Category Archives: Sewing Clothing

Sewing with Stretch Knit Fabrics

Sewing with knit fabrics, making t-shirts and tank tops is not terribly difficult. I have made a number of them. However I am usually less than satisfied with the finished look, especially the hem and the neckline. The other day I was reading a post by Leanne at Devoted Quilter and she shared a pretty blue t-shirt she made. By using a double needle (or twin needle) she was able to achieve a nice finish at the hem and neckline.

These are available everywhere – Jo-Anns, Amazon, etc.

Some time back, I purchased a double needle, fully intending to try this. But for whatever reason, the needle landed in the drawer with lots of other needles and was forgotten. Leanne’s success gave me just the push I needed to give it a try. I looked on-line to see if there was anything special about threading my machine (Janome 6500) for this needle. My machine has two posts for thread which is mandatory. But threading it was nearly the same as using only one spool of thread. I didn’t want to buy two spools of the same color thread since this isn’t a color I will use often. Instead, I wound an extra bobbin and used it on the second post. This worked just fine.

Two very neat rows of topstitching forming the hem of the sleeve.

Sewing with a twin needle is interesting in that you must stitch from the right (or the top) side of the garment. The twin stitching shows on top and the bottom stitching has an interesting zig zag pattern achieved from the use on two needles on top and only one bobbin on the bottom.

This is how the back side looks.

This is the part I think is so magical. When I first tried using the needle and a a few scraps, I wasn’t at all sure what the bottom would look like as I didn’t really understand how one bobbin would deal with two threads.

Ok, here are a few details about this project. Using McCall’s M6957 and my thrifted stretch knit fabric, I made a very simple t-shirt dress. I cut the top at a size 12 and graded the waist and hip area to a 14 so it wouldn’t hug at the belly (because that isn’t a look I need to share with the world). ūüėČ The cut of this simple dress is really comfortable and the fact there are only three pieces to the pattern makes it a very easy project to put together.

I have had this green knit fabric in the drawer for about a year now. I picked it up at a garage sale from someone who was clearing out a lot of fabric. (That was a great sale and I was fortunate to purchase a large stack of knit fabric in good condition). I thought I would use this piece of fabric because if the fit wasn’t good there wasn’t a big loss since there was only a few dollars investment.

I got lucky though and the fit is great. I don’t have a picture of it on me because as I write this, I don’t have anyone to take a photo. Selfies are not my forte so I am not going to bother. Maybe I will post one later on. For now, you get the boring picture of it hanging from the door.

In my opinion the double needle makes all the difference. The hemline, hem of the sleeves and the topstitching of the neckline look so clean. It really elevates the finish of this dress. One thing to note, the pattern instructions told me to just fold the neckline in toward the wrong side and topstitch. I don’t like that method as it usually makes a wavy neckline and it allows too much stretch.

Instead, I attached single fold bias tape and then folded that to the inside and topstitched it. This way, I have a cotton strip creating shape to the neckline. It lays flat and looks really nice. I also reinforced the shoulder seams with bias tape so they wouldn’t stretch. After sewing the shoulder seams and checking the fit, I took a small piece of bias tape, laid it over the seam line and stitched it down. A very easy task and it will prevent the seams from stretching.

Now that I feel confident about the fit and look of this pattern, I want to make another one. I have lots of nice knits and look forward to using them. I think I will make a sleeveless version since we have such warm summers.

Hoping all of you enjoy the weekend. We will likely have a fairly quiet weekend. Julia is studying for finals. My husband wrenched his back and is limping around trying to let it heal. No big plans for the Kringel’s this weekend!

Linking to my usuals – check them out at the top of the page under Link Ups.

Happy New Year!

I saw a funny graphic on Facebook the other day.  It isn’t something I made up and I don’t know to whom I would credit this but it resonated with me.

Of course, it is even worse now. ¬†It isn‚Äôt a couple of years out. ¬†Next year is 2020 so, 30 years ago will be 1990. ¬†How can that be? Thirty years ago seems such a long while back. However 1990 doesn‚Äôt seem that long ago. ¬†Ah, I am such the philosopher. ¬†These are the deep thoughts I have been having as we move into 2019 – ūüėČ

I have had the pleasure of spending the New Year‚Äôs holiday with my oldest son and DIL in Vermont. ¬†It has been a wonderful week of family time – my middle son and his wife drove here from Toronto for the holiday. ¬†My grand daughter has been charming – I gave her a little plastic tea set for Christmas and we have had a number of tea parties with her stuffed animals.. ¬†I am surprised to see how quickly she fell into this pretend routine of pouring tea (she calls it ‚Äėpepper tea‚Äô as she can‚Äôt quite say peppermint tea). She adds a spoonful of sugar, stirs the tea and then blows on it to cool it off for her hedge hog and her Elmo doll. ¬†I love it!

