Saturday, December 31, 2011

SWAP 2012

The SWAP (Sewing With a Plan) has begun over on Stitcher's Guild, and I'm in. The emphasis for this year's swap is to make garments that are well-fitted and will become TNT (Tried and True) patterns. 2 garments can be previously sewn, and here are the basic rules:
Choose any seven garments from this list:

Button Down Shirt w/Collar
Blouse or shirt (collar is optional)
Shorts or Capri Pants
Jacket (jean jacket, windbreaker, hoodie, etc.)
Coat (suit or sport coat)
Overcoat or Raincoat
Bathing Suit & Coverup

From those seven, choose four to make twice for a total of 11 garments that will work together. Those four may either be repeated garments from the same pattern, or one each from two different patterns.

You can see the complete rules here.

I think I've only actually completed one swap, although I have attempted a few. I'm hoping to "make it work" this year. I did not do 2 of the garments ahead of time, so that means I need to really get busy. I did make a "practice pair" of the pants and the Licorice dress. I have also made the coat before, but it is much too big now. I think it was a little too big when I made it the first time! Wow, I just looked back through the blog to find the picture of the coat and realized that it's been 5 years since I made that coat. I guess it is time to replace it. The new one will be a plain taupe colored wool. However, I LOVE the fabric of my gray coat and wish there were some way to salvage it. I guess I could take the whole thing apart and try to recut it. That would probably all work fine except for the buttonholes will make it tricky to recut the coat. And, I don't know that I'd ever be able to match up the pattern again either.

Well, for this year, this is what I'm planning..

The Burda jacket I also made years ago. I'm thinking about taking the Classic French Jacket class at Pattern Review. The class is $53.00 for memebers. One of my early Christmas presents was the Threads archive DVD set, so I may just follow the instructions in the past issues of threads on how to make a Chanel jacket. I haven't decided yet, but need to since the class starts on Jan 5th.

Friday, December 30, 2011

New Year's Top

Let's hope. I traced the pattern and am ready to cut out. I want to finish this top to wear tomorrow night.
I've had this beautiful stretch velvet in my stash for a couple of year and never knew what to make of it. It is so pretty. The glitter parts are a copper color. The velvet is a deep black. I have no idea what it is made of and am not even going to prewash it!
I'm using the Silhouette's Pattern "Dana's Top" to do this one. I was surprised when tracing the pattern to find out that the sleeves are 2 piece. Well, they are two piece, but both pieces are identical. I may see if I can line these up with a fold and cut them as one, since I don't see the advantage of the 2 piece sleeve if they are identical. Let me know if I'm missing something here.
You can see there are some vertical and horizontal lines on the fabric, but they don't line up or continue all the way across the fabric. Sometimes they just stop and other lines are in different places. I'm not sure if I'm going to try to line anything up at all.
Wish me luck!

Little Shoes and a great iron cleaner

I was supposed to make my black pants yesterday, and although they are cut and ready to go, I had to make these instead.

They are just so cute, I couldn't resist.

I got the pattern from the Etsy shop called Little Shoes. There were so many cute patterns, I did the special and bought 3 for $10.00, so you can expect to see some more of these coming up soon! I can see where I need to adjust my sewing for next time, but for a first attempt at baby shoe making, not bad!

Now, for the tip of the day. My iron gets gunked up easily because in addition to my sewing, my daughter starches her work shirts every day and the starch builds up quickly on the iron. I have used a variety of different methods to try to keep my iron clean, but it seems that the best I had tried so far (until now) was the Rowenta iron cleaner. Although convenient, it is very expensive - even with a 40% of coupon. So, I decided to Google and You Tube a "clean iron" search. I tried a few different things, but the absolute best (and easiest) is this. I also have used this method on both hot or cold iron and it works great!

