Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Stressed

Hello, Friends!  I wish this was a great sewing entry, but this is just me being random, so if you are here for the sewing, you are welcome to exit now, I won't get my feelings hurt.

Today is my son's last day of Third Grade!  How did that happen?  Seems like just yesterday I was dropping him off at his first day of Mom's Day Out.  My fiercely independent child was looking at all the other kids clinging to their mothers with what can only be described as a, "You guys are idiots," look on his face.  In all our years of various activities he has never suffered from separation anxiety.  Chock that up to being an only child, I guess.  This morning was no different.  I thought he might be trepidatious with the upcoming move, but no...he hopped out of the car ready to seize the last day of school.

Now, I should be working on my ever mounting do list, but here I sit writing.  In times of chaos and extreme stress I have to exert myself in some creative manner in order to stay sane.  Since I can't really sew anything right now, or paint anything, writing is the outlet of choice.  The great thing about writing is, it doesn't require much.  Pen and paper, or a computer, lipstick and a mirror...you get the idea.  When all the markers and paints and fabric are packed away, there is always some way to write.

In the coming week we will transition from Indiana to Tennessee.  We are moving to the Chattanooga area (forgot to mention that last time).  Our house has been on the market for 12 days and we have had 12 showings.  I know it is only a matter of time until we have an acceptable offer, but STRESS!!!  Please send happy vibes my way for the house to sale quickly.  Poor St. Joseph doesn't want to stay buried in the front yard after all!

If over the next few months weird non-sewing entries pop on the blog, please forgive me.  It is just me stress reducing.  I promise that sewing will be happening again soon (hopefully we can find a new house quickly and the machines won't sit in storage too long).  Until then hugs to you all!


Monday, May 16, 2016

It's Alive!

Hello, Friends!  After a rash of emails and comments I figured I had better touch base to let you all know that I am alright.  So much is going on that my head has been spinning for the last couple months.  Where to start?

Those of you who follow me on Instagram know that I have been doing some sewing, but certainly not up to my normal level of productiveness.   Here are some of the things that I have sewn lately:





This is McCall's M5640.  I sewed the pattern in a lovely multicolor cotton voile that is so soft and cool.  This is going to be my go to Summer pajama pattern.



This is a modified version of McCall's M5640 that I made for my Mother-in-Law for Mother's day.  She loves wearing snap front dusters over her night clothes, so I decided to make her a pretty one.  The picture here really doesn't do the fabric justice.


This top is McCall's M6960.  I have been wanting to sew this pattern for a while.  Though I am not one to fear showing my cleavage this one went a little too low even for me, so I sewed in a piece of lace as a modesty panel, and have adjusted the neckline on the pattern, because I will be making this one again.


This final top is McCall's M6970 in a seersucker fabric that I had purchased from Hancock as they were going out of business.  I had a really hard time deciding how to center the stripes on this top.  I love the v notch in the neckline though and am really pleased with how this creation turned out.

In addition to these items, I have also sewn myself some self drafted chambray shorts that I intend to live in over the coming warmer months.

In the midst of all this sewing I decided to make myself a bathing suit.  I went with making Butterick  B5795.  That turned in to a wadder very quickly.  The bridge (area between the twins) of this pattern was a full 4 inches wide.  Who has that much space between their boobs?  I certainly don't!



I was actually rocking along quite well with my sewing and then this happened two days before we left for vacation (and five minutes before the listing agent for our house was set to arrive).




When you have hyper-mobile joints, these kinds of things seem to happen to you at the most inopportune time.  Not that there is exactly an opportune time to rupture a ligament.  I spent most of my vacation rolling around on a knee walker.  But hey, vacation is vacation and a little thing like a busted ankle wasn't going to hold me down!

