Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Sewing shorts - Zipper fly, baggy crotch, long crotch, tight butt and other alteration issues

I decided when it comes to jeans (or medium weight woven) bottoms to start with shorts instead of pants, This way if it did not fit right I would save fabric and money. Smart thinking on my part. This blog post will show my experience with my first and second ever pair of shorts, the problems I found, the fixes I discovered, and where I am for next time. Hopefully it helps someone else.

To kick things off I decided to start with McCall's pattern 7165 view A.

For my first go-around I decided to just complete the pattern as-is. No adjustments, just to see how it would end up fitting on me.

Of course, never having done shorts with a zipper fly I had to pause there to figure it out. My McCall's book for beginner sewers had completely different instructions than what came with the pattern. Then, when I looked online, people has additional different ways on how to do it. I was so confused. I decided to just do what the pattern called for. 

After basting the front pieces together, with the wrong side of the shorts facing me, I placed the zipper facing up under the left side of the fly. The fly is folded along the fold line. Here I used the zipper foot to sew it to the fly. The top of the fly sticks up past the top of the shorts. Eventually the part sticking up will be hidden in the waistband.

Once the zipper is sewn to the left side you flip it over facedown. The zipper should land in the center. The zipper edge will not line up with the right edge of the right fly. Here I sewed the zipper to the right fly.

That's really it. I didn't have much of a problem with making the mock fly zipper. I can get into more details on my next pair of shorts if requested.

Of course when I was making these I was not thinking of how hard some of the stuff I would be talking about would beto see in photos. These are the shorts. From a distance they are no too terrible. Honestly I was just happy they fit around my waist and my legs could go through them.

Look at all that extra fabric in the crotch area though! Talk about baggy crotch problems! The crotch of the shorts was about an inch or two lower than it should have been. 

The back was a little too baggy. No butt profile at all. Definitely mom shorts. But I'm not even a mom! Haha. Other than that the back fit wasn't too bad. Much better than the front.

Because the fabric is black this photo isn't much help. But not too bad. Just a little looser than I would prefer.

I have to do something about all this fabric.... So what do I do? I had no clue at the time. Internet research to the rescue!!

These are the websites/blogs that helped me out the most:
Lladybird's blog post on trouser fitting.
This picture from afashionablestitch.com
The Colette patterns pants fitting cheatsheet

I can't recommend them highly enough and probably would just be wearing super baggy pants and shorts if it wasn't for their help.

So for my next pair of shorts I knew I needed to shorten the crotch and adjust the crotch shape. Since this was my first time doing it I had to eyeball and guess how much (because I still have no idea how to measure myself on this stuff...)

Can you see where I folded the pattern? I ended up taking out one inch of fabric. I did this to both the front and the back pieces. I did this where the pattern said lengthen/shorten here. This will shorten my crotch line. Then, where you see the blue ink is where I adjusted the crotch curve. I put an arrow to the thick line that I ended up using. I decided to not go as aggressive as I originally drew the line.

My second pair! Not perfect, but sooo much better in the front than the last pair! I don't look like I'm reserving room for anatomy parts I don't have... Plus the crotch doesn't hang down ridiculously.

Side view is also much better. It doesn't just go straight down in the back. I actually have a profile.

The back is a tad too tight. It is wearable, I don't think I'll bust the seams. But on my next pair I'll add just a touch to the back crotch line.

It's so nice to be able to make my own shorts!

I'm thinking my third pair will be near perfect. I just need to go to the store and get more fabric. I still don't feel comfortable cutting into my nice organic cotton. I'll do one more purchase of the cheap stuff for shorts #3 and will let you know how it goes!

Saturday, April 2, 2016

I have Peg Legs! (otherwise known as leggings)

Somehow randomly surfing the internet I came across this company called Patterns for Pirates. They also call themselves P4P. They have some very cute patterns at affordable prices. I notice most patterns (maybe all?) are for knit fabrics. They were doing a special on their Peg Leg pattern and I was able to get it for free. What better way to try a new company and pattern?

This was my first time printing a pattern off of the internet. It takes some work to piece it together. I wasn't a huge fan of having to do this. But for this simple pattern I can't say it was all that difficult. Maybe if I wasn't sitting on the couch and watching TV it would have been easier... After printing and piecing I used my regular scissors to cut it to my size before laying it on the fabric for cutting.

Being new to online patterns and printing I was lost when the waistband didn't have a pattern piece. Turns out I had to make that on my own. Not that it was hard. But for a minute I thought the download was wrong or I was missing a page.

I don't know why I always seem to lay the pattern wrong size together when I go to cut. It's a bad habit. But luckily it doesn't change the results. I just risk getting it all dirty.

Do you notice the wrong size showing because of the terrible cut job on top? Yeah, I am mad at Joann's Fabrics for that one. They shouldn't allow that to happen. Luckily I didn't need that missing piece of fabric for the pattern. The fabric though I do like. It is Nicole Miller's Rayon-Spandex Fabric-Feathers Black. It is 94% rayon and 6% spandex.

