Mr. AFS and myself had this grand idea of going camping this summer. This is not to say that we’ve never been camping, but going and leaving the shop is/was a big deal. I thought it would be all the more grand if I made camp shirts for the occasion. And only give myself a week to do this. Keep in mind we had muslins, fitting, alterations and plaid matching to do here, to say nothing of sewing the shirt and all that that entails. But If there was ever a call for flannel, its camping. If there was ever a call for plaid, camping is just the ticket. The awesome thing in all of this is that the mister here abhores plaid. Can you believe this? Can you believe that this man is married to a woman with a slight fetish for plaid and he hates it? I told Mr. AFS that it was possible that I could get some houndstooth flannel instead and he nearly had a heart attack. Would not stand for “houndstooth.” Heavens no! Now it was plaid or go home. So we went with plaid. Sheesh!
Well after all that emotional turmoil, I picked out some plaid cotton flannel, a sewing pattern for me and for him and went about sewing these things up. His is Simplicity 1544 and this pattern is a winner. Not too many troubles really. I made a muslin and found that the armpit was little high for Mr. AFS and he needed a bit more room in the upper back. Shortened the sleeve by a few inches too and then we hit gold. For myself, I used McCall’s 6649. This pattern actually came with a Craftsy class that I am working my way through and loving! I thought that in the process of fitting this pattern and getting all the kinks out, I would go ahead and make it up a few times. This is the first make and I still have a few kinks to go. Interestingly enough, I don’t usually get all the kinks out until about the 3rd time. That’s really just the way it goes. I mean, I don’t know if that is the way for everyone, but I tinker until I’m perfectly happy and then I make a permanent copy and blah blah blah. Someday I’ll bore you with that process. For now, you should know about this Craftsy class though. The idea is that you take this pattern, fit it and then reverse engineer it so that it is put back in sloper form! From there you create all these different tops/blouses. So much fun! Definitely recommend. To anyone.
OK, so enough of that. I had the same beefs with my pattern as my mister did with his. I increased the upper back width, though I’m going to do a little more as I don’t think I did enough and then goodness gracious, I had to take like 3 inches off the sleeve length. I feel I may have overdone this part a bit, but when my arm is at rest the sleeve hangs precisely where it’s supposed to. There are more kinks to work out here, but I’ll save those for next round’s roundup.
Being on a timetable for these shirts and as any good procrastinator would, I put these off until the last minute. The night before we left on the camping trip I was still doing buttonholes and attaching buttons. So these felt a bit rushed. Barring that, I’m surprised they turned out as well as they did. The plaids are matched pretty well and I feel I did a pretty good job with navigating the bias pieces too. Overall these were pretty successful. Mr. AFS wore his and loved it! He’s never worn or owned a plaid shirt in his life, so this is serious people. Mine turned out pretty good too. I did manage to cut a hole in mine. Don’t ask me how that worked or even how I did it because I have no idea. But I patched/mended it and now my shirt has character if nothing else. Sigh….
The idea was to get pictures of us actually camping in the shirts. But wouldn’t you know, it rained. And it rained. And it rained. We cut the trip short because of all this rain. I know. All the work of making these shirts and we weren’t able to get j.crew perfect pics of the event. Such is my luck! Ha!
At least there’s flannel for the next camping trip, or possibly some romantic getaway in the near possible future. I almost went matching plaid shirts. We might still have to do that. With some line dancing and cowboy boots for fall. Plaid flannel = true love!
Ain’t that the truth? Serger threading is nothing less that absolutely, positively mind bending. You get bent out of shape just thinking about it! I know sewing people who’ve actually purchased two sergers so they don’t have to change out thread colors. They keep them threaded in black or white. Yeah. This is the bain of a sewist’s/sergerist’s/overlockist’s existence. I thought that once and for all, it was time for me to give a little insight into the easier tie off version of threading your already threaded serger. In my sometimes sewing teacher life, I teach a very basic class on getting to know your serger. We thread the hard way and then I show you this way once you’ve got a threaded serger. Every time I teach the class, I’ll have you know, everyone always says that they’ve tried the “knot off/tie off” way of rethreading their serger and it never works. Let me tell you something – it never worked for me either until I figured out how I could do it without ending up in a pool of my own tears by the end of it all. Disclaimer: I am in no way affiliated with Babylock. Just so happens that’s the serger I’m tutorializing on today. Also, for those of you who have those fancy schmancy self-threading sergers,
you can take your smug serger self and walk on cuz I may or may not be a little green with envy, this isn’t for you, obviously. So the following is Sunni’s method for re-threading a threaded serger:
Start by clipping the threads off your serger cones. Keep your threads long enough to tie a knot in them easily. Key words here – “long” & “easily.” Ask me how I know how to do this the hard way and I’ll give you a dissertation. For some sergers/overlockers, its easier to clip the threads before they go into the thread guides (that contraption that goes up and down, you know). Do whichever is easier for your machine.
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I know, I know. Hiatus is a fairly lax word for what I’ve been on lately. Sheesh. Rather than apologize and tell you all that its going to change, here’s a swimming suit that I made a couple of years ago and just got to wear this week. I know, pretty weird, but that’s my life. It’s really crazy how satisfying swimwear can be to sew. I highly recommend.
This is my second Burda Style Alison and I’m happy to say that I’m completely satisfied with this make. Oh I love it so much I could cry! It’s absolutely perfect! Ha ha! I’ve been waiting my entire life for this swimming suit and yet, it took me two years to wear it. Sigh…. Yes. Anyway, now that I’ve all made you seriously green with envy (that pun is sooooo totally intended too) let’s talk shop about this pattern.
