Category Archives: Sewing

A Long Overdue Gift: Men’s Simplicity 1544 in Flannel

Standard
A Long Overdue Gift:  Men’s Simplicity 1544 in Flannel

I am so happy to report that this flannel shirt, which was supposed to be a Christmas present in 2017, is finally finished!  It took awhile, but I’m really happy with the final result.

Men's Simplicity 1544 in Flannel

l

Men's Simplicity 1544 in Flannel

My husband picked out this buffalo plaid Mammoth Flannel by Robert Kaufman Fabrics in 2017, and we decided to pair it with the Thread Theory Fairfield Button-up Shirt.  The Fairfield is a slim-fitting dress shirt, which should have been a clue about how my initial tests would go.  What my husband wanted was a loose-fitting, casual flannel shirt.  We really like Thread Theory Patterns, which is why we tried the Fairfield, but after two muslins (test garments), it just wasn’t working out.  I made muslin #1 too big.  Muslin #2 was a great fit…for a slim-fitting dress shirt, which is exactly what that pattern is for.  What it is not is a loose and boxy casual button up.  After two muslins, I put the pattern away for a year.  I needed a break.

This past fall/winter, I decided to try again.  I bought Simplicity 1544, which is the men’s version of my own favorite button up pattern, Simplicity 1538.  I took my husband’s measurements, which put him in a size 44.  I cut out a straight 44 for him (View A without the back tab), and decided to throw caution to the wind and skip the muslin.  I really hate making muslins despite the fact that I’m always glad when I do.  After two, I just decided I was going for it and if it didn’t work out, we could find someone else to give it to.  It was time.

Men's Simplicity 1544 in Flannel

l

Men's Simplicity 1544 in Flannel

I took a lot of time and care in cutting this shirt out.  The blocks of color in this plaid are more rectangular than square, so there are some areas that I couldn’t make symmetrical, specifically the back yoke, which I put on the bias, but overall, it worked out great.

Men's Simplicity 1544 in Flannel

I love contrast, so I used the bias as my contrast, in a sense, putting it on the yoke, the front placket, the pocket, cuffs, and cuff placket.

Men's Simplicity 1544 in Flannel

l

Men's Simplicity 1544 in Flannel

I tried to match the plaid horizontally across the front of the shirt, the back, and across the sleeves.

Men's Simplicity 1544 in Flannel

I was even careful to have the shirt’s hemmed edge fall at the bottom of a repeat (this was mostly successful).

Men's Simplicity 1544 in Flannel

And tried to have a dividing line of the plaid down the back center of the collar and collar stand.

Men's Simplicity 1544 in Flannel

l

Men's Simplicity 1544 in Flannel

Some parts of the insides are not finished as well as I would like.  I zigzagged any seam allowances (sides and sleeves) that weren’t encased like the yoke and cuffs.  French seams would have been bulky, and I really didn’t think ahead enough to do flat-felled seams.  Luckily, my husband doesn’t care, which means I don’t either!  (Mostly.)

Men's Simplicity 1544 in Flannel

The yoke, placket, and cuffs, however, are satisfyingly finished.

Men's Simplicity 1544 in Flannel

And the topstitching is a really nice detail.

Men's Simplicity 1544 in Flannel

I was surprised at how much I enjoyed sewing this pattern.  I shouldn’t have been–I really like making button up shirts, but after taking such a long time to get to the sewing part of this project, I wasn’t really thinking about how I would feel while sewing.  Happily, I loved it.  The directions for this pattern are clear and well-written, and I loved seeing all my careful cutting come together is a beautifully matched shirt.  The icing on the cake was that this was exactly the fit my husband was looking for.  It’s the perfect casual flannel shirt for him.  This pattern is going to be my go-to if I make him any other casual shirts.

Men's Simplicity 1544 in Flannel

l

Men's Simplicity 1544 in Flannel

l

Men's Simplicity 1544 in Flannel

As far as the fabric, my love of Robert Kaufman’s Mammoth Flannel is pretty well documented (here’s my Mammoth flannel version of Simplicity 1538), and this is no exception.  When you buy it, it feels a little on the thin side, but as soon as you wash it, it fluffs up to be nice and substantial, with no real right or wrong side.  I like Robert Kaufman fabrics in general because there is a huge variety of substrates and styles, lots of shops carry Robert Kaufman fabric, and it’s both good quality and affordable.  This fabric and the Fairfield Shirt pattern came from Pintuck & Purl (of course) and the Simplicity pattern came from Joann’s, as did interfacing and thread.  The buttons were given to me by a friend.  They are basic black buttons, but are a perfect match.  I made sure to put a few on the inside of the placket in case any of the main ones fall off.

Men's Simplicity 1544 in Flannel

So that’s it!  Despite being finished toward the end of winter, this shirt has gotten a lot of wear.  I love how it looks on my husband, and I think he likes it too.  🙂

Men's Simplicity 1544 in Flannel

Advertisements

Jutland Pants for Me in Yellow Corduroy

Standard
Jutland Pants for Me in Yellow Corduroy

It’s finally spring!  I’m so ready for it, but before I start digging into spring projects, I have some winter garments to talk about on the blog.  One of those garments is a pair of Jutland Pants for me in yellow corduroy.

The Jutland Pants are a men’s pants pattern by Thread Theory.  I’ve made a few pairs for my husband (here and here), but they also miraculously fit me (see my first pair and my cutoffs).  And, like any good pair of boyfriend jeans, they are loose and comfy.

