moss mini, in denim

as soon as i made my first grainline studio moss mini i knew i would be making another. it so happened that when i made my denim thurlows earlier this year i used my ninja layout and cutting skillzzzzzz and had quite a bit of denim left over. just enough for a skirt! oh yes, i’m that good. so i wanted to go full on denim skirt here and go crazy with the topstitching and pockets and belt loops. the whole deal.

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first thing i had to do was modify the front pocket situation. both the thurlow pattern and the moss mini have the “pocket gape” feature where the pocket stands out just a bit from the body. due to the position of the pocket opening (a slant as opposed to a more vertical slash opening) the gape makes it so the pocket is useable. in order to get a classic jeans pocket shape i had to eliminate the gape, then draft a rounded opening. i even added a coin pocket.

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one feature of this pattern is that the pocket bags extend into the fly construction. it gives them great stability and helps everything lay nicely. however, it does create some bulk around the fly facing and attaching the zip to the underlap, so i may modify this if i make the skirt again (which i most likely will). also, the fly construction method was completely different than any other method i’ve seen. you sew up the entire overlap side and topstitch it before sewing any of the underlap. admittedly, i have mixed feelings on this… due to the pocket pieces also being sewn into this seam, and my heavy-ish denim, i lost a bit of SA to turn of cloth and i barely had enough room to sew the zip to the underlap side. i think it would be good to have a little extra SA on the underlap to make sure there is plenty of room. that said, i’m very intrigued by this method as it is completely new to me!

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i hammered in a heavy duty snap instead of using a button

i am totally pleased with the fit i achieved. based on my last make, i decided to go up a size in width on the back pieces, then shave about 1/2″ off the CB yoke at the waist tapering back out over le bootay. i also cut the waistband with 1/2″ less at CB to compensate. this worked out perfectly and, for a girl who has had to deal with gaping waistbands all her life, it is so thrilling to have complete coverage. no gape. i can sit on the floor with the kiddos and it still holds snugly over my rump. oh and i lengthened the skirt in place of doing the hem band.

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i went all out with top stitching. i am by no means a perfect top stitcher, so i cheated a little and used my blind hem foot adjusted to use as a guide for edge stitching, then a 1/4″ quilt piecing foot for the second row. seriously easier than driving yourself crazy doing it by eye. also, i would have loved to flat-fell my seams, but i figured i could only ask so much of my machine. the bulk would have just been too much, and i’m pretty content with serged and faux-felled SA’s.

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last thing: i use a fairly entry level babylock sewing machine, but no matter what machine you use, you can’t expect it to breeze through bulky denim seams without using a proper denim needle. i can’t stress this enough. i’ve used regular needles for heavier weight fabrics and end up with broken needles and top stitching that is all wonky. not only is a denim needle stronger, the eye is wider to accommodate thicker thread (hello top stitching!). also helpful: a hammer nearby to whack those bulky seams into submission before top stitching. makes a huge difference. plus, it’s just fun.

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regular needle on the left, denim needle on the right

well i’ve been sewing up a storm and will hopefully get back soon with a couple more things i’ve finished. then… well i need to sew up some kid stuff. i might even *gasp* refashion some of my older RTW that is out of rotation. wish me luck…

—lisa g.

p.s. my top is blogged HERE. 🙂

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costume meets spring outfit

my daughter anastasia is performing in a school play this week and needed a costume. the play is called “Rats!” which is a musical about the pied piper of hamlin. the organizers gave very vague guidelines about what kind of outfit she needed…

“blouse and skirt. preferably knee-length.”

that’s a direct quote. uh, time period? country? color palate? anything??? so i quiz my daughter and her best offering was “before technology.” okay, so i went with a pretty generic outfit here and something that can get plenty of use outside of the play.

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i went to joanns for my fabrics and basically i’m never buying fabric there again. the more i shop other fabric stores (which i can’t get to as often because they’re just far enough away that it’s an inconvenience) the more i realize how over-priced joanns is. no wonder they always have stuff on sale and offer 40-50% off coupons continuously! so annoying. anywho… for the skirt i went with a linen-cotten blend fabric that i gathered onto a waistband (elasticized in the back) and lined with some leftover bemberg i had around. i added patch pockets to give it some detail. since the fabric was striped i cut the pockets curved and wide at the top so i could gather them onto a strip of binding. i love how the stripes fan out creating some visual interest without being all look this fabric has stripes so i made them go every direction possible! not that i’m opposed to such, but i wanted to keep it subtle.

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finding simple white fabric for the top was challenging though. i didn’t like any of the shirting fabrics, so i ended up with something out of the quilting section. it was reasonably priced and closest to the weight and feel i was looking for. i’m generally against quilting anything in the garments i make because the fabric doesn’t hold up to repeated washings that well, but i didn’t want to spent too much time or money looking for the right fabric! life goes on.

