Gimme Some Slack

gimme some slack! post two: making our pattern; prepping our materials

Gimme Some Slack

Hello my awesomesauce stitching fiends! This is our first get-to-it post! I am really happen to have you join me! Both of you! I jest, I jest.

Last month I posted the supply list and timeline so y’all should be ready to get going. Today we’ll be fondling fabric (a little) and doing some tracing (a lot).  Before we start, I’m going to talk briefly about what to expect in undertaking this project.

Remember – I am available to support via email, blog comment, and Skype! I will Skype support any stitcher through the months of June and July 2014.

cotton & linen & spring brighttimes!

Scootaloo Hoodie

First, my daughter’s Scootaloo hoodie (you can look at the Flickr tagset, which includes some construction discussion).

Scootaloo Hoodie

Scootaloo Hoodie

I’m seriously proud of my rendition of the Cutie Mark Crusaders’ badge.

Scootaloo Hoodie CMC Badge

Next up: Nels’ hooded linen coat. My design, Franken-patterned from previous designs. A fully-lined and underlined jacket in a linen/rayon blend. Square pockets, pointed pieced hood. Hand-knit i-cord drawstring. A hood with axotl external gills. YOU HEARD

Li'l Beach Guy

Ah, yeah… I made the pants too. Super-fun. I think I shall be sewing with linen ALL SUMMER LONG

"This is gonna get kinda weird... Two hoods."

Cuff Strap, Lining, Cuff Assembly

Yes, those are bound buttonholes. Want a closeup?

Bound Buttonholes

Pre-SmoochPost-Smooch

Post-Smooch

mama’s #krafty

Some of my Christmas sewing. Some. Click on pictures to be directed to my Flickrstream where I detail a bit about how I made these items, what patterns I used, when I self-drafted, where I got my fabrics, etc.

First, and some of you got a preview here and there – the kids’ Christmas coats:

F*ing Frock Coat & YETI-riffic!

"Taking A Picture Of Me? Too Mainstream."

Nels is saying, “Taking a picture of me? Too mainstream.” For realz.

My Son Is Beautiful

Let’s talk about Nels’ coat for a minute. Please pause and take a moment, close your eyes, and emit a string of foul-mouthed oaths. That’s how I feel about this garment, which I choose to privately christen the “F*ing Frock Coat”. I will seriously not bore you with how much went wrong and how often. Some of this is due to the source pattern which I shall not publicly name. Some of it was just weird, and bad, luck.

My son enjoys the coat, though. He doesn’t have to know it almost made me resort to arson.

Natch, Phee loves her YETI-riffic coat. She wears it everywhere, including to sleep! It is warm and luxurious.

Some casual digs sewn on Saturday:

Plaid Skinny Jeans & Patch'd T42

Plaid Skinny Jeans & Patch'd T42

Plaid Skinny Jeans & Patch'd T42

While the t-shirt was a lot of fun, I am happiest with the Plaid Skinny Jeans (which aren’t “jeans” at all) – specifically the linen front yoke, the perfect welt pocket, and the back elastic. Most of the details I like the most are those I self-drafted, so don’t count on the source pattern helping you if you’d like to emulate my results.

“To Gir With Love” – made for a friend, who’s step-daughter loves a certain cartoon character. Phoenix and I made this yesterday. She did absolutely all of the design work, except for the basic hat shape, which I took care of.

"To Gir With Love"

Up close: 100% wool sweater upcycled for the black detail.

"To Gir With Love"

Skele-Quilt:

Skele-Quilt

Skele-Quilt

The backing: a brightly-colored spacescape – I love the intensity:

Skele-Quilt

Hand-bound:Skele-Quilt

I’ve been working on this quilt for five years. Fortunately, I kept it enough on the DL my daughter hadn’t yet seen it. Even more fortunate, both my daughter and I still love the fabrics, meaning she liked the gift and I liked working on it. I was sewing on a binding right up until Christmas Day. It just isn’t Christmas Sewing without the last-minute shite.

