elizabeth_mn: (winter)
Today it is -5 F outside and tomorrow will only be colder. I have had plans to make a wooly winter hood for years, probably. We got some thick new wool doubleknits in at work and the time seemed right.

hood (13)

Preface: I tend to hate hoods generally, for a couple reasons. One, they look derpy. And two, they NEVER go over my hair. (Attention clothing manufacturers: not everyone has a buzz cut.) Reason two is also why I can't wear most hats.

Derpy you can't always avoid. The hair thing, though, I could fix.

I based my pattern on the fitted coif in The Tudor Tailor. Part of the derpiness comes from that single seam over the top of the head you usually see on hoods. It almost always crinkles up in a weird shape. The center panel in the coif pattern avoids that, plus the seams make shaping easier.

I put my hair up in my usual 'do, took a bunch of measurements, and made the pattern. Here is the mockup I came up with.

More! )

I haven't worn it outside yet, so we'll see how well it performs. I already want to make another one, with the scarf section attached next to the cheek for better face-covering. Kind of like a balaclava with a gate.
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
The wedding dress is coming along. Today I worked on the veil and the dress lining. Next up is hems. Then just the sash left.

The veil is the only finished thing though, so here's a peek!

veil (1)

Ignore the pin.

veil (2)

I sewed some hair clips to the underside to attach it.

veil (3)

The length is to the inside elbow, with wide rounded corners. It's the full width of the tulle (108" I think?) by about 23" length.

To make this I first made the lace assembly. I took three of my lace pieces and arranged them on a piece of buckram, then stitched them down (reattaching any loose beads as I went). Then I cut, shaped, and gathered the tulle and machined it to a piece of Peltex interfacing. I laid my lace piece over the tulle and hand stitched it down, then cut away any excess interfacing. Finally I added the clips.

If I were doing this again, I might skip the buckram step. I'm glad I did it because it gave me more time to play with the lace design before making it permanent, but the finished product doesn't really need it. And I might cover the underside with white felt before adding the clips, just to hide the stitches and make it prettier.

a blouse

Mar. 12th, 2016 12:47 pm
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
I really took my time on this blouse for work and felt it therefore deserved a proper blog post.

Related: it seems I have reached a level of acceptance regarding how goofy my face looks in photos.
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
Here is the jacket I made for work last week. The pattern is Butterick 6140.

lana bolito jackets (2)

The fabric is lana bolito, a boiled/felted wool and rayon blend. The pattern was designed for this fabric, or one very like it, and has raw edges everywhere since it doesn't fray.

I liked sewing this. The fabric is spongy and forgiving. The pattern is roomy so I sized way down, and I may still take it in a bit in back when I take it home. I cut a small in the bust and hip and an XS in the waist, whereas the chart would have put me on the high end of medium. But that's pretty much par for the course with big 4 patterns.

I can see wearing it in spring with bright turquoise and fuchsia, with a short pencil skirt and leggings and a big scarf.

I have another work project this week, a blouse in a Japanese cotton double gauze floral. This fabric is wonderful and amazing. So soft and pretty! The pattern is a pretty basic princess-seamed, button down shirt with a collar band and no collar. My vision here is something to wear under cardigans instead of a long-sleeved tee shirt. If it works I will make more, in soft light flannel and lawn.

Sewing for work can be a little stressful with the deadlines and the pressure to make things perfect, but it is a nice perk since everything for the project is free. And sometimes it lets me try styles or fabrics I normally wouldn't.
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
This week I've been thinking about my dead-of-winter wardrobe. Modern/everyday, not historic. There are two main points to consider here:

1.) Cold. It's f#cking cold.
2.) Static electricity. Very cold = dry, dry air, and dry air = static. Enough static cling to make all your clothes stick to you horribly.

I have only a few skirts that I consider suitable for this time of year. I need to add to my wardrobe, but winter sewing is starting to wind down for me now, so I want to write these notes down as reminders to myself for the fall.

- Wool gabardine, or any hard-finish wool, is autumn fabric. In winter, it's fine for warmth, with layers, but the static is absolutely maddening. Softer wools are better for deep winter.

- Flatline rather than bag line wool skirts. A loose lining = static and annoying.

