Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Hydrangea Panel Print Shirt

When I purchased this fabric I knew I wanted to make a shirt from it using my TNT shirt pattern. I wanted the full back so I could layer camis or turtlenecks under it in the winter. As well as, show as much of the panel's print as possible. This is a mash-up of two OOP shirt patterns (Vogue 7700 & Butterick 5678) but these patterns work for me. One of the two TNT versions I use to continue making a wardrobe of button up shirts.

This shirt is all about the fabric choice and my chance to fussy cut it to make what I envisioned.

Spreading out the panels at Zooks to see all of it

Supply List ~
3 100% cotton panels purchased from Zooks Fabrics in Lancaster, PA
Blue buttons from Nancy's Notions in Lancaster, PA
Interfacing from Steinlauf & Stoellers

I laid out the shirt pattern pieces on the crossgrain to insure the print would go in order around my body. Making sure that the tops of the pattern pieces showed the sky as well as the hydrangea print.

Then I used the the sky portion of the border print to cut out the collar, undercollar, front button bands and the sleeve cuffs. Using all the pieces of the panel to tell this shirt's story.

There are no new construction techniques in this make. However, I did add a little more to the body of the sleeve, about a 1/2" on either side. I wanted a big full sleeve for this shirt which I gathered into the cuffs. The cuffs are slightly smaller than my normal cuff which I think I will use in more makes going forward.

So a few pictures ~

Sorry, okay not sorry for the number of photos. My daughter outdid herself shooting this one.  I'm also so thrilled with how this shirt turned out. I've always loved "Art to Wear" garments and this shirt feels like a walking picture. I will definitely be on the lookout for more panels like this to make more shirts!  

Next on the blog is another shirt in the other piece of cotton I bought from Zooks when I purchased this one. always more later!

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Button Up or Button Down Shirt

I've always called a woman's or a man's shirt with a collar, button band and cuffed sleeves a button down shirt. Shortly after I fell in love with making shirts, I called it a button down shirt in a blog post. I was scolded in the comments for doing so.

Then I was at a loss for how to describe my shirts because the commenter was quite adamant about how I was using the wrong term...breathe...sigh. I tried not to use the term again because if it's wrong, it's wrong and I'm big enough to admit my mistakes or lack of knowledge. But quandry much?

Then I read this great article online at Marie Claire clearly stating how to determine what is the right terminology. The article also had some styling and fit tips for shirt wearers.

Okay so Imma stop right here and link to the article again - HERE.  You go and read it now. Don't worry I will be right here waiting when you get back!

Are you back?  Did you read the entire article? Cause honestly you need that information to read the rest of this post.

...waiting for the stragglers...

Are we good now?  Everyone on the same page? So let's discuss, mmkay. I love how Audrey McLoghlin, founder of Grayson and Frank & Eileen, calls shirts "button ups" but most importantly she says this...
"I call my pieces a button up because the placket buttons up,
but it doesn't infer that there is a button-down collar.
but in the men's world, they're distinct."
(Caps are my emphasis)

It gave me a better understanding of why the words "button down" are interchangeable in both the sewing and fashion worlds for women's shirts.

The article has some great tips on fabric, fit and styling as well as an array of retailers who sell women's button ups. Since we sew, the retailers info isn't pertinent but the other sections are really helpful ~ well at least to me! Also, there are quite a few women's sewing patterns for shirts from the Big4 as well as from indie designers currently available.

Now back to my point...or better still my question.  Were you calling shirts button downs or button ups?  Did you know there was a difference?  Does it even matter to you?  Sound off in the comments, cause I'm interested in what you have to say!

I know quite a few of you read my blog posts on bloglovin'. You need to know I only check bloglovin' every once in awhile. I also don't interact with any comments, questions, or observations left there. All of my attention is here on my blog...and yes there is a difference between bloglovin' and blogger.

Did you make it this far?  If so, next up on the blog are two new shirts. The weather is changing (though it was hot as hades for a couple of days last week) and I'm back in jeans, a shirt and a cardigan.

Parting Shot:

Since Meghan Markle is my favorite Princess, I wanted to include a photo of her wearing a button up white shirt from her newly released collection of workwear essentials called The Smart Set. The charity's mission is to offer dressing and coaching services to women with job interviews...see every woman needs a good white shirt! always more later!

Thursday, September 12, 2019

McCalls 7774

I cut this maxi dress out a couple of weeks ago. Its the last garment from my summer cut pile to be sewn. As I was working on it, I was thinking of how much I was enjoying the process. I wasn't rushing through to finish it. I wasn't short cutting any of the sewing, I was just happy to be in the minute...and I thought Cynthia Guffey would be proud.

