Be-Laboring a Long-Sleeved Swimsuit

Almost Labor Day with a semi-remnant project for the beach or pool.

Semi-remnant because although I bought a big length of what they call “fashion fabric” to experiment with, I did snag a remnant for the swim suit lining:

power mesh

Power mesh remnant from JoAnn’s

Sunburn is not the happy-go-lucky inconvenience it was in our childhoods; now it’s being recognized as a precursor of deadly, disfiguring skin cancer. My dermatologist says that you need to wear sunblock if you’re going from the house to the car in your driveway. Rash guard shirts or other cover-ups are becoming required swimwear, as you can see on several sites: Lands End, Orange Blossom Brand

My DD, who’s endured many punishing sunburns in her lifetime, expressed a desire to have a swim suit with some serious coverage. Not sure if she likes the loud flashy fabric I chose, but this is what I came up with:

long-sleeve swimsuit

long-sleeve swimsuit

At first, I had planned to incorporate a bra into the long-sleeved swimsuit, because (by amazing coincidence) I found just a bra top on sale at the Lands End web site for a cheap deal. Her size is not one you find every day, so I snapped it up.

swim suit top

bargain top

At some point in the project, I decided not to sew the bra into the shirt, in case she didn’t like the fabric, or in case she wanted to wear the swim suit top as just a shirt. For now, if she wants, she can wear it under the shirt and we’ll see if any adjustments to the fit need to be made.

Here’s a <a href=”http://Written_8_27_15%2C_7_36_AM“>breakdown of where the pattern pieces came from. Not sure if that link is going to work; I tried using Penultimate and it’s all different than it used to be 😦 Major learning curve and still didn’t get it to do what it used to do so easily: save a sketch into your photos.

But if the link doesn’t work, I used part of 3 different Jalie patterns for this project; the top and sleeves from a leotard pattern, the midriff from a tankini pattern, and the bottom from a swim suit pattern.

Have a great rest-of-the-summer and save your skin!

Rocking it with Remnants

We just got back from a little weekend trip to Orlando, where we romped around with friends and family members, and stayed a night in the Hard Rock Hotel. Too bad DH was sick as a dawg and I was trying to act like I didn’t have a bulky compression splint on my ankle as we were romping. Nevertheless, we had some serious FUN!

How do you describe the Hard Rock café and Hard Rock hotel experience? It’s fraught with catch-phrases mounted everywhere you glance and listen. Popular music really does rule: we remember our favorite songs when this and that happened in our lives. Every heading in the room service book had a lyrical catch-phrase attached; i.e.: On the side of a box in room that held phone book and local flyers of things to do: “Here we are now, Entertain us” –Nirvana. At the Valet Parking, written above the window: “Baby, you can drive my car.”  –The Beatles. Sounds banal now, let’s just say you had to be there.

Hard Rock Hotel mirror

Mirror says I’m the same height as Debbie Harry of Blondie

The Hard Rock link to clothing and textiles is also big. The hallway in which our room was located had a showcase with Eddie Vedder‘s leather fringed jacket. In the lobby, within a wall-mounted glass display case, were K.C. and the Sunshine Band’s yellow tennis shoes and a pair of silver glitter platform-sole boots (Elton John’s?) Of course, you want to get a t-shirt. Many of the t-shirts sold in the lobby store have lyrics across the front. I saw one shirt that looked like a couple pieces of ripped knit jersey tied together in a knot, with a song lyric screen-printed across the front. Makes me think, “I could do that!” When I was a teenager, we loved to create art by simply decoupaging a photo of an artist onto a piece of wood, then writing some lyrics below the photo, shellacking it, and attaching a hook on the back. Or painting an old box from the thrift store, and adding lyrics or sayings. I could write, or paint, or silkscreen, or machine embroider some lyrics on a shirt.

For instance, here are some memorable possibilities:

Jimi Hendrix: “S’cuse me while I kiss the sky!”
Neil Young: “Sailing heart-ships through broken harbors…”
Mountain: “There are years behind us reaching to the place where hearts are beating”
Heart: “Wonder why in dreams your feet never touch the earth?”

