Saturday, 4 June 2016

Sewn: Kwik Sew 3897

I have joined the overall revolution! At first I wasn't entirely sold on them, but after a few outings, I kind of love them.


These are Kwik Sew 3897, and they are a pretty classic overall, easy to put together. This was my first Kwik Sew pattern, and I really liked it. No excess notches or markings, just a nicely drafted pattern.

This dark denim was from the remnant section of Fabricland, and of course it was in two pieces. This made it necessary to get creative with my cutting, and I made a few changes to the pattern. Some were for style, and some to deal with the fabric shortage.


First off, I decided to square off the pockets, for a more streamlined look. I also shortened the back between the waist and the straps by 2", and added a seam on the back leg at the knee - these were both due to the fabric situation, but I'm glad I shortened the back. It sits fairly high between the shoulder blades even with my alteration. I left the front alone, though. I also scooped the back seam in above the waist once I had them almost together. Oh, and I also narrowed the straps and used child size overall clips. Sadly, they did not come with the sliders to hold the tails of the straps in place, so they are currently had sewn down. 




Here's a nice close up of my "design feature" fabric save - I quite like it, actually. Looks on purpose to me!


There was a boat load of top stitching in this project, and I used Guetermann's jeans thread in colour 339 (on a grey spool, on the "jeans" display in the store). I love this thread! It is nice and subtle, not quite as thick as some of the other jeans topstitching threads that I have - the gold & bronze ones. It's a big spool, and got me through two projects, but I snapped up another spool just to have (believe me, this is unusual behaviour, I love nothing better than to finish things up and not replace them!) I think this thread belongs in my neutral arsenal for good. My machine was perfectly happy with the topstitching, but balked at buttonholes, so I had them done professionally. Best four dollars I ever spent.


Now I just need to add a few more overall-friendly tops to my wardrobe, and summer is all set!

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Sewn: Burdastyle Illusion Jacket

Well, hello there! Long time no post. However, there has been some sewing!

So, lately I've come to the conclusion that I actually have enough clothing, which has lead to some more intentional sewing. I was inspired by the #MakeNine hashtag, and made myself a Pinterest board to keep me honest. I've had a bullet list on my phone for ages, but I find the images helpful. Also, nine items is a reasonable goal for both my available time and mental energy. I may well make more than nine garments for myself this year, but it's nice to have a goalpost.

First on my list was a new winter-ish jacket or coat. I've made it through the last few winters with my trusty basic black parka, and I have to level with you, I really like it. It's lightweight, keeps me warm, and I don't worry about it getting grubby - there is a lot of schlepping and public transport in my life. However, there are times when I would like my outerwear to be a bit more... elegant. And also slightly more fun. Enter the Burdastyle Illusion Jacket.  I'm drawn to anything grey (shocker!), and I liked the simple design with the "illusion" sleeves - the black sleeves are part of the coat, they are attached at the armhole. The asymmetrical front closes with three giant snaps, for a nice clean finish.


Not too bad...



Naturally, I threw caution to the wind and did not make a muslin. Sigh - I think I used the Burda size chart, which put me in a 44 bust. I recently made up another Burda pattern in a 40, with no alterations, and the fit is pretty decent. So, suffice it to say, this coat is just way too big!



What on earth are those sleeve/shoulder things doing?? The armholes are very large, very low, and kind of nonsensical, as the inner sleeves are designed to be closer fitting. It looks ok from the front, but the back - yikes! It's obvious to me now that I should have a) made a muslin, and then b) sized down through the shoulder/armhole area. The upper short sleeves really stand out from the body, especially under the arms - and I used lining on the inside, they were supposed to be a double layer of wool! My photographer has also suggested compressing them from the top seam, as well.



I also struggled a bit with what to wear underneath for these photos, which is probably not a good sign in a coat. I do wear a lot of scarves, but this neckline is really open. It looked particularly ridiculous with a collared shirt, but you'll just have to take my word for it.



