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

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Easy Fall Jacket; Butterick 6065

I'm finally sewing for fall and this little jacket was such an easy sew.  Just a few seams and a hem.  It's got a cocoon shape, darts for the shoulder seam, and a front band.   I made it up in a sheer knit mesh from Fabric Mart and just love wearing it.  Casual and relaxed with a dressy vibe.

I made a size large with no alterations.  It's only two pieces;  the body and the front band.  In such a sheer fabric and such odd-shaped pieces, it would be easy to get lost in the puzzle, so I cut it out using additional notches where there were circles or dots.  This worked out great; it came together so easily.  

Since the fabric was so sheer, I opted not to serge it.  Instead I zig-zagged the seam allowances and then trimmed.  For the hem I just turned and stitched.  

This is such a great little jacket and such a quick sew, too.  I may have to make another.  Maybe one for my daughter--I have enough fabric leftover as Fabric Mart sent so much extra.  

Till later;  Happy sewing all!

Friday, September 15, 2017

Seeing Double, Burda 7509

I don't usually sew duplicates of a pattern but this was good enough to repeat right off the bat.  I first became aware of this pattern by several great looking reviews of it on Pattern Review so I purchased the pattern.  It's a sleeveless tank cut on the bias meant for lightweight wovens. There are darts above the bust which is unusual but makes for a great fit.

This first top is sewn in a rayon challis from fabric.com in a size 20 to get a finished garment measurement of 45¼ inches.  Although not a recommended fabric, I love the drape and feel of this top.  I used French seams on the shoulders and side seams and self-fabric bias strips are used to finish the neck and armholes.  

This second version was sewn in a cotton voile from Fabric Mart.  I always forget what a joy it is to sew with cotton.  I love the finished product of challis and knits, but there's all that slippy-slidey business going on while you sew it.  That bias binding went in lickety split.  Again I used French
seams.  You'll notice that the voile top looks smaller than the challis top even though they're both the same size.  What a difference fabric makes!

Next up is the topper I made to go with the brown voile top!  Happy sewing all! 

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

McCall's 7571, Another Cat Top

I hope you dog lovers can stand another cat top.  I loved the fabric so much of the last one , but ended up donating the top because the bulk of the collar and facing disturbed me too much.  So like a true fabric fanatic, when Fabric Mart offered it up for one their challis sales, I grabbed some more to make a different top.  Enter McCall's 7571, view A. 

The pattern says these are loose-fitting pullover tops with a gathered neckline and little V-neck opening.  It also has a gathered waist.  When they say loose-fitting, they mean it.  I sewed an 18 based on my measurements, wanting a loose-fitting summer top.  I could have easily gone down a size and still be loose.

The neckline was especially huge.  I thought, "No problem.  It's going to be gathered onto a bias binding strip."  Despite careful handling, the rayon challis grew.  The bias strip was near-equal measure to the top's opening.  I decided to continue sewing it down and made a narrow tie to go through it to pull it all in.  This ended up working well.  The top was so comfortable for a hot day at the zoo with the grandkids. 

Lessons learned for next time:  go down a size and use a firmer fabric than challis which grew a little at the neck and neck binding. 

Next up a couple of Burda tops....

Monday, August 7, 2017

Yet Another Button-Down Shirt--Butterick 5526

I'm acquiring quite a few a these button-down shirts the last few months, but I'm loving them.  They're pretty versatile; alone or with a top underneath or like this one, in a lighter fabric with the sleeves rolled up for summer. 

I started this top in June but it got side-lined by the shirts for the boys and the Jane Austen Project.  I was so happy to get back to it.  This fabric, a cotton shirting from Fabric Mart, was a dream to sew with.  It did everything asked without a hiccup or pucker, even the set-in sleeves and the collar.

The pattern is reviewed 65 times on Pattern Review and I can see why it's so loved!  The instructions just make sense and the pieces fit together so nicely.  The fit is good, too.  I cut a size 18 neck, shoulder, cuff and sleeve and used the size 20 for the bust, waist and hips.  The shoulders run a little wide, according to reviews, and I found that I had to do a slightly larger narrow shoulder adjustment than usual. 

The pockets have this cute little pleat in them that makes for a nice detail.  I even managed to match the stripes of the pocket to the shirt. 

The collar and band went together like a charm.  And it lays so neatly in this fabric. 

The tab was a cinch to make and install.  I really like the feature, too, however the rolled up sleeves hit me just below the elbow and always inch their way up during the day.  I also made it with the traditional cuff and placket so I can wear my sleeves down this fall.

