Alli

burpingyazoo {at thinger} gmail {dot} com

Dec 062016
 

I picked up a few Style Arc patterns over the blackfriday-smallbusinesssaturday-shopmoresunday-cybermonday-palooza weekend, and the one I was most excited to try was the Violet knit jacket. I hadn’t sewn any Style Arc patterns before, but I’d heard a lot about them, so I made sure to get the pdf version so I could get a few different sizes and seam allowances marked (too lazy to add them in myself).

style arc violet knit jacket

I wanted to make this in a cozy wool double knit, but I had a hard time finding fabric I liked. Fortunately, Thornberry had already shown that this could be made in a woven, so made mine with a pretty blue wool blend and underlined most of it so the slightly scratchy wool wouldn’t touch my skin. The underlining is one yard of woven plaid cotton I got in a destash, and it might be from Paris, so my new cozy jacket is all fancy and Italian-French!

style arc violet knit jacket

After much dithering (as usual), I went with my correct size by bust measurement; this is a size 8. Oh! That’s one thing that did annoy me about the instructions — the pattern itself doesn’t include the size chart, so I had to keep going back to the etsy listing to look at it. HAD TO.

style arc violet knit jacket

This was a really fun sew! It would have been pretty fast, too, if I hadn’t been underlining and serging almost everything (I didn’t underline the armhole bindings, pockets, and bottom bands). I enjoyed the puzzle of how the armholes get created, and my Featherweight didn’t have a problem going over the thicker underarm seam intersection. It’s nifty how the collar facing gets sewn onto the seam allowance after most of the jacket shell is constructed since that avoids contributing bulk to the underarm seam.

style arc violet knit jacket

The shape of this jacket makes me so happy! I especially love it in this fabric with a little more structure. Now that I look at this picture, I kind of look like an origami frog from the back. hehehe. I love it!

style arc violet knit jacket

Other reviewers mentioned that the pockets are tiny, so I widened mine enough to be able to fit my hands in, and I deepened them as much as I could. The pockets are completely enclosed by the bottom band, which is great — then they never peek out when they’re full!

Have I mentioned that I love my new short-sleeved coatigan? I’m SO going to make more!

style arc violet knit jacket

Dec 012016
 

I love looking at other people’s beautifully-sewn clothes for their children, especially when they use gorgeous fabric like Nani Iro double gauze(!!), but for my own kids, I only have the patience to make quick things that make me giggle because they’re matching, and are relatively cheap because they’re made of knits or scraps from something I’ve made myself. I’m too selfish to make them clothes out of pretty fabric that I don’t get to wear!

During one of Craftsy’s many sales, I suckered myself into buying some Ann Kelle remix hearts on interlock knit. I knew it would look super cute on Glowbug, and I ignored the feeling that it would be a little ridiculous on me. (I was right though — it’s very loud on me!)

I made Glowbug’s dress using the adorable Sew Straight & Gather Legends pattern. I was excited about the neat collar, and I really wanted to make the drop-waisted dress version. The pattern explicitly said that it’s meant for 4-way stretch knits, but I went ahead with my 2-way knit since that’s what I had, dagnabbit!

sew straight and gather legends dress

The pattern wasn’t kidding, of course. I couldn’t get the dress over Glowbug’s head, and I had to unpick and resew the neckline to give her just enough space to get her head through. Luckily, Glowbug thinks it’s funny when the dress gets stuck on her head going on and coming off.

(Also matchy in this picture is my Plantain tee.)

legends dress and plantain tee

I made two other matching shirts while I was slogging through the eight thousand muslins I made for the Willow tank (because I was working off the wrong size, doh). This one is E & E Patterns’ Bubble Pocket Top. It’s super cute, especially because Glowbug stuffs her pockets with so many things.

I have a bad habit of pfft-ing at lots of kids’ patterns instructions because I’ve encountered a bunch with junk finishing instructions and weird drafting. I know that I don’t know a lot about apparel sewing, but I’m pretty sure that armscyes shouldn’t form a point when they meet at the seam! (To be clear, I’m not talking specifically about this pattern [because it’s been so long since I made it that I can’t remember {but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t this pattern that had that problem <if anything, this one might have made a vee at the armscye, but I really can’t remember>}].) Anyway, the Bubble Top’s instructions mentioned that you might want to serge all (or most? it’s been a while) of the raw edges before starting, and I pfft-ed at that since it’s a lined top and I figured everything would be enclosed. But it turned out that the bottom of the lining hangs free, so the raw edges aren’t so much enclosed. Oops! Now I know for next time.

