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Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Second set of PJs using M6249...........this time in sheer cotton black lawn

       So it has been a while since my last post.......with the move and getting a new job, well I have been busy.  Recently, I got my sewing station set up and was eager to sew something.  I had all intentions of finishing a black and white gingham princess seam shirt; however, I am still adjusting the pattern to get a nice fit.  (When will it ever work?)  Anyway, I found in my sewing desk drawer, fabric that was already cut and marked and just needed to be sewn.... so I decided to go for it............and it did turn out nicely, check out my very comfortable pajamas: 

Comfy loungewear

      For this set of pajamas I went with a sheer black cotton lawn; which is very lightweight and soft.  I purchased about 4 yards of fabric from online fabric store and paid something like $5 a yard.  In my stash, I had knit elastic for the waistband and pink bias tape for the facings finished edges, and the top's hem.  I did purchase some pink ribbon for the edges and pink buttons, but that was like $2's at Hancock fabrics.  Oh,  I already had black cotton thread. 

Pink and black

        Time frame:  Sewing time took about 3 days.  I sewed up the pants in one afternoon.   The blouse took a little longer since I added all the trim. 

     Technique: Sewed using french seams.  Along the finished edges and hem I used soft pink bias tape; which matched the pink ribbon trim and buttons. Hemmed by hand the sleeves and machine hemmed the pants.  Please note: Since the fabric is very sheer I highly suggest using stay tape or organza along the crotch seams and on the shoulder seams.  I didn't do this and I regret it.  Also, I used the same pink ribbon trim and created a loop and sewed into the back waist band of the I can tell the front from the back!  Check out the details:

ribbon sewed into backside waistband

detail of ribbon and buttons

       I am so not done with this pattern.  Next time I want to make a short sleeve and short set version.  Seriously, I already have the fabric..... a really cute swiss dot from Hancock fabrics; which I purchased before the move....something a seriously crazy sewing person would do!  

Loving my new house

      Sweet dreams! 



Friday, June 5, 2015

Inspirational outfit from the Wall Street Journal?!

   So, Glenn has been subscribing  to the Wall Street Journal for years, and I have to admit I enjoy reading some of the articles and of course the quarterly color magazine; which features art, fashion, destinations, etc......Basically all the things I love. 

     Any who.... I was flipping through the beautiful shiny magazine and totally flipped for this woman's outfit.  O.k. it is not couture, and looks like something from a thrift store, but that is what I love about it.  In addition, I knew this was an outfit that I could easily sew/ recreate with my own twist.  (Did I really say that, cause you know in the sewing world, rarely is anything easy....oh well.)

     Here is my inspiration outfit:  A gingham top and silk charmeuse skirt with flounce. Check it out: 
Inspiration outfit from Wall St. Journal

      For the skirt pattern I used New Look 6433.  And with a few minor adjustments........I sewed up the skirt to my liking. Using my skirt sloper, I only had to make one muslin and was ready to go for it. 

     Fabric:  JoAnn poly silk charmeuse.  cost $12.  (no lining) regular black 7" zipper and button.

     Adjustment:  Raised front of pattern by 6".  Added two front darts and created a wider waistband, by cutting 2 waistbands and sewing them together instead of folding one.  Also, I did add a button and button hole to the waistband instead of the suggested eye and hook.   Technique: French seams and overlock. Check it out: 
Finished Skirt with flounce

      The Gingham blouse is still a work in progress.  Yes, I am stuck in muslin hell. Currently I am on my 4th try and still have more adjustments to, but with our pending move in little over a week......I had to call it quits and pack up my sewing machine.  Also, I am thinking of trying a different pattern.
McCalls 6124....pattern from hell.

      The pattern that is creating a major fuss is McCalls 6124. .....A basic princess seam blouse.  In my opinion the "cut" of this particular pattern doesn't work for my body shape.   The shoulders are way to big along with the hip.  And don't get me started on the low arm hole; which when I raised created other issues.  And I can't get the back seam to line up with the back sleeve seam.  Yes, I am going to find a Butterick or Simplicity princess seam blouse pattern, and once I get it adjusted I will fix this pattern. Yes, that is what I am going to do.

       Here is the 100% cotton gingham fabric I picked up at Hancock for about $20. Along with some black buttons. 
My version of the inspiration outfit

        I look forward to the move, so I can get back to sewing!

        Until next time....Happy sewing and figuring it out. 

        Even though these two photos belong in the "Garden" page I think they can sneak into this page because the roses in the photos are inspirational to the fabric I choose for the skirt! That is my story and I am sticking to it!

