Almost, but not quite, a skirt

First of all, thanks for all of the nice comments on the tutorial! I’m glad to know that people enjoyed it–and if you use it, I’d love to see the project!

I’ve ended up with an unusually light teaching week, between a few planned and some completely last-minute cancellations. So I’ve had a good bit of sewing time this week, and have been working on my Burda skirt. Which for the most part has been successful, but it still needs some tweaking. (I’m a bit disappointed, because I was hoping to get all of the machine work done today so I could do the handwork while I’m hanging out with Nicole this weekend!)

This is the first time I’ve been able to make a skirt since the Pattern Review class I took on skirt-fitting last fall, and I used my master skirt pattern to do a few fitting tweaks before I started. I think they did help, since it’s not as big and gappy at the waist as usual. Though I wouldn’t exactly call it snug-fitting yet either, and it might need to be taken in a bit more. I’m thinking that once I get through some of this summer stuff, maybe I should make a skirt straight from the master pattern and make sure that’s ok!

Also, please ignore the mirror…apparently I need to clean it.

The main difficulty right now is the hip pockets. (I tried to take pictures of it while I was wearing it, but it was too dark.) As you can see, they kind of bulge out funny. I’m hoping that taking in the seam at the hips just a little more will solve that problem–the other thing I need to figure out is whether to take in the waistband a little more while I’m at it, too. Actually, I may need to partially redo the waistband altogether, since I attempted something a little different with the facing and I’m not quite sure it worked.

You can see the bulging even better from the back. My hips aren’t quite so….pointy. (And ignore the blue thing– I used a hair clip to keep the waistband properly closed, since I have no hooks and eyes on there yet.)

I did screw up the instructions just a little bit–apparently I was supposed to put the zipper in as part of the waistband, but I put the zipper into just the skirt part. (That’s what I get for completely ignoring the instructions after deciding I could find better ones for the pockets elsewhere!) The waistband wasn’t quite additionally long enough for a real overlapped waistband with hooks and eyes, and I didn’t have enough fabric to cut a new piece, but I think it’ll be ok. I just didn’t want to redo the zipper, because it’s definitely one of my better invisible zipper jobs!

It’s good to finally be able to start applying some of what I learned in the fitting class, though as I said, I think I’m still going to need to work on this pattern a bit. On a sad note, I’m glad I took the class when I did–the instructor on PR, Shannon Gifford, passed away from cancer recently.

Tutorial: Pleated knit trim

After my last post, Faye asked me if I could post a tutorial for how I did the trim for the Shakespeare On The Green top. So here you go, Faye…sorry it took me awhile to get to it!

1. We’re going to pretend that the folded piece is the neckline of my shirt, and that the strip actually has edge finishing, ok? For the actual shirt, I had sewed it together in its entirety, including neckline facings. (Depending on the style, you might not need to sew it entirely, but since this one was more or less a raglan sleeve, I needed those sleeve parts for the neckline to be complete.) I also finished the edges of the fabric strip with a rolled hem on my serger. The strip is about 1.25″ wide. I also cut it so that the grain was running vertical on the strip so that it wouldn’t stretch much as I was pleating it. (For the sleeve trim, I cut the strips on the horizontal grain because I figured it might need a little more give there.)

2. Fold the strip width-wise, like this. I tried to keep the depth of the fold somewhere around 3/8″ to 1/2″…don’t think it always worked, but I didn’t see any parts jumping out as ridiculously huge. So don’t feel like you have to measure everything–I measured the ones that looked overly big, but I mostly just eyeballed it.

3. Pin this fold down on the neckline, so that one edge slightly overlaps the seam between the neckline and the facing. Then make a fold in the opposite direction, so that the folds underneath match up in the center.

4. Pin the new fold down. Then make a third pleat so that the folds on the upper part of the trim meet up in the middle.

5. Continue folding and pleating like this, alternating directions and pinning to the shirt as you go. (The “rectangles” showing at the top of the box pleats ended up being approximately 7/8″- 1″ between the folds.) If you look at the trim from the side, it should have a bit of a zig-zaggy look, as seen in this post. (Though it won’t be nearly as obvious as in the pic, since it’s all pinned down.) If you run out of trim, you can just cut a new strip, fold the raw edge under, and pin that fold adjacent to the last fold of the old strip. (I trimmed away the excess to cut the bulk, too, when this happened to me.)

