Friday, June 28, 2013


Eh. I've joined Feedly since Google Reader is to be no more as of Monday. It was super easy..."one click" but the interface is a little weird for me right now.

I don't like new things that much. Especially new technological things. Especially new internet things. I like the internet, but I hate it.

I hate the constant data acquisition. Just because I googled something ONCE doesn't mean I want you to market THAT item or type of item or service to me. Leave me alooooooone! Okay, I'm done whining.

Well, not really :)

I am moving this weekend! Yay!!!! Booooo!!!

Out of the moldy apartment.
Out of the apartment in the suburban 'hood.
Out of the apartment that is FAR too cramped for the 4 of us, less known the 6 of us.
Back into the school district (YESSSSSSSS!).
Into a house that can fit us and all of our things.
No more paying for a storage unit or forgetting what's in storage and what's at the apartment.
My very own sewing/craft space (WOOHOO!!!!)

Moving Sucks.

Sure most of my work is packing/unpacking. I don't really...carry...things. Maybe a lamp or a small table or something...but it takes so much emotional energy to move.

So this weekend I'll be doing no sewing but back at it next week!

And it's almost my birthday!!!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Stashing! Fabrics and Patterns! Fall McCall's!

Yes, I was on a self-imposed fabric fast. Sue me.

I knew I had to have these cotton fabrics and I just couldn't say no when I got that FM sale email.

2 yards of bright orange cotton gauze. It is brighter than I thought. I'm not certain about this one. Maybe a sundress? A tunic? Probably not work-wear.

I've never bought burnout fabric but I LOVE this! I only got 1 yard so it will become a simple top - probably sleeveless - best use of a high interest fabric is a simple pattern.

I missed this chambray gauze and then they brought it back. I love the denim-look but it's sooooo soft and breezy. This will become M6744 view A/B (View B with the length of A...or View A with the racerback of B!). But as you can see, it's 4 yards of it! So it'll become a couple of things! :)

I was thinking of S1696 if I get the fit down but this seems REALLY stretchy! I'm not sure how well that'll work for pants. Will they "grow" really badly throughout the day? But it's BRIGHT. I love it!

Not really denim-look as I thought, but it should be good for what I intended - a simple unlined jacket

It's soooo soft this cotton poplin! mmmmm. It shall become a button down top. Really.

More burnout! And it's really abstract and geometric!!! Another top. This might happen this week. It's red, white and blue for goodness sake!
Then, there's the freebie. It's a poly knit but I can make it work!
This came in a (free with $50 purchase) bundle with some trims and random buttons.
THEN, I risked it and got a small 6 yd bundle for $10.

 Sigh...I don't know about the purple fabric. It feels like cotton but it has a print that makes it look smudged/dirty. Maybe some type of maxi skirt/dress?? And the ribbed fabric? I have no clue? Maybe one of those easy cardigans that are glorified rectangles? I don't know...It kind of makes me sad...there's 3 yards of each so it was about $1.66/yd. I could have totally gotten more $1.99/yd fabrics!


I also catalogued my pattern stash. I'm at around 160. Oy. And the new McCall's for fall are out! There are only a few that I must have:
M6796 All perfect. I will make each and every one of these views.
Line Art
M6802 (it's a cardigan! Ignore the weird hooded ones...). Views C and D will be contenders.
Line Art
And then the ones I'm not sure about...I like THIS dress. It's easy to get caught up in the fabric choice on the pattern envelope, ignoring the actual pattern. The technical drawing doesn't do anything for me but I love this color blocked version...Surely I could recreate it with my own black/grey ponte...right? Right?!?! Ok, I'll *only* buy this at a $1 sale.
Like it...but it'll never happen. There's no time where I can go braless and be "dressed" and I'm not buying a special low-back bra deal...AND it takes 5 yards (FIVE!!!) of fabric. FIVE!!!! 
And then...there are these...
And this M6799
Holy smokes. If I knew enough about altering patterns to reduce volume then maybe this could be a contender. Until then...if it looks this unflattering on her 110 lb body, no way am I chancing it!
****Edited to add:
Pattern envelope pic:
Fashion Star episode garment
It is SO much cooler as it was originally made! It looks chic! Stylish! I think the Big 4 needs to hire a new design team. That white/black/sheer/red/purple/ ensemble is just troublesome.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Finished Items: Butterick 5493 and McCall's 6754

