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I simply love to be busy and create things, especially my own custom-made garments. Nothing is more fun than answering the question, "Where did you get that?"

Sunday, October 4, 2015

A Dress for Fall!

I really needed a fast and easy sew that also came out cute--know what I mean?  I've been struggling with my jacket for the 3rd round of SPR's sewing bee and while I like it, I don't love it but I also don't have enough time to make another lined jacket.  So later tonight I will write up the review and let the chips fall where they may.  If I make it to round four, awesome, if not, well I gave it my best shot!  Enough!  You aren't here to read about my jacket, you are here about this dress, right?

I cut out this sweater knit a few weeks ago but hadn't had time to make it up yet.  With our weather turning more fall like, I've been wanting a few dresses like this one: easy to wear, cute, can be warmed up with tights and boots and even a jacket.  SPR is also having a sweater knit contest and I am entering this dress in that as well!

This is a Cynthia Rowley pattern for Simplicity.  

What drew me to it are those darling little sleeve vents.  Aren't they cute?  Well, you can see from my finished dress that even though I cut those out with the intention of making them, I didn't like how they looked in my fabric nor did I like where they landed on my arm.

This dress can be sewn up in an hour and with only four/five pieces to cut, the entire thing from start to finish is an afternoon/evening project.

My alterations are simple: FBA and swayback adjustment.

I love this dress and can't wait to wear it!  Pick a fun fabric and this dress will shine!
Thanks for reading!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Yet another jacket! StyleArc Cindy jacket with a colorful twist!

Yes, my passion for making jacket continues and I don't see it letting up anytime soon!  I stopped at Hancock's today and purchased two more jacket patterns!  Is something wrong with me?

Maybe, but I LOVE sewing jackets.  I feel like they take some finesse to put together, fit, and execute properly--that is achieve a great fit.  Only certain combinations of fabric and pattern design are typically possible so careful planning is also essential.

Fabulous slightly fitted stretch jeans jacket

When I decided upon a new jacket to create, I usually have a fabric in mind (typically from my stash) and then I decide upon a pattern.  And, I might add, it isn't always a pattern I have on hand.  Many times, I have to go and purchase one, but I never mind adding to my enormous stash!

I have been eyeing this Cindy Jean Jacket by StyleArc for quite some time.  I had forgotten I had this stretch woven with this wild black and white design on it that I purchased from Marcy Tilton quite a while ago.  I am glad I saved it for the perfect pattern, but it sewed so beautifully, that it is a shame I waited so long!

I didn't have *quite* enough fabric to make this jacket as written and I simply didn't want to make it sleeveless or make anything else with it so I pulled out this orange linen, also from Marcy and decided to have some fun with contrasting elements.  

 If you haven't figured it out yet, orange is one of my favorite colors and I love incorporating it into designs.  Between the graphic stretch woven and the linen, I had enough fabric to execute my design.  I love it when a happy accident gives a great potential result!

It is safe to say that StyleArc directions are not written for a beginner or a non-adventurous sewer. The directions are simply a rough suggestion of steps to follow and unless you've had experience making the garment/pattern you've purchased in some form or another, then well, good luck!

There's verbage with very little visuals so if you are a visual learner like me, hang on to a wild ride for the first few trials with a StyleArc pattern.  With as many as I have sewn lately, I can handle the minimal instructions with no issues but it does take some thinking on my part!

I love the overall style and shape of this jacket.  There are a lot of design lines which are super cool and also give the jacket shaping so it isn't boxy nor does it give a hint of being boxy.  I used snaps instead of buttons to give it a more traditional jean-jacket look.

There is also a lot of topstitching to highlight the design lines, take advantage of those!

Another great StyleArc pattern!  I think I need one in classic denim blue or black.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Edith Top to color up my fall

I made a new top and wow, so colorful!  The fabric is a viscose challis from Elliot Berman and from France!  Aren't I all fancy with this!  I've never used EB fabrics before and it was just wonderful to sew with.  And look at those vibrant colors!  Sometimes a girl just needs to treat herself to a very pretty and lush fabric!