But then, you know, it would be like overexposure. Like when the magnificent rock epic gets played on Top 40 over and over again until it becomes a curse to you. I ended up buying a “Mischief Managed” t-shirt that reveals footprints and other things when you go out in the sun wearing it.

Marauder's Map t-shirt

Harry Potter Marauder’s Map T-shirt

Back home, I wanted to use up some remnants so I started with a skirt to go with the t-shirt. Nothing fancy. I have a simple skirt I snagged from TJ Maxx that is midi-length and stretchy, and I traced it onto 3 separate pattern pieces, representing front, back and waistband. No elastic for waistband, no zipper, snaps, buttons, nada. I used a remnant of black spandex that looks like it has gold glitter sprinkled on top, about 1 yard. I like to have a casual skirt around, long enough to not ride up, but not dragging the ground either. It was an experiment, and I was ok with the outcome.

spandex skirt

skirt to go with shirt

Next, a foray into Burdastyle, the May issue, specifically the project “Two-in-One.” A great remnant project, because it uses smallish pieces of two different fabrics, hence you may be able to find the two fabrics in the remnant bin, at half-price. I chose to use fabrics that looked like the ones they used (sorry for my lack of creativity).

black fabric remnant

black jersey knit I’ve had in the stash since 2011

end-of-bolt piece of striped sweater knit

end-of-bolt piece of striped sweater knit

The black was one yard, and it turned out to be about 2 inches shy of the cutting lines for the back piece. I forged on, wondering what the finished project would look like, 2 inches narrower than intended. Not to worry, though. It was a top/minidress, and turned out very voluminous even with the greatly abbreviated seam allowance. The neckline, however, was a no-go. I used the twill-tape version (view B) and the finished neckline looked awful on me. Luckily I found a bit of black rib-knit in the stash and added a t-shirt type collar, more like the one in View A but stretchier.

minidress

Two-in-One May Burdastyle

The magazine blurb says you can layer it with “a second piece that has a longer hem”–so I could wear it over the skirt, but ish! I don’t know about that, would seem like a Bell, Book and Candle effect. Wearing it here with a pair of pants.

For Me??? I Shouldn’t Have! :) and Weekly Photo Challenge: Warmth

I did a minuscule amount of holiday sewing, mostly for me. Why me?

1) I’m not offended getting a homemade gift 🙂
2) If I mess it up, I totally understand.
3) I, as giver, will not be hurt if I see that the givee (also me) has re-gifted the item to another person or institution.
4) I can chalk it up to experience.
5) I can chalk it up to having a bad day.
6) If it doesn’t fit, I can ask my daughter if she wants it. Also, she likes weird styles and things anyway.
7) If I’m going to spend a lot of time making something, at least I know I will appreciate that.

Star Trek fleece blanket

warm Star Trek fleece lap blanket

As you may know, I like to knit while watching TV at night. Of course I have other lap quilts and blankets, but this one, my gift to me, is special. Why special?

1) It’s fleece, very warm and fuzzy (my other usual TV-watching lap quilts aren’t fleece)
2) It has a TV show theme, ideal for…watching TV
3) I like to think it is the Original Star Trek. Actually, it obviously is the Star Trek animated series, which I like to think is based on the original Star Trek: William Shatner as Captain Kirk, Leonard Nimoy as Spock, etc. I love the new actors too…but the old school series shaped me into the adult I am.
4) It fits the area of me as curled up on the loveseat upon which I perch to watch TV and knit.
5) The fabric was a remnant, so 50% off the regular price.

Marcy Tilton Vogue V8497

Remnant Marcy Tilton top

Next is the remnant top I made for myself.

Vogue pattern

pattern

top

top

The pattern shows this Marcy Tilton Wearable Art top, three views, all made in a solid-color medium-stretch knit. My expectations from the pattern photo did not lead me to the top I created from this pattern. Why?

