Stashbusting Stats

First off, a big thank-you to Cation Designs and EmSewCrazy for hosting the stashbusting challenges this year and for creating the monthly challenge for us to get inspired.

At the beginning of the year, I took the stashbusting sew-along challenge. I vowed to use 13 pieces of fabric from my stash this year. Here’s a recap of what I made:

I started off with fabric from over 10 years old, from when I worked at the local fabric store in high school and beginning of college. During the year I switched back and forth between old and new. For example, I got a bunch of knit fabrics at the fabric fair last year and the year before with the dream of making and selling my knit dresses. Instead, they turned into Megan Nielsen’s Briars (row 2). My sewing machine broke at the beginning of summer, so there was a bit of a lull in my sewing queue. I got some Colette pattern sewing in, went on vacation, then came back and sewed a couple of stash busting projects. But mainly my summer sewing was made from new fabrics.

A lot of nice pieces from my stash, especially those from 10 years or older, were originally intended for small projects, like camisoles or short skirts. Now that I have a love of dresses, I often feel defeated by the lovely things in my stash I can’t make any dresses with. However, I purchased a few nice blouse patterns that will likely work better with my small pieces, such as the Eucalypt and Datura.  From this experience, I have been buying more than a meter of most of my new fabrics, unless they are intended for toddler clothes, for which 1m often suffices, or if the fabric will not make it to my stash as it is intended to be sewn right away.

I sewed a few more projects than I actually blogged about, like the ones above I only posted on instagram. I also made a top for my SIL, which I didn’t take a picture of, and a jacket for my niece, which I only posted to my facebook page. I also have a few UFOs that I made with stash fabrics (sewaholic thurlow trousers, another briar, a burda top), but I don’t think I can really count them for 2013 as I will not be finishing any of them on new year’s eve. I also made a few softies out of scraps as christmas gifts, but I don’t really want to count those either.

Summary:

  • Pieces used from my old stash (~2000-2003): 3
  • Pieces used from my new stash (~2010-2012): 12
  • Exceeding my goal by 2 pieces!
  • Min points: I added fabric to my stash this year, which was not part of my original goal. My original goal was to only buy notions, linings, and interfacing as needed.

Did you reach your stashbusting goals this year?

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The eyelet and lace-print Laurel

When I read about Colette pattern’s contest, I immediately thought: I must enter! I bought the pattern when it was first introduced, at 10% off. I printed it out and traced it in the space of 24 hours I think. The following day, I chose an amazing paisley printed satin, and got to cutting it out. I even put tracing paper underneath the fabric so it wouldn’t slip and slide! I did french seams! I hand-picked a side zipper! I made adorable cap sleeves! Then I got to making the bias tape and suddenly it became part of my UFO pile. I must have spent hours on that stupid tape. I don’t have a bias-tape maker, and I had to make my own starch spray to stabilize the tiny strips of fabric, otherwise it would not press at all.  I sewed the bias tape to the bottom half of one of the sleeves, and then gave up.  All that’s left is the neckline and the hem. Actually, the hem is half way done. I’m doing a narrow seam, so it’s already got a line of stitching close to the fold, I’ve trimmed it, and all that’s left is turning it over and stitching again. It’s scandelous, really.

Half way through April, I decided to get my ass in gear and have another go at it. After perusing google images, I was inspired by a silk shift dress design by (?), which was color-blocked in navy and coral. And since I recently purchased a french curve, I was prepared to take on some simple pattern design.

I chose two fabrics from my stash: A black eyelet and a printed lace, which I hand-dyed in my wok pan! I used tumeric to dye it, an all-natural dye that gives a lovely yellow colour. And those of you who love Indian food, you know how bad it can stain your clothes.

fabric dyeing process

So I cut out the pieces of my newly designed Laurel pattern and I sewed it up really quickly, even with all of the tricky corners in the blocking. I was just about finished, then I tried it on and realized that I hadn’t put the sweetheart neckline far enough down! I didn’t even take pictures to show you before. It just looked horrible. Like I had a flat DD chest or something. So I picked out the top part and re-cut the pattern pieces. I had plenty eyelet still, but I had to be careful with the yellow fabric because I did not have enough left.  It all worked out!

lovely laurel

Like all the reviews say, this dress comes together very quickly, even with my blocking modifications. I also french seamed all of the seams except for the shoulder seams because I reduced the seam allowance. When I tried on the dress, the arm holes were too tight, so I did a 1cm seam instead of 1.5cm.

I used two different sizes of bias tape on the dress. I used a narrow one on the arm holes and a wider one for the neckline. I ran out of the narrow one after the arm holes, which is why I switched. I think it looks pretty good, though.

It was so lovely taking pictures out in the sun. It seems like everywhere in the world, the winter was hanging on as long as it could. It’s the first time I’ve experienced the grass turning brown in The Netherlands since I moved here 9 years ago.

