Thursday, March 5, 2015

Patience is not MY virtue; Simplicity 2508 Finished!

In my last post  I talked about the initial process; tutorial for bound buttonholes and bagging the lining, etc.

Technical recap:
Size 16 (44.5" finished bust; I am around 39.5")
Adjustments; sewed 1/2" seams on front princess and side seams
100% wool coating in magenta from Hancock Fabrics
100% polyester pongee lining fabric in baby pink from FabricMart
Bound buttonholes tutorials by Iconic Patterns and Julia Bobbin.
Bagging the lining tutorial by Grainline Studios

(Need: small FBA, shift bust point down 1", lenghten sleeve 1/2", raise pockets 3/4-1", back facing)

Yep; this is kind of a LOOK AT MY NEW COAT!!!!!! photo dump.

But each pic has something to say!!! :)

Lining is baby pink poly pongee from Fabric Mart

I am in love with this collar. Like, it's SO cute!!!  Next time I will draft a back facing. Having it lined to the neckline is just weird.

I did triple stitch for all of my top stitching so some of those curves were hard to navigate (like on the front yoke!) but it helps it stand out nicely.

The bound buttonholes. Swoon. They make me happy. I found it VERY hard to transfer the exact location/shape/size of the buttonhole to the facing to make the windows. Need to do more research on how to do that cleanly.

Also, try as I might, I couldn't get all of the silk organza to turn to the inside (a peek of that is in the pic below).

The welts are basically just flaps?? The pocket is constructed like a normal in-seam pocket and the welt is caught between the front and pocket lining. After stitching the pocket closed, turn it all out, press it well and topstitch to the side front piece.

Again, the curves were hard to top-stitch and next time I might just square them off. BUT it was really hard to turn these things right side out! Oy!!

This photo is MUCH more true to the actual fabric color. It's a really deep, rich pink.

To ensure the light pink lining didn't peek out of the yokes, I used a dark berry lining. This is the lining I'd originally set aside for this coat but the color was just off enough that it clashed rather than coordinate or contrast. But for the underside of the yokes; it works.

Uhmm, I have no pics without my hands in my pockets. Too excited. LOL!

When Scandal goes off I'm going to press it again so it's nice and crisp.

Pretty cute buttoned up too! I mean, is that collar not SUPER CUTE?!?! And OMG the length! It's perfect!

In this pic you can see the princess seam fullness is too high. I'll definitely move the bust point down for future versions.

That's my "I'm stoked!" face! If I could be wearing it right now while I eat popcorn and type, I totally would. (I think the last button needs to be like a smidge (is that a word?) lower!)

Side view. I have *very* slight shift in hem from front to back. I ended up sewing the princess seams and side seams at 1/2" for a total of 1" additional room. So this is why I think I'll do a little FBA when I adjust the bust point.

Notes from my earlier post;
the sleeve tabs are NOT too high. They are fine.
There is  NOT too much sleeve ease.
The pockets ARE too low.
The sleeves are *just* right for me. I will be adding 1/2" to the pattern.

Other notes:

I do not own a clapper but even the random piece of pine that I use for setting snaps helped a ton for flattening seams. I had to apply some pressure but it really did help.

I saw lots of suggestions to interface the entire front and I didn't. My front right piece (with the buttonholes) grew over an inch!!! OH MY GOSH. I don't remember if there was a suggestion to stay-stitch but next time I'll either be sure I stay-stitch through the body or interface the entire front piece.

I'm on the fence if I should top-stitch the coat fronts. I feel like it doesn't need it but I get happy when I look at the collar and welts with their top-stitching!!! :)

Tomorrow it'll be about 12 degrees F when I head out for work--I'm wearing it!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Simplicity 2508 In Progress

So as to not have a HUGE post when the coat is done...

As mentioned before, these PR patterns are pretty crazy with their fabric reqs. I had 3 yards of this coating and was prepared to make the shorter "jacket", but after laying everything out, I had "a ton" of leftover fabric.

Was this alarming? Nope.

Should it have been? Sorta.

Instagram to the rescue! Someone mentioned I might want to double check for pieces cut multiple times. I checked and "only" the sleeve tabs...

