Sunday, November 19, 2017

Cashmerette's Rivermont Dress

Let me state up front that I was a tester for the Rivermont Dress pattern. Because I've had such great success testing Jenny's patterns, I used a beautiful piece of border print ponte for my test version. 

So of course, it didn't work for me. Now if this hadn't been a test garment I would have immediately gone to work fixing it to make it work...because it's made from my good border print ponte. But it was a test dress so I had to wait for the revised pattern.

When I made my first one it was the middle of summer and I could see wearing this dress into fall...still in my dress wearing calendar.  However, when I started working on my revised version, it was early November. Of course that meant my idea for how I wanted to wear this dress changed. I've been wanting some fall maxidresses and when I looked at the dress with new eyes, I realized it would make a great fall maxi.

Fabric Choice ~
The pattern suggests you use a ponte knit to make the dress. I used a dark floral Liverpool knit from LA Finch Fabrics for my version. The Liverpool is a stable knit and similar to a lightweight ponte.

Construction Information ~
1. I cut a straight size 24 for the bodice and the waistline for the dress. 

2. But I cut a 26 from the pocket area to the floor for the skirt of the dress. 

3. I also raised the neckline 1/2" because I liked the neckline that was on the original dress. I made sure that I changed the facing piece also.

4. Then I added 15" to lengthen/shorten line on the pattern and 2" to the hemline to maximize the skirt.

5. I used a 1/2" hem on the bottom of the dress. I wanted the maxi dress to hit at my ankles and not drag the ground. 

6. My sleeves are cut 3/4 length instead of full length, just because.

A few pictures of the dress ~

This is how I plan on wearing the maxi - with my RTW Jean Jacket

Conclusion ~
I will wear this dress but I don't love this dress.  And it's totally me...I still have a thing about waistline seams and it's so ingrained into my style psyche that if I don't love it when I put it gets relegated to the back of the closet.

Now this says nothing about Jenny's pattern. All of the pattern pieces go together well. It's an easy sew and has a lot of potential for the right curvy, plus-size woman. I'm just not sure I'm that curvy woman. If this is your style, I highly recommend you purchase this pattern.

One more thing, like I said earlier, I was a tester of this pattern so received it for free.  However all of the opinions are mine. always more later!


Sunday, November 12, 2017

A Cardigan and Tee in Wool Jersey

This cardigan started as a knockoff of an outfit that I saw on Lafayette 148's site. When I found the wool jersey on the Fabric Mart website, I knew it would make a great version of my inspiration outfit.

(inspiration picture from Lafayette 148 with the original fabric beneath it)

However, when I unfolded the fabric, it was very light...too light for what I had in mind. Now I know I should have cut a sample piece and prewashed it. However, I honestly don't have that kind of patience, so I just dumped the entire five yards in the washer. After the first wash & dry, all of the additives were removed. After the second wash & dry, the fabric had beefed up a little and had a little more body.

I decided to work with it after two wash & dries because I don't believe a third would have made much difference in the fabric's hand or weight. Just one thing to note ~ if you decide to wash and dry this fabric, stitch the ends together to insure that the fabric doesn't twist during the prewashing process.

I decided to use my TNT pattern - Simplicity 8059 - for the cardigan.

I've made this cardigan five times now and it's become a staple in my fall/winter/early spring wardrobe. It's a great layering piece and works well with my current lifestyle.

The top is a long sleeved tee from the Cashmerette Concord Tee pattern. This is another fave pattern of mine and I'm thrilled to now have made a fall/winter version. I added 2" to the hemline of the Tee. The extra length was added to the tee to complement the cardigan and make it look more like my inspiration garment.

My tie is a little higher than pictured on the pattern and my other versions. I wanted it to hold the cardigan together better under my fall jackets and winter coats. It's one of the things that annoys me about my other versions...the cardigan is always flopping around under the jacket by the time I get where I'm going.

A few pictures of the completed outfit ~

This outfit originally appeared on the Fabric Mart Fabricistas blog and I did receive a discount on this fabric. However all of the opinions about working with the fabric are mine.

A Parting Shot ~
The grandbabies were with me and my daughter when we were taking pictures. So here is a pic of me walking with them to the main drag to take these photos. always more later!

Sunday, November 05, 2017

Simplicity 8303 - A Denim Coat

This was a project and honestly I'm an instant gratification kinda girl.  I don't mind taking a simple project and then throwing the kitchen sink at it and complicating the heck out of it.  However, actual longer projects give me pause which is probably why I don't make a lot of jackets. Somewhere near the end of making them, I start to whine. Don't believe me, ask Gaylen. LOL!

