Mouse House Julie Cardigan

Not a bad fit

Not a bad fit

I am not a jacket person, I am a sweater person. I love long, lightweight sweaters that I can wrap myself in all year round. I wear the same sweaters in winter that I wear in summer. I wear sweaters all the time. I need new sweaters. After making my Copplia cardigan I started looking for patterns to make my own long drapey cardigan. I decided on the Julie cardigan pattern by Mouse House Creations. It is a pdf download that taped together pretty quickly. I used the same loose weave jersey knit from Girl Charlee that I made my last Coppelia cardigan out of only in a raspberry color. I cut a size XS, but added about an inch in length to each sleeve. I made the cuffs smaller by about an inch and ended up tapering the sleeves in by about an inch at the bottom (I don’t think I sewed each one up quite evenly, whooops) because the sleeves were too loose for my liking.  I really like how the sweater is constructed because it requires no hemming if you sew the double collar version, which I did. I think the sweater came out pretty well, but I wish it was a bit bigger/longer. I’m wondering if I should try making a larger size, if I should lengthen the pattern, or just look for a different cardigan pattern
Does anyone have any suggestions for a good cardigan pattern?
Tapered in at sleeves

Tapered in at sleeves

Very pink horsey fabric!

Very pink horsey fabric!

Copycat Out and About Dresses

Version # 1 – Sleeves
I downloaded the Out and About dress by Sew Caroline in the midst of my Moneta fitting troubles as I was curious to see if the top would fit me better because the XS has a smaller bust measurement. I decided to use some feather print jersey from Girl Charlee which is actually the same fabric the dress is shown in on the pattern except in a different colorway; call me a copycat, but after having issues with not enough stretch in the shoulders in my Moneta I figured couldn’t go wront using the same fabric the pattern maker used for the dress.I opted to make the half-sleeve knee length skirt version. I actually cut the dress out at the same time I cut out my gray horse Coppelia and Anima pants, but I just couldn’t work up the enthusiasm to sew up the dress (I think this feeling was coming how unhappy I was with my Moneta). Well this weekend the bf was out of town and since this was my last cut out project I figured I better sew it up so I could start cutting out new projects. The construction of the dress was pretty familiar now that I have sewn up a few t-shirts. I made no changes to the pattern except that I used clear elastic to stabilize the shoulder seems and I sewed a 1.5″ hem because I thought the dress was a bit long on me with the 1″ hem. I also decided to fold the cuff up all the way instead of .5″ because the sleeve was hitting me in a funny spot. The only trouble I had constructing the dress was sewing the gathered waist to the top neatly. My gathers ended up looking funny/smooshed on one side so I unpicked them and re-sewed only to realize I caught some extra fabric, so I took it out and did it again. My gathers still don’t look great, but I can live with it.  Overall I am pretty happy with the dress. It is a bit tight in the shoulders when I go to pull it off, but the fit of the top is so much better than my Moneta.

Out and about dress #1

Out and about dress #1

 

Out and about dress with sleeves

Out and about dress with sleeves

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Version # 2- Sleeveless
I made a second Out and About dress, but this time opted to make the sleeveless version using the tutorial on Caroline’s blog. I used a jersey in the briar rose print by Heather Ross; so again I have copied Caroline, because this is the fabric used in the instructions for the Out and About dress. What can I say? I wanted to do the dress in a cute print for summer and I had enough of this fabric in my stash already.
The dress came together pretty easily, I sewed the dress in a day. This time I gathered the skirt panels on my serger. It was my first time using this technique and it was awesome! I also tried to attach some elastic at the waist to make the seam stretchier for when pulling the dress on and off, but I am not sure how well this worked. In order to make the dress sleeveless, I trimmed off 1/2″ from each side of the front and back bodice and used the arm bindings pattern pieces that Caroline has on her tutorial.The end result is pretty cute and comfy. I think I should have lowered the arm cycle because the sleeve cuts into my armpit, but oh well, next time I guess.

