Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Butterick shopping bag complete!

I just finished my Butterick 5635 shopping bag for a friend, and I like how it came out!  If you remember my last post, I was sewing this for a special friend I met through a ladies bible study.  In that post I also thought this would be an easy sew, except for the binding, and BOY WAS I RIGHT!!

I think most people will do well with binding, but me and binding just don't seem to get along!  I've tried many different methods, but it seems like nothing works.  I finally figured out on this project that I was sewing my stitching in the center of the binding as opposed to within 1/8 inch of the narrow edge.  That made all the difference in the world, and eliminated a lot of my frustration thereafter!!

Anyhow, here is a quick reminder of the pattern and fabric choice:

And the finished result:

This is Bag B in a quilting cotton, and it is BIG (24" W by 15" L)!  I do love the size of it, though, because I am sure it will be able to hold many items (though not anything super heavy because it is not interfaced).  There were only three pattern pieces for either Bag A or Bag B, so it is relatively simple to sew.

I will make a correction to something I stated in my last post, though.  This bag does not have a pocket on the inside.  The pocket for the bag is on the outside!  And it is not a true pocket, but a flap with a facing, to be used in folding the bag up into a tiny pouch!  How cool is that?!?

Of course I didn't use that feature so I can't comment on it for my project.  I really like having a pocket on the inside of a big bag, soooooo...I added my own!  I used the pattern piece included to square off the fabric and make my own pocket, then attached it to the inside of the bag.  It was simple enough to do, and I'm sure my friend will appreciate it.

I also liked the idea of the Velcro closure, so I inserted Velcro on the inside of the pocket, and on the bag so that my friend could slip any items she wanted to keep separate from the larger bag into a smaller area (gum, candy, coins, sunglasses, etc.)

I also decided to do something a little different on this pocket.  If you notice, you can see that I put my label on the pocket, as I usually do.  But, I also placed another "something" underneath my label.

I decided to place a scripture from the Holy Bible on the pocket because my friend who is receiving this shopping bag is such an inspiration to me.  She is a lovely stay-at-home mom of two with such a kind, encouraging spirit.  She has helped me to grow in my relationship with God, and has spoken many an uplifting word to me during the times I have known her.  The word special does not begin to explain her, but this scripture gets very close to describing the beauty of being in her presence.  

It is my hope that as she carries this bag to the store with her when she shops in Texas, she will glance inside, smile, and know she is loved! 

 Whoever says that it is more blessed to give than it is to receive is right!  Ever since I finished this bag, I have been excited about giving it away!!  In fact, if you love to sew, sewing a gift for someone else is a special privilege that not everyone can do.  You don't have to be the most advanced seamstress, or have perfect technique.  You just have to be willing to do something nice for someone else.  Believe me, it will be greatly appreciated!

I plan on giving this gift with a card, and finding some goodies to put inside also!  All in all, this was a great sew.  I would recommend this pattern, just be aware of the sizing of the bag.  If you don't care for big bags, then you will want to sew Bag A.  Here is a photo of me holding it:

That's all for now.  As you know, I am trying to squeak in one more project for March, and I can tell you right now that it is my daughter's Easter dress.  I know it's a tall order to finish by Saturday (4 days), but I am committed to getting started and seeing where things go.  I'll keep you posted on my progress!

Stay sew-filled!!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Coming up...

Hello all!

I am glad to be back to introduce what I am up to next.  I have set some lofty goals for getting sewing projects done in March, and by the grace of God, I have been able to finish a lot of them!  But hang on, cause I still have two more to go for this month--one of which I am writing about today:

Last week I went to my favorite fabric store (Joann's) in order to begin my preparations for the project I would sew after I finished my son's trousers (see here).  You see, I started out thinking I would sew a nice bag for a wonderful friend of mine that I met in ladies' bible study.  She will be moving to Texas sometime this summer, and I wanted to sew something special for her to take with her that could be a reminder of how greatly she is loved and appreciated.  I started out with an OOP Butterick pattern because I already owned it, but I quickly changed my mind when I could not figure out a pleasing way to arrange my fabric choices.

So I looked and looked, and found a perfect shopping bag that looks easy enough to sew.  It is Butterick's See and Sew 5635.

I will be sewing Bag B because it is a little bit bigger, and we all know that ladies require more room in our bags when we are shopping, right?  I also love the fact that this bag has an inside pocket with Velcro closure, for storing whatever little items you want to keep separated from the main bag area.

