I love sewing--any form of needle and thread makes me happy.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Happy New Year!

Hope everyone had a lovely Christmas.  Here it is, the cusp of a new year.  All new possibilities and goals.  I plan to be a better blogger, have more output as a sewer, and to try welt pockets some time this year.  On Pattern Review, I have joined the Fabric Fasting  and the Monthly Sew-A-Long threads in an effort to use more of my stash.  I don't have a very big stash, especially compared to some (oh my some!) but I do need to make better use of it.  I'm going to try to use 2 yards of stash to every 1 yard of new.  And patterns.  I have so many I really need to make a serious dent in those. After all I bought them because I want that garment.   But like the saying goes: so many patterns, so little time. Surely a reasonable goal is at least on garment a month even for this slow sewer.  I have two garments to "catch up on" with you when I can get photos.   Catching one of my guys is hard but I should have an update this weekend.

What about you?  Do you make resolutions or set goals for the New Year and what are some of them?  I wish you luck with them and bloggy people that I follow I look forward to seeing your progress this year!  Happy sewing.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Friday, October 16, 2015

Burda 6761, The Cotton/Linen Top

I finally got all my ducks in a row to do a post on  this top.  I used Burda 6761, a cute little pullover top with a gathered peplum and 3/4 sleeves.

I used the cotton/linen voile that I got from Fabric Mart.  It went on sale right after I bought it.  Darn it all but I just had to have it. The print just called out to me.
The peplum doesn't go all the way around, it ends at the front sides forming the front darts; ingenious.  This also leaves the front flat which is flattering to everyone while the peplum hides all kinds of fluffy.  I used the size 18 (44) and it fit well with no alterations.

The back has a slit with a button/loop closure but the neckline is plenty roomy enough to make this a pullover.  The pattern is rated as easy and it really is but you do need to follow the directions as they don't go in the usual fashion.  The darts and the side front seams are one and are done after the application of the peplum.  It sounds strange but makes sense in the pictures.  Fancy that! Burda directions and pictures making sense!

It's a great little top that whipped up in no time.  I just love it and know it will get lots of wear. Happy stitching!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

McCall's 7196, Bozo the Clown Top

A few weeks ago I purchased Mccall's 7196:
I was picturing myself in that lovely flowing tunic with the graceful pleats down the side.  When it came down to making it, I realized all the fabric would drown my 5'3" frame.  Still picturing flowing tunic with pleats though, I made view D:  straight hem below the hip with 3/4 sleeves. I purchased a festive peachskin for the fabric.  It has a nice drape without being heavy but enough body to hold the pleats.
I cut a size 18 and used a size 20 sleeve to give the biceps plenty of room; the 18 would have been a tad snug. I thread trace the pleat lines which went surprisingly quick.  The directions were easy and clear and the project just flew along.  The tunic is very long, even this "shorter" one.  I had to cut 3 inches off the hem to get it to hit just below the hip. 
The top is very pretty when I'm standing still, but how often do we stand still?  I couldn't even get still pictures as the wind was blowing (sun in my eyes too).  As a result I look very preggers ( and grumpy)  I think.  Why I did I think any kind of pleating would hang off a 38" bust properly?  Duh.  The print may be just a little to busy and festive for this top.  But the fabric did sew up and press nicely.
I'll have to say I don't think this one quite worked well for me.  I may still wear it about the house; it is quite comfy and loose.  I won't be sewing it again. I still have to blog about the cotton voile top. Will do that as soon as I can get a picture with it.  On to the next project...Happy sewing

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Simplicity 1328-- Finished!!

My husband has a new jacket! It fits!  And he likes it!  Happy dance!  Smiplicity 1328 has taken me almost a month to finish-- I'm a slow sewer-- but I've gotten to learn so many new things along the way:  thread tracing, flat fell seams, plackets, how to do a collar stand.  I had help along the way though.  You Tube, David Page Coffin's "Shirtmaking", "Sewing Secrets from the Fashion Industry" by Susan Huxley and Vogue's "Vogue Sewing".  I couldn't have accomplished it without them.   (Nerds do love their books.)  Coffin's book was the most helpful.  It takes you through every step of shirtmaking in detail. 

