WIP: My Fall Challenge

The Collette Fall Challenge has been percolating in my brain, for far too long. I failed within the first week with my inability to create a mood board, I made and lost a color palatte, and then got frustrated because I’m in a bit of a fabric destash challenge (and even if I weren’t, I’ve seen very little fabric in the colors I’d prefer). I also did a little bit of virtual window shopping (collected in Pinterest) in an attempt to find some inspiration, but not a whole lot jumped out and triggered that “want to wear it” feeling. I made a second attempt on a color palatte, but it isn’t quite right, also I just realized that I fell into my old trap of picking colors that are all in the same value (ie no lights, no darks, but all medium intensity colors, convert my palatte to black and white and you could hardly tell they were 5 different colors).


But then I thought about the things I’ve been meaning to make and how they kindasort fit my color palatte. And so I created this nice little outline of my intentions. I’ve yet to sew a thing but I am feeling more focused. And I put together this nice basket of fabric and patterns – everything else is stashed away in the garage (except some quilting stuff).  So I’m thinking of this as my fall challenge (summer was the UFO challenge).  And while my fabric doesn’t exactly match my ideal palatte, I think it will all fit nicely within my wardrobe (I have a mustard cardigan and a peacock/teal cardigan that fulfill those colors).

Knitting: Indigo Playmate in Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Worsted in Blackberry (I’ve started this!)

Sewing: Pintuck Skirt from Stitch Winter 2008 in grey cotton twill fabric (pattern has been traced, adjusted and traced again… it is cutting time)

Sewing: Boat-neck, 3/4 sleeve knit top in raspberry mystery fiber knit fabric

Sewing: Denim pencil skirt, most likely with Butterick in ages old dark denim fabric (IIRC it has a touch of spandex)

Sewing: Dress in purple and white houndstooth fabric.  Most likely with Butterick 5277 view C (though the new Collette Peony is tempting)

Sewing: Embelished bag in grey faux-suede fabric.  I scored this fabric (it is woven, but reminds me a lot of ultrasuede) from a thrift store several years ago.  I think I bought it inspired by a Blueprint spread on ultrasuede; and then I’ve plotted several bags.  Then I saw this flower adorned grey bag on Pintrest, and then saw a non-fringed version of the Amy Butler round hobo bag and I knew that was what I wanted to do (though if I found straps I liked U-Handbag’s pleated tote looks promising).

Sewing: Blouse, but in which pattern? in this slinky poly I bought from JoAnn’s.  The colors aren’t quite right for my palatte, but I have the fabric and believe they will work with my closet overall.

And thus ends my fabric-pattern combinations.  I have a few more ideas and if I make good progress on culling the stash I will buy more fabric.

Sewing: a jade colored camisole to go under a sheer chiffon blouse I already own.  (Oh please don’t sell out of the fabric I’ve been eyeing before I get to this).

Sewing: a shirtdress.  I have several possible patterns, but no fabric in mind yet.

And then there is that pinstripe brown fabric in the basket. It just doesn’t match much in my closet, I don’t, as a general rule wear brown, but it is definitely a fall fabric. So I might aim for a wearable muslin… not that wearable has worked for any of my muslin’s yet.

September 29, 2011. Tags: , , . Knitting, Sewing, Thoughts. 2 comments.

WIPW: Cinnamon Slip

WIP= Work in Progress.  WIPW= Work in Progress Wednesday.  A theme of sorts, I’m attempting to adopt from my friend Beth, in hopes of more regular blog publishing (oh I write, I have 22 drafts, none of which feel worthy of hitting “publish” for one reason or another). You’ve seen the two hats I’m working on, and now my sewing nemisis:  Collette Pattern’s Cinnamon Slip.  Seriously, the creativity killing punches just keep coming.


Construction is fine, a few new methods which I rather like, but oh man am I having fit issues. I had heard that Collette Patterns drafts for a c-cup, and since I am decidedly not a c-cup my hesitance on fitting overuled my desire for her dress designs. When Cinnamon Slip came out I was excited because the style is one I often find forgiving in ready-to-wear. I took a class on this pattern, hoping to learn some new techniques, but other than mentioning grading from one size to another (which I knew) we didn’t cover fit. I’m not sure if I’m harder to fit or just pickier since the other two women in my class (I doubt they fit in c-cups either) seemed happy with their results. I decided there was no way I could wear this slip, even under something, with the bagginess that was happening under my breasts (notice the pins?  that is about where I think the seam needs to be). I’m not ready to even show you a picture. Before tackling the fit on my nice fabric I decided to try the camisole version. Red thread marking all the stitch lines. I left the seam between bust and midriff band loose to adjust the fit and see if my idea of fixing the nice version will work. The end result – my idea won’t work – I still had bagging fabric under my breasts. It is not flattering.


I’ve read Gertie’s SBA directions and attempted to tissue fit. I couldn’t get a handle of tissue fit (all result ended up in a very non-flat pattern piece, the best I could determine was I had to move the under-breast seam, the seam allowance now varies from 5/8″ to 1 5/8″. I checked Fast Fit and found it entirely unhelpful for SBA in this situation. I watched Casey’s SBA video, closer, I grasp the idea but still don’t know how to transfer it to my pattern piece (lacking a few of the identifying features, like sleeve notches). I’m trying to figure out what is going on with the bodice sloper I made in a class a couple springs ago… I need to take a look at Real Fit for Real People. And frankly I’m just not up for all of that now, so this WIP is officially a UFO in timeout. I’m think a full skirt might be my next clothing project.

