Fabric Mart Mystery Bundle

With my most recent Fabric Mart purchase, I decided to do something I don’t often do and buy a mystery bundle. I chose the 6 yard bundle, then anxiously awaited my package, obsessively checking the tracking every day. When it finally arrived, I’m not sure whether I was more excited to see the fabric that I chose myself (several textured double knits for lightweight blazers and cardigans and a few ITY knits for summer tops and dresses) or the fabric that was in the mystery bundle.

My mystery bundle contained:

navy cotton jersey knit (bottom right)
heathered light greyish-tan poly jersey knit (bottom left)
a black and white floral print with a bright green border ITY knit (top)

 

 

 

For as much as I love wearing navy, I had a grand total of 0 solid navy long sleeved shirts. So, I decided to use the navy cotton knit jersey from my Fabric Mart mystery bundle to make a basic navy long sleeve shirt using my tnt knit top pattern (a heavily modified New Look 6735).

Since I wear jackets/blazers/cardigans over my tops a good 90+% of the time, I love having an interesting neckline that will “pop” under an overlayer. As I was cutting out the pieces, I noticed the edges had a tendency to curl in a kind of pretty way. I decided to make use of this, and cut and curled narrow strips to use as trim around the neckline.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My first thought when I pulled this jersey out of the box was “oh, comfy top.” The knit is a bit sheer, so I wanted to make a top that I could easily layer a tank under, if it turned out to be too sheer to wear on its own. I used Simplicty 2364 (view A), a 3/4 sleeve top with a sewn-on faux shrug detail, and supposedly a cowl neckline. Though I’ve used the pattern before and gotten a super deep cowl, somehow this time, with this fabric, I ended up with a fairly straight neckline.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have to admit that I was a bit befuddled as to what to make when I realized that the stretch in this black, white, and green floral border print meant that the border ran vertical rather than horizontal. And while I loved the floral, the green border threw me for a bit of a loop. I wanted to feature it, but didn’t want an entire green line down the length of a top or dress. First I thought about cutting the border off and reattaching it running horizontally. Then I thought about making a pair of leggings that used the green border along the side seam, but wasn’t sure I’d actually wear them enough to make them worth making. I started thinking about other patterns that I have that have interesting seams that could highlight the border print, and came up with Lekala 5883, a “sleeveless dress with bias dart.” I cut the pattern in half along the center front, so that I could place it so the border would fall on the center front and disappear as the dart and lower center front seam are sewn. I’m not a fan of sleeveless dresses, so I added small cap sleeves using the sleeve from my tnt knit top pattern.

 

 

 

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A New Fall Jacket: the “Moto-blazer”

WithNeedleAndThread-MotoBlazerI’d been wanting (to make) a moto/biker-style jacket for a while, buy hadn’t found a pattern that spoke to me, so the project kept getting bumped further and further down my “to make” list. Included in my list of wishes for my jacket were that it: have an asymmetrical but mostly straight zipper (versus a diagonal zipper), have an actually collar (not just the lapels), have traditional two-piece sleeves with no gussets, zippers, buttons, or extra seams, and that it be fitted rather than boxy, ideally with princess seams.

In other words, I wanted a cross between a classic moto-style jacket and a traditional blazer. Once I came to that epiphany, I decided to set about making my own “frankenpattern” (an oh so technical term for when you combine two or more different patterns to create one new pattern…think Frankenstein). I debated between several different moto jacket patterns before deciding on Simplicity 2056, which had the collar, lapels, and straight-off-center front that I had envisioned. For the blazer portion, I used Lekala 4162, a classic blazer pattern which I’ve made before and know fits well.

I traced the front of the Simplicity pattern onto the front piece of the Lekala pattern, lining up the shoulders and center fronts. When I cut the traced pattern out, I kept the center front part of the moto jacket and blended into the armscye princess seam lines of the blazer. In the photo below, the purple is the Lekala pattern, the teal is the moto jacket, and the red should be ignored (I traced two sizes of the moto jacket and ended up going with the smaller one – this is the larger one).

