Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Just like that it's the end of the month!

I don't know about you but October just flew by!  Flew! However, it was a good sewing month for me.

I posted six garments. Two were made in September and four in October.  I still have another one to share with you...rolling it over into November. October was a good sewing month!

My fabric in and out totals for October are ~
Fabric in:
26.5 yards (15 yds from Fabric Mart, 6 yds from Blackbird Fabrics, 5.5 yds from Mood)

Fabric out:
17.5 yards out for 3 shirts, 1 top and 1 jkt.

Year to Date totals:  
I ended up with 9 more yards in than out this month.  Which makes my YTD out total:  194.25 yds

Again, while it seems impressive it wouldn't be if I hadn't given away so much fabric. I still need to sew more from what I have than of dreaming of garments with new fabric.  That will be a challenge for 2019.

Love to Sew Podcast ~
Another wonderful thing that happened this month was my interview on the Love to Sew podcast.  If you haven't had a chance to listen to it yet, it's available here or you can download it on iTunes.

Some Random Sewing Thoughts ~
I'm always wondering lately how much to post to both my blog and Instagram about the state of the affairs in the world. I don't want to be have one of those pretty Instagram accounts that just reflect my sewing. I'm much more interested in having an IG account that reflects me - that's authentically me!

I've been thinking about my style some more...definitely brought about by the questions asked of me on the Love to Sew podcast. I think I have a better description. I'm Stylishly Comfortable.  I use to be "Corporate Chic with a Designer Flare" but these days I've traded heels for sneakers. Dresses for shirts and jeans and I rarely wear my collection of pearl jewelry sets anymore. Though my co-worker did say I'm rather well accessorized.

I'm never going to stop buying fabric. I have a problem and it's not gonna change. If I'm honest, I really like buying and having a lot of fabric around just need to set some boundaries...okay I might have said that twice in this post. 

I was looking for how to insert an invisible zipper on my blog cause I've been sewing buttonholes and buttons so much lately, I got lost! Seriously!  Anyway, one of the posts I checked out was from June 2010 and it featured this dress:

The post was called Museum Inspired. Its made from two knit panels that I purchased from Fabric Mart. I'm thinking I'm going to share pieces from older posts once a month. Things that everyone can remember I've sewn. Especially since I have a treasure trove of garments on the blog that many newer readers have never seen and no longer live in my wardrobe.

Well only two more months and its twenty nineteen. I have a few things I want to sew for November.  Trying to decide if I'm going to do any Christmas sewing this year.  However, I will be off work from Saturday, December 22nd through Sunday, January 6th, 2019 for some serious sewing time. I have a few personal things to do but I will be sewing. always more later!

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Lavender for Winter - Why Not?

Fabric Mart put up a bunch of cotton border prints in September and I bought four of them. I knew as I was purchasing them that I wanted shirts from them. Because when was the last time you saw a cool border print shirt in RTW?  I can't remember if I ever saw one! Ah the joys of sewing for yourself!

Supply List ~
TNT princess seamed/back yoke shirt pattern 

100% cotton sateen border print

Interfacing from Steinlauf & Stoeller
1/2" plastic floral buttons purchased from Pacific Trimmings

1" white bias binding purchased from Pacific Trimmings

Some Construction Thoughts ~
I think of this as a happy shirt because the fabric makes it so! Normally border prints are used with the print on the bottom, like my previous shirt. This time I used the border print for the main body of the shirt since it covered more of the fabric. The white from the top of the border print was used for the collar, collar stand, button bands and the cuffs.

To cut out the fabric, I used a single pattern layout which means the fabric was cut with the stretch going up and down the body. However, for the sleeves I wanted the stretch to go around my arms. So the sleeves were cut on grain with the stretch around the arms. This is important with my bodacious biceps and a mistake I made with a previous border print shirt make.

Another point to mention is that the fabric is a mid-to-heavyweight cotton sateen. This is not shirting fabric BUT it's perfect for our cold winters. I will add an additional layer of warmth with either a long sleeve tee or turtleneck underneath the shirt.  Making it will be perfect for winter wearing.