I also brought her a little dress that I made a couple of days before flying out.  This is the first time I have sewn anything with a Burda pattern.  The directions were clearly explained though so I didn’t have any issues. When I was making this, my DIL’s mother was visiting in Vermont so I was able to ask her to take a few measurements for me.  I made a size 2 and, for the most part, it fits nicely

The fabric is a soft and cozy fleece from Jo-Ann Fabrics. It is a deep navy with little hearts outlined in silver. H called them stars, maybe because they are sort of sparkly?

The neckline is finished with a strip of the same fabric.  I am STILL having issues with my serger so I finished the seams with a small zig zag stitch and then trimmed the seams.  It worked just fine.

Here is a cute picture of H wearing her new dress.  Is she not absolutley adorable??

Earlier that same day, she asked Grammy to put ‚Äėpretty-pretties‚Äô in her hair which means a pony tail. ¬†She has so little hair, but I did the best I could! ¬†She makes me smile.

This morning we woke to a little bit of snow.  Perfect timing Рwe get to have just a bit of wintry weather before heading back to California tomorrow to the real world.  School starts next week for Julia and I have orders to ship. We had such a great visit though РVermont life is pretty wonderful!

 

 

Dress A Girl Around the World – Finish

I have a quick, cute, feel-good finish to share today.  I know I am a bit late to the party but I (finally) made a little dress to donate to the Dress a Girl Around the World program. I have read lots of posts over the years about others making these sweet dresses. I am happy to finally have joined in and made one too!

Dress a Girl Around the World is a campaign under the non-profit called Hope 4 Women International. They hope to bring dignity to girls and women throughout the world. ¬†It is such a simple thing – wanting a girl to have a dress to wear. ¬†They are sent to many different third world¬†countries. While this organization has many goals they are trying to fulfill with the program, it is their basic mission to make girls and women of all ages feel worthy that moves me the most. In so many of these countries, females are undervalued or even not valued at all. ¬†While one dress isn’t going to correct the problem, it will bring a smile to the sweet face of a girl who has never had her own dress. Also, many of the people working in these countries and delivering the dresses have said that dressing a girl in a clean dress with the Dress a Girl label attached on the outside, shows this child is being cared for. ¬†Sometimes this is enough to ward of predators (criminals involved in human trafficking.) If these little dresses can have this sort of impact even a couple of times over, that is enough reason for me to make one.

Finished seams are a requirement for making these dresses.

There are lots of guidelines for making these dresses. While they originally began by making the dressed with pillow cases, this is no longer the method.  Quality cotton fabric is longer lasting and this is what they ask be used in the dresses. If you are interested, you can read about this requirement and others here. The biggest thing is coordinating with an ambassador in your area.  There are many available and their contact info can be found here.

This label is sewn to the outside of each dress.

As for me, our local Soroptomist club held a drive to have dresses made by locals who enjoy sewing. I was referred to them and happily made a dress. It was a very simple project and took maybe a couple of hours at most. The little dress looks to be about a size three so for a little one. I hope she loves the fun pink and purple colors and the little heart on the pocket. As you likely already know, I love these sorts of projects – they just have satisfaction and purpose written all over them.

Linking up for the last time with Finish it Up Friday at¬†Crazy Mom Quilts. ¬†Sniff, sniff. ¬†I will surely miss reading Amanda Jean’s blog posts and wish her well in her next adventure. Other links ups are found at the top of the page under Link Ups.

Did you happen to read about the series of Quilting Cozy mystery novels in yesterday’s post? ¬†If not, go and take a peek. ¬†You can enter to win the books in a giveaway too!

