Sunday, November 26, 2017

A Pair of Black Pants

As you know I wear a lot of jeans and leggings to work now. Also, my TNT pants pattern wasn't working after I lost 45 lbs. Well that was three years ago and in the last year I've gained back 15-20 lbs depending on what week it is. Before we get into a weight loss/gain discussion, I really just want to talk about the pants.

One of the byproducts of gaining some weight back is that my original TNT pants pattern now fits. Not the altered one that I was using when I started to lose weight (and was at my heaviest) but one of the in-between stage pants patterns - yes, that's how many times I've altered that pattern!

Anyway, when I made the Rivermont Top, I cut a pair of my TNT pants from the black ponte too. My goal was to wear the two pieces together but I ran out of time for the blog post for the Curvy Sewing Collective. However, a black pair of pants is always a good thing, so I finished them this weekend.

Materials ~
black ponte from Metro Textiles
Dritz pull elastic (I found some at SIL Threads)
black rayon seam tape

I have no new construction techniques info to add because I've made these pants too many times to count!

So here are some pictures of the pants in action worn with some of my recent makes ~

With my Vogue 8772 bow-tie blouse

With my Rivermont Top

and with a yet to be blogged top ~

Conclusion ~
I'm glad I added this pair of pants to my closet. When I need to be just a little dresser, these will work. Also I'm so happy to have my TNT pants pattern back!

The girls were here this afternoon with their Mother while she took these here is a picture of me with Miss Aleena and Miss Samantha! always more later!

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

The Rivermont Top

The Rivermont Pattern by Cashmerette has a top and a dress in it. 

After I started working on the dress, I got this great idea for a top and went off on a lark. See I've been inspired by a number of peplum tops that I've been saving from the Internet and Instagram. I thought this was the perfect pattern to make my creative imaginings come to fruition.

Let's start at the beginning with some inspiration photos ~

As you know, I made a test version of the dress. When I first thought of making a top, I considered tearing my tester version apart and trying to make it work. I checked but I didn't have enough of the original fabric left over to make the peplum probably because I'd fussy cut it to get the border to fit the dress.

So my next thought was to use the original top with an insert on the sides and use a black ponte for the peplum.  After picking up some black ponte, I changed directions again. 

A Supply List ~
Black Ponte from Metro Textiles
Black 'n White Houndstooth Poly by Maggie London from Fabric Mart (via the collection)
9" black invisible zipper
Rose applique from Joyce Trimmings

Pattern Alterations ~
These are the alterations I made to the pattern to make it mine.

Peplum Alterations first:
I lengthened and expanded the peplum to give it some flare. Since the peplum piece is used for the front and the back piece, I had to make two separate pieces to get the look I wanted.

1. I cut and spread the pattern so that hemline was widened by 2.5" next the front piece was lengthened by 3".  

2. The back piece was copied from the front piece.

3. Then it was lengthened 10" at the back hemline.

4. Using my curved ruler I curved the hemline up to meet the side seam.

5. Next I cut two inserts into the peplum pattern. I picked an area near the back and one closer to the side seam. There was no formula for this. I eyeballed it thinking about how I wanted the peplum to hang over my behind.

6. Spreading the inserts, the one closest to the back fold was widened to 3.5" at the hemline.

7. The second insert closest to the side seam was widened to 2" at the hemline.

Final back pattern piece made from the cut & marked up original piece

Additional alterations made to the top ~
I raised the neckline by 1/2". I did this based upon my test dress version. It had a higher neckline than my pattern. I liked the original neckline better for me so I altered my front pattern also making sure to alter the front facing pattern piece too.

Construction Information ~
It's important to note that I got another idea as I was cutting the pattern out.  One of the things that is challenging to me about my Rivermont Dress is that I have to pull it over my head. People I'm an older woman who hates to exercise so my dexterity isn't as good as it was when I was a younger woman who didn't exercise. So I love a zipper!  And I realized that in a stable knit like a ponte that a zipper is a good thing, so I added a 9" invisible to the back seam.

This meant that the back neck facing had to be changed too. So instead of placing it on the fold I added a 3/8" seam allowance and cut it out as 2 separate pieces.

I added a lining to the peplum by cutting a second set of the peplum pieces from the silky poly fabric. First I stitched the silky lining to the ponte at the hemline. After the two pieces were sewn together, the seams were pressed open and flat. I added a line of stitching to the hemline of the peplum. The two pieces of fabric were then basted together at the waistline. I clipped it to a pants hanger and let the lined peplum hang for a day so I could see if the two fabrics worked against each other.  

Because I chose to add a lining to the peplum and a zipper to the back of the top, I changed the way I constructed the garment. As stated above the peplum was made first. The bodice was made second and I sewed it together as a single piece ~ however I did sew the sleeves into the bodice and then sewed the side seams together. The last step was to sew the bodice to the waistline and hem the sleeves.

Design Change ~
Besides giving the top's peplum more space and lengthening it in the back, I also appliqued a rose to the shoulder area. In the center of the rose, I placed a covered button made from some of the poly herringbone fabric. I thought it was a cute touch to draw all of the elements of the top together.

A few pictures of the Top ~

Giving the top a little twirl

Conclusion ~
This top first appeared on the Curvy Sewing Collective about a week ago. However, I didn't include the instructions on how to lengthen and enlarge the peplum...that information is included in this blog post. Also, this top pattern was included in the free pattern that I received from Cashmerette - yet again all opinions are mine.

Honestly between the dress and the top, I prefer the top. I will definitely make the top again using the regular peplum pieces instead of my altered pattern pieces. It's a great top that's very versatile, open to design inspiration, and will function well in my casual work wardrobe. 

This is an easy to sew and great wardrobe builder pattern. May I also say that I love that the pattern pieces all go together without any challenges adding to the ease of sewability for this pattern.  If you're looking for a great top pattern as a plus-size, curvy woman, definitely purchase the Rivermont pattern! always more later!


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!


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