Thursday, September 14, 2017

Sewing Bee Round 2: SLEEVES!!!

I'm going full speed ahead with the next challenge. See the this below? That was my first attempt at doing the flat pattern work for my sleeve. I did it three more times (or more) before I actually cut into the fabric.

And here is that lovely sleeve in all its pinned glory. Unfortunately, once I stitched it together it was no longer glorious. I'm not too broken up about it because it doesn't really fit in with the rest of the garment. But I am broken up about how long it took me to get to that point. SO. MUCH. DRAFTING.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Sewing Bee!!!

OH MY GOSH!!! I'm so excited!!!!! At the end of August I saw that was gearing up to host their yearly sewing bee. This year I took a closer look and saw that it is a competition and decided that sounded like fun. Last week I submitted my entry and...I'M MOVING ON TO THE SECOND ROUND!!! I'm super happy about it! This was my submission:
One of the more intriguing things about the Sewing Bee is the element of surprise. Each of the four rounds has its own theme. Those themes are kept under wraps until it's time to start sewing. Fun, right? The first round's theme was a pencil skirt inspired by a piece of music or a musician. It took me far less time than I expected to come up with my inspiration. I went with "I'm Coming Out" by Diana Ross. I chose that song because it's about breaking out of your shell and that's the visual I get with this pattern.
Doesn't the neon pink piping make it look like there's something light and bright getting ready to jump out from under the black? That's what I think it looks like. The pattern I used got a lot of love from the other entrants too. There were ten of us out of the 111 entrants who used Vogue 8750 as their pattern.

Part of the judging criteria was creativity. I thought the piping was fairly creative. Then I saw the other entries. My first thought was, "Well...looks like I'm going to have to up my game." There were some really wonderful entries.
On the other hand, I really did feel like I could hold my own with my sewing skills. There are a lot of seams in this skirt and nearly all of them have piping in them. Let me rephrase that: nearly all of the seams have perfect piping in them. And that invisible zipper is nothing to sniff at, either. I'm so glad it all translated over. Still, I wouldn't have been surprised to find that I hadn't made it to the next round. Those other entries were really well done.
We were given word this morning that the 60 entrants to move on from the original 111 had been selected. I was so pleased to see I was on that list! Now I wait impatiently until tomorrow morning to see what the theme is for round 2!

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Chai Shirt and Dress

Every time there's a testing call for a pattern from Itch to Stitch, I try to apply for it. When the call came for  the Chai Shirt and Dress, I jumped at the chance for something so lovely. I'm so pleased I was able to do it. Here is my final result:

With a design so perfectly feminine, I knew it needed a special fabric. A couple of years ago I scored about seven yards of this wonderful dupioni silk. I think my kids are finally old enough that I can make myself a silk item without fear that it will be ruined by smears of whatever they happen to have on their hands.

Now about the pattern. The Chai is a button front top and dress that includes a classic collar and collar stand. There is a band at the waist for definition and gathers under the bust. The skirt then flares out from the bottom of the waistband. It's just a classy, beautiful look all around.

A favorite feature of mine is that the pattern is designed to work for those with both narrow or broad shoulders. I am very broad-shouldered and it still worked for me, though I'll likely still make an adjustment next time. The pattern is meant to be fitted. It is certainly fitted but I did not find it uncomfortable. The only adjustments I made to the pattern were to shorten the bodice and lengthen the skirt by an inch. Next time I'll shorten the waistband and add that length back into the bodice. My short waist requires a short waistband.

This is my Mommy Monster Face my daughter asked me to make. It also describes the week I had.
I did have a few challenges as I was sewing, they just didn't have anything to do with the pattern. Some challenges were expected (and fun), like a trip to Dinosaur National Monument with my family.
Touching the fossils at the quarry
An example of petroglyphs at McConkie Ranch
Other challenges were unexpected (and not fun), like a trip to the Emergency Room for chest pain. Turns out it was likely weird heartburn but my brother passed away several months ago after heart problems and we have a family history of heart problems, so I was taking no chances. The EKGs, x-rays, and my personal history led the doctor to say my heart looks very healthy. But I was talking about a pattern, wasn't I? Back to business...

I have a plan in place for my next Chai, I'm just deciding whether or not to do the dress length. It's just so darn PRETTY! The Chai Shirt and Dress is on sale now for 20% off. It's a gorgeous pattern with the impeccable instructions and sewing methods I have come to expect from Itch to Stitch. Click on any of the links to get yours now and enjoy the beauty.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Grace Tankini Pattern Test

One of my favorite things to make or do in sewing is to try something I've never done before. Thanks to the Grace Tankini from Savvy Patterns, "Make a swimsuit for myself" is now "Make a swimsuit for myself". It was a pleasure to test the pattern and see all the care that went into making it just right. I've sewn children's swimsuits before, but swimwear for grown women is an entirely different beast. Audrey (pattern designer at Savvy Patterns) has tamed the beast.

There are so many things I love about this pattern. First off: options. I love options! I feel like I'm getting more for my money when there are multiple views I can make with a single pattern. The Grace Tankini gives you two options for the top and four options for the bottom.

There is also a high waist cut line that was added to the pattern, giving you eight different options for the bottoms instead of just the four.

The second thing I love about the pattern is the coverage. I don't go to the pool by myself. If I'm at the pool, my kids are with me. I need to swimsuit that allows me chase after the children, pick them up, dry them off, apply sunscreen, carry towels (etc., etc., ad nauseum) without needing to fret about which body part has escaped the confines of my suit. It's one less worry as I try to pay attention to what really matters: which child is about to dive into the pool.

Another great thing about the Grace Tankini is the fit. There was a lot of tweaking done in testing to make sure the fit was spot on. The only modification I made was to shorten the waist, which is a very typical alteration for my balloon animal body type.

