Saturday, April 12, 2014

Butterick 5954

What a great little top, especially for summer!

Here is my review of Butterick 5954: 

Pattern information:
Misses' tunic: Close-fitting and flared, pullover tunic has front variations, shaped hemline, and narrow hem.  Wrong side shows on back hemline.  C, D: Collar.

Fabric Used:
This is a tissue weight knit that I think I purchased from Marcy Tilton.  It is a border print and I had a lot of fun trying to figure out how to maximize the pretty fabric edge.  I ended up cutting the fabric out on the crossgrain which worked just fine.  The fabric was a little fussy with the demands of hemming such a long piece (more on that later).  Other than wrestling with it a bit, I am very happy with the results.

Does the finished garment look like the pattern envelope?  Yes, except for my changes.  The overall shape is there.  I made a medium based on my measurements.   

Oh the wind was blowing today! 

How were the directions:
They were super easy to follow.  This pattern is labeled as very easy and it is just that!  A beginner could tackle this with no issues whatsoever.


  • I almost always complete a swayback adjustment and I did this time as well.  
  • The neckline is obviously different.  I decided on View C
  • but didn't want the cowl neckline so I cut a piece of 2" wide fabric 20% shorter than the circumference and stitched it onto the neckline just like a band would be.  I top-stitched a double row of stitching to keep the neckband seam in place.  I like how it turned out.  The pattern directions would have you use a hemmed neck and I just don't like how that looks.  
  • I also stitched down the right front over the left to just below the waistline.  My fabric is more of a tissue weight and when I tried it on it felt like I would have to constantly adjust it.  No one wants to do that!  
  • I folded out 2 inches on the side seams of the center back seam for a total of 4 inches and I am glad I did!  I think it is just what I wanted as far as fullness.   

I do recommend this little top.  I believe the line drawings are deceiving as far as the back of the top goes.  If you believed the drawing the back would be only slightly shorter than the front which simply isn't the case.

This goes together easily and is a fast little project.  Next time, I may consider using a rolled hem to finish off the lower portion of the top.  It took me longer to press and hem the entire thing that it did to cut out and sew the top. 

I like this tunic.  I would like a sleeveless version for summer without the overlay.  I'd also consider a top more appropriate for fall or winter, provided the right fabric comes along. 

One caveat: if you have large shoulder muscles (I don't) you may want to test the fit of the upper sleeve.  I found that while I was wearing it and lifting my arms over my head those sleeves were just a tad tight.  Maybe tight isn't the right word--but if it isn't, I am not sure what is!

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Sewaholic Pattern Minoru jacket--take 2!


Here is my second review for the uber popular Minoru jacket by Sewaholic patterns.   

When you see the pattern, you think why yes, I can see why so many people have whipped this up and some more than once!   It is very cute, very RTW, and a classic design.  And, who doesn't love the concealed hood?  Genius! 

Here is my version of the Minoru jacket.  

This time I used a light-weight water repellant linen I purchased from fabric mart.  It gathered beautifully around the neckline, unlike my first version where I used a heavier brocade-type fabric that was much to heavy for the design.  

I found the correct sized zipper in the bright orange, the perfect contrast for the light grey fabric.  With the orange zipper I wanted a lining that would pop and I found this silky print at Joanns.  It is the perfect sort of wowza I was looking for.  Plus, it was 40% off and who doesn't love a bargain?  I wasn't so lucky with the hood zipper but found a grey that matched the main fabric perfectly!  

I made a size 14 and it fits great.  As you can see, I added side seam pockets, that I drafted by simply laying my hand on the fabric, measuring around it, adding seam allowances and attaching where they felt most comfortable.  I didn't add the inside jacket pocket as I didn't find it would be that handy for keys, wallet, etc.  

Modifications: other than the side seam pockets, nothing major really.  Although now that I think about it, I believe that pattern has you attach the zipper to the front after applying the band and band facing.  I sandwiched my zipper in between the band and facing so the zipper's edges were enclosed. I found the waistline elastic too long so I cut about three inches off of the pattern guide's suggestions.  

As you can see from my photo, the zipper doesn't reach the bottom of the jacket despite following the back of the envelope precisely for the length of zipper I needed.  I really don't mind that though, I do believe it gives you a little more walking room. 

Other reviewers have mentioned how high the collar is and yes, it is high but if you make the hood, you need plenty of room to stuff it inside the collar pieces.  I don't mind the height of it at all.  If it really bugs you, you can fold it down. 

My only dislikes are the sleeve length and the cuffs.  I found the sleeves really long and if you are shorter than 5'7" you may need to alter these.  Also, I don't like the cuffs.  I would like them to bunch a little tighter than they do.  I will have to think about whether I want to go through the work of taking them off, cutting the elastic smaller and reattaching. 