6. (No pic of this step, sorry!) Once you’re done pinning it all the way around, sew a row of straight stitches down the center of the strip, all the way around. If you do a rounder neckline, you’re probably done after this. Since I did a V-neck, I also had to add a little bit of the trim in the middle front in a new piece to cover up the ends. Then all you need to do is make sure all the pins are out, press it a bit, and voila!

I hope this was helpful–let me know if any steps were confusing and I’ll clarify as soon as I get a chance.

Sadly, the pics for this tutorial are the closest I’ve gotten to sewing in about a week and a half. I’ve thought about it…just haven’t had a chance to sit down at the machine, despite having a skirt cut out and ready to go. Things have just been super-busy lately, and with no sign of letting up too soon. (I’ve also thought about changing this blog’s color scheme around a bit so that it’s not so clashy, but no time to do that either! A good chunk of it has been work-related–the school I teach band at one day a week had a music competition this past Friday and I had to do some extra things in the evenings to get everything prepared, I had an all-day Saturday rehearsal and a concert on Sunday, I got home late from teaching today and had to deal with some music hunting and laundry, etc. Oh, yeah, and on top of all of this, some jerk decided to hack into my Facebook account about a week ago while I was at work and tell all of my friends that I had been mugged at gunpoint in London and needed cash wired to me so I could get home. So in the ensuing chaos, I had to make a new Facebook account, shut down my old one, and am in the process of re-friending everyone I actually wanted to stay in touch with and uploading my photos that I still wanted to keep up there. Doesn’t look like it’s going to let up for at least another week, either, though that’s mostly due to social stuff. And the fact that I’ll be out in the middle of the woods backpacking this weekend with no electricity, let alone outlets to plug a machine into! (My machine is waaaaaaaay too much weight to shove in my pack anyway!) And I’ve got church-related stuff going on for the next 3 days. And plans to have dinner with a friend next Monday night. And more plans for the next 3 weekends straight, although I may be able to cram some in on Mother’s Day weekend depending on when my family does stuff and if my mom and I do end up working on her flower garden that weekend. Maybe, just maybe, I can sew some on next Tuesday night since I have less teaching than usual. As long as I get it in before Lost–that is one of the few shows I cannot sew during!

I did, however, make a necklace on Saturday night–my friend C. was over so we could watch the season premiere of Doctor Who together, and she’d asked me to fix a couple of necklaces for her, so I had the jewelry stuff out already anyway. It’s the next necklace in my “Elements” series, for water, and I’m pretty pleased with how it turned out. No earrings or pictures yet.

Shakespeare on the Green

That’s what I’ve decided to call this top, anyway–getting inspiration from Anthropologie (and now ModCloth as well) always makes me want to give my garments cute names!

Anyway, it’s finished as of about five minutes ago–I almost had it hemmed on Friday night, and then discovered that the bobbin thread (which is what was showing on the outside) was too blue of a green and it was showing very obviously. Not only that, but my machine had skipped several stitches. So I ripped it out last night after my killer 10-hour work day, and sewed it this morning since I don’t have to get to church early for tech crew or anything.

This is the same Burda 6-09 pattern as the last shirt, so rather than do a whole pattern review, I’ll just talk about the changes. I knew I wanted to make this one look rather different, particularly since they were two different shades of the same color. So instead of using the pleated front piece this time, I used the front lining piece that I decided was unnecessary in the original shirt (I had it cut out anyway, since this was the test version.) And then I extended the dart in a pintuck all the way to the shoulder to make a mock princess seam. Since I still had the problem of not having allowed enough for a hem on the sleeve, I extended the sleeve with the box-pleated trim. And then added some center-stitched box-pleated trim around the neck as well. (The edges of the trim are done with a rolled-hem stitch off of my serger.)