Got my mojo baaaaack :) I've been sewing this weekend and got a couple awesome tops out of the deal! My Simplicity 2700 pants are almost done as well. I think I'll get them done tonight but maybe not. Well...they won't be done tonight. I have never done blind hemming and I'd rather eat brussel sprouts and cauliflower than hand sew so uhmm, yeah.

First up, McCall's 6754. This is a new pattern from their summer release. It's pretty awesome too! It's easy to assemble and if you're confident enough could be constructed on the serger. It does fit a little wonky up top. I read a couple reviews that stated such and wanted to pull more out but was hoping it would snug up when I finished the neckline, armholes and added the peplum but it's still a little bit roomy. I think the fix next time will to be to take a tiny bit out of CF. We'll see. I'm sure I'll be making this one up again though. I'm wearing it today!

Look at those lovely serged seams!!!! :)


Pattern Description:
Misses tops and dresses 

My description: Dress and peplum top with bodice variations; and choice of raglan sleeves or sleeveless

Pattern Sizing:

XS-M - I cut a Medium

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?


Were the instructions easy to follow?

I never consulted them. The sleeveless top is intuitive. The front and front peplum piece are cut on the fold, the back and and back peplum are cut and seamed. Assemble the bodice, assemble the peplum, sew it all together.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?

So far (and the quirkypeach noted it too), it seems to be a slightly poor fit above the bust. I *love* the dart shaping and the light peplum. Super cute.

*I'm wearing it today and had that need to pull it up a couple of times. I still love it though.

Fabric Used:

Eeked this top out of less than 1 yd of ponte knit I got as a remnant from Hancock. I think I paid $1.50 for it.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:

Sewing has made me uhmm, appreciate my almost 34 year old, post-kid body  I had to lower the bust darts about 1 inch and take 3/4" shoulder seam on the right and 7/8" on the left. I did not include the elastic (I'm not sure of the purpose and after wearing it I don't know that it's necessary. Perhaps as an "anchor"?).

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?

I will DEFINITELY be sewing this again. Next time I'll slightly raise the neckline. It's AWESOME as is - but the peplum is light enough that I'd wear this to work, but the neckline would have to be a good 1-2" higher.


Easy top that comes together really quickly with good results. MAKE IT!! 


Next up was Butterick 5493. I think it may be OOP.

This top went together fast...except for the decision to use bias binding on the armholes. Goodness gracious. Tedious. It's okay though...

I also did not do the hem on the ruffle or the blouse - I just serged it with a narrow overlock. It looks just fine and it helps that it's all black! LOL!

Totally need a swayback alteration. Next time I'll do it.

It's blurry but I like action shots! :) 

Pattern Description: 

Misses tops

Pattern Sizing:

8-14, I cut a 12/14

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?


Were the instructions easy to follow?


What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?

I love the style of this top and think it makes a great shell to add to my growing wardrobe of cardigans. No dislikes.

Fabric Used:

Some poly knit from the remnant bin...about $1.50 for the yard of fabric. The pattern says it's for stretch wovens as well.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:

I didn't do the side slits because I decided to assemble on the serger. That went really well. I did sew the front ruffle on with the sm. I forgot to do this before joining the shoulder seams though so I had to improvise, luckily it's black!

(I needed a swayback alteration and to alter the dart position next time)

I cut a size 12 until the bust then I graded to a 14 from there.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?

Yes. It is a nice, basic top with a little flair with the ruffle.


