Monday, September 15, 2014


I linked up on the blog to the 4th Annual Fall Essentials Sew-Along (FESA) on The Creative Perfectionist's blog.

This sew-along is dedicated to a fall wardrobe with fun categories that include undies and pjs. I enjoy these kinds of sew alongs that are loosely defined and without restrictions!  There are 7 categories and obviously you choose what you want to make from any or all of them. The sewalong runs from September 1 - November 30 and includes sewers, knitters, crocheters, all crafters! (gah how I miss knitting and crochet!)

The 7 categories are:
  • Lower body garments (skirts, pants, leggings, etc)
  • Upper body garments (shirts, tops, cardigans, vests, sweaters)
  • Dresses
  • Underwear 
  • Footwear (socks, slippers, tights??)
  • Pajamas
  • Cold weather wear (coats, hats, mittens, scarves?)
-I've sewn 2 pair of pants so far with a need for at least one more.
-I have shirts, tops and cardigans planned
-Hmmm, maybe a dress will be sewn
-Not sewing undies yet
-Grrrr, see "I miss knitting"
-I forgot I owned the Grainline Lakeside pattern! I think I will try to sew those up and if I love em, I might make them for my nieces for Christmas
-I *may* sew a coat. It depends on how far I go in the FM contest and how soon winter arrives in Minneapolis!

I posted a planning list not too long ago and some of the items are already scratched. I made a new list combining the FESA with my existing plans and it has 16 items on it! Hahahaha! And I marked EIGHT of them as "must have now". Uhmm...yeah. :-)


This past Saturday, I had the pleasure of meeting up with 11 other sewers from Minnesota! IT WAS AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We hung out at Caribou Coffee for a couple of hours and then hit up SR Harris. I was pretty intent on keeping to cuts of fabric for four projects; I ended up with 3.  I bought some black cotton lycra intending to make leggings but I might make a top instead, some ponte to make a wearable muslin (fingers crossed) of the pieced V1411 pant. I'm going to try to get these sewn on Wednesday.

And the last cut was for my Fabric Mart challenge garment this week :-)


Speaking of, a professional sewer and blogger (honestly don't remember the blog off the top of my head and had never heard of her before today) had some criticisms of the sleeve shape/fit/etc. on the Grainline pattern. Fine...we should be able to openly criticize pattern companies if we feel they are not providing a solid product. However, the comment section quickly devolved into making fun of the contestants and how "entertaining" our garments for this week would be because we're shitty sewers (slight paraphrase...only slight).

As a new sewer I have to say, I am glad to have a few people with WAY more experience than me to reach out to when I have a question. I am glad to have blogs and Pattern Review and other resources to turn to when I can't understand a technique or fitting issue. But I am not a professional sewer. In fact I don't think any of us in the challenge claim to be. I don't think any of us claim to be expert fitters or pattern drafters...I don't think any of us claim to be professional seamstresses...And I think it's quite catty to "nah-nanny-boo-boo" at people who are competing in a contest designed around the home sewer.

The sad part is, you see this more often than you'd think; with experienced/professional sewers deciding they need to "police" the sewing blog community. Really, most new sewers will hit that point, where they start to focus more on construction methods and fitting their garments, quite organically. If someone would have told me last January that I can't sew unless I am willing to perfect my fitting and technique well...I probably would've quit.

If you want to be a leader/mentor/trainer/tutor/guide/etc to the home sewer...Offer advice, offer constructive criticism, show methods and techniques on your blog or vlog...

--In case anyone is unaware: Constructive criticism is a well-meant critique intended to help someone improve.--
...But deciding that everyone who sits at a sewing machine needs to be a master at drafting, fitting, fabric selection and sewing is just silly and pointing and laughing is sillier still.

With that said, I ADORE my garment for this week. Now to run home, blind hem it and get ready for photos! Our deadline was bumped up!!!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Finished Item: S1317 & Fabric Mart Fabricistas Challenge

More Selfless Sewing...

