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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, March 29, 2015

Ottobre Everyday Coat & a stash-buster weekend!

I just fell in love with this white jacket with the pop of yellow!  Can you blame me?  First of all, the fabric Ottobre used was Techno jersey (huh?)  I searched high and low and found a source but I've never come across the online store so I think I will just order a swatch and see.  In the mean time, since it was love, I used a pretty purple crystal ponte from my stash and this was all from my stash so here is my buster for the month!

I just love the RTW details of this jacket with the inseam pockets, princess seaming on the front and back, the hood with the drawstring and toggles and the length.

Ottobre describes this coat like this: Every woman needs a coat that is versatile enough to suit almost any situation! This beautiful base coat is sewn from techno jersey--a knit fabric....The unlined coat is quick to make.  It has zippered pockets in the princess seams on the front.  The coat has a tailored fit as there are princess seams also on the back.  The generous hood has a casing with adjustable elastic cord at its face edge.  The edges of the hood facing and seam allowance at the neckline and front edge are finished with contrast-color binding.

Hold on, big gust of wind!  With many of the non-American based pattern companies, the only directions are written and I believe they assume that women that purchase their patterns have sewing knowledge and experience, enough so that you can't just wing it unless you've sewn something similar.  Anyone else get that impression? Maybe it's just me since I am such a visual learner and sewer.

I wanted to skip the directions and just plow forward but decided against it.  I skimmed the instructions but not well enough and was perplexed as to how the they wanted you to insert the pockets.  And, since I am trying to turn over a new leaf and be less stubborn, I decided to reread and am glad I did!  It made perfect sense afterwards!

I really didn't deviate much other than to make round button holes instead of inserting grommets for the cording in the hood.  I also sewed the sleeves in flat before sewing up the side seams.  The directions tell you to slightly gather, but when I test drove the fit, no easing was necessary.

I am still trying to figure out my sizing for Ottobre and Burda and I made between a 40 and 42.  I think it is slightly too big but not so much to that I might just take it in under the arms and to the waistline just a touch.

I used this fun, colorful, and cherry cotton print for the contrast as I thought plain white might be a bit boring...it sure made finishing this jacket seem very high-end.

I love how long the coat is and that I only had to turn under the sleeves by 3/4" inch and topstitch.

Make sure you use a sturdy knit for this jacket otherwise the edges will get wonky with the zippers.  I choose not to use the interfacing at the front edge to stabilize.  My knit is pretty darn stable.  I did however use staytape at the shoulder seam and at the pocket edges.

My only beef with this pattern is that the contrast zipper peeks out between the pocket edges on the inside of the coat.  I am going to figure out how I can make that part look as pretty as the rest of the coat.  Also, check the size of the pockets.  They are just a tad on the small side.  They will easily house my keys, phone, lipstick, but that's about it!

Thanks for reading and what do you think of Burda/Ottobre patterns?  Personally, I have better luck with Ottobre and love the styles!


Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The Dixie Woven Top

I had to make another Style Arc pattern and I had this adorable Dixie Woven top all printed, taped together and ready to go.  The problem?  I didn't have my printer scaled to what I needed to and my muslin was H-U-G-E!  I didn't realize how large it was until I compared the scaling I used to what it supposed to be and dang, what a waste of time!  Although, in hindsight, I did work out some kinks and I love how my 'real' top finished!

On trend top with open neck feature and high low hem

From the StyleArc pattern back, This is a great top.  The curved front and back yokes make it a fashionable style that can be worn on any occasion.  Colour-blocking this style in your favorite colours to create your unique look.  

Fabric suggestions are silk, crepe, rayon, or any other soft fabric.  I found this pretty Maggie London Rayon Challis in my stash and it screams spring/summer to me, perfect to create on this gloomy, not so warm early spring day.

Construction is pretty straight forward if you have some experience sewing.  Mind you, nothing is terribly difficult, but to get the finishes to look professional you need to have some familiarity with various tools and how to use them to get a great result.

With every StyleArc pattern I have used to date, instructions are minimal.  This pattern is no exception, however with that said there is one full page devoted to images of the neckband, hemline, and back button and loop closure.  I was particularly interested in the neckband as I haven't created one like that before and in all honesty, that is what drew me to this cute top.

There is a neck guide piece devoted to help you line up the opening at the neck to the correct width. Use this piece to line up the pieces of the front split to the neckband and you'll do fine.  Since my fabric is rather soft and malleable, I wanted to make sure the neckline didn't end up wonky so I took a few extra steps.  These steps are not included in the instructions.

