earlier blog post.) I also happened to have a "tardis blue" fabric in my stash that I had previously tried to sew with my old sewing machine - the machine that was no longer capable of completing a zig zag stitch. It was tragic. This was the fabric that scared me off stretch knits for years! I also decided that I'd never actually wear this color. Well, never say never:

Doctor Who Renfrew T-Shirt

My background was inspired by the galaxy shoes I found on Etsy.  I used fabric paint and glitter to achieve the galaxy effect.  The Tardis image was created using an iron on transfer and going over some parts with fabric paint.

I didn't get my act in gear in time to sew the shirt and just brought the front to the party.  Since then, I've been able to finish.

Doctor Who Renfrew Shirt

I omitted the cuffs and bottom band and opted to instead serge, folder over and hem. I started using my twin needle at the bottom hem and managed to bend it. Of course, I didn't realize it was bent until after I had to unpick two rather large sections of the neck hem. (It must be my tension - oh wait. That needle isn't supposed to be curved like that!)  It's a good thing this fabric is forgiving. I gave up and opted for two lines with the single needle instead.

Doctor Who Renfrew Shirt - Neck Detail

I'm planing a second, Dr. Who inspired shirt. I love using the Renfrew as the blank canvas and incorporating my own designs.

Friday, March 8, 2013

A Brief Pause

Life can be very inconsiderate at times. It has the amazingly bad manners to interfere with my sewing and blogging time.  How rude!  As such, I don't have too much to report.

I do have a bit of a teaser for a project that I'm working on:

Mystery Doctor Who Project

Doctor Who and glitter. You can't ask for much more than that.  I hope to be able to sneak in an hour or two of quality sewing time and will post finished pics as soon as I can.

In other news, I received these wonderful patterns in the mail courtesy of the recent sale at Butterick:

Recent Pattern Purchases

So excited to have Gertie's amazing pattern (Butterick B5882) in my grubby little hands!  I love the sample dress and as much as I'd like to replicate it, there's no way I trust myself in white silk.  I'd be devastated after the first wearing because inevitably I'd spill something on it, or sit in a dirty spot, or mess it up in one of a hundred other ways. I'm sure the right fabric will speak to me when the time comes.

The Vogue skirt looks like a nice basic piece with a few interesting details. I should get a lot of use out of this pattern.

The two bag patterns - well, I couldn't bring myself to purchase just one pattern for around $2 and have to spend $8 more on shipping.  It seemed crazy unless I added in a few other patterns to make the purchase worthwhile.  I have a lot of scraps of leather, vinyl and other utility fabric that would be perfect. I'd love to try out making a bag or two.

Well, back to trying to carve out sewing time!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Renfrew Madness!

I've been analyzing my store-bought wardrobe lately. Most shirts are one of two shapes - the standard t-shirt shape that I don't wear much unless I'm cleaning or doing yard work, and more of the fitted "baby doll" shape. The only differences are the fabric and slight variations of the cut.

That's why I love the Renfrew pattern so much. I can make 10, 20, 30 of the same pattern and they'll all look different depending on the fabric, version I choose and any style adjustments I make.

Silver Striped Renfrew

Today's Renfrew is a variation on View C.  The cowl neck with 3/4 sleeves variation is my fave.  For this version, I lengthened the shirt by about 2-3 stripes. I don't know what that is in inches, I just counted down a couple of stripes and cut, widening it a bit at the bottom. I discovered that I didn't have enough for a full cowl, so I cut one layer minus a few inches. I adjusted the pattern curve so that I could neatly fold it over, instead of using the two full sized layers called for in the pattern.  The result is a lot less volume at the neck, but I think it works because the fabric is so lightweight.

The fabric was a sparkly knit from Vogue fabrics in Evanston, IL.  If you ever go there, check out the remnant section. It's so much fun and it's where I usually pick up most of my knits.  Basically, I see what looks good, bring it home and then look to see what Renfrew I can squeeze out of it. (Okay, occasionally I switch off with a Burda pattern, but there's not much variation these days.)

Here's a closeup of the neck detail and better view of the sparkle factor in the stripes.

Silver Stripe Renfrew - Neck Detail

The fabric was a bit wonky - warped with different sizes of silver and white stripes, and not by design. This gave me some difficulty when trying to match stripes. Oh well, I'm not complaining because a. Sparkly fabric and b. under $10!

I also used this project as an excuse to break out my twin needle.  I think the detail was a lost in this knit, but I enjoy trying out new techniques even when they don't work as planned.  I omitted the bottom waist band and instead serged the edge, folded it over and used the twin needle to finish:

Silver Stripe Renfrew - Hem Detail

I have a few more Renfrews planned and a t-shirt decorating party where I'm going to embellish them a bit. If the end product is something I wouldn't be embarrassed to be seen in public wearing, I'll post pictures.