- Wide wale corduroy is warm enough, and avoids the static issue by being cotton.

- I know you want a wool jersey dress. Don't do it. Just don't. Because of static. Use a heavier wool knit if you really want a dress, and save the jersey for tops and leggings.

- Keep skirts below the knee or longer. Your knees will get cold.

- Linen and cotton pencil skirts are fine only when at home or driving somewhere, not walking.

- Make petticoats. (I used to do this; I made cotton muslin slips for the baselayer and cotton flannel underskirts for warmth.) Another bonus is the petticoats keep the wind from wrapping the skirt around your legs so much.

- Fit skirts over leggings. Keeping snug over the waist and high hip minimizes shifting during wear.

- You need more legwarmers. And swants.

- Think about giving pants another chance. Make them roomy enough for long undies. Make sure you could wear them under snow pants.

- Start winter sewing in September.
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
It's been a busy work week for me, but on Sunday before work I made some new pajama pants for myself. Elephants and teapots!


Yes, I do actually sleep in them. ;)
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
I like making everyday stuff in batches, so I made these four skirts at the same time from the same pattern. It's a pretty efficient way for me to sew.

I started them way back in August, got them all put together, then had zipper foot issues and ignored them for awhile. In November I sewed the zippers, then the only thing left was hand stitching the waistband facings down and hooks & eyes, so I ignored them again.

Recently the skirts from my last batch have been starting to literally fall apart, so this weekend I finally decided to get these ones off my loose ends pile and finish them.

The pattern is New Look 6079, a slightly A-line straight skirt with shaped panels in lieu of darts. I made view B/C without any of the ribbon trim or weird flappies.

skirts 031

I made these in various linens and cottons. I consider these 3-Season skirts, for autumn, winter, and spring. They are a bit heavy for summer. The linen might be a bit thin for winter, but as you can see I like to layer them with leggings and socks. It is crucial to have skirts that won't creep up with leggings. I like long, full skirts but they just get bunchy with leggings. So a shorter, slimmer skirt works better for layering.

Here are some not super flattering pictures.

polka dot skirt (3)

more )

Simple modern sewing is not much I know but I feel good to have been busy with some sewing anyway, and of course it is always nice to finish a long-overdue UFO!
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
Well, it took almost 2 months, but I finally finished and delivered my latest work display project. Huge phew!

It was fun, I'm glad I got to make it, but the timing was the worst and I have huge feelings of guilt for making it take so long.

Photos to follow. Sometime.
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
We were going through a serious dresses-only phase for several months. Now we are back to pants. I made her a few pairs from stash fabrics this week.


The pattern is just a really basic elastic-waist pant. It's a little baggy for her but I am not going to get too finicky about fitting. As usual for her, and following the measurement chart, I have cut one size smaller than her age, with a little added length, and just drew in the waist to fit by ignoring the 'elastic guide' and cutting the elastic to fit her.

She always wants pockets. Sigh. I object to pockets on kid clothes for two reasons:

1.) Pockets are annoying to make. On a simple pant like this, the addition of pockets more than doubles the sewing time.

2.) When kids have pockets, they put things in them. Usually things that shouldn't go in pockets (crayons, chocolate, worms) and will wreck the washing machine. Then you have to check all the pockets on laundry day. Ugh.

But The Girl wanted pockets, so I compromised, and put pockets on a couple of the pairs.


The fabric of this blue print pair is from Ikea and I had originally planned to cover a bench with it. Here are the rest of the pants. They are all heavier-wieght cottons.


The dark purple pair is made of leftovers from this dress, the yellow pair with the weird onion-y print was from work and I forgot what I bought it for, maybe a bag? The dark indigo blue floral print is a remnant I got at a yard sale or something about 100 years ago. Seriously, this is OLD stash. I have had it for as long as I can remember. I thought it had a vaguely 18th century block print look to it, but there wasn't enough to do much. I thought maybe a small jacket or stays? But now it's pants. Probably for the best.

