Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Second PR Linda Top, in Teal and Knotted

PR Linda Top in Teal
I was really surprised to find myself caught with an affliction that has never happened to me before--the desire to sew a lot of new items to be worn at PR Weekend LA.  Symptoms include:  constant wardrobe planning, delaying mealtimes to "just finish this step" that turns into "sew everything but the hem", sewing at 6:30am, and a sewing room that looks like it's been ransacked.   In past years I have seen other PR members succumb to this affliction but this is my first case of it after a long run of 5 years.

I generally make a bag to bring to PR weekend. I sewed up this year's in March (here).
But the affliction really started with the success of the free for Members of PR Linda PR top in black (here).
Well, I "needed" some pants to wear with it.
Enter the MimiG pants (here and here).
Since I made two pairs of MimiGs, I also "needed" another shirt.

Hence, the reprise of the Linda PR top, but this time in teal and with shorter "ties" to make a knot instead of a bow.  Bonus is this fabric came from EmBe in LA in Nov 2013.  So it's about to make a homecoming.

You may recall from the last time I wrote about the Linda top, that I learned that the word "ruching" has no "o" in it; I thought it was "rouching".  Trumbelina suggested that I think of the spelling with "o" like it's the Canadian or British spelling of the word.  I like that idea (and your sense of humour!)

I made the ties 10.5" shorter by removing one "page" worth of the tie.
Instead of untaping that page, I just folded it out.

PR Linda Top in Teal
I bound the armhole, then topstitched.  One of the armholes came out comically much larger than the other one, oops.  I think that's a side effect of continuous sewing.

PR Linda Top in Teal
By serging the raw edge of the binding, then folding over and topstitching, it looks nicely finished inside and out.  Even if there is the comically larger armhole.

The knot reminds me of French clothing, flight attendants, and Cub Scouts.  
PR Linda Top in Teal

I took the outdoor photos yesterday, after it had rained much of the day.  The lawn is basically clay so there is not much drainage.
PR Linda Top in Teal
Here I'm wishing I had a remote for taking pictures instead of mucking through the mud to reset the 10 second timer.
PR Linda Top in Teal
Here I'm sinking into the mud.
PR Linda Top in Teal
Help! Someone rescue me!!

I sewed one more item this morning.  And depending on my stamina, I might finish another item tonight.  But I really need to pack.  I think the only cure for the "sewing for PR Weekend" affliction is to get on the plane, which I'm doing tmw.

Be well!

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Now in Sunlight: Two pairs of Mimi G Simplicity 1283 pants

Gray Simplicity 1283 view C Mimi G pants in Gray
Gray pair, sewn today and photographed  in daylight!

Thanks for all your comments from yesterday's post!!

(To recap:  S1283 is the Holy Grail of knit pants patterns for pears; front crotch is amazing; all hail MimiG. I used exterior elastic instead of the recommended waistband and removed 5" at the knee.  No crying, no frustration.  I just sewed and they fit great!).

I loved the black pair so much that I cut and sewed a dark gray pair today, and did a photo shoot in the side yard before there were too many shadows so that you can see the fit better.

The gray pair

Gray Simplicity 1283 view C Mimi G pants in Gray
Yes, there are some wrinkles back there.  I'm not interested in doing a bunch of muslins to try to remove them, though.  Releasing some of my perfectionism and all that.
Gray Simplicity 1283 view C Mimi G pants in Gray
This pair is made from some really delightful gray ponte from Joann's, of all places.  It must have a lot of lycra in it.  Feels very beefy, substantial and comfy.  It is also slightly sparkly in sunlight which is unexpected and fun, though you can't tell from the photos.  It's fabric with personality.
Gray Simplicity 1283 View C Mimi G pants in gray

For this pair I used some fancy elastic from Pacific Trimming that I had in stash.  Looks more decorative than the elastic I used yesterday.  When I sew the crop top, I would lengthen it to hit just at this elastic.

The hem is not straight across; it's curved.
For this pair I used my twin needle to hem instead of blind hemming it.

The black pair
Simplicity 1283 View C Mimi G pants in black ponte
Simplicity 1283 View C Mimi G pants in black ponte
Simplicity 1283 View C Mimi G pants in black ponte
Simplicity 1283 View C Mimi G pants in black ponte
Simplicity 1283 View C Mimi G pants in black ponte

PR Linda Top
Butterick 6072 backpack

Today's photo shoot brought to you by my dying old point and shoot + 10 second timer + gorillapod + Rose of Sharon.

Let me know if you're a pear and make these pants--I'd love to compare notes!  I'm looking forward to wearing both pairs at work this week as a test drive.

Thanks again MimiG!!!

Be well!

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Calling all pears: Simplicity 1283 view C Mimi G Pants

Simplicity 1283 View C MimiG Pants
If you are pear or hourglass shaped and hate pants fitting, I think I found the Holy Grail of knit pants patterns.

"Penitent, penitent, only the penitent sewist shall pass...the penitent sewist....kneels before Mimi G!"
(Bonus points if you know the film.)