In other news our house goes on the market any day now, and we will soon be heading to Tennessee where my husband will start a new job next week.  My son and I will join him once school is out for the Summer.  Unfortunately, that means that I probably will not be sewing for a few months.  We will be in temporary housing through July 31st.  On top of that my precious sewing room has been turned in to an office for staging the house, and my sewing stuff will be in storage until we purchase and move in to a house in Tennessee.

Now, that I have gotten you all caught up on what has been happening here, I just also want to say that I am sorry for disappearing on you all.  I haven't been commenting on other blogs.  I have had invitations to collaborate that I have had to turn down, and I feel like I have been an all around awful bloggy friend.  To my dear friend Andie...I know it has been forever.  I will not leave for Tennessee without rectifying the situation.

So, friends are any of you in Tennessee?  I am looking forward to being close to Sir's Fabric!  I always wanted to go there when I lived in Huntsville but never had a reason to go.  Any fabric stores in Central Tennessee that I should be aware of?  I am a ball of nerves and excitement and happiness and jitters, for this new adventure.  That said, I can't wait to get settled and get reconnected with all my friends here in the sewing community, too!

Friday, February 5, 2016

Plus Size Swimwear and Resort Wear Rant

Hello, Friends!  I just wanted to throw up a quick post to let you know that I am still here.  We are in the middle of prepping our house for sell in the Spring and I have been painting and sorting, and doing other general things to get ready for the selling season.

Because of all this, things have been a little quiet on the sewing front, and probably will be for most of February (though I did manage to get a little bit of fabric shopping in this week).  Priorities! ;)

I am already thinking Spring and vacation sewing, how about you all?  I am hopeful that we can get a vacation in before the house mania starts.  In thinking about this, I pose this question...Do you have a favorite RTW brand for resort wear?  When I think resort wear, I think sophisticated linen separates, flowy gauzy beach wear, and maxi dresses that can go from the pool, to walking around town, to a nice dinner out.  Is that too much to ask?

When you search plus size resort wear you get a lot of knit shorts and tops.  You get some denim shorts that are far too short for gams that have dimples and jiggles (I mean if you are comfortable enough in your skin to show your dimples go for it and I got nothing but love for you, but I just can't).  Thank Heavens I can sew my own clothes.  In the past prepping for vacation was a huge source of stress for me, but now I just get together my patterns and fabrics and don't have to have too many meltdowns standing in front of a dressing room mirror.

On that note, let's talk about swimsuits for a minute.  When vacation pops in to my head no matter where I am headed or what the temperature/climate there is, I always assume that there will be somewhere to take a dip.  Snow be damned, there better be a heated pool or at least hot tub.  I am an Aquarius after all.  It almost my Birthday, my b-b-b-birthday!  My ideal swimsuit is one that holds the twins up, but doesn't let them pop out of the top because I am actually quite active in the water.  It also doesn't smash the twins flat like my competitive swimming suits do.  That's great for swimming laps, but it isn't a good look.  It is a one piece suit that flares at the hips.  This suit also has real board shorts to pair with it.  I don't need sandy chub rub at the beach.  Just sayin!

Right now I wear a Lands End halter swim top similar to this one (this one is actually a T-back, but it is very similar):

Source: Landsend.com

I pair that top with a bikini bottom, and some big and tall men's board shorts that are not flattering at all.  This top could stand to be a size smaller in the bust, and about 2 sizes larger in the hips.  Because the bust is slightly too large, I get serious chafing under my arms.  The hips are too tight til the weight of the water stretches them out, and then it is fine.  The men's board shorts are made for men, so they have no waist.  I cinch it in as much as I can, but then I have tons of extra fabric bulging around my waist.  Can you picture it?  But, it has a bit of modesty, so I live with it.

This year I really want to design and sew my own swimsuit and board shorts.  I actually wanted to do it last year, but...I got complacent with the other suit and didn't.  Does anyone know a good source for material for board shorts?  I don't want to go with rip stop, but I do want something that is going to dry fast.  I suppose I could tailor some too large men's shorts instead of cinching them.  Hmmmmm.

