Saturday, July 29, 2017

Birthday Gifts for Twinsies

So my twin Little People will have a birthday soon and, as per tradition, they each asked me to sew a special something for them. They both love jackets and so each went through my patterns and found something they thought they would like. One of them adores my floral bomber but wanted something a little more flashy. The other one wanted a tough moto-jacket.

For the bomber, I used my trusted Jalie 3675 Charlie jacket. For the moto-jacket, I used an Ottobre pattern from 2016 (it’s 04-2016 #29 in size 140).

Since The Cousin was in town, she got to try on the jackets and be the model for the day. The twinsies still haven’t seen these but I need to wrap them before they find them. The Cousin is about the same size as the twins so she’s the perfect model.

I used a lace overlay with no stretch and put it on top of a black wool. The back is just the black wool. I figured that it needed some stretch so I didn’t do the flashy red, lace, sequin fabric on the back.

I attached this red lace to the wool by topstitching the woven with red thread.

One thing I wanted to show people is how  made a zipper stop. When you use a metal zipper you can take off and reposition the metal stopper. When you use a plastic zipper, you can’t really move the stopper without breaking it off. So, instead, I used the skinny zigzag on my machine. I made it fit in the area between the zipper teeth and the edge of the fabric. Then I reversed once or twice to make a hump.

Next I made this Ottobre moto jacket. I really like how it turned out. It took me a LOT of time with the padded, quilted arm patches, shiny bling, topstitching, and the waistband. I used a sweatshirt fleece with zero stretch. It’s really cozy on the inside though.

So much topstitching on this. I used a light violet and did my triple stitch so it would really show up.

The inside of the elbow has a piece of Warm and Natural and another piece of the main fabric.

I used a sew-on snap on the collar.

I love how the inside is finished on this jacket. The deep hem is folded up and topstitched.

I really, really, really like how this jacket turned out. I’m really excited! I hope they love their jackets as much as I loved making them.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

This is FREAKING Amazing!

You guys!!!!! I’ve been working on fit, I’ve been on a mission lately. Then I saw Kelly’s post about making your own dress form. I’ve always wanted one and would have sprung for a moderately-priced one but I always worried that, with my long torso and that length being between my neck and bust, a standard one would not fit me.

So, this baby took me the last three days which is a LONG TIME for me. I was super precise with the seam allowances, the curve clipping, the stay stitching, etc. I worked hard on this and I was rewarded with something I can really use. This pattern is really cool actually. You put your measurements in and they send you a customized pattern. I made sure to input the Fit Adjustments because that is where my bust/torso issues could be resolved. You even get to choose how prominent your butt is and the slope of your shoulders.

First, the insides. Like I said, I spend a lot of time on this. The instructions are very thorough and thank goodness, because this would be confusing without good directions.


First you make the shell and then you make this thing below. You put this inside the shell and it connects at CF and CB. Then you stuff each side with A LOT of batting. I mean, A LOT. I used up one and a half bags of my own batting and then I went to Goodwill and and I bought three more bags. I used two and a half of those bags. So, essentially, this is what I would look like if you sliced my torso in half. Look at that booty (I chose the Curvy option).

And here she is! It’s supposed to be in a stand, obviously. I like this vase option, but it (she?) spins in the vase so I will have to do something about that if I keep it (her?) in that.

You use cardboard in the armhole and the base. In the neck, you use a large sponge that you carve into a cylindrical shape. I couldn’t find a sponge that large so I used three regular-sized kitchen sponges and stacked them.

I will probably put a bra on it (her?) for a more realistic shape.

I used a regular quilting cotton and a thick fusible interfacing. This would be totally fun in a bright floral. This would also be awesome if you were sewing for someone that is far away.

I did have one fitting issue with it. I measured my Low Hip and it was 37”. When I measured the hips here, they measured 39.5” so I’m not sure what happened. You can see how pointy the sides of the hips are here.

Here’s a close-up of the pointiness. I don’t think anyone has a hip like this. Anyway, I pulled out part of the stuffing, and pinched the pointy part from the inside. On the outside, I whip stitched a new seam that “cut off” the points. That’s why in the top pictures, you can see that there is some bumpiness in the hip area. It’s because it’s hard to hold tight fabric with one hand and sew with the other. There was NO WAY I was going to unstuff the whole thing (her?) and then turn it (her?) inside-out and sew that again.

For funsies, I put on one of my shirts. One of my main issues is a major swayback. This t-shirt fits it* (her?) just like it fits me. I’m hoping this dressform is going to really help me get fit right!

Look at that pooling! I get that too.

*I feel weird calling it, it, when it is my body double.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Clothes Making Mavens Podcast

Hey guys! Do you even wonder what people sound like? When I’m reading someone’s blog, I often wonder what that person sounds like or acts like in real life. Anyway, here’s your chance to hear me (and I totally think I don’t sound like myself). Lori from Frivolous At Last and Helena from Gray All Day interviewed me about activewear and sewing in general (you will also get to hear me talk about my recent black bear encounters, how I go to sleep at night, my favorite pattern companies, and my tips for sewing with knits). The podcast is at Clothes Making Mavens. Hope you enjoy it!


Friday, July 21, 2017

Hey Fishy, Fishy

If you’ve spent much time reading my blog, you know we are into game meat and fish. We spend the fall hunting moose, caribou, and bison (yes, really, we have some in Alaska) and summer collecting up delicious fishies. We just wrapped up commercial fishing. You know that “Alaskan Sockeye Salmon” you buy at Costco? Well, that very well could have come from our nets. Of course, there are lots of commercial fishing operations and we are a tiny one. This year we hope to break even. Most years we lose money fishing. We treat it more as a fun family vacation where there is a lot of hard work. I do these wrap-up posts most years and you can read more about the fishing here (2016, 2014, 2013, 2012). This year I seem to have no actual fish pictures. Oops.