1) I used two remnants that have greater than medium-stretch quality. And for the neck band, I used a rib-knit, not a piece of the overall fabric. The two remnants I used have the same colors, but vastly different patterns. I wanted to make the fronts and backs half of each fabric, but I couldn’t because the back pattern pieces are longer than the front, and the fabric I used for the front wasn’t long enough.
2) The picture on the front of the pattern appeared to have the z-shaped seams lapped under. According to the directions, the seams are just sewn, leaving the edges on the top piece exposed to the elements. So after wearing, washing, etc., these unfinished seams will curl up. Also, according to the instructions, the neckband is only sewn on the bottom edge to the neck of the garment, leaving the top edge to fray, curl up, whatever. I didn’t like the look of it on my rib-knit band, so I sewed the top edge of the neckband down onto the bottom edge.
3) I do like the look on the pattern envelope, so I may decide to sew a solid-color top according to the directions some other time.

Meanwhile, other quirks I noticed with this pattern:

1) The directions tell you to glue the seams together with spray-on fusible adhesive prior to sewing or top-stitching. Why? It can’t be just to affix the seams together and keep them from moving while sewing, because you’re also directed to pin them together as well. And you’re still directed to stay-stitch the neckline, and to reinforce the shoulder seams by stitching them on top of a piece of tricot interfacing. I think the idea is that the knit fabric won’t stretch during sewing and therefore pucker, if it’s glued together.
2) I didn’t enjoy using the spray-on adhesive: it’s extremely messy and irritating to the skin around my fingernails when I’m trying to position the hems, etc. But I have to admit that the hems didn’t pucker, they stayed flat as could be, and I was able to use a nice top-stitch, and not the usually-called for serger cover-stitch hems. (Good because I hate to re-thread the serger).

spray adhesive

gunky spray adhesive

Speaking of hand-made, my friend Aura is fabulous at making beaded jewelry. Here are some examples of earrings she has made recently:

beaded earrings

Aura’s beaded earrings

Hope everyone is still basking in the light and warmth of happy holidays! For more Weekly Photo Challenge: Warmth ping here.

Summer Clothes, one from a Remnant

Subtitled: More clothes I’ve Made for Myself that I Wouldn’t Be Caught Dead Wearing…

🙂 Confession: I’m not the greatest seamstress in the world. One reason why is that I don’t get enough practice. And I’m very dyslexic when it comes to reading pattern instructions. I can read a line of instructions over and over again, and still not get it. I can grasp the idea if I have a picture to look at. Some patterns leave a lot out, either in the picture or the text. Perhaps early Alzheimers? No, I’ve always had this problem with sewing…

Maybe this goes back to my traumatic years as a junior-high home ec student. I think our teacher, poor Miz Thomas, retired or went into the nursing home after our class graduated. She certainly had a nervous tic and gritted her teeth all the time when we were on deck. But that wasn’t solely our fault; her daughter, Lucretia (I’m not making this up) was getting married and so she wanted us to go through all the trousseau-building exercises a debutante could possibly undertake in the late sixties/early seventies, along with dear sweet Lucretia, and to do it all up in style. We had to choose ourselves a silver, china, and crystal pattern for our own virtual registry. Miz Thomas did not like that I chose black crystal goblets from the Lenox catalog. From then on, she saw me as The Devil. The A-line skirt I made in class (well, to be honest, my mom finished it because I was totally inept) was one of the best articles of clothing I’ve ever owned. I chose the color (fire-engine red) and the fabric (a bottom-weight cotton blend that maybe had to be ironed a little?) and it fit me perfectly. Thus began my career of thinking up great things to sew. But unfortunately, my best-laid plans often (always?) fell short of perfection. Sigh.