I put a little baking soda in a small container and keep it in my sewing room. I also bought a small bottle of white vinegar that is kept just for the sewing room. Dip an old towel in the vinegar and then in the baking soda. Rub it gently over the iron and all the gunk will come off like magic! You may need to do this a few times or rub a little harder on any stubborn spots. This is MUCH cheaper than commercial cleaners, does not involve any chemicals, is easy to use, and works BETTER than the commercial cleaners. Give it a try!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Colette Clover Pants

So, what is all the buzz about Colette Patterns? If you haven't tried them, I will give you an inside peek. In addition to the Colette Sewing Handbook that I talked about earlier, I also ordered 2 patterns. The Clover Pants and the Jasmine Blouse (both shown in this picture.)

Now, I don't have lovely legs like the model, but I do have to say that these pants fit me better straight out of the envelope than RTW. I made a straight size 6 with NO adjustments and got a great result. Now, this picture was taken after wearing them for several hours and going out to eat, but still... I can see that I have a little tweaking to do for the next pair, which I intend to cut out tomorrow!.

The pattern comes in a cute little booklet/folder. The instructions are very clear and separated into sections. For things that are not completely illustrated in the pattern, like how to install an invisible zipper, it refers you to a website tutorial. Of course, all of these techniques are also covered in the Colette Sewing Handbook.
You can order directly from Colette patterns, but if you are a PR member, you can order with a discount from PR, which is what I did! The only thing I don't like is that there is not a photo of the finished garment included with the pattern. I suppose you could print one from the internet easily enough, though.

I guess what I like the most about this pattern, other than the great fit, is that it was super easy to sew. (It would have been quick and easy, except that I sewed all 4 of the pocket pieces to the wrong side of the pants and waistband instead of the right side. So, I had to rip all of those out and do that over.) I like the wide yoke/waistband, and the side zipper. This pants pattern also has 2 cute little pockets that are hidden beneath the waistband.

Lately I've been into some narrower leg pants, although DD keeps telling me to quit wearing them! Granted, these are not the best camera shots, but I'm thrilled that I finally went out tonight and replaced the tripod that I've been missing so much since we got burglarized a few months ago. Now I can finally take pictures again and not have to wait until someone is here to do it!

I wanted to make a muslin for these pants, but did not have any "throw away" fabric that had stretch. So, instead, I checked the measurements and cut the pattern a size 6 which matched my measurements pretty closely. Then, I basted all the pieces together except facing and pockets, to check the fit. I tore out all the basting and then sewed them with a regular stitch. The patterns have 5/8 inch seam allowances, so I figured if I needed to add or subtract, I would be OK. Oh, BTW, the pattern says you need 2.25 yards of 60" fabric. Mine was only 52" wide, and I got by with less than 1-5/8 yard in my size. SOOO if you are buying fabric specifically for these pants, lay out the pattern pieces and see how much you really need.

I can see that on my next pair I will need to lengthen the back crotch seam by about 3/4" and perhaps decrease the inseam length to get rid of some of those under-butt wrinkles!

Oh, and when am I ever going to learn not to take my picture when I have a headache? Kinda scary!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Licorice version 1 finished!

And here it is! I've been wearing this dress all day today, and I have to say, "I love it!" I think next time I will probably make it 2" longer so I can wear it to work.

More pictures here

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Almost done with Licorice

The Licorice Dress has taken more time than expected, but much of that was due to unforeseeable events that have nothing to do with sewing. Of course, it did take a little tweaking to work out the fit on this one. According to my measurements, I would take a straight 6 in Collette patterns. Exactly. Well, I should have known better. The upper chest was way to big and the shoulders were dropping off of mine. I should have made a smaller upper bodice and then done a FBA. But it's oh-so-tempting when your measurements seem to line up exactly! Hopefully the alterations I made to the pattern will work so that I can make the next version of this dress. ( Sorry, I think I'm repeating whatever I put in my last post!... I must be tired.)

