Makin’ Mabel

IMG_2773While the weekend was busy, there was still a fair amount of sewing taking place.  Mostly due to the fact that what I was sewing was very simple, as well as easy to fit.

Colette Patterns has recently introduced two knit patterns, their first.  Mabel is one of them.  They also had a sew-along, which I participated in.  This was also my first sew-along.  So, lots of firsts with Miss Mabel.

Mabel is a knit skirt, which can be made in three variations.  Two minis (which were not of much interest to me – my mini-wearing days are long past) and a pencil skirt.  No zipper.  No elastic.  The whole fit is done through using knit fabrics and the draft of the pattern.  Also a nice bit is that the knits should be fairly stable – think ponte or sofia knits.  Nice and substantial.  I made the pencil.

This is my second one, the first being done from stash fabric (which was even laying out on the cutting table!) to achieve fit and proportion.  This knit was from the recent sale at Fabric Mart Fabrics.  It’s nice and beefy.

First step: cut out the pattern.  For this particular fabric, I folded it cross grain, to take advantage of the direction with the most stretch.  I did pin the fabric down, though with the appearance of my ever trusty assistant, I probably didn’t need to.  Doesn’t everyone have a cat who’s a pattern weight?

IMG_2776From there, it’s pretty much simple sewing.  Though you know me, I had to make a few changes.

So, what did I change?  Two things.

Instead of serging the side seams on the waistband, I just stitched them regularly.  Since these don’t need to stretch on the vertical axis, this cut down bulk.IMG_2775

The second change was turning the back vent into a kick pleat.  Actually, I learned the difference between the two during the sew along.  Seems a vent has the opening sewn closed all the way down the seam, while a kick pleat leaves a bit open at the bottom for more walking ease.  Since I am all about comfort and walking ease, this was a must-have modification.

That’s what the kick pleat looks like after stitching the edges. –>

IMG_2777Next was threading up the serger.  I used what my machine calls a 3-thread super stretch stitch.  This is my default stitch when sewing knits.  I probably don’t need something with this much give, but it does the trick and I like using it, so why not?

Multiple thread colors, though purple is the only one that could possibly be seen from the right side of the garment.  I am of the match-as-best-you-can school of thread selection.

Five vertical body seams, and two waistband seams later, everything was nearly completed.  Last step was to mark the length hem.

IMG_2780IMG_2781Finished Mabel!

Front to the left.

Back to the right.


More Relaxation

Another rendition of the Relax A Little pattern from Cutting Line Designs.  I am very please to have this one finished.  It went together quicker and easier than the first one.  Even better, it’s made from stash fabric, that’s been aging for over a year.  Happy Dance!

I shortened the pattern by 2 inches, and it is still about mid calf length.  I am fine with that, as I plan to wear it with boots.  I think the swishy black skirt will be a nice complement to beaded sweaters for the holidays.  The fabric is a jacquard weave, which adds interest, but is an absolute beast to photograph.  The picture at left was lightened considerably to try and show the pattern.  Doesn’t work too well, even with all the tweaking.

The fiber make up is some sort of cotton blend, I think.  Or maybe a rayon blend.  I couldn’t quite tell from the burn test.  The shop said it was silk, but that isn’t the case – it doesn’t have the grabbiness that silk does.


Relax a Little

There was sewing over the long weekend at Casa Thunderpaws.  In fact, it was a brand new pattern with brand new(ish) fabric!  This is Relax a Little from Cutting Line Design patterns.  I picked it up when I went to the Louise Cutting workshop a while back.

The pattern is über easy to make.  I was amazed!  The fitting is very simple, with great directions for doing so.  The sewing even more so, with pockets no less!

The photo at left shows how invisible the pockets are.  They are in the side seams, but don’t have any of the bulk that you normally get with in-seam pockets.  The pocket bag is a single layer, cut as one with the back of the skirt, which helps to eliminate seams.  At right, you can see where I tucked my label into one of the pockets.

The fabric is something called Brussels Washer, which is a linen/rayon blend.  Be warned, this stuff shrinks, so you need to run it through the washer and dryer several times before cutting anything out, which I did.  The elastic at the waist was very simple to install.  A couple rows of stitching to hold it in place, then a zap with a steamy iron to “whoosh” everything into place.  Whoosh is a technical term…but you knew that.

Let’s see, what else is there to say?  The pattern runs long.  Very long.  I made it the out-of-the-envelope length to see where it would hit.  Once hemmed, it’s about 6 inches above the floor on me.  The next one will be shorter.

There was also sewing of gifties, but I can’t show those to you yet.  Patience grasshopper, patience.

