Friday, February 06, 2015

Just For Me Challenge

I've raved about Scientific Seamstress/Sis Boom patterns here on the blog before.  I absolutely love using them because they are just so darn perfect.  The PDF patterns are some of the easiest on the market, allowing you to print out exactly what you want and to quickly put together once they are printed, the garments are flattering, have a huge range of size options, excellent instructions and they fit so, so much better than any of the BIG FOUR pattern companies patterns ever do.  Carla Hegeman Crim does a great job creating her patterns.  These are patterns for real bodies of all shapes and sizes. If you want to venture into sewing for yourself or are tired of having to do a billion alterations to commercial patterns just so they might fit you, give these a try.  I guarantee you won't regret it, they are well worth it!  To see some of my previous versions check out herehere, and here!

When Jeanine announced on the blog that the Scientific Seamstress Lap Group on Facebook would be hosting a "Just For Me" sewing challenge during January I was really excited! Pretty much the only stipulation of the challenge was that whatever you decided to make it had to include at least one Scientific Seamstress/Sis Boom pattern. I decided that not only would I take the challenge but that I would add an extra dimension to it.  I was determined not to buy anything in order to do it - I do love myself some thriftiness! So using only things in my stash and using only patterns that I had already in my collection I set to work.

Week one was "Chic And Casual".  I decided to keep it fairly simple for myself and just make a top that I could easily pair with jeans and a cardi.  I have been coveting the Tortola tank since it was first released last summer as part of a bundle.  I didn't purchase the bundle so had to wait for the individual release and by that time was swamped with other projects so it sat untouched on the computer for a few months.  I finally printed it off during week one of the challenge, grabbed a piece of knit fabric out of my bin that I'd bought for $5.00 out of the clearance section earlier in the fall and sewed it up.  I'm pretty happy with it, although think I should have gone down a size and shortened the length just a touch.  But it's comfy and definitely wearable - I've worn it a lot in the weeks since making it!  I've paired it here with my Marion Cardi that I knit in the fall KAL in Andi Satterlund's Untangling Knots Ravelry group.

The second week was "Date Night".  I didn't get that one done on time, unfortunately.  I had a slight mishap in the fact that my iron died and there is just no way to get a facing ironed sufficiently enough with a curling iron (Why yes, I tried. Of course I tried.  Desperate times call for desperate measures!).  It's all good though.  I finally bought a new iron this past weekend, and got it done this morning.  Another stash find - this one came from a Valentine swap a few years ago.  It's shimmery and has a texture to it, but it was pretty easy to work with, not too slippery like I feared it might be.  I'm not sure I actually like this top too much yet if I'm being brutally honest.  The fabric is a bit itchy on me and doesn't feel quite right, being a bit stiff in spots (I think it doesn't like being ironed at all).   I think my next venture into the Patricia will be in something gauzy or floaty.  Maybe a cotton voile.  I did shorten the pattern by quite a bit and completely eliminated the side vents at the bottom.  I wanted it to be more of a blouse than a tunic.  As I said, I'm not really sure how I feel about this one just yet. Oh well.  You win some, you lose some.  It's not the pattern's fault and I will revisit it again, and maybe this top will grow on me in the future.  So not all is lost.

The third week was "Cozy and Comfy" and I am all about comfy.  No doubt about it!  This time I pulled out the Tortola once again and a men's size 4xl tee that I bought on a clearance rack at Walmart last year for $3.00. I did the regular cutting line instead of a full bust option for my size and the 26" length instead of the 28" I did my first version. Instead of fussing with woven facings (mostly because I couldn't pull stash fabric out that I felt matched well enough) I used a light weight denim bias tape on the neckline and just serged and then hemmed the armholes.  For the bottoms I used Jocole's yoga pants pattern in the capris length and a .7 metre remnant of sweatshirt fleece I'd bought ages ago in a buy one get two free sale. I think  it worked out to being about $2.00 roughly? Maybe less.  Add a bit of elastic and some rib knit I've had kicking around leftover since I made Baby Boy a pair of pants when he was three and I was good to go! Yay! Comfy and cheap. Perfect for lounging around the house or maybe running on the treadmill in. (It's alright.  You can laugh.  We all know that it's likely not going to ever see a work out and more likely going to see a whole lot of the couch and my knitting needles...) Because I had no iron at the time that I did week three and I'd given up on the curling iron as a substitute, I just serged both the shirt and pant hems and called it a day.

