Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Suki Kimono

I had the great pleasure of getting to pattern test the latest pattern from Helen's Closet, the Suki Kimono.


The official description is as follows: The Suki Kimono is a luxurious and comfortable robe, perfect for everyday use. It wraps around the body for a flattering waist fit and flares out over the hips. Kimono sleeves offer a classic look while still being a practical shape and length for getting ready in the morning. Inner and outer ties keep this robe closed so you can move around freely. The outer ties are anchored to the back of the robe so you will never lose them and inseam pockets ensure your phone is always at hand. Two lengths are provided and you have the option of contrasting front bands, sleeve bands, and ties. The Suki Kimono will surely be your new favorite lounge-wear!


I held off on posting about my Suki because I had hoped to use it as part of an outfit for The Monthly Stitch's last contest for Indie Pattern Month.  But alas, I haven't had a lot of sewjo lately, so I didn't get my "work from home" outfit finished in time.



The fabric I used was a 4 yard pre-cut poly crepe de chine I got from Fabric Mart for $3.20 back in February.  I didn't love the fabric once it arrived, but I decided that made it perfect for this test, in case things didn't work out.  It frayed more than any other fabric I've worked with so far.  Although, to be fair, I have way more experience with knits than wovens.


Not the clearest photos, but yeah, that's fully half of the seam allowance frayed away.  :(  I did french seams on the body and I had to increase the seam allowance to allow for the fact that my seam allowances frayed away.  Helen advised using spray starch next time I'm working with a woven that frays.  I'll definitely need to remember that tip!



Also, the instructions say to put the Rouleau loops in the side seams so the ends are encased in the seam for the belt loops.  However, I was extra frustrated by my fabric fraying and I stupidly started a couple of my french seams the wrong way round, which exacerbated the problem.  So, in all my frustration, I was a bad tester and I forgot to actually check back to the instructions and I missed attaching the belt loops and the hanging loop at the time I was supposed to.  I just left the hanging loop off, but for the side loops, I just attached them flat with the ends folded under.  I might actually prefer it this way, but for my next version I'll try the right way so I can compare.


Even though I didn't like the fabric much at first and I had problems due to my fabric choice that made this a frustrating sew, the finished kimono more than makes up for it all my issues.  I LOVE this robe!  It's very warm in Seattle this summer and this is 100% polyester, so I'm not wearing it right now.  But once it cools off, I'll be living in this thing.  I definitely plan on making more and I already have plans for a summer friendly version and a slightly hacked version that I hope will give off the essence of an old Hollywood dressing gown.


This is the tester version, but the only real difference between what I made and the final release is fixing some minor mistakes to a couple pattern pieces to make construction easier.



I definitely feel very glamorous with this kimono on.  Since I've been working at home for the past 2 months, I find that I usually don't bother getting dressed.  So this kimono just goes on over my lounging clothes for when I need to answer the door for a package or step outside for some reason or another.  And the sleeve length is perfect for not getting in the way of daily activities, like sitting out on the back deck drinking coffee.


If you haven't seen them yet, you really should check out the rest of the versions from the tester roundup on the Helen's Closet blog.  And today (August 1, 2017) is the last day the Suki Kimono is on sale for 20% off!  So get it now!  And while you're there, pick up her other two patterns too, which are both equally as wonderful.





Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Pride dress 2017 edition

This is my (hopefully) first entry for the Hack It! contest over at The Monthly Stitch.

So, the rainbow dress I made for Pride in 2015 is a little too baggy on me now, so I decided that I needed a new one.  Instead of just repeating what I did before, I decided to try something different.

I sketched out what I was hoping to achieve.


I decided to use the Seamwork Mesa for my starting pattern.  I've made it twice before and I knew it fit pretty well.  I did go down a size from my previous ones and I think it's even a better fit now.  I compared the front and the back of the dress pattern and decided that they were close enough in size/shape that I'd be ok just making two fronts and sewing them together, which made this hack much easier.  So first I printed out the dress front piece twice and taped them together to make a full piece.


You can see above that I sketched in the lines for the rainbow pieces.  I did a combination of eyeballing and measuring to get them to roughly appear even.  I then colored in the stripes to help keep which piece goes with which color fabric once I started cutting out the pieces.


I then cut each piece apart and added seam allowances.  I even added actual notches like a good seamstress!  As you may have noticed in the photo above, I messed up my rainbow coloring.  Luckily, I figured it out while I was still adding the seam allowances and fixed the colors with some permanent markers over my colored pencil.



The fabrics I used all happen to be in my ginormous stash.  I have a bunch of nylon/lycra active wear fabrics that I pick up on sale from Fabric Mart and Fashion Fabrics Club whenever I can so that I am able to make a ballroom gown on a moment's notice, if I were to so choose to do so.


