Wednesday, May 23, 2018

My Little Sweatshop...Me Made May

In January I signed up for the Ready To Wear Fast. It's been really fun NOT buying any clothes and instead making new clothes. My style is very casual and I don't work outside the home so my makes have been mostly t-shirts, tops and a few cardigans.
Today I am sharing photos of my most recent finished garments.
First up is my Easter dress. This is a pattern (New Look D0270)  I have made a few times. This time I changed the neckline by adding a 4" slit. I also added back darts to correct the fit for my small torso and large hips. The sleeve was a happy mistake. I wanted to make a split sleeve, all the way from the shoulder to the cuff, but the fabric (a rayon and linen blend) was too heavy to drape nicely. Instead, I sewed the seam up the middle of the sleeve and left a slit in the bottom of the hemmed edge of the sleeve. See the close up photos for a better look.

I wear t-shirts and jeans almost every day, so getting creative and changing the style or cut of the shirt has been a challenge. I love a good boat neck tee. When I was at Stitch Supply Retreat earlier this month I bought lots of garment fabric. This striped knit (Art Gallery Fabric) is one of my favorites. I also bought the Lark Tee Shirt pattern which has 4 necklines and 4 sleeve options, including a boat neck. Win! Win!
One of my favorite boat neck tees from Boden catalog has a contrasting twill tape to finish the neckline, so I tried to do that on this shirt. FAILURE! It didn't lay flat so I cut it off, which made the neckline too big. UGH! I added the binding to help keep this on my shoulders, but it's still a little too big. Wearable, but disappointing.

I also made a self-drafted pair of knit pants. My favorite RTW knit pants were getting a little ragged looking, so I cut them apart and made a pattern from them. I found this scuba knit at Joann's and made the pants, which fit perfectly and are so comfortable. They have a fun faux pocket detailing on the hip but it just would not photograph properly.

Another Linden Sweatshirt pattern made with Art Gallery Knit fabric. This one is a beautiful pink that will get a lot of wear this summer.

My most recent finish is the Charlie Caftan. Made from a rayon chambray by Robert Kaufman fabrics and purchased from Imagine Gnats online shop. This dress is my new favorite. The pattern is by Closet Case Patterns and it was not without its problems. No fault of the pattern designers but more my skills and body shape, made this a difficult make for me. When I first constructed the dress it sat too low through the bodice and making the "waistline" way too low for my short waisted body. I am not considered short at 5"5" but I'm all legs and no body so I always have to make a short waist adjustment. Some Indie pattern designer do not give you a natural waist mark, and because this dress is not a fitted style, I thought I was safe. 

I will most definitely be making more of these dresses but next time not only will I made the adjustment in the shoulder seams to raise the waistline but I will also raise the V-neckline a bit. It's a little too revealing for me.
If you're looking for a comfortable and stylish dress to make, this one's for you...and it has POCKETS!

Also made this month at retreat was this cork and waxed canvas purse. I've always wanted to turn my clutch framed pattern into a handbag but found this pattern at Upstyle Designs on Etsy. It was super easy to follow and to make. The most difficult part was turning the very stiff and thick bag once it was all sewn together. 
When I was finished with the bag I was so disappointed because I did not realize how small it finished. No worries, because it made the perfect birthday gift for my 10 year old granddaughter.

The inside is finished with a fun and playful Cotton and Steel print, with a zip pocket and an open pocket.

Because I really wanted to make a purse for myself, I made this one using the instruction from the pattern above, resizing it to fit a 12" frame instead of the 8" as used above.  This one is a better size, but if I made another I'd make it 2" taller. I don't like big bags but feel I need a little more room than I got in this bag. 
I used the same waxed canvas for the bottom of the bag and a canvas print for the focal fabric.
I had purchased these bag handles a few years ago and finally used them in this project. I nearly bruised my thumb sewing them on; trying to match up the holes inside and out was not easy. I used upholstery thread to sew them on, so I think I got a really good attachment. I also used glue to hold them in place while sewing them on to the bag. 

The inside also has a zipper pocket and a fun print for the lining.

I have a stack of garment fabric and new patterns lined up to sew for the summer. But I need to finish a few quilts first.
Thanks for reading and thanks for your comments on my new blog header.

Monday, May 21, 2018

A Mini Makeover

I gave my blog a mini makeover. I realized that my header and the photos in it are all at least 4 years old. So, I updated the header with more current photos. 
What do you think about it?

I don't get many comments but I am getting about 10,000 views a month. That is encouragement enough to keep blogging. I do like that it is a great way for me to keep track of my creative life.

And since no blog post should be without a photo, here's one of a few clutch bags that I made to gift to friends at retreat last month.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Paloma Cardigan

I finished knitting the Paloma Cardigan a few weeks ago and was able to wear it a few times before the weather gets too warm. This cardigan knit with bulky weight yarn was very easy to knit. The pattern was well written and easy to follow. My only problem came when I had to pick up stitches along the front band and knit it without it being too lose or too tight. It took me three tries but I finally got it right.

I thought the knit one, purl one pattern would drive me crazy but in reality, once I got a rhythm going, it went smoothly and fast. It took me about one month to knit the sweater. One of my favorite features of this pattern is the pockets.

This sweater is knit from the bottom up in individual pieces and then sewn together like a garment. The pattern says to block the pieces before using a mattress stitch to sew them together. I don't have  blocking mats so I got creative and used my design wall to block them after using my steamer to dampen them and ease them into shape.

When the sweater was finally sewn together and I tried it on it was a little too big and sloppy looking, so I took a chance and threw it in the washing machine and washed it on the gentle cycle. It got just a little "felted" but I actually like it and the fit is now perfect!

