Thursday, June 27, 2013

Chevron Top

Ignore the turned up sleeve hem...
Heyyy.... It's been a while, hasn't it? Hehe, the hiatus was a combination of homework, finals, and not wanting to post the same type of project. You see, I'm too lazy to fit a new pattern, so I just alter my knit pattern that already fits me so well. I felt like I needed to post a project using a new (preferably indie) pattern, but currently, I don't have the time and money for that. 

So, on this blog, you will most likely see the same pattern remade into a slightly different dress. Just deal with it! :P

I think this top is pretty cool though. It's super versatile, as it can be made dressy with this white skirt, or a black skirt. It can be made casual by wearing it with shorts and pants. I looooovvvee it.

The fabric I used is a navy & white striped knit from Girl Charlee. It's super soft, and a great weight for a t-shirt. I'm pretty boss with knits by now (I've only really sewn one wearable woven garment...), so it wasn't too difficult matching the stripes on all four vertical seams. It is still a little off in the front though, if you noticed and you're picky, haha.

Ohhh yeah, look at those matched stripes!
There is some pretty awful pooling in the back, though. But you don't need to see it, right? Keep the illusion that this top fits perfectly!!

Sorry for the blindingly white skirt, though. Need to play with my camera some more. Anyway, I might be back this week or next with another project. SPOILER ALERT It's also a knit!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Ready for Summer!

I'm so ready for summer! Well, kind of... I don't have enough dresses for the summer yet, but I will soon! In the meantime, meet my new dress!

I so so so love the silhouette of this dress. It's so vintage looking! Must make more fitted bodice and half circle skirt dresses!

The dress was supposed to be a t-shirt dress, based off a the pattern in my first post, but after some pattern alterations, it didn't look so good. I made the back scooped like the front, but because the scoop is so wide, the sleeves were falling off. This is a problem that can be "remedied" with a horizontal band across the back. But I think this looks tacky, so instead, I got rid of the sleeves and lowered the armscye. Unfortunately, i didn't lower it enough, as it's kind of tight, but bearable. Sigh, bearable. 

The skirt pattern was taken from Vogue 8184. I made the dress once for a wedding, but I always use the skirt pattern for other projects.  I think this type of skirt is the most flattering for my body. It hides my full belly and doesn't make me look boob-less! Pencil skirts are horrible for my figure, as it hugs my stomach, drawing attention away from my already tiny bust (less than an A, y'all) and making me look like I'm pregnant. Which is not a bad state to be in, or course, but I do not want to look perpetually pregnant... 

This fabric is from Girl Charlee and the print is so cute. It's just a tiny floral pattern, but so summer-appropriate. Can you tell that I can't wait for the summer yet?! 

The skirt is a little short for my taste, so I should either lengthen it by an inch or two, or lengthen the bodice, because I look a little disproportionate in these shots. I love the fit in the bodice though. No swayback problem, yay! It looks perfectly fitted (except for the few wrinkles in the front which are no big deal), and like a woven dress from far away.

I finally fixed the tension on my serger with the help of Timesaving Sewing, which I got from the school book sale we have every month (or is it every academic quarter?). When I found it, my serger kept changing the tension regardless of the tension I set for each thread, so when I saw the section on fixing thread tension, I snatched it up. It was $5 ($1 more than on Amazon), so pretty good deal! I also used the steps on sewing side-seam pockets, which I guess I have always been doing wrong, but now they look great and truly invisible. 

 I follow so many bloggers who create beautiful, retro day dresses, and they're so inspirational; I want to make all of them! But where will I get the chance to even where one? I'm a college student who rarely goes out to fancy places. Knit dresses are what's most practical for my lifestyle right now. 

 Seriously, ugh, why is the armhole so restrictive?? I lowered it by 3/4", but I guess with the bias binding, it shortened the opening and made it tighter. Do you think it'll stretch out? Or is the benefit of a bias bound opening that it won't stretch out? Please be no! I slipstitched the bias binding (could that be the tightness problem?), because I didn't like the line of topstitching my machine made, as it made the binding flat and look "homemade." 

The skirt is lined with a poly knit that my mom keeps buying. I don't really like it, because it's hard to cut on grain and serges badly. It doesn't wrinkle though, so I'll grant it that...

I brought the pockets up to 1.5" below the waist, which is much better than the awkward 4" below the waist pockets I usually (mistakenly) make. However, with a circle skirt, it might be better to attach the pockets with the waistband, so that my hips don't end up looking wider than normal when the pockets are bunched up. 

In conclusion, does my hair look silly? I cut my bangs a little too short yesterday, but it should work out in a week. Hope I won't end up looking stupid to my friends!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Follow me on Bloglovin

Hey, y'all! Since Google Reader will disappear by July, many bloggers have been switching to Bloglovin as a blog reader. Including me!

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Most Difficult Shorts Ever

Sometimes sewing projects don't go as well as you would like. I wanted to make a pair of denim shorts, but I encountered so many problems during construction. 

I first started sewing on the welt pockets. I made the opening too big (5/8" wide), which would make my backside look weird. I planned to make two welts, but after what happened with this one, I don't want to deal with another one on this pair. I also should have made a test welt on the fabric, because I've never sewn with cotton twill before. It was thicker than I expected, so it was difficult to cut the welt open just enough (the results of which you can see on the corners of the welt). Since the opening is so big, I'll make it a double welt pocket, in hopes that that will reduce the illusion of my backside being huge. Next time, I'll cut the welts 3/8" to 1/2" wide.

Does it still look huge?

