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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, January 26, 2014

McCall's 6844 round 2

Here is round two of  6844 the super cute little pattern that so many have already reviewed.  And, why not?  It's fast, it's easy, it's stylish, what more could you ask for?
This time I made view D. I just love this little peplum!

Here's my review.

Description: Close-fitting cardigans (do not meet at center front) have collar extending into front band and narrow hem.  A, C: shaped hemline, wrong side shows.  This pattern calls for an interfaced collar/front band.

Sizing: this pattern comes in XS to M or L to XXL.  I modified a medium.
Fabric: this is a soft, textured knit I purchased from JoAnn's.  I love the color.  Orange is so much fun!

I have to admit, I didn't look at the directions since this was my second time making this.  The construction is very intuitive, that is if you've sewn a similarly-styled garment. 

Here was my order of construction:
Serge shoulder seams, use elastic to stabilize the seam
Serge collar/back neck edge together
Serge collar/band to facing, press lightly and set aside
Cover-stitch sleeve hems
Serge sleeves in flat
Hem the little skirted piece--I used my cover-stitch
Attach the skirt to the bodice
Serge underam and side seam
Serge collar/band to garment and stabilize seam with clear, 1/4" elastic
Topstitch collar band seam to garment edge using a stretch stitch.
Piece of cake, right?

My usual 1/2" swayback adjustment and that was it! 

Oh, yes, I plan on making this more!  Here is version 1.  I can see pulling this out in the spring and using some pretty prints and lightweight fabric to make some great go-to garments!

Here is version 1:
Have fun with this pattern!

Thanks for reading,
Sue :) 

Style Arc Marie Jacket

I finally am reviewing a pattern from Style Arc.  I see their patterns reviewed quite often on SPR, but just hadn't taken the plunge until recently.  I just loved the lines of this jacket as I was figuring out what pattern to purchase.

Fashionable knit jacket with zip closureSee what I mean?  The soft neckline and zipper is very cool and hip.  I had to have it.  It also called for a ponte knit and I had this python print in my stash and was waiting for the perfect pattern to use it with.
This pattern is marked as challenging.  I didn't find it challenging as far as construction is at all.  :)  

Pattern Description from the pattern:
Marie Jacket--up to the minute jacket with interesting design lines and off-center front zip which can be worn closed or left open allowing it to fall into a wonderful front drape.

Fabric Suggestions are light ponte or merino knit or any knit that is stable enough to hold a zip.
You also need a 43 cm or 17" zipper.  Everything for this pattern was from my stash.  I love it when I don't have to make a trip to my local Joann's.

Here is my finished garment picture:


Let's talk about the directions.  They are minimal, what I mean by that is there is only one photo to detail the construction and the remainder is step-by-step written directions.  For a visual learner, it wasn't challenging but I did have to reread a few of the steps.  There aren't a lot of markings on the pattern, nor is ease listed or finished measurements.  Either measure a lot of make a muslin--neither of which I did, which happens to be one of my sewing resolutions for the year.  I am still pleased with the fit and I'll tell you my alterations below.

You can either put the center back seam on the fold or cut out as I did.  There is really no reason for me to have cut out the seam since my print is busy and you can't see the lines.  I did top stitch from the seam which would look nice if you could actually see it.  The yoke is shaped in the back, can you sort of see the curve at my shoulders?  I thought I had cut incorrectly, but no, it wasn't a mistake.

When I was inserting the zipper into the seam on the left side, I was confused by the illustration.  Remember when I said there weren't many marks on the pattern?  Well I needed a mark that says something rather obvious such as zipper ends here.  The illustration shows the zipper stopping at the hemline so that's where it stopped.  When it came time to hem the entire thing I realized my mistake.  I had to rip out only one side of the zipper and reinsert.  Actually, it worked out great as I didn't like where the top portion of the zipper hit on that side as it didn't allow much drape of the neckline.  This new placement was much better.
 Also, like other reviewers mentioned the side front seams are very slanted and start at about the waistline and end about mid-bust, nothing like the line drawing.
Here is what I changed: 

