Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Pantified Tees

I started off sewing clothes last year by taking old clothes and reconstructing it into something new. While I love taking a piece of fabric from the bolt and transforming it into something, there's a certain pride and charm that comes from making something unwanted into a useful article of clothing.

All three of these panties were made from old t-shirts, the black one from a top I had kicking around and the other two from the thrift store down the street. I started cutting out the red Canada panties a few months ago, but only recently put them together. In fact, I cut them out during the Winter Olympics, which was appropriate since it was an old Team Canada Olympic shirt from 2004!

This is such a simple project with such delightful return. I mean, yeah, you can't go showing it off to everyone like you would a new top or dress (unless you're like me and share it with the entire internet through your blog!), but it's a secret pleasure to know that you are wearing underwear you sewed yourself. When I told a friend about it, she couldn't believe that I could make my own underwear. But it's so easy! And since they're made from old t-shirts, you can find all sorts of fun designs to put on them, like the "Canada" across the bum of the red pair and the lacrosse player on the blue.

All I did was take apart an old pair of panties that I loved the shape of, traced half of each piece onto paper, and cut it out. Then it was simply a matter of laying out these pieces on the fold of a t-shirt, cut it out, and reconstruct the panty.

I considered doing a tutorial, but there's so many out there (this last one is the best, I think), including one by Zoe over at So Zo..., who first inspired me to try these out. In fact, she just made another post showing off a few more pairs and hinting that she might be willing to make a panty pattern to upload over at Burda Style.

This is such a fun project, I totally encourage others to try it out. It's easy and quick - the blue pair took me just over an hour to make, from cutting out to clipping the final threads, and it only took that long because I got fancy with two colours of fabric.

Happy sewing, all!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Lazy Cardigan - Part le un

After working my tush off all day doing thesisy things, I declared SEWING TIME. So I spent some time cutting out the paper pattern pieces (say that three times fast) for the cardigan below (view B).

Unfortunately, the knit I plan to use is a crinkly mess, and it's too big a piece to iron easily, so now I must wait for the Lords on High (aka my landlords whose basement I rent) to finish up with the dryer so I can be lazy and try to smooth out the fabric in there.

I've been quite excited about this pattern, ever since I purchased it in the beginning of June, but for some reason, have been intimidated to start it. Perhaps it's because I know my light weight knit is going to be hell to work with. It's already giving me a headache. But it'll be a nice light topper, and I do love to layer, and the colour is absolutely perfect for my wardrobe collection, so I guess I'll just have to give'er and hope for the best. Wish me luck! Well, once I get off my tush and start working on it. :)

(Bugger blogger for a handbasket, why do my horizontal pictures keep uploading vertical?! ARGH!)

Friday, July 23, 2010

Tangential Tiki Dress

This invite arrived in my inbox a few weeks ago:
"So it has been incredably hot and humid lately, so I think we need to have a Tiki Party! We will be serving all Tiki themed drinks, and you're, of course, expected to dress appropriately."

It's a party yay! Actually, it was this past Wednesday, and was smashing good fun with smashing good people and definitely smashing good drinks. Mmm...Pina Colada. Which of course lead to a smashing good headache the next morning, but that's the price we pay, I guess.

When I read the "dress appropriately" part, I of course, as a budding seamstress, decided to make my own outfit. Especially since I had some perfect fabric lying around, ready to be made into something awesome.

(The picture is being silly and won't upload horizontally. Not sure why blogger is doing this.)

I have no idea what the fabric is. It's a little stiff and looks like cotton, but it doesn't wrinkle at all unless you iron it with lots of steam and heat. It's comfy and cool though, so it's perfect for a summer dress.

Unfortunately, I thought of this only a couple days before the party, but leaving things to the last minute is a specialty of mine and I was not daunted. I knew that I wanted an easy-to-wear dress that looks casual, so I opted to alter a pattern I had for a tank top, Simplicity 4127.

I've made this top before (version B), and found that the v-neck was too low cut and the skirt gathers made me look pregnant. To solve this, I just traced the bodice pattern piece and readjusted the neckline v so that it was at a shallower angle, raising it up about 1.5 inches.

I completely redrafted the skirt portion and made a muslin out of some old broadcloth I had kicking around, and adjusted it from there. I wanted the dress to still be loose enough through the hips and stomach so I still included extra fabric in the skirt. But instead of gathering the skirt and sewing it to the bodice, I opted to made 2 pleats on the front and 2 on the back.

I also made the shoulder straps thicker to hide bra straps underneath, and made them in some left over fabric from the trousers I was working on ages ago.