The hem is bound with the white bias binding to carry the white theme throughout the garment. 

I did get to a point in the construction where I was ectastic with how the garment was sewing up! One because the shirt was turning out the way I imagined it.  

Two even though some parts of the construction was tedious and slow going, the results were so worth it! Making this shirt was all about slow sewing. 

So a few pictures ~

This is the second shirt in "The Border Print Shirt" series. Two down and three more to go!  If you like the silhouette of my TNT shirt pattern, here are a few suggestions for current patterns you can use to make your own shirt ~ Grainline Studio Archer shirt, Cashmerette Harrison shirt, Butterick 5526, McCalls 7575, Vogue 9029, Vogue 8689, Hotpatterns Classic Nouveau Great White Shirt, to name a few. I'm sure there are more out there in Indie land that could be used too.

Personally, I have four shirt patterns that I will be using this fall/winter. Two are TNTs and two will be new pattern sews. My advice is to find a pattern that works for you and sew it a couple times. Make it a TNT pattern that you can use whenever you want a new shirt. As I've said before a TNT pattern allows me to play with fabric, techniques or manipulating both. I like to play. It's the main reason I sew!

One thing to note ~ this month is/was National Domestic Violence Month. Purple is the color associated with the month and as a survivor of Domestic Abuse I'm thrilled that I got this shirt made in time to celebrate the month. Even though it's more lavender than purple, I think it counts. Learn more about National Domestic Violence month here.

Next up on the blog after the month in review, will be a Rivermont Top. I've had this top in my mind since the beginning of the year.  I finally got it out of my creative brain and sewn up... always more later!

Friday, October 26, 2018

The Rifle & Co "English Garden" Border Print Shirt

I know Rifle & Co prints are big - HUGE! Quite a few sewists have made some beautiful garments using fabric from this line. While I like the prints I've seen, I've never felt like I NEEDED to own one...well not until I saw this one on Stylemaker Fabrics site. I was honestly bowled over by the border print which is how this shirt came to be.

There is nothing new in the construction of this shirt.  I used my close-fitting TNT shirt pattern with the shirt tail hemline for this version. Initially I was going to use the TNT shirt with the gathered back. However, after thinking about it, the border print would be more impactful in the closer fitting shirt. So that's what I did.

I'd like to discuss one thing I do in making my shirts regarding the button bands. On some shirts I use the foldover button bands. On others, I've cut it off and replaced the band with a sewn on band. 

What I'm saying is that I don't interface this band whether it's folded over or sewn on. Recently there was a popular sewist on Instagram saying that you had to add interfacing to the band, that the three layers of fabric was insufficient. 

I've made over a dozen shirts now using this fold & turn method and never had a problem with buttonholes being wonky or the buttons not being stable on my shirts. So why did I bring this up? Because there are several ways to sew things and no one way is always the "right" way. Try out a couple of techniques and see which one works for you. Then use what works for you.

Materials Used ~
4 yards Rifle & Co Empire Garden cotton border print
Interfacing from Steinlauf & Stoeller
10 1/2" 2-hole navy blue buttons from my button collection

Design Details ~
First I've used border prints before. I really like working with them and collect them whenever I find them. Here's a blog post I've written about sewing with border prints.

This shirt has no exceptional use of the border print but I didn't believe it needed any. This is a bold print that uses a large portion of the fabric. My decision was how to make the print work best for me. So the body of the print is along the bottom and mid-body for this shirt.  

The sleeves and back yoke were cut from the starry portion of the fabric. 

Collar, cuffs and the inner back yoke were cut from the border print.

This allowed the shirt to showcase the border print with the maximum effect.   

A few pictures ~

Conclusion ~
This is the first shirt completed in the border print shirt series. I have a few more left to make before the series is done.  Next up is a cotton sateen border print shirt made from the Fabric Mart fabric haul recently purchased. always more later!

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Love to Sew Podcast

I am really honored and thrilled that I'm featured this week on the Love to Sew Podcast.

