Thursday, April 04, 2013

A Bit Of Catching Up

Sorry for my absence for a while. I've been helping my husband with work this past month and after a full days with him, I have been exhausted,both physically and mentally.
Now it is time to catch up.
   I would like to thank Freya May for giving me the "Versatile Blogger Award". Her charming blog is called The Dressmaking Diaries. Her posts are warm,witty and delightful. I know there are some rules that I must follow in receiving this award and I will follow up on that later in another post this week.
    I am participating in the "2013 Essential Top Sew A Long" hosted by Linda of Fayes Sewing Adventure. She is such an inspiration and motivator. I made two tops that can be worn together or separately. This is my spring twinset and I love it.
I used these two patterns to create my twinset. The jacket is from Simplicity 2060. I removed the collar and shortened the sleeves to 3/4 length. I also took in the sleeves for a sweater style fit. I have wanted a knit jacket since last spring.

 I lined the body of my sweater, excluding the sleeves,with another cotton knit fabric so that it would have some body and work better with the princess seams. The facing is interfaced with lightweight fusible tricot.
The best part about making a knit jacket is the sleeve went in like a breeze and most of sewing was done on my serger (fast and trimmed).
    The short sleeve top underneath was made from Butterick 4819. I added a band to the neckline.

 I have not hemmed my t-shirt yet but I wanted to hurry and post this while I had a free moment.
    I've been cutting and piecing a quilt that I'm slowly losing motivation to complete. My sewing room is a mess.
Maybe I'll clean it tomorrow. I'm going to bed with a good book and cup of Sleepytime tea.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Jean Pocket Tutorial

I am working on another pair of jeans from this pattern, Butterick 5682. This pair will be the straight leg version.
I know that there are many jean tutorials in the blog world and I've seen a lot of good ones. I hope my first tutorial will be a help to someone. This is how I prefer to do jean pockets. No template needed.
  1. Sew a straight seam all around the pocket 1/2 inch from the edges of the sides and bottom and 1/4 inch from the top edge.

2.Interface the top wrong side of the pocket so that interfacing extends at least 1/2 inch below the top fold line. This will give a nice crisp stable edge and more stabilization for any top stitching you may do. Press the top seam over to the wrong side. The line of stitching you did at the beginning will help the fabric roll right into the direction you want. (Sorry about the sideways photo. I still don't know why that happens sometimes)

 3. Using the fold line from the pattern. Fold to the front and seam the right and left sides

 4. Flip the top and press  the seams toward the inside of the pocket. The stitching done previously keeps every thing straight and neat.

5. Add the decorative top stitching at this point. This stitching also holds that fold in place.

6. Pin or use Steam-a Seam to secure the pocket in place on the pants and then stitch in place.

This is fast and easy. It makes a durable pocket with crisp edges.

Friday, March 08, 2013

A New Shirt Finished

I finished the tuck shirt and I am very happy with the results. This is from OOP Butterick 4023. I used a light weight linen blend.

Here is a close up of the collar
It was easy. I'll definitely make another and one or more of the other views. Next time I'll add length to this shirt. That is a pattern alteration I never thought I would have to do. It is a little short,but totally wearable.

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Easier Than I Thought

I don't want to make any more winter garments. I'm ready to make spring garments,although there seems to be no sign of spring coming anytime soon. So I thought a blue shirt would be perfect for any season. I pulled an older pattern from my collection, Butterick 4023.
I've had this pattern a long time. Every time I would put my hands on it, I would say to myself," This shirt is too much work" and put it back in the drawer. I have finally gotten over the,"this is too much work "attitude. I have found out that this pattern was not "too much work" at all. I'm working on the version showing the horizontal tucks.
It was much easier than I thought. The tucks are done on one rectangle of fabric and then the two fronts are cut from it. Everything lines up an goes together just fine. I realize that I like fabric manipulation and want to include more of it in my sewn garments. I'm almost finish with this shirt and my mind is swimming with ideas.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Fearless February- Finished Projects

