Tag Archives: finished projects

The deets—Red Rayon Blouse

After years of ogling, I finally pulled the trigger on Butterick B6217, an adorable Patterns by Gertie blouse. I don’t really do blouses much, despite the odd flirtation. I actually think the last blouse I made was a Burdastyle JJ way back in the mists of time.

The fabric is a rayon twill, and while it is just as soft and fiddly as any rayon, it’s really quite glorious. I love the slightly heavier drape of it.

I was really unsure about the size. The pattern is described as “loose fitting”—not at all what the desired look is, IMO—and the amount of ease is correspondingly huge. On the other hand, I’m a bit bigger than I used to be which is requiring some reassessment about what measurements I should actually look for. But I found a post from someone on Instagram who said their measurements put them in a 14 and they made an 8.

I was a little leery looking at the finished measurements of the 8, so I decided to trace the pattern and muslin, which I almost never do with shop projects. The last time I tried to use an 8 because a pattern was oversized was a total disaster. In the 8 I wasn’t sure I would need my usual length changes, so I made only two alterations: curving in the back seam and squaring the shoulders slightly.

The results weren’t terrible and I probably will finish off that shirt, but it did seem just a little snug all around. So I went back to the size 10. I felt a lot more at home there, and took about 1/2″ of length out at the waist. I kinda wish I’d added it back on at the hem—the overall length is a wee bit short unless you’re tucking it in or wearing it over something high-waisted.

Anyway. The result was pretty good size-wise, I think. Just a tiny bit of taking in here and there. Keep in mind that’s going down two full sizes, given my measurements these days. The back does seem to hang up a bit, so maybe a bit of tweaking there is in order. On the other hand, I don’t have to look at it.

I used a featherweight knit interfacing for the facings, which was a great idea except that then I went and stabilized the main fabric of the neckline with a heavier knit interfacing for absolutely zero stretch, while the facing had a small amount of stretch, which is a recipe for gaping facing. Not bad, but not perfect.

The buttonholes, on the other hand, are perfect. I made them on my modern machine, which does pretty decent buttonholes on fabric like this, and a bit of wash-away stabilizer behind the fabric for insurance and everything was peachy keen.

I do like the pattern a lot—it’s adorable. The bias cut front ties are as much fun as they look. I dealt with the tulip sleeves by the simple method of lining up the underarm seam and sewing up from there, although I did make a bit of effort to make sure the crossover top lined up on both sides. There’s a marking you’re supposed to match but of course I forgot to mark it.

Whether it’ll become a wardrobe staple is another question, but I’m glad I gave it a try. I’d kinda like to make one with a matching skirt, for a summery-dress effect. We’ll see where I land when it stops being -30C for more than a few days.



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The deets—Vinyl look pants

When I first saw this fabric, the sheen made me think of a faux leather, even though it’s basically a dull stretch satin. I kind of have a soft spot for that dull sheen.

I will say, since that first infatuation, my feelings have cooled. Despite its neat appearance, it feels and sews like satin, which is not my fave. Slithery and yet somehow hard. Plus it liked to creep and wrinkle along the long seams, and didn’t like to press

On the other hand, it took the top stitching like gold. That was beautiful. I used a newish-to-me machine, a hand-me-down Elna that a friend insisted I take.

I think I may have found my new favourite topstitching machine. It handled the extra-thick topstitching thread flawlessly, has a speed control, and the weird little bubble foot pedal gives great control. I won’t crown it quite yet—it did struggle and sometimes balk at some of the thicker spots, and this fabric is thinner than most denim—but the signs are good.

The pattern is Burda 6855, a basic skinny-jeans-styled pattern which differs from classic jeans only in having rear darts rather than a yoke. I actually like that feature as it’s easier to adjust fit on the fly, not to mention faster to sew. I used it last year to make two pairs of jeans for a work project I never managed to blog, that are actually the only jeans in my regular wardrobe rotation right now. And I thought it would suit this slightly-fancier-looking fabric.

I actually originally intended to try the high-rise view of the Ginger jeans in honor of #nofearjeansmonth, but I couldn’t quite pull it together to get it printed (my printer is detached in the bottom of the closet at the moment since my husband needed more room on the computer desk for cat beds. Don’t ask.) so I settled for a quick and familiar pattern.

The fit was pretty much as expected though I should have added more height to the back rise—I knew I needed a bit there but even more would’ve been good. I don’t love how this fabric drapes—did I mention that? So I don’t know that this pair is really a successful anything. But they’re not terrible, and I enjoyed the process if not the result. Also I bothered to put in rivets, which I haven’t done in ages. I like it. And it’s a lot easier with my new-ish awl for poking the holes.

I still want to try those high-rise Ginger jeans though.


