Friday, May 30, 2014

Me-Made-May '14 Round-up

My challenge was to wear two handmade garments per week in addition to making three pieces that I can wear in my everyday life.  I think I got the job done on the first part but I only made one garment for everyday wear.  That Sewaholic Cambie dress ate up the majority of my sewing time this month. I opted to get photos where I wore the item so that I could show myself how easy it is to wear things I've made.  That sometimes involved having strangers take my photo which was only awkward for a few minutes. Here's my round-up!

Day 1: Sewaholic Minoru at the Bernina store.

Day 2: Colette Sorbetto at the antique store:
Day 2 (evening): Sewaholic Hollyburn for a night out.  I love this skirt and I want to make more.
Day 6: Colette Sorbetto again at the library:
Day 8: Colette Sorbetto (unblogged) at Billy Vanilly in Lawrence, KS which makes the most wonderful cupcakes in the universe (and I don't even like cake!)
Day 10: Colette Sorbetto again, only this time I'm snacking on frog leg tacos at a food truck festival.
Day 14: Sewaholic Minoru again at the supermarket.  Yes I push two carts and yes that's the easiest way to do it.  If they're together in the car cart they're throwing punches by Aisle 3. 
Day 17: Sewaholic Cambie at a wedding. 
Somewhere around this time I wore this dress to church but even I won't ask someone to take a picture of me there.
Day 25: Hollyburn again to my oldest son's basketball tournament.
Day 26: Colette Hawthorn on a trip to the fruit stand and park with my kids.

Day 30: Colette Moneta on a run to the paint department at Home Depot. My almost 3 year old took this and I was pretty impressed by his accuracy.
 A couple of things while writing this: 1) Apparently I only sew Colette and Sewaholic patterns and 2) I need to make more tops.  Or maybe if I just make a million Monetas I'll be alright.  

Colette Moneta

I love, love, love the Moneta from Colette Patterns! I purchased both the Moneta and Mabel (which I will not be making as a mini skirt in case you're wondering) plus The Colette Guide to Sewing Knits during the pre-sale which meant I didn't know what patterns I was buying.  So risky but turned out so well! It's a great every-day dress for my lifestyle.  I look more put together than shorts and a shirt but I'm still super comfortable which was the point of my RTW fast.
I used a Liberty of London Dufour jersey knit called Gleason from but it's gone now.  Those Liberty prints are so pricey but so worth it.  It almost feels a little silky and sews up very well.  A standard adjustment for me is lengthening the bodice by an inch because I have a long torso and adding length to the skirt because I generally try to avoid the awkward maneuvering you have to do in a shorter skirt with kids and living life in general.  I did both of those adjustments but the bodice turned out too long and I serged inches off the skirt to get it to hit me at the knee. I don't feel uncomfortable in it but I will take away that inch in the bodice next time.
I went with the standard collar even though the pattern comes with 5 free downloadable collar variations.  I've never sewn sleeves by reaching between the bodice and lining before.  I liked the finish and will do that again.
I didn't realize until too late that the belt is way too big.  That's why I'm holding it with my finger in previous pictures.  It does allow you to see the gathering at the waistline in this picture though:
The dress is extremely easy to sew but gathering the skirt with the elastic did give me a second of trouble.  It went smoothly after I got the hang of it.  I had to stitch it down every few inches to keep things stable while I stretched the elastic.  Stretching the elastic while trying to keep it at the edge of the fabric for long stretches was too hard. 

I think I've found a wardrobe staple! It makes me laugh that I used to think knits were super hard.  This is my second knit garment and I'm in love.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Sewaholic Cambie dress #2

I dove in to the Sewaholic Cambie dress one more time to see if I liked it more with some modifications.  It felt like this project took forever and I was glad when I reached the finish line.  I'm wearing it to a wedding this weekend and there were times during construction when I felt like the fabric choice was going to make me look like I was IN the wedding as a bridesmaid. My initial thought was, "I'm making a bridesmaid's dress and I'm not a bridesmaid!" but my next thought was, "Hey! I made a bridesmaid's dress!" I'm not worried about that anymore.  I think it turned out well. 

For this version, I omitted the waistband and lengthened the bodice by 1 inch.  I also opted to add some pleats to the neckline and finish it with a tie belt.

I used this silk crepe de chine from Mood for the main fabric and this silk organza for the lining.  I've never worked with organza before.  The crepe de chine felt a little slippery when I started.  When I finished working with the organza and went back to the crepe de chine, it was like working with quilting cotton.  Organza is shifty.
This was a project where my imagination tacked on a lot of time.  My original thought was to leave the waistline plain like this....
...but then I didn't really like the finishing on the waistline (more on that later) and felt I needed to add something.  My first plan was a belt with an enormous flower detail on it.  I started cutting the petals out and then decided against it.  My next plan was to add the same pleating at the neckline to the waistline.  After some texting consultations with a friend and my mom, I decided against that too.  My third idea was just to go with a belt.  The right belt is hard to find.  I did a tie belt on this dress and liked it a lot so I went with it on this one.  I like it.  When in doubt, add a tie belt.  And if I ever find a regular belt I can have two options.
As you can tell from the above picture, the dart on the main fabric and the dart on the organza didn't line up when I stitched-in-the-ditch.  You can tell in the picture but I'm not so sure it's noticeable in person.  I initially lined up all darts and side seams but that resulted in excess main fabric in the front so the mismatched dart on the left side is what I went with in the end.  I want to be very clear that I cannot stand to stitch-in-the-ditch.  I have an edgestitching foot and I still find it to be a very painful task.  I did it three times and then decided it was good enough. 
All seams are French seams except for the waistband.  I initially serged it which led to an incredibly bulky waistband.  I then went back and pinked the edges which helped. 
I like the pleated detail along the neckline a lot.  My only regret is that I made them a little taller than I should have.  They are prone to falling down a little in the middle.  I catch-stitched them together on the back side and that really helped.  To make the pleats, I cut a very long piece of fabric that was 3 inches wide. I folded this in half lengthwise and pressed.  Starting in the middle and working towards the right side, I pinched fabric together on the backside and folded it to the left. 

I repeated this until I had enough for the right side.  When working towards the left side, I pinched the fabric on the backside and folded it to the right.  I basted the pleats and then basted them again to the front of the dress before sewing the lining and main fabric together.  I serged the raw edge on the shirt end.  When I reached the end, I opened up the last pleat and folded the serged edge back inside the pleats.  I knotted the end of the serged edge so I just tacked that down inside with a hand needle. 
It's an easy thing that adds an interesting detail to this neckline.
I did a rolled hem for the first time on the hem and also along the edges of the tie belt.  I tried and tried to get it to look right on my own but I couldn't figure out why those loops kept showing up to the left of the right needle stitching. 

I posted a question on the RTW Fasters Facebook page and received good feedback about adjusting tension.  However, it still didn't work.  I went to my Bernina dealer for some handholding and when I got there she said she was going to show me how to do a rolled hem but first she needed to find a screwdriver to take the left needle out.  And that's when I knew instantly what my problem was. I unthreaded the needle but didn't take it out, so the loopers were looping as if the left needle was making a stitch.  I was so thankful to have the answer that I didn't bother to be embarrassed. 
I said after making my first Cambie that the waistband really bothered me but I've worn it twice so apparently it doesn't bother me that much.  It's fun to see how a different choice of fabric using the same pattern changes the finished look.