Jutland Pants for Me in Yellow Corduroy

l

Jutland Pants for Me in Yellow Corduroy

This time around, I had to trace a new size, but I was in the middle of two sizes, so I tried to trace right in between the size lines on the pattern sheet.  I’m always afraid of making things too small, so I tend to err on the side of bigger rather than smaller.  With this iteration of the Jutland Pants, I think I went just a little too big.  The pants, which are SO comfortable, are also super loose, and definitely a bit bigger than they should be.  You can kind of see below that there is a bit extra in the waistband.

Jutland Pants for Me in Yellow Corduroy

When I first put them on, the waistband really stood away from my body at the back, so I put in a few darts after they were otherwise finished.  I tried to line up the waistband darts I was creating with the darts that were already in the back.

Jutland Pants for Me in Yellow Corduroy

l

Jutland Pants for Me in Yellow Corduroy

I transferred the darts to my pattern piece for the future.  I also came to an important conclusion:  if I’m going to keep making this pattern for myself, it’s time to get serious about making it actually fit me.

Jutland Pants for Me in Yellow Corduroy

l

Jutland Pants for Me in Yellow Corduroy

l

Jutland Pants for Me in Yellow Corduroy

As far as this pair goes, I love them.  I recognize that they don’t look great on me, but they do feel great.  I’m so ready for pants with wider legs.  All that being said, however, I plan to make the next pair a bit smaller and do some real work on the pattern to make it fit me just right.  I’m even researching possible ways to make the waistband adjustable for weight gain or loss (seriously–why is that not standard on all pants?).

Jutland Pants for Me in Yellow Corduroy

l

Jutland Pants for Me in Yellow Corduroy

Here are some details:

I got my pattern and fabric from Pintuck & Purl.  The corduroy (a Christmas present) is a Robert Kaufman corduroy, and the octopus fabric I used for the waistband and pockets is an old Cotton + Steel quilting cotton print.  Other supplies, like bias binding, thread, and interfacing came from Joann Fabrics.

Jutland Pants for Me in Yellow Corduroy

I mainly followed the directions, with the addition of the darts and an extra bar tack at the bottom of the fly.  One weird thing about this pattern is that it creates a small fold at the bottom of the fly, rather than a smooth surface.  Has anyone else experienced this?  Am I missing something?  It never bothers me when I’m wearing it, but it always leaves me nonplussed when I think about it.

I used faux flat-fell and zigzag stitching on the seam allowances inside to finish my seams, so they aren’t very pretty, but it was quick.  There is provision in the pattern for nice, flat-felled seams if you want them, though.  In order to do that, you should follow the construction order in the pattern.  In future, though, (if I remember), I plan to skip that and construct the front and then the back, like the Ginger Jeans, so I can fit from the side seams before finalizing everything.

Those are my current thoughts on this pattern.  I think my great love for it comes from its comfort and the straight leg shape.  Hopefully I can get it to really work for me.

Jutland Pants for Me in Yellow Corduroy

Craft Fail: Tova Mittens from Upcycled Sweaters

Standard
Craft Fail:  Tova Mittens from Upcycled Sweaters

It’s been awhile since we had a good ol’ Craft Fail on the blog, but this project was a complete and total loss.  I would say that three-quarters of it was my fault–poor fabric choice, and silly mistakes were most of the problem.  I also had some trouble with the directions.

Craft Fail:  Tova Mittens from Fulled Sweaters

I bought this pattern, the Tova Mittens, along with two hat patterns, from Last Stitch during the Black Friday sales.  I was really excited about these patterns (and I still am), partly because it looked like you could use shrunken/upcycled sweaters to make them.

This seemed like a fun way to use up some of my favorite shrunken sweaters, which I save for interesting projects like this.  The intended recipient and I went through and picked out a fun combination of sweater pieces so that I could make mittens that would sort of match in an offbeat way.  I also had a few scraps of sweatshirt material (from this project) that I thought would be perfect for lining.

I think problem number one was the fabric choice.  The shrunken sweaters, specifically the pink sweater, weren’t as stretchy as they probably should have been.  Another VERY IMPORTANT thing that I didn’t pay enough attention to was the right side of that pink sweater fabric.  In its shrunken state, both sides look really cool and could have been used as the right side.  Sadly I wasn’t careful enough when cutting and sewing…and…I MADE TWO LEFT-HANDED MITTENS.  Yes.  I did.  And to ice that cake, (and probably because of it), one of the lining pieces on one of the mittens is the wrong way out.  Bad, bad, and worse.  Also funny…once you stop being mad.

Craft Fail:  Tova Mittens from Fulled Sweaters

l

Craft Fail:  Tova Mittens from Fulled Sweaters

l

Craft Fail:  Tova Mittens from Fulled Sweaters

l

Craft Fail:  Tova Mittens from Fulled Sweaters

l

Craft Fail:  Tova Mittens from Fulled Sweaters

The pattern itself is interesting.  I made the XS size.  The seam allowance is odd if you use Imperial measurements.  For those of us who use inches, it’s 1/5″, which I’ve never seen before, so I just tried to use 1/4″.  I was tracking with the directions until step 5.  I found the picture really confusing.  I ended up sewing the thumb right sides together and then turning it right side out before doing the next step.  Then everything was good until step 8.  I stitched the front and back together with right sides together, which meant that my thumb was on the inside, and I had to be careful not to stitch it.  This is different from the picture (adding to my confusion), but maybe I did step 5 wrong.  I could also see that I was going to have a hole where the thumb joined to the side seam.

