Saturday, July 18, 2015

Fall Wardrobe Planning

Soon enough, the weather is going to cool down and I'll have grown too big to fit into a lot of things. To make sure I'm not caught unawares, I've started planning my next sewing projects. I've also decided to covert some of my stretchy skinny jeans into maternity pants.

I tried two different methods of making maternity pants: cutting out the pockets and cutting off the waistband. I won't go into how to do the sewing, since there are lots of tutorials out there. Instead, I'm going to review what I found to be the pros and cons with each way.

Method 1: Cutting out the Pockets

For this method, you cut out the pockets (part of the waistband and innermost pocket lining) and sew back in a piece of stretch knit that is the same size as what you cut out.

Some of the disadvantages are that it can be finicky to sew. You have to watch out that you are not sewing into rivets, etc. Also, since these pants were very stretchy and a very low rise to begin with, they now no longer want to stay up.

It also didn't help that the knit fabric I used had about 100% stretch. That meant there was little to help keep the pants up anymore. To fix this, I sewed a strip of 3/8" elastic along the top. The pants are now a little snugger, while still able to fit any "expansion". If I sew with this method again, I will probably sew elastic into the top seam allowance and tuck it inside the waistband.

The best thing about this method is that you can use fairly small scraps of knit fabric. So, if you don't have a lot of fabric to work with, this method is great.

Method 2: Cutting off the Waistband

This method involves just cutting of the waistband and sewing a large strip of fabric in place. I cut out the zipper and sewed the fly shut. This made sewing even easier, since I only had to work in a straight line.

These pants were easier to sew and may fit better than the other pair, since if they do slide down, you are still covered (I have not been able to test them yet). My knit fabric was quite stretchy and slinky, so I sewed in an elastic around the top to keep it in place. 

The biggest disadvantages I can see is that you use more fabric. And, it might take a second longer to get out of since the top waistband might be way up inside your shirt. 

One thing that a lot of the tutorials out there don't mention is that you should use a zigzag stitch when sewing the band to the top (especially if the jeans are also stretchy).

What Else is Working Right Now...

So, far I have been pretty lucky with the wardrobe I have. A number of my past sewing projects are getting worn all the time now. 

For pants, I'm loving: 

Burdastyle 03/2013 #104

Crop Pants

Both have high waists and are cotton with a bit of spandex in them.

For tops, I'm loving:

Sewaholic Belcarra 2

Sewaholic Belcarra

Butterick 5356

The Belcarra blouse is just roomy enough for now. The Butterick 5356 is perfect and there is more room to grow. I'm definitely going to make more of that pattern.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Burdastyle 06/2014 #118 Shorts 2

Back to sewing clothes! I made a second pair of Burdastyle 06/2014 #118 shorts. 

I used up more of my stash and used the leftover fabric from my Fall Jacket. I won't go into too many details about the pattern, since you can read my notes on my first pair.

I made a few alterations because I was working with scraps. I lowered the rise by 1/2" (I basically just folded all the pieces down at 1" from the top. I lined the pockets with some other scrap fabric that I had. For the waistband, I used 1 1/2" elastic instead of 2" elastic and made the waistband fabric from several pieces sewn together. I was really working with the bare minimum of fabric.

Lowering the rise really helped with the fit. The shorts now hit me at my bellybutton, whereas the first pair sits above it. This means I have less fabric pooling at my stomach when I sit down.

Another thing that I did with these shorts (and the first pair, too), was to put a few tacking stitches through the waistband on two sides. This really helps to stop the elastic from trying to twist out of place.

As with the first pair, I will probably wear them with my shirt untucked. The shorts are super comfortable and just what I need.

Pinch Pleat Curtains

I made some new curtains for the second bedroom. I wanted something fun and yet not too childish. So, I turned to the Kaffe Fassett collection for ideas.

I chose this Shanty Town quilt fabric by Brandon Mably. It comes in several different colour-ways that are all beautiful. I went with the ochre colour-way, as I thought that would look best in a yellow bedroom.

I made pinch pleats on the top. I won't go into detail on how I did it, since there are many wonderful tutorials on the web.

The curtains are lined with super thick blackout material that I had in my stash. I had just enough for the two curtains.

Now that the curtains are done, I can fill the holes and paint the walls. You might notice that the ceiling and trim are already done. I'm going to paint the walls the same yellow colour. I love the colour, but it's the original paint (from 1949!) and I'm pretty sure that it's lead paint. So...

Anyways, I love the curtains and I love the fabric. I even bought a half yard in the purple to make a pillow or something.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

My New Throw Pillows

I'm getting some odd bits of sewing done. One project I've wanted to do for a while is to make throw pillows for my living room.

And not just any pillows - I wanted some nice geeky pillows to go with what my husband and I love (mainly dinosaurs and other animals).

The pillow fronts are actually from a canvas tote bag from the Natural History Museum in London. It was a gift from my dad that I thought was too nice to use for groceries. I made a border of scrap navy twill to make it my pillow form size (18"x18").

The back is from my Rae skirt. I decided I probably won't wear it since I like my new shorts too much.

To make my pillows look square when they are on the pillow forms, I cut about 1/4" off of the corners (grading it for about 4"). I remember this old trick from when I first learned sewing as a kid. I could have taken about 1/2" off, as my pillows still have slight "ears".

I really like my new pillows and don't know what took me so long to get them done. I think they look perfect for my living room.