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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, February 7, 2016

Why I am a sometimes quilter

I love quilts.  I love the complexity of designs, the infinite color and pattern combinations and just the layers of beauty that quilting creates.  With that said, I don't quilt nearly as often as I should!  With an extensive fashion fabric stash and pattern collection, I devote 90% of my time to making my own garments.  not that I don't LOVE the beauty and longevity of quilts, I really do, but with a full-time job, grandchildren, family, church, etc., there is just NEVER enough time.  When I retire, I intend to make many more quilts!

Sorry this photo is a little blurry!  

My latest quilt is a Grandmother's Flower Garden design.  This is probably the most labor-intensive quilt I've ever made.  Each hexagon was hand cut and each took an incredible amount of precision--which I hoped I accomplished.  And each takes precise sewing with exact 1/4" seam allowances.  I am sure if you look at my entire quilt, there are a few indications that I didn't achieve  perfection in each seam allowance or each block I cut.  :)  Don't look too close!

What makes a quilt beautiful?  I think each layer of quilting adds a layer of beauty.  Selecting the fabrics is your first layer.  Pick fabrics you love as you'll spend a great deal of time with each of them.  If you are unsure what fabrics go together, pick a stack of fat quarters to star with.  That is probably the easiest way to pick coordinating colorways and coordinating pattern combinations.  And, that is what I did with this quilt.

I purchased my fabric on a road trip that I made across South Dakota, from Rapid City to my home of Sioux Falls.  The span of that distance is just over 400 miles and a stop about half-way is much appreciated.  Not only do you need a break to stretch your legs, but let's face it, if you can get some lovely fabric, you can think of the awesome quilts or garments you'll make when you make it home!

So, with this quilt top completed about six months ago but started at least three years ago (shame, shame, shame on me!) I finally decided that enough was enough and let's get this quilt done!  And if I must admit, I have at least three other quilt 'packages' I've purchased since I started this one.  I finally decided to put all the quilting fabrics and kits together in one container.  I pulled those out recently and the motivation to start another was just enough to get the gumption I needed to finish this ones.  I mean, grandson number 2 is due the end of April and before I start on his quilt, I decided this one MUST be finished.  Luckily I have a four-day weekend coming up so I can finish this beautiful quilt!

Do you quilt?  Are you like me and have the best of intentions when you start a quilt only to put it aside for a garment?  How do you persevere through a quilt that is tedious but will be gorgeous when you are finished?  Please share your experiences since I have so many in my stash ready, willing, and hoping to be created!


I can't wait to show you the finished quilt.  I think it is quite pretty!

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Another McCall's knit jacket--never ever enough!

I have always like this pattern and I've made it again!  The first time I put it together, it was for a sewing bee on SPR.  I made it from a woven, lined it, and overlaid part of it with lace.  I like it, but I don't love it.  This version however is a different story!  This one is love for sure!  Here is a peek at the pattern:

M7199, Misses' Jackets
Line Arts

Another winner of a pattern with many possible variations!  I choose view D with contrasting fabrics and no closures and I left off the pockets.

That really isn't any sort of staining on the front lapel area.  That is a weird shadow from my camera!

McCall's 7199 is a Misses' jacket that is semi-fitted, unlined jackets have self-lined front extending into standing back collar, seam detail, shaped hemline, wrong side shows, side front pockets, and stitched hem on sleeves.  A: Exposed zipper and metal snap.  C: Toggle closure.  A, B, C: Topstitching.  Note: No provisions for above waist adjustment.

Again, I made a size 14 with a swayback adjustment.  I wish I had made an FBA but I was feeling lazy.  Next time I will have to as I see some pulling in that area.  I know better!!!

 I didn't have enough of each fabric to make a single color, and with the gray, I barely had enough to make it in the manner I did with the back in the solid and the front piece and the overlay area.  I do like how I laid out the fabric--even if it isn't exactly what the pattern called for.

As you can see, this is pretty fitted (for a jacket that is listed as semi-fitted) from the shoulders to the waistline.  This is exactly the fit I was looking for.  

See how fun the piecing is on this jacket?  I also got those points to match up really nicely!  

I wanted to show you how the inside is partially lined.  To attach the facings to the inside, the pattern calls for hand stitching.  Next time I make this, I am going to figure out a way to wait to topstitch the seams until the garment is complete and then that will also secure the facings without having to hand stitch.  

And that would be my only minor complaint about this pattern--you topstitch seams during the construction process and then have to hand stitch.  

See the slight pulling at the bust?  I needed an FBA.  Did I mention that I used two pontes for this garment?  Both were FM purchases and sewed like a dream!

This is nice and warm, fun and I think very cute!  I wore it to work today and received many compliments!

Thanks for reading!

McCall's 6992 A New Favorite Pattern

This is such a simple, easy to assemble, fashionable pattern from McCall's dated 2014.  I know it isn't exactly brand new, but it is new to me and so there you go!

M6992, Misses' Tops

I decided to construct this after seeing a fellow reviewer make more than 3 of these that were SO CUTE and when that happens, I must make my own!

