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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, July 31, 2016

StyleArc Amber Woven Top

Have you seen this pattern?  I've had it in my stash for over a year and finally got around to stitching it up!

Fashionable slip on top featuring interesting details

Can you see all the details?  Darts, piping or trim along the front band and front and back neckbands. It also has darts at the shoulder seam making it a 'real' raglan sleeve.  What makes this top special is the finishings on the inside.  Everything is so tidy and neat!

The best thing to do is just show you what it looks like and then explain

This is the inside at the neckline.  There are no facings!  The facings are made with the front and back neckbands and also the front panel.  Those decorative pieces are sewn wrong sides together and then flipped to the right sides.  You stitch down those panels on the front and that is how the neckline is clean finished.  At the shoulder seams you use bias strips made from the fabric and everything is just gorgeous inside!  

This fabric was from my stash and I believe it is a rayon challis.  It looked so different on the right and wrong side I decided to turn the fabric to the wrong side for the garment and the right side for the panels.  The rick-rack is from my stash as well.  I purchased an entire box of it at an antique store several years.  The price tag on the package was 15 cents.  I should have done a better job matching the zig and zag part of the trim to it was even all the way down.  

I was showing the hubby where i wanted him to focus the camera.  It was on the topstitching, not on my chest.  I think he's hopeless.

I like that the design wraps around the back of the top.  

This is pretty boxy but overly so.

From the side, you can see that I made an FBA and a swayback adjustment and it was needed.

I like this top.  It isn't my favorite but it was a fun sew just because of the way the the panels create a clean finish.  Fabric choice is critical.  I think my rayon may have been a bit too heavy.

Thanks for reading!  

Friday, July 22, 2016

I Lu Lu, do you?

How fun is this tunic from StyleArc?  I think it is super, duper fun! 


I made it yesterday afternoon and as you'll see from my photos, wore it today so there are some wrinkles that I hope you'll ignore!

Layered tunic length top made in woven

I purchased this as a PDF from StyleArc's Etsy store.  Have you gone there yet?  Not only are the patterns cheaper, but also it is instant gratification!  You can also order a size range.  My typical size for StyleArc is a 12 so at the Etsy store, I purchase the range of sizes from 10 to 14.  That way, if a garment is super over-sized, I can print off and put together the size 10.  


This pattern has some interesting details that caught my eye.  I LOVE neck and sleeve bands!  There aren't created from merely cutting a wide strip and then folding, there are separate pieces that are sewn together to create the shaped sleeve bands.  I really, really love this detail!


This is how this garment fit me straight from the package, so to speak!  Oops, let me say that I almost always make a swayback adjustment and I did here as well.  That was my only adjustment to the fit. When I make this again, I am going to consider make an FBA and add darts.  Notice, there isn't really any shaping to this garment which I was more than okay with.  We are having one heck of a HOT and HUMID summer as I am sure most of the country is but I don't really want any tops hugging my curves!

Let's talk about the fabric a moment, shall we?  I love this coral crepe.  I don't typically sew with crepe and while it is just lovely to look at and the finished garment I think looks pretty darn good, it has sort of a spongy-quality that was a little frustrating to get a sharp press with at the sleeve and neckline bands.  I ended up hitting those areas with a super hot iron, a pressing cloth, and a lot of steam.  That helped tremendously!  


If you've made StyleArc patterns in the past, you will realize that the strength of this pattern company is their drafting, not their directions.  I had read other reviewers comment the directions for attaching the lower skirt to the bodice was difficult to understand, so I look at the diagram that was included with the pattern download and it all made sense.  

I love this tunic.  I hope to make another at some point in a lovely silk or similarly silky fabric.  

As always, thank you for reading!

I love your comments!



Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Burda--welcome to the jungle!

This is such an unusual top for me to make, but know what?  I like it!  It is unique and really out there!


This is Burda, 115 A from 05-2016.  I downloaded it from BurdaStyle.com.  IT is called a cape T-shirt and that sort of fits.  

I had this fabric left over from another project and I thought the cat print would give this top a different sort of vibe.  

See how the sleeves are not really sleeves?  

Above you can see the line drawing.  This is very, very cape like in the manner in which the top of the garment is formed and cut.

