Saturday, March 17, 2018

Made! - Butterick 6301

This jacket is the last of my maternity projects.  I started it in my last month of pregnancy and finished it in Robin's first weeks at home.  Things are settling down but the home uniform is still a bath robe, which is why you're getting only dress form photos. :) 

Butterick 6301 is a super practical jacket pattern with a center insert that transforms the jacket into a maternity or baby carrier option.  Though I never needed to purchase a maternity coat through pregnancy, I figured a coat that would allow me to zip Robin up while in his carrier would be really useful.

Image result for butterick 6301
The fabric is from my stash, bought many years ago on clearance.  

The lining is leftover from Christmas gifts a few years ago, and it makes me happy...all covered in kitties. :)

So, the only supplies I needed to purchase were the three separating zippers.  My local store didn't have three 26" in stock in an appropriate color, so I had to buy 28" zippers and instead lengthen the jacket.  (I figured I'd have to lengthen it anyway for my long torso, so this wasn't a big deal.)  The zippers are a warm gray, and I think it is a nice complement to the tan/slightly purple weave of the mystery clearance polyester/wool.  

The only stylistic alteration I made was to the collar: I shortened it by half its height.  I don't do well with turtlenecks or itchy collars, so a short one means I won't have to deal with that at all.  The front princess seams are topstitched, as is the lower half of the center back seam.  

The inside features a label (thanks, mom!) and joyful lining, much of which I handstitched.  

Now, onto the insert.  It's reversible, which is how you can get the two options out of it.  Figuring out the zipper direction for sewing was confusing until I decided to not look at the directions and instead to pin and zip it into the finished jacket - much clearer through tactile understanding over 2D pictures.  

Maternity-belly insert
Side View of maternity belly insert

Here's how I plan on wearing it this spring, with Robin in tow.

One day when we aren't all so tired and in comfy clothes all the time I'll add a picture of this jacket in action - with baby and all!!

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Made! - Maternity Wardrobe

There's not been an announcement here on the blog yet, but if you connect with me elsewhere via my music postings you are already well aware that my husband and I are expecting a little one to arrive early 2018.  To be exact: we are expecting him to arrive on FRIDAY. As in...5 days from now - January 12. 

What better way to put sewing skills to use than to make your own maternity clothes, especially when your only local options are Target and WalMart?  I've made my own pants (3 pairs), tops (2), and dresses (1).  I'll focus first on the Maternity Agnes dress, by Tilly & the Buttons.  I was so excited to stumble on this pattern!

Image result for maternity agnes dress

It's a comfortable black knit, midi-length dress, one that I've worn during many, many recitals.  It began pretty loose, with lots of extra material around the belly, but as little one grows, I find that isn't the case anymore!

LooCat, Christmas, Roomba, belly, and me on January 4

Seams are all serged, and hems are zigzagged on my regular machine. Sewing with knits is so easy. They're forgiving and the idea of fit is a bit more relaxed of a concept, since the material will help.

This version is a wearable muslin, and I've since made some changes, like taking out a bit of the back shoulder seam and moving the gathers of the front bodice down to accommodate my long waist - all are evident in the floral top below.

As *fun* as it is to make clothes for a new shape, I can't wait to be my normal self again.

Maternity Agnes and jeans from Burda 6607

Agnes can also be a top, and I've made one of those using some Nicole Miller fabric I found at JoAnn's. I really like the print, and cut it so the flowers are more concentrated on one side than the other.  This particular knit is VERY stretchy, so it easily covers my bump and long torso.

somewhere around week 37

Some of the garments I'm most proud of are my maternity pants, made using Burda 6607.  The wearable muslin is navy twill (not pictured), then more adjustments made for the jeans, and a couple more for the black stretch twill pants, which are great for work and concerts.  Despite my efforts to shrink the denim as much as possible, my jeans have lost almost an inch of length since completing them. Arg. Were it warm outside, I would cuff them up to wear with sandals, but considering it's been below freezing for almost a week...guh.

