Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Jacqueline Hoodie Blog Tour and Giveaway!

Today we have another fabulous pattern from Itch-to-Stitch. I was lucky enough to test the Jacqueline Hoodie pattern, which is hot off the press, so to speak. It was recently released and I. Love. It. After seeing the tester call I was ready to beg to test the Jacqueline Hoodie. Thankfully there was no begging necessary.

Partial zip at the neck
So let me tell you about the pattern features. Details include asymmetric zipper placement, epaulets, welt pockets, and decorative buttons. All but the first of those details are optional, but oh so lovely.

Full zip
Other pattern features include layers (so you can print just the sizes you need), excellent, detailed instructions (so you can get a quality product), and an extra print shop format file (so you can skip the extra cutting and taping). One other feature is awesomeness. Just so you know.

The pattern came together for me pretty easily, though it isn't a fast sew. There's quite a bit of edgestitching and topstitching. It adds a professional, polished look that just wouldn't be there without the extra effort. There are good directions for how to blend your size without messing with the gorgeous design lines. Alo make sure your sewing machine is not faint of heart, because there's a lot of bulky topstitching to be done.
Epaulet and topstitching
The fabric I chose worked perfectly. I had ordered a houndstooth ponte de roma (no longer available) for another project. It was not what I expected. Rather than what I thought it would be, the fabric was like the lovechild of a sweater knit and a ponte and I had no clue what to do with it until I saw the tester call. It turned out to be a terrifically great mistake.
Welt pocket
I only made minimal changes to the pattern. The most noticeable was adding a contrast hood lining. I wanted something to go with the white and black that wasn't the red, blue, or green I generally expect to see paired with a houndstooth. Purple is my favorite color, so I cut up an old t-shirt that was precisely the color I wanted. The matching zipper was easily procured but I had to order the buttons. Boo.
Behold, the danger of marking button placement after the garment is sewn. I don't mind enough to change it. 
The other major change I made was cutting some of the pieces on the bias. The yoke, cuffs, and welt pockets were all bias cut. I could say that the reason I did that was to add interest and mix things up, but the real reason is that I had been matching the pattern on all the other pieces and I was just kind of done with that. It worked out really well for me until I cut the pockets. Do you know what happens when you cut a double layer of houndstooth on the bias? This happens:

TWO directions on the houndstooth?! Crap. Well, you learn something new every day, I suppose.
I was lucky there was enough fabric for me to recut the welt pockets. It was a tight squeeze, but I got it all on. The rest of the pattern was just following the excellent directions and taking the time to make sure my topstitching lines were tidy.

What rain?
The next time I make this pattern (oh yes, there WILL be a next time) I will lengthen it in the body, as per my personal preference. Other than that there isn't anything I'd change. I may do a version without the front buttons, but I really like the balance it gives the jacket. Again, personal preference. And I'll chose a fabric that requires no matching of pattern. I went overboard with this one Seriously, look:
See the precision of that houndstooth in the middle? They all would have been like that if the bottom band were not designed to stretch to fit. Now you see why I was done matching the pattern by the time I got to cutting out the yoke.
This hoodie is now my go-to jacket for the crisp mornings we're still having here. It's very comfy and has just the right amount of warmth to it. I forsee several more of these with different fabric combinations.

Now that you've come to the end, I promised you a giveaway. Kennis is graciously offering a free copy of the Jacqueline Hoodie pattern to a (very) lucky winner.The pattern is also on sale for 20% off for a limited time. But don't wait to see if you've won before buying it. If you buy it and win you'll get a lovely little refund.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Also, don't forget to check out the other testers' creations on the blog tour. It was really cool to see what everyone made! Go show them some love.

Monday, Apr 27: Coralie
Tuesday, Apr 28: Angela
Thursday, Apr 30: Elsa
Monday, May 4: Stacey (allsewnupbystacey.blogspot.co.uk)
Tuesday, May 5: Rachel (onceuponasewingmachine.com)
Wednesday, May 6: Debbie (stitchitnow.net)

My end...I mean, The End.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

KCW: Final

This week has been a whirlwind for my family. Two trips to the hospital and two play performances for my girls meant less time to sew than I'd hoped. So while I finished these:
I didn't quite finish this:

It still needs sleeves, snaps, and hems
This is made from the Man's Shirt Baby Romper Pattern and Tutorial from Feather's Flights. It's easy to follow and I modified it to work with all new fabric rather than using a man's shirt. It'll be darling once it's finished. Video Game seems to like it too.
Blue Eyes got the Front to Back Panda Shirt. Given time I'll put the panda stuff on the front as well.
...to back
Pink Blur loves her Tiger Lily shirt. I've made this pattern for her in the past but with the bow option like on the panda shirt. She refuses to wear the bow shirt, so plain back it is. If I can ever find a pre-made rhinestone iron-on that says "Fierce" I really will get it and put it on the front.

Q-ball's shirt is the only one I made this week that I consider truly finished. My plan with all the kids' items was to make clothes with fabric from my stash. I was successful in that attempt but I had to be creative in how I tied it to the Wild Things theme. I call this shirt The Mighty Hunter for a touch of irony. I suppose I could have called it The Mighty Bird Watcher but it just doesn't have the same ring to it.

Finally, there's Video Game's romper, titled "Wear ALL the Wild Things!" The fabric is leftover from Q-ball's nursery textiles. There was plenty of this particular fabric leftover and now it has a project. Had time not gotten away from me it would all have been finished with time to spare. I even had an idea for another dress which never got past taping and cutting the pattern paper. C'est la vie. But though I leave you with an unfinished project, I will not leave you without cute baby pictures.

