Friday, December 19, 2008

Back on the Machine

So, I sort of took a 2 month break. Not intentionally. It's just with four kids, doing independent studies with one of them, and daily life, I got...busy. This time of the year is worse for me. I think I look forward to Christmas break more than my kids, because it means NO MORE school activities. Last week, we had music recitals every night of the week!!! One for each child. And scouts - all the kids are in scouts and thankfully, they all have scouts on the same night, so it cuts back a little on the running around. And break started early this year! On Wednesday, we have a fantastic snow storm. It snow steadily all day. From 6:45am (when I was taking them to the bus) until 10pm, when I went to bed, it snowed. So Thursday was a snow day, instead of what should have been their last day of school for the year. No complaints on my end though!!!

So today, I had to sit down and sew. My friend gave me her daughters jacket about two weeks ago, when the temps had just started to dip down into the 60's (yes, we stay warm much of the year). So of course, when it snowed, I didn't have it done yet. Thankfully, being snowed in as we were, coming over to get it wasn't an option. But tonight we're going to a Christmas party, and I promised to have the jacket for her. It was just a popped seam on a zipper, super easy to fix. But once the machine was out, I had to do more than just sew for 3 minutes, right?!

Do you remember this pattern:

I cut out view B quite awhile ago, with the intentions of having it for a winter dress. And then it sat in holding in my sewing closet, lol. Well, to get out the thread I needed to fix the jacket for my friend, I had to take out the bin that was holding this cut out dress. And so today, I am sewing it up.
I have to say though - this dress, while not difficult for the most part, is time consuming!! That panel in the front has SO many pieces. But I love the contrast fabric that I bought and I really want to wear this dress. Plus, I have a Christmas party to go to would be fun to wear this dress, even if it's not in Christmas colors...

So I'm hoping that I will have photo's to post later of the finished dress before I leave tonight. Which reminds me, I have eggnog to make for tonight - best get started!!!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Another Dress

Well, I'm in the middle of cutting my new Vogue dress and I must say, I think it's going to look great. The solid lavender was not quite as stretchy as I would have liked, but it will work. The jersey print is fantastic. I'm debating ordering more to make a tunic top - except with it being so pastel, I'm thinking it would be more of a spring color pallet. But who says I can't stash, right?! Seriously, stashing is a major part of my life sometimes!!
So I've found another dress pattern that I want to try. It's a sickness, really. What is it with me and dresses? But I love them, so I keep making them. This time I'm looking at B5297 Not the long sleeves though. I think those are hideous and I have no idea what Butterick was thinking with that design option. But the other one, View A, I am mad about!!! I may even splurge and get really good fabric for it. I think it would make a great LBD that I've been wanting all month...except there are some gorgeous printed fabrics out right now that I would love to use this for too. Decisions decisions...!

Monday, October 13, 2008


So my goal this month was to make the perfect little black dress for winter. I had fabric. I had several patterns to choose from. I had motivation. One problem. I didn't have enough fabric. I must have cut out 3 different dress patterns, trying to fit them on what I thought was 3 yards of lovely black knit fabric. I'm thinking now that I must have asked for 2 yards, because clearly, I didn't have 3. I don't have my receipt to tell me what I bought, and admittingly, I'm too lazy to get out the tape measure to check what the actual yardage is. Suffice it to say, I now have a lovely black top for the winter. And it turned out great! But I'll get to that in another post.

So I still have this need for a new dress. I think it's because looking in my closet, there simply aren't many options for fall/winter dresses. And I am a dress type of girl. I've seen several lovely fabric choices as of late at Joann's, but at $12.99-$14.99, I haven't jumped to buy them. Seriously, if I'm going to pay that, I'm going to buy something from Gorgeous Fabrics or Emma One Sock, and get something truly special and unique. Yes, I could pay more. But a truly special piece of fabric that speaks to you is absolutely worth it.

So this morning, I got an email that Vogue fabrics was having a sale, so I decided to take a peak. There was one fabric I was moderately interested in, but nothing really spoke to me. I rarely buy fabric unless it speaks to me! My dress patterns were sitting here on my desk, taunting me. So over to I headed to see what the Deal of the Day was. Last week I got an incredible piece of corduroy there, and one never knows. But it was only some quilting fabrics today. So I sort of searched around the sight, convinced that today was not my day to find fabric. And then I saw it. A piece of fabric that spoke to me. A most unusual piece that spoke to me. A simple, lilac, solid matte jersey. Almost all of my dress patterns call for this type of fabric, so I started looking more carefully. V8471 was still calling my name. I've been wanting to make it for almost a month now, but I hadn't found the right fabric. View B particularly calls to me. And suddenly, I saw "it". My dress. Made in the lovely lilac jersey, with a printed inset and cuffs. Sure enough, just a few clicks through the site, I found the coordinating fabric. It was a perfect match. The print is much too small to make a whole dress from, but as the inset accent pieces and cuff, I think it will be absolutely perfect. And even better, the entire cost for the dress, including shipping, was under $12!! Seriously, how lucky could one girl get?!

