Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Black Leather Wrist Bracers

I recognize that these are not your standard accessory.  However, I am not your standard person, so I guess it's okay.

These will go great with any type of biker, steampunk, medieval, or similar type outfits.  And  not necessarily exclusively in costume, either.

I think I will add a Welsh dragon to mine, in leather, just because I think it would be pretty cool.

This bracer was done using Butterick's Making History pattern B5371.  The pattern includes bracers, corset, belt, and pouches.  The outside and straps are garment weight black lambskin leather. 
And I lined the whole thing with cotton twill, because sometimes leather right against your skin just isn't that comfortable.

I am on the small side, so the first bracer I made was a bit too big for me, but sized well to fit an average size man.  It fit my 23 year old son nicely.

For the second one I removed about  1.5 inches from the center of the pattern, trued up the curve, and tried again.  This one was perfect for me.  When buckled and fitting snugly, there's about 1/4 inch gap between the two edges on the underside. 

Now I can't really say whether Butterick's instructions for this were any good.  My experience with their instructions has been pretty terrible lately, so I stopped reading them.  But this is a fairly straightforward item and I did things my own way anyway.

Here's the bracer flat.  As you can see, I added a piece to hold down the end of the straps after they come through the buckle.  The pattern uses D-rings instead of buckles, so it doesn't have these.  I don't like D-rings all that much, so I did it this way instead.

And there we have it.  I will get to the other items in this pattern sooner or later, just because I love historical clothes and accessories.  The buckled corset is definitely next.

Friday, June 6, 2014

And Here's the Rest

When I finally got around to putting black thread in the cover stitch machine, I hemmed everything at once, which took a surprisingly short amount of time.  So here's the last two tank tops.  Not glamorous, but I do love my tank tops and I wear them most days throughout the summer.  As soon as Daughter wears her dress I'll take a pic of that too.  We're all breathlessly waiting for weather warm enough to go swimming (and try out all our new swimsuits), but until then I'll just keep on sewing :o)

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Racerback Tanks in Jersey Print

It's summertime and time for some new tank tops.  My old ones are pretty much worn out and recently I've had to throw several away.  One got stained beyond rescue and in two others the lycra gave out and made the fabric all ripply and weird. 

I love these two newest additions to my tank top stable.  I spent many an hour developing this racerback tank top until I got the pattern and every little curve of the straps just the way I wanted them.

The yellow print is a cotton/lycra jersey several years old trimmed with the same print fabric in the black colorway.  The binding is a tiny 1 inch wide before it is sewn on -- you have to be very, very careful with that one, there's no room at all for error.

The camouflage -- and I do love camo -- is a plain cotton jersey, kinda flimsy and I don't think this tank will make past this summer season before it starts to develop holes and such.  But it was so cute, I couldn't resist.  If you look closely, you can see the butterflies integrated into the camouflage pattern.  Is that awesome or what?!  I used a slightly wider binding on this one -- 1 1/2 inches unsewn.  You wouldn't think that just a little bit of extra binding could change the look of a shirt so much, but it does. 

I've got two more tanks tops to finish off and a knit dress for Daughter as well.  As soon as those are done, it's off to a couple of simple ballet tops for me.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Everything's Going Swimmingly

Hmmm.  I can't really make a joke to save my life, can I?

Here's the newest project: A pair of board shorts for Youngest Son.  Because we really want to be ready for summer swimming as soon as the water warms up.

The pattern is Kwik Sew of the older ones that were still printed on heavy paper. I'm hoping I can use the pattern this year and next year yet, because after that I'll have to find a men's pattern for him.  Boy's patterns are so much easier to find than men's that I'm not looking forward to the treasure hunt.

Anyway, these are made from microfiber purchased from  I only ordered 1/2 yard each of the print and the navy, not realizing how loooooong board shorts are.  So those navy design details at the hems of each leg?  Yeah, that's the extra length I needed for the pattern pieces.  If I'd checked the pattern envelope for yardage needed, I would've known.  I'm going to try not to make that mistake again. 

In any event, these went together pretty nicely with no problems.  Though I used 1 inch elastic for the waist instead of 2 pieces of 3/8 inch like the instructions call for.  You can't really see the front tabs where the lacing goes through because of the crazy print fabric, but they're there.

I think when I make these again, I'll sew 1 inch hems.  I think it would look better with deeper hems, but that's really the only thing I'd do differently.  We'll have to see how they work in the water before I can make a final judgement, though.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Woo Hoo! New Jalie 3350 Swimsuit

Doggone it! This thing is so cute.  Even in the lousy picture with terrible lighting it looks cute.  Okay the hot pink flowers accented with the black probably contributes to its cuteness, but really, I give alot of credit to the pattern.

This is the View A front with the View B back.  That front sweetheart neckline is so prettily shaped and the construction method is easy and straightforward. 

I made this for Daughter using the size that corresponded to her girth measurement, so it turned out to be a little looser in the chest than ideal since she's pretty tall in proportion to her other measurements.  It's no where near a problem, but I'll probably slim down the next one just a tiny bit.  I thought the leg openings wouldn't fit since the elastic is only a teeny bit shorter than them, but that too was no problem.  Fit perfectly.

I used a swimsuit fabric that was covered in dusty pink flowers (that I never liked) for the lining and I lined the back as well as the front.

All in all, from tracing to final stitch was about 3 hours.  Awesome.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Mother/Daughter Swimsuit Set

I made this Jalie swimsuit pattern a couple of years ago and I found at the time that I had used the wrong size for both Daughter and myself.  Neither suit was unwearable, but both were just a little too short in the torso.  So I decided to revisit it to get the sizing right with a pattern that I'm already familiar with before I launched into the more (to me, anyway) complicated new swimsuit pattern. 

The flowered fabric I got from last year and the purple came from JoAnn's.  I ended up lining mine with what was left of the purple since I personally prefer my swimsuit to be on the heavier side and the cost of the lining fabric is the same as the cost of the fashion fabric.  I also hate sewing that slippery, slinky lining fabric.  Win, win.

At any rate, they both fit perfectly.  And I didn't really intend to make matching swimsuits, it just sort of turned out that way.  I have pink, purple, and orange fabrics for swimsuits.  Daughter chose the purple.  Okay.  I don't look good in pink, and I'm saving the orange for my swimsuit from the new Jalie pattern, which means I ended up with purple, too.  And as you can see, they're not exactly alike.  Well, except the backs are identical.

So, now it's time for the new Jalie swimsuit pattern.  Daughter wants one view and I want the other, so I've got my work cut out for me.  I think I'll make Daughter's first, since she probably needs a second suit more than I do

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Summer Sewing Begun at Last!

Here's my first bit of summer sewing: Daughter's new bathing suit. She's tried it on and is super happy with it.

The pattern is Jalie 3134 Racerback Swimsuit from the set of patterns that was put out in October 2011.  I've made it before for both myself and for Daughter, but since I wasn't quite satisfied with the fit either time, I wanted to try it again.  This one is absolutely perfect.  And went together from start to finish in about 3 hours.

Remember, it's important to choose the size from the girth measurement.  Anything else is kind of iffy.

Next up is a swimsuit for me.  I traced out the pattern for my size last night at the same time I traced out Daughter's, so it's just a matter of laying out the fabric, cutting the pieces, and stitching my little heart out.

After that, I have Jalie's new swimsuit pattern to try out.  Daughter wants the View A with the B back.  I want the View B with the A back.  And it'll be nice for us both to have a second suit to wear for a change.