Category Archives: finished objects

Colette Seamwork Astoria Sweater

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Let’s get it out of the way that I’m not pleased with this, although it is in no way the pattern’s fault. I messed up by thinking I could get away without a short torso alternation on a cropped sweater and my fabric being a rayon blend may be contributing to the length issue. On the plus side, I didn’t make a sloping shoulder alteration and the shoulders look pretty okay.

This is a pretty simple pattern, there isn’t much to say. The instructions were even more in depth than Colette’s usual offerings and I think this top is simple enough that I could have made it instruction free. It’s a very beginner friendly pattern. However, they do not have you stabilize the shoulders, but I did with some clear elastic just to safe.I do think the layout of the pattern pieces could have been better and saved me some paper, but it wasn’t a horrific paper hog.

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Back to alternations, after seeing the way the neckband stuck out on some of these I’ve seen made up, I thinned out the neckband by half an inch as another reviewer mentioned doing.I was little worried it might look skimpy, but it seems in proportion to me. I apologize for the photo quality, you’ll need to trust me on this. If I make this again, and I will, I’d take an inch and half out if the length of the body of the sweater and draft bands for the sleeves so I don’t have to twin needle topstitch on this kind of material. I may also tighten it up a little bit in the future, the fit is loose despite me following the size chart.

I feel like this has the potential to be really cute and versatile, if I can get the proportions right, so I going to see about getting more sweater knits.

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Kwiksew 4026

DSCF2493 This pattern is very similar to the Lady Skater, but differs in construction. I probably would’ve got a better fit had I simply drafted a cowl neckline on the Lady Skater, but as this would be my first time sewing a cowl neckline, I wanted to get my feet wet with one that was professionally drafted. The pattern has 5/8 of an inch seam allowances for some godawful reason. I feel like the large seam allowances made construction more unwieldy than necessary. To be fair all the pieces did go together fine, although there is a misprint in the labeling of the different sizes on the tissue. The instructions also have a slight error as they tell you to complete steps 9-14 from view A to finish up view B, but there are only nine steps total for view A. What you need to do at that point is pretty obvious, but it could confuse someone new to sewing.

Due to several reviews mentioning that this pattern runs big, I went down a size to the large and it is still fairly roomy in the waist. Although, as you can see there is not quite enough room for my bust, the fit on the shoulders seems good and I can see how another reviewer mentioned that going with her regular size led to it sliding off her shoulders. A few other people mention the cowl being low but I didn’t find it to be particularly so.

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I made some pattern alterations removing 4 inches from the length of the skirt and 1 inch from the bodice length after comparing it to the Lady Skater. I decided to sew with the given seam allowances this first time, but I’m going to be trimming them off the pattern if I make it in the future.

With regards to the construction, kwiksew has you sewing up the side seams of the bodice and skirt separately and then attaching them at the waist. Then you sew clear elastic in a loop to your waistline, but at the edge of of the seam allowance not the stitching line which seems unhelpful as it doesn’t do anything to stabilize the actual seam as the allowance is so large. I think if I make this again I’m going to use clear elastic as directed in the lady skater pattern to stabilize the shoulders and waist. Speaking of the shoulders, those you stabilize with fusible interfacing and that at least seemed to work out just fine. I didn’t use anything fancy, just the light pellon knit interfacing.

One thing I found with the facing on this dress is that it likes to pop out, although it is understitched. If this was ready-to-wear there would likely be a tag preventing that from happening and I’m considering asking for some personalized clothing tags for my birthday.

This was a nice change from lady skater as much as I like that pattern, this is more dressy and I think could look rather classy with the right accessories and better fit in the bust. I have a dark green jersey very similar to this pink that I may try making up into another one of these.

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Space Dress

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My mama told me I should never venture into space

but I did, I did, I did.

Yes, it’s yet another Lady Skater, but making a galaxy print dress was the reason I bought the pattern in the first place. I promise I’m branching out a bit in the future, I have Kwiksew 4026 and Mccalls 6884  traced and ready to go. I’m looking forward to trying some more complex patterns.  Anyway, on to this project.

This fabric was a pain in the ass, beautiful, but a pain. I have never before had a knit ravel along the cut edge when stretched, but this one did, which made getting the neckband in nerve wracking. And looking it, I almost wish I had just turned and stitched anyway. Ugh.

