Finishing up the Last Remnants of Summer

What has happened?

I was thinking of summer outfits that might be fun to sew out of remnants, and all of a sudden things changed.

Not the temperature; it’s still hot. Not the weather; we’ve still got rain every afternoon and tropical storms are waxing and waning. But it’s something…

August sky

August sky

The sky is a brilliant blue (when it’s not raining, that is). It has a different feeling, more purposeful somehow. As if to say, “live it up, because soon it will be school time again, back to the grind, your Saturdays will be taken up with football, summer is going away…”

A couple of remnant projects went by fast. This set was made with 2-way stretch remnants. The top is a small piece of Frozen fabric. The leggings are solid-color fabric that complements the top. For a three-year old, you just need a fraction of a yard to make a cute little play outfit. This is a worthwhile pattern, as it includes several variations.

Kik Sew leotard pattern

Kwik Sew K4011 pattern

Simplicity 1435

Simplicity 1435: child’s tunic and leggings

The leotard is from a pattern I’ve used before. Thought it might go with a pair of red shorts from a while back…

Jalie yoga shorts

Jalie yoga shorts

We’ve got several pattern makers represented here, so why not look at this Moneta I just finished, by Collette. Although not a remnant, and I didn’t even get a cheap deal on the pattern, it was an easy and worthwhile project.

Moneta

Collette Moneta

I’ve had the fabric stashed for a few years, from fabric.com — a soft, velvety t-shirt knit. The pattern was easy to follow and has a large size range, so you can make an XS version as well as a 3X size, and all sizes in-between. I wanted to get the paper copy in the mail, but they didn’t have any paper ones around, so I had to download it and print it and tape all the pages together, but it worked out. Having read several blog posts from others who sewed the Moneta (it’s very popular!) I followed their leads and lengthened the bodice a couple of inches. If you buy the Moneta pattern from the web site, you can get an additional pattern with collar variations free.

And so the remnants of summer are getting finished up, out of the way, to make room for the new, the busy, the purposeful

What’s in your agenda for the end of August 2015?

Cabin Fever Remnant Project Lineup

“And on the seventh day…”

It’s the seventh day since I broke my foot, and have had to keep it elevated, and will continue until I go to the orthopedist a few more days from now.

The first couple of days I had more energy and a more hopeful outlook. Both energy and attitude have been steadily going downhill. But I don’t want to be negative. In fact, there are several bright facets to that diamond of derring-do, the clumsy trick that landed me here in cabin-feverama.

1) I have more time to read, watch TV, watch Craftsy class lessons, and delete extraneous stuff off my computer that is prompting iCloud to try and get me to buy more storage.
2) Mostly everywhere I go in the house has something nearby that can be converted to a foot-prop. Therefore, I can still serve as a tech-support person, sew, knit, Internet surf.
3) DH rented me a wheelchair so I can get around with greater ease, and crutches for the places that the wheelchair won’t go.

Since becoming bored out of my skull, I decided to do a little work on my wardrobe. This guy, #Adamsays, “I think, no matter what your age is, a pencil skirt is the most flattering skirt out there.”

I like the pencil skirt. I wanted to try out this pattern, especially since the skirt only takes 1 yard no matter what size, and see if it works with some choice remnants in the stash.

Simplicity pattern

Threads Pattern for skirt, top, pants

I chose a 1-yard piece of charcoal Ponte Roma for skirt #1, which normally sells for $12.99 per yard. Ponte Roma is a soft, luxe, drapey knit (in this case anyway). For possible tops, I have an almost 3/4 yard remnant of gray reversible knit that I think will fit the bill for this April 2015 Burdastyle Super Easy vest (normally $16.99 per yard).

April 2015 Burdastyle

BurdaStyle ridiculously easy clothes patterns

Then there’s a .83 of a yard piece of gray, aqua and peach/pink Hacci sweater knit, 57″ wide, that looks like it will make an awesome spring top. And a yard of blush-pink open-work Leno t-shirt knit for a tunic. I’ve seen lots of combinations of gray and blush-pink, and it’s savory together. Hacci knit, normal price is $12.99 per yard. Leno knit piece, normally $9.99 per yard. Of course, sold as remnants, all these cha-ching’d up at half the prices quoted herein.

