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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 31, 2016

Kylie Knit top

What is wrong with me?  I simply can't stop sewing with StyleArc patterns!  I love them so!  Here is my latest make:

I know my print is busy, but it is Jungle January and I had to participate!  What gets a little lost are the design lines so here is a pic of the pattern from the StyleArc site: Knit top with an open back overlay

That front and back overlay is just so stinking cute!  Here is a description from the StyleArc site: Fashionable and functional top. The overlay has a high low hemline and an opening down the back. This top can be made long or short sleeves therefore suitable for all seasons. Need a basic tee? - Just leave the overlay off.

My fabric is from FM.  Where I purchase a vast majority of my fabrics.  

I really like the neckline on this.  The band is sandwiched between the overlay and the main portion of the garment.  You'll want to make sure everything lines up precisely or the overlay will look and lay funny.  

A little breeze caught a portion of the back overlay and you can see it swinging in the wind here! 

And here is another slight breeze to blow the other side of the back overlay a bit!

Look how nice those sleeves are!  They are the perfect length.  Is it any wonder I love StyleArc patterns so much?  It seems as though they were drafted for me, personally!
I do have to admit I make a few minor adjustments to the pieces and here they are: 1/2" swayback adjustment and 1/4" sloping shoulder adjustment.  Not bad, eh?

I love this top!  It went together well and is a newer pattern that I enjoyed trying.  One thing I did note is that the neckband doesn't have any markings on the pattern piece.  Just play with it before you stitch your neckband down to make sure you like how all three layers are lining up.  

Thanks for reading!

A long vest...in denim

I've had my eye on this vest pattern for a long time.  Why?  Well, I love the lines and I love wearing layers.

Trendy long line vest with shawl collar & pockets

See what I mean?  How does StyleArc keep making these amazing designs?  Here is how the pattern is described on StyleArc's site: This forward trend of a long line vest will become a great addition to your wardrobe as it can be worn at anytime of the year as a layering piece. The vest is unlined. The pockets can have fashionable metal exposed zips if desired or just left as in seam pockets.

I used a mid-weight denim for my vest that's been in my stash for about a year now.  While that isn't horribly long, I try to only purchase fabrics I love and want to use immediately, so now sure how these ended up in a forgotten location.

I decided to have only one pocket and to leave the pockets sans exposed zips.  Why?  I couldn't find any locally I liked.  I suppose I could have shelved this garment until I found some but I must have been feeling very impatient that day.  

I like this better unbuttoned than buttoned.  As you can see, the facing is nice and wide so the vest looks nice when worn open.  

You can sort of see how this vest does not have side seams by side darts to give it shaping.  I really like the shawl type collar.  It rolls so nicely.  See the back mid-section?  It looks too big but that is how this is designed with a rather rectangular shape.  Honestly, I don't mind it at all.  

Here is an 'action' shot.  Sorry it's a bit blurry!  This was fun to make.  I wish I could have gotten DH to take more photos but he was growing a bit impatient.

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, January 17, 2016

The Paige Dress

Of course I made another StyleArc pattern, I just can't seem to get enough of them!

I've had my eye on this pattern for a while as I love the design lines and the details!  And as always, I am in awe of how well StyleArc pattern's are drafted.

             dolman sleeve dress or top with feature zips & design lines

From the pattern cover it is described like this: This fantastic dress or top with feature zips and design lines, is very comfortable and stylish.  It can be made with 7/8th dolman sleeve dress or top.  Add exposed zips or slice it up!  
This top can be made in a ponte, jacquard knit or a woven with some movement.

I first made this in a super-duper stretchy knit that was difficult to handle and found this dress WAY TO BIG!!!  Can I emphasize WAY?  Oh my gosh, I just swam in it!
I won't even show you my first attempt.  Although I should have just so you can see how very much I took this pattern in!

I love textured knits and I found this ivory at Hancocks and it was on sale!  I purchased a yard and a half and used every inch of it.
Had I decided to make this out of a single fabric, it would have become a top.

I really like this with the contrasting black fabric I used.  It is a super stretchy knit that has been in my stash.  A little more on fitting this dress--I took this in about six inches.  And, since I downloaded this pattern from Etsy, I went back and made sure this printed properly, which it did.  I took it in at the center front and back and along the shoulder seams.  I did not take it in under the arms as that is a tricky area to sew in the first place as you are sewing a convex and concave pieces together.  A note on that--I staystitched the dress portion of the seam and the most concave area, or just under the arm. After staystitching, I clipped the curve as it is indicated on the pattern piece.  After that, make sure you line up all the notches and such, it makes a huge difference in getting this dress properly.  You should also follow the direction to sew from the hemline to the sleeve opening.  

