Friday, October 2, 2015

New Sweater for my New Dog

I haven't had time for much sewing lately, but I've been knitting away. With the colder weather approaching, I decided it was time to make a sweater for my 1 year old puppy.

The pattern is the Perfect Fit Dog and Cat Pattern by Jessika Lane. I used this pattern for my older dog when I was first getting back into knitting a few years ago. It is a great pattern for beginners and makes a very practical sweater for your pets.

The yarn I used for the project is fancy Rowan Pure Wool Worsted that I had in my stash. It's remarkably sturdy and yet soft. I find it very easy to knit with. I also like the idea that it is superwash.

I ran out of the blue before I could make the back bottom as long as I wanted. So, I extended the green ribbing on the back by knitting back and forth and using wrap-and-turns. My alteration actually worked out very well.

Now, both my doggies are ready for the impending colder weather.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

More Maternity Pants

Earlier, I posted about turning old pants into maternity pants. I've found another pair of secondhand pants to convert. This time, I'm going to use a completely different method. I'll call this Method 3: Converting Large Pants. For methods 1 and 2, see the older post.

Method 3: Converting Large Pants

To make maternity pants this way, I found a pair of pants that fit over my belly. Basically, the pants were a couple of sizes bigger than my regular size.

Before my alterations, the pants were super baggy in the legs. All I had to do to make them look right, was to alter the legs. To do this, I laid out my pair of well fitting Ginger Jeans on top, lined up the crotches, and traced the new leg shape (I made sure that both pants had the same amount of stretch, too). I graded the existing burgundy pants seam from about the bottoms of side pockets to the near the crotch level of the pants and then followed my Ginger jeans' shape. I also added about 1/2" width compared to my jeans because I wanted them a little looser.

To be even lazier with my changes, I matched up the in-seams of the pants. That way I only took in the extra fabric from the outside seams. The outside seams were easier to alter, since they were not top-stitched into place like the in-seams were. Doing this could cause off-grain fabric issues. But, I decided to take a gamble, since the fabric is so dark and the pants only cost me $4. In the end, I don't think I can tell.

The result is a pair of maternity pants that feel and look like regular pants. The fabric is also better quality than most off-the-rack maternity pants are made with. I find them super comfortable and I think the colour is great for fall.

I'm about 21 weeks along. There is still room in the belly area for my tummy to grow. Once I get too big, I can go back and use one of the other methods of making maternity pants to make them fit again.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Outfit Alterations

I've finished altering some of the clothing I found at the secondhand shop and now have a new maternity outfit. First up for alterations were a too large maternity blouse and a pair of messed up maternity pants.

The top was simply way too big - it was more like a dress. 

From reading pattern top back lengths and from adding some pins where I thought the top was about 4" too short. I cut off the bottom 3", leaving a hemming allowance.

The top was also missing its waistband tie. I used the now scrap bottom back piece of fabric and cut it into 1" strips. I sewed the pieces together similar to making bias tape. I tried to use a bias tape folder to iron the strip, but the polyester would not hold its shape. I ended up just serging along one edge and then folding the strip in three sections as I sewed, with the serged edge covering the non-serged edge.

It worked and my shirt now has a tie!

The maternity jeans were a different story. They are cheap Walmart George jeans that were not cut very well. As a result, the legs twist terribly. The right leg in-seam is particularly horrible. It actually twists almost around the front of the leg to the other side when wearing. Below, you can see how the seams like to lie in a very crooked manner. This is a good example of fabric not being cut on the grain properly (see this Closet Case Files post for more about this).

I decided correct the problem as much as I could by turning the jeans from flared legs to skinny legs. While I did this, I took more off one side of a seam than the other to 'pull' it back into a proper place. For example, I took a lot out of the right leg back in-seam side and nothing out of the corresponding front side (which meant I had to rip open the seams instead of just sewing a new spot).

The seams are still a bit twisted, but now it's not as noticeable. There are some back leg wrinkles because I took a lot of fabric out around my calves. But, I wanted to take as much fabric out as I could to fix the twisting problem.

Tada! A whole new outfit. And I think I paid only $3 for the shirt and $4 for the pants.

I finished this outfit and took these pictures almost two weeks ago when I was about 19 weeks.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

More Fall Wardrobe Planning

I had lots of fun planning my fall/winter maternity wardrobe. Using some of what I learned last year by going through the Colette Wardrobe Architect, I've created a whole new wardrobe.

I did a bit more of an abridged plan this time. I made sure to stick to simple colours that I love and that I already having clothing in. Also, I stayed away from light colours and pastels, since this is for the colder months. I picked my colours while doodling out what I already have and what I would like to have.

I got to bust out the colouring pencils and I had a lot of fun. By drawing it all out, I realized that I had a lot of things that I wanted and/or needed. Instead of trying to make all of it from scratch, I decided that my next step was to check what used clothing I could find first.

I headed to one of the local chain second hand stores with a large selection of women's clothing. I ended up finding everything I wanted and more for just $64. That's right, a whole new wardrobe for $64!!!

My haul
I was quick at picking out what would work - much quicker than I used to be. Because I have done so much sewing from scratch, I am a much better (and faster) judge on what is a good fit and/or what I can mend. Having colours and specific items in mind made things all the faster. I was also getting quite a few compliments from women who peered into my basket and saw how well my colours were working together.

And I'm happy that I found some pants that can be converted or mended into functioning maternity pants. Just in time for the cooler weather.

So, if you are on the fence as to whether making a wardrobe plan is a good idea or not, I would say that it is. You can save a lot of time and money and end up looking quite 'put together' with just a little work (whether you plan to buy new, used, or sew).

Saturday, August 22, 2015

DIY Maternity Pillow

I like to sleep on my back, but I'm already started having issues with my growing mid-section. I woke up a few times with pins-and-needles in my arms and legs (yes, arms too! - I don't know why). So, I decided to make a maternity pillow.

There are some huge monster pillows you can make. And while they look comfortable for the user, I don't see how anyone else can fit in the bed! So, I decided to try out the simple Instructables tutorial that just uses a pillow.

I used a standard pillow that I bought for $6. The tutorial calls for a king size, but I wanted to see if I could keep things more compact. I filled the pillow sides with most of the stuffing that came for the entire pillow so that it would be extra firm.

I've used it for the past few nights and I'm here to report that it works. The first night, I had it a little high and my lower back hurt because it wasn't being supported. The last few nights, I've been making sure that it's at least as low as my mid-butt area (near the tail bone) and it has worked great. No more pins-and-needles. My shoulders and upper back feel better too, since I can keep my shoulder in a better spot when I'm lying on my side.

All I need now is a small pillow for between my knees. Right now, I've just been stuffing the comforter between my knees, but that won't work once the weather gets colder.