Having had success with the first pencil skirt, why not another one in black? Not just ordinary black, but a glossy, Sleek Foil Denim Knit that looks a bit like shiny leather? Normally $24.99 per yard, it’s 55″ wide, so a .945 yard remnant actually provided a whole skirt. And to go with it, a top out of animal print sweater knit with a black foil collar. True, the collar piece is supposed to be cut on the bias, however, the fabric stretches in all directions, so this little neckline piece was cut from a scrap of the skirt fabric, on the straight grain. This animal print sweater-knit piece is older and I’ve lost the price tag, so we’ll just presume it is the same price as the Hacci, $12.99 per yard.

Remnant fabrics for 2 skirts, 3 tops and a vest: a little less than $40 (half of what it would be if bought off the bolt). Simplicity pattern: on sale for $1.99 (retail price $18.95). Cost of Burdastyle April issue £4.99 plus postage. Various notions: 2 zippers, thread, single-fold bias tape from stash. Estimated gasoline savings due to not being able to go anywhere because of broken foot: $15.

black pencil skirt

black pencil skirt

gray pencil skirt

charcoal Ponte Roma pencil skirt

reversible vest

reversible vest (Burda calls it a waistcoat)

Hacci sweater knit top

Hacci sweater knit top

Simplicity top

animal print sweater knit top with pleather collar

Leno weave top

Leno weave tunic top

First top was the animal print sweater knit, view C from the Simplicity pattern. Next was the Hacci sweater knit, a combination of views A and C. It has a stand-up collar and the back hem is a little longer than the front hem. I presumed for value’s sake that the two knits were similar. In the midst of sewing, they were not much alike at all. The animal print knit, although soft and light, had a much firmer texture than the Hacci. The Hacci sweater knit frayed at the ends, and while sewing the very first seam, the knit fabric bunched up under the needle and needed emergency extrication by prying up the throat plate and pushing the birds nest up through the needle hole with a screw driver blade. After that, I applied SewKeysE knit bias tape to just about every seam. Stretch needle used for all these knits. Maybe when I get a little more mobile, I can add some P.S. pictures of me wearing them…

Fun Kidwear from Remnants

Remnants of jersey knit

Ah, the possibilities for knit remnants! This post features the red and white ones made into girls’ tops, plus a twirly skirt to go with the tops.
I made a couple more of the Imke tops featured in the luscious book Sewing Clothes Kids Loveby Nancy Langdon and Sabine Pollehn. In honor of spring–here in central Florida it was 90 degrees last week, that’s our spring–I made them with short sleeves. The hoodie sports an improvised pocket on the front that turned out a bit crooked: the engineer spouse was not conspiratorial. “You had a GRID to line it up with,” he said, pointing to the stripes on the front, his voice trailing off to a mutter and his brow furrowing. Sigh. I thought about taking the seam ripper to it, but the jersey is so fine and delicate I’m sure the result will be holes, so I left it as is, hoping it exudes a Grunge-y sort of eclectic charm.

Imke girls' tops


The Insa skirt was also a pattern of Sewing Clothes Kids Love. I found an old, old red cotton remnant that was thin, faded in spots, and had a number of scrapes, holes and cuts in it, so I had to cut out the 4 skirt gores one at a time.

an old relic from Rag Shop probably


I have to say that the patterns and instructions in this book are wonderful. Lots of topstitching and many little flourishes to make this sturdy kidwear.

Insa skirt


The underskirt is trimmed with some reflective rickrack I bought on clearance from JoAnn’s after Halloween. The overskirt is half lace and half cotton red skull bandana print. I love the author’s technique for making the overskirt puff up. I hemmed it with a decorative heart stitch. All together, a fun postaweek2011 remnant project for me to sew!
P.S. You know, it’s fun to play the game of getting a bargain. I have succumbed to that marketing psychology that urges people to BUY NOW! because it’s on sale–you might need it, then later it won’t be as cheap! As a result, I know I have more craft and sewing stuff than I currently have need of, although my intentions to use it up are still good. And if I miss out on a great sale, I tend to feel that I’m a bit of a loser. I didn’t get the best price; so, there’s something wrong. But at least I’m playing by the rules. When I see or hear about people shoplifting, switching price tags, butting in line at the cutting counter or cash register to take unfair advantage, it takes the juiciness right out of the bargain victory.