So now I am waiting anxiously for my email stating that my lovely fabrics have shipped. Of course, with today being Columbus Day, it probably won't go out. I have to give kudos's to - if you order first thing in the morning, as I usually do, they almost always have the order out on the same day. Plus, I think I only paid $3.95 for shipping on this order. I am definitely a happy customer!

I am thinking about some small design features I think I would like to add to this. The cuff's are vented. I think I'd like to see a lovely purple button of some type at the base of the vent. I'm also noticing that the pattern calls for fusible interfacing. Can I just say, my local Joann's NEVER carries fusible interfacing?! Despite the fact that they are finally getting a small quantity of decent knit fabrics, they refuse to carry knit interfacing. There's a bigger Joann's down the hill, which I may have my husband stop in on his way home from work and check for me. Except then I'll owe him - big time. Imagine dirty, grimy, been welding all day guy, walking into a fabric store! Hmm, think I'll call ahead first to make sure they have it for him....

On the other hand, I could use this opportunity to call over to Anne at Needlenook Fabrics. I could order the new Burda issue I'm coveting and get my interfacing...hmm...yeah, hard decision...

I've actually been sewing up quite a storm this past week. I'm presently finishing up a giraff print purse with V8466, which I shall post photo's of soon. I've also made to new tops, which turned out even better than I had imagined. I need to get photos though. I'm just not fond of taking pictures on hangers. It looks so flat - I think you just miss details that way. So maybe I can convince DH to grab some photo's for me. :-) More to come!

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Little Black Dress

I read recently that October is LBD month. And amongst those of us who sew, it's been taken up as a challenge to create something that fits the bill. I don't always follow along with the sew-alongs (since often I have a need for something other than what's being sewn) but this is not an official sew-along, and after checking out my closet, I find that I am indeed in need of a winter LBD. My tried and true favorite is very spring to summer-ish, with flutter sleeves and a deep V neck line.

So I'm going through my pattern preferences for the LBD. It must be a knit. In all fairness, I have a ton of dress patterns in knits right now and I also have a lovely 3 yard piece of black knit fabric. Voila.

I have four choices that I feel would best suit my fabric:

The first is Vogue 8471. I've had this pattern in my stash since early summer. I had originally wanted to do view A with the puff sleeves. For a LBD, I think version B would be a better choice. However, I have some minor concerns about how the waist line would look on me. My stomach is not the most slender, and I have a deep fear that this may end up making me look pregnant. And I'm really tired of being asked when my next child is due. And while I've been loosing weight gradually over the past few weeks, I don't want to make a LBD that's just going to end up hanging in my closet. I could go buy a pair of spanks, but I'd like to skip that too. But this is option 1.

Vogue 8379 is my second choice. This pattern has gotten rave reviews on I like it because it can be dressed up or down, definitely qualifying it for a LBD. The wrap front tends to be very figure flattering, a definite plus. It will take all 3 yards of my black fabric (I was hoping to get a winter top out of a yard or so for practical purposes). I really like the vented sleeve on the long sleeve version, which is what I would be making. I already have some nice jewelry to go with this dress, and I saw a killer pair of shoes at the mall the other day that would finish the outfit. So this is option 2.

Butterick 5242 may be the most figure flattering on my body style. The pleats in the front can be SO forgiving to my "I've had four babies via c-section" body. It also takes only 2 1/4 yards of fabric, so I'd have a little left over for my simple top. One draw back though, would be the long sleeved version. I don't like the puffy looking sleeves or the banded sleeve band. I'm wondering if I could take the vogue 8379 sleeve and use it instead. I'll need to cut the sleeves out and compare the two, and if they work, that's definitely the route I'll go. Again, I really love the short sleeved version, but since I'm looking for a winter LBD, it needs to be long sleeved.

Simplicity 2883 is option 4...and perhaps my least favorite. I don't like either of the two real photos. Instead, I bought it based on the line drawings that include another bodice and sleeve option. Again, I'm not sure that the gathered skirt attached to the bodice is going to be the most figure flattering option for me. Also, I have yet to try a Project Runway pattern, so I'm not sure how the fit differs (if any) from other Simplicity patterns. I'm also concerned that my bodice option is simply a little too casual to really work for a LBD. Those thoughts aside, I do like the overall look of the dress, so it's option 4.

