October 25, 2012

Hot Cocoa Sweater Free Pattern!!

Hot Cocoa Sweater

Hey all, guess what! You get a free pattern! I feel like I should act like Oprah on her car giveaway show only rather than shouting, "You get a car!" I should be saying, "You get a pattern! And you get a pattern!" with lots of pointing.

Hot Cocoa Sweater

Ok, but don't get too excited. This pattern is only in one size (cue audible collective disappointment), but hey, multi-sizing takes time! Plus, at-home pattern grading isn't too hard so you'll be fine. ;)

Hot Cocoa Sweater

This is my Hot Cocoa Sweater (or jumper for those across the pond). I made it with a heather-brown, cotton/hemp blend, sweater knit from Fabricker that reminds me of melting marshmallows in hot chocolate (how fitting for a cool fall day!). It's a pretty stable fabric which is nice for this design and it's really cozy.

Hot Cocoa Sweater

It's got long, raglan sleeves with cuffs ('cause I like cuffs on long sleeve tops); a round neckline (my fave, but you already know that) with a topstitched collar; a loose fit (at least on me, anyway); and a slightly hi-low curved hem.

Hot Cocoa Sweater

The front length is shorter than the back. The front hits me right at the top of my low-rise pants which makes it nice if you like to show off belts, but it's longer in back for coverage. If you are long-waisted or you want a longer shirt you can easily slash and spread the pattern.

Hot Cocoa Sweater

So, what's the one size? My size - bust measurement 33-34". The finished garment bust measurement is 37" and the hip is open.

Hot Cocoa Sweater

This PDF pattern includes 1/4" seam allowances, has 5 pattern pieces, and is 20 printed pages.

Unlike my paid patterns this one does not include illustrated instructions, just text instructions, but it does include supplies, yardage, printing and cutting layout.

The pattern is for knits but it is a fairly loose cut so you could get away with making it in a woven but I haven't done so.

Hot Cocoa Sweater
(Justin felt the need to show how ridiculously overgrown our wheat field backyard is. So here it is. I am appeasing him.)

So click here to download the pattern and check it out for yourself!

Also, as always, I love feedback so let me know your thoughts!

October 19, 2012

Butternut Sewaholic Renfrew

Sewaholic Renfrew

Even though I know I could draft a basic, long sleeve tee I often don't take the time to do it. Why? Because I am lazy. Sometimes you just want a quick sewing fix, amiright? And drafting, no matter how simple, still takes longer than cutting out an already made pattern.

And because weather here fluctuates with the tides I've got about a three day window to take advantage of this cool front before 65 degrees turns back into 89.

Sewaholic Renfrew

Soooooo... I made a Renfrew! I sewed the cowl neck version but added full sleeves rather than 3/4 because I have exactly - quick, let me go count - zero long sleeve shirts. I used to have a sweater but donated that sad looking thing sometime this year. Considering last winter I got by mostly wearing this jacket, I think I'll be safe if I don't have that many shirts guarding my full arms.

But here's where my whole "I'm lazy and I want to save time" thing gets thrown out the window. This pattern has 5/8" seam allowance which is cool and all but I wanted to use my serger which makes a nice 1/4" seam allowance. But I hate using my serger knife to cut off excess fabric 'cause it makes the edge all jagged and leaves more mess for me to clean up so instead I traced all the pattern pieces and then went back and removed 3/8" off of all the edges so I wouldn't have to serger-trim the SA later.

Sewaholic Renfrew

Ok, lets get down to the nitty gritty, kitty.

The Goal: I was smitten by this teaser of fall that the earth likes to do to me this time of year and wanted a long sleeve shirt.

The Pattern: Sewaholic's Renfrew. This was my first time using a Sewaholic Pattern. Since they're designed for the pear shaped lady my measurements were all over the place. I ended up cutting a 6 at the bust and blending down to a 4 at the waist and hem. I think it worked out fine.

