Sewing for Others

IMG_1854I’ve got [too] many projects cut out for myself, half started, nearly finished, planned. Some are easy, others quite challenging.  I’ve gotten myself in the situation of not knowing where to start to finish.  Well, not quite true.  I know I’m going to finish the Marfy top next, in a beautiful print silk chiffon.  But it’s going to require patience and focus… and I’ve been working on overcoming a nasty cold. Or will it be the Marcy Tilton raincoat?

So, how to keep sewing when your have a nasty cold and are super exhausted?  Say yes when your niece politely asks for a new apron.  Her mom and I selected a pattern via texting and then I was off to JoAnns, where I bought cotton prints for not one, not two, but three aprons for McCall’s 5720.  Oh, and some new Star Wars Force Awakens flannel for pajama bottoms for my son.

M5720, Misses'/Chldren's/Girls' Aprons
From the McCall’s website.

McCall’s 5720, view B:  I decided to surprise my sister and niece by making coordinating aprons for them. This is a simple pattern, and goes together fairly quickly.  The fabric is okay – lots of body which is fine for this view (and loads of sizing, that washing didn’t eliminate).    I have a very strong aversion to rick-rack, and an aversion to most trims I find at JoAnn’s, so I ordered some 1/4″ rayon braid in orchid from MJ Trimming.  The buttons are JoAnn’s. The most challenging elements were the patch pockets and attaching the braid neatly.

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Like many McCall’s patterns for crafts/costumes, it uses 1/2 inch seam allowances. Still, on several pattern pieces, like the ties, it calls for 5/8 inch seam allowances. If you follow the pattern pieces, the ties won’t align with the dots.  It doesn’t always call for the best techniques for good results. I especially disliked the idea of the narrow, essentially shirt-tail, hem on those deep curves.  On my niece’s apron, I did the hems using Claire Schaeffer’s way. While they are very stiff, you do get a better result than when you use the pattern directions, which I used on my sister’s version. You can see the puckering at the waist – that’s from the finishing, not from how I tied it.

There is an error in the placement of the notches on pieces 7 & 8 of the girl’s pattern.  they don’t align at all (not even close).

This came together quickly, and it was off to the post office.  My niece was very happy that her mother got one too!.  On the other hand, I made the largest girl size (7-8), and it looks mighty small (though it works).

McCall’s 5720, view C: Since I was there, and I had the pattern, I thought I would make view C for myself.  I was curious to see how the layered flounces would look on an adult, and I needed a “pretty” apron for when I have company (or I will wipe on my good clothes without thinking – I’m a messy cook).

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I made a mistake!  I meant to make the bottom layer the dark blue, not the middle.  I didn’t catch it until I cut it out.  I think I would like it marginally better if the base color was the darker blue.  The pictures are washed out, but the three prints are meant to work together in a quilt, I guess.  Aesthetically, in the end, I don’t really like this for me.  And, the fabric has a lot of body, so it adds weight to the bottom half of the figure.

This view went together much more professionally than the other one – a simpler design, no real issues. There is an error in the directions however, between steps 12 and 13. You need to fold the waistband down, right sides together, stitch, and trim.  Again, watch the seam allowances and hems, which differ on the pattern pieces, specific directions and general directions.

Blank Slate PJ Bottoms: I said I wasn’t going to use this pattern again. Then it got cold (yes, it gets below freezing in my part of Florida).  My son also decided he liked his pjs styled like his dads: bottoms with a t-shirt. Most of the problems I have with the pattern are with the top, and the fit on the bottoms is spot on right now.

IMG_1857I let my son help me.  This upped the difficulty level.  He wanted to randomly mix the two prints; I convinced him of this more subtle variation.  He was a good helper – he really wants to learn how to sew, and is taking sewing lessons after school.  He just wasn’t always patient or wanted in my lap to see better.

A couple of notes about this flannel:  it’s not intended for children’s sleepwear.  It’s also pretty low quality.  What I bought was very much off grain, and I wasn’t able to straighten the grain. The red Republic emblem bleeds, even on cold, even after multiple washings.

Note to self: When purchasing fabric from a place like JoAnns, buy extra.  Every single piece was cut poorly, sometimes resulting in several lost inches.  When I order online, I almost always order extra, because I often change my mind about how I will use the fabric, and figure extra is good. Need to do the same in person, too.

 

 

Sewing into the New Year!

My sewing mojo is back.  I just cut out Marfy 1913 in a vintage-y floral chiffon, and I’m eager to start.  But I have to pack for a work trip and prep my presentation, so I thought I would jot down some thoughts about this year and the last and then get to work.

I really didn’t read my “goals” from last year once they were posted.  Sure, they were in the back of my mind, but I didn’t really pay attention to them.  Mid-way through the year, my plans changed toward filling in the gaps in my wardrobe.

I didn’t sew down my stash, I added to it, but somehow managed to come out even/only slightly above in yardage (lots of things didn’t get blogged, like home decor items).  I am more careful about the pieces I choose, thinking about how they fit my new climate (I have some gorgeous wool in the stash but a 4-6 week winter).  I am sewing more appropriately for my climate and lifestyle.  I have not done much in the way of incorporating more classic vintage – just modern that I hope will be classic! I am taking more care to finish projects well – though my UFO pile did grow this year.  And no classes on fitting, but more muslins.

So this year?  Continue sewing for my lifestyle.  I have fewer gaps in the  wardrobe, but they exist.  I’ve been relying on RTW to fill in the gaps when I can find something I like of decent quality.  This takes the pressure off to sew constantly for necessity.

My main goal is to take my time and create beautiful items that I will love to wear.  To keep my attitude on the beauty and specialness, and not worry so much if I might or do fail.  That’s temporary. I’ll only get better if I don’t give up.