Archive for August, 2008

Some Sewing Tips and a Wardrobe Remix
August 31st, 2008 | Link

Still on a sewing kick. I found a few useful links recently:

I took a critical look at my wardrobe this weekend and thought hard about the pieces I like (or don’t), the pieces I wear (or don’t), and the pieces I would like to have (but don’t). A lot of clothes went to the donation pile, including some that I liked passably but rarely wear because they are difficult to launder or press, or that don’t fit me well and are beyond my ability to alter; and some that I don’t wear because they don’t fit my style. What’s left are pieces I wear all the time, or are my favorite dressy pieces. What’s coming are a couple more casual-to-business-casual skirts and pants, some dressier t-shirts and tops to wear to work with all my skirts and jeans, and a couple of classic shift dresses. I’m sticking with my mostly black and gray palette, with a few whites and bolder colors (mostly reds) mixed in. I bought a few yards of new fabric—cotton twill in a couple of neutral colors, and some cotton and rayon knits—to fill in some of the gaps: I’ve realized I like the comfort and easy care of knits, and they don’t have to look as casual as my uniform Gap T’s. What I hope to get out of this exercise is a wardrobe that I’ll wear all the time, that I feel good in, and that looks like I thought about what I put on.

Black Corduroy Messenger Bag
August 27th, 2008 | Link

Messenger bag

I have a small blue Jack Spade messenger bag that I like a lot, but I often wish I had bought a black one instead. I bought some black corduroy with the intention of reverse-engineering the original bag and making my own—that was months ago. But BurdaStyle recently put up a pattern for a messenger bag, so I decided to try that out. I changed the pattern to be an inch narrower and an inch shorter, and the resulting bag is just the right size for a magazine or a couple of books, sunglasses, and wallet. I lined it with a fun, bold Prints Charming cotton print left over from a skirt I made last January. (There’s another view of the bag on the Burda Style site that shows the lining.)

If I were going to make another—and I might (I’m such a bag geek)—I would probably add a zipped pocket inside and a loop for keys, and make the strap adjustable. It’s very quick to sew once you get all the paper taped together to construct the pattern pieces.

Random Sewing Blather
August 11th, 2008 | Link

Reason number 7,534 why I love the internet:

I found myself on the Wardrobe Refashion site yesterday, and in particular this post about the Sadie top that the writer had sewn from organic bamboo jersey. I haven’t tried this variation of the top because the fabrics I had don’t drape very well, but hers is beautiful! I followed the link to the sewer’s blog and read how she adapted the Sadie pattern to get the softer drape, and as I read further found a link to a post on how to work with stretch fabrics. And there, folks, appears to be the answer to my stretched out t-shirt seams. Yay!

Discount Fabrics has begun carrying a small selection of organic fabrics in their new location on 11th Street between Howard and Folsom in San Francisco, so I picked up a yard of bamboo jersey there yesterday and I’m going to have a go at that Sadie variation. The bamboo fabric is super drapey and has a slight sheen to it, so I think it will look great as a dressier top.

I spent some of the weekend working on Burda 8601 (view B, without all the foufy lace—I’m shooting for something more like this variation), which may have been just a touch beyond my sewing skills (the fact that I made it from Dupioni silk, which is very fine, may not have helped) but it came out all right. I took out the side zip in favor of a corset-style lacing up the back. It’s hard to say how it’s going to fit—I still have to put in the eyelets for the laces—and I’m a little nervous about how it will stay up! Hoping to finish it sometime this week.

One More Sadie Top…
August 5th, 2008 | Link

I had a couple of hours to spare before E. gets home, so I thought I’d do one more Sadie top. This knit is heavier than the other two and came from a sample sale at Discount Fabrics. I didn’t try to hem this top, as I want to explore the stretching problem first. But I did redraft the pattern a little: I dropped the arm holes almost an inch, and I took in about an inch of the width I’d added to the bottom (it’s still wider right at the waist, but tapers in again at the hips):

Tank top #3

This one is almost perfect. If I can work out my top-stitching and hem problems, I’ll be very happy with it. I do love how fast they come together with the serger!

Maybe I Should Stick with Wovens…
August 5th, 2008 | Link

Yesterday I suffered a spectacular failure sewing the Sadie tank top pattern from Burda Style web site. I used the size 34 version, and smoothed it into a size 36 from the waist-line down for a little extra ease. The fit was fine, but I had some problems with the neck and arm openings:

Finished tank top #1, with a saggy baggy neckline

I think the problem was a combination of things: I should have pulled the ribbing fabric tauter when I sewed it to the body; I should have used a longer stitch length on the serger so that the body fabric would ease in; and I totally stretched it out when I topstitched with the twin needle. Keeping all that in mind, I had another go at the top today, and here’s take two:

Finished tank top #2, with a much improved neckline but flaring at the bottom hem

As you can see, the neck and arm holes are much better here. But I still got a lot of stretching and flaring when I hemmed the bottom with the twin needle on my sewing machine, so I haven’t done the top-stitching on the neck and arm holes because I don’t want to totally ruin it. I think it’s a tension thing, or the feed dogs stretching the fabric out on the bottom.

On the bright side, I bought both fabrics for $1.99/yard from when they had a sale on baby-rib knits, so I’m not too upset about it. A little frustrated, but not upset. The second top is wearable. I like the fit and the shape on the whole: I dropped the bottom of the armhole opening about 1/2" on the second top and I think its still a bit high (note the bunching under the arms), so I’ll try dropping it some more. I could see making a few of these for summer tops or layering for work, once I get the kinks worked out.



My name is Shannon Hale. This blog is on indefinite hiatus, but it contains archives of the last 10 years of posts about bookbinding, knitting, sewing. and other random things in my life.


2014: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12

2013: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12

2012: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12

2011: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12

2010: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12

2009: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12

2008: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12

2007: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12

2006: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12

2005: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12