Yeah, that collar needs to go!
Here's something else I made on vacation. The outside is a sheer curtain and the lining is an old sheet. I didn't want a bunch of shirts that looked almost the same, so I added extra seams to this one. I also cut the bodice pieces on the bias (made topstitching in a straight line very difficult) and the waist piece on the cross-grain. The curtain has a bit of shimmer to it, so I thought the contrasting grains would add some interest.
I cut the waist piece starting at the waistline and measuring down four inches. If I make this kind of seaming again, I'll put the waistline in the middle of the piece. I kind of figured that when I cut the piece this time, but for some reason didn't want to be bothered, although I don't understand what I was thinking. Measuring two inches up and two inches down isn't that much harder than measuring four inches down!
I added a collar for kicks, but attached it wrong and think I will take it off before I wear this again. Then again, I didn't bother to unpick a row of wobbly top stitching and simply stitched over it, so I may just wear this on those days when I plan to stay in the house, but want to be dressed decently should I need to run an errand. I did wear this to work once, but unless that collar goes, I don't expect it to happen again.
Basically, I put a lot of work into this and was bored by the time I finished. Also, even though I tried to secure all raw edgers, after one washing, I can see that the curtain fabric will quickly fray.
The sheet fabric on the inside - that I love! It's so soft; I keep running my hands over it, wishing it was a darker color so that it would look better on me if I wore it on the outside.
Even if the body isn't what I wanted, the sleeves and armholes came out the best I've sewed yet!
Over my vacation, I tidied up the pattern I made for the Star Trek tribute shirt and made three other shirts. This one is from an old bed skirt that was given to me. I didn't want it to be exactly the same as the Star Trek shirt and the fabric is very, very sheer. I used the ruffle part to add another layer across the chest. I basted around the top and edges, but left the bottom free. This space and movement between the two layers helps create a more opaque effect.
Pinned & Ready to Stitch
After I got the shirt together, I realized that you could still see the top of my bra through the fabric. I was tempted to leave things alone and just wear this to bed, but I really wanted some new outside clothes. I cut another front and back and stitched it to the original body at the neckline because at this point, I already had the sleeves attached to the outer body. The sides, armholes, and hem of the inner body are free. There are three layers of fabric across the body of this garment. It easily becomes warm. Then again, it looks light and cool, so it might be good for the summer when I freeze inside but don't want to wear winter clothes.
I needed to position the ruffle differently. This position is in an awkward place and looks too much like either nightclothes or something a child would wear. It will work for running errands and staying at home.
I had some vacation time the week before last and sewed up three shirts. Before that, I spent some time mending my jeans, trying to get another season's wear out of them. One pair was beyond repair, so I broke down and bought a new pair, so I had to hem those, too. I enjoy more to make things from scratch, but suppose altering and repairing are more useful skills.
You can see where before I was lazy & folded up the hem
Old & new jeans, neatly hemmed with original hem showing
My new jeans were easy to hem. I didn't even have to cut anything, just make certain I folded things the correct way so that the original hem would show.
My old jeans needed some work. I took out my old hemming job and hemmed the legs properly. When I do this sort of hemming, I have at least 0.5-inch seam allowance, but stitch as closely as possible to the fold of the original hem. You can see what the inside of this procedure looks like here
The advantage of my past laziness was that the original hem was in good shape. The jeans may be old and turning raggedy, but at least the hems look new!
I also had to patch for at least the second time the thigh area. Wanting to avoid having to do this again, I used a patch large enough to cover the entire inner-thigh area and then some.
If I could only find some reasonably-priced jeans that are dark washed, proportioned for petites with the large rear-small waist combo, and without any whiskering or pocket ornamentation, I wouldn't have to go through all this!
You can see some of the stitching from the previous patch job
I half-heartedly try to match the grain lines on my patch and the garment, but it's difficult on this area of the pant leg
I found the other pictures. They are integrated into the post. Also, the weather got cooler, so I've been able to wear my newly fitted jacket.
Sloppy & Long
Sleek & Hemmed
I finally got the courage to try to hem the sleeves on this jacket. As you can see, even with my fingers fully extended, the sleeve completely covers my hand. Unpicking was easier than I expected and sewing was smooth. I used a leather needle and normal thread. I used the hand wheel over any lumpy places, but the foot pedal worked fine on the smooth parts. I had to shorten the sleeves to the top of the split, so I left off the cuffs and hemmed the edges like a regular lined jacket. Some glue or something to hold the sleeves together would have helped. I won't get prizes for my handiwork, but it is a relief to have a jacket that fits better, although the relief of not irretrievably ruining the jacket is almost greater.
I thought for sure I had pictures of the process and finished product, but can't find them on my disk. If they show up, I'll add them.
While I worked on this, the weather was cold, but headed towards spring. Then we went from snow to 80-degrees in the space of a week, so I haven't yet had a chance to wear my finished jacket.
The pins hold the lining folded under; they don't go through the leather.
There's this particular style of shirt (don't know the name) that I've been seeing in the past few months. It looked easy enough to make, but I didn't have an attractive fabric for it. Then I remembered this skirt-dress garment. It's one of those pieces that are advertised as having dozens of ways to wear it. I never could get it to look right, but love the colors and patterns. The garment was given to me by my aunt who also had trouble finding a way to wear the skirt-dress. With trepidations, I cut off the waistband and acquired two pieces of fabric.
Feeling my way along, wanting to make as few cuts as possible, I finished the cut edge with a narrowly folded over hem. Then I marked my shoulder width plus ease and my armhole drop plus ease. The only thing saving me from impossible mathematical calculations was that the hem of the skirt is much wider than the part attached to the waistband. I could sew straight seams to make the body and still have the extra room needed to accommodate my hips. I folded the fabric in half, short sides together so that one side was a fold. While sewing the body seams, I kept thinking, "I'm missing something. Somehow, I'm missing something." Even trying on the shirt half-way through didn't make the obvious answer pop into my mind.