So, I think I'm really leaning towards V8379, but if I can change the sleeves on B5242, that would work well too. Which option will I choose? Check back soon to find out!

Sunday, September 14, 2008


You know when you "see" something in your mind...well, you want it to look that way when you're done! That's exactly how this coat turned out!!!

This is Butterick 6900 (OOP of course, but I do see it's still available on their web site and you might be able to find it locally still). The fabric is from Needle Nook Fabrics. It looks like leather (even more so in person - thought DH was going to have a coronary imagining what I spent on a piece of leather this size) but is really some type of synthetic. I chose to do some minor design changes to achieve the look I was going for.

As I mentioned in the previous post, I don't care for pockets on the front of my coats. Since I'm a purse fanatic (as in I have over a dozen to coordinate with my clothes) I just don't use pockets. So to me, they end up looking like bulky pieces of fabric. I'm not a string bean by any stretch of the imagination, and I don't need extra pieces of bulky fabric! And if I do happen to have pockets, my kids think they can stuff things in them while we're out - I become their own personal carrying system. So I eliminated them.

Second, I changed the buttons ever so slightly. I was snoop shopping online, and came across a coat that I really liked that had this double button effect. Eliminating pockets is one thing, changing where the buttons go was a little more...intimidating. Now that I've done it, I don't why I felt that way, but going into this project, I did. Either by well executed planning or beginners luck, they ended up exactly where they needed to be (as in the middle buttons are in the middle of the chest and I don't have gap-osis to deal with if I button up the coat). My DH, who barely pays attention to what I sew (if I'm happy, he's happy) commented on how he really liked the look of the double buttons. That's about as high praise from him as it comes! I definitely think it made the coat (particularly since I took off those welt pockets, lol).

Another small change I made was to top stitch the seams. Part of this is due to my dislike of the HUGE seam allowances that are given. They were so incredibly bulky after sewing just one or two, that I knew I had to trim them down. This fabric was a little tricky to work with (I think I'll be investing in a Teflon foot in the near future) so I couldn't trim them down too close. By top stitching, it added a little more design detail, as well as kept the seams from curling up on the inside.

Due to the stability of the fabric, I chose to use a very light interfacing in the collar. In retrospect, I think I should have gone one degree firmer on the interfacing. The collar is a little floppier than I would have liked, but really, not bad at all. I also only ran a 2.5 inch strip of interfacing down the front facing (where the button holes would be). While I wanted the stability for the button holes, again, I didn't want to add to much bulk. If I'd been using a denim or a twill I would have interfaced the entire facing.

This coat is roomy, which is a positive for me. Our winters are very cold here and I like to be able to layer. Since this coat is more decorative than functional (there's no way it's going to keep me warm this winter) I'll be able to layer comfortably and still move around, lol. If I wanted this to be an actual cold weather coat, I would have used a heavier fabric and lined it. This still would have allowed for ease of movement, but probably wouldn't be as well suited for layering.

Saturday, September 13, 2008


Sewing is very therapeutic for me. It may not seem like it to my husband at times (I get aggravated when I have to frog stitch) but it really allows me to get my creative juices flowing as well as sooth my soul. Only someone who sews really knows what I'm talking about.

This morning I woke up with the sewing mojo going. I have some lovely faux leather in red that I want to make a jacket from. I am on a kick with jackets right now, despite the fact that it's still very close to being 100 here (99 is our predicted high). I've already cheated and bought a knee length denim coat (but I got it for $12 on sale, how do you turn that down?!) but just like having coordinating shoes and purses, I like my coats to coordinate as well. And having a fun, non practical jacket (aka, red) is nice too. So despite the fact that I have more kid sewing to do, I'm going to take a break today, and sew for me.

So I've pulled out this lovely red fabric, and what do I find with it? The perfect coat sized buttons that will match beautifully. Clearly, I've already thought through this fabric on some level that I bought buttons. I wonder if I had a pattern in mind? Yes, that must sound odd, but like most fabric stashers, I buy fabric because it speaks to me, not necessarily with a specific pattern in mind. (A thought my poor husband finds quite horrifying!)

In my mind, I can "see" this coat finished, even without a pattern:

  • I want a hip length jacket

  • I do not want to line this jacket

  • I want clean lines, not a lot of added details

So I'm thinking my pattern of choice is going to be OOP B6900, view A (white coat in the photo). It's a little longer than I want, so I may shorten it by about 3 inches. I've NEVER had to shorten a pattern before!! But there are no princess lines or other design features to make this tricky, so I'm not worried. And while I think the look of the welt pockets is nice, I actually hate pockets on the front of my coats, so it's a feature I'll be eliminating.

