I hate sweaters, people. I love wool, but it does not love me back…within seconds of putting on a sweater, I’m itching and covered in hives. It’s probably all of the chemicals sheep get dipped in that makes my skin freak out, but I have neither the budget for organic wool nor the heart to wear such sad colors (why do natural dyes have to be so ugly?). This makes my life as someone living in a colder climate a little dicey at times.
So when I came across Simplicity 2603, I was excited. Why wouldn’t I want to swathe myself in fabric when I’m a bit chilly? But this wrap was limited in what I could do with it because of its length, but also because of the shape of the extensions which for whatever reason didn’t work on my body so well, even after I tried on the full length version that I made for my Mother-in-law for Christmas. So I went back to the drawing board.
Enter Vogue 8463. One of my sewing goals this year was to attempt a Vogue pattern. I don’t think I can count this one because it’s so ridiculously easy. The hardest thing you have to do is hem a lot of fabric. I liked that the extensions are longer on this one versus the Simplicity pattern (I didn’t have enough length to tie it in interesting ways) and that it very economically uses less than 2 yds which is quite a bit less than the Simplicity.
Vogue 8463–wrap cardigan
What I learned:
1. Interfacing the hem: I did several tests on scraps to figure out which hem I like the best, and my usual steam-a-seam yielding a really crunchy hem on this amazing rayon knit from Gorgeous Fabrics. Instead, I ironed on some SewKeysE all the way up to the hemline and pressed and topstitched accordingly.
2. Look ma! No pins!: One of the other things Peggy Sagers said at the Sew Expo was that home sewers use way too many pins. Pins slow you down whether you’re laying out a pattern or in the midst of construction, she asserted. Of course, she’s right, but who wants to give up their security blanket? I’m experimenting on how to go about incorporating this into my life, and this is what I’ve come up with for hems. I pressed my hem like normal and ran a basting stitch about halfway between the top of the hem and the fold line from the wrong side and then I topstitched as normal. This saved me like 8 years in pins, kept Noah away from my pins, and I was a lot less stressed. I’m sure Peggy Sagers would say there’s an easier, faster way with hems, but this will do for now.
3. I need to pull out my measuring tape and take an honest look at everything: I’ve lost all my baby weight now. Actually, I weigh less than I did before Noah. This is great, but altering for my full bust does not need to be so dramatic, and my ribcage is more narrow again, the result being that I’m swimming in fabric. So, while I love this finished garment for the color and for the style and versatility of wearing, I’m not too happy about it being too wide across the shoulders and all this extrey fabric at center back that’s happening I assume because of that. You can get a little idea of the extra fluff here.
I imagine I’ll be making more muslins than anything the next few weeks just to figure out what on earth is going on with my changing body and to practice some of the techniques I learned this past week.
3a) Tracing patterns: Fit for Real People is quite assertive in how they tell you to deal with patterns. They have you slashing them up and shimming them with bobs of tissue paper and so forth. This is great, but I’m coming to realize that perhaps this isn’t the best way [for me]. There are some styles that I love and will make a gazillion times and a few that I’ll only make once–like everyone else. But seriously, God-willing, Noah is not our last kid, and this cycle of being a little heavier/fuller in some places back to being my usual self will be repeated here, so if there are things that I like, I best be treating my patterns nicer if it turns out that I have to alter them again. So from now on, if there is something that I make that I know I’ll want to make again in whatever capacity, I’m going to trace it off first, though it pains me to add the extra step. It’s cheaper timewise and monetarily to do this versus buying another pattern, or so I’m telling my impetuous self.
4. My camera has a self-timer?: I’m such a camera dork. I get the concept, but it’s like gardening for me…I just can’t be bothered with the details. You lovely folk who read my blog put up with a lot where my pictures are concerned. Bless you all. So, miraculously, I figured out the self-timer, and these two pictures look a little better than my average. Phew.