Author Archives: Stitch It Again

Chambray Summer Sequoia Pants

After my mock-up, I sewed the Itch To Stitch Sequoia Cargo Pants again in a chambray I bought at an estate sale.

The hardest part of sewing these pants is the waistband; I understand what to do, but I am just not competent enough to sew it properly.  A length of elastic is enclosed in ribbing which has to be stretched to fit an interfaced and non-interfaced waistband.

Then it has to be sewn to the pants with enough precision that the topstitching at the bottom of the waistband catches the part of the waistband turned to the wrong side of the pants for a clean finish.

Both times I had to hand stitch the inside as it was not lining up correctly.  My machine also starting squeaking in protest while I was sewing the waistband!!

The photo below shows the side that laid against the feed dogs while sewing. I couldn’t see it until I removed it from the machine. It didn’t match up to the top of the ribbing like it should. Rip!

I would like to make the shorts next.  In the future, I will either hand baste the waistband before sewing, or I will change the waistband to a simpler waistband with an elastic back.  My favorite ready-to-wear shorts have this same waistband, which attracted me to the pattern in the first place.

Because the pants have side straps for securing the rolled up legs, and side cargo pockets, the outside seam is sewn first.  That cuts down the opportunity for making adjustments.  I like to sew that seam last.

Look at how many little parts this pattern has!

I loved making the pockets and flaps.  I omitted the side cargo pockets because I ran out of snaps, and I also have 6 inches less leg than the pattern.

First time installing snaps!  I bought the kind with prongs which have to be pushed through the fabric and then hammered in.  There is a special little metal gadget to help with this, but I found it was easier to use a spool.  I watched this video: How to Install Snaps without Expensive Tools.

It was easy on my practice fabric.  It took a lot of effort to  get the prongs through all the layers on the pants.  Then bang, bang, bang!

I’m happy to be wearing these lightweight summer pants with two recent “I love this fabric” refashions.  They go together perfectly!

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Itch to Stitch Sequoia Pants Mock-up

I have made pants and shorts using a heavily altered pattern developed from the first Simplicity pants pattern I sewed.  I decided to buy a new pants pattern, the Itch to Stitch Sequoia Cargo pants, to give another pants pattern a try.  This pattern has many pieces, with pockets with flaps that snap shut, and a lot of details.

I started off with a size 10 in the hips, and had to take about 6 inches off the length and also narrowed the legs. The crotch curve on my base pants pattern was deeper, and I thought it was best to keep the same curve and depth.

comparing the back piece of the Sequoia with my pants sloper on top

This is a simplified trial “patio version” to check the fit and practice some of the techniques before sewing them up in the intended chambray fabric.  I didn’t use snaps in this version, but I practiced inserting them.  I bought snaps with prongs, and used a hammer to pound them in, as seen in this you tube video.

The pants I made previously lacked pocket facings and interfacing, and a curved waistband.  I tried the pattern instructions for the zipper fly, but prefer the perfect fly I sewed on my chambray shorts with the instructions from the Readers Digest  Complete Guide to Sewing book.

The waistband is a little tricky to sew and uses elasticized knit fabric on the top half. I have ready-to-wear shorts that have this same waistband and I love them because they fit even with weight fluctuations.

 For this version, I kept the leg straps but substituted buttons for the snaps.

I tried rolling them up to different lengths.  Because I have full calves, I like this length best.  If I want to go higher, I’d rather wear shorts.

My chambray version is all cut out and ready to be sewn.  Woo – hoo!

Bird of Paradise Shirt Refashion

It’s another “I love this print” refashion.

I knew which thrift store shirt I wanted to make over to wear this spring.  The soft rayon print has big bird of paradise flowers and also a background of vertical blue stripes.  I like it even in its original XL size as an overshirt, although that armhole depth is super deep.

I used New Look 6598, the view on the bottom right with a collarless v-neck and short sleeves, for my pattern pieces. I like the way this style of shirt looks like a jacket.

I had to place the front piece in the best spot to use the existing button placket.  The problem that resulted was a large space in the middle of the bust with no buttons.  If I were sewing a shirt from scratch, a button would be placed at the fullness of the bust to prevent gaping.

What to do?  Lean closer and I’ll tell you: I sewed a secret button.

location of secret buttonhole

I sewed a buttonhole between the buttons and a button on the inside of the shirt on the buttonhole side of the placket. It is invisible when buttoned as the button is on the wrong side of the shirt.

I remembered seeing this technique on Handmade Jane’s blog. It works well, although my shirt should have more ease over the bust.

I sewed bust darts, and omitted the waist contour darts and the back tie. The v-neck was a little awkward so I also added the tiny neck button from the original shirt at the top of the shirt for more coverage.

 

Sew Stripes Top

February was “sew stripes” month on the Sewcialists blog and Instagram, and I joined in!  Although I have never participated in sewing challenges , this is the second Sewcialist challenge I have completed.  Although not blogged until now, I finished by deadline.

This was my first time sewing with stripes fabric. When sewing stripes two main aspects come to mind: stripe matching and playing with the grain of fabric, possibly switching up the stripes by using the cross grain or the bias.

I had this small piece of thick and thin striped woven cotton  fabric.  It was not enough for even a sleeveless top on its own so I paired it with a solid.