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the pattern i half-drafted myself. i only have one kids woven top pattern (mccalls 6388) that i made for her last fall. i like the neckline and thought it would look nice with a peter pan collar, so i took the yoke pieces to get the top started and drafted the rest. i extended the center front line so i could make a fold over placket for buttons. i drafted the collar and finished the inside with bias tape. i’ve never actually made a peter pan collar so i was worried it wouldn’t lay flat, but it seems to be doing just fine.

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i really like how the blouse turned out. it’s such a sweet useful top, and i was able to stitch most of it up in one afternoon. hopefully i get around to making this again because the girl could use a few more nice tops!

side note: i’ve recently become addicted to instagram, so if anyone is interested you can find me under lisagaskamp. while i like to snap pics of my sewing stuff (and would love a sewing-enthusiest audience!), my kiddos happen to be super adorable and show up regularly. don’t say i didn’t warn ya.

side, side note: i’ve tried to put the instagram button on my sidebar but it keeps showing all the code along with the button… while i’m not super tech savy i’ve never had that problem before… any ideas?

—lisa g.

moss mini AND dolman tee

so i made a green corduroy skirt eons ago and never really liked it all that much. (i hesitate to link to it, but here you go) i think i wore it once, altered it a bit, then chucked it into the closet never to be seen again. until recently… i unearthed it from the bottom of a pile of sweaters and thought maybe i should do something with it. there was a decent amount of fabric and the moss mini from grainline studio came to mind. i bought the pattern and lo and behold, it just fit! the original skirt had buttons down the front so i decided to keep them and not mess with a zipper.


i didn’t bother to muslin this, i figured if it didn’t fit i can call this my muslin and still be okay with that. happily it does fit well enough to be worn. yay! i measured a size 8 so that’s what i cut. it still seems a little snug in the hips, but it is a mini skirt, so i think it’s okay. the waist was a little gaping in the back so i took in the back yoke by a small amount to curve around le boo-tay.


as you all know, this skirt lives up to it’s name as a mini skirt. i cut the skirt to the longest length then made a faced hem with bias tape i reclaimed from the original skirt. also—polka dot pocket lining! 



the only other fitting tweak i need to work out is that space below the waist but above my hips. i’m not sure if i have proportionally low hips or what, but that area above the pocket is just kind of floating out there. i’ve had this problem before, so i guess i need to pay more attention to it. since i was using an existing button down skirt i couldn’t sew the pocket lining into the fly as the pattern instructs and i think that would have helped to pull that part in closer to the body. no worries, there will be a next time with this pattern.


i had to piece the waistband because it was a hair too short… we’ll just call it a design featureoh, and i added back pockets and belt loops because i thought it needed them.


fortunately the small fit issues i have don’t render the skirt useless. i had some purple cotton lycra knit so i decided to make cation designs dolman tee. i’ve seen these pop up over the past months and while i liked it, i wasn’t sure if it was the right style for my figure. i always feel like my shoulders stick out funny and the lack of shoulder seam can exaggerate it. however, i am happy to say i think this top is not only supremely comfortable, but also flattering! 


when i printed the pattern the scale was off (i got 3.5″ for the 4″ square) so i took an existing knit tee pattern and picked my size based off that. it all worked out and i think this is my new favorite tee! it was wicked fast to sew and would have been even faster to cut, however i had less than a yard of fabric so i had to do some fancy maneuvering. i cut the hem band in two pieces and had to cut the sleeve bands with the grain. i had plenty of stretch going both directions so it worked out fine. also i did a neck binding instead of band. i like the wide neck slouchy look for this.


so look at that, a whole outfit in one weekend! both projects were super fast and i love how they go together. can’t wait to try more grainline patterns, i just bought fabric for an archer blouse. so excited for that one!!!

—lisa g.

polka dots

i made this dress quite a while ago but it never made it to ye olde blog. mostly because i wasn’t that excited about it. i used mccalls 6503. now, i really, really loved this pattern. the minute i saw it i knew i wanted to make it. then it was always sold out at the fabric store (i’m too lazy and stingy to order directly). i think my mom 1600 miles away in kansas ended up buying it and sending it to me because i just couldn’t get my hands on it here. then, i had this super cute drape-y rayon polka dot material i just knew would be a perfect match.

i even added piping to the waistband!
i did a narrow straight ruffle instead of the
circle ruffle thing as on the pattern.