The fit on the front, I think, is pretty good.  It could use some shaping in the back waist area, though. It looks pretty boxy in the photo.   Maybe fisheye darts.  Or try the view D with the princess seams next time, which I'd really like to do as so many have raved about that view. 

I had a remnant left over, so I made hubs a pocket square for one of his suits that he wears with a lavender shirt.  They look so nice together. 

Well, back to sewing.  I have a new McCall's in the works.  

Monday, July 17, 2017

The Jane Austen Project -- Finished!

Well, the Jane Austen Festival in Louisville, Ky was held this past weekend and daughter and I made it there in style--in an SUV not a carriage.  The Festival was full of sights and sounds and a veritable feast for the eyes.  We only went on Saturday, but we got to see a duel, the Navy, a Regency Fashion show, catch the Promenade, visit the shoppes,   have a lovely European tea and more.  Our  tea time overlapped the Promenade so we were not able to take part or see it all.  I'd say at least 3/4 of the attendees at the Festival were in period dress.  It was wonderful to watch and be a part of.   On to the sewing now.

As stated in my prior post, I used Sense and Sensibility's An Elegant Lady's Closet Pattern. For my daughter's dress I used a size 26D and graded the sleeve up to a 28.   (The pattern size is 6-26DD.)  The pattern is designed to be worn over stays, a type of corset, but I had read in an old review that a good minimizer bra would work as well. We went with the bras, but the silhouette was a little off compared to other ladies there.   Her dress is sewn in a blue floral cotton from Fabric.com.  Cotton is so friendly to sew on and it took a press so well, too.   

The drawstring is ingeniously done:  it runs under the dress front in the seams, comes out the side seams, and ties in the back adding to the fullness of the gathers there.  The dress front is rather flat and the bodice front is gathered on the inside neck edge by a drawstring of ribbon. 

My dress was done in a size 20C with a size 24 sleeve.  The sleeves run small and tight I found.  I did raise my neckline about a ½ inch, as the muslin was so low.  The "real" dress didn't need it after all.   My dress is made from a gold cotton lawn also from Fabric.com

I also sewed up reticules, small purses, included in the pattern to hold money, keys, and of course, cell phones.  I forgot to get pictures, though.  Rats.  Mine is done in a brocades with yellow and gold tones.  My daughter's was made of navy blue twill that I embroidered a ring of pale blue flowers on.  Just a simple lazy daisy stitch but it echoed the flowers of her dress and hat beautifully and looked charming.

The hats.  After looking at so many photos of past Festivals, and seeing so many bonnets in use, I decided it would be fun to wear bonnets as well.  After all, it's July in the South--a girl needs some shade.  The bare straw hats were purchased from different vendors on the internet then I trimmed them out one evening with goodies we got at Joann's. 

My daughter's bonnet is trimmed with an ostrich feather, a sprig of forget-me-nots and ribbon.  There's a small bee charm in the center of the ribbon "flower".   The other side features a simple flat bow. 

My bonnet has the white ribbon, a dragonfly on the front brim, and 3 white roses on the back brim.  They were surprisingly easy and fun to do; a combination of sewing things on and hot gluing.  Where would we crafters ever be without our glue guns!?

It took a month of sewing and prep work, because I actually made muslins to try the fit this time, but it was so worth it!  She was so delighted all day by all that we were seeing and doing.  And she got to play dress up while doing it!  We had such a great time, we're already planning on going next year!


Wednesday, June 21, 2017

The Jane Austen Project

It recently came to my attention that there is a Jane Austen Festival in Louisville, Ky in July. Now I really enjoy Ms. Austen's novels, but my youngest daughter adores her!  Being a good mother, of course I called her immediately and asked if she'd like to go.  She was thrilled!  We've not had a mother-daughter outing for a while and this looks like a blast for two Austen nerds.  While checking out their website, we found all kinds of things going on and made reservations for the tea and one of the classes.  Then we read that the public is invited to wear Regency dress, too! Of course we must!  The excitement is too much to bear!  But what to wear?

Some searching lead me to Sense and Sensibility's The Elegant Lady's Closet pattern. 

This pattern has sizes 6 through 26DD included.  My daughter is petite but larger than most of the Big Four patterns so this one will do perfectly and the FBA is already done!  The first obstacle was underpinnings.  The pattern is designed for stays to be worn.  I don't have time or skills to make stays!  After reading some old reviews of the pattern, one lady said a regular bra won't work but a minimizer--something that lifts up and squishes--will work nicely with this dress.  Saved.  We both have one. 