This pattern calls for 50% 4-way stretch fabric. They say if you have at least 5% spandex you should be okay.

I wear a size 10 US and ended up cutting a size Large for the pattern.

The pattern comes with lengths for shorties, bike, capri, and full length. I obviously went to the ankle. I've heard people have made shorties as bathing suit bottoms.

I did make one edit to the pattern. Instead of a 7" waistband I made a 9" waistband. I wanted it a little higher on my belly to hold the fat in :)

I look so angry in this last photo.

I can see myself wearing these all of the time. They are so comfy. And there are so many fabrics I can find that work. The other good thing is, at least for my size, I can make these out of 1 yard of fabric. Now off to find a good pattern to make a top to go with these. My RTW shirt isn't cutting it.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Cotton Lawn Tunic

With all these tunic posts I've been coming across lately I decided to see what all of the fuss is about and make one for myself.

I opted for Simplicity 1461 view D. It is offered in misses' and plus sizes. I love the length of tunics and am already thinking about others I can make.

I need to look up reviews for A, B, and C because they just seem like they would be really revealing...

I love how this pattern has different pattern pieces for bust sizes. I'm lucky and rarely need bust adjustments on patterns. But for those who need to make adjustments all of the time this can be very time saving.

I do unfortunately still need to make adjustments for my hips. So I sewed my standard size 12 top and graded to a size 14 for my hips.

I love the fabric I used. It is called The Hit Parade Lawns Unicorn Hunt Orange and you can find it at Fabric.com. It is a combed 100% cotton lawn.

The only thing I would do differently is fix the placement of the unicorn. I really did not mean for it to end up on my stomach. Lower left/right would have been better. But oh well. 

Cotton lawn does wrinkle easily. I did iron it before the pictures. Me iron? I know, shocking. But I did. But after sitting it looks like this. Probably won't be a top I put in my suitcase for my cruise...

The sleeves were simple and turned out well. On these I did purposely place the unicorn on them.

This is the stitching looking at it inside out. I do like how on the tunics they are stitched a second time about an inch or so in. Not only does it give the top a higher end look, it keeps that darn interfacing from being able to pop out.

Overall I really like the top. I think next time I will try it with higher end soft material like a silk or something. I'll have to do some more peaking around blogs to get ideas. It is definitely a pattern I'll keep around.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Simplicity 2372 - A work top

I still need more tops for work. This one seemed easy, boy was I in for a surprise.

I decided to try Simplicity 2372 view C.

I should have noticed all of the pleats. The ones at the top were fine, I think I have those down okay. But they also have them on the sleeves. And darts on the sleeves. Also, although you can see it if you look closely, the front and back total 4 pieces, not 2 like I expected. A lot of things for a newbie like me. It made for a longer process than expected.

The fabric I used is called Whitecap Gray Floral Printed Silk Crepe de Chine and I bought it from Mood Fabrics online. Sadly, it is now sold out. But it is on their website still, maybe they will restock?

I did pre-wash the fabric in my washing machine with cold water. Mood recommends dry cleaning all silk fabrics but, ain't nobody got time for that.

If you look at the front you can see it pulls up in the middle. Yep, that's because I failed to line up the bottom when I connected the front right with the front left. If this would have been one piece it never would have happened. Luckily though when I'm moving around and wearing it it's only noticeable if you're looking for it.

I lined up the back better than the front. It's just wrinkled. There I am being lazy with the ironing again.

All that time spent making the pleats and with this fabric it is barely noticeable. If I were to do it again I would skip pleating the sleeves for sure. Might even skip pleating the front too. To me it just makes it seem wrinkled. 

Overall I do like the shirt. Even with my screw up in the front. But I doubt I would ever make it again. There are other tops I've made that were easier that I would wear just as often. But of course I'll keep the pattern around, because maybe once I have more sewing under my belt I'll think this was easy.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Tank top time!

I made this a week or so ago but life got busy and I could never blog about it. The weather warmed up here and got me ready for the warmer weather.

I decided to attempt McCall's M6751.

The model is super cute in it so I looked forward to the end result. I tried finding a similar colored cotton fabric but nothing really stood out to me at the store. I ended up finding a cotton fabric at Joann's. The fabric is called Burnout Cotton Fabric-Packed Floral Multi and is 100% cotton. It was see-through so I lined it with a plain white cotton (basically I cut out two identical tops using each fabric and sewed them together).

I cut a size 12 and graded it out to a 14 for my hips. I also added 1" in length because it seemed short on the model and I know I couldn't pull it off.

And the result?

I apologize for my hair. I've been lazy with it lately. I should have put it up like the model...

The front neckline does not lay flat. It isn't bad but can be noticeable. Not sure if this was my fault or the way the pattern is done.

The back is where I am most disappointed. The hole is right where your bra strap is. I am not one to be able to go braless. Not sure what to do about this. Any suggestions?

