Hey guys! Do you even wonder what people sound like? When I’m reading someone’s blog, I often wonder what that person sounds like or acts like in real life. Anyway, here’s your chance to hear me (and I totally think I don’t sound like myself). Lori from Frivolous At Last and Helena from Gray All Day interviewed me about activewear and sewing in general (you will also get to hear me talk about my recent black bear encounters, how I go to sleep at night, my favorite pattern companies, and my tips for sewing with knits). The podcast is at Clothes Making Mavens. Hope you enjoy it!
Friday, July 21, 2017
If you’ve spent much time reading my blog, you know we are into game meat and fish. We spend the fall hunting moose, caribou, and bison (yes, really, we have some in Alaska) and summer collecting up delicious fishies. We just wrapped up commercial fishing. You know that “Alaskan Sockeye Salmon” you buy at Costco? Well, that very well could have come from our nets. Of course, there are lots of commercial fishing operations and we are a tiny one. This year we hope to break even. Most years we lose money fishing. We treat it more as a fun family vacation where there is a lot of hard work. I do these wrap-up posts most years and you can read more about the fishing here (2016, 2014, 2013, 2012). This year I seem to have no actual fish pictures. Oops.
Before I left town, I made lots of headbands for beach breezes. It usually isn’t cold but there is an almost-constant breeze. It’s the ultimate easy project. One rectangle and two stitches, no hemming. Let me know if you want me to share the dimensions and the super hard sewing directions.
Tuesday, July 18, 2017
Usually I’m the queen of casual knit clothing or activewear. Lately, though, I’ve been really into fit and getting the fit right. As I make my journey through my 40s, my body seems to be changing. While my weight hasn’t really fluctuated much (I always go up and down about five pounds), the shape of body body has been changing. My calves have gotten larger over time (weird?) and my big ol’ booty seems to be getting lower? Larger? More prominent? Not by much, mind you, but enough that I notice when I’m making something or fitting something. So, this is still casual wear and it’s still a knit, but I’m trying to get the fit right and that includes my swayback and my baggy back thighs I get when pants fitting. I’m going to do this, people.
So the pattern is a t-shirt dress. Simple and straight forward. The pattern is a t-shirt dress with a one-piece front and back. I knew I would need a swayback adjustment because that’s one of my fitting challenges. The gray/white version was the first version. I cut the back as two pieces and did a small 1/2” swayback alteration. Other than that, I left the pattern alone. Well, I take that back. I added one inch above the bodice because I’d do that on all patterns (pretty much).
Here’s the side view although I’m not completely turned in the gray/black version. Oops. My second version is the black/gray version. On this one I made another swayback alteration of 1/2”. I also slightly narrowed it through the waist and gave myself a tiny bit more room in the hips. I found that one the gray/white version, I felt like the skirt portion was getting caught up on my hips and it would pull up slightly as I walked. I also lengthened the hem by two inches and pegged it by several inches at the bottom. I felt like that gave me a better silhouette than just ending at the widest part of my hips. You can see in both dresses I’ve got some pooling above my butt. More swayback alteration needed!!
Okay, I swear that the gray/black one fits better for real in the back. But in this picture, it looks worse. I am going to make this again and take one more swayback wedge out further up my back. See how the gray/white one is tight on my hips?
Why so much work on a simple t-shirt dress? It’s a great wardrobe staple and I’ve always one that fit well. I think these are the quintessential travel/work/casual outfits. You can wear them with flats, boots, tennies, anything.
Here are the changes I made for future reference (for me!):
Version #1 (white and gray)
- Add 1” above the bodice.
- Cut back as two pieces and do 1/2” swayback adjustment.
Version #2 (black and gray)
- Add 1” above the bodice.
- Cut back as two pieces and do TWO 1/2” sway back adjustments.
- Narrow the waist about 1/2” on each side.
- Add about 1/4” on each side for hip room.
- Add 3” to hem.
- Taper hem by 2” on each side (for a total of 4” total circumference).
