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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, June 22, 2016

Cara top, I mean dress!

Do you love sewing as much as I do in that you can make something truly your own?  That's what I did today.  I made this top into a dress, perfect for summer!

Fashionable off-the-shoulder top

Is this not just about the cutest top ever?  I was a little worried that I might be too old and look rather ridiculous in this, but DD1 and the DH assured me it was okay, despite being 53 years old!

 After seeing the photos, I agree with them that it is cute.

This top is described like this: This on-trend top gives a gorgeous look with its flattering, gathered, off the shoulder neckline with a floaty raglan sleeve.  The elastic at the back neckband keeps the shoulder line in shape.  Wear it with jeans or dress it up with a fabulous print to wear to a special occasion.

I used this j-crew fabric I purchased from FM quite some time ago and since I had enough, I decided to try this in a dress.  If I hated it, I knew I could chop it off back into a top.

Construction of this dress is pretty straight forward and moderately easy.  I really like how the neckband is constructed and attached to the bodice front and back along with the sleeves.  If you cut this out making sure you mark all your notches on the bands and top your gathering will be gorgeous!

Typically I made an FBA, sloping shoulder adjustment and swayback adjustment.  Well, given the shape of this top, I made zero alterations to the pattern tissue.  Although I did mess with the elastic back as this slid so far down my shoulders!
Just a note, I won't consider wearing this without a belt.  If feels like a mu mu!

The pattern calls for 15.5 inches and I cut it back to 14.  I also decided to add a piece of elastic to the front band as well just to help the dress feel like it would stay put and it did just that!

If you want a super fast project (unless you have to make a lot of alterations) this is it!  Have fun with your fabric choice and enjoy making this!!!


Thanks for reading!

Monday, June 20, 2016

More summer sewing! The Cameron Dress by SA X 2!

I just love the look of this pattern and knew it would be a winner the moment I laid eyes on it!  It looks not only polished but also mega comfortable and I consider that to be a pattern worth repeating!

This dress is simply described like this: Winter or summer, knit or woven, this is a great pull on dress.  The full-wrap skirt allows you to wear this dress with confidence.  Make it with a long sleeve in a beautiful sweater knit for the colder days or a silk for summer sleeveless dress.  


I like the length of this dress.  It isn't a quite a maxi but just a nice length.  Keep in mind that I am 5'7" so if you are taller or shorter, you may want to play with the length.  


I like how much extra fabric there is to create the blousing effect.  No belt is required!


When DH takes pictures, he just holds the button down and I get about 85 photos.  Some of the ones where I am clearly not ready show the oddest expressions on my face--like this one above!


You can tell from the photos above that there is no gaping at the armholes so no bra shows!  


 On SA's site it is also described as an on trend pull on dress with an elastic waist, wrap skirt and interesting hemline.  


Here is a peek at the waistline casing from the garment right side.  


I usually make a size 12 with SA's pattern and this was no exception.  SA's patterns fit me so well and I have very few alterations.  For this dress, I made an FBA and a slight sloping shoulder adjustment. I love it when I don't have to work very hard to get a good result!


My first version was out of this lace that I lined with tricot everywhere except the neck and armhole bands.  I simply cut out each fabric separately and then treated the two pieces as one making a lace that doesn't require a slip--just make sure you are wearing neutral or skin colored undergarments!  


For my second version, I had this knit from Fabric.com and was waiting for a fun but simple dress I could wear in warm months.  I knew this pattern would work!  I love how the graphic design gives it a sort of funky vibe which is in direct contrast to the lace.  


I love these dresses.  The pattern is extremely well drafted and goes together quickly but has some nice details that don't make it appear to be a super fast make.  I like the split back bodice with the button and loop closure where both sides of the seam are top stitched.   I love the neck and sleeve bands--they are drafted beautifully and go on the garment well for a great looking result.  


You can see how I made the neckline split diffrerent on the black version.  The pattern calls for one button and loop, but for the black version, I thought it would be fun to make the slit a little lower and add three buttons.  


Something to keep in mind is that the wrong side of the skirt will show along with the hem so take your time with that so it looks professional.  For the black dress, I used a twin needle and for the ivory dress, I used a single needle with a triple stretch stitch to finish them off.  I pressed before hemming so the folded portion of the garment was even and smooth on the inside.  Don't take shortcuts when it comes to pressing, it makes such a difference in the end!