I cut size 14 according to my hip measurement (thank yoooooou inability to exercise properly), and did some grading based on assumptions on how I usually fit pants patterns, but still found that they are a little loose on me.  Just cause you're pregnant doesn't mean you want to be swimming in fabric all the time.

sometime late October

The jeans fit well, as I took width out of the back leg and side seams, and tightened the stretch panel at the top that goes over the belly.  Evidently I also have a rather flat pubis bone (yeah, I dunno), so I took out some extra fabric in the front crotch area by flattening the curve.

a good view of the fit and topstitching on my jeans, and how they fit differently from mid-2nd to late-3rd trimester

The black pants are the most fitted, but because they're made of stretch twill, they are very comfortable, something that is absolutely required these days! I wear them all the time.

January 6 stretchy pants for the 39w2d win

The last garment I have to share is a tunic made from Butterick 6226. I've had this fabric in the stash for the longest time, and had intentions to make a one-shoulder cocktail dress with it, but sometimes present circumstances thwart future sewing plans, yes?  I figured it would be nice to have something colorful amid a winter landscape. I get compliments on it every time I wear it!

I take back what I said...sometimes its fun to be swimming in fabric.

wearing wedding ring on a necklace because they don't fit on any of my current sausage fingers! :'(

I had plans to make so much more for this time in my life, but work and professional activities dwindled the sewing time. Until classes were over, that is.  Since then I've been hard at work making things for me (a postpartum tunic), husband (another bespoke dress shirt), and the little one...whenever he gets here.  At this point, it feels like he's going to stay in there forever!

Monday, September 25, 2017

Made! - Hack Vogue 8633 with maxi-length wrap skirt

Long wrap skirts have become a favorite garment.  You can make them to fit, but with some creative safety pinning you can change them to fit you at any point in life.  That's not the most glamorous point of view, considering I also enjoy the tailoring of men's shirts and couture hand-finishings, but sometimes a safety pin is all you need.  And we should admit that, mmm?

I made this dress for a family wedding.  The bodice, from Vogue 8633, is made of some upholstery fabric that I found and loved at my local fabric store.  The navy print I purchased in Utah while visiting my in-laws, and the coral satin underlay I bought locally on clearance.

Since the upholstery fabric is so thick, I didn't interface any of the bodice.  It stands up well on its own, and can be molded into different shapes at the neckline.  I prefer it curved down a little bit.

As part of my design, I chose to extend the back bodice around to the front and secure it with buttons on an angle, so that the bodice matches the wrap of the skirt.  This also kept me from worrying about a zipper.  It's lined, and the sleeves are bound in bias tape.

When attaching the skirt to the bodice, I used an inch allowance on the skirt so I could wrap the raw edges of the bodice.  Though it thickened the layers there a bit, I'd rather have that than scratchy edges.

Something I've contemplated is pinning up parts of the skirt to asymmetrically raise the hem, to make it friendly for warm weather.  The family wedding was outside, and this Tennessee September cooperated - it was actually a bit chilly! So, a maxi dress was just right for the temperature and breeze.

Anyway, this is my most recent make!  Not too difficult, not too easy.  Somewhere right between.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Made! - McCall's 7119 and 7572

You know how sometimes certain styles make you feel more like yourself?

I feel that way about long skirts and dresses. Double it if there's a wrap involved somewhere.

In case there's any question...I LOVE this dress!!

The pattern is McCall's 7119, and I made View C.

I cut a size 12 and other than a long waist adjustment, didn't alter it, so this is a pretty good wearable muslin! In the future, I will redraft the bodice so it curves in tighter to my body. It's a little generic in the fit now, but with a cami underneath, it's no problem.  The dress is hemmed to work well with flats.

I went all out on the finishings here.

Every seam is a French seam, and I added stay-stitching at every bodice seam, so she would hold her form.  I understitched the band, and slip-stitched the facing in place.  Can you believe that none of that was in the instructions?! Such simple steps, but they make all the difference in the final product.