1) Until I decided to construct the lining first. HOLY #&*$! I almost forgot about the front piece being cut twice. WHEW!!!

I decided to be smart, and cut the pieces pretty much as I needed them, so I wouldn't have to keep track of everything.

2) Well I was all "Oooh! I can get a belt too!" Well no, no you can't...not when you haven't cut out your collar pieces and yokes. OY! :)

3) Lastly, I screwed up on the yokes but luckily the back yoke is cut 1 and the front yokes are small. I re-cut them without incident.

I mentioned before that I wasn't tailoring it. Okay...well maybe a little. I knew my piddly machine would NOT make buttonholes on this fabric nicely so I decided to make bound buttonholes! Yes, that is how my mind works. There was no thought that this is "more advanced" and I was totally afraid of welts until now. (kind of like how I jumped in to fly zippers but was scared of lapped zippers. Rational? No. No it is not.)

It took 4 attempts to figure out WHAT to do...

The next attempt after that was satisfactory!

I used the tutorial from Iconic patterns (here). I like the separate welts and it worked a treat. I could NOT get even stitching with 1/8" welt lips. I had to go up to 1/4". I'm happy with them.

I made windows in the facings per Julia Bobbin's tutorial (here). The gist is the same HOWEVER, Iconic patterns gives you a line to stitch over, making it almost fool proof. So fantastic.

At some point, my fabric decided to revolt against the Chaco liner. As a result, buttonhole 3 is a little bigger and buttonhole 4 is a little smaller. Shhhhhh. Don't tell anyone.

I know you guys are probably no longer surprised by anything here but I am definitely shocked I got this done so fast! 

I did sew more often than I normally do; I rarely sew on Friday's and I was working on it Friday evening. I also spent HOURS (like 3.5) working on it Sunday; Sunday afternoon, the coat was taking up space EVERYWHERE! LOL!

fronts and back

collar and yoke

poor pattern pieces


It was getting hectic! Haha! I had to take a break from it! Since then I've been employing the 'bits and pieces' approach.

Monday morning I pressed two seams that I'd sewn. I did a lot Monday evening. Tuesday morning I sewed the lining fronts to the coat and hand basted the neckline (it's super bulky so I wanted to baste first).

Remaining work: I need to understitch the facing, sew the neckline, sew the hem (bottom and sleeve hem), press the bejeebers out of it and sew on the buttons. I am using Grainline's bagged lining tutorial so I leave the sleeve seam open to turn the coat. 

Thoughts so far:

  • Ridiculously small pocket; I used another pattern's pocket
  • Pockets are too low for me. I thought it was fine when I marked the location on the lining. They need to move up like a full 1-1.5" on the next version(s).
  • Welts too wide. I will narrow them a bit for next time.
  • Sleeve tabs seem high. Will decide if they need to be moved on future versions as I wear it.
  • Extra roomy sleeves. As someone with large biceps I know I shouldn't complain...I feel like I need to shave some width off for future versions. Will make that call as I actually wear it/live in it.
  • The right side really does seem to want to "swing" forward more. I only put it on briefly this morning though. Will have to investigate that more tonight.
  • LOVE the collar - it's so cute :)
  • The length is absolutely perfect for my 5'5" self.
  • Sleeve length is perfect (beware if you're long!)
  • I need to lower the bust point 1" (I thought I had excess fabric below the just curved in the wrong place for me). I don't know how I missed that. It's almost always a given that I have to lower princess seam bust points.
  • Had to sew 1/2" front and side seams (for an extra 1". I'll do a small FBA too).
  • Lastly, the fabric isn't so hot (I bought it awhile ago so hadn't yet grasped fabric quality). There were soooo many imperfections in it and some of them I couldn't work around. So I might not have as long a love affair with this coat as originally intended. However, the process was totally worth it and all in I paid around $20 to construct (like, fabric, lining, buttons, interfacing, thread, everything). I will not complain :)

Hope to finish up by Wednesday/Thursday but probably won't get photos of the completed coat til the weekend.

Friday, February 27, 2015

February Wrap-Up, Stashbusting

First...the stash. I am both confused and in awe of non-stashers.  I can't do it! I have to BUY ALL THE THINGS!! when I see them! I have very good intentions when I buy too! :)

However, I reach a point where I feel bogged down by it all. Of course, it passes and I buy MORE, but in the meantime, I feel overwhelmed and out of control.

