Wednesday, December 21, 2011

McCall Spring Patterns

I have to admit, I'm not usually a fan of McCall Patterns.  Not for myself anyway.  I find them to be a bit too...young?  That sounds odd.  I'm not old!!  But a lot of their styles just doing suit me.  So when I got notification today of McCall's spring line, I didn't give it much thought.  But I had some free time this morning, so I decided to see if there was anything that my 13 yr. old daughter might like.  I was pleasantly surprised to find a couple that I will be picking up when they are finally released at Joann's (who never seems to have them as soon as they're out, so I won't even bother wasting my time between now and the new year...but I digress).  

This first one M6503 will be great for my brother's wedding next June.  It's a late afternoon wedding, but June is usually a mild month in Oregon, and I think this would work, even if I needed a cardigan towards the evening (the reception is along the Rogue River). I'm looking at view C, with ruffles.  I think it would be lovely in a aqua linen.  I'm not 100% sure I like the gathers on the skirt, but I think I could play with those to make some inverted box pleats.  The gathers usually have people asking when my next baby is due. :-/  I also really like view D, with the mandarin style collar!  I think that could be really cute for work.

I'm also partial to M6519.  Not so much for the pants, top or jacket (that top would not be flattering on my body type!).  Those are a snooze fest for me.  But I really like the dress and the skirt!  The dress would be great for work (and if I was so inclined to make the jacket, which I don't think I would, it could be a cute set) and I have several tops that I already own that I think would work well with the skirt.  I never have enough skirts or dresses.  Particularly in the summer, when it's ridiculously hot here in Houston.  And knit dresses in the summer are wonderful and forgiving in the heat and humidity (linen is comfortable, but wrinkles...ugh!)

Another surprise for me was the accessories.  I don't make a lot of accessories.  They tend to look...homemade (I don't mean purses, those I love!!).  But I really like M6523 .  I know my daughter would adore making some of these, and again, I think I could make something to coordinate nicely with the dress for my little brother's wedding.  Yes, I'm a ruffles and flower type of girl at heart, but it's not something I usually indulge in for fear of looking "sweet" (and that's not a good thing!!).  But I think I can get away with it for a wedding, lol...

 I also really like this wrap top from Palmer and Plestcher.  Now this is the type of top that is more figure flattering for me.  M6513 has this shirring or gathers across the top, that help hide my "I've had 4 c-sections" tummy.  That is always a bonus for me!!  I like that there is a short sleeved and long sleeved option, as well as the two sleeve options for the long sleeve.  And since it's a knit pattern, I bet I could even leave the sleeves off for a summer top.  This one is definitely going to find it's way into my pattern stash!

Friday, November 25, 2011

KS 3782

I was really on the fence about this pattern.  I love the sleeveless style, but sleeveless isn't allowed at work and most of the clothes I make for me are work clothes.  Casual clothes are easy to buy and not always as fun to make.  But I bought the pattern at Hancock's because I figured I might like to layer the sleeveless top under a cardigan or light jacket for spring or fall.  I was on my lunch break last week, and came across a blogger who had made this top and modified the sleeves.  It was SO pretty!!!  Here's a link because I wouldn't have made this top without seeing SewRuth.  The cuff's she added were what made me realize this pattern had more potential than just as a sleeveless blouse.  I absolutely love her version!!

Ultimately, I franken-patterned the sleeves from Simplicity 2403 - another dress on my to do list one of these days. I need to remember to measure the pattern bicep when making a cuffed sleeve like this one, but ultimately it does fit, I just don't have a lot of extra moving room. Thankfully, that's not really an issue for me.  If it had been the elbow, and one of the many reasons I'm not a fan of long sleeved shirts, it would have been a different story.  I've posted a photo of the original.  Very bell shaped!!  I don't know, I just don't see the bell shape as being flattering with this style.

Here you can see my modified sleeve.   I copied the sleeve cap for the KS pattern, so that I wouldn't have any fitting issues.  I've marked on my pattern that I need to add about 1/2 inch for fit next time.  Or tone up my arms.  Ugh.  The photo to the right gives you a better view of what the new pattern actually looks like.  This was actually a very easy modification.

