Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Simplicity 8612 Wrap Skirt - Shorter Length

I knew when I made the first S8612 wrap skirt in the longer length that I would be making the shorter version too. So this version is made exactly as the first one except for one change I made to the pattern. I made separate pattern pieces for the right and left fronts.   

(wearing my birthday present necklace - thanks Marce!)

The right front is a size 34 and the left is a size 26. I wanted the underlap to cover my entire body when I sat down. It spreads a little too much on the longer version. But since the longer version has extra fabric it covers me when I sit down.

For this one, the length is just under my knees. I added one inch to the hemline of the pattern to lengthen it. I also made the ties differently than the pattern instructions. 

As I stated in the last post, the ties were a b*tch to turn. So for these ties, I pressed the seam allowance flat. For the end of the tie, I pressed it down in both directions, then cut diagonally across to remove the excess fabric, so the tie end would lay flat. Besides the length it's the only change I made. Then I stitched the tie flat all the way around before following the pattern instructions to attach it to the skirt.

The fabric for this make is a denim looking fabric I purchased from Fabric Mart's brick and mortar store during Sew Camp in March 2017. As an aside this is the third piece I've used from that purchase.

A Few Pics ~

Conclusion ~
Originally I was going to wear this with the Montrose Top but the two pieces just didn't work well together. So I went with plan B.  I wore it my white TNT sleeveless shirt.  I know it's basically the same look as the longer skirt but hey if it ain't broke why fix it. 

This is my favorite of the two skirts probably because I used a lighter weight fabric and the shorter length. I also like the way it wraps better.

I won't be using this pattern again this season.  Too many other things to sew and fabric to use.

...as always more later!


Saturday, June 16, 2018

Simplicity 8612 Wrap Skirt & A TNT Shirt

When I was at Sew Camp LaQuana was making this Simplicity wrap skirt and I was intrigued. After she posted it to her blog, I was even more intrigued. See I'm trying to be open to new styles I wouldn't typically wear now that my lifestyle has changed.

So when I told Gaylen I was thinking about the pattern she picked it up for me from the craft store when they were having a sale on Simplicity patterns. 

But Imma be honest - I'm not the sewist that gets excited about a new pattern. Y'all know I love me a TNT...however, I own so many patterns and every now and then desire a new pattern so I need to get over it. Cause this was supposed to be a simple sew...

Supply List ~
* A midweight patterned denim from Fabric Mart purchased during my December 2016 trip there - as an aside I've used four pieces from that trip!
* Fusible interfacing from Fashion Sewing Supply

Pattern Alterations ~
I didn't make any alterations.  I made a straight 26 out of the envelope.

Construction ~  
I made the longer version of this skirt first and I've probably used a heavier weight denim than recommended on the pattern envelope. I really liked the pattern on the denim and I think it turned out okay. 

So a few things:
1. I hated the way the ties are assembled.  They are really long and hard to turn. No matter what trick I tried I had to suck it up and pull them through. Thank goodness I was binge watching Scandal...

2. I don't know if it's me or my body but the overlap didn't work completely. It separates underneath when I sit down.  Not enough to make my bare legs show but enough that it annoyed me. It doesn't separate or open when I walk probably because I made the longer version first.

3. So for the shorter version, I made a right and left overlap with the right one being bigger so it would cover all of me when I sit.

4. The buttonhole is definitely tricky if you don't think it through. Since my machine makes automatic buttonholes, I chose a button that was the size of the end of the tie. I used it in the buttonhole foot to make a buttonhole and it worked perfectly.

5. Also I didn't use the markings on the pattern piece to determine where to put the buttonhole opening. I put the skirt on my body and chose a point. I also topstitched the waistband and the ties.

6. For the waistline, I used the longest pattern piece for waistband available. I knew it was too long but it was easier to cut off the unused portion than have to worry about fitting the skirt. This is cheating I know but hey it works so I went with it.

7. When wearing this I've tied the ties really tightly and added a safety pin to the back to hold the ties together.  I wanted to insure that the two pieces don't separate and provides some piece of mind to me.

A few pictures ~

My TNT Shirt ~
A. The shirt is from my TNT pattern and a navy handkerchief linen from the collection by way of Fabric Mart. 

