Thursday, October 8, 2015

Finished: Vogue 8979

I'm trying to remember how I came across this pattern...probably just trying to find more interesting tops to sew??

At any rate, there were 4 reviews on PR (1 has no photo) and I could find no other reviews online for it. It's a gorgeous style!!! So I was surprised that not many had reviewed it and that of course made me go for it :-p

Right after deciding to make it I asked myself, "Self, what are you thinking?! Look at how complicated that is!!!!" But then my other self said, "You are easily an intermediate sewer, that pattern will be no match for you!"

Let's talk turkey...
1) The line drawing isn't entirely incorrect -- The pattern has back darts and there are no darts to be seen on that line drawing. (the sleeves on the tech drawing do not look full length to me, but the photo shows that they are). It oddly shows no hem stitching but the hem IS top-stitched.

2) I don't know how you would get the right side to look how it looks in the photo and line drawing with the method they provided. 

3) Vogue rates this pattern as 'easy'. From the Vogue site:

Easy-to-sew patterns but with more details than the Very Easy category. Perfect for those with limited sewing knowledge or little time. Expect a wide variety of sewing procedures—there will be more details when the techniques are simple and fewer details when the techniques are more involved. Some fitting knowledge required.

Now, this is fine if one reads the ratings and understands that easy does not mean novice or beginner. However, I often see suggestions to new sewers to get a pattern marked "easy" and I don't think they understand it doesn't mean what they think it means.

Is this pattern difficult? No. But there are techniques involved that could frustrate a new sewer. 
  • A pivot corner. 
  • Whatever the heck is happening with the right collar assembly
  • The left band is...Oddly shaped, oddly sewn plus some more oddities. It's too long too. I mean, it is cut on the bias so I assume it's a piece that could easily stretch out of shape, but other reviewers mentioned it too.
  • The way the front is finished can be confusing too.
  • The pleat in the sleeve hem is formed by making two buttonholes and then buttoning both over the button. Hmm. Interesting.
But it's so cute! And different!!! 

What I love:

1) I love the flounce. But I love all flounces. I will wear flounce any and everything so never listen to me :-p

2) I love the asymmetry. Duh. I love asymmetry.

3) I like the length more than I thought I would. I was going to shorten it but decided to leave it as-is.

4) I love the pleat! Other reviewers didn't seem to care for the smaller pleats below the larger one. I really like the effect.

5) I actually love the sleeves as-is, without the buttons. I hadn't done them yet because I didn't have anything appropriate. But I like them as they are. I even folded out the pleat and pinned it and while I like the little blousing it creates on the arm, I think I like the loose sleeve even more.

6) The sleeve set BEAUTIFULLY

What I don't love:

1) There's fabric for 3 people in the upper back. I was so distressed initially. I inserted one sleeve and thought there was excess fabric then thought, hmm, maybe that'll resolve when the other sleeve is in. Nope. Total hump-back thing happening.

****I forgot that it was suggested that the back is a length, not width issue until it was just mentioned again in a comment on my review.*****

2) I love this color and the thickness of this crepe. However, it shows every lump and bump and I am already self-conscious about my backfat. In fact, it is probably the only body-thing I am self conscious about! So combined with excess fabric and I hate the back view. Hate. Hate. Hate.

3) the narrow hem. I should have just serged and turned up a wider hem. Darn it.

4) My fabric is the same on both sides. BUT I should have hemmed the flounce the "other" way. It's hemmed before the front is assembled and I automatically hemmed it to the 'wrong' side. But the wrong side is showing! Doh! It does bother me a tiny bit.

  1. The front is 'connected' by overlapping the right over left and stitching in place. Because I am getting smarter in my old age, I used Wonder Tape to hold this in place.
  2. The underside of the flounce
  3. The pleats! :)
  4. The seam that connects the pleated lower portion to the rest of the top. I serged this and pressed it but it is bulky. I don't know what to do to make it less bulky.

  1. My invisible zipper is totes invisible! One reviewer left off her zipper. This was not an option for me.
  2. The inside of the left band (you can see some Wonder Tape! LOL!). I slipstitched by hand and still have a few inches to do. 
  3. The back is actually even up top! :) I need to insert a hook & eye. I feel some kind of way about that for a finishing but can't verbalize why.

