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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...

Sunday, April 24, 2016

A new StyleArc dress and the challenge of a windy day

Fitted panelled dress with extended shoulder
From StyleArc's site: This simple unlined panelled dress is a gorgeous fit. The design lines skim over the body creating a flattering line that continues down into a slight “A” line hem. The extended shoulder line covers the shoulders giving a cap sleeve effect. Make this beautiful dress in an afternoon, teamed with the Sienna jacket this would make a great outfit.

First of all, please note the wind!  Such a blustery day!  

Those design lines!  Aren't they just so cool?  This dress fits just as described...the design skims over the top half of the body and then creates and a-line hemline, that is very, very slightly flared, at least when compared to the top half. 

Even though I made this dress a few weeks ago (I am so behind on blogging!) I still remember how much fun this was to cut out and put together.  And yes, I said this once before, but just look at those design lines!  For some reason, I simply love sewing convex and concave pieces together.  Maybe it is the challenge I think is fun?  

The fit on this dress is really awesome, although it doesn't quite match the line drawing.  To me, the line drawing appears much more fitted in the waist and hips, but this isn't.  It literally starts flaring from just below the bust, a bit above the waistline, and then just continues with that path. 

For my normal alterations, I make a swayback adjustment and sloping shoulder adjustment.  I made both of those and I also took this in at the waistline and hipline.  I am still considering taking it in more at the hips and waist, but DH really likes the dress as is, so I might end up leaving it. 

The manner in which the facing is attached is one of the best things about this pattern.  You construct the dress but leave the shoulder seams unsewn, but the rest of the dress is constructed.  After attaching the facings, you turn them to the inside of the garment and then stitch the shoulder seams.  It seems complicated at first, but once you think about it, the method is entirely genius!

What I like most about my dress is twofold: the fabric of course!  It is a stretch woven from fabric mart and I love how vivid the colors are.  2.  I love how 'invisible' my hot pink zipper is.  check it out!  

This was a fun little dress to put together.  I will probably make another is a wool for next fall as the fit is lovely and it looks really cute under jackets of all sorts.  

Thanks for reading!  How about you, do you love the challenge of an invisible zipper?  

Saturday, April 23, 2016

The Georgie!

StyleArc, please, will you stop already?  Every new pattern I see from you, I MUST have!  This pant pattern was no exception and I ordered with leather look coated black stretch bengaline fabric.  Both the pattern and the fabric are just awesome!

Pull on stretch woven jean with hidden elastic waist

Are you drooling yet?  Look at all those details!  Patterns such as this one are so in right now!  Remember the Jalie, Eleanor?  Welp, this one is very similar.  Even if you have the Eleanor, this pattern is just different enough that you must purchase it as well.  :)  Trust me!

Here is the description from StyleArc's site: Georgie has all the details of a traditional jean with the exception that its pulls on. This elastic waisted jean has the latest styling and shape along with comfort as it sits on the natural waist.

Sizing as always is just spot on for StyleArc.  I purchased the 12 and it fits me like a glove.  I made zero modifications to the pattern and these are so very comfortable and I just love the leather look of the pant.  I am 5'7" and the length of these is perfect.  I made a 5/8" single-folded hem.

As I was putting these together, I wondered why the construction process was written the way it was. I deviated from the directions and found that they were right and I should have followed the directions verbatim.  Next time I will.  Just trust me on this...:)

A couple of notes about the process.  The pattern is written for stretch fabrics that do not need the finish of a serger.  While this bengaline doesn't seem to fray, I used a serger anyway because I like the finish as I believe it creates a stronger seam and it looks so nice on the inside.  Anyone agree?


Sorry about the wrinkles!  I wore these out to dinner.  It is my anniversary.

I normally hate seeing photos of my lower half!  These are fun pants to wear.  I hope you'll give them a try!

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Sometimes we all need instant gratification....

So, my oldest daughter call me on April 1st and was borderline distraught....her local Hancock had a sign on the door saying they were GOING OUT OF BUSINESS!!!  Is it a franchise thing?  A local issue?  I so hoped it was a local problem for her and her State of Louisiana.  That simply could not happen in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, right?

I was in denial for several days and then I needed some instant gratification, or probably some thread, or a zipper so I naively drove to my beloved Hancock (where by the way most of the employees know me by name) and found the most disturbing site ever:

I literally sat in the parking lot, blinking back tears and pounded the steering wheel once or twice before I walked into the building.

I am so disappointed.

My awesomely fantastic local quilt store also decided to get rid of their fabric about 6 months ago so they could concentrate on sewing machines, accessories, and quilting supplies.  No where I am going to shop when I need something NOW???

Do you ever have the need for a specific fabric, like right now?  You need to finish a project or you have a project that is etched in your brain and you simply need to execute it, now, not later.

What's left locally?  A rather blah quilt shop with  more than blah quilting fabric and JoAnns.  I have been burned by Jo's fabrics so many times I can't make myself shop their any more.  I only go there when I know that Hancock's doesn't have my exact zipper that I need.