Really like this and will be wearing it to work tomorrow. It's a great wardrobe builder!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

PANTS! Simplicity 2700 Wearable Muslin

*Yes, I changed the title. I'm on my way to very wearable pants! :)
I don't like to make muslins. It isn't fun. I mean, neither is finishing a garment and finding it doesn't fit (or fit well) but still. I read posts from sewists who make 3, 4, 5(!!!) muslins for a garment and I think, "no way man. I'd have to be making something really, really, SUPER important like a wedding gown to worry THAT much about fit". I know myself and doing the same thing over and over again will quickly wear me out.

So, I choose not to muslin most projects. Win some. Lose some. I've been relatively lucky...But wouldn't get too ahead of myself thinking I'm untouchable when it comes to pants. I have never, ever had pants off the rack fit correctly. It's always one sacrifice over the other and normally, I'd go up a size to give my (super muscular) thighs the room they need, and take them to the tailor to get the hips/waist taken in. Or they fit fine through the hips and thigh but I know they're too tight at the waist. Or the rise is way too high but I hardly ever tuck my shirts so I wouldn't care.

I made a muslin of S2700 awhile back (about 3 months ago) and they looked like this:

Huh? This is nothing like my muslin. What do you say? The A.F. patterns have a 1" SA? oops! LOL! So then I went whole hog and got this:

Me thinks I took TOO much in. I rather like the idea of using a striped fabric to muslin (or perhaps any repetitive pattern), it's easy to see that the lines are bowing in like crazy over my thighs. You can also see where the darts come down way too far and I pulled too much in on the inseam giving me under butt lines. So then I put this pattern in the bin (not!). But alas, I'm tired of having 2 1/2 pair of pants so I got started again.

What didn't I do? Any remeasuring. Oops. I should have. I understand the construction process a lot better now and measuring would have allowed me to see that the front crotch would be far too long/high. And now I have this:

Too much extra room in front. I think the wrinkles are connected to my solo shoe.

I am quite pleased with the rear view. Quite pleased. On subsequent pairs, I probably will shorten the dart just a smidge...

I think they're nicely balanced. The front is sitting a little lower than the back, but this might also be because I can literally grab 2+" of extra fabric in front. It doesn't look like my thighs are pulling at the seams at all...and I think the puddling fabric (I'm not that tall) makes it appear as if the seam is forward - it isn't.
So while I am sure I'm well on my way to decent fitting pants, I have to figure out how to rid myself of the 2" of extra fabric in front, without ruining these. I like this grey fabric. And I was smart this time and basted the seams - inseam, outer leg seams, crotch seams, and the waistband. Only the pockets and zipper are "permanent".

Today on lunch I took another half inch (1" total) off the front via the crotch seam. I'm sure I could try altering the inseam some. But I don't want to go too crazy. I'm going to take them apart and see if I can trim some of the excess length off the crotch point (oh boy I'm setting myself up for the spam bots with the overuse of the c-word!).
I'm sure I'll say it again after the pants are done and a review is posted -- IGNORE simplicity's little fitting chart!!!! Compare the pattern pieces to your best fitting RTW your sloper...hell even just basic flat measurements have got to beat their system. The chart had me sewing something between a 20 and 22 (average). I probably could have cut an 18  with some tweaks...

I made some tweaks. My pants now have
1" seams at: front crotch, inseam, side seams
7/8" seam through center back (including crotch)
The slight wrinkling is due to just too much length in the front. I can take a little bit at the waistband but otherwise, I like how the front looks. Forgive my crazy face! :)
Back looks good! I have a little pulling but oddly enough I have that on my RTW pants too. I think I need to "give back" that 1/4". The back in the previous rendition looked a bit cleaner.
In the next pic, I decided I could take in the side seams to reduce some of the excess in front...but it made the back way too tight. This helps to drill in that a little goes a long way when making alterations. I took in the side seams an extra 1/4" from waist to upper thigh (just below the pocket bags) but this is 1" total out of the circumference of the pants! Too much.
The next pair will be great however, I'm still going to rock these babies! Hopefully I'll get them completely finished and posted by the weekend!
Feel free to read, but this list is moreso for me! :)
Immediate sewing plans:
*Finish S2700
*Hem 3 completed tops (Finishing is my undoing)
*Cut and sew black sleeveless knit top
*Muslin S1696
Mid term plans:
*Vest using grey windowpane fabric M6149 view B
*Black cotton lawn version of NL 6104 view C (love that pattern)
*White cotton version of B5526 view A or D
*Black pants, Camel pants (once pattern is done...sewing them will be a breeze!)

