Sunday, August 22, 2010

Post Four

Yeah, I'm really rolling with the post titles. Oh well - creativity elsewhere!

Due to a series of interesting events, I only made it to the last half hour of my last class yesterday. That was a real pity, because I really really really did want to hem some of my work trousers. And I learn so much just from watching people do their other projects and listening to what Alice The Teacher has to teach them. But oh well.

I hemmed up my pj bottoms and I even wore them to bed last night!

It all worked out rather splendidly.

I got to class and popped on my bottoms, Alice measured how long they should be, I pressed up the hems, pressed the raw edge under, pinned it all, and sewed. It took a little longer than it should have, because I had to try on my bottoms twice - instead of pressing up an inch and 3/4 as per Alice's first measurement, I went with an inch and a half. And then I ran out of bobbin thread. Damn it! I was sewing away madly till the very end. But the project is finished! I was happy to wear them last night, as it was deadly cold here. Ugh. So much for summer.

I used a Kwik Sew pattern. I would not at all recommend those patterns. They pretty much suck. Alice and I did some figuring and measuring, and the legs were even wider than the finished measurements were supposed to be. Really, really, really weird.

I can't say much about the pattern directions, as I didn't follow them half the time. Alice took a more intuitive approach with teaching - she had us look at the pattern, but mostly she just taught us how things work, what steps to follow. There were a few points at which we just tossed the directions out of the window.

The fit on these things is kind of stupid. I'm really really glad that I took the legs in - they would have been HUGE otherwise. As it is, there's just enough fabric to be comfortable and not constrict me. The crotch area is a little poofy still, but it's not bad. Kind of just normal for pajama pants. If I hadn't taken the legs in and taken the waist down - oh yeah, I took the waist down like THREE INCHES! - there would have been so much fabric! I do NOT recommend Kwik Sew patterns - they are not at all au courant.

It is highly satisfying to be wearing something that I made myself. And that even looks good. It's pretty awesome.

It is official. I am hooked on sewing.

For those of you who don't yet know - I am pretty lazy when it comes to blogging and pictures. So I hope you appreciate the fact that I took a minute to set up the timer on my camera and scamper over to the wall so that you could get the full effect of the bottoms. You only get the bottoms though, because I'm on my way to changing for a run, and the rest of the picture is me looking down and holding my boobs. Cute, but not quite something I want to post on the internet.

In case you want a pattern from which you have to cut 3 inches off of the waist, add length to the hem, and bring the width in by 3 inches on each leg, it was Kwik Sew 3602.

Funnily enough my bottoms look like the picture, but only because I modified it quite heavily. Weird!

One more thing:

Here is the original Vogue pattern I fell in love with and wanted to make. Well, actually, heck - maybe I will make it in my next class. I purchased it yesterday. Stone Mountain and Daughter had my size in stock. YESSSSS!

I'm completely undecided on the fabric though.

Something new to dream on.

Maybe next time I'll break out a few pictures of my beginning-to-burgeon (oops!) fabric stash.

Yeah, yeah...

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Post... Three?

I've had two more sewing classes since my last post. They've gone well. I am just two hems away from having a finished pair of pajamas. I would have had them done last Saturday, but I decided to take them in for width, and I was 15 minutes late to class. I got lost. Oops. I did get the waist band done - elastic in and everything! I learned about stitching in the ditch on each side of the waist to keep the elastic from twisting during use. Cool.

I would say that all in all, this has been a very successful class. In two days I will have a finished pair of pj bottoms that fits me. I've learned a lot of things, and most importantly, I've learned that I actually do like the process of sewing. It's a nice process and knowing what the hell I'm doing helps immensely with the whole thing.

I'm very excited for this coming Saturday because I will also be hemming 3 pairs of trousers for work. Trousers meaning nice pairs of pants that I got at the Gap which were ridiculously expensive. They fit me well though, and the only thing wrong with them is that they're too long for little ole me.

My fabric scissors are working as beautifully as ever.

And I have another pattern picked out for my next class, slated to start the beginning of October - Vouge 1043. I'm thinking charcoal grey wool crepe. Que-pensez vous?

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Post Two

Ok, so I really did just take a picture of my flannel into which I am making pajamas, but my room is such a huge disaster that I can't find the connecty cord thingy that goes into the computer. So a picture will just have to wait.

[eta pictures!]

So. I fell in love yesterday.

With cotton lawn by Alexander Henry to be precise. I really LOVE this print. I am going to buy some. As soon as I can justify to myself 4 yards or so of $13+ per yard fabric, since I don't actually have a specific pattern in mind (well, I kind of do, but, you know.) Do you know how delicious this fabric is? Incredibly delicious. Really, really, really delicious. Like, have an entire wardrobe of blouses and dresses delicious. YUM.

Since I don't want to be really crazy with fabric buying (at least not as crazy as I am with yarn), I bought $225 worth of classes and scissors instead!

I know, right?