I didn't cry, I didn't make 20 muslins, I didn't spent a million hours on these.  I. just. sewed.  Thank you Mimi G!!
Simplicity 1283 View C MimiG Pants
I *love* these pants.

(I know it is hard / impossible to see the details but I will get better pictures for another post, I swear!  I'm just so excited to share this pattern with you!!  Update:  See the pictures in bright sunlight, and a second pair in gray here.)

Simplicity 1283 View C MimiG Pants
You might be thinking to yourself, but Kyle, they are black pants, what is the big deal?
Simplicity 1283 View C MimiG Pants
Big deal #1:  I cut them out and sewed them up today.

Simplicity 1283 View C MimiG Pants
Big deal #2:  I thought I was sacrificing some pretty nice black double knit ponte to make my muslin, but when I basted them together I realized the deal was real.  After a little sampling, I serged 'em up.
Big deal #3:  The best front crotch curve on me ever!    No wrinkles!!

Big deal #4: I *love* the flared leg and how they are not low rise.  I feel elegant.

Big deal #5:  There are some back leg wrinkles but I'm not going to sweat it.  It does not look insane back there.

Overall they fit me amazingly well for sewing them up straight from the envelope (see note about the knee below).     Mimi G is a pear and so am I.  I have a 10" difference between my waist and hips.  I bought the pattern at the ASE and asked Deborah at the Simplicity booth if the pattern really is for pears (I was afraid they might have used the standard sloper) and she said the pants really are for pears.
Simplicity 1283 View C MimiG Pants
My hips are 40" so I went with the size 16 which has a finished hip measurement of 39.5".

(Note there is negative ease with the pattern, way to go Simplicity for keeping the Mimi G figure hugging style!)

I made sure my fabric had the recommended 25% crosswise stretch.

Also before I cut them out I remembered from Jennifer Stern's PR jeans class to find where my knee would fall on the pattern and mark it on the pattern.  Since the pants flare out at the knee, it was easy to find where the knee was on the pattern---a difference of 5" between my knee cap and the pattern's!  So I took that 5" out at the knee on the flat pattern and blended before cutting them out.

I am able to get the pants on without the recommended back zipper.
Simplicity 1283 View C MimiG Pants
Instead of her waistband I sewed on a band exterior elastic (Pamela's Fantastic Elastic) like I do for my skirts, using the method I detailed here.  Since I won't wear them tucked in, it reduces bulk this way.

I think I probably should have cut the elastic a little shorter as I think they are sinking down a little bit as I walk around my house but I will figure that out for sure during their first day of wear.  I might just steam the elastic in the morning to shrink it down and see if that takes care of it.

I blind hemmed a 1" hem.  And remember I had taken out 5" at my knee, so these pants are loooong.

Blind hem is mostly blind.
View from the inside

Big deal #6:  I want to make them in many colors!  And maybe add back pockets.

Big deal #7:  This is one outfit for PR Weekend in LA.  I think this will be my ensemble for the Friday shopping day:
Simplicity 1283 View C MimiG Pants
PR Linda Top
Butterick 6072 backpack

Simplicity 1283 View C MimiG Pants
My right hip is a different shape than my left hip--what is up with that??

I did not watch the videos (though I think that is a GREAT idea) but I did read the instructions, which seem to have been possibly written by Mimi G herself.  They were NOT the standard Simplicity instructions; they were more detailed and had better tips and different line drawings.  For example, the drawings themselves were well annotated--when it was time to sew a seam, that particular seam was actually labeled on the drawing.

I can't wait to make the shirt pattern too (I'm going to lengthen it so it's not cropped, and fingers crossed there will be no swayback pooling) and as I said, many many pairs of these pants in many ponte colors!!

Be well!!!

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Pattern Review 105 Linda Top Done

First I want to say that I'm really disappointed to find out that I've been spelling ruching wrong all these years.  I really think ruching should have an "o" in it ("rouching") but the dictionary says it's "ruching".   WHAT?

Honestly, I am not a huge fan of PDF patterns in general.  Their main selling point is that you can print them out right away and not pay for shipping, but I don't own a printer so there's nothing immediate about them for me.  I'm also not excited by taping together a bunch of paper but this one was so so so cute, it's free for Friends of PR members and it wasn't too many pieces so I decided to give it a whirl.  Thanks Deepika for the free pattern!

Pattern Review 105 Linda Top
I think I was also intrigued by making a shirt that is supposed to have lots of  intentional lines and wrinkles in it.  That's all rouching!  Sorry, ruching.

Pattern Review 105 Linda Top
Ruching ruching ruching.  The ruching does move around a lot.  This may be because after I made my size M muslin, it felt a bit too tight overall so I went with the L sewing with 3/8 seam allowance grading to 5/8 seam allowance.  Maybe I need to make the seam allowance wider in the stomach area to make the ruching more taut.
Pattern Review 105 Linda Top
It was a nice chance for my perfectionist side to ease up a bit and not get obsessed about wrinkles.  They're all intentional!!!  Even my sway back....design feature!

