Saturday, September 17, 2016

Vogue 9154 - Textured wool skirt

Finding wool clothing in south Texas is just about impossible. Of course our winters are pretty mild and don't last half the year, but it does get cold here. Well, cold to me anyway. If I want wool clothing I have to make it myself, which I am perfectly okay with as it's always such a well behaved fabric. I am really into textures lately, so when I spotted this striped novelty wool-acrylic blend at, I quickly bought 1.5 yards without anything in mind.

I decided to use Vogue 9154 and make the knee length version of the skirt. I really like the way the stripes come together in chevrons at CF and CB, and horizontally on the sides. The yoke has interesting seam lines as well, although those can not be easily seen with this fabric. I'm definitely making one of the longer views in the near future in a solid color to show them off better. Perhaps I'll add some topstitching as well.

This fabric might look striped from a distance but it's actually rows of yarn secured to an olive green backing. It's a fun texture that doesn't add much bulk. I'm really not sure how much acrylic content this fabric has. I was about to sweat to death while taking these pictures, so rest assured it is really warm. This wool pressed really well but it is somewhat thick to sew with. I had to wrangle it under my machine foot, but once in place it fed through easily. I sewed my seams using bright blue thread so that I could see it easily if I needed to rip it out. I also stitched all the seams with a 4mm stitch length.

I cut a straight size 12 and took a 1.5" hem instead of the 5/8" hem in the pattern directions. I like shorter skirts for winter when they'll likely be worn with tights. On my body, knee length skirts paired with tights make me look like I'm wearing my grandma's clothes. My maroon top was made this past January and is also wool. Can you see the perspiration forming on my forehead? Lol.

I have found that skirts without waistbands tend to slip around when worn over tights, so I wanted something on the inside that had a little gripping power. I chose a cobalt blue tricot lining from my stash for the inside facing. In order to give the waist some stability and prevent it from stretching out, I added clear elastic to the seamline. Early on I realized I was not going to be able to finish the seams with my typical overlocking stitch, so I cut strips of the tricot and did a Hong Kong finish instead. I also finished off the bottom hem the same way.

Although my camera is making this blue appear much brighter then it is in person, I quite like the pop of color on the inside. I'm also going to explore making more unlined sweater knits now that I know how to neatly finish off the edges.

Note: This fabric was purchased with my Mood Fabrics monthly allowance, as part of my participation in the Mood Sewing Network.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

McCall's 7046 - Animal + paisley double tiered knit dress

I've had this ITY knit in my stash forever, most likely an online purchase. I had it set aside for a summer dress but decided that the colors were really more fall-ish. I've decided I really prefer these thin knits to be sewn into items that either drape or have ruching, so I chose McCall's 7046 which has both.

I like my winter dresses to be a little short since they're always worn with tights and sometimes tall boots. After eyeballing the envelope example, I cut two inches off the bottom of the bodice pattern piece. I also hemmed both tiers 1.25" with a twin needle. The length is so fun and flirty!

I cut a size 12 in this pattern. Normally I size down to a 10 for knits but the measurements on the tissue seemed really small. The waist is perfect but the bust is a tad loose. Next time I'll cut a 10 through the bust to snug it up a bit. For the neckline and sleeves I used fuchsia fold over elastic. This is the second time I've used that kind of notion and I love it. The finish is very RTW looking and provides a nice bit of contrast.

I really like this busy print but my husband does NOT. He says animal print and paisley have no business being on the same article of clothing. Haha. Oh well, I don't care, I love it anyway. This will be a great day dress for fall and winter.

Here you can see the neckline closer. This fold over elastic isn't hard to use but you've definitely got to sew slowly and be meticulous. JoAnn's is now stocking it in all different colors on the notions isle. If you do plan to use it, always get one package more then you think you'll need. I only got the neckline and one sleeve out of one package.

Dressform pictures:

Okay, that's two things for fall before the weather around here has even cooled off. Woohoo, I'm on a roll. Look for a cute wool skirt in the next few days. It's my monthly MSN garment, so I'll be posting it over there first.

Monday, September 5, 2016

McCall's 6844 - Cobalt blue geometric printed cardigan

I have this (slightly ratty) fleece jacket that I wear constantly around my house during the winter. It's warm but not too bulky and is just the perfect thing to ward off any indoor chill. Of course it never gets worn out and about because it's a weird color and doesn't match anything. And I have some really great outer wear that I like to wear. All this to say - I've decided to replace it with several pieces of similar weight and warmth that are hopefully more chic and not so dowdy.

I picked up this textural geometric novelty knit from I'm always on the lookout for interesting textures and I loved the colorway. Cobalt blue is probably my next favorite color next to yellow. I got it in the spring I think and it's now completely sold out. They do have a yellow colorway that is lovely and still available, and I had a hard time deciding between the two.