It’s a thin 100% polyester interlock, white on one side and printed on the other. Normally I don’t go for 100% poly, but I’d been searching for an affordable galaxy fabric for ages and ages. I feel like this fabric was meant for some sort of athletic wear, so it’s a good thing there are not any sewing police. I’m really glad I ordered extra yardage though, as a good 5 inch area along one of the selvages is pure white, not printed at all. This made using the recommended fabric saving cutting layout impossible.

This fabric does not have as much vertical stretch as the other fabrics I have used for this pattern. This means the waist is a little higher than I would like, which also makes the skirt a wee bit short. It’s not obscene, but it’s fortunate that I prefer to always wear either leggings or tights under my dresses. Also, I have drag lines coming from the shoulder that didn’t exist in my other dresses that I believe are due to the lack of vertical stretch. It’s disappointing, but the print helps hide it a little bit.

Despite that small snag. I’m just as happy as I thought I would be to finally have a galaxy print dress. I’ve wanted one for years, but I hadn’t been able find any in my price range and my size. I guess I solved that.

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it’s silly, but the only thing that bugs me about this dress is that it doesn’t look great on the hanger. The neckline is nice and flat when worn, but bubbles when it’s not stretched around a body. I’m not sure what the solution to that is, but it honestly doesn’t matter in the long run, (Although if there’s a way to fix it, I’d still like to know.) Who is inspecting my closet to ensure that my clothing has the proper amount of hanger appeal? It’s not a show room and if my skirts end up looking upeven off my body, or a neckline looks a bit gathered when it shouldn’t. I really need to stop fretting over it.

Does anyone else fuss over their clothing not looking like RTW when hung up or in the drawer? Or am I just neurotic and alone in this?

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Brindille and Twig Lap Neck Tee

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I’m headed home to visit my family and since my newish nephew didn’t get an Xmas present from me, for various reasons, I thought he deserved something. I’ve been working with all this knit fabric so I’ve had a load of scraps, more than enough to make him a little something.

The pattern was bear to print, but that wasn’t the pattern makers fault, although I do wish it had been mentioned that the actual pattern pieces were in full color. I try to avoid that, I rarely have colored ink and I don’t like using it on sewing patterns. Other than my struggles with GIMP to get printable grey scale, the pattern went together in a snap. It really is nice to work with such small pieces, there was barely any taping to do and everything that did need to be taped lined up just fine.

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One thing I didn’t like is how the instructions have you attach the binding to the neckline and sleeves. I feel like serging, folding over and then zig zagging is unnecessarily complicated and it might just be me, but I couldn’t get it to look that good and it was easy for thing to get uneven. I prefer the cleaner look of folding the binding in half and serging to the edge in one go and if I make another one, i think I’ll try that. I did like that they had you tack the seam allowances in the sleeves down at the cuffs, it’s simple, but adds a nice touch. I still like cuffs attached in the round the most, but that’s not really feasible for openings so small, I don’t think.

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The tee was easy to construct otherwise, i don’t know why I was so worried, but the notches all matched up just fine. I’d like to get more proficient so I don’t have to baste the neckline in place before attaching the sleeves, but I’m sure that will happen with practice. One thing that was a little weird is  the pattern says you need a snap setter, you do not. I’m assuming that’s just a hold over from text for a different pattern.

All in all, I’m pleased. I didn’t have time to get to Joann’s and trying out this pattern company was a leap of faith, but it worked out pretty well, although obviously I can only speak for this one pattern. I don’t know if I’m going to sew more children’s clothing, I’m pretty selfish with my sewing time, but if I did, I’d check out Brindille and Twig’s offerings again. Annoyingly, they did do the thing where there is no suggested stretch percentage, so just be aware if that bugs you the way it bugs me.

Side note: I was not paid for this review, nor was I given a pattern, I just happened to stumble across the company. It’s not as if my blog is a big enough deal, but if I ever did receive a review copy of something I would disclose that. Not only is that inline with FTC regulations, to the best of my knowledge, I just wouldn’t feel right not being honest with anyone reading.

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Boat Neck Lady Skater T-shirt

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I’m inordinately pleased with this simple modification, I really needed a grey top to replace the one that I am wearing in this post, I’ve had that thing since high school and it’s ratty and permanently stretched out, as much as I love it. And so I came up with this top. It was super easy. And most importantly, the neckline doesn’t gape. I must admit I was very nervous about it, because when I tired the top on without the sleeves it was awful, but putting the whole thing together seems to have resolved that.

