Fall Fashion Begins Before Summer Sewing Ends

It’s August and suddenly my inbox and the stores at the mall are full of fall clothing. Eek! I’m not even done with my summer sewing yet! We still have a good two months of warm hot weather left! I’m simply not ready for cooler temperatures.

I was home this past weekend for the first time in a month, thank goodness! I love travel but back-to-back weekends away from home get a bit grueling. I spent most of the weekend cleaning the apartment, doing laundry, resuscitating neglected plants, and cooking (this is why I don’t sign up for a CSA – too many veggies to cook!). I really, really, really wanted to start the jumpsuit I’ve been dying to make since at least January, so consider my disappointment when I got the pattern adjusted and realized I don’t have enough fabric.

If you read my blog regularly, this will seem familiar. I've been wanting to make it for ages! McCalls 7099

If you read my blog regularly, this will seem familiar. I’ve been wanting to make it for ages! McCalls 7099

I have a long waist, and I know that jumpsuits tend to be short-waisted on me, so I carefully measured everything on the pattern and on me, and lengthened both the top and the rise and the legs. I also added some width to the legs, since the way they measured out would never comfortably fit my thighs or calves. I also figured that if I added too much, it would be easier to take in than to have minimum seam allowance to let out.

The Mechanic was doing bike maintenance at the same time. You can see why we need a bit more space! And I need a real cutting table that is the proper height. A cutting mat on the ironing board isn’t comfy. Pattern Adjustments 3Imagine my disappointment when I pulled the fabric out and decided to lay it out on the bed, just to see it. Thank goodness I did that before I started cutting out the pattern pieces, because there isn’t enough!!! Ack! Pattern Adjustments 5I ordered a bit more than the pattern called for, as I usually do, but apparently lengthening the torso, rise and leg was more that that, and the pieces don’t all fit together. I can only tighten up the spacing so much. Wah! So now I’m trying to decide how to recover – buy more fabric (which would mean buying three new yards, because it’s tie dyed, and different dye lots mean it would never match), or buy a new pattern. I barely have 2.5 yards, so there aren’t many dresses I can squeeze out of this lovely stretchy, swingy, bamboo jersey.

I found two pattern options – Kwik Sew K3489 and Kwik Sew K4026. I love K3489 because I love the careless wrap design and think it speaks well to this dye tied fabric. But the wrap doesn’t seem very bike friendly. Unlike Forest and Fin’s Bicycle Wrap Skirt, this doesn’t look like it wraps very far, and would most likely blow up as I bike. The skirt on K4026 would be perfect, and I like the drapy cowl neckline. But I just don’t think the fabric is appropriate for this more corporate design. So I’ll have to decide….  Although my new Bikie Girl Bloomers would be super cute under the wrap design!

Kwik Sew k3489

Kwik Sew K3489

Kwik Sew K4026

Kwik Sew K4026

The next two weekends are full of out-of-town guests so I’ll have plenty of time to regroup. But I don’t want to take too long to decide – fall is upon us, and I need to make this summer dress before it gets here!

In the meantime, I’m going to channel my energy into an Instagram challenge. Rachel, of House of Pinheiro, is holding a challenge to post something sewing related every day and tag her (@houseofpinheiro)  and #SewPhotoHop. I started a day late, but hope to post everyday. I’ve never done anything like this so I’m not sure how I’ll do, and I’m a bit unclear on some of the categories, but feel free to follow along to see what I come up with!Capture

Singing the Pattern Fit Blues

On Friday, I made a lovely blouse from McCalls 6604, Version C, from the vintage Liberty of London fabric a friend recently gave me. And I was disappointed in the fit. And Sunday I sort of corrected it.

I always measure patterns before I cut anything out. I took pattern alterations and fit classes back in the early 1990s, when I first started seriously sewing (long after my Girl Scouts sewing badge), and I know vaguely remember how my measurements need to be adjusted for in commercial patterns. Always add some length to the back seat curve, lengthen pants, rise and waist, etc. But lately I’ve found that when I try to adjust properly, it doesn’t go the way I expect it to. Case in point – when I made my reflective bomber jacket, I carefully measured the sleeve pieces for length, and they should have been fine, and yet, the sleeves are about an inch too short. Not that anyone buy me will know, but still. This is especially annoying because the gray velour reflective sweatshirt i made prior ended up with really long sleeves!

McCalls 6604, Version C

McCalls 6604, Version C – seems easy enough… and the neckline didn’t really turn out like that either….

At least this weekend’s project wasn’t awful, just not what i expected. Sure the pattern sketch makes it look shorter than the other garment, and when I looked at the provided finished garment measurements, and looked at me, I thought it would be fine. And when I was done, I was not happy with how short it truly was. Liberty Top 7Not terrible, not not ideal. Okay, honestly, I’m feeling self-conscious about my out-of-shape, not-eating-as-healthy-as-I-should tummy, so that’s part of the issue. It was disappointing, because I love the fabric, and worked hard to make it a nice garment. I did not even put in an inch of reflective trim!

