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Here’s a scanned print of the Teagarden T being worn in real life!

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I wonder if I’ll ever get around to finishing the sleeve hems…

I’m happy with leaving the bottom of this shirt unhemmed…it’s almost too short even this way. Next time maybe I’ll add a bit to the length. Or maybe not. I don’t really need any extra lumpy lines in this location, and this particular cotton interlock is fairly beefy.

Do you always hem your knit shirts?

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What causes the stitches on my fleece to make holes along the seamline?

olive-sweatpants-seam

For my 2008 SWAP wardrobe I sewed these olive sweatpants from some 100% cotton Siltex fleece. I think the official Siltex Canada color name is Pesto.

I used the Kwik Sew 3393 pants pattern and they fit quite nicely. Not tight at all; but skim over the lumps/bumps. The thing I like best about this pair is that they have stayed long enough! I did wash/dry/preshrink the fabric twice with hot water and a medium hot dryer, so that probably helped.

But I’m disappointed in the fabric along the seamlines. The knit fabric loops have broken occasionally along the stitching lines. Not every stitch, just one or two per inch. Sewn with a narrow zigzag on my Bernina 1090, not with the serger.

olive-sweatpants-seam1

Maybe it’s a dull needle? Or maybe too-sharp needle that’s cutting the yarns as it stitches? I truly do not remember whether I used a Schmetz Universal needle or not, nor which size, although I’d guess an 80 or 90 (12 or 14). I change needles quite often, usually after each project, so I would have thought it wouldn’t be a worn-out needle. I check the needle for burrs quite often, as that’s one of my pet peeves. So maybe I need a ballpoint or a stretch needle next time.

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And there will be a next time. In fact I may use the same pattern again with the same fabric. I’ve worn this pair at least one day every week for about 8 months (not counting the months it was too hot to wear such heavy pants. The color goes with several tops and even though it’s technically ‘sweatpants’ they do look quite a bit dressier than that when worn.

I wonder if the cotton fibers are just less pliable than polyester. Or if there’s something about our very alkaline water that makes the cotton fibers brittle? Anyone have ideas about this? And/or experience fixing it?

Cloudy with no wind. That was the weather yesterday. And that’s rare; about half a mile away on the other side of this barn is a turbine of a giant electricity-generating wind turbine farm. We’ve been having lots of rain and even have a ‘wind advisory’ today, so I took advantage of the no-wind situation yesterday to snap some quick photos of my SWAP.

Other folks in the SWAP 2008 have found wonderful and unique locations and ways to display their SWAP entries. I spent several weeks considering where I could hang all the SWAP clothing that would also reflect my world here in rural central Illinois, 150 miles from Chicago.

The farm where we live has several old barns that are used mostly for storing older machinery and the hay and straw bales we sell. There are also big machine sheds for the ‘real’ farm equipment, but they aren’t particularly picturesque. I finally chose this barn and the old wagon parked in front of it.


I gathered up most of the SWAP items I have actually finished (or mostly finished, there are a few finishing touches that haven’t been added yet) and hung them on hangers and walked out to the barn to test the photo taking. Luckily there is a second wagon nearby that could hold the extras so I wouldn’t have to do any excessive bending or twisting; this healing process is taking some time.

Left to right above: SW Teagarden T, Jalie leggings, BWOF yoga pants (stone), Kwik Sew 3393 pants (olive), Burda 7890 crossover top, Burda 7890 pants (brown), self-drafted PowerDry top (brown.)

Missing from the photo: Another similar PowerDry top in peach, the purchased ribbed turtleneck top and, of course, the not-yet-made Burda 7890 jacket and tank top.

I learned a LOT by attempting this challenge this year. I underestimated how difficult it is to coordinate disparate necklines, garment shapes, colors, fabrics. For example, these colors all looked great together in incandescent style light inside my house; in some cases they took on a different cast outdoors in natural (overcast) light. Now that I think of it, I assume there would be other changes under fluorescent lighting. Add to that the shifts that come via the camera lens and monitor and we have quite a mishmash. lol

Initially for the photo I tried hanging all the pants in a row along the wagon top with their legs hanging down. That was hilarious! Not one hung the same length (although they all are hemmed at full length on my body) along the row. It was a visual reminder of something I usually can successfully hide: my left leg is more than one inch shorter than the right one. You can see this clearly in the lighter colored pant above.

I’m disappointed that I didn’t get everything completed. But on the other hand, I’m very pleased that I was able to finish as many of these as I did. And I’ve had lots of wear from these pieces already, so I can truthfully say “I won!” the wearability test in my own eyes. lol

Hurrah! I’ve finally been able to sit long enough (and reach forward and move my foot, all at once! lol) that I’ve been able to SEW! It’s been more than a month since I’ve been able to spend time in my sewing room. I’ve been chomping at the bit to do this SWAP sewing.

Today I sewed in the underarm gussets of the Sewing Workshop’s TeaGarden T that I’m making from a peachy colored paisley print cotton interlock knit. I took the advice of one of the reviewers at patternreview.com and sewed color coded thread tacks at the matching points of the gusset and the top. Luckily this tacking was something I could do while lying flat! It really helped the gussets go in smoothly. Tomorrow I’ll sew hems in the bodice and sleeves and do a bit of hand sewing around the back of the neck/collar.

Teagarden T

The TeaGarden T pattern is a fascinating shape; only one pattern piece plus a small gusset. The pattern instructions credit Marcy Tilton with the design. I read somewhere that one of the earlier Issey Miyake patterns was the inspiration.