He is clearly the most charming baby boy in existence.

Friday, April 24, 2015

KCW: Days 3 and 4

This hasn't been the best week for me to try to spend an hour a day sewing for the kids. But I do have something to show for it. This is what I have so far:
The middle shirt shows the back. The black bow with a white knot is my nod to a panda face.
I would like to add more embellishment to the pink tiger and the panda shirt but we'll see.It's been crazy. The plan had been to do a freezer paper stencil on the front of the black and white shirt but ended up rushing to the emergency room with Pink Blur instead. Nothing ruins plans quite like a child who was fine at bedtime and  can't breathe an hour later. She's fine now (it's croup) but it scared me half to death! So instead of freezer stenciling I sat with my girl in a little room watching TV. Pink Blur is now convinced we need a 1 Second Slicer and she also learned a new song. I think I would rather have cut out freezer paper. Or my eyes.
This is her tiger face.
The pink tiger and black and white panda shirts are the Otium tee. Blue Eyes wants a picture on the front and I'll do that when I get around to it.

Q-ball's camo shirt is the free Day Camp tee. He is not impressed that I made him something but at least I got him to put it on. He smiled when I bribed him with a cookie. Pink Blur had already gotten her cookie in the shot below.

Originally I thought maybe I would like to write out "Fierce" in rhinestones across the front of her shirt, but it probably doesn't need anything else.

The hope for day five is to get Video Game's outfit done. It's a super busy day so we'll ust play it by ear and hope it works out.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

KCW: Day Two

Day two ended up being better than I expected. Most of the day was spent like this:

He wasn't always this happy but at this point the fever had broken. We had a cute photobomber too.
The Hubs stayed home from work so I could focus on taking care of the baby and we spent a lot of time looking at fabric online. Once I was able to actually put the baby down after bedtime I was able to get around to cutting out the fabric for the baby's outfit. We'll see how many we can get through on day three. That will depend on how well the baby feels and how well I can get to all the other things I've been neglecting while he's been sick.

The only kid left who needs an outfit is Q-ball. He says he doesn't want me to make him anything. He also just turned three so...  Anyway, I have these two fabrics that would be perfect for the theme. The problem is that I'm not sure I love them. They are KnitFix fabrics (which I talk about here) and the trading and selling is in full swing on the Facebook group. I can't seem to commit to either of them but I can't make myself let go of them either. Sigh. Maybe by the end of day three I'll have decided. Or not.
Can't live with them, can't live without them

Kids Clothes Week: Day One

For the first time ever I a participating in Kids Clothes Week. That is to say, I've thought about it and prepped for it. The first day was spent going to the doctor's office and the hospital with a sick baby, so sewing just didn't happen. While those aren't my favorite activities they kind of take precedence over sewing.

I had two things already cut out and ready to go so I'm counting that as what I did (didn't do) today. Because I'm currently on the couch nursing the aforementioned sick baby I will share with you a sneak peak of what I have planned. I'm using fabric I already had on hand, so the sneak peaks come from previous projects.

For the Pink Blur:
From the Leading Lady look
 For Video Game:
From the $0 Nursery Project
There will also be a panda inspired project for Blue Eyes. Betcha can't guess what colors I'm using for that. *wink* That leaves out Q-ball but I do have a loose idea of something I can put together for him. This, of course, assumes that the baby will allow me to put him down for any length of time. Fingers crossed.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Peacock and Pleather Easter Outfit

Business first. I made this outfit for the Girl Charlee Easter Sewing Contest. Both of the fabrics I used came from their fabulous site. I assume the winner is by luck of the draw, so let's hope I'm lucky. Either way, I absolutely love this outfit.

The top is Simplicity 1613 and made up with this terrific peacock feathers fabric. I'd seen it before in a different colorway I wasn't too crazy about. This set of colors? Love it! 

Blue Eyes wanted to join in the picture taking fun

As for the pattern, I love that too...with modifications. When I say "modifications" I mean altering the pattern to fit my body and give me my desired level of coverage at the neckline. And by "desired level of coverage" I mean "not cut down to my navel." More or less. I'm pretty confident in my pattern drafting and alteration skills but I knew it would be a tall order to fix everything that needed fixing without a mockup. I will spare you that picture, but include the shot of a few of the pattern alterations I ended up with.
So many alterations, so little time
The result was well worth the effort. The neckline is now wearable and sufficiently modest. If I make again I'll choose a fabric with more stretch. 
Of course I examine my hem frequently. Don't you?
Now the skirt. Hehehe! I have been excited for this skirt for years. No joke. I've had the pattern, Vogue 8750, for at least two years. I've made it three times for other people, but never for myself. It was time. I decided to really spice it up with the fuchsia vegan leather. It's so fun!

Just loving on the skirt
The trick about this skirt is the topstitching. This fabric does not glide under the presser foot. At all. As I don't have a walking foot I had to be a bit more creative about how to get the topstitching done without the seams curling into oblivion. Add to that the curved seam on the side and the fact that once a needle goes through the fabric it leaves a hole and you've got a recipe for making me brag. I used strips of pattern tissue directly under the presser foot to help the fabric move along. I've also heard you can put tape on the bottom of the foot to achieve the same result but I haven't tried it.

Not perfect, but pretty darn close.  Brag. Brag, brag, brag.

I installed an invisible zipper (insert more bragging on account of the you-can-only-sew-it-once factor) and used leather glue for the hem. That's a new trick for me. I'll probably try it again in the future but I find I prefer to just hem things on the machine when I can.

I may not be wearing this outfit for Easter (we're watching General Conference instead, yay!) but it'll look great at church the next week and every other time I happen to wear either piece.