By comparison, here’s the top next to one I made a while back:

About 3" shorter

About 3″ shorter

I decided that I needed to fix this because I wanted to really love this top – it’s drool-worthy, luxurious fabric, after all, and feels so lovely. So I gritted my teeth and added a band at the bottom. Hopefully the print is busy enough that anyone else will not notice the seam (French, of course).

The pattern fit problems I’ve been having lately make me a bit anxious and frustrated, because part of the reason for sewing one’s own clothes is to get them to fit better than store-bought garments. If I can’t get the fit right, ugh, what’s the point?! I’m having a hard time finding pants I like lately (see also aforementioned out-of-shape and not-eating-healthy comment), and I’d love to make some, but I’m not sure I can. Or I’m not sure I have the patience to work and rework, and redo and try again to get a pair that fits the way I want. And I don’t have anyone to help me, either, which adds to my frustration. So if anyone knows a good source to help with pants pattern alterations, *please* direct me to it! I’ve got a jumpsuit pattern calling my name, and at last the fabric I’ve been lusting after was in stock at Fabric.com, so that is near the top of the project pile. But because I’m long-waisted, I know it will need a lot of work. That’s partially why I’m opting to make my own.

Again, if anyone has any experience with Craftsy, or some other tutorial, please share! I see many of you make your own pants and jeans, so I should be able to as well. I just need some good refresher materials and advice!  Thank you!



Spring Sewing Plans (Fail)

At last it’s turned into Spring!

Once again, I am completely in love with the giant flowering trees in Arlington. They make me so happy!

I wish my sewing projects made me as happy. I came back from SoCal ready to start the projects I have mentally lined up, and yet – complete fail. I don’t have enough of anything to get started! I really wanted to make the McCalls 7099 jumpsuit first; the fabric I have my heart set on was listed on Fabric.com as being back-ordered until April 3, so I was sure I’d be able to come home, order the fabric, and start altering the pattern. But no – now it’s just “temporarily unavailable.” I called and they couldn’t give me an ETA. Bummer. So down the list it goes.

Next on the list is Vogue 9087, which I want to make partially with reflective fabric and partially with some blue ditsy floral print – something more affordable than Liberty of London, my first choice. But I can’t find anything I totally love – my only local fabric store options, JoAnn Fabrics and G Street Fabrics, are disappointing and I’m not in love with anything on Fabric.com either. Or any other fabric website I’ve checked out. Of course, I don’t actually own this pattern yet anyway, so I’m clearly not in that big of a rush. Come on, Vogue Patterns, have a sale already!

Next on the list is culottes. Occasionally I think that the smart thing to do would be go to a store and try on some different styles, to see what I like best – longer or just below the knee; pleated front or gathered or plain; drapey or more constructed; solid or print. But I’ll probably just go with Vogue 9091, version B with the flat front and just below the knee. That length seems best for biking in, and since I have an aversion to 1980s-reminiences pleated fronts, I like the waist on this version. I was thinking of doing this in micro-suede, maybe tan or maybe burgundy. I can’t decide which color would work best with my existing wardrobe. I’ve ordered fabric swatches from Fabric.com (seriously, they should make me a spokes-stitcher at this point), but until I order this pattern, too, I guess I’m not in a hurry.

Vogue 9091 Culottes

Vogue 9091 Culottes

What, then, instead?! Good question. I have noticed a need in my casual spring/summer wardrobe for a blue skirt, so I might just make up a pattern for a lightweight denim elastic-waist skirt with pockets, and use some of my cool reflective rick-rack as a sort of petticoat trim, peeking out from under the hem. At least that fabric should be easy enough to pick out at JoAnn’s.

In other sewing fails, the orange reflective fabric that I used on my latest Liberty of London for Target duvet cover top is basically falling apart. I wore it for the first time on Easter, and just washed it this weekend (cold water, line dry). I’m completely disappointed at how the material is basically self-destructing! The other colored reflective fabric I have, all purchased from B&J Fabrics in New York City, haven’t done this. I’m not entirely sure what to do to fix this.

Disintegrating as I look at it!

Disintegrating as I look at it!

I suppose that it’s possibly better to not have a sewing project(s) distracting me this week, since there is other stuff going on. Plus, The Mechanic and I registered for the CASA River Ride in our favorite little town of Shepherdstown, WV. Again we will do a half-century. Short bike rides to work and not much else means that we both really need to start getting some miles in! I dusted off Donner, my long-neglected road bike, today, and went for a short spin. I forgot how light and nimble he is compared to Fauntleroy, the commuter bike. Four weekends to gear up for 50 miles?! We can do this! Road Bike