Are you still here? WHEW!

I sewed a size 14 with the following adjustments:
3/4" swayback
1/2" narrow shoulder
1" bicep adjustment 
2" added to hip via slash and spread on back pattern piece
Moved the dart 'back' 1". I also meant to lower it a tad.
Next time I'll take a tuck across the upper back to remove excess length. 

I love the sleeveless version and will be making that one soon! 


My Making My Wardrobe Work page is updated. I've been adding photos in sets of 2, because I am also rating each outfit and it helps to do that soon after wearing it rather than later. 

I see my Rheumatologist again in December and *hope* to be 20 lbs lighter by then. I am only weighing at the end of each month because, ugh, scales. I finally took some measurements today and am 1/2" smaller at the bust and hip and 3/4" smaller at the waist. YAY! 

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Miscellany: Photo Edition

I've been wanting this style of boot but not quite sure it would fit in my wardrobe. 

Target was having a Cartwheel special so I was able to snag them for under $30. I wore them Friday with straight legged jeans and thought they were pretty cute.

Friday was my 5th Anniversary. The last 2 years have been an uphill battle but we are hopeful for the future.

Target had another Cartwheel offer for accessories. Yes. I am addicted to Target. I absolutely loved this necklace and it was well worth the $10! The earrings were on clearance plus an additional percent off so they were $1.66 each! And I *LOVE* the aqua pair!

Similarly, I have a lot of fun costume jewelry and some of it I have had for years. Like, YEARS! It's still in decent condition (probably because I have so many pieces to choose from!) but I think I'm tired of a lot of them.

So I have started a free trial subscription to Rocksbox. You get the first month free though you do need to enter your credit card info. It is $19/month and you get 3 pieces of jewelry at a time. You can keep the box as long as you like but also, once you return it you will get a new box. So the possibility exists of getting several boxes per month.

They claim each box is worth about $200 total. If you decide to keep any items you get 20% off the list price. You also get $10 credit each month towards purchases, but it expires each month. You can get $25 for each person that signs up using your referral link.  I won't be posting a referral link until I've had a chance to review.

Be clear that I am NOT shilling Rocksbox!!! :) I have yet to receive my first box so I will review the service after a few months of use.

I am also going to be taking daily outfit pics and posting them on my "Making My Wardrobe Work" page. I really want to have more fun with my wardrobe and I think documenting will help as will a fun assortment of jewelry!

When I picked out my new jewelry I happened upon the sleepwear clearance rack at Target! The top two are rayon/modal blend pajama pants ($4.48!), then there's a rayon romper ($2.03!) and a tank with a cute crisscross back detail ($1.94!). I wore my new jammies last night and they were awesome :-D

The kids' dad showed up to make the 17 year old happy! 

Yesterday I was doing laundry and noticed how many items in my closet are handmade! I was wearing 2 RTW pieces but of what you see pictured, I counted 21 items in my closet that were storebought and I think about 16-17 of them were from Target or JC Penney! LOL! 

Target is my kryptonite!

My closet is arranged by 
casual (non work) dresses
work dresses
cardigans (solids then prints)
jackets (prints then solids)
sleeveless tops (solids then prints)
shortsleeved tops (solids then prints)
long sleeved tops (solids then prints)
work pants
casual pants
And then random stuff.

I had some generic October plans but after looking at my closet, I really ned to add to my closet purposefully. 

I am still making my Burda pants, but I have the most ridiculous bloat every month and I don't trust pant making during this time. 

I fell in love with this top but I am head scratching at the directions. Hopefully as I go through it it will start to make sense.

I've done no stitching yet, but the darts on the back are pinned and on top, those are the sleeves, pinned and ready to sew.

I don't normally use a lot of pins but this is a polyester crepe so....yeah!

I have more on my plate for this Sunday than I'd like but I will do the above stitching and insert the invisible zipper. I also hope to get the front assembled (it has a lot of steps!!!!). It's one of those patterns that by the time you get to the side seams you have pretty much done 80% of the work. 