It was a really interesting conversation.  Especially since it's hit me this year that I've been sewing almost 50 years. I think I even said several times during the conversation, I'm old! But it's not in a negative "ohmygodI'msoold" way but more in a celebration of the fact that I've lived this long. That I'm in relatively good health and will probably live a couple more decades sewing until the very end. 

Anyway, if you get a chance, check out the podcast here. If you haven't listened to any of the other podcasts (really why not?) check out some of the other interviews and discussions. Caroline (proprieter of Blackbird Fabrics) and Helen (designer of Helen's Closet Patterns) have a variety of sewing discussions, as well as, interviews with sewing entrepreneurs and sewing bloggers. Check them out because I'm sure there is someone or something you want to know more about.

Okay back to normal sewing journeys and conversations! always more later! 

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Simplicity 8700 - A Denim Jacket

When the air gets crisp and it's chilly in the morning, my thoughts turn to jackets. I'm not really a coat maker but a cute jacket is right up my alley.

I've made a few in the last couple of years that I've enjoyed wearing.  So when I saw this Simplicity pattern...

I knew I wanted to add it to my collection. But me being me, I was going all in to get the look I saw in my head. There are loads of photos and information in this post. So if you're not interested in the design and construction information, skip down to the photos and conclusion to see the finished jacket.

Supply List ~
1. Medium weight star denim fabric from the collection by way of Fabric Mart
2. Black 'n white stripe remnant - used in this shirt
3. 7 - 7/8" buttons from the button collection
4. 2 - 1/2" buttons from the button collection
5. 1 - 1" O ring from Lauren Trimmings
6. 2 - 2" O rings from Lauren Trimmings
7. Pieces of 1" black twill tape from the notions stash
8. 7 yds of smoky black bias binding from Pacific Trimmings
9. Black topstitching thread from SIL Thread

Pattern Alterations ~
Let me state that this pattern only goes up to an XL with a bust measurement of 46" and waist of 48". There's no hip measurement on the outside of the pattern envelope...but when I measured the pattern pieces it was 58" before the seam allowances were taken off. I knew I would have to alter the main pattern pieces to fit around my hips.

I made my alterations to the front and back the sides between the large and extra large cutting lines...slashing and spreading so that I ended up with 1.5" at the hemline on each side. 

Besides the side alterations for the back piece, I also did a pivot and slide of 2" on the fabric prior to cutting it out. 

There was no need to make an adjustment to the sleeve pattern because it was wide enough. It means that my version won't have the loose sleeve look of the pattern envelope but I'm good with that.

The final pattern alteration was regarding the front facing piece. Brittany mentioned it in her review so I knew to look out for the issue. To solve the problem, I drafted a back neck facing. so that the collar would be enclosed in facings which means I did NOT apply it as the pattern states.

I made a back neck facing by using the back yoke piece. I measured the width of the facing piece. Then I used my curved ruler to make the facing bottom deeper.  Here is a pic of it before I traced it off onto pattern paper...

Then I omitted the back yoke. Yeap, went my own way. It's a stretch denim jacket and I thought it just didn't need it. One of my reasons was the weight of the denim and some of it was the look I wanted. This is what my collar looks like with the front facing.

Design Changes ~
I acknowledge that I went overboard with my design changes. I threw everything into this jacket except for the kitchen sink. I may not have hacked the pattern much but I did hack the design!

My first thought when I saw the pattern was to add some O rings to the flaps. I saw this on a dress on Monica's Instagram account and I really liked the look. I'd been waiting for a garment to add that O ring accent to. I thought this jacket was perfect for it. So I added the rings to all of the pockets.

The second design change I made was to use leftover shirting materials from this shirt for my facings, under flaps and the shoulder tabs.

As pocket linings

For the tabs

The third change was to add binding everywhere to give this very busy print boundaries. So it was added to the collar, inserted into the sleeve band hems and down the front of the jacket. I also used it to bind the seams and hemline of the jacket.

The last thing was a "by chance" thing. I ordered some new labels from Dutch Label Shop. I wanted a label that better reflected where I am now in my creative journey. This label is designed to look like my blog header. After I sewed it onto the upper pocket flap, I thought it was perfect.