Unfortunately, I can't see myself wearing this coat. I have no fabric left, not even scraps, but I may try some alterations if I'm feeling really adventurous in the summer.

So there you have it, a wardrobe sewing fail! Although it was nice to to a bit of light tailoring for a change...


Saturday, 30 January 2016

Knit: Fair Isle Band Sweater

Well hello 2016! I'm a bit out of practice on the blogging front, so here we go.

This is the Fair Isle Band Sweater with Short Sleeves (a bit of a mouthful!) from Anna Wilkinson's Learn to Knit, Love to Knit. It was the only pattern that really grabbed me from the book, but it was love at first sight.


This was my first try at colour work, and I think it was ok. I'm pleased with how it turned out, but my technique could use some work. It was basically a wing and a prayer. If I ever want to use more than two colours, I'll need to get some professional advice!

Speaking of colour, I love the names for this yarn - it's Classic Elite Fresco, in Onyx and Root Beer! I picked it up at with my Christmas money last Boxing Day. It was lovely to knit, but the fuzzy pills are a bit of a worry. I'm nervous to shave them off, but it may come to that sooner rather than later.

Hmm, a but blurry! But also a bit fuzzy. It's a theme! Also, here's a hint of what my hair looked like in the 90's. Definitely time for a trim.

I love this top, and I have already worn it at least half a dozen times since finishing it off in December. It's been a mild winter so far, so the short sleeved sweater has been perfect. One thing I've noticed while wearing, though. The whole thing slides back quite a bit, so a forward shoulder adjustment would have been nice. Something to look out for in future projects. Also, this is the largest size, bust 41" and I hover around 38". I added 6 stitches to the front only, to give myself a bit more room, and I am glad I did. Even when my gauge is spot on, I'm finding it tough to get a grip on ease in knitting.


Pattern on the back, too. One of the best parts of making your own clothes, if you ask me.



And check out my first neckband picking up stitches! I was a bit worried that it wouldn't turn out well, but I used this tutorial to figure it out.

I think I'll keep it short and sweet - thanks for stopping by, and if you have any knitting sizing/shape advice, please pass it along!





Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Sewn: Vogue 8904

Hello again all! And welcome to new readers, I hope you like grey!

A few years ago, I tried on this dress. It was something like $268, and beige, but I almost bought it because the fit was amazing. I felt like a million dollars. Well, except for the beige part. So when Vogue Patterns released 8904, by Marcy Tilton, I snapped it up. And then waited and waited to find the right fabric. I find that fabric shopping is the hardest part of sewing the wardrobe of my dreams sometimes, don't you?

At any rate, there was a scant 2 metres of this fun grey (I know, I know), subtly striped knit on a Fabricland remnant table this winter, and I knew it would be great for this pattern. There was not really enough, and I had to cut a few corners, but I did make it in the end.

And yes, this is my current favourite necklace. You'll be seeing it again.

Pattern Review has loads to say about this pattern, it was one of their top picks for 2013, so head over and check it out if you need more details. Yes, I made a couple of changes. I shortened the base layer above the waist by 1" (there isn't a lengthen/shorten line, I marked a line 2" above the waist and used that). I didn't need to alter the top layers, they still fit on nicely. I cut the bottom piece with the stripes running horizontally, to mimic the original dress, and altered the pattern sleeves to a cap sleeve. The sleeves are still a bit fluttery, but they are ok. And after looking over the instructions, I did my own thing. The first step was too machine baste around every tier piece - unnecessary.

Sneaky lengthening piece.  And side seam matching!

Oh, and since I didn't have enough fabric for the longer version (View A is short!), I cheated and stitched the lowest tier to the inside of the base layer for extra length. That way if the skirt layers flipped up, you would see a stitch line, but not the edge of the lowest tier. Not ideal, but better than not wearable. You can see a lot of wrinkling and puckering in the photos, but a lot of that is not visible in real life. Still, I think this dress does need to be fitted to work well, like the inspiration dress.




