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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, May 31, 2015

May wrap up and sewing plans for SUMMER VACATION TIME!

Yahoo!  It's summer break for me and that means lots of time to sew!  I have other projects too such as painting the exterior of our home but what I am most excited about is to sew for the pure pleasure of it!

Back to May...I fully intended to post photos of MeMadeMay but life just got too busy and I simply forgot!  What I did do however is to look through my closet for clothes I've made and haven't really worn or barely worn and tried to figure out why...the big conundrum of my life!  I spend so much time, as I am sure the rest of you do as well, picking the perfect pattern for a cherished piece of fabric to create a garment I am just ecstatic to wear!  So, here is what I discovered:

1.  I am w-a-y to hard on myself when it comes to critiquing overall fit, shape of a garment and wear-ability.  For example, one of the tunics I had made but hadn't worn finally saw the light of day and I received no less than ten comments on how cute it was and how well it fit me.  Huh, maybe I should have worn it sooner!  And actually, this happened more than once with clothing I hadn't worn yet!

2.  I need to make some wardrobe plans as I sew.  I was very disappointed I wasn't able to participate in SPR mini-wardrobe challenge in April and May as I need a challenge like that to help me coordinate some pieces.  I had three work related trips, a retirement party at my home for a dear friend and colleague, teaching an on-line college class with over 40 students (BTW, don't ever agree to do this!), and also working full time.  Not much time was devoted to sewing let alone coordinating all the pieces!

3.  I really need some basic pieces such as tee shirts, blue jeans, and camisoles in colors I wear all the time.

And...every day the month of May, I wore clothing I made!  In fact the gals I work with want me to take a photo of an outfit that I haven't made and show them if I ever do wear such a thing!  Ha!

I did make some stuff that I really, really like!  Dresses, a jacket, and some cardigans were all appreciated!  I even made two tops I haven't gotten around to blogging about, so watch for those soon!

Currently, my cutting table is cluttered with a project for Fabric Mart.  I am making clothing for the men in my life: Husband, two sons, two son-in-laws and a super cute 21 month old grandson.  That is a lot of men!  I'll fill you in more later...it is quite hysterical talking to men about their clothing and even with five that have opinions, they were all very much the same in their approach to choosing clothing styles.  :)

So here is a list of my May-makes!

Vogue Dress with pretty linen fabric.  

StyleArc Maxi Dress modeled in the rain!  

My favorite make of the month--StyleArc Ziggi Biker Jacket in white denim.  

A colorful top and skirt!  Kwik Sew top and StyleArc skirt.  Both made in super stretchy knit from Hancocks.  

A McCall's raglan sleeved dress in a beautiful watercolor print from Fabric Mart.  This was a Julie's pick fabric and I love it!  

A linen knit cardigan with no buttons from a McCall's pattern.  

Same McCall's pattern but in a poly crochet-look lace.  

Thanks for reading!!!


Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Very Easy Vogue CustomFit Linen Dress

Do you ever feel like you picked an easy-peasy project only to discover that a--it was more involved than you thought it would be and b--very easy doesn't always translate into fast?  

I picked up this linen when I was visiting DD1 in Baton Rouge, LA.  She swore there weren't any real fabric shops but I found a few after a brief search :).  She probably should have said she hadn't really looked yet.

Sewing with natural fibers is always such a pleasure because they sort of mold how you want them to remain...darts remain crisp, pleats as well and topstitching looks sharp.  Why don't I use linen more often?

My eye was on this Vogue pattern for a while, mostly because of the lines of the top.  I like the overall shape and the front slits are a cute detail.  I'm not crazy about function-less flaps so I left those off.

This is one of those custom fit patterns and I made a 14 with a C-cup.  I am loving the fit!

The photo is much cuter than the drawings.  I couldn't find any reviews of this pattern, so Vogue, maybe use the photo on the cover of the envelope?  

What made this much more time consuming for me was I wanted to make a garment that was finished very well, that fit well, and had an amazing invisible zipper.  While this isn't exactly perfect, I am certainly proud of my fit, zipper and the slight changes I made to to the design.