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Voile and Simplicity 1589; A New Blouse

When I was in Vermont in early September, I took along a number of sewing projects to work on. ¬†One of those was a piece of pretty voile (designed by Katarina Roccella for Art Gallery Fabric) and a blouse pattern. ¬†I haven’t used voile before and wanted to try it out. ¬†In case you aren’t familiar, voile is a lightweight cotton with a higher thread count making it softer and sort of flowy (is that a word?). ¬†It washes well and can be used for garments or quilting. ¬†Anyway, I thought I would give it a try. ¬†One thing I wanted was a blouse that didn’t have to be ironed after washing and this one doesn’t. ¬†If taken out of the dryer right away, it looks lovely.

I chose Simplicity pattern 1589 because of its simple construction.  Two pattern pieces, just the front and back.  It literally took about an hour and one half to make.  I used French seams for the two side seams and the shoulder seams so the inside finish is very clean.  The neckline and armholes are finished with blue bias tape.  The pattern calls for bias cut strips of the same fabric but I am too frugal for that.  Bias strips leave so much waste and I like the pop of color that shows now and then from the coordinated bias tape.

I don’t have a normal set of pictures to show you. ¬†My husband had taken some for me but most of them weren’t all that good so I decided to show you the shirt in action, so to speak. ¬†I had it on while H was here last week and my son takes about 100 pictures daily of her so the shirt is featured in a number of them!

The pattern is fun because the back is just two overlapping pieces whose center edges are cut on a diagonal.  The opening goes all the way up to the neckline but when it blows open, it really only does so at the bottom because of the overlap.  Does that make sense?

Tomato picking was a favorite part of H’s morning with Grammy. However she was picking them green, orange and any color between!

It is long enough to wear with leggings which I like. ¬†I did lower the front hem as much as possible. ¬†It has that hi-low hem feature that is trendy these days but I didn’t want it to be as prevalent as the pattern had called for.

You can see the diagonal cut on the back pieces here.  I think it is a fun design.

Falling For You table runner

So, another blouse is done and now I have time to finish up a few other projects that are near completion. I started this table runner before the wedding and should be able to finish it up this afternoon. I am going to make H a Halloween costume so I want to get the sewing table cleaned off before I start it. ¬†The pattern is ordered but I haven’t shopped for fabric yet. ¬†She is going to be a lion and will be the cutest lion out there!

Finally, if you are in the mood for some fall colors, all of the autumn fabrics in my shop are 25% off today.  Come take a look Рthere are some really pretty pieces and they are a great deal.  Precuts, bundles and yardage are all available.  Also, hop over to either Instagram or Facebook and enter to win a cute bundle of Halloween fabrics.  Today is the last day of the sale and the last day to enter the giveaway!  Hope you will come and join in!

A Sweet Finish

Today I found myself getting frustrated because I have so much I should be doing and no energy.  After a two day migraine it usually takes me two or three days to get back on track.  This weekend is a big one because my son is getting married on Saturday.  My kids all come home on Thursday which is so great.  Anyway, I felt like I should be cleaning house or doing yard work, etc and really my body is rebelling and saying I should take it easy.  So I went in the sewing room.  Time in the sewing room is often a cure-all, right??

New Look Pattern 6578 and Radiant Menagerie Fabric by BariJ

I had most of this cute little dress made already. ¬†I started it at the beginning of August and when it came time to put the buttonholes on it (a task I dislike) I hung it up in the closet and pretended it wasn’t there. But it is so cute and it called to me this morning so I pulled it out. I wanted to make it for my grand daughter but it is late in the season so I made a size 3T in the hopes she will wear it next summer.

The fabric is called Radiant Menagerie (from Indigo & Aster) and was designed by the talented BariJ. ¬†I LOVE her aesthetic and carry a lot of her fabric in my shop (Wild Bloom, Indigo and Aster and now Virtuosa.) ¬†If you aren’t familiar with BariJ, she is a talented artist whose work is often quite feminine and usually features large floral designs. ¬†Her paintings are very pretty and some are quite whimsical. ¬†Take a look at her work here.

She has a lot of animals sporting floral crowns and I was thrilled to see her include them in the Indigo & Aster line (produced by Art Gallery Fabric).

Probably my favorite of the animals, no surprise there, right?

The fabric that features the animals is called Radiant Menagerie and is a border fabric of sorts.   Each selvage edge is lined with the various animals.

In between the selvages are stripes in coordinating colors or pink, orange, green and blue.  The stripes are actually dotted lines. So when using this piece in a quilt, it is simple to fussy cut the animals and then use the stripes as a coordinate.

