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Pattern Review

Chat Gift Exchange -- Val's Capelet

Yea, I know I've been horrible about blogging lately.
So finally I'm getting around to posting about the capelet I made for Val for the PR chat gift exchange. I forgot to take pictures before mailing it, so the picture is Val's.

In the questionaire for the gift exchange, Val said she has fitting issues so she didn't think clothing was do-able. So I figured that she wouldn't be expecting clothing, and the Simplicity 3921 capelet doesn't require much fitting.
I used a turquoise wool gabardine and a light purple dupioni for the lining. Originally I was planning on using these two purple appliques I had from a mystery box as a front embellishment.. but then I realized that they were identical, not mirror images of each other, so there went that idea. So I dug through my trims box some more and pulled out the ruffly white lace, which was excuse to use the jar of purple dye-na-flow that had been sitting on my desk since some sale a year or two ago. So I got experimental and dyed the lace purple. First I tried painting it on, but then I realized that for bright color it needs salt, so I ended up mixing it with some water and salt in a plastic container and letting it soak. I still have to figure out what else to dye purple, assuming that the dye-water-and-salt mixture is still good. It's sitting on my kitchen counter.

The instructions on the dye say to iron it to set the color. Obviously this wasn't particularly practical with ruffly lace. Happily, a hair dryer works too! I soaked, hair-dryed, repeated a bit to get the color where I wanted it. Then hand-washed it with some detergent to get off the salt and excess dye. Water ran clear, and lace was still purple. Yay!
Then I hand-sewed that flowery trim (another mystery box item) over the seam where I'd sewn on the purple lace, so that the seam wouldn't be visible.

Val thinks it could be reversible. If I'd thought of that I would have put a button on the other side too! Val had told me awhile ago that she was allergic to wool but that she could wear it so long as it was lined. For some reason it didn't occur to me that as I was making something that she'd wear over other clothes, the wool allergy was irrelevant anyways. And the lace isn't exactly the same color as the lining.
But Val was all happy and so I'm all happy.
And now I've finally blogged it!

Medieval Green Dress Photoshoot With Mom

Green Medieval DressGreen Medieval Dress

Medieval Green Dress -- Halo Effect: Some of the back-lit images came out with a really neat halo effect.Medieval Green Dress -- Halo Effect: Some of the back-lit images came out with a really neat halo effect.

Medieval Green DressMedieval Green Dress

Medieval Green Dress Photoshoot -- Without Veil: Most of the pictures of this dress ended up looking goofy without a veil.. just not right. I liked the way this one turned out, rather fierce looking, but I ended up making quick veil so we could get some with a more period feel. Medieval Green Dress Photoshoot -- Without Veil: Most of the pictures of this dress ended up looking goofy without a veil.. just not right. I liked the way this one turned out, rather fierce looking, but I ended up making quick veil so we could get some with a more period feel.

Medieval Green Dress -- Face ProfileMedieval Green Dress -- Face Profile

Medieval Green Dress -- Behind TreeMedieval Green Dress -- Behind Tree

So--mom to the rescue!--I've finally got some pictures of me in my green medieval dress. I hadn't originally made a veil to go with it, but after we got a bunch of pictures, I realized the outfit just looked incomplete without it. So I made a makeshift veil out of a circle of a cheap polyester crepe ("crepe" is what it says in my spreadsheet, although I'm starting to think that "crepe" isn't a particularly descriptive word; it seems like a great variety of fabrics are crepes, the defining feature of which is very twisted threads that create the uneven texture. But I have other fabrics that seem to have that feature as well. Some of my chiffons feel like they may actually be lightweight crepes, and this particular fabric is almost as lightweight as a chiffon. I'm learning more and more that fabric categories aren't particularly well-defined.) I still haven't finished the edges of the veil, although I do plan on it; at the time, I just needed something to put on my head. I also secured it with elastic. Totally non-period, but I'm not generally concerned keeping things period, only trying to make them look somewhat period. And besides, with a princess-seamed medieval-style dress, some elastic was the least of the non-period-ness!

