Monthly Archives: May 2016

Sewing projects for May

I completed two sewing projects this month, not bad in that it was a super busy month around here.

First up is McCalls 6886, which has been a popular pattern with sewing bloggers over the last few months. It was a fairly straightforward project with the only challenge being keeping those stripes lined up at the seams, which I managed to do fairly well. The only thing I changed about the pattern was binding the neckline with a strip of fabric cut on the cross-grain. I left one shoulder unsewn before I did the binding so I could seam everything up neatly once the binding was attached. I adore hot pink and bright orange together. When I spotted this fabric in the bargain bin at my local Joann’s, I bought all they had left. I still have enough left over for a t-shirt.

This is a size 14 at the shoulders/bust, and I graded out to a 16 at the waist and hips. This would have been fine in a heavier ponte knit, but I used a thin pique knit that shows every lump and bump underneath. That said, I’m planning to bring this dress on our trip to Europe later this summer when I’ll be at my slimmest/fittest, so I’m not too worried about it. Also: Spanx. 😉

McCalls 6886

 

 

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Next up for your viewing pleasure is yet another tailored shirt, this one made out of some of-so-soft fine-wale cotton corduroy I had in my stash. The pattern is also McCalls (M6649, a Laura Ashley design now OOP) that was part of the Craftsy class called One Pattern, Many Looks. Again, I cut out a size 14 for the shoulders/bust and graded out to a 16 around the waist/hips. This pattern includes separate pieces for B/C/D cup sizes, so I chose the C cup. 

The pattern directions were not the best on this pattern, but it really wasn’t an issue for me because I’ve developed my own “order of construction” based on Pam Howard’s excellent Craftsy class on sewing tailored shirts. I also recently purchased David P. Coffin’s class on shirtmaking details and picked up a couple neat tricks for turning collars and cuffs.

I had always wondered how my grandmother’s hemostats (she was an RN) ended up in the sewing box I inherited from her. Then I saw Coffin’s trick of using them to fold and hold the seam allowances while turning a collar or cuffs. Absolutely brilliant! I’ve never had sharper points on my collars and cuffs until now. I wonder if this was a trick my grandmother knew, although she was more of a knitter than a sewist.

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I’m pretty happy with the shirt. The darts in the front and the back flatter my figure, and the fit in the shoulders is spot-on. The only thing that was surprising was seeing how the C-cup barely contained my bust. The buttons aren’t straining or anything like that, but the fabric is a bit too form-fitting for my tastes. Next time I’ll use the D-cup piece to give myself more room in this area.

Speaking of buttons, I chose snaps for this garment. I wanted a more casual look with this garment, and I think the pearl snaps help.

I’ll probably pack this shirt away for the fall.

McCalls 6649

McCalls 6649

I picked up my 2nd Kelly sweater after a long hiatus and it’s coming along nicely. I’m still surprised how much I enjoy knitting with two strands of mohair and silk! You’d think it would be fussy and a pain, but it’s actually not much of a bother at all. Plus all the fluff hides wonky stitches and it looks beautiful on the needles. I’ve finished the sleeves (I always knit sleeves first) and am nearly done with armhole shaping on the back piece. Then all that’s left are the front pieces plus the finishing details … I’m hoping to have this done by July. I started this sweater around the same time last year, planning to have it finished for Christmas 2015. So it goes.

Blogging has definitely taken a back seat lately. Our trip to Europe this summer is taking a lot of coordination as we’ll be traveling with my brother and his wife and visiting with my husband’s family in various locales. Then my husband is starting a new job in Boston in a couple weeks. Last week we were out to dinner and he mentioned he was thinking about getting some shirts custom made. “I hope you’re thinking made by your wife,” I said. So yeah, that’s on the plate now, along with the sun-blocking drapes I need to make for our bedroom and the clothes I want to make for our travels this summer. My son is now as tall as I am and eats constantly; there are days where I feel like I’m a short-order cook at Denny’s flipping burgers, pouring waffle batter, or kneading bread dough. (Wait, I don’t think they knead dough at Denny’s, but never mind.)

I’ve been hearing a lot of “blogging is dead.” I have to admit, I think about shutting Hail Britannia down, but something stops me. I guess it’s that I’ve been doing this since 2008 and that I do it for my own amusement … there’s no rule that says I have to blog every day or every week. It’s okay if I take a break. Still, these days I’m much more apt to post something on Instagram because I can do it in a minute versus this. THIS, what I just wrote, took me over an hour because my computer is crap and it struggles with cutting and pasting links to my Flickr photos. I feel like I have to carve out an hour or two from my schedule to blog, whereas Instagram takes me seconds.

I don’t know … guess I’m rambling here. At any rate, I’m still here and have plans to write more about what I’m making and doing. I hope you’ll still be around too. But if you want more frequent updates, or are curious whether or not I’m still living and breathing, Instagram is probably the best place to check. 🙂

Hope you’re enjoying this glorious spring!