I had some red satin ribbon on hand, so I added a ribbon stay to the waist seam.  I'm surprised this was not in the directions for this particular view, as no matter what fabric you use, a floor length skirt will be heavy, so the seam needs reinforcement.  My reinforcement comes in the form of red satin ribbon that just so *happens* to match the red of my garment fabric.  ...pats herself on the back for buying Christmas wrappings that will double as sewing notions...

It's been some time since a make corresponded to a life event. This one did!  There was an event called New Music Gathering, which took place in Bowling Green, Ohio in May.  My chamber music project, L+M Duo, performed, and on top of that, it was a great professional/networking event. order to feel confident...I had to make a special dress for meeting all the important people! :)  It's a little embarrassing how affected my confidence and mood are by my clothes, but I've accepted it and now make my sewing obsession do the work for me!

The tunic is from McCall's 7572, View D.

Obviously, it was made from scraps of fabric from the maxi dress.  I shouldn't have had that much left over, as I bought the amount stated on the envelope. Oh well! I'll take getting another garment out of it.

I did have to piece the back together, but I rather like the design I came up with.  Again, the insides are treated well with French seams, and there's a good amount of handstitching at the neckline. Other than that, she was easy.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Made! - Simplicity 2756

Stash-busting projects are the best. When you don't have to buy anything to make a garment because you have perfect leftovers.

This top is one of those projects.

She's a simple one: Simplicity 2756, one of the first released Project Runway patterns.  The idea behind these is that you pick and choose what elements you want to make, and the envelope tells you how much added material to purchase for a ruffle, bubble sleeve, long sleeve, yoke, collar, or any combination of the above.
Image result for simplicity 2756  Image result for simplicity 2756

I've used this pattern twice before, both long before I started blogging. One of those projects was part of a costume for the musical Little Women.  The yoked, long-sleeve version was perfect. I used velcro anywhere a button would be for quick changes, and combined with a long skirt from a different pattern, made a perfect outfit.

But back to this project!

The material is leftover from when I made Butterick 5814 years ago, while still living in WV.  The dress fit alright, but a long torso adjustment was too fiddly and I would up giving the dress to Goodwill after one wear (and subsequent wash, of course!).

I like this top a lot. I've always been a fan of raglan sleeves, and I love the colors of this fabric, as well as the open neckline.  Due to a slight shortage of fabric, I shortened the sleeves and finished them with a narrow hem.  I rather like the simplicity and proportion of it.


I graded from a size 6 at the shoulder to a size 12 at the hip, lest I accidentally make a mumu instead of a top.  Inside seams are either serged or French seams, and the neckline is bound with single-fold bias tape.  It was an easy make, and a satisfying one as I got to use the remnant stash.

Can't believe it's been April since the last post.  Husband and I have been traveling everywhere and playing concerts in different cities, so we've had a lot to focus on the last two and a half months.  I've been sewing: 1 maxi dress, 1 tunic, 1 bespoke shirt for husband, and now this top - but there's been no time to blog. I've barely had time (and energy) for work email, practice, and home improvements (like a brand new DIY backsplash across our entire kitchen) as it is.

Anyway, onward and upward, with hopefully more blogging as we go!

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Made! - Vintage (1973) Simplicity 5914

Finished a few weeks ago, I present my most recent project!

I'm well-pleased with how this dress turned out! I was able to practice a number of techniques, from handstitching to French seams on the armscye.  

The pattern was gifted to me by my first grade teacher, Mrs. Worth. We have reconnected via Facebook and a love of sewing, and she surprised me by dropping off a bag of patterns that she no longer uses.  This one is a 1973 release: Simplicity 5914. 

I made View 2, shown in blue
I was intrigued that the size printed was a 12.5...and guess what? It fit perfectly! I only made a few alterations, like a long torso, erect back, and armhole adjustments, but I always do those things. The sleeve width, bust, waist, and hip all fit without effort. Yay!

It's cool that they used to print pattern pieces on the envelope back. They don't do that anymore, probably because they made the line drawings much larger, or because they now print directions in French on the back as well. 