30-Minute Jacket

Half-Hour JacketHalf-Hour Jacket
When I saw the 30-minute jacket I thought "oh neat!" And when I saw that they say it can be made reversible with either lining or double sided fabric, I figured it would be a wonderful use for the double-sided high-performance windblock fleece that's been sitting in the bottom part of the china cabinet that my stash lives in.
I think it actually took longer than half an hour. It probably would have been easier if I had a free arm-machine-- it was rather difficult to manipulate on the bed of my machine. It also took me a little while to figure out how the fabric should go together to make it reversible-- sides facing the same way, not right sides together. It was still pretty easy to make. I decided not to cut the fabric lengthwise, because I'd prefer it as a longer coat-- really, I like cloaks. It's very cloak-like this way. However.. on my dress form, it looks like a no-sew project, like I just draped the fabric over my form and that was it. I think it looks a bit better actually on me, but it's still.. I dunno. Doesn't quite feel like a "real" project. It's not bad or anything, I'm sure I'll wear it, and it *was* a decent use for the double sided fleece.. It just doesn't look like much of a sewing project. Don't get me wrong, it's a good quick jacket, and would probably be more displayable if I could photograph it on me. But I'm still feeling a bit disappointed.

A Few More Couch Pillowcases

Christmas Couch Cushions!: After I made all of the green ones, I was mentioning to Kris that I've seen couches in magazines with very assorted pillowcases, and really liked the way that looked.  The first thing he mentioned was that I should make some red ones so we'd have Christmas couch cushions!  Well, Christmas is a long way away, but I'll have the pillowcases ready! I made two of the red ones.  The fabric was narrower, so they needed a full yard each.Christmas Couch Cushions!: After I made all of the green ones, I was mentioning to Kris that I've seen couches in magazines with very assorted pillowcases, and really liked the way that looked. The first thing he mentioned was that I should make some red ones so we'd have Christmas couch cushions! Well, Christmas is a long way away, but I'll have the pillowcases ready! I made two of the red ones. The fabric was narrower, so they needed a full yard each. Assorted Couch Cushions: ..And then I made a couple more panne velvet pillowcases in different colors.  I made one each of the purple and orange ones.  The purple I only had just over a yard of, so I couldn't have made more than one.  (It used 3/4ths of a yard.)  The orange I still have a bit more of, but I don't need more than one orange pillowcase.  It's amazing I even made one, I'm not much of an orange person, but it's not for wearing, so that makes it better.  It's more of an accent thing.  Some orange can be an acceptable accent. This used up most of the panne velvet I had left.  The panne velvet hasn't been living in my main stash, but in a box off to the side labeled "panne velvet."  (Creative, huh?)Assorted Couch Cushions: ..And then I made a couple more panne velvet pillowcases in different colors. I made one each of the purple and orange ones. The purple I only had just over a yard of, so I couldn't have made more than one. (It used 3/4ths of a yard.) The orange I still have a bit more of, but I don't need more than one orange pillowcase. It's amazing I even made one, I'm not much of an orange person, but it's not for wearing, so that makes it better. It's more of an accent thing. Some orange can be an acceptable accent. This used up most of the panne velvet I had left. The panne velvet hasn't been living in my main stash, but in a box off to the side labeled "panne velvet." (Creative, huh?)

Simplicity Arkivestry Dress

Light Blue Gauze NightgownLight Blue Gauze NightgownTapered Fold for Gauze NightgownTapered Fold for Gauze Nightgown
I first used this pattern last summer, and figured I'd do another one (or maybe another two) since I'd gotten the knit gauze in three colors. When I made it last year, I used the off-white, this time I used the blue; I still have a light purple one. The pattern is a serious fabric hog. The last time I made it, I felt like it was quite wasteful, since there were large pieces of fabric left over that seemed excessive. As drafted, it's so wide that the fabric has to be opened out and then placed double thickness. I didn't really want to do that again, so I used a tapered fold (shown in the second picture) so it could use lengthwise folded fabric. I actually wish I hadn't tapered it as much as I did-- I'm actually thinking it would have worked out better if I'd taken some out of the middle of the top, because the upper edge is very bulky. I think the knit gauze is bulkier than regular gauze would be. I also repeated what I did last time and used a drawstring instead of following the strange instructions for foldover lace with a fake drawstring. I'm considering the possibility of cutting a V out of the front, to reduce the neckline bulk and make the drawstring visible, since I cut the front piece on the fold instead of making it two separate pieces. I haven't decided if that's necessary or not; I do like it as it is, and I'm not completely sure how I'd finish the inner edge of the cut-out V. Probably a lettuce edge like at the hemline and sleeves, but I'm not sure how well that would work. So for now, it stays as it is. I also have less of the lavender, so I'll have to taper the sleeves too, so they don't have to be cut out seperately. I used four and a half yards for this one, and I only have four yards of the lavender knit gauze.