Instead of a neck binding, I just stitched the two layers together at the neck, incorporating some clear elastic for stability, and flipped the outside layer to the right side before basting it to the base layer at the side seams. It made for a super clean finish, which I topstitched using a zig zag.

The bad news about this dress is the fabric. If you look at it the wrong way, it pills, and the raw edges are starting to fray! I would love to make this dress again, so I'm keeping an eye out for something amazing.

Hmm. Perhaps some swayback alteration next time?

Marcy Tilton does have her own online fabric shop, but with the current exchange rate, and shipping & duty, that's just not an option right now. Check out those stripes! But when I find some more suitable fabric, I will be trying this dress again. 

Till next time!

Friday, 17 July 2015

Sewn: Named Alexandria Trousers / Butterick 6182 Top

I'm back again, and you may be feeling some deja vu - yes, I have sewn a second pair of Named Alexandria trousers, still grey, but this time, in a woven. Ta da!


I used the same size as my previous knit pair, and I'm happy with the fit. The fabric is a lovely lovely tencel from Leo's here in Toronto. They have it in loads of neutral colours, I was hard pressed to choose! I made one change to the waistband, and created a flat front band from pocket to pocket, using fusible waist banding for a crisp finish. No messing around trying to cut shifty fusible bits for me (I usually only have knit interfacing on hand, I find it good for most projects, but frustrating to cut!). Basically, these are as close to the Eileen Fisher trousers of my dreams without drafting my own as I am likely to get.

Prepared waistband interfacing - quick and easy!

It's been a while since I made a white top, but they are one of my wardrobe workhorses, so I was overdue for a new one. This is Butterick 6182, a Lisette pattern. I bought the pattern specifically for the top, the dart placement and boxy shape really called to me.



Now, I did have to make some changes to the the pattern to get it to work for me. I think the finished version does look like the pattern envelope, but it required some tweaking. I originally cut the size 16, according to my bust measurement. However, when I pinned the tissue together to check the length, I discovered that the upper bodice is very very short. I ended up taping the shoulders/neckline back on, and using the size 22 cutting lines to get the bust marking at my actual full bust. The darts sit just below the fullest part, and I think that's a flattering spot for them. If the darts were higher, there would be a definite maternity vibe on me. Even with the additional inch in length from shoulder to bust, I used a band to finish the hem to preserve the body length, and yes, I realize this is a cropped top. It was just too cropped!


For the hem band, I cut a piece 2" deep, the width of the hem, and folded it in half with the right sides facing out. Then I put the band under the raw edge of the top, and stitched it on with two lines of stitching from the right side. The fabric was too thick for the neck binding/facing, so I used a heavy white jersey from my stash instead.




The fabric is a textured white knit, part of last year's Textile Museum haul. It seems like a cotton blend, it's not that quilted poly stuff that was everywhere this winter (which I also love). I was tempted to make a dress out of it, but I love it for this top. There is some left over, so you may see it again, depending on how much there is. It has loads of body, so I was able to turn the sleeve bands up and they stay put.




 I'm really happy with how this outfit turned out, and I love these pieces so together so much that I have yet to wear one without the other! But I have no doubt that I will, they are both standouts.






Sunday, 24 May 2015

Sewn: Named Alexandria trousers

Well, here at Button and Needle, we've skipped right over spring into summer. But this latest addition to my spring (and most likely fall and winter) wardrobe really came in handy.

Way back at the end of March, my appendix and I parted company. It was a surprise, as I'm sure it is most of the time, and when it came time to go back to work, my skinny jeans just weren't going to cut it. At all. I turned into a big puffball, and in a possibly pain med induced fit of desperation, I decided that making my own sweatpants was preferable to dragging myself to the mall to buy some. Also, pyjamas at the mall - not a line I want to cross.


