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Lillie's Late to the Party Half Monty

Started by LillieT, January 25, 2021, 04:58:27 pm

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I am arriving to this party very late - thought I didn't need another 11 pieces of clothing.  However, when I saw that a "Half Monty" (had to look that up, lol) could be entered I decided to go ahead with it.  I do need some dressier clothes that fit.  Most of my dresses are a bit too big.  I could, of course, alter them to fit, but it's much more fun to start from scratch.  As far as dressier pants go - I only have one pair of cream colored ponte pants that are suitable for church, meetings, etc.

Over the past couple of years I have acquired several really pretty grey and yellow print tee shirts from thrift stores that have been languishing in my cupboard waiting for me to alter them to fit.  I am not at home right now as I had a total knee replacement 1/14 and am recuperating with my son and daughter-in-law.  However, in my mind, these thrifted tees will coordinate to make a zambeesi style jacket combined with several solid pieces of cotton jersey I have that are also yellow.  There should be enough material to also make the Lotti tee from Style Arc.  I already have a nice yellow cotton sweater (RTW) that will tie in nicely.  In the past I have had several grey trousers that I have either worn out, no longer fit or accidentally got paint on (a story for another time) so the Wide leg pants and the jeans will fill in those gaps.  The grey dress will be sharp with the yellow zambeesi jacket or the yellow sweater over it, and I have several other sweaters/jackets that will also look good with it.  It is replacing a grey ponte dress that is just too big but was extremely versatile.   
I will be returning home tomorrow and will be better able to assess what is going to work and what needs tweeking. 
Main Color - Grey
Contrast color - Yellow
1.   Yellow knits patchwork jacket
2.   Grey wool double knit wide leg pants
3.   Grey ottoman sheath dress
4.   Yellow knits composite tee
5.   Yellow cotton knit sweater
6.   Grey Straight leg jeans

1.    Jacket - Pattern - modified CJ Patterns Base Wear 2 in the zambeesi style - T-shirt knits, some textured (sew to shrinkable backing in any pattern, wash, dry.  Others plain with stabilizer.  Underlined with yellow ITY. 
2.   Wide Leg Pants - Pattern:  So Sew Easy Wide Leg Pants - Grey with white pinstripes wool double knit - Make muslin?  Periwinkle double knit?
3.   Tee shirt dress -PS basic tee lengthened with a 10 - 15" hem cut crosswise - grey ottoman,
4.   Composite tee - pattern - Style Arc, Lotti.  Several thrifted tees combined.
5.   Yellow Cotton Knit Sweater - already have - RTW
6.   Jeans - Pattern - So Sew Easy Wide Leg Pants modified to mimic jeans.  Add a back yoke, back welt pockets, mock fly and jeans pockets with white topstitching


I am home and settled in.  Of course, my memory wasn't 100% accurate.  I only have two shirts with the grey and yellow prints - the third is really pretty, but it's grey and brown, not suitable for this SWAP.  I think I will have plenty of fabric with the two though.  I have to limit the time I spend standing for now, but have the Lotti pattern printed, assembled and ready to go - hope to cut out my tee in increments today.  I am a "get it done!" kind of person so it is hard to take it easy.  I have a couple of handwork projects that help, although the one is almost finished. 

The plain yellow on the top leans towards gold and the bottom plain yellow is more lemon.  I plan to use the first print for the top right, both front and back, and the last print for the left side.  I am considering using the yellow gold to make a "buffer strip" between the two prints - they seem pretty "busy" right next to each other.  The lower left plain lemon yellow will be the bottom band. 


Lotti is finished and I am quite pleased with her.  I had a few hiccups, mostly due to working with thrifted shirts instead of yardage.  I have also finished the grey wool double knit wide leg pants.  The legs are a bit wider than I had in mind but otherwise a win as far as I am concerned.  Lillie, (that voice in my head that talks to me - especially when I'm about to do something really stupid) informed me that I wouldn't find those wide legged pants in the "Old Ladies Harper's Bazaar".  Probably true, but I like them and will get a lot of wear out of them. 
I was able to cut a sleeveless shell from the left over Grey wool double knit.   I used CJ Patterns Keyhole top that is designed to be reversible.  Since I didn't want it reversible I am going to serge the neck and armhole edges, turn under 1/4" and edgestitch.  I remember reading somewhere here (don't remember who said it) that they had a high end top that the arm and neck edges were finished that way.  That was the technique recommended for the Lotti sleeves and it looks really nice.   
Slight change of plans for the Zambeesi style jacket.  After going through all of my patterns I decided to use Silhouette Patterns Carol jacket as a starting point.  With it's many pieces it should be easy to zig zag the various knits onto a backing.  I have a very stable white knit that I plan to cut the pieces out of and then apply the knits.  Once all the pieces are covered I can sew it together. I think I will eliminate the cuff/placket on sleeve and add welt pockets in the side seams.  How I line it is still being figured out.  This project will definitely be a  "figure it out as you go" kind of project. 
That's what I love about sewing - there are few, if any, absolutes.  You aren't bound by the directions if you want to do it another way. You can add or subtract components, lengthen or shorten, the end results are only limited to your resources, skill sets and imagination. 


