Month: June 2012

The Pinstriped Shorts

Saturday afternoon, I had nothing but time on my hands, which meant I sewed till about 10pm, only stopping for a long dinner break. It was glorious.

I made up Colette’s Iris shorts pattern in a gray pinstripe suiting fabric. The whole project went quite smoothly from start to finish, requiring zero adjustments to the pattern. The only hiccups were the invisible zipper which required a little adjusting where it passed through the waistband seam, and one silly mistake on the facings which required a wee bit of seam ripping.

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Since I don’t have a serger, I chose to finish edges with a zig zag stitch. When attaching the pockets, the directions lead you to finish each piece before sewing the seams, but I found it to work better to sew the pockets together, and then zig zag through two layers, trimming the excess seam allowance down to the stitching.

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I took Lizz’s advice and turned the crotch seam to one side and topstitched instead of clipping the seam allowance.

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You can’t really see in this pic, but the inside leg seam is a flat felled seam which lays nice and flat and is now extra strong.

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I re-enforced the pocket seams at the top and bottom openings with a small row of zig zag stitches, to strengthen the opening and encourage the pocket to lay flat without budging.

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Does anyone else use the notes section in the pattern instructions?  I love the Colette pattern booklets with the folder in back to hold the pattern pieces–it keeps everything nice and neat.

This pattern was wonderfully easy to sew up, and I love the fit of my shorts.  They are so comfortable!!  I don’t usually wear shorts because they bunch up in the crotch when I walk…  These ones did too :(  …but they are nice and long which seemed to minimize the problem.  I plan to wear these a lot!  The bunching wasn’t enough to keep me from putting these cuties on again!  After a few more outings, I hope to find that my shorts wearing confidence is high enough to require more shorts in my wardrobe :)

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Ponderings

I don’t have much to share this week because I’ve been busy!!  Busy washing and cutting fabric for Iris shorts.  Busy shopping for a sewing machine (I test drove some Janomes.)  And busy going to my sister’s weight training class.  In a few days, when I can walk again, I plan to sew up my shorts.  In the mean time, I’d like to share my sewing machine ponderings.

I’ve been considering a machine upgrade for a while now, but I can’t decide whether I want a vintage machine or to qo with a new one.
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A good friend of mine lent me her vintage Bernina to try out.  Wow.  I can see why people fall in love with Berninas.  It is powerful and quiet all at the same time.  It’s truely lovely.  But.  I haven’t figured it all out, but I think buttonholes have to be done completely manually–as in adjust the zig zag to the appropriate size at each step.  I’m used to a 4-step buttonhole, and the idea of no automatic button steps does not appeal to me at all.

As for new machines, I’m considering the Janome Magnolia or HD1000.  Both are mechanical, affordable and have 4-step buttonholes.  The Janomes I test drove ran quite nicely–not as lovely as the Bernina–but much more powerful and smoother than my current Singer.

I’m still completely undecided.  There’s always the option to keep saving and buy a new Bernina one day too.  I just don’t know if I can wait that long (or really want to spend that much.)

Hmmm… any opinions or input on machines and what features are a must would be much appreciated.  I’ll just wait and keep thinking it over in the meantime.  Doesn’t hurt to stalk craigslist either :)

Sunday Shopping


I signed up for Sew Colette, Part 2, starting this month with Hazel, and picked up some fabric but didn’t have the pattern yet.  So Sunday I treated myself to a little shopping spree at Hart’s Fabric cause I knew they carry Colette patterns.
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Sunday happened to be a warm day here in Santa Cruz, and I thought to myself, “Gosh, it sure would be nice if I owned some shorts that fit.”  And that’s how I ended up purchasing the Iris pattern, suiting fabric and buttons.

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Granted, suiting fabric is far from a summer favorite, but I just really liked this Calvin Klein pin-striped gray suiting.  It’s fairly light for being a suiting fabric, and it just doesn’t get that hot here on the coast.  So that’s right, I’m making summer shorts with a wool blend fabric.  (And if they are a success, I’m sure I’ll be running back to the store for some cotton!)

I spent way too much time picking out the buttons, and when I finally found some that suited my needs, I was disappointed they were $2 each!  Is that not a lot for a single button?!  Well I really liked them and couldn’t settle for second best, so I splurged on the 4 buttons for this pattern ;)  I’m not totally convinced I even want to use the button version of the pattern… so we’ll see how that goes.

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I’ve been wanting to make more blouses and thought I’d try my hand at the Violet pattern since I’m on a Colette roll at the moment.  I already had the rayon challis fabric, and it seemed like it would be great blouse material.  I originally was thinking of using it for a dress, but I know I’ll get more use out of separates.  (These buttons were a much more satisfying $.45/ea ;)

I didn’t get any sewing done this last weekend, but shopping was a lot of fun, and now I’m set to sew the next few weekends!

Tell me, what’s the best deal you ever got on buttons?  I think I need to start collecting…

Roped in MooMoo

I mentioned this dress a while back, but only recently did I get the chance to wear it again and take photos.  My sister affectionately known as Fanny was once again my photog and lent me her sunny backyard.
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This polyester chiffon has been sitting in my stash for over a year because I was terrified of it!  I bought it when I first began sewing again, along with a complicated pattern, and then I realized I was getting a bit ahead of myself.  I’m glad that I didn’t attempt to use it last year because I fear I would have been frustrated and given up.
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Every time I looked at the red flowers I fell in love with this fabric, and so I dreamt of making a maxi skirt.  Maddie’s post inspired me :)

However, my machine had recently given me so much trouble with baste stitching (jamming and breaking the thread a fraction of the way across a waist line) that I absolutely could not bring myself to attempt a gathered skirt with a waist band.  So I made a casing and let elastic make the gathers for me.  Unfortunately, this method does not make for an attractive skirt at the waist, plus I didn’t have a top to match, so I pulled it up to make a strapless dress.  It’s really a giant moomoo of a dress, so I made a very long sash to rope in the waist line and tie around my neck, holding everything in place.  It was a cinch to make, no pattern needed, and it was a delight to wear.  I love how light and breezy chiffon feels!  And it turns out, polyester chiffon is much easier to work with than slippery silk chiffon.  So now I’m feeling much braver ;)
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This is me with my brave face on!  Just kidding.  I wasn’t smart enough to turn and get any other angles of this dress photographed, so here’s another picture of the front.
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I’m not a big fan of strapless dresses, so I think this fabric will become a maxi skirt yet, once my machine and I reach an agreement.  (or I get a new machine :D)  I also have some matching red chiffon that might just be enough for a top, so this may not be the end of the story.  …To be continued…???