While I really like my design changes, they added considerable sewing time to this make...considerable time! 

Construction Information ~
I read the pattern instructions and then proceeded to sew the jacket in the order I wanted after the basic assembly was done. Most of my construction changes were sewn with the pieces flat. 

A few things I want to note:
I basted the sides together to check fit ~ once I realized the fit was okay ~ took it apart and added the pocket flaps. I didn't want to do all of the extra work for the pockets if the jacket didn't fit.
One of the suggestions that the pattern makes is adding twill tabs to the pocket flaps. The O rings were my design decision although I don't think they stand out as much as I thought they would.
Binding isn't suggested in the pattern instructions. That was all me trying to contain the fabric print a little. I'm glad I added it and used a hong kong type of finishing to attach it. However, adding it to the front really defined the button area and gave more definition to the jacket front.
- There's a lot of topstitching on ERRYTHING! From the tabs on the shoulders to the sleeves and hems. Everything is topstitched.
- The cuffs were way too large on my jacket. So I did my normal trick of making a pleat and adding a button.

Original cuff - topstitched with bias binding

Cuff with pleat added

A few pictures ~

Conclusion ~
This is one of Simplicity's "Pattern Hacking" patterns so it comes with several options to make the jacket. You can make it as simple as possible or you can go full in and add everything the pattern suggests and then a few of your own designs. As explained above, I went all in. LOL!

You would have thought that I'd have been realistic about the amount of time it would take to sew this jacket especially since I put every design detail into it. But no...about halfway through the construction I got annoyed! *LOL* When I finally thought about it I realized that it takes time to get a more detailed garment made. I needed the time to bring to fruition all the things I saw in my head. When I understood that the sewing became more enjoyable. Does this happen to anyone else? Just wondering if I'm standing on this creative cliff alone?

I will be using this pattern again. I can see it in different fabrics with less of the details I used in this one. Hopefully I will get more of them made before spring shows up because I always think I have more time to sew than I actually do! *LOL*

One other thing happened after I took the photos. My Mother saw me standing in the kitchen with the jacket on and asked where I bought it. I think that's the ultimate sewists compliment!

The first shirt from the border print series is up next on the blog. always more later!

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

The Border Print Shirt Series

Shirts are my jam. I REALLY love sewing and wearing them. They've become my new "dress" and since I run a pattern into the know I'm sewing shirts with my TNT shirt pattern.

Backstory ~
I've been on a fabric buying binge. I've been using fabric to self medicate against the cares of the world. To slow down my fabric buying tendencies, I'd set myself monthly yardage limitages. Well in the last couple of weeks, I've purchased my fabric limit for October and November. The only good thing is that the purchases have totally inspired my makes for the next couple of weeks.

It started with this Rifle & Co. border print from Stylemaker Fabrics ~

...which I'm sorry to say is no longer on the website. However, this seems to be a pretty popular print so I'm sure if you google it, you can find it on another site.

Then I bought these cotton border prints from Fabric Mart ~ of now two of the fabrics are still on the site here and here. The other two are sold out.

With these border prints in hand, I realized I could make some really interesting shirts by manipulating the border prints. Since I own four prints a series was born. I mean the challenge of using the border prints creatively just made me salivate.  I spent a couple of days during the weekend working on cutting out these prints. 

So why this post? It will probably be a couple of weeks before these shirts make it to the blog. By then the last of the cotton border prints will be sold out, just wanted to give you an opportunity to purchase some of these fabrics yourself. Also, to let you know what I'm sewing next.

Next completed garment up on the blog is the Simplicity 8700 jacket. I've been working on it for a couple of weeks and I think it's ready for prime time now. always more later!

Sunday, October 14, 2018

The First Shirt of the Fall Season

It's October and while the month kicked off with some warm late summer type weather, we all know the dark days of winter are coming. Now while I'm no longer wearing my lightweight summer clothing, it's not yet time to bundle up in the wool and cashmere.

