First Run of Men’s Workshirt

4 Apr

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Quick post to show that I finished the first muslin of Keith’s work shirt. The bunny fabric was a hit and everyone got a pretty good laugh at his work.

After wearing it for the day, Keith could tell me it’s pretty baggy in the arms and waist, but fits his chest and shoulders well. Luckily the arms were a good length! So I’ll be taking it down a size in the waist and sleeves, I might even experiment with taking out the pleats in the sleeve. I did not notice those when I got the pattern and I am really not a fan at all. We’ll see what I can do without feeling like I’m messing everything up. I will do another muslin before cutting into the Oxford,  but this time won’t do as much finishing. We’ll just get a better fit and go from there.

One awesome thing I finally figured out was automatic buttonholes! I knew my machine was capable, I just couldn’t figure out how to get the machine to go to the next step. Well, after experimenting and reading forum after forum trying to find someone with my machine, I finally figured out that pressing the quick reverse button at each step of the buttonhole will work beautifully. I also thought I didn’t have a buttonhole foot, because I didn’t have one with a slide. I actually do have a buttonhole foot, that has grooves on the bottom, which I thought was for sewing over cords. Anyway, I’m really excited to get that figured out.

On Sewing and Ohio Weather

28 Mar

Spring in Ohio is fickle. Last week it snowed two inches on Monday and on Wednesday it was almost 60 and I had a lovely evening in the warm sun enjoying watching my son’s soccer practice. Three days later his game was canceled because of cold weather and a frozen ground. Maybe I belong in Ohio, because I can’t make up my mind either.
This winter weather lingering into spring has actually given me more time to sew and think about future sewing.  It’s nice to get outside, but it’s also nice to sit in my warm sewing room! I’m taking advantage. So here’s what I’ve been up to lately. Forgive the randomness here. I’ve been bouncing around a whole bunch, and can’t make up my mind on what to focus on.

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I made another Renfrew. It needs a hem, but I haven’t officially made up my mind on what to do with it yet. If I put a band on it, it would be too bulky to wear under this adorable skirt. If I hem it as is, it’s a bit too short for my taste. Decisions, decisions. (Please excuse my kids’ gross mirror, I’m Spring sewing, not cleaning)

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I love the Heather grey of this fabric, but it’s not very comfortable. It’s probably 100% polyester since it was given to me in a grandma stash from the 70s. It’s not terrible, though. We’ll see if I wear it enough when push comes to shove. I have another one cut out just like this one only I want a high low hem with a printed fabric for the back panel. More like a tunic to wear over leggings.

Speaking of leggings, I also refashioned a pair of leggings. I added a velvet stripe down each leg. Olive won’t stop touching them because it’s so soft.

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Next up I started researching a dress to make for the two weddings later this year. I fell in love with one from modcloth, but I can not find a pattern close enough to replicate. So I thought I’d mess around with some draping. This might turn into nothing…. or something… it’s fun to play around at least. I’m just getting started there, the other shoulder would hypothetically mirror the other side. Also, the fabric I fell in love with for this dream dress is crazy nuts expensive. Especially for someone who normally buys my fabric for free from my stash. I might be dreaming, here.

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Last but not least, I actually did buy some fabric to make Keith a work shirt!

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It’s a nice blue Oxford,  and I’m excited to get started on it. But first I’m sewing up a wearable muslin for him in easter fabric. He promised he’d wear it to work. He’s a fan of wearing things as a joke. He loves hokey Christmas sweaters and even wore as ascot to work once as a bet.

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He’ll probably only wear it once, but that’s the ultimate test of how well the pattern fits, right? Wear it for a whole day and you’re sure to find out where it can be improved. I can’t wait to get started on his real work shirts, though. He’s been in need for so long!

So that’s it for my spring sewing. It’s scatter brained and going in spurts with the weather, but I’m thankful for the time I’ve been given to indulge. 
Happy sewing!

Old Baby Towels Turned Into Robes

14 Mar

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I had a heaping stack of baby towels we were using on these  kids that did absolutely nothing for drying them or keeping them warm after showers anymore.  Apparently I don’t have babies anymore. In fact,  as of tomorrow,  I’ll have a 4 year old and a 5 (and a half) year old.  Yes,  not babies.  Not even close.
But I am a sucker for keeping fabric around, even if it’s in the form of hooded towels.  And you know what?  I’m glad I did.  Because I finally had the idea to turn all those towels into some robes for the kids. 
They love them.  I love them. Win. Win. 