I wanted to use this as a dress so I was careful to choose a simple pattern with a straight hemline (as opposed to curved.)  This enabled me to use the striped portion as the bodice of the dress and the animals as the bottom.  The back side of the dress mirrors the front with animals parading across the bottom and the colorful stripe at the top.

Front ruffle detailing.

As if it wasn’t colorful enough already, I decided to take it a step further. ¬†Using a four inch wide strip of La Floraison Lit (another piece in the line) I sewed a tube with the fabric and turned it right side out. ¬†Then I ran two lines of stitching down the center (with a long, loose stitch) so I could gather that tube into a ruffle. ¬†A quick hunt through my buttons resulted in these cute, colorful buttons to add to the ruffle. ¬†I really like the extra detail this adds to the dress..

Finished French Seams

My serger is (still!) not cooperating with me so I finished the seams with French seams.  This will prevent any fraying.  I do love French seams.  They are easy and give a really nice finished look to the garment.

Lavender facing on the inside.

Because the fabric in a nice lightweight cotton, I didn’t want to use the dress fabric for the interior facings around the neckline and armholes. ¬†It showed through and didn’t look very polished. ¬†Instead, I used a scrap of a lavender solid (I think a Moda Bella piece)). It looks pretty to see that lavender bit popping through.

The dress is adorable and while I am certain it will be too big for now, I can look forward to seeing it on her next spring or summer. ¬†These little projects are so much fun. ¬†They don’t take a whole lot of fabric and I love seeing her in something I made.

It felt good to sit and sew the bits needed to finish this little dress up.  Tomorrow I should have a lot more energy to be able to get things done for our big weekend.  I am over the moon about this wedding as I really think these two are perfect for each other. We are so happy to welcome Shar into the family! I will share more about the wedding once everything quiets down again.

 

Sharing with my favorites, including a new linky party hosted by Michelle at From Bolt to Beauty.  It is called Brag About Your Beauties and happens on the 2nd, 3rd and 4th Fridays of the month.  Be sure to check it out!

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Friday Finish – Chambray Pants

Happy Friday! ¬†Before I get going here, I want to thank everyone for the great response to the July Blogger Bundle. ¬†It is a beauty and I am happy to announce that Kathie L will be receiving a bundle in the mail soon. ¬†She won the drawing for the giveaway! ¬†Yay for happy, squishy mail – it’s coming your way Kathie!

I actually do have a finish to share Рnot a quilt finish but something to check off the WIP list nonetheless.  I began making a pair of pants in May РWell, I actually bought the fabric over a year ago and it sat on a shelf until May.  But then Me Made May rolled around and I got excited about making some clothes.  I got these nearly done in May Рthey only needed to be hemmed.  It took me until mid-July to hem them.  Why??  Now it is too hot to wear pants.  Silly me.

So these were a very easy make. The pattern for these was Vogue 7294. ¬†The pattern was from 2001 and the pants had a high waisted cut. ¬†I took a few inches out of the rise so they would hit me below the waist. There isn’t a waistband – just a simple elastic waist. ¬†I don’t tuck my shirts in so this won’t be an issue.

The biggest issue I ran into was the fabric I chose for the pants. ¬†It was not a good choice at all! ¬†It is too light weight and it frayed continually, making it a pain to sew with. I did the best I could, making sure to finish each seam with a zig zag stitch to help with the fraying. ¬†My plan is to hand wash these (in the washing machine – my washer has a “hand wash” cycle) and hang them to dry. ¬†I really have no idea how long they will last? ¬†For all I know, they may disintegrate upon first wearing.

Chambray Pants

I was concerned that this lightweight material would make the pants look like pajamas. ¬†To be honest, they do look a lot like pj’s. ¬†But I like them anyway. ¬†They are comfortable and they have pockets in them!! ¬†However, I am afraid to use said pockets because of the lightweight, easily frayed fabric. ¬†Yikes, these are going to be some high maintenance pants! ¬†ūüėČ

In closing, does anyone need a good book to read over the summer? ¬†I just finished two and both of them were excellent. ¬†The first one was The Spool of Blue Thread, by Anne Tyler. ¬†I am a huge fan of Anne Tyler’s. ¬†She writes such great stories about regular people. I love how she develops her characters. The reader always comes away feeling like he really knows those people. ¬†Great read!