1.  Staystitch the neckline, just do it and you'll be happy you did.  Lots of patterns skip this step, but it takes less than a minute and will save you the heartache of having a ruined top.
2.  After pressing the neckband in half with the right sides together, take this a step further and fold just one half to the center so it is 3/4 of the original width.  This will help when you stitch the neckband to the top.
3.  When stitching the neckband, sandwich a piece of staytape to the seam as you sew to prevent stretching.  The staytape will be on the inside of the band when finished.
4.  Use 1/4" steam-a-seam to secure the inside portion of the neckband.  When you folded a long side of the band and pressed, this became the inside or skin side of the band.  Attach the steam-a-seam here and pressing will be easy and you'll have a clean and perfectly matched edge to secure with topstitching.

My only other issue with the pattern directions are what I consider a misprint.  The directions tell you to press the front and back yoke to the upper portion of the garment, however if you press this way, you will see the edge of the seam on the top front where the front yoke makes a V.  I pressed downwards instead of up and it worked great.

Sorry, I can't get this picture to right itself!

This pattern went together great and I am excited for the weather to warm up so I can wear it with denim jeans or a skirt.  It is almost long enough to wear with leggings as the back is longer than the front.

Thanks so much for reading and I do highly recommend this pattern.  It's cute, sort of fast and gives you a chance to stretch your finishing skills!


Tuesday, March 10, 2015

My first Moneta!

Here is a review for the Colette Moneta dress.  This pattern was featured on the latest edition of Threads magazine and I just drooled over it!  90% of the appeal was the fabric used to create this simple but classic dress and the other 10% was that is was a dress!  Sorry the picture is a little blurry, but I think you can see what I mean!

Current Issue of Threads magazine

So I used fabric from my stash which was from Fabric Mart and is a Maggie London knit with four-way stretch.  Perhaps it is a little light weight, but for assessing fit and such, it worked fine.  

This is a versatile pattern in that you can use multiple sleeve lengths, neckline variations (there are several to download on the Colette site for FREE!) creating a multitude of possibilities.  

Belt?  No belt?  The choice is yours!  

I did not make an FBA as this was my muslin and it worked out fine--I don't see any pulling, wrinkles, etc.  My fabric is rather lightweight, so perhaps on a mid-weight I may have to make an adjustment.  

This dress is comfortable and I do like the print!  I made the little collar that crosses slightly in the back.  The directions call for interfacing the collar and it is a wise move.  I tried to make the collar without interfacing and it didn't work so hot.  My interfacing is almost always from Fashion Sewing Supply.  I used the lightweight couture and it is the perfect finish for the collar.  

Sorry about the pasty-white skin.  Winter decided to take a hiatus this past week and now that we can bear a little skin without having it freeze off our bodies, mine is in dire need of some sun on it!  Let's just say that winter has been l-o-n-g.  

I plan on making more of these dresses.  This pattern is as well drafted as the Lady Skater by Kitchy Koo.  

Happy Sewing!

Monday, March 2, 2015

Finally--a moto jacket!

I can't believe it took me so long to make this awesome jacket!  I guess the stars had to align so that inspiration and the right fabric merged!  Which is crazy to think about since I've had this pattern for months and the fabric for at least a month!

I guess cleaning up my sewing room and coming across the two things together made me finally jump on this and wow, I am thrilled with the results!

So this is Kwik Sew 3764 and I love everything about it!  The description from the back of the envelope is this: Unlined jackets have collar and overlapping fronts with zipper closure in left panel seam.  View A has epaulettes, waistband, pockets with zippers, zipper with gusset at bottom edge of sleeves, and snap or button closure on epaulettes and waistband.  View B has hemmed bottom edge. This is designed for medium weight woven fabrics.

I made a modified view A meaning I didn't include the epaulettes, but otherwise it is straight up as the pattern is written.

As other reviewers have mentioned, the directions are VERY well written and VERY well illustrated! Most Kwik Sew patterns are awesome, but this one is exceptional and I truly mean that!

I LOVE this fabric I choose which was made by P&B textiles and is listed as a faux leather.

It is made from Polyurethane, polyester and viscose.  It's hand wash, you then roll the garment in a towel to squeeze out the excess water and let dry.

It was actually fairly easy to work with although a little heavy and I didn't really struggle with it until the two sections of the collar and the facing were sewn together--that's three layers!  But I went slowly, used my walking foot and it all turned out pretty--if I do say so myself!  This fabric has an embossed quality to it.

The directions for the zippered welt pockets and the sleeve zippers and gussets was just brilliant!  If you follow those directions carefully and mark your fabric carefully, sew with precision, you will love your results!  Having said this, this isn't a pattern for beginners.  You need some experience before tackling this.

