Thursday, March 19, 2020

Quick Projects From 2019

These three projects passed by last year without any fanfare, but I really like to document, so here we go...


I loved Simplicity 2406 so much but realized I would never be able to wear it again while also eating what I love to eat. The hip area was already bordering on too tight years ago. So, I cut it off right at the widest point to make myself a wearable top.

This gave the top some more time, but it's not the same. Since Jo-Ann still sells this fabric, I'm tempted to make that dress over again, this time in the grey version. What do you think?

Tried and True:

I made a simple skirt using a downloaded Pattern Runway skirt pattern (it seems it is no longer available) and some Jo-Ann quilting fabric I had my eye on called Dotted Twigs in a gray, mustard, and black print. It goes with everything, but of course, reads very spring, so it's been in storage.

New Make:

For Halloween, I chose to go as a superhero. Owning both the Simplicity 8718 and Simplicity 8074 "warrior women" patterns, I had a lot of pieces to choose from. The designs in these patterns resemble two of Rey's looks from The Last Jedi (with two versions of Rey's scavenger drapes,) and three costumes from Game of Thrones; a Season 7 Arya Stark battle dress and two from the Season 5 Sand Snake sisters (complete with harnesses.)

I originally wanted to use the harness ideas to create a Valkyrie costume from Thor Ragnarok but wanted something simple to make. I then thought of how achievable the character of Domino from Deadpool 2 would be instead. However, I still really wanted Rey's sleeveless vest in my regular non-superhero wardrobe, so I went ahead and made it anyway.

I was able to find a beautiful tweed remnant on the Jo-Ann clearance table and an exceptionally well color-matched lining.

Hand sewing for the win!

I'm pretty proud of this make and have worn it many times to work as a regular garment. I do still have plans to make Rey's padded epaulets (detachable) at some point with the leftover fabrics.

Thursday, February 13, 2020

McCall's 7313 - Fall Floral Frock

Pattern: McCall's 7313 (2016)

Pattern Description: Pullover dresses have neckline variations, close-fitting bodice, and a hidden elastic waist. A Learn to Sew For Fun pattern. I made View D.

Pattern Sizing: Sizes 18-20-22-24W

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

Were the instructions easy to follow? Extremely easy, as expected for a Learn to Sew pattern.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I like the simple design, neckline options, and a defined waistline, which I now prefer to have in my dresses.

Fabric Used: 58" Ember Knit double brushed print fabric in Dusty Blue Abstract Floral (85% Polyester, 15% Spandex) from Jo-ann Fabrics, Gutermann 100% polyester Sew-All thread in Copenhagen #933, Dritz 1/4" wide elastic

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: Using the finished garment measurements, I  originally cut a size 18 bodice and a 20 skirt. Not sure about the curve of the neckline, I had planned to use Simplicity 8910 to influence the shape of the final neckline.

However, after trying on the basted dress I was disappointed to find the dress bodice was oversized,  loose, and shapeless. I took it apart and laid my altered New Look 6838 t-shirt pattern over it and shaved some width from the sides and enough length from the shoulders to bring it closer to the pattern's size 16.

I also removed the seam allowance from the back neck because it seemed too high. At this point, I realized the original neckline would work.

After having fit the bodice, I basted in the sleeves. Now being eager, I had already sewed the sleeves together and hemmed them. Pinning them into the armscye revealed that there was too much ease, almost two inches. Shortening the sleeve cap height, reducing the width of the sleeve at the underam, plus slightly gathering the basting stitches at the underarms got them to fit.

Hand stitching the full skirted hem took a few hours but I finished 48 hours out from #DCFrocktails2020, so it was all a success.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes. The variety of neckline options and simple construction makes this an easy TNT (tried and true) pattern for sure.

Conclusion: When I needed a quick no-nonsense dress, this pattern came to the rescue. The only issue is I need to start verifying the finished garment measurements before cutting into my fabric from now on. Or I could finally make that bodice sloper I keep meaning to make...come on 2020 sloper!!

Monday, December 30, 2019

Carter's Blue Woobie*

A decade ago, I made quite a few stuffed toys for my friends who were all having babies around the same time. I loved making them but ended up really burned out. However, there was no way I wasn't making toys for my niece and nephew's children. Here is the story of stuffed toy #2, this one made completely from scratch.

Patterns Used: For the head, I used Simplicity 8938 (2019) because I wanted to use the adorable face shape of the bear with its full cheeks. I also used the pattern for the one-piece body and curved leg shape. The shoulders and arms were adapted from both the Wee Wonderfuls Kitty, Bunny, and Bear 3-in-1 pattern (2006), and McCall's 7795 (2018.)

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope(s) once you were done sewing with it? No, it became its own thing.

Were the instructions easy to follow? Very much so, since I decided to simplify the whole stuffed toy experience from the last time I made a soft toy from fleece. This time, I choose not to have separate arms and legs. Really, the most challenging part was deciding which colors to use for all the decorative elements. I ended up cutting eye, muzzle, and tummy pieces in multiple colors and tried out different combinations.

The final design

Fabric Used: 59" Anti-pill Plush Fleece (100% polyester) in Mare Blue and Deep Blue, 59" Blizzard fleece (100% polyester) in Wedgewood, Gutermann 100% polyester Sew All thread in Iris #900 and Dark Blue #252, Kuni ecofi Classic Felt in Neon Blue, and Pellon Easy Pattern.

I used the chosen pattern pieces and Pellon Easy Pattern to trace shapes for blending and creating new pattern pieces.

The old and the new

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I created my own stuffed toy pattern by combining my favorite parts from primarily two patterns. I also drew inspiration from the book fleecie dolls (2008) by Fiona Goble, realizing that a fleece doll might be easier to clean and feel softer on a child's skin. over the years, I've made multiple versions of the Wee Wonderful animals, and while I love them all; knowing what I know now; fleece or a woven cloth works better than the flannel I used for them. Flannel is not durable enough for heavily-used (played with) dolls. The stressed stitches pulled right out of the delicate weave, and the fabric surface (and softness) wore down quickly.

Finishing touches that I added: Then came the truly fun part, adding details, the face, and personality using embroidery. This was so relaxing and meditative. I love his little face! The patch over the stomach gave the illusion of a chubby body and I even put a little puff of padding under both the tummy and the muzzle piece before stitching it down.

Blanket stitches in contrasting colors add both a hand sewn and finished feel to the whole project.

The last touch was adding a simple vest (which I'm sure was promptly lost) I adapted the idea from a tutorial for Tagalong Teddy from Betz White's book Present Perfect. (Unfortunately, the tutorial is no longer accessible online, so definitely go get the book.)

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Oh, yeah, this is my new TNT doll pattern.

Chewing is acceptable.
Gently guarded by the family dog.

 From all the signs seen above it seems to have been a success!

Remember what a "woobie" is? If you do, you are around my age if you know what 1980s movie that term comes from.

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Allee Willis - RIP

I just read that Grammy-winning musician Allee Willis has died. I just happened to have written a post on her retro-hip home design way back in 2009. Enjoy her out-there style.