And then there’s all the misery of the other outcome of succumbing to market psychology, the hoarding. Everyone knows someone about whom they can lightheartedly say “Oh, she’s a packrat.” But for some bargain seekers, their hunter-gatherer instinct has gone terribly wrong. I don’t know when I crossed over the line of feeling vaguely uncomfortable having a large fabric stash to feeling like I’m riding around in a Cadillac with the top down on a victory cruise around the fabric store stadium, waving and catching long-stemmed roses thrown to me in tribute of my stash-building prowess. But, I have friends who are worse pack rats than I am. And I have more grandchildren to sew for than they do. That’s my consolation at this point.

Remnant Goth-a-rama

It’s that time of year when the birds are singing and flowers bursting into delicate bloom, and lots of women are thinking of new clothes in pastels and the soft colors of spring. Some of them, however, are liking their old favorite color since they were in the alter-culture of  high school: black.
I’ve been watching so many NCIS reruns lately, I cannot help but wonder what Abby, the Goth-clothed researcher, is going to wear next. And I heard recently my favorite sewing guinea pig say that she loves Goth. How can I accommodate?  Theoretically, black, red, skulls, sharp metal pointed things and other hardware–have I listed the fundamentals–can be part of this look.
I bought this poly/rayon knit on sale from fabric.com, so it’s technically not a remnant, but I noticed it had a hole:

paint mark, with hole

I ended up with a length that possibly was not all usable to make a dress. So I made a quick skirt using McCall’s M6247, a Nancy Zieman pattern. Oh, how I do love Ms. Zieman and her short-cuts and tips. This skirt required only 3/4 yard of knit fabric–HOW INCREDIBLE is that? You can make a skirt out of less than a yard of material (for up to size 12 RTW sizes, size 16 in US patterns), and in only a few minutes as well. Yes, I made the skirt in probably 30 minutes, start to finish. And I used less than a yard of 1″ wide elastic for the waistband, which I had on hand. I’ve got plenty of RTW elastic-waist skirts in the closet that I paid $$ for at the clothing stores; I am all ok with them.

Skirt, with lace shawl

The shawl is a remnant of black metallic lace with double border scalloped edges so you don’t have to do anything to finish them. I can see how this skirt and shawl can fit into a Goth girl’s wardrobe. I had some other ideas that didn’t really pan out, such as applique-ing a skull from the plaid fabric onto a black shirt, or maybe onto the shawl. What if I let my creative ideas about Goth fashion flow; what would become of them?

I got an email saying that “WE” –the bloggers of WordPress who committed to postaday2011 or postaweek2011–have completed 25% of the challenge they gave us at the beginning of the year. And they’d like to know what our challenges have been (see link below: I couldn’t insert it here without the whole rest of the text being linked to the link; that is, I cannot “turn off” the link).

I answered the poll: keeping from getting distracted as my big challenge, but the real challenge has been staying true to my chosen niche. Before, I was blabbing about whatever I felt like, typical housewife fodder that pinpointed my identity as a stay-at-homer. Now I’m trying to stick with my original idea, sewing with remnants and keeping the costs of creativity down. Although it’s been hard to keep it narrow, I feel like I have much more focus and I’ve discovered treasure troves of fun and fabulous blogs through the Tag Surfer, found fascinating subjects and ideas that are dear to my heart. Originally begun as a journal for me, my blog has helped me develop a voice for writing, and has become my pseudo-job. I’ve met some wonderful personalities, people with great stories to tell, gifted people who want to help others with their creative development, and brash new ideas whose formulas have yet to be tweaked! So for the 25% I have so far completed, it’s been very positive! And WordPress is a great platform.

Now 25% Complete!

