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…

Best (?), with Remnants

The May issue of Threads has an article that enticed and enchanted me from the cover until I put the project down and said, “There, I’m finished.” The cover proclaimed “Design the Best Skirt for Your Body.” Since my body won’t listen to me and immediately shed the extra 5 to 10 inches that is hanging around my waist like an albatross, I was interested in seeing just what skirt the author Kelly Tygert thinks my body would look good in. Page 51 is where the article begins, and it shows 4 different skirt types, each with a solid black panel that is supposed to accentuate or eliminate the model’s waistline yay’s or nay’s.

Tygert’s four waistline types, according to the article, are rectangle, inverted triangle, hourglass, or triangle. Although I could have gone with either rectangle or triangle, I chose to experiment with the latter. I had two remnants, one a solid black knit, and a black and white spandex-infused almost-yard that I would have loved to have a skirt from, but I know less than a yard is not enough to cover my bohunkus without assistance from some additional fabric.

Magazine article and remnant

Threads article and remnant

I used the skirt sloper I’d drafted from Deborah Moebes’ Craftsy Class (you can see how I made it in this post) and altered it according to the pattern in the Threads article. As is usual for me, I had problems from A to Z.

First off, the black fabric turned out to be lighter and more sheer than I thought. Therefore, when I sewed the black panels to the print fabric, it wasn’t a good match for them. I had trouble sewing the curve and making it even on both sides of the panel. I decided to cut out two of each black piece, the back waistband and the front waistband with the center panel, and make a matching facing on the inside that was an exact copy of what you see on the outside. That was looking better. For the curves where the print fabric meets the black panel down the center, I ironed on some Pellon interfacing to the inside, so that the horrible old panel didn’t look so wrinkled and awkward.

front of skirt

front, before interfacing

Anyway, it worked. And though I hand-basted the facings down on the inside, before stitching in the ditch along the seam lines on the outside, I felt the extra work was worth it because the fabric was too springy to really get ironed into place. And just a little more laboring over it with a hot iron might turn it into melted, smelly, burnt polyester.

Threads skirt

color-blocked skirt

So there we have it, supposedly the best skirt for my figure type, and definitely a bargain in that one can use less of the expensive fashion fabric to accomplish such, even making use of a half-price remnant that might otherwise have gone into the landfill. What do you think?

The microsuede project #2

I chose Marcy Tilton Wearable Art Vogue pattern V8599 to make the vest.  I know, my mom always told me, “Use Simplicity! The name, Simplicity says it all!” In my defense, the back of the pattern envelope said EASY/FACILE. At different points in the project, it hit me that “facile” rhymes with “imbecile” –but anyway, if this pattern is easy, I shudder to think of what

Vogue pattern

the advanced ones have in store.  Another bad thing–I got a pattern in a smaller size than I wear, because they didn’t have my size.  No matter, I figured I would make it for someone. Someone small. I only had 2/3 yard of the microsuede, not enough to make a vest for even the smallest of persons, so I needed to add some contrasting fabric. I chose a black rayon-type (don’t know, really) silky material with a raised rose-pattern all through it, which has been languishing in my fabric stash for years. Beautiful, but as Poison sang, “Every Rose Has Its Thorn” and this fabric turned out to be no exception to the rule. Its cut ends wanted to ravel quickly, and it seemed to “grow” in length as I stitched it. Definitely a contrast to the microsuede, which was firm and very crisp.

The contrasting back

The pattern has LOTS of darts in the front and back. Pretty, and useful to add shape, but not such a great feature if you want to machine embroider on the front of the vest. Oh, that green velvet that you see on the back vent in the picture of the back? I thought it was black velvet. It looked black until I sewed it on there, then it was unmistakably green. And do you see the seam on the back of the vest, it’s got a Hong Kong finish! Method given in the pattern instruction! Those are little designer details you get in a Vogue pattern. I was exultant until I Hong-Kong-finished one of the facings on the wrong edge and had to cut it off when I graded the seam allowance. Sigh.

Machine embroidering

I decided to use 2 embroidery designs that came with my machine, a hummingbird and a flower vine. I always check in the Sulky Secrets to Successful Embroidery book to see what sort of stabilizers, size needles, etc. the authors recommend. They usually have a great write-up with pictures and explanations that I can use. However, I happened to put some sticky stabilizer in the hoop backwards, and forgot to score it and remove it. That turned out to be BAD news for the first motif. I ended up changing needles about 4 times, and the thread broke about 20 times.

Putting this fabric in the hoop was all right to do. You’d think it would get hoop burn, but no. The microsuede is very iron-able. Any wrinkles, etc., iron right out. Yay! But embroidering on top of multiple darts or seams is not recommended: skipped stitches, etc.

the garment is about 5 inches smaller than my mannequin

Hong Kong finished inner facings

view from hanger with scarf

If I knew someone who had a waistline measurement of 25″ or less, I might ask if the person wanted this, with or without the buttons I bought to put on.

Overall, it was a worthwhile project! Had I not purchased this pattern on sale at JoAnn’s for $3.99, the retail cost would have been $27.50. The microsuede would have been $21.99 per yard, but as you know, it was a remnant and therefore was half price. So including the fabric, fusible interfacing, thread, etc., I probably spent about $25 making this vest. As for the experience, worth it to me!  I like this quote by Kenneth D. King from the Threads web site:

“When learning the craft of sewing (which I believe is absolutely necessary in order to know what’s possible when designing), you should expect to destroy several acres of fabric before you get good. This is an acquired skill which can only be perfected by means of repetition—practicing over and over, learning from mistakes, learning when you can save something, and when you need to cut your losses and start over. If you are afraid to make a mistake, afraid to ruin some fabric, or afraid to waste some time, you won’t ever get really good at this craft. It’s the dues you pay for becoming proficient.

However, if you are willing to charge forward, cut into that fabric, try something different, and risk making a mistake, there will come one day when you realize that you’re sewing without that knot of worry in the pit of your stomach, and the process effortlessly glides along.”

view from the ironing board

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