Friday, December 15, 2017

Handmade Christmas: Making Stockings

I finally bit the bullet and sewed up some Christmas stockings for our family. I bought this fabric close to 10 years ago, and really, I'm glad I didn't get around to it until now, because there were only two of us back then so I'd have been making more now anyway.


My biggest hang up with making the stockings was that every template I came across just seemed so small. We've been using some cute, cheap, but too small stockings from Walmart for the last few years, and I hate having to cram everything into a stocking that's so tiny. Our stockings always get filled with at least one package of socks for each family member, and they are soooooo difficult to fit in most stockings.

I liked the general shape and style of the stockings in the Fabric Worm tutorial, but it was still a bit small.

I ended up printing out the Fabric Worm template, and I did some slashing and spreading, and came up with this. I cut vertically down the leg of the stocking, then horizontally across the middle of the leg, and again horizontally across the middle of the foot. I laid out the pieces on a big piece of craft paper (from an ikea roll) and taped them down in an expanded fashion.


I widened the leg piece by 2.5" (so I total of 5" once it's assembled) and I added about an inch everywhere else. I had to re-draw the heel and toe to make things line up and still look 'right'.
The cuff had to be recalculated too, since I added width, so I ended up cutting the cuff piece at 21.5" x 9", the batting for the cuff at 21.5" x 4.5, and that worked out well.

I think I'd cut the cuff at 21" wide next time, maybe 21.25", since the cuff seemed a little bit too long to fit inside the stocking when attaching it to the main part of the stocking. Having that fold-over cuff makes sewing very forgiving though, so you really can't tell.

I also added a fabric hanging loop, and cut a piece that was 6" x 3", and folded the sides into the middle (hotdog style) and then folded them together again (hotdog style), which left me with a strip that was 6" x .75". I opted to sew a line of stitches down the open edge to keep things together.

chain piecing fabric hanging loops

When it came to attaching the loop to the stocking, I didn't want to just sew it along with the cuff, so I actually basted it in place on the stocking first, then pinned the cuff on and sewed everything up with my walking foot. I figured this would not only secure its placement, but also make it a little more sturdy.

fabric hanging loop "basted" to the inside of the stocking

I made ample use of my pinking shears as I sewed up the pieces of the stocking, which helped reduce bulk and let everything lay properly.

Around the top of the stocking where the cuff is sewn to the main body of the stocking is currently unfinished, and since I don't plan on washing these stockings (famous last words, I know) I might just leave it unfinished. If I'm feeling particularly lacking in things to do at some point, I might run that seam allowance through the serger just to finished that one seam off.

lining/hanging loop close-up
I followed all of the directions for the Fabric Worm tutorial, except where noted here. My results look so (surprisingly to me) professional! I'm really happy with the finished stockings and I look forward to using them for many years to come.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Altering the Sweet Legs Plus Leggings for a Better Fit

I've been intending to do this for over a year, and finally got the courage to do it over the last week. I replaced the waistband in my Sweet Legs Plus leggings I bought last fall (I think they were called Dark Night Plus).

I've googled on this one and I think I must be the only person who things the waistband on the Sweet Legs Leggings Plus is too tight. The rest of the leggings fit great with lots of room to spare, but that waist band! Argh!  Because of this, I never wear them.  I have 3 pairs, and I've worn 1 pair once.

I pulled my least favourite pair out of the drawer, grabbed my seam ripper, and seam ripped the stitches that held down the waistband (cover stitched originally), then seam ripped the stitches that attached the waistband to the pants (serged originally).

I had to be really careful not to catch any of the fabric, but it went well, and I ended up with the elastic coming out intact enough I'll be able to reuse it for some pj pants for one of the kids.

I then measured the length of elastic I wanted to use to be comfortable. I just used the 1" braided elastic you can get from Walmart.  I think it was less than $2 for the length and I can easily get 2 waistbands for myself plus at least 1 for the kids out of one package. I want to try cotton swimwear elastic, but I'd have to order that online, so I haven't yet.

I used to be an hourglass before I had the kids, but I'm definitely more of an apple now.  Needless to say, I was weary of using elastic in my waistband at all, but because I'm not an hourglass, my best shot of having my pants stay up is with some sort of elastic (or so I've heard). It's about as loose as it could possibly be too, so it's pretty comfy.