Yesterday was supposed to be a sewing day, but my plans got derailed by one crisis (and I'm speaking literally here) after another. But, at day's end, the distant family member got her car, the emergency counseling appointment was made and attended, and the dog made it out of the vets without having to have x-rays (but still incurred a $72.00 bill!) None of these things were in MY plans for the day, but the Good Lord knew what was coming and it all worked out for His glory (although I'm not sure how the dog fight fit into the plan!)

Today, however, I did have a productive day. After meeting my trainer at the gym this morning, and running a few errands, I did get to spend some time sewing. As you can see in the picture above, I added some pleats to the front of the collar. There are pleats already at the shoulder seams, but I didn't like the way the collar laid in the pictures I've seen, so I thought I would try it. It's kind of subtle, but I like it.

The collar was actually pretty fiddly. You have to put pleats on both ends of 6 different pieces! That's 12 pleats for one little collar! Then of course, I added two more to the front!

The dress is lined, so that takes some extra time as well. This pattern has horizontal and vertical darts in the front, and vertical darts in the back. I had to lower the front darts about 1". Apparently Colette patterns are not designed for 50-something breasts!

I like the way they use bias tape to create the casing for the elastic in the sleeve.

The dress is lined, but the sleeves are not. This leaves you with a raw edge at the armscye on the inside. I decided to serge together the seam allowances.

All I have left to do on this dress is to finish the tie belt and sew on the hook and eye at the top of the neck. I hope to get pictures tomorrow. I was going to wear it to take my son out to dinner tomorrow night for his birthday. He found out today that he did poorly on one of his finals, and now he doesn't even want us to come up to see him. He works so hard to get good grades that he gets really discouraged when he doesn't do as well as he'd hoped. I hope he'll change his mind tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

It's Licorice Time

Yesterday I thought I would trace out some patterns that I'm planning for the SWAP. Ever since I moved out of my sewing room, I've been using the dining room table for cutting. Well, it IS getting close to Christmas, so I guess I need to get that cleaned off!

After I traced out the coat pattern from FSG, I decided to trace the Licorice dress pattern from the new Colette sewing handbook. (I know, I know. I said I was going to make the coat in the BSSH, and I am still drooling over it. Unfortunately, it requires light weight wool, and the wool I'm planning on using for a coat for winter is heavy weight coating. I don't think it will work well with the BSSH coat. I guess I'm saving that one for a spring coat.) ANYWAY, I decided I needed to make a muslin for the licorice dress since I have never worked with Colette patterns before. Well, my muslin is turning out pretty well, so I'm turning it into a real dress.

According to the measurements, I should be cutting a 6, which I did. It fit's great except that it is too big in the upper chest. I probably should have cut a 4 and done a FBA. The Colette patterns are drafted for a C cup, but that's still 3 sizes off of where I need to be! SOOO, I ended up taking a giant dart (which just looks like a CF seam) from the neck to the waist in the front of the dress. This is working out fine for now. I did not do the exact same alteration on the pattern piece, because I do not want a dart down the CF of my dress! I'm taking off 1/2" down the CF to the waist and then slicing the pattern at the waist so that the whole front will lie against the fold line. I then added back some fullness to the skirt. I hope this will work on my next version, which I intend to make out of wine wool crepe. My "test" dress is a poly charmeuse, but I like how it is turning out. I have some pink ambiance in my stash, so I am using that to line it.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

BurdaStyle Sewing Handbook

Last week (or maybe the week before) I went on sort of a sewing shopping spree. I bought the Colette Sewing book, the Threads Archive DVD set, a few patterns, and the BurdaStyle Sewing Handbook. I wasn't sure what I was expecting, and I almost didn't buy it, but then decided to. I'm really glad I did! I've been reading this book every evening since I got it. This book does have a lot of information for beginning sewers, but what I really like is that it has patterns included.

