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Sewing is therapy for me. I hoard fabric, patterns, notions, and spend more time shopping for fabric than I care to admit...

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

The top that should have been a dress or Simplicity 8216

How stinking cute is this pattern?  The moment I saw it, I knew I had to have it!  Luckily it was on sale at JoAnn's so it was a great deal!  

Simplicity Pattern 8216 Misses' Mini Dress or Tunic

Did you ever wear a bow blouse back in the late 80's or 90's?  I wasn't a working girl at that time as I choose to stay at home and be with my four little ones but I did have a bow blouse or two.  They are feminine, pretty, and graceful.  

But the big difference between then and now is the size of the bow.  Then the bow was HUGE!  Now, the bow is simple and understated, perfect!

Let's talk fabric first.  Isn't this just fun?  I purchased it from either Fabric.com or Fabric Mart.  I wish I could remember!

Sometimes I purchase fabrics and realize something like--wow, I've gotten a lot of blues lately....

I don't wear a ton of blue, but something about this rich cobalt color was so striking to me.  I believe it is a poly/rayon challis.  Really lovely to work with.

A note or two about the pattern.  I made my usual size 14 since that size fits me so well through the shoulders and upper chest.   This pattern has plenty of ease through the chest so I didn't make my usual FBA.  Another note is that the line drawing makes this pattern look very gathered along the back yoke along with the shoulder areas.  Neither have much gathering.

I did however make a sloping shoulder adjustment.  I love how that area fits me.  

If you sew this neckline and bow area precisely, you'll end up with a great result!

 I tagged this the top that should have been a dress because I found to holes in my fabric as I was sewing it up.  I ended up hacking about 3.5 inches from the bottom of this tunic and realized there was another hole about five inches above that one.  Grrrr.............I fixed that by appliqueing a small leaf over the hole and it worked.  Dang, I wish I would have examined the fabric more carefully before cutting into it!

I am happy with my finished result.

Sue :)

Friday, September 16, 2016

Tackling your fear fabric!

Do you have a fear fabric?  For me, I have several, but my biggest fear has been mesh.  And yes, it did make me feel like this....

Image result for images of fear

     I finally decided to overcome my fear by trying a few projects and I have decided that sewing with      mesh is fun!  If you too have a fear of sewing with mesh, just take a few precautions and you'll be                                                                                fine.  

                                                                             Trust me!

         Now, I wished I hadn't been such a silly-goose and tried so many more mesh projects sooner!  

Look how fun this fabric is!  
Perfect for fall, don't you think?

This fabric is ultra comfortable on your skin as well.  You can't say that about every fabric you wear...right?

This top is made in a 'cocoon' shape which is sort of funky but I like it!   However, you must choose the right fabric.  This is a StyleArc pattern and here is a picture from the site: 

The cocoon shape is more pronounced that it appears in the line drawing.  The lower-sleeves are VERY narrow, so test the fit prior to sewing together.   

Mesh is a great choice since it doesn't stand away from your body making you look like an egg, which is important! 

I tested this fabric using both a regular sewing machine and a serger.  It worked just perfect on my serger so that is how I stitched the entire thing.  

I topstitched the neck band and the hems.  

What do you think of sewing with mesh?  If you are worried, don't be, just create some test strips and find out what works for your fabric and design.

Thanks for reading!
Sue :)

Oh, and BTW, my next fear fabric to tackle is silky and ultra slippery fabric....

Monday, September 12, 2016

SA Avery top

So you all know how much I love StyleArc, right?  Well, here is my latest pattern from them.  This is the Avery Tunic Top. 

It combines a knit and a woven, pretty cool, right?  

Sliced Tunic Top featuring a high low hemline and exposed zip

Here is how the top is described on the SA site: 

"A great spliced Tunic top using a combination of woven and knit fabrics. This tunic features a high low hemline with wide hem facings that are top stitched down. The back yoke features an exposed zip. This zip is optional, also this tunic can also be made in all knit if preferred."

The description fits the final result really well.  As you can see, I deviated from the original design based on my fabric choice for the knit.  But speaking of fabric, isn't this stripey tribal type woven cool?  It is a Telio fabric that Ottobre uses quite a bit in their designs.  Fabric.com has been carrying them on their site and I have been trying very hard to restrain myself from purchasing more and more!  