(And this in no way is helping my fabric hoarding addiction)

How To Save Your Husband’s Favorite Work Shirt

10 Mar

Elbows. My husband has razors for elbows. He’s busted through two shirts this week alone. Luckily for him, the weather is warming up and I can take his beloved work shirts and make them short sleeve work shirts!
Side story: he thought it would be hilarious to hulk the bottom off the sleeve of the first shirt and it ripped it so completely that it was not something I could fix, so don’t let your husbands hulk their sleeves off. Unless he wants to wear a sleeveless shirt to work.

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So, first things first. Hack off the end of the sleeve.  I used the elbow hole as a guide and then measured the other sleeve to match.

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Turn the shirt inside out and press in 1/4 inch all the way around each sleeve.

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Then press the sleeves in again 1 inch, making sure to keep the 1/4 in under. This creates a nice finished hem.

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Sew around the sleeves as close to the edge as possible without going over. The sleeve is most likely slightly too big for the new hem, so you’ll want to try your best to ease it in. I had to make a very tiny pleat in each sleeve. Just make sure you line that up on the under side of the arm so it’s not visible.

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Press one more time and you’re done! Now kiss your hubs and tell him how much you love him, especially his razor elbows :)

What Happened to January AND February? !

28 Feb

It has certainly been too long since my last post but I promise it’s not for lack of sewing. I have been a busy bee!
I finally got myself a Renfrew during that fabulous birthday sale she had going on up there. Thank you Sewaholic, I’m not sure how I managed to survive this long without this pattern. I will be making a billion of these. Here’s my first one, I love it!  

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I got an itch to purchase a high waisted swimsuit and decided to cut up a suit I already had instead. It’s way more flattering on my short torso than the original suit, I feel it is modest enough for me to feel comfortable and my husband approves. Win win win. I love the way it turned out! And I am excited for this negative degree weather to start hiking back up so Spring can come and then turn to Summer so I can take this baby for a swim. 

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I’ve been slowly working on reorganizing my sewing room. I made a better work flow station, added a TV for Netflix and music (amazing addition! I’m currently working my way through Parenthood and it’s the best.show.ever) and added these organizers behind my machine to help organize my current projects. I love that I have a few clear pockets right in view to hold my booklets, measurements, and phone. It’s pretty daggon amazing, actually.

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I am also trying to figure out what to do with my abundance of polyester. I have a closet full of fabrics I can’t get rid of but I probably won’t sew into wearable garments. I am finding that I enjoy the feel of fabrics and I put that above pattern If it’s not comfortable, I won’t wear it…even if it’s a really cool retro floral.
Over the holidays I won a pattern from The Brooklyn Pattern Company.  It’s adorable. I worked with some vintage cotton and an old men’s button up to make one for my daughter’s upcoming birthday. I haven’t gotten a final picture of it yet, but here’s a sneak peak.

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To top it off I have altered a few of my spring wardrobe pieces and added an eyelet white peasant style top sewn from my stash and a vintage pattern. Pictures in the future.
There are a million more things I want to share but I think I’ll end here for now.

I really do hope to keep the blog more updated as I go along especially with how much of my wardrobe is becoming me made!

Sewing Room Overhaul

7 Jan

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I’m working on reorganizing my (very tiny) sewing room! This is the very beginning, and I have so much more to do.
So far I have moved the tables around to create a better workflow. The ironing board next to the sewing table and the cutting table on the other side!

I am loving how it’s coming together.

Sewing Birthday Gifts December 2014

21 Nov Sew20Something

Every year as October approaches I start to plan out my gift ideas for my nieces’ and nephew’s birthdays.

I also plan Christmas at the same time, because they all fall very close together. I have to plan ahead if I want to be prepared, and I try to be as frugal as possible. I always try to use fabrics I have, and this year I was successful in not even having to buy any notions! I patted myself on the back.

Anyway, I am completely done with birthdays and really, almost done with Christmas! This year I even have enough time to sew my own kid’s P.J.s for Christmas! I’m so excited.

