Monday, August 30, 2010

Shorts- I Need A Pattern

I need a new shorts pattern.  I am going to revisit the Simplicity pattern however I don't want my poor kid to have 4 pairs of the same drawstring shorts.  I will make one more with pockets for her maybe but wanted something different for the fabrics she selected. Any suggestions on shorts patterns that you like/  She likes cuffs on the bottom but it isn't mandatory. I think she would prefer something that buttons at the top since she now has a drawstring pair of shorts and a drawstring skirt. 

Here are the fabrics she picked out.


Cute right. Now I just need to turn them into something wearable for her.

Simplicity 3796 Shorts -- Kind Of

I say kind of because we changed some things.  How about for once I just take a pattern, make it, have it fit, and not have to or want to change anything.  That would be to easy right.  My daughter picked out this basic drawsting shorts pattern.  Why didn't I remind myself that anything that seems basic isn't? 

This was my first attempt making shorts so I knew going in that there were alterations to be done which is why I made a muslin first.  After making the muslin I realized that there would need to be some adjusting done in the crotch, yoke, and casing areas. Being the beginner that I am I tried to do some research.  Being the impatient person I am,  I tried to do what seemed logical in my beginner's mind. Adding some fabric to the top of the yoke and casing and in the back crotch seemed logical.  It worked to some extent but I should have added more.

Simplicity 3796Simplicity 3796

After trying on the muslin my daughter decided she wanted cuffed shorts.  Okay, that shouldn't be to hard.  But we'll get to that in a moment.

The next hurdle I had was once again a buttonhole.  After doing several tests I couldn't figure out what was wrong.  I didn't have the thread tension on the right setting.  That was easy enough to fix but goodness it took me long enough to figure out.  After doing a couple of tests I was satisfied and added the buttonholes to the garment.  Ripped the fabric and of course I ripped through some of the buttonhole thread so it started to unravel. Basic shorts, hmph.  I carefully picked out all of the thread and redid the buttonhole around the cut fabric.  It turned out better than I thought it would thank goodness. Not perfect but not a lost cause.

The next place I went wrong was the topstitching. I thought it would be a nice contrast to do white topstitching on the black and white shorts. Wrong. It all came out in the end and I redid it in black.

Cuffs, the shorts were to long so she wanted to roll the bottoms up. Beginner's mind once again thought that I could take two approaches.  Cut the excess fabric from the hemline, turn it inside out, sew it back on so when she rolls the bottom it will be the right side of the fabric was one method.  The other method which LaniJ said would probably be better would be to affix a ring a fabric to the inside of the shorts so she would have the option of cuffing them or not.  Sounded good so I went with that option.

I measured, sewed, and felt quite proud, until I rolled the cuff and realized I had made a mistake. You could see the seam allowance when you rolled the cuff. Even though I had though it through in my haste I sewed them in the wrong order.

My poor seam ripper gets no rest.
Simplicity 3796

Here is the final version of these shorts:
Simplicity 3796

It could have been worse!! I think I will try these again and make a few more adjustments. Sewing the same pattern several times totally makes sense to me now. Not that I am thrilled about these shorts but I do think another time around and they will be better.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Fabric Hoarder Restraint

I see how easily one can become a fabric hoarder.  At least a few times a week I go online, find some fabric deals, put them in the online shopping cart and then move on and never buy it.  Since I am in the early stages of learning to sew I am still learning about different types of fabric.  I have yet to go to a "real" fabric store and quite honestly it scares me a little.  On one hand it will help me learn more about some of my fabric options but on the otherI know they will have rows and rows of beautiful and irresistable fabric.  Fabric that I will feel like I am not good enough to use yet.  Fabric that I will buy anyway because it is a great deal and some day I WILL be good enough.  Thus far my restraint has been pretty good.  More window shopping than anything else.  


Now I just have to find the perfect pattern for each piece.  That leads to a whole other issue of being a pattern hoarder.  But with $1 sales how can anyone resist.  LaniJ and I had fun picking out patterns during the Simplicity sale.

Oh the woes of sewing!!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Sewing Reference Books

I need to build a library of sewing reference books.  While I love Google and the Internet just as much as the next person, sometimes a book in hand with pages I can flip through is what I want.  Lani J checked out Reader's Digest The New Complete Guide to Sewing from the library a few months ago.  That book has seen a couple of due dates come and go as we haven't been able to part with it.  Thank goodness no one else has requested it and you can renew them up to 20 times I think.  With that being said it is evident that this book is one I should go ahead and purchase.