I'm going to go hunt through my sewing books on guidelines for ease on jackets to determine proper fit and then I'm just going to go for it!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Vogue Already

So as soon as loggedonto the Vogue pattern site, I came across V1059 I think this is the exact pants pattern used for my wide leg jeans, pictured below in a prior blog, from Lane Bryant. Here is the line drawing for the pattern - doesn't it look like a good replica?! I think I can justify spending the shipping to get the pattern at this price.

Oh, and look, at this one!! V1051 I believe the legs are not as wide on this pattern. That's a concern of mine on the first, because I don't want every pair of pants I make to look exactly the same - and a pant leg that wide is sure to be remembered, reguardless of fabric or emblishments that I may choose. The pattern is described as: Slightly flared legged pants A, B (semi-fitted through the hip) have below-waistline contour waistband with fly zipper closing, front and back welt pockets, back button loops. A: contrast welts and loops. A, B: contrast waistband facing. B: turn back cuffs.
I really like the turn back cuffs. To me, this is a very finished look for pants, and keep them being super casual. And while I've never done welt pockets, it's never too late to try new things. So this one is definately going in my bag too.
So, two more patterns to add to my collection...

Theraputic Sewing

So my children's projects are almost finished, but I think I'm going to take a small sewing hiatus from sewing for them, and concentrate on sewing some things for "me"! I will finish putting the elastic band in my daughter's pants today, as well as hem them to the proper length so that I can get some photo's of the finish product posted.

Another reason that I'm anxious to sew for "me" is that I picked up some more patterns the other day at Joann's! It's not my fault though. I had plans to go in, get some elastic, get out. Except my girlfriend took my 3 oldest children, which allowed me to take only the youngest and roam around for an hour or so without hearing my kids complain!!! So I happened to wander by the pattern area, and noticed that Butterick patterns were on sale for $1.99. Now how could I not even look at them? So I ended up with a couple in my basket. I was specifically looking for a pants pattern like the style jeans I bought last week. Dually noted that I did not find the pattern I was looking for (in fact Buttericks selection of pants and skirts is dismally disappointing in my opinion!) but I found these dresses instead: B5242 This is the first of the two, and my favorite. I think that the lines on this dress are going to be very figure flattering on my body shape. I'm debating on making a working muslin (aka, using a fabric I moderately like in the hopes that it turns out well and I can add it to my collection) or just cutting straight into a fabric I know I love. Decisions decisions!

My second pattern is B5130 The Muse dress. While I know the criss cross across my bust line should be flattering, I'm not so sure about the rest of the dress. Definitely something I'm going to have to go search the $1 bin at Walmart to find some knit fabric to test on. I love it with the boots though, lol, and I happen to own a pair just like them so I took it as a sign that I was meant to buy this pattern! At the worst, lol, I'm out $2 for the pattern and the couple of dollars I plan to spend at walmart on fabric. I can consider it a learning experience at the very least!
I'm really thinking that I bought a couple more patterns, but apparently they weren't in the bag that I grabbed downstairs in the dark, so I'll have to check on those later and post back. Then again, I bought quite a bit of scrapbooking stuff that day as well, so it could be I'm having a memory lapse over the number of patterns I actually bought. And I'd like to say that that's the end of my pattern shopping spree, but Vogue is having their $4.99 pattern sale today, and I'm still on the hunt for that pants pattern!! So off to shop their next....

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Fall Dreams

So the other day, I posted some new fall patterns that I picked up at the sale at Joann's. Yesterday I was zoning out in front of the computer, and I came across this jacket on JJill. Hmm. This jacket reminds me so much of M5060 (oop). In particular, I want the yellow jacket, view C. Except, I wouldn't be caught dead in yellow! Horrible color on me. Instead, I have a lovely dark olive fabric that I plan to use. I did do a muslin and found this pattern to be a bit snug for my bust, so I'm going to have to experiment with a FBA on a princess seem, but I'm thinking that can't be as hard as it sounds, right? The thing is, I'm tall, and I know that this is a look I will be able to wear well. I may make a few design changes - such as not lining it. I'm not a big fan of lined jackets unless they're suit style jackets. I want to be able to layer this over my fall knit tops, which tend to be light weight despite the long sleeves (we are still quite warm here all the way through the end of October, but the nights start getting chill and layering is a good thing!).