I cut the elastic to length, and sewed it up using my regular sewing machine and a zigzag stitch.  I placed a scrap square of fabric under the 2 ends and sewed over that too (trimming the sides off after sewing). It worked well!  My zigzag settings for sewing the elastic together were 2.25mm width and 0.5mm length. I'm a chicken, so I zigzagged over 2 times and back-stitched on each end.

 I quartered the elastic and the pants (separately, with ball point pins) and pinned them together at those quarter marks (on the wrong side / inside of the leggings).

Using my 3 thread narrow stitch on my serger (I love LOVE LOVE my Juki 654DE), I attached the edge of the elastic to the inside edge of the pants, and was super careful not to nick the elastic. I contemplated sewing with my blade disengaged, but wanted to get any pesky bits of leggings fabric that was sticking past the elastic, so I left it engaged.

I then folded the elastic down one time to hide it, but still leave that serged edge exposed. I contemplated rolling it down once more, but tried it on like that and it fit better just being folded down once.  After folding the elastic down, I quartered it again and pinned those quarters down. I love pins.

I went back to my regular sewing machine and used my 3 step zigzag (5mm width, 1mm length) to sew down the elastic and hide it from sight.  I sewed with the wrong side facing me and kept the zigzag as close to the serged edge as I could.

I think it came out pretty well! The leggings are now super comfy and I have pulled out my other two pairs to seam rip tonight.  I took note of the length of waist elastic I found comfy and will easily be able to replicate this alteration on future pairs.

I'm particularly excited because I'm in time to order a few pairs of holiday Sweet Legs and have them altered in time for winter!

I've also drafted a leggings pattern from the Made to Measure leggings class and I'm excited to start cutting and sewing some super custom leggings for myself in the next little while.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Fav Tee - Toddler Edition

I decided that my almost 2 year old needed a t-shirt out of the leftover fabric from my Concord T-Shirt by Cashmerette (which I may or may not have blogged already depending on when I publish this).

I bought 2 meters of white cotton/spandex (95% cotton / 5% spandex) and had about 0.5 meters leftover after I finished my Concord, and fairly quickly realized that I was going to be able to make more than 1 toddler shirt out of the leftovers.

While Patterns for Pirates was having a 30% off sale (it's over now), I snapped up the Fav Tee, which is the girls version. I had originally planned to get the bundle with the women's t-shirt as well, but I am so happy with the fit of the Concord, I didn't really feel the need to.

E's measurements put her in the 9 month size...she's going to be 2 in two weeks...and wears an 18 - 24 month size is basically all the kids brands out there (Carters/Oshkosh, Old Navy, Children's Place, etc).  Definitely go by your kid's measurements, because the 9 month size actually fits her.

This t-shirt pattern has lots of options...wait, can I just take a minute to sing the praises of Patterns for Pirates for using layers in their pdf's?  It makes it so easy to print the size, or two/three (if you're grading), and not have a bunch of extra lines to ignore.

The no trim pages are also just fantastic. No words. Amazing. Heavens opening, angels singing, annoyance free pdf pattern printing. Just the best.

Ok, so back to the options...I chose to make the 3/4 length sleeve, scoop neck, tie bottom version. The tie bottom takes a fair amount of fabric, but it is so cute, I think it's worth it. I'm also looking forward to trying the contrasting tie bottom at some point.

For the first shirt, I did basically all the assembly on the serger, with just hemming the cuffs and top stitching the neck band on my sewing machine with a double needle (first time using one of these and it's pretty cool!).  With the double needle, I found I got the best results with my stitch length at nearly 4mm and the upper thread tension at 3.  The twin needle I bought was a Shmetz, 2.5mm Stretch Twin Needle.  I kind of regret (just a little) not buying the slightly wider twin needle.

I also sewed in clear elastic to the shoulder seams, which was something I did for the first time on my Concord T-Shirt, and I figured it'd carry over to this shirt (it did). 

Here's what I'm doing differently for the second one -

  • I'm hemming the cuffs with the (double needle) before seaming the sleeve. These sleeves are tiny and a huge struggle on my sewing machine no matter how I manipulate the fabric.  
  • I sewed the tie band pieces together on the serger the first time, and for the second shirt I've zigzagged this seam (1.5mm long / 2.5mm wide). It gave my much more control and less bulk in the points. I'll still attach the band to the shirt with the serger though.
  • I'll be sewing the tie front opening facing on the sewing machine this time. It's just too fiddly and tiny to get it to work well on the serger. It was not fun to stitch it on the serger the first time and the edge isn't exposed in the end, so I'm fine zigzagging this part too. 

