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Pattern Testing the Laminaria Swimsuit

I'm a fan of Seamstress Erin's blog (here), and a long time ago I signed up with her to be a pattern tester. The call for testers for the Laminaria Swimsuit came at a time when I'd decided I needed to get out of my comfort zone, stretch myself, try new things, and maybe even do something scary. The timing wasn't convenient, I was busy, I had so many excuses... but I did it anyway.
I wouldn't have chosen to make a swimsuit on my own this summer. I've made swimwear before and it's not hard. In fact you can get really good results without a lot of effort, and the stretch factor makes fitting less of an issue. I really don't wear a swimsuit often though. We have a pool that is unused now that the kids are grown. We visit the beach about once a year but I don't usually get in the water.  I'm not much of a swimmer and I'm not comfortable wearing only a little piece of spandex in public so the two ready-to-wear swimsuits I own will probably last a…
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Breton Tee

Here's the "simple" project I've been looking forward to after my denim jacket adventure. This should have taken me an afternoon, but that's just not the way my life works.

First, the fabric. I'm a sucker for stripes. I have waaaaaay too many striped tees but they all seem to be wearing out at the same time so good excuse for a replacement, right? I wanted a Breton-like stripe, with wider white stripes and narrow black stripes. I found the perfect ecru/black St. James ponte at Mood, but I hesitated at the $18/yd price. So I left the tab open in my browser and decided to think on it for a day or two. I finally decided I had to have it, opened the page, and hit order. Only when I got my confirmation did I realize I'd looked at multiple colors and I accidentally ordered the ecru/navy. Which is fine, I wear too much black anyway, and the navy is so dark I might just wear it with black sometimes. The fabric is amazing: rayon/polyester/spandex ponte that feels…

Denim Jacket, Take 2

I love my white denim jacket and I've been wearing it a fair amount, but I wasn't 100% happy with the pattern or the fit It's actually too small across the hips and I can't fasten the bottom button. There are very few, if any, situations where I would button up the jacket, but it still bothers me. So despite having no need and very little desire for another denim jacket I plowed ahead with number 2.

I had some dark denim that I bought to make jeans but I hadn't gotten around to using it primarily because even after a few washes it still turns everything it touches, including the inside of my dryer, blue. (BTW, Mr. Clean Magic Eraser will remove blue stains from the inside of the dryer.) So first order of business, get rid of some of the dye!

I didn't want to do anything drastic, just remove the excess dye, so my first instinct was to use Rit Color Remover. I read the directions on the back of the box, filled my garage sink with hot water, got my chemical-resis…

Excuses, Excuses... and a Denim Jacket

Dear Blogger, it's been a long time. I've been busy, and I have a lot of really good reasons for ignoring my blog. Yes, really good reasons. First, my sewing room was a mess and I couldn't take photos until I cleaned it. Then I never really learned to use my new camera. Then my sewing room was too dark for photos. Yep, all my excuses revolve around photos. My goal sometime this year is to find and/or set up a spot in my house where it's convenient to take pictures. In the meantime, let me introduce my latest creation with the best photos I can get under the circumstances.
Here is my new denim jacket, tossed on my sewing room floor:
Four years ago I sewed the Islander Jacket Express. The pattern was drafted well, the instructions were thorough, and the Craftsy class was well worth the money. My jacket turned out well, but I never wear it. It isn't quite "me". The collar is too big, the edges are too round and the fit is too boxy. I decided to use the patt…

Vogue 9099, The Couture Blazer

I should really call this the Very Imperfect Semi-Couture Blazer. I was so excited when I bought this pattern. The last time I did any tailoring was in 1984 when I spent the summer working on my 4H project with MUCH help from my mom. I've been wanting a nice blazer for years, but I'm too picky about fit to buy one.
I wasn't intimidated by the pattern. I can sew at an advanced level when I want to and I'm not afraid to try anything. But OH the hand work involved! It wasn't hard, but SO time consuming. I think I watched at least 2 seasons of Gilmore Girls on Netflix while I made this blazer.
Before Christmas (and before the Gilmore Girls marathon) I made a muslin, which was a good thing because I totally slashed across the back to add shape and length, I recut the front with a small bust adjustment, and I tried out two different sizes of sleeves. (Turns out I'm a 14 in the shoulders, waist and hips, and a 10 in the arms. Who knew?) I also narrowed the shoulders,…

A-Frame Skirt

Well, it's been a while!  I've been sewing but not blogging. My quest for a great pair of jeans has caused me a lot of frustration but that's a topic for another post.

In the meantime, some new changes in my life mean I'll be needing a few more skirts. On Wednesday I saw the A-Frame Skirt pattern by Blueprints for Sewing on Pinterest. (Pinned by - thankyouverymuch!) I've recently decided to do my part in supporting indie pattern designers by buying their patterns so I quickly checked this one out. Not only does the pattern include the really cute pencil skirt that I can't wait to make, but there is also an a-line version for softer, drapier (drapey-er? is this even a word?) fabrics. I just happened to have a few yards of rayon challis sitting in my sewing room waiting to be turned into something... but I couldn't figure out what. Within 30 minutes of seeing that pin, I'd bought the pattern, printed the PDF, and was busy taping it together …

Sewing Jeans, the Second Pair

Second pair of wearable jeans, check!  These ones are my version of skinny jeans, which means close-fitting but not super tight.  They fit pretty much the way I want right out of the dryer, but after a few hours of wear they stretch out about 10% in width through the hips and thighs.  So, do I make my pattern smaller but risk not being able to get them on, do I live with the extra bagginess, or do I use a different fabric?  The next pair will have some spandex in them so I'll see how that works.  I still have a list of fitting changes to make to the pattern but I feel like each pair should keep getting better.  This has been really fun so far and I can't wait to have a whole new jeans wardrobe!