The other thing you may be noticing is that I added a neck band and also sleeve bands.  I find so many of my sewing decisions start with a pattern but find that fabric choice makes me change the original plans!  This fabric is far too weighty to simply fold to the inside and stitch in place.  I simply converted it to a neckband and added the sleeve bands as well.  
I decided to wear this with a belt to give it a little more waist definition.  It really doesn't have any and it isn't suppose to, so that is okay.

I did add the back neck exposed zipper and like the simple detailing it adds.  I didn't add the front pockets because I thought they would show through on my fabric and I simply didn't want that.

I've never really fit a dolman sleeved top before and you can see some of the deep wrinkles I have above the bust.  I will have to research how to adjust that area.

I really wanted to take my photos outside today but didn't and here is why:

Yes, it was negative 13 degrees below zero today when I went to church.  Brrr!  No way was I going outdoors to take a photo in this nastiness!

Thanks for reading and I do hope you are staying warm in your neck of the woods!  


Saturday, January 9, 2016

A New Coat in a Designer Wool--Awesome!

Every winter I make at least one coat for myself and this year was no exception.  Living in South Dakota where winter can and has truly lasted until May, you wear your coat a lot and it is so nice to have some choices in your closet.

I found this beautiful designer wool at Fabric Mart and hoped I could use it for January's blog.  I was even more thrilled when it arrived as the photo simply doesn't do it justice.  It is soft, heavy, and very warm, perfect for a northern plain's winter!

I wanted a coat unlike one I currently have in my closet and one that was a little dressier than my others.  For the pattern, I choose the Stella Coat by StyleArc.  Can you blame me?  Look at those design lines!  They are beautiful!

                        Transeasonal Coat - one pattern for two seasons

This is a pattern for experienced sewers only and why it isn't terribly difficult, it does require some tailoring techniques to make it look good, otherwise with the cross over effect and the belt, it could easily become a bathrobe.  ;(  Not good!

Sewing with wool is absolutely a pleasure. I prepared my wool by throwing it in the dryer with a wet towel, not just once but twice before cutting out.  It worked beautifully.

I love the stand collar, it is interfaced on both sides to give it that structure.  With the 1/4" seam allowances at the edges, hardly an trimming of the seams was necessary.

I am very proud of how the sleeves/shoulders lay.  I typically make a 1/4" adjustment at the shoulders for my sloping in that area.  I decided not to and knew I'd add shoulder pads.  This time I used 1/2" and also I made my own sleeve heads.  Anyone remember inserting those?  I cut one inch strips of batting a sewed that to the sleeve head with a simple whipstitch.  

Other reviewers that have made this coat have left off the center back seam, but I choose not too because of the shaping in that area the seam allows.  I don't think it detracts from the overall look of the coat.

Can you tell how much I love the pockets on this coat?  The placement is perfect and they are nice and roomy.  So they wouldn't float around, I attached a piece of seam binding from the 'corner' of the pocket and attached it to the front seam allowance.  

I can't believe how cold it was when we were taking these pictures!  The coat is fully lined and has completely separate pattern pieces for the lining which give an amazing structure.  

When I sew with wool, I first sew the seam with a straight stitch and then press the seam to embed the stitches.  After that, I open the seam and iron it so I get a nice open seam.  

To press the seams open, I like using these wooden tailor boards.  This one has a nice point on it that I used in the collar areas to get a nice, crisp point.  

 After pressing the seams open, I finished the edges with my serger.  Wool ravels rather easily and I want this coat to last for years!  

After serging, I fold wrong sides together and press again.  Look at that beautiful edge!  

For the back yoke, I cut that piece on the crossgrain, just to give it a bit of a difference.  It isn't anything that jumps out at you but is subtle.  

The inside of my coat is just as beautiful as the outside, I am so proud of it!  

I love my coat.  If you've never sewing with wool before, give yourself a treat and sew up a new coat!  It is gratifying, will last forever, and is a true statement piece you'll enjoy reaching for again and again!  

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

In pursuit of the perfect fitted blouse

I love fitted blouses, especially when the fit is beyond superb.  Having said that, I really like this one but I have some additional fitting to do.  But this, is a very good start!

Crispy white Jenny shirt - sewing patternFor this blouse, I used the StyleArc Jenny Shirt.  It has some very nice details!  I love the forward shoulder treatment, back yoke, placket sleeve vent, and the darts for fitting.

It also has an almost real placket for the sleeve, which I think is always a great touch.  Although, darn, I forgot to get a picture of that detail! I promise to for the next version.  

As sewists, we all know, or should know what we are getting into with StyleArc patterns when it comes to the directions.  Am I right?  