Ok, here’s where I warn the family members, if you have a child that I know and love and their birthday is coming up in late November or early December, I am spoiling things for you. If they are puttering behind you as you read this and you want them to be surprised on their birthday, close the window NOW!

If you want to be surprised on their birthdays, close the window NOW!

If you are a completely random visitor to my site and I do not know you personally, welcome, I’m glad your here, continue reading if you’d like, but don’t tell my nieces’ and nephew what they’re getting unless you want to break their hearts. (Don’t do that, I love them, and I do not want their hearts broken)

So here goes:

Birthday #1 is for my niece who is turning 2 (WHAT?!? that’s not possible, I still call her a baby). I used this free pattern from PiePie Designs. It’s called the Izzy top and I love the price tag on this top pattern. The instructions were simple and well done, but not printed with the pattern, she has them as a sew along on her blog. I ended up making a few of these in varying sizes for assorted birthday and Christmas gifts. This one is a size 2T

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I used an old sweater that I accidentally washed and shrunk for the front bodice and a really springy, GLITTERY, knit for the skirt. I nixed the button closure in the back and made it all one piece all the way across because I was using knits. I also altered the pattern a bit and lowered the neckline in the back, that way her adorable noggin won’t have any trouble getting into it.

This little one’s birthday is in late November, but she celebrates with her brother and sister in the beginning of December, so she’ll receive this just in time to wear to all of her happening Christmas parties, and she’ll happily spread glitter everywhere she goes. Don’t worry, I asked her mom first if this amount of glitter was ok. She said yes.

I also made this one at the same time and with some of the same fabric, along with the same pattern.Sew20Something

This one was for Olive, to wear to Christmas events (her birthday is in March). She has been eyeing this fabric for a year or so, hanging in my stash, and she loves all things glitter. She is very excited, to say the least :) I used a pink cotton for the top here, and completed it as the pattern prints, with a button closure. She just loves it!

Next up are the twinnies. One boy and one girl, turning 4! They have early December birthdays and their mom put an idea in my head that they don’t have big kid hooded towels. I just happened to have inherited some half finished towel projects from one of the grandma fabric stashes, which means I didn’t even have to buy terry cloth! I was beyond thrilled, but I had a challenge, What can I make with these random towel colors? I laid them out and played around.  This is what I came up with.

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The clouds are from an old fleece robe I cut up ages ago that had fake lambswool around the cuffs and collar. Just enough for a grouping of clouds on each towel. I love how they turned out, so sunshiney. And the personalized monograms int he middle of each sun makes it all theirs (except that their initials are both M, haha).

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Last but certainly not least is my niece who is turning 5. Goodness, these kids are growing fast. For my sweet, soon to be 5, niece I made a blinged out purse. She loves pink and all things sparkly. I actually made this sequined name applique last year, but failed to finish my hand sewn birthday/Christmas gifts (oops), so it got turned into a new thing for this year. I had a lot of fun sewing the sequins on, and I know I got the idea from Pinterest…. somewhere…. but it was a year ago and I honestly don’t remember. I do, however, remember where I got the bag design! I read through this whole “course” on ikatbag, and followed her instructions. What a great resource! I’ll be heading back there again, to get more practice making different kinds of bags!

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That’s it! I finished early this year, and I think they all turned out pretty well. I’m excited to party party party!

Next post will be the handmade Christmas gifts for the kiddos (which might actually include my own children this year, yay!)

Happy Surprise!

8 Oct

I could not be happier to figure out that my sewing machine does little tiny letters!

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I never paid attention to that section of buttons because it’s all about memory functions, which I don’t use.

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Here I am trying to figure out how to make size tags and all of the sudden I find this little gem hiding in the corner of my machine. This is a game changer! I’m so very excited.

This leads me to realize I really need to take a class on my machine. I would love some more decorative stitches and I have this plate:

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Does this mean I can find more stitches sonewhere? I really need to figure that out! Anyone out there have this machine and know the answer?

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Pattern Review: Sewaholic’s Minoru Jacket

4 Oct

I completed the Minoru Jacket! Of course the minute I finished it, Ohio weather went from nice crisp fall air, to a steaming 80 degrees in a matter of 24 hours. I knew it wouldn’t last long, though. Alas, today it’s back down to 50, and it’s even sleeting. So I get to test drive this baby today, woohoo!