Ever since I admired Grainline's Scout Tee I've been really intrigued by the details of pattern design. There are some things I like about this pattern, like how the side seam curves in nicely to give a little shape and how the sleeves' seam lines aren't perfectly straight either. The only thing I didn't really like was that the front and back curves on the sleeve cap are the same. This isn't a big deal and is even less so with a knit but it still bothers me a little (Megan Nielsen's Darling Ranges Dress also has a symmetrical sleeve cap, which I don't like much). Your front has more volume than your back so your sleeve curve should look a little different on each side. But it's not a huge problem, so whatevz.

Sewaholic Renfrew

The Fabric: A nice stable knit in a color I'm calling "butternut." Very autumnal. I bought it at Fabricker, a local Austin store that now also has an online shop! Check it out! I also just bought this cool graphic floral print cotton.

Sewaholic Renfrew

I forgot to ask what the content of the fabric was when I bought it. I guessed cotton but after washing I wasn't so sure so... I burned it! Have you ever done a burn test on fabric before? I hadn't, although I had an idea of how which fibers were supposed to react. I'm pretty certain it's 100% cotton. But I did go a little pyro and started burning every different scrap I could find. Fun stuff. ;)

The Changes: Other than adding long sleeves the only thing I changed was not top stitching the neckline seam allowances down. If I had made the round or v-neck styles I would have but with the cowl neck I didn't need to.

Sewaholic Renfrew

Next time I might make a sway-back adjustment. Maybe...

Sewaholic Renfrew

The Results: I like it, especially the cowl. It looks like a scarf. I feel like I need a big 70's knee length wrap skirt and knee high brown leather boots to go with this top. Something about the color puts me in a 70s mood. I guess purple jeans will work just fine, too. ;)

October 17, 2012

DIY Dyed and Skinnified Jeans

I'm really excited about this DIY. I've been in the mood to sew some new jeans but since I have so many other projects going on right now, sewing a whole pair of jeans and doing fitting and all that will have to wait.


Instead I went to the thrift store (which is a big deal for me since I rarely shop there, it's too overwhelming) and bought a pair of white jeans (for way too much, seriously Goodwill? $8 for jeans!?) to dye some cool color.

Dying with iDye
For the dye I bought a few packets of iDye which, in my limited experience, is the best dye ever if you want a solid color effect and have a front loading washing machine.

Seriously, this stuff is awesome. All I had to do was pop the disposable dye packet in the wash with the jeans. I turned on a hot water cycle and put in a cup of dissolved salt in the detergent slot. When I came back about an hour later I had nice purply-blue jeans.

If you're wondering if there is dye left in the machine afterwards - there isn't. I even washed a load of towels right afterward with no purple marks on any of the towels. The next day I washed the newly dyed jeans again along with some random other clothes and one of those Shout Color Catcher sheets. I'm not sure how well those sheets work or if they're just a trick to make people buy more random junk but no dye spread to the other clothes. The sheet did turn a light purple, though, so it looks like some dye did wash out, which is expected.

My jeans are 99% cotton and 1% spandex. I wouldn't recommend dying jeans that are any more than 3% synthetic. My iDye was for natural fibers but they have a product for poly, too, but I haven't tried it.

One downside to iDye is that the colors on the packaging are confusing. I bought Purple and Lilac. Now, you'd think Lilac would be a light purple color but on the package it looks almost black. It helped to reference their website where they have a list of all the colors. Still, every fabric reacts differently (as you can tell from my first iDye experiment). I ended up going for Lilac.

The resulting color is a kind of purple-ish blue, like periwinkle. When it first came out of the wash it looked almost cobalt blue. Whatever you call the color I'm happy with the result.

You'll notice that the stitching didn't dye. That's because it is polyester thread. If you're concerned about the thread being too noticeable I'd suggest dying white jeans a milder color like a pastel.

Stitching them Skinny
Ok, so now they are dyed but they're still too long for my legs and they're boot cut, and I'd prefer skinny, so it's time for sewing!

The easiest way to make wide or boot cut jeans into skinny jeans is like this -

Turn your new jeans inside out and lay them face up and flat on a table. Take a pair of skinny jeans you already own and turn them inside out. These will be your template.