This is a new pattern for me: Edith top from Style Arc. The pattern was a freebie with an order placed in September.  I like the design lines.  It has the hem bands, the placket, the patch pockets with flaps, and the neckline.  I see I managed to iron a big crease in the front pocket.  :)

While this looks like a rather simple sew, it did present challenges, mostly with the instructions but with StyleArc, you get a great design and drafting and have to put up with the less than easily presented directions.

I made a size 12 with long sleeves.  I simply love the sizing on this top.  It fits fantastic through the shoulder, neckline, and bust.  I made zero alterations in those areas.  My usual swayback adjustment was completed (1/2") and I love how well the back hangs. While the drawings make it look overly boxy, I don't think it appears too boxy on me.  Perhaps that is my softer fabric choice?

My only disappointment was in the sleeve length.  My sleeves are about 1" too short making them bracelet length.  This really isn't a huge deal but this is one thing to check before you cut this out.I solved the issue by cuffing them twice.

I made just a few deviations from the instructions.  One was on the placket.  I decided not to turn under the facing portion to the inside and topstitch.  Even though I used interfacing, my fabric was a bit soft and I simply didn't want to wrestle with it.  The other deviation was to make a bias band for the collar instead of sewing the two piece one together and praying it would lay nice and flat like I knew would happen if I made my usual bias one.

I know this top is colorful but I love it!  I wore it to work today and received several compliments on it!

Another winner from StyleArc!

Thanks for reading!

Monday, September 21, 2015

Round 2, SPR's sewing bee using an embellished fabric!

I stressed about this round of SPR's sewing bee.  Embellishing garments for me is something I enjoy, but I have never felt like my skills would land me a winning place in a contest.  And honestly, my goal is to make it to the next round, not win!  I just like the challenges every week as I feel like it makes me step out of my comfort zone.  

Here is what I submitted to SPR's contest and the questions I had to answer: 

What type of fabric did you start with for your project? 
I started this top with two pieces of fabric, both knits. The coral/burnt orange was from Fancy Tiger Crafts, in Denver and the other is a ponte from Fabric Mart. Both were similar weight and coordinated well. Both have similar stretch lengthwise and on the cross-grain. 

What techniques did you use to modify your fabric?
I used reverse applique and also some free-motion quilting with variegated quilting thread. The 'reverse' of the applique is the coral on the gray and the gray on the coral. My inspiration was from a garment I viewed on Pinterest.

Invierta apliques:

I am just gob-smacked by this top!  I knew I didn't want to recreate it exactly, but I love the styling and the sharp contrast of the fabrics chosen.  I also wanted to use fabrics from my stash as it is running over and seems to be multiplying like rabbits when I am not looking!  

For my top, I purchased a stencil from Wal-Mart, traced the outline of it, layered both pieces of fabric, sprayed 505 temporary adhesive to help with the stitching and using a quilting foot, I  lowered the feed-dogs so I could move more freely and with the design I drew.  I used variegated cotton thread to 'trace' the design and also add a little design element at the center of the larger flowers. After stitching, I used some very sharp scissors and carefully cut away the top layer of fabric, close to the stitching. I made a mirrored image of the stencil on the front and a different motif on the back. As I was cutting around the designs, I decided to make a slight modification with the large flower. Can you spot the difference? 

What pattern(s) did you use for your garment, or is your entry self-drafted or draped? 
I used a favorite pattern of mine, McCall's 6435 which is a close-fitting top with the contrasting yokes and one sleeve. It was just perfect for what I had envisioned! I made this top as is except for a swayback adjustment, which is typical for me.  I feel like this top doesn't have as much ease as other patterns and I highly recommend going up one size when stitching.  I ended up adding a neckband as that's how i roll with knit tops such as this!  Typically I cut my neckband about 3 inches smaller than the circumference of the top but I play with it a bit as the degree of stretch also matters in some cases.  My advice?  Baste your neckband, if it doesn't lay correctly--too large for the neckband, cut it down.  Does it cause the top to pucker?  It is too small.  I would rather cut several neckbands than to have one that is ill-fitting.  

How does your garment show off your fabric modifications? 
The modifications are shown in the stencil I used along with the contrasting fabric underneath that I carefully cut away but not through the variegated thread I used to outline the design. 