Week Four was "Knock it Off" and my very, very favourite week of all.  It made me go beyond my comfort zone and try things out that I've not done in ages and have, quite honestly, lacked the confidence to even contemplate doing for a long time. To make my knock off I had to combine patterns and do some changes to them as well.  I modified the bodice from Simplicity #2180 and used the waistband and skirt from the Jamie Dress to make my knock off of Modcloth's I Love Your Dress.  I've been desperately wanting the Modcloth dress, but a) it's way too spendy for my budget especially with the Canadian dollar right now and factoring in shipping and b) they've been sold out of my size for weeks.  So Knock it Off week was perfect timing.  I had a 1.5 metre cut of knit from another of  Fabricland's buy one metre get two free sales and thought it would work well as well as fitting my "cheap" criteria - I got three metres for a whopping total of $10.00 that  particular day. Hello $5.00 dress! Whoot!!!!  It's a nice drapey knit, but not too flimsy that it would be see through or stretch from here to eternity.  No one wants to make a knee length dress only to find by the end of the day it's pretty much become a maxi dress. (I have had this happen.  It wasn't pretty.)

To make my dress, I rounded off the back neckline of the bodice, eliminating the v-shape, which allowed me to simply use the front yoke pattern piece as the back yoke pattern piece as well.  I added about three inches to the centre front of my bodice pattern for gathers and gently straightened the bottom edge since I was eliminating the darts. Oh and for some reason, and I do remember this too from a few years ago when I actually made the Simplicity pattern, I had to add 3/4" to the straps of the front bodice in order to have the yoke piece fit properly.

For the waistband, since Jamie doesn't have a back waist band piece, I used the Simplicity pattern for width and the Jamie front waistband lining for height.  The skirt is cut much narrower than Jamie because of my fabric constraints and a minor prior cutting error (for some reason I initially thought I should completely line the bodice - thankfully I came to my senses before finishing the dress and eliminated the lining completely. Phew.  That was a narrow escape from TOO MUCH BULK - imagine that said in ominous radio announcer voice.)  I am happy with the width of it as it is. Too many gathers on my midsection isn't the most flattering look for me and I thought it would drape much nicer with less fabric rather than more.  The waistband is self-lined and the yoke is lined with a quilt cotton for stability.  I also used the same quilt cotton to make bias tape binding for the armholes.  I love, love, love matchy, matchy bias tape.  It makes me happy even if no one knows it's there but me.

I LOVE this dress!  I want one in every colour!!!!!  I'm wearing it here with my Hetty, which is another one of Andi Satterlund's amazing retro vibe cardi patterns!  If I were standing up straight, like a normal person instead of propping up the wall as I seem to be in the photo my dress would be hanging much better and it would look fairly close to the real Modcloth one in the collage. (Honest!)

It was definitely a great challenge.  So much fun and really motivational!  With the added bonus, of course, that I now have three new tops (at least two that are getting a tonne of wear already), a new pair of bottoms and a new dress added to my wardrobe all in a matter of four weeks.  Not bad all things considered!

How about you? Do you ever take part in sew along, knit alongs or challenges?                                                                  


  1. What amazing clothes! You are so talented, and I love that you can pair knitwear with sewn things, all made by YOU!

    1. Thanks so much, Lauren! Last summer I did a KAL - the Outfit Along - on Ravelry that really inspired me to start thinking in terms of pairing my knitting and sewing together to create outfits. I really do love the feeling of wearing a "me made" outfit! :)