That's it! Not to many changes for the second one.  All in all, I managed to cut 2 of the tie band shirts and one non-tie band shirt out of 0.5 meters.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Marlborough Bra - Part 1 - Top Cup

I fiddled with this pattern big time and wanted to detail all my changes and process.

I used the 32DDD as a base, and added 2.75" to the band piece (for a total of 5.5" in band circumference).  I also split the lower cup and added 0.25" to each side of the split (0.5" total).

My lace isn't galloon (the stuff with the nice border), it's yardage, so I needed to do something to finish off the top of the cup. I added a 0.25" seam allowance to the top cup piece, and used 0.25" elastic to finish the top of the cup.

The reason I added the 0.25" seam allowance was because that was what I would lose in attaching and folding down the elastic.

I applied the elastic by laying the top cup piece and elastic both right side up, and zigzagging down the top edge. I then turned the elastic to the wrong side and zigzagged it in place. Dammnnn this looks great for very little effort!

Here's the top cup piece after the first zigzag -

And here it is after being zigzagged in place -

My zigzag was set at 2.0mm long and 2.5mm wide on my machine and I think it looks good.

You may be wondering what the orange sticker dots are all about...I use them to denote the 'right side' of the fabric.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Fall Fare: Spiced Pear Muffins

Let me start by saying how much I love the recipes from The Kitchn.  I don't think they've ever steered me wrong.  I actually made some delicious pumpkin muffins earlier this week, which I completely forgot to photograph, so I'll talk about them next time I make them.

Today I made Spiced Pear Muffins. They're great. Perfect fall food.  Leaves turning red? Make these muffins. I'm currently eating one alongside a cup of Forever Nuts from David's Tea. Perfection.

I ended up using bosc pears for the first time ever. Usually I get bartlett pears and use them for everything, but when I stopped in at the grocery store this morning, all their bartlett pears were several days away from being ripe, and I wanted them now!!

The bosc pears worked great, I'd use them again in a heartbeat.

So, for the recipe, I didn't do what I was told...using a mixer when it comes to muffins...I don't know, it just seems...wrong.  I melted the butter (and upped it to 2 sticks...because I'm evil and it makes the best muffins ever to up the butter), mixed all the wet ingredients in one bowl, all the dry ingredients in another, then lightly mixed the wet ingredients into the dry, followed by folding in the pears.

I always forget that I'm a 'mix the sugars into the wet ingredients' baker now. I love the way things mix up when I do this (almost as much as the life-changing effects of bringing your milk and eggs to room temperature), but I almost always forget!

Delicious muffins, great texture, nice spices next to the pear.  A winner. I'll make these again.  Ooh, also, no sugar on top - too messy!  I don't want to have to follow the kids around with a broom anymore than I have to.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Boo Who? Halloween Pillow Cases

Late last night I decided that both kids absolutely needed Halloween pillowcases for their toddler pillows, so I set out to find a tutorial.  I had seen a mention of the 'burrito method', which I was familiar with from sewing the Kalle Shirt by Closet Case Patterns, but I couldn't really picture how it would be used on a pillow case.

I ended up finding this YouTube video that told of a 15 minute toddler pillow case using the burrito method, and it was super clear on how to get this easy process to work. More like 'burrito magic!"

I have a small stash of Halloween fabrics from a quilt I started a few years ago (and mostly finished, the top anyway), so with those leftovers, and a few from my bag making days (the zigzag fabric), I got to work.

I had hoped to be able to make the kids matching pillows, because they fight over everything, but I didn't have enough of any of my Halloween fabrics, so they'll just have to fight over them.  Both of the Halloween prints are from the same collection - Boo Who? by Jerianne Van Dijk, Licensed to SSI.  I really wish I had bought more of these fabrics at the time, since I definitely want more, but they've been in my stash for years now.

I did a cursory search online for more of this collection, and was reminded that there are a million new Halloween fabrics that I'd also like to try. LOL!!