The pattern I chose is McCall's 6844, one of's best patterns of 2013, and it's been reviewed about a million times. It's a nice and simple pattern, great especially if you have a somewhat busy print. I really like the fact that it has some shape to it and isn't too voluminous. I cut the size small but sewed 3/8" seam allowances for the vertical sleeve seam and side seams. The sleeves were a bit tight when I first stitched them at 5/8".

I had a bit of a panic when I was cutting out the fabric. Because of my uneven print I did not have enough to cut out the collar with horizontal stripes. Of course this predicament is never noticed by me until half the pieces are cut out. The collar had to be cut on the cross grain, but I quite like how it turned out.

I matched up the stripes across the sleeves and at the side seams. I also ignored the 5/8" hem called for in the directions and put in a 1.25" hem by hand. All interior seams and edges were finished with my machine's overlock stitch.

This was a fun and relatively quick project, and I'll definitely be using the pattern again soon. (Maybe in a grey sweaterknit with leather sleeves? Hmmm..)

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Vogue 1499 - White striped dress in embroidered cotton

Whew! I'm rushing to get this posted so that I have at least one entry on this blog for August. It has been a super crazy month with all three of my kids starting new schools. The baby is a wild child and is constantly into everything. I'm hoping for more sewing time this fall during his nap time. We shall see.

Anyway, here is my last garment for summer. It's Vogue 1499, an Anne Klein designer dress pattern that came out this past summer. I really liked the changing stripes on the bodice and thought the width of the skirt would make a good day dress. The fabric is a black and white striped floral cotton from Shortly after I bought the pattern they posted it to their website. I needed a thin stripe to show off the design and thought the embroidered flowers a fun textural element.

I washed and dried my fabric prior to cutting it out and the embroidery crinkled up a bit. It's kind of like a seersucker fabric now, which I quite like for a casual summer dress. Wrinkles do NOT show, and this white is totally opaque. Consequently I decided to forgo the lining.

I cut a straight size 12 - my typical Vogue size - and ended up taking the side seams in a little over an inch from the armpits tapering to nothing at the waist. Early on I knew I wanted to leave off the little cap sleeves. Something about the angle of how they connect to the bodice just bugged my eye. Instead I wanted to add a sporty cut-in sleeve element, so I raised the front and back neckline and used a RTW shirt to guide my scissors as I trimmed out new armholes.

I cut all the pieces out singly and matched the embroidery pattern across the center back bodice and skirt. I also took care that the side panels and skirt were stitched together so that the black lines were perfectly straight. The zipper was probably the most time consuming part of this project. After it was inserted and all the stripes lined up across it I took a gusty sigh of relief.

The neckline and armholes were finished with bias tape. All the inside raw edges were finished with my machine's overlocking foot. It's a nice weight of a dress - not too light to wrinkle or see through but not too heavy to be hot during the summer.  

Dressform pictures:

I have a ton more summer garments planned but of course never am able to sew it all up. Life is too busy. And now I'm tired of looking at my summer wardrobe and I'm ready for a change of color and of fabrics. Bring on the silks and the wools! I'm sewing for fall and winter from here on and already have a cardigan finished. Just have to get some pictures!

Note: This fabric was purchased with my Mood Fabrics monthly allowance, as part of my participation in the Mood Sewing Network.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Simplicity 8014 - Denim shirtdress w/ white topstitching

When this pattern came out last year I knew that I wanted the EXACT same dress as the example on the envelope. I chose a nice weighty denim from my stash which I have no idea where I bought it from nor what project it was purchased for. It has a good bit of stretch which I thought would be great for a somewhat fitted casual dress.

I cut a size 10 through the bust, tapering out to a 12 at the hips and through the shoulders. I also added 2 inches to the hemline. Probably I could have gotten away without the extra length since the top offers so much coverage.

I left off the in-seam pockets and folded the back into an inverted pleat instead of having gathers per the instructions. In this thick of a fabric I was worried the gathers might look funny and not lay flat.

I decided to add an elastic casing to the waist to give the dress even gathering distribution.

Dressform pictures:

I topstitched with white thread. The sleeve treatment is really interesting. That's a topstitched tuck instead of a bottom sleeve band, and the way it's sewn together there's no need to finish the edge or sew an invisible hem. 

The elastic waist casing was stitched with navy thread so that it disappears under the fabric belt. The buttons I purchased at JoAnn's.

Back inverted pleat:

Because my denim was so thick, I decided to use a contrasting fabric in various areas to cut down on bulk. I made a dress out of this fabric years ago and saved the remnant because I thought it was so cute.

