Monday, May 27, 2013

Separates parade

I've been sewing, and lax at blogging.  I feel like there's a tradeoff between sewing and blogging about it (I definitely enjoy seeing others posts about what they're sewing) as in, I only have so much time to sew and I'd rather sew than write about it.  The problem, though, is that I forget what I've sewn.  I need to start keeping notes on what I muslin up (and doesn't work) as well as what I've sewn that does work.  This weekend I wanted to make a second pair of cropped pants and couldn't remember what pattern I'd used.  So, here I am.

There's something in this post for everyone.  I've covered the big 3 (though McCall is new territory for me!) and Burda, all in a variety of separates.

I changed my closet over from winter to spring/summer today, so it made sense to catalog as much as I could before I put it away.  There are some things that are in the wash, so didn't make it into this blog entry.  There were also several things that I didn't blog from last summer that didn't make it into this summer's wardrobe - it's really something what you can learn about fit in one year, and I'm not going to settle for wearing pants that don't have a curved waistband anymore.

 New Favorite skinnies: Burda 02-2010-111
A few notes on these skinnies: I keep thinking they're in 05-2010, but now I should remember they're in 02-2010.  These are very sleek because they don't have a fly front.  I don't know why I was so in loved with the fly front, it's a lot of work.  These are so easy to put together!  They have a side zip, and I think I've mastered my method of inserting a lapped side zip (which was trickier than I thought it would be, as there's a curve in the side) and the top of the zip gets a little exposed by the facing.  I've become a fan of the lapped zip, which pays off because I have like a billion zippers that I bought in bulk from eBay a few years ago.

Top: Gray tropical wool top with flounce (BurdaStyle 12-2010-121), Floral non-stretch twill cropped skinnies I (BurdaStyle 02-2010-111)
A few notes on the top: I haven't worn this very much.  I thought I would like it a lot more, but I think it's telling that I haven't figured out what to wear it with.  I think part of the problem is that it's a top that should be worn alone, but it's too warm for spring or summer and doesn't suit being layered under a sweater in the winter.  The winters here don't suit going sweaterless, so I don't know that I'm going to wear this very much next year either.

Top: Peplum in floral stretch polyester of unknown origin (Vogue 8815 with bodice view B and sleeves view C), Tomato red cropped skinnies II (BurdaStyle 02-2010-111)

A few notes on the top: I graded down from size 8 to size 6.  The bust point is a little wonky with my amateur grading job, and I need to fix the loop at the back neck (hopefully you didn't notice), and I hate making repairs.  This fabric is a mystery fabric from FabricMart, and it's really grown on me.  It doesn't wrinkle and is very soft, stretchy, and comfortable.  I am not crazy about the length of these sleeves.  I think that 3/4 length sleeves would be more flattering for this style, but when I sewed this in December, I knew that I would want long sleeves to layer with.  I don't know whether I will sew view C, though I like that style on the envelope... it just turned out like a tent on me, whereas views A and B are far more wearable.  I'm not sure whether I will sew this again, I was annoyed that the pattern did not include a bias strip pattern piece to cut a facing for the neckline - I used pre-made bias from my stash, but I do like a matchy-matchy facing when possible.

Top: Poly-charmeuse abstract floral Grown-up T-shirt II (Butterick 5561 view A) and Cropped Skinnies II (BurdaStyle 02-2010-111)

A few notes about this top: First of all, I have no idea why I'm so blurry in this top.  Maybe the camera just didn't know what to do with so much shimmer?  I will try to re-take these photos because I love the fabric (you can still get some from Gorgeous Fabrics - Abstract Floral Charmeuse), and think it was a perfect match for this top, even though it was absolutely uncooperative to cut. 
You can see Grown-up T-shirt I here.

 Top: Teal wool double knit peplum (McCall 6754) and Cropped Skinnies II

About this top: I coveted a similar cut top at Anthropologie last year, so when I saw this pattern, I had to have it.  I cut a size 6 and used a remnant from this dress.  I love this top, and think that a heavy knit is key to getting a flouncy peplum, but am not sure that I will want to wear it when it's really hot and humid (it is wool, after all!)  I'm on the hunt for cotton or rayon ponte, but it seems every where I look for knits, the trend is slub or tissue weight knits.  I am also not sure what I will wear this with, it's a bit much with these red pants.

Getting out of my comfort zone: shorts.  Burda 05-2010-136

Note: I don't wear shorts.  I just don't.  I've only one other pair of shorts that aren't running shorts, and I've learned that sometimes you need a pair of shorts.  Not a skirt, not pants, but shorts.  So here we are.  They have a lapped side zip.  I'm not kidding when I say I'm on a roll with the lapped side zip!  I thought that these were pretty cute with the pleats and wide waistband. Other options in the 05-2010 issue are to make them longer, add cuffs, add side pockets or welt pockets in the back.  They used up a remnant from this skirt (stash bustin'!).  A note about the skirt: I've decided that the skirt is a little looser than I'd like and have been testing out other pencil skirt patterns... none of them I like so far.  Any suggestions?

And a bonus post, as I was trying to figure out what kind of top to wear with these shorts (the teal peplum just doesn't look right with the pleats of these shorts)  The top is Rachel Comey, Vogue 1170.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Baby elephants, Simplicity 2921

It's been stressful at work with a high maintenance client.  So much so that one of my colleagues jokes, "Melissa, I'm not going to have a cow, I'm going to have an elephant!"  Hence, the idea for baby elephants.  I figured this would be an easy gag gift, as Simplicity patterns were on sale last weekend for $0.99, and I had the gray flannel left over from pajama pants I made for Lee (sorry, I've been terrible at blogging, even something as easy as pajama pants.)

I chose this pattern because it had more than two pattern pieces.  McCall has a toy elephant pattern, and there's another Simplicity elephant pattern as well, but when I looked at them, I figured they would be hard to shape because they only have two pieces. 

When I made the first elephant, Lee said immediately snatched him away and named him Elvis.  He's on the left.  So I had to make another one for my colleague.  He's on the right.  Lee's calling him Chunk because he's so plump. 

Elvis was going to be completely scrap (he was stuffed with Thinsulate batting left over from making a winter coat for another friend a few years ago) but I had to buy new polyfill stuffing for the new elephant.  Now I have half a bag of stuffing leftover, and no one else to make elephants for!

Surprisingly, the polyfill was harder to stuff with than the batting.  The newer elephant ended up plumper than Elvis, and Lee insists I must open Elvis up to stuff him more.

L-R: Elvis, Chunk.  Note I did not fold Elvis' ears over.  This means that you can flop his ears towards his face, which Lee likes doing.  Not an intentional design decision, but one that turned out well.

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In all, this is a pretty easy pattern to make up.  Most of the work is stuffing the darned thing, and if you don't go gangbusters like I did on Chunk it shouldn't take the better part of an hour to stuff and suture one up.  Cutting and sewing took only an hour and a half, some of the seams are fiddly because the pieces are so small, but this is a satisfying thing to sew up.  I'm impressed with this design - I did not expect their little faces to fill out so cutely!