Since I made the decision to just make two front pieces and sew them together, I was able to just cut a double layer of each color.


I then just sewed each half of the main dress together and cut one red and one yellow sleeve and sewed it all together.  I would have liked to split the sleeve into yellow and green like in my sketch, but I was doing this the day before I needed to wear the dress, so I got a little lazy.


And the back is just a mirrored image of the front.



And here we are on the Link light rail, heading down to Seattle Pride.


I didn't take all that many photos of the actual parade, but I did get particularly misty eyed when I saw Wizards of the Coast walking, so I had to grab a photo.  I had just left a couple weeks before and had been in a lot of the planning meetings for their first ever appearance in the parade.  I'm so proud to have been a part of that company.


After the parade, we had dinner downtown with the kids and then the hubby and I went to see Romy and Michele the Musical.  He managed to get a couple not terrible shots of me on the streets of Seattle.



You can see a little of the stripe matching on the side.


In front of the show poster that is cut off and obscured.  haha.


I'm quite proud of this dress and I'll be happy to wear it again next year and I might even decide to just wear it around because it's a pretty awesome dress.  I also plan on reusing the pattern for a striped version, possibly in Seahawks colors.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Indie Dress!!

It's Indie Pattern Month over at The Monthly Stitch.  So that means contests!  Week 1 is dresses, which I am always up for.

Seamwork Arden
However, I have been struggling with what to make lately.  I have so many choices that sometimes thinking about all the pattern options and fabric selection ends up giving me decision anxiety.  I end up procrastinating by sketching and touching all my fabrics and I end up wasting all the time I had to sew!  I actually had another Seamwork pattern in mind to make for this contest, but in looking for two fabrics to go together, I decided that this lovely orange and navy paisley lawn needed to be featured in its own dress.  So, I picked the Seamwork Arden because it had a retro feel to it that I thought fit the fabric nicely.


I had hoped to make the entire dress out of the lawn, but I only had 3 yards and couldn't squeeze the entire thing out of it, and I happened to have some navy cotton lawn in my stash that matched perfectly.  So, it all worked out.


I made a straight size 16, which I chose due to my bust measurement.  The waist and hips of the dress are flowy, so I wasn't concerned about those measurements.  Plus, I was too lazy to do an FBA.


I made the long sleeves originally, but after attaching them, I realized they were slightly too short for my long monkey arms and also, the point of this dress was really to have a lightweight cotton dress to wear during our little Seattle heatwave.  So, I ended up chopping the sleeves off and added navy cuffs.  I definitely like the look of the long sleeves of the pattern, so it was a bit tough cutting them off, but I'm happy to have a nice, cool summer dress.  But if I make this pattern again, I'll probably keep the long sleeves and just add about an inch to their length.


My other adjustment is that I added in seam pockets!  I really do need pockets in all of my dresses.  Or at least one pocket for my phone.  And what's the point of sewing my own clothes if I can't customize them to be exactly what *I* want?


I made a small fit modification of taking in the two center front darts to add a little more shaping and to not tent quite as straight down.  I'm not 100% sure I sewed the darts correctly in the first place since I'm terrible about actually marking my fabric pieces.  But I took each of those darts approximately 1/2" deeper at the waist line, tapering out to nothing at the top and a few inches from the bottom of the darts.

Overall, I really like the look of this dress.  I hate sewing darts and this dress has 4 very long darts in the front and 4 in the back.  There is a bonus modification that uses gathers instead of darts that I might try in the future, but I like this dress enough that I might just be willing to deal with the darts.  I also didn't really know how much I'd like the bow, since I'm a little worried about adding extra bulk to my already busty figure.  But I actually really think it's very flattering, so I'm definitely glad I took the chance on this dress.


I have plans for each of the 4 Indie Pattern Month contests, but I'm already almost done with my project for week 3 (Hack it!) so I'll definitely finish at least one more.  Are you planning on entering anything for the contests this year?  I'd love to hear what you are willing to share (or tease) about your entries!

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Way overdue Me Made May update!

So much has happened since my last update that kept me away from sewing, so I barely even thought about my blog!

I started out trying to document my Me-Made outfits in May on Instagram.  As I suspected, I didn't really have enough me-mades that fit me to be able to wear them every day.  And even then, I didn't always remember to get a photo when I was wearing one of my makes.  So, here are the ones I did manage to get:

May 3: One of my Ottobre makes that I managed to find time to take in.


May 4th: My first Colette Wren.  I had a job interview down in OR that day and this photo was taken after I got back home.


