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

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!

Monday, March 20, 2017

Mixed Emotions About Vogue 8534

I need tops to transition into Spring.   I decided upon Vogue 8534, view C  with the little ties for my first one.

I think this top evokes mixed feelings for me for several reasons.  First, the pattern.  It's long.  Very long for short ol' me.  I took 6½ inches off the hemline and it's still a little on the long side. 

Second, the directions.  The pattern has you leave the neckline unfinished since its a knit.  I couldn't  do that-- it just looked too unfinished.  So I serger finished the edges of the neckline and ties. It's still not the neatness of a hemmed finish but it will do.  Since I serged the neck, I just serged the hem and sleeve hems as well for a consistent "deconstructed" look.

Third, is my fabric.  I got a wonderful drapey ITY from Fabric Mart back in November.  I love it but it very thin and very drapey.  I clings to every lump, bump, and bulge I've got.  I've only got one bra at this time that gives a smooth enough silhouette front and back.  The others cause more bumps.  (I really need to go bra shopping). 

I love how the sleeves are part of the upper bodice.  I love the little ties, but really not thrilled with the serged edge.  Not fond of the deconstructed look at all.  So you see, I like it, but I also don't like it.  I guess I'll decided after a couple more wearings.  But on to more exciting projects!

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Finally! Simplicity 1254-- The Leanne Marshall Coat.

I finally finished this coat and I'm finally getting to wear it and I'm also finally getting around to blogging about it!  I've been working on Simplicity 1254 for weeks now.  It's been my first foray into coat making and it's really been the learning process.  

I made view A, the shorter version.  I didn't do a muslin, and I probably should have.  I had read reviews on Pattern Review that it ran snug, especially in the arms and they advised going up a size, which I did.  The only other change I made was to narrow the shoulders a ½ inch.  A muslin would have revealed that the pockets are small and I would have made those larger, but that's the only change I would have made. 

The coat is made of a poly/wool blend Melton coating from Fabric Mart.  I caught is on sale for only $16 a yard, which was my most expensive fabric purchase ever!  But I loved the plum color so much!  The pictures really don't do it justice.  It's a lovely deep plum/berry color.  The lining is a pink poly-charmeuse from Fashion Fabric club.  I decided to interline it for added warmth and used some soft flannel from Joann's.  The wool sewed so nicely!  I can see now why so many sewists enjoy using it. 

The pattern directions were OK until you get to step 11.  That's where everyone on Pattern Review was getting lost, too.  Their method of attaching the lining to the coat makes no sense.  I finally just did it my way and it worked out well. 

The zipper is a little odd but in the end it does make sense.  You just have to read the directions through before you apply it.  The cowl collar closes with a large snap I purchased at Joann's. 

I'm really enjoying wearing my coat.  When I finished it, the temps were in the upper 50s and 60s.  Not coat weather.  So disappointed.  Since then, however, winter has found it's way back to us and I've gotten lots of opportunity to wear it.  I'm sure this is an item that will be worn for several years.

Now on to Spring sewing!  Happy sewing all!

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

I Won A Prize!

Miss Faye of Faye's Sewing Adventure hosted a series of periscopes on outerwear.  These were not only entertaining, they were very informative as well.   I don't know how to link to periscope like she did, but you can find the links on her blog.  At the end of each, she hosted a give-away of a pattern and yours truly actually won one of them!  I was so surprised!

It's a coat pattern, Vogue 9133. It's even in my size range! If you ever need inspiration for that next coat, jacket or cape,  check her out.  She's done so many and they're all wonderful!

 Thank you so much Miss Faye for hosting the periscope which I enjoyed so much and for the give away.  Your pattern found a good home. I can't decide if I like view B or C best. 

Happy sewing all! 

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Cool Tools and Some New Patterns

I'm still working on the Leanne Marshall coat.  It's coming along slowly but progress is being made.  One of the things I read about preparatory to this coat was the issue of pressing.  One of the posters on the Pattern Review Sew-A-Long mentioned that she didn't think her hem looked as good as it could have if she had used a tailor's clapper to get a better crease. I wasn't familiar with this tool so I looked it up and found this great video from Angela Wolf on how to use one.

How did I ever manage to live without one of these?  I promptly ordered one from Nancy's Notions along with a pressing ham for those princess seams.

I'd long wanted a ham and Joann's just never has them in stock.  They arrived just in time for use and they're wonderful.  All I need now is a ham stand to hold the ham for me. 