For these, I was completely disappointed and I am a HUGE fan of StyleArc!  

Here are my complaints--
How hard is it to proof read?  I know that I make errors in my blog, but I am not publishing it for anything than my own personal reflection on my sewing, not to sell a gosh-darn-thing.  In the first line of construction details, the word 'cur' is used instead of cut.  Not huge, but then again....

My other gripe is that the sleeve placket pattern doesn't match the diagram included with the instructions.  Now mind you, I've done this more than a few times so I know how to make a sleeve placket but if you had no idea, this illustration wouldn't help you in the least.  Not one tiny bit.  

Alterations?  Well, I made my usual 1/2" swayback adjustment and that is it.  
Also, I knew this top was fitted, but I am not the slim, trim gal I was 15 years ago so I left out the back darts so I had a little breathing room.  Maybe if I hadn't eaten so many goodies for Christmas, I would have been able to put the darts in, but for now, they are out.  
I also am experimenting with the best way to complete a sloping shoulder adjustment and I read an article in the most recent Vogue Sewing that talked about this topic.  Their suggestion or technique is to scoop out the bottom of the armscye as much as you do the with the sloping shoulders.  Does that make any sense whatsoever?  
I'll take a photo next time.  I think the shoulders need a tad more work.  

I love my new top, especially with this RTW vest I've had for ever!

Thanks for reading and if you have a blouse pattern you love, would you share the pattern details with me?

Sue :)  

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Comfy, cozy flannel

I love flannel!  Do you?  It is warm, soft, and comes in wonderful colors and patterns.  I found this plaid fabric when a local quilt shop decided to sell off all their fabric.  I wish I would have purchased more colors and patterns! It is truly lovely to work with.  And oh yes, this post is LATE!!!  Better late than never, right?

I couldn't decide what to make with it or what exactly I would do with it but knew I loved the gray and muted red together.

For inspiration, I turn to the web and a lot of times Pinterest.  Instead of a typical button up the front and collared shirt, I thought this tunic from StyleArc might be fun.  The pattern isn't designed for flannel but with the looser fit and blouson top, I thought it would work so I'll let you decide if the final execution was worth it or not.  I will say however that I wore it today and received many compliments!

Tunic Top featuring pockets & draw string

This tunic is called the Ginnie.  It has a front band, drawstring at the hip level, envelope pockets that are lower than the bust, roll sleeves and a shaped hemline.  I made just a few modifications.

As you can see, I cut the front band and pocket flaps on the bias to give it a little visual interest.  I interfaced the areas that called for interfacing as suggested by the pattern.  For StyleArc, the directions were actually pretty good!  The only head-scratching moment I had was in regards to the envelope pockets.

This is the first time I've ever made them and while they aren't complicated, I was confused!  If you look at the diagram of the pocket and think about it, they go together fairly easily.  Don't be like me and over think it.

I lengthened the sleeves so they are full-length and also the hemline so it covers my backside more thoroughly.  There is nothing worse that tugging on a top that is too short.  I didn't initially add the sleeve tabs but might now that I have worn it.

I will make this tunic again in a lighterweight fabric that is more flowy as that is how it was designed. I love breaking the sewing rules now and then, don't you?

Thanks for reading, I love this top and felt warm, cozy, and if it is okay to say, confident in my new top.  As you can see, I included some 'action' shots of my favorite little buddy (my grandson Simon). He was 'helping' me decorate the Christmas tree!  

Sue :)

Friday, January 1, 2016

Happy 2016!

Sew many plans, sew many goals, sew many ideas swirling in my head...how about you?

Image result for images 2016

I'd love to hear your thoughts on 2015 and your plans for 2016!

For me, I know what I didn't do pretty clearly...
1.  Bra sewing.  Nope, didn't happen.  If I don't set a completion date, it won't happen so my goal is by 2-1-16 to have perfected the fit of at least one bra.  
2.  Quilts.  I had four in the queue.  I complete the top of one, but with that one only being halfway completed, I've got a long way to go! My goal is to have the one that is almost complete done by January 31st.  

New goals (and completion dates!),  As a friend once so logically said, "A goal without a completion date is just a wish."  Well said!!
1.  Find the perfect blouse pattern.  After finding it, create the perfect white blouse by June 1st  It is about time!
2.  Work on tailoring techniques such as with a channel type jacket.  Completion date is March 1st.  
3.  Finish at least one additional quilt in the queue.  With three additional kits, this must be done by September 30th.
4.  This goal is reserved for after completing these three new goals plus the two from last year.  If I complete all these, which I sincerely hope to, then I consider a new goal very appropriate!

Happy sewing all!  I love hearing from you so please let me know your thoughts!