Line Art

Here is the description from the back of the pattern envelope: Misses' tops: Fitted pullover tops have neck and sleeve bands and hemline variations.  A, B, D: Lower band.  C, E (Cut on crosswise grain): Overlay variations.  D, E, F: Shaped hemline, wrong side may show, narrow hem.  F: Purchased trim and beads.  I love patterns that give you many options so this is a WINNER!!!

I made a size 14, my usual in the big 4.  I made a swayback adjustment and an FBA.  I also had fun with my fabrics!  The animal print is the only little bit of scrap I had from a recent wadder so I was glad I was able to use it for something that I really like!  It is made from a sweater knit.

The black is a cotton-Lycra blend that I purchased the entire bolt of earlier this fall.  It behaves so beautifully!  I wish I had two more bolts of it as I can see an entire wardrobe of staples made from it!  

This pattern is well drafted and all the notches and marks line up beautifully.  The neckband was super easy to apply!  I used my serger for 90% of the construction with my regular machine for the topstitching at the neckline and my coverstitch for the hemline.  I opted to leave the lower band off to give it a less casual look--if that makes any sense at all!

I can't wait to make more of these!  Such a fun and easy make!  Fabric recommendations include fleece, sweater knits, double knit, cotton knit, and lace.  You can also use rib knit for the bands.

I will be making more of these so get ready to see more variations!  How cute are the tops with lace?

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Kylie Knit top

What is wrong with me?  I simply can't stop sewing with StyleArc patterns!  I love them so!  Here is my latest make:

I know my print is busy, but it is Jungle January and I had to participate!  What gets a little lost are the design lines so here is a pic of the pattern from the StyleArc site: Knit top with an open back overlay

That front and back overlay is just so stinking cute!  Here is a description from the StyleArc site: Fashionable and functional top. The overlay has a high low hemline and an opening down the back. This top can be made long or short sleeves therefore suitable for all seasons. Need a basic tee? - Just leave the overlay off.

My fabric is from FM.  Where I purchase a vast majority of my fabrics.  

I really like the neckline on this.  The band is sandwiched between the overlay and the main portion of the garment.  You'll want to make sure everything lines up precisely or the overlay will look and lay funny.  

A little breeze caught a portion of the back overlay and you can see it swinging in the wind here! 

And here is another slight breeze to blow the other side of the back overlay a bit!

Look how nice those sleeves are!  They are the perfect length.  Is it any wonder I love StyleArc patterns so much?  It seems as though they were drafted for me, personally!
I do have to admit I make a few minor adjustments to the pieces and here they are: 1/2" swayback adjustment and 1/4" sloping shoulder adjustment.  Not bad, eh?

I love this top!  It went together well and is a newer pattern that I enjoyed trying.  One thing I did note is that the neckband doesn't have any markings on the pattern piece.  Just play with it before you stitch your neckband down to make sure you like how all three layers are lining up.  

Thanks for reading!

A long vest...in denim

I've had my eye on this vest pattern for a long time.  Why?  Well, I love the lines and I love wearing layers.

Trendy long line vest with shawl collar & pockets

See what I mean?  How does StyleArc keep making these amazing designs?  Here is how the pattern is described on StyleArc's site: This forward trend of a long line vest will become a great addition to your wardrobe as it can be worn at anytime of the year as a layering piece. The vest is unlined. The pockets can have fashionable metal exposed zips if desired or just left as in seam pockets.

I used a mid-weight denim for my vest that's been in my stash for about a year now.  While that isn't horribly long, I try to only purchase fabrics I love and want to use immediately, so now sure how these ended up in a forgotten location.

I decided to have only one pocket and to leave the pockets sans exposed zips.  Why?  I couldn't find any locally I liked.  I suppose I could have shelved this garment until I found some but I must have been feeling very impatient that day.  

I like this better unbuttoned than buttoned.  As you can see, the facing is nice and wide so the vest looks nice when worn open.  

You can sort of see how this vest does not have side seams by side darts to give it shaping.  I really like the shawl type collar.  It rolls so nicely.  See the back mid-section?  It looks too big but that is how this is designed with a rather rectangular shape.  Honestly, I don't mind it at all.  

Here is an 'action' shot.  Sorry it's a bit blurry!  This was fun to make.  I wish I could have gotten DH to take more photos but he was growing a bit impatient.

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, January 17, 2016

The Paige Dress

Of course I made another StyleArc pattern, I just can't seem to get enough of them!

I've had my eye on this pattern for a while as I love the design lines and the details!  And as always, I am in awe of how well StyleArc pattern's are drafted.

             dolman sleeve dress or top with feature zips & design lines

From the pattern cover it is described like this: This fantastic dress or top with feature zips and design lines, is very comfortable and stylish.  It can be made with 7/8th dolman sleeve dress or top.  Add exposed zips or slice it up!  
This top can be made in a ponte, jacquard knit or a woven with some movement.

