Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Shorts Again!

Hello! Well, it's the middle of summer, and this week is shaping up to be a hot one! Good thing I finished a new pair of shorts last week, round three for me with the Grainline Maritime shorts pattern. My first pair fit well, but I knew I could do better with the pockets, so here they are.

I've had this fabric for well over ten years, making it easily the oldest fabric in my stash, so even with a pattern that we all know and love, I thought it fitting that they have their own post! I only bought one metre, and it was just enough for these shorts. There wasn't enough to worry about pattern matching, but I did try and a least keep the motif somewhat balanced. I had been wearing these shorts all weekend, so they are a bit wrinkled, but it's not as obvious in person, I hope.

I kept the additional 1" that I had added to the rise, but remembered to move the pockets up so that they were the same depth as originally drafted, instead of weirdly long from the waistband to the pocket opening. I laid the fronts onto my tailoring ham to mimic the hip curve before basting the heck out of them to avoid the pulling and puckering that plagued my original pair. I've added to the length again, since my first pair have a tendency to ride up at the inner thigh (not really a good look).

And the back pockets - I swapped them out for single welt pockets. Partially because I wanted a slightly dressier feel to these shorts, but also because I had no fabric left to cut my fly shield and facing! I had to sacrifice one patch pocket for those pieces, and scrounge a few scraps for the welts and facings. Right after I finished them, this post from Katy & Laney appeared in my feed, so if you'd like to give welts a try, check it out! I like to extend my pocket bags into the waistband, a la men's trousers, here's a shot of the insides.

Rare inside shot!
A simple project, for sure, but a satisfying one. And a good use for this much prized piece of cloth, I think.

Back out to the sunshine!

Saturday, 31 May 2014

Spring Wardrobe Building: Burda 7250/115

Hello and welcome to parts three and four of my Me Made May experiment, four garments in four weeks. This week, it's a two for one deal, two items, one post - efficiency! And also, last minute!

Let's begin with the trousers, shall we? Behold Burda 7250. I've been looking forward to some patterned pleated front casual pants for a long time, and decided to take the plunge. Sara was good enough to show me the link to this pattern on the German site, since my local pattern shop was fresh out, and I found some great fabric at Fabricland, so away I went.

I have made a similar (unblogged, sorry!) pair of Burda trousers in the past, and I'm pretty sure they were a size 42, so that's what I used this time. Well, I should have sized down, and by the time I realized the error of my ways, the pockets were in, and I just didn't have the heart to go back. I attempted to take in the excess at the centre back waist & seat, but i just couldn't get rid of enough excess fabric, and I am left with some unsightly drag lines and a baggy bum. 

Side seam - not at sides!

These are not gang signs.  High waisted alert!

In other pattern notes, I shortened the rise by about 1 1/4", and the waistband still covers my navel! And I have a long rise! Also, uncharacteristically, I made no attempt to pattern match from the front to the back. Sigh. So, not an amazing garment. I'm calling this a wearable muslin. They are comfy, and I probably will wear them around the house this summer, but I can't help but be disappointed.

The fabric, however, I love. It's from a Japanese batik collection currently at Fabricland in with the quilting cottons. Most of the patterns were more floral, this was the most geometric pattern. I suspect this is actually the wrong side of the fabric, but it's the side I liked best. 

Now, on to the more successful half of this outfit, Burda blouse 115 from the 04/2104 magazine. 

This is a really fun top, with overlapping front panels (yes, they largely stay put, as long as it's not too windy). You can find the pattern here, and some really lovely versions at Top Notch and Little Betty Sews

Of course, after the sizing issues with the pants, I double checked the measurements of this pattern and chose size 38. Naturally, I could have easily made up the 40, but although snug, it fits, so let's just leave it there. The only change I made to the pattern was to lengthen it by about 2" after comparing it to some favourite tops in my closet. I wanted it to cover the waistband of my jeans, since I'm not interested in baring my stomach! If I were to make another one, I would size up, for sure. And possibly use the centre back seam, which I overlooked in the pattern cutting layout.

The fabric is a nice medium weight cotton chambray via my stash, originally from King Textiles. I had 2 yards of 45" wide fabric, and it was the perfect amount. I had to piece my neck binding, but I don't have that annoying half yard left over as with so many projects!

All in all, I think my mini-challenge was a success, I have 3 wearable garments and 1 pair of house pants to show for my efforts, and I have been keeping up with me-mades 5 days a week. As I've said earlier, documenting was just not in the cards this year, you'll just have to trust me!

