Friday, September 9, 2016

Getting back up on my feet again

Hey all, sorry for this not being a sewing related post, and sorry for not putting one up recently. For some reason, I hit a hard place and I'm slowly pulling myself back up again. I'm still sewing (getting ready to start my first pair of pants), and I've even picked up cross stitching - which is very tedious, I must say! I tend to get disheartened really easily, and when small, bad things happen, I get easily upset. This gets in the way of living sometimes when I can only think about my failures, and not the positives. Like not getting the Ben Franklin job, that tore at me and made me really upset. It's like I can't let go of small things, and I sit there and focus in on them - and they end up dictating my life. On the brighter side, I got a management position at a local Halloween store and I've been absolutely loving it. I'll be back on my feet again in no time - and my sewing adventures will be back!
Love you all

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Blue & White Long Sleeved Shirt

I sewed a long sleeve shirt again! My grandma found this beautiful fabric at JoAnns and I fell in love with it as soon as she brought it home and showed it to me. She did such a great job picking it out. Initially I was hesitant she wouldn't get something I liked, but she came through and did it well! Recently, I've been sewing more toned down floral shirts. I typically go for big and showy prints, but I've been liking this little toned down phase. These shirts are just casual shirts you can wear going to the grocery store or at work, and I like that aspect of them. These types of shirts are essential to any wardrobe.
The lighting was perfect for these photos! It really shows the blue color well. So, so, so in love with the color. I think this is my first blue shirt I've ever sewed, which is exciting! 
For some reason, we never get good back shots. But this is the back of the shirt, obviously! It looks a bit ruffled, but overall I'm pretty happy! It fits great! 
Sewing on the placket is always a pretty easy and fun part. I like when I can just sew straight, it makes things a lot more enjoyable. See the pins? It's actually funny because we originally bought the pins that didn't have a head, and we wondered why people chose pins that had one. We quickly realized we needed the pins with the head, it prevented us from getting pricked many times! 
Sewing the collar always goes really good or really bad. It's tricky sewing this part because you have to make sure you catch all of the fabric. We experimented with different seam allowances until we found that 5/8 was the best one. 
This is definitely, absolutely my least favorite part. I somehow always manage to screw up button holes. Ugh, I hate doing them even though it is an automatic! Theres always a problem - from it not sewing some parts of the side or not feeding through the machine. Always a stressful time! Luckily this time it went pretty well. 
Apologize for some of the threads, I thought I had caught and cut all of them but there are always a few stragglers. I like my cuffs tight around my wrist, so I tend to place the button hole a bit further in than most people. 
The buttons are one my favorite parts of the shirt. I think the brighter blue really makes the other blue pop. I think it really adds something special to the overall look of the shirt. 
My grandma has had this sewing machine for years, but we just recently took it out to get a better look at it. I am so in love with the Egyptian design printed all over it. It's a beautiful machine! We even got the bobbin to wind, it was so interesting. We have come a long, long way. Although the manual that came with it was a bit tore up, we found the same one online and were able to figure out how it works. It's so amazing! I wish the same design effort went into todays machines. That black on gold is beautiful. Until next time, Bryce 

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Black Robe + Bombing a Ben Franklin's Math Test

