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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...

Friday, July 31, 2015

A valiant save for a pretty overnight bag!

How do you use those lovely home decor prints that are everywhere?  Every fabric store I enter has eons of them...so many pretty colors, textures, and the heft is just awesome, especially if you want to make something that will withstand some wear and possible tear...enter the overnight bag!

This is a cute little pattern from Simplicity, 2274, to be precise.  I've made it before for the men in my family.  The girls were a little chuffed to say the least.  Where I spied this pretty home decor print on Fabric Mart's site, I knew it had to be and now one lucky lady would get her own bag!

For the guys, I used a similar pattern for the bag anyway: Simplicity 2600.


And here are their bags!  

For the guy's bags, I used all cotton.  I choose a theme based on their interests.  Air force for Andrew who is in the AF reserves, Kevin, an avid outdoors-man and Dr of wildlife conservation, Daniel who simply likes space, and Kevin is a full-blown star wars nut!  Guys aren't all that careful with their stuff and I wanted washable fabrics for their bags.  Plus, these can double as a gym bag if needed.

I wasn't something different for the next go around with the ladies and up popped Home Decor fabric!
Home decor fabric is lovely to work with.  I used two yards of it for the bag and enough left over to make a little matching clutch that you'll see in a few photos below this one, to use for whatever the lucky daughter or daughter-in-law likes.  The colors are vibrant and the design is woven into the fabric.

This bag holds a LOT!!!

I followed the directions for the bag pretty much as written but since it is a bag I am creating, I chose to eliminate a few of the outside pockets and to line the insides with a pretty orange lining I also purchased from Fabric Mart.  It sort of gives a satiny feel to the inside of a bag, which in my mind makes it girly and sort of glamorous!  Oh, and I almost forgot, I did a few rows of quilting in parallel and perpendicular lines to anchor all the layers together.

When working with home decor fabric, I like to serge all the edges prior to assembly.  So, I layered each piece with the the batting, lining, and of course my pretty geometric pieces and serged the edges. I just find this makes life easier when making a bag such as this.  If you don't own a serger, a simple zig-zag stitch will do the trick.  

The contrast fabric on the handles was from my stash and is a simple cotton print that highlights the green.

There is batting between the outer fabric and lining and as well as all these fabrics sewed, I had zero issues.  I did use my walking foot which I love to stitch the layers together.  Don't have one?  No worries, you can still get a great result when sewing home decor fabric, you'll just want to pin carefully and abundantly to match your edges and keep them straight and even.

I wanted to highlight the contrast on the bags and decided to use a decorative stitch to attach the straps to the bag.  How fun!

I even used the same decorative stitch to hold down the zipper facing.

So, what about the save?  I had a major, major mistake that I didn't realize until I was 100 percent finished with the bag.  I had one of the handles twisted!  How on earth did I do that?  I carefully pinned those things and checked them twice but somehow, someway I was foiled and ^*%$#!, I had what could become a three-hour unpicking session....deep breath......

There just had to be a way to fix this and yes!  The handles have a seam in the middle, I unpicked the binding about 12 inches worth, unpicked the seams on the both sides of the handle and also the seams on the binding.  Another deep breath and I untwisted the seams, sewed them together the correct way and put the entire thing back together, flawlessly in about 45 minutes.....disaster averted!  My sewing fairy godmother was looking out for me today!!!

I enjoyed making this bag!  Using home decor fabric might be something you hadn't thought of but try using it in unconventional ways.  Jackets/vests,

 pants--DD2 loves to refer to these as my 'drapery' pants,

skirts, purses, totes, overnight bags, and even home decor items are all great uses for this fabric!  

Thanks for reading!


What sewing disasters have you averted lately?  I'd love to hear about it!  

Vogue 8805 Color blocked dress--finally!

What took me so long to make up this super easy, stylish, and f-a-s-t pattern?  I've had it ever since it came out but just never took the time!  Well, now I finally have one!