There are 5 patterns:

  • skirt
  • blouse
  • dress
  • coat
  • bag

Each pattern comes with step by step detailed instructions to make 3 different versions from the same pattern. These versions are different enough that it will involve things like cutting and changing the pattern, creating different necklines, changing darts/gathers, etc. So, it's not just like adding a sleeve or making it sleeveless. The also show additional variations, but do not give instructions for those :-(

The styles are cute and up to date. The directions seem very clear, although I have not tried to follow them. Already I know I am going to make the main blouse version and a version of the coat.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Better fitting Biarritz

I was not happy with the jacket I made, so it was either scrap it or fix it. I decided to fix it. I took in each of the side seams 3/8", took a 1/2" tuck (total 1") at the center back, and narrowed the sleeves by 3/8" each. These seemingly simple changes involved a lot of work. I had to

  • remove, alter, and replace part of the collar
  • remove the lower half of the sleeves from the armsye
  • take in the shoulder and all of armscye by 3/8 inch
  • take tuck at center back
  • re hem sleeves and bottom of the jacket.
Of course, all of the seams around the collar were stitched, under stitched, served and top stitched. This was A LOT of stitching removed. I also cut my fabric by mistake in a couple of places. This was the wrong fabric to have to do all that to! Anyway, I'm glad it's done because I am in desperate need of clothes right now.
After shopping for pants and tops the last couple of days and buying nothing, it reinforced why I sew!!! If pants fit me in the legs, they are too big in the waist. If the top fit's in the bust, the shoulders are falling off. I guess I better quit shopping and get back to more sewing!

Speaking of which, I finally finished the Hot Patterns Scarf shirt. I had worked on it a few weeks ago and then lost a piece. Never did find it. I ended up cutting up the scarf to remake the front, but then didn't know what to do with the scarf. Now my scarf shirt has a contrast scarf and cuffs, and I really like it!

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

I'm Jumping on that Bandwagon

Well, it seems that Colette patterns are all the rage right now, and I can see why. The styles are hip with a vintage vibe to them. The garments are "pretty" and feminine. I finally broke down and ordered the Collette Sewing Handbook and the BurdaStyle Sewing Handbook.

I've just started reading the Collette book, and want to make everything in it! It really is directed to new sewists, but there is still plenty of good information and reminders for those of us who are not so new to sewing.

So, one of the things the author Sarai talks about is going into your closet and pulling out the things you love to better determine your sense of style. Well, that was kind of a disappointment for me as I looked in my closet and really could only pull out a couple of things (none that I'd made) that I really liked, let alone loved. What happened to all of the things I loved? Has my style changed that much? Have I given away all of my clothes? Have I been looking frumpy? I'm not sure, but I know I need to do something about it!!! Right now I know I need to make a LOT of new things because I've lost 15 pounds and none of my clothes are fitting. I think I want to be careful to try to really make things I think I will love rather than just things that would be quick to make. I'm giving myself permission to buy some things to get me through this transition time. I need to deliberately make things that will go together and coordinate with other things so I don't have to hunt around for "the one pair of pants that works with that blouse," or grab the dress that doesn't have any shoes that work with it that I can wear all day long.

Along that note, I finished a LH Biarritz jacket the other day. The only pictures I have are terrible and the jacket isn't even closed correctly on me! Yep, that's how I look and feel at the end of the day!

But, the truth is, the jacket just turned out too big. Normally a small in LH patterns fits me, so even though I haven't lost that much weight on the top half of my body, this still turned out too big. I think part of the problem is that the fabric is a knit, so I should have gone down a size for that reason alone. My daughter keeps telling me that the problem is that the style is too outdated and made for old ladies. I keep telling her that I AM an old lady!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011


They are doing a winter 6Pac at Stitcher's guild and I think I'm in. I need new clothes because everything is too big on me now. The six pac suggestion is:

1 - winter coat or heavy jacket in a dark neutral
2 - overlayer top, jacket or cardigan in a neutral
3 - overlayer top, jacket or cardigan in a colour
4 - underlayer top in neutral
5 - underlayer top in colour
6 - trousers in neutral
(7) - if you like to live dangerously in winter, or live somewhere not very cold, an optional skirt in neutral