I finally completed the robe! This was my first time ever sewing one. This was also my first time sewing with fleece - which I have always been terrified of. Thick fabrics really freak me out, I always think they will screw the machine up or the needle won't go through. But with fleece, my worries quickly disappeared. Every time I thought the needle wouldn't go through, it always did. Even on the thickest parts, thank gosh! I figured for my first robe and first time working with fleece I would just pick a solid color (and that color was black, obviously!). At first I started with a robe pattern that was relatively short and didn't extend down past the knee, but I really wanted a longer one. I like ones that almost touch the ground. I think they are elegant and extremely comfortable. If I was going to sew a robe, I was going to make sure it was long! So I switched patterns and used Easy McCall's 8524
The upper portion of the robe! Excuse my shirtlessness, but most of the time when I wear a robe it's right after a shower or right before bed. I like to be comfortable in them, so I typically only wear underwear and possibly a light,thin t shirt.
Pinning the front left piece to the back left piece right sides together. I was super impressed with how well my machine handled the fleece. It was a breeze to sew, which was unexpected. I could control it easily and didn't really have any problems. 
Sewing, sewing, sewing! I don't quite remember what I was sewing here, but I do remember encountering one problem that was a bit annoying. If I accidentally messed up, seam ripping out the stitches was extremely hard. They were almost impossible to see. I suppose its because it was black and black, but for some reason I definitely think the fleece played in role in making it hard to rip out. It was terrible! Much cussing happened at this moment!
The front of the robe. I love the pockets on the front! Super comfy and handy. They were relatively easy to sew on. I think it really adds to the front of the robe. The belt was a whole other story! In order to get a finished edge, you must sew the right sides together and flip it inside out. Because it was so long and thin, it was extremely hard turning it inside out. We used a seam ripper to grab the fabric and force it to come out, but unfortunately it broke the seam ripper (Don't worry, we held a funeral for it!). After about an hour, my grandma finally got it completely done. But don't worry, we won't be sewing it like that again. To my demise, Zach had zero issues with turning his belt inside out. After I sewed my robe, he decided to sew one as well. When it came time to turn the belt inside out, he took a yardstick and wooden spoon and turned it inside out in a matter of seconds. My grandma and I were pissed! 
The back of the robe! From this shot it looks a little big on me, but I think robes are supposed to be a bit big so you have room to move around and be comfy in. The only thing that bugs me are the sleeves because I prefer tight fitting, short sleeves and a robe provides the exact opposite. This robe is so comfortable! I can't stress that enough. Every time I put it on I start to fall asleep, so I only put it on right before bed. I have already fallen asleep in it multiple times, and most of those were during the middle of the day (so no more of that! haha). While the robe turned out great, another venture of my life didn't. My local Ben Franklin store was hiring, and I decided to apply. Thinking I would easily get the job due to my work history at Jo-Anns Fabrics, I was completely wrong. To my surprise, they made me take a math test (yes, a math test for a minimum wage job - I was surprised too). I was upset because I am horrible at Math, English was always my strong hold. Jo-Anns didn't even make us take a test, and they are much bigger than Ben Franklin. I was terribly confused. I went home and studied fabric conversions, which I already had known due to Jo-Anns. Feeling confident, I decided to go back to Ben Franklin and attempt the test. I bombed - I was terribly embarrassed. It had nothing to do with fabric conversions at all - it was like I was back in high school. It really disheartened me and made me feel like an idiot, I was so upset. But you know what, just because I can't do some dumb math test doesn't make me a bad seamster. I just have to force myself to remember that. 

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Lavender Shirt + Selling Flowers at the Farmers Market

I sewed another shirt again! I sew many shirts because shirts are the reason I learned to sew. I love long sleeve shirts, but I'm extremely picky and that makes shopping quite hard. Instead of struggling to find some I like in the store, I just make my own - and have a blast doing it! I, of course, used McCall's M6044 again, which you are probably sick of by now. But don't worry! I have shorts and a robe on the way to change things up a bit. I bought this lavender fabric on, but I couldn't find it again so I believe it may be sold out (I found many fabrics I now want during my search ugh!). I was actually a bit scared I wouldn't like the fabric as much when it actually got here, but I ended up loving it. I was quite surprised as well because it's the purple version of the same fabric I used for the boxers!
Sewing a men's purple shirt
I paired this shirt with light tan shorts and my brown belt. I think it looks really nice. I love the collar, it may just be my best collar yet. It lays perfectly and the button at the top looks really nice. 
Sewing a men's purple shirt
Tucking the shirt in! I think the fabric laid really nice. After we finished the shirt, the fit was a bit off so I went in and added some darts to the sleeves and back. The decorative stitching on the front placket was a bit of a struggle as well. I did some drunk stitching! Those are always so hard to sew because you have to make sure they are extremely straight. 
Back of men's purple shirt
Besides the untucked portion of my shirt (and the messed up collar, sorry!), the back looks pretty good! This shirt is a nice switch from the more exaggerated and showy floral shirts I typically do. It's a softer, more work appropriate shirt and I'm so happy it turned out that way. 
Purple buttons I sewed on
Perhaps another one of my favorite parts of the shirt are the buttons. I love the darker purple against the light purple. It makes the buttons really stand out but still look formal.
Shoulder of men's purple shirt
The shoulders turned out great as well. The fabric lays really nicely on the shoulder! So happy with it. 
Collar of men's purple shirt
And another shot of the collar, which I am in love with. Definitely, definitely the best collar I have ever done so far. I can't believe how nicely it turned out. Besides the extra material on the sleeves, I'm really happy with the shirt. The buttons, the collar, the fabric, just everything. It's a nice light shirt to wear to a party or small get together. Nice change up from my typical fabric choices. Thanks to all of the comments and tips on my bobbin problems, I utilized them and virtually had no bobbin problems! So thank you!
The Black Dahlia - My flower booth!
I had another exciting thing happen this week! I finally got to sell some of my bouquets at the local farmers market. As many of you know, I'm aspiring florist and have a love affair with flowers. I just find them mesmerizing, and captivating. They are one of the earth's most precious gifts to us, and I love being able to use them and create bouquets out of them (Now you know why I sew so many floral shirts, ha!). Seeing people pick them out with smiles on their faces was definitely the highlight of that day. I had a blast and I can't wait to do it again at the next farmers market! Also, I went to a huge flower market and almost spent all my bank account  - just kidding, but I came close! It was crazy. There were flowers everywhere you turned! I can't wait to go again! If you have one in your area thats open to the public, definitely check it out. Got to get back to sewing my robe, see you later! 