Dance Floor/La Divina with Remnant Modesty Option

I love my Spring and Summer edition of Burda Plus! I love the theme presentations, the fabulous fabrics they suggest, the detailed instructions that I have to read at least 5 times before I can say “OK, got that.” I’ve given a try to this gorgeous goddess gown named Dance Floor (yes, they call it a maxi-dress, haven’t heard that term since the 70’s and 80’s):

Dance Floor maxi-dress


The version with a short hem, featured in the lovely article on Italian-inspired dresses, is called “La Divina”–I’d like to make that, too. The empire waist, long tie in back, plunging neckline and soft draping make it seem like a toga for a sexy goddess. However, if you’d like to take that look out in public, you might want to exercise a little modesty option, hence this week’s Remnant Redo.

A yard of white spandex fabric


I found a remnant of white spandex in the stash, suitable for swimwear, etc. Very stretchy.
I cut off a piece that was about 38 inches wide and about 6 inches long and sewed it into a tube, using a stretch needle and a stretch overlock machine stitch. Just saying, the mannequin you see here has about a 38 B bustline measurement; you are going to use a length of fabric that fits you snugly when sewn together, but not so tightly that you can’t breathe. The first tube I sewed was double-fabric, and it was too tight to shimmy into. Unlike Scarlett O’Hara, I hate to wear clothes that may cause me to pass out at a party from lack of oxygen, so I tried again with a single piece of fabric, hemmed on both edges with the stretch stitch.
BTW, have you seen the little tube things like this that are sold in JoAnn’s? They are in little boxes, come in different colors, and have little tabs to which you can attach straps (not included), and they sell for about $16 a piece. I think they have stretch lace at one edge, so you can wear it with the lace showing or with the straight edge showing at the top. One time, at my old job, we had a cleavage-concealing mania going on, and the shop sisters were going to all creative lengths to hide their pulchritudinous profiles. This isn’t Las Vegas, here! Subdue those curves in public.

Stretchy tube


Then I sewed on a little free-standing lace embroidery medallion I’d made on the machine in sewing class, and didn’t have another foreseeable use for:

Remnant Redo Modesty Option


The lace is a Husqvarna Viking pattern, sewn with purple thread on top and black in the bobbin, on 2 layers of Badge Master water-soluble stabilizer. Cut out and soaked in water, a little stiff now but will soften up with some washings; slip-stitched on to the top front.

Copius cleavage downgraded from R to PG


So that’s my postaweek2011 remnant project.

Remnant Imke’s

Visual "to-do" List

It’s ugly, but functional.  When I cleaned the sewing room a while ago, I just piled up all the UFO’s and projects-in-the-making on these two barrels. I do have a paper “to-do” list, but this one shows more drama, more urgency. It’s not that I’m a huge sluggard, but I have more plans than I have time or inclination to finish.

This week’s project is a follow-up from the Burda top I made last week. I used some of the leftover knit jersey, plus added a length of orange knit jersey and a remnant of orange and brown striped jersey. I made the girls some Imke tops, using the FABULOUS patterns and ideas in Sewing Clothes Kids Love by Nancy J. S. Langdon and Sabine Pollehn.

I don’t know how I can say enough to convey how much I love this book. The clothes herein are creative, fun, and crazy easy to make! The book retails for about $25 but you can find it on Amazon at a discount. I bought mine at Borders with a 50% off coupon they gave me. You can also find it at JoAnn Fabric and use one of the %-off coupons that they give away. Patterns for ten articles of clothing, with their many variations, are included in sizes 3 – 12.

I hope the girls like to wear these tops as much as I liked making them!

with applique's and a pointed hood

With pieced sleeves and tee collar

This Imke top pattern:

You can choose to make it with a pointed hood or a rounded hood, or a tee-shirt collar, pieced sleeves and bodice, short puffy sleeves, bell sleeves, short puffy sleeves on top of pieced or straight or bell sleeves, with a bell-shaped hem for girls, or a straight hem for boys.

And you can applique or embellish it as you wish.

I appliqued monkey motif’s to the hoodie, using fabric from a prior project.

These patterns, like the Burda and other European patterns, don’t have seam or hem allowances so you have to add it.

