Tag Archive | camp

Simplicity 2480 – The Jacket – Part 4

DSCN0984With the pockets now completed, it was finally time to stitch the jacket! The first step was to insert the zipper. Remembering the lessons that I had learned from inserting the zipper in the little girl’s peplum jacket, this zipper sewed in much easier. And I did not need to move the needle over to sew the zipper on like I did the last time. The only challenge I faced with this zipper was deciding just how long I wanted the zipper to be.

Did I want it to extend into the collar or stop just before the collar? DSCN0807

The pattern called for the zipper to be inserted into the collar, but If I stopped the zipper at the collar, I could attach the collar as I would the collar of a camp shirt, finishing it off with a little twill tape.

If I followed the pattern instead and inserted the zipper into the collar, some hand stitching would be required to finish the collar. Now, you know how much I just “love” hand stitching, so you can guess which plan I was leaning towards, but then I remembered that I was making this jacket to learn so I decided to follow the pattern and insert the zipper into the collar, and then do the required hand stitching. After sewing on the zipper and facings, I hand stitched the edge of the collar to the back of the jacket. This went a lot smoother than I expected it to. I think I did a pretty good job on the hand stitching and that it will hold up with wearing.

Now that it is done I am pleased with the results of how I attached the zipper, collar and facings. DSCN0737Before I started this pattern, I read some pattern reviews for this pattern on the internet and one of the things mentioned about this pattern was that the sleeves were extremely wide. I could see this as I traced the sleeve part of the pattern, so I decided, based on the size of my wrists, to grade 4 inches out of the the width of the sleeves starting at the wrist.

I think the wearer of this jacket will like the thinner sleeves and it saved on fabric. I inserted the elastic at the bottom of the sleeves as the pattern called for. I think that will also help with any extra blousing from the wide sleeves. DSCN0989I interfaced the facings and collar before sewing them on. I just grabbed the first interfacing that I pulled from the stash to use, but I wished later that I would have looked a little closer.

Now, with the interfacing applied and the jacket sewn up, the interfacing that I used is too heavy for the fleece. The heavy interfacing makes the collar stiff so that it only wants to stand up. The heavy interfacing is also a problem at the inseam pockets. Because I used two pieces of fleece to make the pockets, they are already bulky but when I added the heavily interfaced facing on top of the pockets at the bottom of the jacket by the zipper, it is even bulkier.

Lesson learned. DSCN0987

Upon completion, I stared at the jacket and it looked very odd to me. It looked like it would never fit anyone.

It’s was so small in circumference but long in length in both the sleeves and the body of the jacket. Who would have such odd body proportions. Then it dawned on me what I had done. I had made a extra small adult jacket, and not an extra large child’s jacket. Once I figured this out I could finally picture a young slender adult wearing this jacket without any problem. An unforeseen lesson in sizing and fit was learned this time around. Although this jacket may not be perfect, and some of the seams are not very straight, I am still pleased with the end results.

I learned a lot, and it has left me with several ideas and sewing techniques that I want to try and work on in the future. I hope some one will enjoy wearing this jacket and that it will fit them well.

Until next time, sew forth and jacket on!

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Simplicity 2907 – Hong Kong Kitty – Part 3

DSCN0598A Hong Kong seam is made when you finish the edges of a seam by covering them with bias tape. It sounds simple enough to do, but there are always new sewing lessons to be learned every time you try something new and this time was no different.

But first a note to myself, make sure and cut the skirt pieces with a larger seam allowance to accommodate the bias tape. This gives you room to sew the bias tape on and not affect the circumference of the top of the skirt.

DSCN0570Two lessons that I learned about applying bias tape from the construction of this dress were to make sure and watch which side of the bias tape you’re working on and to watch which side of the fabric the bias tape is going to fold to.

DSCN0574Lesson one, remember the advise about making one side of the bias tape longer than the other while ironing the bias tape? And remember being careful to do just that as you ironed? Well, use that to your advantage when you’re sewing the bias tape on. When I started to sew the bias tape to my first seam allowance, I did not think to make sure I was sewing the shorter side of the bias tape first. By making sure that shorter side of the bias tape is sewn down first , that gives you the longer side to fold over. This gives you the little extra fabric on the back side, making it easier DSCN0575to catch the bias tape as you stitch in the ditch on the top side. When you stitch the longer side first and then fold the shorter side over, not only is there not the extra fabric but you are short fabric from folding over the longer side. Once I figured this out and sewed the short side first and then folding over the long side, the sewing on of the bias tape became much easier.