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Black and Gold Paisley Long Sleeve Shirt

This may just be my favorite shirt. I found this fabric in a local fabric store, and there was just enough left on the bolt for a long sleeve shirt. As soon as I saw this material, I hesitated whether or not to purchase it. After constantly thinking about it, I just had to go back and buy it. I have a tip when you aren't sure whether or not to buy something: if you constantly think about it over the span of a week, go ahead and buy it. If you don't, you'll regret it in the future (believe me, I have done this many times). Don't go crazy though,of course haha! I used McCall's M6044 again because it is my absolute favorite long sleeve shirt pattern. I love long sleeve shirts, if you couldn't already tell. Many men wear them everyday, so I think its important that they make a statement. Many men choose to wear rather simple patterns, nothing showy or sophisticated. I prefer to make statements with my shirts, make my shirts the centerpiece of an outfit. If it looks like wallpaper, I will probably wear it. I'm particularly drawn to Victorian-esque prints. I think they make extremely nice, glamorous shirts and I just love that. I've noticed that seems to be a trend right now, and I am all for it. Victorian wallpaper shirts everywhere please! I am in love with anything with baroque, damask, or paisley print.
Sewing a black gold paisley long sleeve men's shirt
I, of course, paired this with my favorite black jeans and brown belt and I think it looks pretty good. The fabric is a bit itchy, but I'll suffer for fashion. I think after a few washes the itchiness and firmness of the material should be gone. I hope at least!
Pinning the shoulders
Pinning and sewing the shoulders is always my first step. I love doing it because I get that sewing feeling. And yes, I believe that is a thing. I love starting new projects, and sewing the shoulders is always a really fun part. Its the start of a new project, and I love that. 
Close up of the actual sewing
For the most part, the material was easy to sew on. The only problem I had was with the bobbin getting tangled constantly. I swear, some days the bobbin will be perfectly fine for the whole day and by the next day, the bobbin has had enough and goes crazy. At one point during this project, the whole bobbin became tangled and I struggled to get the fabric off the machine. Ugh bobbins! If you look at the top left, I made a pincushion out of my remnant. They come in handy! 
Almost finished cuff
Almost finished cuff! Because the material was so stiff, the cuffs held up really well. I always find sewing on the cuffs a little tricky. Its really easy to miss the material and wind up with holes in the seams.
Pinning the hem to prepare for sewing
Hemming the bottom of the shirt - another one of my favorite parts. It means you're almost done and a brand new shirt is on the way. This is also one of the worst parts because I repeatedly get pricked because I use so many pins. The pins strike again! I use so many pins because I always unravel the fabric which gets pretty frustrating while sewing. So, many pins it is! 
Front shot of the black gold paisley shirt
The front of the shirt. I am so, so, so in love with this material. I can't say it enough. I love the shine of the gold mixed with the dark black background. I was a bit upset at how the material laid, especially on the arms and upper chest - but I think it's okay. Like I said before, I'm really hoping a few good washings and the material won't be as stiff.  As for my next project, I'm sewing a robe! I figured since fall and winter are coming up, a robe would come in handy for cold nights. I've never sewed with fleece before, so this is a first. I'll let you guys know how it goes! Wish me luck! 

