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!

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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?

 

The Zoo, Stripes, and a Raglan Tee

One of the few hang ups I have in sewing is sewing tops and woven. I decided it was past time that I tackled at least on of those, so I started off with tracing and cutting out a few basic knit tees. One of the first that I managed to finish was New Looks 6230 raglan top. I had decided that I needed long sleeves, since it has been quite cold here this winter. I can’t stand most long sleeve shirts since the sleeves are generally too tight on my arms.

twirldesigns raglan tee

Not only did I decide to attack making tops, but I decided to try to match stripes as well! And I mostly succeeded. The back is off just slightly in a few places and one of the sides don’t match up. Nothing most folks will notice and I think the stripes were printed just a bit off on the fabric as well. Either way I am very happy with how they turned out. To match the stripes I cut everything one piece at a time and tried to match the next piece against the piece that would attach to it.

twirldesigns raglan tee-1

The two fabrics are both knits and of similar weights. The black and white I used for the body is a bit thinner and does not have as much stretch as the colored fabric. It ended up being a perfect combo since it makes the sleeves tolerable! The length of the sleeves could have been a bit longer for me and I did think about using bands to finish them to make them. It would have made them longer but I don’t have much luck doing this yet. I am surprised that the neck-band worked as well as it did. I have another top in the works that I am having to take apart because the neck-band was too long. Partially an oversight on my part and easily fixed once I have it taken apart. So instead of the bands I finished the sleeves by folding them under and using my coverstitch machine on them. I am slowly getting more and more used to using it. My hems are not quite picture perfect yet, but they will get there! The white fabric is so light that it likes to roll, so the bottom was finished with fold over elastic. The elastic keeps the shirt bottom down while I am wearing it and it was much easier to use than folding the bottom to hem it.

twirldesigns raglan tee-2

The back! Look at the matching!

There are a few things I would change if and when I make this again. I would lengthen the sleeves and then I would have traced a bigger size for the bottom of the shirt. I am more or less pear-shaped. I say more or less because my bust does not measure less than my waist does. However my hips are a good ten inches bigger than my bust. I fit better into the pear-shape category than the hourglass-shape category. Most tops will not give you a finished measurement for the hip or for the hem circumference. I think I will be marking the seam line from here on out and measuring to see if I need to grade between sizes.

The hoodie I was working on went into the not happening pile. I misplaced or never traced the front and I was not taking the pattern out again anytime soon! Grrr! so the next projects are a dress from Lekala that I ordered in my size and a pair of stretch capri pants that I traced from a well-worn and well-loved pair of rtw pants that I own. Hopefully both projects turn out well and if not, I will have at least used one pattern out of my stash.

We ended up at the zoo with some visitors which was the perfect place to get some different pictures. It was a cold day and almost everywhere was too cold to be without my jacket for long. One of the aviaries ended up being the perfect location to take the shots. It was a great day to go to the zoo as well. It was cold enough to keep most folks away so it wasn’t over crowded. We could stay and visit and takes pics with the animals as long as we wanted. Some of the exhibits were closed due to the cold and renovations. It’s good to know that they are taking care of the animals and making sure that their habitats are truly as close to a home as they can get.

What projects are you working on and which have not gone your way?

 

A Year in Mind

It seems like I had just begun blogging and already this year is up, but not quite so for the blog.That anniversary will be next month! There was so much I accomplished in the last year and so much that I wanted to, but never quite got around to. A fair amount of successes and some failures along the way.  I thought I would share some of my favorites with you and then talk about what I had in mind for this next year.

My Faves:

twirldesign2013From left to right:

1. Murphy’s Sister and a Skirt. This skirt was a challenge to make due to the silk and the extra layers, but it was worth it!

2. Me Made May ’13. So much fun to watch and to take part in. I look forward to taking part even more this coming year.

3. The Bombshell! I love this swimsuit and I really need to make myself a second one.

4. Velvet Tulip Skirt. Stretch velvet is fun and quite comfy! I loved sewing and wearing this skirt. It was a truly simple pattern and the stretch makes it quite comfortable.

5. Grainline’s Tiny Pocket Tank. I think making this shirt a hi-low hem made me fall in love with the effect, not to mention it felt like I made the pattern my own.

I feel like this year has gone by way too fast. There hasn’t been nearly the amount of time to sew that I would like! I am also dividing my time between my other hobbies that generally don’t show up on this blog. I have spent the last year: cooking, reading, photography, and learning to crochet! I expect I’ll continue growing in each area and more beside them!