Once I got to the cuffs, I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to use the fold line shown on the cuff pattern piece in step 9 or 11.  It wasn’t shown in the picture or mentioned in the directions.  Step 11 was very confusing in general.  Was I supposed to fold in half what I had already done or fold half the cuff up so the seam was enclosed?  It didn’t end up mattering, because the cuff I had made was never going to fit the mitten.  This was undoubtedly my fault–I’m sure my fabric wasn’t stretchy enough, so I chucked it and used ribbing from the green sweater, which worked much better.  Unfortunately, I attached the cuffs wrong-way-out.  Yep.  I did.

Craft Fail:  Tova Mittens from Fulled Sweaters

I think a big part of my problem in understanding the directions is that I’m coming at this from an American sewist’s viewpoint.  We are used to having a lot of hand-holding.  Even the Big 4 patterns, for as much as people complain about them, actually have a lot of information included in them if you take the time to read it.  I think that sewists in Europe (where this pattern is coming from) who are used to Burda patterns are a lot more self-sufficient and used to figuring things out for themselves.  While there actually are a lot of directions and illustrations, I found them hard to understand at several points.

I would try this pattern again in a fleece with a distinct right and wrong side, and I think things would go a lot better, although I do wish the directions (pictures and words) made a bit more sense to me.  At this point, I have shoved these mittens in a corner, and will probably recycle them after publishing this post.  On to the next thing!

Open Wide Zippered Pouches in Rifle Paper Co. Rosa

Standard
Open Wide Zippered Pouches in Rifle Paper Co. Rosa

Today I have some cute little zippered pouches to share with you.  If you think you have seen something like this before on the blog, you’re right!  I made these as gifts back in 2017.  🙂

Open Wide Zippered Pouch in Rifle Paper Co. Rosa

The Open Wide Zippered Pouch is a free tutorial from Anna Graham of the blog noodlehead.  It comes with options for three different sizes.  I chose to make two of the small size bags and reverse which fabrics were on the inside and outside, so I could have the best of all worlds with this pair of bags.  I got my fabric (Rifle Paper Co. Menagerie Rosa in Hunter and Violet Metallic quilting cotton) and zippers from Pintuck & Purl.  I used Fusible Featherweight interfacing from Pellon (because I had it on hand for garment-sewing) that I got from Joann Fabrics.

Open Wide Zippered Pouch in Rifle Paper Co. Rosa

The small size bags start out as 10″ x 7″ rectangles of fabric, making the finished size slightly smaller.  These are great for holding pens and pencils or as travel bags to hold all your odds and ends.

Open Wide Zippered Pouch in Rifle Paper Co. Rosa

l

Open Wide Zippered Pouch in Rifle Paper Co. Rosa

l

Open Wide Zippered Pouch in Rifle Paper Co. Rosa

l

Open Wide Zippered Pouch in Rifle Paper Co. Rosa

The tutorial itself is easy to follow and gives you a nice finished product where all the raw edges (including the zipper’s raw edges) are enclosed.  My stitching on the zipper tab got a little wobbly, but I didn’t feel like ripping it out to do again, so I decided it was good enough.

Open Wide Zippered Pouch in Rifle Paper Co. Rosa

This is a great, useful scrap buster and is good for gifts, including gifts to yourself.  😉

Simplicity 1887 Pants in Crushed Stretch Velvet

Standard
Simplicity 1887 Pants in Crushed Stretch Velvet

Hm…Well, this was an experiment.  I thought about calling this post, “A Lot of Dorky Pictures and some Weird, Weird Pants”, but that got pushed out by a more practical title.  Picture-taking is hard and I had a lot of pretty crazy facial expressions that you’ll have to take my word on.  😀

Simplicity 1887 pants in crushed stretch velvet

I will tell you that the jury is still out on these pants…I just can’t decide how I feel about them.

Over the summer, I made View C of Simplicity 1887, a pair of sparkly linen shorts, which I love.  I have wanted to make the pants ever since I got this pattern.

Simplicity 1887 pants in crushed stretch velvet

l

Simplicity 1887 pants in crushed stretch velvet

Despite the fact that I could have made these out of a drapey denim-like chambray living in my stash, I decided to take a chance on something much less practical–crushed stretch velvet.  Because, why not?  I saw the velvet at Joann Fabrics, it was close to Christmas, and I knew I could whip these up pretty quickly if I could find a bit of time.  And then I would have fancy pants for Christmas Eve!  I always want to make something fun for church on Christmas Eve, but I rarely do.

So I bought the velvet (well, technically it’s Stretch Panne Velour Knit Fabric).  It’s a polyester/spandex blend:  90%/10%.  I loved the color and in the winter I’m all about fun textures.

Simplicity 1887 pants in crushed stretch velvet

I finally managed to find a bit of time and I whipped these up.  I’m not the fastest sewist, but when you don’t have to finish any seams (and since this is a knit, you don’t), sewing goes a lot more quickly.  It also helps when you’ve made the pattern in some form before.

Simplicity 1887 pants in crushed stretch velvet

I made one mistake and one change.  My mistake was in not being careful when lining up the front and back waistband.  The side seam edges need to match up so that when you fold the waistband in half to baste the bottom edges together, they will match up easily.  I tried to fudge this, but then I paid for it going forward.  The one small change I made was to use 1 3/8″ wide elastic in the back waistband instead of two lengths of 3/4″ elastic and two casings.  I don’t remember why I did this–probably it was based on what I had on hand, but it turned out ok.