The second book I read is the The Book of Unknown Americans, by Cristina Henriquez.  It iss a timely novel about several families who came to the US from various countries such as Mexico, Puerto Rico and Venezuela.  The relationships between the families, their history, and a love story between two young teens make this book hard to put down. Have you read anything good lately?  I am ready for another book.

Hope everyone has a great weekend. ¬†We are having lunch with my in-laws on Saturday and then we will be home all day Sunday. ¬†Supposedly it isn’t supposed to be over 90 degrees this weekend so that will be a nice break from this crazy heatwave.

Linking to lots of linky parties.  See them at the top of the page, under Link Ups.

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Designs by Heidi – Guest Post

Hi Everyone РI am back from our back-to-back vacations! Both trips were awesome but as always, home sweet home!  After a relaxing time away, I am ready to jump back into my blogging/sewing/shop routine.  Today I have a really special post to share with you.  I would like to introduce you to Heidi Emmett.  Heidi is a really talented pattern designer and I am proud to carry a number of her patterns in my pattern shop. To do justice to this introduction, I need to tell you a bit more!  Heidi lives in Grass Valley and we are both in the same quilt guild.  Heidi makes both quilts and garments, designs clothing patterns, teaches sewing classes at an annual retreat up at Lake Tahoe and is generally a creative maker at heart.  She also owned a brick and mortar fabric shop in Grass Valley for quite a few years.  She is a person with what seems like unlimited energy and is constantly making or designing something.  About a month ago, she and I chatted at a guild meeting and we were brainstorming ways we could work together since we both have so many common interests.  As a result, I have begun to carry her patterns in my pattern shop.  She had purchased some of the Sarah Golden linen blends from me at the quilt show last May with the intent to make one of her Terrific Tabard vests. Today she will share the vest she made and explain the process she used to make it. I hope you enjoy the post.   If you have any questions for Heidi, be sure to leave them in the comments and she will post a reply to you there. I hope you all will enjoy getting to know Heidi as she is a creative force to be reckoned with!

Hello! Designs by Heidi is who and what I am. I have a line of “Art to Wear” patterns. You can find some of my patterns for sale at Needle and Foot. A BIG thank you to Bernie, for inviting me show off some of the fabric she sells using one of my patterns, Terrific Tabard.

I’m going for a whole new look (than the cover shot above) with the linen blends I got from Bernie’s Etsy shop. Let me show you what I did to create a sophisticated and smooth Terrific Tabard. I started with two linen blends from Bernie. I absolutely LOVE linen! And these two linens by Andover Fabric are neutrals that will work with ANY¬† other palette of colors. The piece with the columns of lines is called Lines (appropriate enough!) and the piece with the checked pattern is called Squares on Tailored Cloth. ¬†Both were designed by Sarah Golden and are available in Bernie’s shop.

tabard

I went to Quilt Market in Portland, OR this past May and was able to buy a modern black and brightly colored panel by Marcia Derse. This panel won’t be available in stores until¬†October. I immediately thought to use it as a part of my Tabard vest!

Fortunately, I also snagged some very small pieces from Marcia’s newest collection, again available in October.¬† The linen fabric is just perfect with these prints.

Most of my patterns have tissue pattern pieces included (I always include a range of sizes in one pattern). Notice I have taken a lengthwise fold in some of the tissue (closest to the side, not the center). I did this because I want to insert some improv strips to add color and visual interest to the vest.

I love lots of bold color and plan to use bits of the smaller Marcia Derse pieces to create a long strip of fabric.  Remember when I cut out this piece I pinched out some, so now I have to fill it back in with something.

I first cut the panel apart near the pinched out area all the way up through the shoulder area. Tip: Always cut wherever you pinch it out, then you can replace that space with your accent fabric and bring it back to size again. It is a fun and creative trick.

I cut up a few of those colorful pieces and sewed them together and then stitched them to either side of what I cut apart.

Always line up other seams and plan to have extra on either end to trim off. I do not like to run short. I will just snip, snip, the orange fabric in line with the shoulder seam.

While I let the fashion layer dictate what each section will look like, I always, ALWAYS, strive for a long and lean look. I want your eyes to see the whole design in an up and down fashion as this tends to be much more flattering than looking side to side.