I feel like my sewing projects aren't going to be as much fun as I previously thought.

It isn't as though I don't purchase fabric on-line.  I do MORE than my fair share of that.  It's just that sometimes you need a bit more dark denim, or you don't have quite enough white/ivory knit to finish the project you had in mind.  What is the sewing world at large going to look like 5 or even 10 years from now?

Thanks for listening.  This purchasing locally thing has been on my mind lately and I am so disappointed that my local fabric shops seem to be closing their doors at an alarming speed.

What say you?  Are you seeing this type of trend locally?  Are you purchasing more and more materials locally?

Let's hope we always have sewing supplies to purchase either on line or locally.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

The Angela Wolf Rachel Twin Set

For this month's Fabric Mart blog, I choose this gorgeous textured knit in coral--this is one of my most favorite colors to wear!  Julie also asked if I would be willing to try this new pattern by Angela Wolf, called the Rachel Twin set and after checking it out, I was delighted to say yes!  

So before diving into this lovely fabric, let's talk about the pattern.  This is a multi-sized pattern and it ranges from XXS to XL for one sizing option and XXL to 5X for the other.  I carefully checked my measurements to the sizing chart and read though Angela's suggestions on choosing your size and the amount of stretch your fabric has.  My fabric was a more stable type knit so I choose a large size for comfort and ease of wearing.  I also made a muslin as this is my very first Angela Wolf pattern and her sizing is a bit different from the big 4 pattern companies.  

Angela has all sorts of suggestions for modifying this pattern to your personal taste.  I decided to make it 'as is' since I like the overall length and styling.  

The sleeves are really nicely drafted!  Look how well they hang!  

I love how the upper back fits with this pattern and in this knit.  

The sleeves are also the perfect length as well.  I left off the ruching on the sleeves as I really didn't think it would look that great with a heavier knit.  So this is the 3/4 sleeve length sans ruching.  Just perfect in my book!  

That cascading part down the front is achieved by having the front lower panel extend past the bodice.  You join this piece onto the front band.  You can see in the above photo how that piece is attached and how it makes the cascading.

I rolled hem the edge and used a variegated thread so it had a bit of fun!  
It is a subtle effect but I really like it!  You can also see the texture in this pretty fabric!  Below is a view of the right and wrong sides of the fabric.  

In case you are wondering, here is how the tank fits.  I just love that there is no gaping at the armholes and no bra showing!  

The neck band is really well drafted and lies nicely against your chest.  This is so work-appropriate I am giddy about it!  I didn't use any variegated thread on the tank.  I choose to keep it super simple and use matching thread and a triple stitch to keep the banding seam in place.  For the lower hem, I used Emma Seabrooke's stay tape, 1/2" wide.  It pressed beautifully onto the fabric and made hemming easy-peasy! 

Here you can see the other side of the tank and it is the same--no gaping or bra showing!  I also don't mind that the tank is snug.  I intend to wear this as a layering piece.  

It was a little chilly modeling this outside today, so I hope more spring-like weather will show soon!

And also note how the back of the tank snugs up to my neckline.  No gaping! 

This fabric washed and dried just beautifully!  I love textured knits!  

Thanks for reading and I do hope you'll try this pattern from Angela.  I think it is a winner!


Monday, April 4, 2016

Go crazy for polka dots!

I love the asymmetry of this top and after I made one in white, I knew I had to have one with polka-dots, so when I came across this bright pink and white shirting from Fabric Mart, it was a match!
Asymmetrical hem over shirt with an on-trend back treatment

I know this pattern is listed as medium to challenging, but if you've put together a shirt with a collar and stand, you'll have no issues with this top.  This pattern is called the Crystal Over-shirt and it is by StyleArc.  What just made me have to make this was of course the back details.  I love a button up back!

 With all StyleArc patterns, I love the drafting and this one is no exception.  Everything about it is just fantastically well done and thought out.  The placket is one of the easiest I've put together and if you've never made a placket on a knit, this would be a good way to practice as you use a woven so it will be stable and not shift all over the place.

For this version, I left off the button and loops at the side seam and I should note that the directions tell you to put only one button at the side seam and you only cut on tab or loop but the picture indicates two.  I decided to leave off the split at the sleeve hems as well as I knew I'd keep mine rolled slightly.

My usual alterations are a swayback adjustment and a sloping shoulders adjustment.  When I made the shoulder adjustment, I also took down the sleeve cap by the same amount by folding back the cap about 1/4 of the way down from the top edge of the sleeve.  This allows me to keep the shape needed and not mess with the way that portion of the garment fits and looks after completion.

I also choose to make the button holes in the back non-functional so no wardrobe mishaps would occur.  I topstitched many of my seams with white thread, which is optional, according to the pattern directions but with cotton fabric, I find that if I topstitch to help keep seams in place, it does cut down on ironing time.  :)

I love the asymmetry of this top but I don't feel entirely comfortable wearing it with leggings as the shorter side doesn't give me enough coverage.  You may be just fine with the length and leggings but keep in mind I am 5'7" so if you are shorter than that, you will probably be fine!