Simplicity 1887 pants in crushed stretch velvet

When I finished these, I just wasn’t sure what to think.  They are so comfortable, although the smooth wrong side of the fabric is a little on the colder side.  Luckily, these pants are pretty roomy, so you can definitely fit some long underwear underneath if necessary.

Simplicity 1887 pants in crushed stretch velvet

l

Simplicity 1887 pants in crushed stretch velvet

I finished them before Christmas Eve, so I threw them on with a sweater and blazer for church, but I definitely felt like the ’80’s called and wanted their clothes back.  I didn’t want to make a snap decision, though, so I wore them again with a different top and it was better, but still not quite there.  I really love the soft texture and the color, though, so I’m going to reserve judgement and keep trying these pants.  If I finally decide I don’t love them, they will make some pretty great lounge pants.  The pattern itself is definitely worth trying again in another fabric–a midweight Tencel twill would be great, actually!  The flat front waistband with elastic back, the big pockets, and the relaxed fit are real winners.

Simplicity 1887 pants in crushed stretch velvet

No matter what I end up deciding, I’m really glad I tried making these fun, weird pants.

Simplicity 1887 pants in crushed stretch velvet

Quick and Easy Pajama Pants: McCall’s 3019

Standard
Quick and Easy Pajama Pants: McCall’s 3019

It was time for a quick and easy project, I needed pajama pants, and I had some cozy flannel that had been in my stash long enough.  And when all those things aligned, I finally made myself some soft and cozy pajama pants.

Quick and Easy Pajama Pants:  McCall's 3019

The pattern is out of print (OOP) McCall’s 3019 circa 2000 (easily found on Etsy).  This is my go-to pajama pants pattern for my husband.  It’s a unisex pattern that we got from my mom, and it’s a favorite for its loose fit and POCKETS!  You can use it for pants, shorts, a raglan shirt or a long robe.  So far, all I have used it for is pants.

Quick and Easy Pajama Pants:  McCall's 3019

l

Quick and Easy Pajama Pants:  McCall's 3019

The fabric I used is an organic cotton flannel from Cloud9 Fabrics, with a great cloud print on it by artist Eloise Renouf.  I got this fabric a few years ago from Pintuck & Purl, but wasn’t sure what to use it for.  I really wanted to make a shirt out of it, but all I could see when I looked at it was pajamas.  Finally, this year, my need for pajamas and an easy project was so great that I knew it was time to use this fabric for its true purpose:  the coziest flannel pajama pants I have ever owned.

Quick and Easy Pajama Pants:  McCall's 3019

I’m a pretty big bargain shopper, so I usually go for the best quality at the lowest price.  I used to always buy cheap flannel on sale whenever I needed flannel, so this was my first experience with organic cotton flannel (I think…I forget a lot of things…).  And there is a huge difference.  I already knew there was a pretty big quality difference between the flannel I had been buying on super sale at the big box stores and quilt shop flannel, but this organic cotton flannel is the best.  It’s really substantial and soft, and I will admit that for the first few weeks after making these pants, I kept wondering how early I could change into them each night (or afternoon…it gets dark really early in the fall here).

Quick and Easy Pajama Pants:  McCall's 3019

So the pants themselves–this was a quick and easy pattern to sew, as expected.  It only has three pattern pieces:  front leg, back leg, and pocket.  My measurements put me in an extra-large size.  The pattern only covers small, medium, and large, but I tried on the last pair I made my husband, which are a large, and found that they fit fine.  I figured I could cut the large and sew with a 3/8″ seam allowance instead of a 5/8″ seam allowance to give myself a little bit of extra ease, knowing I would actually be fine either way.  This worked out great.  The pants are nice and roomy.  I’m really happy with the fit.

Quick and Easy Pajama Pants:  McCall's 3019

I sewed them with a straight stitch and zigzagged the seam allowances, because I was after SPEED!  I added some elastic to the waist and a little ribbon tab at the back, and I was done!  And now I sleep in cozy bliss whenever these pants aren’t in the wash!  I really do need another pair, but I’ve got enough other projects I want to make that that probably won’t happen.

Quick and Easy Pajama Pants:  McCall's 3019

The fabric has begun to pill a little bit, but it still feels just as soft.  You can see it a bit in this picture of one of the pockets.  It doesn’t affect the feel of the fabric, though.

Quick and Easy Pajama Pants:  McCall's 3019

All in all, this was a great project.  It was a good, quick sew and yielded something that is worn even more than most of my other projects.

Quick and Easy Pajama Pants:  McCall's 3019

I plan to take some time off for Christmas (Merry Christmas!  Happy New Year!).  I don’t know if it will just be a week or two or perhaps a little bit longer, but I should be back in January or maybe early February if I decide to extend the break.  I hope you all have a wonderful holiday and enjoy this first official day of winter (Winter Solstice!), knowing that now the daylight will start coming back.  Yay!

Quick and Easy Baby Gift: Rae’s Basic Baby Pant

Standard
Quick and Easy Baby Gift:  Rae’s Basic Baby Pant

Today I have something a little different for you.  Baby pants!

Quick and Easy Baby Gift:  Rae's Basic Baby Pant

One of my best friends is having a baby soon, and I wanted to make something special for her soon-to-arrive little boy.  I had just finished the coziest pajama pants for myself (yet to be blogged), and I had some leftover fabric.  It was perfect for some soft and cozy pants for a tiny baby.

Quick and Easy Baby Gift:  Rae's Basic Baby Pant

A little search on the internet led me to this free pattern:  Rae’s Basic Baby Pant from Made by Rae.  It comes in a roomy newborn size, so I decided that I would make a few from any cute boy flannel I had, and would buy some little newborn onesies to go along with them.

