Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Summer Sleepwear- Butterick 6225 and Kwik Sew 3644

Do you spend a lot of time in your pajamas?   I have to admit that I do spend way more time in them than I should.   I usually put them on a couple of hours before bed, and then not change into something else until I've been up a couple of hours, so we're looking at about 12 hours a day!  But, my sleepwear is definitely the most neglected part of my wardrobe. And based on what I see others sewing on their blogs, it may be the most neglected part of everyone's wardrobes, as I rarely see anyone posting pajamas!

A few years ago, I did have a very posh set of coordinating polished cotton pajamas and a robe.  I paid big bucks for it, but wore it until the fabric had holes and the print had completely faded.  So, with that in mind, I set out to recreate something similar. 

The first step was the robe.  Since I wanted this to be summer weight, I needed a pattern that was designed for woven fabric- a knit or fleece robe would be too hot.  Enter Kwik Sew 3644. 

I know that Kwik Sew patterns are more expensive than the other Big 4 brands, but let me tell you- I was really glad that I chose this pattern.  The way that it applied piping was completely different than I would have done without their instructions.  And it turned out great.  Piping and I are not friends.  But this time, we were compatible, and I will credit Kwik Sew for that.

I had selected three blue coordinating cotton voiles from Fabric Mart for this set.  Cotton voile is super light weight- I even had to adjust the tension on my machine because it is so light that the regular tension wouldn't hold it down.    I read that if you have a roller foot, that you should use it when sewing voile.  I don't, but once I adjusted the tension, it sewed like a dream.

 The pattern has a contrasting facing, pocket bands, and sleeve bands.  Since this was my largest piece of the set, I used the largest print, which was a blue background with a cream and brown paisley design.    For the contrast, I used a blue and brown striped voile, as I thought the stripe would balance the very ornate paisley.  I used a bronze colored flat piping to bring out the browns in the print.  

The second step was the pajamas.  I have to say that I am not usually a ruffles kind of person, but when I saw Butterick 6225, I just fell in love with it. 

It has so many interesting details- small pleats on the front, a shaped front hem, and the ruffles around the neck and armholes.  So cute, and so much work!  About half way through, I realized why I don't have many tops with ruffles.  I just don't have the patience.   But, when I go back to my formula of how many hours a day I wear my pajamas, versus how many hours it took me to sew the ruffles, then it seemed like a pretty fair trade-off.

I used a medium sized blue floral print for the main body, and cut the facing and ruffles from the blue striped voile. I have to say that I think this top could very well be worn anytime of day. 

 I cut the ruffles on the bias to give them an interesting angle on the shirt.  I tried it on, and it slipped over my head easily, so I opted to just sew the buttons through all layers, rather than making buttonholes.  I want this to last a long time, and I figure that I am less likely to lose a button if they are just decorative and not functional.

To make the ruffled trim, you first need to do a baby hem on one side of the ruffle piece, then gather the other side.  Baste the trim to the garment edge, and then sew a strip of bias tape over the ruffle.  Turn the bias tape to the wrong side, and finally stitch it in place.  You can use purchased bias tape for this step, but I had enough fabric to make my own, so I cut 1-1/4” bias strips from the blue stripe.
Because this has a shaped hem, the facing on this top was extra wide. 
Inside view of top to show the bias tape finishing around armhole edge.
 I used the blue/brown stripe fabric for my front facings as well.  The facings are interfaced, so it is really important to use a featherweight interfacing, or else this could get too heavy.   For the shorts, I used the blue stripe again.  The shorts are just the standard elastic waist pull-on pants type. 
I find that these patterns always run too long in the front crotch, so I fold out 2” off the top of the center front, and then blend that to 1” at the sides, and then  to zero at the center back.  I also added a couple of inches to the length.  I still had lots of fabric left over, so I made a little headband out of the remnants using a 10” piece of fold over elastic and a shaped double layer of fabric.  

This will be a great set for traveling, because it is so lightweight.  And if anyone sees me getting the newspaper in the morning in my pj's, I won't be quite as embarrassed as if I was just wearing my typical raggedy t-shirt and shorts.  

How about you?  Have you ever made your own pajamas? 

Happy Sewing! 


Sunday, June 28, 2015

Ivy+Blu Sundress Butterick 6021

Does your fabric ever talk to you?  I ordered this beautiful watercolor floral cotton gauze from FabricMart at the beginning of this month, and it has just been screaming "Make Me!  Make Me!"  ever since it arrived at my house.  I really didn't have time to sew, but yesterday, I just couldn't stand it any longer and gave in to the calls.  Most of my fabrics can sit for months, even years, before they get sewn up, so this was highly unusual.

I also had a pattern that has been more lightly whispering, "make me".  That would be Butterick 6021, an Ivy+Blu design from a couple of years ago.  You know how a book just opens to a certain page every time?  That was happening with this pattern.  It had a hem that was longer at the front than the sides, a lined bodice, and tie belt.

So, I thought- well, let's just get this over with- the pattern is pretty simple, I should be able to sew it up in a couple of hours, and get on with my life. Right?  Wrong.  I fiddled and fiddled with the fitting pretty much all day.

Luckily, the only other pressing engagement that I had was weeding the garden, and the weeds are enjoying the sunshine and are quite content to be left alone.

