A Long Time Coming

It’s been a while, in some ways too long, and in others not nearly long enough. The last time I posted I was still pregnant, and now I’m the mother of a handsome six month old baby boy! This is likely to be a long post; if you want to catch up read on, if not skip to the pictures to find out what I’m up to in the sewing realm. I won’t mind in the least.

I imagine you want to hear about my pregnancy and the birth of my little boy. It was stressful at times and at times it was amazing. My job was one of the main causes of stress and I’m happy to say that I no longer have to worry about it. I’m a stay at home mom right now and loving it. The doctors were another cause of stress. I felt like the doctors weren’t listening to me and taking care of me. I had a lot of swelling in the last 4 to 5 months of my pregnancy. Towards the end of my pregnancy I hurt my right shoulder and my blood pressure kept getting higher and higher in the last month. On the other hand it was amazing feeling him move, and being able to see my husband when he felt our son move. I ended up being induced at 39 weeks because of the high blood pressure. Let me tell you: NEVER AGAIN! I love my son, but I really would rather go into labor naturally than do that again. Squeakers McWiggles, was born on February 6th, 2015 at 1:32AM, and weighed 7lbs 3oz. My husband and I were (and are) ecstatic! I’ve been having problems with postpartum depression, but with the help of my family, friends and the therapist I was already seeing for my PTSD and anxiety, I am doing much better. I really should say more here, but right now, I can’t/don’t want to. I might feel more like it in the coming months.

I did some maternity sewing, and pretty much none of it ended up here. There is always next time! I would have done even more but the last trimester the swelling really kept me from being on my feet much. Next time I’ll use the compression stockings sooner. Swelling hurts! Thankfully I had a really good friend that loaned me enough maternity clothes to fill the gaps. Thank you, Melissa! IMG_3639Lately I’ve been watching my son grow, and in my spare time I’ve been spending time on my hobbies. I started crocheting back in 2012 and about seven to eight months ago I started learning to knit. I’m a continental knitter and I’m loving it. Here is where I’m bringing my love for sewing and knitting together.

Project Bags!

TwirlDesigns Projectbag-3666 I’m making projects bags for knitters and crocheters. I’m going to be setting up an Etsy store and selling them. I received a really positive response to them from my Stitch n’ Bitch group I go to. The bags are made without a zipper, are reversible, and I’ve made them with tabs or with a handle.

TwirlDesigns Projectbag-3674TwirlDesigns Projectbag-1The handle seems to be the more popular option so far. I’m having a lot of fun picking out the fabric combinations and hand sewing the bias binding. I’m finding the hand sewing very relaxing; I had expected it to be tedious and not much fun.

TwirlDesigns Projectbag-3658 TwirlDesigns Projectbag-3661My next step is to design a larger bag into which these may be inserted, or can be used alone for larger projects. This one is perfectly sized for shawls, socks, or any project that doesn’t take up much space. What do you think?

Wrapping up my current projects, I have several skirts I’ll blog about in the coming month. I look forward to seeing you back!

Where Did All The Time Go?

Really, where did it go? I’ve been sewing up a storm, but I’ve been slacking on the taking pictures department. Hopefully in the next few weeks I can catch up and show you everything I have worked on. For now I’ll show you Kwik Sew 3954. This raglan sleeve tunic is an easy sew and hopefully I will be making a few more. My first was too large, a medium, so I downsized and it fit great. I’m hoping that I will get to wear the original during the winter months and not be swamped by it. I expect I might need the extra room by then….

Because I’m Pregnant!

TwirlDesigns Kwik Sew-1

 I had a bit of nausea and I had a hard time eating meat in the evenings, but other than that I have been doing great. I’m now four months along and thankfully out of the first trimester! Along with the pregnancy came some definite body changes. My boobs grew, my hips and butt got bigger and then came the bump. Sewing has been interesting and I imagine it will manage to stay that way.

But back to the pattern!

TwirlDesigns Kwik Sew-3285

I used a thin burnout knit from Girl Charlee that I bought quite some time ago. I have enough of this stuff to muslin almost every knit pattern I have! However the stretch factor of this knit is not conducive to any pattern that needs to stretch much. So this loose swingy tunic was perfect. One of my favorite parts of this pattern is the high low hem, although the actual hemming of this top not so much! No matter what I did on the hem the coverstitch still created a tunnel. I think next time I’ll use clear elastic to act as a permanent stabilizer and hope it won’t be too heavy.

