Sewing Goals 2015 (Resolutions?)

I’m seeing so many fun retrospectives…  but since I only started blogging this year, I thought I’d write about what I want to accomplish in the New Year.

  1. Sew down my stash!  Seriously, My closet is overflowing with about 200 yards of fabric. That’s way too much.
  2. Sew down my unfinished list.  Right now there are ten items, not including the Rucci.  Top of the must finish list:  pants for my husband, the raincoat, and the Patou dress.
  3. Finish every project with the same energy and enthusiasm with which I start.  Often times, I am so eager to move on to the next thing, that I’m not careful and end up making errors that compromise the finished quality.
  4. Make more garments that fit my lifestyle and my new climate.  That means linen, cotton, silk and short sleeves.  I need clothes for work, and clothes for play. I also need professional garments that have an edge to them (not frumpy, not boring).  I’m in front of an audience of young adults all the time, and impressions do matter (if I want to get them to listen to me).
  5. Mix more modern and vintage looks.
  6. Get over my fear of pants and shirts (button front).
  7. Work more on my Achilles heal – fitting.  I don’t have a fitting partner anymore, so I purchased a Craftsy class on dress forms.  Hopefully that will help.

I’m sure there are more things I can do.  I’m hoping to get more feedback from others out there over time, as well, but I do learn from their blogs.

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Pjs for the little guy (McCalls 6236)

IMG_1134A last minute Christmas gift for my little guy.  I was in Joann’s getting stuff for the tree skirt, when I spied the print (ok, I looked for it).  Paw Patrol is his favorite TV show, so I knew he’d love it.  He’s been living in them since.  I took the pictures Christmas morning, after he slept in them; please excuse the wrinkles

Pattern Description:  From pattern envelop: Robe has tie belt and patch pockets; top with long or short sleeves has partial front button closure and front pleat; pull on pants or shorts have either drawstring or elasticized waistline;  pants have optional elastic at ankles.  I made the long sleeve top with pants (elastic waist, open legs).

M6236, Boys'/Men's Robe With Tie Belt, Top, Pull-On Pants or ShortsSizing: Boys 3-4, 5-6, 7-8.  I made size 3-4.  My son is 43 inches tall, 22.5 inch waist, which matches the pattern description. He wears a 4 in Old Navy.  I knew these would be too big – the pants would not stay up and I had to make an emergency 2-inch tuck so that he could wear them right away. I shortened the pants two inches from the start.

Fabric Used: A novelty cotton – licensed character print from JoAnn’s Fabric.  Not high quality – the print was a little off grain. And no, it does not meet flammability standards for children’s sleepwear. For the interfacing, I used Pro-woven light crisp from Fashion Sewing Supply.  I thought it would be too crisp, but it turned out just right.

Tips Used during Construction: A Tutorial on Topstitching, from Ann Steeves.  What I learned from her post was to try different techniques to get a straight even line.  She found an overlock foot gave her the most control on her project. Here, the topstitching is 1.25 inches from the edge, so I used electrical tape on the machine/needleplate to give a raised edge.  This, along with going slow, gave me the control I needed. I also used the instructions at Colleterie for the felled seams. Claire Schaeffer’s Fabric Sewing Guide.

Yellow electrical tape is serving as a guide for the top-stitching.  I marked the pivot point.
Yellow electrical tape is serving as a guide for the top-stitching. I marked the pivot point.

Did it look like the photo or drawing when you got through? Yes

IMG_1136How were the instructions? Good.  I had no real problems, though I deviated here and there (see below).

Construction Notes: I used flat-felled seams for all seam finishes.  Where I could, I used the felling foot.  Otherwise, I carefully measured, trimmed, etc.  I used the 6mm felling foot, and it took me a minute or two to figure out how much to trim (duh, 6mm, or 1/4 inch).  I also did the shirt tail hem using the directions from Claire Schaeffer’s Fabric Sewing Guide for a narrow machine hem.  It looked much nicer/professional than what the pattern suggested. Finally, the drawings showed the top of the casing for the pants as edge-stitched, but don’t ask you to do this.  I did it.

Likes/Dislikes: like how cute they are, but don’t like how big they are.

From the back.  Yes, it's still dark Christmas morning.
From the back. Yes, it’s still dark Christmas morning.

Would you do it again? Would you recommend it? yes, but I have other boy’s pj styles to try first.