Europa + New Look = Outfit

Flora Fashions an Outfit

My wardrobe is almost entirely separates.  They mix and match, sometimes well, sometimes not.  Pieces wear out at different times.  This is the first time, in many years, that I can say I have an actual outfit.  A real, honest to goodness ensemble.  Pieces that are meant to be worn together.

I don’t know why, but I find myself inordinately pleased by this.  Now I just need somewhere to wear it!

New Look 6569 – Finally Finished

I stopped working on this skirt over a year ago.  In fact, I blogged about it too.  Since then, it’s sat in a stack waiting for it’s fate to be decided.  Would it ever be finished?  Would I find the patience to do all the niggling little tasks that were needed to make it work?

Well, I must say I am quite pleased to both have kept it (this skirt narrowly escaped a trip to Wadderville on several occasions), and to have finally finished it.  Yay! Yippee! Happy Dance!

There were quite a number of things I had to do, not the least of which was rip out most of what I’d already sewn.  The facings had stretched, and were not going to work as they were.

Here’s what I did to finish it:

  • Remove zipper
  • Remove skirt bottom from yoke.
  • Cut a new yoke and facing (same pattern piece) – thankfully I saved the leftover fabric.
  • Attach new yoke to skirt
  • Re-insert zipper very carefully as I’d cut off the top zipper stop, and I didn’t want to have the slider go zinging off, never to be seen again.
  • Tack facing down
  • Hem skirt
  • Hem lining

Having a sharp seam ripper was most helpful.  I’m glad I went back and finished the skirt, as I really do like the print.  It’s bright, summery and puts me in a good mood.

Sewin’ at the Sew-In

Well, as usual, my sewing expectations for the Sew-In were considerably higher than my output.  Which is not a problem, at all.  These are the items I completed, which I am very pleased with.  Looking back, I was a bit full of myself, thinking I would get 6 garments and a quilt top sewn.  Still, a girl’s got to have goals!

Simplicity 3754.  A lightweight denim skirt with funky skull fabric used for the pocket bags and facings.  I’ve made this pattern in an upholstery weight cotton before, and found I really like it.  The pattern is one of those standards – easy to assemble and always looks pulled together.

There is a kick pleat in the back for walking ease.  Another nice feature is that the pockets are deep enough to hold car keys and coinage, always a good thing.

I also did what I swore I would never do again:  top stitch using a different thread, and only have 1 machine.  So, there was more thinking involved than usual on assembly.  How much could I sew regularly before I had to change thread and needle to do the top stitching? The top stitching thread is a heavy weight variegated cotton.   While the buttons look to be two different colors, that’s an effect of the flash.  They are the same.

New Look 6407:  I spent so much time fitting this pattern, I plan to get a lot of use out of it.

The fabric is part of “the good stuff” stash, which I got from Gorgeous Fabrics.  It is a stretch cotton with lovely weight.  Not too heavy, not too light.  Does this make it Goldilocks fabric?

I used a complementary fabric for the facings.  Little did I know when I cut it out this style of combining fabrics would be featured in Linda Lee’s article “Gender Bender”  in the September issue of Threads.  Basically it talks about adapting some of the trends in menswear shirting to womens garments – this is one of ’em!

Lastly is another pair of Hot Patterns Marrakesh pants.  These also assembled pretty easily.

Unlike the two previous garments I still have a little bit of work to do – hemming, waistband button and changing out the ties.

I used the same linen the pants are made of for the ties, and find that I don’t like it.  Too bulky and it makes too big a bow on the front.  Picky, picky, picky, I know.

I have some silky lining fabric that will work just fine.  This little fix is on the agenda for today.  As usual, the pockets and facings are a different fabric.  So far as I know, this isn’t a trend in mens trousers, but maybe I’m ahead of the pack?

Stylistic Slight of Hand

Last night I was transferring the fitting lines from the muslin I worked on during the Tailoring Workshop to the actual pattern tissue.

Usually, one would just cut the fitted muslin apart, and use that as the pattern, but I wanted the tissue to capture the changes too, so I could use it to compare against other patterns.

Lo and behold, I found this McCall’s in the pattern stash.  Notice anything similar between the two?  Like…they are very nearly identical! I must have been on a princess-seamed pencil skirt binge when I got them last summer.

I measured the pattern pieces, and they are almost the same.  The only difference is the size of the center back,and the style details.  So, I’m thinking I can just morph one into the other, and have not one, not two, but five different elements to use.

I wonder, why is it just the center back that’s sized so differently between the two?  Everything else is the same, within 1/4 inch or less.  Is left pattern drafted for a protruding patootie, like I have?  Is right pattern for ladies with a saggy seat?  Curiouser and Curiouser.