Finally, the pattern comes with instructions for using lining or not using it. With my test muslin I fully lined the suit and found it to be a bit more snug than I expected. I omitted the lining for the final suit you see above, and the fit was right where I felt it needed to be. This fabric was a thick, high quality swim knit and required no lining. For a thinner knit I would certainly recommend using a lining and sizing up from your measurements.

If you're looking for a comfortable suit with a great fit and that keeps everything where you need it to be, I highly recommend the Grace Tankini. As a bonus, it's on sale. Yay!

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Paro Cardigan

Itch-to-Stitch is at it again with another great pattern! This time around it is the Paro Cardigan. It is so lovely and feminine. I knew exactly which fabric to use. It's a floral ponte I've been sitting on for close to a year. I had planned to make it into pants, but it screamed to be a Paro Cardigan.

I feel like commenting on the quality of the pattern is a foregone conclusion by now. Itch-to-Stitch patterns ALWAYS go together for me so beautifully that it is easily my favorite brand.

So let's talk about the details. The Paro Cardigan can be left open or closed with whatever awesome button you think would compliment your fabric. I like the look of mine open, so I omitted the button.

Closed isn't bad either, but I prefer this one open on my body
My fabric has so much going on that it's difficult to see the beautiful pleats in front and back. They give lots of room for movement and comfort, as well as a lovely feminine touch.

Front and back pleats

The band is meant to be centered over your true waist. my true waist is almost comically high up on my body, so I used the lengthen/shorten line to take off two inches from the upper bodice and back.

This is before I took off the extra inches. My true waist is sitting at the very top of the band. I also first thought a black band around the neck would be most flattering. I'm glad I went with the coral in the end.
The Paro Cardigan pattern is on sale this week for 20% off. Yay! That's really a steal for a pattern that is so well drafted and so very beautiful. Don't forget to pick it up while it's on sale. And stop by the Itch-to-Stitch blog to see other great versions from the testers!

Friday, December 30, 2016

Trying New Things

Sometimes I get on a kick of trying new things and stretching myself with my sewing. I've been on one of those recently. The specific new thing I've been in to is leather sewing. What I've learned is that I still have plenty to learn about sewing leather. But it's been really fun learning it. I'm even thinking about branching out into selling things. We'll see if I decide that should come into fruition. But, for now, enjoy some pictures of my recent makes.
New stockings for the littles

Christmas Eve pajamas

Teeny tiny baby shoes

Little gold shoes

Starry Night purse with shiny black leather accents

Deer costume for the kindergarten Pilgrim play

Girl's costume (x5) for the kindergarten Pilgrim play

Pink and gold Mary Janes

Irridescent pink moccs for a friend's baby shower

BYU moccs for an auction

With this pair i learned that some leathers are just not good for making baby shoes

My first ever pair of baby shoes. These went to my new niece, who is freakishly adorable.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Arenal Top...I Mean Tops...with an "s"

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The plan was to write this post several days ago but, alas, my laptop died. Insert bitter tears. Trying to post from my phone just doesn't work for me. BUT the Hubs has a job that gets him access to discount prices on computers. So now I'm writing my first post on the new laptop. Yay!
The newest pattern form Itch to Stitch has been released, the Arenal Top (on sale for the release, details below). The quick description is that Arenal is a beautiful top that comes with two sleeve lengths and two hem options. It sounds pretty basic (and it is) but the amount of things you can do with it really are unlimited. As I tested the pattern I loved seeing all the different ways the other testers made their shirts. If you would like to see more of their creations, go to the blog and find the release post. I ended up making four shirts. I almost never make that many of the same pattern, especially not in that short a time frame. That's how much I love it.
The main feature that offers so much variety in this pattern is the yoke. It's a lovely little detail that will give you a lot of options. You can make it in the same fabric as the body of the shirt, or in any contrast fabric that catches your fancy.
 And if you've ever wanted to know how to make the perfect V neck on a t-shirt...well, this pattern gives great instructions to make a flawless V. 
I opted for the regular hemline and 3/4 sleeve in the red shirt. I also made a long sleeve version with the handkerchief hem but I'm not a huge fan of the fabric I used for that one. Thus the lack of picture for that version. Once I tested the pattern exactly as written, I started to hack. The easiest one was just adding and extra inch of length and the lowest lengthen/shorten line. I guess it doesn't really count as a hack because the instructions tell you exactly how to do that.
One thing that stuck me about the top from the beginning was how well it would lend itself to panels. This one is one I've been dying to use. It's a mashup of Harry Potter and Mean Girls. If you can't read it, the words say:
Educational Decree No.364 

On Wednesdays We 
Wear Pink

It makes me laugh. Anyway, I cut this out a size or two larger because it's not as stretchy and drapey as the pattern was designed for. But isn't it perfect for the panel? The shot below is included because my 6 year old photographer caught a moment of me swinging my hair. It looked very Mean Girls-esque to me.

The other pattern hack was to use the two hem lengths on one shirt. In the picture below, the regular hem is sewn up in a very neon pink, with the handkerchief hem used in a stretch lace. I lengthened the overlay layer by three inches, sewed the sleeves as one piece, and attached the purple and pink layers at the yoke and shoulder seams. It required sewing the sleeves on in the round instead of sewing them in before stitching the side seams. I love the effect!

As mentioned earlier, the information about the sale is here. The Arenal Top pattern is on sale for 20% off until 10/19. As an added bonus, buy two or more Itch to Stitch patterns and use the code "lakearenal" to receive 15% off those patterns. I love a sale on good patterns! This one is wonderful because it is flattering and feminine. It's another winner from Itch to Stitch!