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I followed some of the steps from this tutorial and also some of my own intuition, like raising the front neckline a bit beyond what was suggested. For the T-shirtification I used Kwik Sew 3036 as a side seam shaping guideline, but in a smaller size than I sew, as that top is super loose fitting when I make it up straight in the size based on my bust. I also added an inch of length.

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I feel like it could use more room in the hip, although I have ready to wear T-shirts that I like that fit similarly. However it’s not too concerning because I made it to wear tucked in to skirts, and the tightness does mean that wrinkling at the waist is minimized. The white flecks you’re seeing around the hem are from spray starch.  I still haven’t decided how I want to hem this, but I thought I should take pictures while I had decent light. I know, I’m awful about showing you guys almost finished items.

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I am in love with the fabric, it’s a cotton lyrca blend from Girl Charlee, but it feels really plush, nothing at all like the fox fabric, which while cute, really only has an okay hand. The fabric is honestly better than 95% of my RTW tees. I want it in every color. I think I need to start buying basic knits in multiple colorways so I have some reliability in what I’m working with. This top has some issues around the shoulders that I’m thinking are caused by the increased stretch factor, 60% is quite a jump from 40% and 30%.

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I stitched clear elastic to the wrong side of the neckline at the same time I used it to stabilize the shoulders and I simply turned and stitched to finish it. I’m not sure if a facing would be better but I like the way the outside looks now, and it was easy to do. The insides are a little less neat looking than I would like due to the zigzagging needed to attach the clear elastic. We continue the saga of the skewing neckline, I think it has to do with how my shoulders are set. I feel like this has been a long term issue, just one I didn’t take note of until I started sewing. I’m on the fence as if I want to start using full pattern pieces so I can compensate for one shoulder sloping more than the other. I don’t think I’m going to bother when it comes to knits, but I’ll keep it in mind for wovens.

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I wasn’t sure if I wanted to use sleeve cuffs on this top, but a I decided to try them out. I don’t hate them, but I do feel they take away some of the elegance of the line of the top. Also the sleeves are a little big, I think again because of the fabric being so very stretchy. I think I’ll taper the sleeves from the wrist to nothing at the armsyce if I make this again the same fabric.

My next plan is to simply use this neckline with the rest of the lady skater pattern, sans cuffs. I’m thinking that blue and green polka dot I have would make a cute boat necked dress. The only other thing I want to do is lengthen the sleeve pattern piece so that a simple hem has the sleeves hitting in a good place.

I know this isn’t a major pattern hacking accomplishment, but, it’s still a personal one, so hurray! I can’t wait to draft all kinds of interesting necklines on this base.

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A Very Vulpine Lady Skater *Updated picture*

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I don’t know what my face is doing, sorry.

This dress is mildly ridiculous.. I’m pretty sure the print is meant for small children, but whatever, it makes me happy. There isn’t much to say other than that this doesn’t fit as well as my purple version, but I was expecting that, this knit has about ten percent less stretch and I can feel it across the bust. There are some wrinkles. Other than that it’s pretty okay, the waist is actually perfect, I feel it’s a little loose on the purple and green Lady Skaters.

I would like to learn how to alter patterns for knits that have less than the recommended amount of stretch though, because the galaxy fabric has about the same amount of stretch as these foxes. I’m wondering if I can just taper to the larger bust size, then back down again at the waist.

Sorry for going so long without posting, life has been busier than usual. That’s also why I decided to post this before hemming or finishing the sleeves. I’d certainly order from Girl Charlee again, the fabric is quite bit more vibrant in real life.

Side note, do you think I should leave off the sleeve cuffs and just hem the sleeves? I feel like the cuffs can make the dress look sweatshirt-y, which isn’t a bad vibe, just not what I’m really going for in this version.

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New and improved Lady Skater

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I haven’t been blogging much, but I have been working on tweaking the fit of the Lady Skater pattern, with much need help from the lovely people over at Artisan’s Square, LynnH in particular. I think I’ve got it near where I wanted although there are a few more tweaks I’d like to make. I have fabric for two more and I feel confident enough to tackle my precious galaxy fabric, which was the reason I bought this pattern to begin with.

I did want to make a note the cutting layout is still annoying a second time, so much so that I actually doubled my bodice pieces so I could cut them out flat. Unless the fabric is pricey, I’m just buying more next time so I can do a single fold layout. As I said before the layout works, it’s just bit of a pain.

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I had a photographer for once and I decided to get silly, err studious.