I think the funniest part of this whole process was that I finished hemming the skirt of the dress literally 5 minutes before I had to leave to catch my bus. Whoops! I would've preferred to do an invisible hem, but that's what you get when you leave things to the last minute!

I did run into a few problems with this dress, mostly because I was rushing it and not thinking steps through properly. Silly me didn't do a full-bust adjustment, so while the neckline is a much more modest version, it sort of pancakes my poor girls a bit. The pleats on the back also looked kind of weird and made the back really unflattering to my hips and butt. So I sewed down the pleats on the back so that they acted like darts. The bodice, while snug, is livable.

It's not perfect. The back is still kind of wonky on me, and I should probably put in proper darts. But I wont. It's a comfortable dress that I enjoy wearing, flaws and all, and I'm really going to love having it part of my wardrobe this stickily hot and disgusting summer.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

A sheety blouse or a blousy sheet?

I've unfortunately been busy with my thesis the last while, but I have managed to sew up a blouse this past week from NewLook 6407. It was supposed to be a muslin, but I love the fabric I used (an old top sheet I bought at the thrift store for a couple bucks), so I decided to do a wearable muslin.

I actually did very little alterations to the pattern, only shortened the waist by 1/2 inch. I read many reviews over at PR that said that this pattern was quite snug, so I figured I'd just give'er on the muslin and fix any problems in the next try. It's quite comfortable, even in the bust, and I don't think I'll change anything next time.

I found it mostly went together really well, although this was the first time I've ever done vertical darts, and there were 4 of them in this pattern.

The only time I really ran into trouble was with the collar. This was also a new technique for me, and I found the instructions really hard to follow on this one. I attached the collar once, and found I'd completely messed it up.

But I found a video online that helped a bit, and after ripping off the first attempt, re-cutting the collar, and thinking about it a bit, I figured it out.

It's not perfect, but I'm the only one who knows about the problem areas, and for once, I'm not tattling on myself. ;)

I decided to finish the inside seams a bit more than I normally take the time to do. They're also not perfect, and definitely not professional, but it's finished. I just folded in both sides of the seams, then top-stitched.

The only part I didn't finish was the armholes, and I'm not sure if I'm going to go back and fix it. I guess I could add a Hong Kong seam (which would've been an option for all of the other seams). Meh, we'll see.

I think my 3 favourite things about this shirt is the collar, the self-covered buttons, and the curved hemline. Overall, I'm super proud of how this turned out. It was relatively easy but challenging enough that I learned a few new techniques and worked my way through a few issues. My finishing was much better than other projects in the past, and I've gotten a well-fitted, flattering top out of the deal!

I'll be adding this top to my contest wardrobe, since it actually goes well with other pieces I've made. I think I'm even going to make one more, out of a pretty quilters cotton I found at Fabricland yesterday.

A little wild, I know, but I really love the fabric. Heh, I think I'm only going to have my Wardrobe Contest storyboard finalized once I actually finish sewing it all! :D

Cheers all!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Self-Drafted Pattern Failure

Bugger. It's a good thing I made a muslin. This top, while cute in theory, is just not suited for a girl with large boobs. Why does everyone want these things?! They just get in the way and prevent you from wearing adorable clothes! *pouts*

It's just as well. Turns out I don't have enough of the planned fabric to do this top anyways.

Back to the drawing board. Literally and figuratively.

On the plus side, I found this adorable top over at Mod Cloth! Wouldn't it look pretty in a light coral cotton?

ROM Textile Display

I was in Toronto last weekend, visiting a friend, and she and her husband took me to the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM). It was filled with the usual amazing stuff, some not so unusual stuff (baby dino skeletons in an egg!), and we absolutely geeked out over the rocks and minerals display. About 20 minutes before the place closed, we went up to see the textiles display. Sadly, the exhibit is in the middle of being reworked, so there was very little descriptions on anything. Didn't stop me from geeking out, though!

A beautiful outfit worn by the mother of the last Emperor of China. She apparently had all the fabrics handmade to her specifications. I loved the details along the side slits and the threads wrapped in gold and silver to make them shine.

There were some rather...hideous things on display...

And then there was this gem that I thought was hideous at first, until I got a closer look at it.

(Sorry about the pictures being out of focus)

I like the way they used the fabric, I love the structure of the bodice and especially the way the sleeves are made. The invisible zippers along the side seams and cuffs are a pretty neat touch, too.

This one, while made with absolutely hideous fabric, has an interesting bodice. I like the shoulder wings!

There were several period pieces, but I ran out of time before I could spend much time with them.

And of course, LOOK AT THE CUTE SHOES!

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