These are the same fabrics. They are a thin, cotton knit. There is not much stretch across the grain and none with the grain. I wanted that on purpose because I actually wanted a good fit and not to rely on the stretch to get a good fit. I also have this in two other colorways. Yes, I horde fabric. :)
Thursday, July 6, 2017
Back in 2010 (I’ve been blogging for that long??!?), I traced this out. Back then I didn’t have a coverstitch binding attachment and I was never happy with how binding turned out when I did it with my regular sewing machine. I loved the pattern but wanted to wait until I was better with the binding stuff. So I folded it up, stuck it in the magazine, and then forgot about it. For Seven. Years. Holy cripes! Well, I was organizing my Ottobre issues the other day and came across it again. Since I’m much better at “that binding stuff” now, I decided to attempt it. I still love it as much now as I did back then. And actually, with some layers of fabric, or cups or something, and some length, this would be a cute summer dress.
When I bought this from Fabric.com, I think it was called “knit chiffon”. It’s a very sheer knit and I never really knew how to use it before this. Surprisingly, it takes a cover stitch well and sews up easily.
I used my cover stitch binding attachment for the straps. I bartacked all the high stress areas. I've found that one of the best fabrics for the binding attachment is double knit. This is the remnants of double knit and I had long ago cut it into strips for my binder. I do that with any knits I think will work well in my binder. I cut them into strips and put them in my drawer, then they are ready to go when I am.
Needless to say, husband is definitely a big fan of this too.
Oh, and the details. This is from the 05/2009 Ottobre Woman’s magazine. It is design #1 and I traced out size 36. I had traced it off in a completely different way than I currently do them. It was interesting to see how much things have changed in ten years!
Tuesday, July 4, 2017
Don’t you love using up scraps? My scrap bin was overflowing so I took the opportunity to use some of the scraps to whip up two Jalie Marie-Claude shirts for my twins. They are almost 11, but measure more in the eight or nine size range. I typically make them a smaller size and add length. For this pattern, I made the size N and added an inch to the torso and the arm length. For both patterns, I made the slouchy neckline and the arms with thumbholes. The black and white fabric is from this Jalie dress. The tie-dye blue fabric is from this modified Jalie top.
The crazy print is from this Jalie Bella dress. The solid-ish (it is actually flecked with bright orange) blue is just in my bin. I don’t remember ever using it before so I have no idea where it came from. It matches the crazy print perfectly though.
Thursday, June 29, 2017
I’ve been wanting to make this top for a while. I’ve also been wanting to make the perfect shirt dress for a long time too. I think this will make a perfect base for that. Before I committed to the dress version, I wanted to check the overall fit and construction. This top is semi-fitted with front and back darts. It has a collar and separate collar stand. The sleeves are about 3/4 length with an optional sleeve cuff to keep them up. It also has small pockets with flaps. I left the flaps off mine.
And here is my version. I think it’s pretty dang cute. I do think it’s just a bit big overall. Although the shoulders look like they are just about right. This is totally my work uniform. Often I’m wearing a knit top instead of a woven but very similar styling. I usually wear something like this or a knit dress to work.
This is a cotton shirting that has been lingering in my stash for a while. I can’t seem to get some of the wrinkles out of it, like this horizontal crease below the yoke. Any tips or ideas about that??
Overall, I think it’s a WIN!! I know, right? Shocker. I’m definitely going to make this as a dress. I think I won’t change it at all except the length, and maybe make it just a bit wider at the hem for walking. I’m trying to decide if I want to go truly button-down denim shirt with thick gold topstitching thread or if I just want to go more neutral.
Wednesday, June 28, 2017
So, let’s refresh ourselves shall we? Back in May, I bought three Hot Patterns to try them out and to see if they would fit me well. I had never tried Hot Patterns before but I have long admired their sassy line drawings. (Note to self: never, ever, ever rely on line drawings for informative consumer prices. Not that these drawings are misrepresentations of the patterns, but line drawn women always look so perfect with their wind-blown hair and sassy poses.)
Anyway, here is my dress version. Let’s see. I think it’s . . . okay. Initially, I was going for all purple, but then, obviously, I ran out of fabric. I chose the striped fabric because I knew I wouldn’t find anything to match it exactly. And I’ve learned that if you are going to mismatch, mismatch like a boss, meaning do it loud and proud. Here’s what I like. I like the yoke and overall shape. Yes, I think it would have been better in all one color. But I don’t think that’s the main issue.
Here’s what I really don’t like. I really don’t like the sleeve shape. This is a very soft fabric and the sleeve just kind of collapses. In a stiffer fabric, I’m afraid this would stick out like wings. If I make this again, I’ll have to re-draft them to make them sit like they should. The sleeves on this are rectangles, with no shape. Literally rectangles. And the longer 3/4 length sleeves are the same but just longer. I think they would have the same issues.