Rayon

Revenge of the Cinco

I hate when I have to many projects planned and for some reason I decide to work on a completely unplanned project. For some reason, those planned projects don’t have the same appeal as an “on the fly” project. Probably because those planned projects have the whole planned element. I thought them out so perfectly and when I make them I expect perfection. On the fly kind of projects are completed with the “let’s get it done” mentality.

Okay, that was a lot to explain that I’ve been working on “on the fly” stuff rather than planned. I’m proud to say this post is about one of those neglected planned projects. You’re probably wondering what finally got my ass into gear. Well it’s Revenge of the 5th my friends. Yesterday was “May the 4th” and I realized I have the perfect project to complete for the following day.

Last project (Sleep Shirt) was my first try with an appliqué. Granted, it is not fun to sew those guys on but I’m not one to be deterred. I decided to cut an AT-AT Walker from the remaining Star Wars fabric I have from JoAnn’s. For non-nerds, the AT-AT Walkers are used by the bad guys and they look like big mechanical animals.

I drew up a tank top. I decided not to use a pattern. A simple tank should be easy enough to create.

I used more leftovers as the top of the tank. I didn’t want a full black shirt with an appliqué. I wanted something with a little more matching. The front and back both have the Star Wars fabric at the very top. I had to get creative for the back since I was using leftovers. I used four pieces to create the back. I don’t think it’s a big deal and it looks fine. I also cut strips of the fabric to create a trim on the arms and the neck for a nice clean look.

The bottom is a soft rayon/poly blend that I also picked up from JoAnn’s. I cut from the outside edge of the top pieces and down at a widening angle to the desired length to make the bottom nice and roomy. The bottom is also rounded and the front is a tid-bit shorter than the back.

I ironed my appliqué on the bottom and then stitched around the edges. It’s not perfect because there are so many angles around the Walker. Still no big deal. The thread blends pretty well with the fabric.

That’s it! I have a new Star Wars tank top. Pretty comfy and quick to make. I need to quick dragging my feet on things! lol

Surprise

Of all things I never thought I would love, I love cleaning up my fabric cubbies. My cubbies come from Ikea, like so many other sewists. I never bought the fabric bins because stacking it all on top of each other would be fine right? Then all of a sudden I can’t find anything. Things are falling behind other fabrics and falling out the front. This doesn’t include my curious kittens that like to pull the fabric out and then walk away. Finally I decided to pick up the bins on a recent trip to Ikea. This meant cleaning!

I rolled all my fabrics into happy little treats of color. I found so many fabrics I didn’t realize I had so much of. I decided make something out of one of them! Shopping my fabric stash like a pro!

What to make out of it? Hmmm… maybe a Colette Sorbetto? Woot woot!

I didn’t have enough of the fabric to cut it outright. I decided I would do tiers. It took a bit of thought to how long I wanted the tiers and how to lay out the fabric. It’s a pretty wild pattern so I had to put a lot of thought into it.

I put the whole damn thing together and put it on and “yuck!”. What could I possibly do to make this better? Sorry no before shot but trust me. No bueno!

I remembered a shirt that I saw on MimiG. It was a sleeveless top that was pulled in at the waist. A little flounce on top and some flowiness on the bottom. That was exactly what this needed. I had some extra elastic lying around and put it to use. It did the trick! The shirt is now acceptable to wear!

I feel like I need a pair of khaki shorts and head over to Hawaii. Or I’ll just sit out on my patio and have a drink in the sunshine. Just as good right?

My sewing process:

“Sometimes I’ll start a sentence and I don’t even know where it’s going. I just hope I find it along the way.” – Michael Scott

Floral Anna Maximus

I’m so excited to share this post! I’ve been wanting to make an Anna dress from By Hand London since I first laid eyes on it. I never really had a good reason to make such a dress though until last year. I was working on the Sew My Style challenge from Bluebird Fabrics. Anna dress was one of the patterns towards the end of the year. That was good enough reason for me. Unfortunately it never came to fruition. Me and Hubby bought a house. That ended up taking so much time that all the rest of the patterns for the challenge went kaput.

