Monthly Archives: April 2016

Kwik Sew K4032 fleece jacket

 

First, a very happy 90th birthday to HM The Queen. I love the portraits that Annie Leibowitz captured of her with her family, especially the one with Princess Anne. Just lovely!

Yet another sewing project, Kwik Sew 4032, view B. I’m not sure what possessed me to attempt sewing a zippered fleece jacket as good quality ones are fairly priced around here. I think it had something to do with making my son a blanket out of the gray fleece, which was surprisingly good quality–despite it coming from Joann Fabrics of all places–and wondering how it would look with my favorite spring green color. Thus, a fleece jacket was born.

I had nothing but trouble with this project from the beginning, mostly operator error, although for the first time I was baffled by Kwik Sew’s instructions i.e. why was I instructed to cut out three pockets instead of the two I needed? and some confusing graphics. The parts I thought would be bearish — the collar, zipper, and topstitching — ended up turning out okay, while other parts — those darn zippered pockets! the hems! — had me with a seam ripper in hand for hours. Do I need to point out how difficult it is to rip out stitches in fleece, especially stretch/zig-zag?

Despite all the challenges I had here, it turned out well enough to wear on a brisk hike or an early morning bike ride. It is cozy warm and I like how it can be zippered up around my neck to block out wind. My husband gave me the highest compliment by saying it looked store-bought. Before he could ask me to make him one, I said I was retiring from the fleece garment making business. If I sew fleece again, it will be to make blankets, or maybe a simple ski hat or mittens.

Another caution: this is a unisex pattern but duh! I forgot and cut out a size medium. It is HUGE on me. I shortened the sleeve by a good inch on the pattern but still had to take another couple inches off while sewing. I don’t mind the extra room around the shoulders and middle as I like room to layer … just a word of warning if you’re looking for a snugger fit.

We’re off to Connecticut today to spend some time with my family. Have a good weekend!

 

 

Sewaholic Granville

Sewaholic Granville

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So! It’s finally spring in these parts, but I’m still obsessed with sewing blouses. I mixed things up by using a new (to me) pattern, the Sewaholic Granville. What appeals to me about Sewaholic patterns is they’re designed for women who are pear-shaped … smaller on top, curvier on the bottom. I wouldn’t say I’m small on top because I’m full-busted and frequently have to make full bust adjustments on my patterns, but I do have narrow shoulders so to get a good fit with blouses and dresses, I often have to buy a very small size to get the shoulder fit right, then adjust for my fuller bust and hips. My KwikSew blouses fit me well on top, but I’ve noticed there’s a extra fabric pooling at the small of my back and the hem could be looser around the hips. My hope was that the Granville would fit me better straight out of the “envelope.”

I put “envelope” in quotes because this was a pdf pattern. I’m just going to say it. I hate PDF patterns. I know some dressmakers love them (instant gratification) but I’ve recently made a resolution to not use them anymore because printing, taping, cutting, tracing … yuck, no thanks. That said, putting the Sewaholic pattern together went as well as it could despite my cat “hell-ping” me on the sewing table.

I made a size 12 with no modifications. I measured some key points on the flat pattern, figured the 12 would work, and started cutting. The fabric? Ok, confession. It’s quilting cotton. I stopped making clothes out of quilting cotton years ago, but when I saw this print while shopping with my mom this winter, I couldn’t resist. Pink and orange (my favorite color combo), and it reminded me of a Liberty print. It was also kind of loud. And my mother hated it. But it was $2.99 and had a nice hand, so all wins for me! (Yes, that my mother hates something usually makes me want it more. We have totally dissimilar tastes.)

I skimmed the directions, which were fine, but I mostly did my own thing based on what I learned in watching Pam Howard’s Craftsy class on shirtmaking. However, I did not flat-fell the seams … instead, I overlocked the seam allowance, then caught them with topstitching on the other side. Not the finest shirtmaking technique, but I figured if I sewed the pattern again, I’d do it with a higher quality fabric and do it right.

I was mostly happy with the results. The sleeve needs more ease, so I made a new pattern piece that includes a full-bicep adjustment, which should give me some extra wiggle room without changing anything else about the fit, which was perfect. I plan to make a couple more Granvilles with this adjusted sleeve. Stay tuned. Some other areas I need to work on include smoothing out the join of the collar band to the shirt and taking more care with the tower placket on the cuff. This was my first tower placket, and because the fabric wasn’t that tightly woven — quilting cotton, remember? — it didn’t come out that hot. 

I finished another sewing project last night, which I’ll post about later this week or next. My next sewing adventure is something easy … a pink and orange striped knit dress with the super-popular McCall’s M6886 pattern. This I plan to wear during our trip to Germany this summer. 🙂

Summer sewing with McCalls m6886

In other news … I’ve been working flat-out on our start-up business, Renegade Writer Press. Earlier this week, we released our first official title. More on this later, but reviews are coming in and they’re great. My business partner (and friend, let’s be honest) did a fantastic job getting this book done in record time. 

I hope you’re having a wonderful spring, too!