Fashion

Easy Pull-On Cuffed Pants Part 2

burda_pant_line_drawing
Line drawing from Burda Style for pattern 114A/B

I had enough soft gray fabric left from a different pair of pants to use for these.  I knew it draped well and was machine washable. The only thing I had to buy was wide black elastic (1 1/4″) for the waistband.

Part of the pockets show on the front, so they have to be in the main pants fabric.  But the inside doesn’t show, so I cut those pieces from a scrap of cute cotton voile from my leftovers pile.  Using a lightweight fabric decreases the pockets’ bulk and gives whoever does the laundry (me) a little surprise pop of color.

One of this design’s unusual features is a raw, uncased elastic waistband. I have seen the exact same elastic used in ready-to-wear cinch belts, so it makes sense that it would look good exposed.

I was really hoping I could figure out how to use the serger to apply the elastic and do the gathering in one step. Try as I might, I couldn’t figure out a way.  When I really thought about it, I realized that it would have to be done in multiple steps, if at all. I did make a nice test swatch attaching the elastic to the fabric with right sides together.  That would be a great treatment for a full, puffy skirt. Unfortunately, I was trying to apply the elastic on top, overlapping the fabric, not turned to the inside.  Trying to stretch the elastic the necessary 2×1 ratio was just too difficult for something that should have been simple.

closed_pocket
Closed side pocket
pocket_lining
Pop of pink in pocket lining

I ended up just sewing it on using a zig-zag stitch on my regular machine, stretching as I went.  Then I cleaned up the messy bulk on the inside with a three thread overlock.

I went back to my regular sewing machine to do the gathering on the cuffs.  Applying the cuffs was a fussy process, since the circumference was smaller than my free arm and the fabric had no stretch.  I sewed the cuff to itself no less than three times!  While it was many more steps than I had hoped, the results looked good.

Then I tried to put them on.

Aaaargh!

I couldn’t get my feet through the cuffs!

After a few deep breaths, I checked my work.  I did indeed follow the directions as written in the magazine.  The cuff pieces were the right size.  I don’t know if this is a known problem with the pattern, or whether I missed something.  Either way, the pants needed work if they were going to be wearable.

It looks like this is going to be a three part post.  Oh, well.  It happens to everyone, right?

See Part 1 Here.

 

Home Dec

Mid-Century Modern Pillows

mohawk_rug
This rug really pulls the room together

I have a kind of unusual color scheme in my living room.  I have a dark orange sofa, grayish-green armchairs, and walnut mid-century style tables.  The whole thing is pulled together by a crazy rug which has splotches of all of those colors and more.  I wanted some throw pillows for the couch, but finding something commercially that works with my colors has been difficult.  Time to DIY!

When I was on the spoonflower website working on my own design, I took some time to look for throw pillow fabric.  Even limiting my search to mid-century and orange, I was kind of amazed to find that there were pages and pages of choices.  This design was absolutely perfect.  It had all of the colors I wanted, kept the mid-century theme, but was simple enough to harmonize with my chaotic rug. (If you love this pillow and don’t want to make it yourself, Spoonflower’s Roostery business will make it for you.  They charge between $35 and $41 per pillow depending on fabric choice.)

pillow_pile_on_chair
All 3 pillows piled on a recliner.  I love how the pattern harmonizes with all of the colors!

I figured a yard would give me enough material to make covers for two 16×16 throw pillows.  I considered the fabric options and chose the Cotton Sateen Ultra.  The tight weave and slight sheen lend it a high-end feel.  Cotton Sateen comes a little wider than I thought (yes, the website does say how wide it is… I just didn’t look), so I was delighted to find that I could cut three pillow covers, not just 2.

I purposely sewed them a little small, taking one inch off the pillow measurement (so 15×15 for a 16×16 pillow form).  I like having my pillows a little overstuffed. I used invisible zippers because that’s what I had laying around.  I think the hidden zipper works well with the smooth fabric, but it’s one of those things that only the person doing the sewing really notices.

There are plenty of tutorials out there on how to sew pillow covers with zip closures, so I’ll get straight to the results.  Ta-da!  Quick and simple: three new mid-century style throw pillows! Don’t you just love those instant gratification projects?

mod_pillow_zipper
Putting in a zipper makes it possible to quickly change covers or just take the cover off to launder.

