Showing posts with label Fabric. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Fabric. Show all posts

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Hodge podge update

Wow, it's been a week since my last post. I know I'm not the most interesting blogger around, but I like posting every other day to help me document and process what's been happening.

And because I sometimes find it hard to note down details, I'm gonna use some photos as a guide for this post.

Last week, the day I finished my daisy stitch headband, my friend Mansy asked me to teach her how to knit. She already has a dream project in mind -- a hat/bonnet. But of course, I had to teach her the basics first, like casting on, the knit stitch, and the purl stitch.

Excuse the dark photo, this was taken at the office XD

She already has enough yarn and a circular needle :)

The next day, Selena, Marc and Russ had a quick practice/run-through in our bedroom (Selena's and mine) in preparation for recording.

View from my bed, where I was all blanketed up and ready to sleep.
This was kind of a spontaneous practice for them, so I wasn't prepared.

The weekend was a lazy one, where Marc and I stayed at home mostly. We only really went out just to visit our friend Ricca's booth at the St. James Bazaar and attend this month's Attraction! Reaction! gig.

It was a VERY beautiful afternoon at the bazaar.

Silvio was just as lazy as we were this weekend.
It's so funny how cats love to squeeze themselves into tiny spaces.

Oh, and I finished that dress!

Weird photo c/o my mom.

But it deserves its own post.

Marc and I had dinner with friends last Monday night. But we ended the night here ^^ because we noticed our friend Pen had rashes all over her body. Marc and I brought her to East Ave Med Center after dinner, where she was diagnosed with German measles.

It can't be denied that everyone at the dinner was worried about contracting it too. We appreciate having spent the evening in each other's company, but none of us wanted to get German measles. To be fair to Pen, she thought she just had allergies. LOL. German measles take about a week for the incubation period... So let's check back with me again in a week? HAHA.

And Cat Art c/o Boxer:

Poor tissue roll! Also, what a waste of paper!

And I finished another headband! It's a cable-braid headband:

This will get its own post too, like the dress, cos I want to post the pattern with photos of it being worn.

The week went by pretty quickly, but I didn't get much done. Well, by my self-imposed standards anyway. Dress and headband posts tomorrow!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Blood, Sweat and Tears*

The word "tear" here meaning:

Noun: A hole or split in something caused by it having been pulled apart forcefully.

OK, I'm overreacting. Nothing actually got torn (except my sanity lol), but things might as well have been, considering the things that happened.

Aside from the pretty yarn in my previous post, I also bought a yard and a half of fabric to be sewn into another dress:

I didn't realize it was going to be so pink overall, but I think I'll manage.

Anyway, I browsed through my three-book collection of Japanese sewing patterns last night looking for a dress pattern that pleased me. I found one almost immediately and checked out the specs.

The pattern calls for 2 meters of fabric (which I don't have) and it requires some bias-tape-making skillz (which I also don't have. Yet.). Oh man. Well, I was thinking I could maybe trace out the pattern pieces still and just check it against the fabric to see if I can fit them all in 1.5 yards of fabric. Guess what? The dress I wanted was one of the few designs that wasn't included in the available traceable patterns. %(#^*@!*#

After a quick bout of an adult tantrum (which included me grinding my teeth, trying to take deep breaths and cursing the pattern publishers in my mind. Oh and I kind of wailed about my frustration at mom who was innocently watching TV a few meters away. Does that still make it an "adult tantrum"?), I decided to just use the pattern pieces from the first dress I ever made as a basis for the construction of this new dress from scratch.

So... Where do I begin again?

After taking a look at my old pattern pieces, I remembered that the dress I made ended up a bit too wide and loose at first. I think I had to take out an inch of ease at each side and re-sew the side seams. This got me thinking, "Hm, maybe I should just make the adjustments with the pattern pieces right now before tracing.". I took my measurements, then cut about an inch from the straight side (the middle) of the pattern piece, after which I then traced the pattern for the back onto the fabric.