To give credit where it’s due, the inspiration for the pleated trim came from the “Shakespeare In The Park” top at ModCloth.  So I’d already decided to give it this name before I finished it…the neckline trim ending up a bit more ruffly than I thought ended up being a bit of a happy accident in light of that! It’s kind of reminiscent of those Elizabethan ruffs without being so literal. Also, I have to say that I’m really impressed with ModCloth’s customer service–after commenting on the usual length of their dresses in a recent post, someone from their business took the time to comment on my post to point me to a page where they’d collected their longer dresses! I don’t actually need to buy any dresses at the moment, but I think they just convinced me to go ahead and get this vest that I’ve been debating about…

And one more shot of the back. So now that this one’s done, I’m hoping to maybe get the next sewing project cut out this afternoon–I’ll be making this skirt in a solid black. The only hitch in the plan is that I seem to have misplaced my directions for using the skirt sloper pattern that I made in the Pattern Review class last fall to check the fitting of a different skirt pattern! I emailed them to see if I could get another copy of that particular lesson, since the pdfs won’t save onto your hard drive– I’m pretty sure it’s not going to happen, but worth a shot, right? I’d better head to church now, though.

musings on paper

…or, more specifically, what I’m doing with it.

I mentioned last Saturday that I’d spent a good chunk of the day making some paper. Well, the main reason I was making it didn’t turn out as well as I’d hoped….

The idea was to use some of the dried petals that I’d saved from my bridesmaid bouquet for my friend Julie’s wedding so that I could have some nice handmade paper to incorporate into the page when I get around to doing her wedding pictures for my scrapbook. (Which I should probably get on that, seeing as how their 2nd anniversary is coming up in June!) Well, it didn’t turn out so great…the hydrangea petals, which were a really pretty touch of blue when the paper was wet, completely lost their color as it dried. And the rose petals, which were kind of cream, turned brown. The worst part, as illustrated on the left, was that all of these petals decided to bleed brown all over the paper as it dried. I may still be able to use it, at least if I flip it over to the side of the paper that was drying on the fabric and therefore didn’t oxidize as much (see right), but I’m still kind of disappointed in the look of it.

I also had some other miscellaneous scraps of various-colored cardstock that were too small to recycle as is, so I threw a bunch of them into the craft blender while I had it out to see what would happen. Also didn’t quite turn out as I thought, especially the browns since I was trying to make them about the same color, But hey, my cat approves. She plopped right down on it almost as soon as I’d laid it out, and refused to leave until well after I took the pic.

And then there’s the actual usage of the paper (not the handmade stuff, it took half the week to even dry so I haven’t done a thing with it yet other than stack it in my room.) I’ve been developing….not a love-hate, but more like a love-apathy relationship with my scrapbook hobby over the last year or so. It’s not that I don’t enjoy it….it’s just that 4 times out of 5, when about to do something crafty, I’ll choose something sewing-related instead. Probably the main reason is sheer laziness–I can generally get to the sewing machine much quicker than I can haul out scrapbook stuff. But then, deep down, I know if I had to drop one crafty hobby I’d stick with sewing. There’s this growing part of me that really wants my life to be more simple, and when it comes to my hobbies, I do sometimes consider dropping that one. I can justify sewing, since I can always work new clothes into my life. But I look at the scrapbook culture, and it makes me wonder why I do this…after all, it’s not like I’m trying to preserve the childhood memories of my non-existent kids, like most of them do it for. And then I’m also so far behind on it, since I barely touched it last year. But then I was thinking about it at work today, and there are some pretty compelling reasons to stick with it…for one, like I said, I do enjoy doing it. And I know that sometimes on my really bad “I hate being single” days, it’s good for my head to look back at the old ones and remember the fun times I’ve had while I’m in this place. And then there’s the fact that it’s my best portable option for things like when I hang out with friends and craft for an evening/weekend/whatever, at least as long as I do some prepwork ahead of time to get things ready to assemble. (Since that type of thing generally also involves lots of chatting and movie marathons, the machine’s a little too loud to force that on my friends, and I don’t always have handwork to do. Or the desire to do hand-sewing for hours on end. It’s not good for my carpal tunnel anyway.) And it’s also probably a better option for me than sewing on days when I’m henna-dying my hair…after I get the stuff on, it’s pretty much a 5-6 hour wait time in which I don’t want to risk staining my fabric.  So I’m thinking maybe I should just try to keep the pages simple, use up what I have as much as I can, maybe combine things as much as I can so I end up doing fewer pages and can catch up faster, and then take it from there.

