Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Husband clothes!

So my husband is really picky about his clothes, but absolutely hates shopping.  So he'll wear his clothes out, literally, before he'll go shopping.  He's also pretty hard on clothes.  This has created a little bit of a problem, because he would need new clothes, but couldn't be convinced or coerced to go shopping.  I finally decided to take his worn out clothes and cut them apart and use them for patterns to make new clothes.

I've been making jeans for him using a worn out pair of jeans for a pattern for about three years now.  This is the latest pair (actually made this spring, I just didn't get around to blogging it).  I also made his shirt from an old one that he got paint on.

I've found that some of my most successful sewing projects have been items I've sewn using an existing item of clothing for the pattern.  The fit issues are already worked out, and the style issues are as well.  It's actually really a gamble to pick up a pattern and invest hours into sewing something that you don't know will fit or suit you.  When you use an existing item of clothing, at least you know what you're getting.  The drawback is that you don't have instructions, but if you've sewn similar items, it usually turns out okay.

The jeans were made with a denim from my local fabric store.  I was a little concerned initially, because the denim had a little stretch to it, but it has not been an issue at all.  I used three different colors of topstitching thread, but the details are a little hard to see here.  Also, my husband was working in the yard just before I took the pictures, so disregard the dirt on the knees of the pants :)

The shirt went together pretty easily, also.  I remember being totally intimidated by button down shirts with stand collars, but they're actually not terribly difficult to sew, if you use good methods.  I've found this tutorial to be really great for achieving a professional looking result.  Also, I've used interfacings from Fashion Sewing Supply and found them to be really excellent.  I used to be hesitant to even use interfacing, because it inevitably either bubbled or was stiff as a board, but these are really excellent interfacings.  I've got quite a few in different weights and they do a fabulous job.

I also used this tutorial for the yoke, and it worked out really well.  It gives a great, clean finish on the inside and outside of the shirt and is easy to do.  I got this fabric from Fashion Fabrics Club.  It claims to be 100% cotton, but I'm not entirely convinced that it is, because it's a little stiffer than a 100% cotton should be.  I'm not complaining, though, because it doesn't wrinkle much.

Now, I've just got to put together a few more of these to replace some of the more offensive shirts in my husband's wardrobe.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Simplicity 2444: The Kid Dress

The ward (or congregation) I attend has undergone some organizational changes recently, and I have received a new assignment to work with and teach the 1 1/2 to 3 year old kids during church.  I'm really excited about this new assignment, because the kids that age are so fun.  They are also super active and require a lot of chasing after.  I quickly realized that my current wardrobe of pencil skirts wasn't going to work well :)

So I figured I'd better find some clothes that allow for bending, sitting on the floor, playing, reading stories and chasing toddlers :)  That meant some full skirts.  I've seen several renditions of this pattern in the blog world, and they all looked great, so I thought I'd try making one.  I liked the fit and flare silhouette and the unusual darts in the bodice front, as well as the classic shape of the dress.

I made a couple changes to the pattern.  I cut the skirt front and skirt back, as well as the bodice front and bodice back on the fold, and moved the zipper from the center back to the side.  I used an invisible zipper and it actually went in really well.  I used the tutorial from the Seams, Closures and Hems video by Liesl Gibson, and the zipper went in beautifully and was, indeed, invisible.  I've used her method several times, and it always sees to work really well.  I used a lightweight cotton pique fabric from Fashion Fabrics Club that I ordered earlier this year.  I believe it is a Marc Jacobs fabric.  It was great to work with.  You can see the weave in the picture below.  I always thought pique was just that really heavy, textured cotton that you see a lot of, and was really confused when so many patterns recommended it as a fabric to use for dresses and blouses.  I now realize that they're probably talking about this type of pique!  You learn something new every day, right? ;)

As a side note, I have to say that I really love Fashion Fabrics Club.  Their shipping is pretty slow, but they have a great selection of, for the most part, really high quality fabrics.  I've ordered from them many times and am almost always happy with almost all of my order.  Their prices are really good for the fabrics they offer.  I've found that often they carry some of the same fabrics as Fabricmart, but at a much lower price.  Anyway, that's all :)

The fit of this dress was quite good, I just had a couple issues with it.  One was that the lower bodice in the center seemed kind of baggy.  I don't know if it had to do with the shape or position of the darts, but the rest of the bodice felt fine, except the lower center.  The other issue I had was that the neckline seemed to gape a little.  If I'm standing straight with my arms down, it's fine.  If I move around a lot, it starts to gape.  Maybe I should have cut a smaller size, but I didn't want the rest of it too tight, as I need full range of movement.  Oh well, they're minor quibbles.  All in all, I'm really happy with it.  I tested it out on Sunday, and it performed beautifully for floor-sitting and toddler-taming!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Knit Top for Me: Vogue 1306

As much as I love sewing woven tops, I really like to wear knit tops better.  I find that I always reach for knit tops when I'm getting dressed.  I get a little bored with straight up tshirts, even though I wear those a lot too, so I'm always on the lookout for a good knit top pattern.  When I saw this Vogue Rebecca Taylor pattern on Little Bettty's blog, I loved it.  I bought the pattern online from a BMV sale (my fanatical self was fortunate they were on sale right then), because I didn't want to wait for a Joann sale.

The pattern called for a stable knit, and I think that is key to success.  I had a pretty stable cream bamboo knit in my stash that I used (and obviously didn't iron before or after I made the top).  I think that this pattern would be kind of a nightmare to sew in a stretchy, spandex-y knit, because of the details (which, in my opinion, make the top).  The instructions are great and result in a really nicely finished product.  I'm not sure if I'd ever sewn with a Vogue Designer pattern before.  I've always been kind of intimidated by them, but I really am happy with how this turned out, and with the techniques specified in the instructions.

I really passed over this pattern when it first came out.  I'm not sure why, because I really like it now.  Maybe my eye hadn't adjusted to the style yet.  I also modified it a little to minimize the hi-low hem.  I know they're trendy, but I'm not super trendy :)  It still has a little mullet hem in back, but I think I trimmed a couple inches off the original pattern in back.

I'm also wearing a pair of jeans I just finished, but haven't blogged.  I still need to do that.  They're a copy from a favorite pair of Lucky jeans I've had for a while.  I used the press'n'seal method of copying them and I'm really happy with how they turned out.  Stay tuned...  :)