Not totally about sewing

I’m going to try to blog about other stuff for once. I will probably fail.

Let’s see.

Okay, well, how about I get the sewing stuff out of the way first, and then I will talk about other stuff? Okay.

I currently have a wealth of fabric. Definitely not complaining! I don’t have plans for most of it, I’m just going to wait for the right project to come along. I am going to make another Akita shirt out of some teal linen for my upcoming trip to Singapore, though, and I want to make a dress as well out of another linen I got. (Okay, since I started this post, I made the Akita shirt, and I even made my own bias tape for it and NEVER AGAIN at least not until I forget what a pain THAT was.)

But the dreamiest is this gorgeous Art Deco rose gold sequined fabric. I don’t have the skills to use it yet, but I will one day. It will need to be lined in satin or something, and zippers might need to be involved. So it will have to wait until my skills have caught up. But it’s going to be amazing. And I’m going to wear it every day.

I had a pretty bad fail this weekend. I have been dreaming of this Charlie Caftan for a while and finally bought the pattern and made it with some fabric that I was given and liked but wouldn’t be devastated if it didn’t work out, and guess what, It didn’t work out. It looked like a hospital gown. Probably partially down to the fabric, but also the fit just isn’t great, and I think the pattern just isn’t for me and I just need to accept it and get over it and deal with it. Probably because I’m so cheap the hardest part to swallow is the $14 loss on the pattern – since it’s a PDF pattern it’s not like I can just give it to someone like I could if it was a paper pattern. But it’s a lovely dress on plenty of people. Just not for me.

Continue reading “Not totally about sewing”

Recent sewing projects

My sewing obsession hasn’t waned, and here is proof.

My friend Robyn had a baby girl last week and as soon as Sabine was born (they didn’t know she was a girl until she arrived) I went to the fabric store and picked out these:

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I mean RIGHT? So cute. So I found a couple of patterns (free!) and with my handy dandy new serger, got to work. I mean, how hard could it be?!?

Cut out everything, check! Used the serger to sew up the pants. Check! Put the waistband on. Okay, it’s a little wonky. Check…ish! Uh oh. The unicorns are upside-down. Meh, let’s say it’s so the baby can see them. (Thanks Kiki for that.) Ooh, was I supposed to cut an inch off the bottom of the pants if I was going to use cuffs? Oh well, too long is okay. Why are these cuffs so narrow? Oops, sewed them the wrong way. No problem, I have plenty of fabric, let’s try again. Okay, pants done! I mean, they’re not perfect, but they’re certainly wearable.

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On to the shirt! This is a little scarier, all those bits and pieces and necklines and sleeves. But everything seems to be…going…okay. I mean, not perfect, but it’s starting to look like one of those baby shirts! The first sleeve is on, and it’s great! Woot! I can do this! Now for the other sleeve!

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&#$@*&%$.

Well. One downside of using a serger is that it cuts the fabric as it sews. Which means that when I take this sleeve off to put it on correctly, there will be less fabric to attach it to. Which means Sabine, if she could talk, would be like “Mom, what is going on with this shirt?!? It feels very off-kilter!” but instead she will just assume shirts are supposed to feel funky and will grow up with a complex all because of me. UGH. (I also forgot to stretch the arm cuffs when I sewed them on so they’re kind of weird too but whatever.)

But I carried on and just added an amusing note in with the package and hey, it’s the thought that counts, and thank goodness Robyn is such an understanding friend.

Project 2:

Hank turned 5 and he loves Paw Patrol so I made him some pajama shorts and he was very underwhelmed as I predicted so I also got him a Paw Patrol plush, but he was also underwhelmed by that, but he’s cute so I forgive him.

Project 3:

Something for myself! I found a lovely knit at Joann and this pattern (now I am realizing that all of the patterns in this post are from Patterns for Pirates) and I am 95% pleased with how it turned out.

Pros:

  • I used the serger, of course, so the seams are all very neat!
  • I aligned the pattern nicely I think with the center of the neckline, instead of just placing the fabric all willy-nilly. That said, I could have done a better job of placing the neckline fabric.
  • I like the fit, overall.

Cons:

  • Hemming knit makes me want to curse a lot. I got the washable tape that was suggested, and it made me curse even more. But I successfully hemmed the bottom.
  • However, when I got to the sleeves, I nicked the fabric with my scissors. So I had to cut an inch and a half off of each. And then I went to hem them and everything was getting wonky and so I just left them serged. I may just leave them. I just cannot deal with them right now.
  • There’s a little puckering in the neckline. I may remove it and redo it to deal with the puckering and the pattern issue. Or not.

I am leaving for a trip to Singapore in a few weeks, and I’d love to make a few more things to wear. I got some linen blend fabric which I think would be great to wear over there, but maybe not so much to put in a suitcase. Hmm. We’ll see. I am full of ideas of things I want to sew, and I got a great deal on some fabric that’s arriving Thursday, so stay tuned!