I suddenly panicked. What if I made a mistake? Maybe I shouldn't have cut from the middle? Should I still continue on and cut the thing? Needless to say, it took me about 30 minutes and several assurances from mom (after some nagging from me) to make me decide to cut the piece. And so...

I cut ALONG the pattern's lines.
Yes, it's confirmed. People do stupid things when they're stressing out too much.

I did cut out the rest of the back piece though, with the correct seam allowances. More on this once I manage to get out of this scrape.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Japanese Pattern no.2 - Sleeveless Top for layering

I began working on a new pattern from one of my Japanese sewing pattern books a couple of weekends ago, but I only got to finish it last Sunday.

I don't know what you call this garment... A sleeveless top? A vest? A blouse? 

Anyway. It was a bit more challenging for me than the first shift dress as it had more pattern pieces to sew together. Also, there were more new-to-me techniques that I had to try like gathering, sewing a gathered piece to a straight one, etc.

I used the leftover fabric from my first shift dress. I told myself I wouldn't buy any new fabric until I finish most of what's in my stash. Ohh, must work harder so I can reward myself!
I cut out the pattern long before I started actually working on the garment. I was a bit worried that the fabric would be too stiff for it, but I just decided to wing it.

So many pattern pieces! (6)

I also learned that you can never have too many pins!

For the front panels, I didn't use separate facings. Since the pieces were small, I just cut out duplicates to 
sew together. It was actually pretty difficult to press and get the right shape.

Ta-daaa! The finished garment! I wore it to my friend's birthday party 
without having it washed haha.

I really don't how people do it -- I couldn't seem to get my front panels to match! Ugh. One is ever so slightly taller than the other. Pretty obvious now, thanks to the buttons. Heh.

Speaking of buttons, I used the really cute wooden ones that I picked up from the scrapbooking section of NBS!

Give a dog a bone. Twinkle twinkle little star. Fishy fishy in the brook.

I decided not to use matching shapes and they ended up looking so funny and random together (a bone?!).

The pattern called for small garter pieces to sew on as the button ties (? not sure about the term here) on the opposite panel. I didn't have any black garter on hand so I opted to use the thread loops technique that I learned from my new sewing bible: Teach Yourself Visually Fashion Sewing. Thank goodness I know how to crochet, else I wouldn't've been able to do it as quick as I did.

I also quickly sewed a simple sleeveless tank to wear under the new garment. I just traced one of my favorite tanks and used some stretchy orange fabric from my stash.

Love this fabric! No need to sew any hems!

Here's how the two pieces look together.

I like the contrasting colors.

Another close up of the buttons and the thread loops. 

Yes, the orange top I made was a bit too tight so I just settled on using my old pink tank to wear with it. Next project: fixing that orange top! ha!

...I can't wait til August when I can get a better gadget to take pictures with. My posts seem to rely heavily on photos and I can only offer blurry, pixelated ones.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

My first shift dress.

After being inspired so much by the different stitchers/sewists out there (some of my faves being her, her, and her), I had decided to try and make my own garment/s.

To be honest, what also got me started was the crazy fact that I found out that... Our local bookstore sells Japanese sewing patterns on SALE. All day, everyday. I couldn't stop buying them! Jeeez. I'll post the front covers in another post. Later. For now, here's the first one I bought:

All really simple dresses. Looked simple enough for a beginner like me.

I'm not sure if I can consider myself a visual learner, able to create the pieces just by looking at the diagrams and the patterns and without having to know how to read Japanese characters... But I know I can get really determined and obsessive about something I wanna try.

And so with determined mind and heart, I chose the easiest-looking dress I could find (c'mon, guys, I can still be realistic about my abilities):

I thought I was prepared for the overwhelming organization of this pattern book; I'd read a lot of blogs on Japanese pattern books! But still, I wasn't prepared for the jumble of lines that is the pattern sheet:

What is what??