WithNeedleAndThread-MotoBlazer

In addition, I used the side front, side back, back, and sleeves from the Lekala pattern, and the collar and pocket pieces from the moto jacket pattern. About halfway though the project, I started calling my jacket a “moto-blazer,” and I think that name is going to stay with it.
Based on the pattern envelope images, I thought that the moto jacket collar may be too big for me, so I basted it on before sewing it for real. And it did turn out too big; I would up narrowing it by increasing the seam allowance along the back seamline, taking 1.5” from the corner, tapering to .75” at center back, then back out to 1.5” at the other corner. I probably could have made it smaller still, but decided to embrace the slightly oversized collar to give the jacket even more of a different look from the other jackets in my closet.

WithNeedleAndThread-MotoBlazerSince I had changed the fit of the moto jacket and was changing the pocket style of the blazer pattern, I added the pockets after I’d sewn most of the jacket, but before attaching the lining. This allowed me to determine the ideal length and placement of the pockets as they would fall when I was actually wearing the jacket. I think my pockets ended up being a bit smaller than a traditional pocket, but they work on me. And I don’t really intend to use the pockets for much, so going smaller with the pockets wasn’t an issue. This was the first time I’ve put zippered pockets in a jacket, and I initially found the idea of cutting a whole in my jacket slightly terrifying. Of course, in reality, it wasn’t nearly as bad as I’d built it up to be in my head and I’m glad I went ahead and put in the pockets/zippers.

After the jacket shell was mostly finished (and pockets mentioned above inserted), I decided that I really didn’t like the look of the partially exposed zipper that I was originally intending to use (the left zipper piece had no seam to be sewn into…which I hadn’t fully taken into consideration when combining my patterns as the Simplicity pattern originally called for buttons rather than a zipper on the view I used). Luckily, I had enough wiggle room (or extra ease that could be un-eased) that I was able to taper the top edge of the zipper tape, and fold the jacket fabric over the edge of the zipper tape to create a faux-seam. If/when I make this pattern again, I’d probably draft a real seam into the pattern here as I like this look much better than the exposed zipper look.

The fabric is a wool blend coating that I got from Fabric.com a few years ago. Though it’s hard to see in my pictures, it is a blend of cream/tan, olive, purple, and mustard yellow threads. I lined the jacket with purple Bemberg lining.

Zipper issues aside, I am happy with the way my new “moto-blazer” turned out and am now anxiously waiting for the weather to cool down enough so that I can wear my new jacket.

 

Summer 2013 6PAC – Completed

I finally got pictures of my 6PAC. I’d been using my brother’s tripod, but he loaned it to a friend…so I enlisted him as a photographer instead. Which, of course, means that I was a bit rushed and didn’t style/accessorize at all.

I ended up with a nearly entirely different 6pac than I set out to create. I really wanted a white drapey cardigan, but tried 3 patterns that did nothing for me. Then, I decided that I really would never wear a navy jacket, so I nixed that one. Also ended up with three different tops than were in my original plan. But…I really like what I ended up with and have been wearing every piece a lot.

I ended up with:

1. White jeans – my own self-drafted pattern

2. Blue jeans with embroidered back pockets and grey topstitching – my own self-drafted pattern

3. Green-grey jacket – Simplicity 1919

4. Striped sleeved tank – Simplicity 1613

5. Blue-green wavy knit top – Hot Patterns Fringe Festival Scarf Top (without the scarf)

6. White drapey top with faux shrug – Simplicity 2364

Some comments on the patterns:

Simplicity 1919 runs a bit big. The first one I made was a size 12 in a knit fabric. When making knit tops, I usually use size 10. In a woven like the green jacket above, I went up to a 14, which fits great. I love the subtle peplum and princess seams in this pattern. I would love to make this jacket again, but wonder if it is too unique – and if the peplum detail will make it go out of style faster. Regardless, I am very happy with this jacket.