Cost to Make:

$11.01 Pillow Forms

$24.30 + $3 shipping Fabric

$1.50 Zippers

priceless My time and energy

$39.81 TOTAL or about $11.30 each

mod_pillow_with_dog
Dog approved!
Fashion · General

Easy Pull-On Cuffed Pants Part 1

114B-magazinepic
This could be me!

This is the last project for a while in a series of upgraded casual wear.  Over the past several weeks, I have made myself a sophisticated hoodie, a long-sleeved pullover and a versatile sleeveless knit top.  What I really needed most was a pair of pants to wear instead of my increasingly ratty jeans.  I came across a neat pants idea while leafing through some magazines.  They were a pair of jogger-style pants, but made with dressy woven fabric.  With pockets and an elastic waistband, they would be as easy to wear as sweatpants, but look much better.

The magazines I perused where back issues of Burda Style.  They were a neat magazine because each issue included a pull-out with something like 50 multi-size full-scale patterns.  The glossy pages showed all of the clothes styled different ways and the instructions for making them.  Even though I loved reading it, I never made any of the designs.  I had heard that Burda patterns were especially tricky, and I guess that might have kept me away.  These pants really called to me and they had an “Easy” rating, so I went ahead and dived in.

Side note – Burda no longer offers a US-only version of the Burda Style magazine.  They still produce an international English language version.  They also have an excellent website, where you can choose from a large selection of PDF patterns.  The pants pattern from my magazine is there, and can be downloaded for $5.99.

I have so much to say about the Burda Style magazine process that I am splitting this project into two posts.  Part 2 will feature the pants and my thoughts on construction.

There is quite a difference between Burda and what I am used to.  Here are the steps you go through to get from magazine to finished product.

burdapaper - 1
This might take a while.
  1. Determine your European pattern size by comparing your measurements to the table in the instructions section.
  2. Find your pattern in the instructions section.  Be careful: there are going to be several garments that share pattern pieces, so make sure you are looking at the right one.  The pant front and back pieces were used in at least 3 other sets of instructions.
  3. Read the instructions carefully.  Here you will find fabric layouts, fabric suggestions, and notion lists.  You will also find a list of pattern piece numbers and the letter (A,B,C,D) corresponding to their page in the pull-out.
  4. The pull-out consists of 2 large sheets printed front and back.  Like most multi-size patterns, each size has its own line style.  Unlike most patterns, groups of pieces that go together are printed in one color.  Other groupings are printed on the same page in their own color.  There is so much going on in the sheets, you may find it helpful to use a highlighter to trace just the lines you need.
  5. Once you located your pieces, trace them onto your own paper.  Transfer all of the grainline arrows, notches, etc.  Leave some extra room.
  6. Add your desired seam allowance around the edge of the traced pieces.
  7. If there are rectangular pieces in the garment, they will not have printed pattern outlines.  You will have to measure and cut them or make a pattern piece. Strangely, the measurements given for the rectangles include a 5/8 seam allowance.
  8. Cut out the pieces and start assembly. Again, read carefully.  There are no illustrations in the pattern instructions.

From here, it actually was easy to sew.

So, would I do another pattern like this?  Sure.  It was a good value and I really like the style. But this time I would be going in with my eyes open. A similar pattern with step by step illustrated instructions would obviously be easier and faster.  Still, Burda has a lot of styles that can’t be found anywhere else.  If I keep pushing myself out of my comfort zone, maybe one day I will be brave enough to try Marfy.

Continue to Part 2

 

General · Useful Thing

20 Ways to Use Your Scraps

While I wait for a replacement for my leaky iron, I’ve been thinking about how to use what I already have.  Lately I have been pondering what to do with my scraps.

You can always use your scraps to practice on, or rip into strips to tie up your tomatoes. But you love that pattern!  Every time you see it in your stash you sigh and put it back.  It’s just too small.  Or is it?

Here are some things to do with that piece that you may not have thought of:

  1. Bias tape
  2. Quilt squares
  3. Pocket linings
  4. Facings
  5. Doll clothes
  6. Covered buttons
  7. Multi-colored projects
  8. Accent stripes
  9. Color blocking and piecing
  10. Contrast welting
  11. Headbands, barrettes, bows
  12. Luggage tags
  13. Pattern weights
  14. Applique
  15. Patches
  16. Baby clothes
  17. Patches
  18. Napkins  (assemble a mixed set)
  19. Small bags (coin purses, earphone case, etc.)
  20. Sachets for your drawers

Of course, these are just a few possibilities.  What do you do with your scraps?

