Sunday, August 29, 2021

My comfiest masks

I never thought I would be so picky about my masks, but here we are. With the Delta variant it seems like masking is still a helpful measure and I want to do my part, but stay comfy, too! So here are the iterations my pattern has undergone in my comfy quest. 

I started out making masks with a basic pleated rectangle pattern. It worked, but it was not so great.

I soon after tried the seamed-front pattern from Craft Passion - download it for free here!

I liked this shaped style much better! Plus the little channel on the sides to cinch it up, and the strips of knit fabric for head ties vs. twill tape or elastic - all huge improvements.

Here's the Craft Passion pattern, along with my traced versions with added seam and hem allowances. Again, you can download her free pattern here.

Okay, onto some CHANGES!

With all-day wear, I found the masks pushed uncomfortably into my nose, so I added just to the front of the pattern, particularly at the top.

That really helped! The extra room kept the mask from smashing my nose. 

Here's the original next my my updated version. (The tiny handwritten notes say I added a little extra length, but I ended up taking that off as it cut in a bit under my chin. See pattern comparison above.)

But  even though it was roomier, I still found that the center seam annoyed my nose after a few hours. So I drafted this version with a bias-cut center gusset.

Again, very comfy, and no chafing seam! But it's possible this one is a little too loose; I did find if I breathed quickly I inhaled the loose mask fabric a little. More tweaking is needed.

  • Pre-wash your fabrics! A mask that fits now might shrink and feel tight after washing.
  • Use T-shirt or knit fabric ties. I cut 1" strips and pulled them to make them curl. I prefer head ties but this works for ear loops too. I left extra length to untie and adjust as needed.
  • Line your mask with something smooth; anything linty can really irritate the nose. I used cotton sateen for my last few.
  • Make your side channel small; the tie should fit snugly. That way you can adjust the straps and the mask will stay where you put it.
  • Trim the heck out of your seam allowances. Grade, layer, and nest (press in opposite directions). Anything to reduce bulk.
I hope this helps you stay comfortable and masked! 

Thursday, July 22, 2021

Soulshine and Daydreams Quilt

I made this quilt for a work display and I am so happy with how it turned out!

It started with the Soulshine and Daydreams fabric collection; we got the big central panel and three of the coordinates in at Treadle and I was immediately smitten. I looked for a pattern online - usually fabric companies release a pattern when they have panels like this - and found Beautiful Dreamer on the Benartex website.

I am really glad I found a pattern I liked, because making stuff up from scratch is not my strong point, especially in quilting. Since we didn't have every single fabric in the collection, I added a few others from the store and a few from my stash.

There's a Kaffe Fassett print and an Anna Maria Horner print that are both current at Treadle, and a lot of my stash pieces came from my trip to Gruber's a few years ago.

I did have Quilting Math Problems, probably because of the changes I made. Around the central panel, I modified the dimensions a bit, so I had to take in the side pieced units a tad, and add an extra square to each top & bottom pieced unit. 

I free-motion quilted it myself on a regular machine. Most of it I did in a curlicue pattern, but I wanted to give the face a little more attention. Spirals in the cheeks, a defined nose and brow, and more details and curls in the hair. 

The backing is an organic cotton print from Treadle. It has a blue tone in the leaves that's darker/cooler than anything in the quilt top, so it's not a perfect match, but I really love it and I am trying to tell myself it's close enough.

I do like the scale of the backing with the quilt, and the floral motifs, and the pinks and yellows. I wish the teal green came through a bit more.

I could not decide on a binding fabric so I just pieced all my scraps. 

I don't think I have ever made a quilt this fast! I wanted to get it done to hang up in the store. I can't wait to take it home, though! It's going to live on my living room chair and be all for ME!

Saturday, February 6, 2021

Something Victorian-ish for the kid

I sewed something new! And we went out and had historical dress-up fun!

The Kid has really grown and absolutely none of the old historic outfits still fit. :( 

Plus we are now in a phase where dresses and frills are not so popular. That's tough for me, as a frilly-dress lover, but I can compromise if it means my kid will still attend events with me! 

I had a gorgeous piece of dark warm-grey wool with a very subtle red plaid stripe, and I decided to go for a look inspired by late 1890s bicycle wear, like these ones (more on my pinterest board):


Now it's true most of them include a jacket of some kind, and I really just wanted to make a vest and blouse. (And I even ran out of time before our event and just pulled an old blouse out of my closet. Oops!)

The pants pattern is just a basic pajama pattern that I added width to, then made my own pieces for waistband, kneebands, placket, and pocket. The vest is from a Burda pattern for a girl's school uniform jacket. In retrospect I could've made the front opening much higher. Both pieces are the same subtly-plaid wool. The vest is lined in black linen and the pants are unlined.

The boots were a lucky find at Target. The wool flat cap is an old one I made my husband. Most of the time we were out in the cold we added the capelet and muff. There's also some serious long underwear because brrr.

We had a good time playing with friends!

I wore my patterned wool polonaise.

It's definitely not perfectly historical, but it's historically-inspired and a lot of fun! Hoping to get some re-wear opportunities out of it for anything Victorian or steampunk we do in the next year.

Monday, October 5, 2020

1875 corset from De Gracieuse (to match my bustle!!)

I'm so glad I finally finished this corset!! Yay!

I had such a fun little photoshoot with this. I've always wanted to do a Victorian long hair photoshoot, too, so I let my hair fly around a bit.

I used a random piece of knit fabric to cover my bookshelves for a backdrop, and had a chair and a shawl for props.