The fabric I used was from my hand-me-down stash (thanks grandmas), so I am not 100% sure what these fabrics are, but I have a pretty good guess.

The outer fabric is a wool; black and grey, speckled with red, blue, and yellow. It’s a beautiful fabric with a hint of detail and the red top-stitching really makes it pop, but it is way itchy.

Most of the lining I used is a cotton with a printed on plaid design. I would have used a true flannel if I wanted to spend the money on new fabric, but I was committed to not spending any money on this project past what I absolutely needed to. I also used a tan lining fabric (also from my stash) for the sleeves, to help glide my arms in and out. I used a small amount of thermal cotton knit in the side seam pockets that I added, as well.


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There are so many things I super love about this pattern. The first is that there is a sewalong to go along with it, tucked in the archives of Sewaholic’s blog. This was so handy during several steps, as I could check it out before I completed that part and had a better grasp of what I was doing.  It also helped me determine what I should change beforehand, such as lining the hood, adding side-seam pockets, and putting the lining fabric in the parts of the jacket that would come in contact with my skin.

I love the use of elastic to give this jacket a bit of a curve, and I even love it in the cuff, even though it’s not completely necessary.

I love how this coat looks on me. The versatile collar with optional hood is perfect for Ohio’s unpredictable weather, and the huge collar will cover my face on windy days. The raglan sleeve was fun to sew up and I love the way it looks on a jacket. I feel feminine while wearing it, whereas most jackets make me feel rigid.

I saw some reviews about the hood being too big, but this ended up being one of my favorite features. I have big hair, end especially when my hair is in a bun, most hoods don’t fit around my head, and guess what? This one does. I love it.

Hidden pockets are fun, and I actually love them in the mid section. I see these coming in handy from time to time, when I want to keep things safe and not run the risk of anything falling out as I put my hands in to keep them warm. That brings me to the lack of sideseam pockets. I did add side seam pockets in, and I can actually see why they aren’t there in the original pattern. The side seams are a bit too far back for a comfortable hand in pocket position. I’m glad I ended up adding them, because I know I use side seam pockets a lot! However, in future versions, I might try adding a front pocket instead.

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Inside View.

The instructions were clearly worded, and with the help of the sewalong, I had no problem following along, for the most part. I did find the collar zipper step to be a bit confusing. Actually, I thought I wasn’t confused, I sewed the big long rectangle, snipped the zipper line, snipped the comers, and just folded it in before attaching the zipper. It wasn’t until the jacket was completely finished, and I was sewing another top, that I realized she actually wanted you to flip the liner through the zipper hole to the other side. I’ll make sure to correct that the next time I sew up a Minoru (which will 100% happen).

I only had to rip out one seam to do over (the stitch in the ditch)!

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My least favorite parts of sewing this jacket came few and far between, but there were a few. I really wish I had realized the inside of the hood pocket was completely exposed. I would have finished those seams, and I also would have lined the liner (does that makes sense?). I used the liner for the inside of my collar, due to the fact that I didn’t want itchy fabric rubbing the back of my neck, and my liner fabric happens to be obviously one sided. When my hood is out, you can see the exposed inside fabric, and if you really peak down in there you can see lots of layers of exposed seams.

The only other thing that bothered me was the stitching in the ditch along the bottom of the collar. I totally get the purpose of it (to keep the hood in, and to help line everything up), but I did it twice, and it still doesn’t look pretty. The first time, it was way off, so I ripped it out and really took my time pinning everything well. It was better the second time, but as you can see in the picture with the tag, it still isn’t great looking. It’s completely unnoticeable from the outside, which is awesome.

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Cost

Pattern: $17.98 +Shipping

Fabric: Free (Stash busting!)

Notions: $9.36 (Elastic, Front Zipper, Thread)

Total: About $30

Time:

I competed this from start to finish in 6 sewing sessions, spread out over about 2 weeks. Most of my sewing sessions are 2-4 hours in a sitting, with lots of child responsibilities/breaks thrown in.  It felt like it went together quickly.