Sleeveless out and about dress

Sleeveless out and about dress

Coppelia Wrap: Third Try’s the Charm?

I was much happier with my second Coppelia wrap, but it definitely still needed some tweaking before I was ready to cut into my nice fabric. So I pinched and tucked to get a tighter fit on my sweater and then went to altering my paper patter. I ended up taking a few inches out of the back and I took about 1/2″ out of the top front and at the top of the sleeve, and I lengthened the waist by about an inch. I chose to use the same knit horse fabric from Girl Charlee I used for Coppelia #2, but in the blue colorway (I ended up buying this fabric in all 3 colors because I thought it was really cute and had a nice sweater feel to it).

As this was my third time making this pattern I don’t have too much to say about construction, except that I am still not entirely sure how the bottom is all supposed to come together with the neckband and waistband, but oh well, the way I have been doing it seems to be working okay.

Final results are that this third sweater is the best fit so far, but unfortunately I could still use to take out a couple inches from the back. I swear I will get this pattern just right one of these days.

 

Papercut anima pants and coppelia wrap top #3

Papercut anima pants and coppelia wrap top #3

Papercut Patters Coppelia Wrap – Take 2

Coppelia wrap #2

Coppelia wrap #2

I am determined to make this sweater fit, so after my cotton jersey version with no alterations, except for tightening the neckband, I tried on the sweater and pinched out some fabric under the arms and in the side. I then got out my traced pattern and adjusted the pattern to take out about an inch from each side of the underarm and an inch on each side. Additionally I lengthened my sleeves by an inch (I like long sleeves). For this version I choose a knit from Girl Charlee that is much more like a sweater knit (it has a looser weave to it?) and I figured it would have a much looser fit than the cotton jersey, so when I sewed the sleeves to the front and back pieces I used a 5/8″ seam allowance instead of the 1cm. When I pinned the sweater sides together it ended up looking a little roomy still so I also took in used a larger seam allowance at the underarm.  Then I took 3″ off each side of the neckband to get a tighter fit.

Hmm...maybe I should lengthen it a bit

Hmm…maybe I should lengthen it a bit

The results are still not perfect. I did get a tighter fit, but it is still too big in the bust area and I am getting some wrinkling at the top. It is also now noticeably large in the back, the fit of the back didn’t seam bad in the last one because it was so big overall. I think for next time I will try to adjust the front of the pattern using Madalynne’s instructions (http://www.madalynne.com/pattern-correction-raglan-seams) in addition to taking it in in the sides/underarm, and I think I will try taking the back in a bit. I swear i will make this pattern work for me!
The fit in the arms is much better now

The fit in the arms is much better now

Sewing T-Shirts?

When I first started sewing I couldn’t have imagined sewing a t-shirt, I mean why bother, they are so cheap and unexciting? Well I guess I will have to eat those words as I have now sewn a couple of t-shirts, the Deer and Doe Plantain, Sewaholic’s Renfrew, and now the Tonic Tee by Skinny Bitch, Curvy Chick (SBCC). The Tonic Tee is a free download, it’s hard to argue with free right.

The fabric I used is some Fuchsia Pink Solid Jersey Rayon Spandex Knit Fabric from Girl Charlee that I originally made into a maxi skirt, but it came out too tight (whoops! I’ll have to try that one again). I bought the fabric hoping to make it into leggings, but it was far too thin and see through (even though the website said it was a good bottom weight, buying fabric on-line can be so hard). I added a collar to the t-shirt using a tutorial by Christine Haynes that was posted on the SBCC blog during Sew Indie month. I have to say that my collar drafting could use some work as it didn’t come out quite right….hmmm…Anyways, I used my serger and the t-shirt came together pretty quickly, I sewed in on Friday night, and doesn’t look too bad. I finished the sleeves with a decorative stitch on my sewing machine and it looks okay. The side where I used the Wonder Tape looks much better than the side where I didn’t use it. I ended up not hemming the shirt because it was already pretty short, but it will look fine tucked into a skirt.

