Monday, December 1, 2014

Made by Me Files: Floral Tunic Top and Shetland Wool Skirt. Kwik Sew 3463 and Simplicity 2152.

Before I begin, I wanted to give another shoutout to Katie, a blog friend of mine who is also a Stella and Dot consultant.  She wanted to let me know that the Black Friday special I mentioned in this post is extended and that there is a Cyber Monday special, where you can purchase the very chic Avalon Bracelet Clutch for $9.99 (retails for $49) when you spend $50 or more.  You can read more on that here at Katie's Stella and Dot page.  :-)

Okay, so the made by me files today you all have actually seen before, but I have not formally dissected their creation here at the blog. 

I am most excited to show off the Kwik Sew tunic because not only do I LURVE it, but it took so little time to create on my serger and my sewing machine, and I feel like I have beaten a hurdle that I wasn't so sure I was going to be able to successfully jump over.   (That hurdle being able to complete a knit project almost fully on a serger.  I was just so worried about destroying the fabric in the process.)

The skirt is great and all, but I have made skirts before, including lined skirts with a waistband, so the completion of that didn't seem like such a success to me, even if it did take longer to create (and by longer, I mean a lot longer).

Yes I did color my hair red.  It is a demi-permanent and will wash out very slowly.  Having fun wearing it, but it is very different, lol.
The way I styled the Kwik Sew tunic in the outfit I created for the Fabric Mart blog made the tunic look like a top, which I have done before with the Grainline Scout tee/top that I created for my first entry in their Fashion Challenge competition.  Clearly I have a thing for tunics that can also be worn as tops.  ;-)

This fabric is SO soft and cozy.  The colors are that vibrant in real life and though do read a bit early 90s, seem fresh enough that they don't completely seem outdated.  This fabric is from Joann's, and that surprises me as much as I am sure it does some of you all.  Joann's is really upping their fabric of late.  When I started sewing on my own a few years ago, it was very difficult to find nice, on-grain, well made fabric from them.  Now it seems every time I go in there I find another fabric to salivate over (I am even wearing some pants today made from a fabric that I randomly picked up two or three weeks ago). 

I was worried that handling the soft and thin rayon knit jersey would be a bear, but it cut easily enough, and required only a small amount of tweaking with the tensions on the serger*. 

*On my Brother 1034D, I usually have the needle tensions in the normal range but the looper tensions have to be super high on knit fabrics.  I find the average tensions on the 1034D work best with normal wovens, like cotton sateens and quilting cottons.

I chose to sew up a size small in Kwik Sew 3463, but I did grade out to a size medium at the hips.  The neckline is not super large, but I might have been able to start at an x-small.  I love how this tunic fits everywhere else.

The neckline was finished with a foldover elastic in a very pretty mid-pink shade that perfectly matches the fabric.  I sewed that on using a traditional zigzag stitch.  Next time I will cut it shorter than the neckline and slightly stretch the elastic as I sew since this neckline can gape if I am not careful.

The hem and the sleeves are finished with a process I learned watching Linda Lee's Sewing Fashion Knits at Craftsy, which is to take a fusible tricot interfacing, ironing it to the hem, folding up, and sewing the hems.  I chose not to do a twin needle finish since this fabric is so busy, instead doing a lightning bolt stitch, while slightly stretching the fabric as I sewed, to ensure a clean, stretchy finish to the tunic.  The lightning bolt stitch is not for the faint of heart, though, it takes a long time to sew, and if you make a mistake, it takes a long time to unpick. 

I laid out the fabric poorly when I started the project so I ended up having to do the back with two pieces instead of on the fold.  In the end it was a smart choice since I got to practice my serging more AND I was able to make the back pieces narrower, and on me, with my narrower back, it worked out well.

Detail shot of the neckline and floral fabric.  I really love how easy the foldover elastic was to work with and how nicely finished the project felt afterwards.  This tunic is close to ready to wear in the sense of how it is finished, all serged seams and no excessive facings, etc.  The hemlines are what give it away since I don't have a coverstitch machine to allow me to create that kind of hem.  (I imagine how fast it would be to make a project like this with access to one of those, lol.)

I did change up this neckline from the choices, which were to either have a crewneck or a very exaggerated boatneck.  I simply drew a curve in between the two on the front pattern piece and voila, a perfectly normal scoopneck.

I definitely am planning on taking this pattern and shortening it to a regular shirt length.  I had to trace the pattern since the pattern was an old school Kwik Sew type with the heavy white paper, so it should be relatively easy for me to shorten it.

This is how I wore the tunic a few days ago.  I brought it (and the pink skirt) in hopes of wearing the outfit as I presented it over at the Fabric Mart blog, but it has been quite warm down here in Mississippi, and is going to stay that way, so I am afraid that poor skirt came along for the ride and gets no action.  ;-)

I already spent quite a bit of time on this skirt at two separate places, so I am going to be brief in my description of the process of sewing this skirt up, but I do want to at least point out a few things about its completion over here.

For the best, most comprehensive review, check out the post at Fabric Mart.  I go into how I sewed it up with a fine tooth comb, focusing especially on how I managed to make this skirt from a very small remnant of Shetland wool.

For a brief, but still decent review, go to the Pattern Review post.  It speaks more about sizing, etc.

I thought I had made up the size 14 in Simplicity 2152, but I had made it up in the 12.  I chose that size because the upper hip/waist measurement most closely matched mine.  I think I will do the 14 next time, though, since my natural waist is SO high that it would benefit me to wear the skirt a bit lower, and a larger waist measurement would allow that to happen.

I love pockets, but this time I think I chose wrong.  I didn't have enough of the wool to add the pockets as they show on the pattern itself, so I added inseam pockets made from the polyester lining fabric.  They work great but gape a bit and so the poly fabric shows from the outside more than I would like.  Sigh.  I may just sew them up and deal with no pockets.

This is view D, and is a great length, not too short, and not too long.  This is a nice length for most women, so if you are thinking of this pattern, definitely try this view at least once out of a traditional, classic fabric like this.

Yes, that waistband facing material *is* the same as the tunic's fabric.  This fabric, though, is a very HEAVY stretch cotton stretch denim from Joann's that also happens to be double-sided.  I have plans to turn it into a dress and a skirt (the dress will be from the floral and the jacquard print will be for a pencil skirt). 

I felt like the exterior of the skirt took so much less time than the interior.  I can't believe how long it took me to sew up the lining, add the waistband facing, properly attach the two, hand sew the lining to the zipper, and hem the lining.  It is worth it because it does look quite nice (even if I am really bothered by a couple of things--but what sewer isn't annoyed by things in their projects?).  The lining also ensures the Shetland wool can last a long time and can go longer between drycleaning visits.

Okay, I know some of you are just dying to know more about the red hair.  LOL.  Here is another photo of it.  I had washed it one time by the time I took this photo with CW and it had already lightened a bit further to a mid-copper color.  My hope is that it fades down to a lighter copper color and stays there, but I don't know that will happen.  However, whichever shade of red I end up liking best I will try again since I quite enjoy being a redhead.  ;-) 

Alrighty, you all have a great day, and we'll talk soon.