I do love my jacket.  I wore it to work today and received many compliments.  If you haven't tried this jacket yet, what are you waiting for?

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Burda 7189 a new blouse!

For some reason, I rarely make blouses.  I am not sure why.  I love making them.  They are so much fun to create in a variety of fabrics and you can be just about as creative as you want.  Why did I wait so long to make this one up?  Here is my review for Burda Style 7189

There is no description on the back of the envelope.  Not sure why?  So here is mine: semi-fitted blouse in either short or long sleeves or dress with princess seams and pleat detail, that button up the front.  The dress has a hidden placket.  Dress and short sleeved blouse has stand collar and blouse b has a partial stand collar.  Long sleeved blouse has plackets and long cuffs.  The back has a yoke detail and princess-type seams.  

I used this yummy print from Marcy Tilton. I believe it is just about 100% cotton but with some sort of special treatment to prevent wrinkling.  The photo really doesn't do it justice!   I used two layers of light gray interfacing from Fashion Sewing Supply.  I used the 'Couture' light weight fusible interfacing.  The gray worked perfect with my fabric!

Finished product--yes, it does look like the pattern envelope, don't you agree?  I was a little worried you wouldn't be able to see the details with my busy print but it did work!  

What I like/dislike: 
The styling--it is unique and I love the fit.  I did cut it two sizes larger than I do with the big 4 since Burda doesn't fit me well in the bust area.  I probably could have done a FBA, but when I made my muslin, I found that I liked the fit everywhere, so I just made the larger size.  It is modest for work--a bonus!  

What I didn't like was the directions for the placket/cuff.  What a pain it was based on the directions provided!  I read it numerous times and still didn't get it so I followed the visuals which were ok, not stellar, but fine.  If you've never made a placket before, find a different set of directions and follow those for this step!  

The sleeves look just fine cuffed!  
The placket that drove me crazy!  It did turn out nice. 

I also found the pleating a little quirky.  Based on the written and verbal directions I spent quite a few minutes scratching my head.  I finally figured it out and it worked fine, in fact I really like that detail.  The back and back yoke are unique and while most of the big four patterns have you do all this pivoting, which I dread, this one is sewn in two steps and it works perfectly!  

I made my usual 1/2" sway back adjustment.  I have a picture of that here as a follower of my blog asked how I do this.  For woven fabrics, I make a slit at the back waistline to about an inch from the seam allowance on the other side and I fold the top over bottom so that a total of a 1/2" is removed.  I've included a picture here: 

I did add staystitching to the areas that you cut into to accommodate the yokes on the front and back.  I plan on wearing this blouse a lot and didn't want the fabric to give without that extra support of the stitching.  
I found the length of the sleeves to be long--but then again, they are very long on the model as well.  I am 5'7" and typically don't have to alter the sleeves at all, so you may want to check the length before you cut this out.  You may need to adjust. I added topstitching to some of the seams that you can see in some of my photos.  I like to topstitch and think it is fun!

I enjoyed making this blouse.  I may make a short sleeved one soon for summer.  The dress is also pretty cute and would look great in a variety of fabrics.  
Thanks for reading!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Vogue 8904

This pattern was a best of 2013 and I finally got around to putting it together.  Now I know what all the hype was about.  I mean it is easy, it is fast, and it hides a multitude of 'situations' you don't want others to know about with the tiers or shingles that are sewn in place. 

Pattern Description:
Misses' Dress: Close-fitting, pullover dress has self-neck binding, tiers, and raw edge finish.  A: Sleeves.  B: Self-armhole binding. 

I used a gray/orangy-red knit from MT.  It was on sale for $7 a yard and since this pattern is a fabric pig, it still cost me less that $30 to sew the entire thing.  And, I have enough scraps left to make my little grandson a shirt or pants (or maybe even both)!  So with that said, I am sure this dress was almost free, right?  Make sure you test the stretch of your fabric, it is very important it has both enough length-wise and cross-wise stretch to get over you head and hug your curves.  Without the proper stretch, this dress won't go past your shoulders. 

1.  I love the body-hugging style of the dress.  Being 51 years old, I normally shy away from dresses such as this, but with the tiers, it is most forgiving. 
2.  I love the tiers, they add a fun element to the dress and make use of the fabric's print that you choose. 
3. I do like the length of View B that I choose, I added the sleeves from A to it. 
1.  RAW edges.  Ugh.  I just can't jump on the bandwagon and embrace these with enthusiasm or even consideration.
2.  A few of the construction methods weren't my favorites so I changed them.  More on that later.