My previous version of this pattern was still too short in the torso. When I did my previous version I added 1 1/2″ length to the crotch depth. For this version, I raised the bra shelf 1 whole inch and that friends is pretty wicked. In total there is 2 1/2 inches added to the front (I wanted to keep the back where it was, so I only raised the portion above where the back of the suit connects to the front at the side seams). I’ve never had to add that much length to a sewing pattern before. I mean, I thought I was long waisted but now that I really think about it, I’m more convinced that this pattern is very short in the torso and I’m even more convinced of this having gone through several of the photos on BurdaStyle of this suit. It’s even rather short in the torso on the original model.
For this version, I reincarnated the neck strap. I got rid of the back strap across the middle of the back and instead cut 2 of the neck straps, stitched them together and added a really really long strap to the neckline area. From there I tried on the suit, criss-crossed the strap in the back and attached the strap ends where the original horizontal back strap would have been. In my opinion, this is so much more comfortable than having that neck strap around my neck – I HATE that because it just digs into the back of my neck the whole day long. The strap also gives the perfect amount of support to that bustline now too. In addition to this change, I added regular old 1″ braided elastic to the entire strap. I found on my previous make of this pattern that the strap really lacked…..something and it really needed stability of some sort. Since you can’t really interface a knit that is supposed to stretch like this, the next best thing, I felt, was something that would support the stretch of the knit while at the same time stretching itself. Elastic. It works like magic in this suit and makes it so that the polka dots don’t look all warped in the strap section, plus I think it will really make the suit last for a quite a long time.
Last, but certainly not least, I went for more padding in the bust. When you’re a small busted lass its nice to add a little oomph whenever possible, dontcha think? I cut up an old push up bra that I’d been saving for just such an occasion and voila! now I haz something to write home about! It’s a marvelous feeling! He he!
I think that just about does it for this year’s outing of my swim suit. Since two years ago, there’s quite a wonderful sampling of swim suit patterns coming out the market. Totally recommended from me for a sweet ending to this year’s hot summer. Yay! Happy Summer People!
Thanks everyone for your lovely thoughts in my last post about this jacket and my need for a bit of a catharsis through the making of it. I’m plugging away and since several of you wanted behind the scenes, here I am giving you some. I opted to use my rub-off jacket pattern from this particular jacket. I just love that jacket pattern so much! So glad I finally made a pattern from this favorite jacket and forced myself to make it already (remember that green number?)! I haven’t really changed anything this time around but I’m planning on adding an extra detail that I haven’t tried before and that’s piping around the lapels, down the front and around the collar. I’m also planning on welt pockets with a flap this time around too.
Originally I had picked a different jacket pattern to sew, but I was woefully unimpressed with the muslin, so here I am back in “tried and true” territory and with this lovely lovely fabric, I feel really good about that. I opted for fusible tailoring (this means I’m using a fusible interfacing) and I’m feeling pretty good about this decision too. Granted I could have gone the hand route with this fabric and all, but I just wasn’t feeling like it.
You can see here that the jacket fronts have been interfaced (it’s this rather fantastic weft from my shop) and I’ve taped the roll lines and edges and gone ahead and done bound buttonholes. I opted to use the leftover scraps from these wool pants for the buttonhole lips and am planning on using it in a couple other places too. It’s a lightweight navy wool broadcloth and is working out perfectly with what I have in mind for this jacket.
Also to give you an idea, since the jacket back piece of this jacket is shaped with a center back seam, this is how I do a “back stay” if you will with fusible interfacing. The important part here is that across the back and in the armscye, these areas are reinforced with interfacing. And then I also do a fusible interfacing in the hem area.
Hopefully this gives you some ideas for tailoring a jacket. Personally, I am a fan of fusible interfacings, but you definitely have to have the right interfacing for the job here. These professional grade interfacings really are wonderful and I’ve been terribly happy with using them in the past. They also make the jacket process a little faster, and sometimes I go for that and sometimes I don’t. It does depend on the fabric choice too. All in all, this a nerd-tacular post, but I hope it gives you a little peek into the behind the scenes of me tailoring a jacket. I’ll give you a few more peeks in the ensuing days ahead. Enjoy!
I haven’t been sewing for a few weeks now. Well, I’ve tried to sew a couple of t-shirts and just found myself going, “meh….” and not being fulfilled in any way. So I thought to myself, “Now Miss Sunni, you’ve been feeling rather badly about yourself and life lately, so get out of this rut and make that thing that you know will help. A jacket.” Yes, even in my positive self affirmations I can be rather shallow. But it’s times like these when a girl needs a something she can turn to, that she does well, and gives her a spot of delight. Tailoring a jacket is a most welcome and much needed delight at present. So a jacket – just when its about to turn very warm out – it is.
With that, we recently acquired this rather thick cotton tapestry looking fabric in the shop. Has a southwestern inspired motif to it and the coloring was just perfect – for me. One of our regular customers came in just the other day and there we sat, just oogling it. And it was then that it hit me that the jacket I need to make for my shallow heart delight needed to be made from this rather amazing textile.
You know, its an interesting thing to be talking about making a something in a time of, well, need. I’m craving my old creative happy-go-lucky self and she’s been missing-in-action (serious action too) and just needs a bit of a boost that really can only come from within. It really could be anything if it wasn’t sewing too. Painting a picture, writing a piece of music (yes, Mr. AFS, that one’s for you), writing down a really good story, planting a garden, etc. I’ve just been needing something that will make me feel like I’ve got a bit of my old magic back. Ever felt that way before? The ability to create something, from very start to very finish, and then wear it, gives one the most unbelievable sense of worth. And worth is something that I need to focus on feeling, because for reals, I am worth it.
Have you turned to sewing – or some other creative vocation – when you are in distress? Tell me some of your feel goods about sewing, because right now, that’s what I totally need and want to hear. Wish me luck. This jacket is most definitely a true labor of love – for myself.