Category Archives: 2012 PROJECTS

Wild Woman

Just in time for the weekend, my ‘wildwoman’ tunic is finished! I was a bit concerned how wide the neckline would turn out, but went ahead and sewed it ‘as is’ and was presently surprised that it didn’t slide off my shoulders as many people had stated on Pattern Review (I may have had a better fit than most because my shoulders are rather broad). I love the ruching along the left side seam (and the shoulder seam), but I believe that the print of the fabric hides most of this detail. The fit is good, although a bit on the snug side, so if you’re looking for something with a bit more ease, I’d recommend going up one side on the lower portion of the shirt. Overall, I’m thrilled with my new tunic – it’s time to pair it up with some leggings and a great pair of boots!

Disco Pants

Even though (almost) everyone was on vacation last week (no running everyone around to practices and games, no big school events, etc.), I found that I got very little time in for sewing. By Sunday, I was in dire need of “sewing therapy” and decided I needed to stitch up an “instant gratification project.”

I’ve noticed that clothing is extremely shimmery lately (sequins, sparkles, rhinestones, etc. and not just for tops!), therefore, I decided that I needed to sparkle too. So I dug around my stash and pulled out a blacksilver poly lurex (it’s very much like a stretch liquid lame) that I’ve been holding onto for almost two years – waiting for just the right project. I went with KwikSew 3636 – leggings in 3 different styles and two different fits (close and very close fitting). Even though I’ve sewn this pattern up before, this was the first time I used it on myself. I went with view B in a medium, close fit style… and wound up making a few changes after it was all sewn up. First off, the rise in these leggings are HUGE – I wound up cutting off 1 1/2″ and the waistband is still right below my navel. After a brief test fit, I also found that the fit was a little loose around the legs, especially the calves. This could be in part that the fabric is incredibly stretchy, but also because I could have gone down a size in these areas. To remedy this, I wound up taking this area in another 1/4″ (basically using 1/2″ seam allowances instead of 1/4″). The rest of the leggings went together without a hitch and I think the end result is pretty fun, although a bit on the disco side. I’m sure that I won’t have the opportunity to wear them often, but watch out world when I do!

Project Details:

Pattern: KwikSew 3636

SilverBlack Poly Lurex from Sew Much

Materials & Cost:

Asymmetrical Top

I recently looked inside my closet and determined that it needed new life. While I love what’s inside, but it just needs some new topspants to change things up. I rummaged though my patterns and decided to give KwikSew 3790 a try. This particular pattern has been in my stash for quite some time, but I never sewed it up. The main reason I haven’t given it a try? That neckline. I love the asymmetrical style, but I can also see that it may be too large for my frame. I’m going to go ahead and sew this one right out of the package anyway and give it a try. For the fabric, I picked a fun “Why you little minx” print from Gorgeous Fabrics – a bold print with a mix of cheetah, fur, and snakeskin designs.

Project Details:

Pattern: KwikSew 3790

“Why you little minx” jersey from Gorgeous Fabrics

Materials & Cost:

Today’s Lesson

Before I start today’s post, I just want to say that I hope that everyone effected by Hurricane Sandy is doing well, that you had limited property damage, and power is restored very soon. The devastation I’ve been watching is just heartbreaking.

My project yesterday was to make a shirt for Easton to wear under his Elvis costume – so when they are done with their party, he has a ‘themed’ shirt to wear (Thank you Suzie for the idea, it’s brilliant). Originally, I was going to freezer paper stencil “Elvis has left the building” onto a shirt, but I felt like I was in a time crunch so I opted to make an iron-on transfer. Unfortunately, my ink started running out so the red turned out pink and the browns turned purple. Combine this color disaster with the fact that the font is a bit ‘feminine’ and you’ve got one ‘girly’ looking shirt. I decided to go with it anyway and attempt to make it more masculine – by adding red rhinestones (I figured it’s Elvis, he’s blingy) to Elvis’ name and using a black sharpie on the rest of the lettering (not just to make it darker, but to sharpen up the edges of the feminine font). Unfortunately, I think it looks a bit sloppy plus I managed to burn (the brown marks) the transfer a bit while attaching the hot fix rhinestones and it still looks a bit ‘girly’…. but I’m going with it. After all, he just has to wear it for an hour or so.

Lesson learned? Don’t’ take the shortcut, go with your original idea and you’ll like your results better in the end.

‘Lil Elvis

After a week of diligent sewing and embellishing with hundreds of rhinestones (and a handful of grommets) I am thrilled to say, ‘Lil Elvis is DONE! In fact, it was completed just in time for an event Friday night and Easton really got into character (lots of posing and dancing). Overall, the fit is spot on and really restores my faith in the ‘big 4’ patterns and the amount of ease they seem to put into their designs. The instructions were great and everything (aside from my difficulty with inserting the sleeves) went together without a hitch. Best of Easton loved it and I’m pretty sure that this is my favorite creation of all time.

