Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Me-Made-May '15

I'm planning to participate in Me-Made-May for the first time ever this year!

Here is my pledge:

 'I, (Johanna Imhoff of, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May '15. I endeavour to wear one me-made/refashioned garment per week for the duration of May 2015, and also to mend one item from my mending pile per week.'

I don't have a very extensive me-made wardrobe at this point, especially for one season. However, I am certain that I can manage to wear at least one me-made garment per week. I also have a silly pile of garments that need mending or altering. Most of the changes need are so simple that it's just stupid that I haven't done it yet. Making new clothes is just more fun! But if I replace a couple of drawstrings, mend a torn seam or two, and take in some shoulder seams, it will be almost like having a bunch of new clothes.

Here is the link to the signup. I tried to add the gadget, but blogger keeps telling me it has illegal characters (I don't know what I'm doing).

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Two New Tops for Summer

When spring springs here in Florida it can get warm really fast. I started feeling like I didn’t have any tops to wear other than regular t-shirts, and I wear those all the time so I like to try to dress a little more nicely for school or going out with my friends. 

Over the past couple of weeks I have sewn two tops, Sew Much Ado’s Seafarer Top and Gray Day Patterns’ Sandpoint Top. I have had the Seafarer in my collection for a couple of years but hadn’t gotten around to making it. I was drawn to the simple lines and the wide hem bands and arm bands, and I bought the pattern without a specific fabric or a clear vision in mind. I finally decided to sew myself a Seafarer in a knit that I randomly purchased from Girl Charlee Fabrics about two years ago. 

I cut a size medium with a cheater FBA by grading out to a large at the bust on both the front and back pattern pieces and a 1” swayback adjustment. I began construction by attempting to stitch clear elastic into the shoulder seams and fold-over neckline. It was a disaster. I think both my knit and the elastic are too thick and there was just way too much bulk. I unpicked the neckline elastic, and ripped a hole in the fabric. Next I cut a neckband and tried to cover the hole. It didn’t work, and I didn’t really like the bound neckline. I decided to just stitch the neckline down hole and all and treat this as an unwearable muslin for fitting purposes only. No photos of this disaster…I couldn’t find my camera and my mirror-cell phone selfies came out terribly. Maybe this was a sign that dolman sleeves aren’t right for me, but I didn’t like the excess fabric at my underarms/the sides of my bust. However, when I lifted the top by the shoulder seams, I liked it much better. On my pattern piece, I simply folded the shoulder line down an inch and cut out the pattern again in the same fabric. I also scooped out the neckline a little lower in both the front and back, but I didn’t make these changes on the pattern. 

The front and back curved hemlines didn’t really match up, so I folded the hem up at the bottom of a stripe and then stitched within that stripe and trimmed off the excess fabric.

 Ta daaaa!
I wanted to keep this as simple as possible because of the stripes, but I absolutely see myself making other versions with the sleeve and hem band options. 

I'm really happy with the fit, although maybe I need even more of a swayback adjustment?

And I'm really happy with the stripe matching.

When I first saw the Sandpoint Top, I thought it was cute but that the shape wouldn’t be flattering on me. However, I kept seeing versions of it pop up on the internet in fabrics with varying drape and decided a really lightweight fabric with a lot of drape might work for me. I’ll write about the fabric I have in mind later when I actually cut it out and stitch it up. In the meantime, I knew I needed a test-fitting garment, and grabbed another Girl Charlee knit from my stash. It’s not at all similar to the fabric I want to use next, but I just can’t keep buying fabrics for muslins right now.

I cut a straight size small, which is a thing I THOUGHT I WOULD NEVER DO. I considered trying to do a cheater FBA, but I couldn’t figure out how to do it with the sleeve shape of the pattern. The finished garment measurement chart made it look like a straight small without a FBA would actually work for me, but I didn’t believe it could be true so I stitched on ahead with the expectation of at least partial failure.

But I didn't fail! It worked! On the first try! 

I wore it again Friday night with better-fitting jeans and felt even better in it than the photos would indicate.

Honestly, I never thought the "wearable muslin" would be a reality for me, but this is my new favorite shirt.

When I look at these photos, I see some potential fit issues that I don't see or feel when I see myself in the mirror. Maybe the garments are sitting differently, or I'm standing strangely when I'm posing for the photos, or maybe I do have real fit issues. I'm pretty uncomfortable taking photos of myself and I think how I feel when I'm wearing the clothes and how I feel when I look in the mirror are more important than my awkward blog photos. However, I'm still a rookie and I'm open to fit advice from others. Have any?