September 20, 2015

Koi Dress (McCall's 6887)

My mom brought me this beautiful koi print fabric from Hawaii and I was excited to use if for this pattern. It's got the slightest bit of stretch to it and sews up so easily. After sewing McCall's 6887 the first time, I realized I should probably make a muslin before trying it again so I could get a better fit for the bodice. I sewed a combo of views A and B (sleeveless A-line with no back cutout) in size 20. This time, I modified the A/B cup bodice side front piece to eliminate excess fabric on the top of the bust and the fit is much better.

I didn't have any material that would work for a lining (and this fabric doesn't need it, anyway) so I used a bias facing. I could have been a little more careful about pressing it in further so the bias tape doesn't show from the front, but it's not bad for my first time.

Another skill I've recently acquired is serging! My mom found a White Speedylock 299D serger at a thrift store for $30 and I picked up four different colors of serger thread from Salvation Army for a dollar apiece. Having four colors helped a ton in figuring out tension settings. I'm using it only for inner seams so it doesn't matter that the serged edge is teal, purple, black, and white.

I got a little scared since everything I've read online about this model says it's one to avoid, but after looking through the manual and watching a lot of Youtube tutorials it's up and running with no issues. It makes finishing seams so quick and they look so much more professional than pinking them, which is what I usually did before. I want to serge everything now!

To fix the issues with the skirt panels, I redrafted the side and back pieces to match the bodice seams. It wasn't hard at all and worked way better than the original pattern. I meant to make pockets but got too excited about serging and finished the side seams before putting them in. Oops! The fit is (almost) perfect and I look forward to tweaking future versions to make it even better. I already have a fabric in mind...

September 19, 2015

Rose City Rollers

After knitting my sister's socks, I had most of a skein left of the pretty Premier Yarns Grand Canyon. I was browsing Ravelry for an ankle sock pattern and the Rose City Rollers by Mara Catherine Bryner stood out. The pattern suggests size 1 needles, but size 2 needles worked fine with the medium size. I really like how the pattern was written and the explanations for non-standard things like starting the round from the side instead of the middle of the sole were clear and well thought out.

I didn't have extra yarn to start the yarn at the same point in the pattern, but by some miracle it worked out and the stripes line up almost perfectly!

At least until the toe on the second sock, where I ran out of yarn and had to finish with a little leftover gray Zitron Trekking yarn.

The roll top is fun and way more aesthetically pleasing than ribbing but still provides enough material to keep the socks from sliding down. These socks are quick to knit up and work perfectly with my hightops and ankle boots and would also look good exposed.

I think one skein of Premier Yarns Wool-Free Sock yarn would be the perfect amount for a pair of Rose City Rollers. I'll definitely be making more in the future, but as soon as I get more sock yarn I want to knit the gorgeous Seed Stitch Socks by handepande on Ravelry.

September 2, 2015

Cutout Dress (McCall's 6887)

I picked up McCall's 6887 a while ago but was waiting on it since I wasn't sure which fabric to use. It's a simple A-line dress with sleeve, pencil skirt, and back cutout options. Instead of doing a proper muslin, I started sewing view A (sleeveless A-line with the back cutout) out of a bed sheet I had leftover from another dress. I should really make real muslins instead of doing these sort of half muslins that I end up making into real pieces of ill-fitting clothing. Someday I'll learn my lesson. Maybe.

My measurements put me between a size 20 and 22, and I decided to go with the 20. I'm glad I did because it's still a hair too big. This pattern uses cup sizes and I was right on the borderline between an A/B cup and a C cup. I cut the C cup size since in real life I wear a DD and couldn't imagine that an A/B cup would fit. I was wrong, the C cup ended up being a bit poochy, especially above the bust. It's still wearable with a padded bra.

However, the back cutout is not compatible with any of my bras. The piece that is supposed to cover the band is wide enough but sits way too high on my back. It wouldn't be too hard to alter the pattern and make it work, but it's too late for this dress since the top is fully lined and installed. I forgot to put interfacing in where the buttonholes go, so I sewed the buttons through both panels. It's easy to slip the dress over my head so this was a non-issue.

The pattern calls for the bodice lining to be slipstitched in by hand which was annoying but ended up looking nice. There aren't great instructions about how to attach the edges of the bodice to the skirt so I just overlapped it a tad and stitched it up. Not the most elegant, but it works and isn't really noticeable unless you're the one sewing it.

The main problem with this pattern is the skirt. Something is definitely wrong with the pattern- I had to cut out 11" from the back of the skirt, eliminating two entire panels and parts of two more. I ended up pinching out the extra fabric, sewing down the middle of the back and installing the zipper there. Not a hard fix but I was glad to be using a bed sheet instead of nice fabric!

Overall, it's a cute pattern and the modifications will be easy when I make this dress with "real" fabric.