Monday, April 6, 2015

Latest Loes Hinse Tango Skirt

It's obvious that this skirt is a favorite because it's appeared so many time on this blog. Easy to sew, beautiful in both lengths--what's not to love?

This latest one is made out of a gorgeous vintage rayon challis that my friend Sue Ellen gave me. There are 10 panels, all cut from the same pattern piece. Honestly, cutting out all the panels is probably the most time consuming part of making this pattern. I made this using mostly the new Bernina to sew it together, using its dual feed feature. It's like having a built-in walking foot, and there are several feet compatible with this feature. Love it! The seam edges were serged to finish. The casing was made in the traditional fold over, sew, and pull elastic through manner instead of the technique described in the guide sheet. I'd like to be able to alter this skirt later if needed and while Loes Hinse's elastic waist technique is great, it's a pain in the neck to rip out due to multiple layers of stitching at the edge. The hem was also serged then just turned up and machine sewn.

I made the top from Kwik Sew 2565 a number of months ago, and it was previously posted here.

The shoes are the "Sable" from Sole Society, in gray suede, and very comfortable even with a 2 3/4" heel. I bought them at the end of the season last year and there are still a few pair in stock.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Latest Kwik Sew 2565

Yes, another one! This pattern is definitely a TNT; it's my first choice whenever I make a knit top.

Kwik Sew often offers similar versions of this T shirt it its line, so even though this particular pattern is out of print, you might be able to locate something like it. Other than the fact that I've tweaked it to suit me, I like this pattern because the sleeve is actually designed to fit at the shoulder instead of being dropped.

This version is made of "onion skin" knit that I bought from Emma One Sock years and years ago, so this project is also a stash buster!

I don't have a lot to say about construction. I've made this so many times that it almost comes together on its own. This time, I used my conventional machine for assembly throughout. My serger was only used for coverstitching the hems. No particular reason because I've used the serger quite often on previous versions.

The jeans are Not Your Daughter's Jeans and the clogs are Sofft. 

Thursday, February 26, 2015

The SewWest Closet

I'm trying to catch up with some garment pictures on me for a change. I'd like you to have some idea of my style and how I put things together, as well as the latest items hot of the machine. Until I come up with something better, I'm labeling those posts as "The SewWest Closet." Not very original but it is what it is

DH got me a new tripod round Christmas, which I accessorized with a camera phone mount and a bluetooth remote shutter. So yes, now I'm taking blog photos with my iPhone. I play around with my photos after the fact on my laptop or in Instagram. But until I break down and get a "good" camera, that's what I'm doing.

I still have my point and shoot but I got it just before bluetooth became common. So it's not so good for selfies, even with a tripod. It has its place because it still does a good job with still shots and macros.

The first of the series will be up soon, so keep an eye out for it. I may also go back and label some of my older posts as well--no promises but that's the plan.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Second Loes Hinse Sweater Set

I was almost able to finish another Loes Hinse Sweater Set before the trip, but didn't quite get it done.

This one is made from a Missoni-ish knit fabric that I've had in the stash for a long while. There are are two yarns, a chenille and a thin rayon. It came from JoAnn's, back when they had quite a bit of good "jobber" fabrics. I still have some green and some black left in this fabric.

Since I'm lounging about with no makeup and pajamas, I'm showing it on Ms. Acme this time.

My serger did not like this fabric at all, so I used a conventional machine throughout, a narrow zig zag for construction, then a wider zig zag for finishing. The new machine did a great job making all the buttonholes.

Coco recently asked about my dress form. It's an Acme adjustable form that a friend gave to me when she moved to Oregon several years ago. Based on the label (which fell off and is lost), I think it's probably from the 1950's-early 1960's. It has metal bars on inside to allow for adjustment. It a bit smaller than I am, so I use it for display vs. fitting. It comes in handy during construction as a tool for working out how the garment should look.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

An Active February So Far

February has been busy, and sewing has had to take a back seat.

First, I was away for a week on a work-related trip to New England. And experienced a healthy portion of this:

Since we left on Friday, more snow has fallen, so I'd say we left at just the right time.

This week I had a minor surgery to remove my gallbladder. This is me in the recovery room, still out of it. Cute!

I'm home recuperating. I'm not having much pain or discomfort, but I'm trying to take it easy. I have a couple of minor projects that I want to work on while I'm home. We shall see how successful that's going to be.

Monday, January 19, 2015

This and That

I'm in between major projects right now, but still keeping busy in the Cave.

DH talked me into alterations and mending on a couple pairs of his motorcycle pants. One pair done, and one to go. The alterations consist of adding some room by adding a wedge of fabric to the center back (both are the same style). Mending is fixing a zipper on one and replacing the hook fastener on the other. Only for my husband!

I cut out a couple more pairs of the TNT pajama pants (McCall's 2476)  late last year and have sewed up both of them as of this weekend.  Here's the pattern, which is out of print, I think. However, there are lots of pajama patterns out there and all of them are similar.

Here's a photo of the latest ones. Yes, folded. You know what pajama pants look like, so this is more to show the prints.

I used "quilter's" cotton for these, which is a nice weight for lounging and sleeping. I used to make flannel ones, but they're too warm to sleep in. These sew up pretty quickly because I've made so many. Instant gratification and a good way to use some of the wilder cotton prints I have. I think both of these came from Nob Hill Fabrics. If you're visiting Albuquerque and looking for souvenir fabrics to take home, Liz's store is a good one to look into. 