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Sewing Men's Boxer Shorts

I finally figured out how to make boxers! After a few fails, I finally figured out the pattern directions and completed my first pair. In my first attempt at making boxers, I used a really slippery, almost silk like fabric that was very hard to manage. After growing continuously frustrated, I decided it was time to stop working with that material and use a cotton. On this pair, we actually managed to put the slit on the wrong side (it's supposed to be on the left, not right). Besides that little error, I think I did a pretty good job! The cotton was much easier to work with, so I think I may do one more in cotton and give the slippery fabric another go. I also promised pictures of my boyfriends completed first shirt. Over the last few weeks, my grandma and I have been teaching Zach how to sew. After sewing his shirt, he decided he wanted to sew a second one. He's currently working on that one now.
My boyfriend sewed his first shirt
I think it turned out pretty well for his first shirt! He looks a little grumpy, but that is only because I made him stand there in the blazing sun so I could get a few good shots. Poor dude. Besides a few drunk stitches, he did pretty well. He mainly struggled with keeping a seam allowance and catching all of the material. His bottom hem got a bit funky at points, so we ripped them out and made him redo it until he got it right. He also insisted on putting on a pocket, so we helped him do that as well.
Back of my boyfriends shirt
He also insisted upon rolling his sleeves up, however his version and my version of rolling up sleeves must differ greatly, haha. I think the back looks pretty dang good as well. Now, onto making the boxers!
Sewing the decorative stitch
For the boxers I used Simplicity 2741 Vest & Boxer Shorts. It was pretty easy pattern to understand, but I suggest practicing in muslin first before you move onto the chosen fabric. One of the hardest parts for me was sewing the decorative stitch. I always struggle when I have to sew at different curves and angles, and this was no exception. 
Pinking the fabric
After sewing the leg pieces together, I pinked the inside to make sure the fabric wouldn't fray. Pinking shears are so fun to use, haha.
Sewing a casing
On the very first boxer attempt, I followed a video tutorial instead of using a pattern. The tutorial had me cut up some old boxers and use that as my pattern. All went well and fine until the very end when I had to sew on the elastic. I don't know if it was because I was using slippery material or what, but that was extremely hard to do. I had to pull the elastic and keep it on the material all at the same time. It was a disaster. So for this pair, we decided to make a casing for the elastic to go through. That way we wouldn't have to sew the elastic onto the actual shorts but feed it through a channel instead. I kept pricking my fingers on the pins, it was terrible. Screw pins! 
The safety pin elastic method
I would suggest the safety pin method when dealing with elastic (although this may only work for shorts/boxers). It is definitely the best method if you are a beginner like me. HowToSew has a great tutorial on it here.
Sewing the elastic ends together
I'm not entirely sure if this is the correct way or not, but to sew the elastic ends together I stitched a square. I stitched over it multiple times and even went from one corner to another on the inside. I did this until I felt like it was secure enough. 
Sewing the hem on men's boxer shorts
And the final step, sewing the hem! This is always my favorite part of sewing a garment, it means things are finally coming to a close and you are on your way to the final product. It's so exciting! But it can be tedious. I hate when you are carefully sewing right on the edge and then bam, the needle goes off the hem and onto the other fabric. Makes me enraged, haha.
The completed hem on men's boxer shorts
Although there are a few little errors, I feel like I am slowly getting better at staying as close to the edge as possible. I just have to slow down and take my time. 
Sewing men's boxer shorts - final product
The final product! I promise no one was around to see me taking this, and yes I have a shirt on haha. Luckily, all that's behind where I am standing are woods. I also have a shirt on, but I thought it was important to showcase the actual boxers themselves. I think they turned out pretty darn good! They fit well and are comfortable. I shortened them just a tad because I didn't like how long they were originally. Wish me luck on my next pair! I think I'm going to try making some on the slippery material again. See you soon! 

