Sunday, March 29, 2009

Tweet Tweet - Weekend Sewing Summer Blouse

I think this is everyone's first project out of Heather Ross' Weekend Sewing book!
And for good reason, it just looks like such a fun, simple top and who isn't looking forward to spring and summer?

I won't lie, I definitely had some issues making it. I started making it Thursday, thinking I would whip it up quickly...
* First, I was making the large size and I needed more than the 1 and 5/8 yard suggested. I actually used most of my 2 yard cut.
* Second, the cutting layout in the book didn't work at all. Fortunately I love puzzles and often make up my own anyway.
* Next, I wasn't getting the directions about sewing the bias trim to the neck edge. I was lost, I didn't understand what size strip to cut or what the finished size would be. I kind of muddled through it but was getting frustrated.
It was late so I stopped here.

Fortunately the very next day I actually got to talk to Heather at Spool Sewing for a book signing/store party! What perfect timing! :)
I also got to see some summer blouses in person which also really helped. I liked the tip I got from one of the ladies at Spool, to just do a simple bias strip folded in half. Then line up all raw edges, stitch, flip to the back and stitch more. I'm thinking a 1" strip, a 1/8" edge stitch would yield a neat 3/8" finished edge so I'll definitely work it this way next time.

One thing I love about this pattern is that is feels infinitely adaptable.
I changed a few things with mine, the biggest is that I took in the side seams quite a bit under the darts. It was looking TOO loose and flowy for my tastes. I also added an inch of length (and did a narrow rolled hem). I chopped about 3" off my sleeves before hemming those -- they were long!
I'm not super happy with the height of the collar, it almost hits my neck. I think I would prefer a slightly lower curve, following the collarbone. Of course, I don't plan on wearing it closed and so I didn't add the loop and button at the top anyway.

So I already have my next version planned (I think I'd make loads of variations if I had the time!) I have an Amy Butler print waiting. This one will be sleeveless, with a V neck and a longer tunic length. Maybe some more darts. We'll see!

It was so much fun meeting Heather, I hope she doesn't think I was a giant PITA bashing her book. There are so many patterns in it that I *WILL* make. I've even learned how to make buttonholes to make the Kai shirt! Her writing style makes all of it seem very approachable for a beginner. I'm looking forward to working with different fabrics outside my comfort zone now, I'll just be sure to check out the errata on Heather's blog first. ;)

Monday, March 23, 2009

Forget applique, I've discovered iron-on transfers

I think I've given up on applique -- these iron-on transfers are fun and fast and look perfect!
I really am THRILLED how these came out! They even wash and dry and still look great. You just print out the images on an inkjet printer, trim with scissors and iron on.
I bought the transfer paper here (and the seller made the Thomas names fill above for me too):

They are mostly for our upcoming trip to Disney World, plus some of the many many birthdays coming up.
In my Disney planning on the I stumbled into a subforum where people make all kinds of great custom designs for others. Kind of like I stumbled into a DIY subforum on and started sewing 2 years ago.

I have loads of Cars, Wall-E, Nemo, Mickey, Princess,Thomas, etc. to make shorts and skirts for the kids to go with their shirts! Here's a set I just gave to my nephew for his birthday

I made 24 shirts (so far), here are mine and my 3-year-old's:

Some of my Disney/Thomas fabric stash -- lots of toddler clothes in the works!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Another Month - Another upcoming Stitch Party

OK so the first and last Spool Sewing Stitch party I went to (with designer Jay McCarroll) was quite a madhouse and not quite the show-and-tell I was hoping for, but I can't resist marking my calendar for the next one. This time Heather Ross will be there signing her new book Weekend Sewing. I just got my copy of this book a few days ago and I *LOVE* it! There have been so many of these fabric designer/pattern author's books published recently and I'm sad to say that many of them are just not that good. Same old patterns beautifully photographed in luscious prints are still just same old patterns. But Weekend Sewing is such a joy! OK, I'm not that thrilled with the sewing for home section -- I'll likely just make the travel pouch and maybe the everything tote (though I have a lot of bags!) But the patterns for children and adults are great! I'm definitely trying out the summer blouse for me, the Kai shirt for Nate, Huck pants for Ben and the flower girl dress for my niece! The Weekend Sewing Tips and Tricks and Design Challenge on Heather Ross's blog are overflowing with ideas on variations and most of all inspiration.
Now I'm wondering if I can get that Summer blouse (or some variation of it) made in time for the Stitch party! :)

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Hopscotch Bag and More in the Works!

Yes yes, another bag. I'm definitely on a bag-making kick but I've already got the patterns so what's a girl to do? I'd like to say this is the last one, but I know it's not. The PortoBello Pixie Market Bag pattern is waiting impatiently (as is the Andalusia fabric for it) and I'm curious how it stacks up against my much-beloved AB Swing Bag. Then I scored a barely half-yard of a long-desired print (RK Florentine, pics below) and figured that it would be perfect as a tote. Add on the deliciously cute gathering bucket from the Sew Mama Sew blog, perhaps a larger version of this Hopscotch bag as a summer tote... you see my problem.

Anyway, here is the latest one! It's the Melly & Me Hopscotch Bag, really more like a purse as it's quite a bit smaller than my usual carry-alls. The fun prints are from Jay McCarroll's lines: Woodland Wonderful and Garden Friends. I so love the Rust colored zigzag that I have a skirt planned for it too!


Braided handles:

Of course I added some pockets inside, and another tipped pocket!

And that Robert Kaufman Florentine fabric I mentioned above. Oh how I love it! Here's the very odd bit that I got:

But I should be able to eek out a tote bag looking roughly like this!