It’s been one of those (2) weeks

It always feels like just when I get the ball rolling, the ball spontaneously combusts. We’ve had a major outbreak of long-lasting fevers running through the house. The kind where you know there is no chance you’ll get more than a few hours sleep for the foreseeable future. Mix that with the potty training of two opinionated 2 year-olds and it’s a recipe for disaster.

So I’ve got all these projects cut out and ready to sew and they’re just sitting there on my table, taunting me. I’ve got a memory card full of pictures I need to go through and lists of pictures that I still need to take and it’s just not happening. And I keep thinking, “oh! I’ll do it this weekend,” but then I remember we’ve got family coming so it’s not going to happen then either.

I find I’m easily frustrated by things like this, but it’s out of my control (HAHAHA THAT’S EXACTLY WHY IT’S FRUSTRATING, HAVE I MENTIONED I’M A CONTROL-FREAK?), so I just have to take another step back and pick it up again when things settle. Will things ever settle?

In the meantime, is anyone else as obsessed as I am about what a puff of steam does for your seams? I get really excited and I take pictures every dang time. Which might be absurd.

<3

Yep, I Totally Made Underwear.

And I’ll do it again!

This is the Scrundlewear pattern and the Spoxxy Top, both from Stitch Upon a Time. I made them with the Fly Away Birds fabric from Girl Charlee.

Yeah, I should have changed my serger thread. But I get so lazy when it's something for me...
Yeah, I should have changed my serger thread to white. But I get so lazy when it’s something for me…

The are both very comfortable and I really will make more. I liked the patterns – pattern people (is that what they call themselves?) are using the layers function more often now which is so convenient. This one uses it, but not quite the way I’d prefer. I think it works best when all of the pattern pieces are layered together and leaving only the one you want erases all lines but that size. This one did all of the sizes one at a time (on different sheets of paper), and when you click your size, all of the others disappear but you have to search through a bunch of blank pages to figure out which ones to print. Doing it like that is fine, but instead of layers, it might be better just to say, if you want size n, print pages x-xx. Anyhow. Not a big deal.

The undies

One of my favorite things is patterns with options, add-on or otherwise. Its nice to be able to experiment and find what you like. That said, so often, I find the instructions a little confusing because you’re switching back and forth to different directions and it can be a little frustrating to try and figure out what you’re supposed to be sewing. This happened a little with the underwear. Sometimes in patterns like this, I’d love a quick numbered list of steps. Also, once I’ve made something once or twice, it would be nice to have that too – something to refer back to without having to scroll through pictured instructions.

Clearly, they turned out fine, so it wasn’t a problem – just something that I noticed. They were so easy to put together, and I love how they fit. I will definitely try the boyshorts next.

The top

This was definitely my favorite of the two patterns. I LOVED that the instructions used fabric that had very clear wrong and right sides and even more that they used really bright serger thread. I wish every pattern/instruction-maker would do this! It makes it so much easier to see what you’re supposed to be doing. I fit sewing into very short bursts of time when kids are otherwise occupied (VERY RARELY) so having instructions that are completely obvious is so appreciated.

I added two inches of length to the top and I’m glad I did. I like tops to cover my butt. I know it’s not popular opinion, but in my world, leggings are pants sometimes, damnit. I need to start adding length to all the tops I make I think. I put the band on the bottom, but if I was to make it again, I would probably just hem. I really like the look of bands, but at some point, I have to accept that after having 3 kids in 2 years, the band look is not working for me right now.

I don’t have it yet, but I’d really like to try the versa cami. Although I get so frustrated that I buy a couple patterns from a shop to test them out, and then I want to buy another and see that there was a bundle price for three. Oh well.

This top was the first time I tested out my new coverstitch machine. I did the three needle stitch on the racerback seam and then did the wide double needle stitch on the band. That second one…didn’t work out so well. But I’m learning! I use all of the clothes I make for my kids and me to practice things like topstitching (used to hate, now I love), binding, and all that fun stuff.

I never thought I’d make underwear. Now, I may never throw a scrap of fabric away before seeing if it’s big enough to cover my butt.

Aviator Pants – Children’s and Women’s Versions

I’ve had the Aviator Pants pattern for awhile now, but only just got around to making them. I love how the kids’ pants turned out, but I’m not too jazzed about how mine look. I think this has to do with the fabric I used. I love it, but it doesn’t have great recovery.

The paper pieces for this one were alright – I found them a bit lacking in cutting instructions, but it wasn’t too hard to figure out. I got done cutting and then realized I had to measure a bunch more pieces on my own and then cut them, which can get frustrating after awhile, especially if you think you’re done, put the fabric away, and then have to pull it out again.

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The only way to get them to turn to the side is to tell them to give each other a kiss.
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I hardly even recognize them when they’re not engaged in war over a toy.

I thought it would be fun to make them opposite versions, and I think they turned out great, but I sized up because I’m so tired of things fitting for such a short time, and these are definitely a bit big. That’s okay, they’ll just wear them for longer, right?

Anyhow, I liked making these. I liked the top-stitching, I liked the slash pockets, I liked putting them together. I think the instructions, both for the kid’s and the women’s version could REALLY (really, very, really) use zoomed out photos. Every photo is very zoomed in on a small part, which makes it really hard to visualize what you’re supposed to be doing where. I think photos are a great instruction tool, but either use both zoomed in and zoomed out, or have small line-drawings to use for reference.