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Black Floral Shirt from McCall's M6044

I made another shirt from McCall's M6044 pattern! I've really pinned down this pattern, and I'm definitely taking advantage of it. After multiple tries, I feel like I've finally got the fit right and I am absolutely ecstatic about that. It has taken about four other shirts to finally find the best fit. I have made a large, medium, and small. Small was our last resort - and ended up being the best. We made this shirt in a size small. After completing the shirt and trying it on for size, I decided to put darts on the back and sleeves in hopes of obtaining a more slim fit look. I think it turned out pretty slim! We sewed this shirt while Zach finally finished his first shirt (pictures coming soon!) so I was constantly stopping to help Zach. It was completely worth it because now I have my boyfriend hooked on sewing. Couples who sew together stay together, haha! Because Zach and I were sewing at the same time, we had to whip out my grandmas old machine. After working through multiple bobbin problems, my grandma and I finally had enough. I was getting frustrated because the pedal didn't have any resistance (probably because it was older). I absolutely could not control the speed of the needle. When my grandma used the machine, multiple curse words spewed out and she quickly grew angry (Is it possible to sew and not cuss?!). My grandpa came to the rescue and bought us a brand new Brother machine that is a god send (especially when compared to the old machine). Learning how to use that machine was both fun and challenging. It's pretty funny how much the table shakes when two sewing machines are working at once. That itself presents a whole new challenge!
McCall's M6044 Black Floral Shirt Front
I paired this shirt with my usual black pants - I typically won't wear any other color of pants. They must be black. I also paired it with the usual brown belt as well, I think it added an extra pop of color to the outfit. Although it is quite a bit of black, I think it works well together. The worst part of making the shirt was definitely doing the button holes and buttons. That part is so tedious and definitely my least favorite part of sewing a shirt. But I'm kind of a baby!
Front of the McCall's M6044 Shirt
The front of the shirt really makes me happy. We bought this fabric on sale for 1.99 a yard. 1.99 a yard! I couldn't pass it up at that price. On top of that, the thread was 2 for one dollar. Couldn't pass that up either! I love when I can actually make a shirt for less than you can buy one. That's a rare feat these days, as fabric and craft prices continuously go up. It is disheartening sometimes to realize that buying a shirt is now cheaper than making your own. It almost doesn't seam (get it?!) right that making a shirt would cost more - but I guess I will just have to get over it for now. So whenever I spot a deal, I make sure to get a lot of fabric. I got about three other fabrics on sale at the same price, so I had a successful shopping day. I also bought white tailors chalk to replace my normal markers. I knew I wouldn't be able to see the marker dye on the black fabric - so white chalk was what I chose. I did have a bit of trouble getting the tailors chalk out, which you can see on the decorative stitching. Typically it goes away after a few good soakings though. I need to work on my top button. I am one of those weird people who always buttons the top button because I just think it makes the outfit look so much more put together. But for some reason I can never get the top button to match up perfectly with the rest of the button band. It makes me so mad! I have tried everything to no avail - they always end up the same way.
Shoulder Seam of the McCall's M6044 pattern
I thought the shoulders turned out great as well! I thought standing in front of the greenery would really help the shirt stand out.
Back of the McCall's M6044 Shirt
The back of the shirt. Always one of my favorite parts of the shirt! As you can see some of the material is gathered at the shoulder seams - that is because I put in a few darts to help take in more material. I actually need a smaller size, but the pattern doesn't offer it so I have to make the correct alterations. Overall, for a shirt costing no more than 3.98 I am extremely happy. I finally found a store that offers many more florals than the average fabric stores, so I'm happy about that as well. I am still working on the boxers that I mentioned in my last post. My grandma and I finally figured out the boxer pattern and have been practicing on muslin. They are turning out great. We also tried the safety pin method for the elastic, and that worked out much better than the method we used first. Pictures of the new boxers and Zach's first shirt will be up soon! Zach is already onto his second shirt - looks like I have another sewing partner! Hope your sewing adventures are going well!