The easy way to make the ruching
After watching the free Jalie 3131 bra making video, I learned an amazing tip I have never seen anywhere else about how to stitch the two rows of gathering stitches....(specifically from 1:01 to 1:28 in the video, though I recommend watching the whole thing--you get to see the full construction of a wireless bra without padding in under 13 minutes.):
Pattern Review 105 Linda Top
The way I had learned was make two separate rows...this leads to many annoying problems (for me at least).

But the Jalie way is to make two rows with one continuous stitch!!!  Then you pull both threads, but only on one side.  I know, it is mindblowing and makes it so easy to make nice gathers.

I have also gathered before on my serger but I might prefer this way for short stretches...

The Shoulder Seam
The directions call for optional elastic for the shoulder seam; I like to use Stay Tape instead, serge and press to the back so it's hidden underneath the seam.
Pattern Review 105 Linda Top
Doesn't that look profesh?
Pattern Review 105 Linda Top
The Armhole Binding
For the binding, I serged the raw edge first even though it wouldn't fray because I like how it looks (see above).

Deepika likes to sew her bindings in the ditch; I prefer the stitching line to be seen.  For this step I used my edgestitching foot.  I bought it for my BabyLock but it fits on my Brother too.
Just keep the flange along the seamline and stitch.
It produces a beautiful, even stitch
Pattern Review 105 Linda Top

My Twin Needle Workout
I used my twin needle to keep the seam allowances toward the shirt as pressing was not enough...
Pattern Review 105 Linda Top
Both around the collar and....
Pattern Review 105 Linda Top
At the gap that is left so the bow can be tied.
For the hem I serged the raw edge, pressed and stitched the hem down.
The hem is actually nice and stretchy!  Someday I will get a coverstitch.

The ties
Pattern Review 105 Linda Top
I wish the markings for the different sizes had  the sizing marked instead of using the dashes.  The only way I really knew was because size S was gray and the other sizes were black.

Incredibly funny story about this fabric
I have been labeling my fabric as I buy it with where I bought it and if I have wash/dried it.  Usually I wash/dry all my fabric right after I buy it so it is ready to go.
For this fabric, I labeled it "PR weekend Austin 2014.  Wash and Dry?"
Hmmmm...question mark?
Well, I had cut out my 4" square to test for shrinkage, but that wasn't attached.
I forged on ahead anyway.

I think I must not have pretreated it because this happened:
By the end of my sewing session on Sunday, my fingernails were stained from the fabric dye, especially underneath my fingernails.
I did not consider this fact when I wore the shirt to work on Monday.
I go to work, I go to the gym, I take a shower at the gym.
I come home and as I take off my shirt and bra to change into my pajamas, I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror.
OMG I can see the outline of my bra.....the dye rubbed off onto my skin....it is especially noticeable on my side and back.
Sorry, no photo available of that, but I *howled*.  And am glad I wore the shirt with a black bra and black pants.

Be well!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Wrapping up the Butterick 6072 Backpack Experience: Fabric and Structure

Quite possibly, my favorite bag photo ever.
Although I like this one too.
Backpack in action on Tuesday--it is the right size to use as a purse.

Previous posts about this bag:
Wonder Tape and Interior Zipper Pocket
Riri Zipper and Zipper Sandwich
Wonder Clips, Piping, and Zipper Feet
Straps, hardware, magnetic closures

Thank you for cheerleading me along!!!

I never wrote about the fabric and the stabilizing structure for Butterick 6072.

The exterior fabric is from Kashi (Metro Textiles) from PR Day 2014 and was just $2 a yard. I love love love the scale of the pattern.
The interior graffiti fabric is from Gwen Couture in San Diego from May 2013. There's a pocket for a phone and another for a point and shoot camera.
I embroidered a name label of course!  Above was in progress....I wound up stitching over it again before cutting it and sewing it into place.
The NYC subway map fabric is from The City Quilter in Chelsea...it's kind of my signature now to always use it for interior zipper pockets.

I used Fashion Sewing Supply's medium fusible interfacing on both the exterior and interior fabric.

But how does it keep its shape?  There is nothing in the bag above!

I discussed in an earlier post how I went rogue, ignored the pattern directions (which had you hand stitch the lining to the zipper tape at the very end) and used the zipper sandwich method of making the bag.

That means that eventually you get to a point where there is an opening in the lining that is unsewn and you pull the bag through that opening....
to "birth the bag"
so once it is turned right side out, you have the opening in the lining to stitch up --but before I closed it up, I inserted some peltex inside to give it some structure. The Peltex is just resting inside--it is not sewn in because it is a bit of a bear to sew a bag with peltex and piping and a lining and turn it right side out--I have done that before but this was an experiment.

For the zipper I did sew Fashion Sewing Supply heavyweight interfacing into the zipper sandwich to help it keep its shape.  LOVE IT.

Overall it fits in well with the other "city bags" I have made.

Definitely a nice theme going on.
Three of four bags uses the same lining--I only have scraps left, maybe enough for a zipper pouch?
Izzy is overloaded.
Be well!