DSCN0577The second lesson of watching which side of the fabric the bias tape is folded to came when I added the the bias tape to the hem. When I sewed the bias tape to the seam allowances, I sewed it to the top of the fabric and then folded it to the back. After stitching in the ditch on the top, I had a nice clean finish on top and it did not matter if my seam was a little wavy on the back side. After binding the seam allowances of the two seams of the skirt, I had plenty of bias tape left over so I decided to use the remaining bias tape to finish off the hem of the skirt too.

DSCN0602But, since I did not remember to think a couple of steps ahead and see what was going to fold where, I sewed the short side of the bias tape to the inside of the hem. This meant I would be folding the longer side of the bias tape to the front of the skirt. Even though I had remembered to sew the short end first, I had not thought about what side the bias tape would be folding to. At this point when I stitched in the ditch on the inside of the skirt, the wavy part of the seam from catching the bias tape would be on the top side of the skirt in plain view. And the nice clean finish would be on the inside where no one could see it.

DSCN0601To fix this I could unpick the bias tape and sew it again, this time to the outside of the skirt and fold the bias tape to the inside. Rolling my eyes at the thought of unpicking all that bias tape, I thought of another plan. I would not finish the bias tape with a stitch in the ditch seam but sew a nice even edge on the top of the folded over bias tape. This way I would have a seam on the bias tape but it would not be wavy like the one I had sewn from the opposite side. The inside part would have the wavy seam instead. This worked out just great! My seam on the bias tape side is nice and smooth and even, but if you look inside you will see a seam that hits and misses the ditch between the bias tape and skirt. This is fine with me. It looks great on the outside and it still looks acceptable from the inside, and I did not have to unpick a single stitch.

DSCN0600Because I had attached the buttons and button holes while completing the bodice of this dress, the last step was to attach the skirt to the bodice. At this point I still had plenty of bias tape left so I decided to use it to finish this last seam attaching the skirt to the bodice too. Because this seam is inside the dress, I did not care which side had the clean finish and which side had the wavy seam, and using the bias tape did give the seam a nice beautiful finish. Note to myself – keep bias tape and Hong Kong seams in mind for finishing seams where a serged seam would be exposed.

DSCN0605This dress turned out so adorable once it was completed. I love the true camp collar and how much easier it was to sew than the collar the original pattern called for. With the changes that I made to this pattern, I will definitely be using this pattern again for future projects. I also love the Hong Kong seam of the skirt as well as the bias tape hem. I learned many sewing lessons from the construction of this dress, especially regarding the making of and the applying of bias tape. I hope some little girl will enjoy wearing it.

Until next time, sew forth and sew on.

Simplicity 2907 – Hong Kong Kitty – Part 2

DSCN0556When it came to making bias tape my first thought was just to purchase some, but then I stopped myself since I was supposed to be learning new sewing skills while making this project. Making bias tape was something I have never done before so now was a great time to learn.

The first step was to cut out strips of fabric on the bias. Since I had some white kitty fabric left, I decided to use it to make the bias tape with. I had no idea how much bias tape I needed for this project, but I had enough scraps to make 4 yards so that sounded like plenty. With the markings on my cutting table and my trusty metal ruler and my blade, it was easy to measure and cut the bias strips to the proper sizes.

DSCN0562Next came stitching the bias strips into one long piece. This took some thought. After thinking that I had the angles correct I sewed the pieces together, only to find out that I had not angled the strips correctly. A quick internet search taught me that the strips needed to be sewn at right angles. After learning how to sew them the right way, I unpicked and sewed the strips together correctly. The main thing I learned here that it is important to take the cutting of the strips seriously. Carefully cut strips out make it easier to sew the right angles.

DSCN0566Ironing the bias tape into its folded shape was the next step. Years ago, my mom gave me a bias tape maker. I promptly brought it home and tossed it in the closet with my other sewing notions. Now it was coming out of the closet and making its debut. It took a little bit of finagling to get the bias strip in the bias tape maker but once it was in, it was easy to see how the maker was going to fold the strip and make the forming and ironing of the bias tape DSCN0568easier.

 

While searching the internet on the angles, I did read that it was best to make one side of the bias tape larger than the other, not much, just enough to give you a little sewing edge. I decided to follow their advice. The ironing of the bias tape was time consuming but not difficult. Once again I learned that carefully cut strips and carefully sewn angles make it easier iron the folds. Accuracy is a key point of successful bias tape making.

In a short time, I had 4 yards of bias tape made and I was ready to start sewing the Hong Kong seams of the skirt.

Until then, sew forth on and bias on!