My dog Lucy, is very interested in the squirrel that is in the tree above.  


I promise I am not trying to show you anything inappropriate but just how much this dress wraps over in the front, so it is very modest.  :)

I love my new dresses!  I hope you are making some cool and comfortable dresses to wear where you live!  I'd love to know which patterns you are using right now!

Thanks for reading and I love reading your comments!
Sue :)    

Monday, June 13, 2016

2 new maxi dresses just in time for summer!

Have you bought into the maxi rage?  It not, why?  They are super comfortable, stylish, and require minimal effort on the part of creating.  I love maxi dresses.  I really feel like I am wearing uber comfy pajamas for the day only I look and feel way more polished than that!

Here is my review for Butterick 6330 a simple little pattern with some wonderful
variations you can make to create your own style!

Of course there is more to this pattern than the dress, but I bought the pattern for none other than this dress!  I love everything about it!

 This pattern is listed as easy and it is super simple to put together, is drafted wonderfully, and you can make it your own depending on your fabric.  Did I mention that I found the exact fabric used for this pattern envelope?  When I purchased the fabric from Hancock, I knew I loved it and had zero idea what I was going to create with it.  Then along came this pattern and I knew exactly what I was going to make!  However, sometimes I am dense as I didn't realize that it was the same fabric as on the pattern envelope!  And of course, I didn't purchase quite enough so....that required some creativity but I knew I could do it!

I had just enough fabric left to cut a stripe of one of the patterns to make a stripe down the bodice back.  I knew I had a lot of this beautiful black knit so I sewed that on and then promptly realized that I had cut the back bodice on the fold, not as two separate pieces.  Ugh.  What is a girl to do?  I mean I had zero fabric left so I simply cut a seam down the center back bodice and seamed it.  This probably wouldn't have been a problem but i had already cue a neckband to fit and I had noting left to work with.

I also made armscye bands as well.  I like how they finished off the garment.

For version 2, I made it pretty much as version 1, but had enough fabric that I didn't have to add any additional fabric.  I did however decide to just fold back the armscye seams twice by 1/4" and topstitch.  It worked great.  It isn't my favorite finish ever but with a nice fabric, it works.  

I love how the gaping at the armscyes is so minimal that you can't see anything to do with my bra at all.  Trust me.  

The back also covers great as well.  I know the print is bright and rather wild, but at the same time super summery!  This fabric feels like a dream against my skin.  I absolutely love it!  

I hope you'll create a maxi dress this summer and if you want an easy and fast one, this is the pattern for you!

Happy sewing!

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Overcoming your fear fabric

Do you have fabric you shy away from, not just look past when shopping but actually either walk faster if you are there shopping in person or if you shop virtually like I mainly do, you click, click, click past it so you can ignore its existence altogether?

For me, very light weight fabrics such as chiffon that I used for this top are my fear fabrics. However, if you use a few tips from online bloggers or if you purchase some additional tools for your machine e to make the experience more pleasant and make you feel like yes, I can manage a fear fabric and get a result that will make me try again!

Here is my journey using lovely chiffon.

My first plan when I first spied this fabric was to make a dress, not just any dress but a fitted-in-the-bodice maxi dress.  Well, even though I made muslin, I hated the dress on me and since this was my blog post fabric, I was so very disappointed!  I knew I had to create something so I salvaged what I could and made a cute little summer top. When I put it on, it feels ethereal, not because I didn't make it sturdily but simply because the fabric is so flowing and well, summery!


So, how did I overcome my fear of this lovely fabric?  I used my tools that I had and also I used the internet to find some additional hints as well.


Here is what I found helpful via the 'net.
1.  Use tissue paper in between the layers of fabric when you cut.  This keeps the two layers from slipping and sliding all over the place.  An additional tool I highly recommend is to tape your layers to the surface you are cutting from.  I used ordinary scotch tape and it helps tremendously when trying to keep layers straight and on-grain rather than cutting something off-grain and having a huge mishap!

2.  If you have to turn a tube as I did with the back ties, I thought that tool Julie and Melissa used in the wrap dress sew along was just brilliant and I went straight to Ebay and purchased a Fasturn myself.  It was worth every single penny!

