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 

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 fabric.com, 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!

Friday, July 22, 2016

Teaching My Boyfriend How to Sew & Screwing up Men's Boxers

The day my boyfriend asked if he could sew a shirt finally arrived! I was ecstatic and happy that he aka Zach finally wanted to do something that I enjoy, which isn't usual haha. I figured it would be best if my grandma was there as well because I am still quite new to sewing, so we picked a day and went over to her house. We started with the basics : pinning the pattern to the fabric and cutting it out, threading the machine, using the pedal etc. At first, Zach seemed a little bit confused, but he caught on rather quickly. He works with computers and technology a lot, so I figured he wouldn't have a problem figuring out the machine.
Cutting out sewing pattern
We decided to go with the McCall's M6044 pattern because we know it sew well (see what I did there?). The fabric he chose out was beautiful and has a very rustic touch to it. He is a bit of a country boy, so the fabric suits his personal style and aesthetic well. I liked how the fabric contained cream colored lines instead of white. Zach had no problems with cutting the fabric out, although he stuck himself with the pins a few times. I told him to get used to it!
My boyfriend sewing for the first time
He actually did pretty well with the actual sewing. He does need to sew a little slower and get a little bit better at sewing straight lines, but for his first time he did really well. I was proud of him! Zach had quite a few drunk sewing moments. Whenever my grandma or I intend to sew a straight line but it ends up curvy or screwed up, we call it drunk sewing. (Sorry for the blurry picture, Zach wouldn't sit still for one ugh!)
My boyfriend learning how to use the seam ripper
He quickly met my personal friend the seam ripper. Oh what a god send the seam ripper is! As expected, my grandma and I had to whip out the old seam ripper and fix a few mistakes Zach made on the sleeves. A few times while sewing Zach ran off the material, and other times he accidentally got fabric caught in some of his seams. We taught him about the importance of a seam ripper and how to use one, and boy did he use it!
When I was first learning how to sew, I think I spent more time seam ripping than actually sewing.
While Zach was busy sewing and getting advice from my grandma, I decided to start working on a new men's boxers pattern we bought. It seemed like it wouldn't be that hard, but I definitely underestimated the difficulty.  The pattern was confusing as all get out, with lousy directions that basically left figuring out the steps up to you. Some patterns are more like mysteries and you have to be the detective and figure out the clues. I really wish patterns would have better, more detailed instructions. They definitely don't cater to amateurs, that's for sure! After fooling around with the pattern for awhile and trying to decipher what the instructions wanted me to do, I called it quits and decided to find a video on youtube that could walk me through the process. But don't worry, I screwed that up too.
Sewing right sides together
My local fabric store had a truckload sale last week and was selling one yard of fabric for 1.99 so I ended up buying quite a lot. Good fabric is never that cheap! I found two beautiful, silky blue and turquoise floral fabrics that remind me of the nineteenth century. I couldn't pass them up, especially at that price. I thought they would make great boxers, being both soft and light. What I didn't realize was that because the fabric was so soft, it was also extremely slippery. I was getting so frustrated! The fabric was slipping all over the place and I just wanted to beat up the machine. Ahh!
Pinning the elastic onto my boxer shorts
Sewing the elastic onto the boxers was a whole other experience. Definitely one of the worst and most difficult things I've had to sew so far. Slippery material and elastic is a recipe for disaster (especially for me). I found it incredibly difficult to keep the elastic pulled tight while holding the material to stop it from moving around.
Creating the waistband on my boxers
Eventually I got the elastic and fabric sewed together and had to flip the new waist band over and sew it to the inside. This was a whole other adventure as well. Because we felt it best that Zach got the newer machine to practice on, I was using my grandmothers older machine. I had no control over the speed of the machine, so I really had to focus on controlling my foot and not pushing down hard.  I was thankful when I got that over with, but was disappointed with the final boxers. I ended up not even hemming them and am planning on giving them another shot tomorrow. If there's one thing I hate in this world it's wasting fabric, but I guess that's a risk you take when trying out something new! My grandma says she thinks we ought to do "her method" of sewing elastic and says we definitely need to use cotton instead. I was so frustrated and tired on the way home from her house, and the bad drivers on the road didn't make me feel any better. I know learning a new pattern takes time, but I get terribly frustrated when a sewing project doesn't turn out the way you initially intended. If the next pair of boxers turns out right (*fingers crossed*) a new post will be up soon! On the bright side, my boyfriend learned to sew with me and had a blast doing it. He even told me he might want to get his own machine, and I am 100% down for that. I'm so glad we both have something we genuinely enjoy now. A picture of his first shirt and hopefully completed boxers will be up soon! Be on the lookout for Part 2!