But I was able to figure it out after a few minutes. I bought some sturdy tracing paper to trace my actual pattern onto. I chose the medium size for this dress, feeling confident about it. Lazy me, I was too impatient to check my measurements against those in the pattern.

After cutting out the pattern I traced, I put it on my fabric, following the guide in the book.

Then I cut out my fabric pieces. It looked like a pretty straightforward pattern, sew up this side and that, but it was actually not as simple as my ambitious mind had imagined. I'm lucky my mom used to sew her own clothes in the 60s and 70s. She was able to guide me well, this being my first garment project. Love you, ma!

This project didn't take me a few hours; I had to complete it over the course of two weeks, sneaking in some sew-time after work and during the busy weekends. It first ended up being too big (I'm not a medium after all) so I had to take it in an inch on each side. As they say, it's easier to take in a garment.

But I managed to finish it! Woo! May this inspire me to be more productive.

Ta-daaa! I did it, mofos!!!

VoilĂ ! The dress on me, and my brothers' dirty mirror.

I like how the dress fits me. The darts on my chest area are not that unbecomingly loose... 
I'm just not that gifted in that area and I forgot to put it on with a bra. 
OVER-SHARING is part of this blog.

And this is my attempt to show you how it looks on me without the use of a decent camera 
and without the help of a kind family member to take my photo.

Oh, by the way, I changed the neckline and kinda added more shape to the original pattern by adding darts in the back. I also added facings for the neckline and the armholes as suggested by my dear mummy. Is it still the same dress??!

Some problems I encountered:

1. Using the zigzag stitch to finish off the raw edges was quite challenging. The fabric was a bit too soft or flimsy for it, the cloth would bunch up between stitches! I had to sew the zigzag 1/4" in before cutting off the extra fabric (I recently purchased my new go-to book which has affirmed what I learned when working on this).

2. Finishing off the ragged edges of two seams together was a stupid move. It made me too lazy to rip out the side seam stitches when I wanted to insert my invisible zipper. More about that horror story here.

3. Darts are a bit complicated to sew in, as most stitchers would tell you (I didn't "listen"). I followed the darts placement in the original pattern and I didn't even attempt to modify it for my own body shape.
Don't worry, like I mentioned earlier, I just recently bought this book and will be learning a bit more, I hope.

Ahh. What a first project. I can't say I'm extremely proud of it (I didn't "unabashedly" tell everyone at the office that I made the dress I was wearing), but I'm not ashamed of it, that's f'sho! I learned a lot and it has really taught me the value of good tools and good advice from other stitchers and sewists.

Can't wait to try the other patterns!

Monday, April 23, 2012

The Incredibly Difficult Invisible Zipper

For that dress that I began a couple of weeks ago, I decided to insert an invisible zipper in the side since I wanted to put darts in the back for more shaping.

Now I don't really understand what possessed me to decide to use an invisible zipper for my first ever attempt at making a garment. I did some extensive research (aka read different blogs with tips) in order to prepare myself for the task and I found out a lot of important things about sewing with invisible zippers. I am not saying I am now an expert on invisible zippers, but I learned some thing about 'em:

1. You have to press the zipper teeth flat first before attaching.
2. You have to sew the invisible zipper on FIRST, before sewing the seams.

I didn't, couldn't do any of these. I had already sewn the seams of that dress and I was too lazy to rip the stitches out (details in the FO post once the dress is back from the wash). I know, I'm such a lazy ass. As if I could afford to be! Me being a beginner and all!

Well yeah, so I got too lazy to rip the seams out to redo everything so I  just ripped out the stitches from part of the left side. I tried pressing the zipper teeth flat, but I couldn't seem to do it right.

They just wouldn't stay flat! My iron was probs too cool. But I was afraid of melting the teeth.

And when I brought out my machine, I just realized that the zipper teeth I bought would not fit!! Muvvafff!!

Look how sturdy it looks! But I think this was made 
for an older machine.

It's my fault, really. I didn't compare it with my machine's actual foot. 
But to be fair, the saleslady wasn't helpful at all.