Now on to the muslin.  Yes, muslin.  I actually made muslins for both of us since this is such a different company and fit. I found that I fit a size 20C with a larger sleeve band and she fits a size 24D with  size 26 sleeve and larger sleeve band.  I have to go out of town today so tomorrow I'll be cutting into the real fabric!   And yes, I'm re-reading Sense and Sensibility to get in the mood.   I just finished Northanger Abbey.  Daughter is reading her favorite, Persuasion. 

Monday, June 19, 2017

Unselfish Sewing--New Look 6404

On the rare occasion I can sew for others.  I'm just intimidated  by the fit issues of the daughters and  the pickiness of the boys.  But this time I felt emboldened to try to make camp shirts for the men of the family for their upcoming camping trip.  I settled on New Look 6404 for its loose fit and  raglan sleeves. 

This was such an easy-peasy make.  I was done in just about three hours from first cut to last stitch and I'm a slow sewer!  There's just a front, back, sleeve and neck binding. Hubs wears a XXL and the pattern only goes up to XL, so I had to grade it the extra bit. I think the sleeves are too large but he likes them roomy--better for canoe paddling he says.   The instructions were so easy I didn't need them at all for the second or third versions. 

The second version, not pictured due to time constraints--trying to get packed, is light blue with dark blue sleeves.  The third version, not pictured due to bashful son, is a Large in the tan with a maroon stripe across the base of the sleeve for interest. He like his clothes rather plain and conservative. 

The fabric for these is what I liked most.  It's light-weight knit from fabric.com that's moisture-wicking so it's perfect for activewear in the heat.  Both boys were thrilled with their shirts, and I hear from the camping adventure that the shirts are performing well.  I see more of these and more sewing for the boys in the future.  They were so excited and appreciate for their shirts.  It's nice to be appreciated. 

Do you sew for the men in your family?  What kind of clothes do you make for them?  Happy sewing!

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Floral Voile Skirt-- Butterick 4811

I found this beautiful embroidered voile on Fabric Mart and just had to have it for a long, flowing skirt.

The picture doesn't really do the fabric justice.  It's white, pink and  peach, with tan embroidery.  Just lovely stuff.   Here it is in a blue colorway.

I used Butterick 4811 now Out Of Print.

I used a size 22 and moved the back zipper to the side so accommodate my fabric limitations.  I also trimmed 4 inches from the hem; partly because it was too long, and partly because I didn't have enough fabric. 

The voile stitched like a dream.  I used a plain white voile for a lining; the embroidered stuff is very sheer.  I love wearing this during our warmer days and it was an easy sew. 

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

With Deepest Sympathy

                                             Out thoughts and prayers are with Manchester.

Friday, May 19, 2017

My Failure-- McCall's 7542

McCall's 7542, everyone who sews it seems has made this pattern or used the sleeves from it.  It's just so cute I had to jump on the band wagon, too.  My version, however, did not result in a top I can wear.  On the bright side though, someone bigger than me can so it will go into the charity pile.

The top didn't fail because of the pattern, it was all operator error.  The first and biggest mistake was the fabric.  It looks oh so pretty doesn't it?  I got it from Fashion Fabrics Club and have found them to be a hit or miss in their fabrics.  Some things are great, some things leave a little to be desired:  not quite as described or too thin.  That sort of thing.  This was described as poly crepon.  What the heck is that?  I had no idea but decided it was so pretty I decided I'd buy it anyway.  Total dork attack. It arrived as a polyester, wrinkled crepe fabric 60" wide.  After the washer and dryer, however, it was about 47" wide!  I figured an unstructured top might be best as it was too thin for a skirt and I had another skirt in similar colorway planned. 

I cut a size 20, my usual these days, with a C-cup and used the tulip sleeves.  When I pin fit it, the neck was too high for me.   I lowered the neck by scooping it out 1 inch making a new matching facing (my first time. Yay!  It came out correctly.)  I also did a narrow shoulder adjustment, despite there being a back shoulder dart.  This, too, is normal for me.  I'm just short enough that the length was good for me without being cropped.

The End Result:  it grew!  It's still too wide in the shoulder and way too wide in the body.  The neckline is slightly too wide, even though I didn't do anything to that.  I'm swimming in the tulip sleeves.  They're just too much fabric and come down below my elbow at the inner arm. 

Lesson Learned:  I still like this pattern and still want to sew a manageable version of it.  I need to use a stable fabric, though.  I could stand to go down a size I think width-wise.  It literally swallows me whole.  The C- cup works well; the dart was in the proper place. The tulip sleeves are lovely to look at but not to wear.  Next time I will a more formed sleeve.  Either View C or D appeal to me.  I'll need to double check that shoulder width next time, too, to see if it was fabric vs fit.  So I still come away with I think a very workable pattern.  I just need to incorporate the lessons learned.  Now to find the right fabric. :)

Happy sewing!

