Archive | March, 2010

Knit Parade

31 Mar

I have been sewing away! After the Hot Patterns dress disaster, I didn’t want to sew any knits for a while. So what did I do? Yep, I sewed me some more knits! I think the reason is that they are comfortable. But are they the most attractive for my body type and style? I honestly don’t know. So hopefully you can help. Here is my first attempt at knit pants. The question is: Do they look like something I would wear to a luncheon or to yoga class? I’m voting for yoga class:

That’s The Sewing Workshop Trio Pant in a ponte knit. I love the Trio pant, and I love the feel of the ponte knit, but I also feel a little silly in them when I’m wearing them out to lunch with my DH. I’m not sure if it’s the color or the knit. I’m beginning to realize that I have to feel comfortable in something or it’s just not going to fly.

On the other hand, here is a knit pant that I can tolerate:

I like these pants, but I think it’s because I like the whole look. I like the fact that the pants (which are The Sewing Workshop Hudson pant) are brown, instead of a bright color on my bottom half, which I don’t think is such a great look for me. It is a microfiber knit that I got from Marcy Tilton. It’s very easy to sew and easy/breezy to wear, especially for traveling. The Hudson pant has a nice shape to it that I’m not sure shows well in this picture. I made the extra-small, with no adjustments. Next time, I will add an inch to the crotch, which is a normal adjustment for me, but for some reason I didn’t make on these pants.

Also, I like the twin set. I love, love, love wearing cardigans! I feel very comfortable in a cardigan. I haven’t found the ultimate cardigan pattern yet, though. This one is Simplicity 2474, which is from the Threads Magazine Collection. I find it slightly dowdy, but not horribly so. I’m sure I’ll get lots of wear out of it for the comfort factor alone.

The sleeveless shell is from the Pamela’s Patterns twin set. It is wonderful! It fit perfectly, with only one adjustment, and that was to raise the bust darts by 1/2 inch. My next cardigan will be from this pattern, which is my next project. I’m looking forward to sewing it up in a brown knit. You can see I’m loving brown these days.

So, what do you think about knit pants?

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Coming To Terms With The Serger

15 Mar

I love my serger!  I want to make that clear from the beginning of this post, because I’m mostly going to talk about the down side of a serger today.

My Babylock Imagine is a very special machine.  It will sew through anything, from silk to denim, without making any adjustments at all.  Not only that, but it threads itself while I’m thinking about what I’m going to fix for dinner.  It’s pure and simple heaven!

I feel this way about my serger because I’ve been to the dark side of serger-land.  I use to own a serger that thought every new fabric that entered it’s realm was an alien from another planet.  That serger simply could not tolerate diversity.  It would take me an hour just to warm the serger up to the fact that it needed to be somewhat flexible in its view of a new fabric.  At some point, the serger would win and cry, “Off with its head!”. The battle would be lost.  It wore me down!  (I know I carried that metaphor to the extreme, but I saw Alice in Wonderland last night and couldn’t help myself).

Enter the Imagine.  Sometimes, when I get a new toy, I can begin to feel overconfident in my skills.  I really thought I could do anything with that baby.  So, when the Hot Patterns 1090 instructions AND video said I could sew this beginner dress completely with a serger, I was ready.  Here’s a pic of the pattern front:

Here’s a pic of my completed garment:

Sigh…I’d give anything for a pair of shoulders. Oh, it’s not bad, and I’ll wear it (although it’s not the best style for me, so I’m sure when I wear it I’ll have a cardigan or jacket over it ala pic on right).  Here is the problem regarding the serger:  I think my serging skills are fine for sewing together a simple straight seam; but, when it comes to sewing on bands and things more delicate, I need to stick with my sewing machine.  See how the collar band seam is all ripply?

I really hate that!  I want ALL my seams to be perfectly smooth and straight, or perfectly curved…whatever, just perfectly perfect!

Lesson learned:  Even if the instructions tell me to do something a certain way, I need to consider my sewing skills and then do it the way that is best for me.  After all, Marcy Tilton says she NEVER sews a seam together on a serger, so who am I?

I really love the fabric I used for the dress.  It was an Eileen Fisher cotton/viscose/elastic knit from Emma One Sock. I also bought a piece in “mulberry”. I’m not sure what I’m going to do with that yet.

If you are interested in sewing up that dress, please be mindful of the fact that it will not turn out like the picture unless you take at least 5 inches off the length of the band at the bottom of the skirt.  If you don’t, you will get an a-line skirt, which sort of defeats the purpose of the design, in my opinion.

Up next?  I’m not sure, but I have lots of projects in the wings.  I just know I’m in desperate need of working with a woven.

The Evil Tights

5 Mar

What could be so difficult about putting on tights? Ha! Little did I know that putting on tights would lie me out flat for a few days. Lesson learned: Don’t put tights on while standing up (especially if you have a sore back to begin with).  I really don’t want to learn this more than one way.  I’m quite satisfied that I’ve learned it well enough!

So there goes my sewing for a few days! All I can do is lie here and think about sewing…oh,and shopping. DH has no clue how dangerous it is for me to have nothing to do but surf the web. This is what I’ve come up with so far:

Emma One Sock

Lovely, no?  I’m thinking of an Eileen Fisher-type cardigan (such as The Sewing Workshop Ikina Jacket) in the seafoam knit.  Or maybe something simple, like this Onion cardigan: I’ ll work up some sort of shell (like the new Louis Cutting shell) for the silk sheer. I need to find a pant weight fabric in a taupe color, and voila…another outfit!

I Finally Have An “Outfit”

1 Mar

Do people use the term “outfit” anymore? It seems to me that the younger set works very hard at making sure things don’t match rather than match. So for all of the folks of a certain age, I finally made an “outfit”. Here it is:

The top is Vogue 8616:

This top fits great without a full bust adjustment because it is one of those patterns that has sizing for an A, B, C, or D cup. I used a size 10 with a D cup front, and worked my way out to a size 12 from the armscye down. The original pattern called for gathering at the bust, but I didn’t like that at all. I trued the front sides to the back sides and sewed it together straight, without the gathers. The other adjustment I made was to the collar facing. If you fold the collar facing on the pattern fold line, it won’t lie flat. So, I made the back collar a little deeper so that it would.

This fabric is a poly knit and it is very slippery. I used Steam-a-Seam Lite on some of the seams, and lots of pins. The print of this fabric is on the diagonal. The pattern says, “DO NOT USE DIAGONAL PRINTS” or something of that sort. Lesson learned: You don’t always have to follow the pattern instructions. This is a real eye-opener for me, being the compliant girl that I am. I have ALWAYS been a pathetic instruction follower…but, no more! I didn’t like the bust gathers, so I didn’t use them. I did like the diagonal print, so I used it. More power to me!!!

Notice that the sleeves are not on the diagonal because I cut them on the bias, as per Pam Erny’s suggestion with this fabric (see previous entry). I really like the way that breaks up the diagonal line.

The pants are my attempt at being artsy/funky. They are Vogue 8561 (Marcy Tilton).

I wanted these pants to look just like the picture. They don’t unless you make some adjustments. I took in 1 inch on each side seam from the hip to about 2 inches from the bottom band. Then I tapered off about a half-inch more from there through the band. Otherwise, the pants would have been forever known as Janis’ balloon pants, or perhaps Janis’ clown pants. As it is, they are a little silly, but fun to wear just the same.

Next up: A Hot Patterns knit dress. I’m on a roll!

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