Cutting out was much easier as I now have a new larger cutting mat and could entirely cut each piece without moving the mat. It’s amazing how much faster and more accurate that made things. I hope some day I can have an even larger mat, one that would cover a whole table would be lovely.

Speaking of cutting, I think I must be getting lucky with my knits because I’ve had no problems with really bad curling so far, but I have bought spray starch as a precaution. They’ve also been very easy to cut out, I honestly have had more trouble with some wovens. I’m sure my experience will change as I branch out, but right now I am enjoying sewing with knits.

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I don’t know if you can tell, but I am loving this dress.

I started my alternations on my shortened size 7 pattern. I had taken a one inch horizontal tuck from the bodice. Then after some consulting I removed 1 1/4 from the center front, tapering to 1/4 at the side seam. From the back I did similarly, taking 1″ from the center and tapering to 1/4 at the side seam. This was all based on the amount I had pinched out of the green dress to get the waistband to sit where I wanted it.

I also did my first sloping shoulder alteration , although I probably should have been doing them all this time. I took out  1 1/4″ and took a tuck out of the sleeve cap so it would match the armscye. I did not lower the armscye at all and I’m really glad I didn’t as it would have been quite low and restrictive.

I also slimmed down the dress by sewing 3/4 inch side seams after I didn’t like the look of 1/4 ones. It’s still a little loose in the waist, but not awfully so.

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I’m rather pleased with this pattern now. It is quite an improvement over my first green one, although it still needs cuffs and to be hemmed. I want to do a smidge of a sway back adjustment, but then I think I’ll be done tweaking and can move on to trying out drafting different necklines and sleeves.

I feel like I learned a lot while altering this pattern to fit me and I’m so glad I didn’t say good enough and call it quits. It’s got me fired up to make another dress and try tackling my skirt sloper again.

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Lady Skater “Wearable” Muslin

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“Wearable” because this version really needs a belt to be at all presentable.

I feel it necessary to acknowledge that after all the rigmarole of getting it together, the pattern pieces for the Lady Skater sewed together without a hitch. After looking at other people’s finished dresses and knowing my own short waisted nature, I shortened the bodice by 1 inch. I think I’ll take another inch off the next one so that it sits was at my natural waist. I also want to take the sides in a smidge and shorten the shoulder seam by half an inch.

The instructions are very in depth. I do wish I had know the dress fabric needs 40% stretch before buying the pattern I feel like that information should be available outside of the actual PDF. It would have made deciding to buy the pattern a lot easier. I also didn’t like that the fabric requirements did not state the fabric widths. I later learned knits most commonly come in 60 inches wide, but since this pattern is targeted at newbies like myself, it might be best to make that clear. I found the cutting layout a bit fiddly, although it does serve its purpose of reducing wastage and lowering yardage requirements. The instructions have you fold the fabric enough to cut your skirt pieces and then refold from the other side to cut out the bodice. It works but you’re constantly testing to make sure that you’re not placing your pattern on one of the holes left from the previous fold and cutting. I know I call a lot of things fiddly but that’s exactly what it was. With the shortened bodice, I think I might be able to do a single fold layout if I buy half a yard more. It’s little wasteful but it be easier and if I want I can always use scraps to make underwear. I’ve wanted to try doing that.

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In addition to shortening the bodice. I want to do a swayback adjustment, the center back waistline is sitting about an inch lower than the center front. I pretty much always find I need sway back adjustments. Although I was hoping I would not this case as the pattern maker mentioned having already made one on the pattern. I guess it’s just not deep enough for the particular curvature of my back. It’s not big deal though, it doesn’t look much worse than most of my RTW.

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The shoulders are kind of awful and I’m going to post for some advice on how to fix them, although I think I’ve got it. the neckband came out quite well, I think, although I’m not used to inserting a neckband into a neckline with an open shoulder seam. It and the sleeve bands still need to be top stitched but I do not have any matching thread.

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As you can see the waist doesn’t hit the most flattering area, which is why I plan to raise it. I also feel it could use a slight full bust adjustment. I plan making at least two more versions, one for my 6pac and one out of the galaxy fabric. I’m holding off on the galaxy version as I have always wanted a galaxy print dress and I’d like to get the fit better. I feel like this pattern has a lot of potential to be a staple in my wardrobe.