We have the ikea toddler/cot pillow, and it seems a bit big for these pillow cases - it hangs out the end a little (creative photography hides this). With that in mind, I'd add 2 inches to the main fabric piece, so it would measure 30" x 18" instead of the 30" x 16" it measures now.  Other than that, it's perfect! I see many more of these in my future, and the kids love them too.

I have enough scraps to make a couple of little Halloween themed bags. I'm thinking maybe this one or this one...

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Bra #2 Is Finished!

For my second bra, I used the Boylston bra pattern from Orange Lingerie again.

This time I made a few changes though. I reduced the band length by 1/2 an inch (1/4 inch from the right and 1/4 inch from the left, so the pattern piece was only reduced by 1/4 inch).

chain piecing as much as I can...can you tell I started out as a quilter? 

I also reduced the width of the fabric straps by cutting off the seam allowances from each vertical edge (leaving the horizontal edges alone). This left enough space for my 3/8 elastic to be applied and turned at the narrowest point, but not a whole lot more.  I also top stitched the edge opposite the elastic, which I think looks a million times better.

so pretty, but so uncomfortable

 These two alterations are in addition to widening the bottom of the bridge by 1/4 inch that I made to the pattern last time, and cutting a 32DDD with an increased band width (overall after this time's alterations, each side of the band had 2.75 inches added to it).

Again, I lined the entire bra (minus the band) with 15 denier, but changed things up with a swiss dot stretch mesh outer fabric (instead of the non-stretch lace from last time). I figured the 15 denier would keep the support I needed. WRONG!!

The 15 denier/stretch mesh fabric combo doesn't have enough support. It actually looks okay, but is is so uncomfortable. I don't enjoy having my b00bs resting on the top of my stomach when I sit down, and having them do this in coarse feeling stretch mesh is terrible!  Yuck!!

Needless to say, I won't be using this combo again.

One last change I made to this bra (vs the last one) was using size 44 regular underwires (from Bra Maker's Supply), which I had to cut at the center to make them fit.

The cutting went pretty well (I used a Sharpie to mark where I wanted to cut and bolt cutters to snip them, followed by a file to get rid of the super sharp edge, and then heat shrink tubing).

The size 42 underwires are definitely much more comfortable on me though, so that's what I'll be buying going forward.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Adventures In Stretch Mesh

After my first Boylston success, I wanted to make a second one to see if I would be as lucky (and also implement some little changes, like the band shortening and I narrowed the straps as well - hopefully that's not a total disaster!).

I would have switched over to the Marlborough, but I don't have enough strap elastic.

For the second one I am using the same 15 denier lining, but this time I'm pairing it with swiss dot stretch mesh (one way stretch).  The stretch mesh is infinitely more difficult to work with!

after zigzagging the two layers together

I started out with a straight stitch, and had no luck at all, so I grabbed some scraps from cutting out these materials and played around a little bit. I ended up switching over to a narrow short zigzag (1.5 mm wide and 1.5 mm long) and it was like that was exactly what this material was meant to be sewn with. What a difference!

After the last Boylston, I decided I would try out some 505 spray fabric adhesive to stick the straps, and the frame together with their respective lining pieces.  I had to wait for morning so I had some light, but I lucked out with a relatively wind-free day, and got to work.

drying after fabric adhesive application in the backyard

I did a little test piece first, and that seemed to go well, so I moved on to the actual pattern pieces.  I did one at a time and gave it a light dusting of 505 on the 15 denier and then placed the mesh on top of that.

Hopefully the fabric adhesive will help me keep those layers together!

Saturday, September 2, 2017

I Made a Bra!

I finished sewing the Boylston Bra by Orange Lingerie last night.  It fits! I can't believe it! And it actually looks good.  Honestly, I was surprised.  I wasn't expecting it to both fit and look good, but it does.

Once I had narrowed down a size (through 3 woven cotton (not recommended) muslins) it took me 2 naptimes and 3 full evenings to cut and sew this bra.

I used the instructions from the pattern, along with the Craftsy Bra Making Construction and Fit class. I would not have been able to achieve the results I did without the Craftsy class.  In my opinion, the Boylston Bra pattern isn't written for someone who has never ever made a bra before.

32DDD. (I should have bought the smaller sized pattern, because I'm not my RTW size in this (also, the sizing is confusing, as DD appears to be an 'E' in this one?).  I used the sister sizing/bottom cup depth info that I posted about a few days ago.