Finally, a hand-embroidered wrist pincushion for my brother’s fiance:

Wrist Pincushion For Jamila

Wrist Pincushion For Jamila

I designed the whole business here, including yes the Jack Skellington Shrinky-Dink pin and the safety measure of a plastic insert so one won’t accidentally stab oneself. Linen & cotton.

If you have any questions on how I made anything, please ask either here or at the Flickr photos. I love sharing the craftivism!

goodship dress / mason county treasures

Goodship Dress

These last couple days I’ve had the pleasure of pattern-testing the Goodship Dress, by my friend Karen of Circus. The dress is a simple middy-style including a box pleat, in-seam pockets, and large bow-tie closure.

Goodship Dress

Phoenix loves the dress. She says it is very “cool and breezy”, and calls it a “Pilgrim dress”.

Goodship Dress

The armscye and collar bindings were simple but appealing. Nothing in particular was tricky about construction, although if I made the dress in linen again I’d likely cut everything on the bias. Better yet, I’d make it with a blend that had more drape.

Goodship Dress

A coda: I had despaired of finishing this dress on vacation, since my 1967 New Home sewing machine started snapping its upper thread and Ralph and I could not figure out how to fix it. In Shelton today I stopped into the Sew Now Studio in dowtown Shelton. What a wonderful shop – it had actual supplies one needs to make garments – tons of wonderful zippers, sturdy ribbing, bottomweights, lining, knits, woolens, all purpose threads in every color, buttons. Wonderful stuff. Imagine that! Yes, I am envious of the Shelton locals. Anyway, I picked up wool, lining, interfacing and buttons for a coat for Nels – and even more fabulously, rented a Kenmore sewing machine so I could finish my work here at the cabin!

Lovely stuff.

Phee Feeds Ducks

 

angel in blue

My daughter loves this ensemble but personally I think it’s a tiny bit too matchy-matchy. For my taste, anyway. One won’t deny the teal is a lovely color for this time of year.

Friendly

Funny: as soon as I finished it (handsewing at the soccer practice last night) I knew my daughter would love the dress but be less enamored of the pinafore: and I was right!

Hood

Both she and I love the hood more than anything (the pattern for both pieces is Olivia from Farbenmix).

Grimms' Fairy Tales

The dress is a 100% cotton Michael Miller; the pinafore is made from one of my favorite current fabrics to work with, a linen/rayon blend.

Skirt

The linen/rayon looks better and better with age, too.

“It’s the pleats.”

Button, Flowers

Handsewn flowers via a tutorial by my lady Karen.

Laugh

Phoenix laughs, watching her dad play hackysack.

I’m offering either/or/both pieces in my little shop; you can also view more detail photos in the Flickr tagset or read my pattern review.

lovely in kelly green

I totally made this today (the garment, not the child; the latter I am only fortunate enough to have incubated and birthed):

Tennis Court Beauty

Sewing this up was a wonderful, wonderful way to start my day: first, a quick morning trip (By myself! Listening to loud music! Grabbing a croissant and a [decaf] espresso!) for sewing supplies. I was forced into Walmart for the poison-green thread for my sewing machine and serger; there’s no other place within thirty or fifty miles to find it. Still, I got home right-quick and because the kids slept in (and when they got up, fed and dressed themselves) I was able to complete the garment.

Phoenix In The Glen

Lovely Neckline; Lovely Neck

It’s from a Japanese pattern book and originally had a button-placket in the front. But rather than sew nine tiny buttonholes (puke!) I elected to do a hand-pricked lapped side-zipper.  Phoenix slides the tunic on and somehow that whole business reminded me of the early scene in The Virgin Spring, a linen lovely my daughter was so happy to wear.

Clowning

Installing Zipper

Check out that tiny, TINY little yellow-green dot at the lower mid-right of the above photo. The prick-stitch is amazing because it is subtle and lovely but so very strong! Plus I get to say “prick”! A lot! I only wish it was called the cock-stitch.