Another top that I fell in love with while window surfing (is that an actual term? it should be!) is this one. I love the details on this shirt. Now in all truthfulness, I'm not sure I would ever actually wear this style. I like the high neck. I like the 'Victorian' feel. I love all the details. I'm just not sure this is actually "me". I also think this much detail would take me FOREVER to actually get sewn, and I'm concerned that I might get tired of looking at it far before it's close to being done. It's funny though, because the color is exactly what I was looking for when I was thinking about my dreams of a Fall SWAP. Except, I think this the first thing I've thought about sewing that is actually in the color pallet I chose. Hmm, what does that say about me?! Ha ha, might be better not to go there.

I did hit a big sale at Lane Bryant this past weekend. One thing I do NOT sew for myself, my family, or anyone else, is jeans. I hate all that top stitching and the rivets (that I think really need to be added to keep them from looking homemade). Also, with my body shape, I have a really hard time getting a well fitting pair to start with. I know I'm not alone in this issue, but I'm just not willing to spend the time to get a well fitting muslin for something I never want to make in the first place. I get the right fit jeans from LB and they are about as close to perfect that I could reasonably ask for (and my DH says they make my butt look amazing - what woman is going to turn down a compliment from her spouse like that?!). So my girlfriend and I were having a great shopping trip, and I came across these. Now I know very well not every woman can wear these. I get that. But see that wide yoked band? That is the most incredibly flattering waist line on "me" that I have every worn. Technically speaking, every single bottom I wear should have that style of yoke. It literally drops 20 lbs. off of me! I love the long wide legs too. Seriously, I feel so tall and slim in these jeans!! They had a darling swing denim jacket that matched...except it looked like I was wearing a tent. :( I'm not sure if it was "that" jacket. I'm hoping not because I really love the swing coat look. But I really think the M5060 coat could look great with these too. Now if I could find a pants pattern with this style, I would sew myself pants until doomsday! Hmm, guess I should really go on a pattern hunt for these...

Does this remind you of this? No, not an exact copy - which is good, because that long, clingy tunic style I'm thinking would not be terribly flattering on me. But I like the neckline, and it's one I'm seeing repeated in a lot of fashion magazine for the fall. In case you haven't guessed, I'm a definite fan of soft, feminine looking tops! I think M5780 has a lot of soft detailing that is flattering on a variety of women. I think I particularly like that it calls for fabrics like charmuse and challis. Oh so soft wovens to go with the oh so soft look!
Well, I have more to post, but I also have kids to take care of and errands to run to today, so I'm going to run for now. Hopefully today will lead to more sewing as well!!!


I'm going to have to put S3789 on hold. I told myself that I needed 1/2 a yard of fabric to do the cap sleeves on view C. Umh, I actually needed 1 yard to do the back of the shirt on the fold. No matter how hard I try, the back piece is NOT going to fit on 1/2 a yard of fabric. It's not a total waist, as I plan to use it to line a purse that I'm going to make with the left over corduroy from the Burda skirt pattern. 1/2 yard will work great for that! Plus, I can print up another 40% off coupon from Joann's and save money.
My daughter's pants to her Hannah Montana outfit just need to be hemmed and the elastic added and they're done!! My son's Wall-E jacket is cut. So much to do! It feels so good to be sewing again. :)

Friday, August 15, 2008

The Joys of Sewing

In case you aren't aware, Joann's is having a Founder's Day sale, and Simplicity patterns are $1 each. With the addition of D cup sizing in their pattern line, I am increasingly becoming a fan of Simplicity again! I recently cleaned house on my pattern collection - I tossed any pattern that wasn't complete, patterns of the "what was I thinking" variety, baby patterns (been quite awhile since I had a baby!!!), and any that just didn't 'speak' to me anymore. They all went to my local community college which offers a free sewing class. Well, this left me with 4 EMPTY boxes for patterns (and 3 filled quite nicely, lol) that I am determined to sew with this time. So here's a quick peak at my newest additions:

Top row: 3651 - men's and boy's jacket. This is going to be my kindergartner's fall jacket, made from some Wall-e fleece he has been coveting since we passed it at Joann's a month ago. It's a surprise for him :); 3624 - bought some luscious teal fabric for this, it will be the project I start as soon as I complete the 2 I have going and make the above pattern for my son; 2883 - A Project Runway pattern...

Middle Row: 2930, another Project Runway; 2852 (hoping this will be a TNT for a winter top as I love this style); 3697 - I really love this pattern...;

Bottom Row: 3790 - not sure about this one, but I think it has potential. I really like the band on the bottom of the shirt. You'll notice the other two are repeats. Not sure why Picasa does this, it just does.