DD really loved the floral tee and dug around the stash to find another fabric for a second one. She came up with this blue tissue weight jersey and lace! I loved her idea and was pretty eager to sew it up.

The lace had 4-way stretch but was very narrow so I cut it cross-grain to the selvedge edge. I then hand basted(!) the lace and jersey layers together and constructed the top on the serger. I used easy knit tape in the hem and hemmed the two layers as one.

The lace was purchased from the remnant bin at Hancock for $1/yd! The tissue knit jersey was from FabricMart at $1/yd! Score!!!

She wore it on her birthday!

To school...

And out to dinner!

When I hit up SR Harris a couple of weeks ago, with the lovely Jess of The Sometimes Sewist

I picked up some fantastic fabrics and one of them was this insanely soft cotton knit with a fun cherry print.

We got some serious goodies! Cherry print is on the left.

DH asked me to make something for my daughter for her birthday, from him :) So I made another S1317 because, why not!

This cotton was so lovely. Seriously!! I didn't even need the knit tape to get a lovely twin-needled hem. So now the plan is to buy MORE of this and make a hoodie from M7026 for myself. Which I've decided is totally okay so...

I plan to use some more of that blue jersey to make a wearable muslin for the boy of KS3299.

If I can nail the fit on a tshirt pattern for him, it'd be pretty epic.


FabricMart challenge  - Congrats to Beth of 110 Creations!!! She won 2 patterns from Grainline studios. Unfortunately, Jenese of Needles & Fashion was "sent home" this week :-/

However, this means, I am safe!!!!  Yay!

The judges liked my top but thought I could have gone a little further in my design.

Week 2 is all about FIT!!! We have to make a fitted garment in a solid colored fabric. I decided right away WHAT I wanted to make and pulled out some pattern possibilities. A partial muslin on one has been worked up -- again with the muslins! Sheesh! ;-) Hahaha!

Tune in Wednesday for the 7 finished looks. I'm *SO* excited!!

Week 1 winner & Week 2 challenge

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Fabric Mart Fabricista Challenge: Week 1

This week we were tasked with taking a basic pattern and making it our own.

After my initial "oh crap!" moment with the pattern, I told myself to get to work!

This summer we were at a picnic and a woman had on a beautiful silk top. It was very basic in shape, had cut-on sleeves and an exposed zipper. I've been coveting a simple top with exposed zipper ever.since.!

So, besides adding a zipper, how can I make this simple tee more me.

I wanted to do a contrast yoke; decided that was too predictable.
Then I decided to do a contrast on the diagonal. Nope. That had already been done with the scout.
Then I decided to do an overlay with sheer fabric or lace. Well, the only piece of lace I had in stash had been claimed by DD.

But the "overlay" thought remained and I toyed around with ideas, sketching them out (PURE comedy!!!!) and keeping with the original lines of the pattern, I came up with a cute tee that is classic, slightly funky and totally me!

Using an inky black rayon challis and creamy ivory poly crepe from stash  (yay!), I created a tee that can easily be dressed up or down and pairs with so many things already in my wardrobe!!

You didn't think I skipped out on my exposed zipper, did you!?!? I swear to goodness, everything is getting exposed zippers from now on!! Okay...maybe not... but it's a detail that I just adore! 

This zipper is ALSO from stash. Oh yeah, I was ON IT. It was a closed zipper but I removed the other tabby part and ta-da! I really liked the pull vs a normal nylon zipper. I made sure to interface the entire zipper area so it wouldn't be all 'saggy baggy'. I stitched near the zipper and then edge stitched the zipper in place.

As you can see here, I chose to add the overlay like a facing/lining. I also drafted an oddly shaped pattern piece a facing for the back. Understitched it and voila! beautifully finished neckline

Since I no longer fear the foot, I went with a rolled hem on the overlay and narrow hems on the body of the tee and the sleeves. Oh how I love thee, well behaved challis!

I also knocked around the idea of doing long sleeves or an elbow length sleeve with elasticized cuff. I think either would have worked. But when I made up my muslin I really liked the sleeve length and decided to leave it as is.

