December 21, 2011

Make It, Wear It: Gathered Shirt

I wanted to show you guys my gathered shirt from Simplicity 2219 dressed up a bit. I wish I owned a pair of slacks but right now all I have are jeans and skirts. Since we were going on a date to Yardhouse and then Christmas shopping I thought a skirt wouldn't be very practical. I wore a nice lace-inspired necklace though and I think it changed the look quite a bit.

Now that I see the shirt again I think I should have made it a couple inches longer and I think it would look better with the bottom hemmed. Of course, I can't hem it now without making it even shorter so it will stay as is. I think before I make a dress out of the pattern I'd like to try to lift the neckline a bit so that the undershirt is optional.
I wasn't in a very good mood by the time we got to the pictures, so please excuse the annoyed look. We ended up having a good time once we finally got to our date and Mr. Awesome (as I will refer to him here from this point on) seemed to think I looked great.

December 18, 2011

The Disaster, also known as the pillowcase shirt.

So I was told that if I were to contribute I had to post the good, the bad, AND the ugly. Well this shirt is definitely ugly. So, I found this cute tank top made from a jersey knit and ribbon and step by step instructions for completing it on pinterest. It was supposed to look something like this:

The shirt called for a jersey like knit fabric or something stretchy like it and really thick satin or ribbon for the top.

Problems I ran into:
1. I didn't use the right kind of needle in my sewing machine, so the fabric kept on snagging and creating an uneven stitch along the top of the shirt.
2. I used a contrasting thread rather than one that blended in. On the model shirt it looked cute. On mine it just looked messy.
3. My torso isn't long and my arms aren't bony, so the baggy type shirt does NOT suit my body.
4. The ribbon I used was way too thin. It was only an inch and a half wide, which made for a very flimsy neckline. If I made it again, I would use about a 3 inch wide satin.
5. The arm holes were way too awkward looking and I have NO clue how to fix that.

So, ALL that being said, here's my final result:

Now, understand something. I've lost 10 pounds in the past 4 months and worked really hard to do it. It's not like I only want to wear super tight fitting clothes now. In fact, I hate really tight fitting clothes. But this shirt is SO unflattering that it makes me look super heavy and completely shapeless.
I know I should have thought about the shape of the shirt before I made it, but that was my fault.
Note to self: In the future make sure you think about things that will look good on YOUR body!

December 17, 2011

Make It, Wear It: Ruffle Skirt

It fits! Just barely... but it fits! I wore it to the elder/staff Christmas party last night. The skirt (McCall's 6439) was cute though I found it challenging to make into an outfit. It is shorter than I expected and has a very high waist. I have a top in mind that I think will go really well with it eventually but so far I haven't been able to find the exact one I want so I had to pick an outfit from what I already have. Still I'm happy with what I came up with and I think I looked nice.

The leggings were a good idea because the skirt is still tight enough on me that it kept riding up whenever I would sit or squat. I think I might have gone with some nice flats instead of the boots now that I see the whole outfit but the boots still look good and were nice and warm. The ruffle and high waist were flattering because they hid a bit of the belly and highlighted the smallest part of my waist. The problem was finding a shirt that looked nice tucked in. I "bloused" the shirt a bit so that it wasn't form fitting and between that and the belt I think the look worked well.
Some things I would change now that I've worn it:
I think I would use a thinner fabric. The ruffle didn't lie as flat as I would have liked because the material was so thick. I think I'd also try to lengthen it a bit. When I'm thinner I might look good in a short skirt but for now I think a couple more inches would fit my body shape better. I also think I'll wait a few more pounds before I try to wear it again because the pockets flared out at the hips, the waist was pretty tight and, like I said before, it tended to ride up because it was so tight on the butt and thighs. The next time I make something so fitted I will be more careful with my measurements and try to make proper adjustments. Overall I like the skirt. I like the ruffles and I like the high waist with a tucked in shirt--I might be able to dress it down with a simple ribbed tank and a casual belt. I think I would make it again and I'll definitely wear it again.