TwirlDesigns Kwik Sew-3272

I did shorten the patterns sleeve at the shorten/lengthen line. On my first one I made I did not like how long the short sleeve was. It ended up being the perfect length for me. Not much else I can say about this pattern. Make sure to go down a size from the recommended or pay attention to the finished measurements on the pattern itself.

And one last pic for you:

TwirlDesigns Kwik Sew-1

I’m due in February 2015!

 

Busy, Busy, Busy all the Time

And so I have been, busy that is. I have been busy with sewing and life. First lets talk about sewing and then maybe we can move on to other subjects.

twirldesigns new look kimono tee front-

I made New Look 6217 view B. It’s a simple kimono top intended for wovens. I chose to trace the size 12 for the top and grade out to the  size 14 around the bottom. After sewing the back and the shoulders together I was unsure if the size 14 would be enough to go around my hips and not bunch up on top of them. No one wants a bunchy shirt when it should be smooth! I decided that if I left the last two inches and a smaller seam allowance I could make it work. Anyone else hear Tim Gunn just then? Probably just me. And it did!

twirldesigns kimono tee-

After trying it on I decided that I didn’t want to lose any length, so out came the vintage bias seam binding tape. Whoo, that’s a mouthful! My sisters had grabbed a bunch of vintage patterns for me and unbeknownst to them there was all sorts of fun sewing stuff below some of the patterns. I had nothing that matched, but the grey looked great and didn’t stand out too much. The white I grabbed really did stand out. To make everything match I decided to use the binding on the neck and sleeves and even put my own unique touch on it.

twirldesigns new look kimono tee closeup-

I used one of my machines special stitches and made sure it was the thread that matched the fabric! I used the teeny tiny buttons to hide my ends and the mess I made of the hook and eye. I’ll get better at it the more I use them, but for now I’m happy with this.

As much as I like the idea of this top the reality is that I am not thrilled with it, but first the good:

  • Everything matched up.
  • No set in sleeves!
  • It used stash fabric
  • I used another pattern!
  • It’s wearable

And the bad:

  • It would have been much better in a knit
  • the sleeves ended up a bit tight. If you have any muscle in your arm size up for the sleeves!
  • I should have lengthened it by two inches.

I hadn’t realized that the good outweighs the bad. Blogging about it makes this top a bit more wearable for me. I have worn it for Me Made May ’14 and yes I am participating this year. I am not documenting it nearly as much as last year. It has shown me that I need a few more pairs of shorts and some less casual wear. I have plenty of lounge wear and I end up wearing that pretty much every week. I need more tops like this one and pants. I hate shopping for pants and really do not look forward to the idea of making jeans either. Maybe with Sewaholic’s Thurlow I will feel a bit less frantic about making pants and even jeans. So for the next few weeks I will be focusing on casual but comfortable basics. I recently bought several of Papercut Pattern’s new line. Anyone want to guess which ones?

In other news:

I’m off crutches! I am using a cane for long distance and any stairs I can’t avoid. I’ll take that over crutches any day!!!! I’m progressing in physical therapy and hopefully soon I will be back to hoop dancing like I did before the injury. Hopeful I’ll be back with another finished project soon!

Enough rambling! What have you been up to?

 

Miss Bossy’s Flirty Skirt

My time in my sewing room has been limited for the last month and a half, but I managed to finish my miss bossy project for The Monthly Stitch. I had asked for everyone’s input as to which one of three patterns I should sew for the March Challenge over at The Monthly Stitch. Of the three the favorite was McCall’s 6842. It was the pattern that I was hoping would win the vote all along. I couldn’t wait to sew it up! However, there was one little surgery that kept me from my sewing room for a good two weeks and even after that I was limited with how much I could sew. On a positive note, I needed the surgery and my hip is doing much better than before. I’m even in much less pain and that includes being sore from physical therapy! I’m still on crutches, but I’m hoping to be off them this week. Keep your fingers crossed for me!

twirldesigns flirty skirt-2673

Back to the skirt! You might be looking at it and thinking that fabric was never on the blog and you would be right. I had a minor catastrophe while sewing the houndstooth fabrics up. My serger knife ate them! Grrr! Both of the pieces are curved and you have to ease them together as you sew to make sure they line up. Both of the fabrics were heavy enough that they didn’t want to ease together easily and before I realized it my serger ate the fabric. I was so mad that I didn’t want to risk using my butterfly fabric, so I grabbed a fabric that I was ok if it didn’t turn out. To my surprise it sewed up well and I love this skirt! I want to make at least two if not three more.

