Tag Archives: unselfish sewing

A New Look 6618 Dress for Easter

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A New Look 6618 Dress for Easter

Hi, everyone. After a little break, I’m back with what sounds like a recently completed project, but is actually from a year ago! I’m working through the backlog! ūüôā

As you may know, I don’t do last minute sewing if I can ever avoid it, but this project was an exception. It also wasn’t for me!

A New Look 6618 Dress for Easter

Last year one of my daughters was at Joann’s with me before Easter and picked out New Look 6618, a knit dress pattern. It’s listed as easy and it is–it’s an A-line knit dress that is held in by a belt, which makes for easy sewing and fitting!

A New Look 6618 Dress for Easter

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A New Look 6618 Dress for Easter

My daughter decided on View A, the short-sleeved long dress with a separate belt. We found fabric online at Fashion Fabrics Club. It’s a techno crepe knit in the color “Mauve Mist”, and is 95% polyester and 5% Lycra. It was nice and wide at 56″, a medium weight, and had 25%-50% stretch along the selvedge, and the same crosswise. The price was fantastic. I tend to go for natural fibers in most cases, but this fabric has turned out to be perfect for this dress. It doesn’t wrinkle, has a nice drape, and was easy to sew.

A New Look 6618 Dress for Easter
New Look 6618, without belt, front view
A New Look 6618 Dress for Easter
This gives you an idea of the length and width of the belt.

By the time we bought this pattern, more or less on a whim, and then actually found fabric my daughter liked and ordered it, it was getting a little close to Easter, which made me doubt that this was going to get done. I promised to try, but I didn’t promise I would make it in time! Ack!

In order to move things along, my daughter traced the pattern and cut out the paper pieces. I cut out the fabric and she helped me mark and pin things. In order to speed up the sewing, we omitted the back seam and button and cut the back on the fold.

A New Look 6618 Dress for Easter
New Look 6618, back view, without belt

And then, the day before Easter, I got down to serging and sewing…

And I completely surprised myself by making the dress in 2.25 hours! I’m sure there are many sewers out there who could have done it faster, but that is super speedy for me. Also, very focused–I don’t tend to have big chunks of time to sew these days.

To do all this sewing, I used a 90/14 stretch needle in my sewing machine, with my walking foot and a medium presser foot pressure (2 on my machine). I used a zigzag stitch (around 4.5-5 in height and 0.5 in width) for my hems and the neckline, and I serged all the seams, whenever possible.

A New Look 6618 Dress for Easter
sleeve hems

I also used some clear elastic in the shoulder seams to stabilize them.

A New Look 6618 Dress for Easter
close-up of the shoulder seams

The only part I wasn’t really happy with was the neckline. I serged it first and then folded the raw edge under and zigzagged, but it came out a bit wavy.

A New Look 6618 Dress for Easter
That darn wavy neckline!

Luckily, my daughter didn’t care. She absolutely loved the dress and still wears it regularly. Because of the long length, stretchy nature of the fabric, and since we really only had to fit it to her bust measurement, it has also been a good dress for a growing girl–as long as it fits her shoulders, she can continue to wear it. A year later, it’s still going strong.

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Homemade Christmas Gifts: 2020

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Homemade Christmas Gifts: 2020

Hi! Welcome back! I thought it would be fun to share a couple of the gifts I made for my family this past Christmas. I usually buy whatever gifts I want to buy first, and then with the time I have left, I will sometimes make a few things. This past year I made two rice bags, which are reusable heating pads you can microwave, and an opossum ornament.

When I was in high school or early college, one of my aunts made my siblings and I all rice bags. This might sound like kind of a funny gift, but it’s so very useful. She took cotton muslin and sewed a bag, filled it with dry rice, and sewed it shut. Then she made a little cotton pillowcase for it. You can’t wash the rice bag itself without ruining it, but you can wash the little pillowcase whenever necessary. Just make sure you use cotton fabric or a similar natural fiber that can be microwaved without melting.

Homemade Christmas Gifts:  2020

These rice bags, which are about 7″ x 10″ (17.5cm x 25.1cm), can be placed in the microwave and heated for about two minutes. They’ll then stay warm for quite some time, and when they begin to cool, if they are right next to you, will pick up some of your body heat and stay pleasantly warm. They’re great for muscle aches, cold feet, cramps, or hugging if you feel chilly. While they may not be a flashy gift, in our house at least, they are one of the most used. This year I made two. They were very quick and easy to sew.

