Sssssssay Sssssssewist; Sssssssome Ssssssuper Ssssssassssssy Ssssslackssssss? Sssssssenssssational!

Snakeskin stretch pantsFebruary’s Monthly Stitch Challenge is Smarty Pants where we try our hand at trousers of all kinds! badge As you may already be aware, trousers/pants are not the easiest thing in the world to fit.  So, for my contribution, I went with a fairly simple pattern, no pockets or front fly and used a stretch twill.  Not only is the stretch fabric far more comfortable, but it really is easier to fit.

snakeskin stretch twillI’ve had this super-fantabulous snakeskin print stretch twill in my stash and envisioned slinky, straight legged trousers sewn with it.  And, since February’s Stashbusting february stashbusting badge copychallenge is Love: sew for somebody you love or sew about something you love, it seemed only appropriate to use an animal print fabric since (I’m sure it’s no secret or shock),  I Love Animals!

February 1st was also Serpent Dayserpent day badge, a day to recognize all that our slithery friends do for us.  Many people seem to have an innate fear of snakes, but in fact, without them forests, parks and crops would likely be infested and destroyed by insects and rodents, which snakes eat.  Snakes also help to keep the natural ecosystem in working order and without them, the numbers of prey species would increase to unnatural levels and the predators that eat snakes would struggle to find food.  So, next time you see a snake on your walk, remember to say ‘Thanksssssssssssss’. 🙂

burda 7141The pattern I used was Burda 7141 since it had very little embellishments and would appear very simple and snakelike.  I measured the paper pattern and ended up adding 1.5″ (4cm) to the top, thereby lengthening from waist to hip.  The end result of this is that the front ended up being a bit too high and the back ended up being a bit too low.  I guess I should have taken curves into account.  So, next time, I will add only 1″ to the front and at least 2″ to the back.  I wasn’t sure what type of interfacing to use for the facing, but consensus of the ever helpful sewcialists on Instagram (thank you!!) was to use either Pro Woven fusible weft , which I did not have, or knit, stretch tricot interfacing, which I did have and used with the stretch going cross-wise.

Kitty aids in the fitting process

Kitty aids in the fitting process

I made the smallest size, 8, which did correspond to my measurements, but the pants ended up being very large even after I measured and adjusted the paper pattern.  This could have been due to the fact that my stretch twill had a large amount of stretch to it.  I had to take in about 2 cm (3/4″) of the entire inside leg seam and then put them on and ‘fit’ the rest of the baggyness by pinning the outer side seams to fit my shape.

Two darts in the back instead of one

Two darts are better than One!

I took in enough so that they weren’t baggy but I still wanted them to have some breadth.  My lovely sewing teacher at community centre sewing class, Natallie Chin, put in a second dart for me in the back, rather than just taking in more from the side seams.  This was a great idea as it gave the trousers shape instead of making them look like skin-tight leggings.

Invisible Zip Inside and Out vertical

Invisible Zip

Seam Finishes

Seam Finishes

The side seams were bound with an olive green bias tape.  Naturally, because this will make the snake feel at home in its natural environment.  I finished the inside leg and crotch seams by turning under the seam and zigzagging in an attempt to reduce bulk in this area.  And, I opted for an invisible zipper so that the fabric takes centre stage.

Stretch snakeskin trousers back

Stretch snakeskin trousers side

P.S. Have you voted for my March’s Miss Sew Bossy Patterns yet?  There are four patterns to chose from (pics of each included) and you get to boss me around as to which one I have to sew for March!  The poll is here, please drop by and vote!  Voting closes February 28, 2014.

Snakeskin Trousers Stretch Twill

Help Me Obi-Wan Kenobi

Monthly Stitch Miss Bossy Patterns BadgeI need your vote for The Monthly Stitch’s March Miss Bossy Patterns challenge.  We need to select a pattern from our ‘stash’ that has never been sewn (by us) and, yup you guessed it, finally sew it!!  But, as an added twist, we need to have you nice folks boss us around as to which pattern to sew.

Pick one.  PICK ONE!!

Pick one. PICK ONE!!

Welllll, I have to say, this was far more challenging than originally thought.  I had much difficulty reducing the enormous pile of patterns, even with the help of our gracious and talented Kitty.