Favorite rose bush in our garden



Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Summer version of Butterick 5951 in cute polka dot cotton lawn

      Since spring is here, I thought I would get a head start on a summer dress....and there is nothing better then sewing up a pattern that has already been adjusted.  After sewing up a red linen version of Butterick 5951, I then sewed up a fall version in a beautiful teal faille with machine embroidery and black bemberg lining.  However, I left the dress in New Orleans and haven't posted it yet.  Maybe this fall I will get to it?! 

      Moving forward,  let me introduce you to my summer version of Butterick 5951.  I choose a cotton black and white polka dot lawn and fully lined it with a lightweight white cotton lawn.   Here are the changes I made for the summer version.  I shortened the sleeve length.  Took a little of the poof out of the gathered sleeve cap.  Shortened the length by 3 1/2" inches; however, instead of cutting the fabric shorter I made a 3 1/2" hem.............that way I can always lower later on. Also, I created a 3 1/2" hem for the lining too. 

Summer Polka Dot dress

   There is a lot of hand stitching involved in this dress, including sewing down the bodice lining to the zipper.  (I did cheat and machine sewed the lining to the waist seam.) However, I did use a catch stitch and hand-stitched the lining hem and dress hem.  The hem is really beautiful. Please note: I used silk thread for all the hand stitching. 
underlining and handstitching

     This dress took about a couple of weeks to sew up.  I had all the pieces cut and marked a few months ago and was finally able to give it the attention it deserved.  This dress will be a life saver for home in New Orleans........where the weather is subtropical. I look forward to wearing it and  knowing that it will be cool and comfortable. 

    Fabric:  my stash.  I did purchase the black and white flocked polka dots from JoAnns about a year ago.  The white cotton lawn/ lining I purchased from Online fabric store  This is where I buy my solid cotton lawn because it is so lightweight and easy to work with.  

    Definitely I will be continuing to sew up lightweight clothing for our new home. 

Monday, March 23, 2015

McCalls 6752 /Easy Knit in time for first signs of Spring in Asheville

       Asheville is starting to witness the first signs of spring.  Yes, the daffodils and yellow-bells are blooming.  The fruit trees are getting ready to pop with color along with the azaleas; all of which has me thinking of something easy to sew for spring. I ended up sewing McCalls 6752, easy knit blouse view A.  Check out the pattern:

      Fabric: Purchased 1 1/2 yards of a beautiful dark teal cotton jersey knit from Hancocks.  With a coupon I ended up paying something like $7's.  Of course, I went back to purchase more it completely sold out the next day.

      Notions:  1/4" wide elastic, matching poly thread,  ball jersey needles and of course the decorative 7" zipper.  All of which I purchased at  Hancocks when they had their notions sale. 

     First things first, I have never worked with knits until I sewed this blouse.  Of course the internet is wonderful for researching sewing knits, with or without a serger.  Also, I do not have a serger, but do have an overlock pattern on my machine so I knew it would be o.k.  
First Signs of Spring in Asheville

      After sizing my fabric, I used a rotary cutter to cut my fabric. Sewing:  I used a small zigzag stitch for all horizontal seams and straight stitch for all vertical seams. Then I trimmed seams to 1/4" and then used the overlock stitch. 

       The pattern was very easy to understand.  I didn't have any issues sewing the fabric together. Although, I did question the front neck facing, but it worked.  Even though cotton jersey knit is not as crisp as a woven fabric like cotton; it did iron well and wasn't nearly as "headache" worthy as silk charmeuse. 

       Adjustments:  I did a pattern fit and it looked like it was long enough in the torso; however, after sewing it up I really should have lengthened the torso about an inch.  Yeah, there is not a lot of flowing fabric near the waist line.  Easy fix for next time. 
Spike likes the blouse too!

        All and all I think this is a very easy pattern.  And cotton jersey knit is so comfortable.  I am not really a t-shirt person (unless I am exercising or working in the yard) so this blouse is a great compromise. I plan to make another one in a different color after I finish a summer dress that is already cut and ready to be sewed up. Also, I do plan to sew up the cut dress version. Lastly, I do want to get a pair of white slim jeans for spring to wear with this blouse. 

      Onto another completely different topic:

       We just put our Asheville house on the market for sale.  After living in Asheville for almost 10 years, I couldn't help but miss my family and friends in New Orleans.   With years of debates, we finally came to a decision to move. I closed our business last year and decided to make the leap.  It sounds crazy, but I have hope that it will work out. 

       We put in lots of landscaping....I mean, veggie garden, herb garden, spring garden, fruit trees, blueberries, grapes, etc.  We are crazy gardeners, and the yards have really matured after 5 years.  Check out some photos:

The front of our yard

Backyard with blueberry patches

Glenn with grape crop last year/2014

Digitalis with Spike (Can you see him) 

Last year's snow in backyard
Asheville is a beautiful place to live, but for us, New Orleans is home. 