What particular features would you like to point out to the judges? 
I love how the two fabrics show together; they coordinate but play nicely off each other. I love the variegated thread I used to outline the stencil design and also please notice how carefully I cut so closely to the stitching! I love the fit of this top and that it is long-sleeved, perfect for rapidly approaching fall weather here in the northern plains of the US. 

Any other details that you want to share about your fabric modification or the garment you made from the fabric?

I have always wanted to try an 'Alabama Chanin' style garment and now I have finally dove off the edge of the pool so to speak! I really love this top and will wear it to death! 

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Stitch Wear Play, sewing for Simon!

I was so very excited when I WON this adorable book of patterns for kiddos!

After all, I am a grandma and sewing for little ones is great fun!  My first and second project from this book was the Boy's Shorts and the Boy's Shirt.  I love uncomplicated names for patterns.

You may be thinking that these look like pants, not shorts, and you are right!  I lengthened these by about 3 inches as in my neck of the woods, summer is practically over and fall weather is emerging. It was 44 degrees this morning!  Construction was super simple.  The drafting was excellent on these pants with clear directions and illustrations of the steps to put them together.  Easy-peasy!  To dress them up just a tad, I added rivets to one side of the back pockets.

It's interesting that the back pockets are attached after the yoke is stitched on.  I wondered why but then realized the top portion of the pocket overlaps the yoke.  No wonder!

I decided to make the waist band out of the plaid I was using for the shirt.  I attached cotton cording to elastic and that is what will hold the little guys pants up.  He has a rather flat derriere and pants tend to slip down quite a bit.  I thought with the addition of elastic, they would have a better chance of not slipping down.

For the shirt, and BTW, isn't this design adorable?  I changed it up a bit as I realized that I cut it out incorrectly.  I hate it when I do that but I am happy with the end result!  I cut 1.5 inch bands, interfaced, folded, stitched on and viola!  The perfect place for snaps was created!  I like using snaps for children's clothing as you don't have to worry about missing buttons.  Young moms simply don't have time to deal with that sort of nonsense!  The snaps are plastic and came from Got lux.

Since I did cut incorrectly, I added a neck band and again, I cut a 1.5" band on the bias, folded in half lengthwise, pressed, stitched, folded over and caught the underside of the band with topstitching.

The fit is easy and construction is great.  I very much enjoyed putting this outfit together for him and can't wait to see him in it!

Another notes on this pattern book: all seams are 3/8" which makes it easy to sew and there isn't a lot of clipping seams.

Sizing ranges from one to five or a 39.5" kiddo to a 51" child.

I made a size one, which most closely matched Simon's measurements.  I anticipate these to be a little big on him, or rather loose-fitting.  I am hoping they will fit next spring or later this winter.  He can wear a long sleeved white tee-shirt underneath and be warm and stylish!

Thanks for reading.  This was my first foray into Japanese patterns and I have to say that I am impressed!  I will be making more garments from this book.


Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Yep, another jacket--Simplicity 2446

Today my husband asked why I am making so many jackets.  I had to think about this for a moment and wondered well, why not?  They are great layering pieces, take some finesse, and are actually quite fun!  I found this pattern and the fabric on Craftsy as a sewing kit.  I really like the lavender with the striped lining.  The buttons are from Fashion Sewing Supply in a shell.  I think the are a nice compliment to the fabric's color.

Back to the pattern...this is an amazing fit jacket that is lined.  There are individual pattern pieces for cup sizes A, B, and C sizes.  I made a 14 with a C cup.  I LOVE how these amazing fit patterns fit!

 The jacket can be made in two lengths.  I made the longer length of view A.  There are some excellent pro tips included in the directions which give you some fantastic results.  I included quite a few of them, but not all.  The pocket flaps are just for looks.  There are side seam pockets that are unique and functional!  I purposely used the lining portion of the pocket and adhered that to the jacket side front so that you can see the lining when I move.

