Category Archives: i made this

making a move

I am moving over to a self-hosted blog, over at http://www.indigorchid.com! From now on I’ll only be posting at my new site, so please join me there, and update your bookmarks and feeds to this new adress. I hope you’ll feel at home there too!

around here

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These past few weeks, I have been…

- amusing myself with six shades of grey at work.
cooking with red cabbage, so pretty. Sarah B of My New Roots is my new best recipe friend, and I’ve been working my way through a bunch of her recipes, picking up new tricks here and there.
reading my new favorite magazine. It’s pretty much the life I want to live with growing things, mindfulness, creating, cooking, and travelling – but with the impressive trait of being inspiring instead of preachy.
altering shirts. Well, at least one shirt. John has a pile of dress shirts he’s been asking me to take in, and I’ve finally started on that pile. This one went from making him look like a 12-year old to actually fitting. I even moved the shoulder seam up! I expect about a dozen more of these, and the threshold to start much lower than it’s been.

trick: anchoring seam-allowances

Remember my printed dress that I fixed up? It’s only been a few days, so I’m assuming yes. I mentioned that I anchored the seam-allowances together, and I wanted to expand on that!

african2

This is a technique I’m finding myself using more and more – most recently in this printed friday-fixed dress, and also the gathered sundress from before Christmas. Basically, it is sewing the seam-allowances together at strategic points to keep the lining (or some other layer, like an inner structural bodice for example) in place.

I find I use this trick when the lining is hanging free, sewn together to the outside fabric only at the neckline (and sometimes at the sleeve hems). This construction method means that the lining moves pretty independently of the outside fabric at many points, and that’s not always something I want. For example, I really like the waist-seams to be attached to each other and move as one, and not start bunching or twisting!

Ok, let’s do some visuals:

sewing_seamallowance1

This is the side-seam of the skirt, where I attached the seam-allowances of the skirt and the lining together. It’s a good idea to make sure the seam allowances are facing the same direction (usually towards the back) on both layers. Hang the dress up, or lay it out as it would normally hand, and then reach in and pinch the seam-allowance where you’re sewing it together before turning it inside out.

sewing_seamallowance2

This is the side-seam of the skirt again, just a larger view. After pinching the seam-allowance together, you’ll have the lining to one side and the outside fabric to the other. It might look a little strange, but as long as you did the pinching while the garment was hanging like normal, it’ll be fine. Do keep an eye out for draglines  – I like to sew the one side, pin the other, then hang it up to see if something weird is going on. Fix, and proceed.

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I didn’t sew the seam-allowances together all the way down, since I want the hem to be moving on its own. Also, notice how I stitched pretty much in the middle of the seam-allowance (which is a lot narrower for the lining that I just overlocked, but same principle!).

sewing_seamallowance4

I also did the waist-seam. In this picture we’re looking at the skirt lining at the top, and the inside of the self-faced bodice closest to us. I made sure all the waist seam- allowances faced down, then stitched for a few centimeters right at the middle, center front and center back. The lining layer was slightly smaller than the outside, so I only did a small section so they wouldn’t pull and make draglines. In a sturdier fabric where the lining matches perfectly, I’d go ahead and sew a larger section.

flats_seamallowance_trick

I made a little illustration to further show where I’d use this technique (at least on a dress – a tailored jacket uses this many places, but that’s a post of its own!). I used it two places on this dress; at the side seam and the waist seam. If the lining layer had sleeves attached to it, like a fully lined jacket for example would have, I would also want to attach the seam-allowances at the top of the shoulders. With this particular printed dress I actually sandwiched the sleeves between the outer fabric and the lining layer, so they were all anchored and secured by that.

I hope this made sense, and can be helpful – feel free to ask any questions!

fix-it-friday: african dress tweaks

african_after_front

I love this dress. It was gifted to me years ago by a friend after she had travelled in Africa, and I so loved that she picked this color for me. I also have loved the fabric – a lightweight, gauzy kind; the traditional (I assume as much) print with what reads to me as a typically “Western” dress shape, which all adds up to a quirky dress I have worn and loved for years.