Midnight Blue Panne Velvet "Medieval" Dress

Butterick 4571 in Crushed VelourButterick 4571 in Crushed VelourI got the midnight blue panne velvet for $1/yard from FabricMart last April. I'm not generally a huge fan of panne velvet, but at a dollar a yard for something in a pretty color, I got sucked in anyways. Well, it's been sitting around and sitting around.. so I decided to use it for Butterick 4571. It's a pretty costume-y pattern to begin with (yea, I know it's a costume pattern, but I don't usually like my costumes to be costume-y) so I decided I'd try it in the blue panne velvet. It slides off my shoulders pretty badly, I'll have to do something to stabilize it so it won't fall down; the shape of the neckline nor the slippery heaviness of the panne velvet both contribute to the falling-off-the-shoulders thing. A bit of clear elastic going across the upper edge of the back should help with that, though. I used some of that narrow flower trim I got in a FabricMart mystery box, and I lined the outer sleeves with a hunter green panne velvet I got even longer ago-- at the end of 2009, when I'd only just started sewing. All in all, it doesn't look too bad.. it's kinda pretty for panne velvet. (It was one of the recommended fabrics, too.) I didn't line anything but the sleeves. Polyester is bad enough as it is, I didn't think it needed more layers.

Pink Knit Simplicity 3568 Tunic Top

Pink Knit Tunic TopPink Knit Tunic TopThe bad news is that when I prewashed this fabric, I washed it with some other stuff.. including a shirt of Kris's that had a pen in it that I missed. The good news is that a few more washings got most of the ink out-- enough that I was still able to fit the pattern pieces into the inkless parts. I made view A of Simplicity 3568, the longer top without the cowl neck. I cut a 12, but it actually seems a bit big. While knits are among the fabrics suggested for the top, it also lists various non-stretch fabrics, so it's not sized for knits and I probably should have gone with a smaller size. It looks frumpy with jeans, but I'm thinking that it'll be better with leggings, and leggings were more what I had in mind for it while I was making it anyways.

Sheer Kitchen Curtains

Sheer Kitchen Curtains: I'll really have to take another picture when the sun isn't shining right into the window.  I used two layers of green polyester chiffon from (you guessed it) a half-off red-tag sale at Joann last year.  I made green sheer curtains for the living room and the stairway awhile ago, but hadn't decided what to do with the rest of the stuff.  I had old white curtains up on the kitchen window before, but the green goes with everything else better.  I've still got a tad of the green stuff left, but this used up most of what I had left.Sheer Kitchen Curtains: I'll really have to take another picture when the sun isn't shining right into the window. I used two layers of green polyester chiffon from (you guessed it) a half-off red-tag sale at Joann last year. I made green sheer curtains for the living room and the stairway awhile ago, but hadn't decided what to do with the rest of the stuff. I had old white curtains up on the kitchen window before, but the green goes with everything else better. I've still got a tad of the green stuff left, but this used up most of what I had left.
Green Sheer Curtains Closed: Here's one of the curtains closed.. but still with the sun right behind them.  Hopefully I'll get better pictures after the sun sets.Green Sheer Curtains Closed: Here's one of the curtains closed.. but still with the sun right behind them. Hopefully I'll get better pictures after the sun sets.I just finished sheer green curtains for the window over the kitchen sink. I'd made similar curtains for the windows in the living room and in the stairway, but I'd had up old white ones over the sink for awhile. These match the rest of the house better, and used up most of the green polyester chiffon I had left. I used two layers for each curtain panel, and did a serged rolled hem with woolly nylon in the lower looper for the bottom edges. The curtains are 45" long so I used just over 5 yards for the pair.