Other plans:
*Muslin a basic, unlined blazer (NL6035?)
*Sew S1696 in Kelly green gabardine
*Sew M6744, length of A with back of B in chambray cotton gauze

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Lil' Bit of Mojo: Finished Item and Work In Progress

After my last post, I told myself I was going to get my mojo back! And I said it with a little head roll and finger snap. LOL! Just kidding. Kinda.

Ok, so I had cut McCalls 6604 and got all extra dramatically annoyed when I realized I hadn't cut the facing for the back piece and had the top lying in a heap. I pulled it together and finished cutting the fabric - facing pieces and sleeves. The sleeves of this view are intended to be cut of a contrasting fabric. I had some creamy/tan colored lace knit that I was going to use and then at the last minute I chickened out and used the same fabric as the rest of the top. That's okay - this is America.

I love this color! It's different but not. And, being a novice, I chose this fabric for the color and because it was cotton. The voile is light and airy yet very crisp (sounds like a pastry - mmmmmm!). I think this is why the cowl doesn't drape *quite* like I'd like. BUT, it's slight stiffness means you can arrange it just so and it stays that way. I guess that's okay too. I LOVE the sleeves. They taper to nothing at the lower armpit and it's a cute look. I think I am totally going to try this one more time in a fabric with a little more drape.

What I learned. I totally need to do swayback adjustments. Bleh. And although it looks stretched across the front, it really isn't. I finished it after my bedtime and then had to get a pic and put on the bra that was hanging there drying. My super duper pick-me-up, uber lacy, madly wired bra. Yeah, under normal circumstances the girls won't be so high and out THERE.

I'm also making more progress on my S2700 pants. The fly did me in and had me afraid to return to the pattern. It isn't perfect by a long shot...I mean, the zipper is inserted and works and is even and all of that...but the top-stitching is wonky and something weird is happening at the bottom where everything comes together. I am just going to have to take a good hard look at some of my RTW pants and see how I can neaten things up there. But they're looking good!

Looking pretty pants like! I got good results on my pocket topstitching but the fly? Oy vey!

That little pucker near the zipper? I dunno. But it doesn't bother me because it's concealed when the pants are zipped. It took me FOREVER to do the waistband yoke because I wanted to be sure it was correct! LOL!

See? Nice pocket topstitching!

The rest of the weekend was a blur. In addition to our own 4 kids that are here, I had my 13 yo niece and 5 yo nephew so our house was jumping!

What I was reduced to Saturday night: Meatball subs and copious amounts of kit-kats!

And last but not least, Father's Day! My Papa is near and dear to my heart, even if he is 1,140 miles away :-( Happy Father's Day Papa!! I love you thiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiis much! For my husband, I took the kids out yesterday to get cards and gag gifts - yessss!!! and a little something (an actual gift!) for Father's Day.

Plus, a trip to the theater to see Man of Steel. If you're into the whole superhero genre (like we obviously are!), go check it out. It was good - not great (yes, people will argue that it was THEE greatest ever) but butter than prior installments. Plus Henry Cavill is cuuuuuute!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Wahhhh - Ok, now that THAT'S over...

I grew up in a family of 6 so I am used to a little bit of 'chaos'. This isn't meant to be taken negatively, I love having a "bigger" family; but that meant that at times, our house was crazy! Now, I'm in a family of 7, which it tends to be 6 of us during summers, and our house is crazy!

Now, I'm not a whiner, really. I am an anti-whiner. But I have been so out of it lately and unable to focus on anything when I'm at my machine. But last night I figured it out.

My kids took my mojo!!!

I figured it out last night after trying to get some sewing done. With school out, they spend most of the day at home.