This is our little creek that flows behind the cabins. This year, a busy beave dammed up the bottom of our creek so the level was really high.

Usually we can hop over this creek, but not this year. It made for lots of fun though.

Before I left town, I made lots of headbands for beach breezes. It usually isn’t cold but there is an almost-constant breeze. It’s the ultimate easy project. One rectangle and two stitches, no hemming. Let me know if you want me to share the dimensions and the super hard sewing directions.

Our poor dog had a porcupine encountered. Luckily it was only two quills and they weren’t embedded all that deeply. They were scarily close to her eyeball though. We pulled them out with pliers.

My son did a Cook Inlet mud walk to get our dinner for the night, a couple of pinks (DELICIOUS before they are frozen), a chum, and a silver. He’s looking a lot more teenager, isn’t he?

It was warm enough that they could float down another creek on floaties. This creek is much colder than our creek.

This is the night we got back to town. The cat wasn’t even alone much, but she was so, so, so, so, SO happy we were home.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Ottobre 02-2017 #11 T-Shirt Dress

Usually I’m the queen of casual knit clothing or activewear. Lately, though, I’ve been really into fit and getting the fit right. As I make my journey through my 40s, my body seems to be changing. While my weight hasn’t really fluctuated much (I always go up and down about five pounds), the shape of body body has been changing. My calves have gotten larger over time (weird?) and my big ol’ booty seems to be getting lower? Larger? More prominent? Not by much, mind you, but enough that I notice when I’m making something or fitting something. So, this is still casual wear and it’s still a knit, but I’m trying to get the fit right and that includes my swayback and my baggy back thighs I get when pants fitting.  I’m going to do this, people.

So the pattern is a t-shirt dress. Simple and straight forward. The pattern is a t-shirt dress with a one-piece front and back. I knew I would need a swayback adjustment because that’s one of my fitting challenges. The gray/white version was the first version. I cut the back as two pieces and did a small 1/2” swayback alteration. Other than that, I left the pattern alone. Well, I take that back. I added one inch above the bodice because I’d do that on all patterns (pretty much).

Here’s the side view although I’m not completely turned in the gray/black version. Oops. My second version is the black/gray version. On this one I made another swayback alteration of 1/2”. I also slightly narrowed it through the waist and gave myself a tiny bit more room in the hips. I found that one the gray/white version, I felt like the skirt portion was getting caught up on my hips and it would pull up slightly as I walked. I also lengthened the hem by two inches and pegged it by several inches at the bottom. I felt like that gave me a better silhouette than just ending at the widest part of my hips. You can see in both dresses I’ve got some pooling above my butt. More swayback alteration needed!!

Okay, I swear that the gray/black one fits better for real in the back. But in this picture, it looks worse. I am going to make this again and take one more swayback wedge out further up my back. See how the gray/white one is tight on my hips?

Here you can see the differences a little better.

Why so much work on a simple t-shirt dress? It’s a great wardrobe staple and I’ve always one that fit well. I think these are the quintessential travel/work/casual outfits. You can wear them with flats, boots, tennies, anything.

Here are the changes I made for future reference (for me!):

Version #1 (white and gray)

  1. Add 1” above the bodice.
  2. Cut back as two pieces and do 1/2” swayback adjustment.

Version #2 (black and gray)

  1. Add 1” above the bodice.
  2. Cut back as two pieces and do TWO 1/2” sway back adjustments.
  3. Narrow the waist about 1/2” on each side.
  4. Add about 1/4” on each side for hip room.
  5. Add 3” to hem.
  6. Taper hem by 2” on each side (for a total of 4” total circumference).

These are the same fabrics. They are a thin, cotton knit. There is not much stretch across the grain and none with the grain. I wanted that on purpose because I actually wanted a good fit and not to rely on the stretch to get a good fit. I also have this in two other colorways. Yes, I horde fabric. :)

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Sexy Ottobre for Me!

Back in 2010 (I’ve been blogging for that long??!?), I traced this out. Back then I didn’t have a coverstitch binding attachment and I was never happy with how binding turned out when I did it with my regular sewing machine. I loved the pattern but wanted to wait until I was better with the binding stuff. So I folded it up, stuck it in the magazine, and then forgot about it. For Seven. Years. Holy cripes! Well, I was organizing my Ottobre issues the other day and came across it again. Since I’m much better at “that binding stuff” now, I decided to attempt it. I still love it as much now as I did back then. And actually, with some layers of fabric, or cups or something, and some length, this would be a cute summer dress.

This is the picture in the magazine. Cute? Right??

My version is much racier and not suitable for an “on the hoof” photoshoot. The front is gathered with clear elastic.

When I bought this from, I think it was called “knit chiffon”. It’s a very sheer knit and I never really knew how to use it before this. Surprisingly, it takes a cover stitch well and sews up easily.

I used my cover stitch binding attachment for the straps. I bartacked all the high stress areas. I've found that one of the best fabrics for the binding attachment is double knit. This is the remnants of double knit and I had long ago cut it into strips for my binder. I do that with any knits I think will work well in my binder. I cut them into strips and put them in my drawer, then they are ready to go when I am.

I LOVE the back.

Needless to say, husband is definitely a big fan of this too.

Oh, and the details. This is from the 05/2009 Ottobre Woman’s magazine. It is design #1 and I traced out size 36. I had traced it off in a completely different way than I currently do them. It was interesting to see how much things have changed in ten years!