(Also matchy matchy in this picture are my (too-small) Willow tank, Chardon skirt, and Glowbug’s mini Tania culottes.)

E & E bubble top

This last one is a Simple Life Pattern Company Molly top made with scraps of kitties, coral rayon challis, and lined with bits of leftover super soft Italian cotton. Can you tell that wish this was for me?

The coral rayon challis is actually from a completely failed muslin of the Willow tank. I was surprised at how hard it was to get scraps out of the top — I only barely salvaged enough for the skirty part of Glowbug’s shirt, and I had to add a seam in the back.

(Another matchy Willow tank.)

simple life pattern company molly top

Oct 262016
 

My boys wanted to be Link for Halloween, so I decided to make them Windwaker Link costumes since that cartoony version is a lot simpler than the more realistic Link. heh! (I also made three costumes since I knew Glowbug would want one when she saw her brothers being matching.)

link #2

I didn’t want to make separate vests and tunics because Halloween here is really hot. The shirts are Deep Sea V Necks with the vee deepened and a panel of lighter green sewn behind. Also, I used the same lighter green for the sleeves.

link #3

I think Link wears white pants, but that wasn’t going to happen for my kids. Their shorts are all light grey Coastal Craze Baggies.

link #1

For their shields, I googled to find a clear picture, which turned out to be the nendoroid toy. Then for each shield, I did this:

  1. cut out 2 shield-shaped pieces of Soft & Stable
  2. basted solid-colored quilting cotton to one side of each piece of Soft & Stable
  3. painted the shield design on one shield piece (using just cheapie acrylic paint)
  4. made two kid’s-wrist-sized fleece loops and sewed them to the other shield piece
  5. basted the two shield pieces WST
  6. bound the raw edges using 2″ wide white bias strips
    1. pressed the bias strips to make double fold bias tape
    2. sewed the bias tape to the front of the shield along the bias tape’s fold line
    3. folded the bias tape over to the back and pinned in place
    4. stitched in the ditch from the front and caught the back edge

wwlink_shieldsf

wwlink_shieldsb

I used an instructables tutorial to make the hats. I also added some decorative “stitching” along the seam because I saw it on hats for sale on Etsy and thought it looked cute. :} For the stitching, I cut slits in the hat and threaded brown fleece strips through in x shapes. (In the picture, the left hat is inside-out to show what the underside of the decorative stitching looks like.)

wwlink_hats

For each of the belts:

  1. cut out ~3″ diameter circles: 1 Soft & Stable, 2 yellow quilting cotton
  2. sew all three circles together layered with the Soft & Stable on the bottom and the two cotton circles on top
  3. pink raw edges
  4. cut a turning slit only in the topmost cotton circle
  5. turn right side out and close up the turning slit by ironing a scrap of interfacing over it
  6. stitch a spiral using brown thread
  7. cut a kid’s-waist-circumference x 3.5″ strip of something brown and stretchy (I used leftover ponte)
  8. sew along the length to make a tube and turn it right side out
  9. insert elastic, if you want (Glowbug’s belt looked fine without it, but the boys’ ones needed the elastic to look wide enough)
  10. sew the belt into a loop (the join doesn’t have to look nice)
  11. hand sew the belt buckle over the stitched-together part of the belt

wwlink_belts

I finished the costumes early, and the kids sure know how to make me want to make them more things — they’ve been wearing their costumes and playing together a lot. It makes me so happy! :)

wwlink_3set

Sep 292016
 

I made gigantic pants! I’m so excited! This is Vogue 8499 view C, which I coveted after I saw Cat in a Wardrobe’s adorable stripey version (which I have fabric to copy with next, hehehe).

vogue 8499 view C

PatternReview reviews were so helpful — I read and reread people’s posts, and they helped steer me towards making the size 6. (I did still dither a lot, and I double checked by measuring the pattern pieces, but I can’t seem to avoid that yet.) I have 27.5″ waist and 37″ hip measurements, whereas the size 6 is listed for 23″ waist and 32.5″ hip measurements, but the size 6 fits perfectly. Ease city!

