Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Living the Life of Leisure

I've been accomplishing much in my crafting life this week.  I promised myself to sew every day when I can, and boy those minutes here and there certainly add up!  I had a binge cutting session this past weekend, which means I have a bunch of leggings and tunic type tops waiting to be sewn together.  As I usually do, I grouped them by colour so I didn't have to "waste" time switching out the threads on both my sewing machine and my serger.

I finished a top from McCalls 6400 out of a lightweight knit fabric of undetermined fibres with a slight gold sheen, and two pairs of leggings, one from the same lightweight fabric, and the others out of brown lightweight ponte.

McCall's Misses' Tops 6400
McCalls 6400 Pattern Picture
The part that took the longest with the top was figuring out which way was up once I had cut it out and brought it down to my Sewing L'Atelier.  It is not a normal looking pattern piece, that's for sure!  I cut the size large because I wanted it to be more slouchy than my first version of this pattern.

Top is M6400, leggings are a frankenpattern of my own 
The results are stunning for such little effort.  I think all in all it took less than an hour from cutting to finishing the last hem.

M6400 Front View 
I've made this pattern twice before and am still wearing both previous versions.  The top is so comfortable, and shows a sexy hint of skin with the bare shoulder.

M6400 Side View 
The same pattern piece is used for both the front and back.  I decided to include the longer sleeve on the left for warmth, because it's the middle of winter here.  The hems are narrow 5/8" hem, at the neck, the sleeve edges and the bottom.

M6400 Back 
I will be making this again.  Next time, I may use self-binding at the neckline for a more finished upscale look.  I am also toying with the idea of using the sleeve addition for both sides to make long sleeves on both sides (for warmth!).

Monday, January 19, 2015

FO - Vogue 8840

As I mentioned in my last post, I'm suffering from a severe shortage of leisure and casual clothing.  With that in mind, I've decided to focus on these items for my wardrobe for the first few months of 2015.

I've been totally inspired by Nikki of  She's SO stylish, and I've been completely impressed by the way she uses one pattern for a variety of looks.  One of her favourite patterns is Vogue 8840.  This pattern is recommended for synthetic suede, charmeuse and men's suitings, which is a wide variety of fabric types, which I believe would make it a great pattern for a lot of variations.

V8840, Misses' Top And Pants

For my premiere version of this top, I envisioned an upscale sweatshirt out of black wool double-knit and faux leather.  I dove right in without making a muslin.

V8840 Front View out of Wool Doubleknit and Faux Leather
(photo lightened to show detail)
This is a loose fitting pattern, with bust darts, darts at the back shoulder, centre front and centre back seams, and dolman style sleeves which incorporates a seamed sleeve piece for View B.  The pattern includes a 3/4 length sleeve.  There is also a hook and eye closure at the centre back seam, which incorporates a slit type of opening at the centre back.  The neckline is finished with bias tape, which is stitched, turned and topstitched.

I cut version B in size 16.  My "normal" size for Vogue patterns is a 14, but I wanted a bit more of a slouchy look, so I decided to cut one size bigger.  I cut the front and back pieces as per the pattern from the black wool doubleknit.  The wool double knit is well aged from my stash, but could be originally purchased many years ago at  I cut the sleeves from the faux leather I had purchased from King Textiles in Toronto,  adding 9" to the length of the sleeve, and tapered it in a bit at the wrist.

This top is a very fast sew.  Despite it being the first time I've sewn it (and no muslin!), I've managed to almost complete it in a couple of hours (sewing for about half an hour or so each evening this week).

V8840 - Back View with Centre Back Seam and Slot Opening at Centre Back 

Instead hemming the top as per the pattern directions, I used the longer length to create a casing for 1-1/2" wide elastic, for a more true sweatshirt feel.  There is a hook and eye on the closure at the centre back (which I have to admit is a bit weird on a sweatshirt, but this IS an upscale sweatshirt after all!), and a centre back seam.  For the next version of a sweatshirt style top, I will certainly cut the neckline a little lower so I can pull it over my head without the centre back closure at the neck.

V8840 Side View showing faux leather sleeves

This is a very versatile pattern, as Nikki has so aptly shown on her blog.  I am up to the challenge of making more versions with variations to the neckline and sleeves.

Friday, January 16, 2015

January Goals

It's 2015!!  Happy New Year!!  My holidays did not really go the way I had envisioned them. A car accident just before Christmas marred the simplicity I was aiming for this year,  but suffice to say, I was very appreciative of the time I got to spend with my family.  My car is back to normal after three weeks,  I am very thankful for insurance, I had a rental car so I wasn't housebound (and let's just say the rental made me even more happy to have my own car back!), and while I'm still a bit stiff and sore, I am recovering.

These past few weeks, I've been doing a bit of thinking about goals and what I want to accomplish this year.  Instead of any real resolutions, this year I've chosen my focus word to be "Joy."  I've struggled with periodic depression over the past number of years, not really enjoying my current life situation and focusing on what I think my life should be rather than enjoying where I am.  Well, I'm sick of being unhappy, and I've decided I'm just going to focus on living with JOY.  Every day. Which leads me back to the theme of this blog, which is sewing and creating.  Sewing makes me happy, and brings me joy.

My sewing goal for January is not a product focused one, rather a process focused one.
It is to sew a bit every day if my schedule allows.

I have also realized a dire need for more upscale leisure and casual clothing.  As much as I love flannel pj pants, I'm not the girl to wear them unless I'm actually in or close to being in bed. Which is funny, since I have an overabundance of flannel pants, and hardly any jeans or casual pants.

So with that in mind, since the beginning of the new year I've managed to sew two pairs of faux leather leggings, but I'm still working out how to take pictures of myself, so I don't have pictures of these for you yet.  I'm also working on a version of the top in Vogue 8840, which I will hopefully have finished tomorrow and be able to post pictures for you this weekend.

My knitting goals are a bit more product focused, with some upcoming birthdays:

1.  Finish Robot Love Mittens
2.  Finish Viajante
3.  Finish I Heart Toe Up Socks
4.  Finish Melissa's Sweater
5.  Start Socks for an upcoming birthday recipient
6.  Once I'm finished Viajante (and birthday knitting), cast on my epic shawl project

And, I may as well post my spinning goals, since I've been thinking them as well:

1.  Finish the Loop batt that has been languishing on my Joy wheel
2.  Spin 15 minutes every day - this has been going on in Instagram-land and I'm loving the products I've been seeing of everyone's commitment.  I can do this too!

What about you?  Have you made any goals or resolutions for the new year?