I really wanted to make the duster. I started out making the duster. I got to the point where the collar and front facings were on and it looked like a jacket. Thank goodness I had enough fabric leftover to cut out the make the jacket.

First a picture of the finished jacket~

The Pattern - Simplicity 8303 ~

Next a supply list ~
5 yards of a printed denim purchased recently from Chic Fabrics
1 yard of paisley printed cotton purchased from Mood Fabrics
5 yards of blue/white/black piping from Daytona Trimmings
A couple of yards of me made bias tape
1 elastic for the button loop
2 - 2" silver D rings from Pacific Trimmings
1" silver shank button from the collection

I made no pattern alterations. I cut a straight size 24 knowing that the jacket is supposed to be loose fitting. The only sewing change I made was to take wider seams at the front and back princess seams to narrow the shoulders. I will fix this on the pattern pieces so it will just work for the next version.

Cost to Make ~
The coat cost $54 to make. Not inexpensive but not exorbitant...and well worth the time and effort to make it. The fabric was $35 for the denim and cotton stretch paisley.  The notions cost $19 with the piping taking up most of the expense.

Design Decisions ~
I really didn't want to change much design wise on this pattern. At first I played with adding some epaulets to the shoulder seams to make the jacket look more trench-like but when I decided to add piping to the front and sleeves, it seemed a tad too much.

Here are the touches I added to make the denim jacket uniquely mine:

I added piping to the collar, the fronts, the overlap and on the sleeves. There are no tips on how to apply piping in this post because I've detailed how I add piping to garments on the blog before

Bias Binding:
I really wanted to add bias binding to the exposed seams on the jacket. However, after putting the back together and topstitching it all down, it looked so nice and neat flat that I discarded the idea of adding it to the back seams. One of the side seams is covered by the front facing so I decided to press the side seams forward and topstitch them down. That only left the front facings exposed and that's where I decided to use the bias tape.

I haven't actually made my own bias tape from scratch in years. I could have gone to the sewing library but I wanted a tutorial that everyone could use and found a great one here. It's from the website, Make It, Love It. The instructions were easy and simple to follow and what I used to make the bias binding.

I will admit that I have fat arms from the bicep to my elbow. Because of that I need to fix almost every sleeve I insert into a garment. Every.Single.One.

First thing was to measure the width of the sleeve and it's just a little too small. Now I could go through making the bicep larger but look at my first sentence. I have to add width all the way through. So I chose to use a sleeve I knew would work. I pulled the sleeve from my blouse pattern to start with...I went through my normal stages of making a pattern sandwich and adding the width. I also removed some from the sleeve cap to make an allowance for the extra width at the sleeve edges.

I cut the cuff part off and added 5/8" to the sleeve and the cuff. This was done to add piping to the sleeve hem. Once the piping was applied and the sleeve and cuff were sewn together.  Then the sleeve was sewn into the jacket.

After inserting the sleeve into the jacket, I hated the extra wide seam allowance and serged it down to 1/2" wide. It gave the sleeve edge a clean finish and made getting in and out of the jacket easier.  But I noticed when trying on the jacket that the tops of the sleeve were collapsing. So I added a shortened sleeve head just to the sleeve cap so it wouldn't buckle. A shoulder pad would accomplish the same thing, I just didn't want to add one.


The belt was made according to the instructions but I added rows of stitching down the length of the belt. Again another detail that no one will really notice but something that I really wanted. Honestly I didn't think that I would wear the belt and never made the belt carriers for the coat for that reason. However, after we took the pics...I really like the belt!

I cut 3" off the bottom of the jacket because it was lower midcalf length and once I switched to a jacket, I wanted it a little shorter.

For the sleeve hems, the hem of the jacket and the belt, I sewed multiple lines of topstitching. Because of the print of the denim, you can't see this topstitching but I'm fine with that. I know it's there and it weighs the hems and stops them from shifting. The duster has side seam slits. I omitted them for the jacket.

And if I haven't peppered this post with enough photos here are a few more:


First a shout-out to Gaylen who put up with my bitching for three weeks as I made this! Second, thanks to all the Instagram Peeps who opined about piping and which one to choose. Finally, this pattern is an easy sew. Of course, adding piping and deciding to add sleeves at the last minute added some time to it's construction but I'm so thrilled with the final garment!