I have all of the foundation pieces cut for the yellow zambeesi style jacket.  I'm not certain I am correct in likening it to zambeesi as I am pretty much doing my own thing.  I have applied fabric pieces to most of the front.  Since my pattern (PS Carol's jacket) is designed for woven fabric I decided to include some woven pieces for variety as most of my yellow knits are plain.  By lapping a knit over the raw edge of the woven I should eliminate fraying.  I am using a stretch stitch to apply the fabric to the backing that I call the herringbone stitch.  I have no idea what it's proper name is. 

It is a lot of fun figuring out what fabric to put where - but then Lillie pointed out that I am easily amused. 


My yellow/grey patchwork jacket is finished except for buttonholes and buttons.  Luckily, I had buttons in my stash that work well.  I finished sewing Monday morning but then had to launder the jacket to eliminate washable marker construction marks and just grime from being handled so much.  Also, I wouldn't guarantee that all of the fabric was clean as some had been stored for several years.  I am very pleased with the final product.   I am glad I switched my base pattern to Carol's jacket.  It turned out to be a really good choice and made piecing so much easier working on the smaller pieces that comprise a jean jacket. 
Changes I made to the pattern include - Adding a button band and eliminating the front facing; Drafting a mandarin collar to replace the traditional shirt collar; Narrowing the sleeve 1" from the elbow to the wrist and simply binding the raw edge.  Hopefully, pictures will follow this afternoon after I clear off my Mama's old Singer and make the buttonholes with the marvelous buttonholer that came with her machine.  I have never been able to come even close to the perfection of that buttonholer on any of the several machines I have owned over the years.  I am hoping the thickness of the front band won't pose too much of a problem.

After finishing the jacket, I must stop and clean my sewing room.  It is a complete disaster with little snippets of yellow fabric everywhere.  Lillie rightfully pointed out that I am not the neatest sewist.
 So.....I am off to finish the jacket and restore some sense of order in my extremely cluttered sewing room.


After all the bragging on the buttonholer it wouldn't handle the thickness of the band.  So......try the buttonhole attachment for my current machine.........no go.  After repairing the band where the failed buttonholes were I attached heavy duty snaps.  They look just fine - I am pleased.  Took the better part of the day to get there but I believe the jacket is good to go. 


I have cut out my jeans but can't start sewing them until I buy some more grey thread.  Our local quilt shop has been forced to only stay open a few hours a day due to COVID restrictions and I got there too late yesterday.  Fortunately, in the small town I live in, it isn't far to make another trip today. 

After I got home from my two week stay with my son's family following my knee replacement I received two packages of fabric.  The first package I remember contemplating, but didn't remember actually ordering the two pieces of fabric in that package.  The second package I vaguely remember looking at the picture on my laptop and considering it for a lining for the yellow jacket.  I don't remember ordering it though.  Lillie thinks that I shouldn't have the means to order anything when I am taking strong pain killers - I'm sure she is right.  Neither package contained big ticket items, (fortunately) in fact, the last one had two yards of an animal print ITY that cost less than $20 with shipping.  Ultimately, when I changed out the pattern I was originally planning to use for PS Carol's jacket I decided not to line it at all.  All the seams are pressed to one side and top stitched with the same herringbone stitch that I used to attach the various pieces to the foundation.  It looks quite neat inside and a lining would have been extraneous. 

I have included a grey dress in my plan that I intended to mash up from one of my two TNT tee shirt patterns.  However, the last issue of Seamworks featured a pattern for a sheath dress that certainly fit the idea I had in my head.  I had a little time last night before bedtime to sew  but without the correct thread for the jeans I couldn't start them.  I had printed off the pattern for Tai, the dress in Seamworks, so I put it together and cut it out of the ITY animal print to serve as my muslin.  Hopefully it will be wearable, another bonus piece for my Half Monty.  With only 3  pieces plus a shoulder gusset it should be a really quick make. 

