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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, December 28, 2014

2014 in review--the good, the bad, the downright ugly!

So here it is again, that time of year to reflect on what we've done and make goals to be a better person for the following year!  No, I won't bore you with my new year's resolutions to eat better, exercise more, etc.... but I will will let you know what my thoughts are related to sewing!  Isn't that why you're here?

The good---I made quite a few garments in '14 that I am very proud of and love wearing!  I also made many wads that didn't even make it to the charity pile but rather went right into the good old dumpster.  I hate it when I waste time and fabric on wadders but that's how I get better!  Wadders are typically due to poor fabric choices based on the pattern or a pattern style that simply doesn't look good on me.

First let's look at my top favs!
1.  Sewaholic Minuro jacket!


This is a great pattern and I love the water resistant fabric in gray and the colorful lining!  The orange zipper was a must!  I wear this coat every change I get!  You may notice I added side seam pockets.


The lady skater--what a great and easy to sew pattern!  I know the pink floral is bright and somewhat obnoxious, but I LOVE this dress!

The grainline Archer pattern.  I made five tops last year out of this pattern.  A winner!  I just love this floral fabric and the peplum!  

Jeans--Vogue 8774 which I made five times and plan on many more until I can perfect the fit!  This is a great pattern and I love the theory denim I used for this pair.  

This McCall's jacket--so very RTW with all the details!  I wear this quite a bit!  I love the contrast of the red against the army green.  

My version of the Scout Woven Tee.  I repurposed thrift store finds to make this one of a kind top.  I just love it!  

This Butterick jean jacket pattern is a favorite layering piece!  

I made this BRIGHT yellow Robson Trench coat in about two days!  I added a lining and I wear this as much as I can!  It's a fun pattern to put together.  

I discovered Tilly and the Button's Coco dress and just love both versions, but this one is my fav!  I used an amazing fabric and I like the contrast I added at the sleeves and pocket bands.  

Lastly, Vogue Tunic--I made this twice and I love tunics and this fabric so much!  I received so many compliments when I wore it that I felt like a model or something!  Yay!  


We all have wadders--here are some that I actually blogged about!
I still love this fabric!  Ugh!  This was a Style Arc pattern.  What was I thinking?  It's awful!

This is a McCall's dress pattern that is pretty cute but I think my fabric choice made it a wadder.  The front is fine but the back has issues at the neckline and the hem!

I don't even know what to say about this!  The top is cute--just not on me!  It is way to big and I feel like someone threw up all over me!

So, plans for 2015? I think I am going to narrow this down to five so the goals are more obtainable this year.

1.  I dabbled in bra making but didn't really give it a fair shot.  I need to work on that more, especially after all the patterns and supplies I purchased!
2.  Continue working on fitting pants!
3.  Perfect the FBA.  I need one and have been delusional that I can get by without it.
4.  Try more specialty fabrics such as leather, neoprene, silk, etc.
5.   Finish my quilts from 2013!

Thanks for taking this sewing journey with me!  I so appreciate it when you share your thoughts!
Happy new year everyone!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Color-blocked Vogue Tunic

I am so in love with tunics lately that I can't seem to get enough of them!  Why?  Not sure but they are so very comfortable and easy to wear!

I wanted a color blocked top for this version and I used two fabrics from Fancy Tiger Crafts in Denver.  I can't tell you how unbelievably wonderful this fabric is!  The ivory is left over from my Coco and the paprika is a wonderful Soy Jersey with is 47.5% soy, 47.5% organic cotton, and 5% spandex.  It feels heavenly on your skin and sewed up so beautifully!  The ivory is a hemp and organic cotton blend with slight slubs in the fabric to give it some texture.

I used Vogue 8950 for this pattern and I love the photo on Vogue Pattern website that shows the color blocked top.
V8950, Misses' Tunic

Otherwise, this pattern isn't too exciting when you glance at it based on the drawings.

See what I mean?V8950, Misses' Tunic

This top is very easy to execute, a fast sew, and I love the options for color, textures, and fabric combinations.

So, I included a photo of how I make a swayback adjustment on knit fabrics with the fabric cut on the fold.  I only need 1/2" for most patterns.  I slash the tissue from the center back to an inch or so from the side seam, overlap the edges and pin.  Simple and it does make a difference in how my clothing fits!

I did have a few moments of frustration as I was matching up my seams on this top and it has nothing to do with the pattern!  Using two different weights and textures of fabric made it difficult to keep the seams from slipping and sliding but with a large amount of pins and clenching a rabbit's foot between my teeth, I managed!  It is totally worth the work to get the seams to line up as it really makes the top!

I had to make this tunic length again!  I plan on living in tunics for the rest of my life!