The back is beautiful, I think. I eliminated the zipper because in making the satin version, I noticed there was enough ease to be able to pull it over my head.

I hemmed it with a double fold.  I originally wanted to use the narrow bias tape to keep most of the length, but as I said, I ran out, and the wide one was just too wide in my opinion. The length is ok, though. A nice summery length.

But I am seriously thinking that I will never sew with eyelet again because everytime the needle went through the embroidery, it stopped or slowed down. I had to replace my needle after this project. And I think I might add darts in front one of these days to make it a bit more form-fitting. It’s a bit too loose in front for my taste.

Thanks for stopping by.

Almost weekend post

I have been pretty busy these last couple of weeks. I’m really trying to finish off my thesis before I leave for Canada in two weeks, or at least have a very good first draft, because the end of the school year is drawing near and if I don’t finish, well, let’s just say I’ve taken long enough to finish my masters. No more excuses! And when I’m not working on my thesis, I’m sewing, or doing something sewing-related. When I’m uninspired to write, I’ve been tracing patterns. I’ve traced the Ginger skirt, the Ginger bodysuit, and the perfect nursing top all in the last couple of weeks.

And in non-school and non-sewing news, I have another new nephew! He was born on Monday and I got to visit him on Tuesday already. I went to visit him and his proud parents along with my partner and his brother, girlfriend and their son. Everything went well with the birth, so the parents were very relaxed and we all got to take turns holding him. The only problem with this picture is now the pressure is on for us to be next. But we are not ready to be next!

I made a couple of tops for my sister-in-law that she wore all through her pregnancy. I love that she appreciates what I made for her. So I sewed up a nursing top for her from Megan Nielsen’s maternity line.

That box in the corner is my UFO pile.

However, I’m a little bit nervous that it won’t be very good for nursing. I ordered the fabric online, and I didn’t read it very carefully. The fabric I used is a jersey voile, therefore SEE THROUGH. Not very modest for a new mom, is it?!. Thankfully, I also ordered a brown jersey that matches perfectly, so I used that to underline it. In doing so, I think some of the stretchiness was compromised. They are both only two-way stretch, so they weren’t very stretchy to begin with. If I make it again, I’ll make sure to use 4-way stretch instead.

I just hope that she loves it enough to wear it anyway! The dressform isn’t pregnant or has post-baby belly and it looks great on it, doesn’t it? I hope it is something that she can wear post-nursing as well. We’re going to their place next week to build a fence since they also recently moved into a new house. So we’ll see…

Summary:

Fabric: 1.5m jersey voile, 1.5m polyester jersey
Notions: thread
Hours: about 3-4 (underlining takes extra time!)
Cost: The fabric cost €12. I know, I’m supposed to be stashbusting, but I can’t help splurging on others! I used my standard black thread though. I get 1000m at a time, so I don’t go through it so quickly.
Make it again?: Yes! I’m already making another top for a friend. Also not too stretchy… oops. It’s the thought that counts, right?

Cordova jacket progress

Hello everyone!

So I’m making a wearable muslin of the Cordova Jacket from Sewaholic patterns. Here’s a little update on my progress:

I decided not to line the jacket, except for the sleeves, so I’m using two finishing techniques for the seams: for the boucle-type fabric, I’m finishing the seams using bias binding; for the wool, I’m just pinking it because it doesn’t fray anyway. Maybe it looks a bit strange, definitely incongruent, but with my track record, it’s pretty good. I’m not one to finish seams at all, but I’m trying to change that. My recent purchase of these new pinking shears shows my commitment to that goal 😉

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Here’s a couple of photos of what I’ve done so far. It’s basically step 1 in the instructions, which is to sew together the front and back and sides. I’ve hit a bit of a roadblock with adding the peplum because it’s not supposed to match up at the back.  The bottom of the center back acts as part of the facing. However, mine does match up, and there are no markings or measurements for me to follow.

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Sure, I could figure it out by measuring the facing and stuff, but that takes time. And I’d rather be working on my thesis or my blog than figure out a pattern. So I wrote a quick message to Tasia of Sewaholic patterns to get some advice, which I will share with you in my next progress report.

On a side note, that bit of blue showing through on my dressform was a failed attempt at a Roxanne tunic from Victory Patterns. I was making a wearable muslin from an old voile curtain. But curtain voile is a terrible fabric to make something fashionable out of! When I tried it on, the sleeves were pulling in the back, which totally wrecked the fabric. I think, I mean, I know I have to make it out of a different fabric, and maybe add a little bit extra around the shoulder. So it was not in vain. But I am not ready to part with it yet, that’s why it’s still on my dress form.

The Cordova Jacket preparations

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The first thing that struck me about this pattern was the fact that I needed to cut out one size! I knew that Sewaholic patterns are designed for pear-shaped women, but it still surprised me that I didn’t need to flare out the pattern at the hips. It took me a whole episode of Bunheads to cut out, but then my scissors were dull, so that didn’t help.