I used a size XL ( 46-48) based on the jackets in my husband's closet, size 46 regular.  I was so afraid the whole time I was sewing it that it was too big because it looked absolutely huge! Especially when I stored it on Zelda to help it keep its shape.  It looked so big there I started draping it around my chair instead.  I guess my eye was just used to seeing a much smaller size for me because it fits him wonderfully. 

I did three things differently from the pattern. 1) I lined the pockets.  I'm so glad I did.  They added some structure to the pockets and my husband was delighted with the touch.  He noticed it right away. 2) I used self fabric for the interior yoke instead of lining as I'd never seen a man's shirt use lining there.  3) I used self fabric for the button placket for the same reason.  I think they look very professional now. The fabric was a brushed flannel from JoAnn's in a lovely charcoal grey so it wasn't too thick working with those layers. 

The pattern wasn't exactly hard just very time-consuming with new things to learn. The layers were difficult for the flat fell foot for the side and sleeve seams because of the fabric I chose.  They're not perfect but they're not bad, either.   I practiced on scraps for a long time before I did it for real.  Glad I did because I was awful in the beginning!  The plackets weren't hard to do just intimidating and a bit of a puzzle to figure out.  I'm so proud of how nice they look.

My favorite things about the jacket are the same things my husband likes about it, too.  (We've grown so alike over the years.)  The softness of the fabric, the lined pockets, the pleats in the back to allow more arm movement, and the number of pockets. (There are four huge pockets on this thing!)  He was having a bit of fun modeling for me cracking jokes, goofy guy.

 So my first attempt at men's sewing has been a success and I'm no longer afraid of it or too intimidated to sew for my husband. (The what if it doesn't measure up to his RTW mentality?  There will be more projects in the future. But in my immediate future I have a Burda top because I just got some lovely cotton/linen voile in the mail and have a staycation planned for the week ahead. A few chores and a lot of sewing is on the agenda.  What fun!   Happy stitching all.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Flat Fell Seams and Plackets, Oh My!

Work is progressing on the Simplicity 1328.  With generous help from David Page Coffin's book Shirtmaking-Developing Skills for Fine Sewing, I've been able to sew the plackets in place and I believe they look good.

(I'm in the process of sewing on the cuff now.)  They're straight and raw edges are all enclosed. So far so good. 

Next up were the seams.  The Shirtmaking book recommends using a flat fell foot for best results.  My machine didn't come with one, so off to Amazon.com I trotted til I finally found a foot that would fit my machine:

Now what to do with it. It came with no directions.  I found this great tutorial on You Tube:

Now  I'm doing flat fell seams also! 
It's hard to see them on this gray fabric and black thread but you get the idea.   The thickness of the  flannel made it difficult.  Had it been a regular shirting cotton it would have been much easier I think.  But I practiced for a long time on scraps of the fabric before I launched into the real stuff. I'm learning so much with this project!  Hope you're having fun with your sewing too.  Happy stitching.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Shopping At Joann's

Joann's is having the Labor Day sale this weekend and have lots of sales going on.  Chiefly, for me at least, patterns.  Butterick and McCall's are $1.99 and Vogue are $4.99.  There are lots and lots of patterns I want, but I decided to limit myself to what I will realistically sew up in the near future.  Only two came home with me, McCall's 7196, I love the pleats on view D. and McCall's 7254, loving the jacket and the vest. 

Of course fabric is also on sale so a little came home with me as well.

The happy dots is a peachskin that I was thinking would be pretty for the McCall's 7196.  The ivory is another peachskin and the lace to match are for a project I want to do next, McCall's 7095. 

Right now I'm deep into Simplicity 1328:
I'm making view A, the shirt jacket for my husband.  This is my first foray into men's clothing, so I'm a little intimidated.  I'm using a medium-weight brushed flannel so regular markings would not show up.  It was the first time I've used thread tracing to mark a pattern.  It was very time consuming but has been worth it.  Who know where all those pockets would have ended up without it?  Now I'm working in the plackets, another new skill set. We'll see how that goes.  I fear a seam ripper is in my future with this one.  I just want it all to be so right and there are so many new skills involved in this project.   Do you challenge yourself with your projects?  I know this is how we grow as sewists and my reference books are getting quite the workout.  More updates later and don't forget to catch that sale if you haven't already.  Happy stitching.  