You can view many details and construction notes at my Flickr tagset.

“It’s the pleats.”

sneak peaks

Even in my slightly-lower energy state of an allergy diet and no frakkin’ coffee hells yes I’ve been sewing. A couple weeks ago I finished both the Brooklyn Shrug and the Insa Skirt for my daughter. Both were minor failures; both too small (patterns run small sometimes – it happens). Also: just as I sewed the last stitch of the skirt (which was a rather time-consuming venture) I thought to myself, This is so not Sophie’s style any more! Sure enough, when I presented her with the skirt two minutes later, she complimented it and then said, “Mom… I don’t want to offend you, but I kind of don’t like ruffly things any more.”

Well that makes two of us (I hate making ruffles).
RUFFLES I HATE THEM
Anyway, is she awesome or what? I’m proud of her for speaking up and I look forward to gifting the lovely to a friend’s child who is obsessed with skirts and ruffley stuff.

Funny, but Sophie’s stylings lately are distinctly tween and tween patterns are kind of difficult to find (Ottobre is awesome but I have yet to spring for a subscription). I’ve already moved on to sewing two new dresses for her, hopefully in a style she enjoys – a simple sleeveless square-necked number by Burda (she’s enjoyed her sleeveless bubble dresses very much and is now, a year later, growing out of them). I’m making the two frocks in some lovely, deep colors of linen/rayon I bought on sale at JoAnns:
Bodice, 2X
Let me tell you, this linen/rayon is a dream. You may recall (or you don’t, but I will remind you) that I used a similar blend for Sophie’s self-titled “Priest Dress” I made in the summer. That dress continues to receive heavy rotation on Sophie’s many extremely vigorous outdoor activities (remember, my kids don’t go to school: they mostly climb trees, ride bikes, and dig mud pits) and is still holding up well.

If I had any caveat on the linen/rayon it would be that the slim neckline facing pieces did not hold up at the edges; I couldn’t double-turn the far edge of the facing because of the curve and the bulk that would have resulted. I interfaced and serged the facings before applying them, but that wasn’t good enough. I might have done a very tight stitch at the base of the serge and that might have helped. As it is, this is the only part of the “Priest Dress” that is fraying and obviously, it’s not visible from the outside (my non-sewing and beginner-sewing friends reading are rolling their eyes at the “obviously”).

Learning my lessons in loose-weaves and facings, with these two dresses I instead lined/underlined the bodice with a crisp cotton. This also adds a more heirloom touch as all bodice seams will be fully enclosed. Funnily enough although I don’t have much of a fabric stash I did already own a bit of rust-color that worked to underline both dress bodices. I would have liked to underline the full skirt but I didn’t have proper yardage and I wanted to get sewing now (it happens). I’m considering buying some underlining fabrics on a bolt as it adds so much to most garments. I’d probably buy a batiste and maybe a light, stiff bull denim for some of my more structured items. I don’t know. I am kind of bush league when it comes to underlining, but my garments continue to improve.

Speaking of underlining, I’m also making a brown twill jacket for myself, Simplicity 4081 which is supposedly a forties-retro semi-fitted number. The shell is just about put together and I await via mail a silk twill for the lining. Here’s a peek at the pocket just before I turned it. At the far left you can see the black fusible interfacing I used to stabilize the edge of the pocket.
Chaqueta
Borrr-rring, I know. But, I’m not exactly a flamboyant dresser.

Incidentally, the shell fabric I’m using is a sturdy twill my brother sent me a few months ago. It was camel-colored (he’s even more boring than I am!) and I wanted a deep rust-brown. One morning while the kids slept I biked down to our local grocery store and picked up two separate brown shades of Rit dye, blending them with a scarlet packet I’d already owned (I’ve learned deep colors need lots of dye). Dying fabric is fun because it’s easy to do (at the level I’m doing it anyway – a rather mundane washing-machine batch) and it feels satisfying somehow. One of my favorite memories is an afternoon I spent with my then-pregnant friend Becca, stirring our cotton diapers up in deep, steaming vats of rich-colored dye, drinking coffee and eating lovelies and the windows and doors open to the sunshine.