I first made this in a super-duper stretchy knit that was difficult to handle and found this dress WAY TO BIG!!!  Can I emphasize WAY?  Oh my gosh, I just swam in it!
I won't even show you my first attempt.  Although I should have just so you can see how very much I took this pattern in!

I love textured knits and I found this ivory at Hancocks and it was on sale!  I purchased a yard and a half and used every inch of it.
Had I decided to make this out of a single fabric, it would have become a top.

I really like this with the contrasting black fabric I used.  It is a super stretchy knit that has been in my stash.  A little more on fitting this dress--I took this in about six inches.  And, since I downloaded this pattern from Etsy, I went back and made sure this printed properly, which it did.  I took it in at the center front and back and along the shoulder seams.  I did not take it in under the arms as that is a tricky area to sew in the first place as you are sewing a convex and concave pieces together.  A note on that--I staystitched the dress portion of the seam and the most concave area, or just under the arm. After staystitching, I clipped the curve as it is indicated on the pattern piece.  After that, make sure you line up all the notches and such, it makes a huge difference in getting this dress properly.  You should also follow the direction to sew from the hemline to the sleeve opening.  

The other thing you may be noticing is that I added a neck band and also sleeve bands.  I find so many of my sewing decisions start with a pattern but find that fabric choice makes me change the original plans!  This fabric is far too weighty to simply fold to the inside and stitch in place.  I simply converted it to a neckband and added the sleeve bands as well.  
I decided to wear this with a belt to give it a little more waist definition.  It really doesn't have any and it isn't suppose to, so that is okay.

I did add the back neck exposed zipper and like the simple detailing it adds.  I didn't add the front pockets because I thought they would show through on my fabric and I simply didn't want that.

I've never really fit a dolman sleeved top before and you can see some of the deep wrinkles I have above the bust.  I will have to research how to adjust that area.

I really wanted to take my photos outside today but didn't and here is why:

Yes, it was negative 13 degrees below zero today when I went to church.  Brrr!  No way was I going outdoors to take a photo in this nastiness!

Thanks for reading and I do hope you are staying warm in your neck of the woods!  


Saturday, January 9, 2016

A New Coat in a Designer Wool--Awesome!

Every winter I make at least one coat for myself and this year was no exception.  Living in South Dakota where winter can and has truly lasted until May, you wear your coat a lot and it is so nice to have some choices in your closet.

I found this beautiful designer wool at Fabric Mart and hoped I could use it for January's blog.  I was even more thrilled when it arrived as the photo simply doesn't do it justice.  It is soft, heavy, and very warm, perfect for a northern plain's winter!

I wanted a coat unlike one I currently have in my closet and one that was a little dressier than my others.  For the pattern, I choose the Stella Coat by StyleArc.  Can you blame me?  Look at those design lines!  They are beautiful!

                        Transeasonal Coat - one pattern for two seasons

This is a pattern for experienced sewers only and why it isn't terribly difficult, it does require some tailoring techniques to make it look good, otherwise with the cross over effect and the belt, it could easily become a bathrobe.  ;(  Not good!

Sewing with wool is absolutely a pleasure. I prepared my wool by throwing it in the dryer with a wet towel, not just once but twice before cutting out.  It worked beautifully.

I love the stand collar, it is interfaced on both sides to give it that structure.  With the 1/4" seam allowances at the edges, hardly an trimming of the seams was necessary.

I am very proud of how the sleeves/shoulders lay.  I typically make a 1/4" adjustment at the shoulders for my sloping in that area.  I decided not to and knew I'd add shoulder pads.  This time I used 1/2" and also I made my own sleeve heads.  Anyone remember inserting those?  I cut one inch strips of batting a sewed that to the sleeve head with a simple whipstitch.  

Other reviewers that have made this coat have left off the center back seam, but I choose not too because of the shaping in that area the seam allows.  I don't think it detracts from the overall look of the coat.

Can you tell how much I love the pockets on this coat?  The placement is perfect and they are nice and roomy.  So they wouldn't float around, I attached a piece of seam binding from the 'corner' of the pocket and attached it to the front seam allowance.  

I can't believe how cold it was when we were taking these pictures!  The coat is fully lined and has completely separate pattern pieces for the lining which give an amazing structure.  

When I sew with wool, I first sew the seam with a straight stitch and then press the seam to embed the stitches.  After that, I open the seam and iron it so I get a nice open seam.  

To press the seams open, I like using these wooden tailor boards.  This one has a nice point on it that I used in the collar areas to get a nice, crisp point.  

 After pressing the seams open, I finished the edges with my serger.  Wool ravels rather easily and I want this coat to last for years!  

After serging, I fold wrong sides together and press again.  Look at that beautiful edge!  

For the back yoke, I cut that piece on the crossgrain, just to give it a bit of a difference.  It isn't anything that jumps out at you but is subtle.  

The inside of my coat is just as beautiful as the outside, I am so proud of it!  

I love my coat.  If you've never sewing with wool before, give yourself a treat and sew up a new coat!  It is gratifying, will last forever, and is a true statement piece you'll enjoy reaching for again and again!  

Thanks for reading!