Here's a peak at how the cuff looks.  The button matches much better in person, rather than being slightly more monochramatic on my monitor.  I had a green button that would have matched well too, but I wanted a little bit of contrast, so this one is perfect.  See my machine manual in the background?  It's been such a long time since I did a button hole, I sort of forgot how to do it!  How did that happen?

And here's the final product.  I really love this blouse, and I'm so happy that I decided to make it up!

Here's a quick look at the neckline too.  For me, it's very low cut - something I seem to be having an issue with lately on many patterns!  Thankfully, I own plenty of camisoles that work well for modesty!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

KS 2948

I found a brown, plaid, knit fabric in the clearance section at Joann's back in September, when I went in for some thread for a different project.  Actually, it was my day in the clearance section, because I scored several nice pieces of fabric for just a few dollars each.  This rarely happens for me, and I usually find that Joann's is overpriced and has poor selection compared to what I can get online.  But that's another post altogether.

There was only 1 yard of this fabric, and I knew that wouldn't be enough for me.  My daughter is tiny though, and while she still fits into children's patterns for height and width, but don't account for her blossoming figure and wanting to dress a little more age appropriate (which is a very fine line at 13...).  The KS patterns in an XS seem to fit her very well with no fit adjustments (so far!), so I bought this piece for her, hoping it would work.  It did!

One of my concerns with using a plaid fabric was getting it to match properly.  Ideally, I would have bought an extra yard.  Since that wasn't an option, I decided to make sure the front matches.  Having to lay it out funky to match the front was definitely a challenge with the limited fabric.  One thing I didn't think about was the band that attaches to the front.  I have to admit, I just got lucky that it happened to match up.  I realized while I was cutting it out that it may be an issue, but there wasn't any other section I could use that it would have fit.  I was careful about lining up the fabric when I laid it out for cutting, which is probably the only reason it happened to match up well.

I did leave the sleeves a little longer, but this was after hemming the 1.5 inches already.  I thought about going back and adjusting them, but this will give her some growing room (yep, that's my story!).  I think the smile on her face shows how pleased she is with this cardigan. :)  And of course, she won't be wearing it over a purple least I hope not, but she's definitely got her own sense of style, and one never really knows.  I've decided as long as she's dressed modestly, if she wants to mix patterns and colors, I'm going to bit my tongue...sometimes you just have to know when to pick your battles!

Monday, November 07, 2011

B5523 Finished

I managed to get these two photo's to load finally!  On the hanger doesn't really give the dress justice, so you can also took one in my closet sewing room!  This is a very easy dress to put together, and I think very figure flattering on.  I did hem the sleeves, but I was afraid the skirt hem would become wavy, so I left it alone.  This also gave me a little added length.  I'm tall, so that's never a bad thing for me.

As you may remember from my last post, this is a red knit with a raised pattern, that I got from back in July.  My original intention was to make a twin set.  When I got the fabric in, I realized this may not be the right fabric for that. I think it works well for the dress.

The only thing I may do differently when I make this again, is to make the sleeves truly 3/4 in length.  I find that's the sleeve length I like best while I'm at work.  The empire seam line hit just below my bust like it should.  I was tempted to add an additional inch, since that's a normal fitting alteration on me (I'm high busted), but when I measured it on the tissue, it appeared it would work fine.  I worry about things like that because I find a lot of RTW that cuts right across the center of my bust, and I see women wear it like that!  A pet peeve of mine apparently.  I think even with my arm raised as I take the photo, you can tell there are no issues for me here.  I'm very pleased with this dress!

Sunday, November 06, 2011


The Limited Cable Cowlneck Sweater Dress
I found this dress, which is even more like the pattern I posted earlier!  There are only a few differences, like the pleats.  The dress from The Limited has folds that go across the skirt, where as B5523 has inverted box pleats - which I already mentioned I love!  Also, I think the cowl is a little fuller on the inspiration dress as well.  I might see about making the cowl fuller if I make this again.

My SD card isn't cooperating.  I do have photo's of my finished dress.  Here are some photo's of B5523 from the web site:

As you can see, this pattern is almost identical (although I do like the other dress too).  On the line drawing, there is a pleat on the cap of the sleeve (which I may leave off next time).  Also, I don't think the inspiration dress has the tab on the back.  So far, mine doesn't either.  The interfacing I used doesn't seem to be heavy enough to keep it from being wavy, and I don't have enough fabric to make another one (which I'm not sure is my fault or the patterns fault, but I barely had enough to squeeze out the sleeves for this dress!!)