I mentioned that I am in the middle of two projects as well. The first is Simplicity 3716, a Hannah Montana design series. I don't know what color to call the velour other than lipstick pink (I just noticed this is an updated envelope than what I have, because on my envelope cover, the little girl is wearing a lavender velour suit, and this picture is only slightly brighter than the color I'm using!), because that's what it reminds me of! It's a nice dark pink. Probably more along the lines of a spring color, but my daughter loves it and I had enough (ahem, barely) to make it for her, so that's where I am. So far so good on this one. I had to go buy satin lining for the hoodie, and then yesterday I ran out of the thread color I was using (no clue how that happened, I had a big spool of it!) but I picked up some more at Joann's tonight since all their thread is 50% off. It was so nice to buy some good quality Gutterman thread again! Anyway, I expect to finish this up tomorrow while my DH is off doing a dump run. I plan to post a review on as this is really a cute set. I need to go get the larger pattern size, as we just graduated from the 7 to the 8, and I see this pattern being used a lot!

The project I originally started was Simplicity 3789. I bought that really cute fabric to do the pockets of my Burda skirt with and ended up loving the skirt so much, I wanted to make a blouse out of the remaining fabric. Great idea, but even using View C, I didn't have enough for the sleeves once I cut out the pocket lining. Oops. So 3/4 of the way through, I had to put it aside. Now I am the first person to admit that I am really bad about UFO's!! But again, this is one of those patterns that I really think I could use over and over again if the fit is good (and I'm thinking it's going to be!!!). So I made sure tonight to get enough fabric to finish the sleeves and hopefully enough to line a self-drafted purse that I plan to coordinate with this. But I can live without the coordinating fabric for purse lining if need be. :)

I can't remember the last time I sewed THIS much, and I have to say, it's wonderful!! I forgot how relaxing sewing is for me. I am really itching to finish these two projects so that I can get on to my son's jacket so that I can get back to another top for "me"!!

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Simplicity 4814

Yes, it's that time of year. When I start whipping out clothes for the coming winter months. This is a very challenging time for me because it's 100+ outside. The thought of putting on anything made of polar fleece is more than a little horrifying! And yet I sit here with a stack of projects to do so I won't be scrambling when winter (usually around the last week of October or the first week of November) temperatures set in.

This is Simplicity 4818. I bought this pattern...hmm, probably at least 4 years ago. It's from the Lizzie McGuire pattern collection. When I bought it, she wouldn't even fit in the smallest size, which is a 7. I made this in an 8, based on previous reviews on

One of the things noted was that this pattern is close fitting. My daughter is a skinny mini. Almost 11 and barely wearing a size 8 these days. I was really hoping for something a little more form fitting, but I'm sure by the time we put this on over some winter clothes, it won't be as baggy (as you can see from the top photo). The thing about living in the desert is that you never really know how cold it's going to get, so layering is important. I also read the arm length seemed too long, and I shortened it by 2 inches. This seemed to work great for my daughter. I stitched the side seems in place on the cuff's so they wouldn't come undone. I don't remember if that was recommended in the pattern or not.

A funny story about this fleece. I bought it at Joann's when my daughter was in 1st grade. I made one of those cute little ottobre fleece capes for her. She fell in love with this print and colors the moment she saw it. So the following year, I made a vest from this fleece. And then it was a hat beanie and glove. Then it was a scar and a different beanie. Now this jacket. I literally had shreds of fabric left when I finally got it all cut out. It took quite some creative cutting to get the entire jacket cut out! She's terribly disappointed that she won't get yet another item from this fleece next year, but I must admit, I am very done sewing this particular fleece!

This outfit will coordinate with a Hannah Montana pattern that I'm getting ready to cut next!
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Monday, August 04, 2008

Burda 8680

After my last two sewing flops (more on that later) I've been more than a little discouraged. Thankfully, I have a ridiculous supply of fabric on hand, and decided that I need to invest some time in muslin's, rather than cutting into "the" fabric.

First, you should know that I'm a huge jean skirt girl. Wait, that doesn't sound right. I'm a huge FAN of the jean skirt! I tend to wear a well fitting one to death. So I felt that getting a well fitting pattern in my collection would be an essential to my wardrobe building.

I've had Burda 8680....hmm...probably at least 5 years, if not longer. I'm not finding it in Burda's online pattern catalog so I'm guessing it may be OOP. If you can find it though, it's definitely a great pattern to have! Anyway, I've also had this corduroy for 5-7 years. Being self taught, I get discouraged when I make things that don't fit right. Fit is my main issue in life when it comes to sewing. I SEW admire people who can work out fit issues, and I read just about everything I can get my hands on to help me overcome this hurdle. So I decided to use this caramel colored corduroy (it's photographing much lighter than it is in person) to do a muslin. I wasn't going to worry about interfacing or anything, since it was just a muslin.

