UFO busting: Knipmode dress turns into Lady Skater dress

My thinking cap has returned and I managed to finish my Lady Skater dress while busting another UFO in the process.

back facing

Ridiculous back neckline facing, it’s supposed to be on the inside of the dress…

This dress started as Knipmode dress 12 from February 2011. It only needed hems but I wasn’t happy with how it looked. It was too large and the back neck facing refused to lay flat (I’m never going to use this method for finishing a back neckline again, it just doesn’t work with knit fabrics.). I suppose I could have fixed it but I didn’t think the shape of this dress was working for me either so my motivation to get it finished had completely disappeared.

I decided to turn it into a Lady Skater dress instead. This would not have been possible if I hadn’t had about 1 meter of fabric left-over.  I was able to cut out the back skirt from the back and front skirt of the Knipmode dress, but had to add a centre back seam in the process. The front skirt, front and back bodice and one sleeve were cut from the piece of left-over fabric. That left me 1 sleeve short. There was absolutely no way I could squeeze it out of the fabric in one piece. My options were to either change to short sleeves or piece the sleeve. I think an unnecessary seam in a sleeve isn’t very desirable. It’s bad enough I had to create a centre back seam for the skirt so my solution was to turn it into an asymmetrical colour block dress! I used some olive green single jersey for the bottom part of the right sleeve. I think it adds an interesting touch. Do you like it or do you think it looks as if I didn’t have enough fabric?

I did make some changes to the pattern pieces before I cut the dress out of fabric to improve the fit even more compared to my previous version and I thought it would be nice to show you what I changed and how that affected the fit.

At the top of the front bodice there was a little bit too much fabric that created some wrinkling. I used some pins to pinch this excess fabric out on my test version dress and transferred the amount of fabric that was pinched out to the pattern piece by folding the pattern the same amount. When you look at the before and after picture below you can see that the fabric in my new dress is much smoother in this area.

At the top of the back bodice there was also some excess fabric. I solved this the same way as I did the front bodice. (I apologize for not using a picture of the same shoulder.) Since the changes I made to the front and back bodice also affected the length of the neckline I also shortened the neckband by the same amount to make sure that it would still fit correctly.

In my test version I had already slimmed down my sleeves somewhat and this had improved the fit but there were still a lot of drag lines. I suddenly realised that my arms were much skinnier than what this pattern is made for and that there was simply too much fabric in this sleeve, especially on the front of my arm. Again I used pins to pinch out the excess fabric and transferred this to my pattern piece. Additionally, I slimmed down the sides of sleeves a little bit as well (using a good fitting sleeve from another pattern as a guideline). I also made the sleeve pattern longer to get rid of the sleeve band.

I am much happier with this dress than I was with the original one and I think I’m going to wear it this Christmas. I still have quite a bit of small pieces of fabric left-over since I didn’t use the original bodice and sleeves for my new dress. Perhaps I’ll be able to turn those into a baby top to get this UFO busted even more.

UFO busting: Living room curtains

Yes, it is true, I have finally busted my most glaring UFO. After 2 years in our current home we no longer have a living room with 3 unhemmed curtains, no, we have a living room with 4 hemmed curtains! No more missing curtains, no more raw uneven edges, no more linings that peep out from under the curtain. It is a weight of my shoulders and to be honest, I’m still having some trouble believing it myself.

That curtain on the left used to live in one of my closets.

Why did it take so long? Well, I just didn’t enjoy this project at all. I wanted these curtains to add warmth to our living room since we live in a house that certainly didn’t have good insulation as a requirement when it was build so I chose a thick fabric for the curtains and added another thick layer of insulating lining. This made the curtains very heavy and a real chore to work with. On top of that, I had to clear (and clean) the living room floor each time I worked on them because I needed a very large surface to lay them out. Sewing should be fun and these curtains most definitely didn’t count as fun.

livingroomcurtains2In the end I managed to complete them because my boyfriend (who started to get somewhat annoyed at the missing 4th curtain) helped out. Having someone else carry them each time they needed to be moved from the curtain rail to the floor, to the sewing machine, back to the floor, etc. and who helped with the fabric manipulation and made sure they didn’t slip off the table while sewing made a huge difference.

Wait… is that… a hem?

Are there no positives at all to this project? Well, I really like the brown/purple colour of the curtains (the colour doesn’t show very well in these very dark pictures) and we did get to play with my skirt marker, or as we really prefer its much cooler German name, my Rockabrunder. I also think that my attempt at adding insulation through the curtains did work. Only now my boyfriend is worried that the weight of the curtains will bring the curtain rails down. We’ll see.

pasta machine

Ooooh, let’s make fresh pasta! Or, maybe not…

This project made me realise that just because you can make something yourself this doesn’t mean that you have to make it yourself. It is a bit like making fresh pasta. Sure, you can do that, and it sounds very appealing, but do you ever make fresh pasta? Like many households we own a pasta machine and like 99% of the owners of a pasta machine we’ve used it maybe twice in the 5 or 6 years that we’ve had it. The thing is, contrary to what some tv chefs want you to believe, you do not whip up a fresh pasta dish in 5 minutes. I usually use dry pasta and when I want something a little more special I’ll get the fresh pasta that they sell in the supermarket, because that already tastes pretty good, right? (Although, how fresh is something that you can store in the fridge for 2 months?) Anyway, the thing is, I don’t bother to make fresh pasta myself because I can buy a pretty decent quality and this is going to be my attitude with curtains from now on. Why bother to make them when you can buy them. My future home decorating efforts will focus on pillows and quilts (just don’t expect anything king sized..).