The thing that is toughest about stashbusting for me is letting go of the dreams. I buy fabric with plans and good intentions, but sometimes either my ideas don't work, or I change my mind, or I get distracted, and when another idea comes up I have to let go of the earlier one. Most of these pieces were so small - less than a yard - that it made sense to make them into kid pants. What else could I use these pieces for? But the letting go is still hard.

Related: It is only one more week until kindergarten starts! Aaahhhhhh!!!! I am totally freaking out!
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
The sewing here has been progressing in a factory-like manner. I find it so much more efficient to sew multiples, so I have a bunch of garments going on at once right now. I am grouping them by serger thread color, as well as by task.

So that means I haven't really finished anything, but I have about 9 halfway done things. I have 5 zippers to put in, and it's more of a hassle to put on the invisible zipper foot than to change the thread color, so I plan to do all the zips at once. All my other presser feet are snap-on, but the invisible zipper foot needs to be screwed on. Drives me nuts.

There's something so pleasant about doing cheerful, simple, useful sewing. It sounds dismissive to call it mindless, but I do tend to daydream a bit. It doesn't require much concentration to sew kid pants. Of course I love the puzzles and challenges too, but I have to mix it up sometimes.
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
Last week I fitted a mockup for new modern everyday skirts. I let it languish a bit, then today made the changes and cut out four new skirts, all from the stash! It's pretty recent stash; I have only had these pieces for a couple years at most, but it still counts, right?

Then I asked The Girl to come in the sewing room and help me sort and choose fabrics for her school clothes. I don't make ALL her clothes - that would be crazy-making - but I like to make what I can. So I now have fabrics and patterns set aside for a couple dresses, four pairs of pants, a lightweight jacket, and a bunch more mixy-uppy T-shirts. I don't have a many old shirts to upcycle this time, but I do have lots of random odds and ends and leftovers in my knits bin!

I still have a lot of Stash to go, but I am starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I have completely stopped buying fabric just to hoard, and I am working toward a point where I can fit it all in a single bin.

Makes me slightly anxious to think of a day when there might not be any Stash at all, and I just buy project fabric as I sew it. But I have to remind myself that even though stash fabric feels like it's free, I did pay good money for it. And anyway, there will always be changes of plans. And leftovers.
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
For my sister's b-day last Friday I made her a dress. This is another Colette Moneta, the ultra-streamlined version with no pockets, no sleeves, no collar, and no neckband. The neck and armhole edges are simply hemmed. I shortened the skirt (my sister's preference) and scooped the neck into a U. It's cotton jersey in a taupe-y color she loves (for reasons I cannot understand).

ang moneta (1)

ang moneta (8)

I made TWO birthday cakes, because we each needed our own. For her I made the same cake as for F's last b-day: sour cream chocolate cake with white chocolate frosting and strawberries. Yum! I also made her a fancy birthday dinner; she requested Karelian rice pasties with egg butter (everyone in my family now loves these) and I made mustard and feta salmon and almond green beans with cauliflower. And champagne of course. We had another couple over to join us and it was a blast.

For my own birthday on Sunday I wanted ice cream cake, even though it is subzero temperatures here. I wanted something different so we didn't all get too caked out. I used the vanilla custard ice cream recipe I made here, oreo-ish cookies, caramel sauce, and homemade maple glazed pecans. OMG. This was amazing. The egg-custard ice cream was perfect because it doesn't freeze super-hard and that made cutting easier.

I also did this easy craft project. I got a new bookshelf/board game cabinet for a sort-of birthday present for myself. It's an Ikea Borgsjo. The crafty part was "papering" the back panel with fabric. I got this bookshelf print cotton about a year ago at work and it turned out to be perfect for this. I used spray adhesive; messy but effective. I didn't get the lines quite straight, but I am trying to let that go. I love the way it looks!

elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
I started this dress before christmas happened and only got around to finishing it yesterday. It's a project I was assigned at Treadle. Okay, "assigned" is not quite accurate, more like suggested. We got several free copies of the new Decades Of Style pattern, the Decades Everyday E.S.P. Dress, and I was asked to make a display along with another of my coworkers. She chose a bold Mondrian-esque cotton print and I of course gravitated to this hot pink silk dupioni.

pink dupioni dress 006

Now that I have gotten over slubby silks for costume purposes (at first I used them because I didn't know better, then I knew better but used them anyway because they were cheap, now I just avoid, generally) I am all about dupioni for modern stuff. It's cute and fun and keeps it a little more casual. I am aware that a shiny bright silk might not have been the ideal choice for an "everyday" style pattern, but whatever, I went with it. I wanted a bright pink dress, dammit!

