Deer & Doe Plantain Shirt

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Like all the cool kids in the blogosphere, I made a Plantain tshirt!

This is a free pattern released by French company Deer & Doe.  Unfortunately I never learned fluent French from my full blooded French grandmother.  Lucky for me, the pattern instructions come in both English and French.  Also lucky for me, the adjustments I needed for the pattern to fit me have already been covered by U&Mii!  The pattern only goes up to a European size 46, which would not fit my lovely chest ladies.  Nor my bodacious curvy hips.  So, I slashed and spread my way to a Plantain that fit.

I used this awesome two sided rayon blend jersey from Joanns.
It's SO SOFT and SO PRETTY.  It also comes in a bunch of colors.  Magic!  However!  It was kind of a PITA to do anything with.  It frayed in the wash.  Yes, a jersey that frayed.  It got little teal strings and fuzzies on the rest of my laundry.  I think it's because it's sort of two fabrics stuck together, and separately they are kind of flimsy.  So the edges frayed.  

Mary over at Idle Fancy made a super cute Lady Skater dress of this same fabric.  I took a page out of her book and used the polka dots as my "right side" but the stripes as coordinating pieces on the neckline and cuffs.

That brings me to another change I made to the Plantain shirt.  I'm not a fan of elbow patches, so I left them off, but to add more visual interest I did add cuffs to the sleeves.  I also shortened the 3/4 sleeve by about an inch to accommodate the lengths added by the cuffs.  I actually used my Lady Skater pattern piece for the cuffs and they fit perfectly.  

Because the Lady Skater instructions are basically genius when adding the neckline, so I used that technique to add the neckline.  If you haven't made a Lady Skater, the neckline is added flat instead of in the round.  It makes sewing the neckline on basically fool proof. Why take a risk and do it any other way?

I love the final product.  It's a comfy tshirt with enough room at the hem to hide imperfect bulges, while still flattering the figure.
So there you have it.  If you've never sewn with knits, this is a great place to start and you'll end up with a super cute every day shirt!

Butterick See & Sew B5870

Friday, January 24, 2014

There are three - count 'em, three - reviews of this pattern on the interwebs.
Obviously, besides how freaking adorable Sewmanju made it, I needed to add a review and pictures of my own to the world.

I think I stumbled across Sewmanju's version somewhere between googling the Lady Skater dress, and wool jersey.  I was looking for inspiration for wintery sewing stuffs, because as adorable as sun dresses are, they just aren't practical for me at the moment.  Here in Minnesota.  Just after surviving a Polar Vortex.

After my own Lady Skater dress, I fell in love with the idea of wearing cozy knit dresses with cozy fleece lined leggings or tights.  (Have you tried them?  They're both amazeballs.  And cozy balls.)  I wear my Lady Skater dress about as much as is socially acceptable and haven't gotten around to making more.  Yet...stay tuned.  This dress with a nice cozy cowl is just asking to be made with a nice weight knit and be worn with fleecy tights.  Okay, my mission is actually to make my wardrobe entirely of work-appropriate pajamas. 

I couldn't find wool jersey, at least in any sort of affordable price range, so I found an acai purple cotton knit from Girl Charlee.  It's a nice medium weight and should make a great winter dress.
As per the usual, as soon as I came home with my new pattern in hand I read through the instructions.  They're supposed to be easy but my copy had several typos and misprints.  Luckily this isn't my first knit dress and I'm getting fairly good at knowing how things are put together without completely sticking to the directions.

The pattern only called for 2 1/8 yards but I used EVERY BIT of my 3 yards.  I had to cut it out single layer in order to fit every piece.  Another challenge is this knit was very sneaky about which side was the right/wrong side.  Luckily I inspected each piece very carefully and the finished dress has every piece facing the proper direction.

The dress was coming along swimmingly until I came to an ABRUPT halt trying to figure out how to attach the damn cowl.  The instructions were ZERO help.  After staring at the pieces, pinning, unpinning, and trying them on for about half an hour, a light bulb went off and I turned to my BFF, Google, to find a tutorial for me. 

Let me just tell you, sewalongs are a GODSEND.  I found Tasia's Renfrew sewalong and was able to attach the cowl!!! 
 From there I would like to tell you it was easy... but it wasn't.  Nothing at the fault of the pattern, but my own lack of coordination/knowledge.