I've already made the pants, so now I'm working on a LH Biarritz jacket. As far as I can tell, this is not much different from the Garbo or Textile Studios Capris jacket. Well, there is an inset collar, which is different. And there are narrow darts in the front, but other than that, not too much different in the overall look. When I was in LH's shop in Carmel last year, she had several of these made up in a beautiful olive-colored knit which I loved. As it turned out, Casual Elegance had this same fabric on their website (She carries most of Loes' fabrics) Of course, I ordered some, and I got the end of the bolt. Well, this fabric is really making me mad! I didn't look at it carefully enough when I received it or I probably would have sent it back! (another reason NOT to let fabric languish in the stash for so long.) It has excessive pilling all over it..

Now Sharon, the owner of CE Fabrics, did tell me that she gave me some extra fabric because my piece had more "slubs" than most. But I don't call this slubbing - it is pilling. I've been picking off these fuzz balls for days. What I'm most worried about, though, is that the fabric will pill like crazy when I wear it. Let me tell you, the fabric at CE is not inexpensive. It's not terribly expensive, but it certainly isn't like buying at, or Fabric mart - so I would expect better quality. I'm hoping that if I ever get rid of all these little fuzzes, that they will stay gone for good!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

New Pants - Sally

These are the Sally Pants by Silhouette patterns. I would have NEVER chosen these pants by the envelope. Just look:

After viewing Peggy Sagers webcast on pants fitting, I knew I wanted to try these since they are her basic sloper for all of the pants patterns. I still have some tweaking to do in the back, but overall, these fit well and are comfortable. They are made of a wool blend I got some time ago, so I'm not sure of the fabric content. I did prewash the fabric in the washing machine and throw it in the dryer and it came out fine. I will probably hang them to dry from now on though just incase.

I started off with too big a size, so I've made so many alterations to these I'm not sure what size they really are. I suppose I should put my traced pattern back on the original pattern and compare and adjust. Just for kicks. But not today.

The fly application on this pattern was easy to do and has a nice finish. I like a two piece fly. Even though it takes a little more time, I like the way it turns out. There are no pockets in these pants, but I didn't want any. I don't need to add any fullness to the hip area!

After making these, I'd have to say that the Sally Pant is really a great pants pattern. The fit is good and all of the pattern pieces line up nicely. Peggy Sager is great about helping you with fit questions. I know there are some pattern designers like Nancy Erickson who are now charging quite a bit for this service.

I have several other Silhouette Patterns that I would like to try and am hoping that I can get more sewing done now.

I also like the way the waistband is just assembled, turned under at the seam allowance and top-stitched on to the top of the pants. This works well, looks nice, and saves time.

Scarf blouse update: I am always drawn to Hot Patterns because they have such cute styles. Hwever, I don't think I've made a single one of their patterns that I did not have issues with! The fabric I'm using is a bear, so just to be sure the problems weren't from the fabric, I pulled out the pattern to check. I was having a terrible time trying to get the front dart to line up correctly. Well, after folding the paper pattern, I can see why. It's not laid out right.

So, I had two choices since I'd already cut the fabric. Either 1) lower the bust dart point considerably to make it work (not such a great idea) or 2) make a smaller dart. Since this is a loose fitting pattern, and other's have said it comes out big, I figured making a smaller dart wouldn't be to much of a problem. I re-folded the dart from the point to the bottom line and redrew the top line. This worked much better.

Now the problem is that I have somehow lost one of my front pieces and cannot finish the blouse until I find it!!!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Hot Patterns Scarf- shirt

Today I finished a pair of wool pants (pictures tomorrow I hope) that I've been working on for a while.