Seeing her at a Sewing Expo changed my sewing life and helped me get pass the fast, faster, fastest sewing that had been ingrained in me by the pattern companies. 

I know quite a few of my summer makes have had piping, pattern matching and several sewing techniques in them. But the pieces I'm creating now are the embodiment of my slow sewing/enjoying the process journey.

Shew what an intro! *LOL* I've had this pattern in my collection since it came out last summer.  But even as much as I sew, I don't get to all of the things on my list. Sometimes it's lack of time...sometimes I haven't matched a fabric to it...sometimes I'm on another sewing journey and it doesn't work with where I'm going.

Since I was sewing maxi dresses with full bodies this summer, this pattern now fits into my sewing journey. And even though it worked, you see I didn't get to it until September. I definitely have more sewing ideas than I have time...okay reeling it back in!

Supplies ~
3 yards of a linen border print from Fabric Mart (part of my Summer Sew Camp fabric haul - there is still some left in other colors - the green is sold out!)
22" brown invisible zipper
Brown bemberg lining from the collection
Braided brown piping also from the collection

Pattern Alterations ~
1. I added a graduated 1" to the front and back bodice pieces

Front piece

Back Bodice altered

2. Due to my fabric choice I didn't use the the skirt piece because it has an a-line design. I cut the rectangle from the length and width of the fabric.

Those were the only pattern alterations made.

Design Choices ~
I added piping to the neckline and armhole. I didn't plan to do that but was rambling around in the piping/binding drawer for another project and touched the brown piping and went down the rabbit hole. 

While I like the brown piping, I overworked it when I added it to the armholes. They are a bit wide and it's definitely due to the piping and self made bias binding I added to the armholes.

The other design choice was the border print fabric. I wanted the dramatic of a border print to add to the dress design. I think the fabric does bring the drama.

Construction ~
This is an easy dress to construct. However, I understand why there have been more shorter versions of this dress made than the maxi one. There is alot of gathering at the high empire line in the maxi dress if you use the actual pattern pieces. This amount of gathering is not very flattering.

I also had to take the skirt off and reapply it to line up the main lines of the fabric in the front of the dress. It gave the dress a more appealing line.

Inserting the invisible zipper was slightly challenging due to all of the fabric in the dress.  Otherwise an easy sew.

A Few Pictures ~

I had another piece of fabric pulled to cut a striped version of this dress, like it's pictured on the pattern envelope. After making this one, I wasn't that enthralled with the finished dress. Not to say I won't wear this maxi dress, because I will, but not enough to make another one.

I have one more maxi dress in the cut pile. One I can wear with a denim jacket into October before it turns cold. I also have several garments that I want to remake/refashion into more usuable pieces, as well as a couple of shirts that I've started. So in short, I've been sewing... always more later!

Monday, September 09, 2019

A Hacked Myosotis

I know the Myosotis dresses I'm making now look nothing like the pattern envelope or even the ones you will find when you search for images of the pattern online. I know I've gone off the deep end making changes to the basic silhouette to make these dresses my own...but I love this pattern and it's possibilities. 

I've made more changes to this one. These changes incorporate the maxi length, button front hack along with one I saw from Beth of SunnyGal Sewing Studio.  Here's her version.  I love the changes she made to hers and I copied those for the bodice exactly as she described.  I also love that she listed all of the different changes/hacks you can make to this pattern to personalize it.

I can honestly tell you that this is not the last one for the season. I have one more laying on the cutting table because I've been kicking myself that I didn't start sewing these earlier in the season.

Supply List ~
4 yards of rayon challis purchased from M&J Fabrics in Jackson Heights, Queens (during Jackson Heights Fabric Crawl) so not deep stash but stash fabric used. Yeah!

1/4 yd white broadcloth from the lining collection
12 - 1/2" mother of pearl buttons from the collection
Interfacing from Steinlauf & Stoeller
Purchased white bias binding left over from another project

Pattern Alterations & Design Changes ~

  • Per Beth's instructions I lowered the front & back neckline one inch.  Beth also instructs you to narrow the shoulder seam too but I like the coverage on my shoulders so didn't make that change.
  • Then I omitted the collarband that's included with the pattern. I also left off the collar pattern that I've used in almost all of my versions.
  • Finally instead of using the facings, I cut another front and back piece from the broadcloth and lined the entire bodice with it. I really wanted the clean finish that the lining provided. The armholes were finished with white bias binding tape.
  • I omitted the pockets. I'm probably going to regret that but it was the third Myosotis I'd sewn in a row and I was tired of sewing them...especially since I'm not really a pocket girl.
  • My last challenge was adding the skirt to the bodice. The first time I sewed the bodice and skirt together, the broadcloth lining puckered and pulled strangely. Unpicked everything and just sewed the bodice minus the lining and the skirt together and left it to hang. Then I tacked the bodice lining to the skirt in key places, mainly allowing it to hang loosely. I believe this will work well.