I also used a red knit for my dress.  It was in my stash from my July fabric purchase, but it didn't end of being the right texture for what I was planning to use it for.  When I saw this dress, I knew it would be a good combination.  Ironically, the dress on the pattern is red too.  I was going to hold off on wearing it to work tomorrow, until I had the buttons for the tab, but since I'm no longer sure I'll be adding the tab, I might just wear it anyway!  This will make a great addition to my winter dresses, which I'm sadly lacking.  21 dresses, only 2 of them are winter dresses.  Go figure.
B5523 line drawing

I'll post photo's of my actual dress as soon as my SD card decides to stop holding them hostage...

Friday, October 28, 2011

Sewing Interupted

I'm actually getting ready to post another project that's ready to complete (yeah!) but I got sidetracked surfing the internet I came across this web site and saw this dress from White House Black Market.  Love it!

Now I can't make this exact dress because it's not a style that I find flattering to me.  However!  This reminded me that I have Butterick 5523 in my stash.  This is more flattering to my body shape (clearly the model hasn't had four kids!) but still reminds me of this dress.  I do think I'll look through my patterns and find a 3/4 length sleeve, which I prefer to a long sleeve.

I had bought some red fabric a few months back, that was supposed to be for a different project.  When I got it though, it was to thick.  That's not really a complaint because sometimes knits are too thin.  It just won't be used for what I originally intended it for.
What will be very flattering for me, are those box pleats.  There are two, and then a single pleat on each side (I've been studying the pattern directions to see if there are any changes I would want to make - nope!)

So first thing Saturday morning, I'll get this cut.  With any luck, it will be done in time to wear for church on Sunday morning!

Now to get back to the Vogue t-shirt I was working on.  The edge has gone wavy and I'm not sure if it can be steamed back into shape.  It's a fabric issue (one of those thin knits one must be weary of) and not a pattern issue, so I'm not sure I want to deal with it, but all it needs is the sleeves and bottom hem done, so we shall see.

McCalls 2260

This is McCalls 2260.  I made this as another layering piece for the office.  I've recently changed jobs, and my new office is like the frozen north year round.  While this vest isn't really a warming piece per say, sometimes several extra layers go a long way.  Plus, when I get outside to the real weather, I need to quickly shed layers (it's Houston, as a rule, we don't have real cold weather here!).

This was a very easy piece to make.  This is from some of the last fabric purchasing I bought at back in July.  I actually used it for what it was intended for!!  I did leave off the pockets and the buttons.  I won't use the pockets nor will I ever button this up.  So it just seemed like a waist of time to add them.  I love this stretch twill.  I think the only thing I would change next time is to raise the armsycle up.  It's almost to baggy.  Almost.  Definitely not something that will prevent me from wearing it.


Friday, September 09, 2011

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\ 9/11 AMERICA \
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/ \ NEVER FORGET!!! keep the flag going

Monday, September 05, 2011

Re-Thinking Realities

OK.  First a small rant.

Back in July, when I was thinking wardrobe realities, I put in a rather large order from one of my favorite fabric web sites,  I had a coupon, there was a sale, and I paid promptly.  About 2 days later, I got an email letting me know some of my fabric choices had sold out.  OK, it happens.  I was mildly disappointed, but after looking around their web site, I found some suitable substitutes, and emailed my alternatives.  My order arrived in a time fashion, as always.  Except.  They charged my card again for the second selection - even though I was working with a credit for the fabrics that had sold out.  They sent one selection as two separate cuts.  I don't think it will be an issue, since it's for a t-shirt top, but I would have preferred one cut.  And it took them 2 weeks to credit my card back for the double charge.  Please don't tell me it was my bank, because I know it wasn't.  Thankfully, this is the first problem order I've ever had with them (and I've been ordering for years!!) so I I guess everyone is entitled to an off day.