Special Notes:

  • I love the way the top-stitching turned out and the edge-stitch foot was vital.
  • This was my first time (I think ever) sewing with plaids. I think I did a decent job minus the inside collar. In fact I have a lot to work on for my next one in regard to the collar.
  • With a wool outer layer and a cotton lining, I think I can get away with wearing this coat decently far into the winter. We hit negative temperatures last year, and if that happens again, then I’ll most likely need a warmer coat. I think my next Minoru will be a lighter weight trench type coat for the spring.
  • If I want to take better pictures (meaning not with my phone camera) in my tiny sewing room, I’m going to need something different than a 50mm lens.
  • Last but not least, I learned diffusing essential oils is my favorite new addition to my sewing tools. There’s nothing like needing to rip out a seam and not wanting to rage quit because your sewing room smells like lavender. Lavender makes everything suddenly seems awesome, even seam ripping.

I had a blast sewing this jacket up! It was a great way to jump back into the craft. Sewing is such an awesome hobby because you can take a year long break and jump right back in feet first, and barely feel like anything was amiss. I am already back into the swing of things and sewing up Christmas/birthday gifts! Oh, and Halloween, too.

Happy sewing! And if you have sewn a Minoru, I’d love to see it!

Minoru Sneak Peek (P.S. I’m Back!)

19 Sep

I’m back in the sewing room. and it feels gooood. Seriously, why, how, did I wait so long?!

I decided to get back in the game with a pretty big project. I decided I needed a jacket. and sewing a jacket has been on my list of things to sew for about 10 years. Speaking of which, I am squeaking in the last half a year before I turn 30 to stay true to my blog name :) I’ve still got time, so I’m running with it.

Anyway, back to the jacket. I’m loving it so far, but I’m not yet half way through. I’m using fabric I already had in my stash from grandmother’s donations. A black speckled wool for the self fabric, and a cotton printed plaid for the lining. I have a slick synthetic of some kind cut out for the arm lining, but it might be a bit too thick, I haven’t decided yet.

I’m not finished yet, or even close! But, I wanted to go ahead and talk about the things I am doing this time around that are different. I’m taking my time and changing things up a bit. So, In no particular order:

  • I actually cut into the pattern this time. I have traced my fare share of patterns and it is pretty much the worst. I have yet to try the freezer paper method, and I do plan on trying that one, but this time I decided to cut out the biggest size and fold in to my size. That way I can unfold when I need to make another size and I don’t have to buy another pattern. That makes me happy. It worked out well, I thought. It’s not the easiest thing to move the pattern around with all the folds and snips, but it got the job done and I don’t feel like I ruined my pattern. Plus, double plus.

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  • When I cut out my fabric from the patterns, I used hand stitching  and tailor tacks to show the pattern details. Typically, I try everything possible not to hand stitch anything, but my other methods were not working on this fabric, and this pattern has so many important markers {elastic casings, mainly} that it was very important for me to mark everything and actually be able to find it later. I’m kinda terrible at hand sewing, I despise trying knots, and I’m usually not very good at creating a strong stitch. Those things don’t matter one bit when you’re transferring markings onto your fabric, though. And even though it took a bit of time, it was really easy! It even inspired me to hand sew the gathering at the collar later on, and that might have just changed my life.
  • I’m not racing to the finish. When I sew something up, I generally try to get to the end as fast as possible. And don’t get me wrong, I really can’t wait for this to be finished, as the weather is a bit chilly already. But, this time, I am taking my time, making sure to add personal touches along the way. One major way is that I am adding a red topstitch in every chance I can, and I am loving the end result. I’m using a thicker thread so the topstich is popping out and it’s really tying the lining in with the wool. It takes time to switch the thread every time, but it is so worth it.

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  • I’m adding to the pattern! I decided to add a lining to the hood because I wanted the plaid to pop when I had the hood out, and I am so excited about the result! I am also going to add in some sideseam pockets {hopefully with a nice warm fabric to keep my hands warm}. I haven’t decided for sure yet, but I think I might also make the cuff with half self fabric for the outside, and half lining for the inside. The pattern calls for the self fabric to wrap all the way around, but this wool is as itchy as itchy can be. I’m going to experiment a bit and hopefully the results work out like they look in my head.

So there you have it, the sneak peek of my Sewaholic Minoru Jacket!

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See you when it’s finished!

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