Monday, September 1, 2014

Jalie 3245 Raglan Tee

I made this raglan in anticipation of going to a Milwaukee Brewers (hence the gold and navy) game with the boyfriend.  A lot tried to go wrong with this top - the fabric I ordered didn't arrive until Friday night before the Sunday game, and the colors turned out wrong, so I ended up using cheap poly/cotton knit from Joann that I could have started on anytime that week.  And several silly errors - seams ending up on the outside and such - made it take much longer than it should have.  But I did get it done in time for the game.

This mostly went together well, though I changed the neckline.  I couldn't quite figure out the pattern's instructions to make their neckline work, and time was running out, so I just made my own and attached it in a more familiar way (though one that leaves visible topstitching, which apparently the original pattern method did not).

You can also see that the zig-zag stitching attaching the sleeves is visibly pucker-y; I must need to switch to a smaller stitch length.

I also took in the sides quite a bit - about four inches in all.  I'm several sizes larger in the bust than in the waist for most pattern brands, and I didn't want the top to be too snug, so I chose the size based on my bust measurement.
The fit could be improved, but overall I'm happy enough with the end result - especially since the fabric is already pilling after one wash, so this isn't something I'm going to be wearing often!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Gathering Doom

One of my sewing weaknesses is that I really hate gathering (the process, not the end result). By either the "proper" method or any of the meant-to-be-easier "cheat" methods, I can't ever seem to get my gathers even, or close to it. (My machine did not like it when I tried to use the stretch-the-elastic-as-you-sew method - on my longest stitch length, I got tiny stitches so small I could barely pull them out.  It might work on a fabric that could take some tugging, but this knit I'm trying to gather isn't sturdy enough.)

So I got a ruffler foot for my machine, in the hopes that it would make the process easier.  After all, not being able to gather puts a lot of limits on what I can make.  So far, the ruffler foot produces knots and ominous clanking and no gathers or pleats at all.  Not quite what I had in mind!  I'm not sure yet whether I'll keep experimenting with it - I'm afraid it's going to do some damage to the machine, and I can definitely see broken needles in my future with all that clanking.  Maybe I should spring for the $50 brand-specific one, since the machine isn't plaing nice with the generic one I got.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Body Acceptance, and a Finished Tee

Another reason I want to blog about my sewing progress has to do with body acceptance. In my head I'm fine with my body, and I'm mostly okay with how I look day-to-day. But I find that when I'm making an effort to look good, suddenly all that self-acceptance is gone, and all I can see is flaws (that, of course, being things that deviate from the socially-accepted norms for women). I've been particularly aware of this after a trip to the beach led to me daydreaming about making my own swimwear (someday!): all the plans I have involve more body coverage than I used to prefer. And it's not just that I'm not so comfortable with showing skin by nature: 30 pounds ago, I was pleased to wear a bikini. So I may tell myself in my head that I'm okay with my body, but I'm not entirely.

That relates to this blogging project in that I completed my current sewing project this afternoon, and when I saw the pictures I'd taken of me wearing it, I thought about deleting the blog - I couldn't show those to the world! Part of this is that I'm not particularly skilled with photography, especially since I don't want to press the Boyfriend into service taking pictures of everything I make, so I'm taking them of myself and that's tough. But the main thing is that my proportions looked grotesque to me. All the more evidence that my body acceptance is not complete.

So I'll post pics, whether I think they're "flattering" or not. The world could use more pics of curvier folk, anyway. (I'm on the lookout for sewing blogs by sewers who are curvier - I know I'm going to need to be making modifications to some of the popular indie patterns to make them fit me, and I'm sure somebody out there has already gone through that!)

Anyway, without further ado, my scoopneck tee from the Craftsy Sewing with Knits class by Meg McElwee, out of a rayon knit.

It's not perfect - the stitching makes the fabric want to pucker somewhat along the side seams, and I probably should have added more to the bust, knit or no, but it looks like a real t-shirt. Considering the haphazard way I used to sew, impatient and barrelling forward without bothering to figure out the right way to do something, this one's a win! And I'll actually wear it, for sure - I can't have too many fitted t-shirts.

P.S. on "curvy" vs. "fat": I'm fine with the term "fat" and agree with the thinking that we should make the term acceptable, a descriptor no more fraught than calling someone tall or brunette. But since I'm not big enough to get a lot of the hassles associated with being a fat woman, I'm reluctant to self-identify that way lest it be appropriative.

About Me

I'm Sommer (or Sommeone), academic by day, nascent sewer by night. Or rather, by school-year and by summer respectively.

I learned the basics of sewing as a kid, both at home and a little at school, but I haven't been sewing consistently through that time, and there are big gaps in my knowledge. I'm planning on documenting my progress, both achievements and failures, in the hopes that I'll keep it up this time instead of letting this hobby I enjoy so much fall by the wayside once the school year begins.