So, dear friends and family, if you ever need new curtains, don’t come to me. I’m not even going to offer to help you make them yourself, that’s how much I didn’t like it. Although, I suppose, if you’re nice I might let you borrow my Rockabrunder because it was pretty helpful.

UFO busting: Knipmode blouse

I could have finished this top ages ago. I’m blaming shinier projects, unclear instructions, judgement errors and stupid mistakes. I even thought I had finished it about two weeks ago and just as I was almost ready to take some pictures I noticed this:

131015_knipmodetop_cuffsmistake

Right… How did I fail to notice this while I was constructing it???

I can assure you, that was not good for my motivation… I finally unpicked it yesterday and made a new cuff today. Of course, that didn’t even take all that long so I should really learn to just fix these things immediately instead of waiting until the right mood hits me.

That’s much better!

The pattern is blouse 8 from Knipmode October 2011. I am pretty sure I started this top in the winter of 2012. This was in my pre-muslin days and as a result I find that it doesn’t fit as well as it should. For example, I could have done with some more room across my chest. I let out the side seams a little bit, but since I used 1 cm seam allowances I didn’t have a lot to play with. With all the buttons open it is wearable and I’ll probably wear it at least a couple of times. Don’t think it will become my favourite top though.

 

131015_knipmodetop_wrongbuttons

Is it just me, or does anyone else get the feeling they’re being watched?

Because I think it is quite funny I am showing you the judgement error that also stalled the sewing process for a while. I wanted to use buttons from my stash and thought some very light pinkish ones would work well. You guess right, they didn’t.  Just take a look at what it happened when I attached the pocket buttons. Uh uh, very wrong indeed… Unfortunately I had already made all the button holes and cut them open so not only did I have to find new buttons I also needed to find ones that were more or less the same size as the original ones. I was lucky to find something suitable in the second shop I went to.

Anyway, I managed to bust another UFO and it feels really good to have gotten rid of yet another plastic bag in my sewing room.

Do you often have to change your plans for a garment half-way through like I had to with this top?

UFO busting: Messed up top morphs into sporty baby tee

envelopetee3

This used to be an UFO, now it is a baby top!

Several days ago this was a top destined to remain unfinished forever. Now it has morphed into a fabulous sporty baby tee! This was one of my drama UFOs. I must have started this black and orange jersey top (7d, Knipmode August 2010) late 2010 and it turned into an UFO at some point during the first six months of 2011. It remained untouched for at least 2 years because that is how long we live in our current home…

knipmode7d_august2010

This is what was left of the original top after I cut out the fabric for the baby tee.

Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture of the original top before cutting into it. The neckline was so messed up and screamed homemade in a bad way that I would never wear it. In fact, all of the problems that I had with this top involved the neckline. I made several stupid mistakes during the construction and had to unpick so often that it caused multiple holes in the fabric because the stretch stitch that I used was a complete nightmare to unpick (nowadays I use a simple zigzag stitch when sewing with knits which truly makes a world of difference). On top of that, the fabric got eaten by my sewing machine several times creating even more damage (wish I’d known about holding the thread ends when you start a seam, would have saved me tons of frustration). I also realize now that I used completely the wrong type of interfacing to reinforce it.

enveloptee8

The upper left picture shows some of the hideous topstitching. The other two pictures show the inside of the neckband. You can see how much thread issues I had. The fabric also somehow ended up twisted in several locations.

Could I have fixed this top to get it up to my current standard? I didn’t have any fabric left to redo the neckline. Buying more fabric also wasn’t an option because the solid knits from Hilco have changed slightly since 2010 (not just the colour but also the feel of the fabric) so I would have had to redo the entire top to make sure it looked good. And well, making a whole new top wasn’t really going to solve this UFO situation that I had going on with the original top so no, I couldn’t fix this top.

I couldn’t just throw this project in the bin though. The fabric is a really nice and soft viscose and lycra blend that didn’t come cheap. Enter my decision to get rid of all my UFOs. I realized that it would be totally all right to turn anything that I no longer want into something else! So, what would be the best way to turn this now unwanted top into something desirable?

The original top was made up of quite small pieces of fabric which made it difficult to turn it into another garment for myself. A baby top, however, is much smaller and this fabric is absolutely lovely for babies because it feels so nice on the skin.

evelopetee1

I absolutely love the colourblocking on the front of the t-shirt.

I decided to make the envelope tee size 6-12 months from Meg McElwee’s book “Growing up Sew Liberated”. I love this pattern and have already made it several times. It is a simple pattern but easy to customize and I think it makes a great gift.

In order to fit the front and back pieces out of the UFO fabric pieces I had to cut up the pattern. This gave me the opportunity to create a colour blocking effect (actually very similar to what I had planned in the original top). This is very much my style and I think it gives the t-shirt a sporty appearance. In the picture below you can see how I adapted the pattern to achieve this look.

sewliberated_envelopetee_patternhack

Schematic representation of the adaptations that I made to the front and back pattern pieces of the envelope tee size 6-12 months from “Growing up Sew Liberated”.

I consider this UFO properly busted because I ended up with a great looking baby top that makes me smile by only looking at it, while the old top made me cringe. It also made me realize that my sewing skills have really improved since 2010. I don’t think this top would have given me so much trouble had I tried to make it now.

Have you ever hacked up a messed up project to make something else with the fabric pieces?