I found two pieces of flannel in my stash:  the Cloud9 organic flannel I mentioned from Pintuck & Purl designed by Eloise Renouf and a faux bois flannel from Joann Fabrics.  Both are from several years ago, so the fabric isn’t around anymore (unless Joann’s has reprinted).  They are favorite prints of mine that I have been saving for just the right projects.

The pattern itself was really quick and easy to sew.  I changed a few things from the printed directions, but not many.  I used French seams, since I didn’t want any fraying on the inside that could wrap around little baby toes.

Quick and Easy Baby Gift:  Rae's Basic Baby Pant

l

Quick and Easy Baby Gift:  Rae's Basic Baby Pant

Then I basted the side seam allowances down where the elastic casing would be at the waist to make it easier to thread the elastic through.  Finally, I hemmed the bottoms by pressing up 1/4″ to the wrong side, and then pressing up that much again to the wrong side, enclosing the raw edge.

Quick and Easy Baby Gift:  Rae's Basic Baby Pant

If you follow the tutorial on Rae’s blog, she tells you to hem the bottom (it’s just missing from the PDF instructions) and includes lots of pictures for all the steps.  She talks about sizing, noting that these are roomy enough for babies wearing cloth diapers, and goes over ways you can adapt the pattern for slightly older babies.

This was a really quick, easy, and satisfying sew.  I haven’t been inspired to sew baby gifts much in recent years, but I think this might be my go-to sewing project for baby gifts for a little while.  The cuteness is real!  😉

Quick and Easy Baby Gift:  Rae's Basic Baby Pant

Before I go, I have a question for any other bloggers out there.  Where do you store your pictures?  This blog is a free WordPress blog, and I ran out of picture space long ago. I’ve been storing my photos on Flickr because you could have a free account with unlimited space.  However Flickr has been sold, and in order for me to keep using Flickr (and not have half my photos deleted), I need to pay a yearly fee.  With the exception of about four people, the only people who save my Flickr photos or follow or message me on Flickr are definitely not people in the sewing community.  Let’s just say I’ve had to block a lot of sketchy accounts.  If I could keep my photos private and still have them show up on the blog, I would.  Because I don’t make money with this blog, I’d prefer not to pay to keep it going.  Is there some other obvious way to store photos?  What do you do?  Do you pay or not?  I will if I have to, but if I can keep blog production free, that would be great.  Thanks for any help you can give!

Two V-Neck Grainline Lark Tees

Standard
Two V-Neck Grainline Lark Tees

As my husband helped me take the pictures for this post, he and I chuckled.  Another t-shirt post!  Everybody’s favorite!  Usually the plain t-shirt posts, woven and knit, don’t get much response on the blog, but I post them anyway because I think they help the community (the more information on individual patterns, the better) and they help me (I forget what I’ve done in a very short amount of time), so here we are.  Look how excited I am!  I bet you are excited now, too, right?

Two V-Neck Grainline Lark Tees

The good news is, while these t-shirts aren’t perfect, I’m really glad I made them.  They are good first drafts that give me the information I need to make even better versions in the future if I want to.

Two V-Neck Grainline Lark Tees

Pictured above:  both t-shirts almost finished–they just need hems.

This is the Lark Tee from Grainline Studio.  I chose this pattern because it was a good basic with a lot of variations (four sleeves and four necklines, all interchangeable).  I don’t usually want to take the time to hack patterns, so I liked that this had a lot of options.  I’ve made a green scoop-neck, long-sleeved version and a striped short-sleeved, crew-neck version.  I didn’t love the long-sleeved one, but that was due to my fabric choice.  The crew-neck version was better.

Two V-Neck Grainline Lark Tees

l

Two V-Neck Grainline Lark Tees

So here’s what I did for this project.

I chose a size 12 for the bust and a 14 for the waist and hips, as well as the standard short sleeves (rather than the cap sleeves) to go with the v-neck front.  This is a slim, but not tight fit with some positive ease, like a good, basic t-shirt.  I chose a 100% polyester fabric from JoAnn that was gray with neon flecks for one of my shirts (I got drawn in by the neon flecks, pictured below.  So good!) and a cotton/polyester blend from Fabric Mart in white for the other.

Two V-Neck Grainline Lark Tees

What I should have done, but didn’t, was look at the cutting layout for the t-shirts.  I haven’t made a t-shirt in a little while, and I wasn’t thinking about how wide knits often are.  I should have folded my selvages in toward the middle like the cutting layout shows, but instead, I just folded my knits in half and layered one fabric over the other, lining up the folds so I could cut both out at the same time.  I was very proud of that move….until I realized that my gray shirt was going to be an inch shorter than I had planned because of how I had folded the fabric, and I didn’t have enough to recut it.  Oops!  As it was, I had already removed 4″ from the length of the pattern at the bottom, so the gray shirt is actually 5″ shorter than drafted, I think.

Two V-Neck Grainline Lark Tees

I ended up using a 3/8″ seam allowance rather than the 1/4″ called for because otherwise my needle would go off of my fabric.  I had planned to use my serger, but it’s still new to me, and I adjusted too many things at once, so it wasn’t working.  I used a jersey 80/12 needle and a 3-step zigzag with a height of 4.5 and a stitch length of 0.5 as well as using a light presser foot pressure and 100% polyester thread in the top and in the bobbin.  I did not finish my seams as suggested in the “Sewing the Knits” section of the instructions.  I don’t think that is necessary unless your knit is prone to unraveling.  I do suggest trying out your stitches on scraps of your knit before sewing your shirt.  Once you sew the stitch you think you want on a doubled up scrap of your fabric, stretch it hard in both directions.  If the stitches pop, adjust your stitch length and/or width (or which stitch you are using) and try again until the stitches don’t pop when you stretch the fabric.