Second quandary.  Patterns.  I have some missing from the move.  I "know" they're here.  But clearly I had a stack of them for this wardrobe, and half of them are missing.  I have some other's I can use, and one or two I've changed my mind on.  But others I'm stuck on.  Of course, patterns aren't the only thing missing.  Half my life is boxed in the garage, lol.  And I've been busy decorating which you can see here.  And updating my cooking blog The Copper Skillet with a few new things.  Plus working full time and taking care of a family.  So, really, no clue as to how I could have misplaced a whole stack of patterns, really...

So the good news.  The simplicity skirt is good to go.  I bought the pattern last time they were on sale at Joann's.  I have fabric. I have a zipper.  I think I even have thread!  And I've added and changed some pieces. I'm sitting down today to sew up a simple sweater vest and maybe a new knit top.  And then I have some fabrics to rethink.  I'll post later with some updates!

Sunday, July 24, 2011


The sewing machine and serger are packed.  The new box of fabric has been fondled and taped back up.  The thread is in it's box along with needles and the seem ripper.  Which means I am almost ready for the move next week.  While I'm going to let the movers take most things, my machines will be traveling with me.  I have my husband convinced that not a seamstress I know would allow movers to mover her machines, particularly when it's a needless 1 mile move, right?!

I already have some home dec projects I'll need to complete to be "settled".  But I'll post more on that later!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

A Brief Hiatus...

So.  I'm moving.  Again.  Four moves in two years is officially a new record for me!  My landlord's unexpectedly announced they are moving back to the US and are moving into MY home.  Which, of course, means I will be moving out.  I'm not sure how much sewing I'll get done between now and September, seeing as how I'm packing and unpacking a household, but my husband (the most wonderful man on earth!) has agreed to hire movers again to help, so hopefully I'll be sewing again by Labor Day.  I'm already dreaming of curtains for the bay window in my new home.  As always, more to come!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Wardrobe Realities

Despite the ridiculous heat here in Houston, I've been thinking about fall sewing.  Now please understand, fall is not cool here in Houston!  September usually feels like an extension of August.  October, while slightly cooler, isn't really what most people would consider to be fall temperatures.  It isn't until November that I'm usually back in cardigans and light weight jackets.  I'm not complaining.  I don't actually mind the warmer weather.  But November is probably my favorite 'fall' month.

Since we don't usually need heavy cold weather jackets (yes, we have had some temps down in the teens last February, but that is really unusual!) I rely on a lot of light weight jackets and layering.  Layering is really my friend!!  Yet I love the look of jackets.  I have at least 3-4 jacket UFO's sitting in my sewing area.  Apparently I hate sewing them.  Guilt overtook me this weekend and I was really determined to finish one of them.  After all, I do have several jackets I've made, and one of them I really love.  Which got me to thinking about why I really love it.  The answer was really simple, and it was a light bulb moment for me.  Are you ready?  I don't like lapel jackets. ALL of the UFO's I have are lapel jackets.  Yet jackets like KS 2616 I can make over and over again, I never get tired of the style, and they end up being staples in my wardrobe.  I'm also really loving Simplicity 2149 which you can see above.  Probably not the bolero style jacket, because it would really emphasize my "I've had four kids" tummy, but the other two versions are really nice.  I love the raglan style sleeves.  This is one I definitely plan to add to my fall sewing.  I also want to make a sleevless jacket.  I was browsing the fall Simplicity patterns on Pattern Review and saw the anorak jacket.  While I really like it, it's just not something that I would get a lot of wear out of as a traditional jacket.  However, the vest version could really get a lot of use.  You can see it here, View A.  Sorry about the link, but the photo wouldn't load in blogger well!

In addition to light weight jackets, I also like a few cardigans.  I have the traditional cream and charcoal, that match 99% of my wardrobe.  So this year, I'm going to make a few fun ones!  Most likely as twin sets.  I found this sweater knit at  I really, really fell in love.  It will go great with several khaki skirts as well as a pair of brown trousers that I own.  For this twin set, I'm going to use KS 2948.  I've owned this pattern for years, but when I bought it, there wasn't a lot of selection when it came to sweater knit fabrics.  Plus I could buy cardigans on sale at the end of the season, and became well stocked in the basics.  So this has sat on the back burner for ages.  Of course, fabric shopping online has come light years from where it was 10 years ago, and now I can easily shop at a variety of online stores and get great selection. 

