Sunday, December 29, 2019

20 Sewing Goals for 2020

I read about "20 for 2020" on Instagram. The idea is to set 20 life goals, but I'm going to apply it just to sewing. So, here goes. I don't know if this will be realistic, but why not try?

1. Publish at least 20 blog posts during 2020. I only managed seven or so in 2019, but between my mother's illness and eventual death, the plumbing leak, and new flooring, I'm surprised I managed that many!  

2. Participate in at least two challenges. Maybe sewalongs or ...?  I plan on participating in #SewTwistsandTies on Instagram in January. I'm sure another interesting challenge will come up. Here's a "twist" I just made:

3. Perfect a work-appropriate trouser pattern for my daughter.

4. Organize my sewing studio.

5. Take a sewing class. Maybe this one:

6. Make a lined jacket.

7. Learn how to make bound buttonholes.
From Threads Magazine
8. Continue my personal challenge: My Pattern Challenge.

9. Continue my personal challenge: Conference Capsule.

10. Create a retirement wardrobe plan (it's about time!).  I need/want a casual but stylish and put-together wardrobe for my newish lifestyle.  These are some examples and all are things I could make:  

Top row: Pix 1, 3, 4:; Pic 2:
Bottom row: Pix 1 &; Pix 3 & 4:
11. Continue to visit fabric stores and fashion-related exhibits on my travels!
Part of a "Diana" exhibit at Kensington Palace, May/June 2019
12. Be more active in the online sewing community.

13. Get over my fear of selfies and try to post some things I've made for myself. This is a hard one as  I'm camera-shy.

14. Make zip-front jeans. I've made oodles of pull-on Eleonores, but I'd like to make more traditional jeans.  Might work this one in with a class. Two birds!

15. Make some local sewing connections.  

16. Make a coat. Maybe this one or this one or this one.

17. Make a vest. Maybe the Envigado:

18. Make a casual jacket/coat.  Maybe the Kelly Anorak:

19. I haven't smocked anything for a long time.  I'd like to reacquaint myself with the process and complete a smocked project.

20. Embellish an item with embroidery or needle felting.  How cute is this?
Thinking up 20 sewing goals was a bit harder than I thought! But I think these are all achievable. What about you? Do you have sewing goals for 2020? 

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

McCall's 7447 in Flannel and Fleece

Aloysius successfully unleashes his inner model
Hi folks! I hope you're enjoying the holiday season. Here at the bespokeability factory, I've had a splendid Christmas. This afternoon, my small (but not short) family came over and what fun we had! First appetizers and presents, followed by a walk, then back to the house for an early dinner. After that, we played Sequence and had Christmas cookies. My heart is fuller than my stomach, and my stomach is FULL!

I didn't do much holiday sewing this year, but I did make a shirt for my son-in-law, Aloysius (not his real name). I've never sewn any clothing for him before, so trying to make something for him in secret had its challenges. For instance, getting accurate measurements was tricky!

I erred on the side of too much length, figuring I can always shorten it. I think it's too long, but he likes it! He's 6'7", so he rarely has clothing that is too long; it's usually too short in the sleeves and body.

For my first venture into son-in-law sewing, I selected McCall's 7447 which is now out of print. Aloysius has lots of dress shirts, so I figured something a bit more casual would suit him.  

I ordered the Robert Kaufman "Mammoth" plaid flannel in red, white, and blue, as well as navy blue sweatshirting and ribbing from The flannel came out of the dryer with nary a wrinkle!  That's my kind of fabric.

The pattern isn't difficult to sew, but I had a few head-scratching moments, and my good friend the seam ripper spent some quality time with me. It's fun tearing out navy thread on navy fabric. Sure it is!

I made sure the horizontal lines of the fabric matched. I used the sewing machine on all seams, often using the stretch stitch except when sewing the front plackets. I finished the seams on the serger, and either topstitched on my regular machine or used the coverstitch.
Checking that the plaid lines up
I interfaced the placket with Fashion Sewing Supply's ProWoven Shirt-Crisp Fusible Interfacing which may have been a bit too heavy for the shirt.  

I forgot to take a picture of the back, but it's the same sweatshirt fabric as the sleeves and hood.  The cuffs are ribbing. You'll notice that the hood is plenty large!

I'm so glad Aloysius likes the shirt! I'm on the look-out for another fun, casual shirt for him--maybe the Thread Theory Finlayson Sweater.
Two wonderful people with two wonderful doggies!
Next up, I'm finalizing my sewing 2020 plans and I'll post about them soon.  Happy holidays!

Friday, December 20, 2019

Basic T with a Twist: McCall's 7975

Yesterday, I wanted to make something.  I had the itch to stitch.  The urge to serge.  The--I don't have a rhyme for cover stitch!  Well, you get the idea.  I wanted to make something!