Two V-Neck Grainline Lark Tees

I made sure to sew twill tape into my shoulder seams (you can also use clear elastic) so that they wouldn’t stretch out.  This wasn’t in the directions, but experience has taught me that this is a good idea.

Two V-Neck Grainline Lark Tees

I wish the instructions for installing the V neckline had been explicit about what type of stitch to use when.  A lot of knit sewing on a sewing machine requires a zigzag.  I had to guess if that was necessary or if I could get away with a straight stitch.  I used a straight stitch (and 1/4″ seam allowance) when sewing the ends of the neck binding together, as well as for the staystitching at the point of the v-neck.  When attaching the neck binding to the shirt body, I sewed with a straight stitch near where I had staystitched, but then went around the rest of the neck with my 3-step zigzag, sewing over the part I had previously sewn with a straight stitch.  You can see all the wrinkles around my neck–this doesn’t make for the smoothest seam, but I was afraid that if I used a straight stitch I would pop the stitches when I pulled it over my head (speaking from experience).  I tried to mitigate the not-so-straight edge by using a double needle to topstitch around the neckline.  It didn’t work completely, but I haven’t popped any stitches!

Two V-Neck Grainline Lark Tees

I also used a twin needle to topstitch on top of the shoulders for a nice look and to keep the twill tape inside from flipping around in weird directions, and I used a twin needle on my hems, pulling the thread to the back and tying it off.  I often have trouble with my twin needle hems coming loose after a while.

My v-necks are a little bit rough, but I got them in, and I’m happy with them for my first tries.  I’m trying to be patient with myself as I learn new things, although it’s not always easy!  I definitely subscribe to the idea that done is better than perfect (aka unfinished forever).  Onward!

The last thing I realized AFTER I was finished was that both fabrics are…kind of see-through.  And no, I didn’t see that coming.  I have no idea how I missed it, but these shirts definitely need skin-colored undergarments and probably a camisole underneath.  So, maybe I just made myself a few undershirts instead of regular shirts.  Oh, well!  Learning experience!

Two V-Neck Grainline Lark Tees

My one little “trick” that I was pretty proud of was using Steam-A-Seam 2-1/4″ for my hems.  Steam-A-Seam 2 is a sticky, double-sided, fusible strip that you can use to temporarily hold fabric in place until you press it and then sew it.  It’s a little finicky, since it can stick to your fingers, but it’s very helpful.  My only tip as far as this goes, is to make sure that you fully cover the edges of the Steam-A-Seam with your fabric and stitching.  I found that on my sleeves, once I had hemmed them and then washed the shirt, the fabric rolled back slightly, and the edges of the Steam-A-Seam scratch my arms just a little.

Two V-Neck Grainline Lark Tees

Even with all their issues, I’m calling these t-shirts a win because I learned a lot:  I like this v-neck silhouette and I would make it again.  I can (hopefully) avoid the mistakes I made this time on future versions.  And every t-shirt I make helps me get that much better at sewing knits.  Looking back on other knit projects, I realize that I still have a lot to master in the way of professional techniques, but since the fit on knits is so forgiving, my many “learning experience” projects don’t bother me as much as my wonky projects in woven fabrics.  I don’t have a lot of my early woven garments, but I still wear a lot of my early knit projects.

I’m hoping to sew some more t-shirts soon, this time long-sleeved ones using the free Plantain Tee pattern.  Do you have a favorite t-shirt pattern?  If so, please share!

I’m going to take next week off since Thursday is Thanksgiving in the US, so I’ll be back after that!  Happy Thanksgiving to my US readers!

 

Queue Jumper: Wiksten Kimono in Denim and Flannel

Standard
Queue Jumper:  Wiksten Kimono in Denim and Flannel

Hi, friends!  I’m back with another sewing project.  Truth be told, I have a few others that have been finished for a little while, but since this one jumped in front of everything else on my sewing list, it seems appropriate for it to jump to the front of my blogging list, too.  😉

The Women’s Kimono Jacket from Wiksten, commonly called the Wiksten Kimono has been pretty popular in the sewing community.  The first version of this pattern, by Jenny Gordy of the sewing pattern company Wiksten, came out in Making Magazine No. 4/Lines.  Since then, Jenny has updated the pattern, adding different lengths and refining the fit, and you can now buy it as a standalone pattern if you don’t have access to that issue of Making.

Queue Jumper:  Wiksten Kimono in Denim and Flannel

l

Queue Jumper:  Wiksten Kimono in Denim and Flannel

I wasn’t too sure about the pattern at first, so I followed the #wikstenkimono hashtag on Instagram and got a look at what people were making.  The more I thought about it, the more I realized that this was my kind of jacket, and people reported that they loved the process of sewing it.  When Pintuck & Purl stocked the pattern, I made sure to snap one up.

When contemplating which version to make and what fabric to use, I initially planned to make the mid-length version.  As the weather cooled off, though, I thought maybe I would want the long one to wear over leggings and cozy up in during the cold months.  Most of the versions on Instagram during the time I was trying to make fabric choices were in linen, and I considered using some yellow linen for it, but then I had a thought.  Why not figure out what it was that made me reach for favorite garments in the fall?  Which things did I want to pull on over my t-shirt when I was hanging out at home or meeting with friends to catch up?  Once I asked myself that, I could see I needed to make this jacket cozy.

