Sunday, April 10, 2016

Scouting The Perfect Woven Tee

Haha, get it? Because I made a couple of Grainline Scouts! Two, to be specific...

Grainline Scout Tee, modelled on me, front view, in a ditsy rayon challisGrainline Scout Tee, modelled on me, front view, made with bias-cut plaid flannel

There's something about a woven tee that seems oh-so-much fancier than a knit tee. I'm a fan of each of these, and they've been featuring heavily in the workday rotation with skinny pants and flats or boots.

Each one is a size 8, and each is made out of scraps taken from other things. The orange one started life as a bias-cut flannel skirt that slowly got all misshapen as the fabric panels stretched out unevenly. I did get to keep some of the bias seams down the center front and back, and I quite like the mirroring effect.

Back view of plaid flannel Grainline Scout Tee, showing mirroring of plaid along center back seam

The speckled one is a rayon challis that was pulled from a failed dress. It looks much better this way! One thing you might notice is how much more softly it falls. I like both, but the rayon definitely has more drape. It's particularly noticeable at the sleeves. Overall, the rayon makes for a more flattering shirt given Scout's ease, but I feel pretty cool in the flannel version, too.

 You can tell in the side view that there's a distinct high-low thing going on with the hem. I'm not certain whether this is due to the pattern, the need for an FBA, or a bit of both. I think it's both, as the model picture also has a slightly high-low hem, but my side seam hangs at more of an angle. It's so hard to tell with a more blousy top like this, but then again, that also makes it matter less.

Grainline Scout Tee side view in plaid flannel, showing the high-low hem (and zero attempt at pattern matching)

All in all, I like this pattern a lot, but I might be ready to try a new woven tee next, just to change it up. I am so glad I got some workable basics out of these refashions, though!

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Sewing Down the Stash

I'm moving! Hopefully within the next few months. Because of this, I have set myself a very stupid challenge. I hate moving. Granted, so does everyone else on the planet. My way of dealing with this, however, is to attempt to purge everything in my apartment. If I no longer own any things, I don't have anything to move!

The result: I'm trying not to buy any new fabric until we move. I know, impossible.

There are some caveats. I've bought a piece of fabric to make a gift. My sister-in-law got a Named Asaka Kimono for her birthday, and I didn't have anything just right in my stash. I'm also allowing notions needed to finish things that are in the stash. I've been fantasizing about some teal leopard print rayon ever since I stopped in my local shop to get some bias tape, though, and I suspect I may succumb before move-out day.

Nevertheless, so far I haven't bought myself any new fabric in 2016! It's all stash-sewing all the time. As a result, my stash now looks like this! I know it could be smaller, but it fits in a 3 cubic foot box, with some scraps piled on top. If you ask me, that's pretty good.

Fabric stash - it all fits in a little over 3 cubic feet!

To aid the process, I did some drastic culling. The picture below shows everything that didn't make the cut. One thing I've realized in cleaning out my fabric stash is that there aren't many options for donating perfectly good fabric. Clothes can go to charity, scraps can go to textile recycling, but what about decent-sized new pieces? I have a few options left to investigate, but it's definitely a trickier item to donate. Do you have anywhere that puts fabric remnants to good use?

Leftovers, rejects, and scraps of fabric

Friday, February 26, 2016

A Slightly 90's McCall's 6886

Just a quick post for today! I went on a bit of a pattern-buying spree recently, and I acquired M6886 (along with many of its closest friends).

This is a pretty simple knit tee dress, but it's quite flattering!

Knit Shift Tee Dress M6886, modeled on a beach; paired with wide belt, leggings, and boots

I sewed a straight size 14 because the finished measurements were spot on with mine, but I would go a size down for the next one. I ended up taking it in at each side by about half an inch. The armscyes were also a bit large after all this. My solution was to throw it in the dryer after the next wash, because the fabric is mostly cotton.

Speaking of the fabric, you're looking at one of the surprise fabrics from my December Girl Charlee KnitFix. This one is a "Coral Brown Floral on Black Cotton Spandex Knit." If you haven't heard of Girl Charlee's KnitFix, it's a fun way to get a pretty good deal on some surprise mystery knits. I'm not a prolific enough sewer to get a KnitFix regularly, but they make great presents! I think this one has a slight 90's vibe, which is just fine by me! Plus, I'm pretty sure that's in right now.

That's about all there is to say on this dress, except that I used a three-step zigzag stitch for all of the finishing. I'm pretty sure this was a suggestion from Sallie Oh. Thanks, Sallie!

Knit Shift Tee Dress M6886, front view shows wide scoop neckline

Knit Shift Tee Dress M6886, side view shows figure-hugging form, as well as slightly large armscyes

Knit Shift Tee Dress M6886, back view also shows figure-hugging form, as well as high back neckline

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Autumn Floral Saltspring

In general, I am not one for New Year's resolutions. That being said, I've been wanting to start up a sewing blog for a good while. This community is full of such interesting, creative people, and I want to be friends with them!

I can't say that I'll be posting very frequently – after all, even my New Year's resolution got delayed until February. I only started sewing about a year ago, and I am still pretty slow. Nevertheless, I think I'll give it a shot!

With that, here is one of the first things I have made that I would argue looks genuinely alright, the Sewaholic Saltspring.

Karen in Sewaholic Saltspring, paired with cardigan and boots

I have made this dress once before, but I think it would be best to consider the final product a wearable muslin. The bust was too tight, I did a weird buttonhole experiment on the straps that only panned out so-so, and the insides were finished terribly. It looks like the scrap bin in there.

This one turned out much better.

Karen in Sewaholic Saltspring with belt

The modifications I made involved the straps, the bust, and the blousing at the back.

First off, I did a 1" FBA using Tasia’s tutorial. And yes, I did a whole internet search to sleuth out whether adding one inch to each bodice half qualified as a 1" or 2" FBA. Thank God for the Curvy Sewing Collective. They've got it all figured out here. The result added a dart, which I prefer anyhow.

Side view of Sewaholic Saltspring, added bust dart visible

I also changed the straps from the original spaghetti straps to a wider, gathered strip of fabric. I cut mine to around 12" by 5", but I would suggest simply measuring your own shoulder or the strap on another top, then adding the seam allowance. I gathered the ends of each strap before sewing them into the bodice.

Sewaholic Saltspring's altered straps, about two inches wide, gathered at the bodice attachment point

Last but not least, I curved the bodice back piece up, cutting off a wedge ending at the zipper. This matched up the bodice back and the bodice back lining lengths at the center back. You can see the wedge folded up in the picture below.

Sewaholic Saltspring pattern bodice back, showing folded wedge at bottom to eliminate blousing near the zipper

I love the blousing on the Saltspring, but those open bits at the center back just aren't my style, as I have a tendency to get myself caught on doorknobs, chair arms, etc. This way, there's a clean finish along the entire length of the zipper.

Center back zipper in the Sewaholic Saltspring, showing clean finish along zipper edge and hand-picked zipper finish

If you wanted to keep the blousing at the back, I think you might also be able to stitch the whole bodice back down along the zipper, so that it is basically just folded at the bottom. Does that seem reasonable? Maybe not. I suppose it would impede wearing with a belt.

Karen in Sewaholic Saltspring, paired with cardigan and boots

Overall, I'm pretty psyched about this pattern, and I have plans to make the maxi length (probably with a gratuitously long side slit) for summer.