So of course, 3/4 of the way into it, I realize that this is really turning out well!!! Quickly re-thinking the "I'm not going to wear this" track, I start really thinking about the details. I wish I hadn't sewn the entire thing in a thread color that matched so well, but I certainly wasn't going to do all that top stitching for a muslin!

A few changes I made: First, the pattern calls for all the pocket pieces made from the main fabric. Now I know this corduroy has a softer hand. I can't even imagine a stiff denim pocket! Looking at my favorite ready made skirt, it had all cotton pockets, so this is a change I made. Also, the largest size, a 20 (I am not a number, I am not a number...) didn't leave me much room for ease, so I reduced the side seam allowance to 1/4. I'm cutting back on the soda now, because while this fits, 5lbs. extra, and it won't! But I digress. I had to increase the waistband to accommodate my seam allowance changes. Overall, I still shorted myself a tad, but it's workable. When I add a shirt, no one else is going to know that the tab for the button doesn't extend quite as long as it should. But because the rest of the skirt fits so well, I am certainly not going to quibble about minor details that no one but myself will notice. Also, I had to re cut the waistband because I didn't have the fabric lined up correctly when I cut it the first time and it was messed up. When I re cut it the second time, I have the nap of the corduroy upside down. Again, no one but me knows this, so I've decided i can live with it. :)

I'm noticing in the photo that it appears that my center slit doesn't match up evenly on each side. When I'm wearing it, it matches perfectly, so this is just the photograph (big sigh of relief!).

I'm definitely going to be using this pattern again. I made note to mark on the pattern that I used 1/4 inch seam allowances instead of the 5/8 given. I don't have any denim in my stash at the moment (I know, go figure!) but I have some lovely dark olive green stretch twill that I think would make up beautifully. I'm seeing denim skirts embroidered. I'm picturing using my Kandi Kane to embellish other skirts. Needless to say, I see myself using this pattern a LOT. LOL, I may go down to office max and have it laminated so it doesn't get shredded with repeated use!
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Thursday, July 24, 2008


And so I continue to work on this shirt.

I should note, I put this away for a week, I became so frustrated with it. I felt like a beginner sewer who didn't know how to read a pattern or make a simple shirt! I haven't felt this frustrated since I made my daughter's first Easter dress 10 years ago (having never sewn for a baby before...).

So this morning I pulled out my pattern pieces to compare and see where I went wrong, trying to determine where I went wrong. When I came across this startling discovery! Do you see it? These pieces do NOT match up. Not even close. I carefully checked the reviews on and did not see any mention of this. I went back through the directions to see if I missed something. No, everything looks to be in order. Did I get the only pattern reject?! No clue.

Thankfully, I bought enough fabric to cut out the band on the bottom for views A&B. I believe this will savage my much wanted shirt. I could simply cut the back piece off, but I wanted to make a longer view (shirts are never quite long enough for tall people...). So I think the addition of the hem band is the best decision. Also, the shirt isn't sewn together on the side seems - well, hard to do when they won't match up - so I should be good to go!

Stay tuned...
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Sunday, July 13, 2008

Sewing Hiatus

So I had good intentions of making the burda shirt/jacket. And I still may, since I have the fabric. But not any time this summer!!

Life interrupted me as I was sitting down to sew again. My DH had to work out of town for 4 1/2 months. Somehow, sewing time for "me" fell to the bottom of the list! However, I was in the middle of McCalls 5337

when I last left off, and I things were going well! My inspiration started with a piece of fabric I found on eBay. It was SO pretty and springy, it spoke to me on my computer monitor (I am terribly sorry if fabric doesn't speak to you, but all of my sewing friends will attest that this is a perfectly normal scenario...) I was about half way through the shirt, when I had to put away my sewing stuff for what I thought was a brief time. 3 months later and one move, I'm finally sitting down to finish it.

Did you ever work on a project that just didn't seem to want to be? Yes, that would be THIS shirt, sigh.

So I pull out the trim and start to attach it to the sleeve. Odd, it doesn't look like I have enough to put on the bottom of the shirt. So I measure. Why on earth would I not buy enough trim?! Of course, I have no clue now. Fine, no trim, I can deal with that. Let attach the sleeve to the shirt. Oh...wait...what's this? I sewed the facings to the wrong side of the fabric? NO! It can't be, why would I do something like that?! OK, so it is that way, but I certainly don't remember doing that...and so I frog stitch. Finally, things are back on the way they should be. But wait. Where are the markings for the shirt sleeve? I know I transferred all the markings...except for these apparently...ugh!