The wearing tally for my new pieces so far:

Butterick 5826 white blouse - 3 wears - I can see this one going the distance, for sure.
Burda 7250 blue trousers - 2 wears (both out of the house, maybe there is hope yet?)
Vogue 1247 pink skirt - 1 wear last weekend!
Burda chambray top - worn yesterday. 

I've enjoyed seeing everyone's Me Made goodness on Flickr and Pinterest, and the weekly round ups - even though I wasn't taking photos, I was still inspired by yours!

On to summer sewing next!

Friday, 23 May 2014

Re-Knitting: Cap Sleeve Lattice Top

And now, for something completely different…

At long last, I present, my second sweater!!

This is the sweater that made me want to learn to knit, the Cap Sleeve Lattice Top from the Purl Bee. I took some classes about a year and a half ago, and cast this on in July 2013. And then in the fall, I finished knitting, and tried it on. Disaster! I'm sorry I didn't take a photo, but the yoke line basically cut right across my bust, and didn't really look all that great. My lattice portion was pretty uneven, and basically it would have been unwearable.

But desperate times call for desperate measures, and I knew I had to persevere. This pattern is knit from the back, over the shoulders and down the front. I carefully snipped off the lattice at the back, added on in length, re-knit the lattice portion, added the same amount of length to the front, and grafted to my original front. Do not ask me how long this project took, fortunately for my sanity, I don't keep track!

The front - check out the eyelets at the hem!

The back. It's pretty much the same as the front.

There are things that are not perfect with this top, but I am very happy with my final result none the less. It's wearable, looks how I wanted it to, and is done. Three for three, I say!

The pattern was easy to follow, and the video tutorials on the Purl Bee are short, sweet and to the point. The mattress stitch one was the best I found, it actually made sense!

You can find my very sketchy Ravelry notes here, you can tell I'm a novice knitter - they are a bit vague now that I look at them again.

I haven't started a new project yet, but I think I'm hooked! Back to sewing next time, though!

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Spring Wardrobe Building - Vogue 1247

Well, we're almost halfway through Me Made May, and I have to be honest, I'm enjoying seeing everyone's daily outfit pics so much, I may have to join in the documenting after all. So far, though, you haven't missed much, it's been a steady diet of jeans and white tops for days now.

On to the fun stuff! My second garment for the month (I'm making a new piece for my wardrobe each week this May), a skirt!

It is indeed Vogue 1247, a very popular pattern. I made the top last year, and have only worn it once. To be fair, it is a muslin/beach cover up, and I don't get to the beach very often. I received this fabric from a friend, and had no idea what to do with it, though I liked it a lot. It's a light weight twill with a hint of stretch, and a really fun floral print. After a few sessions draping the fabric awkwardly over myself in front of the mirror, I decided on a skirt, and this pattern was handy.

For some reason, when I bought this pattern, I picked up the smaller size range. Oh, how I wish I had gone with the larger range! I ended up adding about two sizes to the skirt, but it is a simple pattern, so it wasn't too terrible. 

This was my wildcard garment for the month. If you've been keeping track, you may have noticed that I'm not much of a skirt wearer. I certainly used to be, back in high school and in my early 20's, but I find them tricky to wear and don't often feel my best in skirts. I'm really short waisted like to wear my tops untucked, which can sometimes look messy. This Renfrew is the best option in my wardrobe - hmm, maybe I need to revisit the top from this pattern?

I don't have much to say about the construction. I drafted a curved waistband, that no-one will ever see, and my zip goes right to the top. The pattern has you enclose the raw edges of the pocket seam in a self bias strip, but my fabric was a little bit too bulky, leaving a weird bump in a very unflattering spot between the pockets. So I very carefully serged around the pocket bags instead, and also finished the side seams on the serger.

I have yet to actually wear this skirt, as the weather has been somewhat rainy, but I hope to get at least one "real" wear in before the end of the month.

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Spring Wardrobe Building - Butterick 5826

Hello again, everyone!

As part of Me Made May this year, I've decided to make a garment a week for four weeks to fill out my spring/summer wardrobe. Four separates, for maximum wearability. I have my patterns and fabric chosen, and when combined with my existing wardrobe, I think they will do quite well.

First up, Butterick 5826. Let's check out the pattern envelope once again…

Back in the fall, I made up view A, which I have worn quite a bit. There are a few things I would most definitely change if I were to do something similar again, but it's proven to be a popular choice, with regular outings every couple of weeks.

For the spring, I switched it up to view C, which is very similar to this blouse, and also this pattern.