A Few Pictures ~

This will be my 4th maxi Myosotis this summer. With just one more to finish, I will have added five to my wardrobe.  One for every day of my work week and enough for now so I'm putting the pattern away for the season. However, since it's reached TNT status I can't guarantee that it won't show up again. As I said above, I'm in love with this silhouette and how I feel wearing these dresses.

There are two more maxis on my cutting table.  After they're sewn, I'm sewing tops and tunics. I'm feeling the lure of early fall sewing. Most of the tops & tunics I made a couple of years ago are looking worn and are ready to be retired.  It's time to add some new looks to my top wardrobe. always more later!

Friday, September 06, 2019

Do you have a Back Up Sewing Machine?

I strongly believe in having a back up sewing machine. I've had one for years. When I had a mid-range sewing machine, I'd keep the older machine I upgraded. So if/when something happened to my new sewing machine, I would have something to sew on while my machine went to the shop. 

Luckily, I've never had one die on me. I'm just not revisiting that time my apartment burned and I lost both my sewing machine and serger...probably when having a back up became really important to me...because I didn't sew for months!

Recently my back up machine has been living in PA because I'm lazy and don't want to carry it back and forth to Sew Camp on public transportation. So when my 8900 QCP started having challenges, I panicked. The back up was hours away if something was seriously wrong with my baby.

At the time I started looking at the Janome Skyline series. Then I took my sewing machine to be serviced at this amazing repair shop, Paramus Sewing Center. I breathed a sigh of relief when they fixed it right away. However, the machine I was looking at went on sale over the Labor Day weekend for a good price and I bought it.

It's the Skyline 3 - the lowest number and most basic of the series. However, it has all of the features I want in a back up machine...and it's a Janome. I'm just not into changing brands especially since I really like the Janome brand. My last three machines have been Janomes.

I've already taken it for a test drive and the stitch quality is exactly what I've come to expect on a Janome. There are some differences between this one and my 8900 - the workspace is smaller, there's no light underneath and there are way fewer stitches. But it does make an automatic buttonhole. I really like how they've improved loading the bobbin and winding it. It comes with a number of feet that I use constantly and if I want a few more I can always purchase them off Amazon.

BTW, I'm not hyping these sewing machines and I'm NOT encouraging you to purchase one. I just like sewing on these TOL machines which is my preference.  If you bond with another machine by all means, purchase what you love...whether it be vintage, mid-range, industrial or another brand.  

Now while I really want to upgrade to the Janome 9450, I've planned a trip to London in 2020 and want that way more than a new expensive sewing machine. Well right now that is! LOL! I'm thrilled that I have a new back up machine to pair with my main one. I don't handle not having a sewing machine well and this means I don't have to go without.

So this is the Question of the Day.  Do you have a back up machine? Is it of the same quality as your main sewing machine? Or is it lower in the series? Is it even in the same sewing machine family? If you don't have a back up machine why? Is it because you haven't considered owning on? Or what?

Talk back to me because this is the Question of the Day and I'm really interested in your answers. always more later!

Sunday, September 01, 2019

It's All In The Details...

It's September so it's "National Sewing Month!

Happy National Sewing Day to all my sewing peeps! For the last couple of years, I've celebrated this month with a variety of giveaways, blog posts and discounts. Y'all while I loved doing that, it was a lot of work and this year I didn't feel up to it. I just wanted to sew to celebrate the month.

One thing I would like to do this month is highlight a few of my favorite sewing blogs.  I have two to share today...

Mainleymenswear ~
Honestly I mostly follow Duane on Instagram.  I love the shirts he sews as well as love following his journey when he's making pants or coats. He makes sewing menswear look so easy...a definite sign of his talent...cause I know it's not!

La Sewista! ~
Bunny has been sewing a long time and has the skills to prove it! I read her blog for pearls of wisdom because there is always more to learn. She has a unique eye and sewing perspective that I love.

If you have a moment, surf on over and check them out, you won't be sorry!

