Thursday, April 22, 2021

A Cozy Jacket for Spring

Springtime is always a time when I naturally slow down on sewing, since I always have a bunch of yard projects and general weeding, etc, to do, but this year I'm doing project 333 (a capsule wardrobe of 33 items for 3 months), so that takes the pressure off of sewing a bit.  Of course, not entirely though, and I have a short list of things to make and refashion for it, because I can't help it!  The first thing that I wanted to make sure I finished up before the April 1st start date was a wool double-knit jacket, as early spring can be chilly, even if I'll be sweating through the late days of my 3 month capsule.  I've had this double-faced wool knit (kind of a slate grey on one side, deep purply-blue on the other) for a while now from Emma One Sock, and was originally thinking of doing the Tessuti Sydney Jacket, as it's specifically drafted for fabrics like this that can leave unfinished edges, but I decided I didn't want to show both sides of the fabric (the collar shows the reverse).  This was just a personal preference for how it fit into my capsule wardrobe, but I still do want to make the Sydney Jacket someday.  

I instead went with the Style Arc Besharl Jacket, which I had attempted to make a few years ago, but didn't like the particular fabric I was using, and just wasn't crazy about it, so I ended up scrapping it.  I do like the fun cocoon shape though, and thought it would be delightful with this fabric.  

Because it was still so cold out and I wanted longer sleeves than the elbow cuffs as drafted, I replaced them with bracelet-length sleeves.  I actually intended to still attach the cuffs to the end to make them full length, but I tried multiple widths of cuffs, and it just looked heavy and disproportional, so I left them off.  The only other change I did was to do topstitching everywhere - I love the way it looks in this squishy wool and it adds a subtle detail that I enjoy. 

I also handstitched the hem, and secured the bottom of the pocket to the hem to make sure it didn't flap about (no one likes flappy pockets).  All in all, it was a quick sew but I enjoyed slowing down and taking my time a bit and making sure everything was just right!  It's gotten a lot of wear in my capsule over the past few weeks and it's one of my favorite garments ever, I think!


Monday, March 29, 2021

Workout Wear Time

 Despite the fact I wear a lot of leggings and sweatshirts these days, and not a whole lot of anything else, I've not dipped my toe into making my own workout wear yet.  Part of this is that I really enjoy making special things, like a fancy dress to wear to a wedding (not that I've done that in a long time), and part of it is that I have very much a hate-love-hate relationship with my serger.  I've had a Juno 3434D serger for years now, and it works fairly well, but it's a pain to thread (like most sergers) and the blade sometimes decides to eat my fabric.  I once ran over a pin with it, and I thought I had replaced it, but it's been acting up again.  I also got a Pfaff Coverlock 4.0 a couple of years ago, which is a combo serger/coverstitch machine that is much higher up the line in terms of quality and capabilities, but it's always been pretty finicky for me, and I would spend forever trying to get it to work right and then just go back to my Juno, until it would eat my fabric or I would need to switch thread colors, and then I would just go to my zig-zag stitch on my regular machine.  Not ideal (hence the two hates to the one love in the relationship description).

Two Saturdays ago I determined to use some athletic fabric I had purchased a few months back and make myself a couple of sets of the Axis Tank by Sophie Hines and the Avery Leggings by Helen's Closet.  I started with a fun tone-on-tone black animal print knit, and started with the leggings.  While the original pattern has a super sleek design with a single pattern piece per leg (no side seam), I'm a huge fan of pockets, because I like to take my phone with me on runs.  Luckily, Helen includes a handy tutorial on her website for hacking a side pocket.  I followed along in slicing and dicing the leg piece, and wrote in big bold letters "ADD SEAM ALLOWANCE" on the pieces.  Did I remember to do so when cutting out my leggings? No.  That, plus my Juno eating up the fabric a bit meant they were a tad too snug, but they actually ended up pretty wearable.  I attempted to also make a matching Axis tank, but that turned out to be a mess, also due to serger woes.  

My first Avery Leggings



During the following week, hubby convinced me to finally pull the trigger on buying a new serger that I've been eyeing for years - one of the Baby Lock machines with the air threading (aka magic), which I got this past Saturday.  You literally put the threads near a hole, push a button, and whoosh, it's threaded with automatic tension that's perfect every time.  I'm seriously over the moon about it.  I was also going back and forth between getting just a serger or the combo serger/coverstitch machine, and I decided to splurge and get the combo (Baby Lock Accolade) - this machine should last me forever, and it's worth it in the long run.  I like to sew to produce garments, not fight with machines!  

