Monday, March 22, 2010

Blue and White

I've been piecing...

And quilting...

And generally enjoying myself on a quick little project.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Pattern Challenge: Alabama Stitch Book T-shirt Corset

I completed my first project for the pattern challenge, the T-shirt corset pattern from the Alabama Stitch Book.

Pattern Description: T-shirt corset pattern from Alabama Stitch Book
Pattern Sizing: S,M,L,XL

I usually wear a size 12, and I made an XL. My first version was too tight in the bust, so I took it apart and replaced the front pieces, increasing the bust by about 1/2".

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes, but larger. ;)

Were the instructions easy to follow? The instructions were easy to follow and the shirt went together really quickly. The directions are for a completely hand-sewn garment, but I used my sewing machine for everything. This did not cause any particular problems with assembling the shirt. I may eventually do the hand sewn version, but I wasn't about to try that without testing the pattern size first.
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
Likes: The shape is great and very flattering to a woman's curves. The construction is VERY fast if you are using a sewing machine... about 1 hour to complete the shirt assuming that you don't have to redo anything.

Dislikes: The instructions are extremely vague about things like fabric requirements (the book just says to use 4 t-shirts... and if your pattern pieces don't fit, try bigger shirts). Also, you have to refer to different parts of the book to get the complete instructions. I did not like the method for covering the edges at the neck, armholes, and bottom hem... more on that below.

Fabric Used: Black cotton jersey from Joann's

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: The book includes instructions for an all-over applique version and a version made from printed t-shirts. I mostly followed the instructions for the printed version, but used plain cotton jersey. I didn't like the raw edges at the top, bottom, and armholes, so I tried using the instructions from the applique version to add edging at the neck and armholes. This did not work at all, possibly because I was using a sewing machine, possibly because my jersey was a nice thick fabric and the instructions have you sewing through 7 layers of jersey in some places, or possibly both. I ended up working out my own method through trial and error (and seam ripping).
The instructions also said to leave all seams to the outside. I put them all to the inside and then top-stitched them to one side.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I already sewed the pattern again and found that with a less stretchy fabric it is too tight. I will most likely increase the pattern a bit and try again.

Even though I had a few issues, I think that it is a pretty good beginner pattern, especially if you make the patterned shirt as indicated and don't try to add edging.  I would recommend it to others because the result is very pretty and I would be happy to share my method for adding the edging on the neckline, armholes, and bottom hem if you want them.
the front:

and the back:

Friday, March 12, 2010

Welcome home, kitties!

My kitties are back home and exploring their new play area.  Welcome back, kitties!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Pattern Challenge

It's a big struggle for me to find clothes that fit me right, which is a shame because I think my body is awesome and just needs to be appropriately sheathed.  I want to make custom clothes so that they will fit well and look good.  I'm very fearful about trying to use patterns, though.  I don't know if it's just my lack of skills, or if it's that the patterns are actually as bad as I think, but it always seems like they have included about 1/4 of the instructions necessary to complete the project. So, to help keep me motivated, I'm joining Sarah's pattern challenge.  This has the side benefit of providing a group of people who are also struggling with wretched instructions and can give me sympathy...

So anyway, here are my goals:
Use this pattern to make a winter coat - probably like the white one with a different collar)

Make Amy Butler's Liverpool pattern - not sure what length, as I have only ever seen pictures of the tunic length:

To make the t-shirt corset from the Alabama Stitch Book:

Aaand lastly to clear up some WIPs from my last burst of clothing making, I think all of them are half-made skirts.  First step is to go through and get a count of exactly what I have partially finished.

Man, looking at those pictures makes me want to start RIGHT NOW.  Especially on the t-shirt corset.

I miss sewing

I've been working hard on moving tasks and there is still quite a lot to do, but I did manage to squeeze in a bit of crafting. I love teas, and I buy them loose-leaf from a local store. Their tins are way too expensive though, so I have about 5-10 kinds of teas in little baggies in my cupboard. I am working on slowly finding cute containers for all of them.

I started with something that I found in the break room, which looked similar to this (neglected to take a before picture):

I cleaned off the tin and assembled supplies (note that my actual tin has this nice green lid):

And after:
It was my first time using mod podge and it wasn't quite what I expected. It looked sort of like Elmer's going on, and didn't really harden to the degree that I anticipated, given that I got the one called "Hard Coat." Still, it is supposed to cure for another couple of weeks, so perhaps it has yet to fully harden. Also, I masked off the edges a bit, but I wasn't thinking about how much the mod podge would get on my hands, and I ended up leaving some inside and on the bottom of the tin.

The fabric that I applied was a silk from the free upholstery fabric that I got. The result had much less contrast than I expected. I think that this is partly because the mod podge is still slightly cloudy and partly because some of the original contrast came from the shiny embroidery on the matte fabric and the mod podge gave everything the same finish.

Someday I hope to move on to bigger items, but for now I expect that a few more of these are in my future.