Thursday, September 11, 2014

The Schoolhouse Tunic

I've had the pattern for the Schoolhouse Tunic by Sew Liberated for a looong time. So long I don't actually remember when I bought it? Anyway, I recently came across an old review for it and was inspired.

Remember how I made a vow to ONLY sew from stash? Yeah, I broke that already. I was at Joann's and found this remnant of sueded rayon on the Red Tag table. It was less than two yards and somewhere between 45" and 60" wide, but I managed to squeeze a tunic out of it.

Sorry for the less than stellar photos, I'm still trying to find a spot in my house with good lighting and a place to set my camera! I know, I need to invest in a tripod. 

OK, so here are my thoughts on this pattern in no particular order.  I cut a 10/12 and then proceeded to remove at least three inches of ease from the front and two inches from the back skirt sections. The chest and back fit ok but I wasn't interested in having a voluminous top around my bum. If you wanted a more "poet's tunic" look, definitely leave the original ease in the skirt sections. Also, I cut in a shirttail hem, which I'm loving these days.

Why am I calling them skirt sections? Well, I also shortened the "tunic" length by three inches. I'm 5'10", so you can see that if I'd left the original length it would have been a dress on me. The pattern indicates a cut line for "shirt" length, but that was too short for me. So I ended up somewhere in-between.

In order to snazz it up a little, I sewed on rhinestone buttons at the neckline, added a button loop, and then did the same to the sleeves. Oh, I forgot to mention I cut down the sleeves quite a bit, using the 10/12 size at the shoulders and then grading down to the smallest size, 2/4. I wanted skinny sleeves.

In all, I'm happy with the end result. I will definitely wear this top a lot with leggings and skinny jeans, and I think the fabric lends it a little bit of a dressy look it wouldn't otherwise have? It was a bear to work with but I'm glad I found the remnant when I did. 

Next up, I have the fabric and pattern ready to start on my Cookie jacket. I'm nervous! Wish me luck.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Waffle Patterns

Good and bad news to report. I started making Vogue 9026 but it sadly ended up in the garbage bin. There's no mechanism for any shaping whatsoever and I screwed up the neck and ribbing. I also realized I'd forgotten to account for 5/8" seam allowances while I was serging it and had already installed the waistband.

Instead of fumbling around trying to make lemonade out of it, I saved myself the time and tossed it. I may go back and make it again, but if I do I'll consider the fabric carefully. I had chosen a few different weights of jersey and that really isn't going to work on that pattern. At the very least, the front and back and probably the waistband all need to be the same heft.

Not to worry though!

In my momentary grief about the failed project, I stumbled upon something wonderful! It's an etsy shop  that sells original PDF sewing patterns called Waffle Patterns. I should probably have a button on this blog that says "I Heart Etsy," because I really do.

Blinded by inspiration, I downloaded two patterns.

This one...

And this one.

I already have the perfect fabric for the cape (called Caramel, which I love) and despite my pledge to only sew from stash, I'm going to have to find the perfect fabric for the zippered jacket which goes by the adorable name Cookie.

I have to be really careful because I tend to buy fabrics that I love to look at but I won't wear on my body. I recently saw an adorable camouflage wool at Joann's that I wanted to buy! I mean I love me some camo but I can't really see myself wearing a camo wool coat, you know?

Maybe it's because I was born in 1972 but I absolutely adore the retro feel of both of these patterns. Does anyone else remember when Stretch-n-Sew patterns were popular and you could buy heavy ribbing by the yard for projects like this? Those were the days.

Anyway, on to a topic that's been top of mind now that I'm thinking about sewing again ~ Indie pattern designers. Obviously, I think Waffle Patterns are beautiful but I don't know yet how I feel about the drafting. My experience with Megan Nielsen's pattern was good, the drafting and instructions were excellent and I loved that it came on tissue paper like patterns are supposed to {I may be a Luddite, not sure yet}. But they're expensive, there is no doubt about it.

I know sewing isn't cheaper than ready to wear, anyone who sews knows that. But there does come that moment when you have to decide whether it's worth it. Is it worth it to struggle through the construction process or risk buying from a new pattern designer that may or may not be quality when you could just go to the store and buy the same item for the same amount of money? This is the conflict within me.

I love that Indie pattern companies are out there, but a LOT of what I see from them are basics. A simple little top, an a-line skirt. Honestly, I'm kind of offended when I see a price tag above $7 for an unlined a-line skirt pattern! Am I the only one who feels that way?

OK, wish me luck. Hopefully the next time I report back I'll have some progress on one of these Waffle Patterns and I won't just be venting about the cost of one indie pattern.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Fine. The Crescent Blouse in review.

Well, I feel guilty. Here I promised I was back to sewing! Whoo-hoo! I even made the Crescent Blouse (99% counts), and then I fizzled out.

So I lugged Vivienne up into the good daylight and dressed her up to show you guys my version of Megan Nielsen's Crescent Blouse, or rather the Mullet Blouse. Which I'll explain later.

I bought the pattern and fabric back in May, when I was certain that our St. Louis summer would be a typical one - hot, humid and hot.

Surprise! We didn't get real heat until a few weeks ago. I think that may be why it took me two months to start it. {Apologizing up front for the watermarked photos, but apparently the Russians are stealing blog content these days??}

The fabric is a pindot cotton voile I picked up at Joann's specifically for this pattern. I wanted something lightweight and breezy that wouldn't cling to me in the dead of summer. On that point, I was successful.

The pattern is very easy to follow. Since I don't have the eyes of a new sewer anymore, it's kind of hard for me to judge whether or not a newbie could try it but I think you could. The only difficult part would be working with very small seam allowances around very tight curves. And making sure your topstitching is as good as humanly possible because all of those curves around the face and neck will show. Also, be good friends with your steam iron or it could look like crap.

My problem came in the sizing. I measured myself. I consulted the pattern. I consulted various reviews that had made it already, and I mistakenly settled on a Medium. My shoulders are just too broad and maybe I scrimped on my bust measurement a little (or maybe the Snickers ice cream bars I've suddenly decided I'm in love with came into play here) but either way, it's just too snug across the top. I think if I were to make it again, I'd cut a Large on top and a medium for the skirt.

Ahh, yes, the skirt. The style is interesting, no? I am oddly drawn to it. But you should know, there are no darts to speak of. I'd really have to sit down with a pencil and paper and see if darting this top would make it more flattering? Also, see that diagonal pull towards the front? That wouldn't be there if it was the right size and if it had bust darts, I'm almost certain. It's stylish and cute and flattering around the shoulders, but after the bust it's just loose and breezy.

That's why I'm calling this one the Mullet Blouse. Business up top, party on the bottom.

All it needs now is buttons and a new owner who is narrower than me (but not by too much) around the shoulders. Any takers??

Interesting dilemna

Ok, techy friends, help me out here. I was browsing through all Blogger's changes this morning because I can't seem to link the "share" buttons at the bottom of the posts?? Weird. Anyway, in doing so I came across the stats page.

Lo and behold, there's a Russian site out there that has copied and pasted my own hand drawings for the Dalsland Wrap tutorial as their own.

I emailed them to either link back the credit to me or remove the drawings.

What else can I do? Do I actually have any control over this kind of thing from Russian internet piracy?

Thank you!


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