I’m not generally one for resolutions, but I think there are a few things sewing that I need to try to attain this coming year. The biggest one I think would be to start using the patterns I have before buying new ones! So, no more new patterns until I have used at least three for each one I want to buy and I think digital patterns need to count towards this as well. I want to finish at least two of the Craftsy courses I have purchased. And last but not least, I want to fit in at least fifteen minutes of sewing on 4 days out of the week. If I can make it every day I will.

So that’s it for 2013! Happy New Year!

Winter Pants for the Cold

And cold it has been here in Texas! We normally don’t get below freezing until February and we have had two weekends of cold weather now and it doesn’t look like it will stop. Fortunately I had made and finished a pair of double-knit palazzo pants before the cold snap hit. I was hoping these pants would be warm, but unsure how warm they would be. They are warm! Almost too much in fact.

TwirlDesigns_Palazzo.jpg

We went up to Fredericksburg, TX for the afternoon to stock up on wine from the Fredericksburg Winery. It’s family run and has quickly become our favorite out of the local wineries. Fredericksburg is really big on Christmas and they have a very large German population, so they have some great events going on right now. It allowed me to get some neat pictures if nothing else! If you are anywhere close to Fredericksburg , I recommend you check it out.

I made these pants using New Look Pattern 6735. I used it previously to make this skirt. I love how wide these end up being, however the fit in the crotch is not good. If I make it again I will have to make some adjustments to the pattern piece to make it work better for me.  My only other change was the usual wedge of fabric I have to take out by my hips.  I serged the elastic to the waistband and then flipped it and sewed it down to secure it. I use the lightning bolt looking stitch to secure it. I could have used my coverstitch….but I was being lazy. I didn’t even use it to hem the bottom since serging them would secure them well enough. I also didn’t have a lot of spare fabric to allow me to fold up the hem allowance.

 wpid-IMG_20131130_153940183.jpg

I probably will not be making these again any time soon, since I have so many sewing patterns to choose from. I really need to work my way through more than a few of them. Up next is a hoodie that I am making out of fleece. I might make it reversible. It all depends on how I feel about it once I start sewing it up. I still have to cut out the lining and see if I even have a zipper in my stash. I’m not sure what else to tell you about the pattern, so I will leave you with one more picture.

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I’m Back…

and I should have more than a few makes for you soon! In the meantime I thought I would share my birthday goodies with you. My birthday was early this month, so I am just a bit late for this post but……. I’ve been keeping busy lazy.  I got quite a few sewing goodies this year thanks to my mother and my amazing husband.

My husband and pretty much anyone who knows (and pays attention) that I sew knows that I have been wanting a dress form for quite some time. I have been going back and forth on cost and brand for as long as I have been wanting one. I always came back to the Dritz My Double Deluxe dressform because of the size range of the hips. This year my husband bought it for me! I don’t have any pics of it yet, but it mostly set up. I’m debating on whether to get the Fabulous Fit Dress Form System to make it more of a body double. I’ve read a few reviews and I’m still undecided. Any thoughts or input?

My mom gifted me with a hundred dollars that I could spend however I wanted. She already knew that I wanted the Anna Dress by By Hand London. I bought that plus just a few others…. Espresso Leggings and the Cabarita knit top by Cake and the Briar sweater and tshirt, and the Tania cullottes by Megan Nielson. I have already played with the espresso leggings with no luck yet. I think I need some stretchier fabric than I have used or I need to build in a bit of ease. I’m really not sure which and I’m not sure I’m over the moon about patterns that only have the inside seam. They do not seem to form to my hips very well. Of the patterns I bought the Briar sweater will be on my plate next I think. In the meantime I have a pair of palazzo pants finished and a fleece hoodie that is currently being cut out.

I received two gift cards, one from Joann Fabrics and the other to Amazon. I’m still unsure what I’ll be getting with them, but it will likely be fabric for the first and a sewing book from Amazon.  These are the books I’m looking at: Sewing Lingerie That Fits: Stylish Underwear, Sleepwear, and Loungewear for Everyday Living by Karen Morris, Bare Essentials: Bras: Construction and Pattern Drafting for Lingerie Design (Volume 2) by Mrs. Jennifer Lynne Matthews-Fairbanks, Shirtmaking: Developing Skills For Fine Sewing by David Page Coffin, and maybe even Gertie’s new book when it comes out! I’m sure I’ll decide sometime in the near future which books(s) it will be out of this selection.

And for now it’s Turkey Day! So I’m going to spend the rest of the day eating, sewing, and spending time with family; not necessarily in that order.

 

Happy Thanksgiving!