I sized up the band to a 38 by adding a total of 6" to the band (3" on each side).  I should have added slightly less than that, because my band could stand to be about 1/2" shorter (I'm on the tightest hooks).

I also added 1/4" at the bottom of the bridge, since I have some splaying action going on there.  This since this piece is cut on the fold, it added 1/2" total (which come to think of it, could be where I gained that 1/2" extra on the band?)...

Non-stretch lace, 15 denier lining, powernet (the non-stretch lace and powernet were from Fabricana, and the 15 denier lining was from Bra Maker's Supply).  I fully lined the lace, so everywhere that has a layer of lace in this bra also has a layer of 15 denier.  I should have bought some fabric adhesive, and I learned that basting with the lace side down (feed dog side) is the only way to control these two layers.

I bought fabric adhesive for next time.

I also used a 'large' findings kit in black from Bra Maker's Supply.  I didn't use the neck/top of cup elastic, and I barely had enough strap elastic. Such is life when you order a kit...

For the strap elastic, you basically have to have a mostly fabric strap, because there was only 20.5" of strap elastic in the kit (10.25" for the entirety of each strap). Particularly a bummer, because I have 2 more kits that I had planned to do fully elastic straps with and now I know I won't have enough.

Size 42 regular underwire from Bra Maker's Supply. I bought a 42, 44, 46 underwire in the regular and the long lengths, and the regular fit well in the Boylston, and the 42 fit my body well and fit in the bra too!   I think I will likely be able to use the 44's in a future bra (perhaps I'm a 43? haha), but the 46's are definitely to wide and too long.

Rotary cutter, self healing mat, pattern weights
Bernina 1230 sewing machine, 1/4" foot, zigzag foot, blind hem foot (for lining up top stitching)
Embroidery scissors, applique scissors
Iron, pressing ham
Size 10 ballpoint Schmetz needle
Silk pins

Straight stitch, zigzag, 3 step zigzag

I have to say, I'm pretty impressed with myself on this one! It was super unfamiliar construction, difficult fitting, and tricky fabrics, and I ended up with a great result!

The stitching on the top of the right cup feels like it needs some stretch, but I think that has more to do with a bit of a seam allowance issue in working with the two slippery fabrics together. Although, I wonder if I would have been better off using a zigzag stitch on that seam.

I also don't really like the lace for the straps. It just feels too delicate.  If I was going to make another lace Boylston I would likely do full elastic straps.  I think the neck side of the straps would have benefited from some top stitching, as well as the top of the cups, but that could just be because of my fabric choice.

I think I'm going to try a Marlborough Bra next.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Cotton Time!!

Near the beginning of August I placed an order with Hip Strings out of Pennsylvania, for some cotton and cotton spinning supplies.  I have been so excited to start adding cotton to my repertoire!!

The big box of cotton spinning goodies arrived this week -

It was really difficult to find hand dyed cotton fiber, and Hip Strings seems to be one of the few purveyors.  I loved the colourways they had in their shop, so I was happy to order from them.

Hip Strings also make support spindles, and I bought a Mistral tahkli to spin up the cotton I bought.  The shaft is carbon fiber and the whorl is a toonie sized piece of acrylic. It's so lightweight and spins like a dream.

I'm trying my best to keep the protective covers on each end of the spindle when I'm not using it, just in case the kids happen upon it. Both ends are super pointy.

Cotton sure is a different spinning experience.  This is also my first time using a supported spindle. I like it!  The cotton is tricky with the super short staple length, but spinning it long draw helps a lot.

I've my copy of the Cotton issue of Ply close at hand, as well as Joan Ruane's YouTube Channel.

Bra 1: Beginning the Boylston

Just taking a little tea break from actually sewing my bra project, and thought I'd do a progress update.

Omg, this is the most nerve wracking sewing I've ever done! It's actually going quite well so far, and I've already learned a ton. Namely, I didn't choose good fabrics for this particular pattern (I should have used foam and fabric not lace and 15 denier lining), and that I am not a fan of the 15 denier.

The thing I'm most happy about is that my sewing machine has not tried to eat my fabric (yet). I made sure I switched over to a ballpoint needle before I started sewing this project.

My main fabric is some non-stretch black lace, which I figured I should fully line, since it's pretty thin.  It is really REALLY difficult to keep the two fabrics together (lace and 15 denier). I should have picked up some spray adhesive before I got started, but seriously, who wants to make an extra trip to Walmart with 2 kids?

