Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Lekala Bow Blouse

barefoot and booty shorts. judge all ya want.

This is Lekala 4286, a top with a scarf neckline. I wonder why I've never heard much about Lekala patterns; I think I discovered the brand on Craftsy. They're hella cheap! They only give you one size-- you put in your measurements for a custom fit, but I'm fine with that because it saves on paper that I've gotta print out and tape together.

I was going to use this for the Indie Pattern Month New to Me contest. I was all set to take pictures when my camera battery died. Around my house, camera chargers are rare treasures. My parents, sisters and I technically each had one when we got our cameras, but the days when everyone's had their own are long since past. Now if you see one out in the open you grab it and hoard it for yourself, Gollum-style. Point is, by the time I got my camera charged it was too late to enter the contest. Boooooo.
I'm really happy with this make. I usually skulk the online sewing community for pattern reviews, so I was a little unsure about Lekala's obscurity, but I'm glad I tried them out! It's a cute top, something that's not a Tshirt, which is what most of my tops are.
 I found the bow print at Hancock fabrics and knew I wanted to try it out for this blouse. Cause it's bows, and the blouse ties at the neckline, and bows are seemed clever to me at the time :P For all it's cuteness, it's kinda dumb to work with. Cutting was a real bitch, but I used a ton of pins so sewing wasn't too bad.

 I used French seams on all the seams with the main print because it frayed like nooooobody's business. I was originally going to use the bow print for the cuffs but I'm glad I used the black for them, it  gives focus points, or something.
please ignore the stain on the tie, no idea where it came from and of course only noticed it after taking photos xP
I put the zipper in by hand with a prick stitch. It's not my best work; this technique looks much nicer with more sturdy fabrics instead of this type of floaty gauzy stuff. I'm not beating myself up over it since it's on the side underneath my arm so it's not that noticeable.
One thing I was able to read about Lekala review-wise said they give a close fit, and that held true with this top. Next time I'll go with a smaller seam allowance, cause even with the zipper it's a tight fit. Also, it was too short, like, self conscious about my tummy before I even hemmed it short. I'm not sure if it's the pattern or if it's user error from when the pattern shifted around during cutting. I just sewed an extra strip of fabric to the bottom and cut it so it curved like the original shape. I did a rolled hem by hand because I just love how they look on floaty fabrics.
If you're considering using a Lekala pattern I'd say try it! But a word of warning besides the tightness: the directions weren't in depth at all. I didn't follow them at all and kind of figured out the collar and cuffs as I went. So if you like lots of hand holding then be warned that Lekala patterns DON'T give you that, but they have so many styles (forreal, SO MANY COOL PATTERNS And they're $3 each, so even if it doesn't work out, no biggie, right?

Friday, June 20, 2014


...such an aggravation. ahhhh see what I did there? ;)

I've read sooo many blog posts about getting one's sewjo back. Some people like to find small, easy projects when they're lacking inspiration; some pick out an extra icing-ey, fun, in no way practical project that they can just let their imagination run wild on; others give themselves a break from sewing to recharge their drive. I can't seem to make any of these techniques work though.

Sometimes I sew for a week straight, night and day. And sometimes I don't sew anything for months at a time. It's just like I'm overrun by motivation one hour and the next it's left me in the dust, wondering why I wanted the damn project in the first place.  I'd get so much more done if I worked consistently instead of in random spurts.

I will be the first to admit I'm not the best at scheduling my time, and I'm sure that doesn't help. Many bloggers I read suggest setting time aside consistently to sew, but if I don't feel like sewing, I have a really hard time getting myself to do it. I have no problem getting myself to go to work when I need to, and heck, I can even get myself to do my homework pretty consistently. But if  the sewjo ain't there, progress ain't happening. Also, my creative brainwave levels peak really late at night. Call me an extreme night owl. So lots of times I feel like sewing at 12:30 in the morning, and the next thing I know it's 4:30. And then I sleep in way too late the next day.