I’m sewing the stretchy knit jersey seams with a 2.5mm zig-zag stitch on the machine, then overlocking the seams. The necklines are topstitched. The hems are a sewing machine flatlock stitch that turns out very stretchy.

I sort of pushed the envelope when it came to using up remnants from my Burda top, but hey! Less waste. Some day the pile of remnants will become small enough that I will be able to throw it out with a good conscience.

Chocolate remnants good to the last drop

Fun Burda Top!

This week’s remnant project features 2 remnant size lengths of a finely woven cotton/poly knit jersey in chocolate brown. I haven’t ventured into sewing knits much because I’ve never had success with them, until very recently. That’s when I began to employ such modern details as using designated “stretch” needles, special stitches on the machine, specific interfacings and seam bindings, etc.

These have been in the stash for years.

The inspiration for this project came when I got my first issue of Burda Plus Fashion, the Spring/Summer 2011 edition, in the mail a few weeks ago.

You can find Burda patterns at JoAnn’s or at online fabric stores, but the magazine, people write authoritatively, carries the true up-to-date source of what women in Europe are wearing now.  Oooh! Ooooh! I want to see what women in Europe are wearing now! The main publication, BurdaStyle, can be purchased at a subscription price of $90. Ouch! Worth it if you do a lot of fashion sewing, because it carries loads of patterns in every issue (loads more than I would make, also.) I bought this one-time issue of Burda Plus on Amazon, because according to Burda, some of my measurements fall into their plus-size category, which corresponds roughly to our RTW sizes around 12 to 20.

I am happy with being in the plus-size category because the pattern selections are somewhat modest compared to the regular BurdaStyle fashions. And, while you’re working up your pattern, you can of course adjust it to any cutting line you wish, even add some that aren’t there. You do have to add a seam (5/8″) and hem (1 1/2″ or whatever) allowance to these patterns, because they come to you mostly without.

The pattern sheet that comes with the magazine

You must take the pattern sheet out of the center of the magazine, find the pattern for your selected project, and trace it onto your own pattern medium (I use pattern-ease). If this looks like insanity to you, then I suggest you go to the store and buy a pattern in an envelope. But if you like doing impossible-looking things that cause you a lot of stress and work and obsessing (which you must or you’d be instead out buying clothes off the rack and not reading a sewing blog, right?) then proceed! This pattern is rated “A little sewing experience and/or time needed” which is half a mark below “General sewing knowledge required!”  It has a gathered front center seam, elastic-casing short sleeves, a low V-neck with a top-stitched neck facing.

Inner and outer sleeves, from patterns I traced

The notions include Vilene Bias Tape/Stay Tape.  Curious, I looked everywhere for it, and finally ended up buying it from Sew Essentials Ltd in Walsall, UK.  I bought 4 meters in black, which seemed like a lot, but when it came in the mail, it was only this much:

Vilene Iron-on Bias Tape

This bias tape [that you iron onto the places you will sew an important seam that you don’t want to stretch] has a chain-stitch along the center, for you to line up your seam stitching. I put it on the shoulder seams specifically, but several of the Burda patterns call for it. Having never seen it, I HAD to find out what it was all about. Considering that the shipping for this and the few other items I purchased, was $7, I figure I can get by using twill tape for the next similar task. It really is light-weight and the adhesive is very light but I was able to iron it on with no problems, unlike the Steam-a-Seam II. Why don’t we have Vilene in the US?

The other thing that Burda (and other patterns) want you to do with knits, is to finish the hems by stitching them from the top side with a double needle. I have tried this many times using different size needles, different threads and settings, and consultations with the staff at A-1 Sewing,  and I always end up like this:

horribly bent and disfigured double needle

So, I guess I’m more prone to just single stitching, although I did use the flatlocking stitch on my machine for the lower hem. I was happy with it, but I think a single row of stitching on the neck and sleeve hems is fine for me. The finished top has a  luxurious soft, clingy feel to it; it weighs 6.5 oz, compared to an Old Navy t-shirt that weighs 5.2 oz.  I have no doubt I will make this top again, maybe with a higher neck so I won’t have to wear a dickey under it.

#420 Top from BurdaPlus spring/summer

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