So we shall see.

Hope you're having a great weekend! What's on your sewing table?

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

September Wrap-Up and October Plans

It's October Already?

In my August wrap-up, I had a list of 8 things I wanted to make in September. So how did I do? I made 4 of the 8, plus some other things. Because "ooh! Shiny!" :)

Sewaholic Minoru (sewn)
M7244 (sewn)
B5030 (not sewn)
M7254 (not sewn)
M6708 (sewn)
Burda 7136 (switched for B5678)
M6964 (not sewn)
Burda 8/2015 (not sewn)

Most notably left off the September sewing list is Butterick 5030. I love that pattern so much though and WILL make it. It's just that the navy crepe I had planned for it is narrower than I thought and I do not have enough yardage.

This month I sewed 18.75 yards (I don't even know how that happened; and double checked the math twice!):
  • McCall's 6708 cardigan in polka-dot sweater knit with contrast bands - 1.5 yards ( I promise I will review this soon!)
  • McCall's 6886 dress in the same fabric as the M6708 contrast - 1.5 yards
  • McCall's 7244 dress in marsala ponte - 1.5 yards
  • Sewaholic Minoru jacket in tan water repellent linen - 2.5 yards
  • McCall's 6886 dress in black/white striped ponte - 1.75 yards
  • McCall's 6884 dress in teal/navy ITY - 2.25 yards
  • Butterick 5678 shirt in white cotton shirting - 1.75 yards
  • Lekala 5871 skirt in cotton twill - 1 yard
  • New Look 6326 skirt in black ponte - 2.75 yards (TIMES TWO! lol!)
  • Burda 9/2014 muslin in plaid suiting - 2 yards
I really like the look of the crazy Burda pant so far! I wish I could have actually used this fabric for them as I like the subtle pattern. But I can already see the front crotch length is too long and hence these will be a muslin, for sure. 

October plans?

-I will finish this muslin and sew up these pants in black (pants are Burda 9/2014)
-Black cropped Lekala moto jacket (copying a RTW jacket from WHBM)
-Another pair of SA Sandra jeans (in a light khaki-ish twill)
-Burda 8/2015 skirt (I really want this skirt!)

Otherwise, I switched my wardrobe from 'spring/summer' to 'fall/winter' and am currently LOVING it. I love doing this by the way, it feels like I get NEW CLOTHES! vs having everything crammed into the closet year-round.

It's too warm still for 'winter' clothes but I think boot weather has definitely arrived and longer sleeves, ponte dresses and jackets are in.

I know that I still need solid colored tops. I love a good print but living in the midwest, life is about layering and with my collection of cardigans and jackets, solid tops make that easier. So I am thinking I can add to the wardrobe in that area.

I am down just about 10 lbs in the last two months and am noticing baggy pants. Yay but boo! I have 3 pair that I really, really, really need to take in because they just look a bit sad. I probably won't sew many dress pants in the foreseeable future. I'll be wearing all the skirts and all the dresses with all the boots until it gets Minnesota cold. And by then I'm thinking I may be dropping from a size 18 in pants down to a 16. So I am reluctant to cut anymore out.

Oh and all this sewing totally fits in with FESA!

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Butterick 5678

I updated my previous post with photos of the newly sewn NL6326 skirt :)

I finished this shirt about a week ago, and washed it to remove all of the marker marks that I'd made while sewing it. And it was wrinkled as heck! So I was just being super lazy and not ironing it.

But it's like the iron touches it and the wrinkles just melt away. Ahhhhh.

Where did I find this glorious fabric you ask? Sawyer Brook! This was my first ever purchase from them; an Italian cotton shirting. It is perfectly white, super crisp and the fibers are soooo smooth. At $16/yard, it is my most expensive per yard to date. But sewing it was so freaking fantastic. Every part of the process, like buttah baby!

Butterick 5678...I would call it a sleeper but it has gotten it's fair share of love in the sewing world. It is now OOP (I don't know WHY!).

I first attempted this blouse in March 2013 (yeah, that was TWO months after I learned to sew! See what kind of shenanigans beginners get into?!?!)