Micro-Terry Bathrobe

Micro-Terry Bathrobe: I used the Simplicity 3571 pajama pattern very loosely.  It was the closest pattern I had on hand to what I wanted to make, so I really used it as a guide more than a pattern.  I flatlocked all the seams because I wanted to make it reversable.  My reasoning on that was simple-- I'm not sure which side of the micro-terry is the right side!  I'd expect that the soft side to be the one that should be next to the skin, but it's supposed to be moisture-wicking and the soft side doesn't seem like the absorbent one.  Not sure if that'll change after washing.  So anyway, I wanted to be able to wear it either way, so flatlocking was the logical choice.  I added 18 inches onto the bottom of the pattern, since I wanted it to be a robe and not a top.   I used rolled hems on all of the edges.  Then I added fabric loops on the front pieces, and ribbon so that it could be tied closed.  It actually didn't turn out too bad for something so improvised!  I like the kimono sleeves.Micro-Terry Bathrobe I used the Simplicity 3571 pajama pattern very loosely. It was the closest pattern I had on hand to what I wanted to make, so I really used it as a guide more than a pattern. I flatlocked all the seams because I wanted to make it reversable. My reasoning on that was simple-- I'm not sure which side of the micro-terry is the right side! I'd expect that the soft side to be the one that should be next to the skin, but it's supposed to be moisture-wicking and the soft side doesn't seem like the absorbent one. Not sure if that'll change after washing. So anyway, I wanted to be able to wear it either way, so flatlocking was the logical choice. I added 18 inches onto the bottom of the pattern, since I wanted it to be a robe and not a top. I used rolled hems on all of the edges. Then I added fabric loops on the front pieces, and ribbon so that it could be tied closed. It actually didn't turn out too bad for something so improvised! I particularly like the kimono sleeves.
It'll make a nice summer bathrobe.

More Grocery Bags! ..but this time with explanations!

My mom has said she'd like some reusable grocery bags, so I have an excuse to make a few more! And to use that rubbery "techno taffeta" that I've had no idea what to do with. I was surprised at how well the "techno taffeta" went with that iridescent fabric from Joann; these bags fold up much better than any of the others I've made. I've made two in this fabric combination, and I'll probably make a few more, since I still have more of both fabrics and I like the results a lot. I took some pictures of the process, too, since how the folding-in of the outside edges works always seems somewhat hazy in the tutorials I'd read; it took me awhile to figure out how simple it actually was.
Green Reusable Bags: Two more reusable grocery bags.  The outside is some kinda of synthetic iridescent fabric from a half-off red-tag sale at Joann last year, and the inside is that rubbery Vera Wang "techno taffeta."  I was surprised at how well the bags made with this combination folded up!  The folded up bag is definitely flatter and more compact than the other fabric combinations I've tried.Green Reusable Bags: Two more reusable grocery bags. The outside is some kinda of synthetic iridescent fabric from a half-off red-tag sale at Joann last year, and the inside is that rubbery Vera Wang "techno taffeta." I was surprised at how well the bags made with this combination folded up! The folded up bag is definitely flatter and more compact than the other fabric combinations I've tried.
Grocery Bag Side Fold Outside View: From the outside, the bags look like there must be some sort of accordion thing going, folded in from the middle of the side, right?  Wrong!Grocery Bag Side Fold Outside View: From the outside, the bags look like there must be some sort of accordion thing going, folded in from the middle of the side, right? Wrong!
Reusable Bag Unfinished Inside View: Turned inside out, the outer edges are just folded in towards the middle, lined up with where the pocket comes to on the outside.   From there, I just serge across the bottom with a 5-thread safety stitch.Reusable Bag Unfinished Inside View: Turned inside out, the outer edges are just folded in towards the middle, lined up with where the pocket comes to on the outside. From there, I just serge across the bottom with a 5-thread safety stitch.
Inside Fold Closeup: A closeup of how the sides of the bag are folded in.Inside Fold Closeup: A closeup of how the sides of the bag are folded in.

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