Preparing the embellishments for the back of the vest

When I created the back piece, I wanted to add some embellishment to it as well.¬† For this, I used an applique process rather than slicing and inserting a strip.¬† I cut the pieces I wanted and folded the raw edges under and pressed them. Next I pinned them in place and top-stitched around the edges to attach them to the back as well as finish those raw edges.¬† I didn’t fuse them first though you certainly could if you preferred that method.

After stitching the front pieces to the back, in most other “quilted” version of Terrific Tabard, I would be layering the vest with batting right now (sometimes even before the shoulder seams are stitched together) and quilting all three pieces. Then the vest would be finished off with quilt style binding (albeit much narrower than a quilt binding). These instructions are included in the pattern. But THIS vest will have no batting. I chose to line it traditionally which means no binding necessary! This version really goes together quickly.

Front and back lining pieces stitched at the shoulders

The two front lining pieces are “Grunge” in black. The back piece lining is¬†a very old (no longer being made) Kaffe Fassett stripe. To line this I pinned it, right sides together, and stitched all the way around using a¬†1/4″ seam allowance. I made sure to leave about a 6-8″ opening on one side so I could turn it right side out.

Grading a curved seam.

Very carefully grade the seams on the curved portions. Grading just means trimming one piece smaller than the other. When you turn the whole piece inside out and begin to press, press, press (that’s the secret to a beautifully lined piece), all the rounded edges will fall into place as you press. Tip: On dark fabrics use a press cloth (a piece of muslin works) on top of the fabric before you press. Sometimes you get a shine, even on linen.

Handmade buttons by Sandra Bruce

I have a rather large collection of buttons. Here is a group of handmade polymer buttons by the talented Sandra Bruce. I love to buy the buttons I like, knowing that someday, I’ll have the perfect button for a project. Forget buttonholes. I use strips of fabric that have been folded and pressed and stitched into place.

 

The polymer button I chose for the front is very intricate and it’s really BIG, but I think it blends in nicely.

The two side buttons are from my glass button stash. I know, I know, it’s a sickness, but one I don’t want to get over. Ha, ha.

It’s finished!!

I love my new vest. I can’t wait to wear it (not sure when since it is still summer!), but I’ll be ready when cooler weather comes.

Here is the finished back side of the vest.  I love the look of the larger scale linen print slicing through the narrower lines.

Worn with just one lapel folded out.

One last way to style this Terrific Tabard, fold back the lapel on just one side.

If you like what you have seen, please join me at Designs by Heidi for more fun and creative happenings. I love sewing “Art to Wear.” ¬†You can also follow me on Instagram to see the latest patterns and classes I offer. Thank you again Bernie for letting me join in with you all at Needle & Foot.

Hugs, Heidi Emmett

New Shorts for Summer

Honestly, I cannot remember the last time I sewed a pair of shorts? ¬†Its been a long time, like a really long time! Maybe sometime in the 1980’s or so? ¬†Anyway, during one of my obsessive trips to a thrift store, I picked up a Simplicity easy-to-sew pattern for pants, shorts and a skirt made with woven fabric and a knit fold-over waistband. ¬†I have a knit skirt like this and it is really comfortable. ¬†I was a bit curious about making this combination of woven and knit fabric and decided to give it a try.

The first (and only) hurdle was deciding what size to cut. ¬†I am sure I am not alone when I say I dislike measuring my hips and waist. ¬†The number is never what I think it should be, which is to say I think I should be the same size as when I made that last pair of shorts. ¬†Ha. ¬†Guess what? I am not. ¬†When I took measurements and looked at the pattern, it indicated I should make the shorts as a size 14. ¬†The vanity running through me said, well that is clearly a mistake because I don’t wear that size. ¬†Truth be told, I almost cut the pattern out as a 10 (which is my ready to wear size). ¬†Vanity runs strong and deep my friends. At that point, ¬†I had to have a very firm talk with myself. It went something like this: ¬†What does it matter if you cut a size 14? ¬†Well, of course it matters – it means I have gone from a size 10 to a 14. ¬†No, no it doesn’t and if you cut these at a size ten, they won’t fit and you will be so irritated. On and on we went, the two of us inside my head. ¬†Finally the pragmatist won and the vain side lost. ¬†I cut them as a size 14 and here I am telling all the world about it – well, at least the portion of the world who reads my blog.

Shorts that actually fit!!

Guess what?  The shorts took maybe an hour to make and THEY FIT GREAT!!  Shout that to the world Рin handmade shorts, I wear a 14 and I made a pair that fit!!!