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I’ve been betrayed

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By one of my favorite fabrics and patterns. Clever me thought I’d whip up a Hollyburn for the 6 pack today, starting early in the morning so as to stay within the rules. For a while things were fine, I sewed up all the skirt pieces, finished them with my serger. It was my first time doing that on woven clothing but it was super easy and looks much nicer than my sewing machine’s faux overlock. So much faster too, I forgot that finishing seams doesn’t have to take forever.

Then it all went to hell in a handbasket. I had to sew the waistband on 5 times and baste and unpick sections because it would not go on without puckering even though I knew the skirt section had stretched out and eased it to the waistband. None of my zippers matched and the closest one had to be cut way down. I hate cutting down dress length zippers as I have a limited supply. I really didn’t feel like attempting a centered zipper again and I’m pretty good at invisibles, so I went with that. Silly me, it was not my day for that to work out, I had to install each side several times. Thank god the waist seam kept matching up or I may have broken something.

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Finally, I could not get the rest of my seam to connect to where the invisible zipper ends. It looks okay from the outside, it’s not the best zipper I’ve done, but the inside is awful, partially because for some reason I though you had to hold the zipper out of the way while I sergered and finished the seams, so I have a load of loops hanging off the edge.

Did I mention this poplin did not like seams being unpicked at all and got discolored from the iron, which I didn’t notice until after I had cut out the pattern? It doesn’t like being ironed either, becuase in addition to the discolartion, I cannot get the wrinkles to come out. This was entirely unexpected, I have the same fabric in a different color, I made a skirt in purple and other than being wrinkle prone it is fine and was easy to work with.

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See what I mean about pressing doing nothing?

On the bright side, I modified the instructions from Colette’s Ginger to finish the waistband edges and it looks pretty good. Also the pocket looks so much nicer finished with the serger, even with my lazy lack of thread matching. Technically this isn’t a finished object, I need to get matching thread so I can topstich the waistband.and hem the skirt. I’m so annoyed there is no way I’m hand stitching. Which reminds me I forget to mention the best part.

It doesn’t fit.

Yeah.

The skirt is about an inch too small, despite my other Hollyburn still fitting even though I’ve put on a bit of winter weight. I’m not happy, but if it fits at the end of April, which knowing myself it should, I’ll count it as part of the 6pac. I still want to make another Hollyburn, just not out of this fabric, so thank god it’s gone. I know that next time I want to try stabilizing the skirt sections as soon as I cut them, perhaps with stay tape instead of stay stitching, which has done nothing to help twice in a row.

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My First Kwik Sew 3036 (And Simplicity 2758)

I need to improve my shirt tucking, sorry about the sloppiness.

I wasn’t expecting to get the shirt back this soon,  but now you can see what I mean, this version is way cuter, imo. It’s a 100% cotton jersey from Joann’s red tag. I didn’t realize that a 100% cotton knit would have basically no recovery, so when I stretched the neck out by attempting to turn and stitch as in the directions, I panicked a little. Thankfully there are all kinds of wonderful people posting tutorials like the the one I linked before , so I was able to save it.

I think neckbands are going to be a most interesting part of my knit sewing experience. I had no idea what I was doing with this one, but it actually sits better than the neckband on version two.

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The skirt is view c of Simplicity 2758 and was one the first things I sewed when I got back in apparel sewing. There isn’t much special about it, it’s a circle skirt in stretch poplin, I believe the fabric was from a Fabric Mart sale, but I think it’s cute and it goes with several of my shirts. It has the bonus of being easy to sew. I do not like that it lacks pockets, I’m going to try setting a pocket into a seam with an invisible zipper again. I’ve done it once, but it was quite the ordeal. I own a RTW dress with a pocket in the zipper seam, so I’m thinking there much be a simpler way to do things.

Normally I wouldn’t bring the skirt up, considering it’s only half in the photo, but this counts as the first “Me Made” outfit I’d completed, since I’m blogging these shirts out of chronological order. Speaking of, I took some photos of shirt two untucked. Sorry for the digital beheading, but my hair was a mess and you don’t need to be subjected to it.

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The only thing I find confusing is Kwik Sew calling these shirts “very close fitting”. I fit right into the xl in their size chart, except for my hips, and this is not what I would call a close fit. It’s fine since I plan on tucking them all anyway, but it’s a misleading description. I think the fit is okay, but I’m going to post for advice somewhere before I reinforce my tissue pattern. If this works out, I’ll finally at least one TNT pattern, one I can cut and sew in a day at that. That would be nice.

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