Tag Archives: sewing

Still Sewing, Still Learning

I’ve made a little more progress on my #2017makenine line up, beginning to tackle McCalls M7473 view D, the line drawing included in the image below.

01-10-17 #2017makenine

“Once you stop learning, you start dying.”    -Albert Einstein

The good news is, I’m alive and well. Unfortunately, I’m sharing another failure / learning experience. It was so disappointing because I sewed a muslin, made fit changes, altered the pattern and thought everything was good to go. Then I cut my fabric and mostly constructed the entire thing before slipping it on. Great fit! Pattern matching, not too shabby! Left side, love! Right side, hmmm??

 

It took a while staring at it in the mirror and thinking about the process to come to the conclusion that the underside, when cutting the front and back pieces on folds, must have slipped and come up shorter. I’m not sure how I want to go about salvaging the fabric yet but I see no way to fix this particular garment.

I really like the pattern and feel good knowing the issues weren’t due to the modifications I made to it, which were to lower the neckline, drop the notch on the side seam to create coverage down to hip level and extend the sides of the front panel to more closely match the shape of the back. The original pattern is only sewed to below bust level and I’m not about showing off that much skin at this stage of life or requiring the right under layer in order to wear it.

What really bums me out is after my failed initial attempt at the Anna dress using a similar type of fabric, I thought I’d done my homework and was more prepared to work with such shifty material. I didn’t pre-wash it and took great care to line up the pattern and keep the grain straight but just didn’t anticipate the underside slipping so much, even when pinned.

I’ve since read advice to use a felt board or flannel backed tablecloth to keep the fabric in place so I will try that next time as well as tracing off a full pattern piece rather than cutting on a fold. I’m feeling hopeful about the next version, but need to figure out what to do about fabric as I’ve used this piece down to scraps. So much to learn. So little time.

 

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Cut & Paste

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I have to believe that anyone into personal style who also loves to sew has the box of clothing items they just can’t seem to part with because you know you could [fill in the blank] and it would be perfect! My issue with said box is it basically turns into a black hole where ideas go to die and clothes never see the light of day. For this reason, I decided to put ALL my clothing into my closet and move things I’d worn to one end as I went. After a couple months, I reviewed my wardrobe board and did a (dare I say) final sort of items into 3 categories:

  • love = hang back in the closet
  • meh = donate/sell
  • love but don’t wear because xyz = project box

Keeping the love but don’t wear items in my closet was only complicating getting dressed, obviously, so I decided to snap a quick picture of each piece before returning them to the black hole. Next I used Photoshop Elements to create 8 1/2 x 11″ layouts, printed and cut them out to glue into my wardrobe/sewing journal.

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Now I can flip through my journal when I’m feeling the urge to shop and prioritize a project. Drawing in some grids gives me a clean space for jotting down notes for each. Many need mending, fit alterations, dyeing, or restyling, and others I’d like to knock off the pattern or sew/purchase a new item to go with it. I do realize I could have completed some mending in the time I used to play cut and paste, but there’s 33 projects so in the long run I feel it’s worth the couple hours to keep them all on my radar and moving forward.

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I made it look so fun, my kiddo immediately asked for some clothes for his own project and we spent the best Saturday morning creating together!

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I’m so grateful for the online sewing and personal style community. Though I’ve been doing things like this for as long as I can remember, I now know I’m not a total weirdo and others out there share my obsession interests!

Next on the agenda is some actual time at the sewing machine. I still have #2017makenine to finish and one of those projects has been cut and on my table for longer than I’d care to admit…

Me Made May 2017: Wrap Up

04-29-17 MMM

Me Made May 2017 is a wrap, so I thought I’d pop back in with an update. I challenged myself to wear each of my me-made items two different ways and complete 4 mending or upcycling projects during the month. I’ll go ahead and throw it out right now, I did not crush my goal, but I had fun with it and did what I could.