This version was my wearable muslin, but I didn’t end up needing to make any modifications so this is straight off the pattern. Even the pant length is not too bad — I’m 5’2″ and they do pool a little at my heels, but not so much that I’m stepping on my pants all the time. It is funny how low the knee darts (which I love!) end up on my calves, but I love the shape too much to want to try shortening them.

vogue 8499 view C

I like that even though these are elastic waist pants, the front waistband is flat. (When I bought the pattern, I actually didn’t realize that there was elastic in the back since I’m terrible at reading the information right there on the pattern envelope.)

vogue 8499 view C

Since I sewed most of the leg panels together without the topstitching so I could adjust the fit if needed, I ended up doing a lot of topstitching all at once, and that saved me from having to switch between my topstitching and regular thread a few times. You might notice that I ignored the instruction to topstitch at 1/2″ from the seam. Instead, I eyeballed arbitrary amounts from my presser foot — I think these are at about 1/8″ or 1/16″.

vogue 8499 view C

Here’s my fancy styling: cuffed like Cat in a Wardrobe! 😀 These are made with linen, so I’m excited to try wearing them somewhere hot and mosquitoey and seeing if such huge pants really do keep me cool. All my life, I’ve worn shorts and smaller shirts when it’s hot, and it’s only been recently that I’ve noticed that people bring out the maxi dresses and giant linen things in the summer. It doesn’t make sense to me, but maybe it will once I try!

vogue 8499 view C, cuffed

Styling disclaimer: I don’t have the guts to wear these pants with a cropped shirt in real life; I just wore this shirt for pictures so you could see the waistband. 😀

Sep 282016
 

Here’s the quilt I made because I wanted to play with my Bloc Loc HST ruler. I love this ruler! (Also, I love chain piecing and HSTs.)

beachy HST quilt

The whole top is made from fabric from a kit for Emily Cier’s Chi quilt. I bought it mainly because I wanted the book of patterns, and then I also thought it was cute that some of the shapes looked like shaved ice cones. But when I opened the kit and read the instructions that said to interface the five charm packs of white squares, I knew that wasn’t happening!

beachy HST quilt

Inspired by Susan Kephart’s random vector quilt, I did a low-tech version by first laying out all of my HST units so that blocks with the same colors weren’t too close together. Then I numbered the four orientations that HST units can take (1-4) and used random.org on my phone to choose the unit layouts as I sewed rows together.

beachy HSTs close

I’m all out of order, but trimming the HST units was so fun (I know, I’m a dork!) with the bloc loc ruler. Being able to quickly set the diagonal ridgey bit against the HST seam makes trimming go by much faster!

beachy HST quilt

The quilt ended up pretty big — it used 12 charm packs, so about 79″ x 90″. I gave it to my father-in-law, and I was so happy when he said he liked it because it reminded him of the quilts his grandma used to make! :)

Sep 212016
 

Earlier this year, our awesome guild member Val taught a hexagon star stack and whack quilt workshop. Just for us, she taught it all in one day even though she normally teaches it over four sessions!

hexagon star quilt

She showed us how to carefully layer, pin, and cut our fabric so that we could make fun kaleidoscopey patterns with yardage from just one print. I got to use all Cotton & Steel for this quilt (hooray, sales!) and this Alexia Abegg papercut print for the hexagon centers.

Alexia Abegg paper cuts print

For the quilting, I tried to do custom fmq by outlining the print in the hexagons. It was fun, but I was glad that this quilt was only lap sized.

hexagon star fmq

On the borders, I tried making ghosty shapes by fmqing hexagons. I feel like normally, ghost shapes are supposed to be surrounded by dense quilting to really highlight the shapes, but I didn’t do that because I couldn’t imagine what it should look like on this quilt. Also, I was almost done and getting lazy. 😀

stacknwhack ghosty border

Back to the piecing — I made a problem that Val hadn’t ever seen before from her other students! My first few hexagons came out really warped and couldn’t lay flat. We tried a bunch of things, and it wasn’t til a fellow student let me try sewing on her machine that we realized that my problem was that I was sewing with a too-scant 1/4″ inch seam allowance. I was sewing on my Juki TL-2000qi, and I normally use the edge of the regular presser foot to sew a very scant 1/4″, which usually works out fine since I’m at least consistent with myself. But since the hexagons are basically circles, it makes a big difference when you don’t use the intended exact 1/4″ seam allowance.

After that, I used the 1/4″ marking on the throat plate thingy, and my hexagons came out fine. Yay!

circles fmq

The pattern that Val was having us work off of included a border made from the hexagon centers fabric, which is fun because then people can see the print that the kaleidoscopes are made from. I replaced it with a smaller border of the background fabric, though, because I liked having the stars floating.

olive center!