This is the third time that I’ve made Simplicity 2364. You can see my first attempt here, from several months ago. Between the two versions, I went down from a 12 to a 10, and the pattern fits much better. I really like the combination of the shrug and draped neckline. This pattern comes together very easily – and I love that the neckline is finished during the sewing process – so there is no extra hemming to be done at the end.

I initially bought Simplicity 1613 for the twisted neckline t-shirt, which was included in my original 6pac plan. However, once I made up the shirt, I didn’t like the busy neckline. I think there was just too much going on in too small an area on me. Since I had the pattern, I decided to try the other view included. I didn’t make a muslin – just cut into my ‘real’ fabric and hoped it worked – and it did. I used a striped stretch lace, intending to wear this top over a tank top. I don’t know that this is really my style, and it will likely get the least amount of wear of anything in this 6pac. But, the pattern was very easy to sew, and if I do find myself wearing the shirt a lot, would not hesitate to make it again in another color.

Hot Patterns Fringe Festival Scarf Top is a free pattern that can be found on Fabric.com. I’ve made this top several times, and love all of them. In this version (and most that I’ve made), I eliminated both the center front and center back seams, left off the scarf detail, and shortened the top by several inches. I really like the fit of this pattern, and it has become my go-to cut-on sleeve pattern.

The Jeans – I love having a tnt jeans pattern. It’s great fun to make a pattern that I know will fit right, where I can focus on the details and creative design rather than on fit. Note to self when making white jeans in the future: use a thin, white fabric for the pocket bags and test before sewing to make sure they don’t show through too much. After sewing much of the white jeans together, I realized that the pocket bags showed through majorly. I ended up cutting off the pocket bags at the end of the facing. About all that will fit in the pockets now is some change or a stick of gum, but I don’t use my pockets much anyway.

Slow Learning: Simplicity 1613

I’m slowly discovering that what I’ve read on other blogs about the big pattern companies’ sizing is true: they put way too much ease in knit garments. And apparently, I’m a slow learner. It took another botched muslin for me to decide that maybe I should just start with a size 8 in knit patterns from the big 4. Last week, I made what I thought would be a wearable version of Simplicity 1613. Well, turns out, I made a not-so-wearable garment.
According to the envelope, I’m in-between a size 10 and 12. Since this is a knit, I went down to the 10, and foolishly assumed it would just fit. Several hours later, all I had to show for my time was a pile of white fabric. This pattern has a lot of pieces. And most of them have to be put together before the shirt really comes together. When I first looked at all of the pattern pieces, I had no clue how they would all fit together in the end. Even as I was sewing, I couldn’t ‘see’ the final garment. I finally had to disengage my brain and follow the directions one step at a time. Sure enough, all of the pieces fit together fine.

The final piece looks like the pattern photo. The only issue I had while putting it together, other than needing to read the instructions and sew with no distractions to put the twist together, came with the way the front V sits. Instead of a pretty V, my facing is flipping outward, creating a bit of a ripply curve.
Although the shirt looks great (other than the V), the fit is not so great. The shirt is just all around too big. It mostly fits in the sides, but the shoulders and neckline need some work. The lowest cutout falls way below anywhere that I consider socially acceptable. There must be too much fabric in the front, because the cut outs droop and bunch together, rather than looking like pretty triangles like in the envelope photo. It looks good on a hanger though, so I’ll trim the threads and add it to my giveaway pile. And try again in a smaller size, because I still like the pattern.

