Tag Archives: sewing clothes

Plum Skirt, Blue Skirt

purple skirt on taraThis is my sister Tara.  The day after this picture was taken she took off in her car full of belongings headed for Colorado on a long adventure that would take her to Tennessee and then back to Colorado for a meditation retreat for two months and then…?  We had been shopping for skirts for her.  She couldn’t find what she was looking for.

tara in purple skirtThere was a moment in Target when a whole lot of information coalesced in my head to deliver this message: the skirt my sister is looking for is something I can make in less than two hours from fabric we can buy at the store.  It isn’t often when a moment of clarity shows me how I can be of service to my sister.

Her birthday is soon.  I told her I would make her a skirt for her birthday.she wont like itAn A-line skirt of knit fabric.  Casual, comfortable, classic.

Tara and I do not have the same style but we both love a few of the same classics.  The A-line skirt is one of them.  It looks good on both of us.  I made her two.

my adorable sisterTara is one of my favorite models.  We didn’t take much time with this photo shoot.  Time was wastin’ and the hour was nigh.  In the morning she took off for hot tarmac winding relentlessly through Utah, Wyoming, and finally Colorado.

Then a few days later she flew back to us from Tennessee where she was supposed to work the Bonnaroo concert for ten days.  She flew back to be close to our mom during her emergency hospitalization.  No one wanted her to give up her job to come home.

Except that I desperately wanted her to come home.

She did.

I made her two knit skirts.  One plum and one blue.

She’s going to fly the coop again soon.  It’s almost time for her to rejoin her solo adventure.  It’s almost time for her to find her meditation and her healing again.  I’m used to letting my sister go.

I’m going to fortune tell here: if my sister would shed her native guilt she will find she has an incredible power to heal people, to heal herself, and to blaze new pathways through life.  If I could erase her self doubt through an A-line skirt – it would already be done.

Cannibalistic Hot Dog Over-shirt

hot dog shirt necklineThere’s little hot-dog men eating hot dogs while their olive-headed wiener dogs loaf around, as they do, and I have to wonder if the hot dog the hot dog is eating is ACTUALLY a barbequed dog?  Or some third-party wiener?

I think of these over-shirts I’ve been making as smocks.  Philip doesn’t like the word “smock”.  He prefers “over-shirt”.  Both the over-shirt and smock are ideal words to describe a garment meant to hide my formidable ass but I like “smock” better because it’s a word of action where-as an over-shirt is an inherently lazy garment.  You put a smock on to DO things in, often creative things.  You put on an over-shirt just to cover yourself.  hot dog shirt front

I think, however, that most people feel that a smock is not a garment you wear out in public whereas I have every intention of wearing mine in public.  So let’s call it either and be done with it.

Again – remember that my dressform is much smaller than me.  My shirt is a little less roomy on me.  From the last version I have added some width to both the front and the back and made the shirt a couple of inches longer.hot dog shirt cuffI cleaned up some pattern issues and changed the back.  This newer version comes together more smoothly.  I trued all the seams – a really important step in pattern drafting.

hot dog shirt buttonThese particular buttons aren’t vintage but are part of my stash.  No button buying for me for a long time.  I’m on a use-what-you-have button diet.

hot dog shirt problemsThis picture illustrates the issues I’m having with my pattern in the front of the shirt.  I need to fix this so that the curves match in the overlapped part.  I also might need to move this button so that it holds the top and bottom more closely aligned.  It’s an easy fix and I’m pretty lazy and not likely to keep the top button buttoned so fat chance I’ll fix it.

hot dog shirt backHere’s the new version of the back.  I definitely considered doing away with the contrasting fabric but my desire to see the hot dogs next to the polka-dot won me over.  I like contrasting fabrics.  I’m happy with this.

hot dog shirt back detailI now have 4 over-shirts done (I’ll do separate posts for the other two) and I have the two linen ones left to do.  Then I have pants and pyjamas to make and I’ll be done sewing clothes at least for a little while.  Which is good because I’m quickly exhausting all the Midsomer Murder videos my video rental place has.

Santa Rosa better get ready because I’m putting this shirt on right now to head to the store!