Here you can see the contrast fabric at the inside yoke, waist casing and hem facing.

It's too hot to wear this dress currently - it's more of a fall outfit. I'm not sure why I decided to make it in the middle of July, but now I have a fun new outfit for when the weather turns slightly cooler.

Here's a photo bomb by my baby girl. She's nearly 6 years old and will start kindergarten in three weeks. Time is flying by with these kiddos!

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Burda 6771 - Wrap shorts in kitty border print

I try to steer clear of juvenile fabrics since I'm in my *cough* late 30's and don't want to appear like I'm desperately hanging on to my youth, but this fabric just begged me to buy it. It's a purple and red cat print bamboo twill from, and is still available as of this morning. Mood labeled it as being a "Famous Designer" fabric but I'll just spill the beans and tell you it's from Anna Sui. It's long and thin with a border of maroon and red stripes and I had no idea what I was going to do with it. Inspiration hit while perusing the Burdastyle pattern book and I settled on a wrap shorts style, 6771.

I ended up needing all three of the panels I bought. These are a few inches shorter then the original design due to the narrowness of the print. I cut a size 38/12 and made no adjustments for fit. I finished the edges and pre-washed my fabric so that I could wear these guilt free during the hot Texas summer. This bamboo twill is thin and mostly opaque. I'm living dangerously and will have to avoid getting my picture taken with bright flashes but I really didn't want to add a lining or underlining. Time will tell if I regret my decision.

I had to carefully line up the cats at the center front and back seams, but there are no side seams to worry about so that was nice. These kitties do like to change their direction from time to time.

I used an invisible zipper at the back and cut my facings from a remnant of lavender lining. All exposed edges were finished with the overlocking stitch on my sewing machine. The hems are all narrow and topstitched carefully.

Mood has a yellow color way of this exact print that I was tempted to get instead (as I love all things yellow) but I am trying to branch out and add other colors to my closet. I'm proud of myself for finding a way to use this unusual fabric, but I can't tell you how many interesting border prints I have in my stash that I'm still scratching my head about how to use. I have a hard time passing up unique fabrics.

Note: This fabric was purchased with my Mood fabrics monthly allowance, as part of my participation in the Mood Sewing Network.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Burda 6906 - Green + ivory rose print palazzo pants

This project started from my desire to add a pair of wide leg palazzo pants to my wardrobe. I wanted something fitted at the waist that was still flowy and comfortable, and settled on Burda 6906. I really liked the yoke of this design - somewhat unusual on a pair of pants - and the piping on the top and bottom. I'm always on the lookout for those little something extras. The pattern suggested viscose or rayon crepe, so I went cruising through Mood Fabric's selection of rayon crepes. I knew I wanted a print for these pants, and chose this green and ivory artistic rose stretch rayon crepe, now sadly sold out.

The care for this fabric was hand wash in cold water and line dry or dry clean. I do dry clean on occasion but not typically for casual clothing, which these pants were intended to be. However, after putting the fabric through my machine's delicate cycle and hanging up to drip dry, the black dye started to run into the ivory and it looked terrible. I figured it wouldn't be useable to me that way and I had very little to lose by drying it in the dryer, so that's what I did (after washing on delicate again.) It came out exactly like it went in, and if I lost any of my original 2.5 yards to shrinking, it wasn't evident when I was cutting out the pattern pieces.

The fit of these pants is just perfect right out of the envelope. I flat measured the waist since that measurement was not included the pattern paper and went with the 10 instead of my typical woven size 12. I wasn't much worried about the hip measurement as this fabric has a good amount of stretch and they are pretty roomy through the hips as drafted.

I did try to match the roses on the print as best as I could, particularly at the center front and center back. The sides look okay - maybe not as perfect as I would like (especially on the right side) but really who is going to notice on these busy pants? I am always my own worse critic. Who was it that said a little imperfection keeps things interesting? That needs to be my new mantra.

The pattern directions only instruct you to put piping along the bottom of the yoke, but that didn't make much sense to me, so I stitched it to the top and bottom as per the envelope example.

I used knit interfacing on the yoke and yoke facing to give the pants some stability but still allow them to be stretchy and comfortable. The piping along the top acts like a waist stay and prevents that seam from stretching out. The back is closed with an invisible zipper.

This was a really fun project. I got the exact look I was going for, had no fit issues to speak of, enjoyed working with the fabric and my zipper went in perfectly the very first time (which pretty much never happens to me.) Definitely expect to see this pattern again soon, maybe the shorts view in a stretch denim chambray.

Note: This fabric was purchased with my Mood Fabrics monthly allowance, as part of my participation in the Mood Sewing Network.