B. It uses most of the same construction techniques as in this shirt, however, I didn't burrito method the yoke. 

C. I stitched the yoke to the back seam and pressed the shoulder seam allowance flat.  Then topstitched it down on the shoulder seams. 

D. The other thing to note is that for the collar stand I doubled the navy blue handkerchief linen on one side because the inside piece of fabric I chose was a cotton sateen floral print. The print was showing through on just one piece of the linen.

E. Because I doubled the fabric, I did not add interfacing. The cotton sateen plus the doubled fabric give the undercollar enough stability.

The buttons and bias binding are from Pacific Trimmings. I made a special trip to pick up some shirt buttons because they have them in every color imaginable. It was important that the buttons matched the fabric so that it will be wearable with other things in my wardrobe including this skirt.

Conclusion ~
I really like this skirt and the construction.  There is a simplier version of this pattern on the Butterick website. However, I believe the addition of the side panels on this pattern makes it a superior choice. 

I haven't made alot of skirts for spring/summer in the last couple of years. I've concentrated on casual dresses for work but now that I have a good basic wardrobe, I want to add in some other pieces.

This outfit is the first one in my spring/summer sewing series - say that three times fast! I've made a list and it includes a few indie patterns, some Big4 and a couple of repeats from last year. I'm pretty excited about the list of things I want to create this spring/summer.  I completed this skirt and shirt prior to my sewcation. However, since I just wanted to sew during my sewcation, this is the first chance I've had to take pictures of all my recent makes. 

The short version of this skirt is up next on the blog.

...as always more later!

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

My Cashmerette Montrose Top

Originally I made this top to go with the shorter Simplicity wrap skirt which is coming to the blog soon.  After completing the top and trying it on with the skirt, I just looked like a big ole box.  Not the look I was going for.  When I put it on with a pair of jeans and a camisole it worked. The problem is that I don't wear jeans in the summer...AT...ALL!

Supply Info ~
2 yards of lace embroidered fabric from Metro Textiles purchased in 2014
1/4 yard of lace from the collection
1/4" purchased bias binding
1/8" white ribbon

Construction Info ~
For this Montrose top, I cut a size 24 right out of the envelope. I made two changes to the pattern.  One - I shortened the top at the lengthen/shorten lines. It's because I want it to hit the top of my skirt(s).  The second change was to the sleeves. I no longer just have fat biceps, I have fat upper arms.  So I used the wide bicep sleeve and instead of cutting it as the pattern suggests, I straightened the sleeve down to the elbow length line on both sides.

(Used the dark background to adequately showcase the fabric)

I used a size 70 needle to sew this top. The straight stitch foot and plate on my sewing machine and a very small stitch so that I was laying more thread in the seamlines.  This was necessary due to all of the lace in the fabric.

Since the fabric was so delicate and sheer, I added 1/8" ribbon trim to some of the openings. It just struck me that the fabric was sheerer than I wanted it to be.  Of course I didn't have any ribbon trim on hand so I had to make a Michaels run to purchase some. BTW I HATE that! LOL! I'm pretty anal about having all of my supplies together before starting a project.

Adding the ribbon took time because I had to thread it through all the openings and that got boring quickly...so I added days to the construction of this essentially very easy to sew top. While the top pattern comes with a binding pattern piece, I used purchased double fold bias tape that was 1/4" wide. As an aside, this is from the collection and has a date of 1986 on it. Dayum that's old!

The sleeves were cut from a separate piece of lace from the collection that I honestly have no idea where it's from since I've cut on it before. It will go back on the shelves to wait it's turn to be an accent on a future garment since there is about a yard and a half left.

BTW, I didn't use the back loop and button closing. Gaylen made a version of this and when we were talking about it, she said she could put hers on without it...so I left it off too. She was right...my neckline ended up being very deep and the top slips on and off easily.

The final aspect of the project was to add the lace that bound the fabric to the hem of the top. Again a fiddly piece that took time but adds so much to the top. I think the finished project was worth all of the extra effort though.

A few pics ~

Wearing the top with a linen skirt that I made 
almost two decades ago!

