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.

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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!

 

 

 

On to the Next Stop

It took me a bit to get it moving, but the pattern pyramid is on it’s way to Marie at A Stitching Odyssey. I look forward to seeing your choice and your addition!

It has been a busy few months for me. I’ve had some bad life events and many happier ones. I’m not going to go into the bad, but the good I am more than willing to share! We have a new kitten taking over our hearts and our home. She belongs to my mom and is getting along well with the dog and my cat. the best news of all is that my husband is home! I couldn’t be happier!

We have been spending a lot of quality time together. Therefore sewing has been left on the back burner a bit. I have several projects in the works, but not one has been finished. my most pressing project will be finishing up my Jasmine cosplay by next Friday. we’ll see, I guess! It will be a race against the clock. Expect some pictures sometime the week after if I finish!

I hope your weekend is great!

-Twirl away!

Three Wishes Pajama Pants

A long time ago, in a sewing room far, far away…. I fell in love with Vogue 8584 and that, I think, is where the fairy tale ends. I have wanted to make this pattern, but I have an ingrained fear of using my Vogue patterns. The first pattern I used from them did not end up turning out well and I still feel the sting.  I am slowly dipping my toes into the waters, but it is a torturous sloooow process. I even bought V8882 and have one of the skirts cut out, but have I started to sew it up? Nope! But this post is about pants, not skirts, so let me get back on topic. I came across a Simplicity pattern that is very similar in styling and I grabbed it up to make my vision come true.

Simplicity 2414 came to the rescue and helped me create my genie pajama pants or my three wishes pants! I knew I wanted to make view A with the gathered ankles and that they would be made out of the flannel backed satin that I have had waiting for at least as long as I have been wanting to attempt the Vogue pattern. And this is the end result:

TwirlDesigns satin pajama pants-0473

I couldn’t help but pair them up with my fav Star Wars shirt! R2D2 will always make me giggle. I can almost always hear him at a convention before the people around me. If you like unique tees you should go check out Teefury. They have one tee a day that is a play on a topic/movie/character etc. I have bought multiple star wars shirts for my hubby. I still have one that I need to refashion for myself! But back to the pants, these came together very well once I gave up on doing them on the sewing machine. For all that they have flannel on them, they are still satin and satin frays like the devil! I couldn’t get my tension right on my machine with a long stitch and I was unwilling to risk these falling apart  because the stitches caused it to tear. So on to the serger! It saves my sewing projects more times than I can count! After doing a quick fitting by placing the fabric up against my legs, I realized I didn’t have a lot of room to play with. I didn’t bother with the normal seam allowance and instead took off the very edge and sewed them up with little to no seam allowance.

TwirlDesigns satin pajama pants-0456

It was a good thing I had not used the normal seam allowance, because there is no stretch in the fabric and they feel tight if I bend down at all. These are perfect for lazing about the house, reading a good book, and best yet snuggling up with my honey! The feel nice and smooth on the outside and oh so soft on the inside! This is the same fabric I made my hubby’s pirate pants out of, except they were black. I think that if I had the same trouble with getting the tension right for his pants I may not have made mine.  I’m glad I did make them! They will be a great addition to my fall/winter wardrobe. I even think I may be able to dress these up as well as down. What do you think?

TwirlDesigns elastic-0446

For the ankles I decided I did not want to have to worry about my laces always falling out, so I attached the ribbon to elastic. I then tied a bow out of the ribbon and trimmed the edges of the ribbon to the desired length. I hand stitched the bows in place, so hopefully they will last through at least a few washes. My one mistake was the buttonholes for the drawstring. I normally mark the back of the pattern with a pin and I don’t worry about it until I need to do something with the back. Somehow the pin marking the back fell out or I took it out without meaning to. Since I didn’t check the rise very well my drawstring holes were put in the back… and I didn’t notice until the waistband was sewn all the way up. To make up for my mistake I made a bigger bow for the back of my pants! So, Bows!

TwirlDesigns Bows-0477TwirlDesigns Tiny Bow-0485

TwirlDesigns Bow-0482

Since I feel like these are very reminiscent of Aladdin and I Dream of Jeannie, I feel like I need to find myself a magic lamp to rub. My three sewing wishes would be:

The Anna dress designed By Hand London!

A dress form!

And last but never least, unlimited time to sew!

And with that I will leave you with one last goofy picture of me.

TwirlDesigns satin pajama pants-0476

Can I blow you a wish?

What are your three wishes?

Drumroll Please!

And the Pattern Pyramid goes to:….

Marie over at A Stitching Odyssey!