Simplicity 2907 – Hong Kong Kitty – Part 1

S2907 - Version 2After enjoying altering a pattern that I had previously made, I turned my attention back to Simplicity 2907. I like the design of this little girls dress with the camp shirt attached to the drop waist skirt. What I did not like about the pattern was the bodice of the shirt being cut for a stand collar and then a camp collar being attached. So, I either needed to alter this pattern and give it a stand collar or cut the front to make it an actual camp collar. The camp collar on the dress is much cuter than a stand collar would be so I chose to make the alterations to the front of bodice by adding a facing. But there was more to be learned from the making of this dress. I decided to use Hong Kong seams to finish the seams of the skirt and this lead to the making of bias tape. This would be two new sewing skills, Hong Kong seams and making bias tape, for me. But, I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s start first with the alterations that I made.

DSCN0552The first steps were to select the fabric, alter the pattern, and cut the dress out. I knew I wanted to use up the kitty scraps from the wrap top I had made previously. And I wanted to make the front and back of bodice from the pink fabric and the sleeves and collar from the white, but that did not work out as I had hoped. As you may recall, the last time I made this dress, I used a thin yellow fabric for the bodice. After attaching the dropped waist skirt, I was afraid that the little girl’s panties would show through the yellow at the top of the skirt and I didn’t want to worry about that this time around. Using the pink for the front and the back would solve this, but DSCN0554I did not have enough scraps to do that. So, I picked the white for the front and the pink for the rest of the bodice pieces. At least the white kitty fabric is heavier than the yellow was so maybe there would not be a see through fabric problem with it. I found some scraps of denim in the stash for the skirt. I would not be lining the denim, so this would work great for the Hong Kong seams.

DSCN0604Altering the pattern was simple. I mirrored the front pattern piece to make an attached facing. Instead of the first steps in the sewing process being sewing the odd box shape and cutting the funny notch for the collar, I simply sewed a camp shirt top like I make for myself, with the folded over front facings to complete the bodice front, and a pieces of twill tape to complete the collar. I did not do Hong Kong seams on the bodice. I was saving those for the skirt. I was smart enough to make the buttonholes first before I attached the skirt so that there was no arguing with the bulk of the seam on the bottom buttonhole.

Soon enough, I had the bodice completed and it was time to sew the skirt. The first step would be to make bias tape. And that is a story for next time.

Until then, sew forth and camp collar on!

Am I Too Old (For This)

DSCN0389I have been totally enjoying the sewing process of making some little girls dresses and bubble tops and I decided that I wanted to make more, so I pulled some more fabric from the stash. The pieces that I picked to make the next little girls project were a green and white cotton fabric and a green with lady bugs print cotton fabric. These two pieces of fabric looked good together and I could see either a dress or a bubble top easily made from this fabric combination.

But as the fabric sat on the cutting table, I started to wonder to myself if I should make myself a shirt from this fabric instead of another little girls project. In the next moment I wondered to myself, “But am I am too old to wear a green shirt with lady bugs on it?”

“Bah! Who cares! Surely not me!” I said to myself.

Besides, I really like the fabrics and it is time to make me another collared camp shirt from my altered sloper pattern to test the fit. So could I make this shirt from this fabric combination? Yes I could! There was plenty of fabric to make it with. But would I wear this combination once I had the shirt made? Yes I would! Now how about if I put a cute picnic watermelon ant embroidery design on it? Would I still wear it then? Yes I still would! So I decided to get started on it right away!

DSCN0391I cut out the fabric using my newly altered collared camp shirt sloper pattern and got started sewing it together. It sewed together nicely and soon enough I had a fun summer shirt all ready to wear. Sewing this shirt was not the problem. Wearing this shirt was. And not because of the lady bugs or the ant.

After I completed the sewing of this shirt, I pulled it on and noticed right away that the fit was not right. The shoulder seams did not want to sit square on my shoulders and the front of the shirt kept shifting back like it wanted to choke me. I had to keep pulling the front of the shirt down. On the back of the shirt, there are pull line from the armscye to the collar.

DARN! Where had I gone wrong?

These were the same alterations to the pattern that I did for the last shirt I had made, the blue shirt with the white sleeves. And I had wore that shirt and except for the depth of the armscye it all seemed to be good. I pulled the blue and white shirt on again and wore it around the house for a little while only to learn that it too suffered from the same issues. I realized then that I had only wore this shirt to work, under my jacket, and that it was my work jacket that had been keeping the front down. So, I now had to figure out what the alteration problems were and how to fix it.