Alas, after much debate, I wanted to make sure the vote was on a level playing field, so I selected 4 Dress patterns that have similar lines.  They all have some kind of gathered and/or drape neckline bodice, a fuller skirt of varying widths and a choice of sleeves.  Fabrics for each pattern correspond, so I selected 4 fabrics, also from my growing stash, and paired it with a pattern.  All of the fabrics have similarities, although they are different types.  They are in the same colour palette, are lightweight and drape very well.

Here are the Fabric Selections....Oh Sigh.....

Here are the Fabrics….Oh Sigh…..

So, tell me what you think.  Vote your heart out!  Thank you for your help Jedi Masters.

Fabrics Paired with Patterns

Here are the fabrics paired with patterns after His Royal Highness has moved.  Thoughts?

And, here are the pattern choices:

Simplicity 2145 Project Runway

Simplicity 2145 Project Runway

Simplicity 2281 Cynthia Rowley

Simplicity 2281 Cynthia Rowley

Vogue 7363

Vogue 7363

Vogue 7363

Vogue 7363

Vogue 2286 Tom and Linda Platt

Vogue 2286 Tom and Linda Platt

Vogue 2286

Vogue 2286 Tom and Linda Platt

Happy Valentine's Day Everybody!

Happy Valentine’s Day Everybody!

  • Vote Here:

Edit – February 28, 2014:  Poll is now closed.  Thank you ALL so much for voting!

A Plethora of New Sewing Skills with Gertie and Twinkle (& a Freebie)

Twinkle Sews and Gertie's Sewing Books OutfitSewing BooksI have completed my makes from Gertie’s New Book For Better Sewing by Gretchen Hirsch and Twinkle Sews by Wenlan Chia.  For both of these projects, it was my first time utilizing a variety of sewing techniques, seven to be exact!

New Skills/Techniques

  1. Invisible Zipper
  2. Skirt Yoke
  3. Inverted Box Kick Pleat
  4. Lining a Skirt with an Inverted Box Kick Pleat
  5. Side Lapped Zipper
  6. Hand Picking a Zipper
  7. Hand Stitched Invisible Hem

So, for January’s Monthly Stitch: New Year = New Skill 2014_01_badgechallenge, we are all trying our hand at new (to us) techniques.New SKills Outfit10

Twinkle Twinkle, Little Skirt

I used the Masculin et Feminin pattern from the Twinkle Sews book for my skirt, which I made from a lovely stretch silk fabric that I received from Kristin at Sew Classic.  Thanks Kristin!

Since the fabric was a stretch woven, I opted to also line it with a stretch woven.

Skirt Lining

Skirt Lining

The skirt hem was bound with fold-over elastic before hemming.  This was my first time putting a yoke on a skirt as well as inserting an invisible zip.  Having the zip extend below the yoke meant I had to make sure the fabric change points were exact.

Invisible Zip and Yoke

Invisible Zip and Yoke

This was also the first time I’ve used an inverted box kick pleat.  For the skirt, it was not too difficult, although tricky to remember which way to fold and iron.

Inverted Box Kick Pleat

Inverted Box Kick Pleat

However, when it came to inserting the lining, this is where we entered a bit of a grey area.  The pattern pieces for the lining were different from the skirt and the instructions did not seem to correspond to these pieces.  She wants you to “stay stitch a V of reinforcing stitches the length of the kick pleat as indicated on the pattern piece [it wasn’t].  Carefully cut a slit in the lining to the point of the V.” This somehow did not make sense to me since there were 2 back lining pieces that you sewed a back centre seam.  So, why would you cut a slit?  And where?  And then what on the skirt are you sewing these two sides to, since this is a closed inverted box pleat and not an open vent.  There were no pics of the completed lining in the book. I had help from a volunteer sewing instructor and she did not understand these instructions either.  If anybody has made this skirt, please do share how you did this!

I ended up altering the back lining pattern pieces to be mirror opposites of the skirt back pieces and sewing an inverted box kick pleat in the lining.  I then sewed the line of topstitching that lies horizontal to the top of the pleat to include all the layers of fabric of the lining and skirt, to hold the lining in place.New SKills Outfit Back2The book divides the projects according to difficulty and this skirt was classified as a ‘beginner’ project.  I’m not sure I agree with that as there were many aspects (yoke, lining, inverted box kick pleat, invisible zip, waistband, lace overlay, working with slippery satin fabric) that are not necessarily beginner skills.