I plan on using the pattern again to actually make the duster. I have some lighterweight, flowy fabrics that will accomplish what I want so hopefully I will get to it before the winter is over!

However, now I have a brand new denim jacket to wear for fall/early winter and spring. A sweater will go under the jacket and it will go great with jeans or leggings. Also, I'm kinda in awe of the fact that I got this jacket made... always more later!

Saturday, November 04, 2017

Winner of the Book!

This is going to be quick and dirty!  We've been photographing garments today and I still have a load of pics to wade through!

Since there were 29 entries, I used the Random Generator to pick the winner.  The Random Generator picked number 8.

So the winner of the book is:

theresa from tucson

Theresa, send me an email with your home address and I will get the book out to you this week!

A new garment post will be up at midnight EST. always more later!

Sunday, October 29, 2017

The "How to Machine Sew" Book - Large Format Edition

When Threads Magazine sent me the Sandra Betzina book to review, they also sent me the "How to Machine Sew" book.  

I wanted to review the books separately so they would each get their own time in the spotlight!  This book is one in the series by Susie Johns. Others are "How to Sew", "How to Embroider", and "How to Quilt" - these are basic sewing books, in a larger format with simple projects, easy techniques and great illustrations.  Perfect for beginner sewists.

I'm sure you're wondering why I would be reading or sharing info on a beginner sewing book?  Well these came to me during National Sewing Month and to me one of our responsibilities as sewists is to teach and encourage new sewists. I deliberately held onto it because there were quite a few sewing tools given away and discounts offered during September.  I wanted to save some of the celebration for October too!

Like I said this is a great basic sewing book for a new sewist. It has the obligatory section on how to use your sewing machine, what tools you need to acquire to begin sewing and a short section on how to work with fabric. Then there are nine projects and each project highlights a different technique. 

For example, Project Two is about Place Settings and the technique that's taught is mitered corners. The project has information on making napkins, place mats and tray cloths. The first page of the project sheet gives you the materials you'll need, the finished sizes of the project pieces and the techniques you will use to finish the project. There is even a fabric suggestion made to assist with picking the proper fabric for the project.

The illustrations are large and easy to follow with a written explanation beneath each one. Extra tips and information are in boxes on the sides of the pages to give a little more in-depth information.

Finally the book has a resource list (though the resources are for UK companies), a glossory and an index page. Personally I love index pages, if I need to find something quickly, I can look there. You can find this book at your normal retail sources - Amazon and Barnes & Noble online. 

However, I do have one copy to give away. If you'd like to win a copy, because you need a gift for a sewing friend, a newbie sewist, or for an upcoming Christmas sewing giveaway, this would be a great gift to give! To win a copy, please leave a comment on this post ONLY.  Entries left on any other post or Bloglovin' won't be eligible for the giveaway.

You have until Friday, November 3rd, 11:59pm EST to leave a comment.  The winner will be picked and announced on Saturday, November 4th. I will ship the book out the following week. This giveaway is open to any sewist, anywhere, so leave a comment and I hope you win!

One last thing - the winner of the magnetic pincushion never contacted me, so I picked another winner.  Lisa Laree if you would kindly contact me via email with your home address, I will get this right out to you.

I have been sewing so more clothing posts soon. always more later!

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

A Little Somethin' Jacket

I purchased this pattern last December during my first trip to visit Gaylen at her B&B.  There is a cute quilt shop nearby that sells quilt fabrics and quilting accessories, The Old Country Store. This pattern was one of the things I picked up.

The pattern is called "A Little Somethin' Jacket" and it's produced by CNT Patterns. When I bought the pattern, I thought that I would make a cute spring/summer jacket. Of course I never got around to sewing one ~ so many patterns, not enough time.  

However, I was looking for something quick and easy to sew after the very challenging sew of Simplicity 2894. I'd washed and dried this rayon I purchased during the Jackson Heights Fabric Crawl...

...and it shrunk alot during the process. When I ironed it, the fabric sprung back into shape. I'd originally wanted another pair of wide legged pants but was leery of the fabric's reaction to heat. I could see my butt and knees bagging out unattractively in the finished garment. I set the fabric aside, but it stayed on my mind.

When I pulled this pattern out to use, the fabric was right there, so it was a perfect match. This really is a quick sew and a good palette cleanser. There are only three pattern pieces ~ front, back and sleeve. I lengthened the jacket's hem by 1" to add extra coverage in the back! I also lengthened the sleeve hem by 1". It was totally unnecessary to alter the sleeve hem and I won't do it for the next version.