1.  My usual 1/2" sway back adjustment.

Here is where I differed and I am sure other reviewers did some of these things as well.
1.  Set in sleeves on a knit?  Nope.  They worked great sewing them in flat and then stitching the underarm seam in one swoop.
2.  I sewed both shoulder seams before attaching the neckband.
3.  I used a deeper stitch on the neckline band (about 3/4").  I stitched the ends of the neckline, folded in half, and pressed.  Next I attached it to the neckline with my serger.  The directions have you stitch only one side of the neckband, turn it to the inside, stitch and then cut the excess away.  I just don't think that looks as professional as it could.
4.  Instead of stitching in the ditch on the neckband, I stitched just a tick or two away from the band on the dress side by using a stretch stitch.
5.  No raw edges for me!  I used my coverstitch machine to finish the hems of all the tiers.  It took me about 20 extra minutes to do this and I like how clean-finished all my tiers look.
6.  I also hemmed the dress and sleeve seams with the coverstitch.

Yes, I do recommend this dress.  It is a little different, goes together quickly and is fun.  DH thinks it adds some unnecessary girth to my midsection, but I honestly don't feel like it does.  Maybe after wearing it a few times, I'll change my mind.  Oh, and just a note on sizing, I cut a larger size through the shoulders (18) because I didn't want the armholes to cut into my chest/shoulders.  Everywhere else, I cut a 14.

Have fun with this dress.  I may have to make one again in a solid that is sleeveless for summer.

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Jalie 3245


Here's my review for Jalie 3245.  I love the raglan sleeves!  Also, this pattern is pretty versatile, but more on that later. 

Here is the description:
A: Raglan top with curved hem, half sleeve and binded neckline.  B: raglan tunic with curved hem, half sleeve, patch pockets, and binded neckline.  C: racerback top with curved hem, binded neckline and armhole.  D: racerback tunic with curved hem, patch pockets binded neckline and armhole. 
This pattern comes in sizes from 12 months to size 22 womens.  I made an 11 or X based on my full-bust measurement. 

I made view B, but with my busy print, you can't really see the patch pockets all that well. 

Fabric used: this very bright and perky knit with lycra.  It was from my stash and it has some orange in it.  I don't remember where I purchased it, but since today was the most spring like day we've had thus far, I had to pull it out and use it! 

What I like/dislike:
Since when did Jalie start putting multicolored lines on the pattern so you can easily select and cut out your size?  Winner, winner, chicken dinner!  Love this feature.  I mean I loved Jalie for knits before, but now my love has grown tremendously!  

This is a very simple garment to sew.  The notches and such all line up.  This pattern has 1/4" seam allowance, so pay attention as you sew or you'll end up with a much smaller garment that you had intended. 
I like the little patch pockets, they make the top slightly dresser than if they didn't have them. 
I like the versatility of this pattern.  It would like very cute in a variety of fabrics. 
I like the shaped hemline.  It adds a little something. 


I didn't read them.  I looked over the visuals and they were more than adequate.  If you've made a raglan sleeved top before, you'll do just fine.  Jalie's directions are notoriously succinct, so don't expect a lot of unnecessary verbiage if you do decide to read the instructions. 

I made my usual 1/2" swayback adjustment. 
My neckline binding is slightly narrower due to being distracted while I was applying it.
The tunic is also about 5/8" shorter due again to my ADD kicking in while I was cutting it out.  It is plenty long enough for a tunic, but I prefer them about an inch longer than this one is, just to make sure all is covered.

Recommendations: I will be using this pattern quite a bit.  It is a classic and with the variety of fabrics you can use and make it sleeveless or not, this is an instant favorite for me!
Jalie just doesn't disappoint!

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Reprise of Marcy Tilton's Vogue 8636

Here is another version of Vogue 8636.  This pattern is a TNT for me.  I've made it so many times that the pattern is looking pretty ragged!  Here's my latest version.  


 Here is the description from the back of the envelope: Fitted, pullover tops A, B, C, D with darted neckbands.  A: contrast sleeve and neck band, lower edge of sleeve is raw-finished.  B, C: three-quarter length sleeves.  C: pleats over front neck darts, decorative buttons.  D: darts on outside of neckband and lower edge of sleeve.

I modified view B.  More on modifications below.  Here are pictures of previous versions:


For this version, I used a knit with Lycra I purchased from Marcy Tilton.  I really like the uneven stripes but this fabric was a PAIN!!!  The print on the fabric was created by ME!  I screened printed the motifs on the fabric AFTER I had the pattern cut out.  It was great fun!  Just for some extra bling, I added crystals to parts of the design.  You can see those in the side view.  Also, the paint doesn't stand out as much as it seams to.  The side view that unfortunately is a little blurry, is more true to color.