So, the first challenge was that my fabric wasn't wide enough for the pattern.  It called for 60" wide fabric, and mine was 54".  Usually when the yardage chart says 60"on the fabric width, it is just a code for anything 54" or wider,  but not this one.  It really needed the entire width.   The gauze did have an obvious directional crinkle to it, or else I would have switched the layout to a crosswise grain.  So, my first adjustment to the pattern was to shave off enough of the pattern for it to fit my fabric's width.

Here is the first change:

This left the side seam too short for my tall self.  So, I decided to angle the side seam enough so that it would be at least 23" long.  See the folded edge- that is the side seam?  This change removed some of the fullness of the skirt, but you can see that there is plenty of skirt fullness left in the finished dress.  It does reduce the difference between the highest and lowest point, so the hem is not as dramatic. 

I had checked out PatternReview to see other versions of this dress, and there was only one!  It was a a gorgeous version made by Adrienne of Adrienne's Essentials, and she didn't mention any issues with the bodice sizing, so I forged ahead blindly without making a muslin.  I cut my normal size, but the shoulder straps were way too wide for me, and ended up falling off my shoulders.  I didn't have enough fabric to recut, so I had to fix what I had.  For the front, I made two 1/2" pleats- one on each side of the center front. These are barely visible due to the busy-ness of my print, but you can see them here:

For the back, I decided to make a center back seam to remove about 1-1/4" from the width.   If you look closely, you can see it here.  I still needed to remove quite a bit of length from the straps as well.  Since my shoulders are uneven, I took about 1" from one side, and 1-1/2" from the other side.  It now sits on my shoulders quite nicely.

When I make this again, I will fold the patterns for the center front and back in about 1/2", and also cut two sizes shorter on the straps, like this:

Finally, I narrow hemmed the whole skirt hem, and then tried it on.  I should have reversed these steps: try on, then hem, because part of the skirt was on the bias and it had grown significantly longer in a certain section. It had to be trimmed up and re-hemmed there.  So, if you make this, let it hang for some time, and then take a look at your hem before actually hemming! 

Other changes that I made:

-  I added inseam pockets.  I used a pocket pattern from another pattern, and just placed them 3 inches below the waist on each side seam.

-I left out the elastic at the waist.  I did put it in originally, but it felt a little uncomfortable, and if it gets really hot, I plan on wearing this as more of a loose dress with no tie belt.

-I left out the skirt lining.  My fabric was opaque enough to get away with it.

I'm pretty happy with the end product, and now I can get on with my garden weeding!  If you have this pattern, I strongly recommend making a bodice muslin to figure out any tweaking that you might need for your body shape.

 I'll leave you with June in central Illinois- sunshine, corn, wind and wide-open blue skies.  I don't live on a farm, but this field is directly behind our house, and we really enjoy living so close to it.  I grew up on a farm and love this time of year when we get to see the bounty of our part of the world.

Happy Sewing!


Saturday, June 27, 2015

Summer Pillow and Table Cloth Refresh

Do you lust after the pretty pillows at places like Crate and Barrel or Pottery Barn, but scoff at the $50 price tag?  Me too!  I'm always on the lookout for interesting fabrics to make them myself.  I picked up this leaf pillow panel print remnant this Spring, thinking that the colors would be lovely in summer.  The piece was about 3-1/2 yards and just under $10, and I decided to take the whole cut.  This print was clearly meant for pillows, as it was divided into panels with square shapes. 

But I thought it looked fine as a whole piece as well, so I decided to turn part of it into a new tablecloth.  For the tablecloth, I used about 2 -1/2 yards of the piece, and just hemmed it.  That left me with two rows of the panels, which was enough for 3 pillow covers. 

 I had a couple of old throw pillows that were getting holes in them, so I just covered them up with the new fabric, not worrying about a zipper.  For my third pillow, I wanted to use a down feather pillow insert, so I thought it best to make the cover removable with an invisible zipper.  These pillow panels measured 18", so I chose a 14" zipper to make sure that I had a big enough opening to insert the pillow form.

If you'd like to try this, you can use any fabric -just cut two squares the size of the pillow form that you want to use, plus 1" to allow for 1/2" seams.  To add an invisible zipper, place the right side of the zipper down onto the right side of the fabric, centering it on one side.  If you can't find a perfect match for the zipper, don't worry.  With an invisible zipper, all you end up seeing is the zipper pull. 

Then sew the other side of the zipper right side down on the right side of the other piece of fabric, so it looks like this:

Open the zipper at least halfway.  Then sew together the remaining open sides.  Why open the zipper before you sew?  Because if you don't, you won't be able to turn the pillow right side out! 

I used pinking shears on the edges because I was a feeling too lazy to change my serger thread color.  You will want to finish the raw edges of the seams in some way.  Notice how I clipped the corners at an angle- this will help you to get a better point on the corners when you turn the cover right side out.

Now, just give the cover a nice pressing, insert your pillow form, and zip it up!

You can change the cover when the season is over, and store it away until next year. 

So, for under $10, I got three new pillows and one new tablecloth to spruce up the house for summer!  I don't always save money when I sew, but I think that if I had purchased these at a Pottery Barn, I would have probably over $200 for the whole set. And this didn't even take that long!  Maybe two hours tops.

The store that I got this at was Hancock fabrics, so if you have one near you, check out their table of home dec flat folds and be sure to take your 50% off a cut of fabric coupon.  They have so many cute remnants right now. 

Happy Sewing!!


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