It goes together easily with only a slight challenge inserting the front collar to the back neckline...just take care when pinning the two pieces together and you will be alright. Otherwise there was nothing else construction wise to note. 

A few pictures of the jacket ~

Only back shot we took because it was 
the end of a long day of photographing garments

I have way more of this type of picture ~
...and this is a calm one!  My daughter is a saint! *LOL*

Conclusion ~
I liked this pattern because it reminded me of all the kimono jackets that are still around. The weather is getting cooler. This is a perfect topper for chilly mornings that will still work when it warms up in the afternoon.  Come late fall/early winter it will work with a turtleneck under it. A perfect transition piece!

This was so fun, quick and easy to make that I will probably make another one, next spring! LOL! I've got a full fall/winter sewing list that I'm very inspired to get off the paper and into my closet.

Also one quick note - this was sewn and photographed in August but due to all of the National Sewing Month posts - this is just making it to the blog. It's the last of the late summer sewing...everything after this will be fall garments. always more later!

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Butterick 6486 in an Embroidered Black Rayon

As mentioned in an earlier post, I went by Chic Fabrics with Meg & Claire shortly before it closed the old location. Thankfully they have moved just one block over to 38th Street, near SIL Threads. It's sad though because there are now fewer and fewer fabric stores on 39th Street which is similar to what happened on 40th Street. 39th Street now seems like it's turning into eatery row...*sigh*

Anyway, I touched this fabric and knew it had to come home with me especially since it was similar to a voile embroidered piece I purchased from Stylemaker Fabrics earlier in the summer.

It's that time of year here on the East Coast where the mornings start out chilly so you need a jacket/sweater/topper which you remove around the middle of the day. I've found I like nice tops to go over straight leg jeans or leggings, now that the weather is cooling down.

Enter Butterick 6486...

The pattern combined with the black rayon is the perfect fall top!

Pattern Alterations ~
This is a loose-fitting top so I didn't need to make a lot of changes to the pattern pieces except for the sleeves. I added a wedge to the sleeve pattern with it being 2.25" wide at the largest portion.

I made the same alteration to the sleeve ruffle.  It wasn't necessary since you gather the sleeve ruffle onto the sleeve but I wanted to keep the original sleeve design.

Design/Construction Info. ~
I sewed the entire top together and it was huge. I started with an XXL based upon the measurements. I should have gone down one or two sizes because this is a really loose fitting top.

1.  That was just the start of the problems. 
2.  The neckline was too large. 
3.  The sleeves hung way too long.
4.  The top had too much space and I kept longing for a dart in it.

So I started with the sleeves. After ripping them apart I took 2" off the bottom of the sleeve and removed 1" from the hemline of the lower sleeve. Then sewed them back together.  The sleeves were still long but I added an extra deep hem to get them to the length I wanted.

One more thing, the pattern tells you to use french seams to construct the sleeve. I understand why they do...because if you hold your hands up you want a clean finish on the inside of the sleeve.  However, I skipped this step and was so glad I did when I had to make alterations to my sleeves.

To remove the excess space from the sides of the top, I ripped it apart.  Do you sense a theme here?! I then sewed 1" seams on either side of the top and on both sides of the bottom.  The top and bottom were then sewn back together.

Solving the too large neckline meant making a pleat in the front. Then adding a covered button from the embroidered fabric to make it a design decision rather than a fix of the loosey goosey neckline.

Pictures of the top ~


Conclusion ~
To me, it was a lot of work for a fast and easy pattern. I ended up with a wearable top but not without a lot of work. Also, it is a little difficult to get out of. If you already own the pattern and want to make it, I have a couple of words of caution.

1. Measure the pattern carefully and pick the smaller size. This is a very loose-fitting top.

2. Check the neckline. I was so worried about the shoulder seam, which works by the way, that I overlooked the width of the neckline.

3. Make sure the seam for the upper and lower sleeve hits you in the appropriate place. When I made it using the pattern & instructions, the sleeve hem was so far down my arm that it looked weird.  Shortening the upper sleeve by 2" put the seam back in the right place.

4. My version is longer than the pattern because I wanted to include all of the embroidered edge in the bottom. So I added 3 inches to the bottom and then hemmed it using a one inch hem.