Conclusion ~
I liked this top especially after I paired it with the right bottom. I will be adding more of these to my wardrobe because as usual Cashmerette Patterns fit all of my wardrobe needs.

Up next on the blog will be the Simplicity Wrap Skirts.

...as always more later!

Monday, June 11, 2018

Butterick 6333 - A Sewing Fail

Before I discuss this sewing fail, let me announce the winner of Barbara's book, 
"SEW The Garment-Making Book of Knowledge: Real-Life Lessons from a Serial Sewist."  I used the Random Generator entering 119 entries...

...and the winner is:


Please forward your email address to me (my email addy is cnorman underscore 98 at yahoo dot com) BY THURSDAY, JUNE 14th and I will forward it to Barbara who will mail you the book! Congratulations!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *  * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 

After making shirts during the first quarter of the year, I really want to keep using those sewing skills.  I have loads of shirtdress patterns in my pattern stash and after going through them I chose Butterick 6333 as one of my Sewcation makes.

Honestly, after making this dress I've decided that I don't like waisted shirtdresses. I have my own personal issues with my protruding backside and these type of shirtdresses just emphasize it and my abundant abdomen. So the sewing fail is due to style and not the pattern or fabric choice!

However, since I'm in a new phase of my life, I wanted to add a straight and a full skirted shirtdress to my wardrobe.  I thought if I could succeed in getting a full skirted version to work, it would allow me to play with fabrics, specifically border print fabrics that require a seam.

I like my Lenox version by Cashmerette Patterns and it is a full skirt shirtdress. However, I wanted to try the typical buttoned up neckline of a more traditional shirtdress without the waistband. 

Well after sewing this one up, I won't be making more of these AT ALLThis dress has confirmed my dislike of waisted dresses. I was so disappointed in this dress that I took an hour and found almost all of the patterns I'd purchased with that type of waistline and put them in the pile of patterns I'm donating to the Baltimore DeStash.

When I sewed for my corporate life, I would've never sewn this type of dress. I don't know why I thought by changing jobs this style would work now, cause it doesn't. I'm sure some of you will be tempted to write about how great it looks...and it did photograph well. I'm just not comfortable in the dress because it emphasizes my backside AND that's what's most important. So please don't tell me to keep or make it up in another fabric because I'm so over this pattern/style.

Also I wanted to show that not everything I make works and to tell you that this dress almost blew up my sewcation.  It was my second make and neither this nor the first one blew me away...so I started to doubt myself. Yeah it got that serious up in here. *LOL* But it was the beginning of my sewcation and I couldn't walk away from my sewing machine...if I did I might as well go back to work...so I sucked it up and kept sewing.

After making a few more pieces and getting to a sewing zen state, I came up with an idea on how to repurpose this dress. Hopefully, before the summer is over, I will have repurposed it and will share that here too.

One administrative note ~
For those who have had issues with leaving comments lately the note below was on top of my dashboard last weekend, "Blogger no longer supports OpenID. Existing OpenID comments and your OpenID settings may have changed." So if that's how you left comments, I'm sorry you will be unable to do so now. I have no control over this since I use blogger as my blogging platform and they are making the change.

Next up on the blog is my version of the Montrose Top.

...as always more later!

Saturday, June 09, 2018

Little Girl Dresses from Hobby Lobby Fabric

Even though Hobby Lobby is about 20 mins from me, I rarely go to the store. Working in the middle of the Garment District in NYC and online pattern sales allow me to purchase what I need without going to the brick 'n mortar stores.   

Last weekend I was out with my Mom, Daughter and the grandbabies for some birthday/late Mother's Day shopping and we found ourselves on that side of town. So we made a trip to the store. Of course I made a beeline to the fabric section, while everyone else checked out the other merchandise. And of course I found fabric to buy...

I also found elasticized yardage that I thought would make excellent dresses for the girls in pink and blue cotton with embroidered edges. 

Because Saturday was "Picture Day" for all of my Sewcation makes, I sewed the dresses up so the girls could have their pictures taken too.