On to the new patterns...   A couple of weeks ago, Joann's had their Simplicity and Burda on sale so I grabbed a couple for the collection.  I say collection because I have no immediate plans for any of these:

I got Simplicity 1316 for a top or two this summer, love those princess seams and cut on sleeves; Burda 6502, view A with a border print challis or eyelet would be great; and Simplicity 8259, it's just such a dreamy dress but who knows when I'll make it--just had to have it though. 

That's all my news for now.  I'm back to the coat and attaching the hood; the end is in sight.

Happy sewing all!

Monday, January 16, 2017

In The Sewing Room

Yay!  I'm getting a little time to sew.  Unfortunately, I need a lot of time to sew.  The project I'm currently working on is Simplicity 1254, the Leanne Marshall coat.

I just love that cowl/hood!  The pattern says its easy, but the comments on Pattern Review say the directions can be very convoluted in places. There was a Sew-along in 2015 for this pattern and there are several reviews. 

I have a lovely plum colored wool/polyester coating blend that I'm using.  It's my most expensive fabric purchase ever, even on sale!  From Fabric Mart, of course--my Achilles heel.  The lining is a pretty pink charmeuse from Fabric.com.  I decided to interline it.  I looked for Thinsulate by the yard and couldn't find any.  Decided it was probably overkill anyway and settled for the flannel that everyone else in blogland uses--from Joann's. 

Yesterday, I attached the interlining to the lining per the instructions found in Singer Sewing Reference Library book "Tailoring".  I also started thread marking my reference points on the front for the zipper, front fold and center front.  That's such tedious work but so much more effective and durable than chalk marking. 

Hopefully, I'll get in another hour or so this morning to work on it before I go into work. I'll keep you posted on progress. 

Happy sewing all!

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Happy New Year and Simplicity 1070

Happy New Year all!  I've been thinking about the whole resolution thing and have decided it's not for  me this year.  I always feel so bad when they fall by the wayside a few months later.  I've been reading other bloggers choosing a theme word for the year.  They choose a word that holds meaning for them for the coming year to bring meaning or perspective to their lives.  I've seen several inspiring ones but the word that came to my mind for this year was Obligation.  I have been rather negligent  in some of my obligations and have demonstrated misguided loyalties/obligations in some areas as well.  I need to make more meaningful time for my husband and  family, turn down work requests for overtime sometimes; I don't have to be the only one to save them.  I have an obligation and a spiritual need to return to church.  In the past year I have gained a considerable amount of weight and owe it to myself to take better care of myself.  My fabric/pattern stash represents an obligation as well.  I have all those dreams and expectations that haven't been realized yet.  I would like to see more use of fabric and pattern and have need for more clothes that fit as well.  I've also been terribly lax about blogging, something else I can make strides in.  These are not resolutions but rather areas I should like to see improvement in meeting my obligations to things I've already committed to.  I think I will find more balance in my life as a result. On to sewing....

I made this last year but never got round to blogging it, Simplicity 1070, the jacket. 

I loved this pattern the moment I saw it, but was intimidated by the call for leather on it.  I finally decided to make it up when I found the quilted-look faux leather at Joann's.  I got the knit, a neoprene scuba--not the swimwear kind--from Gorgeous Fabrics.  Now it being a knit and a woven, as designed by the pattern, I anticipated it being difficult to manipulate the two fabrics.  The scuba knit was so stable, though, it handled like a dream with the leather.  I used a leather micro needle and a Teflon foot and had no problems. 

I cut a size 18 and narrowed the shoulder about ½ inch.  That was the only adjustment and it fits to a T!  Usually, I have to lengthen the sleeves, but these were perfect as is.  It fastens with a pair of D-rings sewn into the left princess seam and a tab on the right flap.  It looks great open or closed.  There are pockets of a truly useful size in the front princess seams as well. 

The back has princess seams as well for added shaping.  The knit makes this such an incredibly comfortable jacket. And the leather makes it just so darn stylish!  Every time I wear it, I get compliments.  It's one of the best looking and the best fitting item I've made.

The pattern itself was very easy to follow.  The directions made sense throughout and the illustrations were helpful.  The pattern pieces fit together perfectly!  Every seam and notch was where it was supposed to be, how it supposed be. 

I can't say how much I love this jacket.  Only that I wore it non-stop until it got to cool to wear it for outerwear.  Now it's just occasionally as a regular jacket.  I can't recommend this pattern highly enough.

Happy New Year and Happy Sewing!