Monday, January 31, 2011

Performing a Little Sweater Surgery

January has been all about sewing creations of a different kind.

I'd seen a lot of sweater surgeries gone awry on, and I knew that I wanted a more streamlined, modern look vs. hippy/fairy queen/happy hands at home that seems to be prevalent in the refashioning sweater genre. After a year of trawling through the racks of "dead"/moth eaten/pitstained/"in need of a good shave" sweaters at Goodwill, I finally had enough cashmere and wool to make NEW sweaters. This was my first foray into sewing without a pattern. It's been fun to drape and fit and cut and stand back and see if the result is what I wanted.

Each sweater took one to two weeks to create and were constructed almost entirely with my serger. I'm very proud of how they all turned out. I think Betty wears them well!

The 1960s Cropped Sweater
Colourblocked Tunic – it's reversible!
Architectural Sweater Coat (swote!)
If you're thinking of refashioning your own sweater stash, this book was a great source of information and inspiration.

Monday, January 3, 2011

But wait, there's more! (2010 round up)

I sew SO many more projects than I ever post here (or on PR), so here's my laundry list for 2010, starting in March when I REALLY got inspired!

66 projects was a lot. I'm really satisfied with my sewing for 2010! I learned a lot (especially on that Chanel jacket!), but as with all things, I'm getting better (and faster!) as I go. Who could ask for more?

Spring 2010: (March – May)
- Chanel jacket: wadder!
- hem speckle pants
- make skirt out of matron dress
- install snaps in straps of stained glass dress
- boob tube for convertible dress
- lt. denim s/s shirt
- S2599 ruffle tank top out of ceruleun blue gauze
- cotton ripstop hiking/biking pants + pockets + cargo pockets (black)
- New Look 6838: boatneck tee in groovie olive/blue fabric
- cotton ripstop hiking/biking pants + pockets + cargo pockets (olive w/lime topstitching)
- white button-down shirt (Vogue 1165) • haven't worn yet
- workout shirts (draft from existing V-neck shirts)
- slips to go under cute skirts: cream
- Wrap dress (McCall's 5974, view C) > cut 14 bust/waist/hip, 3yds @ 60" stretch knit only. May not need zipper (look at other notes in Crafting)
- denim A-line skirt • never worn
- square neck knit top to go with cute skirts solid red + side ruching
- finish adjusting Mitzi's skirt

- adjust 4 previous self-drafted summer skirts for shorter hemline
- B5386 V-neck sweater
-  B5465 sheer red & brown v-neck tunic
- fleece robe (in June! Argh.)
- KS3790 brown rusched top to go with cute skirts 
- M6038 drapey red cardi (view B)
- s/s exercise tops (purple, blue green) XL
- M5860 black denim jacket
- padded bike shorts
- sports bra
- ripstop nylon packable grocery bag
- jammies out of wicking fabric for trip (boxers + tank)
- copy black ruched tank
- tan linen palazzo pants
- black linen palazzo pants
- B5465 crinkle cotton v-neck tunic
- (Linda McPhee) cargos (olive green + black)
- black A-line skirt (tie waist, like madras plaids skirt)
- striped v-neck dress (have V8553)
- dk brown linen, lined A-line skirt
- LBD for trip (M6069, view C)
- black travel fabric cross top (+ tunic?) TOSSED!
- stained glass cross top (fit is wonky!)
- security slip w/ two zippered pockets (lost before the trip)
- copy favourite underwear + make 3 pair for trip (perfect lycra scrap project!)
- hostel sheet :: add removeable hidden pocket to stash valuables/eyemask/earplugs (best $12 I ever spent)
- bucket hat with hidden compartment (didn't wear. Scrap project)
- ripstop nylon hidden pocket (Rick Steves' idea. Wore everywhere in Italy)

Fall/Winter (Oct.–Dec.)
- seam blackout curtains
- leopard print pencil skirt (w/lining) :: (cupcake goddess pencil fit tute) LOVE.
- leopard shrug/jacket (CAbi) (S2858)
- Vogue 8580 tunic, View C (like CAbi FW10
- V8151 wrap top in python (still needs bust adjustments)
- Brown LS tunic from La Mia Plus pattern (Sept10) TOO BIG: Off to Mom! (who likes it!)
- red fleece cowlneck
- faux fur stole
- fix winter duvet
- houndstooth winter coat
- V8634 drapey cowl tee peacock knit
- V8634 drapey cowl tee dotty black Italy fabric
- V8413 Joan Dress, View B grey doubleknit :: no lining!
- M6069 Mullet Dress
- Black fleece pants
- Hot pink funnel neck (wadder: off to Kimo)
- 1960s retro sweater (cashmere, thrifted sweater surgery)
- M6078 drape top (like Erica B's) in green (make in a better fabric next time!)
- Italy sequin tanktop for NYEve and Sewing Expo (New Look 6838)
- V8634 Italy purple alpaca sweater
- M6104 2 pr. boxers

Onward and upward with 2011 ~ the most creative year is to come!

NL 6838 || Shiny Happy People Tank

I can't believe the mileage I've gotten from this one little pattern. This New Look 6838 pattern was the very first pattern I ever bought, way back in 1995.  I've made the pants, the long-sleeved top and now the tanktop. I can't believe it's not Out of Print (OOP) yet -- that's a LOOONG life on a pattern!

With my gorgeous friend, Stephanie
Pattern Description:
Three tops sized for knits and two pants for wovens. Top A boat neck and ¾ sleeves, Top B wide V neck and long sleeves, Top C boat neck shell. Pants D and E both for wovens with drawstring and different lengths. I made Top C.

Pattern Sizing:
Multi-sized pattern from XS to XL. I graded the pattern from a Medium in the bust to an XL in the hips. 

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
Yes. With adjustments

Were the instructions easy to follow?
I didn't even look at them! The nerve!

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
The last time I made this top, the original width of the boatneck was too large and required that I use various bra-strap hiding techniques, which was a pain. This time, I added 1-1/2" to each shoulder to fix it. Worked like a charm!

Fabric Used:
My double-sided sequinned fabric from Italy. This was my New Year's Eve top and needed to be sparkly! It also had to be done almost completely by hand, so that was  new challenge.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
I cut both the front and back patterns on the fold to remove the center back seam. I lined the sequin fabric with black tricot and inserted it separately. Because I wanted the sequins to change upward/downward rather than right/left (revealing the black or silver, respectively), the stretch ended up being vertical, rather than horizontal around the body. I added a hidden side zipper to fix this more body-conscious silhouette.

I'd never made a garment by hand way before, but because of the pokey nature of the sequins, it couldn't have been done any other way. I was REALLY glad that I had the "Threads" archive CD to refer to or this never would have gotten done by New Years. Altogether, it was about 19 hours of hand-sewing, mostly because I spent 9 hours doing it WRONG before I started doing the construction correctly. My studio looks like a disco ball blew up! It's been fun to find hidden sparkles all around my house.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
I'm sure I will, in other specialty fabrics. This pattern is remarkably versatile, give it a shot!

This was the perfectly simple pattern to showcase my sequins. This top is both fun and functional! I plan to wear it often under jackets and with kicky skirts. Who doesn't need a little more sparkle in their lives?