Monday, November 05, 2018

Making A Mandy Boat Tee - Tessuti Fabrics

Pattern: Tessuti Mandy Boat Tee (2013) is available as a FREE download at this link.

Pattern Description: Oversized boxy top with shallow boat neckline with dropped shoulders and three-quarter-length fitted sleeves.

Pattern Sizing: One size fits all, finished length: 23.5", finished width: 58".

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes!

Were the instructions easy to follow? Extremely easy. Although the instructions call for twin needle hems, I turned down a 5/8" hem on the neckline, folded the raw edge inside, and did a single line of stitching. Realizing then that perhaps I should have narrowed the width of the neckline, so I tapered the shoulder seam from the 3 /8" at the sleeve out to 3/4" at the neck.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I love the thoroughly oversized shape of this tee, but like the Grainline Hemlock the lower arms were still too narrow for comfort.

Fabric Used: Bole brown heather grey 1/2" stripe cotton jersey (50% cotton, 25% rayon, 25% polyester) from Girl Charlee Fabrics.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I narrowed the neckline, shortened the length by quite a lot and lowered the armscye by 1/2". After construction, but before the top and sleeve hems, I found the sleeves were bordering on too tight, so I decreased the seam allowance from 3/8" to 1/4".

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes, most definitely. I suggest that you measure your biceps and forearms and check to see if you need to make adjustments to the sleeve pattern piece before construction.

Conclusion:  I love my new top. It fulfills this inspirational Pin I collected a few years ago and it just happens to match this one from Sew Dainty who made hers with the exact same fabric. In addition, this top matches perfectly with my brown Ponte Butterick 6464 skirt. Instant ensemble!

Friday, November 02, 2018

Fall Sewing Update

I AM sewing, I really am. Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures to prove it! Yet.

I made an impromptu skirt from the generous leftovers (at least a yard!) from this black and white challis top in 2014. I think I had originally planned to make pants from this challis? This skirt was just a simple fabric tube with elastic at the top.

I then made a shell from New Look 6838, view C in white ponte. I always thought that view looked like a great pattern but until now I had only made the sleeved versions, here and here.

More babies, more baby clothes. I handed off two pairs of baby leggings to a co-worker and just finished another pair plus two simple elastic skirts for another new baby girl at the company. Unbelievably, there is still fabric left! In total, I've made five leggings and two skirts from only 1-1/2 yards of interlock!

Hopefully, coming soon, more sewing...

Friday, October 05, 2018

I Did a Stupid Thing...

Ugh! Don't you hate it when you make a quick decision that requires a long, multi-step solution? Me too.

Fact #1: I have been going gray since my mid-thirties, a strand at a time. When I noticed all the gray roots amassing in the center of my front hairline I started to use dye. Years later, I thought I should go lighter with the color for a better transition. However, when I tried a Revlon dye three shades lighter; instead of dying my entire head, it stripped back color from the front 2 to 3 inches, revealing pure white strands. It was much more growth (and lack of color) than I had expected so I panicked and redid it with a darker dye. However, it got me thinking, perhaps going gray wouldn't be so bad or hard, if I did another Big Chop one day?

However, at that time I wasn't ready. I thought I would still need that allusion of youth to get a job and pursue a romantic life.

When I did change my mind, I started researching how to avoid cutting all the dyed portions and most importantly, my length off. Perhaps, there were some natural ways to strip dye out of hair. My first experiment was with a recipe of baking soda (opens up the hair cuticle), a strong dandruff shampoo, and common dish detergent. I did notice, immediately, that the lather was a bit brown, so I think this method was working but at that point my last dye job had been months ago. So too little, too late.

So, what's the stupid thing I did? Well, I couldn't stand the multiple shades in my hair. The white roots and the darker ends, I was fine with them. It was the middle section of my strands that were actually white underneath the old brown dye which was now faded and dull. My hair was now three distinct colors. I wanted that middle section and the dark ends to blend together so... I tried the "dying it three shades lighter" thing (see above) in hopes of repeating the earlier result...stripping back to the white strands and evenly dying the rest.

Well, it didn't work! The dyed hair got darker and the glorious 2-inch white roots I had been cultivating now looked stained, as if I rubbed coffee grounds in my hair. Disappointed is not a strong enough word for how I felt.

I tried the baking soda concoction again but it didn't work this time. To the rescue, came Color Oops, a commercial color remover, which is what I should have done in the first place. This ammonia- and bleach-free color remover is supposed to restore hair to its original shade; however, for me it only took mine back to before my most recent stupid dye job. Unfortunately, the smell was highly sulfuric, like rotten eggs, and lasted over a week despite frequent shampoos.

Check out that growth!

Fact #2: I am now letting it grow out naturally, occasionally applying a purple toning shampoo to the brassy tones of the fading brown dye left on my actual white strands. The truth is I would be perfectly fine dealing with the white roots and the dark dyed ends, just not the "masked" hair stuck under that dull and too-slowly fading dye.

Fact #3: I am living for the loveliness that is @grombre on Instagram! Besides the gorgeous inspiration of all the women not fighting their changing hair color but also the revelation that people are going gray at a much younger age than I thought. The majority of the stories on there have people finding their first grays in their teens or early 20s and then dyeing for decades. So sad that gray hair = old (so we feel like we must dye if we are under 60) whereas if the stigma was not perpetuated it would be, "when it happens, it just big deal" What an easier life it would be, right?

Monday, September 10, 2018

A Baby Mini-Wardrobe

My gorgeous grand-nephew C.Q. "trying" on my gift.

Patterns usedMcCall's 8574 (OOP): T-shirt with overlapped shoulders, one-piece romper, nightgown, sleep sack, diaper cover, beanie, and booties. Sized for babies weighing 7 to 21 pounds.

Three FREE patterns: Purl Soho's Newborn Kimono Shirt and two patterns from Made by Rae, her Basic Newborn Baby Pants and Just Hatched Baby Leggings patterns.

Fabric: Luckily, I had some great fabric perfect for them. The best piece was a linen/cotton blend I scavenged from a pair of Target Mossimo pants that no longer fit. What a way to recycle, right?

There was enough fabric in them for a jacket and a pair of baggy baby pants plus probably enough for at least another baby garment.

I had enough fabric from the pants for the Purl Soho Newborn Kimono and was able to use the finished pant hems as the bottom of the jacket!

Unfortunately, it was too small for him even before I met him. He was a big baby, over 9 pounds at birth. However, it was the piece I was most proud of...just check out that itty bitty binding!

I was also able to use a shortcut when making the pants too. I was able to reuse the original factory finished side seams for the side seams of the baby pants.

Additional Fabric Used: One half yard each of three juvenile prints from the Doodles line at Joann's:  Little Dogs, Scooters, and Cowboy Owls in 100% cotton interlock ($2.50 each.)

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I made no changes, the instructions were all great. For the knits, I pinked all the seams or did two rows of stitching and then trimmed the seams close.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes, I would recommend each of these patterns, especially that workhorse of a pattern, McCall's 8574, even though it is out of print. Copies are available all over the Internet, so you should definitely seek it out.

Looking good!

These were great patterns and great fabrics. I not only made up these pieces for my grand-nephew but also some baby leggings for co-worker/friends who are expecting their own bundles of joy. The best thing about this project was the minimal expense, ease, and quick turnaround.