Monday, August 31, 2015

Pink Peasant Top

Like so many other sewers out there I'm a huge fan of The Great British Sewing Bee.  I enjoy it so much I'll re-watch episodes just for inspiration and to enjoy their camaraderie.  This particular episode dealt with chiffon and so inspired me I dug out my own chiffon and a pattern, New Look 6891, a set of loose peasant-style tops.

Years ago I got 4+ yards of this fabric at a thrift shop.  I tried to make a top of it but botched up the cutting so badly I abandoned the project.  Fast forward several years and a little more experience and knowledge and cutting out wasn't so difficult with great care and lots of pinning.  No sliding, shifting or distortion.   The last New Look I stitched up was a size 16 and ended up too small to wear.  I wanted this to be loose and flowing, so I cut a size 18.

I used French seams through out, even the arm scye.  The bias binding at the neck was just too narrow for my machine to I just turned it under and slip stitched by hand.

The pattern is listed as easy, and I guess you could say it is, it's just very fiddly what with the fine bias binding at the neck and the little ties at the wrists. If I ever sew it up again, I will cut a 16 at the neck and an 18 at the waist/hips as the neckline is very roomy.  All in all, I love this top.  It makes me feel so feminine with its sheer flowiness and delicate pink coloring. 

The next project is a little more masculine and difficult for me.  Happy stitching.


Tuesday, August 25, 2015

New Cross Stitch and The Floral Dress

I've been a bad girl in several ways.  First I went trolling on Ebay--always gets me in trouble.  Where I purchased this:
Titled Everything Stops For Tea, its a cute little sampler torn from a British magazine then sold online.  Given how much hubs and I love a hot cuppa, I thought it just too appropriate for the kitchen. Here's the progress so far, most of one section, still lacking the backstitching.

It's sad to say, but the Flower Box Cats have gone by the wayside for the time being for this project.  I seriously needed a break with something a little more straightforward. So it's gone for the moment but not forgotten and will be picked back up again. I hate UFOs.

In garment sewing news, I've got a new dress for the last of summer, Vogue 8382.

This pattern is now out of print but is a gem.  I made it up once before when I was a size larger and loved it.  It's easy to sew and so easy to wear.

I thought it was the perfect match for this floral print from Joann's silky collection a year or so ago. 
I love the freedom of dresses and just can't get enough of them.  This one was sewn in a size 16 with no changes. 

It has an empire waist, deep front pleats extending from the darts in front and long darts in back for shaping. 

I went with a zipper I had on hand, a 14 inch, when it called for a 22 inch.  I should have made the shopping trip, as its a little snug getting it off and on.  The bodice is lined with white Bemberg instead of self fabric as the floral would have shone through. I'm really enjoying wearing  my new dress even though I couldn't get a photo of me in it.  Zelda has filled in nicely.

Next up-- a new chiffon top. Happy stitching all

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Asian-inpired Cross-over Top

I'm getting more time in the sewing room these days. So I'm getting a little more accomplished as well.  The Asian-inspired Top is Butterick 5046, which is now out of print, using view A. 

As you can see, it's a simple little crossover V-neck empire top that buttons just below the bust then falls into a tunic-length skirt.   I used an Asian-looking cotton print that's been in the stash for several years.  ( I'm trying so hard to sew from stash.)  The only modifications I made were a slight forward shoulder adjustment and used 2 buttons at the waist instead of just the one the pattern called for. It just looked more balanced that way.

The lack of any gathers under the bust give it a flat front so no preggers look--I'm just fluffy but it would lie flat on others. I also had to place a snap on the neckline to prevent gaping.  I was flashing everyone every time I moved! And it's just too hot here to wear a cami underneath it.  The armholes are bound with purchased bias binding. I'm so proud of how neat it came out. 

I've made this once before in a voile with beading all around the neckline but alas, it's too big now.  I considered adding sequins to this one but couldn't get the motif centered in a way that it would make sense with sequins.  I think I works as is though.  It's certainly comfy and cool in our humid Kentucky summer.  Next up a dress and some cross stitch.   Happy stitching.

Monday, August 10, 2015

The Purple Fan Top

Catching up a little on my sewing projects here.  Also recently finished is Butterick 6187 a Connie Crawford design.  This pattern as short sleeves, empire waist, and an asymmetrical hem in the front.

