Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Questions of the Day

At the beginning of this year I decided to write at least one "Question of the Day" post every month.  The point of these posts was to start a conversation amongst my fellow sewists.  Some of the posts generated quite a few comments and conversation, some were a little controversial - even though that wasn't my intent, and some were just fun!

So for the end of year, I thought I would do a recap of the Question of the Day posts.  These are the conversations that were shared this year:

January ~ "Are you a sewing technician or a creative fiber artist?"

February ~ "Are you the sewist you want to be?"

March ~ "Are you a thread changer?"

April ~ "Sewing Machine Maintenance - Do you or don't you?"

May ~ "Is your garment free?"

June ~ "An Inside Shot?"

July ~ "Do you Google?"

August ~ "Linings"

September ~ "Tell me about your tools?"

October ~ "Can we talk about our pattern collections?"

November ~ "Can we talk about sewing for our lifestyles?"

I really enjoyed these posts and hope that you did too.  The conversations were interesting and I learned quite a few things. I haven't posted a question for December and I'm not sure that when I return to blogging that I will feature this again.

In the meantime, I will be in the sewing cave, spending quality time with my fabric and sewing machines, sewing for my pleasure...hopefully we'll share sewing stories again soon.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

2014 Misses

...or the garments of 2014 that just didn't turn out as I imagined they would or that wore horribly even though they photographed well.

Now with that as a sub-title, let's just get to it. I don't have five misses only three so here they are ~

First up is The Optical Illusion Dress ~

A comment left on this post about the fit at the back of my dresses made me look for an alternate solution to this problem. Ultimately ending up in me using the four back piece method for future dresses but that's not the reason that this dress is making the miss list. I've worn the dress twice and the bias pieces on the side are starting to bag out...even though I tried to protect this from happened anyway.  This one is going in the donation bag - not worth altering - not worth keeping.

The Side to Side Border Print Dress ~

I've made it a policy to share the good, the bad and the ugly in my sewing here on the blog. I shared this dress and even it wore it out in public because there were some details about the dress that I really liked. However, the execution didn't work out exactly as I planned it...specifically carrying the border print all the way around the dress. My first thought was to see if there was some way to save the dress for next season. However, with the weight loss, I need to move on. Although I will use the exposed zipper on the front for a future garment - it was a really cool element - this one will also hit the donation bag.

The Pieced Four Gore Skirt ~

Why did I think I would wear two totally different patterns together? Seriously? This skirt is not something that I would wear to work, so why did I sew it? I think I really just didn't want the polka dot linen to hit the scrap basket and reside there for forever. Since separates are my friends now, I'm not adding it to the donation pile. I think I'm just going to remove the printed layer on the bottom and add a black layer which will make it work wearable.

I think because I sewed a lot of basics at the beginning of the year, I have fewer misses.  Also sewing less...adds to that too. I won't have too many more posts between now and the end of the year...and to be honest, I will probably be taking a blogging break from DSF starting at the end of the year. So enjoy the last couple of posts...and I'll see you when I see you!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Top Five of 2014

Well we're rolling up on the end of the year and the look backs are starting.  I will be on vacation at the end of the year and will be looking forward and not back so I decided to do my reviews early this year.  Last year I did a Top 5 Hits of 2013 but not a Top 5 Misses...however, this year I will do both.

This post contains the Top 5 Hits...but first a little back story.  I started this year sewing a lot of basics. I've sewn so many pieces and felt that the basics were underrepresented in my closet, so January and February's sewing was all about "The Basics."

I also sewed less this year than in years past. I'm sure for a variety of reasons but mostly because I already own so much. With all of the backstory now told, let me present my Top 5 Hits for 2014 in chronological order.

Number One ~ The Painted Wool Herringbone Dress

This one made the list for two reasons - it's made from my TNT dress pattern and from a treasured piece of fabric that I've had for years. I also really like the leather strips on the side. I will be altering this one for the smaller me because it was really warm and comfortable to wear last winter.

Number Two ~ The Vogue 8995 Dress

Making this dress was a labor of love and such a fulfilling sew. I had a vision of what I wanted the dress to look like and I brought it to fruition. Miles and miles of white piping gave this dress the definition that makes it so distinctive. I'm hoping that since it was a snug fit last spring that it will still be wearable next.  We shall see.

Number Three ~ #fatquarterchallengedress

I thought that this challenge would break me. I really wasn't sure that I would be able to make the fat quarters given to me work. Especially since I added the bit about the dress had to be able to be worn to work - pressure anyone? So, the fact that the dress was finished, able to be worn, and complimented on when I wore it was a definite win...making it worthy to be on this list!