And I did!  Keeping in mind my pattern challenge, I selected McCall's 7975 for my next project.

For the fabric, I used the softest rayon lycra brushed jersey from Fabric Mart.  This fabric drapes beautifully, and I also love paisley. It was purchased a year ago for $11.99 per yard. I have almost three yards left, so I need to figure out what to make with it. 

Before I started, I was a little apprehensive about the twist.  But like so many things, once I started it it wasn't so bad.  In fact, it all came together pretty quickly.
This is a basic T-shirt with a twist (see what I did there?).  I like that the twist creates an asymmetrical hemline and a similar look to the currently popular front tuck or French tuck.  I also think the hemline is flattering because it isn't a straight line across the hips.
The shirt fits Mehetabel well in the shoulders and arms, but it's a little boxy in the bodice; however, she told me she prefers it a little roomy so I'll leave it as is.  When I make this again, I'll lengthen the sleeves slightly (or make them 3/4 length) and I'll definitely add a little length to the top because the highest point of the hemline can expose some skin.

This top was a quick project--finished in just a few hours.

I used my Pfaff's stretch stitch for all seams, and finished them on the serger. The hems were cover stitched. I reinforced the shoulder seams with fusible interfacing.  I also put the sleeves in flat, so that changed up the order of operations. 
I don't know if I'll have a chance to post again before Christmas, so I'd like to take this opportunity to wish you all happy holidays!

Monday, October 7, 2019

Another Conference Capsule Selection: McCall's 7160 & New Look 6301

Well, the first dress I made for Mehetabel's conference capsule was a success, so I immediately duplicated it.  It is a mash-up of New Look 6301 (skirt and ties) with 10" added to the length of each, coupled with the bodice from McCall's 7160 (out-of-print).  

Like the last dress, blogged here, I modified the bodice significantly by eliminating the center front seam, drawing a new neckline, and adding a facing.

Also like before, the bodice was underlined with beige knit.  The hope is that this, along with the waist seam clear elastic, will provide the necessary support for the rather heavy skirt.
With the last dress, I sewed everything together but didn't serge the waist seam.  Then I attached the clear elastic to the seam line and serged it.
For this dress, I sewed everything except the side seams, and again, I didn't serge the waist until I'd added the clear elastic to the seam allowance.  After that I serged both side seams.
In my last post, I told you how I tried a Palmer & Pletsch method for attaching fusible interfacing. For this one, I went back to my usual routine--I block-fused the interfacing to a piece of fabric, cut out the facing pieces, and serged the bottom to finish it. Once the facing was attached to the neckline, I hand-stitched it to the underlining.
The fabric is from Fashion Fabrics Club.  It is a poly/lycra jersey and cost $4.46 per yard.  They describe it as a teal cheetah jersey.  But honestly, I couldn't tell what the print was supposed to be--maybe an abstract animal- or floral-print!
What's next?  I'm working on some slacks--still in the muslin stage--and also on a floaty faille blouse.  When will they be done?  Hmmmm....

Friday, October 4, 2019

Conference Capsule: McCall's 7160 & New Look 6301 Mash-up

You can probably guess that my daughter, the not-her-real-name Mehetabel, and I have a wonderful relationship.  I am so lucky!  And I love to make clothes for her because A) I can, B) she's so appreciative, and C) she's a terrific model!  There are other reasons, like, I love her, but these three will do for now.  Often, I just make whatever I feel like sewing, but occasionally she'll make a request.  This project was chosen by Mehetabel.
I'm calling this her Conference Capsule.  And this is just the first piece, because one dress does not a capsule make!
Mehetabel is a Ph.D student who has published papers and often presents the subjects at conferences.  I am very proud.  Well, last year, Mehetabel took a couple Mom-made dresses with her to a conference.  One was McCall's 6886 in hunter green jersey which I lined--I haven't blogged this version but I used the same process for this one.  Here's a closet selfie of the version she took to the conference:
When she wore this dress for a presentation, she realized she'd be more comfortable in a longer, fuller skirt.  If she needed to sit down, she felt this dress could show a bit too much leg.
So, she knew what she wanted:  a fitted bodice with a modest neckline, 3/4 length sleeves, and a skirt that wasn't too fitted and was long enough to cover her knees when she sat.  With further discussion, she decided she'd like an attached belt.  She wanted some pattern to the fabric--just in case her nerves caused her to perspire while on the dais, the pattern would help camouflage the evidence. Also, she wanted fabrics that would coordinate with her black shoes and bag.
Mehetabel loves color and pattern (me too!), but for her conference dresses, she wanted something more subdued--nothing that would be too jarring or take the focus from her topic.  
Oh!  I almost forgot!  She also wanted an easy-travel fabric like ITY (Interlock Twist Yarn) knit.  Just roll up the dress, stuff it in her carry-on, shake it out and hang it up at the hotel.  Hey presto!
With that in mind, I started searching for ITY knits that had some pattern, but not too much pattern, and in colors that wouldn't be wild.
I have several ITY knits in my stash that fit the bill, so I selected four of them, took a photo, texted it, and asked if any of them would do.  She chose her top two favorites, and off I went!
For the first two dresses, Mehetabel chose the top left and the bottom right
There was a bit of trial and error, but finally the winning pattern(s) emerged.  I used the skirt pieces from New Look 6301, first blogged here, to which I had already added ten inches in length, plus the belt piece--also with ten inches added to the length.  For the bodice, I used McCall's 7160, to which I eliminated the center seam, changed the neckline, and made facings.  Unfortunately, McCall's 7160 is out-of-print, but it does qualify for my pattern challenge!
The bodice pieces were underlined in beige knit.  The facing pieces were interfaced with Fashion Sewing Supply's pro-tricot deluxe fusible interfacing.