The package would have had me sew a large, but the garment's finished measurements on the pattern pieces put me at a medium, which worked out beautifully. The pattern says its based on "Modern Sizing" which included a fuller figure, and rounder shoulders.  Go by the finished measurments, there's still plenty of ease.  I have a 38½ bust and the medium has a finished size of 42 inches.

The fabric is a silky polyester blend from Joann's with a nice drape and hand. The skirt front is not cut on the bias so it relies on the drape of the fabric. 

The instructions were very easy to follow and the garment a quick, easy sew and  I serged the seams. I love how comfy it is.  It is the best-fitting armhole and sleeve I've ever made.  I think the front bodice makes me look a little flat, but my husband says it looks fine although not "bust enhancing".  I think that means they're not a featured item in this top unlike in most empire waist items.  I enjoy wearing it because it's cool and comfortable and the color is flattering.  I don't think I'll make it again as there are more flattering tops around.  It's a good pattern, just not for everyone.  Sizes range from 3-4 to 42-44. 

Saturday, August 8, 2015

The I Love Lucy Dress

I didn't set out to make a dress that Lucille Ball would have worn on I Love Lucy, but I think that's what I ended  up with.    It all began with McCalls 6891, view C, which is a perfectly modern shirtdress pattern with short sleeves. No retro vibe going on here. 

Next came the fabric--a navy blue cotton that's been in the stash for a goodly while.  It's nice and lightweight for summer use but holds it color well through the wash.  Plus I had 4 yards of it, the pattern's a bit of a fabric hog.  Still no real retro thing going on yet. 

I got almost to the collar and thought to myself how boring this plain navy dress looks.  It needs something to perk it up but what.  It was time to apply the collar, when it dawned on me that some thin white braid on the collar would look very crisp and nautical.  So I added it.  And liked so much I much I added it to the sleeve hems, too.  Now it looks more retro than nautical.

Its time to place the buttons and the dilemma arises what to do now?  Try some silver buttons with anchors on them?  It just seemed wrong.  I decided to embrace the retro and put on bold white buttons marching down the front.  Now it definitely looks like something Lucille Ball would wear gliding into the room on I Love Lucy.  And I can live with that because I'm just mad about this dress now.

Apparently others are too.  Everywhere I go when I wear it, I get compliments from complete strangers.  The restaurant, the grocery store, Barnes and Noble...  Someone will stop me, say they love the dress and ask where did get it.  Its a little embarrassing but cool, too.

I also want to point out that this is a Palmer/Pletsch pattern so its a treasure trove of how to modify a pattern to fit you.  I only had to do my usual forward shoulder adjustment, but if I ever make it again, will make the sleeves a little wider as they're a little snug. 

On to the next project.  Happy sewing to you.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

The New Sewig Room

I'm such a poor blogger.  I'm going to try to do better I have  new motivators.  First we just got a new computer.  Yea!!  Ours died about 3 months ago and we've been surviving on our smartphones.  Thank heavens they're so smart! 

Second, our youngest daughter who moved out almost a year ago, finally gave the okay to dismantle her bedroom so it could become the long coveted sewing room.  I'm so excited!  It still contains her dresser and a bookshelf but there are plans to move those soon or at least their contents so I can use them until she claims them.  My own sewing room!  I'm still in awe. I've been sewing in a corner of the dining room for 7 years now.

Here's where most of the action takes place.  On the table I have my Brother CS6000i, on which most of my sewing is done, and an old Bernina Berdette that's close to 30 years old now.  The cart contains all my sewing patterns.  Sitting in the chair is Fritzi who believes the room is for her. 

Swinging to the right, is the bookshelf  I hope to commandeer, my dressform Zelda, and the new ironing board.  I'm such a sewing nerd to be excited over an ironing board but we've been using one that hangs from the door in the laundry room.  This is such a vast improvement and makes it so convenient for sewing.

This cabinet was made for my grandmother and is close to 60 years old.  It had been in storage waiting for this moment.  Resting on it is my Brother 929D serger that I picked up 2nd hand but works like a trooper as long as my grandson leaves the tension alone.  On the last wall is just a steel wire cart that holds storage boxes and rules and a bulletin board with inspirational pictures on it. 
I'm still getting settled but am so very happy with the new space, especially all the cheerful sunshine that comes through the windows.