The Outfits

MMMay17 cat shirt

Outfit 1: Cat shirt, thrifted and upcycled | sweater, thrifted | Paige denim, new 2015 | Frye boots, new 2011

Outfit 2: Cat shirt | Wet Seal vest, thrifted | shibori skirt, thrifted and upcycled | Simple shoes, thrifted

MMMay17 moon shirt

Outfit 3: moon phase tank, upcycle from husbands closet | Patagonia pants, new 2017| Toms, new 2015

Outfit 4: moon phase tank | sweater, thrifted | jeans, thrifted | Toms, thrifted

MMMay17 green shirt

Outfit 5: green 70’s blouse | sweater, thrifted | jeans, thrifted | Palladium shoes, thrifted

Outfit 6: green 70’s blouse | necklace, new 2014 | Patagonia pants, new 2017 | Clarks shoes, new 2016

MMMay17 dress & skirt

Outfit 7: skirt, thrifted & refashioned | One Heart tank, thrifted | Simple shoes, thrifted

Outfit 8: denim dress | scarf, new 2010 | Simple shoes, thrifted

Pieces That Got No Love

MMMay17 unworn items

The May gray was partly to blame and when sunshine did peep through I reached for other favorites first. The kimono was never love so I’m not shocked there. The blue tank was a favorite in the summer but it’s very low cut and I could use a new layering piece to put under it so I couldn’t be bothered. Then there’s the crochet jacket which I’ve decided doesn’t get wear because of the color so I’m going to dye it gray to make it more versatile.

The two pieces which aren’t accounted for were me-made by my loose definition for this challenge and include a skirt and sweater which I thrifted, tailored and mended. The skirt was in the laundry most of the time, but it was too cold to even notice. The sweater got one wear but my cat needed an emergency visit to the vet, then a couple hours later my son suddenly had a fever of 105!! Anyway, no photo that day.

The Projects

I did two out of the four I aimed for. One was the shibori skirt and the other was a quick tailoring job on a pair of joggers I lived in two summers ago. They were too saggy in the hips and the fabric was shredding next to the rear seam so I removed the inseams and took them in, simultaneously solving both issues. I haven’t worn them yet, and as I type I’m recovering from a 24 hour migraine and can’t manage to photograph them, but I’m sure they’ll make an appearance here eventually.

In Conclusion

Life threw me some curve-balls and the weather was all over the map but the first two weeks were great. I got a feel for what type of items I’ll actually wear, figured out how to make a couple older items wearable and I’m looking forward to next year if this continues! Thanks Zoe!

Me Made May 2017

04-29-17 MMM

All 10 pieces in my “Me Made” wardrobe

I loved scrolling through the flood of Instagram photos and reading the thoughtful blog posts surrounding Me Made May last year and it’s inspired me to participate this year. If in it’s 8 years running, you’ve not heard of it, more details here.

I currently have 10 pieces (8 handmade / 2 thrifted and restyled) and I’m a SAHM making athleisure perfectly appropriate for my days of gardening, cooking, cleaning, toddler crafts and play. The day may come that I make my own yoga pants, but for now I prefer to focus my sewing on my personal style and support decent companies when shopping for those other pieces life requires. All things considered, my challenge will only include days I actually dress to leave the house for errands, meet ups, appointments or weekends out. Here’s what I arrived at:

I, Kaci of textileandstitch.com / @textileandstitch IG , sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May ’17. My goal is to wear each one of my 10 me-made / restyled pieces at least two different ways during the month. I also plan to add 4 pieces from my mend/restyle drawer back into my closet by months end…so 1 per week, hopefully?!

Looking forward to browsing #MMMay17 on Instagram and expanding my sewing community!

#2017MAKENINE: 3 Schnittchen Anna Dress

Here I am, a little later than expected, with my 3rd project for #2017makenine. Below is a quick recap of my plans and today I’m sharing the Schnittchen Anna, a simple A-Line dress with kimono sleeves and side slant pockets.

01-10-17 #2017makenine

Since this is my 3rd project, it makes sense that I’d sew it up 3 times, right?! Well, it wasn’t the plan, but that’s how it went down and I have ONE new dress to add to my closet after all that. I should add that the issues I had were 100% user error. The pattern is perfectly drafted. So, a brief rundown.