Woven shorts with a knit waistband = comfortable!

I debated whether to actually take a photo of the waistband but decided I should because I am being all mature and accepting of whatever size I am and the waistband is the cool part of the shorts. (If that isn’t a run-on sentence, I don’t know what is.). I love the fabric I used – it is from Alison Glass’ Handcrafted line of batiks and is called Artifact in Navy. (Click the link if you want to check it out in the shop.). Overall, I love these and will wear them a lot. ¬†My only disappointment is I didn’t put pockets on them. ¬†I like having a pocket for my phone and car or house key if I go for a walk. ¬†I think I can put a patch pocket on the back side still and that will fix things right up! ¬†The next pair are going to be in knit fabric for top and bottom. ¬†I want to see how that changes things up. ¬†I suppose my take away from this project has to be that the numbers are just numbers. ¬†My hips are what they are and if you want something to work, just follow the size and measurements as laid out on the pattern. ¬†They didn’t put those numbers there to make me mad, rather they put them there so I could be successful with the project.

Community Service Quilt, Pine Tree Quilt Guild

One other quick sewing project I did last week was to bind a quilt that someone in my guild made for Community Service. ¬†This project was pieced and quilted, it just needed someone to bind it. ¬†I happen to enjoy binding so that was an easy one to help with. When I got it home, I saw the binding was made and was quite narrow. ¬†The maker cut a two inch strip where I usually cut 2 1/4 and sometimes 2 1/2″ strips. ¬†I decided to machine stitch it to both front and back sides so it would be really durable.

As I came to the end of the binding strip, I realized it wasn’t going to be long enough. ¬†I should have checked it before I started but I made the assumption that the maker had done that. ¬†Looked like it was going to be a scrappy binding. ¬†I found a little print that seemed to work with the polka dot binding provided with the quilt. ¬†It all looks fine.

Pieced binding for the win!

I especially like the backing for the quilt.  It is a nice denim with a printed pattern.  This quilt will last for a long time.  It is earmarked for the local foster youth program.  When the kids age out of the system at 18 years old, our guild gives them a quilt to add to their belongings. This one will work for a guy or girl.

Delicious boysenberries, or are they?

Last story of the day….. ¬†on Saturday, over the weekend, I was picking berries early in the morning. ¬†It was gorgeous out and there are a zillion berries right now. ¬†I popped one in my mouth and guess what? ¬†There was a beetle on the underside of the berry. ¬†Ugh! ¬†It was horrible. ¬†There I was having my zen moment picking berries all alone and all of a sudden, I was spitting beetle out of my mouth. ¬†Yuk!!! ¬†I will be a little more careful before tossing another berry in my mouth. ¬†ūüôā

Reminder РI will be back on Wednesday this week with the June Blogger Bundle.  It was curated by Paige Alexander of Quilted Blooms and I am really excited to see what she has made with the fabrics!  See you there!!

Linking to Cooking Up Quilts, Lets Bee Social, and TGIFF.  Info is at the top of the page, under Link Ups.

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boatneck t-shirt

Boatneck T-shirt Finish

Today is the last day of May, which means it is also the last day of Me Made May for this year. I had hopes of making one new garment each week. ¬†While I didn’t quite get there, I am close! ¬†I made a mauve t-shirt, a black and white t-shirt dress, a boatneck tank top and almost finished a pair of pants. ¬†Not too bad! ¬†I also cut out a pair of shorts but didn’t get farther than that. It was really a fun series of projects and I feel like my rusty garment sewing skills are improving.

Let’s take a look at the simple tank top I made. ¬†In actuality, it wasn’t as simple as I had hoped! ¬†Combining a McCall’s pattern (M7322) with a great piece of knit fabric called Morse Dot Blue, I cut out a boatneck tank top. The knit is from Art Gallery Fabric (it is available in my shop) and is just lovely – great quality and feels so comfy. ¬†I chose to make a size large because I thought it would be easier to size down than up and my measurements showed me to be between a medium and a large. I also skipped cutting out neck and armhole facing pieces as I don’t like having that extra fabric to tuck into place. It is a cleaner, simpler, finish to bind the arms and neckline with bias tape.

It became apparent right away that the shirt was going to be too boxy in shape.  I decided to cut in the armholes to give it more shape at the shoulders.