Simplicity 2364 (View A)

I picked up a stack of Simplicity patterns last time they were on sale at JoAnn. (If you haven’t figured it out by now, I’m a complete sucker for sales). I had been looking for a long sleeve shirt that was warm, had full-length sleeves, and was cuter than an ordinary round- or v-neck shirt. Simplicity 2364 almost fit that bill, and would be easy enough to adapt as the only thing it was missing was the long sleeves.  I decided to sew it in a maroon crinkle knit that I picked up several months ago from Fabric.com.

https://i2.wp.com/i1206.photobucket.com/albums/bb454/sewingbutterfly/Made%20with%20Needle%20and%20Thread/Maroon-Simplicity-2364-A-sm.jpg

After looking at the pattern on patternreview.com, I wasn’t sure if I would like the neckline that looked to me like a cross between a square and a cowl, depending on the fit of the top on each individual person. Even after sewing my maroon version, which was for all effects, my wearable muslin, I can’t decide if I like the way the neckline hit me. If I let it drape naturally, the neckline falls a bit too low for my taste, and I don’t love the look if I tug the neckline straighter across. I’m playing with the idea of tacking the shrug and front drape where they meet at the front (higher than where they naturally fall) and ruching the front center for a few inches, then repeating the effect on the lower several inches of the side seams.

Overall, I really liked the way this pattern came together. I cut and sewed a straight size 8, which fit me very well without further alterations, other than the previously mentioned neckline issues. The faux shrug was easy to work with, and combined with the self-facing effect on the front meant that there was no hemming/finishing work needed on the neckline. If I were to sew it again, I would probably raise the neckline an inch or two to try to get the front drape to fall a bit higher.

Simplicity 2648: The Finished Dress

This Simplicity dress wound up taking longer than I thought it would, though it was overall easy to put together.  Everything went smoothly until I got to the neckline facing.  For some reason, whether it be the fabric, sewer (or sewist, if you preferr, though that’s an issue for another post) error, or some combination, I could not get that facing to stay put where it belongs on the inside of the dress.  After messing with this facing for  good hour, I flung the dress into a corner and moved on to other projects (hence, why there hasn’t been a follow-up post yet).  I did go back later in the day to fold the dress so it wouldn’t wrinkle, but I basically ignored it until the day before I had to leave for the wedding I was planning to wear the dress to.  Sounds familiar, I’m sure.

Following the strange logic of the universe, when I came back to the dress several days later, another session with a hot iron helped tame the argumentative facing.  After that, all that was left to do was to hem the bottom.  Although I kind of wanted an invisible hem, I went with a straight stitch and a double needle because it was easier and faster, and I had more stuff to do.

I started noticing the first little flaw with my dress planning when I got the six pieces that make up the front sewn together.  When I cut the pieces, I failed to consider the variegated nature of my fabric and where each piece would end up respective to another.  The result, what I’m calling my checkerboard dress.  The checkerboard-ish lines don’t seem as noticeable with a thick belt, as seen in the pictures,so maybe the belt will live with the dress now.

Other than the checkerboard lines, I really like the way the dress turned out.  I cut and sewed a straight size 10, with the suggested petite modifications.  Though I did eliminate the back zipper, since I used a stretchy knit.  I think the skirt could maybe go down a size, but the top fits well, so I’m calling this a success.  I may wind up making the dress again, in a dark, solid color.  I’m thinking navy.  But that won’t happen for several weeks as I have a whole list of projects to get done in the next week.

Starting a New Project: Simplicity 2648

I’ve recently come to the conclusion that I am outgrowing my current wardrobe.  Not in size, but in personality and functionality.  I’ve lived in jeans, t-shirts, and fleece jackets for the last several years.  I have no problem with the jeans, I think they are among the most versatile pants.  But I have no need for another boxy fleece jacket that doesn’t really even fit very well.  So, what does this mean to you, you may ask?  Well, in a nutshell it means that you’ll be seeing lots of clothes in the coming weeks.

My to-sew list includes two dresses, a skirt, two tops, a  jacket, and a pair of jeans (not necessarily in that order).  I’ve been going back and forth for several weeks about which project to start.  Simplicity 2646 finally won that debate, simply because I need a dress to wear to a wedding in two weeks.

Simplicity 2648 Pattern Envelope

I’m making view c, but without the waist buckle so that I can wear it with or without a belt, depending on the outfit in a stretch jersey ITY knit from fabric.com.

Fabric for Simplicity 2648

My goal is to get the fabric cut today, and to have the dress sewn by Saturday.