  • Based on photos from other reviewers, I knew I'd need more than my standard 1/2" swayback adjustment and made a 3/4" one.  Yes, I should have taken an entire inch.  If there is a next time with this pattern, I will.  
  • I sewed the sleeves in flat before stitching the side seam.  No way am I going to ease in a knitted sleeve.  They fit perfectly stitched in flat, so it was a good and easy solution.  
  • I taped the entire shoulder area and back neckline with 1/4" clear elastic.  The directions suggested just the shoulder but with the way the neckline is stitched by pivoting and then clipping to the seam, I wanted the extra security of the elastic.  And speaking of the pivoting, I went ahead and stay stitched the corners of the back neckline prior to stitching together, just because I am old school and didn't want the stress of the garment to rip anything out.  
  • My stash zipper was 24" and I needed 17" so I marked where I needed it to stop, grabbed some needle-nose pliers and pulled out 10 of the separating teeth from each mark into the area that wasn't necessary.  Then I clipped off the extra fabric and inserted as normal.  
  • I also used my cover-stitch machine to hem the sleeves and lower edge that wasn't encased in the front facing.
  • I took the waistline at least 2 inches.  I should have taken it in another inch or two.  
  • I pinned the facing edge to the jacket front at the corresponding seam line and stitched in the ditch to secure it from the right front hem line, around both front edges and down to the left front hem line. 

I do like my finished jacket and I had a lot of compliments on it when I wore it to church today.  I was a little disappointed that the lines of the finished jacket aren't exactly like the pattern envelope.  I do think the pattern needs more markings and having the finished garment measurements on the tissue or pattern back would be very helpful in choosing your size.  I purchased a size 16 based on my bust.   The pattern took over two weeks to arrive from Australia but it was fun to experiment with a pattern from somewhere other than the big four.  Before I give this company a glowing endorsement, I'd like to try another Style Arc and see what I think after that garment is finished.

In case you're wondering what happened to my uber curly hair, I had it chemically relaxed.  I am still trying to used to it, but it's fun to have straight hair for once!

Thanks so much for reading this lengthy review!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

McCall's 6844

I am finally getting around to making 6844 the super cute little pattern that so many have already reviewed.  And, why not?  It's fast, it's easy, it's stylish, what more could you ask for?
Obviously I made a different view than most have reviewed.  While I love views C & D, I didn't have quite enough fabric from my stash piece, so I made view B.

Here's my review.

Description: Close-fitting cardigans (do not meet at center front) have collar extending into front band and narrow hem.  A, C: shaped hemline, wrong side shows.  This pattern calls for an interfaced collar/front band.

Sizing: this pattern comes in XS to M or L to XXL.  I modified a medium.
Fabric: this is a wonderfully soft sweater-knit I purchased from Vogue Fabrics.  I love it!

I have to admit, I didn't look at the directions until I was finished.  The construction is very intuitive, that is if you've sewn a similarly-styled garment.  When I glanced at them when I was folding up the pattern tissue, I did notice that the sleeves were set in, which I dislike tremendously.  Something I dislike even more is interfacing a knit band and collar.  I didn't do either of these.

Here was my order of construction:
Serge shoulder seams, use elastic to stabilize the seam
Serge collar/back neck edge together
Serge collar/band to facing, press lightly and set aside
Cover-stitch sleeve hems
Serge sleeves in flat
Serge underam and side seam
Cover-stitch lower garment hem
Serge collar/band to garment and stabilize seam with clear, 1/4" elastic
Topstitch collar band seam to garment edge using a stretch stitch.
Piece of cake, right?

I tried two things and immediately hated both so I ripped them out.
Lengthening the cardigan by 4 inches to make it into more of a coat--bad idea, it looked like a bathrobe.
Added pockets on the front.  I'm not sure how to describe how bad they looked.  Don't even try to form an image in your mind, it isn't worth it.

My usual 1/2" swayback adjustment
I also added 1/2" at the bust, waist and an inch at the hips so the sweater wasn't so close fitting--just a personal preference with this view.  I wanted the front edges to meet at the center.   I could have purchased a larger size, but I didn't want to.

Oh, yes, I plan on making this more!  It's easy and fun and I can't wait to try the cute little peplum!
Have fun with this pattern!

Thanks for reading,
Sue :) 

Friday, January 3, 2014

Kwik Sew 3827 Vest

Oh, I so love Kwik Sew and always wonder after I make them up, I wonder why I held onto the pattern so long! 

Here is my review for Kwik Sew 3827: Angled Front Jacket and Vest Xs to Xl. 
Here is the description from the back of the envelope:
Fitted jacket and vest are lined, have angled front edges and panel seams, back has eight panels, bottom edge is shaped, and back is shorter.  View A jacket has full length sleeves, pockets in front panel seams, stand-up collar, fronts, fold to form lapels, and one button closure.  View B vest has stand-up[ collar and hidden front button closure. 

This pattern is designed for medium-weight woven fabrics. 

Fabric Used: I had this wool in my stash.  I used black lining fabric from my stash as well.  I even had the buttons and snap in my stash!  Since I have no recollection on the cost of anything used in this garment, it must be free, right? 