Here's an image from Vogue patterns site:

V8805, Misses' Dress

See what I mean?  CUTE!!!  The dress is described as semi-fitted through the bust with a back neck slit closed with a hook and eye.  Purchased bias tape finishes the neckline.  

I used ponte knit from Hancocks.  The colors are pretty and it sewed up well, it just isn't my favorite fabric I've purchased from them.  It isn't soft but it hangs well...maybe I'll get used to it over time!

 This dress doesn't take much fabric either.  The biggest piece you use is the middle section--like I needed to explain that!  It was about 3/4 of a yard for that section.  This is a very economical sew!

Of course I deviated from the pattern!  I didn't want to use purchased bias tape on the neckband with the hook and eye closure, so I tested the stretch of the fabric and it fit easily over my head and I cut  the back neck piece on the fold, eliminating the seam.  Now this part I can't actually believe I am typing but here is what I did....

I single turned the neckline and used my coverstitch to hem!  I've never done that before and I actually can't believe I did that today, but it TOTALLY worked!  I have a beautiful edge on my neckline.  I also used the coverstitch on the sleeve hems.  

The bottom edge I just turned once and used a straight stretch stitch to hem.  Since I love to topstitch, I used matching thread to topstitch close to the seams.  The entire dress, start to finish was about 2 hours.  What could be better?

DH took my photos and he was making me laugh so some of the photos I may have a super silly look on my face!  He doesn't really care for the green/blue combination.  I sort of liked it.  What do you think and please be honest!  It isn't like I have a lot of time or money invested in this dress if it looks ridiculous with my color combination!  

Did I also mention this pattern and separate pieces for A, B, C, and D cup sizes?  I just love patterns with that feature!

Thanks for reading!  Try this pattern if you haven't!  Super easy and instant gratification!


Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Another StyleArc Jacket, but this time it is the Sienna!

StyleArc, please stop tempting me with all your dang cute patterns!  Especially the jackets, skirts, tops, pants, oh wait...that's all their patterns!  I just drool when I see them made up!

A fellow reviewer at SPR made this in white and I decided right then and there to order the pattern...even though I had to get it from Australia!

Just look at those design lines!

I love the softness around the neckline that cascades down the front. 

Here is a description from the pattern: Beautifully seamed at the back, this is an unstructured jacket that has a flowing open cut front falling from the back collar stand.  

The shaped hem bands and two piece sleeves give this jacket a tailored feel but it is simple enough to make in an afternoon.

This pattern is rated by StyleArc as medium to challenging.

I used a mini-plaid rayon stretch suiting from Fabric Mart.  The fabric is really awesome to work with and the stretch makes it comfortable and drapey!  Pretty much perfect for this type of jacket.

Sizing for this is typical StyleArc.  I always use a 12 with zero alterations to the body of the garment and this pattern was no exception.  My only alteration to the pattern at all was to shorten the sleeves by about an inch.  StyleArc sleeves always seem so long and I'm 5'7"!  

Everyone who's sewn a StyleArc knows the directions are basically a blueprint for construction steps. This pattern is no exception and there is one drawing that shows how the facing is turned out at the neckline and hemline.

There is an option to include the facing or not and I included it.  My fabric was perfect as it didn't deflect from the draping at all.  Also, it hides some of the seamlines you'd see if the facing wasn't there.

I am wondering about the sleeves with this pattern.  They seem to not hang as nicely as I'd like despite keeping all the notches lined up exactly.  Has anyone else had this issue?  Check out the sleeves and let me know what you think.

It was a little difficult getting the edge where the front and front band to match up perfectly and this may be due to the order of construction.  I am going to play with this for my second version to see if I can make this step easier and get better results.

Thanks for reading!  I really love my new jacket!  It is a perfect fall transitional piece or for a cool summer evening.