twirldesigns flirty skirt-2676

This pattern was designed for wovens and not stretch fabrics I made a few changes. I traced and cut out a size smaller than recommended and I cut the back piece on the fold. Make sure that when you make a change like that you remove the seam allowance on one side of the new pattern piece. Since you won’t be inserting a zipper or center back seam you will only need the SA for the sides. I was lazy and didn’t hem this and I finished the waistband with black foldover elastic. Such an easy way to finish knit waistbands!

twirldesigns flirty skirt-2680

You can get an idea of how well this skirt moves and flows with these pictures!

twirldesigns flirty skirt-2677

The only changes I might make to this pattern is to lower the waist about an inch. If I wasn’t trying to pattern stash bust I would be making another one of these right now! On that note I have something to admit: I bought patterns, but it the perfect pattern parcel! So it was for a good cause! I am also making some changes to my sewlution for this year. I had wanted to only buy patterns after I had made three unused patterns. I realized this wasn’t the best way to address my stash, so here is what I’m doing instead. I will no longer buy patterns from McCall’s or Butterick. I am lumping Vogue in with them as well, however I will consider buying if the pattern is unique. From here on out I want to only buy indie patterns and the occasional Simplicity pattern. Hopefully this way I will be able to limit getting patterns that will not sew up well. Anyone else change their sewlution or resolutions this year?

 

Swatches Galore!

Several months ago my husband was chatting with me about different options to improve some mods for his car. The mod we decided on would need some reflective fabric, so I went out to see what our options would be. I stumbled on Seattle Fabrics and saw several options for reflective fabric and trim. The only question was which would be appropriate. To find out I ordered some swatches and decided that I would order swatches for several of the knits they offered.

I mentioned in my last post that I would likely not be able to sew much for the next several weeks. The reason for me not being able to sew is that I finally went in for the surgery that will (hopefully) fix my hip. I am on crutches for the next month and physical therapy could last up to a year. It means I’ll be able to wear heels again, run around, hula hoop dance, and so much that I haven’t been able to do for the three years. I thought I would share these swatches since I can not do much sewing right now. So if you come here to see my finished garments feel free to skip this post!

The first swatches are the reflective fabric and tape/ribbon:

Seattle Fabrics Sample-1559The reflective tape is on top on the left it has a slick top with a woven back. It is fairly stiff and would not lend itself to most garment applications. below the tape is the iron on reflective tape. The top layer peels off and I have not tested the iron on effectiveness of it. The reflective ribbon feels as flexible as any other ribbon and would sew on very well. The reflective portion is a bit off set, but most folks would not notice. The bottom tape looks and feels exactly like the Army’s Reflective PT belts! I can’t imagine what I would ever use it for.

On the right we have the reflective piping. It is quite flexible and would be great to use in seams of any athletic gear. You can barely see it in the photo above, but the orange peeking out behind the piping is a piping tape. It would be good for the same applications as the piping, but it would be a bit more subtle and perhaps easier to sew in. Finally we come to the reflective fabrics. The top two are silver and the bottom is orange. They are lightweight from the top to heavyweight on the bottom. You could easily use the topmost fabric in some outerwear to increase visibility.

Seattle Fabrics Sample-1560

Packaging back

Now onto the more interesting fabric! Knits and fleeces!

Seattle Fabrics Sample-1553

From top to bottom these swatches are for their Wicking Jersey, Dryline, Active Dry, and their Anti-Microbial poly/lycra knits. The Wicking Jersey are soft to the touch and have some four way stretch. Most of the stretch is with the width and a very tiny amount down the length. The Dryline knits are four-way stretch, feel smooth to the touch, and are thinner than the Wicking Jersey. The Active Dry are smooth on one side and textured on the other. They have stretch with the width of the fabric and almost none with the length. The Anti-Microbial knit only comes in grey. It is a thin knit, smooth and extremely stretchy in all directions!

Seattle Fabrics Sample-1554

Look at all the colors!

Next up is the Polartec Power Shield. It is smooth on one side and fleece backed. It has very limited stretch with the width and none with the length of the fabric. It would be great for sweatshirts, hoodies, jackets, and pants if they don’t have a ton of negative ease. The colors are vibrant and selection is great! If it had more stretch I might consider making some into leggings, but I think it would be great for an Avocado hoodie!

Seattle Fabrics Sample-1549

Seattle Fabrics Sample-1550

Look at the difference from the front to the back!

Below is the description that Seattle Fabrics gives for it.

Seattle Fabrics Sample-1551

Fleece! Below we have what they call PT Wind Pro. it comes in two different weights and in a lot of colors! It is a fairly think fleece, so think sweatshirts and jackets. Two of the heavier weight fleece have a short fur pile backing which makes it very soft to the touch. If I bought myself some and made it into a sweatshirt I don’t know that I would be able to take it off!