then, i had all the pieces months before i had a chance to make it. finally when i did, i just didn’t like it all that much. the fit was acceptable (i had even done a muslin!) but it just didn’t do anything for me. this style of bodice left my top half a bit err… deflated looking. then the polka dot thing happening just looked a little too retro for my tastes. don’t get me wrong, i love this style. but it really illustrated to me the difference between what i like to look at, and what i like to wear


the skirt was a little on the long side, so that wasn’t helping either. i wore it once (and even heard whispers of admiration behind me: did you see her dress? so cute!). in the end, i still loved the fabric, just not as this dress. it wasn’t me. so i took it apart. I’M SORRY. i know some of you just gasped in horror, but it was the right thing to do. i shortened the skirt and added a simple waistband with a double hook closure. hey, it even has pockets!

made that knit top months ago.
never blogged it. sorry.


believe you me, i love this as a skirt sooooo much more than as a dress. oddly enough, i’ve had trouble finding tops that match it. apparently i don’t have many solid colored tops. working on remedying that. i’ve worn it once with a black cardigan and black tights, but that’s so expected. i thought i’d try it out with some patterned tops in the privacy of the entire interwebs before wearing it out in public. yay or nay?


i’m currently on the hunt for a nice lightweight emerald green or fuchsia/magenta or teal knit to make a renfrew to pair with it. apparently those pantone people just named emerald green “color of the year” or some such nonsense (seriously. their declaring what the on-trend color is annoys me to no end). but maybe it’s a good thing, cuz it happens to be one of my favorite colors and i can never find fabric that color. maybe something will pop up now.


oh, and lest all the work i put into the bodice go to waste, i’ve saved it to add a different bottom half for later. i think if i have a nice fat midriff and pleat the skirt (like on this dress) i can eliminate some of the excess fabric to make it a little more flattering. i’m thinking a lightweight denim skirt would be crazy awesome, but that’s gonna have to wait for spring. i have too many cold weather makes to get to!

—lisa g.

burda style mini pleated skirt

i made up a quick skirt for my daughter, anastasia, using a pattern from burdastyle.com. love or hate the .pdf pattern downloads, the taping and tracing, etc, they have been absolutely hitting it out of the park with their kids patterns. i defy you to look at the kids section and not find something you wish came in adult sizes. the directions are, at best, questionable… but since there is a general lack of good kids patterns i don’t mind puzzling it out for myself.


from start to finish, this skirt took less than two hours. i used a navy ponte knit from joanns and it only used up about half a yard, plus some lining for the pockets. i stayed true to the design but changed the waistband slightly and eliminated the side zip. my daughter is quite thin and the finished waist measurement for a US sz 7 (she’s 8) was equal to her hip measurement. since i used a knit, i figured the zip was unnecessary. i cut the waistband as one piece and so the finished width would be 1 1/2″. the pattern has a 1″ shaped waistband cut in 4 pieces (front, back, inside front, inside back). all the seaming caused a lot of unnecessary bulk so i ripped it out and cut the simplified one piece waistband, then later inserted elastic.

navy is really hard to photograph!


ponte knit can get a little bulky since it is thick and doesn’t really press flat. to keep the waistband nice and neat i sewed the waistband piece into a circle (leaving a little opening to insert elastic later), attached it to the front of the skirt then folded it to the inside then stitched in the ditch to catch the inside of the waistband. ordinarily i would have folded up the inside seam allowance, but this time i just left it flat to keep the bulk down.

inside waistband


incidentally, if you ever have trouble “stitching in the ditch” i sometimes pull out my invisible hem presser foot and adjust the guide to line up directly with my needle. the little guide piece sits inside the seam and keeps it all in line as you sew. after, i added some elastic then slip stitched the opening closed.

stitch in the ditch with the blind hem foot


as writ, this skirt is really, really, really short. half the reason i bother making skirts and dresses for my girls is because i hate the itty bitty minis found in RTW for kids her age. she’s thin, so she has to size down her skirts making them even shorter… this pattern has a longer version, but i felt that one was too long. i compromised by adding 2″ in length to the shorter skirt. ah… just right! it’s still shorter than pretty much any other skirt she owns, but i intended it to be worn with thick tights or leggings. i finished off the skirt with a machined blind hem.



she loves this skirt a lot and i fully intend to make at least one more, maybe in a brighter color. i do wish the fabric had more body, i feel it hangs a little limp. the pattern suggests a sweatshirt-type knit, but i think a woven would be really nice too. twill, denim, or even corduroy.

on another topic, i was bumming around pattern review and decided to check out what the december contest was going to be. turns out, it’s kidswear. i’m in the middle of making anastasia a winter coat (burdastyle.com duffle coat) so i signed up! i’m super loving how the coat is turning out and hope finish it up soon!

—lisa g.