Here is the remnant that started the Summer 2014 sewing binge:

denim remnant

stretch denim remnant

It’s a 2-yard, 60-inch-wide piece of stretch denim I got at a yard sale YEARS ago that was held in a retirees mobile home park. Retiree=hence, the very organized packaging in a labeled zip-lock bag. I needed to use stretch denim for this project, #113 trousers from Burda Spring 2014 magazine.
Burda trousers

Burda 113 Trousers

I finished them pretty quick, and they turned out fantastic except…they don’t fit me in the waist. I don’t know if I misinterpreted the sizing, if I gained way, way too much weight on my recent road trip, or if I neglected to add seam allowance (I thought it was supposed to be included in Burda’s printed patterns?)
trousers

Burda trousers

This is the blouse, or rather tunic (because it’s longer) I chose to make to match the remnant trousers. I bought the fabric at Joann’s (not a remnant) thinking I wanted some more feminine casual wear, rather than my usual sweat-hoggian t-shirts and cargo-shorts. The pattern is view A of Simplicity 2254.

tunic

Simplicity tunic

This also didn’t turn out as well as I’d hoped. 😥 For the hem, I used my Blind Hem Foot. The results are less than perfect but with the busyness of the fabric pattern, you don’t see the blips too much.

And then there was this other outfit, also bought the fabric at Joann’s, a beautiful peach stretch cotton sateen for the pants, Burda 144 trousers, and a stretchy knit jersey coordinating print for the top, Very Easy Vogue V8534.

top & trousers

top & trousers

These pants fit very well, anyway. Stretchy, great length, taper in the legs, pretty color. Not sure about the top; it fits well but it makes me look like Shamu…I do have a back-up semi-sweat-hoggian tee-shirt that will also serve…

I snapped this of a woman passing by in Charleston when we were there…nice to see women in lovely summer dresses at work, out to lunch, walking around town…so feminine, so “Southern Living”…but for me to wear a dress somewhere casual other than church, doubtful!

Charleston

fleeting glimpse of Charleston woman passing by

OK, so I fixed the waistline: there were 4 rather large darts, so I re-made them each a bit smaller and added a piece of denim to the waistband, making it a few inches wider. The piping is a day-glo orange, I guess it looks white with the flash.

Burda trousers

finished trousers with piping

A Size 18 Tee from Sightly Less Than .9 Yard

Yes. Well, now I know I can do it, but it’s not the best top I’ve ever made for myself!

tee shirt

Remnant tee top

First: the SIZE issue. A mature woman with a size 40 bust measurement can have a number of designated sizes. In ready-to-wear, lately a 14 does it for me. But when you make the jump from young, lean and lithe in figure to…ahem…mature, weighty, gravity-affected, your bulk may not be located in the same area as others who fall into the same measurement slots. I have relatively wide shoulders, and not a voluptuous cup size. My waist measurement is never what the patterns say it’s supposed to be compared to my bust measurement. And I’m shorter than the average woman, too. So according to sewing patterns such as Vogue, Butterick, Simplicity, I should be a size 18-20. My Jalie pattern size would possibly be a Y. Burda size: 23 Petite (best case scenario) or a 46 (adjusted for height). For this tee top, I used Emma Seabrooke’s SewkeysE Claire pattern in a size A: her size 10 shoulders with CD cup size.

remnant tag

remnant info tag: end price was 50% off this

Next: the FABRIC. To make a top with set-in sleeves out of less than a yard of fabric, the remnant has to be pretty wide: this one is 57 inches. And the sleeves are very short. The last top I made with this pattern was from a knit remnant that had some lycra in it, so it looks and fits differently than this one and is stretchier. This fabric, a Nipk Caviar Glitter Tie-Dye in shades of yellow, orange and peach, is 100% polyester and the label says it must be hand-washed. That’s because it has thousands of little glued-on metal dots and hearts cascading over the fabric, that glitter in rainbow colors when the light hits them. Really pretty, but once I tried it on, I didn’t so much like the color on me. It’s also more see-through-ie than I thought it would be. 😦 I feel good in peach and orange, but yellow does not flatter me. See what you think from the picture.

tee shirt

Claire Tee in remnant Caviar Glitter Tie-Dye Knit

BTW, this is my 200th post on this blog! I think a celebration may be in order!