Here’s a better look and the front and back of the costume without my model:

For a more detailed review (or summary of all my blog posts about this costume), you can read my entry at Pattern Review.

Modifying the Belt

While I think as a whole this Simplicity pattern is well written (although any piece that called for buckram is described as using a fusible in the instructions instead), one section that I didn’t care for was the belt. Basically, the instructions has you folding under the raw edges of the facing, placing it wrong-sides-together with the front piece, then sewing. I saw this a potentially messy looking final product, so I changed it. Instead, I sewed the pieces right side together and left, turned, then slipstitched the opening closed. Instead of sewing the Velcro down to the back of the belt, I used a fusible that way the front of the belt still looked ‘clean’.

As for embellishments, I opted to write out “Elvis” in hot-fix rhinestones. I wanted to just do a big “E”, but I tried several times and it just didn’t look right. This one seems to give the belt more bling anyway!

Invisible Zips

Zippers strike fear in many sewists, but say the words ‘invisible zipper’ and you might create a panic! I’ll admit it, I hate installing zippers let along the invisible kind – to make matters worse, I do not have the specialty foot that makes sewing it in easier. But did you know you really don’t need a special foot to sew in an invisible zipper (this tutorial from Sew Serendipity is a really good tutorial on inserting an invisible zipper without an invisible zipper foot). So why all this zipper talk? I added the zipper to my “Little Elvis” jumpsuit! It took a bit of time, but I think it turned out very well. In fact installing the zipper turned out to be much easier than what inserting a sleeve was…. I have never had so much difficulty with setting in a sleeve… ever. I believe a lot of my problem is the material (it’s very stiff and jumpsuit like so it doesn’t like to ‘gather’ evenly to create ease), but it is probably compounded by the fact I changed the seam allowance in the shoulder area and also in the two-part sleeves.

Next up: Adding the second sleeve (which I now dread more than what I ever did the invisible zipper), cape, collar, and facing. Plus, stitching up the belt. Whew!

Let The Sewing Begin

I’m approximately half way through with the jumpsuit and so far, I’m really happy with how it’s come together. After a quick test fit, I did have to make a few adjustments: mainly reducing the seam allowance at the waist and shoulder seams just to be sure that the jumpsuit didn’t cut my slightly long-waisted son in the crotch area. Otherwise, this seems to be fitting very well although he complained that it was ‘itchy’ (I’m not sure if this was the loose threads or the fabric itself). The biggest tip I can give you at this step: Make sure that you accurately transfer all the markings from your patter piece to your fabric. Areas such as the leg inserts require precise sewing so that it all comes together smoothly and evenly – being sure that your marks line up, etc. will definitely prevent (or at least reduce) any headaches!

Up tomorrow: inserting the invisible zipper…… without an invisible zipper foot!

Elvis Lives

It’s no secret that I love Halloween – especially costume making. Even though Easton picked out a store-bought costume (Darth Maul which he’s been wearing around the house for a few weeks), I couldn’t resist sewing one up, too. I’ve had Simplicity 2528 in my stash for two years and finally decided to give it a try.

I spent the better part of the evening cutting all the pieces to this project – trust me, there’s plenty to cut out. My biggest complaint thus far isn’t how many pieces there are, it’s the fact that the interfacing requirements are so off. According to the back of the envelope, I needed 4 1/2 yards of medium weight fusible and 1 5/8 of buckram. After cutting everything out, I used less than a yard of each… fortunately, they’re all materials that I’ll be able to use again in future projects.

I’m sure the question you’re asking is, “How much will this costume cost?”. After all, this design could definitely become an embellishment hog. I am planning on making a few modifications to cut down costs: The pattern calls for 40 eyelets and well over 100 hot fix rhinestones and stars. Both those can get costly, so I intend on using about half the eyelets and purchased a pound bag of assorted size rhinestones and plan on tacking them down myself (of course using coupons on all these items helps as well).

Project Details:

Pattern: Simplicity 2528 (OOP)

Black “Rodeo” cotton from Joann‘s

Multi-color confetti dot from Joann‘s

Materials & Cost:

Blousy Boxers

Now that a majority of my deadline sewing is complete, I’m able to go back and work on some projects that have been setting on my table. First up, The Louey Boxer Short! This pattern sews up exactly the same as the Tommy Boxer pattern, so I don’t really have anything new to talk about during construction. However, I can talk a little bit about the fit. While I think that the Tommy Boxer fit is spot on, the Louey is a bit blousy in the legs (you can probably see this in the photo as the fabric is ballooned out around his legs). Even though these are meant to be large and roomy, the elastic pulls in the fabric so much they look a bit odd on if you’re not wearing a shirt to help hold all that extra material down, in place next to your legs. I think the key to sewing this one for next time is to sew a size down, but use the same length of elastic for the wasitband.