I didn't get a great picture of mine.  But the fabric was reversible, so it was nice to have something I knew would match!
I didn’t get a great picture of mine. But the fabric was reversible, so it was nice to have something I knew would match!

I do wish, in retrospect, that the elastic had been added as a part of the process, rather than slitting open the band at the end. I think it would look nicer, and I would be much more inclined to actually put it in, instead of looking at the pants and thinking, “they just look so done,” and being too lazy to do it.

For the girls, the green fabric was from fabric.com and the gray jersey, which I wrote about previously was from a seller on Etsy. The green doesn’t have much stretch, but is a really durable fabric. The gray jersey hasn’t worn very well, which is too bad because I just love how it looks. The fabric used for mine is from Fabric Place Basement in Natick. If you’re in the area, I’d recommend checking it out. Most fabric stores don’t carry a ton of knits, but they have a big selection and it’s so nice to be able to feel it before buying it (I buy most of my fabric online). It’s not super nearby, but I always stop there if I’m anywhere close…

I recommend taking someone with you to carry all of your items.
I recommend taking someone with you to carry all of your items.

I’ve learned a lot about buying fabric in the last year. I think I’m starting to make better choices, but it’s just so tempting to like a print and jump on it without looking at the content and the stretch.

I have some fabric sitting around (the second one down in that last picture) and I can’t decide whether to give these another try, or to branch out and try the Hudson pant. Any advice?

The Finlayson Sweater Pattern by Thread Theory

It took me a very long time to make something for Mike. Because he’s picky. And he’s a perfectionist. It’s hard to want to make something for someone you think will critique every stitch. But first we looked for the perfect fabric, and then the perfect pattern, and finally we found the Finlayson.

Pretty!
Pretty! But the hood construction definitely gave me some trouble. I think my serger/lining added to much bulk to the seams.

I used a sweater knit that I found at a local fabric store (Fabric Place Basement in Natick if you’re local), and instead of just lining the hood, I lined the whole thing with a gray quilted jersey I found on Etsy. I loved this jersey, until I saw how it wore after I made a bunch of things with it. It just hasn’t held up all that well.

Anyhow, this is one of the few projects that I made a full muslin for because I’m pretty lazy, but I knew he would be really particular. I was glad I did. I didn’t change much, but I got some extra practice with attaching the hood, and I knew I’d need to take in the sides a tiny bit – he likes slimmer fitting arms and sides.

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Man, I loved that gray quilted jersey.

The pattern made me nervous – I hadn’t done too many hoods or kangaroo pockets, but they have a great sewalong and I used that even more than I used the instructions. I love sewalongs. I had a bit of trouble with the hood still – I think it had to do with having extra bulk, and also the sweater knit was a bit stretchy and slippery. And I don’t love how it lays, but it’s 90% for show anyways – he doesn’t really ever put the hood on. The kangaroo pocket instructions were great, and I’ve actually used it to modify other patterns with kangaroo pockets because this way just makes more sense.

If I made it again, I’d also make the cuffs and waistband a bit wider – just personal preference.

All in all, I was really pleased with it – and he wears it! Well, he wore it a lot at first, and then randomly bought a ton of hoodies, but it’s still in the rotation, which is an accomplishment.

I like Thread Theory patterns a lot. I’ve also made the Strathcona Henley and the Camas Blouse. Their patterns always go together very neatly during the paper construction and the instructions are well-written (although I cannot recommend the sewalongs enough – please make one for the Camas ASAP!).

Once in awhile I make something not for me.

I like to sew for myself. Ever since having the girls, I have had a tough time buying clothes (besides athleta yoga pants). Things just don’t fit well. 

But I start to feel guilty after awhile, so I’ll throw something together for them and it’s so easy that I chastise myself for not doing it more often. 

A couple weeks ago, I found this free pattern for a racerback dress from Crafterhours. It took no time at all to sew, and I think they look pretty great. 

imageThere was a spot on my camera that day and I didn’t realize – it’s driving me crazy.

Anyhow, this was really good practice for sewing neck and arm bands. They took less than 20 minutes to throw together and the girls immediately got strawberry juice all over them.

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Flutter skirts

I found the Figgy’s flutter skirt pattern a long time ago and was totally perplexed. Not because I didn’t like it, just because I kind of felt dumb when I went to draft the pattern onto tracing paper. I used the instructions provided and was being neurotic (I am quick to say that math isn’t my thing, but really, I’m perfectly capable) and it was just not working. Anyhow, I enlisted the help of Mike because I just didn’t feel like trying anymore, but I wanted the skirt! His first comment was, “well this wasn’t written by an engineer.” Anyhow, he figured out where the equation was poorly constructed and got it all together for me. (No real complaints – it was a free pattern…)

With only two seams to sew, once the fabric was cut, it was unbelievably quick to throw together. Like, within a couple of minutes my kids were wearing them. I think my fabric may have been a bit stretchier than called for because the sizing was a little big and they sort of hang awkwardly, but they’ll definitely grow into them. I really like them and since the pattern goes up through adult sizes, and now I know how to do it, it will get a lot of use.

I made some with reversible fabric, because why not!?