Those ties turned out so nice!


3.  For loop and shank buttons, use an elastic pony-tail holder instead of a very narrow fabric tube.  It works like a charm and when I secure the elastic to the fabric, I use scotch tape.  It holds the elastic much better than a few pins and also tears away after securing it to the fabric. Since you can't see the 'tube' I thought it would be fun to use purple, one of my favorite colors!


4.  And for heaven's sake, use a rotary cutter with a fresh blade or a very sharp pair of quality scissors.  For this fabric, I like my smaller Olfa cutter that many quilters use.


Here is what I used that were machine based:
1.  Sewing machine tools included a single hole throat plate.  This is so essential so that your fabric doesn't get sucked down into the bobbin case.  If you've ever used one, you will know exactly what I mean. If you don't have one of these, just use tissue paper, the kind that you put into gift bags and sandwich it between the throat plate and the fabric.  It works awesome too!

2.  Use the proper sized needle.  I used a size 60/8.  I also used that size in my serger.  How often do you change your sewing needles?  I do with every project and I never regret it.  If you try and use a needle that is too large, it will likely cause big holes in your fabric and worse yet, it will snag the fabric.


I couldn't leave this cute little top unembellished, so I used this dainty pom-pom fringe on the hems at the sleeves and lower blouse.  I think it adds just a little sort of something unexpected.  What say you?


This pattern is a New Look and the number is 6395.

I was attracted to the fact this pattern called for lightweight fabric and its simple design.  There is so much room to embellish this top that I hope you'll try it and make it your own!

Thanks for reading!  I love hearing your thoughts and I hope that next time I try chiffon I will have a dress to show for you all!  Remember, with the right tools and know-how--

Happy sewing!

Friday, June 10, 2016

A summer dress: McCall's 7383

Before I start with this review, this is my (maybe) wearable muslin.  The three fabrics I used weren't all that high of quality and thus behaved as such.:(  It's okay though.  I really wanted to try this dress and a muslin is what I needed to figure out if tweaks are necessary.

I thought this pattern was just darling when it first came out.  Have you seen it?

I love view A with those little extended sleeve sort of things.  I am always cautious of patterns such as this since the models are thin and sort of flat chested, neither of which describes me!  But I thought I would try it anyway because if the dress didn't work out, this would make an awesome nightgown!

 The patterns is described like this: Pullover dresses (close-fitting through bust) have seam detail, hemline variations and narrow hem.  A: Armhole bands.  B: Stitched hem on sleeves.  C: Upper front and back, cut on crosswise grain, bias lower front and back.  A, C, D: Wrong side shows on hemline.

I made view A.  This pattern calls for medium weight stretch knits such as cotton, jersey, Interlock or cotton knit.  I used poly knits that I think were bordering on lightweight.  I made a straight up medium, in case you are wondering about sizing.  For alterations next time, I will make a sloping shoulder adjustment and that's probably it unless any of you readers have a suggestion!

Did I mention these three fabrics were from my stash?  I think the gray and reddish orange are poly blends and the white might be a cotton. All had the recommended stretch but were challenging to work with.  Look how crappy the hemline looks (especially the gray) despite using a fusible hem tape to stabilize the area!

This is a fast make and the pattern seems to be well made with all the notches and pieces lining up correctly.  I will say though that view A seems to have the lower piece somewhat gathered onto the middle.  Do you notice that as well?  As the pattern is written, both pieces are sewn together flat, meaning there is zero gathering on that lower piece.

The length was really good on me as well and I am 5'7",  If you are shorter than that, this might be really long on you!

This is a very comfortable dress and I welcomed it in this extreme heat we are having--heat indices of 97 degrees--very unusual for June in South Dakota.

I will try this again in a more of a mid-weight knit.  I forgot to mention that I added the neck band as the pattern calls for turning the neckline under 5'8" and stitching down.  I really hate doing that so I staystitched the neckline and cut a band about 3 inches smaller than the measurement and then stitched and topstitched in place.  I think it will keep the fabric from stretching out, especially if you use a cheap-o knit like mine!

Thanks for reading!

What are you sewing this summer to stay cool?