Holly: April 2012 Archives
The appeal of the Kwik Sew Bohemian Short Sleeved Dress pattern is its simplicity. Since I love a quick project that I can make in a night to wear the next day, this one sparked my interest. The breezy feel of it was also a draw because it looked cool and comfortable -- vital in any Atlanta girl's wardrobe once May arrives.
For my first version of this pattern, I chose a zebra printed ITY. It whipped together like a dream, and it is beyond comfy. The pattern itself really couldn't be easier. The elastic at the neckline and sleeves is inset before you close those seams, which makes it a breeze to assemble -- easy as pie to make sure your elastic hasn't twisted.
I am short -- 5'3" -- and I have a full bust, and I felt like the neckline dipped a little to low to wear without a camisole or tank top underneath it.
This dress is a packing dream -- especially in ITY. You can easily roll it and toss it in a bag. It takes up no space and doesn't wrinkle. Also, because the ITY is lightweight and glides on the body, it's great for layering. I paired it with a denim vest and really loved the combo.
For my second version, I used a printed rayon blend rib knit, and I cut the neckline about 1.5" higher than the pattern called for. This gave me better coverage through the bust line.
Rayon blend knits are always so, so soft. This version is so comfy and cozy that it made me think this would be a great pattern to make up as a nightgown. That's like two patterns in one! Score!
Who loves to clean? NOT ME.
Just the same, it has to get done once in a while. For me, that means it has to happen when company's coming. Please don't judge me.
Because I'm a little hit or miss in my cleaning, I sometimes find myself without the supplies I should have on hand ... usually in the middle of the night, when I finally get my rear in gear. That means that many stores are closed, and I'm probably too lazy to venture out to the ones that are open. Sewing machine and scraps to the rescue!
First off, I made a cover for my Swiffer duster. The first sample is made with my old standby fabric -- a t-shirt from the scrap bag!
First, I laid out a fabric rectangle roughly 10 inches square and three layers of fabric thick with the Swiffer's duster arm on top, and outlined the arm with a fabric marking pen.
Without the Swiffer on top, this is what the marking looks
Here's the outline without the mop in the way:
Next, I cut around my outline, leaving roughly 3/8 of an inch around the outside.
Next, I used the towel as a pattern piece to cut a matching piece of fleece.
Here's my Wet Jet mop in action!
I had to find a way to keep my beloved cords with me, even if I couldn't wear them. Since every discarded garment gets treated as yardage at my house, it was just a matter of figuring out how to turn the usable parts of my trousers into something new. Voila! The Pants Leg Purse was born.
Here's how they came into being:
First, I cut a 12-inch piece off the bottom of one of the legs. I chose the leg with an intact hem, because that would be used for the top of my bag.
Next, I added an iron-on I've been hording to what would become the front. I have a pirate-themed getaway weekend coming up, so I thought this would be the perfect time to finally use my flocked velvet skull and crossbones! If you have an embellishment you want to add to this project, this is the best time. Once the zipper is in and the bottom is finished, it's harder to do any maneuvering your applique may require.
Don't miss this opportunity to do really fun stuff! You can add an applique, cut a motif out of your favorite fabric to apply, add a rhinestone design, embellish with ribbon stripes -- any kind of trim you can imagine!
Next, I sewed the zipper in at the top. I just nestled it under the hemmed edge of the pants so I wouldn't have to worry about any raw edges fraying. I left a little space on each end of the zipper unstitched. You'll see why in a minute!
Here's what it looks like with the zipper stitched in. As you can see, my zipper was too long. No worries -- I just tucked it in for the moment. Later, I'll trim it down.
Next, I removed two of the belt carriers from the pants.
Here they are, free-range (for the moment):
I folded the carriers in half, and set them into the folds on each end of the purse opening. Stitching through all those layers is tricky business. I had to take things slowly, and hand walk my machine through some of the rougher spots.
Once both tabs were in place, I clipped the extra zipper length that was tucked inside. Here's the finished top of the bag from the outside:
Time to close up the bottom! I unzipped my zipper and turned the bag inside out, making sure the bottom edges were even.
I stitched the bag closed with a straight stitch. This is the one raw edge to the bag you'll have, since you're using a piece of pant leg, so you'll want to serge or zig-zag the edge.
To make a slight box shape on the bottom of the bag, I folded the bottom seam to make triangle corners.
And then I stitched the triangles into place, perpendicular to the bottom seam.
This is the interior of the bag with the corners stitched into a box shape:
Here's the bag turned right side out:
For the strap, I used a strap I already had on hand, but if you don't have one, it's just matter of stitching webbing in your desired length to a pair of swivel clips like the ones here. I highly recommend the swivel-clip approach, because you can use the same strap on multiple bags. Because no one should have just one of these bags -- pants have two legs!
Here's the finished bag, ready for a pirate adventure!
This project works with jeans, cords, and even dressier pants. There are no rules -- just a chance to recycle in an imaginative way!