So, meet my secret pyjamas - Named Alexandria trousers in charcoal grey loop back fleece. So so very comfortable, and also work appropriate! I purchased this fabric at Fabricana out west, without having a plan, but knowing it would come in handy. And I had been searching for a casual pleated front trouser pattern for a while when the Ticket collection was released. I had the pattern taped together and cut out before the appendix incident, so it was ready to go.

I cut the size 42, based on my hip measurement. My waist is hovering in the 44-46 size range, and there is still plenty of ease at the waist to create the gathered look without any alterations to the pattern. I didn't size down for working with a knit, but I am very happy with the easy fit.

The back pockets.

I cut the front "corner" piece and inner pocket bag in one, by simply pinning the two pattern pieces together along the seam line. And I didn't add the drawstring at the waist, as I really don't like them, unless they are on real pyjamas. The back pockets are on the low side, which was fine for this pair, as I won't be tucking shirts in to them, but might be too low otherwise.

A peek inside the pocket/pleat.

These came together so easily, I just plunked myself down at the serger and whipped them up on Sunday afternoon for work on Monday morning. In order for the pocket to hide under the second pleat, you do need to pay attention to the notches, but if you follow them, you'll be just fine.




All in all, these are a welcome addition to my closet. And I love the pattern, I think it's really versatile, and I can imagine a few different pairs fitting into my life very easily!

Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, 8 March 2015

On the Watson Wagon

Welcome to March! And welcome to my newfound love, lingerie making!

There must be something in the air these days, it seems like bra making posts are popping up all over the place. And eventually, my interest was piqued. The combination of the Watson pattern from Cloth Habit and the fabric kits from Blackbird Fabrics was too powerful to resist.

Hello ladies!

First let's talk about the Watson in general. I'm an underwire girl all the way, but in all my sewing adventures I had yet to make a bra (well, with the exception of the Pneuma), so this looked like a good project to get my feet wet. I struggled with the sizing at first, measuring my rib cage at 31", upper bust at 36" and full bust at 39". This led me to choose the 34C. (For reference, I generally wear a 34D). I merrily cut everything out, and followed the excellent sew along start to finish over the course of an afternoon.

At the end, I had made a very pretty bra for a someone who is much smaller than I.

I could just barely get the band fastened, but it was far too tight and I was squeezed out everywhere. One issue that I had overlooked is that the pattern comes in from the top of the band to the bottom, and I am pretty much straight down through my torso. Also, it was just too small.

As for the cups, lets just say they runneth over. There was just nowhere for me to go!


The side view really shows the difference in size. 36E is on the left.

But I was undeterred, and jumped right back into things with version 2. This time I opted for the shorter band, and after comparing pattern pieces to some of my existing bras, cut the 36E. And it fits! This is definitely a lounging around the house eating bon bons bralette, but it is totally wearable.

The winner! Not sure what's going on with the lighting here though.


I found the kit from Blackbird had everything that I needed, although the fabric is shinier than I had thought - gives me a bit more of an American Apparel feeling than I was looking for. The elastics are great, and the back closure is a real winner. It feels nice and soft, and was easy to attach. And they are now available for purchase individually! I had enough elastic for both bras, but I did need to get more strapping for #2, along with rings, sliders & closure of course. The lycra from Blackbird is a bit on the lightweight side for me, if I'd had more of the power mesh left, I would have experimented with lining the cups with it. But there's always next time.

There's one other thing I noticed during this journey - I used a different machine for #2, and the feed dogs are a bit wider set. This made for some frustrating moments when the fabric just would not feed evenly, or the seam allowances got stuck in the plate. Changing the presser foot pressure didn't really help, but by that time, I just wanted to see how I was doing size-wise. It's given me something to look for if I ever do replace my current machine, which gave me no trouble for #1. Here's a peek inside so you can see what I mean:

See, not so nice. Lots of dragging and catching.

Even though it took a second try to get a wearable result, I'm hooked. I haven't had this much fun sewing something in ages. I mean, it's usually enjoyable, but this was truly fun!