I cut a straight size 12, based on my previous experience. With all the gathering, it feels a bit on the loose side, and the shoulders are a little wider than I would have liked, so something to bear in mind - not all views of the same pattern will fit the same! In fairness, the only shared pattern piece between the two is the sleeve, it really is a two for one pattern.

For the fabric, I went with an off white poly georgette. Yes, the dread polyester. But this way, I can wear this top to work without fear. The last time I wore a silk blouse to work, I had a run-in with a vicious piece of velcro. And as for the construction, I made a couple of small changes. I used the "burrito" method to attach the back yoke, and did not topstitch the back neck. I understiched instead, which gives a more professional look, if I do say so myself.

The pattern instructions have you hem the blouse with a narrow 1/4" hem after the centre front seam is sewn. I chose to go with a wider 1" hem, and did not catch the bottom of the centre front bands when I stitched it up.

It's tough to see, but my stitches go right under the front bands.

I'm really happy with the gathers, both front and back. Proof that taking your time is often the best policy!

So there we have it, spring wardrobe element number one, worn (with a cardigan, it was still a bit chilly) on Me Made May 5.

Sunday, 27 April 2014

Spring at Last

Well, I'd love to say I've been trapped under a pile of fabric and sewing projects, but sadly I haven't had much time for sewing recently. But with the final arrival of spring, I feel a burst of sewing energy coming on!

I do have some plans for my spring/summer sewing, you're in for a lot of blue from the looks of things…

In coordination with Me Made May, I'll be focussing on sewing separates to round out my me made summer wardrobe. Last year, I did manage to wear something me made most days, but didn't always feel that what I had sewn was what I wanted to wear. If MMM is the only reason I'm pulling something out of the closet, it needs to go!

Here's my mini-palette for my next projects (thanks to Gillian for the tutorial!) Witness, my first screen shot.

Without further ado, my pledge:

I, Chloe, of Button and Needle, pledge to wear one or more me made items five days out of seven for the duration of May 2014. Yes, I'm letting myself off the hook for the weekends.

Looking forward to seeing what everyone else will be wearing next month!

Saturday, 22 March 2014

More than a t-shirt

Hello again friends!

I made a t-shirt! Sort of - check it out!

I am so pleased with how this turned out - I got the idea from a couple of RTW tops I've seen around the shops, and just went for it.

The pattern is from the Built by Wendy Dresses book. This is only the second time I've used a pattern from this book, which has been languishing on the shelf for a while. It includes three basic patterns - the shift dress, which I used here, a sheath dress with raglan sleeves, and a dirndl dress. These patterns don't have a ton of ease, so I sized up to the large and shortened the shoulder seam about 1/2". This left me with the boxy shape I was looking for.

The fabric was a gift from a de-stashing friend, and it was love at first sight. I think it's some kind of blend, it's definitely not 100% wool. It's got a lot going on, and it took a while to decide how I wanted the pattern to work. I kept the dominant stripe horizontal, and managed to match the pattern pretty well.

For the binding, I chose some lovely plummy silk charmeuse, and used the wrong side. I loved the colour, but the shine was just not right, so the matte side was the way to go. I used the continuous method (or little pants, as we called it at school) to make my bias strips, and ended up with 4 strips 55" long from an 11" length of fabric.

As for the pattern adjustments and construction, the BBW dress book patterns do not include seam allowance (which I like, since that's how I draft, on the rare occasion I get around to it). I traced my pattern pieces onto the fabric, and made sure to mark a 1/2" seam allowance at the side seams. I did not add any hem allowance; since the hem is bound, that would have been a waste of fabric. For the other seams, I just eyeballed my seam allowances. Since the fabric frayed like crazy, I serged all the edges, including those that would be bound. I then used the serging as a guide when sewing the binding.

After binding the sides and hems of the front and back, I continued as normal (shoulders, neck etc.), and when it was time to sew up the side seams, I just laid the front over the back, pinned first to make sure I wouldn't have any surprises, and stitched from the right side. Presto, design feature! Then I set the sleeves in, and toyed with the idea of binding the hems as well, but decided to leave them with a plain hem. In a lighter fabric, I might be tempted to bind the sleeve hem as well.

If I were to do this again, I might move the side seams forward by adding to the back and reducing the front a bit. But that is a mere quibble, I am in love with this top, and seeing the pics again has inspired me to wear it again!

Pattern matching delight - but you can see how springy the fabric is - that seam did not want to lay flat!

In a side note, I have been reading along with the Colette Wardrobe Architect series, and this is definitely one of my preferred silhouettes. I could use a few more boxy tops in my life, and this was an excellent start.

And now to move on to some spring projects!