Homemade Christmas Gifts:  2020

One of the other presents I made was this cute little opossum ornament, designed by Aimee Ray.

Homemade Christmas Gifts:  2020

I had heard her speak on an episode of the Behind the Seams podcast, and checked out her blog and two Etsy shops, one with paper goods (little dear prints), and one with embroidery and sewing projects (little dear). Everything was fun to look at, but her cute sewn and embroidered animal patterns were my favorite. We have been watching a lot of “Critter Vision” on YouTube during the past nine months and have fallen in love with the opossums that come to the feeders, so when I saw Aimee’s pattern for an opossum as part of her “Pesky but Sweet Animals” collection, I knew my husband needed an opossum ornament.

I started this project kind of late in the game and didn’t have the type of felt used in the sample (or any craft felt, actually), so I dug through my scraps for some felted wool bits and found just enough to make this little critter using parts of a felted shirt, scarf, and blanket. Luckily, I had some embroidery floss and stuffing on hand. It was so much fun to make that I immediately started looking at some of her other patterns. I’m not great at sewing under deadlines, so I opted not to make any more ornaments this year, but recently bought her “3 Panda Bears” and “Winter Animals” patterns to use for a craft day with one of my kids.

After finishing the opossum, I ran a little string through the back and attached a tag so I could add the year and who it was for.

Homemade Christmas Gifts:  2020

I was so excited to give this to my husband, and I think he really liked it!

Homemade Christmas Gifts:  2020

The rice bags were also much loved and appreciated, so it was a win all around. I try not to put too much pressure on myself to sew a million things for Christmas, and these were just right–easy, fast, and fun.

Thread Theory Jutland Pants for Pattern Review’s Menswear Contest

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Thread Theory Jutland Pants for Pattern Review’s Menswear Contest

Have you ever admired the complexity or ingenuity in a piece of clothing in a store?¬†¬†I certainly do¬†when I look at workwear and outdoor clothing.¬† There’s so much thought that goes into each piece, not to mention interesting design lines and cool fabric.¬† That always seemed like a fairly unachievable level of sewing, until the first time I made the Thread Theory Jutland Pants.

Thread Theory Jutland Pants in Brown/Green English Canvas

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Jutland Pants by Thread Theory

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Jutland Pants by Thread Theory

After sewing my first pair (Variation 2) toward the beginning of this year, I began planning another in better fabric.¬† I knew it would be awhile before I started, but I wanted to make these again.¬† In July, I found just the right fabric at Pintuck & Purl in Exeter, NH, a cotton brown/green English canvas that was a lovely 61″ wide.¬† It was heavy, but nice.¬† Once my husband approved the color, I bought the fabric, but still wasn’t ready to cut into it.

And then, like so many projects that get left in the dust when we chase after the new, it became a “someday” project.¬† The fabric sat in my stash all summer until one day, as I was reading Thread Theory’s blog, I saw that Pattern Review was running a Menswear contest with a tempting prize–a gift card to Thread Theory’s online shop.¬† This was it.¬† It was time to make the pants.

Thread Theory Jutland Pants in Brown/Green English Canvas

Having made that first version, I had a pretty¬†good idea of what tweaks I needed to make on this version, and there were only a few. ¬†He asked me to raise the side cargo pockets, raise the knee patches, and lengthen the belt loops–all doable.

In addition to the three yards of the canvas that I bought, I used 1.25 yards of Cotton + Steel’s cotton lawn solid in Fedora for the waistband facing, pockets, and the insides of the top of the cargo pocket flaps. ¬†Other than that, there was some midweight interfacing, bias binding, Gutterman polyester thread for construction and Gutterman topstitching thread. ¬†I used a jeans button for the front, a jeans zipper, and Velcro that was sticky on the back for the cargo pockets.