Number Four ~ is a tie! Butterick 5821 - the Summer Version 

I love linen and the combination of solid white linen and black polka dot linen made it perfect for work. It was also one of the first dresses that I used the new four piece back pieces on so the back fit was on point. I love how it gently fell over my curves and removed the "ill-fitting" pool of fabric in the back. Y'all know that I was neither here nor there on that but popular opinion is that it should be gone. I'm really thinking about a winter version of this dress but I have to see if I have time to get to it.

The Tri-Color Ponte Dress ~

This is one of my new, closer-fitting dresses because of my weight loss. This "interpretation" is based upon a St. John dress that I found online and loved. I chose a bright color as the basis of my interpretation because I own way too many black pieces of clothing and I wanted something vibrant and fresh. I've lost a few more pounds since this picture was taken but I'm sure it will work next spring.

The final piece is not a dress but McCalls 6844 - The Cardigan.

This is the first of many cardigans from this pattern. Initially I was wary that since there isn't a closure on the front that it would be difficult to wear but this sailed through my definitely will be making more. I already have an idea for a dress and jacket combo using the peplum to get it out of my head and into my closet.

This is my list. Mostly dresses but hey that's mostly what I sew. To review any of my other makes from 2014 - you can see them all in the tab marked "2014 Projects" at the top of the blog.  Can't wait to see what others put on their lists... always more later!

Saturday, December 06, 2014

Pledge? What Pledge?

Fabric Mart is the devil I tell you!  The devil!  Not only did I get a boatload of suitings when they were 50% off, but I went back again and bought two more pieces when the entire website was 50% for the Friday after Thanksgiving sales.

So do you wanna see what I got?!

Another 32 yards of fabric to add to the already overflowing fabric collection in the sewing cave! But oh the joys of opening those packages!

Seriously though I'm in awe of the fact that a lot of my fabric has been arriving looking like the above.  No more worries about the rain. I did, however, end up cutting a piece of the fabric getting this open. So we'll see how that goes when I finally get around to sewing it.

On another note, Christmas sewing has begun here and will be the thing for awhile. I bought my granddaughter an American Girl Bitty Baby so there is a wardrobe to be sewn using McCalls 7066:

I'm going through the scrap collection, pulling things out and planning an amazing wardrobe for the baby doll and my precious granddaughter. Just an update on what's happening around here... always more later!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Vogue 8840 finished plus more

It's been a long weekend full of family, food and Christmas decorating.  Have I ever told you that I don't really like to put up Christmas decorations?!  Well I don't...mostly because you have to take them down! *LOL*  I mean I love the way homes are done up for the holiday and I'm especially in awe of those who spend quality time lighting up the outside of their homes.  However, if I could pass that up or better still decorate the tree, roll it into a closet and roll it out year after year, I'd probably be happiest!

With that longwinded introduction, I'm sure you're wondering if I sewed any this weekend?  Well actually I did!  I finished Vogue 8840 and a sweater vest and skirt combo. I love all three pieces but photographing them proved to be quite challenging.

See it's getting dark outside by 4-4:30pm lately which cuts into my Sunday sewing time considerably! Honestly, I'm just getting geared up good on Sunday, so to stop by 2pm to take pictures hasn't quite jelled with me yet. It seems like just a few weeks ago, I could sew until 5-6pm and then take pictures to post to the blog. So bear with me while I get adjusted...*sigh*

Anyway, Vogue 8840 is done and I have some so-so pictures to share. 

Stats ~
A double sided ponte from Fabric Mart

Silver clasp from Pacific Trimmings

First though a little construction information.  The pattern alterations I made are in the proceeding post. Otherwise, this was an easy sew. I did check the pattern instructions but since I've altered the pattern to make it a jacket instead of a top, I didn't follow them exactly.

The facings that were added to the jacket needed a little extra work to keep them from flipping out.  Besides edge stitching the back facing, I added topstitching to the neck, center fronts and hemlines of the sweater jacket. Then I stitched in the ditch, in the center back seam and both shoulder seams, to prevent the facings from flipping out.

I also decided to make two design changes from the amazing jackets that Nikki made. The first was to add a closure at the neckline and the second was to add pockets which I liked until I saw the pictures of me wearing the sweater jacket.

Since the construction was relatively simple, I took no pictures of the process. But I did take a few pictures of how I made the tabs to add the silver clasp closure to the jacket front.

I cut a strip 14" long by 3" wide. Flipped the back over and pressed the sides to the middle. I added two rows of stitching on either side of the tab. Then I added a decorative stitch (Stitch #106 on Janome MC 8900) down the center of the tab.

I cut the strip in half. Folded it back an inch on both strips and looped it around the bar of the closure. Pinned the tab down onto the jacket.

Pinned both tabs onto the jacket front.

Stitched it flat using my zipper foot to get close to the bar. Also added a few hand stitches in there to insure that the tabs were secure. This is the feature I love the most about the jacket.

Some more pictures ~

As I said previously, I realized that I hated the pockets on the jacket.  They are too high and poorly attached so I removed them.  