My first thought was cotton flannel lined with fleece, to get a feel like a fleece-lined flannel shirt.  It might end up looking like a bathrobe, but it seemed like it was a risk worth taking for my first version.  Even if it was only something to wear at home, it would still be a win.  I talked it over with some of the ladies at Pintuck & Purl, and realized that we had some very cozy flannel that no one had tried yet, AND I had already purchased some pink (“Heather”) Cloud9 Tinted Denim that would be GREAT with that flannel.  I was planning to make pants with the Tinted Denim, but this idea struck me as an even better idea.

Queue Jumper:  Wiksten Kimono in Denim and Flannel

l

Queue Jumper:  Wiksten Kimono in Denim and Flannel

I was told very firmly that I needed to at least try to pattern match my plaid and that I was going to have to straighten out the grain on the flannel just a bit because it was a plaid that I needed to try to pattern match.  It’s not uncommon for fabric to become off-grain as it goes on the bolt, and while it’s usually not an issue, this was something I should try to put right.  I only offered weak resistance, because I knew they were right.

I took my flannel home and prewashed and dried it, and then my husband and I attempted to pull the fabric on the bias from opposite sides to try to get it back on grain.  I think it worked.  Believe it or not, that was the first time I had ever tried that.

Queue Jumper:  Wiksten Kimono in Denim and Flannel

l

Queue Jumper:  Wiksten Kimono in Denim and Flannel

Both the flannel and denim are nice and soft.  The denim is fairly lightweight.  I’ve used it before for these shorts and this shirt (in yellow), and I really love it.  It’s such a nice fabric that ages beautifully, softening up over time.  The flannel is from a company that is new to me, Marcus Fabrics.  This buffalo check comes from their Primo Plaid Flannels:  Classic Tartans line.  So far, I really like it–it’s extra soft.

Queue Jumper:  Wiksten Kimono in Denim and Flannel

l

Queue Jumper:  Wiksten Kimono in Denim and Flannel

l

Queue Jumper:  Wiksten Kimono in Denim and Flannel

Other than that, I used whatever thread I had lying around (which meant I used three subtly different shades of pink, switching to the next shade when the previous one ran out).  I also tried sew-in interfacing this time (pictured below).  Normally I just use basic fusible Pellon interfacing from Jo-Ann Fabrics, but I got a bunch of Si-Bonne interfacing from an estate sale I went to.  I hadn’t heard of this brand before, and I don’t think it’s around any more.  I put the interfacing in the washer and dryer to preshrink it, and then basted it to the collar pieces by hand (next time I’ll do it by machine).  A lot of people skip the interfacing in the collar, but I wanted to stick close to the pattern as written for my first attempt, with the exception of different pockets on the outside layer.

Queue Jumper:  Wiksten Kimono in Denim and Flannel

The sewing itself wasn’t difficult.  I traced a large and cut the longest version.  I changed my outer pockets to larger ones that extended across each side of the front pieces with an angled top, and I had fun adding extra topstitching to the top and bottom.  My topstitching inspiration came from Helen’s version as well as a fashion image I have of a jacket collar with multiple parallel lines of topstitching.  I lined it with flannel so it would be soft and warm.  I also added the original patch pockets to the inside so the jacket would be reversible and so that no matter which way I wore it, I would have inside and outside pockets.  I am so happy about that decision every time I wear this jacket (and I have worn it most days since I finished it).  I cut the patch pockets on the bias for visual interest and made sure to line them with denim so that they wouldn’t stretch out of shape.  In a perfect world, I probably would have cut the flannel side of the collar on the bias as well, since it would have looked really cool, but I didn’t buy enough for that.

Queue Jumper:  Wiksten Kimono in Denim and Flannel

l

Queue Jumper:  Wiksten Kimono in Denim and Flannel

l

Queue Jumper:  Wiksten Kimono in Denim and Flannel

I was nervous about the plaid matching, so I decided to try to match the horizontal lines of the plaid at the side seams, which turned out great.  The flannel on the collar was too much for my brain, so that doesn’t really match where it attaches to the body, but because of how the collar folds out to contrast whichever side is on the outside at the time, you don’t really see them together.

Queue Jumper:  Wiksten Kimono in Denim and Flannel

I love how I managed to match things up at the center back collar seam, though!

Queue Jumper:  Wiksten Kimono in Denim and Flannel

When I put this on after I finished sewing it, I looked in the mirror, saw how huge it was…and loved it.  Sometimes I make something oversized and don’t like it, but this is huge, and I LOVE it.  It feels so good to wear, and is so cozy and, in its own genre, is pretty cool.  I’ve worn it with jeans and leggings, both with the sleeves cuffed and un-cuffed, and can definitely see myself making other versions.  I’d love to make the mid-length, and maybe even the short length in a fancier fabric.  The sew-in interfacing makes the collar soft and substantial, perfect for turning up to cover my neck when it’s cold.  I could definitely see making other versions in wool or maybe my original flannel + fleece idea.

Queue Jumper:  Wiksten Kimono in Denim and Flannel

l

Queue Jumper:  Wiksten Kimono in Denim and Flannel

If you are new to sewing, and this is a style you like, this would be a great pattern to try.  It’s not too difficult and it’s a pleasure to sew, not to mention you get two garments in one since you can wear it as a reversible garment if you want to.  If you’re not new to sewing and you like this style, I think you’ll like it too.