Friday, July 15, 2016

Floral Cream Long Sleeve Shirt on a Rainy Day

My first blog post, yay! I've been excited to write my first blog post and I can't believe it's already here. Today I'm showing you a shirt my grandma and I worked on together (of course!). I've been on a floral kick recently. Floral shirts, shoes, watches, etc. I just think floral patterns look absolutely wonderful on guys. It's a nice combination between masculine and feminine I think. I first saw this fabric on etsy, and absolutely had to have it. At first we just made a tank top out of it, but I loved it so much I ordered more so we could make a full shirt. If you would like to purchase the fabric, you can check it out here: Peacy Fabrics. Although the fabric took about two weeks to arrive, it was most definitely worth it. Originally the thought of buying fabric online scared me because I thought the prices would be outrageous, but actually they are on par with the big fabric stores. I was grateful because this widens my options for fabric. Big chain stores don't usually offer many baroque and floral patterns, but they can be easily found on the internet. Thank gosh! (A person can never have too many floral prints, right?)  I highly recommend searching online for different fabrics, especially if you want a fabric pattern that isn't common. And just in case you were wondering, yes my blog name is a play on Jack the Ripper.
For this shirt we used McCall's M6044 pattern in size small. Unfortunately I didn't get any pictures of the sewing process, but I absolutely promise every shirt hereafter will have plenty! We hit a few road bumps with the pattern. First off, the pattern directions hardly helped at all. I swear all patterns are like that, seriously. It makes me so mad! I wish they would be more informative and descriptive, but I guess they aren't for amateurs anyway. Also, when sewing the collar band for some reason the collar band was much bigger than the actual collar. Much, much bigger, actually. So we had to make the correct adjustments until the collar band was just a tad larger than the actual collar.
Overall, the pattern wasn't that bad to follow. Without my grandma though I'm not sure I would have gotten so far. I do think the collar could have been a little smaller so it would lay better, however because we had to wing it, we tried our best to make it work. As far as material goes, this material is wonderful and has a nice cotton feel. Did anyone catch The Munsters reference in this photo?! I have an obsession with that show, I admit it.
The back of the shirt just might be may favorite part (weird right?). I just love the way it lays. I love shirts that have a floral pattern all over without any other colors because its really easy to dress up and look presentable. Floral patterns add complexity to an outfit and are very easy to pair with different accessories and colors.
I also really like how this fabric lays on the shoulder (this shot is showing the right shoulder). It's very comfortable and not too tight. I personally like sleeves to be really skinny, and I think I could have taken a bit more in on the sleeves, but I don't think it's absolutely necessary. Apologies for the front door shots! It was raining but I really wanted to take some close up photos so you could see how the fabric laid on different parts of the body. If you were wondering, I sew all of my shirts on the Brother Project Runway sewing machine and I have no complaints.
I decided to pair this shirt with black jeans and a brown belt. (Sidenote: My face looks really red in this photo! I recently redyed my hair and some hair color remover wipes for the skin really did a number on my skin! They worked but I don't think my face liked them to much, I look sunburnt! One of my worst nightmares). I even added a few gold and black rings. Rings are one of my favorite things to add to an outfit to bring the look together, it really just adds something. I didn't get my shoes in the photo, but I incorporated some brown vintage shoes I found at the local Salvation Army. I know many believe its a sin to use black with brown, but I think it works quite well in this outfit. Overall, I'm really pleased with the outcome of the shirt and it might just be my new favorite. It fits perfectly and I really like the buttons we chose. It was a blast to sew. The buttons were easy to sew on, which is always a plus. My sewing machine seemed to like this shirt as well. The automatic button hole feature worked wonderfully, which is a first. Typically it won't sew the right side of the button hole for some reason, but that might be my fault. Oops! I hope you enjoyed the photos! Let me know your thoughts!
On to my next shirt, wish me luck! Stay tuned :)