I’ve been enjoying her makes for a while and I have to share a few favorites with you. Her neolithic hawthorn actually makes me want to make this dress right now! In reality I just really want some of that lovely fabric! The degree I had started and as yet unfinished was in anthropology and the fabric reminds me of how much I enjoyed my classes. Her hazedale is such a sweet combination of fabrics and patterns! Go check her out! Right now, but make sure you come back here!

Mine!

Mine!

I thought you might like to see where I’m at on the muslin for the pattern I chose. I chose Vogue 7588 which only cost $0.75 at the time it came out! I wish I could buy a pattern for that now! If you’ll remember I had a few changes drawn out, but my first go was for no adjustments at all. And I think it will turn out well with only a few minor adjustments. I have the front (partially) and half of the back completed. So I pinned it to my bra and grabbed a few shots for you.

Vintage muslin TwirlDesigns-0403


woops! Please forgive the dirty mirror!

It’s pulling a bit from being pinned, but over all it looks good from this. I won’t really have a good idea until I get the back and sides done. At the least I foresee taking the sides in some and maybe adjusting the gathers. What do you think?

Vintage muslin TwirlDesigns-0405

That neckline will most definitely be changed. I haven’t decided if I want to just lower it or lower it and change it. I’m leaning towards a neckline like that of the new Anna Dress of  By Hand London. I’ve recently acquired a few patterns that have a sweetheart bodice, since I would love to have the sweetheart bodice underneath and the upper fabric a sheer over layer.

B5853

Please ignore the bow!

Butterick 5853 is one I grabbed for the sweetheart shaped bodice. I will likely have to add that center section back in to the other pattern piece to avoid strange lines. I like the ability to color block a dress out of this pattern because of the way the pattern pieces are pieced together. And yes, I know that damn bow is utterly ridiculous. You will never, ever see that on me much less near me. That bow will be omitted and the pattern pieces themselves may be lost forever!

V8849

This is one dress I will have to make for myself eventually! Go check out the other pics! This view has a peplum tail that runs down the back. It reminds me of tuxedo jackets in a feminine way! This will more than likely be my base pattern to make the changes to the vintage V7588.

But enough about me! Marie I will be contacting you shortly to get an address to send off these lovely patterns. I can’t wait to see what you pick out of the lot!

Have fun twirling!

Sewing for Winter…

Wait!

What winter? After all I do live in sunny southern Texas! We are even now still experiencing highs in the 90s and above. We do get some cold days, but most would say we have mild winters. More than just a few cold days, since I am such a wimp when it comes to the cold, but this year me and the hubby will be doing some traveling during the colder months. We will be visiting family and some amazing friends, who we consider family. I’m looking forward to it and above all I am looking forward to time spent with people I love!

But, because of that I want to have some more winter clothes on hand before we go and that means sewing it now. I decided I wanted a few different jackets, long sleeve shirts, leggings, and a skirts and dresses that would go well with leggings and/or tights. Some of this I could buy at a store and be just fine, but some of it is almost impossible for me to find at stores. Long sleeve shirts mostly. I am somewhat claustrophobic and tight sleeves will freak me out! Some days I will be fine with wearing them and other days I will start gasping for air as soon as the shirt is all the way on my arms. I’m hoping that I will be able to make some shirts that will be loose on my muscled arms! And above all else, Me Made May made me realize I like to make and wear my own clothes versus buying it.

So to start my planning I made a Pinterest board! And I made my first out of the items I want to make. Leggings!

twirldesigns leggings

Don’t I look thrilled!

The leggings were made with McCall’s 6173 and after having read a few other blogs I knew I would have to cut a smaller size than the recommended since I was using a four way stretch jersey.  I had the large/extra large on hand so I knew I was going to be taking these in some. Annnd I did. Somewhere to the tune of four to six inches off to make these snug. I lowered the waist enough to make a casing for the elastic. This was probably the worst waist I have ever put together. I figure most people won’t see it, so I’m not worried. It had better stay together, though!

twirldesigns leggings1

That wrap was knitted by my very talented mother!

My only dislike was how high the waist ended up. It sits on my waist instead of slightly below it like I was hoping. I went ahead and adjusted the pattern piece, so the next pair will hopefully be where I want it. The next pair is going to be made out of a grey jersey and I’m thinking about maybe doing a brown pair.

These will be easy to wear with longer tops and they are thin enough to go under skirts and dresses if I don’t want to bother with tights. Both a win in my books and a good start to sewing for winter. Up next is a pair of flannel backed satin pants. My husband’s pirate costume pants are made with a double layer of the same fabric and he is thrilled with them! Just thinking of this fabric makes me look forward to the renfair and makes me want to cuddle!