I used steam a seam for the hem and folded it twice and stitched.  I would have used my cover stitch machine but I only had one spool of thread that was the right color and didn't want to wind three bobbins just to hem this!  I think the weight of the hem lets it hang well.

I LOVE this top and pattern!  DH was surprised I had made another top in such a short amount of time.

Happy Holidays all!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

I cord, do you?

Well yes, I did make another Archer from Grainline studios.  I love my other four so much that I knew I had to have a fifth!  Honestly, I think this is my new fav!

What, the Archer?  Never heard of it?  Well, here is a description from the Grainline site: The Archer Button Up is a loosely fitting button up shirt with long sleeves. View A has angled cuffs and a back pleat at yoke. View B has straight cuffs and a gathered lower back detail.
Techniques involved include sewing a straight seam, setting sleeves, continuous button plackets, adding a shirt collar and buttons & buttonholes. Pattern is nested to facilitate cutting between sizes if needed.
Archer Button Up Shirt

So, since I made this so many times and didn't really need the instructions I thought I ask if you cord your buttonholes.  Well?  I love cording, it is basically nesting a heavier thread between your fabric and thread and it makes your buttonholes look very professional and gives them a little pop!  

I have some neutral thread I use for the cording.  Black, white, red in heavy button twist cotton.  It feels almost as heavy as a denim top stitching thread.  In fact, you could probably use that as well!  

My Bernina has a special little doo-hikey on it that is made for the cording.  I wrap the heavy thread on it, according to the directions in my manual and stitch!  After stitching, you release the extra thread from the foot, pull it snug, and clip!  Tie off the regular thread you used to make the buttonholes functional and viola!  Complete!  

What else did I do?  I added six inches to the Archer in order to make it tunic length.  I straightened up the side edge somewhat so it wasn't quite so much of a curved edge to the side seam.  This made it much easier to hem my top as the wool woven fabric was maybe a little thicker than what the designed intended for this.  

I purchased the fabric from Fabric Mart and it was lovely!  It is all wool and the pattern is woven into the fabric, not stamped on as some flannels look.  It is heavy and warm!  Perfect for South Dakota winters!  So it isn't too scratchy at the neck, I used a piece of what feels like rayon from my stash on the inside collar stand and yoke.  It feels great on my skin!  You can just see it peeking out at my neck.  
I need a lot more practice matching up the plaid patterns.  While the front looks pretty good, the other places it isn't as good as it could be.  I love this with my denim leggings and dark brown boots.  
I plan on wearing this a lot this winter and in the years to come!
Thanks for reading!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Jalie Cocoon cardigan!

  1. Jalie 3353 - Cocoon Cardigan

Have you seen this pattern?  It is a newer one from Jalie that I don't see a lot of chatter about in cyberspace.  I wonder why?  It's darn cute, looks unbelievably comfortable and is current.  It also looks like an amazingly fast sew.  

Here is a description from the Jalie site: 
Dolman-sleeved, loose-fitting open-front cocoon cardigan with banded round hem that is longer in the back. Cuffed sleeves that stay put when you lift them.

So I made this quite a while ago and put it in my potential wad pile.  What didn't cause me to completely scrap it was the gorgeous sweater knit I purchased from Emma One Sock and it was a little pricey.  But oh, isn't it pretty?  It is a wool blend and grey, both attributes I love on their own, but put them together?  Winner winner, chicken dinner!  

Wait, there is NOTHING wrong with the pattern at all.  I had never used a sweater knit before and didn't realize it just might need some special handling.  

This is not just loose fitting but very loose fitting but I knew that going in so I typically made about a size S or T with Jalie but this one was smaller and I am glad I made it that way!  Maybe it is partly due to my fabric choice but it just seemed like it is still huge but in a comfy and cozy sort of way.  I actually really like it!  

This does go together easily but with my choice of knit and my inexperience in using a special fabric such as this, I had some raveling as it is just like a real hand knitted garment and it can come unraveled!  So, I had some places where the unraveling occurred.  Today I took it apart and sewed an insert on the shoulder seam using a little bit of extra fabric I had left over--thank goodness I don't throw every scrap!  It worked great and adds a nice little design element.  

I can't wait to wear this beauty!  

Thanks for reading! Sue 

My first, but not last, Renfrew!

How many times have I felt like I am horribly late for the party?  Sewing party that is!  How long as the Renfrew by Sewaholic been uber popular?  Well, I finally broke down and purchased it and I can see what all the hype is about!  

It is a very versatile pattern with the sleeve and neckline variations.  Right?  I can see this as a TNT or tried and true pattern that you go for again and again.  