I found the perfect buttons at a local fabric store and they were just what I think makes the sweater a beautifully finished garment. I am just so pleased with the way it turned out.

JHB Buttons

Given the opportunity of cold weather I can assure you I will be wearing this sweater a lot.
O-Wool Yarn, Paloma Cardigan
I took the cardigan to Wisconsin with me a few weeks ago when I went to the Stitch Supply Company/Stash Sewciety retreat. It was a cozy and comfy piece on the plane and in the cool of the mornings while I was there. It is now packed away in a moth proof bag to protect it until the weather turns cool again.

I always say I learned how to knit by watching YouTube videos. That is not 100% true, because my mom's friend taught me to knit and purl when I was a child. All the extra techniques that I needed to learn for this cardigan, I learned on YouTube. 
New techniques I used to complete this sweater:
*Cable Cast-On
*One Row Buttonholes with 2-Stitch Holes
*Three Needle Bind-Off
*Mattress Stitch

Sweater Stats:

Needles:Addi Natura Bamboo 16" circular size US 10
              Addi Natura Bamboo 32" circular size US 10
              Addi Turbo 60" circular size US 10 
Buttons: JHB 1-1/8" Wooden Button

Monday, April 30, 2018

Picnic in July...a Stash Sewciety Bee Quilt

Last Summer, when it was my turn to be queen in the Stash Sewciety Bee, I chose a random theme of stars and asked my bee mates to make one 12 inch star block and then four of any other block they wanted to make; it didn't have to be a star. My color palette was made from this photo I saw on Design Seeds. 

I pulled a great selection of fabrics from my stash.

Here are some of the blocks I made as starters so my bee mates would know what I was after.

The women of my bee made so many beautiful blocks. I had fun arranging all of them.

bee quilt

Here's the finished quilt. I'm excited to be taking it with me to Wisconsin this week. I'll be with a lot of the women who contributed to making this quilt as we retreat at our annual Stitch Supply Retreat. I can't wait.

diane stanley sews

stash sewciety bee quilt

I sent the quilt top to Crinklelove so she could work her magic on the quilt. I chose Summer Buzz for an all over motif and it's so cute. It has flowers, leaves and bees buzzing all over the quilt.

picnic quilt

My friend, Melissa, sent me a fat quarter of the most perfect fabric. It has all the right colors that I had asked for so I ordered it for the backing for the quilt. A mini stripe by Riley Blake makes the perfect binding to bring the whole quilt together. 

Quilt Stats:
Quilt Name: Picnic in July
Quilt Pattern: A variety and beautiful assortment of stars and random blocks
Fabric: from stash and bee mates
Backing: Sevenberry print
Batting: Warm and White
Binding: Riley Blake Stripes in Navy
Size: after laundering 56" x 78"

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Let's Sew...a Blackwood Cardigan and the Elani Tunic

I have rediscovered my love for garment sewing. Over the last few years I have made a few garments after discovering some Indie pattern designers. This year, I pledged to the Ready to Wear Fast on Instagram. I admit to giving in to buying a few logo t-shirts but other than that and some shoes I’ve been really good at sticking to the fast. 
I upped my sewing game after I started listening to a new to me podcast called Love to Sew. I just love listening to Helen and Caroline. Their easy, relaxed style of interviewing and their lighthearted attitude keep me entertained. I’m all caught up with the available episodes and anxiously await the new episodes each week. They have inspired me to learn all I can to regain the skills I so carelessly tossed aside years ago. I have been discovering new pattern designers and online fabric shops. I'm not putting quilting aside, but I do love this new turn in my creative journey.
I really like Stylarc patterns. They are an Australian pattern designer with a lot of patterns to choose from. I have made several of their tops and a dress. Their patterns fit my body quite well, with only some minor adjustments.
This is the Elani Tunic. I cut a size 10 through the bust and shoulders and then graded it out through the hips to accommodate my short waist and fuller hips.
The fabric is a gorgeous Watercolor viscose print that I purchased from La Mercerie. It was my trickiest fabric to work with in a very long time but it came together beautifully and is very comfortable to wear. The soft, flowy drape of the fabric  and the length of the tunic will mean I can wear this top with jeans or leggings.

 stylarc elani tunic

stylarc elani tunic

Remember the Podcast I mentioned above? Well, Helen is one of the hosts and she has a few patterns that she has designed. This Blackwood Cardigan is one of them. I love it so much! This is the second one I have made and I have a third one cut and ready to sew. 
I purchased the charcoal  tweed  ponte fabric at Joann's Fabrics. It has a beautiful weight to it and looks dressy.
This was such a quick sew. Except for the top stitching, I used the overlocker machine to sew it together. My high school Home Ec teacher would be so happy because the inside looks just as good as the outside.

For this pattern I cut a size large through the shoulders, bust and sleeves (I shortened by one inch) and graded to an extra large through the hips. The fit is so perfect!

I really like the length of this cardigan. The pattern also has a shorter, cropped version available.

blackwood cardigan

The first Blackwood I made I omitted the pockets because the knit had a cable that I thought would be too hard to get perfect. For this one the knit fabric was a perfect weight to make the pockets and they I'm pleased with they way they finished. I'm glad I added them this time.

blackwood cardigan

This is the first Blackwood cardigan that I made. The fabric is a cable knit from Joann's. I love the navy color and I also bought it in cream to make another one. This one I cut a size medium through the bust and shoulders and graded to an extra large through the hips. This one was also completely sewn on the overlocker except the top stitching.
Now I have three very wearable pieces of clothing .

blackwood cardigan

I have a few other pieces of clothing to share. I'll be doing that soon because Me Made May is about to begin next week.