The Supply List ~
1. One yard of the elasticized cotton embroidered lawn
2. Floral Organza Trim appliques purchased from the notions stash by way of Pacific Trimmings
3. 1 - 1" gold snap from M&J Trims

Construction ~
A simple seam up the back finished the body of the dress. I pinned the fabric onto the girls with the wrong side out. Then stitched it closed. I had to go in again and take deeper seams on both girls to make sure it was tight in the bodice.

With the leftover fabric, I cut straps for both girls.  I had enough to make Samantha single straps that met near the center back. For her straps, I folded the edges over and stitched down, then stitched them to the dress front and back.

For Aleena I had to make a halter strap with a snap closure because the remaining fabric wasn't long enough to make straps for her.

To finish the strap on Aleena's dress, I didn't want to fold over the edges and lose length, so I stitched a piece of white organza ribbon onto the edge to finish and strengthen the fabric for the snap. The snap was then stitched onto the straps. The weight of the snap actually worked as a stabilizer and helped hold the dress onto Aleena better.

The organza floral ribbon applique was stitched to the center of each dress to give them a little something extra and each dress was done since I didn't need to hem them.

Pictures of the girls in the dresses ~

Aleena's Pink Dress ~

Samantha's Dress ~

...and the thrill was gone...

Conclusion ~
I bought 10 yards of fabric (5 pieces) from Hobby Lobby because most of the things I liked were 50% off. At least these 2 pieces are no longer on my cutting table but headed home with the girls. 

Hopefully you can see from the pics that they really liked their dresses! Since it will be hot this week (temps in the 80s), these dresses will get worn to school. They were happy. My daughter was happy and so was I!

p.s. ~ 
Both girls and their little brother were here, so of course he had to get in on the picture taking!

...as always more later!

Wednesday, June 06, 2018

Sew the Garment Making Book by Barbara Emodi

I've known that Barbara was writing a sewing book almost since she decided to write it. Occasionally she's posted a pic to Instagram showing what she was sewing for the book which was released on May 7th.

Of course I ordered it as soon as possible and received it a couple of weeks ago. The name of the book is, "SEW The Garment-Making Book of Knowledge: Real-Life Lessons from a Serial Sewist." And I can honestly tell you that even though Barbara says she wrote the book for the new and/or returning sewist I'm an experienced sewist and I learned a few things too, as well as, having a few things I knew reinforced.

I love the format of the book. Each chapter has a name. One of my favorites is "Chapter 7 - The Gear Side of Sewing" OMG isn't that a great name to describe all of the equipment we acquire for sewing?! So each chapter has a description then mini-lesson to help you learn a skill. The thing that absolutely thrills me is Barbara's Tips which are at the end of every chapter. Each one is written in Barbara's voice - at least I can hear her speaking - and is full of interesting things that you learn from experience. Things that she's sharing for all sewists to know.

Okay let me back up and give you some other chapter names..."Why Sew," "If it Fits, They Will Wear It," "Choosing and Cutting Fabric" and another fave, "Sewing for Joy" - each chapter is chock full of information along with the tips, and mini-lessons! Sewing Terms are called Sewing Speak! Now as a beginner or a returning sewist wouldn't you have loved a book that explained in detail what all those words that sewists threw around meant? Barbara explains them so that there are no questions...at all.

If you are acquiring your own sewing library and not just relying upon the internet, this would be a good book to add to it. And if you're feeling lucky, leave a comment below to win a copy. See Barbara being the amazing friend that she is, offered me a copy, not realizing that I'd already bought one. We decided that one lucky reader should own it.

In the comment section below, please leave your name and one sentence about why you'd like to win the book. ONLY comments left on this blog post, not in bloglovin' or any of the other blog readers will be eligible to win the book. You should leave your comment by Saturday, June 9th at 11:59pm EST. I will announce the winner on Sunday, June 10th and Barbara will send the book out to you.  Good luck!

...as always more later!

Sunday, June 03, 2018

The End of My Sewcation

So it's late Sunday evening and I've been sewing since Friday, May 25th...and it's all I've been doing.  I didn't take pictures.  I haven't posted here to the blog because I just wanted to sew and sleep late.  Mission Accomplished.  