Another thing that bugs me about my wishy-washy sewtivation is that deadlines usually ALWAYS kick my ass into gear. School projects, applications with deadlines, all that crud: I pretty much always wait till the last minute before (most of the time) somehow pulling it off pretty well. But with sewing...let's just say that there are a few gifts that were supposed to be done months ago that STILL aren't a reality yet. It really annoys me not just because I haven't done the sewing but because, duh, they're gifts that I haven't been able to give to their recipients.

these dresses NEED to happen by my cousin's baby shower!

I have noticed that if I get as far as cutting out a pattern there's a pretty good chance that I'll see it through. But I have so many plans that haven't had a chance at being the real deal because my motivation took a sabbatical.

If you have tips for me, I'd love to hear them. And if you feel like wishing me luck, that'd be greatly appreciated too, seeing as I want to finish a jacket, make a dress, and whip up a few baby dresses as gifts by early July. AND sew a few things that would be good for my upcoming semester in Spain. HELP!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Coach Tour Dress Knockoff: Gift Reprise

I made another Coach Tour dress knockoff! I decided to make my oldest sister a dress a looooong time ago but the good news is I finally finished it and gave it to her, and she wore it to work and didn't fall apart! So that's pretty great ;)
 When I told her I would make a dress for her, she requested one that looked like my Coach Tour knockoff. The first fabric I got for this was double knit, like my original, but I didn't buy enough and couldn't fit it. Dur. I got this jersey and hoped it'd work, and I think it does. It's looser than my dress is, but that's ok because Liz moves around alot (she works in a kindergarten classroom).
 Oh, and it has pockets, which I think might be Liz's favorite She is enraged by the skimpy pockets-to-dress ratio found in most RTW.
Oh, and last night Liz and I made crayon art! I think it turned out rather great, if I may say so myself :D

Sunday, June 8, 2014

World Traveler

 Hey look at that, it's summer! So far I've spent it laying around the house, fishing, and playing a ridiculous amount of Settlers of Catan. I've been sewing a bit too, but I actually made this dress last June. I'm bad getting pictures of my makes, ok?! I don't have a tripod and I feel weird asking people to take photos for me :P
 So this is my world traveler dress. My sister got a dress pretty much exactly like this at our Plato's Closet. When I found this fabric at my college town's thrift shop I knew I would make it into the same style dress as Ally's. My fabric is a different pattern, but it's the same weight and the print definitely gives off the same vibe, if that makes any sense.
 Ally's dress has a black slip attached underneath the main dress, and I'd like to get around to getting/making a similar one. I'm wearing a white slip underneath the dress in these photos. It doesn't look bad, but I think a dark slip would be better.
 I self-drafted this puppy, and am pretty proud of myself for that. It's a really simple design, so I made cutouts on the sleeves for a little bit of interest. I used bias strips to bind the neckline and sleeve cutouts, and since the fabric is so floaty and I knew it'd be hell to work with, I mixed instant gelatin mix with water and put let the bias strips sit in it for a while, then dry. Stiffened the fabric up perfectly! And I have a ton of gelatin for some reason--I think I found a face mask recipe that uses it--so I'm totes going to use this trick for the rest of forever. I gathered the waist with some clear elastic thread stuff. I'm not sure if it's actually meant to be used for sewing purposes or if this is a legit technique, but it worked and that's good 'nough for me!

 "Wait I have to take another picture, this one looks like you're smelling your armpit"
So this is the pattern (you need to cut 2 of them) :) the top is your wingspan; cut a hole in the middle for your head and one on either side of this for the arm cutouts. The vertical measurement is how long you want the dress to be. And then you just gather it below the bust to your waist measurement (a shit ton of gathering. seriously.) I tried it on before gathering the waist and it looked HIDEOUS lol. Like some kind of ethnic robe muumuu monstrosity.