 

 

Fashion · Whimsy

Walk the Dog Raglan Tee

Planning Time
Planning is fun!

Last week, my serger died.  Let’s pause a moment and mourn its passing.

Thank you.

So I got a new one!  And this serger has a lot more bells and whistles.  Welcome to the workshop Singer 14T968DC!  The new machine can do the functions of the old serger, a Simplicity 4-thread overlock. But the new one can be converted to work as a cover-stitch machine as well.  I have been giddy to try everything since I got it out of the box.  I already had several knitwear projects cut and ready to sew, so I will be able to create useful things as I learn.

First up is a simple raglan tee.  I used McCall’s pattern M7286 (rating Easy), but any favorite raglan pattern would do.  I have always been drawn to bright red clothes and anything with high contrast and color blocking.  Something about that sharp, vivid combination of black and white with any bright color really puts me in a great mood.  So when I saw the “Where’s Fido” pattern, I immediately thought about pairing it with blocks of black or red.  Plus, the dogs in the pattern are so whimsical and cute – how could I resist?

I considered black accents, but in the end, I cut out a red neckband and short red sleeves to go with the patterned front and back.

I have been using my duct tape double to test fit clothes as I go.  I’m glad I did. On the model, I could see that the shape was a little boxier than I usually like.  I pinned some darts into the back and it looked much better.  Since the top is so casual that it could even serve as sleepwear, I chose to leave it loose and boxy.  But before I took the pins out, I made new pattern pieces for the back and front. I reduced the back by the area pinched out by the darts.  I lengthened the side seam on the front to match the new back piece. Then I traced the new pieces onto swedish tracing paper, cut them out, and put them with the rest of the (tissue) pattern pieces.  The next time I make this raglan, I will have a choice between a straight or fitted version.

Now that I have the coverstitch machine, I wish I had cut the bottom straight across. Then I could have done a completely ready-to-wear hem finish.  The shaped hemline seemed like it would be better suited to a zigzagged narrow hem though.  So I will save the coverstitch for a future project.

 

It turned out so cute, I can hardly believe it.  If only my dog had a matching leash and collar…

(getting out markers) Hmmm….

 

Fashion

Drape Neck Summer Sweater

olivefabric
I knew this knit fabric had possibilities the minute before I impulse-bought it.

My top started with a look at my fabric stash.  I have had this piece of deep olive knit for years.  It’s a thin knit which drapes well, but still is opaque enough not to need lining.  I remember a younger, more foolish me standing at the remnant table thinking “I know it’s only a yard, but it’s so pretty…  I’ll think of something!”  It’s about time I proved to myself I know thing or two about using foolish fabric purchases. Game on!

One of my go-to tops is a sleeveless pullover made of a similar weight sweater knit.  I wondered if I could use it as a model.

Red and Black Stripe Top
I used this top as inspiration for my project.

Preparing the pieces took some patience.  It was hard to keep the knit from stretching while cutting and marking. For a marking tool, I used a yellow chalk wheel. It made nice, clear marks without pulling the fabric.

While I wanted to serge as much as possible, I did not have matching thread.  I knew any dark neutral would work for the side seams, since darker colors tend to recede into the background.  But the thread used to hem the neck, bottom and sleeves would be visible on the front, so I opted to use my regular machine and my single matching spool for the hems and the tucks.  I used plain black in the serger loopers and moved the matching spool to the serger’s right needle position. I serged the sides, shoulders and the raw edge of the cowl with a three thread overlock seam.

Again, I seem to have chosen a tricky fabric.  I had to pull out all of my tricks to keep the sewing machine from swallowing it.  In the end, I laid a scrap of tear-away stabilizer under the knit to get my seams started.

m6078line
View B was similar to the inspiration top and required less than a yard.

Once I worked out the machine setup issues, the top went together quickly.  I made one small addition to the pattern instructions, stabilizing the shoulder seams with stay-tape.

I would definitely make this top again.  Any solid color, abstract pattern, or even stripes would look great with it.  I would probably go with an easier fabric, but I *think* the second time would be faster even if I didn’t.

I can’t wait to wear this!  It looks good by itself or under an unbuttoned jacket.  It can be paired with jeans for a casual look, but is also completely appropriate as work wear.

Summer, here we come!

IMG_3223
TIP: You don’t have to thread the serger with a row of matching cones. Here I have threaded the right needle with an all-purpose polyester thread.
Olive drape neck top front
The finished top looks great!
IMG_3229
Nothing fancy, just a nice, plain back.