Oh the puckers and the sad collar and...oh my. But I was SO PROUD of myself because holycrapIsewedashirt.

In March 2014 I sewed it again for the PR Fitted Blouse contest and won the beginner category! This one was leaps and bounds better than the first but there were so many fits and so much unpicking and restitching!!!

I was originally going to save my cotton shirting for Burda 7136, which I've made twice. But I am smart (sometimes) and I wore the shirt to work recently to decide how it felt on. It is much more of a casual shirt. I mean, totally work appropriate, but not nearly as fitted as B5678. And then, Carolyn (Diary of a Sewing Fanatic) put a photo of B5678 on Instagram and planted the seed!! :)

My striped shirt had been in time out because someone had gotten a little too fluffy. Well, I have been doing really well the past couple of months and know that some other things are fitting better/looser. I pulled it out and YAY! It fits! It fits well! So I decided my awesome shirting would be better used on this pattern.

I made no pattern changes from last time, though I need a swayback adjustment. I think in 2014 I didn't understand how to true things up after making the adjustment so I just didn't. There is a lot of curvature in those pattern pieces, hence the level of fitted-ness. Obviously now, I think I'd be more equipped to make that adjustment.

Fitting changes
Cut the 14 D-cup with:
1/2" narrow shoulder adjustment
lowered bust point 1"
sewed front princess seams at 1/2"
removed 1/2" from the sleeve cap height (I need to put this back)

Design changes
No topstitching of the princess seams
spaced my buttons 3" apart instead of 3.5" as the pattern has it
Decided placement of buttons based on placing the 1st button at the apex
Used 2 smaller buttons on the cuff

It's weird that the camera is making it look like there's a missing button; there is not!

Still working on perfecting the stitching around the collar stand. I'd even drawn myself a line to follow!

I remember the first time being utterly confused by the continuous lap. Not this time! :)

I'd forgotten to press up the seam allowance on the facing. However, it worked out in my favor.
I pressed the seam allowance into place being sure to *just* cover the stitching line. I then held it in place with Wonder Tape. I am very happy with my top stitching here!

(that squiggly on the floor is a strip of serged striped ponte that Wilson the Cat absolutely LOVES playing with! It makes him crazy! lol! I think it's the b/w contrast)

My buttons for this were totally from the cheapo 5 on the card for $1. 
I just liked the look of them best.

I absolutely adore this combo.

I made B6182 earlier this year. I started it in May and then it was too tight. I thought it was because it was my "special time" and put it aside. A month later it was still too small. When I first went to wear it awhile later, it was too big! SERIOUSLY! So I threw it in a bag.

But I love it so much that I decided to make it work. However, I had unpicked and resewn the waistband like 3 different times that there was no way I was going to do it again. I cheated and just sewed darts! haha! It's cotton so it presses so well and it has a print so it isn't immediately apparent that the darts are there. And it's worth it because I LOVE THIS SKIRT! LOL!!!!!!! 

What do you think about this skirt in a pinwale cord??

Friday, September 25, 2015

(Updated)A Cautionary Tale...


I could not let that little defeat get me down. I got up this morning and made another one! And I will be wearing it next week as we are going to cool down a bit here in the tundra!

I like it best either with very fitted, tucked in tops, or with a top that just hits over the waistband, like my B6183.

Full coverage...the "wrap" is an overlay

The only change I made was to do a 3/4" wedge in back for a 'full butt adjustment'

I've had my eye on this skirt pattern since it was released last fall. In general, New Look works well for me, even though I am into fewer and fewer patterns with each release.

At any rate, I am loving view A and was planning to sew that up. And then I got fixated on the moto jacket and saw a skirt nearly identical to view D, in black ponte, but with more of a yoke than a waistband. So of course I had to have one of my own!

Expecting this to go relatively quickly, I bumped it up in queue. It has a front cut on the fold, the overlay, the back and waistband/facings. It's done up with an invisible zipper (though an exposed zipper could work too!) and has a finished length of 17". 

