Saturday, February 28, 2015

Swimsuit Sewing

Jalie 3351
Shorts Size S

Jalie 3023
Tankini Top Size S

Love, love, love these patterns!

I haven't had a new swimsuit in several years. I have never enjoyed swimsuit shopping.  It is just hard to find something that fits well and is comfortable and modest.  Jalie you are awesome!

The top has a shelf bra, which I made in the solid black.  This fabric was a little thicker than the printed fabric, so I thought that would work best there.

While assembling the yoke piece, I attached a half inch strip of clear elastic to the seam allowance to keep the front secure.  I read a few reviews that mentioned a little gaping here, maybe when wet, so I figured it wouldn't hurt just to put some in.

I had to cut off about 3.5 inches from the straps.  I safety pinned them in, tried it on, and then sewed the straps down once I got a good fit. I removed 2 inches from the length of the top.

The shorts have a side pocket and an inner bikini too, which I made from the printed fabric.

I do have some extra fabric left, so I will make up the skirted bikini too.  I wasn't sure which I would like best, but now that the top and bottoms are together, I love the look!

Technically, it is a pretty easy sew.  Jalie's instructions are always well written and illustrated.  The last step of assembly of the shorts, attaching shorts, bikini and band, take some thought to wrap your head around.  What this does is sandwich the seam in between everything so you don't see it or feel it on your skin.  I actually made one of my girls this same swimsuit, but made the shorts in too small of a size.  I kept it as a visual example just for this step so I can refer to it.  I will be making this swimsuit a lot for the 3 of us!  I will blog about their suits once I make one for my other daughter.

Fabric purchased from The Fabric Fairy.  Wow, what an impressive selection of fabrics they have!


I have a new camera now, so we are experimenting with photos.  Instead of being photographed a 100 times, I'm just going with what we take and figuring it out as we go along.

Next I want to jump right back into jean sewing and maybe enter another pair in the Pattern Review jeans contest!

Thanks for stopping by ~ Shirley

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Angel Bootcut Jean AW4200

Angela Wolf Pattern, bootcut jean
Size 4
Alterations:  Shortened length by 3.5 inches
Removed 5/8" from CB seam

This is the first time I made jeans from this pattern and I love it!  This is my first entry into the Pattern Review Jeans contest too.  When I started making these this week, I wondered if I should be sewing up a pattern I was familiar with instead.  However, I really wanted to try out these jeans because they are very comparable to RTW in the stores.  

When I first cut my pattern out, I was concerned I chose the wrong size!  With there being 5/8" side seam allowances, it makes them look big LOL.  I'm used to sewing with smaller allowances.  I couldn't be happier with the fit--nice and snug but not tight.  The pattern instructions say you can make this up in a non stretch denim, however, you would need to size up or adjust your pattern.  I definitely want to try this out one day.

I sewed every day, ALL day this week on these.  I spent probably over 20 hours between tracing the pattern, cutting, sewing, top stitching, and rivet and button installation....phew!  Normally I can sew up an outfit in a few hours but I took my time and there is always a learning curve with a new pattern.  Also, there is a lot of sewing in a pair of jeans!  I have been wanting to make myself more, but it is hard to make that kind of time commitment when there are so many other easier projects to engage in. 

 As you can see, even removing 3.5 inches in length, they are still long on me.  I prefer to wear chunky heeled boots with my jeans. I probably could have gone another 1/4" shorter because they are nearly at the bottom of my boot heel.  I am 5'1.

My favorite feature of this jean--the back pockets!  I love the design.  I used a gold jeans top stitching thread, single needle.  I drew out a design with chalk first.  I also threw some bartacks in for a fun design feature.  Those are jeans buttons as well.  That makes this pair of jeans a little more expensive since there are also 2 jeans buttons at the waistband.  I think my package of 6 buttons was about 6 Euros.  I also used rivets at the pockets.  I love using rivets!   They give them a professional look.

I'm still relatively new to fit alterations.  When I tried my jeans on, I had a significant gap at the back waist.  I started taking the seam in slowly, getting deeper each time till I got the correct fit.  I couldn't see by twisting around in the mirror, so I would run downstairs each time and have my husband take a look for me.  I don't usually sew in the evenings once my husband and children are home, but I could not do this alone.  After I made the change to my pattern, I remembered having to do the same thing when I made my Grainline Maritime shorts.  I compared the alterations and they were darn near identical!  So, the next time I try out a new jeans pattern, I am going to throw caution to the wind and make this CB adjustment beforehand.  I hope this will be a standard fix for me.

I also wanted to note that I have a Pfaff Performanc 5.0 and had no problems at all with the buttonholes.  Not a hang up one time.  Before cutting my buttonholes, I put some fabric glue on the backside so that it will not start to fray after being cut.  Works beautifully.

I also put a bartack at the bottom of the twin top stitching on the side. 

I used a twin need for top stitching when I could, but any rounded or pivoted areas, I used a single needle.