Remnants and Tween Skirts

Tweens, some may already know, are those girls who fall into the size range (as interpreted by the sewing pattern industry) of eight to sixteen. I discovered this when I looked at this cute pattern:

pattern

New Look pattern, sized for tweens

I thought the tee-shirt top, with its contrasting colors made up of small pieces of jersey knits, would adapt very well to remnant sewing, and I began foraging around the stash to find some suitable fabric options. But I actually had the skirts all thought out before I got to the remnant-project tops.

box-pleat skirt

gator colors

This skirt, not made from a remnant, but trimmed with orange satin ribbon leftover from another project, is the box-pleated view D in the pattern. A few weeks ago Joann’s had a sale of 4 t-shirts for $10, and I snagged a bright orange day-glow t-shirt (matchy-matchy with the ribbon trim) that can be worn with the skirt.

View C, a little flarey but without pleats (and thus ten times easier to assemble and sew) was also not made from a remnant, but the fabric was also a downgrade because of this glaring gouge it had in it:

hole in fabric

Yikes! a major flaw

Cute fabric + unsightly hole = discount for mama (heh, heh, heh…)

I had this great idea to put a fox’s head on the shirt instead of the Swarovski crystal star on the front of the pattern. But I also developed a reluctance to apply the crystals to this shirt. I decided to go to Plan B and put an appliqué on it. This one is called “peeking fox” and I found it at Embroidery Library, on sale, of course.

appliqué machine embroidery

applique

I foraged in the box of potential quilt scraps, and of course, I found any number of little fabric treasures that would do nicely. The granddaughter had been consulted prior about the color of t-shirt fabric she would prefer to go with the skirt, and out of pink and black, she chose the black (yes!)
Vilene bias tape

Sleeve seams sewn over Vilene bias tape

The remnant for the black t-shirt is rather slinky and I could imagine all kinds of stretching going on, hems not acting right, puckering behind my back, and to counteract that I stabilized the sleeve seams with Vilene bias tape, and all the hems with Emma Seabrooke’s Sew KeysE knit stay tape.
knit stay tape

knit stay tape

Hopefully that sew-and-sew will do right.

t-shirt and skirt set

t-shirt and skirt set

top and skirt

version 2

Please fix my machine quick

Aargh. I had to put Ruby in the shop; it hurt me more than it hurt her. She kept giving me a “main motor overload” message and she blacked out a few times, once in the midst of embroidering. That was a pain, because I had to manually go back to where she left off, when she came back to life again.

The good news is, I finished 8 Imke tops (from my fave pattern book Sewing Clothes Kids Love by Nancy Langdon and Sabine Pollehn) before I relinquished Ruby to the sewing machine doc. Bunny says it will be up to 14 working days…trying to be brave! Maybe I can do a bunch of serging with Sheila the Serger in the meantime.

Imke with 3/4 length sleeves and t-shirt style neck

Imke with long sleeves and t-shirt neck

Imke with straight sleeves and pointed hood

Imke with bell-shaped sleeves and t-shirt neck

Imke with 3/4 length sleeves and t-shirt neck

3/4 sleeves, t-shirt neck

Imke with bell sleeves, round hood, and pieced top and bottom

Imke with 3/4 sleeves, t-shirt neck and embroidered front

It is the Hello Kitty hoodie that I’m most excited about. I had about 1/3 yard of this minky Hello Kitty remnant, but it had a hem already across one side of it. Never wanting to waste good Hello Kitty fabric, I dreamed up the idea of combining it with another remnant of white minky, and voila! It is very soft and plushy! Most of these tops were made from remnants of a yard or so, more or less. Depending on the width and size of the remnant, I was able to make longer sleeves or add a hood. All the fabric remnants are knit, so I used a STRETCH needle (very important) and reinforced the shoulder seams with twill tape. They are all girls’ size 10.

In the meantime, DH suggested that I fill the void left by Ruby with one of the mini sewing machines—but it just doesn’t look the same.

You picked a fine time to leave me, Ruby, with 4 hungry children and a crop in the field…

Someone bring me a kleenex…

And I want to call attention to the fact that sweet Sweaty Knitter had nominated me for Reader Appreciation Blog Award quite a few posts back, and I am just now thanking her for this. I enjoy reading her blog just about more than any other blog out there. She brings out so much to love and ponder about the history of fiber arts! Thank you again Karen!

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