Things are already hot in Atlanta, so I'm definitely ready for summer clothes. I am eager for flowing, breezy style that doesn't drag me down when the temps are climbing, so a tropical skirt is perfect for my sewing mood right now.
The trick with maxi skirts, for me, is that I'm ... shrimpy. I stand 5'3" on a good day with perfect posture, so most maxi dresses or skirts drag the ground on me unless I make some alterations. This pattern is perfect for such alterations because of the multiple tiers. The trick is ensuring that when you make changes, you maintain the seam lines so everything still matches up. Here's how I do it on a project like this one:
First, I assembled the pattern as intended. Here is lower middle tier piece at its normal length:
When it came time to shorten the pattern, I pulled the taped pieces apart (I use an inexpensive athletic tape for assembly -- it comes apart without much struggle, but it also holds well):
Then, I reassembled the pattern piece so that the overlap between the two pieces of paper was much greater, shortening it by several inches:
To even out the outside cutting edge, I trimmed the excess paper that prevented a smooth transition from one piece of the pattern paper to the next:
Here's the altered pattern piece, with the small piece I trimmed off sitting next to it:
I did the alteration for the middle two tiers. I determined after measuring the original pattern that I wanted to take between 4" and 5" off the total length of the skirt, so I divided that between the middle two tiers.
This method ensures that the seams that join one tier to the next all stay intact. Hooray!
I also wanted to try altering the pattern in a way that makes a shorter skirt, but maintains the design lines of the original.
I decided to use the top two tiers of the skirt as-is, but then I wanted just a short tier after that to finish below the knee around mid calf. To make my third, shortened bottom edge pattern piece, I traced the lower middle tier piece, and then used the lower tier piece to determine the length of my traced piece. Again, I used this approach rather than using the existing lower layer to make sure my seams all matched up.
I chose a pink eyelet for this version, and I wanted to take advantage of the scalloped edge on the fabric, so I cut it as my hem. Here you can see how I cut the pieces for the lowest tier of this version right along the finished edge of the fabric.
I never like to waste a good thing, so I cut a 2" strip along the second finished edge of the eyelet and worked it in between the lowest two layers of my skirt:
Here's my finished second skirt. The eyelet seriously needs a slip under it, or, as I plan to do, an underlayer worked into the skirt itself.
As always, my favorite thing about the Hot Patterns free downloads is how versatile they are. I don't feel guilty hacking away at a pattern to customize it, because I can always print a fresh copy. (I use the paper scraps for notes so I don't waste, I promise!)
How will you make this summer skirt uniquely your own?
I have been wanting to test drive the Hot Patterns Weekender Track & Field Cargo Pants pattern for a while. The pieced legs and topstitched detailing really appeal to me, but I also was a little fretful that it would make for a very arduous process, getting all those details in place.
So, as I was cutting, I couldn't help but think, "This pattern has 8,000 pieces. This is gonna take forEVER." But once my cutting was complete and I set to work, I found that things actually moved along at a decent pace. There is a certain measure of patience you need whenever you set your sights on a project that has a lot of details, but I generally find that patience is handsomely rewarded. I am happy to report that is the case with these pants.
I opted for an organic sweatshirt fleece for this pair. Now that I have one run through this pattern under my belt, I know I want to make another in a fabric that has no stretch, just to see how it compares.
To give you an example of the detailing process on these pants, I photographed the back pocket assembly as I went.
First up, there's a semi-circle of topstitching that goes on the assembled pocket flap. I knew I couldn't possibly just wing it and get anything even vaguely akin to a circular arc, so I cut a circle out of a scrap I had on hand and marked it's edge at four equidistant points so I could line it up consistently. Then I safety pinned it in place, and used it as a guide for my stitching.
Voila! Circular stitching made easy.
First comes the stitching that attaches the pocket to the trouser section and creates the pocket's finished top edge. You'll see here that I've clipped the corners to turn it:
Here's the interior of the pants back piece with the pocket flipped in. The second pocket piece will situate right on top of this one (from this side) and then you stitch through all three layers (back of pants, and two layers of pockets) to create the enclosed pocket:
Here is the pocket from the right side, with the second layer of pocket stitched in and top stitching around the pocket shape. Ready to hold your smartphone!
The pocket flap is stitched into the seam that joins the back yoke to the back pants.
As you can imagine, each detail on these pants is comprised of a handful of steps, just as this pocket was.
I find if I think about each section as a small series of steps like this was, I don't get overwhelmed by the details on a project. I just keep plugging away, and before I know it, all of those seemingly 8,000 pieces are in play.
I love these pants. While I was photographing them. my husband kept telling me how cool he thought they were, and I have to agree. The design is fab. The pants are sporty and comfy, but all the details make them sophisticated enough that you could wear them to work if you have an office that's got a business casual vibe. Pair them with a tee shirt for weekend wear or a blazer for the office. Or, make them out of a completely luxe fabric, and they're perfect for date night. I've got my eye on a stretch sateen for my next pair!