Ok, that is enough ranting in what was supposed to just be a quick post to say hello.  Tell me about your adventures in swimwear sewing or shopping.  I can't be the only one.

Monday, January 18, 2016

When a Blanket Becomes a Sweater - The Centerfield Raglan Hack

Friends, with snow on the ground and temperatures in the single digits I tend to walk the blanket aisles at some of my favorite stores.



When my eyes laid upon this blanket, I knew I had to have it.  To make a warm sweater of course!  With all that great texture and those argyle designs, whats not to love?



I pondered how to make the sweater I desired from this piece of fabric.  A cardigan that I could throw on over most anything was what I really desired.

Then it hit me.  I would use an oldie but a goodie.  A pattern that I had made many times and was definitely a TNT pattern.  I decided to use my Green Style Creations Centerfield Raglan T-Shirt pattern.  Rather than cutting the front piece on the fold, I lined it up so that the trim was used as the edges of the piece, but I knew that I needed a bit of extra in front since the pieces would not be connected, so I lined the trim up on what would have been the fold line.



I then flipped the pattern piece over and lined it up on the other side of the blanket.  These blankets were not made perfectly and they stretched some as they were folded on the store shelf, so it was a real hassle to try to straighten the grain (so to speak).  Note: I did not wash the blanket before making the sweater as I was afraid it would go further off kilter.



For the back piece, I wanted to get the fabric lined up nicely so that the center of the back was dead center between the two rows of argyle.  So, instead of cutting the back piece on the fold I cut one side, flipped the pattern piece and cut the other side.  Still resulting in one cut pattern piece, but giving me better control over the blanket/fabric.



I had decided that I wanted the back of the sweater to be slightly longer than the front with a side slit.  I forgot to cut the extra bit for turning back the side slit, but I did remember to use the trim bottom as the amount of extra for the back, making it easy to line the pattern up straight but get that extra bit.




I knew that I also wanted to have the argyle stripe run the length of the sleeve.  Unfortunately, that meant that I could not use the trim in it's original form which was a major bummer!  Instead I had to line the sleeve piece up on two separate areas of the blanket.  I marked where the argyle lines were on the pattern so that I could make my mirror image sleeve pieces have proper alignment of the pattern.  Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture of this step, because in truth I was not planning on blogging this blanket sweater.  I did take a picture of the bottom of the pattern piece to remind myself that I folded the bottom of the sleeve piece back to the short line since I was going to add trim back to the bottom.



My last bit of cutting was to get the trim piece for the neck and two pieces of trim for the bottom of the sleeves.  I cut a piece of the ribbed edge the size of the pattern neck band piece plus four inches to account for the extra trim in the front.  For the sleeves, I just lined the sleeve bottom piece up on the trim and cut two pieces of trim the same size.

Assembly of the sweater was pretty easy.  I used the serger (which just happened to have light and dark grey thread already in) to attach the sleeves to the front and back pieces.  I then attached the trim to the bottom of the sleeves and serged from the sleeve bottom to the lower edge of the hem in one long sleeve, stopping about three inches before the bottom edge of the shortest/front hem.  Next, I serged the collar on to the sweater.

Finally, I did a little bit of hand sewing to turn back the side slits and turn the collar in at the front edge.  That was it.  Between cutting, serging and hand sewing I ended up having about 2.5 hours in this sweater.  When I was sewing the Centerfield Raglan on the regular last year, I could cut and sew the shirt in an hour flat.  It's a great pattern that uses minimal fabric (which was another reason I chose it for this sweater).

What was that?  You want to see how it turned out?  Sorry...



Here is the blanket sweater on the dress form.  I don't have a name for the dress form yet.  Any ideas?

OK, since I am such a dedicated blogger I braved the sleet covered porch to take some actual photos.  Don't get used to it, and please forgive me if the pictures aren't up to normal par.




