Tag Archive | alterations

Down In The Southwest

DSCN4029Waste not, want not, but as you know there is more to it when it comes to fabric scraps and remnants. It’s the challenge of making something from nothing and the creativity of making it work that gets you to use those scraps and to buy those fabric remnants from the bargain bin at the fabric store.

It was this challenge and creativity that got me to begin my latest sewing project.

DSCN4027I saw this southwest print in a stack of discounted flat fold fabrics and I just fell in love with it. I love the bright colors on the black background and the fabric has a nice weight and feel to it. But, there was just a little over a yard left. What could I make from that? The fabric would be ideal for me a shirt, but could I figure out how to piece it together with other pieces of fabric to make me a shirt? Color blocking ideas swirled in my head so I quickly purchased the piece of southwest print fabric and brought it home!

DSCN4033With a color blocking design in mind, I dug through the stash and found several pieces of fabric that I could put together with the southwest print to make me a shirt, but the deep blood red piece that I found was by far my favorite. But, as I went to cut the shirt out, I noticed that the red piece of fabric was terribly flawed.

What was such a flawed piece of fabric even doing in the stash?

I returned to the stash to select a different piece of fabric to use with the southwest print but now I did not like any of my other choices. I thought about going back to the fabric store to look for more red fabric but I was too disappointed to go. I took another look at the flaws in the red fabric to see if I could work around them. How could I make it work the way it was? After much thought, I came up with a new color block design that should work, but I would have to cut the southwest print perpendicular to the grain line.

Would it be ok to cut against the grain?

DSCN4022After much studying and reading about grain lines, grain, cross grain, welt and warp threads, I decided that yes it would be ok to cut my fabric perpendicular to the grain line as long as I was careful to cut on the cross grain just as I would be careful to cut on the grain line. At this point after fully researching the issue, it was finally time to cut the fabric.

The cutting process started with tracing my pattern and then cutting out new pieces for the color blocking. This took time and thought. I had to decide where I wanted the seams to be, add some seam allowances and then reshape the armscye and hem. With the new pattern pieces created, it was time to cut. I carefully cut the front and back pieces perpendicular to the grain line from the southwest print and the I carefully placed and cut my new side pattern pieces and sleeves around the flaws of the red pieces of fabric. With the pieces all cut out, it was time to sew.

DSCN4023The sewing process was going along smoothly until I noticed the flaw of the red fabric in the center of one of the sleeves. I thought I had cut so carefully around the flaws but I guess that I had not. I had no more non-flawed red fabric to cut out another sleeve with. Could I just pretend the flaw was not there? No, I would never wear the shirt with the flawed sleeve. Hmm, I wondered. Could I cover up the flaw with a little embroidery? Yes, that would work!

I picked a lizard embroidery design and some bright colors to match the southwest print and embroidered the design on the sleeve to cover up the flaw and it worked great! You can still see the flaw, but your eye is now attracted to the embroidery design instead of the flaw so no one ever notices it. Showing the husband my embroidery solution, he suggested embroidering another lizard on the other sleeve to balance out the design. So, I picked some more bright colors and embroidered another lizard on the other arm. With the lizard designs embroidered on each sleeve, it did not take long to complete the hems and sew on some bright southwest looking buttons to complete the shirt.

DSCN4026I was a little apprehensive about wearing this shirt at first with its bright colors and it’s multiple embroidery designs, but it did not take long to fall in love with the shirt. It is a lot of fun to wear! The color blocking, bright colors, and the embroidered designs make it highly unique. This shirt also fits well. The alterations to the pattern for the color blocking did not affect the fit.

I am very pleased with this shirt and have already worn it several times. I am now excited to make more projects with lots of color blocking and embroidery designs but minus the flawed fabric.

Until then, sew forth and lizard on!

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Getting My Kicks On Route 66

P1030839Not wanting to lose my sewing mojo, I decided to make a second shirt for the husband. With just a single change in mind of shortening the length of the pattern, I cut out the second piece of fabric. It is a brownish pique with less stretch that I had pulled out on my last trip to the stash. The fabric was a dream to work with and I loved sewing this shirt together.

I knew the minute that I saw the shirt just what design I wanted embroidered on it. I had been wanting to stitch this Route 66 at sunset design on something for a long time and that time was now. The husband wasn’t sure about my pick at first but I talked him in to it. Choosing the colors for the design was the difficult part. I wanted brown tones for it, but the husband kept selecting other colors instead. I could not believe he would want so much pink on his shirt, but I have learned over the years to listen to the husband when it comes to colors, and yes he was right again.

P1030834The design stitched up beautifully. I just love it. Although I like the colors that the husband had picked, this design could be done in any color scheme, browns, blues, purples. It is a very lovely design. I hope to use it again on something. It would look great on several future projects on my list.

After completing this shirt, the husband wore it and asked once again for it to be shorter in length. Once again I cut some off some of the length of the shirt and hemmed the shirt shorter but only made a note on the pattern rather than altering the pattern. I am afraid of shortening the pattern too much. I would much rather cut off any extra length than try to add more fabric to make it longer after the fact. The husband did not say anything about the back, and this actually concerned me. Once again by cutting off the P1030833length, I lost some of the large side slits and, now, without the extra in the back would sitting down in the the shirt be an issue? Luckily the answer was no, the husband has wore the shirt with the small side slits a few times now and has not complained about any sitting issues with it. I made a note on the pattern for next time to cut longer side slits on his next shirt. I can always make the slits smaller in the sewing process if needed.

Well, the husband now has two new better fitting shirts. I should make another and work on adjusting the length of the pattern but I am ready to move on to a new project or two. So it’s off on another sewing adventure for me! Wish me luck!