Otherwise this post is a hodge podge of things I was thinking about as I worked on cutting out my next garments...

It's All in the Details ~
In a number of posts I've talked about how I've complicated simple designs by adding construction techniques and details to the garments.  As I was finishing up this last round of garments, I realized that adding those details was what made the sewing fun.

I look forward to dreaming up the details, thinking about how to make them work, and adding them to my garments. I think these details give my garments distinction, pop, individuality and make them pretty...even if it's in places only I can see!

You know I love piping. Or as Gaylen says, it's become my trademark. I've added it to several of the recent Myosotsis maxi dresses and I know I'm lucky to have access to the garment district with the ability to purchase piping in various colors, widths and types. But on my Simplicity dress I made my own piping to get a perfect fabric match.

This seems to have become the summer of piping and border prints. My love of both has been reflected in the garments I've made this summer.

I also like bias binding. I think it's really relaxing to cut and make binding. I love the I do tend to add home made, as well as, store bought binding to things. Happily using the stash of bias binding I have on hand, too!

Another detail that I do ALOT is I change garments without any closures to one that either has a zipper or button closures. As an older sewist who sits alot in my day job and is adverse to exercise (yeah I know), I've noticed the dexterity I had as a younger woman is not there any more.  So buttons and zippers which give my garments easier access is important to me. I will change or add that detail to a garment in a heartbeat!

A Cut Pile ~ 
One more thing that's working for me lately is a cut pile. I don't know if it's actually a detail but I'm adding it to this post. I love having a cut pile now. I love taking the time to make the alterations to a pattern, cutting it out and walking away to leave sewing for another day. Knowing that when I'm ready to sew that the prep work was done and I can just sit down and sew. 

I've spent part of this Labor Day weekend working on a cut pile. Figuring out what I want to sew next, pulling fabrics and trims and getting everything ready to sew. Which I will be doing for the next couple of days since I go back to work on Wednesday.

My pile has three shirts, one top, one maxi dress and I'm adding one more dress and a tunic. This pile will let me sew for the rest of the month without having to spend time on prep work. This is a pretty large cut pile for me but I'm diving in with both feet since it's been working so well this summer.

Finally, I do have a work in progress...

It's McCalls 7774 in a border print for a fall maxi. I've alternately hated and loved it. It needs a zipper and a hem and it will be done but it's on time out right now. It's keeping Daphne company until I'm moved to work on it again. LOL!

As SNL would say, this is my Weekend Update! Hope you're getting some sewing done too! always more later!

Friday, August 30, 2019

End of August 2019

The end of August always brings mixed feelings. I know summer will be ending soon and the cold weather is coming. However, I try not to dwell on that so I can still enjoy the warm weather that will hang around until October.

My clothing needs change as the weather changes. Since it's been cooler this week, I've been thinking more about transitional garments especially since I'm off for five days for this Labor Day weekend. I do plan on spending that time fabric purchases and the last garments from my cut pile are stimulating my sewjo.

Okay lets get to this month's sewn garments update ~
Six new garments were made this month...five were blogged. I've carted the last maxi dress around just haven't been in the mood to have pictures taken yet.

This month I made:
- Two Simplicity 8871 - both maxi versions of the short woven dress
- Another Katie tunic
- Three Myosotis dresses
   All maxi versions - 1 w/short sleeves, 1 w/o sleeves & 1 totally hacked 
   (this one that has yet to make it to the blog)

Blue/White Myosotis during construction

My sewjo was in full effect and I filled a major hole in my summer wardrobe by adding 5 more maxi dresses to the closet. I'm currently working on the last maxi dress from my cut pile ~ a new pattern. One of my goals for this sewing weekend is to develop a new cut pile. This system seems to be working for me so I'm carrying it forward into fall.

Fabric In & Out Update ~
I broke my fabric fast when I went to Zooks last weekend and purchased 10 yards. I'm not upset that I purchased fabric especially since Zooks fabric doesn't last long in my fabric collection. The top two pieces are already slated to become shirts and will be cut this weekend.

I also purchased another 9 yards from Fabric Mart. A Milly print I'd drooled over for weeks was getting low at FM and a scarf type print. This scarf type print was one I've been searching for, so another fabric off my "must find" list.  Neither of these fabrics will be sewn soon but again I'm good with that.

Actual totals ~
August MTD In: 19 yards
August MTD Out: 2.25 yards

YTD In:  265
YTD Out: 210.75

I'm still 54.25 yards more in than out. Honestly though I'm good with this. I have no plans to fabric shop in the upcoming months. I'm looking forward to putting my summer fabric away and pulling out some transitional/fall pieces.

