Monday, August 1, 2016

Pikachu Hoodie Revisited

My nephew finally received his Pikachu hoodie! I'm impressed it took only one week to ship from  US to Australia via USPS First Class mail! Needless to say, he loved it and here are some pictures of him wearing it.

Judging from the photos, it looks like there is enough ease in the hoodie that will allow him to wear it for more than one season!

If you missed it, here is the post detailing the hoodie sewing process.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Pikachu Hoodie Using Jalie 2795

I'm back! June was spent visiting family and friends across the globe. The first few weeks of July was spent recuperating from jet lag and battling post-holiday blues. But I am raring to go back to sewing and have several projects in queue. This hoodie had to be at the top of my list because the recipient lives in Australia and it is winter there right now. Anyway, during our holiday, I got to spend time with my 10-year old nephew who is an avid Pokemon collector. I ended up showing him a photo of the Pikachu hoodie I have sewn for my daughter six Christmasses ago and promising him his very own!

Some people may wonder why not just buy a ready made jacket and hot glue the embellishments to make a character hoodie. But if you are a sewist like me, you'll understand why I chose to make the hoodie myself. 

My base pattern was Jalie 2795.

This is a multi-sized pattern for a jacket or hoodie and although it seems to be marketed for females (based on the model pics and sizing), I thought it could work for boys, too. I used my nephew's hip measurement to choose the appropriate size since that was the widest measurement. It didn't matter much if the chest ended up being a little wider since it's a hoodie meant for layering. 

The fabric recommended was medium weight fleece or knit with at least 25% stretch. I used an anti pill fleece purchased from Jo-Ann's fabric. It didn't have the recommended stretch so for the cuff, I used a ribbed knit from my stash. Since I was going to make a Pikachu hoodie, I also purchased some felt squares in black, white and red. 

I have sewn with this pattern before and found the instructions easy to follow especially if one pays close attention to the included illustrations. A few construction notes:

1. For my medium weight fleece fabric, I used a size 90/14 jersey needle. 
2. Even though fleece does not ravel, I still serged the seams to finish the edges and make it easier to handpress it to one side in preparation for topstitching. 

3. Topstitching was a bit challenging because the thick fleece tended to hide the seamline. So I just sewed from the wrong side, used one side of my pressor foot to serve as a guide and adjusted my needle position so that it sewed near the edge of the folded seam. I also lengthened the stitches so that they were more visible on the right side. 

I tried sewing with the Edge Sewing Pressor foot on the right side but I liked the results better with the first technique I mentioned.

4. Instead of self-fabric, I used ribbed knit for the sleeve cuffs. I felt my main fabric didn't have enough stretch.

5.  The hoodie was made up of three part--upper part, lower part and front. Before stitching together these three parts, I constructed the Pikachu ears first. 

6. The ears were inserted between the upper and lower hoodie parts.

7. After the hoodie was assembled and before it was attached to the rest of the jacket, the other embellishments--eyes, cheeks, nose and mouth--were machine appliqued. It was easier to manipulate the hoodie without the rest of the bulky materials.

After the hoodie was embellished, it was time to attach it to the rest of the garment. 

And for some finishing touches:

A really adorable Pikachu enamel zipper pull purchased from Etsy.

A patch purchased also from Etsy which was machine sewn to the left front of the hoodie.

And here is the finished hoodie!

Finished garment measurements:
Hips as measured at the bottom hem--31"
Center back length as measured from neck to bottom hem--20"
Sleeves as measured from "assumed shoulder" to cuff--24"
Wrist circumference--8"

I can't wait for my nephew to try this on! I just mailed it out today and hopefully it should reach him in one week. Meanwhile, here is a modeling picture of my daughter wearing her own Pikachu hoodie which I made for her in 2011.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Simplicity 1693

This pattern is definitely one of my TNT patterns. I have sewn five different styles of blouses just from this pattern alone. I am going to talk about the most recent three finished projects.

True to its name, this pattern is so simple. One yard of fabric was able to accommodate the front, back and sleeve pieces.

View A is blouson style with elasticized waistline and long sleeves. 

Fabric used was a silk blouseweight fabric purchased from Emma One Sock. 

Modifications I made:
Neckline sewn with elastic thread on the bobbin to make subtle ruffles.

Instead of making a waistline casing and putting a 1/4" wide elastic, I just sewed around the waistline using an elastic thread in the bobbin. 

I made the sleeves 3/4 instead of full length and sewed around the bottom edge using elastic thread in the bobbin (again!) to achieve a ruffled effect. I also finished the hem using the roll hemmer of my Juki MO 654 serger.

I finished the bottom hem of the blouse in the same manner as the sleeves.

View B is a simple pullover style with flutter sleeves.
I did not make any modifications and followed everything as instructed. 

Fabric used was a polyester crepe de chine from Sawyer Brooks.

Since my fabric was not sheer, I finished the seams by simply serging. I decided to have some fun and use contrasting thread  for serging. 

View C is a sleeveless blouson style with attached ribbon. 

Fabric used was 100% cotton voile from Sawyer Brooks.


I fully lined the top as the fabric was really sheer. I just used the same pattern pieces to draft the lining. 
Instead of attaching a separate piece of casing for the waistline elastic, I just sewed through the lining and main fabric layers to create a casing for the 1/4" wide elastic. 

I finished all seams using the serger.

A final note about the pattern. I found the sizing to be really generous. My body measurements placed me at size 8 but after sewing a muslin, I had to use straight size 4 with no alterations, not even in the bodice length. With that said, this pattern is definitely a keeper!

Vogue 9187

This past few weeks, I have been busy sewing outfits for spring and summer. Whereas before, I was content to stick with knit tops, this time I have ventured into more feminine blouses. I don't have a big stash of blouse patterns so I had to "audition" some new ones. Luckily one of them is going into my TNT (Tried and Tested) bin because I was so happy with the results.

Vogue 9187 is a multi-sized pattern for a close-fitting top with two neckline variations (scoop neck or jewel), princess seams in front and back, and back zipper closure. 

I used size 6 based on the bust measurement but graded to a 10 at the hips. I also made a slight swayback adjustment by pinching a few inches at the back princess seams. No adjustment in the bodice length was necessary as the bodice was already short. 

This is my first attempt, my so-called wearable muslin, using a 100% cotton print. 

Notice how short it is? Long-waisted gals might need to add some to the bodice length but for petite gals like me who always have to adjust the bodice, this is just the perfect length!

The back neckline is a bit deep but surprisingly, there was no issue with gaping. 
This is my final version. I was happy with the muslin fitting so I was not scared to cut into my gorgeous cotton/poly/spandex brocade from Emma One Sock. The fabric had a 15% stretch widthwise which made the top very comfortable. 

I finished the seams by serging. Careful clipping along the curves ensured the princess seams curved nicely. What I like about this pattern is the facings. They are cut wide so they are automatically sewn down along the armhole edge. Unlike other patterns I have tried before, the front and back neck facings stayed put. 
The bottom hem has self-facing ensuring nicely finished front slits.

Here is the inside view of the back zipper. Even though it's a non-separating zipper, I had no trouble putting the top on over my head. 

And here are more pictures of the finished top. I will definitely be sewing more of this top.