Sunday, January 25, 2009

My First BWOF!


I'm happy and a little disappointed at the same time. I've seen several rave reviews of BWOF 10-2005-114 and I love cowl neck sweaters. I was lucky enough to find the back issue on eBay. I traced a size 38 and made only one alteration-adding 1" to the waist (I'm long waisted). I tried it on before setting the sleeves and it looked great. However, after setting the sleeves, I'm not overly thrilled with how it fits under the arm. It seems to pull out and down away from my armpit. You can kind of see it in the photo below.

I feel I'm a rather experienced sewist, but I have very little experience when it comes to knowing how to correct fit issues. Cidell's review on PR mentioned that the sleeve cap was too high. Perhaps I need to lower the sleeve cap...or raise the bottom of the armscye? I also think I would like this a little tighter...maybe I should try a size 36?

In any case, I am going to try this pattern again with some type of alteration. This was a very thin sweater knit and I should have doubled the collar. I'll also play around with the armscye to see if I can get it right. I've made Kwik Sew 2856 (below) which is similar but with raglan sleeves--I really like the set in sleeves, so I hope I an work out the sleeve issues.

Oh yeah, the skirt that goes with the BWOF cowl neck is TNT 6 gore skirt pattern than I haven't made in about 12 years--I think it's OOP by now--Simplicity 9363:
I made the skirt out of a very stretchy knit. Here's a better shot of the whole outfit. I got these two fabrics along with a Jalie pattern I purchased on eBay--it was the Jalie pattern I wanted--the fabrics were a bonus!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

My Sewing Back Story


Several weeks ago, Lindsay T asked about sewing back stories. Here's mine (I'm borrowing Dana's format):

My Pre-Sewing Days:
I'm the youngest of 5 children and grew up in a farm family. We weren't poor by any means, but we weren't overly wealthy either. My Mom sewed because it was economical. I remember many of my outfits in vivid detail. A navy blue top and pants with a red apple pocket. A pink pants suit with a striped blouse. They were adorable, coordinated outfits made primarily from polyester double knit. The pants pattern was made from newspaper and Mom joked that I never got any bigger around...she just kept making them longer.

Grade School:
I don't remember being taught to sew, but I know I learned from my Mom--probably by watching. I was probably in third grade when I began making
Barbie clothes--lots of them. I was only allowed to use my Mom's old Singer 301
and turn the wheel by hand--not use the knee control. That machine could fly, and I'm sure I would have sewn over my finger! Somewhere in this time period, I also learned how to knit, crochet, and embroider.

Jr. High/High School: I don't think I actually sewed anything for myself until my first Home Ec class in 7th grade. Everyone had to make an apron. I already knew how to sew and how to read a pattern sheet, so the apron was no problem. I added a hand-embroidered butterfly to the pocket of my apron. I still have the apron--somewhere here in one of the boxes. (We're waiting for our new home construction to be completed, and most of our stuff is packed away.) Through High School, I made some of my own clothes--mostly summer shorts, skirts, and blouses. I guess my sewing skills were pretty good because by the time I was a Senior, the Home Ec teacher asked me to do some sewing for her. And my friends would get me to help with their projects when the teacher wasn't looking---I inserted zippers and made buttonholes. I did some sewing for a boyfriend's mother and sister.

College: During my college years I made a few items--I mostly remember slim skirts, stirrup pants, and big shirts. One item wowed lots of people: I pink wool coat. My Mom showed me how to bag the lining. I lived at home and commuted to college every day, so I had ready access to my Mom's sewing room. When I moved away from home for an internship, she bought me a Singer sewing machine and loaned me her Singer serger. She bought me my own Singer serger after I graduated from college.

Early Career: Milwaukee was about 3 hours from home. Women were allowed to wear pants at my first place of employment! I bought suits and sewed the simpler pieces of my wardrobe--skirts and blouses--it was economical. Somewhere in here, volleyball, softball, and partying took up most of my free time, and I spent less time on sewing.

Sewing Revival: My first child, a daughter, was born in 2001, and I was thrilled to have a daughter to sew for! In 2002, I got my Bernina serger/coverstitch machine. In 2003, I discovered PR. I also got my Bernina 200E in 2003, and that's when my sewing life really changed. Thanks to the many feet available, sewing became incredibly easy. I rarely attempted invisible zippers or piping with my old machine--now they're a piece of cake! I began making lots of things for my daughter, but little or nothing for myself. As we all know, our bodies change with kids. I used to be able to make a size 10 from any of the Big 4 and it fit with few alterations. Not so anymore, and sewing for myself was very frustrating.

In 2005, I picked up an issue of Sew Beautiful and saw some amazing smocked dresses for little girls. "I need to add smocking to my repertoire", I thought. Before I even smocked a single stitch, I bought a pleater and subscribed to Australian Smocking and Embroidery. Here's the first thing I smocked:

For years, I had gone to our State Fair and analyzed the ribbon winners in the textile competition. "I could do that!" is what I always thought, but in order to enter the Fair competition, you have to be somewhat organized. Entry forms are due well in advance of the judging and Fair. In 2006, I finally got organized and entered 8 items in the children's clothing competition. I received 4 blue ribbons, three reds, and one pink. In 2007, I entered 6 items in the children's categories and took home 6 blue ribbons. In 2008, I finally took a stab at sewing for myself again and entered some items in the adult categories. Out of 11 items, I received 8 blue ribbons, two reds, and one white. Yeah, I'm just a little competitive!

2008 was also the year I discovered the world of sewing blogs. There are other people out there who love to sew as much as I do....and the internet brings us all together. So here I am....inspired by so many of the great sewists and bloggers, I have decided to create my own blog. I hope you will enjoy what I have to share!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Monkey Off My Back


Finally! I've finished up the last obligation of the holiday season--the holiday letter/photo. I have about 80+ to send to family and friends, and the last batch will go out in the mail tomorrow. Look for some sewing projects to be posted in the very near future!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

I'm blogging!


2009 New Year's Resolution #1: Start blogging