For the fabric, I am using a 100% cotton print that I have had in my stash for a while (I won it in a giveaway some time ago).  I kept thinking I would use it for something because it is so beautifully loud, but couldn't come up with anything.  I think I am finding that the more items I sew for myself, I would rather not use quilting cottons or the like because they never look right on me.  But for this bag, this fabric is a perfect choice.  It even has orange running through it, which is a color that my friend often wears.  I am "assuming" this bag will be a great complement for her.

Overall, I am not too nervous about putting this one together, except for sewing on the binding.  Since I am sewing to give, I want to make sure the end result is nice.  And considering my past experiences with binding application, this will be another area to brush up on.

So I hope to see you soon with a finished shopping bag and review.  And I also hope that your sewing projects are coming along now that we are officially into spring!

Stay sew-filled!


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Burda boys trousers finished


I am FINALLY done with the Burda boys trouser!

This is the most time I have ever spent working on a garment, and I am done.  I am ready to to reveal these trousers, give my review, and move on to my next project.

This post may be a little on the long side because I am going to break down this project from the very beginning, so bear with me (or just skip ahead and look at the pics, whichever you like).

Here is the finished product:



Preparation-This was my first time sewing a Burda magazine pattern and I found tracing the pattern pieces from the pattern sheet very difficult.  Mostly because every line was the same color, and it was a little confusing.  I think I was used to Ottobre magazine, and the way they color-code their lines in order to make tracing easier.

Sizing-I sewed a size 110 for my son, using a black cotton twill fabric purchased from fabric.com.  Out of four circles, this pattern was rated two circles, or "Easy to sew, but more time-consuming."  Ha!  I would definitely agree to that!!  I found these pants easy to sew, it was the new techniques I learned that gave me some trouble.  The only adjustment I made was to add my usual 2 inches to the length of the pants because my son is so tall.  The rest of this pattern was sewn as instructed.

Techniques that were difficult-I definitely had some snags along the way.  My first lesson I learned is that I am not as thorough with my pattern markings as I should be.  This tends to bite me in the butt because I end up having to dig out the original pattern again and figure out what I did wrong.  Well, after I figured out I had missed some markings, I corrected that issue only to get stuck on these techniques:

Fly front/zipper slit
I have inserted a zipper before, but I never had to do a zipper slit.  This is the piece of fabric that sits behind the zipper so that the zipper doesn't get caught on your skin.  I can say that the Burda instructions were not at all helpful here, since I had never sewed one before.  It just seemed like a bunch of confusing jargon I could not wrap my head around.  So...I remembered seeing some instructions in an Ottobre magazine for a fly front finishing with zipper slit.  I used those instructions (along with their visual diagram), and figured this part of the construction out easily after that.


Ok, I have also sewn a waistband before, but this one called for an underlap, which I could just not figure out.  I consulted this illustrated sewing manual in order to figure that out, and am glad I did because it was not at all what I guessed it would be!

Belt loops
Darn those belt loops!!  If you have ever had to sew narrow strips of fabric, trim them, and turn them right side out, you know what I'm talking about!!  I have a loop turner I bought a couple of years back that I've only used a few times.  It took me a while to get the hang of it, but I did.  Though it was not pretty.  I had to re-do the strip twice because I kept unraveling the edges of my fabric so badly, but I learned that the trick is to go slowly, and give the fabric time to turn on itself.  


I'm jumping ahead a little bit, but I decided to leave the rivets off.  I ordered them from Amazon.com, and they were so cute, but I have not figured out the best way to put them on without damaging them.  I used the tools in the package, but to no avail.  I even went to Joanns and bought a tool kit to apply jean's rivets, and that didn't work either.  All in all, I decided to give up while I was ahead.  Really, it is great to know when to move on!

This part was frustrating only because of an error in calculating that I made.  I created a buttonhole quite easily on my sewing machine (it's automatic) with a test strip of fabric, and even lined that buttonhole over the spot I wanted it to be on the pants.  It ended up being off by at least a half inch, and almost went off the side of the pants!!  I started to attempt removing it, but that was a huge fail.  Once you place a buttonhole, they are hard to remove, so I just decided to live with it (my husband didn't even notice the error).

Outcome-I like the way these pants look!  They are sleek, nice and comfy.  I only wish they fit my son a little better.  The waistband is a little too big for him, but that is easily fixed with a belt.  He wanted so badly to choose his own buttons, and he did.  As you can see, he chose a colorful yellow plane!  I kept telling him it would be a little harder to button, but he didn't care.  My little boy has always been fascinated with planes, automobiles, and trains, so I knew better than to dissuade him.