PS: This could easily become my favorite segment on this blog both to write and to read about. It's fun to show what I've made but so much more fun to show OFF what I've made.

December 08, 2011

Gathered Shirt

I've had this pattern since June:

When I bought it (for $1 of course) I was hoping to make a dress for my baby shower but I never got around to it. Still I loved the pattern! I thought it would also look great as a shirt so I just shortened the skirt part to the height I wanted and wallah:

I really like the gathering in the bust area, though I can't tell if it makes my chest look smaller or bigger. Either way I think the look is flattering and the gathering just below the bust hides my belly a bit. I'm wearing an undershirt because otherwise there's just a bit more cleavage than I'm normally comfortable with.
The only thing that didn't seem to go right is the lining. You can see it below on Wendy (it's inside out). The pattern called for lining in the bust and side pieces so I used the same kind of lining I use for other patterns and it ripped out of the seam in some places as soon as I tried it on. I think I'll research it a bit and see if there is lining meant specifically for knits.

Besides shortening the length I also added a second layer to the "skirt". The fabric I used is very thin and clingy so I thought a second layer would hide a bit more. It took some tweaking because I only wanted the top layer gathered and I wanted the underlayer to be a bit more fitted. I didn't get it exactly how I wanted it but I think it works. I also left both layers raw on bottom to give it a more casual look. I think you can see the layers and the gathering better on Wendy.
I'm really happy with it. It's nice to have another decent shirt to wear on the rare occasions that I actually leave my house. I'll definitely use this pattern again... I'm thinking a short, sleeveless dress sometime this summer. Anyway, let me know what you think!

December 06, 2011


So excited! I found this dress form on Overstock for almost half of the retail price, free shipping and I found an additional coupon for $10 off (I always google "coupon" plus the name of the website before I buy something just in case and it usually pays off). I think I'll name her Wendy. She's very adjustable and can help fit pants as well as skirts/shirts/dresses/etc. (check out the barbie inspired crotch area!) I used some of my sewing machine savings for her. It's something I can use right away and in light of the many months until I can afford my new machine, what's an extra month or two?

I'll need to pad certain areas but from what I've read it's a good idea to pad the whole thing anyway so that it has a little more "give" like a real body. I'm nervous about making the adjustments for a couple of reasons:
1) I'm not very good at measuring. I'm going to wait until my mom can come over one day while the girls are napping to help me so I'm not just eyeballing the parts I can't reach well.
2) The resulting form is not likely to be very flattering. But I guess I'd rather have it accurate than flattering on the form and awful on me, right? And it will be fun to peel off the layers and see from a different angle how my figure is changing.
I've also been looking up ways to cover it but I might wait on that until I'm closer to where I want to be so I'm not taking the cover off every month to make adjustments to the padding.

I'm hoping this will help me get a better idea of fit, especially on my belly area. Should also be awesome for adjusting/refashioning thrift store finds. Anyway, I'm excited to get it set up though besides this current shirt project I don't think I'll get to use it again until after Christmas.

PS: I'm going to try to pick up the group shirt pattern this week. I've asked around and have gotten a really positive response. I hope I'm not getting in over my head with this thing.

November 25, 2011

Black Friday

Joann Fabrics was good to me this year! I picked up some fabrics I'm pretty excited about and I can't wait to show you. I bought some fancy fabric for the girls' Christmas dresses and some fun fabric to make backpacks for Abs and Skipper. I also got some fabric for stockings since we'll need to replace them this year anyway if we want them to match and they should be really simple to make. Becky's supposed to teach me how to applique so maybe I'll put our names on them. And lastly I found some fabric for a couple of things for me--but I think I'll wait to tell you about those until they're in clothing form.