And here it is with the matching bustle!

My background dropcloth was not quite big enough to get the whole bustle in, so I took it down and did a few just in front of my books.

I made this bustle several years ago, and it was always the plan to make a corset to match. But the fabric just hung around while I waited to find the right pattern. So glad I finally did!

I know of no historical evidence showing matching corset and bustle sets from the 19th century, but I really like having a matched pair!

Here's the inner view of the bustle so you can see how the half-circle hoops are controlled by the ties.

I was too lazy to sort through too many more photos so I just pasted a bunch in, enjoy!

Sitting down in this is very comfy - the bust is low enough that I don't get that annoying "my bust is hitting my chin" feeling.

Nice for lounging, too!

Okay, onto The Details.

I made this from a pattern I enlarged from De Gracieuse magazine 1875 (links at bottom). I used my projector to enlarge the pattern:

I went through a couple of mock-ups to refine the fit:

And finally made the corset from teal green cotton twill with black cotton twill tape bone channels.

The bones are narrow German plastic, except at the lacing edge where they are 1/4" steel. This corset is very lightly boned. There were a few bones sketched into the original pattern, but it didn't seem like a complete diagram, so I just sort of made it up.

I LOVE the angled seams, both for fitting and aesthetics. You can see in the side view how I got extra curves by bending the busk (a trick I originally learned from my friend at Before The Automobile).

The Good: It's super comfy, very curvy, has a tiny waist, and I love the shape. The color is pretty and the topstitching on my boning channels came out nearly invisible. The length is great: bust is nice and low, cute short waist, and I can sit down without bust spillage.

The Bad: I like to think of this as "notes for next time" rather than fussy nitpicking.

The bust curves aren't entirely smooth. Whether this is due to my square pokey ribs or just not having enough bust tissue to fill out the bottom of the gore, I don't know. The bust gores wrinkle a bit too. Possibly cording the gores would solve both of these issues (in another version). Or, as my friend Sabrina suggested, adding some padding inside.

And the top edge is not very smooth, but a bit jagged. Trimming that edge to a smoother shape might help, but I think it's also the one bone poking up. I can see now why flossing is more than a decorative detail! It would help keep the bone in place.

Overall: I really like it. I cannot wait to start making a new dress for over it! But I also want to make another one sometime with a few changes!

Here is the website to find De Gracieuse magazine issues.

Here is the entire 1875 issue 24.

The page with image of the corset is here, and the pattern sheet is here.

Now in case those links don't stand the test of time, you can search for De Gracieuse 1875 aflevering 24; the corset illustration is on page 202 and the pattern sheet is listed as a supplement - (pagina 202/2 subbl no 24 keerzijde).

Sunday, August 2, 2020

Doll Clothes and More!

For my new Wee Wonderfuls dolls, I used several of the clothes pieces that came with the pattern. I also modified a few and made up a couple of my own.

I had just as much fun making the clothes as the dolls, and once I started I didn't want to stop! For the first doll I made four outfits, using the Peasant Top, Basics Top and Bottom, Wide Leg Pants, and Pinafore, all from the pattern.

I made up this skirt - it's just a 24" rectangle with an elastic waist.

I used the pattern's Basics Top for both jammies and T-shirts, but I didn't like the way the back was left completely open. For this floral version, I scooped the neckline wider and lower so the shirt could fit over the doll's head, but it ended up too loose and baggy, so I threaded a tiny elastic through it and cinched it up a bit. For the jammies I left the back half-open with a small velcro at the top.

The peasant top and wide-leg pants I made as-is.

I modified the Peasant Blouse and Pinafore combo into a dress and apron. The Peasant Blouse just needed more length.

I made the Pinafore more open in back and changed the strap configuration.

So cute!

I really wanted to make undies, first of all because they are heckin' cute, but also because my niece is learning to dress herself and potty train, so this is a fun example for her!

White cotton knit with lacy elastic at the waist. The leg openings are left unhemmed because I couldn't get them to behave.

I improvised this undies pattern. It turned out. . . okayish!

Of course she needed a bag to carry all her things in!

To make the bag, I stacked up all her clothes and measured how much space they would need, then drafted the bag pattern just a little larger.

 Everything fit perfectly!

I made a few little accessories to round out the set. A snack: bread, lettuce, and a Babybel cheese (my niece's favorite!) a toothbrush, and a little book.

I also made a book for my niece all about her new doll! My sister asked that the doll arrive with a name already (so she wouldn't have to think of one!) so I made this book titled Hello From Louise. I had such a blast taking photos all over my house!

I made a paper/doodle mockup/storyboard first, then printed this on light cardstock at home. I didn't bother to print double-sided, I just glued the pages' wrong sides together. I joined the book by sewing a thick linen thread through the fold.

With all that done, the second doll needed some clothes, too! Her first outfit was pajamas, the same fabric as the first doll's.

You can just see a little of the velcro-top closure here.

Then a t-shirt and pants from some of my super-cool remnants.

Which just so happened to match a shirt I made for F last year!

Then a blousey peasant top and some linen pants.

Which ALSO matched an outfit The Kid already had! Yay for remnants!

Both dolls got wool felt shoes. I was nervous about them fitting but the pattern was perfect! And so easy to hand-sew in front of the tv.

I love them both! So much fun to make and dress!

Everything in this pattern worked great, and it was a fantastic deal for the doll pattern and her whole wardrobe in one! You can buy this pattern as a pdf here.

See my first post about constructing the dolls here.