First I ran out of thread.  I was surprised at first, then I realized it was because I was stitching a double seam per the instructions.  Well, duh, that makes sense!

Next was the ongoing issue I was experiencing with my thread tension.  When I first started the project my upper thread was snapping, even with a super low tension.  I was eventually able to get it to sew, but the tension still wasn't right.  It seems like one side is too tight and one side is too loose.  I've tried playing with the tension and it's helped a bit, but not completely.  It's also skipping stitches.  So, here my inexperience shows itself because I don't know what to do!

On a happier note, this dress included my FIRST set in sleeve!  Really, this wasn't nearly as terrifying as I expected.

As for alterations, I actually kept the bodice entirely unaltered even though the pattern didn't go up to my size.  I added just a touch of width to the sleeves, and I added several inches to the hips to accommodate my booty.  I did about a 2" hem to bring up the length and it seems to hit almost the right spot for me.

Oh, you wanted to see the finished product?
I will eventually provide you with pictures taken by a real camera in my dressing room, but the room is still a work in progress.  Patience, my cats.  Oh, and you see that?!  FLEECE LEGGINGS!!!  Glorious.  Excellent winter work wear.  I only need to make 846 more uber comfy dresses!

Twitterpated Sewcialist

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

I'm now on Twitter!  Feel free to follow me if you have any interest in seeing what sewing related thoughts tend to run through my head.  It's kinda scary.
Okay, so not that scary.

I also have a new fancy button!!!!  I am now an official Sewcialist.  I particularly like Sewcialists because it's a running feed of sewing blogs written by all sorts of sewing blogging bloggers and I get to stalk find even more blogs!  I just love seeing what everyone makes, it's so inspiring.  Like, inspiring for me to make more stuff.  And find new patterns.  And new indie companies that are way more awesome than the Big 4.  And the different ways people make their patterns.  I just love it.  SEWcializing for SEWists.  SEWCIALISTS.  Ha!  Genius.  Why didn't I come up with that?

Impatience Makes For NEW Projects!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

So my Girl Charlee package isn't scheduled to arrive until Wednesday.  Ugh.  It's bad enough I had to spend all New Years Day doing nothing, I can't possibly spend the weekend this way too!  What's a sewer to do?

Move on to more stuff, of course!!

I've also been eyeballing Cake Patterns Hummingbird for a while.
Eventually I want to make both the Green top and the Pink skirt (flounce!!).  I wasn't sure at first if the Pink skirt would look good on me, but after searching the interwebs it is so freaking cute on everyone else.  My concern is a large tush area wouldn't necessarily be flattered by a flounce.  But, it is so.freaking.cute.  I'm also not in love with the neckline of the top, but again, it sure looks cute on everyone I can find!

This is why I blog.  To add more pictures of completed patterns to the interwebs, so stalkers sewists like me have more stuff to look at when they're deciding whether to make a pattern.

The Hummingbird skirt looks excellent on every tush I've seen online.  The patterns are made so you're really drafting your exact size as you cut the pattern, instead of some predetermined lines you hopefully will fit into.  Think of it like a connect the dots pattern.  This way of sizing has proven to create excellent fitting (and flattering) clothes with minimal after-tweaking.  I've read there are spots where the pattern advises to do a fit check, and the Hummingbird skirt can be taken in up to 4" (on each side I think) without distorting the pockets.  I'm pretty excited for this pattern because the Orange skirt looks like a great all-purpose every day skirt I can make up in a bunch of different fabrics.  I'm sewing the Pink skirt first, but I'm sure I'll make the Orange skirt somewhere down the line.

Now that I've decided this, I'm going to stroll through Joann's this weekend to find some complementary fabrics to make the top and skirt.  I don't really know what else to wear with the flounce skirt, so I'm planning them together.

It's hard to make a decision on fabric when looking at pictures online, but I found some fun combos on Joann's website.

This hot pink bottom weight would be super cute with a tonal dot on top!
 Or maybe this fun Sangria knit with a subtle yet fun leopard print skirt.

I could go for a more sophisticated put together look with a brown top and heathered brown skirt.
Meh.  I much prefer the bright colors and fun prints.  What do you think??

By the way, have you ever had hummingbird cake?  I had no idea it was a cake flavor!  Apparently it's a banana pineapple cake with cream cheese frosting and pecans.