The knit is a super soft knit also from Fabric.com that is in one of my favorite all-time colors--coral.  It was a risk putting these two fabrics together but I decided to go for it and like the result.  

As you can see from the photos, I made 2/3rd ish sleeves.  These sleeves were very long and I am 5'7".  Before shortening them to hit my wrist, I chopped at least 2 inches off the bottom.  They are that long!  I also sewed a cuff along the sleeves since I was afraid that my hem may stretch a bit due to the softness of the fabric.  

Next, I did try to insert an exposed zip up the back but again, that knit was just too soft!  I even used interfacing and just couldn't get it to look nice.  I decided I still wanted some sort of funky back neck treatment so I played with several ideas and came up with the version you can see below.  I ended up slashing the center back seam of the upper top, stitched on two self-faced pieces made from the lower fabric, and stitched on the neckband by first overlapping the decorative bands.  I treated the top as I would had I made it with either a zip or solid.  I added the little buttons that are non-functional as a bonus.  :)

I really like so many things about this tunic.  It is comfortable and would look super cute two solid colors or maybe even two coordinating prints.  As usual, the drafting is very good with this pattern company. 

Depending on the weight of your fabric, you may want to interface the hem facings.  If my fabric was any lighter in weight I would have.  That is a pretty cool design detail you want to look good and hang properly.  And yes, I did an amazingly horrible job matching the stripes.  For some reason, I decided to start matching the pattern pieces at the lower edge, not the upper.  Duh.  I hope to never make that mistake again!

Thanks for reading! I love hearing from you!

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Vogue 8817 and color guard uniforms!

Late this summer, my dear husband asked why I don't stretch my sewing skills and sew things other than for myself.  Yes, I looked at him with shock and disbelief...I wondered why?  I have unselfish sewing jags once in a while, but I hadn't done a lot of sewing from scratch for others.  Maybe, just maybe he had a point...

Next came a request from a friend at work.  Would I consider making color guard tops for a small school district?  There could be up to 12 girls.  I had to think about it for a bit but decided the challenge was worth it--at least I hoped!

Here is the pattern we used: Vogue 8817, a pattern by Katherine Tilton.

I had previously made this tunic and knew what I was getting into.  It's fun to put together and the fabric really makes it fun.  Also, it is easy to fit!  The band director and I found suitable fabric at JoAnn's that seemed to be decent quality and was on sale!

The two reds we used were both performance fabrics that ironically 'performed' well!  The only suitable black was actually a swimsuit fabric that worked well enough.

I ended up taking lots of measurements of each young lady and a photo so I could try and see if I had any sort of fitting issues.  After tracing off each pattern, I cut and basted the tops together and then the fit was adjusted once on their bodies.  I believe in order for this top to look 'right' it must fit through the shoulders and bustline.  The rest of the garment is designed with plenty of ease and is very forgiving!

The photo I included shows the tops before I hemmed them all and made some last minute fitting adjustments.  I will update the photo once I get one with everyone in action.  

Sewing for other definitely stretched my sewing skills and it really was a lot of fun!

Thanks for reading!

Here are the lovely young ladies in action.  Can I mention again that I am very proud of this project!


Wednesday, August 24, 2016

New Look and antique sleeves top

Have you seen this pattern?  

             New Look Pattern 6434 Misses' Tops with Fabric Variations

It was suggested to me by Beatrice who frequently comments on my makes.  I so appreciate comments on my work!  Honestly, I never expect anyone other than my mother to read my blog.  :) 

So here is the story on this top.  I purchased a lacey dress at a super cool antique shop in Minneapolis called Hunt and Gather.  I had no idea what to do with it but I knew it would spark some creativity.  

I asked readers for some suggestions and Bernice suggested the New Look pattern.  It's cute, right?  I love the simple lines and feminine shape.  


Upon close inspection of the dress, I noticed the lace and pintucks were in pretty rough shape so I salvaged what I could and that was enough to create the sleeves.  The rest of the top is made from Kona Cotton.

While I am okay with the shape of the top, I wish I had made a muslin.  Either that, or used a very, very lightweight cotton or even batist (sp?) so it flowed better and didn't pool in areas.  

I also played with a hemstitch needle to create the hemline and neckline.  I love the little extra touch it gives.  

