Sunday, September 18, 2016

Ottobre 5/2016 #7 Miniskirt

After sleeping on it, I decided that the coat wasn't worth finishing.  Even if it ended up looking okay - not a certainty by any means - there were enough places where it had gotten distorted that I would have known it wasn't okay, even if no one else noticed.  So I decided to give my first Ottobre pattern a try, and cut the split-front miniskirt (#7) from the 5/2016 issue out of the plaid-ish ponte I'd used for the body of the coat.

Even though I don't anticipate I'll wear this all that often, it was just what I needed sewing-wise after the things that went wrong with the coat.  This was my first time using a pattern from a "roadmap" style pattern sheet, and it took a bit to get the hang of tracing off it; I had to go back a few times because I'd missed markings.  But once that was figured out, this was a beautifully easy and tidy sew.  Everything lined up perfectly, my coverstitch behaved itself (mostly), and I finished this project in a day, from tracing-off to hem, which I almost never do.

There are things that could be better - for example, it didn't take a press as well as could be ideal, and that shows in the seam between the yoke and the skirt.  But even so, this feels like a success, even if it's likely to spend more time in my closet than on me.  And who knows, if I can make leggings that actually fit me right and stay opaque all the way up, maybe shorter skirts will play a bigger role in my wardrobe this fall and winter.

I made a size 48, based on my waist and hip measurements of 35" and 44" (or 46" if I use the accomadate-your-tummy method.)  The fit isn't 100% perfect - I'm not sure if the lines in the front picture are drag lines or just because of how I'm standing - but it's fully wearable.

So thanks to a very satisfying little project after a week of struggles, thing-a-week week 1 is a success!  I'm not sure yet what to plan for week 2.  The coat failure has made me a bit intimidated by the prospect of trying something else well outside my realm of experience, but I do still need a transitional jacket, and have both pattern and fabric picked out for one.  But this time, a muslin for sure.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Butterick 6254, not working out

Only two days left in the first week since I started my thing-a-week plan.  Finishing this week's project in two weekend days is definitely possible, but I haven't decided if it's worth it.  Some things have gone awry in my attempt at Butterick 6254, and I'm not sure I'd be that into it even if they hadn't.

I've had a lot of issues with things growing during construction.  Even on straight, with-the-grain seams, my double knit fabric stretched a lot, and I had all sorts of things not lining up properly as a result.  (The interfaced facing and the front piece lined up perfectly when pinned, but the non-interfaced piece grew over an inch as I sewed them together!)  It's somewhat frustrating since I'm not sure what I should have done differently, but obviously something!  I staystitched where told, but perhaps I should have stabilized everything before sewing.  Or used the walking foot?

I also tried using bits of washi tape to transfer some of the pattern markings, since chalk usually rubs away before I need it, but the washi tape peeled off too easily and I lost some semi-important markers.  (The impact of this was fairly trivial, since after all the distortion from stretching, they wouldn't have lined up anyway.)

Now that it's close enough to done to put on and get an idea of what it will look like, I'm not sure I'd like it even if it were perfectly constructed.  I haven't done the side seams yet, so I can't be sure, but it's looking like it will be huge, and although I still like the idea of it, I'm finding my combination of fabric choices pretty drab.

All in all, I'm thinking this project is bound for either the trash or the giveaway bag, depending on whether I finish it or not.  It's a learning experience, of course, but I'm disappointed.  I had envisioned this as an easy success while broadening my horizons, and it shows me that in some important ways I'm still lacking in basic sewing know-how.

I have another transitional jacket in my sewing plans, but as my sewing ego is fragile, I think a super-easy project, virtually assured to be a success, is a better next choice.  Probably another Concord, or perhaps a very simple skirt.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Thing a Week?

Unsurprisingly, I didn't complete all that many of the things I had planned in my previous post, and now that it's mid-September, most of them are off the to-sew list.  It's still hot for now, but this is Wisconsin - it won't be for long.

What I have completed:

The greatest success was my striped Cashmerette Concord.  The stripes aren't quite perfectly across, but they're pretty close, and since this was my first attempt at a striped anything, it's definitely a success in my book.  None of them are perfect, but my me-made tees are quickly becoming my favorite thing to wear.  (This has nothing at all to do with the fact that I've gained weight and my RTW tees are mostly too snug now, shh.)

I also made another pair of Greenstyle's Walbrook boxer briefs for my partner.  I always like the idea of making him underwear, since it should be quick and easy and takes so little fabric.  But my coverstitch machine hates the narrow binding on the fly, and what should be a two-hour project ends up involving more than two hours just of unpicking!  (It is nice to be reminded of how agreeable my plain old sewing machine is by comparison.)

I also made a few muslins of the Cashmerette Springfield top, but have shelved that one for seasonal reasons too.  Muslin 2 was pretty close, but then I tried muslin 3 as a meant-to-be-wearable muslin out of this polyester silky I had.  It didn't fit, but in a completely useless way - the fabric was so slippery during both cutting and construction that I couldn't tell if it was that my alterations still needed work, or just cutting and sewing errors.

My next planned project - and I've already traced it off and prewashed the fabric, so it should actually happen - is a lightweight jacket using Butterick 6254.  I've got a black doubleknit for the sleeves and collar, and a black-on-grey plaid-ish ponte knit for the body.

I'm planning on setting a sewing goal for myself for the rest of the year.  My partner and I both have summers off and have just gone back to work, but while he's full-time, I'm only part-time, so I've got a lot of hours at home alone.  I was content to be lazy during the summer, but I want my excess free time to be productive now.  So my goal is to complete one sewing project per week for the rest of the year.  That's sixteen weeks, so even if I fail to meet my goal half the time, it would still be my most productive period of sewing ever.  (There's a reason I'm still pretty much a beginner fifteen years after buying my first sewing machine.)  Who knows if it will happen, but that's what I'm aiming for.