Even adding an inch my belly still shows when I raise my arms. Something you might want to think about if you're making this top.

With the exception of my bra showing in the back it's not a bad top. It is comfortable, easy to move around in, and good for warm weather.

Taking a look at my top now and the model's I see her straps are smaller. I might go back and make mine smaller as well. But it won't fix the bra hole :(

Monday, February 29, 2016

Super SIMPLE knit dress!

This dress and pattern is PERFECT for beginners. A very easy and quick sew. A good way to practice with knits.

It's also perfect for you advanced sewers. Why? Because it is a comfy knit dress of course!

The pattern I used was Simplicity 1358. I had intended to use view B but ended up using view C. This happened because I obviously don't know how to count and did not have enough fabric to make view B. I debated on ordering more fabric but decided I couldn't be patient and went with the shorter dress.

The dress only took a couple hours to sew up. Luckily for me my mom is letting me borrow her sewing machine until I can buy a better one so I actually could use a stretch stitch.

And here is the dress..

I love the fabric, It is very bright colors. Perfect for spring and summer. Right now it's warm enough to wear during the day, just not mornings or evenings. But soon I can wear it regularly. And I will.

The fabric is called Aqua Green Peacock-Inspired Polyester Jersey Knit and I got it from Mood Fabrics.

I used a size 12 pattern and cut it out to a size 14 for my hips. No other modifications were made. 

And because it is knit it is super easy to bend down and stretch while wearing.

Yep. I have backyard chickens. Because, why not? These are my two girls. They are terrific. Raised them from babies. Fresh eggs from free range hens.

Mmmm fresh eggs...

And because this is a sewing blog, not a backyard chicken blog. One more shot of the dress..

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Simplicity 1363

My plan was to create the perfect nautical themed outfit. The sailor pants I attempted to make were supposed to be the bottoms. This was supposed to be the top. I have to get the pants to fit because I love this top. Super comfortable!

So the pattern I used for the top was Simplicity 1363 view D.

It says "easy to sew" but I would have to disagree. How to make the neck band is like a foreign language to me. I could not figure out what the heck Simplicity wanted me to do. I started an online search to find other bloggers who may have made it to see what they said. Well, I'm happy to report I'm not the only one who had problems with this pattern. Seems a lot of people made it up as they went. So that's exactly what I did.

For the neck band I just put it right sides together raw edges even then sewed 3/8". Then I understitched. It seems to have worked fine.

And the result?

I know it's crooked on the bottom on this picture, but I promise it does really lay straight :)

The fabric I used was Chagall Crepe de Chine Scrolls Navy/Creme, which I bought at fabric.com. The fabric is lightweight, almost opaque, and very soft and comfortable. The only negative is it is 100% polyester.

The back of this pattern has a button closure. But it is loose enough that I can easily pull it on and off.

I'm already pear shaped so I think this might influence it more. Probably not the best thing for me. But I still like it.

And this is the reason why I wanted this top for my sailor pants. Short in the front to show off the cute front of the pants.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

My first pants!

I have finally attempted my first pair of pants! My inspiration for these pants came from Erica Bunker and her blog post here. The second I saw them I knew I wanted the pattern to make a pair of my own. The next day I went out and got it.

The pattern is Simplicity 8058. I just love everything nautical. This is a good way to get it without overdoing it.

So, I did go to the store and picked up the pattern the very next day. Where I messed up was grabbing the size pattern I usually get for tops (size 12). Well, I'm definitely not a 12 in pants. I'm not even sure what size I am, probably an 18.

Once I had the pattern I knew I would have to add width to it. So I carefully measured out to a size 18 and marked the pattern (or the fabric) to make up for the size. And of course, made a muslin to try out.

I tried on the muslin (without a zipper) and it seemed to fit fine. This is cotton and my actual fabric is ponte knit so I knew I would have extra stretch in the real pair. I figured I was good to go and make my pants.

So once again, I carefully marked out the pattern to a size 18 using navy blue ponte knit I bought at Joann's

It took me days but I worked my way through the instructions. Somehow I managed to sew the pockets closed. WTF did I do? I have no clue. I made tons of pockets on all those pajamas I made...

And the final result? Well, you won't see me modeling them for you. They don't fit. I'm so sad, because I love them so much. They are just barely too small. Something went wrong somewhere. Or, I just picked the wrong size. I can get the zipper halfway up, but not all the way. Time to lose some weight! And now I have just another reason to do it.

But I did finish them. So here are some poor lighting indoor shots for you (sorry).

That was my first time ever dealing with a zipper. Not even back in high school did I attempt one in my sewing class. It's not perfect. But the pants are wearable, if I could only fit into them.

Sorry the picture is sideways. The blog I use doesn't have cropping or editing features for images. The zipper top is supposed to be tucked between the layers but it slipped out when I was sewing and I didn't notice until it was too late.

So those are my pants. If ever I fit into them I will be sure to add some pictures of me wearing them.