Yikes, the armholes look terrible!

When I did this, it made the armhole openings too big. ¬†Look at the photo above and you’ll see they are cut too deeply. ¬†Somehow I didn’t notice how far off the fit was until taking photos! The camera doesn’t lie. ¬†ūüôā

Ugh, at this point, the armholes and shoulder seams¬†were sewn with a stretch stitch and then a zig zag beyond that. Determined to fix this, I decided I would need to take a wider seam at the shoulders to lift the shirt and then tighten up the underarms. This photo is a close up and you can see how tiny the seams of the stretch stitch are. ¬†I couldn’t unpick these without damaging the fabric, plus it was taking forever to rip out the seams. ¬†Instead, I decided to cut the shoulder seam off completely and restitch it. ¬†The seam binding finish wasn’t as clean but it worked. ¬†For the underarm, I cut a narrow strip out of the first three inches of the seam and sewed it back together on an angle. ¬†Not pretty but at least it was served the purpose of closing up that armhole a bit.

boatneck t-shirt

Looking back, I should have taken a picture with my hand on my hip again so you could compare, but it does fit much better.

boatneck tank

The fit is so much better with those two alterations. The shape of the armhole is what I was going for in the first place. ¬†Side note, looking at the pictures, one has to wonder how on earth did my hair get so gray!? When Julia took the photos for me, I specifically asked her to make me appear taller, less gray and about 35 years old. ¬†She promised to do her best but I am pretty sure I look at least 57 and barely 5’4″ in all of these shots. ¬†(It is so weird to post pics of myself – Sigh…)

As I made these changes to the shirt, I pondered why I was willing to spend the money and more importantly, the time, to make such a simple shirt.  I can pop into Target or Ross and pick up a tank top for not a lot of money and no time at all.  Sewing something for myself is satisfying and I enjoy the challenge.  It makes me so happy to see a resurgence of interest in sewing, both in quilting and garment sewing.  Seems like the high school Home Ec classes I took are a thing of the past (unfortunately) so it is nice to see the hobbies being taken up.  Hopefully this means they will be taught to others and passed along to new generations of kids and grandkids.

The pants I made are pretty cute.  Once I hem them, I will share them with you.  The shorts will be set aside but not for too long.  I want to have them to wear this summer.

Linking up with my favorites.  To see the links I use, go to the top of the page and click on Link Ups!

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T-Shirt Dress Finished!

Inspired by all of the wonderful makes being shared on Instagram this month for the Me Made May event, I made a simple t-shirt dress last week. ¬†Three weeks ago or more, I spied this black and white knit fabric at Ben Franklin’s. ¬†It was 20% off which made it a good deal. ¬†When I first saw it, I thought it would be a cute t-shirt. ¬†However, once I got ready to cut it out, I realized I had more than enough for a dress.

t-shirt dress

Because I liked the fit of the Blanc t-shirt I made with that mauve fabric, it seemed reasonable to just extend the length of the pattern and create a dress. I figured if it didn’t look right, I could trim the length and wear it as a shirt. ¬†Once I had the pattern pieces and fabric laid out, I took an old t-shirt dress I have worn for the last couple of summers and put it on top to determine the length and width of the lower part of the dress.

After cutting it out, it is just a couple of seams to put it together.  The neckline is finished with bias tape and each seam is finished with a wide zig zag stitch. (I know, I should have used the serger but it is in the shop.  A story for another post!)

Once I had the shoulder seams together, I slipped it on and saw the length was a bit shorter than I wanted. ¬†I debated adding a block of solid black to the bottom for length but honestly, I didn’t feel like driving to the store. ¬†(Living where we do, a run to Ben Franklin is about a 20 mile round trip.) Instead, I finished the hemline with the same black bias tape. ¬†That way I didn’t lose any length to turning under the fabric for a hem. ¬†It worked really well and made it just long enough to wear.

Overall, I like the dress. ¬†The fit isn’t perfect but I will enjoy wearing it. I have really been enjoying making things to wear lately. Me Made May was a great way to jump back into garment sewing. ¬†How about you? ¬†Do you have the itch to make something too? I have a pair of pants in process that I am unsure about. ¬†The seem like they are going to fit well but the fabric is very soft and I fear they are going to look like pajama pants. ¬†If this is the case, well I guess I will have a new pair of pj pants! We shall see.

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