Have to settle for the revised sweater jacket on Lulu 
because the sun went down!

You can see the back seam with a little topstitching 
added to give the back some definition.

Don't know if I'm going to add the pockets back or not...part of me liked having them on the jacket which is unusual since I'm not a pocket girl at all. So I'll see since I still have the pockets. 

One more thing, this is one comfortable sweater cardigan. It's soft and warm and I'm sure it will get a lot of wear this winter. I would really like to make another one with a few adjustments. I just don't know when I'll get to it since I have so many things I want to sew this winter! always more later!

Friday, November 28, 2014

Vogue 8840 - Pattern Alterations

To recap ~ I want to make this sweater jacket...

...using this pattern...

Of course pattern alterations were first because honestly how many of us sew things right out of the envelope? AND I needed to make a few changes to the top pattern to make it work as a jacket.

I added 3" to the shorten/lengthen line to the jacket front to make it knee length. 2" was also added to the center front so that it will close.

I also made facings for the front pattern piece and the back neckline. The back neckline piece was cut a little deeper so that I can add a tag and to give the jacket a little designer edge.

Making the front facing

The back facing (which I altered again before I cut the fabric)

I added an inch to the back pattern pieces to add a back seam to the jacket to give it a little more definition. 

The final change was made to the sleeve. The pattern is a cut-on sleeve and to add length there is an additional piece to sew to the cut-on portion.  I lengthened this piece 4.25" to make it wrist length. I also narrowed the seams so that the wrists weren't so large.

That's it for pattern alterations...simple and easy but enough to change the top to a jacket. Next up cutting the fabric out and constructing the jacket.  I will share the finished jacket soon! always more later!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The Fabric Inspiration Dress

The inspiration for this dress was discussed in this post.  The fabric really drove the creation of this dress.

This is a perfect work dress and I love the empire waist silhouette on me. Since this is a second make of a variation of my TNT dress pattern, there aren't any construction changes.

However, I did layer the mesh and pinstripe fabric for the dress' empire top and took a few pictures of the construction process:

Dart traced on the bodice front

Mesh piece pinned to the pinstripe top

Mesh and pinstripe fabric backs pinned together

Front bodice and skirt sewn together

Inserting the invisible zipper
marking the zipper to match the sides 

...and even with the marking, I was an 1/8" off in the end

Basted the sides together to insure that 
they would match when machine stitched

I love the play of the mesh printed top versus the pinstripe skirt and how it really works in my "Creative Corporate" dressing theme. 

A few more pictures of the dress ~

I do have two more yards of the pinstripe fabric left and I want to make the shorter jacket from this out-of-print pattern - Butterick 5535 - purchased in August 2010.

I will probably sew it sooner rather than later...just have to make a few decisions about whether to line it or not, add embellishments and what type of buttons to use.  I'd really like the dress and jacket to be coordinates that can be worn together.

Thanksgiving is tomorrow in the US. This year I'm off the Friday after Thanksgiving, working the Friday after Christmas, because my firm is open both days. I will have the grandbabies with me Friday, since my daughter and SIL both have to work. However, I will be in the sewing cave for the rest of the weekend. I can't wait! always more later!

Monday, November 24, 2014

McCalls 6844 in Pictures

I thought I'd share some pictures of me wearing the McCalls 6844 sweater jacket. The dress is my Bubble Dress made at the end of the summer & worn with the jacket. All construction information for the sweater jacket is in this post

Warning: this post is a little picture heavy

Here is how I will wear it to work...

Close up of the collar and cuffs

This is how I will wear it out...

...since it's holiday time and I tend to go out with friends more during this time of the is how I will wear it out.

Love how the sweater jacket dips 
a little lower in the back!

...and it covers the important parts! 

I'm wearing the McCalls 6844 cardigan with a bow-tied version of the Sewing Workshop Mission Tank and RTW leggings.  

Honestly, this is a new closer look than I've normally worn.  The recent weight loss made this outfit possible...however, it's also playing havoc with my sewing. All of the side seams on garments have to be adjusted for the inches lost. I know I should be happy but I'm seriously stressing! *LOL*

This is what I'm working on next ~

I pinned this to one of my boards on Pinterest, saw it last week during the cold snap and thought I would love to have this sweater jacket to wear this winter. 

Pulled this gray/white ponte from the collection and will add two silver closures that I found at Pacific Trimmings at the neckline and at the bustline also possibly some patch pockets. 

I will use this Vogue 8840 pattern which is sadly out of print...

...yes, I'm totally influenced by the pretty jackets that Nikki from Beaute' J'adore just made.

One final picture...of me and Miss Sammy who is 10 months old now and is the sweetest baby evah! Seriously, she has the sweetest disposition so totally different from her brother and sister.

Up next is The Fabric Inspiration Dress... always more later!


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