Until now! Me and Hubby were invited to a wedding. What more perfect reason to make a great dress!?! I decided to do the v-neck and the thigh high split. I was not thrilled with the sleeves on the dress. The bodice is all one piece that includes the sleeves. I reworked it to have a regular shoulder seam and include flutter sleeves.

I bought a pink floral rayon from CaliFabrics. I went back and forth on this fabric for awhile. I was afraid the light pink would wash me out. Finally, after encouraging words from others I purchased it. It’s so lovely and rayon is one of my favorite fabrics.

With a dress like this I knew the bodice was going to make or break it, so I had to make a muslin. I made three total. I had to take it in near the bust and let it out at my waist. Plus I had to make all the adjustments for the sleeve change. Oh, and my shoulder width is kinda small so I usually take out at least an inch vertically from the center of the pattern. Otherwise the neckline is way too wide on me.

I was terrified to cut my nice fabric and went super slow sewing it all, worried I was going to ruin it. I did use cotton for the facing to keep the neckline nice and crisp. I had a cream color that wouldn’t show through the fabric. I think it worked out well. I could have used the floral rayon for the facing but then I could have had a chance of the flower pattern showing through.

The skirt went so fast after that. I did not French seam anything but the seam of the split. Also didn’t hand stitch that shit. No way, nuh uh. That was not going to happen. I hate hand stitching anything.

I did learn a new skill on this dress. I put in my first invisible zip! It really is something to behold. It’s so much easier than I thought it would be! I even got the waist seam to match up. I put this guy in once and there it stayed. I’ve never had that with a zipper.

The flutter sleeves were a dream that I had for this dress. It was meant to have flutter sleeves. It makes such a romantic dress. When I add an element that I’ve never done before, I research the crap out of it. There was a long tutorial about taking your sleeve piece and slicing it into a big arc. Well I didn’t have a sleeve piece so I take a few measurements on what I had and crafted a test piece. It didn’t work out too bad. I needed to lengthen the underside to get the hem to even out all around.

The dress came out amazing! I felt super fancy and that thigh high split makes the dress move! This is a pic from the wedding venue. We had a great time!

I took wayyy too many pictures of this dress. I love it so much! I was good and condensed my amount of photos here. I probably took about 30 though! I feel so late getting in on the Anna dress madness. Totally worth the wait though!

July: Project Sew My Style

This month’s project for #sewmystyle is the Valley Blouse by Cali Faye. The pattern is a billowy, long sleeve peasant blouse.  The pattern calls for a light, airy fabric such as chiffon, swiss dot, silk or my fav, rayon. I bought a mint rayon (who would have guessed) from LA Fabrics. When I hear mint, I think green more than blue but this is definitely more on the blue side.

The sizing of this shirt is strange. I made a small but the sizing dictates that I should make a large. I understand that it needs to be roomy but a large would have been entirely too big and completely unwearable. Be sure to check your measurements properly against the pattern pieces before beginning this project.

I have never completed a shirt like this so I relied heavily on the instructions. The pattern does suggest using French seams since the fabric necessary is so light.  I complied and did so on the side seams and back placket. The rest of the seams I ended up serging because I could not figure out how you’re supposed to French seam using a gathered portion of fabric as the fold over bit.

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One thing that super annoyed me about the instructions was that it kept telling me to “finish the edge”.  I don’t always read pattern instructions but couldn’t it at least give me a suggestion? If I serged the edge, you would see it through the light fabric so what the piss?  The only spot that it looks bad is on the back facing.  I used a zigzag stitch on the edge and a bit of fray check.  That looks like shit.  I left it but did stitch the facing down to the shirt, which you’re not instructed to do but it kept wanting to flip up and I was going to make sure that booger stayed where it belonged!

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The sleeve cuffs are a bit weird. You leave the end at the wrist open so it looks like a regular sleeve and cuff with a button.  I’m used to other patterns where you cut a new slit so it’s on the outside of your wrist.  This one is at the back of mine. I put the button hole stitches through both sides of the overlapping cuff pinning them together.  I knew I could slip my hand in and out so no worries on ever needing to unbutton the little button.  I also stitched the top stitches where the cuff overlapped together because they were trying to angle away from each other.  It bothered me.  No one would ever notice that I did this extra bit of stitching but it made me happy to not see the twist it was trying to achieve.