It’s been a few months since I finished and mailed this quilt off (I sent this to my friend who I told I’d make a Belcarra blouse for TWO YEARS AGO and still haven’t finished yet O_o ), and I’ve already forgotten how to make it. Good thing I hardly ever want to make up quilt patterns more than once!

stacknwhack_again

Jul 152016
 

Earlier this week, I had a post at imagine gnats about a Megan Nielsen Kelly skirt. Look how poofy it can get when it’s windy! :D:D

kelly skirt

I really had to bonk myself on the head — the side of the waistband that I started topstitching out came out much nicer than the side I ended on. I planned to put in my buttonholes so that the nicer side of the waistband ended up on the top… but then I took a break from sewing and I forgot! I only remembered after I’d sewn all the buttonholes on the side that the instruction say to, and then I was too lazy to unpick them. doh!

kelly skirt waistband

In other interwebby things, last week, Sara at Sew Sweetness released her Tortoise Bag, which I got to test.

tortoise bag

It’s a cute little bag! The next time, I’d try to use a two-way zipper instead of two one-way zippers, though… maybe I could trim down the the tape or find one with very flexible tape.

tortoise bag

Jul 052016
 

Subtitle: Does this make you dizzy? (skirt edition)
Subsubtitle: This is what happens when you’re a bullheaded sewer

When Butterick 6285 first came out, it didn’t grab my eye enough to click through to see the pattern details. But then I saw Allie J’s adorable version, and that did make me want to get it! I even went crazy and bought 2.5 yards of silk dupioni from Marcy Tilton (so not bargain fabric) to make a big, twirly skirt, without even having made a test version, first.

When I actually got around to sewing B6285, I came to my senses and decided to start with a wearable muslin. This was mainly because I read a bunch of PatternReview sewers who mentioned nonsensical seam allowances (1″ on the sides and 1.5″ for the center back) and the waistband diagram that didn’t match the actual waistband, and that made me worry that this was not a pattern to blindly trust in.

b6285 - wearing it off-center's all the rage

In retrospect, I made a few mistakes off the bat. My stash choices were limited and I ended up using some crepe de chine, which is drapier than the pattern seems to indicate, since it mentions broadcloth, satin, and taffeta. Also, even though I know Butterick/McCall’s/Vogue includes a lot of ease, for some reason I thought: maybe Gertie’s is different! … and I sewed a size 12 for a 28.5″ waist. This was toooo big. I don’t like my waistbands to just rest over my waist; I like them to cinch my waist in since I’m too lazy to get my muscles to do that!

b6285 too big, my fault, still don't like it

Why didn’t I fit as I sewed? The crepe de chine was very shiftystretchy, and I worried that handling it too much would make it grow. Then why didn’t I stay-stitch the curves and then try it on as I sewed? I’m still struggling with figuring out what settings on my machine will not make a line of stitching pucker on a single layer of fine/shifty/annoying fabric, so I’d rather just sew everything to the end and hope for the best, BLEAH.

So, ehhhhhhhhhhh. I don’t like where the pleats ended up, although perhaps they’d be placed better if I sized down. I don’t like my test version enough to try again, though, and to add insult to injury, you can’t even really see what I mean since I apparently took most of my pictures with my skirt rotated off center. hah! Oh wait, I found a phone pic where it was on straight.

b6285 centered, but I don't like where the pleats are

I reeeeeally don’t like where the pleats ended up on the back. I feel like they give me square butt pointy poofsplosions. Oh, but I’m happy with my invisible zipper! I used one of those plastic fits-all-machines invisible feet for the first time, and even though the zipper kept slipping out of the foot’s groove, it still went really well. Now I’m going to buy an actual invisible zipper foot.

b6285 yup, that's the back

Here’s the pattern diagram for the waistband that definitely shows an overlap:

b6285 waistband diagram

And here’s the actual waistband, close up. Boo! Also, I followed the instructions for the zipper-only-up-to-the-waistband-and-hooks-above to see how I’d like it. It certainly makes the zipper insertion easier! But the way it is, it’s probably possible for your back or shirt to show through. It sure would have been better with an overlapped waistband! :P:P:P

b6285 that's not an overlapped waistband!