I tried something new with knit facings this time--although I've done something similar with wovens before.  I usually block-interface a piece of fabric and cut the facing pieces from that, and serge the bottom to finish.  This time, I sewed the interfacing to the facing at the bottom, trimmed, and flipped the facings so that the wrong sides were together, and them pressed them to fuse the interfacing. I think I first read about this approach in a Palmer & Pletsch pattern. This creates a nice, professional-looking product. After attaching the facing to the neckline, I finished the facing by hand-sewing it to the underlining.  I don't know if I'll do this method again, but it's always nice to have another trick up my sleeve.
The fabric for this dress was purchased from Fashion Fabrics Club, and I paid $4.46 per yard.

The shoulders were reinforced with fusible interfacing.  All seams were sewn with a stretch stitch and finished on the serger.  I used the coverstitch to hem the skirt and sleeves.
Coverstitched hem!
The skirt is pretty heavy, so in addition to the underlined bodice to add support, I also sewed clear elastic into the seam allowance at the waist before I trimmed/finished it with the serger.  Hopefully this will be enough to support the skirt.
So long, farewell...

Sunday, September 22, 2019

I've Got Sunshine: Simplicity 8601

This was a quick top to whip up, and since we still have plenty of sunshine (and high temperatures), I figured it'd get some wear before it's time to bring out the sweaters.  Unfortunately, this version is...meh.

The top is Simplicity 8601.  I've had the pattern since it came out because I think it's not only adorable, but it seems to be on trend too.  And, yes, it's another entry for my pattern challenge.
I made three changes to the pattern--I made it sleeveless, lined it, and lengthened it by 2 inches. Many of the reviews I've read note that the top is quite short, and since Mehetabel is 6 ft. tall, I knew some added length would be needed.  Plus, I figured she wouldn't want to expose her stomach at school.
Need to go down a size!
The top is made out of cotton gauze from Michael Levine.  It's pretty thin, so I thought lining it would be smart--and--bonus! the lining made it easier to finish the ties.  I used the same fabric for the lining.
Match-matchy:  pins to fabric!
I might call this piece the burrito top as I used that method several times.  First I sewed the front center seam, the back center seam, and attached a button loop.  Then I sewed the shoulders and sewed the lining to the fashion fabric at the neckline.  Of course, I trimmed and pressed after each step.  After that, I sewed one armscye burrito-style, and then the other.  Next, I burritoed (it's also a verb!) the hems on the front and then the back.  Finally, I sewed up the side seams as one piece, finishing them with the serger.  All that was left was to sew the button on the back.

If you are unfamiliar with the burrito method, do a search on the internet and you'll get quite a few posts/videos about it that will explain the process more clearly than I could.  I first learned about it when I made the Jalie Scarf-CollarTop in 2012, and I also learned about it in a book I have about linings, but it was called the author's "favorite method...," and I found the explanation a bit confusing.
Jalie Scarf-Collar Top made in 2012 and where I first learned about the burrito method
All in all, this was a fun and easy item to sew, but my fabric choice and the sizing were off.  I'm glad I added the length, but if I make this again, I'll go down a size.  Also, while I like the clean finish the lining provides, the four layers of fabric make the ties too bulky.  Oh well.  Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
Always a good time at Mom's!
Mehetabel is wearing the top with her Jalie Éléonore Pull-On Jeans out of white stretch twill from Vogue Fabrics.  I blogged about these jeans here.

She's also wearing a pair of my shoes--we have the same size feet--I bought these at Talbots last year, I think.  I just love these shoes.  So cute!  And since we live in the desert, why not have cacti on one's tootsies?