Several months ago I fell in love with the Hot Pattern scarf shirt pattern. I bought 2 different fabrics to make it in, but then never made it! In fact, one of the fabrics ended up being something else. Well, I wanted to make a new blouse to go with the pants that I just finished, so I dug in my fabric closet to see if the other fabric I'd bought for the scarf top would work. Yes! It is a polyester chiffon, so it will be tricky to work with. The pattern has a layout that has you use the fabric in one layer. I don't like cutting out like this because not only does it take longer, I don't have a table wide enough to cut out 60" wide fabric in one layer. The fabric was difficult to keep straight, but fortunately the print has lines in it that helped me keep it somewhat on grain! All I got done on that today was cutting, fusing, and hemming the scarf. I'm hoping to put the rest of it together tomorrow.

They're starting the SWAP over at Stitcher's Guild again this year. I like the guidelines this year as the focus seems to be on developing TNT patterns. That's exactly what I need to do more of. So, I may join. Also, 2 garments can be made ahead of time, So I may even include this blouse and pants depending on what my overall plan ends up looking like. I know one thing for sure, I will be using all fabric from my stash. It's pretty bad when you can't even buy new fabric because there is no where to put it!!

OK< it looks like blogger may have changed their posting again. I used to be able to size patterns by grabbing a corner and making them larger or smaller. Now that doesn't work. Anyone else out there using blogger that knows how to fix this?

Black Friday =Sewing Day

Well, I haven't been doing much sewing, and since I didn't have a camera for so long, I haven't made any posts lately.

We've had a new addition to our family, little Emma was born October 19. Since then, we've had a lot of changes at home, but all of them good.

The only sad (sort of ) thing is that I lost my sewing room. THis was my choice, so I'm not complaining. We have an extra bedroom, which I have been using as a sewing room and have loved it. We also have a very small office off of our bedroom that has a twin size bed in it. The problem with that is that you don't want someone else sleeping in your bedroom! So, since Emma's father stays over quite frequently (which we love), I felt sorry for him sleeping on the sofa every night. The sofa is NOT comfortable. So, I decided to give up the sewing room so we could move the bed into that room. My little office will suffice for now, but I won't be able to do any cutting in there, my fabric will still have to be stored in the now "guest room" and I still have a LOT of cleaning to do in the new sewing room.
But not today! I cleaned and cooked for the last 2 days, so today i s sewing day. I am going to the gym in about 1/2 hour, and making ONE stop at Macy's to buy ONE thing, and then I'm home to sew. Hope to have some pics later.

I hope you all had a WONDERFUL Thanksgiving.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

I've been meaning to...

clean out my bathroom cabinets,
organize my dresser drawers,
sort out my itunes collection
get some prints from my pictures on my computer,

and so much more....
but now, I'm either forced to or don't have the opportunity to any more. We were robbed this week (or maybe I should say burglarized) They broke in in the middle of the day Wednesday coming in through the sliding glass door in the back yard, which was apparently unlocked. They took my laptop and my daughters, both of our cameras, my grandmother's mink capelet, DHs wedding ring, and lots of other jewelry including DD's diamond bracelet that she just got from her father, among other things. Now that we're over the shock, we're counting our blessings. No one was hurt, not even the animals. Nothing was broken or damaged, they only hit half of the house, and our house was not set on fire (like someone else's misfortune we heard about this week.) So, it could have been much worse.

However, it's still a big pain to clean up all the mess (everything pulled out of dressers and cabinets), and the loss of everything including pictures of my late dad on my computer. So, since I don't have a camera or computer right now, it will be awhile until I post anything on my blog.