February 2, 2011. Tags: , . Sewing. 4 comments.

about that pajama top

Before I was able to get up the nerve into cutting a perfectly functional (if too long) t-shirt I broke out my Sew U Home Stretch and decided to tackle project #4, the boatneck top for my first project using some cheap ($2/yd) knit I bought for this exact trial purpose.  Oh, yeah, and I decided that I wanted to double the front layer since my knit was thin.  I had read the previous chapters, though I skipped the bit on using a serger since I don’t have a serger.  Instead of using a narrow zig-zag I used my machine’s modified zig-zag intended for stretch fabrics; it is more z-shaped than the traditional zig-zag.

There were a few issues – the directions and diagrams for drafting the changes to get from basic t-shirt to boatneck don’t match the actual pattern pieces; specifically the sleeve diagram shows parallel lines but if you follow the instructions they get wider at the cuff than the armpit.  But I noticed it looked odd, listened to myself (and checked a fitted sleeve from another pattern I owned) and successfully re-drafted the sleeve.  I did this by measuring the cuff of a t-shirt I like and measuring out half that new sleeve cuff distance from either side of the “center fold”, then drawing a straight line from the armpit to the cuff.


The other modifications I made were to make the shoulder seamline a little bit longer (I left it at 1 1/2″ instead of the specified 1″), despite this it still shows my bra-strap, but IIRC my shoulders are a little narrower than most. I’ll probably try the next version with 2″ long shoulder seamline. And I also cut off about 4-inches of the bodice length (since it was straight I just took it from the bottom), not surprising since I often need to hem “petite” clothing (or just deal with wearing too long stuff). Other than a little waviness on some of the stitch lines (the back neckline and the hemline) the shirt went together smoothly. I haven’t sewn any sort of set-in sleeve in a really long time and this one was easy (perhaps the stretch made it easier?). I’m not entirely sure how effective my stretch-stitch is since the style of this shirt has very few openings that need to stretch a lot to put it on (the neckline). Overall I’m happy and am now in search of some yummy flannel for coordinating pj bottoms.  I’ll probably also try adding some waist-shaping with the next version.


December 14, 2010. Tags: , , . Sewing. 1 comment.

knit phobia conquered?

I hemmed a store-bought t-shirt a couple nights ago. It was about 6 inches too long, now it is about 3/4 of an inch too short (but hey it covers my belly when my arms are not over my head). I’m pretty sure I’ve seen a few dresses from ’80s movies that were shorter than this t-shirt was on me pre-hemming.


I used 1/2″ steam-a-seam light, a twin ball-point needle, and wooly nylon in the bobbin all tips from this tutorial on Sew Mama Sew. I need to pick up another ball-point twin needle, because the one I bought is a little too wide (4.0); it worked, but the two stitch lines are farther apart than on the original hem. Whenever I hem I like to try to match the original as much as possible (thread color, thread weight, stitch length…).  I generally practice on the scrap of clothing I’ve cut away.

You would think this would be my first foray into knit clothing, but no. For some reason sewing an entire shirt seemed more do-able, since that is where I started (no, wait – I made some xmas present that utilized knit fabric but didn’t require stretchy stitching – more on that later).  I suspect the idea of ruining a piece of fabric I kind of liked was better than an actual t-shirt in a color I love.  It is surprisingly hard to find t-shirts in my preferred colors (but I’m looking forward to stocking up on some Honeysuckle stuff, *fingers crossed*).  Now I just need to squash that urge to stock up on oodles of knit fabrics with my new found confidence, I still have a bit of woven stash to use up (and I haven’t successfully created a knit item that needs to really stretch over something and recover).

December 11, 2010. Tags: , , , . Sewing. 1 comment.

Anna Tunic – Not a finished object

Anna Tunic Wearable Muslin-unhemmed

I put my Anna Tunic in a time out. Earlier this year I had measured myself and few spots on the pattern (hips) and traced the pattern onto some nice interfacing, easing the pattern into a larger size from the waist to hips. A month or so ago I cut out the Anna Tunic and then a couple weeks ago I sewed it up. Unfortunately you don’t really get to try on the tunic until the main body has been sewn to the yoke, and at that point I’d done a lot of clipping to get the yoke to lie smoothly once you sew the body to it (rounded curves and all) and so when I finally tried it on, after ironing the edge under on the yoke facing, I discovered that it was 1) too tight under my arms, 2)  just a tad too big in the yoke width (in a knitted garment fitting workshop I learned my shoulders are just slightly narrower than average), 3) of course there was the fact that the tunic length (did I remember to make the petite adjustment?) was almost mini-dress length on me, and 4) the belt when tied still hangs to my knees.

Frustrated, I moved on to the flower. Bad idea. I’m not a fan of gathering via basting stitches, and gathering that long of a strip was just ugh – I let it sit on the craft table for a week once I’d finally gotten the gathers looking okay only to discover that I was supposed to iron it in half with the wrong sides together before gathering it.  After fighting to fold a 3 foot gathered strip of 2″ wide fabric for some time I finally pulled all the gathering stitches out and shoved the strip in my scrap box – I wasn’t even sure I’d wear the tunic, why bother with the matching flower.

Today, I started poking around the Sew Mama Sew forums and found an Anna Tunic review, and discover that while it is given a glowing review, the tunic fits the reviewer/model at the underarms in a similar way as it fits me. And via the SMS forums I manage to check the flickr photos tagged with annatunic. When they show the finished object on people it fits similarly on most of them too. With this new revelation I think I can take the Anna Tunic out of time out and finish it up. It isn’t perfect. But I think it will be wearable. And at the absolute worst, I wear it once and cut up the fabric for another purpose. I do plan on retracing the pattern with some modifications before I try sewing another one.

Mods to make:

  • lower armhole
  • decrease yoke width by a smidge
  • shorten length
  • shorten belt before cutting out

September 7, 2009. Tags: , , , , . Sewing. Leave a comment.