Because I work in the corporate world, my wardrobe tends to be pretty tailored.  Even my 'casual' wardrobe isn't very casual.  I rely a lot on separates to mix and match and extend my wardrobe.  Knit tops, hands down, are my biggest staple.  And Kwik Sew is always my go to pattern choice for knits.  I have no desire for 5/8 seam allowances that I'm going to have to trim down.  I also love that KS usually has a variety of options in one envelope.  Take for example, KS 3036 (apparently OOP, but still available at  There are four options for a knit shirt.  One with a more traditional neckline (think t-shirt without the ribbed band) and a scoop neckline.  There is also a bias cut front and back with center font and back seams with a boat neckline option (which I will be making with a lace knit fabric for the fall!), as well as cowl collar.  All of these use a dolman sleeve, which I think is a little dressier for a work t-shirt.  A cut on sleeve is just a more casual look.

Now for business casual Fridays, where we can actually wear jeans and khaki's, I rely on KS 3059.  I admit to only using view B.  We can't wear sleeveless in the office without a covering of some sort.  But I love that I can make a classic polo in a silk knit (very yummy fabric).  Fabric choices can really dress up a pair of jeans!  Because sometimes you have impromptu meetings, even on Friday, when you still need to make a good impression from visiting vendors.  I hate boxy polo shirts, so this is definitely a favorite!

So here is my fall sewing list:
  • Hot Patterns 1006 Metropolitan Urbanista Coat Dress - this will be made up in a navy suiting fabric with a faint cream colored pin stripe.  I think the fabric will dress this up a little bit, but that's ok!  If it works well, I'm going to buy some chambray and make it a second time for a more casual dress too.
  • Simplicity 5683 Pullover Top, view A - I'm going to use a light blue voile for this with either cream or navy blue lace.  I'm leaning towards the navy blue, because the light blue says more spring to me than fall, but with browns and navy for pants and skirts, I think I can make it work.
  • Burda 7591, view B - I found this great jersey fabric.  The color is what drew me.  Green is one of those colors that I wear really well, and I try to add at least one piece each season to my wardrobe.  This is like an olive color, perfect for the fall color pallet.  I'm searching Etsy (this is my preference at the moment!) and Ebay for the right lace trim!
  • KS 3372, view C - I'm using a charmeuse satin with a floral olive print from  Most of my skirts are solids right now, so this will add some nice contrast and will go with several solid colored tops I have, including the Burda top listed above.
  • KS2566 - an OOP pattern now, I really love view C, which is for a lace top.  I'm going to use this lace which is another green, but very different from the jersey.  Again, it will go with a lot of what is already in my wardrobe, so definitely a plus.
  • Simplicity 2257, view A - I LOVE pencil skirts.  And I have a plethora of them in nice, solid colors.  For this one, I've decided to use this stretch twill.  Yes, this is a loud print.  It's definitely not for everyone.  But with a solid top and a black jacket, it will really fit my personality.  And isn't that really the purpose of sewing?!
  • KS 3036, view B - to go with the above skirt, in a nice, solid color.  I'll definitely have to find or make the right bag to go with this ensemble, lol.
  • KS 3616, view B - I've made this recently, and I really like this top.  I'm going to make this in a solid grey.  A good staple piece, and it may go well with the jacket I'm going to make.
  • KS 2616 - another OOP.  This is a denim style jacket, hip length.  Why I like this jacket is because it has semi fitted princess seams.  I really, really hate boxy fitting things that have no shape.  This has faux pocket flaps that I don't find hit at a flattering point because I'm busty, so I typically leave these off.  The pattern also comes with optional belt.  I like it better without. I'm going to use this twill, which I love.
This is an ambitious list!  I'm going to make the tops first, because they will be the easiest.  The dress will come last, because I need to do a muslin before I cut into my good fabric.  I've ordered all the fabrics and I have all the patterns.  I'm hoping to have all this completed by the end of October.  I'm sure a few extra pieces will get added in when I feel inspired, lol...

Monday, July 04, 2011

Vogue 8553

Yes, I'm catching up on my photo posting!

