Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Three Pattern Tests!

I recently got to do one of my favorite things, namely testing patterns for Itch-to-Stitch. Four(!) new patterns were just released and I was able to test three of the four of them. Lucky me, I was able to test three pieces that work up beautifully into a suit. Lucky you, all Itch-to-Stitch patterns are on sale until March 13 using the coupon code on the banner. I'll be picking up the one I didn't test. It's lovely.

First up is the Hepburn Turtleneck. This is a FANTASTIC basic piece. The top is very fitted and perfect for layering. I chose to use the short sleeve option an used a classic white cotton spandex I got online. I prefer my tops with a bit more ease when worn alone so this will be for layering and I'll size up with anything I plan to wear on its own. I love that this top and these pictures show off my weight loss (I am thisclose to 40 lbs down from where I was when I started in November). The top is a quick sew and very straightforward. I love a good instant gratification project.
Still self-consciously posing my belly. Suck it in, Jordan, suck it in!
Next on the list is the Seville Skirt. This one is a very fun an feminine little number. It is fitted through the waist and hip, then flares below the hip for a trumpet effect. I used a jacquard fabric, so this skirt is very structured. I have a cute charmeuse fabric I've been saving for when I'm done with the weight loss and this is the pattern I plan to use for it. It will have a different look with such a flowy fabric.
The perfect professional skirt
The waist and hips here are rather fitted, so pay close attention to the finished measurements to get the ease you're looking for. The pattern uses an invisible zipper and a waistband with a hook and eye for the closure.

Finally, we have the Salamanca Cropped Jacket. It's completely lined, but the method is so easy it's not overwhelming. 
A fully lined interior makes for a very professional look
I had so much fun making this one. I started off looking for fabric with the idea of using a boucle in a springtime color, preferably a lavender. As fate would have it, the selection at my nearest fabric store was pretty abysmal and I was force to go to the red tag table. I'm pretty sure the red tag table is stuff they're trying to clear out, so they put a red tag on it but don't actually mark it down any. That, however, is a discussion for another day. With the idea of a suit in mind for the jacket and skirt, I happened upon this delightful fabric. 

Once I saw the fabric I was pretty sure that Jacqueline Kennedy would be crying tears in heaven if I didn't use this fabric to make the jacket and skirt. It's got a great mod vibe to it that I thought would work well with the patterns. I wasn't disappointed.
Worn open...
...and closed
 To fit my orangutan arms, I needed to lengthen the sleeves about two inches. Not a problem with the great instructions.
Does anyone else feel weird looking at their own backs? I kind of do.
Along with the orangutan length in my arms, I also have some extra thickness there. I didn't think about that before making up the pattern, so next time I'll need to check my adjustments to make a bit more room for my arms. Future plans for this pattern include something lighter and in a really bold solid color. There's also the though in my head that I'll shorten the sleeves to elbow or bicep length.
My favorite look is with the jeans
This jacket is fun and looks great every way I've seen it styled.
Don't forget to stop over at Itch-to-Stitch and pick up the patterns while you can get them for 20% off. Also check out the other new release, Zamora Blouse. Gorgeous!

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Pictures Are Worth Several Thousand Words

You know how sometimes you get so busy that, even though you want to document things, the busy-ness is about all you can get around to? I know that feeling too. As much as I would love to talk about each and every new pattern I've used in the past few months, here are photos of the finished products:

The patterns from Pattern Anthology's Unbiased Collection:
Tote bag for a geeky Christmas craft swap
No pattern used
Mommy and me, me, me, and me Star Wars shirts
Ladies' Pocket Tee for me and Treasure Pocket Tee for each of the kids
Major Wedding Dress Alteration
I'll actually blog this one later, but a majority of the time was spent working on this beauty.
Nativity Costumes
Simplicity patterns 4795, 4213, 4797  I was called on at the last minute to make the costume for Mary and Joseph, so I have half made kids' costumes and they went in bath robes.
Miscellaneous Kid Stuff 
Top, left to right: Slouchy Cardigans for the two girls, Quick Crew shirt with Wreck-It Ralph panel
Bottom, left to right: Pretty Panel Dress, Panel Pocket Tee, Flyaway Ruffle Cardigan
Family Pictures:
Julia Cardigan
Not Pictured:
Hooded tee for The Hubs, another Pretty Panel Dress for Pink Blur, nine infinity scarves.

I think that about covers it. All together that makes twelve shirts, nine scarves, four cardigans, three finished costumes (plus five more cut and partially sewn), two dresses, one bag, and a big wedding dress alteration. Not bad for two and a half months. I've also been working on weight loss and that's been going really well. The family picture above is somewhere between 20-25 lbs down. Woohoo!