I realize I am quite fortunate to have a lot of spare time to sew.  This Half Monty has been a great diversion for me while I recover from surgery.  I am restricted from doing a lot of things right now although I am at the point where those restrictions will soon be lifted - a good thing too - my house really needs a good cleaning.  My DH is a paraplegic in a wheelchair and while he is amazing at the things he can do - house cleaning isn't one of them.  He tracks in mud with his wheelchair, hard to clean the wheels off before coming inside, plus we have three dogs that track in their share of dirt. 

My goodness, I have rambled on long enough - my coffee cup is empty so it must  be time to go and stitch up that muslin. 


The ITY animal print muslin may or may not become a wearable muslin.  The knit is quite thin and somewhat slippery and I had trouble with the neckline even using a stabilizer.  It is in time-out for the moment.  It did serve its purpose though - only had to make a small adjustment to the armhole besides the usual adjustments I make to any new pattern:  rounded back, forward neck, grade to a size larger in hip area.  I also scooped the front neck about an inch - boat necks tend to make me feel choked. 
I went ahead and cut Tai out of the light grey ottoman and soon had my dress.  Was a very fast sew, doubt it took me an hour.  I did change one other thing - I cut it at tunic length and then added a deep band cutting the ottoman stripe the opposite direction of the main dress.  Fairly subtle, but I like the result - and of course, instant hem. 

We are in the middle of a major winter storm, not as bad here as on the West side of the state - but lots of snow.  I did venture out when the storm first started and purchased the dark grey thread I needed for the jeans and spent Saturday making them.  I am pleased with the results although my top stitching isn't the best. I have always struggled with top-stitching - not sure why.  I barely had enough material, faced the waistband and the hems with a quilting cotton. They fit just right and the wider legs are exactly what I had in mind.  The legs could have been an 1" longer but they are ok.  In addition to the usual fitting adjustments, I increased the width of the legs about 2" starting at the hip. I have always had "athletic" legs even when I was skinny otherwise.  The skinny pants trend has not been kind to me.  In addition to having thicker calves I need to wear compression socks.  Combine the thicker legs, compression socks and skinny pants and I am always having to pull the pant legs down after I sit


I have worn the grey jeans now several times and while they are ok they are just a touch too big and they could be an inch or so longer.  I have another piece of grey denim that doesn't have as much stretch - think I will make another pair of jeans using the same pattern.  There is more yardage in this second piece of denim, shouldn't have to resort to adding adding contrast facings. 

I am at my son's house again - have several doctor appointments the next couple of days.  While here I can visit several different stores that sell fabrics and notions.  I am going to look for another color thread to use for top-stitching on the next jeans.  I can't decide whether I want it to match closer or contrast more.  Hopefully I'll have an epiphany while staring at all the colors available.  I used two ends of thread for the top-stitching on the first pair of grey jeans and it worked well.  Regular top-stitching thread is usually quite limited in the choice of colors.

I have concluded that I really need a couple of plain long sleeve tees.  I have a thrifted grey cotton/lycra man's ginormous tee that will make a really nice tee - the knit feels quite luxurious.  I also need a cream colored tee but the only cream knits I have in my stash are on the sheer side.  One, a wool jersey, I have washed several times hoping to felt it somewhat and stiffen it up but it didn't work. 

There is an Idaho Youth Ranch warehouse here that I may check out this afternoon.  I have found some really nice stuff there - $.75 per item of clothing - can't beat that.  Maybe I can find a cream long sleeve tee that I can modify to fit.  I do love a bargain!


I made up the second pair of jeans and am much happier with them.  The zipper is a little wonky, but nothing I can't live with. 
While looking for something else I came across a bag containing a yellow polyester jacket that I started some time ago and put in time-out when I had trouble setting in the sleeves.  It is a more structured jacket probably meant for a wool suiting that would have eased nicely into the sleeve head.  The polyester twill did not ease well at all.  I think I can rescue the project by taking the sleeves out and taking in the seams some to help the sleeve lay better.  It is a two piece sleeve so will be easy to adjust out some of the fullness.  It is a gorgeous lemon custard yellow that will look really nice over the grey ottoman dress.  At this rate I am going to have a full SWAP completed first thing you know - all in the grey and yellow with some cream.  I obviously am partial to grey and yellow since I seem to have a lot of it in stash.