It is shirt wearing season this is my first fall shirt.  I used the close fitting version of my TNT pattern.

Some stats ~
100% cotton from Zooks in Lancaster, PA

Rick Rack from Home Sew via the collection
12 4-hole 1/2" white buttons from the collection
Light Crisp Shirting Fusible Interfacing from Fashion Sewing Supply

Additional Info ~
There are no new construction techniques for this make. The difference with this one is the embellishment I added. I'm a fan of rick rack and I added it to the collar, left front button placket and in the back yoke seam. I've used it on a number of garments and think it can be used in adult garments as well as children's no problem.

While I'll make various versions of this TNT pattern this fall/winter, it will be the fabric, the embellishment and trims, I use to make each one different. I'll be documenting them here because this is my diary/record of my makes. It's a great place to keep a photo of each one. Long after they've been discarded or donated, I have a record that I made it. It's one of the things I love about my blog.

Pictures ~

I added a little rick rack to the back yoke too

Conclusion ~
This is the first one of my shirts for fall/winter.  However, I do have a few other shirt patterns I'm planning on using. I'm loving this one though, due to the fabric and color. Perfect for the weather we're having now and easy to wear. always more later!

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Vogue 7448 - Out of Print Blouse - Wearable Muslin

I found this blouse pattern in one of the online vintage pattern shops a few years ago. I was looking for a soft 80's type blouse and this one fit the bill. 

I bought it for my old corporate lifestyle to go over a skirt or pair of trousers and under a cardigan. While I liked the pattern, once that lifestyle disappeared I wasn't sure I would be able to use it. Though I wasn't ready to part with it.

Background Information ~
First a little about the pattern ~ the copyright date is 2001. The pattern description says, "Loose-fitting, above-hip length blouse (may be worn tucked in or out) has front-button closing and short sleeves. The back I'm using has a pleat into back yokes and shawl collar."

This pattern has no darts which I will admit had me a little concerned. Also, it's not as loose-fitting as the pattern envelope's picture. Finally let's not forget that kinda lowish (BurdaStyle) neckline. That's why I did something I don't normally do, I made a wearable muslin.

Supplies ~
- A poly print from the collection that has no tag so I have no idea how long it's been there
- silk organza for the interfacing
- blue & white shell buttons from the button collection

Pattern Alterations ~
To add width to the hemline on the front piece, I slit the front stitching line and added 1.75" of space there.

After making the blouse, I went back and added the insert from the bust point to the hemline. 

To the back piece I did a pivot and slide and added 4" to the hemline. I did the pivot and slide on the fabric. Then went back and added the alteration to the pattern, after I knew it worked. 

For the sleeve, I slit it up to the sleeve cap and added 1" to the bicep. Then I added 5" to the length. It was the perfect length to add a hem of 3" and then turn up a 2" cuff.

I shortened the shoulder seam by 1" for my narrower shoulders on the front and back yoke pattern pieces.

Construction ~
I constructed the blouse just like the pattern instructions stated. The only thing I didn't do was handstitch the front down, however, I did handstitch the back neckline down. 

I also added topstitching on the outer collar, down the front and around the hemline.

As I mentioned in the pattern alterations, my sleeves were cut longer than the pattern instructions and I added a 2" cuff to them. I wanted to give the blouse a sporty look with the cuffs.

A few pictures ~

Blouse shown with TNT linen pants

Conclusion ~
This is a pretty good wearable muslin. I think I still need another inch in the the abdomen and hip area for me to be comfortable wearing this as a closed front blouse. I also want to make it about 2" longer - more thigh length. This version comes across as a camp shirt. Once all of the changes were made to the pattern, I wanted to use it with a navy double silk chiffon to make the top and a pair of pants...sort of a jumpsuit look without the jumpsuit all in oneness.

I won't get to this now that the chill is settling in. I have another version of this blouse with longer sleeves and a cuff roaming around in my brain. I want to make it this fall now I have all of the fitting challenges worked out.

Me and Samantha who started Pre-K4 this September

Next up on the blog will be a new fall shirt! always more later!


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