Round 1

02-20-17 Anna DressFor this version, I attempted to grade between sizes based on my measurements and quickly learned that reading blogs about other makers grading between sizes does not an expert make. Add an afternoon at a brewery before jumping in and I should have seen disaster on the horizon. Needless to say, my grading skills paired with fabric that was pretty shifty resulted in a dress with too many issues to correct. This will be cut apart to salvage what I can of the fabric.

Round 2

04-04-17 floral Anna dress

Don’t mind the un-showered selfie in my kiddo’s messy room

For this version, I re-traced the pattern using a straight size 38 based on my bust and hip measurements. My only modifications were to omit the patterns facings to finish with a back zip and bias facing instead and shorten the sleeves. This wasn’t a total failure, but the fabric feels a little too granny chic (luckily it was $2 at the thrift store), the pockets are too high due to my long torso and I’m not loving the A-line silhouette on me. Since the pockets and hem can be easily remedied, this will go in my fall/winter storage and may come back out to pair with tights, boots and sweaters later this year.

3rd Time’s a Charm!

04-18-17 blue Anna 2

LOVE at last! For this version, I went back to my traced size 38 pattern with the already shortened sleeves, dropped the pocket placement 3″ and took 3″ off each side of the hem, blending up to the new pocket notch. After these final adjustments, I was just able to squeeze the pieces out of 1 1/2 yards. I flat felled the side and shoulder seams, which resulted in the one bummer about this dress…no pockets. I found some instructions online for in seam pockets with flat felled seams, but I got mixed up and basically did the trimming and folding backwards. The only way I could see to salvage it, without risking the dress being too small, was to omit them.

04-18-17 blue Anna 4

It was an afterthought to drop the front neckline by 1/2″ to eliminate the closure, so on a future version I could cut both the front and back on folds to get rid of the center back seam. The plus side, when considering slow fashion, is I have the option to change the shape of the dress if I tire of the shift and want to fit it more in the future.

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I had considered keeping some of the edges unfinished so when I ran out of thread before hemming, I decided to give it a wash and wear to decide how I like the frayed end. It hasn’t been washed yet, so the jury is still out. I love how easy this dress is to wear! No special underwear required, not see through, interesting alone but easy to pair with any sweaters, jackets, shoes or accessories in my closet. Definitely a win. My only concern with the fabric is it smelled of chemicals even after washing and drying the yardage, so in terms of ethical clothing this probably doesn’t score high on the environmental front. I’ll definitely be more mindful fabric shopping from now on, but this color and style filled a huge gap in my wardrobe.

I followed along with Me Made May last year but wasn’t ready to play along yet, so I’m looking forward to finding a challenge that will work for me this year. Be back sooner than 2 months…I think 🙂

Slow Style: Reflecting on the 1st year

My birthday, September 16th, marked one year since making my slow style commitment and I wanted to take a moment to reflect back on how it went, what I learned and consider where to go from here.

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My current closet

Where I Started

I’ve had a draft sitting untouched forever about my starting point last year, so I’ll just go ahead and summarize here and delete that! Out of curiosity, I counted the total number of garments I owned at the time and how my wardrobe measured up in the categories Handmade, Thrifted, Ethical and Fast Fashion. I was happy to find that of about 120 total, over half was thrifted, one third was fast fashion and the rest was split between handmade and ethical. Of course, I donated literally hundreds of garments after becoming a mom and quitting my job 2 years ago, but these numbers showed that once I started over with focus and a conscience that I was really walking my talk. It’s also worth noting that, with few exceptions, all of the fast fashion has been in my closet for 3+ years.

What I Bought

 

Now this was actually quite startling to me…I STILL bought 27 pieces of clothing throughout the year! That’s equivalent to one every two weeks and I felt like I’d completely quit shopping. Goes to show how bad I was before :/ I can at least say that 21 were second hand from thrift stores and the other 6 were from companies I felt good about. Not pictured is a sequin skirt I bought off ETSY for a Vegas trip and future occasions, the top was handmade in Guatemala and purchased from a vendor in Santa Fe, the pants are from Patagonia and the cami’s are from PACT.