Things I learned: I’m slowly getting the hang of the felling foot!  And trust my instincts on the size.  Since this was a surprise, I couldn’t fit him directly – but I used a pair of pjs that fit him well as a guide.  These are huge!  But he loves them. Oh, and I didn’t try to match the pattern, only made sure it was even horizontally. I’ve got to work on that.

Christmas Stockings and Tree Skirt (McCalls 3777)

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An unplanned project. I just decided to do it.  Actually, I’ve been meaning to do this for years, but never found the right plaid.  I originally planned to do it in the Scottish tartan of my husband’s family.  I decided against it for two reasons: one, the cost of a proper wool tartan is up there! and two, his aunt told me that they really weren’t sure which of the many different variations on the name they were.

So, I used a blue poly acetate plaid from Gorgeous Fabrics.  I trimmed it in white with a (really) faux white poly suede from Joann’s.  The beads are from a local bead store, and the braid trim is from MJ Trimming.  Both the interlining and lining were from my stash.

Because I didn’t plan it, I kept running out of things (the plaid was in my stash, but I didn’t have enough, and completely miscalculated on the beads and braid).

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I made six of the stockings – which are quite large.  My 3.5 yo son called them giant socks (“that’s so silly, hanging giant socks on the fireplace”). The interlining gives the stockings body, but I wish I had used some interfacing in the cuffs of the stockings, as they “collapsed” while hanging.  The lining (a bemberg), gave a nice slick inside to the stockings that helped my son slide out his trinkets.

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I also made the tree skirt.  The stockings are finished, but the tree skirt is not, as you can see in the pictures.  I ran out of beads, and the local store wouldn’t have any more until January. So I left the opening basted together at the “neck” of the skirt, and didn’t apply the braid (it was too short, but I pinned it in place for the effect). This way, I can finish making the snowflakes next year.

My attempts at matching the plaid were half-hearted.  I did very well on the stockings, and far less well on the skirt.  My MIL said not to worry, it will be covered in presents!  Had it been a garment, I would have tried much harder.

All in all, I was pleased with the result!  A vast improvement over what I had before, and very pretty in effect.  Unfortunately, it was cloudy and rainy (unusual for us) and I couldn’t get the lighting right in the pictures.

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As for the pattern – I probably didn’t need one, but it did give me the basis of what to do.  I didn’t follow the directions – the words and pictures disagreed with one another in places. It also had you turn down the cuffs and add lace, which I didn’t like.  My fireplace is big, and I wanted the stockings big. This allowed me to use the braid instead.

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Ambitious or delusional… what I’m working on.

I’m still working on the Rucci dress.

Reinforcing the reverse corners on the Rucci dress.
Reinforcing the reverse corners on the Rucci dress.

I got side tracked when I decided to make something for Thanksgiving.  But I’ve worn that skirt several times, so I’m glad I made it.

When I was putting up Christmas decorations, I decided to make new Christmas stockings and a new tree skirt.  We’ve always done a blue Christmas, but had cheap dime-store stockings.  They don’t work in the new house.  At.all. (Okay, they never worked, and I’ve been planning on doing this for years, but I’m only just now doing it). Oh, and I decided on plaid (matching) with hand-beaded snowflakes on the white trim – twenty four snowflakes. I’ve never beaded before. I’ve finished twelve.

My first snowflake, one of two designs.
My first snowflake, one of two designs.

Earlier this week, we decided to do New Year’s – sparkly and festive.  So, I’m going to finish the Patou dress.  I put it on the dress form today and am making a (long) list of fixes to finish it. The photo doesn’t do the design or fabric justice.

Where I left off on the Patou.  The shoulders are pinned together, the belt is missing and I have a whole lot of fixing to do.
Where I left off on the Patou. The shoulders are pinned together, the belt is missing and I have a whole lot of fixing to do.

All along, I knew I was going to make the Little Hip Skirt for my niece’s gift.

The fabric for the Little Hip Skirt.  I'm making the double circle, with belt, not button front as pictured.
The fabric for the Little Hip Skirt. I’m making the double circle, with belt, not button front as pictured.

What will I finish?  My niece’s skirt is almost done, and I hope to mail it tomorrow.  I’ll get the stockings done, but maybe not the tree skirt.  I only need to do three more snowflakes to sew the stockings together.  I think I can get the Patou done, but it all depends on fitting issues.  I started it more than a year ago, and did two muslins for the fitting. My body has gone through ups/downs since, but I think I’m in better shape than I was then. I will try it on in a day or two.  And then the Rucci. I’d like to wear the Rucci to New Orleans in January.