Sue :)

Friday, July 17, 2015

Simplicity Top/Tunic

I don't sew a lot of patterns from Simplicity/Burda but when I do, I typically love them. so what is the  problem....???  Not sure, but it's not the pattern, it's awesome!

So many possibilities with this pattern!  

I've had this pattern in my stash for quite a while but the fabric was a newer purchase from Fabric Mart as a Maggy London stretch cotton I found perfect for this top.  It's SO graphic but that's what appealed to me so much.  And, it's a border print so what fun it was to play with the pattern placement.

The only real concern I have with stretch fabrics and border prints is that the stretch in the cross grain and the placement of the pattern on the cross grain could cause the garment to stretch out of shape in the length?  Is this just hogwash?  Anyone have an expert opinion on this?  I have quite a few of these types of fabrics in my stash but just don't know how to use them.

While the overall pattern is super simple, you do have to read the actual instructions in order to pick the right size and bust size to fit properly,.  Trust me on this....I was trying to explain how fitting patterns work to DH and he just didn't get how wonderful these tops/dresses/jackets are that have the built in cup sizing for you.  I do like to study these for patterns that I do need to alter as they have some valuable information on them as far as how to adjust for larger bust lines.

Back to the top!  Sewing is so easy with this one!  There are six pattern pieces and not many steps.  I used interfacing in a medium weight for the facings, traced the front slit onto the interfacing and away I went!  I really wanted to use the border in the design of the top so I ended up creating a center front seam and mirrored the edges of the print there.  I also cut the sleeves with the border in the design as well.

After I finished the entire thing, I decided this top needed a pop of color.  I checked in my stash for some thread/yarn suitable for bobbin work but didn't have anything so I did the next best thing I could muster up and that was couching.  Couching is basically adding embellishment to a garment by stitching another material on top and securing with thread.  I used a feathery decorative stitch and black thread.  The decorative stitching gets lost but it's okay, I still like it!  DD1 is an AVID knitter and mailed me some small scraps of the incredible yards she's used to create her to DIE FOR sweaters and I started playing with those and came up with simply mirroring the lines of the neck. The teal-ish color wasn't enough so I also added the fuchsia.   I love it!

My only alteration to the pattern was to use my typical swayback adjustment and to let the hem out some.  The pattern called for a 1.5 inch hem and I used a 5/8" just because I like the length better.

I LOVE my new top and can see making many more Simplicity patterns in the future!

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Sewing for all fall(!) McCall's 7084

I love sewing for all seasons, but for some reason, especially fall.  You can still wear less heavy clothing than winter but darker colors and more textures seem to be present in my garments.  I was excited I finally cut into my Robert Kaufman Denim for this dress from McCall's 7084: 

Isn't it darling?  This is truly a pattern you can use any time of the year with the sleeve variations and fabric possibilities.  

I really like this denim I used.  It has a lot of texture with the weave of the fabric and also in the look.  I hope that makes sense.  :)  

I barely had enough to cut this dress out so I had to use a contrast at the front bands and inside collar stand.  

I like how the ditsy floral is peeking out.  That fabric is 100% cotton from my stash.  

I am very happy with the fit of this dress.  The horizontal and vertical lines are all straight and hang well on me.  I did make a FBA at the front princess seams.  

Look at how nice that collar is laying.  I cut the under collar as a second piece that was 1/8" smaller on the three edges so it would roll slightly to the inside.  I think it worked.  I did also pin it to my tailor's ham, steam it, and let dry so it is nicely shaped.  

Since fabric was at such a premium, I ended up cutting the sleeve length about 6 inches shorter than the pattern called for.  This still gave me enough room to turn and cuff them.  

Those cute little buttons are coconut with a carved leaf design in them.  I purchased those from Fashion Sewing Supply.  I think they are perfect for this dress and the casual vibe I was going for.  

Yes, that is a rather goofy look on my face....not sure why!  

Thanks for reading and I do LOVE my new dress!  I can totally see wearing this in the fall/winter with tights, boots, and a jacket or cardigan.