Now I just need new curtains for the windows and the closet and some cute covers for the machines.
How about you? Where do you sew and does it make you happy?  What would your dream space have that it doesn't have now?  Wherever you sew... I wish you happy sewing .

Monday, May 11, 2015

A Finish--Green Romance

Despite not blogging, I have been busy with needle and thread and life in general. My daughter just got married. We are thrilled for the happy couple and just love her new husband. 

She is a very non-traditional lady and bride in her happy pink. 

In sewing: Green Romance is done at last. 

I had run out of bias binding and just lost steam for the project in the process. Finally decided to wrap things up on it.  I can see mistakes on it but am happy with it over all. Especially as a learning process. 

I have been making slow progress with the Flower Box Cats.   Sorry about the orientation. I couldn't get the correction to hold. But you get the idea,  it's not being ignored completely. This is such a tedious project. I think I started with the hardest set of cats. Time will tell though.

In other sewing news there is sewing news; however no pictures at this time. But there are several new garments in my closet I need to show you soon.

Hope you all had a Happy Mother's Day and happy sewing. 

Friday, February 20, 2015

I Love The UPS Man

I love the UPS man because he brings me wonderful things like this--

Fabric!  Beautiful fabric.  Fabric Mart was having a sale on knits-- 50% off and these little babies jumped into my shopping cart despite being on a buying fast.  ( I just don't have any nice winter weight knits to sew with.  Or so I told myself.)    The white is a nice weight scuba knit that is slated to become a jacket just as soon as I finish the quilt.  The stripe is a jersey knit and the red and harvest gold are ponte knits that will probably become dresses. 

In quilty news I got the last of the piecing done on Green Romance.  Here it is with Miss Fritzi inspecting it. 
Now onto the borders and backing.
Happy Stitching!

Monday, February 9, 2015

Flower Box Cats and Green Romance

I have two projects currently underway.  I have made some progress with the Flower Box Cats. 

I'm working it on 18 count aida so it takes a lot of stitches to show any progress.  I've got half of the double window and most of the two kittens done.  They lack their eyes and outlining stitching.  The pink is the beginning of the flower box. 

I'm also working on a quilt.  It's going to be a smallish one-- a lap quilt size, 40 x 58 before the border.   This is only the 2nd quilt I've ever made.  The first is still a UFO since I can't decide on what kind of border to put on it.  Usually I do small wallhangings with the urge strikes since I'm such a novice at this. 

This one is from an old magazine ( Quilts and More, Summer 2006) and was called Red Romance as it was done in reds featuring a red toile.  I had a length of green toile and lots of green in the stash so Green Romance it was.

The picture is a little out of focus and doesn't do it justice but you get the general idea.  I still have three more rows and sashings to go. I've got the border piced out but am trying to think what kind of design to quilt it in. Plenty of time for that though.  Hopefully I'll get some time to work on it next weekend as this week looks awfully busy and I use the evenings for hand stitching. 

Happy stitching!


Thursday, February 5, 2015

Flower Box Cats

I started a new project in counted cross stitch.  It's a pattern called Flower Box Cats from Vermillion Stitchery back when they did printed charts.

 I see from their website, that everything is digital now and that this pattern is only available as machine embroidery.  I came across the pattern years ago as a Hobby Lobby closeout and never got around to stitching it up.  Well, I guess it's time has come.  I started with the kitties in the green window in the center.  Progress report soon.

Happy stitching!

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Embroidering Again

After a long hiatus- several years- I decided to pick up surface embroidery again.  I've done several cross stitch pieces recently but no embroidery for at least 3 or 4 years and then only basic stitches to embellish a top.  I decided it was time to teach myself to stitch once again.  So, I got out an old tutorial of my mom's called "A Comprehensive corse in Crewel Embroidery" by Marion Nichols from 1971. This is actually the primer to a class that presumes you have the accompanying printed pattern which I didn't. So I just did a free form sampler of each of the stitches on some muslin as they were introduced in the book.  Once I felt comfortable with one stitch, I moved on to the next.  Soon I felt ready for a "real" piece to work on. 

I found a likely picture on the internet, site now unknown, and copied.  I touhgt it would work as a sampler of sorts for different stitches.

I've learned so many new stitches on this piece. It's not perfect but it was fun. I can't wait to finish it as a pillow for my youngest daughter who loves owls. 

Happy stitching.