I'm just taking things super slow. Slow cutting, slow sewing, slow pressing, slow trimming.  Sllllloooooooooowwwwwwwwwwwwwww.

I ordered some applique scissors from Bra Maker's Supply when I placed my fabric/notions order earlier this week, which I am glad to have (what a satisfying this to trim those seams so close!). I was a bit surprised when they arrived and weren't Gingher brand - since the product page specifically said they were (and they were $25!!).  Sigh...not happy about that.  They're okay, but not Gingher.

I took the advice given on the Craftsy class and marked the right sides of the fabric with a sticker. Thankfully these sticker dots come in gigantic packs.

I'm going to keep going on this bra, but when I'm done, I think I'll start on a Harriet Bra by Cloth Habit, which in hindsight I probably should have started with. My materials are a better match, and there's tons of info on the construction in the sew along.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Bra Making - Mostly Still In The Planning Phase

...and we're off!  Or, I am starting to feel that way with the bra-making endeavor at least.

I've measured myself in a variety of different ways - above bust vs full bust, full bust vs under bust, and finally the bottom cup depth *find more on that here*.

Interestingly, the bottom cup depth measurement makes it really clear which cup sizes are 'sister sizes', and therefore a lot more clear how to go up or down in cup volume.

34DDD - Very Preliminary Muslin

My bottom cup depth is right between 4.5 inches and 4.75 inches, so I'm currently fiddling around trying to decide whether to make a 32DDD or a 34DDD, both would need band alterations to bring the band up to a 36, but this is the closest I've been able to come cup-size wise (Orange Lingerie defines their DDD as an F on their website).

I also have more volume in my lower cup, so the 32DDD might be just right.  I'm going to make 2 tester bras to see which is closest, and I'll go with whichever one is not too small.

I would much prefer to cut a bra with a band size that was drafted bigger and cup size that was drafted smaller, but I bought the large size of Boylston (and Marlborough, argh!!), so I'm working with what I've got.

I also purchased the Bra Making Construction and Fit Craftsy class, which has been worth its weight in gold.  Not just for alterations and measuring, but super useful things like how to put in the underwire - hint: the process is simpler than I'd ever imagined and I definitely would have screwed it up had I not watched this class.  There are so many things I didn't have a clue about, even with reading as much as I could about bra making.

I'm still wrestling the Orange Lingerie Boylston.  Fortunately the Boylston and Marlborough have the same band and cradle, so if I can get that part right, I'm well on my way to making a Marlborough bra next.

I placed my first order with Bra Maker's Supply in Ontario last night before bed, hoping that I'd have a chance of it being shipped out today so it could reach me before the upcoming long weekend, but we'll see.

32DDD - forgive the super crappy pic


The 34DDD definitely has more cup volume than I need, so I moved on and made a muslin of the 32DDD, which is actually perfect (cup volume wise), so I guess my BCD is closer to 4.5" than 4.75"!

Now I'm just awaiting proper supplies so I can actually make my real muslin, instead of just 'ballpark' muslins. LOL!

My RTW size (professionally fit, reputable brands) is 36G, which I am definitely NOT in the Orange Lingerie patterns.  Interestingly, this is also my size if I go by the under bust/full bust measurement.

Needless to say, I have much respect for the Bottom Cup Depth way of measuring.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

A Supplies Run...

I got it into my head that I had to make myself a bra.  Digging around online, it looks like there are tons of places within Canada to buy bra supplies, but I'm a tactile person and wanted to buy what I could in person.

I headed out to Fabricana in Richmond to take a look at what they had. I started with the bra making notions, and was disappointed to see that they didn't have any underwires meant for over a D cup (and they didn't seem to be labeled with the same sizing numbers (42, 44, 46, 48, etc) that I've seen in the bra patterns I've found.

They also didn't seem to have much variety in the way of elastics, lace trims, and other notions. Their hook sets were all 2 hook setups, except for two 3 hook models with a weird piece of elastic attached.

So, I consider that getting skunked as far as notions go.  Oh well, not really any further behind.

I had a quick look at the larger bolts of lace, and they didn't have a ton in the non-stretch lace area, but definitely enough, and in a few different colours.  They had an amazing supply of stretch lace though, so once I'm comfortable with the construction and find a good non-stretch lining fabric, I'd like to experiment with those.  Their swimwear fabrics were also very inciting.