So what made me break down and purchase the pattern was a craftsy special.  Have you ever seen these where they offer kits of a pattern and fabric?  It was a bargain in my book and the f-a-b-r-i-c!  It was super lovely and sewed like a dream!  I searched and searched their site and just can't find a link to purchase any additional fabric.  It really is exceptional!  

So, I only received enough to make view A, which is just fine!  In order to determine my sizing, I made a muslin using the collar from C and the long sleeves of A.  I seriously needed an FBA which you can see below. 


Luckly for DD2, it fit perfect!  Yay!  I may have to get more fabric to make another in this same version with the yellow and that adorable cowl!  

So back to my final version.  I made a FBA using this method: http://www.sewalongs.com/myrtle/myrtle-full-bust-adjustment 

It worked well, at least I thought it did!  Maybe I need a slightly larger adjustment?  What do you think?  

I'm not sure what else I can add to this awesome pattern that hasn't been said by other but to purchase it!  It is versatile, well thought out and is darn cute!  

Thanks for reading!

McCall's 6708 or holiday cardigan!

Who doesn't love layering pieces?  Well this girl for sure!  I love easy layering knits that are colorful and comfortable to wear and this pattern did not disappoint!  I specifically purchased it just to use this red/black knit that I won in a contest from Fabric Mart.  Isn't it cute?  I do love the pattern on it and it is a very nice knit.

This is a misses' cardigan pattern that is described on the back of the envelope as close-fitting with neckline, length, and sleeve variations and bands and front button closing.  View D has welt pockets and button trim and the view I made has pockets with contrast bands.

I made a medium.

This is a quick sew.  I had a lot of fun with it!  I made view E with the bottom row of pockets only.

This is very intuitive in how it goes together with no head scratching moments at all!  I do think the pattern illustration is somewhat deceiving in that the neckline looks much higher that what it actually is.   See what I mean?   

Ok, so back to my version.  Using the contrast was fun and who doesn't want some fun?  I used a black ponte for the bands and it was a good choice.

I made my usual 1/2" swayback adjustment and really, that was about it.  The sleeve length and length of the cardigan was great although you may want to measure if you are going to use one that is short.  If I make this again, I'll make it a bit longer.  These sleeves were set in and typically I will just sew them in flat, but with a more tailored looking garment, I decided to set them in but did it using pins and stretching the bodice front or back instead of ease stitching.  After you do this once or twice using a knit, you probably won't ever had to ease stitch again.

My only modification to the garment was to not slip stitch the bands to the cardigan on the wrong side.  I don't think there is anything wrong with it, but with the ponte knit it just got a little thick there and then it was difficult to get the button holes to stitch properly.  I took the slip stitched bands off, unpressed them, and stitched them down from the right side of the garment.  I didn't take a picture of it, so I hope that makes sense!

I really like this cardigan and pattern.  I do believe this will become a much loved pattern to reach for again and again!

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Jalie City Coat, round 2!

Oh I so love Jalie patterns, and wool, and winter coats--so what happens when you combine all three?  A new coat of course!

So, this coat calls for a slight stretch in the fabric but I decided to go against the directions and try a wool and know what?  It worked!  For my first go around, I used a stretch printed denim and I've worn the heck out of it. 

But, I wanted something warmer.  Denim by itself, isn't that warm.  But it is so cute--if I do say so myself!

I used a wool coating I purchased from fabric mart during a recent sale.  I love this deep eggplant color!  It sewed beautifully and was just so nice to work with!  Wow, do I love wool!

The pattern doesn't call for a lining but I created one using the pattern pieces for the coat.  Having said that, after I sewed the pieces together, I cut out the lining using the sew together pieces as a pattern with a little extra for ease.  I also lined the hood so in case I wanted to use it, my hair might behave a little better :) for those of you that have naturally curly hair, I think you know exactly what I am talking about!

Okey-dokey--this pattern is awesome!  It has quite a few pieces that are seamed together to create a style.  The front princess seams make the perfect place for inseam pockets.  The yokes make a great backdrop for the hood.  I didn't make the hood the first time but I do love it.  It isn't too big, nor too small.  The sleeves are three pieces which make for a nice fit.

Jalie patterns have really long sleeves and I did have to shorten them quite a bit--I wish I had kept track of how much, but I didn't so sorry!

I did keep the front facing and added some matching colored bias tape to it and added some decorative stitching to it to dress it up a bit.  Oh and what do you think of the orange lining?  I love the surprise of it and while it may not be an expected choice, I really love it!  Luckily I found the scarf and gloves to coordinate everything and I love it!

This is one of my favorite coat patterns!  I made this one smaller than the first (size Y versus a U).

Thanks for reading!