This is Vogue 8553, which I really like.  I made this dress back in February for Valentines Day.  You know you got it right when everyone in the office comments on how fantastic the dress you're wearing looks and that you must have a hot date!  Well, I did, with my wonderful hubby! <3  

I did the solid version.  Again, I had problems with this being much lower cut than what I was anticipating based on the line drawings.  While it's fine for an evening out with my hubby, it was definitely a little too low cut for the office, so I wore a red camisole under it.  Problem solved.

There is nothing that I didn't like about this pattern!  It went together easily and looks lovely on.  I definitely plan to make another one with a print for a different look.  I think the only thing I would contemplate changing is making my tie belt longer.  But my knit was a lovely bamboo knit that was very stable.  A slinkier knit would have had more elasticity and probably seemed longer once tied.  I did pencil that onto my pattern so I would remember that when I make it again.  No photo of it on me, but here it is hanging on my shoe rack, lol...

McCalls 6163

I have to say, I really wasn't sure about this dress before I started.  The line drawings I liked. The dress on the model...not so much.  She's tilted backwards and sideways all at the same time at an awkward angle all together.  However, the line drawing on the capped sleeve version really drew my eye. I had this ITY fabric from that I've been wanting to try out and this seemed like a good choice.

I know everyone seems to love ITY fabric.  For me, the jury is still out.  First and foremost, I do LOVE this dress.  It's very figure flattering.  There are some minor tweaks I'll make on the next dress which I'll share in a moment.  But back to the fabric.  It's very...fidgety.  I went through several, new, schemtz stretch needles because this fabric was a bear to sew.  Ultimately, I used stretch interfacing on the neckline to stabilize it, as well as along the edges of the crossover on the bodice.  Otherwise, I could not get a non-puckered straight stitch!  Maybe this would have been better if I had tried my serger (which I need to go take a refresher class on adjusting the tension because it has not worked right since the move and I can not seem to figure out what the issue is).  But since that wasn't an option and I "needed" a new dress (yep, really, I did) the machine it was.  I have this fabric in another color that I have planned for a Vogue top, and I almost dread using it again, except that the finished product really looks nice.

OK, back to this pattern.  I think the neckline is much wider than the line drawing. And as is the trend with everything I sew lately, it is MUCH lower cut than what it appears in the line drawing.  Is this because I'm busty?!  I don't know.  I'm open to suggestions on this issue.  All I can say is, I now own a dozen or so camis in assorted colors to compensate for this issue.  The next dress I make, I will cut a 16 or smaller in the bodice, even though the finished measurements indicated that the 18 should have fit fine.  It didn't end up being a big issue because I can put a cami under it for modesty.  But the collar is a little wonky, even though I interfaced it.  Again, it could be the fabric.  When I make another one, and I definitely plan to because overall, I felt it's very figure flattering to my body shape, I'm going to buy the pattern in a smaller size and see if the fit is a little more true.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Kwik Sew 3616

It's done!!  And photographed.  Brownie points for me (particularly since I had one of  'those' weeks at work where nothing went as it should).

Here's a review from I posted:

Pattern Description: close fitting knit top

Pattern Sizing: s-xl.  I made the xl

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?  For the most part, yes.  I opted to not do the button view that was shown with the short sleeves.  Due to the low neckline, I think this was a good choice for me

Were the instructions easy to follow? very simple, I barely looked at them

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?  I love that this is an easy pattern.  Sometimes you just need a top to whip out quickly, and this would be that pattern.  It could really be dressed up or down, depending on your fabric.

Dislike - the neckline.  It is REALLY plunging.  I have a high bust line and added length to the bottom of the shirt front, but did not change the bust line (other reviews suggested the empire style needed to be lowered - I did not have this problem).  I raised the v-neck 2 inches and I still need a cami to wear under it.  If I was a young Hollywood something, looking to show off, this would have been perfect.  The reality is I'm a middle aged mom, and while I'm all for not looking matronly, a neckline down to my naval is not my idea of flattering

Fabric Used: a poly/cotton knit blend from  I actually really love this fabric, and it's very thin, so layering won't be an issue for me