The June issue of Threads discussed invisible zips and how to make them well, invisible!  I spent a great deal of time lining everything up and carefully sewing so that zipper was nearly impossible to spot.  How do you think I did?  Perhaps there is a tiny bit of pulling at the center back and I am hoping that with a few more clips in the zipper tape, it will lay flatter than it is now.

According to the pattern directions, you were supposed to use bias tape to finish off the neckline and armholes.  While I don't dislike that finish, I wanted something nicer so I made my own bias tape and sewed it to the right side of the dress, folded it to the inside and hand stitched in place.  I topstitched the front side skirt pieces, just like the directions indicate along with the waistline seam.

Only a few alterations were necessary.  The first was to very slightly let out the waist seam (by a total of 1/2") and also make a deeper bust dart (about an inch) on each side.  I found the neckline too high and lowered it by 1.5 inches in the front and a half-inch in the back.

Just because...I staystitched the neckline before attaching the bias tape.

That's it!!!

One of the things I checked out before saying this was done was inspecting how the waistline seam lay.  Was it horizontal of did it dip slightly front or to the back?  I think that if anything it may very slightly, less than 1/4" towards the back.  If I make this again, I'll check that more closely.  Right now I think I'm being too critical.  I also checked the hemline and that seemed very straight and parallel to the floor as well.

This pattern is a winner for me!  I can totally see the 3/4 sleeve top and pants in a ponte and you could eliminate the zips.

Look, no gaping armholes either!!!

Thanks for reading!  I love hearing from you!!!
Sue :)  

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Jacinta Knit Maxi--LOVE!

My love ot StyleArc continues and here is a recent download from Etsy.  I made a 12 with zero modifications.  

Here's a description from the StyleArc site: 

This sought after look is style arc’s interpretation of the current maxi dress trend. This design is comfortable, yet so stylish. Front and back angled yokes give this dress a slimming effect. The pattern provides for a sleeveless or a short sleeve version. This pattern is made for a knit fabric.Maxi length dress with V-neck

Isn't this cute and comfy looking?  I just love the design lines with this one!  This is my wearable muslin and yes, I'll make another, although I will use a fabric or embellishment that compliments the design lines.


It's Memorial Day weekend and it's raining in South Dakota....although we need the rain, wouldn't it have been nice to wait until 11 pm for it to show up?  

I do love how you can see the raindrops in the above picture!  

My fabric is a poly-lycra blend from Fabric Mart.  It was purchased earlier this winter and I love how the dots are scattered rather than in neat little rows.  
It is very light weight so this dress will be cool and comfortable in the summer.  

What I wish you could see is the front and back yokes and how they add dimension and shaping to the garment.  Although, I will say the shaping on this dress is slight--it is more semi-fitted rather than fitted or close-fitting so don't let the line drawings showing how it fits the 'model' fool you.  :)  

You can also see my cami--this is rather low cut and since I make clothing I can wear for everyday and also to work, cleavage just isn't appropriate, hence the cami!  

Here is a glimpse of the back.  It fits well.  I could take it in somewhat so I can ditch the belt, but I will wear it a few times before I decide to make that change.  

I wanted you to see what I did with the neckline.  The neckline as cut following the pattern directions was a tad too big and I felt like it didn't lay very nice as in it rippled somewhat so, despite the fact that I had stitched, serged, and topstitched, I rippled it all out...and even though I was very careful I still managed a small hole or two.  Rather than trash the whole thing, I remember I had these iron-on silver discs that I applied strategically to cover the holes.  

This dress is a very nice length.  I didn't alter anything with this pattern and I am 5'7".  If you are taller, or plan on wearing this with heels, you'll want to lengthen it.  I am wearing flat white sandals with this.  Sorry you can't see the complete length but my photographer insisted on staying inside where he remained warm and dry.  

From cut out to final stitching, even with ripping out my mistakes, this took about 3 hours total.  A great project and I am sure it will look equally cute sans sleeves!  

Is it clearing up??? 

Nope...rain is forecast for the entire day!  

