Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Branching Out

I don’t usually sew clothes. I’ve sewn quite a few Halloween costumes over the years and purchased a small collection of patterns on sale, but that never translated into sewing everyday clothing. I’d like to change that. Since starting this blog, I’ve become a regular reader of a few sewing blogs and they’ve made my interest stronger.

Knit toy off-white and black lamb on a textured knit dishcloth or washcloth in light orange, green, and off-white..

First things first: In order to get to my sewing machine I had to clean up the area, which becomes a catchall if I don’t diligently guard it. That meant working through a pile of repairs including sewing on buttons and patching holes. This little knit lamb was among the repairs. I couldn’t find the original ivory yarn I used, so I chose a natural yarn. I think it makes the lamb look a little more authentic — real sheep always have vegetable matter in their wool. He's posed on a recently-knit dishcloth, made from one skein of Red Heart Scrubby in Citrus. The pattern is Chinese Waves Dishcloth by Margaret Radcliffe, not that you can make out any stitches!

With that done, I spent some time going through my patterns. I’ve never sewn with stretch fabrics, so I wanted to start with a beginner stretch pattern. Learn to Sew from Simplicity is probably about as beginner as it gets.

Picking the fabric was very difficult for me. I realized that after so many years of buying fabric for quilting, my mindset is skewed. When I’m quilting, I know that a bold fabric can be tempered by how I cut it and what other fabrics I use with it. Clothing, however, is often one large mass of the same fabric. Sure, the other pieces in the outfit and the accessories can impact how the piece comes across, but the scale is very different.

Add to that, I have a tendency to wear very basic colors, styles, and prints. But I know from my knitting and quilting experience that I prefer working with bright colors and fun prints. What do I choose?

Well, here’s what I ended up with for my first project:

Simplicity S0340 pattern on red, orange and black striped stretch knit fabric.

It’s bold but not too busy. There’s some black, which will go well with my many black pants and skirts. It can be dressed up or dressed down.

And here’s the result:

Woman wearing shirt sewn from Simplicity pattern S0340 with red, orange and black striped stretch knit fabric.

It was an easy project. I made a few rookie mistakes, some I fixed and some I left alone. I’m not going to point anything out! It fits perfectly, if a little crooked in this photo, which I’m very happy about because I’ve had some bad experiences with choosing the right pattern size.

I have enough fabric leftover to make something small. I bought another print at the same time as this one, but I’m still deciding what to do with it. And I have some hand-me-down fashion fabric that has potential. I’m looking forward to my next venture into sewing clothes!

What new types of projects have you tried recently?

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