On that note, I did do some scrapbook work on Wednesday, since I didn’t have to teach band and had a good chunk of afternoon free time.

Mostly ready to go–I had the layout figured out, the writing and title already done, anyway, and the paper picked out. (This one was in the queue for the last major scrapbook-day binge I had, and I just didn’t get to it.) So this one is done. Except maybe I should add another circle on the other page to help tie those in better.

This one was a little more time-consuming, since I basically recolored the patterned paper with colored pencils. I’d bought it because I liked the design, in spite of the pink, but realized it would be pretty much perfect for the canoe camping trip. The story: I had “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds” stuck in my head for a good portion of it, mainly due to the opening line about picturing yourself in a boat on a river, so I decided to give the page a bit of a psychedelic vibe. And orange and blue are complementary, so the pink paper needed to be more orange. But the recoloring was done before Wednesday. It needs a title and some writing, which will probably go into the big blank orange space, but is otherwise done.

This one also needs a bit more writing, which I’m thinking should go over top of that ribbon to help hold it down. The title was pre-cut. (This is why I like doing prepwork—I feel so much more accomplished when I can just slap all of the ready-to-go stuff on a page and call it done.)

This one may be done…I’m not totally sure. I’m not totally sold on the layout, though I like the color scheme, so I wonder if it needs a bit more of something.

I’m thinking it’s about time to get some of my ready-to-go “page kits” together again…the next 2 weekends are shot, but then I think I might be due for another henna day. Which would be a perfect prepwork day, since it looks like I’ll be hanging out with the two friends whom I traditionally do the big movie-crafty weekends with in May.


A detail view of the neckline of the shirt I’m making from my muslin for the seafoam top. This may end up falling under the category of a happy accident…I haven’t pressed it yet, so I don’t know if it will stay this ripply and poofy (I pleated and pinned the fabric strips directly onto the neckline without ironing), but I kind of like the poofy ruffly-ness. (Which is good, since even with ironing, it could revert to this after washing!)

More pics to come soon…all I have left to do on this is hem it and it’ll be done. But I’m going to hold off on that till tomorrow, as we’re supposed to go from this gorgeous summery weather we’ve been having back to regular ol’ early April overnight. Which means the potential for massive thunderstorms starting as early as 9, which means if I want to exercise and shower before those hit, I’d better get my butt in gear. Literally!

I’m ahead of my time, apparently.

First off: Happy Easter! (What’s left of it, anyway.)

Second: My apologies to everyone that I’m regularly in contact with through here, as I’m rather behind on reading and even more so on commenting on all of your blogs. Since going back to my third job, my computer time has been cut back quite a bit, but I am still lurking and following what you’re doing and will comment as I can!

I was briefly browsing on Modcloth this evening, looking for a particular top that is serving as partial inspiration for my current sewing project so I could save the picture. While on there, I stumbled across this dress:

Their “Island In The Sun” dress.

I can’t help it…something about the seaming detail with the midriff panel, the gathery waist, and the tie-dyed colors really, really makes me think of my Titania dress from about 2 1/2 years ago.

From sew and so

Though I have to admit that I like my version better. The wider straps and the longer skirt make it a lot more wearable for me (Modcloth has some cute stuff, but man, their dresses run short!) Plus mine has shiny stuff woven into the fabric. 😉

Other than that, let’s see… I made some paper yesterday, which still hasn’t dried, and is partially a fail, but I’ll blog about that more later. I finished some hand-sewing detail on my current shirt project tonight, and can therefore get back to actual construction. I also finally tried out the Kansashi In Bloom book this afternoon (a craft I could bring along to my grandparents’ that wouldn’t take very long and would still allow me to talk to relatives), and it was pretty fun.

Also, I decided to go back to the Blogger-sanctioned template….it won’t be as pretty, but it’s way more functional. I’ll just need to work on a new banner for the top so I can at least customize from there. (I did figure out how to get the scrollbars back in, and edit the background, so that’s something, right?)

And now, off to bed.