Side note - typically you have to buy sewing machines from a dealer.  There is a Baby Lock dealer very close to me, but I haven't been crazy about their service (I've taken my machines in there several times).  The next closest one was in Delaware, Hayes Sewing Machine Company, and they were awesome!  It's a family-run business, and very personal - I emailed several times during the week, and spent way more time in there than John enjoyed, I'm sure, but they showed me the ropes of multiple machines and helped me figure out what was best, and took my Pfaff in as trade, plus offer on-going support.  I highly recommend them for your next sewing machine purchase!

After playing around a bit on Saturday, I sat down to business on Sunday, and learned the ins and outs and started getting serious about workout wear.  I made another pair of Avery leggings, but this time I left the legs as a single piece, and changed up the waistband construction.  I did a single fold-over piece (front and back), and added a pocket on the inside front of the waistband.  I got to learn how to use my new elastic attaching foot in the process, which was fun too.  I sewed a matching Axis tank as well, both in a fun ombre foil knit from JoAnn Fabrics.

What I really need are a bunch of new workout tanks though, so I had bought some light-weight knits from JoAnn's the night before (first fabric purchase of 2021!), and set about modifying the Axis tank pattern.  While it's super cute as is, I'm not a huge fan of cropped tops, as I just don't find them comfortable given my jiggle around the middle (personal preference only).  I lengthened the tank, and changed the armholes/neckline slightly to match better with one of my favorite RTW tanks, but keeping again the single pattern piece, which eliminates side-seams.  I tried it in the black animal print again, but I hate sewing in bands in the round, so I attempted to do it flat and do the shoulder seams after the bands were in - that was a mistake.  The fabric was too bulky and it was a mess.  Other than that though, it was super cute - I have more of the fabric, so I'm definitely trying it again.  

I switched over to a lightweight knit and it came out great - this pattern is awesome, and super quick to sew!  I did the bands in the round, and they are a tad too short, as there is a bit of puckering, but I hate it when the are too loose and flop around.  I wrote "Add 1" for lightweight knit" on the band pattern pieces, but do you think I'll remember?  Me either.

None of these pieces are what I would deem perfect, but I'm super happy with my progress, and I'm working on perfecting my patterns.  I basically just want to whip up several of the same pattern seasonally and be set for a while, instead of spending an arm and a leg seasonally at places like Lululemon and Athleta!  (We're not going to count the cost of my serger in that equation, for obvious reasons :P)

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

2020 Making Round-Up

 I thought it would be kinda fun to do a whole round up of everything I made in 2020!  I'm not going to go back and document each one, so let me know if you want any more details.












Thursday, January 21, 2021

2021 Make #2 - Knit gaucho pants

 Another quick win for early 2021!  At some point last year (apparently in May, but I seriously have no memory of when), I got it in my head to make some knit gaucho pants, like the ones that were all the rage in the early 2000s:  

I couldn't find a picture of them, but I had a pair of reddish-orange ones in grad school that I wore ALL the time and loved.  I believe I started with the True Bias Watson pants, my TNT elastic waist pants, and make them a little wider at the bottom and a little narrower at the top (again, memory is fuzzy, but I feel that's what it was, and looks like it based on my "pattern-drafting" below).  

Back in May, I had cut out the pieces out of a lightweight jersey knit I had bought from JoAnns, and started sewing them together, and then threw them in a pile for about 7 months.

I cut a pretty wide band (slightly narrower than the pants, but pretty close), doubled it over, and serged it onto the top.  

I struggled to get them cut evenly for some reason, but eventually got them the same length.  Overall, not a bad pattern, but the knit fabric was too lightweight and I wasn't crazy about them.  I'm also not entirely sure about the crotch fit - seems like some bunching there.  Again, since I cut them out so long ago, I'm not exactly sure what's going on, but I'll probably refine the fit a bit for the next time.  They were essentially my wearable muslin, so I don't mind that I'm not crazy about them.  Into the goodwill bag they go, but at least they're functional and didn't have to go in the trash!