And yes, the back does really cross over to the front as much as it looks.  I like very much how this 'sleeve' treatment hugs your arms.  

There isn't a center back seam on the pattern but I had to squeeze my top out of this so I added the seam.  I don't think it detracts from the overall design at all.  

There wasn't a direction on how wide to make the neckband, so I cut mine at 2.5 inches wide, folded it in half, and used a 1/4" seam to attach to the neckband.  I wanted a nice thick band so this didn't dip too low in the front or back.  

If I decide to make this again, I will need to make a swayback adjustment.  

What are your thoughts on this unusual garment?  Should I keep it, wear it?  

Sue :)

Sunday, July 17, 2016

New Look 6343 I love dresses!

I love dresses.  I love wearing dresses.  I love sewing dresses.  I. Love.  Dresses.

So today, I was working on a project, and yes, it was another dress when I realized I have some major fitting issues to tackle.  Sigh!  Anyway, I wanted to finish something today so I pulled out this super cute pattern:


Yes, it is simple, but I really love the shaping of the armsyces, the neckband, and the lower edge band on the dress.  It isn't terribly noticeable on the pattern cover, but you can see it much better in the line drawing! 

Isn't this fabric just fun?  It is a poly knit with plenty of lycra that I purchased from Fabric Mart.  It has been in my stash for a while as I wasn't sure what to do with it.  

I really like the colors.  Coral, black, pink, white; these are some of my favorite to wear in the summer months.  

I like this best with the belt.  Without the belt, it hangs rather straight from the shoulders.  

I just couldn't decide which part of the pattern to use the coral bands.  I played with the placement at bit and this is what I came up with.  

This is the first time I can remember sewing armsyces such as these.  Sewing these in knits is rather awkward at first.  My last attempt looks the best--of course!  Since this is my wearable muslin, I won't get too bent out of shape.  I really love this in white with the long sleeves and plan on making a version that is similar in the fall.  

I really love this pattern.  I can't wait to try it again!

Thanks for reading!

Friday, July 15, 2016

Mr Amazing and a new quilt

Here he is, Mr. Amazing, or more commonly referred to Elliot.  He was born on April 1st and I finally have his baby quilt finished. Not that he cares it is late, but honestly, what kind of grandma is late with the baby quilt?  DD2 keeps telling me no worries, but still!

Here is a photo of the entire quilt.  It isn't very big, but just big enough for a wall hanging.

Have you heard of Anita Goodesign?  This is one of her embroidery or small quilt designs and there is a bit of a learning curve.  It isn't tough mind you, but for some reason, I seem to think that I can outsmart directions....Sometimes I can but not this time!

What did I do that was ridiculous?  Well, see those super cute colored borders around each block?  During the embroidery process, you place, stitch, and fold fabric to make that border.  I thought I could do this much faster after all the blocks were stitched....but it turned out that it would have been much easier and faster to have stitched the blocks as the designer intended.  

One thing I love about these blocks is that the quilting is part of the embroidery design.  Once you stitch all the blocks, you can add sashing if you'd like, which I did!

Here is a picture of the quilt back.  I love this fabric.  This was a fun make although it isn't 'perfect'.  DD2 thinks it is cute and that Mr. Amazing will love it as he gets older.

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Pink Jeans--screaming summer here!

I'd forgotten how much I love making jeans.  They are super satisfying, especially if they fit well and the process is just different enough from a regular type of clothing--dress, top, knit, etc.

Fashionable narrow leg woven jean

These are described as a narrow leg jean with a contoured waistband and RTW details.  I have to say, I completely agree!

I really, really, really love the fit of these.  They work on my aging body, even though my back end is starting to look like my mother's.  :)  

I really need to do more squats and lunges.  That is on my to-do list.  

We all know that SA's directions are not the greatest and since this is not one of their newer patterns that I believe has better verbage that the older ones, this one was a chore.  This isn't my first rodeo with jeans.  I've made many pairs--probably double digits so this isn't a new process for me.

The length of these is just perfect.  For reference, I am 5'7".  I wash and dry my denim at least twice to take care of residual shrinkage.  

I really love adding rivets.  Other than the six rivets I added, that is all I glitzed them up.  I mean they are PINK!  What more do you need?  