I had an idea I want to run by you. I was thinking about hosting a sewing class, of sorts. My idea was to wait until another $0.99 pattern sale then pick up several of the same pattern but in a range of sizes. I think I'll make one for myself first so I'm familiar with the pattern and to make sure it's cute and easy. If it turns out well I was thinking I'd invite some people who have expressed an interest in sewing clothes and just tell them how much fabric to buy then we'd all work on the same pattern at the same time at my house. Here's the pattern I was looking at:

Womens Top and Tie Belt Sewing Pattern 2594 Simplicity

What do you think? Would you be interested in coming? I thought I'd ask my mom to help since she used to sew all her own clothes and an extra set of eyes and hands would be nice. I don't think I could do it until January or February but most people are tied up in projects, parties, etc until then anyway. Let me know what you think of the idea and the pattern choice.

Hope you had a great Thanksgiving!

November 12, 2011

Ruffle Skirt

Finished! It's sexy, it's wintery, it's... not going to fit for a while. Still though, I think it turned out very well and I'm so excited to wear it (eventually). So here's what I did:
I made the pink one of this McCall's pattern:
but I used a much more casual fabric and I think I like it better. I wanted a skirt I could wear to church or on a date without feeling too overdressed if we went somewhere simple. Ruffles are so popular right now--I hope they still are when it finally fits!

Here it is laid out--I'll post a picture of me in it once it fits well:

It's pretty fitted but still has a flowy look and I think it will work well with leggings and boots on cool days. I'm really pleased with how it turned out. Bonus, the skirt has pockets!

I was going to do an elastic waist to help accommodate my post-baby belly but the whole thing was just a bit tighter than I want so I followed the pattern instead because when the waist fits the rest of it should fit better as well. Part of me wanted to do the elastic waist because I was nervous about doing an "invisible" zipper but I think I did ok and I got to try my hand at a hook and eye closure as well. The zipper is really ugly but I already had it and didn't want to buy one. If it's as "invisible" as it's supposed to be it won't show anyway.

So there it is! It was an "easy" pattern and while it was encouraging it also showed me that I have a lot to learn and practice so I think I'll stick with the "easy" ones for now.

Oh! I almost forgot the best part: I got the pattern and the fabric on sale so the whole thing cost me somewhere around $4... makes the skirt cuter, doesn't it?

November 07, 2011

Saving a Pattern

There is a fine line between frugal and cheap. The latter conjures images of Scrooge, Mr. Burns and the lady at the grocery store who walks around with a calculator and berates the cashier when charged a few pennies more than she had anticipated. I tend to try to stay in the frugal category and I hope this doesn't set me over the line.

I know/hope that I'll only get to wear this skirt (assuming it turns out well) for a few months before I shrink out of it but I want to make it anyway. I like the pattern for the skirt and assuming it turns out well I'm sure I'll want to make it again. Right now I'm in the largest size--and even that's pushing it--which is no big deal but I know I'll be smaller soon so I don't want to cut out the largest size and cut over the smaller sizes. Here's where I hope I'm not being cheap: even though I only paid, like $1.99 max for this pattern at Joanns I don't want to buy it again but I also don't want to use pattern paper if I can help it because that gets expensive (not to mention time-consuming) if I retrace every size of every pattern. So this time I tried cutting out the outside line even where the outside line was a different size then folding the paper until just the size I needed was on the outside.

What do you think? Genius or cheap?

I also learned how to use transfer paper. Usually I would simply lift the pattern and try to line up the marks (I also discovered that I've been doing this on the wrong side--that is to say the right side). But I couldn't find a washable crayola marker that would show up on this fabric (man, maybe I am cheap) so I decided to try transfer paper. Aside from being much more messy than I expected, once I figured out what I was doing it was really simple, accurate and very fast. Bonus, it looks like the paper can be used multiple times! Anyway I'm sold on it--especially for patterns with a lot of marks and darts like this one has.

So that's my progress so far. I'm hoping that the sewing will move quickly. Happy sewing, my friend!