The Sherbet Over-Shirt

shirt pattern

I need some over-shirts to cover my fat ass and they need to have pockets so I can take the dog for a walk without having to bring a bag.  I get overheated easily and can’t wear sweaters or jackets for walking.  Searching for a pattern to work with was predictably (and ridiculously) hard.  I wanted set in sleeves and a loose fit and long enough to cover my ass but not fuddy duddy and golf-y looking.  Forget it!  As usual I realized I was going to have to make my own design.  I don’t have slopers for my size and it would just depress me to spend tons of time making them (plus, I lack an obese sized dress form – and I only know how to make slopers using dress forms).  I needed a pattern to alter.  This is the one I chose – I thought it matched most of my starting needs until I got it home and saw that the sleeves aren’t set in.  Drat!

started out as

It was on sale for $1.99 so I didn’t have to worry about cutting up the pattern.  I set about making it wider at the hems in both the front and the back because I am always larger on the bottom than the top (even when I was a regular-sized person).  I lengthened the sleeves a little because I wanted them long enough to roll the cuff up.  Forget about those side vents.  I also drafted pockets (3 tries and I still have to alter the ones you’ll see below) and did away with the collar.

pattern work

This shirt has already taken up quite a bit of dot paper and my re-draft will take even more.  I have to either order it online or beg some off of my friend Autumn who owns the corset company Dark Garden.  Dot paper is the perfect weight for drafting – it’s light enough to allow pleating and folding and then also using to cut fabric from but heavy enough that you can trace around it and it doesn’t tear easily.  The markings on it are  in a grid making it easy to line things up and use your ruler to good effect.  I want a whole roll of it but it weighs a ton so shipping is really expensive.

the sherbet shirt

So here it is!  It bears almost no resemblance to the original pattern.  I’m happy with the front, though I still need to make the hem a little wider.  This looks much better on my dress form because she’s several sizes smaller than me.

whale of a back

That pleat is there because of a pattern problem.  I do NOT like the contrasting back panel.  I’m also not a fan of my curve line there which is not flattering on me.  When I try this shirt on the front looks okay but in the back I look like a whale-backed Alfred Hitchcock shaped sherbet popsicle.  I’m already short-waisted so that curve should be the other way around – or the seam between top and bottom should be straight.

back and cuff detail

I am very pleased with the cuffs.  Though on the next version I think I will make the contrast piece much longer so I can fold up the cuff and still have some of the contrast be on the inside.  I’m not sure how to explain that.

pocket detail

I have rarely intentionally worked with directional patterns for design effects.  I was pleased with this even though my stripes don’t match up perfectly.

clean stitching

Pardon me – this picture is superfluous.  I only include it because I like looking at that clean stitching and how I managed to sew that facing in without this recalcitrant fabric puckering or bunching.

front and button detail

The buttons are vintage.  My button holes are a little shaggy.  My sewing machine (Pfaff 2046) doesn’t like doing button holes so I have to cajole and trick it.  In every other way than that my machine has met my expectations.

facing and button detail

That is my favorite detail.  I’m so pleased with the facing.  I love a stripy surprise!  I often find facings tedious to sew but this one I made myself and it came together so well and I actually enjoyed sewing this one.  It was tricky (as I mentioned above) working with the wrinkly gauze but I managed it.

So it’s back to the drafting table with this pattern.  I will do the next sample in a black with white pin dots and then I will buy some yardage for another couple of them.  I need about 3 of these guys for my wardrobe.

Also finished this week: 4 knit shirts with different hem stitches (I think I’ll post those too)

Still to make after the over-shirt project is done:

1 pair knit pyjama bottoms

1 knit pyjama top

2 pairs knit pants with no over-skirt

2 pairs knit pants WITH over-skirt

2 more knit tops (tunic length this time)

1 coat

That’s a big list.  But it’s necessary.  All my clothes are full of holes and looking embarrassingly shabby.  For me to concentrate on writing and gardening and exercising I need to not have to be depressed about my clothes.  It’s been a long time since Stitch and Boots had any stitches posted on it!