Put a collar on it!

Put a collar on it!

This is actually my second Tonic Tee. I made the first one out of a bright green cotton jersey that I got at the Fabric Store. For that version I used the neckband piece from the pattern and the neckband seam has a tendency to roll forwards. I guess when I top-stitched I should have stitched closer to the seam line, but then the top-stitching won’t be right outside the band, so I don’t know… I also lengthened the pattern by 6 inches to try to get a longer tee, but didn’t take into account the fact that I would have to widen for my hips (another whoops), but it looks fine tucked in.  I guess if I make this t-shirt again I will definitely lengthen it, but maybe not quite so much.

Bright Green!

Bright Green!

My overall thoughts is that this is a pretty good free pattern if you are looking to try your hand at sewing t-shirts.

Colette Moneta and the trouble with sewing for a small bust

Colette Moneta

Colette Moneta

I have always had trouble fitting tops and dresses because my ribcage/bust is very small (I seriously have a tiny chest here) so even the smallest size of a top just looks like a big bag. I don’t know what size 0 person with a C cup these companies are making clothes for, but I envy her because she can buy clothes off the rack that fit. Anyways, I figured one of the benefits to learning to sew would be that I could finally make clothes to fit my top! I am finding as a beginner sewist, however, that commercial sewing patterns are also not designed for people with tiny top halves. All the patterns that I have acquired so far start the smallest bust size between 30 and 34 inches and are designed for a B or C cup; lets just say my bust is smaller than 30″ and I am maybe an A cup (if that), so I guess I will have to learn to alter my patterns….

I bought the Colette Moneta knowing that the smallest size was for a 33-34″ bust and that Colette designs for a C cup, but I figured since it was a knit pattern it wouldn’t be that bad. Well after making my first bodice I figured I was wrong about that. The top was just huge at the bust, like a few inches too big at both sides. So I figured since it was knit I could just take it in on each side. So I took off about an inch and a half on both sides of my lining and tried it on and it fit pretty well, but when I did the same thing to the fashion fabric I knew it definitely didn’t work quire right because now the armpits were a bit short/tight.

I looked on-line to see if anyone had written about the Moneta being too big, but found nothing. I did find a post on doing a full bust adjustment on the Moneta, but I figured adding darts was not going to help me. I ended up e-mailing the lovely ladies at Colette and they sent me a link to a tutorial on grading down a patter. I set to work and graded down the bodice by just under 4″ total. I sewed up my lining and it fit pretty well, so I set about sewing my fashion fabric (adorable deer fabric I got at Girl Charlee). When I tried on the outer bodice the fit was really good, the only problem was that I couldn’t get it off without help! My fashion fabric didn’t have enough stretch! Curses! My problem boiled down to this, if I made the bodice tight enough to fit my bust, it would be too tight to take off….What to do? I ended up making the shell and lining of the bodice out of my stretchier knit (the stuff I bought to line the dress). So all in all I ended up making the bodice 3 times.

3 Moneta bodices

3 Moneta bodices

Well, I finished the dress last night, but I am just not happy with the way it came out. I think it would look so much cuter out of one fabric. Additionally I really don’t like the fabric I made the bodice out of. I ordered the fabric online and it is supposed to be Kaufman Laguna stretch jersey, but it doesn’t feel like the other Kaufman Laguna stretch jersey I have purchased. Instead of being slightly thick and relatively stable, it feels super stretchy, thin and slightly spongy. Altogether it makes for a not entirely flattering bodice and you know what, the bodice is still too big at the bust! I guess I needed to grade down more!
What the dress should have looked like!

What the dress should have looked like!

Crappy bathroom selfie of me in the Moneta

Crappy bathroom selfie of me in the Moneta

Does anyone have suggestions for knit dress patterns that have a smaller fit in the bust?