Here's a peak at what I made this week ~

Some pieces still need some finishing, buttons & buttonholes and one is a downright failure but I enjoyed the experience and learned a few things.

One ~ 
I love shirtdresses but not shirtdresses with a waist seam. No matter how much I want to love this style, it doesn't love me or my body.  This was the last time I'm going to try to make one work.

Yes that's the Warriors/Cavs game playing in the background!

Two ~ 
Sewing one new pattern per break is about all I can handle. After weeks of waiting for the sewing break to come, all I really want to do is sew...not fit and sew.  So while one pattern worked - one did not and I was happy to move onto a TNT pattern where I could just figure out what embellishments I wanted to add to it and sew.

Three ~ 
I have a style, don't deviate from it for something shiny and new...as in patterns. Cause not all patterns work for my almost 60 year old body!

Four ~ 
I love to sew TNT patterns and when I can just sew, I'm the happiest.

I'm headed back to work tomorrow and I want to thank everyone who followed my journey on Instagram. While I didn't share a lot of photos, cause really I just wanted to sew, there were several and quite a few new followers. I appreciate it and thank all of the new followers.

I sewed up until the end so photos will be taken next weekend. I'm really thrilled that I added three new dresses, a new top and a maxi skirt to the wardrobe. Those pieces will be photographed alongwith the two Simplicity 8612 wrap skirts and a new sleeveless TNT shirt.

BTW, I'm happy with what I accomplished. I wasn't trying to sew a record number of garments, I just wanted to sew for days at a time without interruption. The patterns I didn't use during this week will make an appearance during the summer. 

Finally ~ a fabric in/out wrap up for May  
I've purchased 14 yards of fabric during the month of May and I've sewn 19 yards of fabric. That amounts to - 4 dresses, 2 tops, and 2 skirts. This leaves me with a 5+ yard overage for May...except I was 7.5 yds in the hole at the start of the month.  So I'm still 2.5 yards in the hole.  Hopefully I can do better in June!

The good thing is that I'm attending the Baltimore Destash that MissCeliesPants is holding at the end of June - details here. I plan on donating 20-30 yards of fabric which will help lower my totals! Yes...cause I need some fabric relief! *LOL*  Even my oldest daughter who hadn't been in the Sewing Cave in months was like "fabric overload!"

As I said earlier, the posts for the finished garments will be up after next weekend...

...as always more later!

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Sewcation Eve

When the seasons change...when the earth reawakens after a cold winter...or when the season turns to the days of darkness...I have a yearning to spend quality time with my sewing machine...making new garments for the coming season.

At that time I have soooooooo many ideas fighting each other in the creative area of my brain that I almost feel like I'm drowning in ideas to sew.  I make lists. I buy fabric. I make plans. Anything to release some of that creative pressure...especially since I have a day job and am unable to just sit and sew until there's a release.

That's normally when I schedule a Sewcation. It allows me to get some of the garments out of my head or off the paper and into my closet. It's like a gate opening, things flowing out, relieving some of the pressure and allowing a release of the creative build up.  

I don't know if this happens to anyone else but it definitely happens to me every season...for as long as I can remember. I mean I used my Summer and Christmas breaks in high school and college to just sew. Even in my married life, I bargained with my husband, one week of being alone to sew.  It's just something I've always needed to recharge and refresh my creative batteries.

So we've reached that time of the year when I need 7-10 days just to sew. I have a plan. I've picked some pieces to sew that are a little complicated to intrigue me. However, there are a few pieces that are easy sewing to quell the fast, faster, fastest part of me that still lives in the dark recesses of my creative soul.  And most importantly I've tried to be realistic with my list...no long list of garments to be sewn that will frustrate me.

Here's what I've chosen to sew ~

Butterick 6333 - View B

Butterick 6551 - View B

McCalls 7404 - View B
...cause I love a good high/low hemline

McCalls 7470 - a straight shirt dress
I want View D with some short sleeves 
& View C again with short sleeves

I've pulled together some fabrics mostly new (hangs head in shame - NOT!) that have been prewashed and are ready to be cut. There's a theme here and just to let you know blue is my favorite color. 