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Kid's Clothes Week: October 2015

It's Kid's Clothes Week again and this week has been about the baby. Last time around the three older siblings all got wearable clothes, while poor Video Game was left with a half finished romper. :( To rectify this terrible injustice, the baby got the benefit of all my sewing effort. And what a benefit it was.
Most of the pictures are fuzzy because this little boy is always on the move.
Both projects are a product of patient waiting for the right time. First up is this Cookie Monster outfit. I was able to buy the fabric on preorder from Pink Zeppelin Boutique, one of my favorite sources for custom knit fabric. I held on to the fabric without cutting into it while I waited for Video Game to grow into the Cookie Monster shoes I bought him. I did not, of course, bother to put the shoes on him to take pictures.

I was able to squeeze the hoodie out of a fat half of the fur print. When I saw the fur fabric and its coordinates I knew the were going to be a hoodie with chocolate chip lining and pockets with a pair of pants. Taking the extra time to make a bite mark out of the cookie pockets was totally worth it.
The picture is dark, but you get the idea. And, yes, those spots on the pocket are splatters of food.
The hoodie pattern is the free pattern you can download for joining the Brindille & Twig email list. Obviously, I modified the pocket to fit the cookie theme. I used this pattern for the LOTR hoodie too. I made it a little big because I wanted it to have plenty of growing room.
For the pants I used the Simply Sweats and Shorts pattern from Dandelions n' Dungarees. It's a great pattern for basic pants. I also made these long enough to grow into for a while. With any luck he'll be able to wear these next year too.  Fingers crossed.
His smile kills me.
Video Game seems pretty comfy in the outfit and doesn't fuss when I put it on him. That means it's a keeper. Although I'm pretty sure I'd make him wear it even if he hated it. Cute over comfy. It's all about priorities. :) Because I just want to eat this kid up, here are a few more pictures of the baby eating a cookie and being darling.

Cookie eating is serious business.

He's still a bit of a wobbly walker and is just now making the transition from mostly crawling to mostly walking. I am not okay with this.
And down he goes.

"Want a cookie? They're super yummy."

I hesitate to show the next project. As darling as the cookie monster outfit is, it's got nothing on his Halloween costume. The pattern is so far out of print that it's not even listed with the out-of-print patterns, which is really a shame because it's so stinkin' cute. I used minky, fleece, and felt from JoAnn. And....well this little costume speaks for itself. I apologize if you go cute-atonic (description at 1:13, but the whole thing is fun to watch). Here's my little organ grinder monkey:

Again with the walking? STOP GROWING UP!!!
Next time I'll put the hood elastic on at the bottom instead of on the placement line

Photo bomb! 

And then there's this face. My monkey is cuter than your monkey. :)
I would say this Kid's Clothes week was a success.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Less Is More Culottes--Happy Birthday, Itch-to-Stitch!

As I have started using pdf patterns more and more I have found there are a few designers I favor. At the top of that list is Itch-to-Stitch. The designs are lovely, the techniques professional, and the pattern quality stellar. Kennis, the fabulous designer behind Itch-to-Stich, released her first pattern a year ago and there have been nine more patterns since then. To celebrate, Kennis is hosting a blog tour, offering a sale, and running a pretty sweet giveaway (found at the bottom of this post). I'm flattered to be a part of the blog tour. We were each asked to hack an Itch-to-Stitch pattern in some way. There are so many options and these patterns lend themselves to hacking so well that I finally gave up trying to make a decision and asked Kennis which one she would like me to tackle. She suggested the Emily Culottes and I'm so pleased. Mother Nature is pretty fickle with the weather around these parts so I decided to make a pair that would work well for the days that still feel a bit like summer...
Wide legs for extra breeze
...as it does for those crisper, more fall-like days. I'm all about transitional clothes that will take me from one season to another. I love that these an be casual to more dressy and are comfortable enough that they feel like pajamas.
Long length for cooler weather.
Whenever I think of hacking a pattern I think of what I can add to it to give it a bit more oomph. This time I decided to take something away. With all the sewing projects I have on my list and four children (can't forget them), sometimes the best thing to do is cut down on the time it takes to construct a project. In this case, the zipper got the hack. I traded the contour waistband for elastic and just eliminated the zipper all together. It was a super simple hack that saved me some time and I'll tell you how to do it too. The other change I made was adding length in the leg. Kennis gives great instructions about how to do that right in the pattern, so no further hacking is required there. The instructions are pretty straightforward so I'm just giving written instructions.

