Saturday, May 23, 2015

Dualthon Shorts (And A Little Chat About Flatlocking)

I've had zero desire to make workout clothing, but I'm a RTW faster and it became something I could no longer avoid.  I chose the Fehr Trade Duathlon pattern in the booty short length and then headed over to when I saw Claire's peacock fabric. 
The side seams are Supplex.  I've never heard of it before but it's listed on the Fehr Trade site as being ideal. I made an initial pair with just Supplex in an XS based on my measurements.  The Supplex doesn't have as much recovery and it feels more cotton-y than spandex-y if that makes any sense. I switched to an XXS for this pair and it fits more like I think Spandex shorts should fit as it's tighter and the slick material rebounds. 
Picking out spandex is much harder than I anticipated.  I told one of my non-sewing friends that it's so hard to pick out spandex for booty shorts because the prints are so loud.  She said, "Those are words I thought I would never hear you say."  I used about 1/2 a yard for this pair.  I was very excited thinking about how cheap workout gear was going to end up being until I got to the checkout and the freight charge for 4 yards of material was $19.50! That's more than the price of the fabric per yard.   

Now about flatlocking:  My Bernina manual lists something called "3 Thread Flatlock" that gives tensions settings for all four threads and "2 Thread Flatlock" that gives tension settings for three threads. I chose the 3 Thread Flatlock option because when I tried to sew with only 3 threads the looper threads kept slipping out.  I don't know about anybody else but threading my serger might be my most un-favorite thing ever.  Recommended tension settings are: left needle 1-2, right needle 1-2, upper looper 3-5 and lower looper 7-9. 
After I sewed right sides together and then pulled the material apart gently to expose the stitching, it looked like this:

I have no idea if that's how it's supposed to look but if it's wrong I suppose I'll find out when my shorts disintegrate. The inside looks like this with a ridge that is flattened against the short.  The seam allowance doesn't stick up.
You'll notice little loops sticking out every once in awhile.  I think that has something to do with moving the fabric around while I sew.  My serger lightbulb burnt out awhile ago.  Instead of getting a new one I just sew in the dark.  :)

These come together very quickly.  I love a good sewing challenge but it's also nice when you can go from un-cut fabric to wearable shorts in the time it takes to watch a baseball game.  Speaking of, I've had to resort to carrying my serger into the living room so I can get something done while I watch the Royals play.  Anybody else a Royals fan?!
Also, posing in workout wear feels very odd.  I decided I wanted to try leaping like they do in sportswear magazines but it looked like this so I quickly opted to stand still. 

Saturday, May 9, 2015

McCall's 6506

For my first time sewing a Big Four pattern (yes, you read that right: first time ever!) I went with McCall's 6506 which has been lingering in a Pinterest folder forever.  I remember looking at McCall's pattern instructions years ago thinking they looked like a foreign language but now that I have the hang of it I was able to hang in there. If you're learning to sew, using independent pattern designers is well worth the money
Two issues I had were the armhole facing and sizing. The armhole facing looked odd so I just did bias binding.  I cut a 12 based on my measurements and had to size down to an 8 after the muslin.
I used this rayon challis and was very impressed by the quality for the price.  It's very soft and fluid which is great for wearing but not great for cutting.  That took forever.  It is listed as black and tan on the website but in reality it looks like a blush pink.

I underlined the bodice with broadcloth and lined the skirt with the same.  After basting the pleats on the skirt pieces, I put the pieces on the broadcloth and traced them.  Not very scientific but it worked for me.  The skirt lining is sewn to the front band but then hangs free at the bottom. 

I widened the front band by just sewing with a narrower seam allowance because the 1/2 inch buttons were going to be too big.  Speaking of buttons, I absolutely destroyed the buttonholes by cutting the stitching with my Clover buttonhole cutter on almost every one of them.  The only way to save them was to zig zag the edges which looks horrendous but the buttons cover up most of the stitching. 
I like the big pockets.  Not so sure about the gigantic collar.  If I had it to do over again I think I would size it down a bit. 
I'm very happy with how this turned out.  I think I'll enjoy wearing it a lot. Now I need to decide what I'm going to sew next.  You might see a pair of jeans, a swimsuit or some running shorts.  Or none of the above. Stay tuned!