So what are you thinking up for fall/winter? Any special projects?

The Pattern Pyramid has Arrived!

It’s here! I cannot even begin to tell you how excited I am to have received this collection of traveling patterns. I’m even more excited to get to send it on its way to another lucky reader! But before I get ahead of myself, let me explain the history of the pattern pyramid. When Tea and Rainbows hosted her giveaway for the pattern pyramid I hoped, but had not expected, to win it. Winning the giveaway was more than a little surprising to me! I replied to her email with my address and promptly waited impatiently for it to arrive. (Luckily enough my Sew Weekly Pattern Swap arrived before, but more on that later!)

The pattern pyramid started with Karen in 2012, before winging its way to Sew Brunswick (Ooooh! A new blog for me to follow) in Australia. From there it went to Seersucker Sally in Philly before heading across to Tiffany in Seattle. She sent it to Kat in New Zealand, who decided it was time for it to see more sights and sent it to Debi in Scotland! From Scotland it was back to the USA and into the hands of Heather Lou of Closet Case Files and the famous Bombshell Swimsuit and from there onto Lucinda in Boston. And back to Seattle again, to Amy, and then off to Tea and Rainbows who just made a delightful Mathilde blouse. So who will it be off to next?

First, some pictures of the pattern pyramid and it’s content:

Vintage patterns

Vintage patterns

That pattern in the middle is lovely as well! It’s a McCall’s 5996 size 14 bust 34 inches.

More vintage patterns

More vintage patterns

So many awesome patterns here!

And wait even more!

The modern patterns of the lot

The modern patterns of the lot

I guess at some point I have to tell you which pattern I chose? If you were wondering which of the above it was I will have to disappoint you! I had a hard time choosing between three patterns. And those three were:

Which shall I take?

Which shall I take?

I loved the cool, casual comfort of the pattern on the left and the versatility of the one on the right. That center pattern just screamed at me that it had to be made and modified into many different dresses! And how could I not listen to such screaming? My choice if you haven’t already guessed it:

Mine!

Mine!

And when I say there are so many possibilities for different dresses out of this pattern; here is what I mean:

So many Possibilities!

So many Possibilities!

And finally my addition to the pattern pyramid:

My Addition

My Addition

I also added simplicity 1824 for those who might like to make a bag instead of clothes!

And finally the rules!

  • To enter you must have an active blog so that you can host your own giveaway and continue the Pattern Pyramid on its journey.
  • If you are the winner, you will pick one pattern to keep for yourself, then host your own giveaway, randomly select a winner, and mail the remaining patterns to them.  They will in turn continue the process.
  • If you are the winner, Karen would love it if you could make a small contribution to The Brooke. This is a charity close to the heart of Catherine, who so generously provided the original patterns and you’ll be helping animals!

If you would love the chance to keep these patterns moving along leave me a comment by 5:00 PM CDT. Edit: 5:00 PM CDT on 22nd of August! I will randomly select one person and off the patterns will go!

Happy commenting and may the odds be ever in your favor!

Shorts and Playing With a New Fabric

After continually seeing ponti knits all over the place I decided it was time to play with one. From everything I understood about ponti it is a knit with very minimal stretch and that is very true.  I found some and it was a semi glossy black that almost looks like the cheapest polyester you can find. I told myself that stretch made up for it….maybe?

Since it does have very limited stretch I knew I would have to be careful of what pattern I chose. What better than something designed for a woven? I’m in short supply on shorts this year and every year, so it was past time I made some!

twirldesigns shorts1

I chose Simplicity 0328 (1808 on the website) since they didn’t need a zipper and looked fairly straightforward. Straightforward they are, but they have some major fit issues for me. I chose the size that had an inch and a half of ease for the hips, which turns out to have been too much for me. I had of course forgotten that equaled two inches of ease! I lost half an inch off my hips and I’m still not remembering it! The hips and waist turned out a bit loose because of it. The good thing is that the thighs would have been too tight if I had gone down a size. There are pleats in the front that also pull funny and create pouf right where it isn’t wanted and the hips and waist being too big does not help.

twirldesigns shorts2

Despite all that, they still manage to look good and even better are comfortable to wear. I may attempt this pattern again, but I would change several things:

Lower the waist

omit the ties (did that this time also since I don’t tuck many things in)

grade to the smaller size in the hip and waist

Not too many changes and they may make a very wearable pair of shorts for me.

twirldesigns shorts

What are your experiences with ponti? Any tips or tricks for the next time I use it?