IMG_0238 - Version 2It did not take long before I figured out that the back where the collar attaches was cut too deeply. And I was depressed that I had two shirts with the same problem and had not caught the problem before making the second shirt. I don’t really know if raising the back will fix the issue but it seems that by raising the collar, and not having it drop so far down my back will help.

Ok, so I think I have figured out what the alteration problems are. Now can these two shirts be fixed? I debated about adding a yoke to the back of the shirts. This would be a way to add enough fabric to raise the collar back up. I also thought about abandoning the collar, adding a facing and make the shirts collarless. Even though the back of the shirt would still be low on my back, there would not be the weight of the collar dragging the back of the shirt down, and hopefully that would make the shirt more comfortable to wear.

DSCN0394While looking at the work that would be needed to fix the issues with these shirts, I lost all interest it trying to raise the collars. The blue and white shirt is a work shirt and is fine under my jacket. Although, the lady bug shirt was made to be a fun summer shirt, it would now be a work shirt too. Since finding the issues with the shirts and trying to solve them, I have wore the lady bug shirt to work and it wore just fine under my jacket as well.

I even received several compliments on the lady bug shirt at work. I don’t know if the compliments were sincere and my coworkers really liked the shirt or if the compliments were a rolling of the eyes that I would wear lady bugs. Really though, I don’t care either way. I really like the lady bugs.

While these two shirts will not be my favorite shirts to wear and they will see less wear than some of my other shirts, I still think they will be ok even if not perfect. But that is just the way it is sometimes. Unless I get a wild hair to alter them, they are what they are. They are not unwearable by any means. I decided that my time would be better spent making a new shirt with a raised back and letting these shirts just be off in the fit, so that is what I’m going to do.

DSCN0418P.S. Speaking of altering, I altered another one of the husband’s shirts. This was one of the last shirts I had made for him before he lost some weight so it was quite large on him. I removed the collar and took a full inch out of the shoulders, then I re-attached the collar. I also took 1 & 1/2 inches out of each side seam including the sleeves. I could have taken even more out of both the shoulders and the side seams but I stayed on the conservative side for this alteration. I can cut more off later if needed. As I learned from altering my shirts, it’s much easier to cut extra fabric off than to add fabric back on. His shirt is still a little large on him but the fit is much better than it was and I think he looks good in it.

Until next time, sew forth and alter on!

Just Three Inches More…

P1040317I have not had time to do much sewing lately, but what I have done, the sleepers and the little dresses, I have throughly enjoyed making. Now it was time to get down to business and get back to work on the altering of the my basic sloper pattern for some fun new summer shirts for myself. Not a fun task, but it is some sewing that I needed to do. With that, I pulled out my camp shirt pattern, a shirt with a collar and lapel, and laid it out on the cutting table.

Altering this pattern was really easy. I had already done all of the hardest altering work on my last pattern, the collarless v-neck shirt. Since I did not feel the need to reinvent the wheel, I laid the first pattern over the second pattern and made the same changes. I figured why not since the three collarless v-neck shirts I had made previously fit and wear well. So, with the alterations done so quickly, it was time to start cutting and then on to the sewing.

P1040316Looking through my stash photos, I quickly picked a fabric that I really liked to make this shirt out of. I figured since I was fairly secure about the alterations I had made that I would use one of my precious pieces of fabric. But just then, the voices in my head talked me out of it and for the most part I’m glad that they did, except it made this project more work for me and here is why.

Looking again at my stash photos, I picked another piece of fabric that I was not as fond of. After digging it out of the stash, I realized that it was not as large a piece of fabric as I thought it was. And as I laid my pattern pieces on the fabric they just did not fit. Rather than doing the right thing and returning to my stash photos to find a larger piece of fabric, the voices in my head said to just go ahead and make this fabric work. All I had to do was to cut the facings separately and not have them attached to the front of the shirt, and then the pattern would fit just fine on the fabric. I knew this was not a good idea, but the voices in my head said it would work out fine and to just do it. So, I did, and it didn’t.

P1040312After cutting the facings separately from the front of the shirt, I sewed the facings onto the front of the shirt. I then ironed the facings very carefully. The sewed on facings worked great at the buttons part of the shirt, but failed at the lapel part. At the lapel, the seam attaching the facings was obvious and ugly. So lesson learned. No, it is not ok to save fabric on a camp shirt and cut the facings separately from the front of the shirt and still have it look fine. It was ok though. After all, this was just a muslin test of my latest altered pattern, so I was not supposed to be happy with it.