Here's a photo of me wearing it - I took this before I left for work so it was a little rushed.

pink dupioni dress 003

The pattern was interesting. I like the idea that Decades of Style is making a more casual line but keeping that vintage feel. The raglan sleeves are easy and comfy. The gathered skirt is a nice width. The square neck is not what I would typically choose for myself; it's a little high and not the most flattering shape for me.

I found the neck facings a bit fiddly, but not really any more so than your average sewing pattern. Facings are so ubiquitous in modern sewing patterns, but they are a feature that's almost never seen on readymade clothing. I always find them tedious and untidy. The suggestion of under-stitching to keep them from rolling out never actually works. I always, always either tack them at the shoulder seams, topstitch, or use invisible hemming stitches (hand or machine) to nail the thing down.

Still, altogether a solid pattern, with a nice fit and cute shape.
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
I fell so in love with this fabric at work, I drooled over it for weeks before finally succumbing. It's an organic cotton knit from Birch Fabrics' adorable Acorn Trail collection. I knew exactly what I wanted it to become.


I used Colette Moneta again, but instead of lining the sleeveless bodice (I assume she suggests this to simplify finishing) I just turned the armhole seam allowance under once and topstitched it with a multiple zigzag. For the neckline I used a strip of self-fabric binding (neckline measure -30%) instead of a hem; I find it's smoother and gives better recovery after being stretched. And finally I altered the neckline; lowered in front, raised in back.

I love they way this turned out. I intend to layer it like this (and probably a cardigan on top) for the cold weather but I can also wear it alone when it gets warmer. The fabric is somewhat thick but it's all cotton.

and a t-shirt )
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
After insisting that modern sewing take a back seat in my 2015 goal list, I came up with a small list of projects (from the stash) that just had to get sewn this weekend so I could get them out of my system before the next costume project.

I am very hard on my aprons. I wear them a lot of the day; whenever I cook, craft, paint, or do anything messy. And of course they get washed a lot. I knew it was time to retire my lemon apron; it had a big rip in front and a big splatter stain from a pomegranate. So I made this:


I love this radish fabric! This apron has my usual cross-over back, because I hate the feel of neck straps and this is comfy and secure. It closes with snaps and has decorative buttons.

The back, and another one )
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
I'm teaching a project class at Treadle on the Colette Moneta, a sweet little knit dress with a bunch of options. For the display, I made this (view 2):

moneta 001

I LOVE this fabric. It's a cotton/spandex jersey from Art Gallery Fabrics and it's covered with little butterflies and triangles.

moneta 004

moneta 003

This afternoon the dress will go to Treadle to display. I plan to take some nicer photos of it to promote the class!

The Moneta is a pretty nice pattern. As always with their patterns, the fit is great. There is negative ease (because it's a knit) and the proportions are nice. When I am sewing with Colette, I never need to worry about sizing down to avoid swimming in my clothes. The measurement chart is always right.

A couple little details I will change when I make it again: 1.) it's a little long in the waist. I know that's just how people are wearing things these days, but I like my waistline at my waist. 2.) The back neckline is inexplicably 1" lower than the front neckline. You can see from the photos on the pattern page that this is an intentional design detail, but I don't like it. 3.) Ditch the pockets.

I did not use my serger for this (gasp!). For the class, I don't want to make a serger a requirement, so I wanted my display to reflect conventional zigzag machine sewing. She suggests using a twin needle for hems, but I hate doing that, so they are just zigzagged also.

I turned to my trusty Sew U: Home Stretch any time I needed a reference or second opinion. Colette has their own knits book now but I haven't got around to buying it, and anyway, Sew U is pretty good, if a little dated.

moneta 007

If you (or anyone you know) are in the Twin Cities area, please check out our classes page. The Moneta class starts Oct. 3rd.
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
Something for work!