Whew, I finished in the nick of time! Can you smell the smoke coming from the sewing room?
    At the beginning of the "Fearless February Sewalong",I'd decided to tackle an embellishment project. I wanted to makeover a Chanel type jacket,that I'd made a couple of years ago,into something a bit more embellished. Initially it was too long and bland. I hated it and shoved it to the back of the closets,( I couldn't throw it away because ,a ton of work went into it).
 I restyled it by cutting off some of the length and making a new bottom band with the remaining fabric and lining fabric. My daughter is not available to take pictures of me wearing the jackets,so Claire will model them today.
I used this pattern, Vogue 7975. Originally I did view E but now the length is more like view B.
The next big fear I had was making welt pockets. I would substitute patch pockets or just a flap that looked like a pocket. 
I used the great instructions from the DVD, Jackets For Real People by Palmer/Pletsch. I followed along step by step. For once I didn't just skim over or skip steps,and it really paid off. Here is the welt pocket.
Here is the finished pocket
Here is the finished coat
Yes,I know the pockets are a little low. By the time I realized that it was done. I still really like it and it is so warm. I used coat weight wool,poly blend lining and Mccall's 4598. 
I've used this pattern before so it was already adjusted. It was shortened in the body and sleeves. I always do a FBA.
The welt pocket requires accurate marking,and there a quite a few steps,but I think they look nice. It is nice to not be intimidated by the technique anymore.
 I have enjoyed the Fearless February Sewalong,hosted by the ever motivating Victoria. Thank you Victoria. Though February will be gone in a few hours, I will continue to be fearless in sewing. I have learned to:
  •  Slow it down. There is no race.
  • Follow all the steps until I know the technique.
  • Practice on scrap.
  • If I don't do it right the first time, I can do it again later( but don't wait a year).
  • Have confidence. I repeated,"I can do this" through every step of every project this month.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Fearless February Project

  I've made jeans before. The first pair of wide leg jeans,(about 5 years ago) were OK and I still wear them today.

The second pair (about 2 years ago)... not so good. They looked nice,fresh off the sewing machine but, as the day wore on they got bigger,baggier and saggier as the day went on.

  So I was happy to live with one pair of made-by-me jeans and one pair of RTW jeggings, until the "Fearless February",challenge made me think about my fears of making jeans and solutions to some of the problems had before.
  •  Fitting was achieved by comparing the measurements of each pattern piece to the similar pieces on a pair or RTW pants that fit me well.
  •  I stabilized the waist and crotch area so that they would not stretch. 
  • I hammered bulky seams and they went under the presser foot without any problem.
  • I used a different thread for top stitching (more on this further into the post).
I'm very pleased with my new pair and they passed the wear test. No bag, no sag.

This Butterick 5682 pattern is wonderful ! I made the boot cut version from dark wash denim from Hancock

I use this stitch for my top stitching and 40 weight cotton poly core thread. It comes in a large variety of colors and it sits nicely on the surface of the fabric. I didn't use denim top stitch thread because I've had to many problems with it bunching underneath the stitches.
On the fabric it looks like this.
 You can also use it in an embroidery machine without any problem,so that your pockets match the top stitching thread.
I have found the right pattern for all my jeans. I will be making plenty more in the future.

Monday, February 18, 2013

A Happy Birthday

Today was my birthday and my wedding anniversary. My husband and I had breakfast together. My husband and daughter did the cooking and cleaned up after. I spent the rest of the day doing things I enjoy.
That means there was some sewing, (my Fearless February project is almost done)
some quilting,(piecing some blocks)

and some painting.(finished)
It was a very good day.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Giveaway Winner

The "Plus-size Pattern Pyramid Givaway" winner has been pulled. All contestants names were placed in a sewing basket. I blindfolded my daughter and she pulled out the name of the winner, but first a little information. Beajay ask about which pattern I choose for myself. Here is what I choose, from the lovely selection she sent to me. I hope to attack the dress before this month is over.
This is what I added to the selection.
A sweet blogger friend,Tanya of Eating Pins made a generous donation to the pile also.These arrived Monday.
So without further ado. THE WINNER IS:

Chris Lucas of

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

A Giveaway - The Plus Size Pattern Pyramid

I won a giveaway from Beverley aka Beajay,( check out her blog,she is a delight) as a participant in "The Plus Size Pattern Pyramid" .