Thread Theory Jutland Pants in Brown/Green English Canvas

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Thread Theory Jutland Pants in Brown/Green English Canvas

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Thread Theory Jutland Pants in Brown/Green English Canvas

Hem reinforcement detail

As far as materials go, I loved the canvas. ¬†That turned out to be a great choice. ¬†It’s heavy and nice, but not so heavy my machine couldn’t handle it (although I have ordered a “Hump Jumper” since making these in order to prevent skipped stitches when going over multiple layers of fabric for the next time I make something like this). ¬†The lawn feels great, but was too light for the waistband facing, I think. ¬†Before fully trimming my zipper, I managed to create a hole in the facing where the zipper teeth rubbed on it. ¬†ūüė¶ ¬†I’ll try a quilting cotton next time, at least for the waistband facing (but honestly, I’ll probably use a quilting cotton for all those little bits). ¬†The interfacing, jeans button, bias tape, and zipper were fine, as was the construction thread, which I really like. ¬†I’m done with Gutterman topstitching thread, however. ¬†After making two pairs of pants with it (these and my olive green¬†pair), I just don’t like it. ¬†I get a lot of “thread nests” on the underside of my garments, despite using a jeans needle and making sure my tension and presser foot pressure were appropriate. ¬†Maggie at Pintuck & Purl has given me a few other kinds of topstitching thread to try out (a rainbow one and Coats brand), so we’ll see how those go on future projects. ¬†The jeans needle I used was a good choice, and the only time I had trouble with it was when I applied my Velcro. ¬†I think it was because the back of the Velcro was sticky, and it gummed up my needle. ¬†There were a lot of skipped stitches there, so I think I’ll try some without the adhesive next time. ¬†Live and learn, right?

Thread Theory Jutland Pants in Brown/Green English Canvas

After making this pattern twice, I have to say I still really love it. ¬†It is definitely a more complex pattern than most of the others that I make, as each step is often composed of several smaller steps, and there are a few points that had me scratching my head a bit, even the second time around. ¬†Luckily I wrote myself notes, so this time was much easier than my first attempt. ¬†I also had to remind myself not to question the directions or think I knew better.¬† The one time I tried to go “off book” and do things my own way, I managed to sew the fly shut!¬† Ha!¬† It’s a good reminder to be humble and follow the directions.¬† When I make these pants, I feel really proud of myself because they just look so¬†good! ¬†I also think all the details and possibilities of this pattern keep it interesting, even though I’m not sewing for myself. ¬†ūüėČ

On that front, though….I realized that this size fits me! ¬†I think one style I aspire to in the fall and winter is a girl version of outdoorsy and rugged, so I would love a pair of pants like this in my wardrobe, especially flannel-lined, which is an option with this pattern. ¬†What if I could make the flannel lining¬†REMOVABLE?! ¬†We’ll see what happens with that! ¬†I did spend several hours on Wednesday wearing the pants around so I could see if they truly were comfortable on me. ¬†I think the outlook is positive! ¬†To that end, I bought up the last of the grey English canvas at Pintuck & Purl last time I was there…

As far as the contest goes, voting runs from the 18th-24th. ¬†If you’ve been a Pattern Review member for at least 90 days, you can vote, and I’d love your vote if you think my project deserves it. ¬†You can vote in the contest here. ¬†You can also read my review of the pattern if you want more/different information than I’ve got here. ¬†Fingers crossed!

And thanks to my husband for posing for pictures.¬† That’s not something he likes doing, plus it was really cold that day, so I appreciate it.¬† I suppose it doesn’t hurt that he gets a new pair of bespoke pants for Christmas out of the deal.¬† ūüėČ

Update: ¬†Thanks for your votes, everyone! ¬†I didn’t win the contest, but I had the second highest number of votes. ¬†So, no gift card for me, although my husband definitely won since he finally got his pants! ¬†Congratulations to the winner, who made an amazing blazer for her husband.

Recommendations

  • The WAWAK Sewing catalogue! ¬†I saw on Instagram that @peterlappin had ordered one, so I got one myself and, I have to say, it’s pretty awesome. ¬†I even placed my first order for¬†the previously mentioned¬†“Hump Jumper” (Isn’t that the weirdest name?), jeans buttons, and Zipper Ease for stuck zippers. ¬†They have some cool stuff at great prices.
  • I really like sewing round-ups where bloggers highlight new patterns and cool sewing projects on the web. ¬†My two current favorites are from Closet Case¬†Files and Helen’s Closet. ¬†If you have other favorites, I’d love to hear about them in the comments!
  • Simplicity 1538. ¬†This has really become my favorite button up shirt pattern, as evidenced by my first try from a vintage sheet, tiger shirt, and¬†flannel shirt.¬† It’s similar to the¬†Grainline Archer in style. ¬†On Wednesday I cut out my fourth version of this shirt. ¬†I love it.
  • Droste Dutch process cocoa powder. ¬†I had some left from a few recipes, so I made hot chocolate with it (plus sugar, milk, salt, and heavy cream), and it was AMAZING.