Then I started to construct the front fly zipper. The pattern I used didn't have this element, so I drafted my own using sallieoh's tutorial. I altered my front crotch curve before, so it was curved where the zipper would be. I didn't realize that this line should be straight, until I sewed it up and saw that it looked weird. Fortunately, this is salvageable; I'll have to change the curve to what it was originally. Hope the crotch doesn't mess up, though. Seriously, fingers crossed. This is what I get for not making any notes on an old altered pattern. 
It also took half a day to make all these differences. I really don't want to have wasted all that time, and have the shorts not work out. Drafting it was pretty stressful by itself, so having to re-draft it would be a nightmare. 

Good thing the fabric was cheap, though. It was only $3/yard at my local fabric store. I bought a yard but have almost 1/4 yard left over. Nice! The quality seems to be really good too. When I was lining up the grainline by taking out a piece of thread from selvedge to selvedge, the thread only break once or twice. I made a pair out of quilting cotton last time (the pattern was just so pretty! You can see the fabric as my pocket lining here), the threads were really short and broke all the time. Though this denim was cheap and of good quality, I don't know its country of origin. Could have been made with a bunch of harsh chemicals, but sometimes the earth has to suffer... I can't buy organic or vintage everything. That's just not possible for my lifestyle (college student budget + don't live near good thrift stores + don't have a car). 

I'm gonna take a break from this project, so that I have time to calm down. ...Also because I don't have a sewing machine where I live on campus, and it might be a while until I go back home. Hehe!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

UFO: Multi-colored Striped Dress

Hi, everyone! I'm Michelle, and I like to sew! I've been lurking the online sewing community for awhile, but have never had the time to create a blog. Now that it's spring break (I'm a college student), I've got loads (like, a week) of free time.

Now that the intro is out of the way, let's get to my latest project.

Initially, this dress was based on a t shirt pattern my mom drafted for me. She used to be a garment factory worker (I know, scary), so I thought she knew what she was doing (haha, that sounds harsh). But, nope, the top ended up way off my shoulders and super baggy. I spent so much time cutting out the fabric to match the stripes that I was too discouraged to continue. She was probably constructing a pattern for a woven garment, so didn't think about ease issues. 

Thus, this project was put away (i.e. lain on the ironing board) for three months. I intended to wear it as a business casual dress at the place I volunteered at. ):

I need to get better at posing.

So, now, the dress is based off of a vintage pattern, Butterick 4761. It's a pretty basic knit top pattern, but I bought it for the super cute button skirt. You don't see many skirt patterns like this (besides Megan Nielsen's Kelly Skirt), so I snatched it up. I've yet to make the skirt though.

I made a muslin of the top with an annoying rayon-poly knit. As usual, the shoulders were too narrow for me, making the seams bunch up at the armpit. So, I made a broad shoulder adjustment of .25". It's still a little narrow and bunchy at the pits, so I'll extend it another .25" next time. I also lowered the neckline, as it had a very un-cute crew neck. To do this, I wore a top with the desired neckline over the muslin, and drew around the neckline onto the muslin. It didn't end up that nice, but I fixed it up. I think it looks pretty nice now. Right?

The fabric is a cheap mystery knit I bought at a local fabric store. I think it's a polyester knit, so it'll probably get pretty pill-y. I'm getting pretty sick of rayon/poly knits (what I usually buy, because they have so many colors of them at my local fabric store), because they're super slippery and they don't wear well. They are pretty breezy, so that's nice. But lesson learned: buy quality non-polyester knits!

You might not be able to tell by the photos, but I think this reminds me of a babydoll dress. The bodice was longer initially, but I cut some fabric off, because it fell below my natural waistline. And I guess the skirt was not long enough. Along with the fitted bodice and gathered skirt, I'm thinking it looks kinda babydoll-y. Not my type of look, but oh well! 

I cut a 24.5" elastic for my ~27.5" waist, which is just perfect. One time I cut a 26" elastic for another dress, but it kept getting stretched out as I sewed it on. I had to take the elastic out like four times, each time cutting it a little shorter, to get it right. That was a nightmare. Fortunately, that didn't happen this time. (:

My beautiful binding.

The neckline binding was also easier this time. I usually follow this Threads video to finish the neckline. But it's kind of complicated, because you have to stretch the binding different amounts for different parts of the neckline. This time, I just stretched it the same way all around, and it seems to have worked. I placed the seam at the shoulder instead of the back, which also made it easier to sew. I'll get back to you if the binding gets loose and wavy after I wash it. 

The pockets were pretty tough to construct, though.

Once again, I placed the pockets too low; I keep forgetting! It's probably at 4" below the waist. Next time, I'll do 2" or so.

What is this thing called? I have no idea...

It wasn't that difficult to match up the stripes. They don't match perfectly everywhere, but the stripes kind of made the pieces easier to sew. Because of its nature as a knit, under the sewing feet, the top piece would stitch slower than the bottom piece (since the feed dogs are able to push the bottom one quicker). So, I would have to pin the pieces together so that by the end of the seam, one piece doesn't hang longer than the other. with the stripes, I didn't have to pin anything. But as usual, I used this tool to help the top piece sew at the same pace as the bottom. I don't know what it's called (in English), but it really, really helps with sewing knits. And invisible zippers. And other difficult fabrics. Basically, it's a lifesaver.

The dress is unlined. Usually, I line the skirt but I was too lazy this time. and because it was a UFO (unfinished object), I didn't want to sew it any longer. But I think I'll be fine, since it's starting to get hotter in SoCal.

I'm pretty happy with the results, though. Can't wait to wear it for spring!