Oh and finally – most exciting! I have been asked to (after my stalkery yielded the offer) pattern-test for my friend Karen and Shelley’s burgeoning pattern company, Patterns by Figgy’s. Tonight I received the email:

Hello my lovely pattern testers!

I will be sending over our “Tee for Two” pattern in the next few days for testing. Please review everything with hawk eyes. Pattern & booklet. Along with the pattern/booklet I will send you yardage needed for all sizes.Please test the size your child will wear so that we know it is a perfect fit. Please check the measurements in order to choose the correct size.

I will need you to test the pattern this week. Deadline 5/24. If you feel like you can’t commit NO PROBLEM I can keep you on the list for the next pattern.

you are testing for:
pattern size legend correct
markings in the correct places
fit
grammar
spelling
instructions in proper order
easy to follow instructions
instructions that make sense
we believe this is a beginner pattern and we want to make sure of this

Any questions please email me or Karen anytime. We appreciate all that you are doing for us and we hope you love the pattern.

Website live this week!!!

Shelly L. Figueroa
Creative Designer

This is only too exciting for me. I love getting things in the mail – and a kick-ass pattern and lovely yardage to sew it up with? Oh yes.

Sophie Flying High

if i can sew, nothing really gets me down too badly

Last night, while we hosted one of our children’s (11 year old) friends, I finished the white linen dress I’d been envisioning for Sophie.  It’s actually a linen / rayon blend (underlined with a cotton / poly batiste), and it’s oyster-colored, not white:

The dress plus her latest Lego creation.

The dress plus her latest Lego creation.

Honestly? Linen is hard to photograph in a flattering way. Or at least it was today. The dress is lovely and very substantial – a perfect dress for our winter weather. The coolest thing is Sophie helped design it: she asked for a pocket on the right-hand side for her bus fare:

The pockets were free-form created by myself and M., the little girl who was so fascinated last night while I finished it.  She actually helped quite a bit.

The pockets were free-form created by myself and M., the little girl who was so fascinated last night while I finished it. She actually helped quite a bit.

No wait – there was another great thing about the dress – besides working with the linen, which was a dream. After I finished sewing it last night Sophie immediately put it on. She wanted to sleep with it. And this morning, when she woke up, she slipped it on again and came out to see me with her hair sticking up, looking very well-slept.

Sophie, with her killer gaze

Sophie, with her killer gaze

You can see more detail shots of the dress here.

The pattern is from Ottobre magazine’s Winter 2004 magazine (I had a friend gift me with a subscription; after the year ran out I didn’t renew. I want to renew someday, as they are a wonderful pattern line). Here’s a picture of Sophie in the same dress pattern (different details) – and also the first thing I made from the Finnish magazine.

My wee little girl, all sunburned and tiny

My wee little girl, all sunburned and tiny

By the way – I loved that Drive-In fabric used in that earlier dress. It was so bright and fabulous. And if you’ve followed my sewing efforts thus far, you’ll also know I love matching, or rather mis-matching, fabrics. In this case a very garish novelty print featuring a lot of hot pink with a more demure Asian-inspired red floral. I got a lot of compliments on the dress – I wonder where it is now?

I also recently finished a princess-seamed flannel blouse – in a wonderfully soft blue and green cotton flannel houndstooth (I loves me some houndstooth!) from Denver Fabrics – which after all the effort didn’t fit me correctly. My mom spied it today and when she heard I wasn’t wearing it, she asked if she could try it on. She was very happy with the fit and now it’s hers.

Yup, very happy. Can’t you see how happy she is?

By the way, my mom doesnt always look like shes about to break her foot off in your ass. In real life, shes a rather gentle creature.

By the way, my mom doesn't always look like she's about to break her foot off in your ass. In real life, she's a rather gentle creature.