Now since I was unhappy with the lapels, I wanted to see if I could spice the shirt up a little and see if I could still make it a wearable muslin. With this, I decided to make the sleeves white and add an embroidered pocket to the front. I figured that would draw the eye away from the ugly lapels. So I grabbed some white fabric that I had out already, but it was not large enough for the sleeves. Being lazy and not wanting to dig through the stash yet again, I decided to just add a band at the bottom of the sleeves and I like the end results. The band makes the white sleeves look more like a design decision not just an after thought.

P1040266I embroidered a nice Snoopy design on some of the left over white scraps from the sleeves, and made the front pocket with it. The pocket turned out really cute, but when I stitched it to the front of the shirt, I thought that it looked terrible. I could not unpick it from the shirt fast enough. I thought about embroidering the Snoopy design directly onto the shirt but opted not to. I just did not think it was going to look the way that I wanted it to in my head, so why not save the thread and stabilizer for another project later on.

P1040267Now back to what this shirt was originally made for, I have worn the shirt and it wore well. I still need to adjust the placement of the buttons a bit though. When I sit, the buttons are not where they need to be to let the front of the shirt gap a little. I also noticed that I needed the armscye a little deeper in the back on this shirt. I don’t know if this is an alteration issue or a fabric issue. This fabric is quite stiff and has very little give so it might be just that.

With this shirt completed, I should make another shirt to verify that the alterations made are working well, but this was not really a fun sew for me. And I just don’t want to make another shirt right now. Instead I want to go back and make more fun little dresses. So I think I will do that next instead of what I should be doing. I think that if I make something fun and then return to making another shirt from this newly altered pattern I will feel a little less stressed about it.

Until next time, sew forth and sew on!

Why Stand When You Don’t Have To – Simplicity 2907 – Part 2 of 2

P1030696Since I didn’t want the little dress I had started in my last blog post to become a UFO (Un-finished Object), I decided to get started sewing again on this project sooner rather than later. My wounds from the collar are still fresh but I wanted to complete the project and move on to something new.

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With the bodice part of the dress sewn together, it was time to sew the buttons and buttonholes. As I looked at the plain yellow front of the bodice, it was too bland in my opinion, so I decided to add a pocket. I dug through the remaining scraps of cat fabric and found a whole cat to use for the pocket. Because I did not want just part of a cat on the pocket, the pocket came out larger than I would have liked, but I stitched it to the bodice anyway. Luckily before I started to make the buttonholes, I noticed that the pocket was in the way of the fronts of the bodice folding over. When P1030755I folded the front over as though buttoning it together, the top front was on top of the pocket. ARRGHH! So, my choices were to unpick the pocket and make it smaller, unpick the pocket and move it to the other side of the bodice, or to fold the fronts of the bodice the opposite way as if it were a boy’s shirt. Since I was quite flustered with this whole project already, I chose the last option and placed the left front over the right and left the pocket alone where it was. I was smart enough though to run the buttonholes vertically rather than horizontally so that the big pocket was not in the way of the buttonholes stitching.

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The next step was to make the skirt. I decided to line the skirt with some black tricot. The skirt was a simple sew even with the lining and it was done quickly and P1030754ready to be attached to the bodice. There were no sewing problems when attaching the skirt to the bodice but after it was done, I realized just how much of a dropped waist the skirt was and just how thin my yellow fabric was. Ah Crap. You would be able to see the top of the little girl’s panties through the yellow fabric because of this. Here I had done so good about lining the skirt to hopefully solve this problem, but I did not even think about the top part. So, my choices were to try and add a lining to the completed bodice, make a camisole to wear with this dress, or just give the dress to the little neighbor girl and let her mom solve the see through problem with a camisole or undershirt that the little neighbor girl probably already owns. And since I just wanted this project to be done, I picked option number three again. I will ask her mom if she has a camisole to wear under this dress. If her mom says no, I will consider making one. But, since I am not really pleased with the whole construction of this dress overall, I am not excited to put any P1030753more time and effort into this project.

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With this dress completed, my first thought is to just throw this pattern out, but the dress turned out really cute and I still like the style of it. So, I have decided to keep the pattern for now just for the skirt portion of it. If I make this style of dress again, I will find a different pattern for the bodice, one that has a “real” lapel collar and facings but use the skirt from this pattern. I will also pick a larger piece of fabric to start with, make the pocket smaller or just skip the pocket, and line the dress appropriately. Yes, that sounds like a plan, but a future plan, and not one I am very anxious to start right away. But with most of my sewing projects I learned a lot and have taken lots of notes for future projects.

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See you next time and don’t forget to Sew forth and Sew on!