So, I am on a stashbusting expedition (we shall NOT call it fasting!). Rough estimates tell me I have somewhere in the range of 280 yards of fabric. This is not including linings, things I bought with the intention of sewing for someone else (that's all in a separate bucket), things that I've already decided will never become a garment and are sitting for the odd time when I decide to muslin...

I am on a mission to sew up (or donate) a quarter of my stash before buying more fabric. This includes the order that is placed and awaiting shipping arrived on Friday from Fabric Mart (cottons were on sale!) and includes my February sewing. And I have a fabric swap gathering coming up March 15th (if you're local or near local and want to link up; we are planning it all in the Facebook Minne-Sew-ta group!) If you are NOT on FB, shoot me an email (sewcraftychemist --at-- gmail) and I will give you the deets!

My last FM order (for a little while) arrived today. I ordered 1 yard of the paisley shirting to use as accents on my red shirt (plus whatever else...) and got almost 2 1/2 yards! End of bolt special! Yay!

I ordered 2.5 yards of the plum RPL for pants and got 3 yards.

I ordered 2.5 yards of the aqua pique and got 3 yards. Woohoo!

There was also some amazingly soft cotton shirting in cream. Swoon.

But I must not be held back! I was at a conference that was right around the corner from SR Harris. There was NO way I could be that close and not stop in!!!

I picked up several jacket-length YKK zippers, a shorter decorative zipper, straps for a camisole, 24-1" buttons, 2 leather scraps, silk organza for bound buttonholes and 5 yards of 2" stretch lace. ALL for $16! WOOOHOO!!!

Don't worry; I won't be foiled on the meet up either! I will _not_ buy fabric for the stash! I plan to sew DH a shirt for Father's Day and will look for fabric for his shirt (and probably more buttons!)

On to February sewing!

I am currently keeping a Google spreadsheet document with my sewing projects. I am hoping this will make my year end wrap up smoother.

This month I sewed up 15.5 yards

  • Butterick 6183 top in plum ponte - 1.25 yards
  • Batman cape - 2 yards (yes, you read that correctly)
  • Burda 02/2015 top in striped linen/rayon - 1 yard
  • Vogue 8620 jacket in denim/navy poplin - 2.25 yards
  • Infinity scarf in purple/pink/metallic knit - 1 yard (gift for my SD)
  • Butterick 5925 top in ITY - 2 yards (gift for mom)
  • Vogue 8731 top in ITY - 1.5 yards (gift for mom)
  • Simplicity 1623 dress in ponte/jersey - 1.75 yards (gift for mom)
  • Simplicity 2508 coat in berry wool - 2.75 yards (WIP)
So 7.25 yards for me and 8.25 yards as gift sewing.

1 top
1 casual top
1 jacket
1 coat
5 gifts

Favorite: Hands down is the Vogue jacket. I was seriously impressed by how well that jacket went together and with the interesting details that were easy yet made the jacket appear more difficult.

Biggest accomplishment: The sheer fact that I sewed so much for others! 

FAILS: Another miraculous month without a wadder!!

I count fabric as "out" once it's cut. There's pretty much no likelihood of me reusing cut pieces for anything other than scraps (pockets, etc), so it's not "yardage" anymore. The coat is going FAST and I'd originally given myself until March 8th to complete it but it won't take that long.

As stated in my last post about it, I am not tailoring this coat. I just need one like yesterday. Lining is complete and construction is in process

I KNOW you're wondering about that Batman cape... It was spirit week at school and one day was Superheroes. DD went as Batman! I basically used a 2 yard cut of -too lightweight for pants- black suiting fabric, sewed the ends together, hemmed it and added a casing for satin ribbon. I made the bat symbol and belt from felt and the arm bands from black cotton knit and felt. She LOVED it.

She looks like an 8 year old here and I love it :)

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Spring McCall's Are Out!

There are some decent patterns; lots of simpler silhouettes. Lots of 'learn to sew' patterns.

They are here


Like the idea; but I don't need another jumpsuit pattern. I think I have 6; plus Burda mags

Several that may appeal to tweens (no offense if it appeals to you too!). 





