Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Silk Kimono Top

I am the kind of sewer that picks out a project, finds an appropriate fabric and then works on the project until completed. I don't often hoard stuff, but I do have a small pile of fabric that I have purchased in the past because something drew me to it, most likely a lovely print. I forgot I had bought these Salme sewing patterns at the last Bolt sale and quickly decided on which shirt to make. I went with the Kimono Top since it was the least complicated. I chose to sew up the top using this great silk, which was also purchased from Bolt years ago. I love the print and the blue and cream colors. The pattern pieces come on a sheet and I traced out a size 6. The top sewed up fairly quick. I really like the wide neckline and the cuffs, which can be rolled up or not. The directions were straightforward, but could have been more detailed and may be hard for a beginner to follow. I didn't like that the directions were printed on the pattern sheets. The huge sheet of paper was sort of a pain to manage while sewing. Another note: the patterns include a 3/8" seam allowance. Overall, I like how the top turned out and can see making this again.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Esme Tunic

Amy gifted me this cool black and white ikat fabric and I decided on the Emse pattern from Lotta Jansdotter's Everyday Style book. Originally, I wanted to make a top and pant set, but thought that may be too much print, so I went for a simple shift dress with set-in sleeves. I had cut out this pattern last week and sewed it up this morning in about an hour. Super quick and easy. I used the fabric against the grainline so that I could utilize the black selvedge as the hems for the sleeves and bottom of the dress. This pattern has several different variations and I may try some of them for summer. You can add front pockets, have a split neckline or go for a floor-length kaftan. Recommend this pattern for some satisfying and fun sewing!

Monday, May 09, 2016

#pdxcarpet Sweater

I wanted a quick knitting project and thought this bulky tweed (from my gifted yarn stash) would work perfectly for a simple raglan pullover. I used the Friendly Fair Isle sweater pattern from Purl Soho, and without the Fair Isle work, this project knit up fast. I wanted to make it a little more cropped in length than called for in the pattern, but that's the only modification I made. It will be a perfect layering piece for fall and winter. As @edarchitech noted in an Instagram comment, this yarn is totally reminiscent of the old #pdxcarpet at the Portland airport!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Fen Dress

On a recent trip to Seattle, one of my stops was Dry Goods Design and I picked up the Fen dress pattern from Fancy Tiger Crafts. I purchased a lovely rayon from the spring sale at Bolt and finally started sewing it up this past weekend. I haven't sewn with rayon in a while and I love the drape and movement it creates in this finished dress. I love the abstract stripe pattern too. I made the size four, which fits perfectly. The directions were very clear and easy to follow. There are so many variations on this dress/top that I know I will be making more versions. Other details I really like: pockets (of course!), low/high hem, interesting bust darts and kimono sleeves.

Sunday, April 03, 2016

Refashioned Felted Sweater Vest

I have my last Refashion class this week and my final project was this felted sweater vest. I had been saving these wool sweaters that I no longer wore for years and decided they'd be perfect for a vest project. I washed them twice to get them felted enough. The neon chartreuse felted the least amount since it was a blend of wool and cashmere while the others were all 100% lambswool. Once the sweaters were felted, I prepped them by cutting all the seams off and then separating the fronts, backs and sleeves. I proceeded to cut a bunch of random-sized strips that I sewed together to create four pieces of fabric. I created the pattern from this vest that I had and cut out two fronts and backs and then sewed them all together. I tried to do a rolled hem on the neckline and armholes, but it didn't quite work out, so I trimmed the hems off and just did a staystitch on those areas, as well as the hem. After ironing all the seams, I think it looks pretty good!

Sunday, March 06, 2016

Men's Shirting Shirt

Here's my second project for my Re-Fashion class. I had bought a bunch of men's shirts from Goodwill hoping to make some kind of dress. What I actually ended up with was this crazy shirt. My first step was to deconstruct all the shirts: removed sleeves, pockets, button plackets, collars, yokes, fronts from backs. Then I cut strips from the fabric and sewed them together to create a new fabric. On the front, you can see I left the button placket in place, though it's a bit off-center. My main fabric was that blue checked fabric, which was really thick, soft and and of high quality. Originally, I had wanted more of a boat neck, but the fabric wasn't laying well, so I cut that V-neck on the front. I had to move the position of the top button, but it worked. I took the yoke from the back of that shirt, slashed it in half and sewed in an additional piece of fabric so that the front and back were approximately the same width at the shoulders. I took the shirt backs from the blue, black and striped shirts, added pleats (inspired by this collaboration) and sewed them to the yoke. Next, I took a portion of the blue sleeves, sewed those on and hemmed them, then seamed the sides. My last step was to even out the front and back with a rolled hem using my serger. The back is slightly longer and U-shaped while the front is more straight. Again, I don't know if I would ever really wear this, but the process was fun.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Refashioned Jumpsuit

At the end of January, I started a class at the Oregon College of Art and Craft called Re-Fashion. It's being taught by local designer Alexa Stark. The class projects focus on experimentation and exploration of design through the deconstruction and reconstruction of clothing. I finished my first project this weekend and it's a jumpsuit.

I shopped at Goodwill and found this J. Crew utility jacket and a pair of Eddie Bauer carpenter-style pants. With similar design details, I thought these two pieces would make the perfect jumpsuit. Initially, I had cut the jacket right where the patch pockets were and then sewed it directly to the pants to see what that would look like. Unfortunately, the jacket top was then too short and after trying it on, the pants came up way too far. So, I ripped that apart. I worked on removing the patch pockets from the bottom of the jacket, but the stitching was so heavy in the corners that I wasn't able to get them off without leaving some holes. So I cut the holes off and then sewed a strip of the jacket back on to the top portion, which now looked like a waistband. With the new waistband, it didn't make sense to keep the waistband of the pants, so I removed that and took off the buttons and belt straps to be sewn on later. Next, I attached the new jacket top to the pants and sewed the buttons and belt straps back on. The pants were way too long, so I cut off about five inches with enough seam allowance to make some elasticized cuffs. I tried to dye the entire thing black, but the dye didn't really take hold though the top is a slightly darker gray now.

I'm really surprised at how well this project turned out. I'm a pretty technical/follow directions sewer, so this class is really pushing me to explore and go with the flow more and I'm learning a lot, which I love.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Amherst Knitted Shift Dress

For my next knitting project, I had wanted to knit an Aran vest with a crewneck–basically a fisherman sweater with no sleeves–but I couldn't find any appropriate patterns and didn't want to adapt one. I came across the Amherst pattern and loved that it was a knitted dress. It also had enough cabling to make for interesting knitting. I finished the front in a week and was on track to finish the back in the same timeframe, but I had increased the wrong number of stitches for my size and had to frog about 25" of knitting. Aside from that stumbling block, the dress actually knit up super fast. I used an ecru worsted wool from my gifted stash (the same yarn I used to knit the Sweatshirt Sweater), which created a dense and very warm fabric. I'd wear this with a chambray or plaid shirt underneath with black tights and boots. Love how it turned out!