Another noteworthy aspect of this book is that there are:  no construction pictures; no technical drawings of any kind; no diagrams, just text.  This does make it more challenging to follow along if you are a beginner or a visual learner.New Skills Outfit8The book includes a cd with all  the patterns included in pdf form.  One thing to watch out for:  sizing.  To find your size, according to the author, you need to measure your hips and then add 2″ for seam allowance and then 1″ to 2″ for ease.  (For tops, you measure your bust, add 2″ for SA, then add 3″ to 5″ for ease.)  Now the thing is, I did not realize nor do either of these measurement add-ons before cutting my skirt!  I found my measurements on the measurement chart and printed out that exact size.  The skirt fits me rather well, and, while it’s true I made the skirt from a two-way stretch woven with a small to moderate stretch and the pattern called for a non stretch, I still think the skirt would have been really huge if I had added on an extra 3″ to 4″!!??

I plan on making one of the tops next, but I don’t think I am going to add the extra 5″ to 7″ (for tops) as specified in the book. This seems really extreme, especially since the skirt fits without my adding any SA or ease.

The book, however, does have some simply beautiful garments in it.  They are all very creative and interesting, constructed from a variety of different fabrics and styled nicely, as well.  This is what immediately appealed to me when I bought the book.

Some exciting news:  Threads magazine has one of the dress patterns from the Twinkle Sews book available for free!

Click here for the free pattern of this dress.

Click here for the free pattern of this dress.

So, if you don’t have the book and are interested in sampling it, here is the link to download the free dress pattern and instructions.

A Portrait of Gretchen’s Blouse

The top I chose to make from Gertie’s book was the Portrait Blouse.  The pattern was fairly easy to put together and included some nice touches, such as hand sewn invisible hems

Hand Sewn Invisible Hem

Hand Sewn Invisible Hem

for the sleeves and bottom as well as a hand picked side lapped zipper.  It is sewn with a wool / cashmere blend, or at least that is what I was told by the vendor at a sewing expo where I purchased it in the ends bin for $5.00.

Hand Sewn Invisible Sleeve Hem and Bound Seams

Hand Sewn Invisible Sleeve Hem and Bound Seams

The instructions for the side lapped zipper did seem a bit lacking, as I could not completely understand how to insert it just using them alone, so researched online to find tutorials.  I noted that each tutorial was a bit different in their approach.  Does anybody have a favourite tutorial or way of inserting a lapped zip?  Please do share it!

Side Lapped Zip

Side Lapped Zip

The zip was ‘hand picked’ or hand sewn using what is really a very tiny back stitch.  I also hand sewed the hems, using a slip stitch.  I really enjoyed the hand sewing aspect; time moved nice and slowly and precision was so much easier to achieve than by machine and the stitching did, indeed look invisible afterwards.

Hand Picked Zip

Hand Picked Zip

Gertie’s book includes drawings for each step within the instructions, as well as a one or two sentence synopsis of the written instructions.  It includes paper patterns for all the garments.

The book also provides a plethora of information regarding pattern alterations, sewing techniques and, because this book is a take on the 1952, Vogue New Book For Better Sewing, it gives you a lot of insight into vintage patterns.

I thought that this top would be ‘untuckable’ due to the zipper at the hem, but actually it tucks in fine and the zip is not bothersome!

Tuck in your shirt!  And, stand up straight!

Tuck in your shirt! And, stand up straight!

Road Testing With the Sewcialists / Spoolettes

I also ‘road tested’ the skirt at a recent Sewcialists / Spoolettes meet-up.

The Twinkle Sews Skirt in Action

The Twinkle Sews Skirt in Action

Spoolette Meetup

Yours Truly, Gillian, Clare, Sara and Andrea. Hi there, Sewing Sisters!!  Cheers Clare! ‘clink’

small spooletteSewcialists

This was not the first time I’d seen these fantastic lovelies in person and each time it gets better and better.  I can’t wait till the next outing.  Who knew that my new-found hobby/past-time would bring me such joy, not only in solitude, when sewing, but socially as well, through social media, the blogs and, the best part, in real life!!

And, look how happy we all are! 🙂

I leave you with Wonder Woman…

Da na na na na na na Wonder Woman!!

Da na na na na na na Wonder Woman!!