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Nice dancing dress in Tango Red Linen/ Butterick pattern 5951

    Where did January go?  In my sewing world, I spent January sewing up a cute new blouse; which was suppose to start the New Year off properly.  However, after making an amateur mistake, yes, I made a pattern adjustment without a muslin test, the blouse turned out wonky under the arms.  A simple bust dart would have taken care of it, but since I did not "fit as you sew"......I ended up donating it.  Oh well.  Moving forward to February.

     In my sewing desk drawer, I had a muslin already cut and ready to sew for pattern Butterick 5951.  As soon as the pattern came out I purchased it.  I love the detail elements, like the elastic in the sleeves, gathers on the front and shoulders, and of course just the over all shape of the pattern. I can see this dress in a summer, fall and spring version.........depending on the fabric. Check out the pattern:

     After sewing up the first muslin I made a few adjustments and moved forward and sewed up another test muslin in Tango Red Linen with a black bemberg lining.  Check it out:

Tango Red Linen

    Fabric and Notion Details:  100 % Tango Red Linen, around 2 1/4 yards.  Purchased from Hancock Fabrics on the clearance section. Cost around $9.00  Also, used black bemberg lining from my stash to line the top of dress. Since I wasn't sure how linen would sew up in this pattern....I didn't line the bottom of the dress.  Purchased Gutterman thread 250 yards for $2.00 (on sale) and from my stash had a matching red tradition zipper and black bias tape for hem and Hong Kong zipper seam. 1/4" elastic for sleeves; which is what I had on hand, but the pattern does call for 1/2"

Elastic in sleeve

   Adjustments: 3/8" FBA. (Although, I could wear the dress without the FBA, I felt uncomfortable, so I went ahead and added it. )  Lengthened the torso 1 3/4" (typical for me) Shortened skirt 2".  Full upper arm adjustment.  (For the next dress I sew in this pattern I am taking a 1/4" off the cap sleeve.  There is just a little too much puff for me) Raised v-neck an 1" up.  (If I would have left it like the pattern called for, I think many people would have a gotten a nice view of the girls.) For future summer dress version I will shorten the sleeves.

   Techniques:  Since I did "fit as I sewed" on this linen dress, I went ahead and machined basted the stitches to make sure everything lined up and fit well.  Then I seam ripped the basting stitches and sewed up like normal.  I used my over cast stitch from sewing machine for seams except for the zipper seam........that I used black bias tape and made a Hong Kong seam.  Also, for the hem, I sewed and understitched black bias tape and then hand hemmed the skirt.  Oh, I hand hemmed the sleeves too, along with the lining to the zipper.  With so much fullness, really hand stitching is the best way.   Now I did "cheat" and machine stitch the lining to the waist line.  Yeah, I have hand sewn lining at the waist line before only for them to come undone.  (I am still perfecting my hand stitches). Also, let me mention something about the neck and shoulder pattern pieces.  It is a little odd making the sharp/pivot turn, when you sew them together.  So I highly suggest basting those pieces together before sewing them.  

Silly dance photo

    Overall Thoughts:  This is a great pattern.  I love that the pattern has a vintage and feminine feel, and is so comfortable and easy to wear.  Now I can start sewing up my fall version in a beautiful dark teal faille. Also, I will fully line the fall and summer version.

spike wanted to join in the fun!



Monday, December 22, 2014

Simplicity 1692 in navy silk charmeuse

     Inspiration for sewing something new can come in many shapes and sizes. Way back when, I received a present, a  beautiful pair of earrings ...........however, I really didn't have anything to wear with them until now.   check them out: 

Inspiration: Earrings

    About a year ago, Fabric Mart had a wonderful silk sale and I was awe struck when I saw this beautiful navy silk charmeuse.  Yes, this would be the fabric to sew up Simplicity pattern 1692 and would match my beautiful I ordered 2 1/2 yards.
Sewed View A

      Fabric:  2  1/2 yards from Fabric Mart at $8. a yard.  I hand washed this fabric and then air dried it.  Also, I used matching Gutermann silk thread, about 220 yards. 

       Notions:  Five 1/2" buttons.  I made black bemberg bias tape for the zipper seams and the back placket.  Purchased one pack of single fold bias tape for the hem.  Also, used stay tape for the shoulder seams and zipper seams. I have a set of shoulder pads but I did not sew them in. Oh, a little pellon interfacing for the cuffs.