The closest I could find to power mesh / power net with something called perfect fit mesh. I might need to use two layers, but I think it will likely work.  Or who knows, maybe that is power mesh. Haha!

In the end I picked up 1 meter of stretch mesh (swiss dot stretch mesh - I could not resist), 1 meter of non-stretch lace (to become part of a Marlborough bra, I think), and 0.5 meters of perfect fit mesh.  I can't get much further without some underwires and some hooks though!

I also needed to grab more medium weight interfacing for my next Closet Case Kalle Shirt.  I actually pulled the interfacing for the last one out of an abandoned project from about 5 years ago, so I definitely needed to buy more.

I thought I was done, but then I saw the most adorable little bird fabric. It was 100% cotton poplin, 58" wide, and I knew 2 meters would be enough for either a Kalle Shirt (cropped but lengthened a bit), or another Springfield shirt by Cashmerette.

100% Cotton Poplin Fabric
I've got David Coffin's book and DVD on shirtmaking out from the library right now, and I'm eager to see how my changes to the pattern pieces look after my first try at the cropped Kalle, as well as put some new knowledge to work.

And can we just talk about how addicting hidden plackets are? They're like magic!

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Cropped Kalle Shirt - Closet Case

I have to say, I was in way over my head on this one. I do like a challenge though, and all in all I enjoyed making the cropped version (view A) of Closet Case's Kalle Shirt.

A post shared by Chrissy (@manicpurl) on

Lightweight Cotton Sateen that was given to me by my FIL's cousin.  This isn't a print or colour scheme I would have picked for myself, but there's something about it I really do love with this pattern.

I think it is the scale of the oversized print with the cropped shirt that I like.  The colours really don't look good on me though.

Kalle Shirt + Dress (View A) by Closet Case Patterns
Cut size 16
Hidden placket, band collar


Closet Case Kalle Sew Along
Instruction that came with the pattern

2 inch Full Bust Adjustment (FBA), without darts (as shown in the Kalle Sew Along here).
1 inch added to the armscye (1/2" added to each the front and back pieces, as well as the sleeve facing pieces).

The FBA I did ended up adding length to the front piece (not sure if I screwed it up or if it is supposed to be like this, online tutorials seem mixed on this), and I didn't add any length to the front facing or the hidden placket, so both were too short.

I ended up chopping off the extra length from the front, which solved both issues.

The FBA also added width to the shirt (obvs), so I needed to add that amount of width to the front facing pieces, because they ended up being too short and not leaving me with anything to fold back over towards the button band for a finished edge.

I ended up sewing on an 'extension' to the front facings with a very small seam allowance and folding that back into the shirt to finish the edge. It looks totally fine and you really can't tell.

Even after getting everything matched up width and lengthwise, sewing on the facings at the bottom of the shirt was a gigantic pain in the butt.  So fiddly!

...and I totally sewed on the sleeve facings on the wrong way. The short side ended up at the back. This is definitely a case of not sewing when you're tired.  I swear I checked!

I will be adding extra length to the drop at the side seam of the front facing so it meets up with where the shirt ends.  Edit:  Once I started altering the pattern pieces for "next time", I realized that I actually needed to shorten the back facing piece and just re-draw the marking dots on the front and back to line up with the marking dot on the front facing piece (after I moved the front facing piece to line up with the bottom front of the shirt).

If I had increased the length of the front facing so it extended up to meed with the back facing piece, it would have removed almost all of the side seam from the front piece and things wouldn't have lined up properly.

I will add 5/8" to the center front of the front facings so I have something to fold over for the finished edge.

I'll also need to add length to the placket so it reaches the bottom of the front of the shirt.

These were total n00b issues that I should have caught in the tissue adjustment phase of this pattern.

Finished Make
Despite the challenges, mistakes and fabric not being my colour preference, I actually really REALLY like this shirt!

The large print with the crop, the fun shape, new skills and successful troubleshooting make this a total win for me.  I'm actually a bit hesitant to make it again, since I'm so happy with this one.

My husband took one look at it and said he couldn't get past the 'ugly fabric' to make a fit judgement and was surprised I deemed it a success.  Whaaaaaa???????  Thanks buddy.  Those are 'encouraging a trip to the fabric store' words.  $$$$