SIDENOTE: I'm looking into rec activities but with 4 kids and the fact that we live in the 'burbs, it's EXPENSIVE! I mean, simple I thought about sending them to SkyZone because we live close by there but...that would be like $50. I mean, that's a lot of money for one day's worth of entertainment!

Anyway, by the time my husband and I get home they are like moths to a flame. I enjoy talking with them, laughing AT with them and spending time with them. But I realized that without the requirements of homework, instrument practice, 9:00 "time to get ready for bed" schedule...I have lost my previously automatic me-time. AND, they can go non-stop til bed time (mine of course!). So today, I am reclaiming my time!!! They need to find something else to do so I can have my 30-60 minutes per day to work on my hobbies. The other issue, is them taking over every square inch of space...but I won't complain about that because I'll have my sewing room within the next 2 weeks (YAY!).

So, while I adore my kids (and husband!), I am an introvert that definitely recharges by doing things/spending time alone. It helps me to be a better me.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Finished Items: A Little Sewing...A Little Knitting

Can I just admit that I feel a wee bit smug that I have all these skills? ;-)

So I was beating myself up over my latest failures - boohoo! - the too-small pants and the ill fitting bright orange dress. I know these things happen...and I shouldn't be too bothered...but I was. So I had to do what we know to do - Instant Gratification!

I need a simple, simple project. I should make a knit shell...NO! Simpler than that even...Hmmm. I should sew a non-garment item! YES!!!

I get to see Baby K this weekend - who is totally NOT a baby anymore - she walks and talks and has teeth and is growing up fast! So what can I make? I could make the crayon notebook thing. Hmm...I have no crayons nor paper. I need something SIMPLER.

Cue Momtastic's drawstring backpack tutorial! It's two rectangles sewn together. Seriously. Can't get any simpler. And it's meant for toddler's so it's a tiny little thing. I think the finished size was about 9" x 11".

My daughter being a total creeper! LOL!

Materials: two 12" x 14" fabric cuts, two 58" lengths of cord, any decorative elements you'd like!
*Starting with two 12x14 rectangles, sew a 1/4" seam around 3 sides on both.
*Fold the top down 1/2" then another 1", sew (this forms the casing for the ribbon/cord)
*Sew front and back together with a 5/8" seam
*Run cord (I used ribbon because I had no cord and she won't be carrying anything with too much weight around anyway) through the top as pictured below and along the outside of the bag, knot ends
*Open a couple stitches in corners and pull cord through to inside.
*REINFORCE the corners really, really well. I resewed the unpicked stitches and did several stitches/backstitches over the corner.
Awhile back, I saw these cool, bright colors of poplin fabric on FM's $1.99 page and they said they were suitable for garments like pants, dresses, etc. Well..uhmm, yeah. It's 100% nylon poplin so totally not garment wear but perfect for this little bag! The letter is a scrap piece of fleece. I just printed out a large letter K and traced it onto the fleece. I cut it out and attached it with a zig-zag stitch. My daughter chose the color pallet so we have the sort of turquoise fabric, hot pink letter, royal blue handles and yellow stitching - Perfect for a tiny person! 
Also finished was Frogginette's Entrechat cardigan. I was being woe is me about how "long" it was taking me to finish it, considering many called it a "one night knit" and so on. 1) I'm oh, about 6 weeks in to knitting and 2) I worked on it pretty much every other day and it took 10 days. Ok, I could probably knit it in a day on a weekend or over a few days doing the 30-60 minutes/day approach. Not too bad.

It's a super cute sweater and IMO is a genius design. I've already decided that everything should be top-down raglan - EVERYTHING! lol! It's soooo easy and makes life less complicated. What I really love is that the garter border on the sleeves is added straight, then bound off. Stitches are then picked up along the raglan, closing the sleeve and making me not have to knit tiny sleeves in the round - score! The decorative band is a little bit of a nightmare to do, not difficult just tedious. I also love the self-striping yarn (Knit Picks Chroma Worsted).

It has that cute little flounce at the back, decorative stitching at the band, and only needs one button!

(Ravelry Link)