BTW, I'm wearing the top with a pair of Spanx leggings. I love these and bought three pairs of them because not only are they comfortable but they suppress. You will see them again with more me made tops. I will wear this top because it's cute and it works but this pattern is a one and done. I have loads of top patterns and am moving on to the next one. always more later!

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Do your patterns talk to you?

I'm going to admit mine do!  When I take the tissue out of the pattern envelope (old school I know! but we are not discussing how much I dislike PDF patterns this go round!) I hear gentle whisperings. Do you?

I recently opened a new pattern - Simplicity 8302 - coming to the blog soon - and it whispered so sweetly to me. See based upon the pattern cover photos and the fabric I'd chosen, I had one idea of a dress to make. But once I started cutting out the pattern pieces a totally different version came into view.

A version that I swear was softly sung into my ear. It penetrated my brain and lit a spark in the creativity center of my brain. 

So I wanna know, do your patterns talk to you?  Is it only me?  Does it only happen with paper patterns or can you get this auditory sensation with pdf patterns too?

Talk back to me because this is my Question of the Day! always more later!

Sunday, October 08, 2017

Simplicity 2894 - An Out of Print Pattern in Denim

Or as a subtitle ~ "How Carolyn Complicates a Simple Pattern!"

This Simplicity pattern has been out of print for awhile.  The first review on PatternReview is from 2008 and it's been on my "To Sew List" every summer since Rachelle made her version. However, it really didn't fit my lifestyle when I purchased the pattern...I just loved the style. 

Fast forward a couple of years and I pulled the pattern out again last summer to make a dress. I had the perfect striped linen for this but summer slipped away from me, again. However, this pattern has lingered in my mind and while it didn't get made in a summery fabric, it was perfect for some mid-weight denim for a new fall dress.

Of course I never do anything simple so I had to manipulate the stripes for added interest and I added a white piping to the collar and front opening to bring some definition to it.

Let's talk materials ~
The fabric is a midweight striped denim purchased from Fabric Mart earlier this year.  Since you don't need buttons or a zipper for this dress, the notions I used to make my version of this dress are:
  • purchased white corded piping from Daytona Trimmings
  • baby white interfacing from Farmhouse Fabrics via the notions stash
  • three 1" white & clear buttons from the collection 

Construction details ~
I really wanted to mix up the stripes on this dress. Since the yokes are separate pieces, I cut the yokes on the lengthwise grain instead of the horizontal grain like the body of the dress. What I didn't count on was the difference in color shading that occurred when the two pieces were sewn together. When it was all said and done, I was fine with the color shading because it's a casual denim dress.

I added piping to the collar to bring out the white in the stripes. I went back and forth over whether I should add interfacing to the collar and the front because the denim is fairly heavy and I wondered if the interfacing would add anything to it.  Finally decided on using a baby fusible interfacing that I purchased from Farmhouse Fabrics for the collar and front piece. It stabilizes the piece without adding additional weight to them.

After I added piping to the collar, I decided that I needed some on the front opening too.  So *sigh* I added piping there too. What an ordeal...I was gonna say challenge but I added a couple of hours work to a simple dress adding piping in the front of the dress...and was on pins and needles while I was doing it hoping that it would work the way I wanted it to...breathing a huge sigh of relief when it did work!

The last change I made to the dress was after taking the time to match the pocket stripes to the dress front, I decided to add piping and a large white button to the pockets. Why not just leave them be? I mean they would have been fine but they wouldn't have popped...and I wanted the "pop" appeal for the dress.

Topstitching was the last decorative element that I added to the dress. It's on the yokes - front & back, at the hemline and on the pockets. Again I used the triple stitch with a length setting of 5 on my Janome 8900 QCP.

Can I state yet again what a challenging sew this was. Honestly, I took a very simple pattern and I added a whole bunch of design elements to it. Yes, the design elements did elevate the finished dress, but getting there was a pain!

A few pictures of the finished dress ~

Conclusion ~
I'm glad that I made the dress, it's such an easy and casual wear. I'm glad that I waited to use this pattern because this is the right time for it. I'm also glad that I love the dress now that it's finished! LOL! This was definitely a one and done pattern. As cool as it is and as thrilled as I am to add another denim dress to my wardrobe...I won't be making another one of these.  I'm moving onto my next fall garment.

Finally, it seems like it's become a thing for my daughter to take pictures of me with the grandbabies while they're I'm ending this post with two pics that I liked of the babies and me...

Me and Joshua

Me and all three (Aleena, Samantha and Joshua) walking together always more later!



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