Being both lazy and impatient at the same time, I just decided to hand-pick the invisible zipper onto my dress. I wasn't sure it was possible, as most of the hand-picking zippers tutorials I found on the net were for regular zippers.

Here's the most clear and helpful tutorial I found. And it's from Sewaholic. But it's for a regular zipper.

I basted the zipper tape to the seams of my dress and then tried to prickstitch it very close to the zipper teeth, much like how it would happen using a machine with an invisible zipper foot! I was so nervous about how it would turn out, wondering whether it would really work, but it seems to be fine! I'm actually proud of it:

Here it is, closed. Doesn't look bad at all eh?

The nicest thing about invisible zippers is that they're INVISIBLE! No way to see the inconsistent stitches haha.

I can't believe I was actually able to sew quite close to the teeth! G'job me!

Here's the inside. Eek. I wasn't sure how invisible zippers are supposed to look like from the inside.

See those prickstitches?? What, you can't? 
Oh yeah, 'cause I did a good enough job of it!
Also, I'm too smug for my own good.

Dear world, I'm sorry for being a sloppy stitcher. I can imagine the look of horror on other people's faces after reading this post.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

The ball is rolling. I think.

Today, I finally got my ass to that fabric store in Farmer's, Cubao that also sells notions and stuff.

Got myself 3 invisible zippers; one in white, two in black. I only really needed one, but I'm imagining the other dresses I'm gonna be sewing soon. I hope!

Also got a new pair of fabric shears, the kind whose blades bend at an angle for more precision. But the best part is, the store had quite a collection of sewing machine foots! Feet, I mean! At last, I finally have a zipper foot. I've never sewn a zipper on before, and I'm a bit nervous about it for some reason. Why should I be? It's just sewing, not a job interview!

Anyway, I wasn't sure which zipper foot to get, poor unexperienced me, so I got two: one that was labelled "invisible zipper foot" and the other, "single foot left". I'm not sure if the latter is meant for zipper sewing, but I vaguely remember seeing a zipper-sewing tutorial with a foot like that before.

Let's see what happens to me tomorrow after I try working more on that dress I began last week. Completing this dress perfectly could probably give me more confidence to start sewing my own garments. Sew excited!

And here I go again, crazy about another crafty phase. My knitting and crocheting haven't been forgotten, but I'm kinda addicted to sewing these days.

I actually hand-sewed my own pin cushion! Unbelievable. Me who loves brandishing my new-old sewing machine. Here it is:

My own pattern. Just started cutting out pieces from scraps created from last week's alter-fest.

I don't even know what it's supposed to be! Is it a rotten tomato? A squash seen in the negative? Marc and mom say it looks like a sea creature, anemone, or whatever. As long as it serves its purpose of keeping my pins where I can see them, I will love this little monster forever.

I love that hand-sewing actually feels as therapeutic as knitting and crochet are to me.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Good Hardworkin' Friday

The 5 days off from work (holy week in the Philippines) was spent working on stuff I love.

I brought out one of my old dresses that I find are now too short for me. Instead of throwing it out, I decided to make it shorter and turn it into a decent blouse. Yay for more outfifs!

From obscenely short dress to decent, proper blouse!

When the rest of the household saw I was enjoying my time with my new-old machine, they took the opportunity to ask me to alter some o' their garments too.

Tito Benj asked me to turn his hole-y pants into nice going-out shorts: Check!
Jenny asked for her jeans to be cut down to just the right length for her height: Check!
Manang Bell asked for the 3 pairs of cotton pants to be sent to her ma in the province to be turned into bermuda shorts: Check!

AND, I was also able to start my first ever dress: A simple shift from a Japanese pattern book I found in a local bookstore. Oh my, these Japanese pattern books come for reeeally cheap, I can't help buying all of them! They cost only about 85 Php, which is about $2 each. All the outfits in there are really cute too. I wanna make 'em all. It's just so funny that one of the models in one issue had the same face in ALL her photos. Like she was high on life or something. But iz all good. She's pretty anyway.