I've also gone through the notions & buttons stash and picked out what I need to complete each garment. So everything is prepped and ready and I sit here typing up a post...anxiously awaiting for tomorrow to occur when I can go in.

I may or may not have a post before the "show you what I made" posts go up. I may also put a few in-progress pics on my IG account. So follow me there if you aren't already.  Well that's everything...

...as always more later!

Friday, May 11, 2018

Butterick 6261 in Glen Plaid Suiting

If you've been reading for awhile you know that I swore off Butterick's Connie Crawford patterns years ago after having a bad experience with one. But this one came across my feed and I thought I would give them another try...

My version is not exactly the same as the pattern picture but it works for me because it has the elements I wanted. It's a swingy topper with some interest made from one of the many glen plaid fabrics from the collection which goes perfectly with a pair of black jeans.

Materials ~
- Black 'n White Wool Glen Plaid from the collection by way of Fabric Mart
- Black lightweight fusible interfacing from Fashion Sewing Supply
- 4 buttons from the collection

Another garment made totally from items in the Sewing Cave which makes me soooooo happy! This is a ltwt. wool vest that I can wear during the spring before the heat sets in and it will be perfect again come fall. I made this in February. I'm just posting it to the blog because well it was "Shirt Month" last month.

Pattern Information ~
Can we talk about the pattern and it's sizing, first. Since its a Connie Crawford pattern the sizing goes up to a 6x. It's also a loose-fitting pattern and I needed not to succumb to my tendencies to choose a size with too much ease. To help me with this, I googled the ease wearing chart and came up with these two resources. The first one is an article on Craftsy by Patti Palmer about Ease.  The second one is the actual ease chart on the Butterick website.

Via Craftsy website

After reviewing the chart, I decided that 10" ease qualified as loose fitting (check that it's 5 7/8" to 10" for a jacket) and anything else would end up looking sloppy on me. With that decision, I chose to make a size 2x. Though I'm printing that chart out and putting it with my measurements on my bulletin board so that I don't have to look for it again!!!

Construction Info ~
I made this considerably more challenging because I used an uneven glen plaid instead of the even small check that the pattern was photographed in. All that plaid matching took time.  Then I decided to add black piping to the front of the jacket and the collar. More time but I like how the solid line of black defines the front of the jacket.

Additional construction information:
1. Added black bias tape to the shoulder seams to stabilize them
2. I used 4 buttons instead of the three recommended. I usually like an odd number of buttons but I put an additional one above the bustline seam.
3. I also added a small snap to the front to keep it closed.

Disregard the pattern instructions where it tells you to sew the sleeve into the jacket and then hem it. You can do it but then you have to drag the entire jacket around the sewing machine. 

I topstitched the hem facing and then hemmed the sleeves before I inserted the sleeves into the jacket. It was just easier to do these tasks.

3. Even though the pattern tells you to machine stitch the hems down on the jacket and the sleeves, I hand stitched them.  I wanted a clean finish on the jacket.

I cut my sleeves on the bias because I was too lazy to try to match the plaid across the front and back of the jacket. I figured the bias wouldn't need to match, it would just coordinate...because bias! And then no matter what I did, the sleeves did not go into the jacket right. 

Even after I worked out a solution to make the sleeves fit and hang properly, when I put a lightweight turtleneck under the jacket, it felt awkward on. So I decided to ditch the sleeves entirely and make it a vest.  

That's when I decided to add the piping to the armholes to tie it to the front of the vest.

A few pictures ~

Conclusion ~
I'm still not sure I like Connie Crawford patterns. I'm sure these patterns probably work wonderfully for others, it's just not all patterns are for all sewists. I'm just one of those that it doesn't work for and this is a one and done sew for me. I'm totally uninspired to use this pattern again.

So a couple of things:
- I'm kinda bummed because I tracked this pattern down and paid 50% off for it instead of the normal $2.
- I'm glad that I used a fabric from my old "professional" life for this project. It shows me that I can use these fabrics in my new life.
- I love the flare/swing of this vest.
- The black piping and black buttons are the best part to me.
- When I wore this to work, it was comfortable and even though I looked a little dressier than normal, I would wear this outfit again.

I'm moving on to the next garment...

...as always more later!


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