After sewing the side seams and ensuring they were a good measurement, I cut the fold and hemmed the raw edge. That is when I discovered that this fabric frays even when sitting on the table, untouched.
I tried on the "completed" shirt on and figured it out. Sewing right sides together means that the extra fabric is next to the body, not outside the shirt like "wings." I debated wearing it anyway, but ultimately sewed things together the way I originally intended.
I was uncertain if this style garment would look good on my. That was part of my reluctance to cut the fabric. After wearing it to work one day, I do like the look. Just as satisfying, I received several compliments.
Still searching for the perfect "shell" pattern, I used part of my tunic pattern, part of the pattern I used for the button-up shirt, a bit of adjusting the armhole, some freehand drawing, and came up with what I think is very, very close. The armholes feel comfortable, there is enough room in the front to accommodate a rounded stomach, there is enough room across the scapulas, there is minimal bunching at the small of the back, and the shirt sits smoothly over my hips. Naturally, I did not have time to take a picture on the day I wore it. Next time.
When finishing the sleeves, I wanted to use an animal print, but realized I had used that scrap for something else. I had another scrap that already had a hem, all I had to do was cut off the hem with enough seam allowance to sew onto the shirt. Easy!
Well, I don't like looking at light shades of brown - sand, khaki, taupe, and company. As I worked on the sleeves, I felt myself getting grumpier and grumpier. Then I realized why. Even though I can see the aesthetic acceptability of the brown against the blue, the thought of wearing it made me want to scream. What on earth was I doing creating a custom garment with colors I can't stand?!
In theory it looks good, but it just isn't "me"
I took off the sleeve finishes and looked for other scraps, settling on a shiny black material. Once assembled, I put the shirt on my dress form and wondered, "Does this look like a clown outfit? An item from the '80s? What?"
It definitely looked like something and I wasn't sure I wanted to wear it until I figured out what. I went about my evening, but kept peeking at the shirt, trying to figure out what was nagging me and begging myself not to decide it looked like a clown shirt because I really like the fit and really dislike making neckline finishes.
Then while reading Star Wars Scoundrels
, it hit me. The blue shirt with the black peeking out at the neck is reminiscent of a Starfleet medical officer's uniform
. Oh. Is that bad? In other words, will it get me laughed at?
Except, I like Star Trek. Resisting the urge to manufacture a brooch to wear in place of a communicator or to find a way to attach rank pips to the collar, I wore this shirt to work with my normal winter work bottoms - black trousers and black boots.
By then, I was into the Star Trek connections, so I couldn't play things cool. I had to ask around until I found someone who watched the show enough to recognize my homage. So, yeah, maybe I am getting myself laughed at, but I will be wearing this again next week (and hopefully getting a picture).
As for the pattern, I want to trace the disparate pieces into one pattern and see if I can duplicate the results I got here. Next time, however, I hope to use fabric with the silky drape normally associated with a woman's business shell blouse.
I finally got around to adding pockets to the robe I made a while back. I wanted large pockets, but the size was primarily dictated by the scraps I had left and the size of the robe's front panels. I positioned them to be comfortable for my arm length and now when I have to carry undergarments to or from a communal shower room, I have a place to store them. I hope I don't soon have that kind of living environment again, but if I do, I'll be ready.
I also added a hang-loop, but attached it to the collar instead of the robe's back like is normal. The collar has three layers of fabric and so felt sturdier. The cotton fleece felt like it might tear from the weight of the garment.
I completed the tank I tried to sew from worn out yoga-style pants. It came out better than I expected, but by necessity the grain is off and not the same on all quadrants, so I'm uncertain how it will wear in the long term.
I didn't have enough width in the legs to accommodate the width needed for the hip part of the tank, so I added triangle gussets. I almost didn't, but that extra room made the difference between "eh, good try" to "maybe this will be comfortable to wear."
I didn't have pink thread. My philosophy is, if it has to be different, really make it different. With that in mind, I used turquoise thread and top stitched. I thought you could see it better in the photos, but it isn't showing up on screen.
I used the waistband for the straps, positioning them so that my bra is completely covered. I don't know how this will work for an undershirt, but straps are easy enough to reposition.
I used the leftover leg length to create a bias binding for the top and bottom raw edges. I pulled the top edge tight like you are supposed to, but left the bottom edge as loose as possible.
It isn't as refined as a garment made from scratch, but for a shirt that I intend to mostly wear as an undergarment but still want to be useful if it is needed as outerwear, I think it will serve.
The original garment
I cut up an old pair of sweat pants, hoping to refashion them into a camisole. I'm still working on that part, but the eyelets on the waistband insisted they were a creature's eyes, so I quickly (hand) stitched a nose and mouth. Then I attached elastic and mailed it to a girl whose birthday was this month. I hope the six-year-old finds this as whimsical as I do.
It's completed. I don't know how many weeks I've worked on this off and on. I started with an old pattern and tried to improve it using my bodice block. While there are some improvements, it still needs work. I've already started on some of those changes.
- The armhole needs adjusting. I think I have the actual sleeve at a comfortable place.
- There needs to be more ease over the bust and across the scapulas. Some of this ease might come if I use a facing for the front closure instead of folding over the shirt fabric itself like the directions I have say to do. The fit will also probably change when I change the armholes. So complicated...
- Something needs to be done with the back, but my priorities are the sleeves and front.
Also, I strongly dislike sewing buttonholes. It's a good thing you can't see them up close here. And the front does hang straight; it became crooked only for the photo.