Category Archives: sewing

Just a simple red skirt

My skirt! I’m getting more and more confident about wearing my creations outside the house. <laugh> This is the skirt I wore to work today. It’s a simple straight skirt using the Simplicity 2906 pattern. As I mentioned previously, the wool’s rough, so I used some lining scraps to make a slip. The skirt came together quite nicely, and I could probably make the hemline a little neater next time.

I love the colour of this wool. It’s a rich, deep red with warm undertones, and it’s the same wool I used for my red jacket (Vogue 8343). So nice picking up things like that!

Making some wool skirts

A little too late for winter, I think, but I’ve gotten it into my head to make some pencil skirts from the dark red wool I used for a jacket, and the gray wool that I used for a jumper. I started with the red wool first. It wasn’t as pretty as the gray wool, so I knew I wouldn’t mind it so much if I botched the piece.

I used the Simplicity 2906 pattern for skirts (the second skirt pictured).

Instead of sewing darts, I eased the seams, and then used steam to shrink out the fullness. Result: excellent fit around the back, hooray!

I also sewed in an invisible zipper before doing the rest of the seams, or at least I tried to. Positioning the zipper correctly was an interesting topological exercise! The generic invisible zipper foot didn’t fit my sewing machine, so I sewed the zipper in by hand. It’s relatively inconspicuous, although not as hidden as properly applied zippers on ready-to-wear clothes.

The wool is a little itchy, but I can wear this with a slip. I may even line the other one. (Everything looks better lined anyway. ;)

I’m going to hang this skirt up so that I can hem it tomorrow, and I’ll keep an eye out for something I can make into a slip. Given the warmer weather (hooray!), I may postpone sewing the other wool skirt. If so… Hmm… What would be nice to do next? A full skirt in red/white gingham check? Maybe get started on those Vogue shirt patterns I picked up yesterday? Hmm…

Sewing: Red jacket, V8343

I’m working on a red jacket now. I’ve been meaning to pick up a red jacket, but I’d never found a dark red jacket with clean and simple lines… so now I’m making one. It helped that there was a sale on Vogue sewing patterns, and that I’d stumbled across this deep red wool while W- was picking up fabric for the dining room cushions.

In other news, sketching is so much easier in a vector drawing program where I can edit my mistakes. Thank you, Inkscape!

Sewing: Wool jumper, blazer

(blazer not pictured). This is the jumper I made following Simplicity 4097. I also made a blazer from the pattern. It was my first time working with wool, lining, interfacing, facing sections, and sleeves. My conclusions? Wool was pretty easy to work with, lining made everything look terrific (even if my seams didn’t quite match up), and sleeves were difficult. Mine still pucker a little. But it’s not bad at all, and I’ve worn it outside the house already. Whee!

Sometimes you just have to do it

Last Wednesday, I was definitely not a happily sewing kitty. I was halfway through the blazer I was sewing, and it felt wrong. The darts had bubbless. The sleeve I’d attached was crooked, and when I tried the blazer on, it looked boxy. I tried taking in the side seams, but I had no idea how to do it without making the fabric do weird things. It was frustrating. I was tempted to put that project on hold and switch to making either a cotton mock-up of the same pattern or an easier pattern.

After taking a day’s break from sewing, I revisited the project. I took my time in basting the pieces of cloth together, and then I sewed the sleeves on even though I wasn’t 100% confident yet. And you know what? It actually looks like a proper blazer now. It’s a loose fit and the darts are still somewhat puffy, but it looks somewhat like the illustration, and that makes me happy.

Note to self: next time I’m plagued by self-doubt, it might be worth following the plan all the way through and seeing what happens. =) Sometimes things end up much better than they looked like in the middle.

Learning sewing and French

Sewing is turning out to be surprisingly fun. I finished the wool jumper-dress (Simplicity 4097), learning how to work with wool and lining. It’s amazing how even my not-quite-matched-up work looks better with a little bit of lining. In a burst of confidence, I wore my jumper outside the house yesterday. It didn’t fall apart on me (hooray!), and it made me smile. And I didn’t need to unpick nearly as many seams this time around. I think I only ripped out one mistake.

I’ve started working on a matching blazer. It’ll be my first time working with interfacing (to stiffen the jacket front), reverse facing, and sleeves. I’m a little nervous about the sleeves, but I’m sure I’ll figure them out. I’m half-way through the process and the blazer is looking pretty neat.

W- and I passed by a fabric place earlier. He picked up some black-and-beige cloth for reupholstering the dining room chairs, and I picked up 2 3/4 yards of 60″ red wool. I think I’ll make another jumper with a different neckline. =)

I’m starting to really enjoy carefully measuring and cutting the fabric because I know that the attention I put into the early stages will pay off later on. The boxes we bought from Ikea yesterday have also greatly helped me organize my sewing corner. I was planning to get a sewing machine cover just to make sure Leia doesn’t get tempted by the thread, but the universal sewing machine cover looks clunky. I may just have to sew a sewing machine cozy. ;)

When I told Stephen Perelgut about my new hobby, he laughed and joked about my having too much free time. That’s not really true. I could always find plenty of things to do. I can be using this time to draw, write, cook, exercise, code, tidy up, fiddle with things, play with the cat, read…

I’m glad I added sewing to the mix, though. I enjoy creating things. Sewing is teaching me more about thinking in three dimensions with different colors and textures. Constructing my own clothes teaches me about the techniques used in the clothes I wear and the clothes other people wear, developing my eye. I’m getting better at accurately following instructions, deviating from the pattern where necessary. I think it does me good. In fact, it’s so enjoyable that I’ve started setting limits on how much time I spend sewing at any one sitting. (Leia also helps me keep track of time. Yay for cuddly cats!)

I’ve also been doing French lessons in the background. Of course, since I’m learning from Pimsleur language CDs (hooray library!), the example dialogue’s like this: “Bonjour, madamoiselle. Est-ce que vous voudrais bois quelque chose chez moi?” Aiyah. It was like that for Pimsleur Cantonese, too.

Still, learning is lots of fun. =)