Why have it ended up as a friday-fix then?

african_dress_before

First issue – it wasn’t lined in the skirt. You can probably see in the picture that the bodice is self-lined, but the skirt is a single layer. I’ve always had to wear a slip or an underskirt, and I haven’t loved either option. It was also a smidge looser in the waist than it needed, so I have now taken it in slightly.

african_dress_zipper

In addition, not all construction details have held up to my use over the years. The (invisible!) zipper was just folded under at the top, and the fabric at the corners were actually starting to tear. I’m a little embarrassed to admit that exposed seams with uneven seam allowance was bothering me a little (how perfectionist are you allowed to be?!), so with the prospect of tweaking some aspects of the dress, I decided to just go ahead and disassemble, neaten, and reassemble.

african_back

As I was trying to decide between reinstalling the invisible zipper or changing it out for an exposed metal zipper, I realized two things. One was that metal is cold against bare skin, and the other was that I don’t think I have actually unzipped this dress a single time. It’s loose enough to just slip over my head, so in a move worthy of Mena of SewWeekly (who has made it almost a trademark to get away without pesky zippers), I did in fact omit the whole thing. It’s of course a little more snug now that I’ve taken in the waist a little, but I can still manage to just pull it on over my head!

african_dress_side

As for the skirt, I lined it with some yellowish green polyester stuff I’ve had around for *ages*, so yey stashbusting too! I did the trick (I used it also on my recent wintery summer dress) of sewing the seam allowances of the outside fabric and the lining together to anchor them at strategic points, which I’ll be doing a tutorial of sorts (more like a guide. I like guides.) in my next post, so look for that!

In my sewing corner I currently have one of John’s dress shirts that I’m taking in, and a Minoru jacket underway, and I’m so happy to be knocking out and actually finishing projects again. After my surprise at how little I actually sewed in 2012, I think this year is getting off to a good start!

hello 2013

I went back over my archives for 2012 to round up my finished projects for the year, and I was sort of gobsmacked to not find more than I did. Did I really just sew four things all year? (well, disregarding all the wedding dresses and suits I’ve worked on for my day-job…)

IMG_0586   mmm15EDtiny_tank2   gathered_sundress2

Looking back, 2012 has been one of those periods where knitting things and sewing my own clothes couldn’t be a priority, and that’s ok. I tried tough! Especially at the beginning of the year I started a bunch of projects that were abandoned for one reason or another (stalled on the shape of a pocket; a waistband that puckered; couldn’t finish 12 bound buttonholes in time for a SewWeekly challenge – which, by the way, I totally deluded myself by attempting to participate). Stuff came up in the middle of making these things, and I just left them. So for 2013, not surprisingly, these half-finished sort-of-forgotten projects will be dragged to the forefront to be dealt with. I’m allowing myself to “deal” with them in any which way I feel like, which will probably mean finishing them, but could also be seam-ripping, donating, or burning them in the woodstove if that’s what it takes. But they have to get out of my waiting-pile!

It won’t be all I’ll be working on – like Roo recently wrote about, I’m also feeling the workwear conundrum. I touched upon it briefly after Me-Made-May, that the portions of my wardrobe that feels work-appropriate is quite small. I have a lot of pieces that are casual, lovingly worn, a little baggy, faded around the edges, and therefore just not sharp enough for work. I’ve started (in a small way) to invest in some better pieces – leather shoes, blazers… wait, that’s how far I’ve gotten. Leather shoes and a blazer. I’m am on a budget afterall! Some of the things that have been on my sewing list for ages  (ahem… over a year?) will be very useful in order to feel more polished and put together at work – a Liberty of London boatneck dress, a magenta pencil-skirt, a pinstriped blazer, and some blouses. I work in a design-concious field, and while I’m comfortable with, and know how I want to dress, what I’m wearing nowadays is just not in good enough shape. Therefore, enter sewing. I have quite high hopes and big plans for 2013 in other words!

Let’s not forget knitting though! I had quite a few big projects going at once earlier this fall, with a cabled hat with tiny thread, three sweaters, and a lace top on my needles. Those projects aren’t all done, but I did complete these things in the past year (with some pictures from ravelry for ease):

2012knits-hatsI think it’s really funny how these hats came in next to eachother on my ravelry page. We’re two peas in a pod, obviously.

2012knits-otherMittens I never blogged about since I finished them in the car en route to the recipents house (I know… bad knitter.), and the cowl I use all the time.

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I’ve finished a couple of hats, a cowl, and a sweater this year, with one big knitting goal for the next (well, besides finishing the two sweaters, one cardigan,  and the lace top I’ve started) – mittens! I was dumbfounded to realize, especially as a knitter, that I had no good mittens to wear when it got chilly! Not good enough. Nobody should have freezing hands in the colder months, and knitters should be able to provide that for themselves. If I start with some stranded colorwork mittens now, I’ll probably have them ready by spring, haha! But then I’ll be all set for the next winter, so that’s ok.

Also 2013, I’m going to floss every day. Just letting you know.