I was prepared to just that last night.  Someone tweeted about a Borders coupon giving 33% off so why not use it to get the book.  Well guess, what!!  When I go online I see that there is yet a new version of this book coming out in November.  It is available for Pre-Order but of course I want to thumb through it first and see what is new or different.  It says there are some new projects but I want to know what else.

Source: Barnes and Noble

This always happens.  Whenever I am ready to buy something a newer version has come out.  I guess that is a true testament to my indecisiveness diligent research habits.

Anyhow, I want to know what books you have in your sewing reference library that you can't live without.  If all were being snatched away at a moments notice which would you beg and beg to keep?

Monday, August 16, 2010

My Final Finish - 2nd project

Oops...I meant to publish this like two months ago oops:

     About finishing the dress by four o'clock, it didn't happen. First of all, the power went out so I couldn't use the machine. When I thought I was done I had to go back and take the seams in. It wasn't as simple as just taking in seams . I had to completely redo the whole bodice. Then, I finally sewed in my zipper. Not the end yet. The seam lines don't match up. OMG! I had to redo the zipper. I am extremely happy about the outcome, if I did this pattern again there would be some technique differences. I would press hems into place the first time. Make sure my darts are perfect because on my dress they don't line up at all. I am pleased with the results and am proud I made it through my first project. When I was closer approaching the end I just wanted to be done. It could have had to do with it being midnight, but I was ready to be done. When you think you're done you find another problem. The first time I sewed the skirt to the bodice the darts were off just by a little, so i figured i could fix it. Nope, made it worse, and couldn't get it close to what it was before. I have learned to read the directions. When they say baste then stitch, baste then stitch. When reading a set of directions for the first time it seems pointless to baste something then immediately sew on top of it. I have learned that basting, especially on curves and hems, helps keep the fabric in place so it will be easier to sew a uniform hem.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Confidence Booster- Butterick 5216

I got a little down with the Simplicity dress I was working on and totally ditched the project.  A  confidence booster was needed to get me back in motion.  The Butterick B5216 definitely fit the bill.  I followed the directions exactly as written (almost) and am somewhat pleased with the results.  When I say pleased I mean this is going to be wearable when I am completely finished.  Completely finished by my guidelines not theirs.  

Butterick 5216 View AButterick 5216 View A

The fabric was leftover from my daughters skirt.  Only requiring a 1-5/8 yard of fabric it was worth a try.  Lani J  made view B so I opted for View A.

The first step of this project is to put in a buttonhole.  Intimidating.  A little, so I skipped it and opted to go as far as I could without having the buttonhole done.

Narrow hems are a pain to me.  Fold. Press. Unfold. Fold. Press. Fold Stitch.  Waaaaaaaaaa.  I don't have a foot to do it so I meticulously measure and fold and after what seems like eternity stitch it down.

Back to the buttonhole.  After testing it no less then 10 times on scraps I went ahead and did the buttonhole.  It turned out fine.  I could have made it a little longer but no worries.

I got my first opportunity to hand sew on this project.  Actually, that is not counting the hooks and eyes I have conveniently skipped sewing on.  A slipstich is required for the tie of the shirt.  Again I took a look at the glossary, cross-referenced another book, and hit a few YouTube videos.  I did my best and it turned out fine.  Whether or not it was a true slipstich..who knows but it got the job done.

I tried the shirt on before doing the final bottom hem and my kids said it looked short.  I made the narrow hem just a tad thinner but I am still going to have to make some modifications.

These are the modifications I have envisioned:

Lengthening the shirt by adding a solid color contrast  to the bottom edge.  Should I go white, black, blue, green.  The shirt needs to be brightened some so I am hoping to find a matching blue or green.  Regular seam or something else? I may just sew the other piece underneath so it gives it more of a layered effect.  Thoughts?

In addition to adding length I am going to switch out the tie around the neck with the same fabric I use for the contrast at the bottom.  I really would have done this anyway and the pattern does call for that but since I was just working with scrap fabric I had to use what I had on hand.

The third change will be lengthening the tie because I am actually planning to wrap the tie under my bust and tie it in the back.  I tried it here but it will hopefully look much better tied in with the other modifications.  It cuts the shirt and gives it more definition.  Right now it is rather frumpy.

Butterick 5216 View A

I will say this shirt seems to be a good base pattern.  When I tried it on I did about fifty million different things to give it a new look.  Elastic at the bottom, perhaps a ruffle at the bottom, lengthening for a dress.  A belt.  A different weight of material. The options are endless.  

Oh, and next time I will make the small,  I made the medium because of my waist and the armholes are a little larger than I'd like.  I already toyed with the idea of taking it in some on the sides so it fits a little closer to my body.

More pics on my Flickr photostream just search B5216