May 5th: My first Seamwork Mesa, which I started a blog post about, but never posted.  I didn't like it when I first made it, but I like it quite a bit now that I've lost a little weight and it doesn't hug my tummy so much.


May 8th: See Kate Sew Dreamer Tee with RTW jeans and my latest Coheed and Cambria hoodie.  :)


May 9th: Seamwork Astoria with black jeans.


May 12th: My birthday Wren with my goto blue Helen's Closet Blackwood cardigan.


May 16th: Another make from Ottobre.  This one is Twig from the 5/2015 issue.


May 17th: My Burda Bohemian maxi.


May 18th: This is a princess seam dress my mom made me way back in high school with my Swoon Scarf Neck cardigan from the Fabricista challenge.



May 22nd: My 2nd Seamwork Mesa that I managed to make in May.



May 28th:  I also wore it again when I went to Vancouver, BC for my daughter's 21st birthday.


Well, there you have it.  All the photos that I have, most of them terrible.  We finally got our old house fixed up and rented, so hopefully I'll FINALLY have some time to sew and catch up on my blog.  I have made a 3rd Seamwork Mesa that I hacked that I'm excited to blog about soon.  If you follow my Instagram, then you've already seen the spoilers.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Me Made May 2017 Pledge

I haven't posted in a while, mostly because I haven't really made much that I'm super proud of.  Since my last post I made another Blackwood Cardigan just like my blue one but this time in a lovely mango sophia double knit that I picked up from the sewing expo.  I do love that sweater and both of my Blackwoods get heavy rotation in my wardrobe and will likely be seen in my MMM photos this year.  (In fact, I'm wearing my blue one today.)

I also managed to throw together a couple costume pieces that I'm definitely not proud of, but got the job done.  And as it would be I don't have any photos of either costume, but I do have this video of my Ursula dance wearing a dress I put together using the Jalie Bella dress pattern.


I took out a lot of width in the skirt flares and just didn't sew the panels all the way to the bottom to make the panels somewhat resemble tentacles.  I cut two of the center front panel, adding a seam allowance, and hacked it into a sweetheart neckline with a purple netting at the neckline and sleeves.  I hacked this together quickly the day of the event and I didn't finish the edges, so the netting at the neckline has all run.  I also split the center back panel so that I could add a zipper to the back.  This dress uses the leotard from the same pattern so that I don't have to wear separate dance pants.

Now for the main topic of my post today.  Me Made May 2017!  I signed up with a realistic pledge a while ago, and, of course, I hoped (and still do) that I'll be able to make and/or alter some items to fill in where my wardrobe is lacking this month.  But here is the pledge I made:


So that's my pledge.  I'm going to do the best I can.  I have a few dresses that still look ok on me -- my Monetas and my Wrens.  I made my first Wren knowing that I was going to be losing a lot of weight, so I intentionally made it a size smaller than I would have otherwise at the time, so that helped.  And I think the Monetas just were snug enough that they just are a little loose now.

Here's a photo of what I wore yesterday on May 1.  It's the first Kitschy Coo Lady Skater that I made.  A wearable muslin.  I took a relaxation day after my dance competition last weekend, so I was just lazying around the house and running errands, so I didn't mind that it was fairly loose on me.



And this is today.  A Moneta and my blue Blackwood.


I will be back to document more me-made outfits soon.

Are you participating in MMM'17?

Monday, February 27, 2017

Blackwood in Blue


It's been a while since I've posted.  I've not done much sewing lately because I've been moving and getting my new house put together and also getting my old house fixed up and ready to rent out.  I'm still in the middle of both of those tasks, but when Helen from Helen's Closet contacted me about testing out her new pattern, I jumped at the opportunity and made it work, even with my new sewing room still in boxes.


The Blackwood Cardigan is a close fitting sweater that is designed to be worn open in the front.  View A extends to mid-thigh with patch pockets, while view B ends at the hips.  The sleeves are designed to be long and end mid palm, not at the wrist, which I love.


I made view A from a cotton sweatshirt fabric.  When I made the pockets, I thought it would be fun to add a little decorative stitching detail.


The upper sleeves are slightly tight on me, but also, my fabric barely has the required 40% stretch, so another fabric would be better.  However, for my next version I'll be doing a full bicep adjustment.


There are a few wrinkles at the lower back, even after trying to smooth it out, so I'm going to see about doing a sway back adjustment, although I've never attempted it on a pattern that doesn't have a waist seam.


I love this sweater and I have worn it quite a bit.  I really need to make a few more because I'm cold all the time at work now and other than this sweater, I only have hoodies to keep warm.


The Blackwood Cardigan pattern is 20% off for the first week, so go pick it up.  But hurry, because the sale ends March 6th.