Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Floral Summer Zsalya

I just made my third version of the Zsalya pattern from Kate and Rose. I think this is a repeat record for me -- making 3 versions of any pattern -- and each of them is quite different.

I started with a little black dress, then made a long-sleeved flannel winter version, and now have come up with a light cotton summer version.

Looking a little washed out... and anxious to escape mosquitoes!

I'm really pleased with how this one turned out. One of the best things about remaking a pattern is that you already have all the fitting adjustments made -- it's just lay it out and cut. Nice for a change :) I had a very subdued floral print sheet that I thought would work nicely for this pattern, and I also had some piping that matched the red tones in the print perfectly. Thus was born my summer version.

I used the short sleeve option this time, and chose to use the "clean" finish for the yoke rather than the "quick and dirty" option -- both are detailed clearly in the pattern instructions and both work just fine, but on this one I thought that any extra bulk at the seams might show through the lightweight fabric, so chose the clean finish.

 Left: the yoke from the inside: clean finish on this version, the Q&D on the purple version
Right: yoke from the outside: you'll notice the clean finish has topstitching, the Q&D does not

I added piping to the neckline, easy since the yoke (front and back) is fully faced. Then as I was about to add piping to the sleeves I had an idea. Instead of adding it at the sleeve edge, I added it to the facing strip, which I sewed to the inside and turned out to the outside, stitching it down along the line of piping. I really like the banded effect it's given this blouse.

This sleeve edging is so cute

It's a comfortable top, and quite easy to put together (especially on the third go-round!) I really love this pattern. The Monthly Stitch has just posted a great interview with the pattern designer, Kati of Kate&Rose, in which I was pleased to find out that the Zsalya is one of her own favourites too :)

I like how the gathers are echoed front and back
This is one of the three tops I made this month in an effort to use up some of my stash. I was moderately successful, considering that I still bought more fabric this month than I used. How does that happen??

In any case, I love my new Zsalya, and I'm sure it's not the last one I'll make. Easy to make and to wear, and with a pretty, folksy feel. Love it.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Green & Dotted Simplicity 1280

I took a step away from some dressmaking this week to sew up a nice, easy summer top. I thought I needed something casual and cool and non-knit.

Green as the garden!

I wanted to use a set of charming IKEA pillowcases that I picked up while thrifting -- I loved the spotty green print! These pillowcase were sewn together with the fold at the end, not the side, though, so when I deconstructed them, I was left with two long strips of narrow fabric. Hmmm, what to do?

Simplicity 1280

I searched through my pattern stash, and decided on Simplicity 1280 .

I bought this pattern originally for the crossover blousy view, but when I looked closely, View E had a centre front and centre back seam, with easy cut-on sleeves. Perfect! I laid out all 2 pieces on the fabric and saw that it would fit with some tiny adjustments to the sleeve length. Which was perfect since I had to both shorten the sleeve to make it more proportional to my short arms anyhow, and take a half-inch out of both centre front and back (on the pattern piece -- grading from the neckline down to nothing at the bust line. I needed to take in an inch in total) I cut a Medium, but after all my alterations I did wonder if I just should have cut a small to begin with and just grade out to medium at the hip!

excuse the creasing, it was at the end of the day!
The only other catch was that I didn't have enough fabric to cut a bias strip to bind the neckline. I really did want to use the same fabric for the binding, especially to cross the v-neck opening, as I thought it would look better than a contrast fabric. So I carefully cut some bias binding out of the narrow 4" strip remaining at the bottom of the fabric after I cut the front piece out. I should have taken a picture of the wild twistiness of the fabric tube when it was all pinned together -- warning, try not to use long and narrow pieces of fabric to make bias binding, it gets a bit crazy! But it did work out and from just one piece of the four strips left over, I had plenty of binding to finish off the neck.

That was the only other "oops", actually. I forgot that I'd taken out an inch in the front and back and merrily sewed away, not realizing that the V opening at the front allowed me to expand and find room to stitch it all on...but when I tried it on and the V was sitting at its natural width, I had a big "U" of binding poking out in the opening. Ah ha, there's the missing 2 inches! For a second I despaired, thinking I'd have to pick off all the binding and redo much for my easy sew. But then I decided to just fold down the excess to one side and hold it by stitching a button through all layers. I think it looks like the binding is supposed to button on one side of the neck opening now.

Button at the neck. See the line of the top with the cut-on sleeve;
 it's very nice to wear

The only other thing I had to fix was just to take it in 1/2 " on each underarm & side seam. When I first wore it, it felt like I was wearing scrubs because it was so boxy; my own fault as I made it from cotton instead of the drapier fabric suggested in the pattern. So I took it in slightly to give it more shaping, and then folded up my finished sleeve hems and stitched them down again to shorten the sleeves a little more. I think that removed the feeling of scrubs. 

