Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Vogue 8379 - Finished!

Sorry for the terrible photo! I don't know why it looks like I have my thumb in my eye. This is my version of Vogue 8379. It's very, very popular with people who sew and I can see why. It's comfy, easy, and fun to make!

The print on top reminded me of Monet. There was only a little over a yard of it on the bolt, so I thought I'd try using it as the top of a dress. I paired it with a simple, matte black knit fabric. 

I've seen a lot of wrap dresses where the top is a solid color and the bottom is a print, but I like it this way, better. 

Changes I made/ didn't make:

I didn't shorten the bodice at all, since I read online that a lot of people found it to be too short. It is perfect for me as-is. I usually have to shorten bodices by about 1/2 an inch, so it probably is short on lots of people! 

Instead of doing a full bicep adjustment, I just used the sleeves from the next size up. This worked ok but I did get a  little pleating at the top of the sleeve cap. 

I didn't have to shorten the skirt and it hit at exactly my knee. I'm only 5-foot, 4 inches tall, so on a taller woman, it might end up too short. 

I interfaced the waist ties, to make them more stable.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Gym/ Yoga Bag

Since the end of last year, I've been a member of a gym that's about two blocks from my job. On most days, a coworker and I walk down there and work out. It's really made adding a little workout to my days much easier. 

I didn't want to invest a lot when I started out, since I didn't know if I would stick to it. I bought a sort-of-crappy gym bag at Goodwill and called it OK. 

It's been bothering me that I couldn't get my yoga mat into my gym bag. I stumbled across about 30 inches of this home decor fabric at Goodwill, and thought it would make a good, general gym bag. (It's from Ikea in 2009, in case you're wondering.)

I designed the bag with a sling in front, so it can hold a yoga mat, but without the mat, it just looks like a regular tote bag. Inside, there's a slip pocket for my keys and a little belt that keeps my water bottle from tipping over and spilling. 

I made the bottom of the bag wide enough to hold my sneakers, flat. It's kind of a pet peeve of mine when I have to put them in toe-first, so why not make it fit? 

Dee suggested that I add a zipper across the top. Lo and behold, I had a white zipper that was JUST the right length, so I added it in with some extra topstitching. 

It's these little things I love about sewing. I can dream something up, decide what I want it to be like, and just make it. It feels like magic!

Friday, September 09, 2016

Roundup of 20 Dress Patterns - Without Zippers

A reader asked me about dresses to sew that don't have zippers and are easy to get in and out of. She's anticipating surgery in a few months and wants to be ready.

Notes on fabric use are for sizes with a 33 to 34" waist, since that's my size. :)

I haven't sewn any of these (except the Moneta, and I'm working on Vogue 8379), but here's a roundup:

Vogue 8379
features: knits, printed pattern, set-in sleeves, sleeve options, 3 yards to just over 3 yards on 60" fabric, wrap style, collar option

Pamela's Patterns Classic T-Shirt Dress
features: knits, printed pattern, 3 yards or less, slip on style, Silhouettes: Fitted and Tapered, A-line; Straight or Shaped Back; Sleeves: Short, Elbow, 3/4, Long; Necklines: Classic Boatneck, Modern Square(ish), Vintage Portrait Collar; Options: Color Blocking, Belted

Christine Haynes Marianne Dress
features: knits, PDF or printed pattern, 3 yards or less, slip on style, "casual knit dress with a figure skimming silhouette, above the knee length, round neckline with binding, and kimono cap sleeves", 3/4 sleeve option

Kwik Sew 4169
features: knits, printed pattern, sleeveless, 2 yards on 60" fabric for non-maxi option, 4 yards for maxi, mock wrap style, length options, slip on style

Butterick 6051
features: knits, printed pattern, 3 yards or just over 3 yards, slip on style, neckline variations, skirt variations, elastic waist (or attached ties)

Simplicity 8132
features: sleeveless (tank), wovens, PDF or printed pattern, 2 yards on 60" fabric if you choose the shorter dress, slip on style, bonus: "bralette" pattern for stretch knits included