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Good intentions

So I bought this kinda ugly camo knit a year or so ago when the last little bit went on sale real cheap. I thought perhaps one of my kids would like camo leggings.

Well, when I made them up today, my kids agreed with me—about the ugliness. Not so much about the wanting them part. So I guess I now have a pair of ugly camo leggings.

I confess they’re kinda growing on me though. Even though the fabric is the kind where the colour fades as it stretches, it’s silky smooth and feels really nice.

I modified my trusty old Jalie 2920 by adding a slightly shaped double-layered cloth band at the waist rather than elastic, creating a smooth high-rise effect I’m enjoying. Which probably has everything to do with my changing relationship with my body these days, but we won’t dig too deep into that today. Anyway, so I have a new pair of leggings, and I think I like them. They don’t go with anything, though.


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Things not worthy of blogging

Last weekend, whilst procrastinating finishing my mom’s coat, I was kinda on a roll. I made the stripey almost-Jasper, and then moved on to some really quick projects.

A dress for Fyon’s birthday (who is eleven now, somehow), much less impressive but more practical, hopefully, than her present last year. I used Jalie 3349, a ballet leotard pattern, and morphed it into a tent-dress type shape starting about 2″ below the armpit. The only problem is that I decided to do just a half-lining in the upper body, to make the thin fabric a bit more opaque, and it doesn’t always lie flat. Maybe I should’ve done a full lining, but I thought the outer fabric would get caught up on it.

I have no pictures, but I made my husband a pair of knit comfy pants from an old Kwik Sew sweatsuit pattern (2463) I’ve used before for him. This was partly because he needed them, and partly to justify the fabric purchase, which was this incredibly soft mystery knit—I thought it was a rayon but it doesn’t go all cottony in the wash so I guess it’s just a really nice poly—I picked up recently for a price that worked out to $2.50/m. At that price, the ones I made him are still cheaper than the Walmart pair they’re replacing. Which doesn’t change the fact that I didn’t need more fabric.

Which brings us to the other thing I made for myself, another McCall’s 7622. Again to justify a recent fabric purchase. This one is heavier and feels almost woolly, although it doesn’t smell sheepy under steaming so I’m guessing not real wool. It’s pleasantly sweater-y, though.

Not that you can see anything much of it in the photos. Darned black.

Oh, look, there is a photo of my husband in his comfy Kwik Sew pants, because he accidentally wandered through my photos a couple of times.

And that’s about that. I did finish my mom’s coat, by the way. I will blog that soon, though I may not be able to get good photos for a while.


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Playing around

My mom’s coat is almost done—just needs buttons and the hem finished—so I took some time to play around. I had pre-washed this stripey end of heavy French Terry back before Christmas, thinking of a Paprika Patterns Jasper sweater-dress. But time was at a premium and then I realized that stripes plus princess seams could, um, be a little bit of a headache. Plus I was not at all sure I’d have enough fabric.

Fast forward to that post-coat high and I really just wanted a quick project. I decided to attempt a shape not too different from my last sweater dress, based off my knit sloper—kind of an exaggerated pear shape that I’m finding fun at the moment. And if I had enough fabric left over, I could morph a Jasper hood onto it.

I took my knit sloper, added a bit of ease since the fabric is not overly stretchy, and traced out a fantastical side seam with hip bubble right onto my fabric.

Spoiler alert: I had enough fabric. Barely. This knit was tube knitted, which is great for optimizing your cutting layout, but the grain of the knit is at a distinct angle to the stripes, which made stripe matching an iffy and uncertain prospect. Frankly I was kinda expecting the sleeves to corkscrew around on my arms. Which they don’t seem to be doing, so I’ll call that a win.

Anyway. What I’m basically doing is excusing my lackadaisical attempt to get my stripes to line up. Sorry not sorry?

I also didn’t do any fun stripe-playing, partly out of concern for stretch issues but mainly from lack of fabric. It would’ve been pretty cool to cut the hood frame with the stripes running vertical, though. Oh well.

I forgot the pockets when I first sewed up the body, so I had to go in and retrofit them in, but it was worth it because a) pockets, and b) they kinda support the weird hip shape. There’s a strip of fusi-knit where each pocket piece is sewn on.

So, um, basically this is another in my attempt to create an entire wardrobe of sweater-weight cozies. Maybe this urge will fade… maybe by May?

At least this one isn’t grey.


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An (ugly?) Christmas sweater

I drew my aunt in the family Christmas lottery this year. This is my mother’s sister, who is in charge of everything, and who is at a point in her life where, if she wants it, she probably has it already.

She’s also a sewist, so a homemade gift seemed like a doubly good idea, and a sweater seemed even better.