In this picture, I am holding on to the rail to keep from falling.  The look on my face is something along the lines of hurry up an take the picture before I fall and bust me arse!




In this picture I know the sweater looks uneven, but that is because of my stance.  I have both feet up against the bottom of the rail for stability.  The sweater is actually quite straight, though it could use a good steam.




Here you can see how the sleeve turned out.  I am thrilled with how the argyle aligned down the sleeve.  You can also see my compromised side slit.  Next time, and there will be a next time, I will plan better for the side slit and keep it from looking so wonky.  It too could use a good steam.




Lastly, here is the collar.  The left side is a little ripply.  I think that a good steam will also help here.

If you are interested in taking on a blanket sweater yourself, here is where I got the blanket (in radiant grey).  Though there are all kinds of great blankets out there that you could use, just google sweater blanket.  Bonus, a lot of them are going on clearance right now in the Northern Hemisphere.

So what do you think friends, will you give this sew a try?

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Final Sew of 2015 - Indygo Junction Crossroads by Amy Barickman Sophia Swing Coat

Indygo Junction Sophia Swing Coat Plus Size IJ1133CR

Friends, just after Thanksgiving I was contacted by the folks at Indygo Junction to see if I would be interested in having some of their patterns.  No obligation.  I am going to be honest, when they contacted me, I was not at all familiar with their patterns.  I certainly had no idea that any of their patterns were of the plus size variety.


Indygo Junction Sophia Swing Coat Plus Size IJ1133CR

As I perused their website trying to decide if I wanted to take them up on the offer of free patterns, the first thing that caught my eye was the Sophia Swing Coat (Pattern IJ1133CR).  It looked like something I would wear.  In case you haven't noticed, I have a thing for raglan sleeves!

I welcomed Indygo Junction to send me a sampling of their patterns, but didn't dare request a specific pattern.  When the package of patterns arrived a few days later, I was delighted to see that the Sophia Swing Coat had been included.

With the holidays barreling down on me, there was no time to sew the precious coat before the festivities would swallow up most of the month of December.  Once the house guests were gone, the tree was packed away, and all the holiday cheer was a mere memory, it was time to get to sewing.

Pattern Cover Image from Indygojunction.com

I followed the instructions for the most part.  I chose to serge the sleeve dart, instead of using a straight stitch.

Indygo Junction Sophia Swing Coat Sleeve Dart

I actually serged off all the pieces before sewing the coat together, because this denim was fraying like crazy!

I didn't use any interfacing in construction, because I felt that the denim had enough structure that it really didn't need it.  I think most of Indygo Junction's patterns are intended to be able to be used with quilting cotton, because the yardage is given for 44"-45" fabric.

When the coat was finished, I decided to leave it open instead of installing a button closure.  I think I would feel like I was choking if I installed a button.


Couldn't even muster a proper smile here.

So instead of wearing it as intended, I will be turning back the lapel/collar and wearing the jacket this way.

That's more like it!

I really like that the Sophia Swing Coat has pockets that are big enough to hold a cell phone and/or my wallet.  Most likely I will be wearing this with a tunic over leggings, and that often leaves me pocketless!

Indygo Junction Sophia Swing Coat Pockets in Floral Denim

Indygo Junction Swing Coat Pockets

The back of the coat has a raglan style yoke with a deeply pleated back piece.  I like the style of this, and can see me using this style for other makes along the way.

Raglan Yoke - Indygo Junction Sophia Swing Coat

Raglan Yoke, Pleat and Sleeves Indygo Junction Sophia Swing Coat

The coat did turn out to be a little longer than I had envisioned, and when I make or hack this pattern again, I will certainly shorten the pattern a bit.  In fairness to Indygo Junction, I chose to make the long version of the coat, and it does hit me pretty much exactly where it hits the model on the front of the pattern.

