Saturday, March 27, 2010

Patricia Tunic #1

Finally, one garment done for the Pattern Review Mini-Wardrobe Challenge. Which means I'm behind schedule, but I'm probably delusional to think I have any chance of finishing four garments in a month. It's nice to have gotten something done, even if garments 4,3, and/or 2 don't happen on time.

That pink spot at the neck is a fake tag made from a random print from the scrap bin, because it's fun and bit silly, both of which are good things in my world:

Pattern is the "Patricia Tunic":

Thanks to Angie for bringing this one to my attention not long ago!

I made the same option as shown on the pattern cover, with long, contrast-faced, bell sleeves and contrast facing at the neck. I've been wanting to make a tunic for some time, and the princess seaming on the front of this pattern appealed to me, along with the design possibilities implied by the sleeve and neckline facings. Here's a line drawing I extracted from the PDF file:

As you can see, I took some liberties with the facing line. This pattern overal seems to be designed with ease of use for a beginning sewist in mind, hence the nothing-challenging neckline facing line. There are a number of "I made this!" photos online which encouraged me to go with this pattern, but I gotta say the facing looks too bib-like in many renditions. So I redrew it with some nice curves.

I like Jennifer's fabrics but my main purpose for making a tunic (any tunic) was to use the blouse-weight turquoise linen that's been in my stash for several years now. It was one of the first fabics I purchased when I decided to try sewing my own clothes, and I still hadn't done anything with it.

Funny how I didn't remember, until I was cutting the fabric out, that I've never sewn linen before. Fortunately, although tricky to cut perfectly (it's lightweight, and a bit wriggly to handle; a good candidate for rotary cutting, but I don't have a large enough matt for that), it is a dream to sew.

The contrast facings are a Kaffe Fassett print. You can't imagine (or maybe you can) how many fabrics I've pulled from the stash as I pondered, repeatedly, over many months, what would go best with this linen. I'd have gone with this one from the get-go, and saved myself a lot of pondering time, if I'd realized I had enough of it. I thought I had only the one scrap, which was plenty for the sleeve facings and back neck, but not the front. Serendipity came to the rescue: while I was looking for something else I came across a second largish scrap, just enough for the front facing! Yay!  (Erm, yes, my stash is a little untidy. I'll tidy it up one of these days months years.)

I called this post "Patricia Tunic #1" because I'm quite sure I'll make it again. I have some cotton lawn to use up, and more Kaffe Fassett prints.

But first I need to do some more sewing on this mini-challenge (it would be nice to get at least two garments done), and write up a review of this pattern, which is mostly good but man, have I got one HUGE (or very small) peeve to snipe about...

Thursday, March 25, 2010


They warned me. "It's addictive," they said, and "I can't seem to stop," but did I listen?

It's all American Idol's fault. And Biggest Loser. And our DVR. There's just sooo much TV to sit through on a Tuesday night, so I was poking around the sewing bloggiverse last week looking for some kind of hand-sewing project to work on while in couch-potato mode. Preferably one that would use up some if not most of the Kaffe Fassett prints in my overflowing "charms and strips" drawer. I didn't have anything specific in mind, other than no way was I ever going to make a cathedral window anything ever again. One pillow cover was enough of that for me, thank you.

So I poked around and came across a blog mention (and then another, and another) of English Paper Piecing, specifically hexagons, and specifically the "Grandmother's Flower Garden" layout, and it was exactly what I was looking for. I have fond memories of napping (decades ago, in another century, when I was a child) under a very traditional genuine-from-the-1930s GFG quilt actually made by my Great-Grandmother (surely, musthavebeen, 'cause no way did Grammy every sit down and hand sew a quilt!), which is still somewhere in my Mom's house, though now in tatters.

So I printed up some sheets of 3/4" hexies and cut them out and started turning scrap fabric into smaller scraps and basted away and then made some flowers. And a bunch of green hexies that will be leaves. The pic above is most of what I've produced since last weekend, when the obsession began. I don't know yet for sure what these will become, or whether I'll use that pink "Anemone" KF print as the background or not, but I'm very sure I'm officially hooked on making these little cuties during TV time. It's the perfect lap project, and I just can't seem to stop.

BTW: I'm also close to finishing my first garment for the Mini-Wardrobe challenge, so hope to have  a pic and post on that by the weekend.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Almost beginning

So the Pattern Review Mini-Wardrobe thing starts today, and I've finally accomplished enough from the non-sewing list to feel I've earned some project time. I'm poised to start cutting the white denim skirt. But I haven't begun.


Because it's almost 4pm, an hour when my body can move around fine if I don't expect too much from it (like a vigorous workout) but would rather be lounging on a deck chair, and when my brain has called a time-out. A little light reading might happen, but staring into space from said deck chair for a half hour or so is the more likely option.

If I go with the flow of my enthusiasm for starting a new sewing project right now, this minute, the chance that I'll make some utterly irredeemable and thoroughly avoidable mistake is around, oh, 96%.

I've learned from experience to STOP SEWING immediately as soon as I make two consecutive small errors, or one largish one. An even better idea is to not even attempt anything involving fabric and scissors at what my internal clock thinks is naptime.

Just typing up this confession of why I have not begun has used up what little remains of my brainpower. I could make this post more interesting with a hyperlink or two, or a photo of some kind, or a clever naptime image, but that's just too much work.

I'm going to go lounge now. Will return when something closer to progress has been made.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Mini-Wardrobe Storyboard #1

Sewing thoughts this week have centered around what I could make for the upcoming "mini-wardrobe" challenge over at Pattern Review. It requires sewing 4 coordinating garments (for 4 "looks") in a month, which might or might not happen, but I'm looking at this as motivation to get crackin' on using up some stash. Here's what I've got in mind so far:

For tops, at least one knit, maybe two. If I do the McCalls, I'll shorten it to tunic length, use the solid as contrast trim. The McCalls isn't designed for stretch knits, so I don't know if it will work, but I know how I can find out:

For bottoms, I'd love to make a pair of "summer-weight" pants from my teal chambray (which I'm more likely to wear in the winter here, when a chilly day is 72 degrees; given my sewing speed it's not too soon to start them now for wear in the fall). The Vogue skirt from white denim is the kind of thing I wear every day for errands-runs to the Post Office and health food store. The knit tops will go nicely with both:

That's today's plan. It's subject to change (hence "storyboard #1"). I also have a blouse-weight turquoise linen that would play nicely with this group, so I might make the McCall tunic, if I can cut the contrast neck band from what's left of the chambray.

I know I already said this, but hey, look: it's ALL from stash! (fabric, patterns, I even have thread/zippers, etc. on hand)

How awesome is that?