Oh yes, you heard me correctly. I made a muslin! Sarah Liz and L; I made TWO muslins!!! LOL!

Whenever possible, I assemble my pdf patterns as individual pattern pieces. 
It just makes me happier than one giant sheet all taped together.
Because I was lining the front and had facings for the back, I ignored the neckbinding piece.

I flat patterned measured and decided that a size 10 should work. I made a quick muslin in some white cotton fabric that I got for free from the lady I bought my vintage machine from! This showed me that I needed a swayback adjustment (no problem since I was already adding a center back seam for the zipper) and a slight narrow shoulder adjustment. On muslin #2 I added the overlay to get the proportions right and also decided I needed a slightly bigger FBA. Oh, yes, I did a 3/4" FBA off the bat because I knew I would need a dart for this top lest it be 'tent city'.

**Per Request, here is my first muslin photo

3/4" swayback adjustment, 1/2" narrow shoulder adjustment and oddly shaped facing

mutilated front pattern piece :) with 1" FBA and 1/2" narrow shoulder adjustment. I tried taking a tuck at CF but it didn't work how I thought it would.

Front overlay piece with a very slight "swing" added. VERY slight. I figured a tiny bit more volume and the rolled hem should make it perform how I wanted it to. I angled it to make it sit higher at CF and swoop down to the side seams.

The Scout is a very nicely drafted pattern. I had one place where things didn't quite meet up perfectly on the markings, but the pattern lines still fit together how they were supposed to, which is what matters. Also, both of the pieces say "center back" at the fold line. Obviously the front piece is the front piece but this is a little typo. The sleeve! The sleeve set very nicely and SURPRISE! I did not need a bicep adjustment! Way to go Grainline!

Really enjoying my tee on Tuesday as we celebrate my daughter's 16th birthday!

Contest is open for voting Wednesday, 10 September and Thursday, 11 September. Go HERE to see all 8 entries and to vote! Like, for me or not...whatevs... hahahaha!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Finished Item: Butterick 6104

I don't have great pics, sorry! I don't know why this haze is present!

Butterick 6104 is the only pattern from the latest release that I had to have. It has several views which gives different collar and length options,  princess seams, and is fully lined. 

Initially I freaked out and was all 'IT'S LINED TO THE EDGE!! WAHHHH!!!' but the front piece of the lining is cut from the fashion fabric.

Still deciding on closures...probably go with large sew-on snaps

I think part of the diagonal wrinkles are due to the lower left side of my body

I'll never wear the neck up like it is on the pattern envelope and like letting the collar just fall. Either it comes up higher than it appears on the pattern or I have a short neck. Whatevs.

I bagged the lining using Grainline's tutorial again. It's genius. I don't like hand sewing and don't mind the sleeve lining having visible stitching. I cut the sleeve lining 1/2" shorter than the sleeve and then used a 3/8" seam allowance.

I mentioned in my last post that I did a 1/2" narrow shoulder adjustment, lowered the front princess seams 1/2" (they could be another 1/2" lower). 

I used flannel cut in 2 1/2" strips on the bias for sleeve heads. When I used fleece in my other Butterick jacket, it felt a little too full. But this flannel is too thin. Ahhh. The sleeves went into the armholes beautifully. Thank. Goodness. 

I was pretty excited about this pattern until I reminded myself that I would have to sew alllllll those seams again in the lining. Bleh. Front and back princess seams, side seams, shoulder seams, all the peplum seams, sewing the peplum to the body, the sleeves. GOOD GRIEF! But the princess seams work so nicely that it's worth it!

Next time I'm going to do a slight swayback adjustment -- it looked good when I pinched out about 3/4" and pinned it. The back was nice and smooth. I will probably also cut the first peplum piece in the fashion fabric too.

Fashion fabric is a cotton/wool blend from FabricMart, lining is poly pongee in a pale blush pink.

Can we just talk a minute about fabric?

So, I sewed my floral S1696 pants in a 100% cotton. Then I sewed my S1803 dress in 100% cotton. Then I sewed the S2153 vest in 100% cotton. And this is a cotton/wool blend.