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:  I raised the neckline 2 inches and it's still quiet the cleavage showing top.  I will re-draft the upper bodice pieces so that the neckline is more modest.  I also added 2 inches to the body of the top at the line suggested.  This is typical for me with KS patterns due to being tall.  I also felt the facings were skimpy at best.  I *knew* after I traced them I should have made them at least an inch wider, as Sandra Betzina instructs in her book "Power Sewing".  I ended up stitching in the ditch at the shoulder seams and the front seam (since I didn't chose the button option) to tack them in place, but I'm still concerned they may flip up.  I have enough fabric to redo the facings, and if they really bother me when I wear them, I will.  I thought about leaving them off, but I was really concerned the  neckline wouldn't lay nicely.  Because my fabric is thin, I'm fairly certain it would have rippled.  I also like a wider hem on the bottom, so I added and extra half inch.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? YES!!  The few minor changes I made were just that, minor.  I felt the fit was excellent - no sausage casing effects which I am leery of whenever I see 'close fitting' in a fit description.  I'd like to make one in a nice white silk jersey for work.  I also have a border print jersey that I think would be lovely.

Conclusion:   I really like this top, and definitely plan to add a few more in my wardrobe.  I look forward to maybe sewing the sleeved version when the weather cools back down.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Kwik Sew 3616

My sewing mojo has been screaming at me.  My red dress is done and was a huge success (note to self, post photo's and review of red dress because it's not here...oops).  Apparently, if you make a solid red dress, you get very noticed!  I love the dress, and will post a photo after Easter.

I wish I could say what I'm sewing up now is an Easter dress.  It's not.  I wish that I could tell you I whipped up something cute for my pre-teen daughter.  I didn't.  Instead, I decided to cut out something I knew I could finish in an evening.  So KS 3616 was an easy choice.  I bought some lovely purple knit fabric from last month.  Spring is definitely here in Texas, and the need for cool light weight tops is a must!  Hard to believe last month we were in the 30's at night, and now we're lucky if it drops below 77.

The knit fabric I chose doesn't have a huge amount of stretch.  Since the pattern only called for 35%, I think it was a good choice.  I decided to make view B.  Let's start with the inspiration top vs. the pattern.

First of all, I have no idea where it came from.  Yes, that's horrible.  I have this huge file of things I see and like.  Sometimes they're from web sites (I love Anthropology for inspiration since I could never justify their prices...).  This one though, I "think" is from another pattern company.  If anyone recognizes it, please feel free to holler!  I say think, because I'm usually good about tagging them and categorizing the clips.  This one I did not.  But enough of that.  Suffice it to say, there are many things I like about this particular top, particularly the gathers at the shoulder.

The Pattern:

So view B reminds me a lot of the inspiration (how I would have adored to have found the fabric from the inspiration top, but I digress) Working in an office, we can't have sleeveless shirts.  Huge no no.  This kimono style sleeve will work just fine though because it comes past my shoulder bone (yes, that's how it's written in my work manual for dress code).  I'm not liking the buttons or the loops that the pattern calls for, so I'm eliminating them.  It just makes the top too casual, so I'll save it for a later version.  Other changes I've already made were to lengthen the top by 2".  KS tops are always too short for me.  Also, other reviewers noted that the bust line should be lowered.  I have a high bust line though, so this is not usually an alteration I need with KS (although I have plenty of fabric should I need to re-cut after trying it on).

Everything is cut and ready to sew.  I wish I had made the facing a little larger, as Sandra Betzina advises in her book Power Sewing, but I'll see how it works, and for future shirts, I'll notate on the pattern if needed.

Saturday, February 12, 2011


So I've decided to go with the Vogue pattern.  It's feminine and swirly, and I lost another 2lbs on weight watchers this week, and I'm feeling feminine, lol.

I went to Hancock's this morning to get the knit interfacing.  Their store drives me crazy.  The coupons are always hard to use and the store is always crammed with things that no one seems to ever touch.  But I digress.

My other issue this morning is serger needles.  I used to live around the corner from a Joann's that had a Husqvarna dealer in it.  I bought my sewing and serger there.  I used to buy my supplies there too, like needles.  Now that we're in TX, I notice the Joann stores don't have the dealers inside.  I have been to every Hancock and Joann's in a reasonable radius, and none of them carry serger needles.  How can this be?!  This morning, I was finally directed to a Sew and Vac shop around the corner (that I never noticed in the year I've lived here, oops) that might carry them.  They did, thank goodness.  But my point is, why would fabric stores, which carry sewing supplies, even sewing machines, not have serger needles?!  I don't usually mind ordering things online, but sometimes I need something in the moment if I run out.  Very frustrating...