I practiced on scraps and read online about what stitches to use with a hemstitch needle.  You must use a stitch that will leave holes in your fabric.  

I love my top and the hubby does too but I am not crazy about how this fit.  I may have to redo the bodice section and reattach the sleeves.  
What say you?  Does it fit well enough?  I thought about adding fish-eye darts in the back to make it more fitted there.  Will that help?

Thanks again for reading and Bernice, if you will please send me your email address to parrott@sio.midco.net, I'd like to contact you regarding sending a little something from my stash to yours!


Saturday, August 13, 2016

Anne Klein: Vogue 1499 dress

The minute I saw this pattern from Anne Klein for Vogue (1499), I knew I had to make it!  I love the lines, I love it in a stripe, and I really think it is a classic style calling for a classic fabric.  Nothing screams summer like seersucker! 


You can play with how you lay out this pattern based on how you want the stripes to run.  I choose to vary my slightly from the pattern suggestion by making the back center bodice stripe run up and down, rather than side-to-side.  


I choose to use this beautiful Maggy London seersucker fabric for my dress.

White/Muted Blue 100% Polyester Horizontal Stripe Seersucker - Maggy London - 63W

This photo was copied directly from Fabric Mart's site.  
It is 100% poly and is 63"' wide.  It so and pressed very well.

We had to take the photos indoors as it is pouring outside.  My dog, Lucy, loves to help when it comes to sewing photos.  

I really didn't deviate from the pattern too much.  A few times I sewed on the machine rather than hand stitching.  Some days I love to hand sew and others, well, I will think to find a work-around!  

This dress is super comfortable in this fabric.  It is also lined, and that fabric was also purchased a while ago from Fabric Mart.

I love the cute little sleeves. Did I mention I am very happy with the fit of this dress?  Yes, I know it could use some additional tweaking, but I do believe there is a fine line between fitting comfortably and fitting so you look like a model in a photo!  

I S-T-R-O-N-G-L-Y suggest making a muslin before tackling this dress.  I did to tweak the fit and then had to do some additional tweaking after I made this up.  The most difficult part is to get the bust to fit, especially at the armscyes as it needs to fit snugly.   Typically I don't have any issues with this area with the big four patterns.   

Thanks for reading and I do hope that you are making some great garments for this hot and very humid summer we are having.  If you live in another part of the world, I hope you are looking forward to summer and planning your warm-weather wardrobe!

Thanks for reading!
Sue from Ilove2sew!

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Simplicity 1199

Have you seen this Simplicity pattern?  I think I love all five views!  

Simplicity Pattern 1199 Knit Tops for Miss and Plus Sizes

I love this pattern so very much, I purchased it twice!  The first time, I knew I didn't have it in my stash and the second time is a long story.  I knew I'd purchased it but in one of my rather impulsive cleaning/organizing rampages, I misplaced it and thought I had accidentally pitched it.  So, I purchased it for the second time.  Luckily both purchased were when Hancock's was having one of those outrageous sales--five Simplicity patterns for five dollars!

 And, wouldn't you know, as soon as I pull pattern copy number two out along with fabric, yup, you guessed it, I stumble across pattern copy number one.  I will have to re-gift it.

I made view D.  I really love all the views, but wanted to make that cute little crossover back.  It really was super easy and I wore the top today in our almost 90 degree heat with a heat index of mid-90's and didn't keel over!  


There are three layers of fabric in the back with the two overlays and the underlay.  There are two layers in the front as well.  Yet, this top kept me as cool as you can be in this heat and humidity we are having.  

Construction was easy and I only slightly deviated from the directions.  For the collar band, I simply folded mine in half with wrong sides together.  I stitched that to the shirt front/back matching the notches.  This neckband is very, very well drafted and fit beautifully!  Next, I pressed the seam downward to the shirt and topstitched.  The directions want you to fold the band in three and treat it pretty much as bias tape.  I hate doing that with wiggly knits, so I did my own thing.  

I am pleased with how it turned out!


I decided to add sleeve bands instead of hemming as this top requires a lot of it!  I treated the sleeve bands just like the neck band.   

I usually make an FBA but didn't this time.  I don't think I needed it this time.  I did however make a swayback adjustment and sloping shoulder adjustment.   


I really like this top in this bright and summery fabric I purchased from fabric.com.  The ivory knit is from my stash.  

Thanks for reading!