My aunt has a distinct style and tends to wear a lot of black with bright jewel tones. I figured a black or grey sweater with a touch or two of bright colour might be just the thing.

After a considerable amount of stash digging I settled on a piece of the same fabric as my valentines’ outfit from last year. The marled grey cotton may not be the softest thing ever but it does look great.

Some more pattern digging turned up the out of print Butterick 5528—views A and B both seemed like they would suit my aunt and be doable with my limited amount of fabric. I made no alterations, but I did determine that I wanted to make the longer view B.

The biggest hurdle was cutting out. This fabric is a subtle stripe, and I was hopeful I’d be able to at least roughly match it. I cut out the front panels first—then promptly realized that the big piece is the BACK, and had several panicked moments considering whether or not I even had enough fabric to cut the back, even if I didn’t match it. In the end I wriggled it around and the locations of the stripes do match, but the direction is opposite so the sequence is off. I can live with that. I did have enough random bits to make sure my pockets and cuffs lined up nicely. The hardest thing about cutting this fabric is that the stripe only shows on the right side, so you can’t easily just put your first cut piece face down and line up the stripes around it for the second. Fortunately it’s a simple pattern.

I used some teal tricot to make a binding for the edge of the very narrow facing. It gets topstitched down, which is nice and fast, and didn’t turn out too terrible. And apparently I failed to get a decent picture of it. I really need better light in the basement. I used fusible knit interfacing in the undercollar (works much better!) cuffs, and facing, which was more or less perfect.

The front isn’t meant to overlap—the pattern features a button on each side with some kind of closure between. Probably the instructions elucidate. I just grabbed a purple hair elastic and stitched it down the middle into a figure-8, which seems to work well and can be easily replaced if it goes missing. I couldn’t find any large enough teal buttons in stash but I thought the purple was a good substitute. The pockets are a little small, but most importantly they’re there, and almost perfectly matched!

My aunt seems very excited about it. I’m hopeful it will be neutral enough to pair with a bright hat or scarf (or shirt), without being too boring.


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This is another one of those projects that seemed like a good idea at the time. Actually, i didn’t even mind the making so much. It was the making myself start making it that sucked eggs. I have a terrible time motivating myself for unselfish sewing.

The backstory is, I made my dad a shirt for Xmas—a short sleeved Negroni—back when we first moved back from Cowtown, and he has dutifully worn it every time we get together with them ever since. Which is flattering the first few times and then you realize he is definitely just wearing it because you are there, and then you have no idea if he actually even likes it at all.

In either case, though, it seemed like a good idea to give him another daughter-made option. So at least he’ll have options he doesn’t like.

After some digging around my Fabricland, I finally found a shirting that inspired me. It’s actually a home dec fabric, a medium weight cotton twill with a woven-in stripe. It’s a little thicker and a little softer than a quilting cotton.

For a pattern, since I was doing this as a shop project, I went with McCall’s 2447, in all its dated glory. I didn’t want a super-fitted or overly fussy pattern, and it actually seems fairly nicely drafted. It has a proper grain-elevator placket for the sleeve, a neat pocket detail, separate button band, and the collar isn’t as huge as I had feared. I checked the finished measurements and opted to make a medium rather than a large, because it’s hugely oversized. I’ve added 2″ to the sleeve length, which will hopefully be enough. I also made a cut-on button band rather than going with the separate route, because I was worried about stripe issues, but I like the option of the separate band for contrast and detail purposes.

I got a bit of coordinating quilt cotton to make contrast facings and a few other touches of color. The fun of menswear is in the little details, and it takes the right mindset for me to get in the mood.

I don’t feel like this is a crowning example of shirt making. My stitching isn’t quite as precise as I’d like, and the soft twill liked to shift around. I topstitched some of it at about 1/4″ and some is edge stitched and I like the edgestitch better, but not enough to go back and redo it all. I used three machines in construction, not counting the serger, which I only used to finish the armscye since I’m too lazy to flat-fell. I used my usual Janome for the main construction, with walking foot to facilitate stripe matching on the collar and back yoke. I used my grandmother’s old Rocketeer for the buttonholes. And I used a 70s-era Elna a friend gave me last summer for the top stitching, since it has a speed control, which is pretty much my favourite thing for top stitching ever.

On the other hand, I really like the overall effect. I like my little blue touches.

I kicked ass on the buttonholes (once I smartened up and put wash-away stabilizer under them all.)

I really like my pocket mod. (I used the pattern piece provided but not the construction method.)

And I think for a slouchy comfy shirt it might actually be just fine, even if I won’t be showing off my fine details.

To be honest, the more the topstitching trauma fades, the happier I am with it. It’s a soft, casual shirt but not sloppy, which I think SHOULD suit my dad’s current retired-professor lifestyle.

Who knows, he might even actually like it!


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