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The front placket and in the front shirt piece calls for a keyhole.  In every picture I looked at of completed blouses, you can not really see this feature so I said “screw you giant keyhole”.  I really didn’t want to fiddle with the little piece of fabric that was supposed to finish the cut edge.  Squirrelly rayon and a thin fabric pattern piece coming together and me being happy about it? Hell no! I did leave the front plackets split from one another so it created a noticeable keyhole. Ha! I like it and it was worth the effort because you can see it. I also added a little loop of fabric to place my button in rather than add a buttonhole.  Yes, I know that was a fiddly little bit of fabric but it would cause me a lot less grief to add than that giant keyhole.

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My favorite thing about this shirt? The sleeves! They’re large and you can feel the wind catch them as you walk. And yes, I kept flailing my arms about even as I walked because it’s too much fun!

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The blouse definitely walks a thin line of being able to be a dress.  It’s quite long. I folded the hem up a bit more than it tells you. Another fiddly bit is getting the hem to lay flat since it’s a rounded edge. Folding up that much of a fabric onto itself does not go easy.  There’s a small bit (I won’t tell you where) on my hem that has a small pleat in it because of this.  This is why I use bias tape on rounded hems because it will move around the curves appropriately.

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I believe July’s garment is a success.  There’s small things that I would change about it for next time like the neckline seems really open but this shirt is not a style I would normally wear so maybe I’m not used to it.  I have to say when I did wear it out I didn’t fidget with it as much as I imagined I would. The length is a bit too long and I need to figure out a better way to deal with that back facing.  I’m curious to see how other sewists finished it off.

We’re now over halfway through the yearlong sewalong!  You can still check out all the details at Bluebird Fabrics.  Keep your eyes peeled for discounts on the patterns.  It seems that shortly after the month is finished a discount will pop up. As always, you can check out the finished garments from me and other lovely sewists on Instagram using the #sewmystyle hashtag.

Scrappy Floral Garden

Have you ever gone into your fabric stash and come out with an accidental project? You feel the immediate need to complete it A) because you have the fabric in hand B) there’s a pattern that is dying to be made from this sad little remnant.  That’s where this shirt began.  Lying in a little neat folded pile amongst other fabrics waiting for their turn to be beautiful.

I have a See & Sew pattern B5632 (out of print) that I haven’t used for a very long time.  I think it may be the first pattern I bought when I decided I would try to make my own clothes.  it touted that it would be “Sew Easy”! I had a hard time with it. I chalked it up to being a beginner and thinking I could slap something together without needing to fit it.  Well I’m much wiser at this point and realize that’s not how sewing goes, at least most of the time  anyway. The pattern is a dress but I figured I had enough to squeeze out a shirt. Simple enough!

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The top patterns pieces for this are cut in duplicate; one innie and one outtie. I have some very thin cream jersey that I figured would work for the innie and the outtie is the floral rayon scrap.  The package told me that I should cut a size 14. I knew it was wrong but I cut it anyways. Trimming down is easier than trying to magically make fabric grow. When all was said an done, I should have cut the size 8 which I figured but hey, I was trusting the creator.

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I have to say for such an easy pattern, I had a hell of a time with it.  Partially because of cutting the wrong size and the other because the pleats and overlapping is quite fiddly in the front. The pleats do not make for a nice rounded cup. It does weird things and I couldn’t get the fabric to lay flat against my bosom. So piss on that. I kept changing the position of the straps because putting the strap where instructed caused the fabric to flare out at the side.

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Talk about barely squeezing this out! I had to use the selvedge!

After wrestling with this “sew easy” project over a few days and many strong curses had been had, I completed a simple tank top.  All that for just a tank.  It should have been something more astonishing and marvelous but sometimes you take what you can get.

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For the hot, hot weather we’ve been having, this top is perfect. The rayon makes it light and it feels like I’m not wearing a top at all! Which did cause me to touch the hem a few times to make sure it hadn’t flown up or magically disappeared.

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I still think I need to come up with a much better way to construct the main pieces of this pattern because it is adorable and I can see me using it again. That can happen another time, when I have lots of patience and alcohol.