Queue Jumper:  Wiksten Kimono in Denim and Flannel

Update:  After wearing this for three days and then washing it, I went back and edgestitched/topstitched along the bottom and the outer edge of the collar.  My flannel fabric wanted to roll to the outside, even after having understitched during assembly (I think it’s a looser weave than the denim).  I’m hoping this will help prevent that.  Even so, I love the jacket and have worn it most days since making it.

Kalle Shirt in Cotton and Steel “Mochi” Speckled Navy Lawn

Standard
Kalle Shirt in Cotton and Steel “Mochi” Speckled Navy Lawn

It may not be the best for cool fall temperatures, but I love my new Kalle Shirt from Closet Case Patterns.

Cropped Kalle Shirt

I made myself a little batch of sewing projects to transition from summer to fall, which seemed like a good idea when it was still warm.  It seems like less of a good idea now that it’s cooling off, but I’m committed!  And I have no regrets when it comes to this shirt.  I love it.  I have a little confession to make, though.  When I was trying to figure out what to wear the shirt with, I fell for the color combination of these thrifted pants with the shirt.  In my mind, this outfit was going to be AWESOME and would take the sewing and fashion world by storm!  Hahahaha!  It’s sort of a silly outfit with the wide shirt and wide pants and makes me look a little pregnant (I’m not), so THAT didn’t turn out quite like I planned, but these pictures took a long time to take, and there’s no turning back now, so here we are.  I suppose I ought to know better–most of my worst fashion moments come when I think I look super amazing.  A bit of “Pride goeth before a fall”?  😉  OR, on the flip side, “You have to risk big to win big”?  Haha.  Whatever!  Here we go!

Cropped Kalle Shirt

Despite the calendar saying October, two days after I finished sewing this shirt, we had 80 degree (Fahrenheit) weather, which is nice and warm, and I got to wear it to work with my sparkly linen shorts.  Perfect!  Part of what I love so much about this project is the fabric it’s made from.  My first plan was to cut up a linen tablecloth I have but don’t love.  I had been thinking about repurposing that tablecloth for a while, and then I saw Linda’s shirt over on her blog, Elle Gee Makes, and it was just the push I needed to actually do it.  Unfortunately, no matter how much pattern and fabric puzzle-piecing I did, the shirt just wasn’t going to fit on the available fabric.  So, I turned to my stash.

That’s when I saw this speckled Cotton + Steel lawn, a part of Rashida Coleman-Hale’s “Mochi” collection.  I had originally purchased this fabric from Pintuck & Purl to sew up a shirt pattern from the 1980’s, but I reassigned it to the Kalle.  It’s such a great fabric with so many different colors.  Also, I loved splatter paint designs as a kid, so there’s that.  😉  If you aren’t familiar with lawn, it’s a smooth, plain-woven fabric that is great for making shirts from.  It feels finer and thinner than most quilting cotton and is crisp rather than drapey.  This particular one is made from cotton.

Cropped Kalle Shirt

l

Cropped Kalle Shirt

l

Cropped Kalle Shirt

Let’s talk design details.  This pattern has a lot of options with three lengths and different collar, back pleat, and button placket options.  You can even optionally buy a PDF pattern for long sleeves.

Cropped Kalle Shirt

l

Cropped Kalle Shirt

I chose the cropped shirt (View A), which I lengthened by three inches, in a straight size 14.  My measurements would put me in a 12 bust, 14/16 waist and 16 hip, so I guess I chose the 14 to split the difference and avoid having to grade between sizes, even though that’s what I usually do.  I’m happy with how this turned out, though, so I think it was a fine choice.  As for the other options, I chose the band collar, back box pleat, and hidden button placket.  One bonus:  the relaxed fit of this shirt meant that I didn’t have to do a broad back adjustment.  That’s rare for me.

Cropped Kalle Shirt

l

Cropped Kalle Shirt

l

Cropped Kalle Shirt

I did have several moments of confusion while sewing this pattern.  Unlike some patterns, however, I could tell that this was because I was learning new techniques, not because the instructions were bad.  This was my first hidden placket, for instance, and I sewed my buttonholes through only one layer of fabric instead of two at first.  Luckily, I figured it out and managed to fix it, so all was good.

Cropped Kalle Shirt

After sewing the side seams, there is a suggestion that you could flat fell the seams.  If you want to do this, you would have to change things up a bit since flat felled seams are typically made on the outside–or you could just make them on the inside.  I chose to serge my seams because I’m still trying to get used to my serger and one of my goals is to actually USE it.  So far I only have black and white serger thread, so I used black here (as you can see below).

When it came to attaching the facing, rather than topstitching it into place, I just made sure my top thread and bobbin thread were the same color and I stitched from the underside to make sure I was catching everything.  Unlike my normal practice, I didn’t choose contrasting thread for topstitching–I just used navy throughout, which hides a lot of mistakes!

Cropped Kalle Shirt

The only other area I got confused on was attaching the sleeve cuffs.  I think the instructions could be a little bit clearer in this area.  I was very confused, so I turned to the sewalong online, which differs from the instructions after the second point.  I found that easier to follow, so I printed the information off and put it in my instruction booklet for the next time I make this.

And I do hope to make this again at some point.  I’m interested in trying the tunic length with the popover placket.  It will have to wait until at least next year, though, as I really like the look of the short sleeves, and would want to do that again.

Even though the weather is turning cold now, I’m really glad I got this in.  I love this shirt in this fabric, and I’m excited to wear it.

Cropped Kalle Shirt