That was an entire day. I have no idea where my head was when I was working on that shirt in February, but it clearly wasn't attached to my head! Fortunately for me, I love this fabric so much, I'm willing to go back and make the appropriate changes. I even have enough fabric left over, that I'd like to make a coordinating handbag, and line it with this fabric...but we shall see, lol, that might be pushing it. With any luck, the shirt will be done *today* and I won't be waisting another 2 days...

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Burda 412

Alright, this isn't exactly your typical winter day outfit. But in the interest of stash reduction, I have to make this!
I have a beautiful black and silver lace burnout style fabric, that I think this will look lovely in. Add to the fact that I must have 50 black camisoles and undershirts (OK, no, not really about 5 though?) and this would make a lovely over shirt without adding bulk.
I also have nothing like this in my wardrobe, so it will be a nice addition.

Burda WOF - 413

To start with, this neckline on this looks huge on the hanger. It's much more flattering in person.

The description on the pattern is as follows:

This dress, in the trendy wrapover look, fits so beautifully due to a perfect pattern design that includes bust and back waist darts. Both front pieces are cleverly caught in the side seams so that nothing can slip out of place.

OK. I agree 100% that the front pieces are securely caught in the side seams. I really liked this feature, and I think it's a large part of why the front doesn't 'slip'. There's also not a lot of excess bulk fabric - something any woman can appreciate!

That being said, the collar shown on the line drawings was horrific when it came to actual application. I looked at it. Looked at it again. Looked a third time. Why a collar stand on a knit dress? OK, it's a double knit, it's very stable. Still...

So then I noticed that this is also a shirt pattern. Without the collar!! So I opted to make this dress like the directions for the shirt...just with a nice calf length skirt attached, lol.

I did my first FBA for this pattern, and it worked REALLY well. I've been struggling with the bust on most things since I had kids and gained a bust. I highly recommend Fast Fit Pattern Alterations, by Sandra Betzina to help with the FBA.

Now, that being said, I wish I had read a little more on her flat pattern fitting for measurement. I got so excited on the well fitting bust, lol, I did not adjust for tummy control, lol. This dress will look fantastic on me - when I loose about 10 lbs., lol. Still, I really like the dress, and I won't hesitate to make it again.
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Ottobre Pajamas....again

What can I say, these are my favorite pj's to make for my kids. Sometimes when you have a TNT pattern, and it's something you make consistantly, it's just easier to make the same thing year after year. After all, it's pajamas!

I bought this flannel several years ago, when my sons were 2 and 4. They're now 6 and 8. Oops. Still, my intentions were to make pj's for them. Recently, we've been on a growing spurt and new pajama's have been a much needed item. I figured that I would only have enough flannel to make sleep pants, and that I could make the a knit sleep shirt to coordinate. I was pleasantly surprised to find I had enough of both fabrics to make coordinating sleep shirts (just barely on the "tool time" fabric)!

So this is 4 yards of fabric out of my stash. With any luck, my kids won't outgrow this set, and we'll make it through the spring!

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Sewing Resolutions 2008

Hmm, I didn't get much sewing done last year. I don't know, it just seemed that I didn't make the time to sit down and sew. So, here's some sewing resolutions:

  1. I will sew up more stash this year than I will take in new fabric - it is not OK to have the leaning towers of fabric in my bedroom!!
  2. I will get over my dislike of sewing pants and learn to fit a good pants pattern for me
  3. I will make each child at least one shirt a season - no sewing for just my daughter
  4. I will work on getting better learning my Pattern Master software - since I plan on buying the upgrade in a few days, it makes more sense to learn how to use it than to just let it sit on my computer.
  5. I will dedicate 4 hours a month to sewing for "me".
  6. I won't hate myself if I can't complete these resolutions in a year!!

Now in all fairness, I've alread started the year off well. I've used six yards of stash fabric. Flannel that has been in my stash for almost 5 years. I don't know why I let it sit there that year. It's not like my kids don't need pj's. It's not like I don't have a PJ pattern that I love (look through the archives to see the PJ's I've sewn before - I'm using the same pattern, I love it!). I seriously have more fabric that I know what to do with right now, and it's incredibly overwhelming. I really want to get it sewn and out, so I don't feel guilty when I buy more. Because let's be honest, lol, I'm not going to stop buying fabric!!

Happy New Years!!