I got a serger and now I have questions

So yeah, I start a hobby and less than a month later, I have a mountain of fabric (thanks in part to Goodwill and friends), I have two sewing machines (to be fair, I didn’t buy either one of them), and I can’t sleep at night because my mind is racing with ideas and plans and questions.

So it shouldn’t come to any surprise that yesterday I bought a serger. Not a new one, but an old model that someone had posted on FB Marketplace and since I happened to be in the area, and since the seller agreed to my lower offer, and because knits are hard, and because I am Pam, I came home with this baby:

 

The baby pun above was kind of intended.

I don’t know much about sergers, but I mean, I’d heard of the brand, and a quick google didn’t bring up anything negative, and it’s older, which I like to think means quality. Who knows. So far so good. It was already threaded (whew!) and look how pretty!

But I’m not exactly sure where to go from here. I want to try to make something easy with some cheap knit fabric I have but:

  • What about seam allowances? The serger has a little marker for seam allowances but it’s not very useful since the fabric is just kinda flopping around over there. Someone suggested I baste the fabric at the correct seam allowance and then use that as a line. Which makes sense but ugh, so much work!
  • Do I use the serger to actually sew seams together? I feel like I’ve read conflicting info on this. If I’m not, I assume I have to use my sewing machine for the actual seams. Do I have to use a twin needle or zig zag stitch in that case?
  • What about hems on knit items? Say I want to make the boys shorts. So I serge the edge of the fabric to make it nice and neat. But how do I sew the hem? On my sewing machine, right? But not with a straight stitch. But a zig zag would look weird as a hem. So I guess the twin needle? (You can’t hear the whiny voice in my head when I type “twin needle.”) I feel like the twin needle option doesn’t look right, but maybe I just don’t know how to use it.
  • Okay, so I was wondering about woven items and using the serger to finish the edges (how do you take that into account with seam allowances, but as I was trying to fall asleep last night, it came to me in a flash – you do that after you’ve sewn the garment. Right? Or wrong? See why I can’t sleep?
  • Do I need special needles for this? I am working on the possibly erroneous assumption that the current needles in the machine are appropriate for knit fabric but who knows.

So if you have the answers to any of these questions, please let me know!

Oh, also, I moved everything up to the bedroom so we have a dining room table again. Need a better solution for Mt. Fabric but for now this will do.

 

 

My newest shirt {seamwork akita}

I made another shirt!

 

I am a natural at smiling.

 

Not without many bumps in the road, either. I’d found the Akita pattern and gazed longingly at it for a while before finally subscribing to Seamwork (affiliate link) so I could get it for free (well you know, after paying to subscribe.)

I had some inexpensive fabric I’d bought so I decided I’d use that to make it and if it didn’t work out, it wouldn’t be the end of the world. Good thing, because it didn’t work out. Just too small, generally. Too bad, though, because it took forever to make. Partially because I’m new at this, and partially because all of the edges of the fabric were bias bound (or whatever the proper term is, but it involved sewing on a lot of bias tape.)

Bias tape!

So after about four hours of sewing (okay not literally forever) it was done, I put it on, and…sad trombone. (Also because of the pattern, the cherries on the back were upside down, but I knew this going in.)

Okay, well, at least I knew sorta how to fix it for the next time. Make it bigger!

[I had all kinds of internal debates about if I should make it bigger everywhere or just in the hip area, but then I decided I’m not good enough to “grade” the pattern (which means to make it one size in some parts and another size in other parts, which is trickier than it sounds) so I just made it bigger everywhere.]

This time, I used a fabric I liked more, and it turned out much better! Sure, it’s a little boxy, but I think once it’s washed a few times, it’ll soften up a bit. Too bad I’m not the type to tuck things in. But now I know how to use bias tape!

 

Ta-da!

 

123 months

1-2-3 months! (Miles just pointed that out to me.) (He’s watching me write this post.)

Linus was not happy. Actually, none of them were, but at least Oliver and Miles faked it.

A successful shirt!

I have been wanting to make a shirt for myself but am terrified of sleeves so I was happy to find this Burda pattern that was “tres facile” and was just two pieces, a front and a back. Even better, finishing the edges was optional, so I only hemmed the neckline. I wanted to try using a twin needle (OH FINE NO TRIPLET NEEDLES I SEE HOW IT IS) and figured out that a) the bobbin tension was set too high (so glad I managed to not lose the guides to my mom’s sewing machine) and b) I needed to use interfacing to make the fabric stiffer. I’m the end the neckline was a success, I suppose. I still can’t sew straight to save my life but who’s gonna be looking that closely?

 

Goes well with pajama pants

 

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My “could be worse!” face

 

 

Anyhoo, I made this out of dollar a yard fabric that I got just for practicing on but turns out I don’t hate it so maybe I’ll wear it out in public one day?

It’s meant to be tunic-y, but I may shorten the next one. Or not. We will see.

(Photo credit to Miles)