Monday, May 1, 2017

The Embroidered Top-- Burda 6502

I saw this pattern and fell in love with view A.  It just a plain little peasant top, intended to be sewn with an embroidered border fabric like eyelet.  After looking for a little while, I found this stunning denim chambray with lace and embroidery by Telio from Fabric.com

According to the pattern measurements, this size 20 was going to be a little snug in the hips.  I wanted it to be loose and flowy.  So I added 2½ inches to the center front of the gathered section and 2 inches to the back.  I left the neck yoke the same size as that part fit great. 

The pattern photo shows this top ending at the mid-hip line.  Mine ends at the lower hip line, but I'm quite a bit shorter and prefer this tunic length.  The directions are rather sparse and illustrations for the few steps they outline.  It's a quick, easy sew that makes sense on its own, though, without a lot of help.  I love how neatly the neckline lays. It's been perfect for some of our warmer days already.

This is my last entry for Faye's Tops That Pop Sew A Long.  I'm sure going to miss this.  It's been a real motivator for me and I've loved seeing all the different tops that have been made.  So many awesome entries! 

Well, on to the next project, a much needed nightie.  Happy sewing all.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

The Cat Lady Blouse--Butterick 6185I

Although I do love cats, I'm not a cat lady.  We recently lost one of our fur babies, so we now have just the one.  If not for the wonderful judgement of my husband, however, we'd have every stray I meet.  So this top will suffice as it has kitties galore!

The cat fabric is a rayon challis from Fabric.com and the black is rayon challis from Fabric Mart.  I was very upset when the cat fabric arrived as it had a 5" inch cut in the middle of the selvedge.  That was an obstacle that had to be worked around and necessitated a change in plans.  Enter Butterick 6185 with its cute little sailor collar.  That cute little collar took some work, though, and it's thick.  There are 6 layers of fabric at the roll of the collar:  2 for the cat collar, 2 for the black collar, 1 for the blouse body and 1 for the facing.  It took some serious pressing to wrangle it into behaving. 

I did make 2 departures from the instructions.  The first was on the sleeves.  They would have you just turn and stich a hem.  I used a bias binding for a cleaner, more professional finish.  I also found it a little short on me, so instead of turning a hemming the bottom, I did a faced hem.  It gave me a little extra length. 

This is another top for Ms. Faye's Tops That Pop Sew A Long.  There are so many wonderful tops being sewn.  I really encourage you to check them out.

Parting shot of my little sewing kitty.  Happy sewing all!

Friday, April 28, 2017

Just a Simple Knit Tunic--Simplicity 8337

I got this wonderful brown ITY from Fabric Mart.  It's very thin, however, and quite clingy.  I made it up in the gray colorway into Vogue 8534, blogged here.  I found it too clingy, hugging every lump, bump and bulge I've got.  This fabric needs more room to "float".    Enter Simplicity 8337, a series of loose- fitting pullover tips with neckline and sleeve variations.  I made view A because I thought that ruffle on the front would add to the tummy camouflage. 

The ruffle is left raw per pattern instructions.  I thought this would bother me, but I actually like it.  Anything else would have been too heavy for it and it wouldn't flutter as nicely.  The neckline is more than a bit fiddly.  It's a bound seamline with a bias strip (not included in the pattern, they have you use purchased bias binding).  This requires basting and much stitching to get it in but it looks so nice, lays so smoothly and feels so nice on. 

I didn't have to do my usual narrow shoulder adjustment as it measured fine across the top and is cut in a little in the back showing my bra straps.  Really need to get a racer back bra for tops like this.    The loose tunic styling makes it comfortable summer wear falling close to the body without clingy to those parts I really want to avoid.  Unlike the last top from this fabric, this one's a winner. 

Faye at Faye's Sewing Adventure has a great sew a long called Tops That Pop.

  It's been a great motivator for me as I have sewn and entered this top and the last top.  I also have another top in the works to be blogged tomorrow.  The sew a long ends on the 30th still time for more. Happy sewing all!

Saturday, April 22, 2017

The Floral Peplum Tunic--McCall's 7390

Originally, I purchased this pattern for a different view, view A for it's clean, lean lines.  A girl can always hope that it will help.  However, the fabric that I purchased for it came in a 45" instead of 60" (my bad) leaving with insufficient fabric to make that top.  Moving on, I picked up this lovely floral challis lawn from Fashion Fabrics Club from the same shipment.  So much fun I had to jump in right away!  I didn't really like it for the peasant top I got it for, but seeing this pattern out, loved it for view B with it's angled lines, little peplum skirt and hi-low hem. 