The inner seam on jeans is usually flat felled so it is easier to stitch up the outer seam because there's no top stitching. Pull that outer seam flat. The back leg is wider than your front leg so just pull the excess back leg fabric away from the outside seam.

Do the same for the skinny jean leg and layer it over the new jeans leg. Match up the jeans at the crotch seam and down along the inner seam line.

Take pins or chalk and mark the seam line of the skinny jeans on your new jeans. This is your new stitching line.

Sew up the sides and try on the jeans. You may need to adjust the legs some more (I had to sew closer in at the knees).

Once you are satisfied you can trim off the excess and finish your seam. I re-stitched over the edge with my serger.

DIY Dyed Jeans

After that you can hem your jeans if necessary.

DIY Dyed Jeans

Press your new seam and you're done!

DIY Dyed Jeans

Now I have brand new colored skinny jeans!

October 13, 2012

Burdastyle Book Blouse #2

Burdastyle Handbook Blouse

The Goal: I loved my first burda blouse (peplums! yay!) so much so I wanted another.

The Pattern: The blouse pattern from the Burdastyle Sewing Handbook. I made a straight size 38 with a couple design modifications.

Burdastyle Handbook Blouse

The Fabric: The outer layer is a cool, sheer Swiss dot that I bought locally at Fabricker (check 'em out, they have a new online store!). The under layer is just some plain white batiste. The trim is just some poly mini pom pom trim from Hobby Lobby.

Burdastyle Handbook Blouse

I don't often use trim when I sew so this was kind of a treat for me. I'd love to start incorporating more trims and embellishments into my projects.

The Changes: A bunch - I thought the sleeve cap height was too pointy and made a tall gathered poof rather than a nice, spread out gathered sleeve cap. I took a non-gathered sleeve pattern piece from another pattern and used it as a guide to adjust the original sleeve cap.

Burdastyle Handbook Blouse

I shortened the cuffs. I made the neckline slightly larger and didn't make the front neckline slit. It barely fits over my head. I finished the neckline with a bias tape facing.

Burdastyle Handbook Blouse

Oh, and I accidentally sewed the opening for the drawstring off center... but I guess it looks ok so I'm not complaining.

Burdastyle Handbook Blouse

The Results: This shirt totally fits in with my resolution to make more solid color tops to mix and match with bottoms. Sure, it has dots but overall it's all white. And it has sort-of-long-sleeves which is also another one of my wardrobe needs. I'd say this one is a success. And I love this design so much I plan on making a black version with some crochet trim.

October 12, 2012

Burdastyle Sewing Handbook Bag

Burdastyle Handbook Bag Pattern

Sorry for being MIA this last week or so. I swear I've been sewing a bunch but taking time to take pics is hard. But now I have much to share with you!

Burdastyle Handbook Bag Pattern

The Goal: This month's Bibliostyles was a choose your own bag-book. Pick and make a bag from any book and come in and review it. I don't own any bag-only books but I wanted to make the handbag from the Burdastyle book (that's another Burdastyle book blouse, too, which I'll talk about later).

Burdastyle Handbook Bag Pattern

The Pattern: The Burdastyle book comes with five basic patterns and each pattern has two variations. I made the second variation, Chie's Variation, with the bow-tie front. I think the instructions in this book are better than in the magazine or online but you still have to add your own seam allowances, which I think is silly for a bag since it's not like you're fitting it. A standard seam allowance for all sides would have been fine. I also didn't like having to flip back and forth between the variation and the original instructions depending on which step I was on. Maybe that's being picky but you really have to pay attention to what step you are on.

Burdastyle Handbook Bag Pattern

Oh and the pattern calls for over two yards of fabric for this bag!?!?! maybe that's to get the long straps in one piece but I only bought one yard for exterior (and had a lot left over) and 3/4 yd for lining. Lay out your pieces first before you go shopping so you don't over buy.

Burdastyle Handbook Bag Pattern

The Fabric: Uh, ok, so I made this bag THE DAY OF the meeting so I was a little rushed for time. I went to Joann and bought this faux suede with metallic bits on it. It's nice because it doesn't fray and it doesn't show needle holes like leather (does real suede show needle holes?).