Did the finished garment look like the pattern envelope?
Well, yes, think it does. 

What did I like/dislike about the pattern?
I thought the fit was spot on.  I made a slightly smaller large, but slightly bigger medium based on my bust measurement and it is just how I wanted it to fit. 
The instructions are really excellent.  Nothing is confusing, causes you to rethink or stop and wonder if you are on the right track.  Very straight forward.
I really like the front of this jacket.  The collar area is fun and on our very cold day today, it was warm and comfortable.
The lining is attached using the burrito method for attaching the hem.  This leaves a mere 6 inches on the side of the lining to either sew by hand or machine.  I love how nice the inside of the vest looks--very professionally finished.  
DH hates the high-low hem of the front/back.  It is a little more dramatic than I thought it'd be but I still like the uniqueness of it.  
The hidden button closure is very well done, easy, looks very professional and is functional as well.  I am going to remember this technique for future garments.  

I tried to make my usual 1/2" sway back adjustment but I will say it was a struggle with the shaping of the jacket back. It was just tough to tell how much to spread the adjustment over the width of eight panels and I should have done a little more in the middle zones.  I'll know for next time. 
I eliminated the top stitching along the panels in the back just because I didn't think they'd show much with the fabric I used.  The bang wasn't worth the buck.

None really.  I like the shape of the front of this jacket/vest and the back.   It went together easily and fairly quickly.  The construction method and order is logical and makes sense.  Nothing was eliminated or left out--which I like!

I enjoyed creating this vest a lot.  It was fast, easy, fun and makes a unique garment.  I plan on making this again only next time I am going to modify the length of the back panels so they are shaped more like the front.  This was fun to create!  Kwik Sew patterns are so well put together, have minimal hand sewing, and look great inside and out.  Love everything about them! 

Silhouette Samantha's Double Zipper Collar Jacket

I finally made up this jacket pattern I have been eying for quite some time.  I recently had my interest sparked with it when I saw it on a sew-a-long that won!  I simply HAD to create one of my own!  I will tell you however before I start, that while I love the unique design, I had quite a few issues with the instructions which I'll detail below.



There is not a description from the back of the envelope, but here is how I describe it.
Ladies' lined, hip-length jacket with double collar with working zipper embellishments.  Two-piece shaped sleeves are set in with 1" shoulder pads.    

Sizing: this pattern is unique in that you base your pattern size on finished garment measurements.  I made a size 5.  You measure a garment you like the fit of and use that for your pattern measurement.  It actually makes a lot of sense, but caused me some anxiety as I decided to just cut it out and try it!  

Fabric Used: A home dec fabric from my stash.  I really love it.  It handles like dens100% cotton.  It is a burgundy-purple with a shade or two lighter marks along with gray markings.  Lining matched.  Fabric was purchased at Mill End Textiles in Sioux Falls a few years ago with the plan to create a jacket, not curtains or pillows. 

Did it look like the pattern envelope? 
Yes, sans sleeves it did/does.  At least I think so!

What did I like/dislike about the pattern?
Styling.  I mean, the double zippered collar is really unique a cool.  I found it interesting and challenging at the same time.  This definitely fits in with one of my sewing goals for the year of trying some more difficult patterns to stretch my sewing skills.  And, just so you know, this wasn't all that difficult, but does take some precision and thinking ahead before you sew. 
Cup sizes.  This is a nice feature.  After you pick your size, you next pick your cup size.  No need for FBAs! 

Here is where I had some issues.  I hate to sound so negative before I even start, but I really want to be honest about my thoughts on this pattern.
1.  There was no ease allowed in the lining pieces so I cut the piece on the fold and added about 1/2".  I've used patterns that don't allow for any ease with the lining and it ended up ripping!  I don't want to make that mistake again!
2.  I added interfacing on the main fabric where the welt pockets are stitched.  The pattern doesn't call for any, but I felt like that is a very necessary step.
3.  At first, I reduced the sleeve seam to accommodate a 1/4" shoulder pad rather than 1".  I remember wearing those in the early 90's.  It wasn't a good look then and for heaven's sake has no need to be resurrected.  At the end you can see I decided to completely eliminate the sleeve.  More on that below.
4.  There seem to be a lack of markings on the pattern tissue.  You are supposed to sew the 'other side' of the separating zipper to the jacket as shown between the center back and the bottom edge of the front collar.  There isn't a mark there at all to indicate where that is.  It makes it very difficult to figure out what is meant simply because the pattern directions seem to show the zipper stopping much higher than the photograph on the pattern envelope.
5.  The manner in which the lining and jacket hem are constructed leave very little to be desired.  I had to fiddle with the length of the jacket hem quite a bit in order to have it bag slightly as it met the upper edge of the hem.  In my opinion, the length of the lining needs increased otherwise there isn't enough fabric to have the edges meet let alone bag slightly.
6.  The finish for the zipper by stuffing into the opening and top-stitching is a little reckless.  Since I like the inside and outside of my garments to equally look nice, I can't imagine getting them both perfectly straight without hand basting.  I decided to put the zipper in differently.  See below.   
7.  I am not sure I love how the end of the collar zippers end and the front zipper starts.  I removed the excess teeth with pliers and then folded the zipper tape to the inside and slid and stitched it under the seam allowance.  I think there might be a better way but I fiddled with it so many times that I simply had to move on to something else before I cut the entire thing up into little tiny pieces. 