I cut a size 18 in the neck and bust, and a 20 in the waist and hip.  I did my usual ½ inch narrow shoulder adjustment.


The pattern instructions have you hand stitch the front facings down but I topstitched them down and they look great and saved a ton of time.  The armscye is finished with self bias binding.  My neckband came out a little uneven but that was operator error and isn't too bad or noticeable.  I love how loose and flowy this is and it looks great with jeans.  The fabric is so cool to touch, too.  It will be a perfect top for this summer and I look forward to giving it lots of wear.

  I still hope to make view A; I just need to find the right fabric.  It will have to wait a bit as I'm on a bit of a fabric diet for a while.  Too much spending and accrual; need to sew some of it down.  Happy sewing all!

Friday, April 21, 2017

A Simple Cardigan--McCall's 5890

I needed a light cardigan for spring weather fluctuations and had this lovely lightweight sweater knit from Fashion Fabrics Club.  It really called out for something with simple lines. After searching through my patterns, I came up with the cardigan/jacket from McCall's 5890, now OOP.

The pattern is one of Nancy Zieman's 10-20-30 minute to sew patterns.  A theory I did not incorporate into the sewing of this top.  I sewed as I was able, as usual.  The pattern contains a knit travel wardrobe of cardigan, pants in 2 lengths and dress/top.  The cardigan has clean, simple lines and called for a knit so it fit the bill. It features a shawl collar extending from a pleated back neckline.

I sewed a sized 18, narrowed the shoulders by ½ an inch, lengthened the ¾ sleeve to a full-length sleeve, and tapered the wrists for a snugger fit--they were quite loose.  The fabric was just dense enough that the pleats do not show as pleats but smoothed out to nothing.  (The pattern calls for a stable knit and this is a looser weave.)   It doesn't really matter as it doesn't really change the purpose or aesthetic and doesn't show anyway because of my hair.

I love my new sweater.  It's perfect for layering on cool spring mornings and evenings.  It was a quick, easy sew, too that may well be repeated in the future. 

On to the next project, a tunic top.   Happy sewing all!

Monday, April 10, 2017

The Fever Continues-- McCall's 7472

I enjoyed my last button down so much I promptly made another--McCall's 7472

I made view C, the green tunic on the front even though I bought it for a different view.  I had this green plaid fabric with silver threads running through it just begging to be a button down.  I enjoy my other one as a jacket-shirt so much, I wanted a second one.

This one has raglan sleeves, a cute tiny collar, and cuffs with a continuous lap. The fabric is from Fashion Fabrics Club and I had enough fabric to cut the plackets on the bias. 

Isn't that little collar too cute!

The directions show a notch on the cuff pattern piece for matching up the shirt to the cuff but the cuff piece itself doesn't have this on it.   It still fits well without this aid.

I used the continuous lap pattern piece and directions from the Simplicity 1013, I liked it so much. 

I will definitely be sewing this pattern up again.  I just love the fit on it and the ease of wear.  I'd really like to sew up view B this summer.  We'll see what happens.  As they say, "So much fabric, so little time!

Hope you're enjoying your spring sewing.  Happy sewing all!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Button-Down Fever -- Simplicity 1013

I know everybody reads Carolyn at Diary of a Sewing Fanatic, right?  If you've been following her lately, then you know she's been on a binge with button-down shirts.  Well, I caught the fever and the cure was this so cute button-down from Simplicity with a little extra fun in back.
I sewed View C with the bias patch pockets on front and the gathered "skirt" in back pictured on the cover.  Love it.  Found some awesome plaid shirting and black georgette from Fashion Fabric Club.
I know, orange and black--strong statement.  But it's so fun!

The directions were wonderful easy.  Usually I have a terrible time with a continuous lap on a sleeve but these came out nicely.  The pattern piece is slightly wider and the directions are very good.

I like that it can be worn buttoned up like shown here or open over another top like a jacket like I wore it last weekend.  Perfect for our cooler temps. 

The only thing I did different from the directions was to top-stitch the placket down.  It's the kind you just fold over and your buttons and buttonholes are supposed to keep it in place.  My fabric doesn't really take a press well, so I knew this would make those plackets unruly in no time.  So I stitched them down like they were normal plackets.  I think they look more finished for it.

I love my new button down shirt.  It's great with jeans, leggings, or my black slacks.  I like it so much, I've started another button-down, McCall's 7472!

Happy spring sewing all!