I didn't have any problems with the pattern at all.  The instruction booklet is very thorough and well illustrated.  It is also spiral bound, so it is easy to open and lay flat.  The pattern is printed on a nice, heavy weight white paper.  

Here are a couple close up pictures.  I tried using our regular camera, but I couldn't see any better quality pics than my ipad takes.  I really need to get a better camera one of these days.

Somehow I got my coin pocket a little high, so I will watch for that next time.

Fabric used:  9.7 ounce dark indigo stretch denim, 97% cotton & 3% Lycra Item #4828308 
Purchased from:
Purchased white cotton blouse

I'm so happy to have been able to go outside for some pictures.  Even so, taking pictures is hard with limited sunlight.

I hope to get another pair of jeans made this month to enter!  While I'm in the "sewing jeans mode," I want to take advantage of that.  I also have to focus on some swimsuit sewing this next week.

Thanks for stopping by ~ Shirley

Friday, February 13, 2015

Another Alder

Alder Shirtdress Size 4
Alterations:  Sloped forward shoulder, shortened 2 inches

Yep, I can totally see why this dress is so popular!  It is addicting and you can't just make only one.  I'm not sure which version is my favorite.  I'm kind of liking the straight one better than the gathered skirt one....maybe. No doubt I will wear both a lot though.  I already have some linen on order to make another.

I worked a little more on the shoulder fit again.  Last time I did just a sloped shoulder and then I realized I also have forward shoulders--what the heck!  Analyzing your fit points out things you didn't know about your body ha ha.  I'm enjoying learning new things though.  That is why I love sewing so much.  No matter how long you have been sewing, you can still continue to learn and perfect your fit.

This fabric is very light weight.  It is a cotton lawn that I purchased last summer from Fashion Fabrics.  I probably will need a slip in sunlight.  I really miss taking pictures outside, but it is still very cold.  It was sunny today and I briefly thought about stepping out on the patio for a photo.  I have done that before and it embarrasses my daughter because of the strange looks I get from strangers walking by in coats!  Isn't it funny how when you are little like that, those things bother you.

I am having the worst time trying to get my body form to my measurements.  It just doesn't seem to work well.  I want to have my husband help me with a duct tape one so I can put it over it.  I am wishing I had not spent the money for one with all the dials. :(  Maybe to get a really decent one, you have to spend a fair amount of money on it.

I had my husband help to graph my body today using the instructions in the book "Fit for Real People."  I realize now that I can stand in front of the mirror all I want and I'm just not going to figure out all I need to know.  We taped up some paper to the wall and he made some points on it where my neck starts, shoulders, arm pits, waist, hips, etc.  This will be a good start.  Hopefully I will learn how to make better fit adjustments now.  I have to say it was fun when we were doing this--we laughed a lot!  

I made sure to line up the button band where it would match the brown stripe.

I discovered there is actually a Sew Along on the Grainline website for the Alder, which is very helpful to reference.  There isn't much more to say about this dress other than I love it and I think the fit I have is pretty good so far.

Thanks for stopping by ~ Shirley

Sunday, February 8, 2015

The Alder Shirtdress

Grainline Alder Shirtdress
Size 4
Alterations:  Shorted length by 2 inches, Sloped Shoulder adjustment

I purchased this pattern in the PDF version and there are a lot of pages to print!  It took me a couple of hours just to tape together and then trace to my own pattern paper.

The instructions are very thorough.  I think this is the first time ever that my collar has turned out so well, thanks to the detailed instructions.

After finishing my dress, I got to looking in the mirror and realized that my armhole seemed a little too big.  :(  I have the book "Fit for Real People" and looked up armhole shaping.  I had one of my girls trace my neck/shoulder area and could easily see that I had a sloping shoulder.  I had to take apart my armhole binding (oh joy!) as well as a shoulder seam so I could sew a deeper seam. I sewed a slanted seam, starting about a half inch deeper at the armhole edge, bringing it back to the original seam line further up.  Honestly, it really didn't take that long to do this and tightened up the armhole about a good inch.  I could have left it alone and it would be okay, but I have decided I want to be more geared towards getting my fit right than just getting my sewing done.  I think I made the right correction.  I don't think I needed any kind of bust adjustment since the pattern seemed to line up at center front where it should.   I welcome any thoughts on the matter!

I really like the lower hem line in the back.

I went to my favorite jewelry boutique in the mall and bought this white flower necklace to wear with it.  Now that I make most of my clothing, I rarely ever buy RTW.  However, I found a new passion and that is to accessorize what I make. 

This fabric is a cotton lawn that I purchased from Denver Fabrics.  They have such a huge selection and the price is very reasonable.  They are my favorite place to buy cotton lawn from.  It is very light weight but not sheer.  I can already tell that this will be a favorite wear during hot summer days.

The only tricky part for me was the corner where the gathered skirt meets the front of the dress.  I had to do that a few times to get it right.  So, you might want to baste this area before you sew if this is something new to you as well.  

 This dress will now go into my closet to wait for warmer days.  It snowed again last night, but it felt so good to focus on summer attire instead of winter.  

Thank you for stopping by ~ Shirley