I also just completed a crochet project. I don't pull out the hooks often, but it's nice to make something from time to time. Plus, I can work on it while hanging out at home without having to be in the Cave. I learned how when I was in junior high with guidance from my grandma and one of my teachers (thank you Mrs. Penn!). This latest project is a scarf that I found on the Moogly blog, called the Chevron Lace Infinity Scarf. The yarn is just Red Heart, but I loved the Monet color scheme when I saw it. The photo below shows it looped twice around the neck.

I'm pretty happy with how it came out although I found the instructions a little hard to follow. I'm thinking about making the matching fingerless mitts too (so I guess the pattern wasn't that hard to follow!).

One of my latest projects is the result of the Ugly Fabric Challenge sponsored by the ASG chapter here in Albuquerque. My fabric is a beige stretch cotton bottom weight. Let's just say it's not my best color.

There's a lot of it, so I'll be muslining pants and attempting to compete one "real" pair.  I'm currently trying to narrow down the patterns I've pulled from my collection. Any leftover fabric after the challenge will be used for the First Day of School project that we've done for the past couple of years. The fabric is heavy enough for kids' pants.

Another of my latest projects is also related to ASG. We are one of the sponsoring guilds of the biannual Fiber Arts Fiesta, so we need to make some little goodies for a charity fundraiser at the event. I have been going through my Pinterest and the pattern collection to come up with some ideas for quick and cute things to make. I know, charity sewing, but my "selfish sewist" goal is to use up many of the scraps that are taking over my sewing space.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Fleece for Wintertime

I just finished a couple of fleece vests over the holidays. They're perfect for the weather here, substituting for a jacket on milder days or as an extra layer when it's colder.  Today is one of the colder days (Happy New Year!).  I'm still in pjs and probably will be for a while, so I'm going to show them on the dress form.

I cut out both vests at the same time and sewed them right after each other. This is the first one I sewed, using a cat print fleece remnant from JoAnn's.

And some detail shots, since the print obscures them a bit. Collar, yoke, zip and seams:

In-seam pockets:

The pattern is McCall's 5252 View A. Last time I looked, it was still in print.  The McCall's site appears to be down right now so I was unable to check.

I was attracted to it by the design details and the MP3 pocket. However, this is a Unisex pattern, which basically means it's designed for a guy. I used a combination of Small through the armscyes, tapering to Medium through the torso, and I had to do a lot of adjustments to make this vest work. I know, I should have known based on the fit on the female model (who looks none too happy about having to wear the sample garment).

First of all, it's very long. I ended up folding out 2" on the front yoke and upper back. I also shortened at the hem another 1 3/4". Second, the shoulders are also very wide. After sewing the vest together and basting the side seams, I tried it on and determined that I needed to narrow each shoulder by 1 1/4".  Basically, that just involved taking out the basting, laying out the vest and using the curved ruler to remove a crescent of fabric on each side. Due to the upper body adjustment, I had to move the pockets up. Fortunately I figured that out before inserting the zipper and hemming it. Oh yeah, that MP3 pocket? I left it out. I could not figure out a way to make it work with my iPhone 5 and not look ridiculous. The MP3 pocket is really  designed for a smaller device like a Nano. Good thing I have blue tooth ear buds, so it doesn't really matter. 

This pattern is also what Kathleen Fasanella calls "coffin clothes," in that all the details are only on the front--no yoke or seaming on the back. It doesn't matter so much with the print fleece, but if it were a solid... I guarantee that similar RTW garments are not designed like that, and I have the clothes to prove it. If I do use this pattern again (and I might), I will modify the back so that it's not just a blank piece of fabric. With all the issues I had with the fit, I do like the style. I think I'd like to try the pullover version of the hoodie at some point.

The next vest is made from sugar skull fleece I saw at Santa Fe Fabrics during last spring's Fiberly Train weekend. Skulls are a popular Southwestern motif due to Dia De Los Muertos.

Detail of the collar and zip:

Butterick 3257 is a copyright 2001 pattern that I've made twice before. It's a favorite, and unlike McCall's 5252, it's designed for women! Much easier to fit right from the envelope with minimal alterations. I used a combination of View C (the red vest) for the body and View D (the cat print vest) for the collar.

This pattern is designed for wovens and faux fur, so the sewing instructions assume the garment is lined. Since I used fleece, I omitted the lining, then simply turned under and top stitched hems in place. I had to improvise the collar but the instructions from McCall's 5252 came in handy when working it out. The collar is a bit high for me, but it's unlikely I'll ever wear this vest zipped all the way to the top.

Neither vest was particularly difficult to make, although the separating zipper can be a little tricky since it's important to match the upper edge, lower edge and any horizontal seams. I always use a longer zipper than called for by the pattern so I don't have to worry about sewing around the pull, then remove excess teeth later. I also try to leave the the entire zipper together when sewing it to the garment. That way it's more likely that the sides will match up.

I noticed that the JoAnn's fleece was thinner and less dense than the fleece from Santa Fe Fabrics, but it's not terrible. I wouldn't consider either to be "technical" quality fleece, but fine for normal wear. You can make a vest out of a small piece of fleece. I had a yard or less of each, and I have remnants left that I can use for mitts, etc.