The scissors were completely necessary. I already know about and appreciate having good tools to work with. If you are making something, whether it's cutting wood, hammering nails, painting a wall, chopping vegetables, knitting yarn, or cutting fabric, a good tool will really help you out. The scissors I had purchased for cutting fabric were really crap. Like, total crap. Big, clunky, hard to maneuver, the blade too long for my hand, the handle totally uncomfortable, not balanced or weighted well - overall they just fucking sucked and made cutting fabric a living hell. Since I relaxed into sewing yesterday and decided that I actually liked it, this whole process of fiddly bits, I decided to make the investment in a good pair of scissors.

I spent probably an hour cutting up lengths of scrap fabric at the counter. I was introduced to some Wolff scissors, and I really liked the handle, it was quite lightweight and fit my hand well, but I just wasn't quite satisfied with the blade. It was not quite sharp, precise, long enough for me. I tried the Ginghers out too, but the handle was uncomfortable (that classic all-metal design), and after the comfort of the Wolff, I really didn't want to give that up, but god how I loved the cutting action of the Ginghers. So slick. So sharp, so precise, so nicely weighted. Really great scissors. But I'm a bit of a weenie when it comes to extra weight and discomfort. Why be uncomfortable if I don't need to be? So I tried out a pair of Kai scissors, and I finally went with them. It was a close call between them and the Ginghers, but the ergonomic handle finally got me. If the shop had had the ergonomically handled Ginghers, I probably would have gone with them, but as it is, I'm happy with my Kais.

I bought the 8" pair. (Model N5210). My handle is green for whatever reason. It is a very awesome pair of scissors, and I have apparently inherited (or learned) the gene from my mother that is VERY protective of fabric scissors. (NO ONE BUT ME SHALL TOUCH THESE AND YOU SHALL DIE IF YOU EVEN THINK OF CUTTING PAPER WITH THEM!!!!)
Yeah, that gene.

I am very happy with them. They're beautiful and precise and I can imagine happily and precisely cutting many a pattern with them. I heard something from the woman at the store who sold them to me - she told me I should wipe them clean after a day of cutting. She said that the fuzz that is left on them can dull the scissors. I don't know if that's true, but I'll go ahead and remember to do it. Why not. Make it fun.

So. Me. A pair of fabric scissors.

I also spent an hour or so looking at patterns. I asked my teacher if I repeated her class, if I could please make a skirt that wasn't on the suggested pattern list. For the love of Gawd, Kwik Sew patterns are just fucking ugly and hopelessly out of fashion. I mean, for pity's sake - if I am going to spend 15 hours in a class, $140 on the class time itself, and money on a pattern AND fabric - I had damned well better want to wear whatever the hell it is I'm making. Kwik Sew does not cut it (ha ha.)

I found this beautiful pattern from Vogue and almost had a heart attack - sticker shock. $22 for a pattern?! Shit! I could buy a dress for that! Thank god for Jo Ann fabrics and online and so on and so forth. And then we get into the whole hand-made versus ready-made discussion of longevity, quality of materials, and so forth. Go see Needled. She ruminates well and at length.

Anyhow. Patterns. So - my teach said I could make this pattern in her next class if I so desired. I was like - really?! It's lined and everything. But I think it'd be really cool to do. I tend to love to plunge into things and just take it on and do it, you know? I think I learn best that way - to have a challenge, and rise to meet it. And I would say that generally, I do pretty spectacularly in that department. Since I have 2 months before I start the next class (the soonest one was already full, darn it) at least that will give me time to save my pennies for nice fabric and fabric for lining the dress. Oy. And a petticoat. Ha. Even if I don't make this dress right away, I would like to do so at some point in the future, because I think it'd be a really great thing to make. I actually already have a dress very similar to it that I bought at a vintage shop. Fits me like a dream. I really need a petticoat for it. It's cute without, but it would be just amazing with one. I've worn it out to a nice restaurant once, so I know it's a dress that would actually get wear. And how fun would it be to be the crazy med rec clerk in hawt vintage? Hee hee. Though I'll have to make sure to make a dress that actually lets me move my arms around - the dress I've got doesn't allow for much arm movement.

Ok. So I started and then stopped this entry like two hours ago.

Let's see if I can sum up.

This Saturday I cut out my fabric pieces. I learned how to make sure that the fabric was folded on grain, I learned how to lay down my pattern on the fabric and make sure it would be laid and cut on grain. I sewed a little bit - I sewed the inseams of the fronts to the backs. I trimmed up the fabric next to the second line of sewing on one of the inseams, then I overcast the edge with a zig zag stitch. Next Saturday I shall start by overcasting the other inseam, and then I guess I'll sew up the next thing. No idea what that is though. My teach is bypassing the directions which she says are unneccesarily comlicated and out of order. I spent a lot of time ironing and learning about the whole grain thing. All in all I enjoyed the session this time, and I really relaxed when I finally started sewing. Ah! Went my little brain. This is what it's all about! So I should get to have a little more of that next week, which shall be nice.

I also signed up for a "learn to make a pattern from your ready-to-wear" for Labor Day. I'm really excited for this workshop. It's six hours and at the end of it you go home with a muslin sample, not just a pattern, which is really cool. This is what I've really wanted to learn how to do! Re-create!

Anyhow, that's the summary for this weekend, I've got to go to bed and get some sleep.

Ciao ciao my fellow stitchers.