      Pattern Adjustments:  I did sew up a couple of muslin tests. (However, I did forget to sew up the muslin with the shoulder bad) Adjustments made: shortening the sleeves (typical for me) lengthening the torso about 1 1/2"(typical for me) , upper arm adjustment (typical for me) . Added 1/4" more to the hips.  I wish I had added a little to the back sleeve for a back adjustment, next time. 

      Techniques: Sewed using French seams, Hong Kong seams for zipper side and back placket. Sewed stay tape along shoulder seams and zipper seams.  Sewed bias tape to create a neat narrow hem. 

Bias tape hem, bemberg on zipper seam

     Sewing  Issues:  Charmeuse is very slippery and has a mind of its own.  I had a hard time keeping the tucks lined up vertically, they tended to wander off kilter.  I had to sew the neck binding twice.  The first time the gathers weren't centered, again the fabric moved around. Even now the left shoulder seam pulls forward a little. Otherwise, this is a straight forward pattern and wasn't terribly difficult. 

Finished Blouse S1692

     Overall:  I love this blouse even though there are a couple of small issues.  Silk charmeuse feels so good next to the skin and I love the way it shimmers when the light hits it. 
Blouse with corduroy jeans

Silk glamorous!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

McCalls 6902......Easy but do let me count the errors of my way


    Yes, I have been dreaming of sewing up a fall suit..........specifically a lined jacket, but nothing too fussy with a matching pencil skirt.  I already have a simple skirt pattern altered to fit, so I just needed a jacket pattern.  I was drawn to M6902 as soon as I spotted it because of its simple design and that pretty printed "easy" word.  In my mind I thought I could whip out this jacket in 2 days............ah such dreamer! 

        Easy Pattern M6902:

    First lets start with the fabric: Black and blue checked heavy linen purchased at Hancock fabrics for about $4 a yard.  I purchased 4 yards, enough for a skirt and jacket. Please note:  Even though the pattern calls for a fabric with good drape, I choose this heavy black and blue checker linen; which is a little stiff.  Something about this fabric caught my eye and I decided to go for it.  Maybe it wasn't the best choice. I think a beautiful wool suiting would have been a better choice. Live and learn.

   Lining: black bemberg from JoAnn's.  Yeah, I purchased it with a coupon so I paid something like $4 a yard.  Again, I purchased 4 yards. 

    Piping: purchased 2 packs of Wrights pre-made black piping.  The pattern suggested ribbon which is top-stitched to the pattern; however, I thought piping was a little more high end looking.

   Notions:  In my stash I had the black rose button. Even though the jacket calls for hook and eyes..........I wanted something more glamorous.  Although, I still put in a hook and eye on the inside, for extra holding power. (Should I say suck in power)

Check out my outfit: 
Jacket and matching pencil skirt

   Lets get to the heart of the matter, fitting issues, design changes and the lining.  

   Fitting:  I did make a bodice test muslin for the jacket.  (Actually 3 muslins all total)  My first mistake was not adding the sleeves to any of the muslins.  If I would have added the sleeves, I would have realized I needed a little bit more room in the back area. Second mistake: I should have added a hook and eye at the waist to the muslin so the front of the jacket would close like on the model.   Instead I kept pulling the jacket to get a good bust fit; however, each time I did that I had to increase the FBA.  I ended up increasing the FBA almost 2 inches, but later after the jacket was finished I had to take apart the lining from the jacket and decrease bust area an 1", because it was way to big. Third Mistake:  After adjusting the torso (length and shorten three times) my pattern became skewed and if you notice the closure at the waist is not straight.  Fourth Mistake: Lining the jacket. I should have used the bag method; which I found after the fact.  Instead I followed the instructions and tried to sew the sleeve lining to the sleeve jacket seam; however, I admit I am not good at it. Fifth Mistake: Design change in sleeve cap, I added a pleat.  In my mind I thought it would be a beautiful detail; however, I think it would have looked better if I used a softer drapey fabric.  Sixth Mistake:  Under-stitching the lining to the outer fabric.   Did I miss a step or miss read the instructions?  But how can you underline the jacket if you sewed the lining and jacket together all the way around?  Anyway, I ended up top stitching the jacket to lining once I turned it right side out. Final mistake:  I wish I would have added more fabric to the front center so the V shape wasn't so wide at the top.

                 More images: 

Jumping to stay warm

Cool mural on the side of a bar.

Another mural

Backside showing peplum

      Suggestions:  Keep in mind the jacket closes at the waist.  I highly suggest doing a full test muslin first before cutting into that expensive fabric.  Also, I would like to try this jacket again, but with a new pattern (since my adjusted pattern is a mess) and a drapey fabric.

     P.S. I owe a big thank you to my photographer, who not only got up early on a Sunday morning but also took photos in 35 degree weather.  Awesome!