Overall, I would NOT recommend this pattern for beginners.  Even as an intermediate level sewer, I had some difficulty because I had to "teach myself" a lot of things before I could move on comfortably.  I'm sure if I had to sew this again, it would be much easier.  Also, take note that the legs of these trousers has a slim cut.  If you don't like that, you may not like these.  

Other than that, I am sooo excited about finishing these, and all things considered, I still think they look great!  More than anything, I have (once again) learned a lot of things that I will take with me into my next projects.

Whew!!  What relief I feel right now!  My son will be wearing his pants to school Wednesday, he is so excited!  I think somewhere in the back of his mind, he thought I would never finish it either!!  Thank God I did!

My young prince
I'll be back soon with details from what I have lined up next.  It's a quick project with a special someone in mind..  

Stay sew-filled!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Ottobre Hipster panties finished

Hello everyone!

It's a new week, and I have another new project to show you!

I am currently immersed in potty-training my 2 1/2 year old daughter, and she is right on the verge of taking the leap from Pull-ups (disposable training pants) to "big girl" underwear.  So, in light of this fact, and the fact that I just made underwear for my son (see here), I made some undies for my little princess as well.

The style I chose is from the Ottobre Design magazine winter issue of 2010.  They are a pretty hipster panty for little girls.  I immediately knew I wanted to choose a bright, vibrant fabric for spring, and to have a little fun.  This fabric is another one from my stash.  Only this time it is a cotton knit that I have tried to use over and over with little success until now.  I guess I am not too great at matching up stripes, so I could never be happy with the project I used this for; however, these panties turned out wonderfully!!

I didn't concern myself with matching stripes too much, I was only careful to cut my pattern pieces the same way, and they turned out just fine.  The waistband is a pretty punchy red, and I like the contrast of the red with the orange and yellow pastel colors.  When finished I noted how plain the panties looked even though they were pretty, so I added the flower accent for a pop of "girlness."

I also learned something new with this project that will undoubtedly help me in further projects.  As you can see above, the panties I made have the leg holes turned up and stitched.  Once again I used my stretch stitch on my sewing machine, but it was a real booger to maneuver correctly.  After my first pair of panties was finished, I looked at the model picture of the hipster panties and noted that they used the serger in order to get a cleaner finish.  What!!  I was on that immediately.  I just had to figure out how to use my serger to get the same effect.

It didn't take me long to figure out how to "detach the knife" so that the serger would stitch, but not cut my fabric.  I'm not kidding when I say it was a simple sliding of a lever while my needle was down!!!!  So here is what I came up with when I sewed a second pair of panties:

Voila!!  And it is SO pretty, and SO easy!  I did alter the steps of construction a little bit by stitching the leg holes before stitching the side seams together.  This made constructing these a snap, and I was done before I knew it.

Overall, I still really enjoy sewing Ottobre magazine patterns.  I have found them to yield excellent results aesthetically, with the proper fit for my children.  Of course there are some more advanced patterns that I know I will need more information and resources to sew, but I have been thoroughly pleased with the simpler patterns I have tried.  If you are interested in Ottobre patterns, don't hesitate to go for it!  I even find it much simpler to trace their patterns than when I had to trace the trousers I sewed from Burda magazine.

Here is a look at all three pair of underwear I finished for my little one:

And I couldn't leave you without showing you the smile on my sweetheart's face, as she is holding her new underwear:

She's been carrying these around like they are a new toy.  Hopefully, they will be a great incentive to being successfully potty-trained!  And, in case you missed the boxer briefs I sewed for my son, here they are.

Up next, I am back at it with the Burda trousers!  There's just no good reason to leave them unfinished for another month, so here I go again.

I wish you all many blessings in the week to come!

Stay sew-filled!  

Friday, March 9, 2012

Boxer briefs for little boys

Hello everyone!

I am back with a finished project!  I know, I know, you probably didn't expect me to say that, but it is true!

In my last post I told you I would be sewing, and I was, only to come down with bronchitis.  So the beginning of the week I was mostly resting and trying to figure out how to handle two active children.  However, everything worked out, and I was still able to come up with a sewing project to get me going in the right direction again.

It all started a little over a week ago when I noticed my son was outgrowing his underwear.  He is 5 years old now, and takes after his tall daddy : ).  Well, seeing his "too small" underwear made me think back to a wonderful project I tried a little over a year ago...

Yes!  The Pikummies boxer-briefs I made from the Ottobre 06/2010 issue!

They were quick, easy, and fit my son amazingly well!

