Summers here are not productive

Dec. 22, 2017

You might have noticed I haven't posted much on the sewing portion of my website this year. It's not because I haven't wanted to share my makes with you. I just haven't made much. And what I have made has mostly been old patterns. I haven't tried a new pattern since I tested the Belvedere waistcoat pattern for Thread Theory.

It's just so stinkin' nice in the Pacific Northwest that I haven't found the time to sew. And I've found even less time to write about it. I have a few pieces I haven't even taken photos of yet. 

So this should be a quick read. First up is a pair of pajama pants I finished in May. It's the first time I've made the full-length Sewaholic Tofino. I've made the shortened shorts twice before: here and here.

And yes, I did write May, as in I made these seven months ago. So I can't quite make sense of all the hand-written notes I left myself. Apparently I had troubles getting the seam on the waistband to line up with any side seam. I don't remember this being a problem with my first two Tofinos, so maybe it was just an issue with losing my tailor's tacks. Eh, whatever. 

The gauzy fabric is from my Fabric Recycles stash, so I wasn't certain of its content. I think it's rayon or mostly rayon based on a burn test. It feels decent but has minimal breathability issues, so I assume there's some synthetic material in there.

It frays a lot. When I washed it the first time after wearing, I actually had to repair the waistband seam. I trimmed the seam allowance too close, and it came apart in the wash.

I considered adding piping to take advantage of those unusual panels, but it would have just gotten lost in the stripes.

I cut the same size as my sea critters PJs (size 2 with a shortened crotch) and shortened the leg length by hemming them an extra 2 1/8 inch.

I love the belt. I used a plain white cotton leftover from my Ikea dress for the belt and pockets. I topstitched the contrast thread with a triple stitch to make it stand out. I'd like to make another to wear in my hair.

Then in June I revisited Nell by A Verb for Keeping Warm. I spotted this rayon from Cotton + Steel quite a while ago in Lawrence, Kan., but never bought it. When I stopped by Stitchology in Albuquerque last year, I saw Melisa still had a small amount left. It was enough for a sleeveless shirt.

I love Cotton + Steel's rayon. Working with this is going to ruin all other rayons for me. It has a slightly stiffer drape than most rayons and handles more like a cotton voile in the machine. I loved working with it and wearing it the rest of summer.

I played around with both matching blue and mustard yellow topstitching and love how the yellow turned out. I actually ripped out my original topstitching on the bib, so I could also stitch along both sides of the center seam. So worth it.

When pressing the hem under, I could not get the side seam curve to cooperate no matter how many times I tried. I finally ended up cutting a little tab of fabric and stitched it with the yellow thread. (To avoid too much yellow, I used the matching blue thread to stitch the actual hem.) This worked so well I think I'll use this treatment on all shirts with hems that curve in so sharply, including Mikey's button-ups.

Other than that, construction was pretty standard: I used French seams on the shoulder and side seams and cut bias tape to finish the arm holes.

Check out my necklace! My friend Sam has been making a bunch of beautiful jewelry, and she made me an Alice necklace, which I absolutely love. The other side is the White Rabbit. :) You should totally visit her Instagram and Facebook pages.

My last make of the summer was another version of my skirt hack from the Anna dress pattern.

The fabric was the oldest of my stash. I bought it right before Bon Bon Atelier in Westport closed (and right after I took sewing lessons in 2013). The purple cotton is actually made of red and navy thread. I didn't have much of it, 2 yards by 44" wide, so I was limited to a shirt or skirt. And I didn't really have anything that matched because I don't wear navy. While I was making the cherry shirt I noticed they went rather well together. So it finally became a garment.

I've never had so much trouble feeding a zipper through my machine. The feed dogs just wouldn't grab it, and the zipper teeth got caught in the groove of the presser foot repeatedly. And then after inserting the zipper, the damn fabric wanted to catch in the zip, almost as if I'd sewn too close to the zipper. Really? Can that happen? It all resolved once I attached the other side of the zipper. Glad I didn't try to redo it. I love my note to myself that waistband seam doesn't line up at the zipper. Like I decided, screw it — I'm not fixing that shit; I'm just going to leave myself a passive-aggressive note about it. Ha!

My obsession with French seams got the best of me on this skirt. I understand that I wanted to French seam the whole thing because the fabric frayed quite a bit, but it's lined. I totally could have gotten away with a zigzag finish. I've gotten away with it before, but the bulky French seams made the bottom of the pockets pucker. And for some reason adding in the slash with the French seams perplexed me for longer than I'll admit (or can remember because I finished this in early October).

I had a perfectly matching navy lining stowed away with this fabric, but when I pulled it out of my stash, I noticed it felt wrong. A burn test confirmed it was a yucky synthetic. Esther's on the island didn't have any navy silk or rayon, so I got this red silk, which matched perfectly. 

But I didn't love it. It didn't look right until I attached it to the waistband facing.

I also used French seams on the lining, and it frayed so easily, that the outside was a little furry. After trimming all the loose ends off the first seam, I trimmed the rest to 1/8 inch before sewing right sides together.

I cut the lining shorter than the shell and the hem the usual amount, which did not want to press well. From now on I need to finish silk with a narrow hem.

So that's it for summer sewing 2017. Not much, huh? I've made a few other things this fall. (I'll probably post those in January.) So I guess that leaves me with two goals for 2018: trying to sew as many garments as possible throughout spring, including summer clothes, and accepting that the weather is just too lovely to get much done June through October.

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