June 17, 2011

Where have I been? Sewing up a storm

I'll respond to the last case scenario later today but I wanted to tell you what I have been doing for the past several days. I have been having a sewing marathon. I must admit when I get in the sewing mood, I am totally into it.

I have needed some pretty cotton tops and tunics and couldn't find any in the store, so I found a pattern and I have been sewing. I am a much better seamstress than I was when I was in high school. By that I mean that I do a lot of hand basting and hand sewing to make sure that the bias tape on sleeveless tops lays perfect. I hand stitch the embellishments such as rick rack on a top and I finish all of the seams (I don't have a serger.).

I take my time. My mother would be proud. The end result of course is a sewing project that looks great and fits great.

Last month I purchased some capris and shorts that were on sale at a ridiculous price. They were the perfect colors - kaki, stone, navy, light brown. Yes, I purchased 4 pairs of capris and 4 pairs of shorts (knee length) in the same four colors. These are basic colors that go with anything. The problem with these shorts and capris is that the capris were a size 12 and the shorts were a size 14.  I am a size 10 to 12 depending on the style. I find it hard to find pants, shorts and skirts that fit me. Why? I am a pear shape and when I try on clothes, the waist is always too big but they are too tight in the hips/thighs.

I know that I am not alone in this. You pick what ever it is and you will find perhaps that when you try on pants the waist could be too tight and it is too big everywhere else OR you try on a top and where it hits you in the waist it is too tight and the bustline is too big OR you try on a top and the length is all wrong.

I weigh 145 lbs. and am 5 foot 5 inches. I work out and no matter what I do I cannot change what the good Lord gave me - that pear shape. So I have learned over time to alter my clothes.

When I came across the great sale on capris and shorts (much needed items in my wardrobe now that I am not working), I tried them on and then looked over the seams and such to make sure I could alter them. I knew I could do it. That is what I have been doing this week.

First, I washed the shorts and capris and dried them to see if they would shrink and they didn't.  The fabric is 98% cotton and 2% spandex and we all know what that means.  They fit great when you try them on and then as the day goes on they start to stretch out.  I wore each of them around the house for an hour so I knew how much they would stretch out after wearing them.  That was the starting point to the alterations.

Instead of sewing in my sewing nook area upstairs, I decided to park the sewing machine on the diningroom table since I knew I would be doing a lot of sewing and I wanted to be around my family in the evening and not upstairs all the time. I pinned, tried on, re-pinned, tried on again, hand basted, tried on again, ripped out seams, machine basted, tried on again, did the final sewing, finished the seams and was done - 8 times!

The result: capris and shorts that fit me perfectly. I don't care that the tags say size 12 or 14. Now they are a perfect size/fit for me - whatever the clothing industry says - I say it is a perfect Martha fit. (I'm not talking Martha Stewart either.)

I never took a class in sewing besides 8th grade Home Ec, I just know how to sew clothes. If you know how to sew, you can apply the same principles to de-constructing and altering an article of clothing. I learned by trial and error.

But that is not the only thing I did this week. I sewed two cotton tops. One is a peasant top which still needs to be finished and the other is a tunic top that I stll need to finish sewing on the rest of the rick rack and hemming it.

When I get into my sewing zone, I end up staying up late as I love to sew and find it hard to stop. So, my house has been neglected but I have "new" clothes to wear which makes me very happy. And we all know that "when momma is happy, everyone is happy."

As you can see I still have some finishing work to do on these two tops.  The photo of the peasant top doesn't do it justice.  I tried it on and it looks great.

As to the shorts and capris that I altered, I'll post pictures at a later date when someone is around to take a picture of me wearing them, but in the meantime, here is what they look like.


Melissa said...

I love the fabric and patterns you picked out for the shirts! They both are very cute!

Anonymous said...

I have to do the same thing since apparently I have a bigger chest and behind then the clothing industry thinks I should have. I never thought of wearing them for a little while though...brillant.


~Carla~ said...

Love the shirts! The fabric you used is so summery & fun! Awesome!!! :)

Sass said...

Wow! Complete props to you! I am totally inept when it comes to sewing. Although, lately I have managed a bit of mending (as long as my hand stitchs don't have to show, we're golden!)

HDNelson said...

Wow! Those tops look really nice! How long did they take - from cutting to finishing?

Martha said...

The tops didn't take very long. I worked on them mostly in one day give or take many interruptions.

The alterations on the capris and the shorts took about 8 hours total

Anonymous said...

You did a great job on those tops. They are my style, I think they are so pretty!

I never learned how to sew and so wish I had.


Laurel.kendrick@tccd.edu said...

I can sew a bit. I was inspired by you & Amy D. I am going to make a pillow for sleeping. I sleep on my stomach (which I know is bad for my back but we all have I vices). I have had an impossible time finding a comfy pillow in a store. They are too fluffy, too stiff, too something. I found an old sofa pillow that someone put out for the trash. I have removed the outer & inner cover. It is feathers. I have some yellow striped fabric that was previously a curtain. Next I will make a cover for my new pillow. I tested the old pillow first after covering it with a clean case. I hope the new pillow of my dreams!