Thursday, March 24, 2016

Back in the Saddle..

 As spring break is now upon us, I will be escaping my winter den and hitting the road toward warmer climates. This means many, many hours spent in the car over the course of the next week.

Being an old hand at these road-tripping adventures means that I was looking for a solution to the lower lumbar ache that starts to pain me about 6 hours into driving. As per usual, I waited until a few days before scheduled departure to finally tackle this item on my "To Do" list. ;)
 Fortunately, I didn't have to search for a pattern since I remembered a post that Sue at Fadanista put up a month or so ago. She had made some triangular neck pillows for her family to use while camping, and I thought they looked perfect for my back needs.
 The original pattern is offered for free at the Sew4Home website, and it only requires 4 pieces. This is a great scrap-busting project, and the fabric type is very flexible. I used quilting cotton on mine because I have LOADS of it.
 These things are SOOOO fast and easy. I actually made 5 of them in an afternoon (most of the time was spent choosing fabrics), and I have already given 2 of them away to other back-problem-sufferers.
After the first pillow, I chose to omit the ribbon handles. I couldn't really figure out their purpose, and the gals in one of my Facebook groups assured my that they weren't necessary. I also played with the amount of stuffing and found that the plump, over-stuffed amount of fill is perfect for my back. My favorite projects are the ones that are easy to customize and only take a few hours.

Time to hit the road!

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Bohemian Rhapsody

 Last week, while I was wasting my life away on Pinterest, this super-sweet video tutorial done by Rin from Sew In Love popped up in my feed. As soon as I saw the "Boho Kimono" title, I was hooked. I own exactly ZERO peasant-style tops, and the pattern looked too easy for me to pass up. I mean, I only had to cut out 4 rectangles and 2 trapezoids!

Rin's version is a dress, but I really just wanted a sheer top for layering in the summer. According to the video, any "drapey" fabric will do for this, so I pulled from my stash and got to work.
I am convinced that sheer fabric is manufactured using THE SCREAMS OF FRIGHTENED CHILDREN, because this stuff is NIGHTMARE FUEL! As soon as I had cut the first 2 rectangles, I knew that I was in trouble. I used a straight edge and a rotary cutter, yet my rectangles looked more like drunktangles. What was happening???

Sheer fabric may be "drapey," but I quickly learned that it does not have the stability, or the stretch, for this project. I powered through it, but I have to admit that it almost got wadded at least a dozen times. The final result is not at all what I had hoped for in fit, and instead of taking it apart, I grabbed some ITY knit and tried again.
 I also made a few changes to the original tutorial instructions. I appreciate that Rin was laying it out so that beginners could put this together, but there were a few things that made me cringe as an intermediate.
#1 - I got rid of the casing for the elastic, and just sewed it directly to the underbust seam.
#2 - The seam allowances were all constructed at 3/8"
#3 - I hemmed the sleeves and neck opening LAST so that the edges looked more finished.
 The original pattern also calls for a waist tie that I excluded from both garments. I just didn't see the point of it when there is already elastic in there.

The ITY performed like a champ on this project, and it would have been a total home run except for that fact that I ignored my machine manual and used crap thread in my twin needle during hemming. So, I have some awkward stitchery happening that I am too lazy to pull out. Regardless of that, this is a very comfortable and wearable knit top. I wish that the sheer had worked out better, but I learned a valuable lesson about working with that fabric, so it was not a complete loss.  

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

What Dreams Are Made Of....

I recently came across a photo in a catalog of THE COOLEST TOP EVER, and I knew I needed it immediately. But, when I went to the website and saw the price for this SHIRT OF MY FANTASIES, I balked a little. $64!? Come on, now. I mean, it's cute, but it's not THAT cute.

 Yes it is that cute.  Thankfully, I found a pattern in my bottomless pit of patterns that I thought would work for a "similar" design. I mean, I'm not really copying the style...just, you know, using it as inspiration.
 I was fortunate to unearth some kinda, sorta coordinating fabric in my knit stash and I whipped out this beauty in a fairly short amount of time.
 The only obstacles that I ran into were with the pattern measurements. The sleeve was about 8" too long even before I added the cuff length, so that got sized down right quick. And, the pattern piece for the collar ribbing was made for doll heads. Like, Barbie doll heads. I actually had to make sure that I didn't accidentally cut out the cuff pattern. Nope, sure didn't. I decided to wing it on the neckline. :)
 Also, I may have accidentally cut the one sleeve backwards...which definitely matters in a raglan top. Whoops. Cut a new one, and now I have an orphan sleeve hanging out in my fabric stash. :(
Ultimately, I LOVE LOVE LOVE this top. It is lightweight and perfect for spring hiking or bike riding. And, it cost me $0!! Is it as cute as the "inspiration piece"? No, but I have the muslin made for future tops using more exciting fabric. So, ha!