Fancy Tiger Crafts Fen 
features: pockets, casual, hemline options, neckline options, sleeve options, knits or wovens, option to make as shirt, PDF or print, cut-on sleeves, 3 yards or less in 54" fabric

features: pockets, sleeve options, sleeveless, wovens, printed pattern, set-in sleeves, 3 yards or less if you choose the slim skirt and sleeveless options, buttons, multiple cup sizes, bonus: includes bias slip pattern

features: sleeve options, hem options, sleeveless, wovens, printed pattern, set-in sleeves, 3 yards or less if you choose the slim skirt and sleeveless options, buttons

Papercut Sway Dress
features: pockets, neckline options, sleeve options, sleeveless, wovens or knits, printed pattern, set-in sleeves, 3 yards or less, slip on style
"The classic sway dress every wardrobe needs. Loose fitting and gorgeously flowing, make it as the short variation or long variation with waist tie. It has a centre front and back seam with a scooped and V neck so you can mix up the look by wearing either neck options to the front or back. It also features side seam pockets."

Sew House Seven: The Tea House Top And Dress Pattern
features: pockets, wovens, PDF or printed pattern, cut-on sleeves, 3 yards or less (I think, their notes are a little confusing), slip on style

features: wovens, PDF or printed pattern, set-in sleeves, 4 yards on wide fabric, mock wrap dress

True Bias Southport Dress
features: pockets, sleeveless, wovens, PDF or printed pattern, set-in sleeves, buttons (but just on top), 3 yards or less on wide fabric

Vogue 8876
features: FRONT zipper or buttons, pockets, sleeve options, sleeveless, cap sleeve, wovens, printed pattern, 3 to 4 yards. This one kind of reminds me of an old-fashioned bed jacket, but in a way that's cute.

features: casual, knits or wovens, PDF only, cut-on sleeves,  less than 3 yards in 60" fabric

Hot Patterns Riviera Code D'Azur
features: knits, PDF or printed pattern, sleeve options, set-in sleeves, 3 yards in 60" fabric, option to make as a top, slip on style

Hot Patterns Mariposa
features: cut in one piece, knits or wovens, PDF or printed pattern, cut-on sleeves, 2.75 yards in 60" fabric, option to make as a top, slip on style

Kitschy Coo Lady Skater Dress
features: knits, sleeve options, PDF pattern, set-in sleeves, 2.5 yards in 60" fabric, slip on style

features: pockets, wovens, PDF pattern, cut-on sleeves, 2.25 yards in 60" fabric for non-maxi option, slip on style

Colette Patterns Moneta
features: pockets, knits, PDF or printed pattern, set-in sleeves, less than 3 yards, slip on style

Any favorites out there that I missed? Can you tell that I love pockets?

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Kitty and Knitting

I keep trying to decide what's best. Whenever I try out a new-to-me heel, I find it SO EXCITING. I want to tell everyone right away!

However, I also like the idea of (maybe) writing another book, which is why I'm hiding the heels on these particular socks. 

It has to remain a mystery, for now. Only Travis, Boomer, Dee and muggles have seen them...

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Another Top

Summer is starting to wind down, but I couldn't resist making another Simplicity 1315

This time, I made it in a cotton gauze with gathers instead of pleats across the back and the front. It's not as sheer as my last one, but it still feels very light and flowy!

I added slits at the side seams for a little more wearing ease. 

Friday, August 26, 2016

Fast Friday Review: Sewing Essentials Serger Techniques

Ever since I got over (most of) my fears about my serger, I've been picking up books about it, too. Most of them are interesting, but they often don't go beyond the very basics and if you have to troubleshoot, you are on your own. 

Sewing Essentials: Serger Techniques covers the basics, but also goes well beyond them. In particular, one of the challenges I have with my Singer 14T967DC (it's discontinued, but if you have one, the workbook for it from Singer is pretty great), is that, since the tension for the loopers/needles are set automatically, I don't always have a good sense of how to change the setup. I mean, I can balance a stitch, but I have not been able to get the rolled hem to, well, roll. 

Until I had this book! It covers not just how to set things up, but what to do if they go wrong. And, by the way, it's not just you, you shouldn't TRY to turn corners while using a rolled hem. Just end it, use a little fray check, and go on with your life. (Yay!)

You may know the author, Pamela Leggett, from Pamela's Patterns. I haven't used any of her patterns, but I love her writing style and I have closely read all of the pieces I've seen from her in Threads magazine.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Fall Means New Classes!

I love teaching! This Fall, I'm signed up to teach two classes for the St. Louis Park Community Center. There are more details here. Come one, come all!