Another finishing detail that is very nice is how the top portion of the zipper is finished off.  You most likely will have to cut it down and don't be afraid of it!  If you use a metal zipper, there are so many tutorials on how to remove the extra teeth using a pair of needle nose pliers and pull.  If you have a plastic zipper, you sew the fabric piece to the top, wrap it and cut off the excess.  It looks professional, neat and tidy. I like metal snaps and attached one to the waistband using my dritz pliers.They worked great!  No issues at all.

I made my usual 1/2" swayback adjustment and that's it!  I was a little concerned I might have to make an FBA but it really wasn't necessary with the weight of the fabric and how this fit.

Next time, I will make a deeper swayback adjustment.  I'm 5'7" and the sleeves were perfect!

I am very happy with how this turned out and I hope you'll try this too!

Thanks for reading and I so love your comments!


Sunday, March 1, 2015

February Recap--what did you sew this month?

February is over and now on to March!  March goes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb...let's hope so as it's cold and I cry uncle!  Enough is enough!

I decided to make a few transitional garments (with a few lingering winter ones as well) just because the below zero wind chills and cold temps are getting really old.

So enough complaining....what did I accomplish in February?  First of all, I put myself on a fabric diet.  I was hoping I had enough will power to sew 15 pieces from my stash before I even considered purchasing anything else....did I do it?  Almost, does that count?  I think I sewed up 7 pieces before I purchased more and four others before that shipment arrived...not sure if that counts, but I tried....

So here is my recap of the month: I felt like my sewing mojo went on vacation but I found it again when I created a Kwik Sew fleece jacket, wow, do I love this pattern!  I hope to see many more of these in my future!

I made three StyleArc patterns but actually it was four as one was a repeat.  Now that I've discovered StyleArc is on Etsy with instant download possibility, I am so hooked!  I have several in my pile ready to go and I can't wait!

I had one wadder and that was a Burda from the winter style magazine.  I really wanted this pattern to work as I think it is super cute but I am blaming my fabric choice as the main culprit.  I do hope to find a perfect fabric to try again. No photo...argh!

I had to make another Coco from Tilly and the Buttons cuz it so cute and easy to wear!  When I wear knit tops/dresses such as this one, I feel like I am wearing pajamas all day but still feel cute and stylish.  How awesome is that!  I'll be making more!

I think my favorite garment this month was the Donna Koran jacket.  My non-sewing friends think I am crazy when I talk about how much fun I had creating a garment but this one really was FUN!  I think you seamstresses out there know what I mean!

I hope to make more spring garments the month of March.  What are you sewing?  How do you manage your stash?  I'd love to know!

Saturday Stash Buster--My first Bomber jacket! McCall's 7100

I am so in love with so many of the McCall's patterns as of late!  So very RTW!!!  Cute, classy, need I go on?  This one caught my eye and I've been contemplating the perfect fabric and decided to just make it already!  I have so much in my stash so I looked and found three pieces that not only worked together but I think look cute and are in my favorite color palates--black and gray!  I need to broaden my horizons, I know!

From the back of the envelope: Semi-fitted, unlined jackets have collar, side front seams, bands, exposed front zipper, and sleeves with shoulder dart.  A, B: welts.  A, B, C: side front pockets.  D: Front pockets.  

I used the welt pockets from a, and the color contrasting from B to create my jacket.  

This pattern is designed for medium weight woven and stable knit fabrics.  I used a black linen for the raglan sleeves and a white, black, and gray print from Marcy Tilton for the main body.  The gray knit is from my stash as well.  I even had the correct length zipper for this!  See what hoarding can do for you?

I made a straight up medium but included at 1 inch FBA.  When I tissue fit this, I knew the apex needed lowered about an inch and I added width that you can see in my photo below.  I just used some left over scraps of pattern tissue paper and taped the pieces in which makes it much easier to fold the it all back up and fit into the envelope.

The one thing I don't do is to add to the waist line.  When I have made FBAs in that manner, I end up taking in the lower edge of the garment so I taper to nothing at that point.

I know some reviewers have commented on the crazy illustrations for this pattern, but if you read the directions, look at the photos and compare your garment, it all makes perfect sense.  Everything is shown on the illustrations--darts, seams, etc.  Don't over think it...

I love how this fits through the shoulder area and neckline.  This isn't too baggy in the body either like some jackets are that I've seen.  And, did I mention the welt pockets?  They are awesome!  That little piece of black from the sleeves gave the perfect little contrast there.  The pockets are just deep enough but if you have larger hands or are creating this as a warm jacket, you may want to make them just a tad bigger.  I made this to wear with a short-sleeved t-shirt or tank, so basically as an indoor layering piece.

Something that I have noticed about the new McCall's is that the finishes are really nice and this jacket is no exception!  I love how polished the insides look!

My only deviation, other than the FBA, was to make my usual 1/2" swayback adjustment.

This is such a great pattern!  I hope you'll give it a whirl!

Thanks for reading!