OHMYGOSH. EVERYTHING should be sewn with cotton!!! :)

Just sooooo easy to cut, mark, sew, press. Ahhhhhh

I thought this fabric was 100% cotton until I went to double check the date (Pattern Review fabric stash contest is running). That's when I saw that it was cotton/wool. Yes, it frays but holy cow was it well behaved!

I am taking a 2 day hiatus from sewing (yes, me) until the next challenge is announced -- assuming I make it to week 2!


Friday, September 5, 2014

WIP...and Stuff

Ugh. I think it's time to move platforms. I get that it's free but even if you're offering something for free (and you're GOOGLE), it should work. Seriously. 

Does anyone know if you get any better service when you have a paid site through Blogger? 

We got our first challenge yesterday! We are to make a basic pattern...not-so-basic.

This challenge is actually going to be tough for me! Mainly because I'm not an embellisher. I just don't really have that type of eye. Secondly because I've avoided the Scout like the plague!  A dartless, pleatless, gatherless woven tee is scary when you have a full bust! So I'm kicking around some ideas to create a cute, one of a kind top that I'd love to wear. Wish me luck! :)

Read all about it here

My jacket is progressing. I made a few tweaks to the pattern but perhaps it's not enough. The shoulder still looks a little too wide (maybe it'll improve when the lining is inserted?) and the bust point looks a little too high still.

(sorry to chop my head off...I looked crazy in this pic!)

Looking in the mirror, it appeared as if I had TONS of excess fabric in the middle of my back. So glad I finally got someone to take isn't as bad as I thought. I'm guessing this is a swayback adjustment needed?? Also, I always forget about my lower left shoulder. Sure, I could cut two fronts but we know that's not going to happen. I usually just sew a slightly larger shoulder seam and "fix" it that way.

Does anyone know what to do about this little 'dead space' at the back of my upper arm? Is there a sleeve adjustment for this or is it just the way I'm standing? I'm not sure...

I had it on with a long sleeved knit tee to be sure multiple layers works. it was fine. I think the sleeve is a little full (from the bicep down) and perhaps shorten the sleeve hem just a tiny bit more (the right sleeve hem is pinned up).

Also, if you look at the front and back pics, the right sleeve is wonky!!! :) I set it first and thought it was pretty good...until I set the left one. It went in darn near perfectly and now ALL I can see is the right sleeve wonkiness! I'm going to be a good seamstress and rip it out and reset it.
ahhhh. The joy of finding PERFECTLY matched thread. Do you see red stitches?!? Me neither! LOL!

Now, I WILL wear this jacket as-is but I am also treating it as a wearable muslin. I love this pattern so far and want to make the view A (without contrasting lapels) and view D as-is for a lightweight fall coat. So I want to hash out the fitting issues.

Jess of Sometimes Sewist is hosting Sew Selfless September! Now, when I started blogging I really wanted to call myself "the selfish seamstress" but she already existed (and should come back already!). The idea is to pledge to sew something for someone else this month. I do sew for my daughter here and there but think that this month I'll try "sewing for the boys" too.

She wanted a makeup bag but I pretty much have done horribly at making any sort of zippered bag/pouch/etc. So I was hesitant.

I found this tutorial by Flossie Tea Cakes and whaddya know! It worked!!

DD picked it all out after I gave her a pile of quilting cottons and the zipper basket to choose

Even with minor wonkiness I was SO proud that I immediately wanted to make another one!

For this one, I used this tute by Sew Mama Sew. I made it err, a little bigger... :) **I just realized I missed a step. I was thinking "this doesn't stand on it's own"...I forgot to do that part! If I can pry it away from her I might change it. Or just sew ANOTHER one! :)

I picked out this combo and she loved it.

I REALLY love these two together. I hope to get some more green zippers from Wawak and whip up a few of these for my nieces (I have like a thousand nieces! Ok...I have 8. But 3 of them are ADULTS. Sheesh!!)

Also, today is my parents 40th anniversary. YOWZA!  Love those two :-D