Thursday, December 25, 2014

Sewing for Christmas

What do I give a daughter who loves The Lord of the Rings and a son who is obsessed with Pokemon? Both are young adults so toys and games are out of the question. I thought nothing can beat their own one of a kind shirt featuring what they like most. 

The Fabric
Middle Earth Map for her

Anatomy Lessons in Pokemon panel fabric for him

                         Both of the above fabrics were purchased from
Each was a 42" width polyester/spandex blend with four-way stretch which the site referred to as "modern jersey." The fabric had a very nice cottony feel and the print was great. The only drawback was the price but for a special project, that was not a deal breaker. I used a black rayon jersey from my stash as a contrast to the printed fabrics.

                                                                       The Pattern

Jalie 3352 for her, Jalie 2918 for him
Jalie 3352 is a pattern for a dolman top with options for color-blocking. I opted for the 3/4 sleeve version and bound neckline. I found the pattern true to size based on chest measurements. This is a modern top with curved longer hemline on the back.

Jalie 2918 is a men's/boy's T-shirt pattern and is also true to size based on the chest measurement. I sewed the short sleeve round neckline version. 

For both patterns, I used the same techniques:
1) A stay tape to stabilize shoulder seams
2) Cover stitch to finish the hemlines

The background color on the printed fabric coordinated beautifully with the solid black fabric.

The look on their faces when they opened their gifts was priceless! 

Monday, December 22, 2014

It's a Wrap!

The contest is over. I still cannot believe I became a finalist! Although I did not win, the whole experience was so rewarding. I learned so much from the other participants and my sewing mojo totally came back.

I am sharing the feedback I received from the judging committee.

"What a whirlwind of a month-and-a-half it has been. The first Sewing Bee contest on PatternReview was an exciting time and also tiring for so many of you. 

Now that the contest is over, we the judges would like to share our thoughts with the finalists. Please know that we liked each and every entry in this contest and judging this contest was one of the hardest things we've ever done.

Your collection was very classy. The A-line skirt of the first round firmly set that tone. The lining drafting was admirable for that particular pattern. For round 2, no one would guess that dress came from men's shirts even though some of the original elements were retained. Your round 3 pictures showing the process were excellent; we felt like we were there with you, step by step. The belt brought that dress all together, with the solid in the front and print in the back. It was our favorite piece from your collection. The round 4 jeans looked - as much as we could see them - very nicely done. The biggest difficulties with these entries (particularly the last round, the pants) was seeing the details. Many of the critical photos were quite dark, and since photographs were all we have to go by, that put you at a significant disadvantage to the other finalists. We all admired the sophisticated nature of all the items. 

The Sewing Bee Judges"

To see the winner of the challenge and the rest of the entries for the final round, just visit this link to the Pattern Review website.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Sewing Bee Round 4 (Final Round): The Pants Challenge

So I made it to the final round! I was so excited. Never could I have imagined I would go this far. But my excitement completely turned to trepidation when I learned the final challenge was to sew a pair of pants. Not just a pair of pants but one sewn with waistband, zipper, closure, pockets and hem using non-stretch woven. I have never sewn a pair of pants. My previous attempts were limited to unfinished muslins that were eventually set aside. I knew I was in trouble. But then I realized I had nothing to lose. I was at the end of the challenge and even though my chances of winning were really nil, I still win if I am able to overcome this aversion to pants fitting and sewing. 

After browsing the website for possible patterns, I decided on Vogue 8774. I have more use for jeans than trousers so I thought this was a good way to start. 

Pants fabric is one type of fabric I do not have in my stash so I made a quick trip to our local Jo-Ann store. I found a dark indigo denim fabric made of 100% cotton. It was a bit heavy, being 11 oz, and I thought that was perfect for the winter season. 

The pattern has been reviewed several times already at the Pattern Review website so I am not going into a lot of details here anymore. Just a few points that might be helpful:

1) I would recommend to serge finish all edges before proceeding with construction. There are no references to finishing the raw edges as one goes along so it is easy to overlook this. 

2) If the fabric is thick (like mine was) an alternative method to the construction of belt carrier would be advisable. I struggled with turning the loop inspite of my loop turner. 

After several muslin fittings, I finally got the courage to cut into my real fabric and sew the real thing. 

The fit still needs some more tweaking but I am quite happy with my first attempt at pants sewing. 
Hopefully the next one I sew will be in a more relaxed atmosphere. The Sewing Bee was a  fun experience but I'm relieved it's over.