Thanks for reading!  I love my new dress and DH gave it a huge thumbs up!  I so love StyleArc!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

The Ziggi Biker Jacket is finally mine!

Do you have patterns that you literally lust over?  Be honest...I know I do and one of the top five for me was this drop dead HOT Ziggi Biker Jacket from StyleArc.  I am going to the first to admit I have a HUGE crush on StyleArc right now and I am even more dazzled than I was before embarking on this jacket. [insert huge grin!]

So, I saw another version on SPR where a gal used white fabric and I thought to my out of control stash and remembered I purchased a drop dead gorgeous white denim from my favorite local quilt shop in Sioux Falls.  They've had so many requests for high-quality denim they started carrying it.  I probably paid a little more than I should have for this, but with short term pain such as what happened when I swiped my debit card, I am darn glad I did as this 10 oz denim from Robert Kaufman sewed up pretty special and I am super pleased with my jacket.

Fabulous fully lined biker jacket with zip features

I had about 2 yards of this beautiful fabric--honestly, buy it if you come across it!  I intended to make capri jeans but I kept dreaming about this jacket and I finally just went for it and purchased the download from Etsy.  This bad boy was something like 59 pages to tape together but if you put on a movie or watch reruns on HGTV, it isn't so bad.  All in all, from printing to sewing the final stitch, I spent about 10 hours on my FREAKIN BEAUTIFUL JACKET!!!  Can you tell I really like it???

When I embarked on this journey to sew this together, I hadn't read the directions completely.  Don't snicker...I had a vague idea of what I would be getting myself into, especially since this is a pattern that is rated for an experienced sewer only.  Yep, after making this I'd say this is very accurate.  You have to know intuitively how to complete some of the steps as we all know StyleArc directions are minimal.  Another note is that on the Etsy site where I purchased and downloaded this pattern, the center back seam isn't shown and I was confused as to what I missed as I started putting this together.In addition, the directions don't mention topstitching the seams but I did anyway as I think it gives it a nicer finish.

You can either line or not and I chose not to.  Had I used a wool or leather, then without question I would have.  I also quilted the shoulder sleeve and the yoke and it just adds a nice little dramatic/boutique touch--if you catch my drift.

Since I chose not to line this freakin awesome jacket, that met the back collar seam wasn't tucked in nice and neat so I used some light pink bias tape, stitched it to the seam at the collar and then slip stitched the free end to the jacket itself with silk thread.  Have you ever hand sewn with silk?  It is luscious!

For those cute little exposed zippers at the pockets and sleeve hems, DH found them at a church rummage sale and purchased a bag of all sorts of zippers for about three bucks.  There are about 10 of these six inch decorative zippers in there along with black ones and all sorts of others.  Score!!!

I used a tutorial on StyleArc's site for exposed zippers and found it more than adequate.  There were even visuals included!

I made a straight up size 12 for this am even though I like the fit, I do wonder if it is perhaps just slightly too big?  Maybe not...what do you think?

As for interfacing, I used a medium weight from Fashion Sewing Supply.  I even used interfacing at the seams for the zippers at the sleeves and also the pockets, even though the instructions didn't call for it.

The snaps were from my stash,yay for hoarding materials!  I find an awl very useful to cut the hole before setting the snaps.  It makes lining everything up very easy and you don't have to use as much force when you set them with a hammer.

Yes, I love this, can you tell?  I'll make another with a wool or dressier fabric.  This is a lovely pattern and I am very smitten with StyleArc, in case you couldn't tell!!!

Thanks for reading!!!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Sew little time--Kwik Sew and StyleArc to the rescue!

Gosh I love sewing with knits and especially those that coordinate color, weight, and care-wise!

I walked into my local Hancocks looking for only more needles and walked out with three knit fabrics: two solids and this wildly colorful print which has so many loves for me from red to coral, black to peacock green!  I simply had to have these and am so pleased with the result that I wonder why I even stumbled even a mere thirty-seconds to think about it!