My pattern is cut, now I need to cut fabric and interfacing.  I'm really excited about this dress!!

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Up Next

I had this great idea that I would be sewing more methodically, planning pieces that coordinate.  And I did, with my last top, which is great.  Except I really want to sew something up for Valentine's day next week.  And I don't want gray, black, lavender, or white, lol.  I just ordered some red bamboo jersey from a guy on eBay.  I would LOVE to make a red dress for my husband to take me out in!

So here are my current choices:

McCall's 6163 

First of all, ignore the model.  Seriously, that photo does nothing for this dress!  So the two choices here are 3/4 length sleeves or the cap sleeves (because there's no way I'd ever wear that long sleeved and cuff combo!).  I "should" just do the cap sleeve.  I live in Houston, where it is HOT in the summer.  Summer apparently being anywhere between April and October.  I don't see red as being a fall color.  And while it was insanely cold here all week long, today was beautiful and there's a strong chance that spring is on it's way in.  Which means I won't want to wear the 3/4 length sleeves for much longer.  Except.  Well, I like them, lol.

My second choice is Vogue 8553:
This dress speaks to me!!!  It's fluttery.  It's twirly (or so say the reviewers on!)  It's feminine.  It just doesn't say work dress to me.  But really, that isn't so much an issue.  I can wear it for church and other social events.  And I love that it's rated Very Easy, because that means it should go together in a few nights of sewing while my husband is out with Boy Scouts.  And I tend to really like how Vogue patterns fit me.  I don't know if they're drafted for taller people, but I do tend to get a better fit.

But I bought the red fabric specifically for the other pattern, not the Vogue dress.  I love to wear red, and it's such a crisp, summery color to me.  I just don't need two red dresses though.  Decisions, decisions...(and I'm still strongly leaning towards the Vogue pattern!)

Simplicity 2365

I cut this blouse out last month, but the pintucks had me stumped, so I set it aside.  This weekend, I decided I really wanted to finish it (might have something to do with the 2 new Hot Patterns I bought last month as well as some fabric that should be arriving any day now...) so I decided to get it done before the weekend was over.  Once I sat down and read  the directions (yes, novel concept) the pintucks were quite simple.  A ruler and a washable pen were all I needed to make sure they were space evenly.

Here is my completed shirt:

In person, the details are much better.  This fabric looks SO busy in this photo, but I plan to pear it with gray or black slacks for work, and a gray sweater while the weather is still cool.  This will do wonders for the business of the print.  There are subtle shades of lavender and gray in this fabric, which is why I think it appealed to me so much.

Here is a close up of the pin tucks.  Did I mention how happy I was that they came out perfect?!

OK, so blogger doesn't want to upload more photo's right now.  Must be because the Packers won the Superbowl...

Well, I guess this will be an unfinished post until I can get the rest of my uploads done, but I'm very excited to be able to wear this to work tomorrow, and I'll try to get my DH to take some photo's, if the lighting is good at 6am when I leave, lol...

Friday, January 14, 2011


Creativity is not my issue. Neither is lack of inspiration. As always, time is my enemy. Or more accurately, LACK of time is my nemesis.

I've decided to do some prioritizing with my sewing this year. I've seen other bloggers do story boards. They pull together man entire wardrobe with pieces that coordinate. I love the look of those but they always seem...overwhelming. Again, time is an issue for me. What I realized is that I need to concentrate on coordinating pieces and not so much foundation pieces. This means not worrying about the easy and fast t-shirts that are even faster to buy at the store (where I can get my preferred Pima cotton!). Or a white button down shirt. Even cardigans. These are staple pieces that I can easily purchase as needed.

Things that aren't so easy are pants. Or skirts. I'm tall. Not ginormously tall. But tall enough that the inseam on RTW is always wrong for me. As soon as I sit down I'm wearing high waters. And skirts (dresses too) are too short for my professional office environment. I think I'd like some layering pieces too.

So that's my goal for the rest of this month. To put together a story board of coordinating pieces that will mix and match with some basic pieces.

And I'm going to not even try to think about my upcoming vacation because I do NOT have time to sew up anything for it...really...I think.

More to come!