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

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Happy Chinese New Year from the Jungle!

Kitty Collar and Tie and Gunmetal Dress

Jungle January, hosted, once again, by the vivacious and print loving lady, Anne, comes to a close today, on Chinese New Year!  Gong Xi Fa Cai (pronounced King Hey Fa Choy in cantonese or Gong See Fa Tsey in Mandarin) means “happiness and prosperity”.  And, Xtnnian hao (pronounced shin-nyen ha-ow in Mandarin or sen-nih ha-ow in Cantonese) means “Have a good New Year”.

It is auspicious on the New Year to wear red, hang red lanterns, give monetary gifts in red envelopes or write in red ink.  Red is representative of fire and is believed to symbolize luck and ward off evil.  Also, this is the time to set aside grudges against enemies and call off unpaid debt. Let bygones be bygones – if personal differences or financial obligations cannot be settled before the Chinese New Year, they shall be forgotten.

Lolita Patterns Gunmetal Knit Dress With Added CuffsI sewed Lolita Patterns Gunmetal dress in an abstract art leopard print for Jungle January.  I was lucky enough to win this pattern over on Melanie’s Blog when she was a tester for the Gunmetal dress.  The pattern is for knits and is a lined princess seamed dress with option to add a sheer overlay.  There were many pattern pieces and lettered notches, so when cutting the pieces, I used small stickers to label the various notches.

Labelling Pattern PiecesThe pattern uses a tiny cap sleeve with the option of adding an elastic hem.  I wanted long sleeves, so extended the sleeve to the desired length, using the same angle as the sleeve pattern piece.  Lengthening Gunmental Dress Sleeves

Originally, I wanted to add cuffs and a hem band in a beautiful teal fabric.  This fabric is a sueded microfibre knit and is also the devil.  Do NOT look directly at it!!!!

Teal Sueded Knit Microfibre

Uh oh…MY RETINAS!  THEY BURN!!  I tried everything with this fabric, using a large sized microtex needle, using tissue paper strips, using various stitch types (lightening bolt, triple stretch, zig-zag) and a walking foot but nothing worked.  It ultimately ended up damaging my new sewing machine.  Ya.  Luckily, I was able to take the case off the machine and pick out bits of thread and fabric and fixed it.

And, I could not use my overlocker to sew it as it was already damaged by the tissue knit fabric that I used for the lining.  The overlocker pulled it into the feed dogs and seems to have misaligned everything.  I don’t know how people sew with tissue thin knits, either on an overlocker or sewing machine, they seem very temperamental to me.  And, is tissue-knit just another word for ‘only lasts through one wash?’  The fabric feels lovely but stretches out of shape almost immediately, especially the 4-way stretch knit,  and just cannot withstand any kind of stitch ripping whatsoever and often gets pulled into the feed dogs.  I would only use it again for a very simple, non-fitted pattern.

Anyhoo, despite this, I did add cuffs to the sleeves using a zebra print stretch knit that’s been in my stash for a while that I obtained from a sewing meet-up.

Creating a Sleeve Cuff

How to Sew a Sleeve Cuff: 1. Measure how long you want the cuff and double this. Next measure the desired width and cut out the rectangle. Sew the rectangle together along the length. 2. Fold the rectangle in half, right side out. Line up the cuff seam with the sleeve seam. 3. Match raw edges of cuff and sleeve and sew with right sides together. I opted to make the cuff tighter than the sleeve, so first gathered in the sleeve to fit the cuff. 4. Pull out cuff from sleeve and press.

Gunmetal Dress InsideI lined the dress in a 4-way stretch tissue knit, added black lace seam binding to the hem and sewed the seams with a lightening bolt stitch.

Lolita Patterns Gunmetal Knit DressFor the bodice, I did not make ruffles, but rather used 3 strips of black sheer organza ruffled ribbon for the middle and then added 2 rows of a teal lace to either side.  Lolita Patterns Gunmetal Knit Dress and Ruffled Bodice

I found the neckline very low on this dress, too low for my comfort level to wear.  I’m not sure if the 4-way stretch leopard print and grey lining fabric stretched during sewing or if it is because I am short-waisted.  So, I added black fold-over elastic binding around the neckline and stretched it while sewing.  This helped to tighten up and lift the neckline somewhat.  I love the ruched side panels on the bodice!

And, Kitty, for his part in Jungle January, opted to sew himself a zebra print collar and tie.  This project, along with the dress cuffs are my contributions to Stashbusting 2014, January’s Challenge, where we had to use stash fabric that was less than a yard in size.  January Stashbusting Challenge

stashbusting 2014

Kitty Prepping Collar and Tie

Kitty Prepping His Collar and Tie Pattern

Colourful button added to the back of the collar.

Kitty Sends Up the Cat Signal

Kitty Sends Up the Cat Signal

Do you want to sew a collar and tie for your cat?  Ya, you do!!  Here is the link for the free pattern and instructions.  Make sure you measure your cat’s neck before you cut the pattern as you may have to add length.

Measure Kitty Neck Adjust Pattern

Measure Kitty’s neck and adjust pattern, if necessary.

Kitty Cat Zebra Print Collar and Tie

SO Handsome!!

Look At Mah Collah and Tie!

Look At Mah Collah and TieLOOK AT IT!!!

LOOK AT IT

Zebras are ungulate mammals that are members of the horse family, Equidae, and are closely related to the domestic horse.

Zebras Horses

And, being the ever relevant cat that he is, Kitty opted to fashion his collar and tie out of zebra print since 2014 is Year of the Horse in the Chinese Zodiac.

Were you born in the years: 2002, 1990, 1978, 1966, 1954, 1942 or 1930?  Then, you, my good friend are a Horse in the Chinese zodiac.  Those born in horse years are merry, skillful with money, witty, talented and good with their hands. Rembrandt, Harrison Ford, Aretha Franklin, Chopin, Sandra Day O’Connor, U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt and Jerry Seinfeld were born in the year of the horse.

Happy-Chinese-New-Year-of-the-Horse-2014

Strengths:  Cheerful and perceptive.  Very social, with high energy.

Weaknesses:  Can be impatient and quick-tempered and independent to the point of excluding others.

Zodiac sign compatibility—Best matches: tiger, sheep, dog; Avoid: rat, ox, rabbit

According to Paul Ng, an astrologist and feng shui expert, horse people are entering a year of conflict in 2014.  They are to pay extra attention to their health this year.  Do not make any rash decision when it comes to personal finance and avoid gambling.  Spend modestly and increase savings.

What animal are you?chinese zodiacKitty is the sign of the Dog.  Makes sense, doesn’t it?    Jungle January? ROAWWRR!!

Jungle January? ROAWWRR!!