Indygo Junction Sophia Swing Coat Plus Size Long Length

Here are a few shots of the insides.  In this first shot you can see the facing, as well as the junction between the raglan sleeve and the body of the coat.  I am really happy with how the sleeve darts turned out on this coat!

Indygo Junction Sophia Swing Coat Inside of the Coat


Here you can see where the facing was hand tacked at each of the sleeve seams.  You can also see how nicely the pleat came together.


Sophia Swing Coat Insides

Which reminds me, I didn't follow the instructions for the pleat.  I treated the pleat in a similar way to an invisible zipper, and sewed the pleat shut, pressed it flat, and then once the coat was finished I removed the basting to have a very nice pleat indeed!

Friends, what do you think of this coat?  Is it something that you would sew?

I have a lot of ideas for pattern hacks here.  I can see a front separating zipper being used.  I know that these sleeves are going to make their way in to other pattern hacks.  I can see turning this in to a dress, with a little more shaping on the top side.  I can even see lengthening the sleeves and making a nice lined wool coat with this pattern.  There are lots of possibilities to explore.

One last thing that I am truly pleased with...the coat actually looks like the sample images on the pattern cover.  Huge kuddos to Indygo Junction for that!!!

***This pattern was provided free to the Author of this blog, however all opinions expressed are the Author's own and not influenced by Indygo Junction Pattern Company in any way.***

Monday, December 14, 2015

Effects of the 2015 RTW Fast

Friends, I know that I haven't talked about it a lot throughout the year, but most of you know that I was a participant in the 2015 RTW (that's "ready to wear" for any new to sewing blog readers) Fast hosted by Sarah Gunn of Goodbye Valentino.  What that means is that for the entire year of 2015 I did not purchase any clothes.  I made everything.

Luckily, I didn't need a new bra this year, because despite the luck many of my sewing friends are having with bra making...I am not interested!  Whole engineering classes are built around bra design, so don't tell me it isn't rocket science.

I have done well with the fast.  I haven't purchased any clothes for myself all year long (but there are some sweaters on my Christmas list).  My husband bought me a beautiful red Calvin Klein dress for our anniversary, and that is the only garment that I have received this year.  I have to admit that it was a nice fit.  Could have used a small FBA, but other than that it was divine.  Please ignore all the garage junk in the picture!

Dress by Calvin Klein

When I thought about joining the RTW fast at the end of last year, I thought that I would end up buying a lot of accessories.  Shoes, purses, jewelry.  My thought was that while I couldn't buy clothes I would bulk up those areas of my wardrobe.  The truth is the RTW fast has curbed my consumerism as a whole.  I think that is a trend I see happening in our life more and more anyway, and I will expound on that more at a later date.

I haven't purchased a lot of fabric.  I certainly haven't been hoarding it the way I was in 2014.  The fabrics that have been bought have been sewn into garments almost immediately (for the most part).

As the RTW fast is coming to an end, I have started to peruse some of the places I would buy clothes in the past.  I realize that I may now be ruined for buying clothes off a rack.  As I look over the sea of clothing, all I see are shoulders that are going to be too big, combined with hips that will be too small.  I see issues that no amount of tailoring will fix.  Will I ever be able to purchase RTW again?  I am sure that there will be items that I will feel fine taking what is offered on the racks, but for the most part, I will be making my own clothing from here on out.

I never got around to making my dream bathing suit.  That will have to be one of 2016's projects, I suppose.  There were a few other items on my sewing list that didn't get made as well, and they too will be pushed to 2016's list.

All in all, the RTW fast has been very positive for me, and I encourage any of you who are considering it, to take the leap.  It's only a year, and there aren't any RTW police coming around to give you a ticket if you have to buy something.  Your sewing skills will grow, and you might even save a little money.



Friday, December 11, 2015

The Misty Jeans Sewalong Winner Is....

Andie from Sew Pretty in Pink!  




Congratulations to Andie, as well as the rest of the women who were brave enough to share their pants!  Fantastic job everyone!!!