Burdastyle Handbook Bag 

The lining is a poly, one of those faux silk things that chain stores sell (and yet price them like they're silk, what's the deal with that!?). Both were on sale, which was a big factor in why I chose them.

Burdastyle Handbook Bag Pattern

The hardware came from my Dallas fabric store trip. I'm so glad I got to use them! The purse feet came from Joann, too. Don't look to close at the bottom, they're kind of crooked.

Burdastyle Handbook Bag Pattern

I added some stiff interfacing to the bottom which gives it a nice base but since the rest of the bag isn't interfaced (except the strap) it still slouches when I set it down.

Burdastyle Handbook Bag Pattern

The Changes: Besides the feet and interfaced base I nixed the interior pocket (didn't have time! and I doubt I'd use it anyway, there are two side pockets). I didn't make the second attached shoulder strap (I only had hardware for one and I thought another strap was unnecessary). Also, because the bag is so slouchy I noticed that the tie would drag and pull the bag in tighter making the bow droop. I stitched the bow knot down with a couple stitches to the center front of the bag so it would stay up and not pull the sides of the bag tight.

Burdastyle Handbook Bag Pattern

The Results: I've yet to use it with normal purse related items (it's a big deep bag, easy to loose a lipstick or two inside) but it certainly looks cute! And I got lots of compliments on it. The strap is long enough for shoulder or cross body. I think it will serve as a good winter purse that will go with lots of outfits! I don't know if I'll make it again but if I do I'll try to do the original style with the drawstrings and braided shoulder strap and not interface it at all and make it a big, fat, slouchy, boho-style bag.

October 7, 2012

DIY Fails - galaxy print dress

(I cannot be seen in public in this hideous dress)

Damn you Pinterest for making me think that every one of those "pin now, read later" posts are a good idea to try. In fact, there's a whole blog for Pinterest Fails and this week I have two to submit.

One fail was a lackluster diy hair experiment. The other fail was this dress - it's supposed to be a DIY galaxy print dress. I first saw it here and then Elisalex gave it a shot as well. Both of theirs turned out pretty good, I thought.

Here's the deets - lay your item of clothing flat (in my case an old, tired target shirt dress that I never wore anymore, so no big loss). Mix bleach and water in a spray bottle (I experimented with different amounts) and spray over your garment and let dry. Then take fabric spray paint and spray over the shirt all artistic like. Finally use a small paint brush and some fabric paint and dab stars and nebula and what-not all over the place.

Uhhhh, yeah...

(is that andromeda? no, it's blobdromeda)

Problem #1: I got carried away. With everything - paint, bleach, the whole shebang. I wanted the bleached areas to be whiter like this girl's dress and less orange so I kept adding more bleach and I let bleach "pool" in places which only made blobs of orange rather than a floaty milky-way. My fabric just wasn't going to get white.

Problem #2: Those "blobs" never blended together, especially the ones in the back. The seam line kept the bleach from moving.

Problem #3: I used the same brand of spray paint as both tutorials but I only bought three colors - metalic silver, and non metalic yellow and purple. The yellow and purple completely soaked in, even on the bleached parts. You can't even tell that there is any paint at all! Only the silver showed up so I went a little spray crazy and the whole thing looks like a sparkly mess.

Problem #4: I don't know what the f--- stars are supposed to look like! I just painted spots of blue and white and yellow all over the place with no real plan and you know what? They look like paint spots, not stars. Sadface.


Will I try this one again? Meh, I doubt it. It's not that I don't like the style but I just don't think I have the ability to tell myself to stop spraying more bleach and just let it look more natural, ya know what I mean? I have no restraint!

Have you experienced any Pinterest Fails?

October 6, 2012

Giveaway winner!

And the winner for the awesome swimwear fabric and Ohhh Lulu bodysuit pattern is... *drumroll* Mika! From Savory Stitches! Congrats Mika, I've already emailed you.

Thanks to everyone who entered! I liked reading your responses. Some of you have made swimsuits before, some not, some had successes and some... less so. I hope this giveaway has inspired you to give swim wear sewing a shot if you haven't already. ;)