The prize patterns arrived today. I selected 3 keepers and added 4 to the prize package.
In keeping with the rules,now I have a giveaway. Please enter by commenting and including your blog address.  Here are the rules:
THE RULES (As copied - and slightly amended - from Did You Make That)
  • Anyone, anywhere can enter the giveaway by posting a comment below by midnight Eastern Standard (US) Time, Wednesday ,February 13th,BUT you must have an active blog. (Reasons to become obvious.)
  • I will randomly select a winner and post your name and blog link on my blog.
  • I will post a comment on your most current post,on your blog,notifying you about your win.
  • I will send selection of approximately 5 - 6 patterns to the winner. The winner will pick one pattern to keep for themselves, then host their own giveaway. They will randomly select a winner, post the remaining patterns to that Person C. Person C will pick a pattern for themselves, host their own giveaway and post the remaining patterns to the winner, Person D. Person D will…
  • All patterns are in the plus size category - ie - if the pattern comes in 2 sizing groups, then it will be the larger category. Patterns to go up to at least go up to a size 20 (most go higher). Patterns listed as "all sizes" will include plus sizes.
  • If you wish to take more than one pattern you can replenish the stock with a pattern you no longer want - but please make sure it is in plus size range
You get the idea!

  • We are taking it on trust that all pattern pieces and instructions are there.
  • Your selection of patterns will be picked at random - please don’t contact me asking for specific patterns.
  • If you’re a winner, I would love it if you could make a small contribution to The Brooke. This is a charity close to the heart of Catherine, who so generously provided the original patterns. These plus sized patterns have been contributed by me in the spirit of the generosity of the sewing community
  • Please engage in a timely fashion, launching your own giveaway soon after receiving a parcel
  • You must be be happy to mail patterns worldwide.
  • Mention the blogger and link,from whom you received your win, on your blog.

Monday, February 04, 2013

Me Made Monday

I have started participating in Me Made Monday.  I have plenty of clothing sewn by me, but I'm not working outside the home these days,so I tend to wear t-shirts and jean a lot. I should get dressed and get out the house more often,but if the weather is cold or rainy, I don't want any part of it. Sometimes I'm just not motivated. 
    Today I went to visit an art gallery,where I'm hoping to show some of my art. This is what I wore.
I made the white shirt from OOP, Mccall's 3723.
 It is a basic button down shirt with french cuffs. The fabric is cotton/poly blend. It is the only white shirt I have and this was the first time I've worn it. I made it a year ago and hung it in my closet with no buttons on it. While I was cleaning out the closet last week, I found it and sewed on some buttons. I will make a few more because, I have heard that everyone should have a few white shirts.

Saturday, February 02, 2013

Fearless February-

I am a participant in Victoria's "Fearless February" sew a long. This is a cool sew a long designed to get us outside of our boxes and conquers sewing fears.Victoria is quite the motivator. I love her "can do" attitude.     
  My goal is fashion embellishment. I've found it to be a challenge to create a garment that features embellishments that actually look good. Most of my embellishment attempts,like machine embroidery (other than monograms) are failures.
                                           They always look obvious or homemade dorky.

   I've seen all kinds of embellishment on boutique clothing, in catalogs and on the Internet that look fantastic. I like to successfully...                              
   add trim or fraying
add beads or ornate buttons
                                                        or mix fabrics in an exciting way

However ,when I try to duplicate the look, I jump right in with no practice,or test runs, and end up destroying an otherwise nice piece of clothing. I haven't try any embellishment in a really long time. I have tons of books and magazines on the subject and I have begun my studies. I'm prepared for a fun journey. Wish me luck.