A little short for me. I added 2" in length to all 3 pattern pieces and added 1/2" to the back at the waist (and copied that to the back waistband). And because it's intended for a woven, I ended up with 3/4" side seams. So, using a knit didn't result in me going down a full size -- FYI! :) For something like this, I always attach the waistband to the individual pieces and then sew the side seams. Much easier to adjust that way (rather than sewing the skirt together and sewing the waistband together and then attaching them).

This was worked on a little bit at a time over a few days. The front overlay is hemmed and then is treated as one with the front pattern piece. I got that done and basted the sides (and took it in a little). I sewed up the side seams and got set on doing the finishing.

That day my daughter wore the black dress I'd made her. From the same fabric. That I was almost certain I'd pretreated.  I normally wash fabric as soon as it comes through the door!

See, I've gotten burned before. I bought a jersey knit and sewed it up and then washed it and HOLY COW! It twisted and the color faded and it was just horrible. And so I adopted the mantra, "better to ruin a cut of fabric than a finished garment." 

My daughter's dress was AT LEAST 3 inches shorter. Maybe 4...I looked over at my skirt and thought to myself "Oh crap..."

I decided I would finish the waistband (attach facing, understitch, stitch in the ditch) and then wash it before hemming. I washed on cold, air dried, being super cautious.

Well the skirt is now 18" unhemmed. It shrank just over 2 inches.


So I think, no biggie. I'll just use hem tape so I don't lose anymore length...


But the waistband is all wrinkly, it shrank in length but surprise! the zipper, of course, didn't shrink! So it's all weird and bubbly. The topstitching on the overlay no longer looks good.

Wah. Wah. Wah.

I see so.many.! people say they don't pretreat knits. Please do. Please. Please. Please! Don't be like me! Don't be sad that you don't have a super cute skirt to wear with black opaque tights and boots today :( 

So this is a wadder but I think the pattern is fantastic, and I will be making it again. Maybe this weekend. Because I really, really want it!

Updated: I went home for lunch so I took pics! Because that's how one LOL!

On me:

I don't know what's up with the derpy face!

Stupid zipper bubbles :(

17" finished hem - no thank you! I will be making it at my originally intended 19" length

WAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! All the puckers

More pucker fest...

This is not a loss. I love the pattern and know it works for me. I just have to sew it. Again. :sideye:


Beware: Crappy photos ahead!

My mom is such a sweetheart. She is always trying her best to find things that we will like. She has a long history of calling me up before my birthday and asking "What size do you wear?" And for awhile now, that answer is "A 10 on top, 12 on bottom". And then she will get shorts or capris or something in a size 10. Because "that 12 looked so big!". And then I can't get them over my hips...or I can't zip them :)

Or like the super cute knit dress she bought me. In an XL. Because "It was so cute!". I can't wear an XL knit dress...maybe from Forever 21. LOL!

So this year she said "I bought you some jeans!" and I was prepared to be horrified (sorry Ma). Well HOT DOG!

I like these jeans enough to buy another pair! They are bootcut jeans from the J.Lo collection at Kohls. The waistband doesn't gape! My butt fits in them!!! Swoon!!!!

Sidenote: years ago I was so frustrated trying to buy jeans and found that the "urban" jeans fit best; Apple Bottom, Dereon, Coogi...Ah! They are made to accommodate a bigger booty/smaller waist combo a bit better than the average jean. But they were always so gaudy and overly adorned. Not my style at all. So I guess it makes sense that JLo's line is made to accommodate butts!

The regular length is 32.5". Yikes. I had to hem them shorter but luckily, they needed shortening 1.5". I was able to cut off the original hem-- I used my rotary cutter and cut inside, right next to the hem line-- and then I did a double turned 5/8" hem. I LOVE THEM!

I managed to find them on the site and they are a cotton/poly/lycra blend. I normally hate, hate, hate stretch wovens on my lower half. But I'm thinking the poly helps them keep their shape?? I wore them around after altering the length and they didn't seem to grow on me.

And now you may behold crappy bathroom pics because it was too dark in the house this morning. Welcome to fall.

(also, HELLOOOOO vanishing belly!)

Totally going to snag another pair in dark denim!!!