This is a fun make!  I am sure I will create it again in the future.

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, March 27, 2016

McCall's Hippy Shirt!

Another tunic you say?  Yep!  Here is the top my hubby dubbed the 'hippy' top.  Do you agree?  I'm still not clear if it is the print or the shape that reminds him of the hippy era.

Sorry about the wrinkles!  I wore this to Easter dinner at my parent's home which is about 40 miles away.

So here is the pattern I used (McCall's 7357):

And, here's the description: Loose-fitting, pullover tops have neck band, self-lined yokes, applied tab, side-front and side-back seams, three-piece sleeves, shaped hemline, and narrow hem. A: Short sleeves and contrast panels. A, B: Stitched hem on sleeves. B: Three-quarter length sleeves, and front sleeve and side slits. C: Purchased trim. C, D: Long sleeves gathered into binding.
Includes separate pattern pieces for A/B, C and D cup sizes.What? Separate cup sizes?  SCORE!

 So I made a mis-mash of B and D.  I used the length of D and the slight bell sleeve of B with the 3/4 length.  
This can go together really quick, despite the many pattern pieces!  I however made it more time-consuming by using french seams almost everywhere and also applying the minty green rick-rack on the front and along the sleeve seams.  I really like the trim!  

The instructions for this are very good and despite using this colorful fabric that shifted everywhere, I am very happy with my results!  I wore it today and received many compliments!  Don't you love that?  

My only very minor complaint regarding this top is the narrowness of the sleeves.  If you typically make an adjustment for full biceps or arms, you'll want to do that here as well.  In fact, you'll most likely want to pin the tissue together and see if the sleeve will fit over your arm at all.  
I love this top!  The fabric is from Hancock's.  Isn't it just so pretty, and doesn't it scream happy spring? 
Thanks for reading!

Thursday, March 17, 2016

The Lorie jacket by StyleArc

Have you seen this pattern?
Get the Chanel Look without the complication!

It's called the Lorie jacket and it is from StyleArc.  Look at those design lines!  How awesome are they?  When I decided to create this jacket, I searched all over the web and found only 2 or so reviews, both of which were very favorable.  So, I went for it!

Here is the description from the StyleArc site:  Simple zip front jacket pattern with a designer look. The interesting back design lines along with shaped hem bands gives this jacket a great shape. Use your design skills to create a unique look by your selection of braids/trims. This jacket is fully lined. But can be sewn unlined if preferred.

I made this jacket pretty much as designed but I did leave off the zip.  I love the zip, but with my fabric choice and the gold bias trim, it was plenty busy.  

I love the overall style--it is pretty boxy but not sloppy looking.  The front and back yokes are perfect for using a contrast trim, self-trim, or piping.  I used self-fringe.  I love making fringe.  It is fast, fun, and adds such a neat little extra to your garment.  

Look how nice my shoulders and armscye turned out!  I am very pleased with how that part of my jacket turned out!  I made a 1/2" sloped shoulder adjustment by taking the shoulder seam in starting about midway from the neckline to the shoulder.  I added 1/4" shoulder pads but the garment called for 1/2" pads.  I remember wearing HUGE shoulder pads back in the 90's and while at times I will make a jacket or coat with 1/2" pads, I try to have minimal sized ones as they seem to be plenty!  Just enough to fill out the shoulder area without making you feel like a linebacker.  

What else did I do?  I made my usual 1/2" swayback adjustment and that is it!!!  

Let's talk about the plaid matching!  I am so very proud of how well I matched up the plaid.  This is an uneven plaid meaning that when you fold back a corner to a 45 degree angle, you can tell if the plaid is balanced or even or not.  Mine was not, so I took the very tedious step of cutting out each piece of the pattern one-by-one.  Tedious, but well worth the effort when I see the final result!  

I even included the back side panels in the plaid matching and see if you can see those seam lines.  

As I stated before, I left off the zipper.  I also didn't include the fringe on the sleeve hems or the jacket hem.  But I did include it at the neckline, front and back yokes and also the center front.  Check out the center front, I even matched the fringe plaid as well!!!  The gold is a bold choice, but with a gold thread running through the weave, I thought that the purchased gold trim would be a fun accent. What do you think?

As with almost every StyleArc pattern I've used the drafting is exceptional.  The instructions assume that you've made quite a few garments and know what you are doing.  I highly recommend reading the construction notes, main garment construction, and lining instructions BEFORE you start sewing this. Trust me, it will all make sense once you do!  A few things are left out completely as to how you tack down the hem facings on the sleeve and garment lower edge.  I hand hemmed those edges and then decided to hand hem the lower edge and sleeve lining as well.  I like hand sewing, especially on garments where I've taken my time to construct.  It sort of seams like icing a cake--the final finishing touch! 

I really love this jacket.  The fabric was purchased from Fabric Mart and is a boluce suiting. It sewed beautifully, pressed easily with a pressing cloth, and I think is very fun!

Thanks for reading!!!