November Challenge: Lady Skater-frew

skaterfrew front

Say hello to my latest skater baby: the Lady Skater-frew!

The Basics: 

Pattern: Lady Skater and Sewaholic Renfrew

Fabric: 3 yds of ponte de roma from Girl Charlee

Alterations: Blended bodice patterns together and added 3″ length to skirt.

Notions: Elastic and Wundertape.

Make it again?: I’ll definitely make another Lady Skater, though I’m not sure about another Lady Skater-frew. I love it, but I think one is enough (for now).

Favorite parts: Same as the last two skaters. I really adore the cowl on this top. It feels like wearing a giant (but very pretty) sweater!

skaterfrew side

Other thoughts: I really don’t have anything new to say that I haven’t mentioned with my navy and black and white Lady Skaters. It’s super comfortable and very quick to put together. Honestly, the longest part of construction was my pattern alterations. I paid careful mind to alterations, since the Renfew top uses a 5/8″ seam allowance and the Lady Skater uses 3/8″.

Basically, I laid the Lady Skater bodice over the Renfew pattern and blended the two together. I left the neckline and arm scythe of the Renfew alone so that I wouldn’t mess up the neckline or the sleeves. I thought about adding length to the sleeves, but I’m glad I didn’t, since they’re a little too long as is. The sleeve length doesn’t bother me too much, since I like slightly longer sleeves on my sweaters.

skaterfrew back

To make sure the dress would fit okay, I basted the sides together down to the waist before I serged it. I did have to take in the sleeves and the upper part of the bodice a bit (still could probably take them in more), but again, that’s primarily because I was dealing with two different seam allowances.

As I mentioned, I really like the giant cowl on this dress. I think I’ll make a cowl neck Renfrew top soon. I took Tasia’s advice and stitched down the seam allowance to the neckline, which makes a nice finish. I used a zig-zag stitch, but I think I’ll use my twin needle in the future.

skaterfrew doof

Overall, I love this dress! My only complaint about it is the material is prone to pilling. I’m having this problem with my other skaters too. I need to de-pill them and probably start hand washing them. Boo. Still, they’re pretty and fun to wear!

Have you made a Lady Skater hack? How did it turn out?

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March Monthly Stitch (the first): Renfrew-itis

It seems you guys share my love of Sewaholic patterns. When I put up my choices for March, I underestimated the blogosphere’s love of the Renfrew top. The Alma blouse beat out the Renfrew for this month’s challenge by 1 vote! So I decided to make both, and I totally get the adulation now. The bands. Oh my, those bands…

But let’s start at the beginning. I decided to make this top the first weekend in March. I’ve mentioned a few times that I’m in costume prep mode for All-Con (which kicks off tomorrow!), and I wrapped up the bulk of my projects that weekend. Speaking of, I can’t wait to show those off to you guys!

I decided on a whim to test out the Renfrew. I went with view B because I had just barely enough fabric in my stash for it. Figuring out how to mangle out my yardage was actually the most time-consuming part of this endeavor. I toyed with the idea of doing a contrast color for the bands (like this blogger), but I managed to make the white work. Next time!

Aside from playing fabric-Tetris, this project went together beautifully. I was a bit flummoxed by the neckline, but only slightly. As others have said, I think it would have been better to reduce the neckline seam allowances to 3/8″ rather than 5/8″, but it wasn’t that big of a deal. I was off the center point by a tiny bit, but I don’t really mind it.

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Derp.

This project also forced me to work with my “new” serger! As you may recall, I was gifted an old Kenmore for Christmas last year, but I’ve mainly been using it to finish off my seams. It is a scary, loud, and heavy beast. I feel a bit like a cat around a vacuum when I use it.

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Well, I ran out of white thread about an inch away from finishing my neckline. Normally, I’d just run to my local Jo-Ann’s and pick up more thread, but we were experiencing a marvelous “wintry mix” at the time, so I decided against braving the elements and used my serger to complete the project. I am so glad that happened, because I am now having a love affair with my serger. I want to sew all the knits and stretchy things!

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Yup, reusing pics. Seen here with my Sewaholic Tofino pants.

The Basics: 

Pattern: Sewaholic Renfrew, view B

Fabric: 1~ yd of a “beefy” white jersey knit from my stash

Alterations: I cut a 16 for the top and waist and tapered to a 14 at the hips based on what others have said and the finished measurements. No length added! This was mostly because of my fabric restrictions, but it turned out quite well. I’m a lanky and busty gal at 5’10~” with a 42″ bust, and I was pleasantly surprised that it hit my ideal shirt length.

Notions: Thread.

Make it again?: Definitely. The main reason I bought the Renfrew was because of the cowl neck on view C. I want to eventually turn it into a “sweater” dress that’s an appropriate length for work. Now that we’re moving into warmer weather, I’ll probably make a few knit dresses to practice.

Favorite parts: Bands. These are ingenious. I want to finish all my knits with these bands. I really like the sleeve length as well.

Other thoughts: I really like this top. Like, really really like it. I actually wore it to work last week before I finished the neckline and it was suuuuuper comfy.

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There’s a slight bit of pooling in the back. I may need to look into doing a swayback adjustment. Or it could just be my awkward pose here. Either way, not a big deal for a shirt that came totally from the stash.

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I am super excited that I did a pretty good job of matching up my side seams! I do need to press it a bit.

Have you guys made the Renfrew yet? I’m so excited to have a basic white tee in my wardrobe again!

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February Monthly Stitch: Doin’ the pants dance

Not so belated this time! February’s challenge was to create pants. Originally, I planned to make a pair of trousers, ’cause I need some for work. A lot. I ordered some cheap-ish linen blend fabric ($15~ total) for a pair of Colette Junipers. I liked the fabric online, but it was super stiff, even after washing. I might try to treat it some more or find another project for it.

But hope was not lost! I’m in All-Con prep mode and they’re having a PJ pre-party on Wednesday night. I don’t *really* need an excuse to make PJ pants (I have at least 7 pair at the moment), but I made some anyway.

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The Basics: 

Pattern: Sewaholic Tofino pants

Fabric: 3 yds of plaid seersucker found on Etsy

Alterations: Added a few inches for length that I then had to take off when hemming. Derp. I also added pockets using this tutorial.

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Notions: Piping, patches, ribbon

Make it again?: Definitely. I may be making some as a gift soon [insert suspicious eyebrow wiggle].

Favorite parts: Piping, even if installing it took ages.

Other thoughts: Pretty simple, straight forward pattern. The instructions are clear, but I also looked at this sewalong just to double check.

I made the pockets so that I wouldn’t have to carry a purse. Between my Angel plushie (I had the maker add a pocket to him) and these pockets, I’ll be good to go! Pockets are always a cosplayer’s best friend.

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I did muck up the waistband a bit. I absolutely hate stitch in the ditch. I am incapable of making it look neat and pretty, even though I freaking hand-basted it this time. I ultimately gave up and just stitched 1/8″ from the top and bottom of the waistband. You honestly can’t see it because my threat matches so well (see: WORST HUMBLE BRAG EVER), but it still bugged me. Gah.

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Does that top look familiar? It’s aRenfrew! The Alma blouse beat out the Renfrew by one vote for this month’s challenge. I wanted something quick and easy to kind of cleanse my sewing palette over the weekend, and the Renfrew fit the bill! I’ll put up another post on it later this week.

Alas, I’m still taking cell phone shots. Do you guys have any recommendations for cameras that won’t break the bank? I’ve started doing some research, but I’d love to hear what you guys think. I’ll probably buy a simple point and shoot camera when I get my next check.