Cute, but not 'needed'


I'm completely over hi-low hems now but really like the short versions. 


Khaliah Ali cute jumpsuit and cardigan pattern!


Yes please!


Culotte pattern #813

Things I'll never do: SEW ALL OF THESE SEAMS! Oh My Gosh!


Why? Why McCall's?! WHYYYYYY?!

This made me hang my head. I thought I might cry. Seriously. 

I WILL be buying 7119 and 7127, I can pass on the rest. 


A little girls version of 6996!!!! HOW AWESOME!!!



Monday, February 23, 2015

Coat Planning / Vogue 8731 & Butterick 5925

I mentioned sewing up some stuff for my mom. For several reasons;

1) she is even cheaper more frugal than *I* am and won't venture into new fabrics much, especially knits (but she loves knit tops/dresses).
2) she's kind of scared of using patterns
3) I am trying (apparently NOT hard enough!) to lose weight to save my poor, arthritic knees and am not into sewing too much for myself right now. I do plan on sewing some stuff that will easily transition a clothing size (like casual jackets, knit tops, a coat) but I hate doing alterations so I'm watching what I make.

Anyway! I made the M6996 cardi for her and decided to whip up a few knit tops/tunics. We are very close in overall measurements. Bust measurement is near identical except I'm a DD cup and she is a B. So I went with loose knits where waist/hip measurement is less important.

I was almost done with the last item but it was 8 p.m. on Sunday which is prettttty near my bedtime :-) So that one should be coming to the blog soon.

Vogue 8731 is a pattern that was gifted to me and I figured the easy style would be a hit with my mom.

This is one of those rare Vogue's where all sizes are in one envelope so I GASP! traced her size off (a Large) because I might fancy one of those tunics for myself!

I used a cream/black polka dot ITY from Fabric Mart. She does wear poly knits without much complaint so I figured it would work.

See? It's kind of cute on me! Except my boobs remove all traces of that cute pleating.

My only complaint is all the stay stitching you're instructed to do. NO Vogue. No. I also set used binding (sewed flat) as they instructed you to use woven(!) bias binding. Sigh. (I will use woven bias binding on heavier knits like ponte, but not something lighter-weight like the suggested rayon-lycra knit).

Next up was a Tilton pattern. I've been wanting to make her some of these and may pick up a few Vogue's later. I was ALSO gifted B5925 (hey, I have awesome sewing buddies!)

Again, I sewed a Large and had a heck of a time finding coordinating fabrics of similar weight in my stash.

I went with 3 ITY's, navy and 'bluebell' from FM and the print from SR Harris. I *really* wanted the body solid but did not have enough fabric. I rather like it though...

I LOVE the neckband/pocket treatment! I am starting to dig the interesting details in the Tilton patterns, even if they seem a bit too kooky at first glance. I am thinking of stealing this for a tunic of my own. I'll probably copy this patterns neckline to my pattern of choice so I don't need to think about drafting the neckband twist. That seems more sensible.

The sleeves on this were LONG. I hemmed them as stated and they were well past my wrist. My mom is 3" shorter than I am. I had already twin-needle hemmed so I just hacked it off and re-hemmed. 

I actually attempted to match the side seam, even with the inset. I think I did alright.

(do you not love that neckband?!?!)


I have ditched my existing coat plan. Sigh. It's too everyday. I want a fun jacket!

I'm not going full on winter coat (I'll save that for this fall). So there'll be no under/inter lining, etc. It'll be wool with a rayon lining. This will work well for those 25-45 ish type days that SHOULD be here soon (it was -9F when I got up today).

I've decided on S2508 (OOP).

I would like the cool coat of the lady in the lower center, but will have to see if I have enough fabric. Otherwise I'll be going with Ms. Pink on the left.

The sleeve ruffles grew on me fast

But this looks interesting and kind of different

While the fit seems to be decent on these PR patterns, I DESPISE the back of the envelope!

I am completely oblivious as to whether or not I have enough fabric because every.single.detail. is given a yardage. But continuous yardage is far more efficient than separate so I'll have to lay the pieces out and see if I can use my hot pink coating or if I will need to use the black/white herringbone.

To be continued...