What I Made

 

Although I started this back in September of 2015, I didn’t actually start sewing until April of this year. So in 6 months I made 6 garments, a pace I’m totally satisfied with. It’s given me the chance to see what I reach for every day and plan projects accordingly. I’d love to sew all day every day but then my closet would probably be the same mess it was before!

What I Learned

I learned that I LOVE the clothes I make for myself, even when they’re imperfect, and that one handmade item can easily replace a handful of ready to wear items because I’m happy to wear the same things over and OVER again. Unfortunately, I learned this the second half of the year once I started sewing and had already thrifted a bunch of clothes that I’ll never wear now…but at least they weren’t brand new. Some of the items I thrifted are my favorites as well, so not all was lost. The unworn stuff has been piled on my sewing table to make quick notes about what I don’t like. I think that, along with a good look at the favorites will keep my sewing focused on true wardrobe builders.

 

What’s Next?

SS Year 2 Mood Board

What started as a goal to change my shopping habits and improve my technical skills ended up being a true shift in my mindset and lifestyle. In the second year of my Slow Style series, I hope to continue with about one garment per month using mostly materials I already have in my stash. I’ve been interested in slow stitch and natural dyes for quite some time and I think that’s where I’m finally heading now. Blurring the lines between my art and my wardrobe more and more. This moodboard is hanging in my sewing area to gently guide upcoming projects. I no longer need rules about where to shop, it’s second nature. This year is simply about making. Experimenting. Creating mindfully.

 

The Moon Made Me Do It

 

For my latest project, I began with two organic cotton American Apparel T-shirts that my husband no longer wore after updating his business name and logo. I’d saved them with plans to dye them, but decided I liked the color for now. It’s similar to an old favorite J. Crew top that lost it’s life the same day as my toddlers first ER visit last spring, but that’s a different story…(the final images are true to color, it’s more mauve)

09-12-16 original tee

THE INSPIRATION

The idea of thread sketching my own image and text onto a tee has been marinating for a while but when I saw a T-shirt with a large moon printed on the front, the idea of using all the phases in a row along with a related quote came to me and I was off and running. Here are a couple images I gathered for this project. When I saw the quote “The moon made me do it” I knew that was the one, so funny…so true, haha!

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THE PROCESS

I used the same pattern as my last two racerback tanks which was hand drafted based upon a shirt in my closet. Using raw edge applique and the scraps left from cutting out the tank, I patched over the front and back logos as well as a few bleach spots. I used french seams at the shoulders and side seams, then 1/2″ binding to finish the edges. Pretty easy, especially since this is my third version. I don’t have a pattern for the binding but based upon the success of my first and epic fail on my second, I was able to compare the stretch of this fabric to the other two and make an accurate guess. I think it came out perfect, although it was a bit stretched at the front neck by the time I took photos. #nursingmomproblems

09-12-16 tank back

To create the image on the front and the quote on the back, I used water soluble interfacing, freezer paper, a circle stencil and free motion sewing. For the quote patch on the back, I also used a piece of heavy weight stabilizer to keep the fabric sturdy enough for all the stitching. It was trimmed down to size after the letters were stitched. Once the shirt was complete, I threw it in the wash to remove the remaining interfacing. I snapped a few step by step photos as I worked:

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I tweaked my pattern a little to bring the armholes up to hide my bra, which is great because my other two require cute bralettes that will intentionally peek out a bit and that’s not always practical. I’ve worn it a few times already and love it, but I’m still considering going back with darker thread to accentuate the moon images more. Maybe with hand stitches like my 3rd inspiration image.

09-16-16 moon shirt front09-16-16 moon shirt back

This was a really exciting project for me because it was the first time I combined my art techniques with garment sewing to create a truly functional piece of wearable art. The cherry on top was accomplishing that with recycled fabrics that may have otherwise ended up as rags. I’m excited to delve deeper into this marriage between disciplines as I continue to create my handmade wardrobe. I know this piece is just the beginning!