This top is super easy to put together and has so many design possibilities!  You can use a variety of fabrics, patterns, weights and has become a TNT for me!   As you can see from the back view, I had to add a band piece because I messed up cutting the pattern out and didn't have quite enough so I cut a piece on the cross grain just to add some interest to the back and also since this fabric rolled so very much, I didn't think I'd ever be able to match the stripes perfectly.  And speaking of stripes, I am pretty proud of how well I matched up the stripes.  With the rolling this fabric did, I didn't think it would be possible to get a decent match up.

What I liked/disliked:
Love the styling with the raglan sleeves.
The neckline is appropriate for work.
This top takes relatively little fabric and you can play with embellishments!  What more could you ask for? 
No dislikes whatsoever!

What I changed:  Screen printing, of course in a teal like blue-green that I had on hand.  Paint was from Dharma Paint Co.  Silk screen is from Marcy Tilton.
I lowered the neckline 2 inches in front. 
With previous versions I didn't like the wide neckband so I narrowed it to 1/2" finished.  The fabric rolled so darn much that I cut the neckband on the bias and attached it.   

Would I recommend this?  Absolutely!  I've made this about four times now and the pattern is getting a little worn.   

Conclusion: great top!  Try this pattern! 

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

McCall's 6747--Wishing for Spring!

I've had this pattern since last summer and then ran out of time to put it together.  One of my New Year's Resolutions was to use more fabrics from my stash.  I'm not doing so well overall with that, but if I start with a list of fabrics I must use before spring/summer then mark this one off the list and continue my resolution as least started.  :)  

There are some super cute versions of this easy-wearing dress.  Here's mine.  Let me know what you think.  

Pattern Description: 
Misses' top and dresses: Pullover, close-fitting top and dresses have button neck and front bands and stitched hems.  A: Narrow hem on sleeves.  C: Button flaps.  A, C: Pockets.  B, C, D: Fitted through hips. C, D: Back hemline slit.

I made the length of view B, with the sleeves of D and one pocket with a rounded shape.  
I made a size medium that I completed a cheater FBA by adding 1/2 inch to the side seam at the bust line.  

Fabric used: This is a poly-lycra blend I purchased from Marcy Tilton.  It was a breeze to work with, washed beautifully, and had minimal rolling at the cut edge.  

I believe my finished dress looks like the pattern envelope.
Directions--actually they missed a few steps that make a much nicer finished garment that a few reviewers have already mentioned.  Here's what I thought about them--and yes, I did read and try to follow them.  It has been a very long time since I'd made a placket like this and I wanted to make sure I got it right.

Reinforcing the inner corners of the front by pivoting at the small circles is essential and you have to mark carefully or you'll end up with a weird looking and weirdly placed placket.  I did interface the front bands as directed with Fashion Sewing Supplies interfacing--best stuff on the planet.  I'm sorry, I don't know exactly which product I used as I have quite a few pieces of it.

Next, I slashed the front opening with my rotary cutter and a ruler, stopping about 3/8" from the lower edge.
I cut from the line to the corners by cutting on the diagonal.  Sewing the bands onto the front openings was very easy with this super straight line.  I also followed the directions to finish off the lower band of the placket by slipping the triangle piece along with the bands to the inside.  I neatened up the edge with my serger and then sewed the X onto the bottom to reinforce the area.  For not having made a placket in a long time, I am happy with how it turned out.

I stitched only one pocket on and rounded the lower edges using my SA curve.  I typically don't make curved seams on knits, but I'll have to do it more often.  The right tools make such a big difference.

Next you stitch the center back seam and I was going to try and match the polka-dots, but talked myself out of it.  I have to say, the shaping on the center back seam is really nice.  While the dress looks boxier, it could be much worse!

Per my usual construction methods, I reinforced the shoulder seam with 1/2" clear elastic serged into the seam.  I think it's the only way to roll.

Stitching on the neckband was pretty easy.  There is no interfacing in the neckband, so if you want to put button holes in the knit, make sure you stabilize it with interfacing.

Here's something else I did that I don't typically do.  I followed the directions for setting in the sleeves.  It's a knit garment, so I ask why?  It did work and it was effortless.  I didn't need any ease stitching at all, so it was sort of like laying the sleeves in flat--in an abstract sort of way.  

I used my cover-stitch machine on the sleeves and the lower hemline. I feel like I am still learning how to use it with good results.

Instead of buttons, I used snaps.  I used fairly small snaps as it was the size that looked best when I experimented with which size to use.

I made my usual 1/2" sway back adjustment by wedging out the maximum at the center and tapering to nothing at the side seams.

All in all, this is a fairly good pattern if you've had experience in making a placket and sewing with knits. While the directions aren't stellar, they work.

I'm happy with my new dress.  My photographer wasn't home, so you'll have to do with the dress hanging out with Grace.  It hits me about mid-knee.  If DH doesn't like it, I might use this dress as pjs.

Thanks so much for reading!