Well, here it is:

It needs more work done. I think I'll put some darts in the back, and then add an invisible zipper in the side, 
maybe shape the sides a bit too. 

I still need to buy a zipper foot for my machine though! I don't have any, and I've never used one before. Time to consult the ever-trusty Youtube for some tutorials on how to use 'em :)


I was also able to make a thin little red headband by knitting an i-cord the day before that:

Modelled by my sister dear. 

I think I'll be making more of these in various colors and thickness. They'll make cute headbands!!

Speaking of my sister, she turned 32 on the last day of March! Happy 32 to her!

Here she is with her boyfriend Russ.

And here Marc and I are, at the birthday lunch:

Not looking at the lens!! @#%!(%$!*~

Take two:
See how happy he is to have found the lens to look at. Small joys. LOL.

Next up, gotta buy a zipper foot, some invisible zippers, a rotary cutter, and more black and white thread. I managed to use up all of mom's supply.
Wish I could buy a camera, but I haven't considered it in my monthly budget. Sigh. I want better photos!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Gray cardigan fits!

I bought a cardigan last December that was too tight. It was yet another impulse buy. Agh! And just when I'd decided to alter it a bit, my brother borrowed my Singer Mon Ami sewing machine and broke it. Agh!

I went back to the shop I bought it from and had it traded in (with a bit more additional money out) for a slightly more "hi-tech" one:

It's a Singer Premio! Got it second-hand from the shop by the pier.
(They also sell cheap, second-hand sergers too! :O)

It has more stitch variations, a built-in threader, an easier bobbin-winder and a very user-friendly button-hole-maker! I first had some qualms about the fact that it was push-button operated and not pedal-operated. I wasn't sure if I could get the hang of it, me being a bit of a control-freak. But it worked out fine! I love my new machine. I guess it was a blessing in disguise when my brother broke my old one.

Anyway, as I mentioned earlier, I finally got around to making some alterations with that gray cardigan. And here it is:

I added extra fabric between seams using a lighter gray-colored jersey cloth. Miraculously, my seams don't look as crooked as they really are up close! The jersey fabric works great because my original problem was the cardigan being too tight. Now it fits so comfortably.

Some detail:

The lighter colored cloth doesn't look as tacky or as "sporty" as I had feared.

I also added some tiny flower-like embroidery detail (lovin' the new machine, like I said!) to cover up the ugly original seam.

Looks decent after all! Another thing to wear in the office.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

When it can't fit... Make it fit!

Last December had a lot of fun bazaars all around the metro. I was lucky enough to have one of the bigger ones located right in the middle of the business center where I work!

Marc and I headed over there before my shift a few days before Christmas so we could complete the rest of our holiday gift-shopping. And of course, the first thing that typical me found was something for myself! We were still about 20m away from the bazaar when my vision zoned in on this simple gray cardigan:

I had to beg for a bit before I could buy it. Marc being more sensible when it comes to shopping, I had to convince him first that this was the only thing I would buy for myself that day (lie).

And so I got the cardigan that I fell in love with at first sight. It was a nice shade of gray, it was light but warm and cozy, it was only 100 pesos! But little did I know that this "love" of mine had its own shortcomings... Literally, it was a bit too small for me on second try!

I wanted to wear it right away, 'cause the airconditioning in my office can get really cold, and realized that it was a bit too tight at the shoulder seams. The fabric was actually tearing a little at the seams of the armholes and shoulders:

Oh dear. I can't not wear this ever again, so I've decided to alter it a bit by undoing the seams and adding a nice lighter-gray piping in between. Good thing I had a little bit of gray cloth leftover from one of my odd sewing engagements.

So far, I've only been able to sneak in the undoing of seams part for this project. My 15-hour-a-day work schedule will not permit me to sew this beaute back up yet. Next weekend will see me finishing this!