End of the Quarter Update ~
As I said earlier I am moving into transitional sewing. So here's a recap of all my summer sewing ~

I have sewn 17 garments since the end of May. I'm looking forward to sewing some tops and shirts to wear over my jeans. Yes, I will still be wearing my maxi dresses and skirts for the rest of September but I know colder weather is coming.

So I will be sewing some this weekend and I hope you get the chance to sew too! always more later! 

Monday, August 26, 2019

The Crown Exhibit at The Winterthur

After Renee (MissCeliesPants) posted to her Instagram stories that she and Carly had gone to see The Crown Exhibit at The Winterthur Museum, I started plotting a trip with Gaylen. Luckily I worked my last Summer Friday this past Friday, so I was on a 3:05pm train to Lancaster soon after.

After dinner out, I had a relaxing evening at Carriage Corner B&B. I swear staying there is way more enjoyable to me than staying at a hotel. Less people, more personal attention and large comfortable rooms.

Saturday morning after eating an amazing breakfast, I headed over to Zooks. Another thing I like about Gaylen's B&B, most of where I want to go is within walking distance...and I always want to go to Zooks! I left Gaylen saying I'm only buying two pieces...only two!  

So here is what I came back with ~

I looked at this border print when I was at Sew Camp and decided
against purchasing it but I just couldn't leave it behind this time!

Purple Mod 60s print on the left
Blue/Yellow floral print on the right

The button bags are 24 buttons for 98 cents 
and the bags of a dozen were 20 cents a button

After showing considerable restraint at Zooks, cause I really could have purchased four or five more pieces, I ended up with just three. I was really proud of myself y'all! I also ended up buying every button I could at Nancy's, cause cheap shirt buttons...ummm yeah!  Then I headed back to the B&B where Gaylen was ready to head out to Delaware to the exhibit.

You can see the exhibits, take the house tour, and the tram around the gardens. Unfortunately we scheduled a late house tour first. Honestly I wanted out of the house tour 10 minutes into it. I'm just not into house tours of racist rich white Americans where the tour guides whitewash history. 

Next we went to see The Crown Exhibit and then missed the last garden tour tram which Gaylen really wanted to see. 

I was really thrilled with The Crown Exhibit though, probably because I love the show and am anxiously awaiting the next season! The interesting thing about the exhibit, is these garments are replicas of the actual garments the Royals wore and are displayed how the actors wore them in the Netflix series. There are lots of placques and information about how the costume designers designed and created the costumes. Thrilling me to no end with all the behind the scenes information about them.

You begin the Exhibit with Queen Elizabeth's father dying and how she became Queen.  So the Coronation Garments are first...

Queen Elizabeth's Coronation Outfit

The robe & suit that Prince Philip wore to the Coronation

The Coronation Crown and Scepters

The outfits were separated out by characters and events. I'm not going to highlight all of the outfits just my favorites. So after the Coronation robes, the next garments I adored were the wedding gowns of Queen Elizabeth and Princess Margaret.

Queen Elizabeth's Wedding Gown to Prince Philip

Placque showing Queen Elizabeth & Prince Philip and Claire Foy,
the actress playing Queen Elizabeth wearing the wedding gown

Even the train was hand embellished!

Princess Margaret's wedding dress was a contrast 
because it was simplier in make and design

A few other pictures of evening wear because it was just stunning...

The dress Queen Elizabeth wore to meet Jackie Kennedy

Princess Margaret's Evening Dress (notice the pockets!)

Queen Elizabeth's evening dress

Queen Elizabeth's Coronation Dress with the special honors on it
and the Life Magazine cover showing the dress

I loved the exhibit. Gaylen wanted just a few more costumes. I guess I knew what to expect because I watched Renee's Instagram stories several times. To me that was worth making the trip to Winterthur alone.

On the way back to the Inn, we stopped at the craft store because Simplicity Patterns were on sale for $1.99. I only purchased three - trying to only buy things I will actually sew before the season is over. I also bought 10 skeins of yarn to start a new crochet project...but more on that later!

I came home Sunday evening after a wonderfully relaxing weekend! While I didn't sew, I had an amazing time with my friends and am so ready for Labor Day weekend sewing. 

If you get a chance to see The Crown Exhibit I highly recommend it. The Exhibit will be at Winterthur until January 5, 2020, so plenty of time to plan a trip! always more later!


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