Ok, that's not entirely accurate. It IS for Treadle, but I get to keep my displays when they are no longer needed, usually a couple months.

When I saw the printed corduroy with the foxes I just knew that F had to have pants made of it. I decided to do them as a display and the pattern I chose (New Look 6257) had a jacket too, so I thought why not? The jacket is made of lightweight wool flannel and lined in a cotton print. The collar in the pattern is stupid so I drafted a Peter Pan collar, using the tutorial here as a guide. I made covered buttons from the apple print.

The pants took an hour. The jacket I spent a few days on. It was pretty simple but I made a few silly mistakes and had to do a couple do-overs. Plus when I say "a few days," I really mean "an hour a day for three days," because I just can't seem to scrape together a nice long sewing session lately. It's all bits and pieces for me.

It is suddenly chilly here. 60s in the day and 40s-50s at night. So probably more autumn sewing like this will be on my agenda. I kind of want to make the same coat over again in a cotton twill or maybe a wide-wale corduory. And she definitely needs more pants!
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
I finished this dress last week, but couldn't take photos because I lost the piece of my tripod that the camera attaches to. I finally talked my HB into taking some photos, but then I somehow dumped an entire cup of laundry soap all over myself before he could.

So, one week and one new tripod attachment later (and it only took 5 hours of internet research to find it) I have photos. Yay!

blue floral dress 017

I had a little time on my hands, so I attempted some artsy "wandering around in my garden" shots. Please forgive the wet hair; it's Monday.

More photos! )

The sewing details )


Jun. 26th, 2014 01:39 pm
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
I don't normally post about my jammies, but this is what I am sewing right now, so here they are.

jammies 004

I make pajama pants all the time. Seriously. All. The. Time. It's like doing dishes; it's one of those endeavors that never ends because you always need to do more. Of course you need your flannels for winter, you need your thin cotton broadcloth for summer, and you need your shorts for when it's really hot. I really prefer a clean pair every night, so that means enough for one week plus an extra just in case I'm not on top of laundry day. Oh, plus my HB's.

Flannel wears out pretty quickly. Usually I can get 3 good seasons out of my flannel pants before they start to go a little thin and threadbare, then another couple where they limp along and then get holes and die.

I spend a lot of time in my jammies, too. My routine for The Girl and I is to eat breakfast first thing and get dressed later, so there's probably a good couple hours each morning I get to loaf around in my jammies, cooking breakfast, eating, drinking tea, doing yoga, reading, and so on, before we finally cave in and get dressed. Can I just say how much I love this? It's probably the #1 perk of stay-at-home-mom-ing.

I always prefer to choose fun, cheery, whimsical prints. If I wanted boring jammies I would buy them. I noticed I do tend toward blue because it's a calm color. Here's this week's crop:

jammies 002

My coworker Michele gave me this tip: cut your drawstring in two and stitch each end to an 8" long piece of elastic, then thread it through the casing and use it like a normal drawstring. I always prefer drawstrings over full elastic, for both comfort and adjustability, but the little bit of stretch in back adds some extra comfort. And cotton twill tape makes a perfect drawstring.
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
I made F a bunch of new T-shirts this week.

F tshirts (6)

(She said this is her "normal face." I just could not make this stuff up.)

Sewing T-shirts at home is not something I do a lot of, mostly just for The Girl. Since T-shirts are so cheap these days they may as well be disposable, it doesn't make much sense to buy knit fabrics for 10-20 bucks a yard and make my own. So I only do it if I can meet at least one, preferably two, of the following conditions:

  - I am upcycling an existing garment
  - The fabric is really unusual
  - I have a specific design or look I am trying to achieve
  - I absolutely cannot find a single thing in the stores that fits

For F, I have a hard time finding clothes that fit because she is long and skinny, so pants that fit at the waist are ridiculously short. Shirts are easier because they just hang off the shoulders, but sometimes they are too short. I tend to buy the plain and boring ones but this time I wanted something more unique and cute.

The process and 4 more shirts! )

These were so quick and fun! Oh, and if anyone is wondering why I chose April to make new long-sleeved shirts, please know that it has been only three days since I was pretty sure all the snow had melted in my yard. So yeah, still chilly.
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