I dug out the magazine and re-traced the pattern for a size 110, and ended up with these:

The fabric is from some leftover cotton knit I had when I made an outfit for my friend's baby.  I had it sitting in my sewing room,and while cleaning out my space, I discovered it, and knew it would be perfect for underwear!  

I didn't have many issues sewing it together.  My only tip for sewing these boxer briefs is to note that the pattern pieces don't have a precise "fit" like most patterns.  You have to maneuver them a bit, but I'm sure that's because of the way it fits the body.  And it fits my son like a glove!  

There is another special part to these underwear:

Do you see it?  I included my "Sweet Ness" clothing label on the back of the boxers!  Here's a closer look...

I sewed the label down with brown thread because I was too lazy to change it to white, but I still think it looks okay.  For the rest of the topstitching I used the stretch stitch on my sewing machine because I didn't have a twin needle available.  It worked just fine, and I would use it again.

So...I bet you're thinking it doesn't make sense to only sew one pair of underwear when my son clearly needs more than one.  Well, you are right!  That's why I sewed a total of three!

It's a start, anyhow!  My son is pretty excited about his new undies, and plans on wearing them for the first time when he goes to bed this evening.

And I have enjoyed getting my sewing groove back!  Up next, I plan on sewing some underwear for my little princess from the same Ottobre 06/2010 collection.  They will be in happy bright colors, so stay tuned for those!  I pray everyone is having a super week, and enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Stay sew-filled!

Friday, March 2, 2012

New Look Spring 2012 patterns

That's right!  March is here, and I am ready!!

The weather here has been getting warmer and warmer, and I must tell you that it truly feels like we just skipped over winter altogether!  Yeah, we've had some rainy, cooler days, but nothing that resembled cold weather.  So God seemed to give us early spring weather when it should have been winter, and now it feels like we are headed into summer.

Who knows about the weather anymore, but I will tell you one thing--I am looking forward to making the most of this March (warm, cold, or whatever).  I have a few things I am working on, and I will be checking back with you soon, but I wanted you to know I am still sewing.

In the meantime, I thought I would talk about a couple of cute spring patterns:

If you are following the trends (or if you have done any shopping for clothes lately) you will see that everything is trending back to short again--namely shorter shorts and skirts.  As for me, I definitely won't be participating in this trend.  I prefer a jegging or skinny jean anyday to a pair of short shorts.  It's just not my style.  But this top is me!  I prefer View B, and I like the added fabric waist tie.  

I recently bought a shirt with a fabric waist tie and it is one of my favorites to wear, so I would like to experiment with this style more.

Now, believe it or not, I (at one time) owned a dress exactly like this about 11 years ago!  It had horizontal stripes in blue and pink, and it was adorable.  Now, mind you, it was also a little too tight, but I loved the way it hugged my curves.  So when I saw this, I immediately thought "I would love to own a dress like that again."  Of course this time I plan on making it with a more relaxed fit that I had back then (to my hubby's approval, I am sure).

And here is a top that is a little more sassy!  It has an interesting shape for sure, and I like the asymmetrical hemline.  I would definitely have to see this sewn by someone else, though, before I jumped on the bandwagon.  Have you ever done that?  Saw a pattern you liked, but waited patiently to see if/when someone else would sew it so you could see if it was you?  Or maybe you stalked Patternreview to see if a review was ever written for a pattern you thought was cute?  I have done it because I usually don't take risks unless I really love something.  Hey, sometimes you don't know you love something until you see what someone else does with it, right?

NL 6107 is one that I could probably pass over, except for the blouse in View A.  Love it!  I like the slightly ballooned sleeves with the ruffle tie in the middle.  And as far as the skirt goes, it is simple and classic, with a good yoke.  

This dress is oh so adorable (the little girl is too)!  This may be something I could look at sewing later on for my princess.  And when I say princess, that is what she really is!!  Growing up, I never was a "girly-girl."  I was mostly a tomboy, and wanted to play rough and play hard.  How did this tomboy have a princess?  My little one takes pride in choosing her outfits for the day, and even has requests for styles when I do her hair.  I'm only glad that she hasn't really gotten into wearing a bunch of cute shoes (one or two choices suffice for now), but I feel like she eventually will.  So I say all of that to say, I love this dress, and I know my princess will too!

This last pick is also too cute for words!  The ruffle going down the front of the dress with the attached bow is darling!

Well, those are my picks for New Look's spring collection.  Though I really like these, I am doing my best to not get distracted, and to sew patterns I already have.  If you want to see more, click here.

Stay sew-filled!