I ‘finished’ this sack dress from a burda download recently and when I tried it on before hemming, I realized that it didn’t fit correctly. It was too tight around my thighs and too huge around my waist. It literally looked like I was wearing a potato sack made from fashion fabrics. I made the dress out of a remnant of black wool coating and a heavy knit for contrast at the sides. I tried to take it in a bit at the waist, but it still looked terrible. So I’m going to selvage the wool to make a wearable muslin for the Cordova jacket.

I don’t think it will be enough, so I shall take this really cool black and white checkered fabric I bought to make a purse and use it as contrast and maybe a sleeve. I’ll have to see when I lay out the pattern pieces. I’m not going to line the jacket. Maybe the sleeves. Instead I’m going to finish all of the seams with seam binding. I’ll save the work of adding a lining to the other Cordova jacket project I have in mind.

A quick google search of the Cordova jacket has yielded no process photos from any bloggers. Would anyone like to see my process? I’ve never really taken a lot of photos while I’m sewing, but I could try.  Well, I’ll leave you with a photo of me getting ready to cut out the pattern. And yes, that’s the sack dress.

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So, I was able to cut out all of the pieces from the dress and the checkered fabric except for the front facing. So I might cut up an old pair of black treggings for that.

I think this goes well with the stashbusting challenge theme for March: Impending Seasonal Change. I am really looking forward to summer so I can wear all my pretty dresses. In the meantime, I might be able to get away with that if I have a warm and stylish jacket to cover up with.

Briar sewalong

Hello everyone!

This month has been super busy. The first weekend we had a family outing to Drenthe. It was quite cold, but that’s ok because we had a sauna and bath to keep us warm! It was great to see my niece and nephew for longer than a few hours. Then the second week, my sister and her boyfriend came to visit for a whole 9 days! I hadn’t seen my sister in a year, and even then it was only for a little over a day! Not that we had much sister time the last week; we were mainly hanging out with the four of us. Plus, I don’t think my sister likes being away from her boyfriend for more than a few minutes 😉

So in between, I was able to sew up a briar top for the sewalong. I cut out the fabric on one day and sewed it up the next. It’s a very easy pattern, as it only has 5 pieces (or 6 if you count the pocket). I thought I had 2 spools of grey thread, but I only have one, so I’ve yet to hem it. Although, I think I will only hem the sleeves anyway because it’s already the perfect length for me. That’s the nice thing about knits, you can leave them unfinished and it won’t unravel.

Here are a couple of black and white pictures from my instagram feed. I finally got my tripod back, so you’ll see me modeling it pretty soon.

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Design notes:

  • I left out the pocket because I’m not a huge fan of pockets that are not functional
  • Sleeves and bottom are unhemmed (will hem sleeves once I get another spool of thread)
  • Will add 2cm to the length for future briar projects
  • made from 1m of lightweight knit fabric from my stash, unknown fiber content
  • used the neckline band (as opposed to neckline binding)

The nightmare that is the Olivia shoes

So I decided to make these super cute house shoes by ithinksew.com.

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Aren’t they adorable! I picked out this amazing [fake] chinese silk from my stash and imitation silk for the lining as well. I decided to make the sole out of imitation leather to give some extra warmth and anti-slipiness.

As it turns out, sewing this shoe (not shoes because I decided to do one at a time – thank goodness) was a waste of time and a waste of pretty fabric.

Here’s a picture of my finished product:

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It looks pretty, but looks can be deceiving!!!  If you look closer, you can probably see fuzzies from the ravelling silk protruding from many of the seams because the seam allowance is so small that any kind of unravelling can easily get out! And the other problem about having such small seams is that there is very little room for error!! I had to redo quite a few of the seams because I missed layers. The faux leather was also a very bad choice because you can feel the seam inside of the shoe when you walk on it.

So, I think it was a combination of fabric choice and the pattern design. Also, the instructions weren’t always very clear, and the photos to go with the instructions were even less clear at times. Also, the border across the top tapers, but the instructions don’t tell you which side to attach. I’m a pretty experienced clothing sewer, so it would probably be difficult for beginners I think.

Here’s what I would do differently if I were to make it again:

  • Make the seam allowance at least 1cm (3/8″), then trim them all.
  • Use only light or medium weight fabrics to reduce bulk (thus, only use fabrics that are suggested in the pattern).
  • Try to make the sole a bit wider to fit my foot better.

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So frustrating…

New project: patchwork tunic

My next project will be a patchwork tunic. It is based on McCalls 6359. I traced out the pattern on my own paper so I could draw my pattern on it. I have no idea if this will be a success or not. Looking at it, it seems huge, but maybe it is supposed to be loose. We shall see soon enough.

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