Sorry, I am not sure why this photo is fuzzy but the hubster couldn't be bothered for more photos.  

See what I mean by approaching geriatric butt?  My rather regular jogging isn't enough to take care of this body deformity.  ;)    

Here is a closer up photo of the rivets.  I don't have any fancy equipment other than a leather punch to cut the fabric so it can easily receive the rivet top and bottom half, the rivet setters, and a hammer. Two good whacks and those babies are set.

See how neat and tidy the zipper looks?  I finally dug out a Vogue jean pattern and looked at a previous pair I had made so I could visualize what I needed to do to finish up the fly.
My pocket lining and facing is made of lightweight cotton.  One nice this with the pocket lining is that it extends to the fly.  I sort of feel like you could possibly make that piece from a power net so you had some tummy control.  

This was a fun make.  This denim is so awesome to work with!  I also have some in red and leaf green.  I can't wait to stitch those up as well.  

Did I mention this is how these jeans fit STRAIGHT from the pattern?  How often does that happen?  I love my shocking pink jeans.  What have you been sewing?


Saturday, July 9, 2016

A little leather skirt: perfect for all seasons!

When summer rolls around, I start thinking about what I am going to creating for fall/winter.  Crazy?  Probably.

I've been wanting a leather skirt for ages.  I love sewing with leather.  It is so soft and supple and is actually quite easy to create something that will be in your closet for as long as it fits.

My leather skirt is only partially made of leather.  The other fabric I used is a rather stable ponte that was a remnant from a previous project.  I hadn't really thought about how to put these two fabrics together until very recently and was so surprised that no one addressed any special techniques or tools for sewing leather to a knit.  After clenching a rabbit's foot in my teeth, I experimented and I'll show you what worked for me.

Sorry this photo is upside down, but you can at least see the two fabrics I combined into one skirt.  

The first thing to consider when using leather is the needle.  There are specialty needles for sewing leather but I had no idea how they would work on the knit portion of my garment.  
Schmetz Leather Needles Size 110/18
Also, I typically have a large stash of different types and sizes of needles but I realized I was out of leather ones!  As luck would have it, everyone locally was out as well. I experimented and found out that universals, size 14 worked just fine, although if my entire garment was leather and none of the adjoining pieces were of another fabric, I would have panicked with a capital P!  From reading about the realities of sewing with leather, I learned that the wrong size needle and type and your thread can rip out of it just like tearing out a piece of paper from a spiral notebook.  No one wants that!  I increased my stitch length and after sewing a sample, I tugged and pulled and that seam stayed put. Whew!


Next I decided I needed to figure out how to finish my seams.  For this skirt, I knew that I would use a straight stitch, clip the seams to about 1/4", press the seams open and then topstitch.  This worked just great and since leather nor ponte frays, this was a fast and easy finish that also looks professional (at least I think it does!)


I also purchased a Teflon coated foot a while back that made gliding over the leather so much easier! Easing up on the amount of pressure the presser foot applied to the two layers also helped feeding the fabric through.

My pattern choice was NewLook 6312.  This is a simple pencil skirt with some nice details.  When sewing with leather, if you aren't seasoned, you'll want a simple pattern with few pieces.  I knew this pattern would work great with my leather and ponte fabric.

I made a muslin as one thing you MUST know with leather is that a needle hole in PERMANENT in the fabric.  Yes, I know this picture isn't the greatest, but it does show how much I had to work with this skirt to get it to fit right.  I used pattern weights when cutting out my skins and wonder clips to hold the edges together when sewing the skirt.  

I changed this pattern up a bit by adding an exposed zipper up the back.  Many patterns call for a 7 inch zip but I like to use a 9 inch one so it clears my hips more and doesn't strain the lower end of the zip.  

For the exposed zipper, here is how I prepared the seam.  I stitched from the hemline to the zipper notch using a 5/8" seam.  Next, from the waistline to the zipper notch I stitched using a 7/8" seamline, pivoting to connect the seams at the notch.  Clip the corners and then press down those little triangles along with the seam allowance.  I use steam-a-seam on the zipper tape to position the zip.  


I love the fit and comfort of my new skirt.  It can be super casual....


Or dressier....


Black can be so hard to photograph!


Thanks for reading!  I really love your comments....are you sewing for fall/winter yet?