The first thing to do when eliminating the zipper is to choose your fabric. You'll want to use a knit so it can stretch over your hips before sitting on your waist. I chose to use this gorgeous royal blue ponte de roma from Michael Levine for my culottes. It's a great weight for the transition to fall and the knit is stable enough to give me the structure I wanted. Honestly, a ponte would also work very well for the zipper construction but is just as beautiful and functional in my zip-less version.

The next step is to size down. I didn't want the amount of fabric in the culottes to eat me alive. To get the fit I wanted, I ignored the size chart altogether and went straight to the finished garment measurements. You'll want the fabric to just skim your hips, so choose the finished garment measurement that most closely matches your body measurements. The stretch in the knit fabric will give you all the wearing ease you need. As you cut out you'll also need to make sure you eliminate the zipper extension on the left side.
Skimming fit around the boo-tay.
Had my fabric been of a lighter weight and /or the culottes a shorter length, I might have been able to get away with making a yoga waistband. The weight of my culottes really required the support of an elastic waist. To make an elastic waistband, start by eliminating the contour waistband piece. Replace that with a waistband casing that is cut about 3.75 inches tall and as wide as the waistline on your culottes. You could cut it a little more narrow to avoid gathers in the waistband but I didn't bother with that, as I always wear my shirts untucked. With RIGHT sides together, stitch the two narrow edges together to form a loop. Sew the elastic to fit your waist. I ended up pulling mine tighter twice before I was convinced it would hold up the culottes.
The elastic waist still follows the contour of the original waistband.
The elastic and casing are put together before attaching it to the culottes...unless you're me and skip this step. With WRONG sides together, fold the knit casing piece in half along the length and place the elastic inside. Stitch the raw edges together, encasing the elastic. Attach the waistband to the body of the culottes and you're good to go. Pattern: hacked.
I love the comfort of the culottes and the ease of omitting the zipper.
Now for the EXTRA fun stuff. Pop on over to Itch-to-Stitch to take advantage of the sale. you can also take a look below at all the other awesome pattern hacks and the bloggers who created them.
Itch to Stitch Birthday Fun
(scroll to the bottom to enter to win!)
Follow these blogs to see their awesome creations from Itch to Stitch patterns:
Be sure to scroll to the bottom for your chance to win great prizes by these sponsors:
Itch to Stitch First Anniversary Sponsors
The Fabric Store - $100 Gift certificate
Elliott Berman Textiles - Fabric bundle from France & Italy
Craftsy - three online classes of your choice
Girl Charlee Fabrics - $25 Gift certificate
Indie Sew - $25 Gift certificate
UpCraft Club - $25 Gift certificate
Quarto Publishing Group USA - the SHIRTMAKING WORKBOOK by David Page Coffin
The featured designer of the day will give away 2 patterns to a lucky winner:
Follow Itch to Stitch's blog closely to win these patterns!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, October 10, 2015

LOTR Hoodie

Tonight the Young Women (12-18 year old girls) in our ward (congregation) are having a fundraiser to help pay for their yearly summer camp. In addition to a dinner there will also be an auction of items donated from members of our ward. Most of it will be baked goods but there will be a few other miscellaneous items up for grabs. Obviously, I chose to sew something for the auction. Behold, the Lord of the Rings Hoodie:

Cute, right? I had the fabric leftover from a custom knit order, so it's no longer available anywhere, unless you want to pay a small fortune. :(  I made shirts for my boys out of it. This one, however, is modeled by my littlest girl.

The pattern is the free hoodie from Brindille&Twig that you get when you sign up for the newsletter. It was quick and easy and seemed to run true to size. The arms were a little long on Pink Blur but it's a 5/6 and she's in a 5.

The orange fabric I used for the hood lining, pocket, and sleeve detail came from a girl Charlee KnitFix fabric that no one seemed to want to buy off me. It has turned out to be a really great accent piece for this print.
Lembas bread. And look! MORE lembas bread.
Everything for sewing the pattern came together beautifully. I'm a little sad that this won't be staying at our house (Pink Blue is even more sad about it) but I'm happy it can go to someone who wants it and is happy to pay for it. I'm really hoping someone is willing to pay more than $5 for it.
She LOVES the pocket!
I tend to think of this top as more boyish, though I'm not sure why. I love LOTR and Pink Blur loves the shirt so I'd say that makes it pretty unisex. Here's to hoping whoever gets it will appreciate it.
Gotta get a hooded shot
This one is my favorite.