I did finish a simple tank out of a brown rayon jersey knit and I really like it. I used Pamela's Patterns twinset. Be Careful if you make this pattern - it has 1/4 inch seam allowances.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

CJ A line Skirt

I finally sewed the first true piece for my 6PAK. It is the A-Line Skirt in the Bell Sleeve Wrap pattern by Christine Johnson. The pattern is designed for a knit, but I used a woven. There is a sheet inside of all of her patterns that lets you know what size to make based on the stretch of the knit. I just calculated it with a zero percent stretch to figure what size to make. I'm very happy with the fit, but because I lined it, I have to either put it on over my head or lose 5 pounds!! The fabric is something that I've had in my stash for ever, so I'm not sure where I got it. I'm thinking maybe a fabric mart bundle from a few years ago! I'm pretty sure it's a poly woven, but it has a very nice drape and is lightweight. Because of this, I decided to line it. I had some brown poly lining in my stash, so used that. I serged the elastic to the top and turned it under. It would have been nice if I had black elastic, but I didn't.

The last blouse I made was a little full above the bust. I contacted Peggy Sagers and she replied right away. She said to try cutting a size one in the shoulders, 2 in the bust, and 3 at the hips. I am going to do this probably next because I would like to use this pattern for my 6 pack. I have another basic blouse that I made several years ago and have worn that thing to death. I really like the Silhouettes blouse, so I think I will be making several.

I really wanted to get more sewing and cutting done this weekend, but ended up working all day Saturday in my classroom. After I got home, DH and I ran some errands and went out to eat. After that, I fell asleep at about 6pm!! We were at church all morning today, but I did get to at least make this skirt this afternoon. It was really quick and easy. I'll definitely be making this one again.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

My Newest Obsession

Lately I have been obsessed by Peggy Sagers and Silhouette Patterns. I have been watching the live webcasts and even the reruns that are on her site. I have ordered several patterns, and tonight I finished this version of the classic blouse. There were several things about this pattern that I really like.

First of all, all of PS's patterns use 3/8" seams. I like this because it eliminates the step of trimming the seams. It also makes it easier to fit curves and smaller corners. The instructions are very simple, but there is the assumption that you know how to sew. For example, on the blouse it just says to add buttons and buttonholes. They are marked on the pattern, but that's about it.

The most interesting thing is the way the collar and the front facing are done. The front facing is folded over to the front, and that is what creates the front band. The collar is assembled first, and then the seam allowances on the neck edge are pressed inward. Then, after the blouse shoulders are sewn, the collar is just slipped over the raw edge of the neck and top stitched on. This is the fastest, easiest way to make a collar I have ever done. This pattern has a one piece collar, but you could do the same thing with a two piece collar. Also, I used Peggy's method of turning under the seam allowances at the point and not clipping the corner. You can click on the picture to see more detail of how nicely it turned out. I made the short sleeves for this blouse, but next time I would like to change that to a cap sleeve. I will also (at some point) make the longer sleeve.

I used a size 2 with the D cup. The one thing I always have a problem with in blouses is too much fabric between the bust and the shoulder. When I am standing up, the bust darts are in the right place. I did lower the shoulder seam 1/4 inch front and back, which eliminated a bit of the problem. I feel like the shoulder seam is in the right place, although I may bring it in 1/4 " on my next attempt. I'm wondering if maybe I should have cut a size 1 and just made it bigger at the hips, although it seems to fit fine in the bust.

I would have to say that this blouse fits better than any other that I have tried with the least amount of adjustment. I love that the pattern pieces are marked by cup size so that I do not have to fiddle with a FBA. I can't wait to make this again and to try some of her other patterns.

Monday, August 01, 2011

The 6PAC

There is a thread over on Stitcher's Guild for the "6PAC" which is a 6 piece Autumn Collection. I love the introduction. Here's the basics:

The point of these sew-alongs is to create the bones of a mix-and-match handmade wardrobe. The pace is relatively slow (two items a month) to allow you also to add the fun items that aren't the bones. The ideal pieces for this collection are BORING pieces that you wear EVERY DAY. These pieces in your wardrobe need to be beautifully fit, beautifully finished, and made with wonderful fabric. In order to work as separates they should be in a very limited colour palette -- I suggest for autumn this is one or two dark neutrals, one light neutral, and one colour. Good neutrals to pick are neutrals echoed in your hair colour; good colours are in your skin and eyes; but probably you have your own favourite colours.