I was deliberating between patterns until I came across a free pattern from Peppermint Magazine , the Harvest Top.   Perfect!

 

The pattern has a yoke, body, bottom band, and arm bands making it an easy choice for color blocking as well as stripes.  I decided to change the back to keep the buttons only for the yoke, and to cut the body as a single piece.

The layout was a double thickness of the entire striped fabric, laying the front and back body pieces on the lengthwise grain as is customary, and the front and back yoke single layer on the crossgrain.  The bottom bands, armbands, and facings were cut from the navy fabric.

Making the top seemed like a lot of work in comparison to the ease of sewing knit tees!!  I had to deal with seam finishing, facings, buttonholes, and fitting adjustments.  I opted out of sewing a muslin, and instead started with a generous size.  The pattern has a lot of ease and I needed to take my basted side seams in considerably. (Well, the pattern is also called “boxy top”).  I made the arm opening smaller to avoid the deep, body exposing armholes. I didn’t cut the arm cuffs on the bias as I was using solid fabric and didn’t need the stretch either.

Yep, I stripe matched the shoulder and side seams.

The front:

And the back:

And worn by me:

The arm and bottom bands are both doubled so there is no hemming.  I’m thinking of a knit fabric version in the future.

I think adding a second solid fabric made the top even better.  I have been loving this technique; my last four tops have all used two different fabrics:

Do you have a favorite?  Mine is  the black and white dotted tee.

No Fuss Quick Raglan Tee

I got out of the habit of sewing after the holidays, and didn’t plug my machine back in until January 20th.

After writing my 2018 Make Nine list to get me motivated, I decided to start with an easy tee.  I had taped the free pattern by It’s Always Autumn together previously. Then on a windy Saturday I cut and sewed to completion my first raglan! This was my first ever one day project, and after this instant gratification I understand the allure of sewing with knits.

I wanted to make the baseball jersey type of shirt and found a XL tee for the body and a size small for the sleeves.

I find using the fabric from thrift store tee shirts to be a cheap and practical way of sourcing knit fabric.

I made a few small changes to the pattern taking away 1/2 inch from the length of the raglan, and adding 1/2 inch to the hip.  I used a rotary cutter which made cutting the bodice front, back, and sleeves so quick and easy.  I cut the elbow length sleeves.

I put in a stretch needle and sewed with a zigzag width of approximately 1.5 width and a 2.5 length. I have a manual machine, so I’m just twisting a dial.

I love Autumn’s method of attaching the neck band.  Instead of measuring the neck and using a mathematical calculation to figure out the length of the band, I simply stretched and pinned the unjoined band to the neck, and sewed it together where it meets in the back.

Another no fuss technique I used was to bypass the double needle. Instead I used the same zigzag stitch to hem the sleeves and top stitch around the neck. No changing the thread either.

I loved this sporty look so much I decided to do it again!

This time I cut the shirt tail hem of the pattern, and short sleeves.

This shirt would look more dressy made in one fabric, but I was enjoying coming up with the color combinations too much to stop.  I didn’t buy any new tees;  I was working with the colors I already had on hand.

These shirts already feel like old favorites.  They’re a hit!

The I Love This Fabric Refashion

I don’t do much thrift shopping anymore, but I still have a pile of clothes for refashioning possibilities.

There was less fabric than you might think to work with in this size small rayon dress with a shirred top and high-low hem.  I almost left it behind, but I loved the two tone print.

Because it was truly small, I didn’t cut it apart at the side seams because I was afraid it would become too narrow at the bust and hips when resewn.

As the photo shows, I simply cut off the top, cut a scoop for the neckline, cut down 10 inches for armholes, sewed the shoulders, and cut a new hem.  I finished the neck and armholes with ready made bias binding.  I needed every bit of length for the front, which is a little shorter than I would like.   I didn’t add any dart shaping so it’s free flowing from the bust and hangs away from my body. I like the longer back.

This refashion was completed last year.  Next up, my first project in 2018.  I finished something in January from my make nine list! Can you guess which one?

A Look Back and On To 2018

As I was thinking about what projects I wanted to work on in 2018, I made a collage from 2017:

A few haven’t been finished, and a few are unblogged.

Lucky Lucille hosts the make nine challenge on Instagram and has very helpful questions to consider when choosing your projects. I’ve seen a lot of make nine collages for 2018, but my list is a little different.  It’s more general and individualized, so no photos.

For quite some time, I’ve had in my mind a desire to make two hybrid projects, blending sewing with embroidery, and with crochet.   These are hard to get started on, because some planning, experimentation,  and decision making are needed first.  Summer sewing is always in my queque, throw in some embroidery, and a few little projects, and that’s it.

I’ve never made a proper button-down shirt with a collar with a collar stand, so I might attempt one to expand my sewing skills, even if it’s a sleeveless shirt.

  1. embroidered blouse
  2. crochet yoke tee
  3. summer pants
  4. raglan tee
  5. embroidered kitchen towels
  6. basket quilt from previously embroidered square
  7. refashion (I know, so vague)
  8. button shirt, maybe with collar
  9. Christmas sewing

So, you might see these projects completed and blogged this year….or maybe not.

Do you make these kind of lists?