The fit through the back is one of my best: clearly fitted, but enough ease to really move without worry. I played piano and marimba in this for a few hours with no pulling at the arm or center back. I'm rather proud of the centered zip - typically, I avoid these, but decided to give it another go, mostly because there wasn't a good way to make it lapped, due to the collar at the top, or move it to the side, due to the sleeves. 

The center front seam has serged allowances and is handstitched at the point. The sleeve cuffs are whipstitched so they won't get floppy and fiddly in the wash.

I did my usual collar trick of removing 1/16" from the underside so the edges rolled nicely. These lapels turned out great! The topstitching was a great test of patience and focus, as I used really small stitches and didn't want to rip any out to start over!

Lastly, here's a different angle to see the color of the fabric more accurately.

On second thought, maybe next time I'll remove a bit of width from the bodice fronts, but for the moment I'm satisfied. I wore it to work with leggings underneath (casual Fridays, mmhmm), but need to purchase a slip for warmer weather. The fabric is probably a little too thin for this design, but I really wanted to use it anyway. It was purchased from my local store, as was the zipper. Yay, supporting local business!

I've got a maxi dress in the works for New Music Gathering, a conference of sorts that I'll be attending and performing at next month.  It's almost done, and I can't wait to share it!! :)

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Made! - The Grace Dress (Butterick 5556 and Vogue 8645)

In an effort to make more clothes that are elegant yet easy I came up with this pattern hack: B5556 and V8645.  The combination of easy sleeves and slip-on design is just what I was looking for.
Image result for butterick 5556  Image result for vogue 8645

The material is a fuchsia wool crepe bought from my local fabric store.  It's slightly heavy, so it makes this a great 3-season dress.  I imagine it will be too warm for summer.

Thanks to husband for taking pictures after a long day.

To create The Grace Dress I taped the top of B5556 to the bottom of V8645 and combined curves to make one piece.  While constructing the dress I removed some of the ease so I didn't feel swallowed by fabric.  Midi length doesn't have to equal too much fabric - neither does maxi, for that matter! This is probably why I subconsciously avoid gathered styles...don't need to add volume.  Stress and being overworked does that for me naturally...if you catch my drift. (See also: wobbly bits return when the half marathon is over)

This dress is named for my sister, really just because I only name things after special people.  My skirt, the Suanna, is named for my closest friend.  Grace, my sister, does have a way of dressing that never looks too fussy, even if you can tell she is well put together. So, in a way, her style was in my mind while making this garment.

I was a little fussy about the finishing of this dress, however. Each seam is either serged or folded over, stitched, and whip-stitched to the dress.  This means that even though she wrinkles, she will never have funny seam creases. All facings are also whip-stitched.

The collar was a small labor of love, as I decreased the facing by about 1/16", which helps it roll the right way and prevent it from flipping up at the front of the neckline.

I wore this dress to work the day after I finished it and received plenty of compliments, which always makes for a happy day.  It looks best with my nude pumps, so I bit the bullet and wore those to work. Obviously, it was a day that did not require a trek across campus!

Attempts to get photo of a side view were comical with LooCat needing to be part of the process...

She painstakingly crafts her tail to floof like that.

Not joking.

I'll be making either this dress or V8645 again.  The low-maintenance vibe is something I can't resist.

Blogging is running behind these days (it feels like I'm ALWAYS saying that).  I've had multiple concerts every week - and those are ones I'm performing in, not just attending. It's what I've trained to do, so it's something I can do well. But, it doesn't mean I don't get behind on other parts of my life, like blogging, cleaning, landscaping, cooking, fixing the house, decorating the house, writing on my OTHER blog, making new videos, prepping another arrangement, laying groundwork for a CD/video project, etc.

Needless to say, the Creative Laurels house is ready for the slower pace of summer. :)

A career on an academic schedule packs 12 months of work into 9, especially if you're in the arts. Between teaching and rehearsals and performances, 10-14 hour days on campus aren't rare, even if you're part-time.  I love it, though, and it's cool to watch the students grow. also makes me ready for summer. ;)