1.  My usual 1/2" swayback adjustment. 
2.  I left off the sleeves.  The amount of ease on the sleeve cap was hideous and I didn't want to deal with it.  I like the sleeves left off and bias bands applied on the outside.  I cut the bands on the bias 1.5" wide, sewed them on one side only, made a double fold and turned the bands inside.  I slip-stitched the bands to the lining. 
3.  I used three 24" zippers rather than 2-24" and 1-16".  I found an excellent tutorial on shortening a metal zipper.  Here is the link: http://liamsolomonsmummy.blogspot.com/2012/04/you-can-shorten-metal-zipper.html
4.  I mentioned earlier that the shoulder pad height was silly so I only modified the sleeve seam at the armhole and tapered it to match the neckline as in the pattern.  The total amount I took in the seam line was 5/8 inch. 
5.  Hemline--this was tricky as by this time I felt like I had already spent way too much time on this little vest.  The lining hem is about 1.5" shorter than the jacket itself yet from what I can tell the hem is only about 5/8".  Naturally the lining hem is going to be too short.  I ended up letting out the hem of the lining about 1/4 inch and then slip stitching it to the top of the jacket hem.  There is very little, if any, bagging at all. 
6.  Before I hemmed everything, I basted the zipper to the jacket fabric.  Next, I sandwiched the front zipper between the fabric and facing and stitched over the basting line with a zipper foot.  It gave me the clean finish I was looking for.  It also eliminated hand sewing.

Make a muslin if you really want to make this pattern.  I think the welt pockets are too high, but that is just my personal preference. 
Think about what finishes you like in your garment before you make this.  I like using interfacing before attaching welt pockets and stay stitching necklines so they don't stretch out of shape.  The instructions don't state any of these things. 
Mark where you want your zippers to end prior to stitching.  I thought I had missed transferring the mark of where the collar zipper ended rather than finding out later it just doesn't exist.
But your zippers on sale before creating this.  I spent more on the zippers than the fabric and lining (both of which were on sale).

I'm not sure what else to say about this.  DH likes it a lot and I'm sure I'll wear it a few times.  I am not just completely in love with it like I had hoped to be.    If I ever make this again, I'll have to make a more significant sway back adjustment.  The usual 1/2" didn't cut it. 

Thanks for reading!
Sue :) 

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Welcome 2014!

I've heard about writing sewing goals and resolutions for the new year, but just haven't made out a list until my daughter emailed me her sewing goals today.  Now I'm inspired to do the same.  There is just something about actually writing down your goals that makes it so much more real. 

Here are my goals:
1.  Use up more fabrics and patterns from my stash than I actually purchase, or go through my stash on a regular basis and donate what I won't use. 
2.  Finish the 4 quilts I started but put aside
3.  Bras--I too want to try making bras and the last time I went to VS, I spent $55 on one!  Ridiculous! 
4.  Master FBA or pick patterns that are more realistic for my shape
5.  Figure out the best way to finish the top portion of an invisible zipper
6.  Finally use the leather I purchased for a purse two or three years ago
7.  Make more muslins--I think if garments fit better, I'll wear them more. 
8.  Know when to wad--that is quit struggling to finish a flop and move on without guilt. Smile emoticon
9.  Actually read through directions before I start a project and write notes on the pattern sheet with different techniques to try or what can be eliminated or adjusted.  I think I'll remember when it comes to blogging, but chances are I have forgotten.  Also, I don't always realize what I am getting into (just like with cooking) and a garment takes way longer than anticipated! 
10. Catalog my patterns so I know what I have.  I need to put this list on my phone.  Impulse buying of patterns has caused me to purchase duplicates.  I hate that!
I'd love to know your thoughts or what your goals are for 2014!!!
Happy new year everyone!
Sue :)