I knew I wanted a skirt and immediately of StyleArc's Gorgeous Gore as a perfect candidate.  I knew there were only six gores to this skirt but couldn't remember how much I needed and of course my phone had just died so I couldn't even look it up!  I guesstimated on 1.5 yards and it works, although matching those medallions on the fabric would have been much, much better.

Great 6 gore knit jersey pull on skirt

StyleArc's patterns are the bomb and this is no exception.  It has only two pattern pieces--both of which you need to cut numerous times, so pay attention to how many you need!  There are very few steps and the elastic waistline insertion is professional and easy!  Insert instant love here!

This skirt turned out exactly as described: knee length and easy to wear.  I say yes to both of those comments!  If you are taller than 5'7" check the length, it may be too short.  If you are shorter than 5'7", check that as well as this may be way to long!

I used a very stretchy poly-lycra knit from Hancock's.  It behaved beautifully!  I made sure I sewed from the top of the skirt to the hemline to avoid distorting the seams as which can potentially happen when sewing in multiple directions.  As it turns out, I did not need to worry, this fabric behaved beautifully--although I will say I spent quite a bit of time playing with scraps to make sure they both layers fed through the serger evenly with no distortions whatsoever--thank goodness for the differential feed adjustment!  It makes such a difference on how fabric ends up looking when you are done sewing!

To hem this colorful skirt, I used steam-a-seam and was not disappointed!  I adhered it to the hemline, lifted the backing, folded that a second time, pressed and folded again.  This gave just he right amount of weight to keep the hemline nice and neat, or without ripples, when stitching.

My only alteration to this pattern was to topstitch the yoke band to the skirt portion to keep the seam from rolling.

Oh yes, I do plan on making this skirt again!  It's a great pattern. I hope you'll try it!

Can you tell I am gushing over this outfit?  I know it is VERY colorful, but with the gloomy winter we had, I need some over the top brightness in my life!

As usual, I thank you for reading!!!

More Kwik Sew Love!

Kwik Sew patterns are the bomb for directions and ease of sewing, agreed?  I love them and have never been disappointed in my final product as long as I pick the correct size, sew with careful attention, and use quality fabric.

Here is the description from Sewing Pattern Review: Pull-over tops are close fitting. View A has full length sleeves and V-neckline with lapped collar that is gathered at front neckline with four decorative buttons and loops. View B has short sleeves and wide round faced neckline with neckband that is gathered on front

I made a medium, used a poly-lycra knit from Hancock's that behaved and sewed beautifully and paid careful attention to the construction process, simply because I wanted the neckline to turn out astounding.  How do you think it looks?

This is an easy gratification project.  If you don't have much experience sewing super stretchy knits then please wait for this pattern or pick a knit that is relatively stable, yet with good recovery.

I mismatched this using the neckline of A but the sleeve length of B.  I was slightly worried it would 'hang' around the back of my neck, but it really doesn't so I'm pretty sure it will work great for spring, summer, and fall.  The neckline was easy to sew but I took a few precautions such as basting the collar edges together prior to attaching them to  the top and using fusible interfacing at the shoulder/back neckline for stability while sewing.

As with every Kwik Sew Pattern I've used to date, instructions and visuals are impeccable with no head-scratching moments at all!

I had very few alterations/modifications to this pattern.

  • I made my usual 1/2" swayback adjustment by making a wedge at the back waistline and tapering to nothing at the side seam.  However, when I see photos of my swayback adjustment, I wonder if the reason I have some bunching at the back waist line is because I didn't need the adjustment with this stretchy of a fabric?  Not sure....any ideas?  
  • I made an FBA by using the system in the book, Real Fit for Real People.  I use this method a LOT!!!  The exception I make to this process is to bring in the waistline to normal as I don't need extra width there.
  • I used an elastic hair band for the button loops and I only made three as I had only one hairband the correct color.  Therefore I only sewed three buttons at that point rather than four as the instructions call form.
  • The only other modification to the design was to topstitch the seam of the collar to the top using a stretch stitch.

I really love this top.  It's a bit different from any other tops I have in my wardrobe so that 's a bonus and I plan on making this same top, or version B, with long sleeves for cooler weather.

Thanks for reading!