The pieces are maximised for layering:

ONE jacket -- neutral
ONE bottom (skirt or trousers, though for autumn, I like trousers) -- dark neutral if you're pear-shaped, lighter if you carry weight on top
TWO underlayer tops, one ideally in a print combining your colours, one in a contrast neutral
TWO overlayer tops, one coloured, one neutral
and possibly
ONE more bottom -- skirt if you've done trousers, trousers if you've done a skirt, or a dress if you like them
You can read more about the 6PAC here if you're interested in joining.

I am also trying to follow the basic plan from Nancy Nix-Rice. #21 on

It is still pretty hot here in the fall, so I'm not making a jacket, but a cardigan and then maybe a lightweight jacket. My base color is going to be dark brown and this is what I'm going with:

Brown Rayon knit - tank and cardigan
Brown RPL - cropped pants
Brown poly crepe - skirt
Camel and Dark brown leaf print microsuede - cropped jacket
one other top - probably another tank or T. I haven't decided on that yet. Possibly a coral colored dupioni blouse.

The reason I'm going with the camel is that I have a pair of pants that color already and another that will coordinate. I have lots of different knits that will work or blouse fabrics, so the top will be easy. Also, since I had already narrowed my color down to brown, it was easy to do a little shoe shopping while in the Bay Area a couple of weeks ago and landed a great pair of Fidji shoes. I first fell in love with this brand when I saw them at an airport in Seattle. I've never seen this brand in my area and they are made in Portugal. They are kind of pricey, but if they don't hurt my feet, it will be worth it. I'm really loving these shoes (well, I think so, I haven't worn them yet because it's too hot for anything but sandals here right now.) The color is called Pewter, but there is nothing gray about it. They are really kind of a bronze and black mottled together, so they actually look great with tons of colors, including brown and black. I think these will be great for wearing to work.

Oh, and while I was at it, I had to pick up these as well. Of course, shoes always feel perfectly fine when you're trying them on and walking around in the store. It's after you get them home and wear them for a couple of hours that they kill your feet! I don't think I'll be able to wear these to work, but definitely for church and going out.
The color looks a little off in this picture, but the Nine West are a pinkish taupe color and the Via Spiga pumps are camel.

The 6PAC doesn't start until August, so I'm still sewing some summer things for now...

Today was the first day back to work, and by the time I got home, I was too tired to even sew! I guess for a while, my sewing will be relegated to the weekends.

Oh, some of you commented about my new hair cut - but it's not. It's just up in a bun.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Boatneck Top

I bought Christine Johnson pattern 311 for the boyfriend jacket, but it also came with a nice little boat neck shell. I decided to give it a shot. A couple of weeks ago I ordered a few 1 yard pieces of ITY knit from just to make some tanks and tops to wear under jackets or alone.

This was super simple to make - only a front and back piece. The armholes and neck edge are just turned under and stitched. I did this on my coverstitch, but I still don't have enough confidence with that to just turn and stitch so I pressed all the edges under first. This took a bit of time since polyester doesn't press well unless you use a clapper or something similar.

I'm finally figuring out to look at clothes that I already have and like to get some measurements from . This is what I did on this one.

To get the correct size, I took my fabric and wrapped it around me to the desired ease. I then measured the fabric edge and this became my finished bust circumference.

To get the hip size, I took a favorite top and measured the width. I also measured the length from the armscye down to make sure it would be long enough. I think I added 4" to this pattern. I also liked the wider hem on my RTW top, so I added enough to make a 2" hem on this top.

All in all, I'm pretty pleased with the result and will probably wear it to work tomorrow. That's right, I go back to work (officially) tomorrow. Kids don't come until Thursday, but our district starts ridiculously early. I still need more summer vacation!!!