It is an extremely light and airy top, that fits nicely and is really cool on a warm day. I am very pleased with it. I wore it today to do some farmer's marketing and stop in at a thrift store as well, and while it creased a little from sitting, it was otherwise a perfect wear.  And just look what I discovered at the thrift store!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Lovin' some Bloglovin

Well, thanks to Oona Baloona and her reminder that Bloglovin has a new sewing category (yay!) I've finally signed up. One more way to keep track of all you sewing lovelies out there :)

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Graffiti Kimono Dress

Time to counteract some of the sweetness of my last few dresses!

Hanging out in alleyways...
I saw this fun knit print a while ago, and couldn't resist buying some. Then I had to decide which pattern I had that would highlight this print effectively.

I finally decided on KwikSew 3533. I was rather inspired by this dress that I pinned a while back, even to the piles of books all around her...something I am quite familiar with ;)

love this >> #librarianstyle

In the inspiration piece, there were no sleeve bands -- I decided I liked that look so made View A, but left the sleeve bands off and just hemmed the sleeve edges with a narrow hem. I used Steam-A-Seam in the skirt hem before stitching and it kept the edge from getting all wavy as I sewed with my regular machine. Someday I'll have a serger or maybe even a coverstitch machine, but until then... this works.

Kwik Sew Tunic and Dress 3533
Kwik Sew 3533
Also, I added pockets. I know there are problems with knit pockets sagging and ruining the line of a skirt, but I used the pocket piece from my old Simplicity 7177, which are stitched into the waistband at the top, to keep them from flopping around. I had to alter the construction process a little, as the KS called for front and back sewn together at the side seams as the last step, but it all worked out.

I also made the waist ties twice as long as called for, so that I could wrap them around to the back and then back around to the front; I far prefer a front tie, as I feel it looks both more flattering and less dated. The waistband piece on this pattern is only in the front; if it was front and back I would just have tied the regular-length ties in the front, but I did want some black at the back waist as well.

What, there is no graffiti here? I'll bring my own.

Heading into Allen's Alley, for official graffiti -- it even has
a nice sign explaining who all the people on the walls are...

The wind picked up...or was she blowing my hair around?

Front closeup, still windy!
Back view
This is a super fun, easy wear. I did wear a camisole when I wore it to work, but it's not too low to wear without one in regular everyday life. The black centre yoke piece was the only fiddly bit, especially in the very slippery knit I was using. The instructions were a bit confusing; I had to pin and flip one side of the yoke to make sure I was connecting the bodice & the yoke correctly. Once I got that sorted everything else went very quickly and satisfyingly. I know I'm going to have fun wearing this one!

Friday, June 5, 2015

Me Made May & Old Clothes

So how was Me Made May for you? I enjoyed myself, and realized that Me Made May is no longer a project that is a challenge, in the sense that a high enough percentage of my wardrobe has been handmade that I wear some of it nearly every day anyhow.

It did point out that I'm lacking self-made trousers, shorts, etc. But then I'm not really all that interested in making them, due to both the fact that I rarely wear pants and that I don't want to spend time fitting them even if I did make them!

So sartorially, May was quite interesting :)

One of the  things I found when sorting through my closet was that I could remember making each item -- when, and how, and what else was going on while I was making it. Clothing as a mnemonic device bringing the past to life...

I've already talked before about the pattern that I've owned the longest, and my regret that I don't still own the dress I made from it (yes, the first pattern I ever bought was for a dress. Pretty much still in the same habit!) But this month I looked at which garment I have actually owned the longest.

It turns out that my sunflower sundress (Simplicity 7177), made in 1990, is the item that has the longest pedigree. Would that be considered 'vintage' yet? ;)

It's very 90's -- flowy, long, shapeless, and covered in sunflowers. But the polyester faille is a hardy fabric, and this dress is so cool and comfortable that I still wear it, though these days only around the house in summer. It was the first "real" dress I made and wore regularly. It was the summer of my first year of university and my mother was teaching me how to sew properly.

This dress has pockets, a gathered skirt, and buttons on the bodice, all totally new to me. We sewed it in the evenings after my dreary day job, and so it took a while, but it was enjoyable and it's a great memory of spending time together. When I wear it I think of those hours learning from my mom.

What about you? What is the oldest piece of Me-Made clothing that you still own? Do you still wear it, or just keep it for sentiment's sake?