I’ll still wear this skirt to work, even though I have a hard time finding my pockets since it keeps rotating around my waist due to it being a little big. I always have a cardigan on anyway, and for one thing, all my cardigans have great pockets, and for the other thing, it’s not like anyone can see what my waist looks like when I have giant grampa cardigans on all the time. ;D

Jun 302016
 

Ever since I joined my quilt guild, I’ve been getting to go to sewing events (yay!!!), and I’ve been wanting to make one giant bag to carry all my supplies in. A long while ago, I bought Elizabeth Hartman‘s Sewing Circle Tote pattern (it looks like it’s no longer available :( ), and last month I finally sewed it up!

sewing circle tote

I used some of the blocks I received from the awesome Piece Bee I belonged to a few years ago — everyone sewed up their own original foundation paper-pieced blocks according to the month’s theme. I chose the blocks mainly based on which ones fit the size of the finished pocket. And I just realized that I forgot to take pictures of two of them, oops.

sewing circle tote

Even though this is actually a pretty basic tote (just with a bajillion pockets), it took me kind of a long time to make. The instructions are very clear, but my brain takes a long time to parse her style of writing. I think it’s because I prefer pattern writers who use lots of bullet points. For instance, one set of cutting instructions says:

Cut 2 strips 14" x width of fabric. From these, cut 2 pieces 14" x 20½" for the front and back, 2 pieces 14" x 10" for the sides, and 1 piece 10" x 20½" for the bag bottom.

I understand that more easily written this way:

  • (2) 14″ x wof
    Subcut:
    • front and back: (2) 14″ x 20½”
    • sides: (2) 14″ x 10″
    • bottom: (1) 10″ x 20½”

Aaaaaanyway, this bag is HUGE and I love it! The bottom is especially nice and sturdy — I didn’t have Peltex, so I substituted a few layers of duck canvas and Pellon 65 stabilizer. I think that worked out fine, but then again, I’ve never actually used Peltex, so I don’t know how my bag’s bottom compares with the recommended three layers of peltex. I really liked the way the lining is tacked down at the seam allowance so that the lining bottom never pulls away from the bag. It’s so smart!

There are four external pockets, five elasticized internal pockets, and three internal zipper pockets. It’s always nice having the option of pockets, but the first time I took it to a class, I barely used any of them.

I added a long keyfob to the inside front of the bag. It comes in handy when it’s raining and I only think to fish out my keys when I get to my car, heh.

sewing circle tote, inside

The two sets of handles are a nifty idea — there are longer shoulder straps and also shorter handles that seem like they’d be useful for things like moving the bag around your sewing space. However, since I’m short and consequently make my shoulder straps super short, both sets of straps ended up being almost the same length. It’s a little confusing on my bag, and sometimes I found myself carrying my bag by one shoulder strap and one “short” handle.

sewing circle tote

In summary, here’s what I learned: buy patterns as soon as you like them because otherwise they might get discontinued on you! ;D

Jun 202016
 

Sunshine’s teachers are awesome too, so I wanted to make (smaller) presents for them (and I supplemented them with gift cards since they’d probably like that best, heh). I have a bunch of largish canvas scraps left over from various weekenders and poolside totes, so I thought I’d make pouches out of those, and to make them a little more fun, I made them with two zippers. First, I made a quick prototype without any fiddly zipper tab bits. It was nice and fast to sew, but the top corners are obviously not great.

double zip pouch, prototype

Then I made a better pair that had all the zipper end tabs. Those top corners came out great! I also entertained myself by making different zipper pull setups for each pouch.

double zip pouch, tigers

After that, I got tired of my “mass” production, and I took a break by making the preschool administrator a grocery bag.

michelle patterns easy grocery bag, horsies

With my energy refreshed, I was able to finish the last two pouches. Isn’t that star split ring fun? I had completely forgotten that I had them, but found them when I was scrounging around after I realized that I’d run out of regular split rings. (The squid zipper pulls came in my orders from zipit.)

double zip pouch, arches

Here’s another picture of the zipper tabs… I was so pleased at how they turned out! For these, I just cut the zipper so they wouldn’t have to be sewn into the corners (they’re cut off right after the zipper tab topstitching), and I really trimmed the pouch corners close to the seam.

double zip pouch, zipper tabs

I’m sloooowly improving my wrapping game — I at least put these in bags (although they were an assortment of paper bags from stores like Bath & Body Works) and put tags on them. I didn’t put any tissue paper in, though. My excuse was that I put the recipients’ names on paper tags that I pinned to the pouches, and I had to be able to see in to know who to have Sunshine give them to! ;D