This pattern takes about average sewing skills.  There is quite a bit of easing, that is if you use the larger cup sizes in the bust area and also with the collar pieces.  I found a few misprints which really aren't a huge deal, although if you area  beginner and haven't made a jacket prior to this one, you'd get stumped--easily and probably frustrated as well!

First error is that the easing shows up on the front piece and you are supposed to ease the front to the side front, however, if you use a larger cup size, there is no way on the planet you can make this work, and trust me, I tried!  Go with your instinct and ease the side front to the front.

There is a printing error with two notches at the front lapel/neckline on the front piece and no corresponding double notch on the collar.  I laid out all my remaining pattern pieces and tried to figure out why there weren't any corresponding double notches and determined this was an error.  Again, not a huge deal, but could cause quite a bit of confusion.

I found the remainder of the directions adequate and helpful.

I made a few alterations which were my usual swayback adjustment, inserting 1/2" shoulder pads instead of the 1/4" (maybe I do have slightly sloping shoulders?), and to lengthen the sleeves by about 1/4"--not a big deal at all!

I think the genius in this pattern is twofold: of course the cup sizing and also the way the pleat that starts at the neckline and flows down the to almost the bust.  Both are very well executed.

I love this jacket in the cotton with the striped lining.  While the cotton makes this more casual, I can also see this in a wool, gabardine, or other nice fabric that has some body.

Thanks for reading!  I'd love to hear what kind of garments have been are your sewing table lately. Are you like me and sew a lot of the same?


Monday, September 7, 2015

SPR's Sewing Bee and StyleArc Cyd top

StyleArc, you are my nemesis when it comes to keeping my stash under control...I can't resist your design lines or your stylish makes that are not only adorable but fun to sew!  Especially if you like challenging sews!

Fabulous pleated peplum top

Sewing Pattern Review is hosting a Sewing Bee and I am super excited to participate.  When I realized the first garment was a fitted blouse/top, I knew I wanted to make some other than a button up--although I LOVE button ups and have made many, I wanted to stretch my skills and try this pattern from StyleArc I have been eyeing for months--the Cyd top.  Look at those lines!  Look at how the shaping is created with the seams and pleats at the waistline.  I simply love it!

For my muslin/test garment, I cut apart a top I'd made last winter that I'd never worn because of the sizing.  It was too roomy and although I liked the styling, I felt like it didn't work on me without major alterations.  So, I did the next best thing and cut it apart at the seamlines and cut out a new top. Am I the only one who does this?

Cutting this out is fun--you have to pay attention and look at which pieces need cut once, twice, and ensure that all pieces are cut right side up.  This makes a huge difference in whether the garment will work or not.  If you cut out one piece wrong and don't have extra fabric, this will go in the dumpster.

I know that everyone remarks--including me--on how sparse the StyleArc directions are and this tops directions are better than most.  However, there are a few diagrams that make this easier so you can visualize what is supposed to happen.  Thank the sewing goddesses for small favors as these were super helpful!  One of the diagrams includes a visual of the seams marked starting with A and ending with E.  The next shows a photo of the inside of the garment with serged edge finishes.

And yes, there are two small errors in the text when it comes to the sleeves and right/wrong sides and also with the sleeve binding and folding it with right sides together--this should state wrong sides together.  But if you have sewing experience, which you really do need with this jacket, you'll have no issues of figuring out the correct way to put this together.

My fabric choice was a black chambray and it is probably a tad too heavy for this top.  Although I like how this turned out in my test/muslin, my second version was cut with a white rayon viscose from Hancock's.  I really love white tops and think this will work well for this garment with its lovely drape and color that will highlight the style lines.

I simply love putting in invisible zips and this one was no exception.  Careful snipping of the zipper tape and pressing are your best friends when it domes to inserting a zipper with precision that is required for the zip to be truly invisible.

I love my new top!  I love how it flares out from the bust and waist to the hips, fits me well enough that I don't have to make a full-bust adjustment and is so dang different from other tops in my closet. I'd love to draft a long-sleeve version and also a sleeveless version that I can wear under jackets in the winter.   I'll keep buying more StyleArc patterns because they are so cute and unique! Did I also mention they are fun to sew?

Can you believe how big my grandson is getting?
Thanks for reading!