On the subject of SWAP 2008, I’m slowly coming to terms with the idea that I will not be completing this SWAP by April 11th. I had plenty of time the past couple of weeks (while still flat in bed, but not in SO much pain) to try to work out how I could meet the requirements; for a while I thought I could do it, with the addition of a simplified jacket or vest. But then I carefully reread the rules and decided that two of my tops were never going to meet the ‘more like a blouse than a tshirt’ requirement. Both the Burda crossover top and the Teagarden T are definitely knit tops, no buttons or sleeve plackets or other such details to be seen…

Today I am allowed to sit for a maximum of 15 minutes at my computer (since it’s got a good supportive chair) after lying flat for several hours… I have to say I’m getting impatient with this recovery. On the other hand, I’m grateful that I really am improving, finally. Wednesday we got to the real reason for the back pain – a dislocated rib – and today I can see real progress for a change. Thanks for all your good wishes.

It will be several more days before I can evaluate whether or not I’ll be able to finish my SWAP 2008. I do have more than half of the garments in place, but that still leaves some sewing and even some cutting-out to be done. We’ll see. My main goal for SWAP this year was to have wearable clothing for my day to day life – I’ve met that goal! I’ve worn my SWAP items to both medical appointments this month! (the total of my sojourns from this house since March 5…) lol

Just a check-in to let you know that I’m still around, but have been ILL. A long convoluted bunch of things that started with a week long bout with that very BAD influenza that’s been making the rounds this year and now badly straining my lower back from the spasmodic coughing.

BUT…things are looking up. I appear to be recovering, at least from the flu! A few more days of eating and sleeping and I’ll no doubt be back sewing my SWAP. I’ll show my TIF challenges when I’m able to actually take some photos.

I’ve been sewing some of the items I cut in the marathon cutting spree several weeks ago.

I hemmed the brown fleece pants.

I sewed the Jalie PowerStretch leggings. They are also a dark brown. I’m still waffling about whether or not to put the fleecy side inside or the smooth jersey knit side inside. In this case I sewed the fleecy side as the outside, which looks great if they are being worn as leggings. But for warmth under jeans or the Carhartts, I think the fleecy side should be worn against the skin so the smooth side will glide better against the rough outer garment. This way will work for either application, but my guess is that Malden Mills intended the smooth side to be the outside. I’ll definitely do that when I make the Wind Block versions.

The Jalie pattern is longer than I expected. Usually I need to add length to pant patterns, so I added 3 extra inches at the bottom. When I tried them on they were really LONG, and then I noticed that evidently they are designed to extend over your heel, at least in the photo on the pattern cover. Can someone tell me why this is? In any case, mine extend the requisite amount over my foot. <grin>

The Burda 7890 crossover top is nearly finished, just lacking the hem at the bottom. I made it from a peach colored lightweight cotton jersey knit. My trusty Bernina 830 decided to stop making zigzag stitches during this garment, so I switched out to my Bernina 1090, which I’m still learning to use. It really is a nice machine and I’m falling in love with the multi-direction stretch stitches. The honeycomb looking one is the topstitching on the hems and edges of this top.

I sewed the light brown/tan Siltex cotton fleece pants last night and am currently testing the elastic length and positioning. These were cut from the Burda World of Fashion 2/06 yoga pant pattern which I tested last December in a black stretch velour. I gave to the velour pants to my daughter because I forgot to add seam allowances as I cut them out. They actually fit me well and were flattering, but they were just a bit TOO form-fitting for my preference. In any case, these current pants do have the correct seam allowances. I added a band of matching Siltex cotton/lycra ribbing to the top. I started with a 2 inch band, but I think I’ll reduce it to about 1.5 inches.

Timmel SWAP pieces to date:

  • Dk Brown pants, Siltex cotton/polyester fleece
  • Lt Brown/tan pants, Siltex cotton fleece
  • Dk Brown fleece leggings/long johns, Jalie
  • Peach crossover top, cotton jersey, Burda 7890
  • Walnut brown camisole, Powerdry, self-drafted

ALL from stash fabrics! Hurrah!

I cut out and sewed my dark brown Siltex fleece pants from the Burda pattern. I’ll be doing some seam finishing work on them and subjecting them to a few trips through the washer/dryer before I hem them, but I’m pleased with the fit overall.

I used the matching interlock to make the waistband, which I won’t bother to do the next time I sew this pattern; I’ll just cut on a foldover waistband.

Next up, I think:

  • Beige fleece knit pants
  • Dark brown interlock top
  • Peach Powerdry camisoles

sharonb’s Take It Further Challenge for January 2008 is up and includes two options, either or both of which can be included in our responses.

The first is an idea:

The key concept for January is a feeling we have all had, the feeling of admiration for another. Ask yourself who do you look up to and admire? Why? What is it you admire about them? …Take the idea, develop it into a resolved design during that month and apply it to fiber or paper.

The second is a color palette:

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I have some fabric that includes those colors! In fact, it was one that was included in my first ideas for a SWAP wardrobe, but practicality won out over silks and light colored linens and I’ll be sewing the cottons, warm fleeces and other items that I need in my wardrobe right now for my first foray into Sewing With A Plan.

Maybe a late spring/summer 2008 SWAP is what I need. With clothing that will work for Sundays and for summer weddings, etc. Hmmm. I’ll need to designate a new title for separating the topics here on this blog… Maybe SWAP – Summer 2008

Timmel Fabrics is sponsoring SWAP 2008, Sew With A Plan. My wardrobe would definitely benefit from a plan….The challenge begins Jan 1 and runs through April 11. We were allowed to cut in advance and also test patterns in advance.

My fabric choices center around brown and taupe/tan cottons. I have two prints that would work – a small peachy plaid cotton and a paisley printed cotton interlock.

I’m considering ways to combine this project with sharonb’s Take It Further Challenge.