Seattle Fabrics Sample-1547

Oooh! Soft!

Seattle Fabrics Sample-1543

This can give you an idea of how thick they are. I imagine they would be quite warm.

Seattle Fabrics Sample-1541

And the package back.

The last set of swatches I invested in was Ultrex. Ultrex is a water repellant fabric, which would make it ideal for outerwear. This makes me want to by the Minoru Jacket by Sewaholic to get some of this fabric.

Seattle Fabrics Sample-1556

There is a wide selection of colors!

Seattle Fabrics Sample-1558

Colors and description on the back.

Hopefully I will be back in my sewing room within the next few weeks!

Seattle Fabrics did not provide me with the swatches free of charge; nor did they ask for a review. I would gladly do so if they offered me a length of fabric though!

Pattern Stashbusting at your Mercy!

I’m at your mercy for the month of March. It has been decreed that The Monthly Stitch Challenge for March will be pattern stashbusting with a twist.

I get to use a pattern that is in my stash to make anything I want from it….but the twist is where you come in. The pattern I use is picked by you out of a selection that I choose. I have three contenders and many more fabric choices. I may or may not stick to any of the fabric choices I show you. It all depends on timing and mood!

My three patterns are all fairly simple and the reason for that is that I may be limited on how much I can sew for the next two to three weeks. I’ll tell you more about why later. In no particular order:

M6842

M6842

McCalls 6842. I currently have a skirt that I bought at a thrift store that is the same style as this pattern. I LOVE that skirt! It is short, flirty and above all comfortable! The fabrics I have selected for it are:

twirldesigns fabric McCalls

1 and 2 are both houndstooth print ponte knits and would be used together. 1 is really stiff even after washing! If I used 2 I would make the entire skirt out of it. It is a swimsuit lycra that I picked up on a whim.

The second option is Kwik Sew 3778:

K3778

View A of course!

I’ve had this pattern for a while and haven’t messed with it mostly because I do not like the stiff paper Kwik Sew prints on. I trace my patterns now, but I still dislike handling them. (I know I’m weird)

The fabrics I have set aside for this one are:

twirldesigns fabric kwik sew

1 is a sweater knit that will be good for fall and late spring. 2 is an ITY knit that I originally bought to make a top out of. 3 is a knit from Joanns that I have been eying for several months. It has tiny shiny stars all over it and it’s grey!

The last option is Simplicity 1589:

I would turn view A into a dress

And the fabric:

twirldesigns fabric kwik sew--2

1 is a purple polyester that has a nice drape and is easy to work with. 2 is a satin that is slippery, but I love the color! 3 is a border print charmuese I just bought from Denver Fabrics. 4 is a silk that I am afraid to mess up. 5 feels like it is silk but it is actually a high quality polyester.

Lots of choices for me and some for you! So tell me which pattern you would like to see?

*If I don’t get to this in March it will be the first item I make once I have time to sew.

The Dress that Wasn’t

Or Lekala 5897. I’ve been wanting to sew something with leather for a while and the concept has been a challenging one to make myself approach. I have completed small projects with leather, but never an item of clothing. My husband’s interest in a lightweight leather jacket was enough of a push to see if I could make it work. I decided to play with the leather on a much smaller scale before deciding to jump straight into making a jacket. That is where Lekala 5897 comes in. I felt that a dress with leather as a small design feature would be a great way to start. A yoked dress seemed perfect! And in theory it is, however the pattern needs some much-needed tweaking before I show you a finished dress on me.

twirldesigns lekala-3

The fit issues:

  • The shoulders should be much narrower for me. At least an inch needs to come off the yoke.
  • The contour darts need adjusting. The bust fits great, but the waist area needs some more definition so that I am not wearing a tent.
  • I think the waist needs to be dropped down about two inches if not more. Maybe I have a bit more of a long torso than I thought? I say that because the widest portion of the hips is hitting me above my widest portion.

twirldesigns lekala-2

The leather was a delight to work with! I chose to bind the edges instead of creating a lining. Making my own bias binding was fun and much easier than expected! The main things I did to make sewing the leather easier was to use a leather needle, my walking foot, and a long stitch length. For more in-depth tips check out my post on The Monthly Stitch. The challenge for this month was New Year=New Skill. I was determined to be able to post this make in time! This is by no means a finished make and it may never be. I consider it a muslin and one pattern from my stash used! Yeah!!!!

twirldesigns lekala-

What unfinished project do you have lying around that has taught you something?