Thursday, January 29, 2015

January Wrap Up

This month I sewed:
  • Style Arc Sandra jeans - 1.5 yds
  • Vogue 8597 top in navy ITY and animal print jersey - 3.25 yds
  • Vogue 9032 pants - 2.25 yds
  • In House Kimono tee - 1 yd
  • McCall's 6996 cardigan - 7 yds (photos to come, promise!)
    1. grey/cream striped French Terry-2 yds
    2. navy wool jersey - 1.75 yds
    3. animal print jersey - 1.75 yds (for my mom)
    4. animal print ponte - 1.5 yds (for my dd)
  • New Look 6261 lace/ponte dress - 2.75 yds
  • Burda 1/2015 #108 skirt - 2.5 yds

That's 20.25 yards out this month!

2 cardigans
1 dress
3 tops
2 pants
1 skirt
2 gifts

Favorite: Has to be my black V9032 pants. That fabric is divine and I wish I had MORE of it.

Biggest accomplishment: my jeans! Of course!! I am waiting (IMPATIENTLY!) on the PR jeans contest to sew another pair.

Fail: Miraculously; I have no wadders this month! Let us cheer!! If I had to choose a fail, I'd choose the french terry cardigan. The fabric is like, scrumptious but it isn't as awesome as I pictured it in my head. I'm still trying to figure out how I can make it better.

Because 1) I hate picture-less posts (idk why) and 2) I may have gone fabric shopping...Here are a couple of pics of things I'm excited to get my grubby little paws on

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Burda Challenge: January

Prizes have all been claimed! Congrats to the winners! until next time... :)


One of my goals for 2015 is to use my Burda magazine subscription that I gifted myself. I've joined a bunch of other PRers and Bloggers in the Burda Challenge!

I am choosing to use all 2015 issues but others are choosing to just sew from the month (of any year) and still others are just planning on sewing ANY Burda magazine pattern each month. 

After going back and forth and back and forth and realizing I was running out of time; I went back to to one of the first things in the mag that caught my eye; this skirt:

Image from the ever so gracious P-an-da who provides us early Burda previews every month!

I chose a tan colored buttersuede that I'd picked up from Hancock sometime ago when they were having a 60% off sale; plus an additional coupon. I paid like $9 for 3 yards of this stuff. It seemed perfect for the skirt -- it would drape nicely, not fray, and have the same feel as the photo.

I grabbed pics on Sunday in full daylight but couldn't find my brown boots! 
I may look unhappy but I really like it! haha!

Photos taken Monday night after finding my brown boots. The lighting isn't too off...

I cut a size 42 and opted to cut the back pattern piece on the fold. As you can see, the right side falls slightly longer than the left and that's the primary reason they have you cut two separate pieces.

However, I cut one and then went back and traced the left side cut line onto my fabric. I then cut off the excess.

After cutting out the back I realized I forgot to add seam allowances - oops. I added 5/8" to the front and sewed 3/8" seam allowances. You can see my side seams are sitting more towards the back than at my sides. In the first photo you may also see that it's a little snug at the waist! :-)

It actually provides decent coverage too! Especially if you REMEMBER the seam allowances(!) as the right side (bottom panel) goes completely to the side seam. 

I did not have petersham and used grosgrain ribbon as the waist stay.
I cut the exposed edges with a rotary cutter for crisp lines.
I serged the side seams but the grey/cream thread stands out more than I'd like. I may go back and bind them.
I opted for snaps instead of buttons.
I think the length is PERFECT.
It has darts! (There are 2 front darts but no back darts).

Definitely consider this one a win and would highly suggest this pattern! I think it's a lot of "bang for the buck"! It looks very stylish and with very little effort. 

Sunday, January 25, 2015

FINISHED! New Look 6261; The Lace Dress

Ah but wait!!!! GIVEAWAY WINNERS!!!!

THANK YOU for all of the positive messages on my sewing/blogging anniversary post! I really love interacting with everyone in the sewing community!! All of you awesome ladies really enhance what is a gratifying way of life hobby!  :-D


Prize A: A free PDF pattern from In House Patterns
Accordion3 is the winner!!!!
Send me your email address and pattern preference and I will get it to Alexandra.

Prize B: A 3 pack of McCall's/Vogue patterns
Carol G is the winner!!!
Send me your size preferences for V9032, M7093 and M6996 and your mailing address.

Prize C: A $15 gift certificate to
Myra is the winner!!!
Send me your email address and you will get the gc info directly from FabricMart

I gotta tell you; REALLY wanted Shams to win! Haha! Her number came up more than once! :)

My email address is sewcraftychemist --at-- gmail --dot-- com


Nearly a year ago, when the spring New Look patterns were released, I was all aflutter over 6261. I muslined it(!) because I wanted to make it to wear to a fundraising event. But I never did.

Browsing online, I came across this Tadashi Shoji dress:

I decided I had to have a black lace/nude lined dress!!!!

((Apparently this pattern was completely inspired by Shoji??))

Anyhow, I remembered the nude (latte) ponte in my stash and set out to get lace. I very, VERY rarely buy fabric from Hancock or JoAnn (ok, I will probably never buy fabric from JA again...) but I didn't have time to order anything and didn't feel like driving to SR Harris.

There were several nice laces at Hancock and initially I was going to go with a stretch lace and lo and behold I found the beautiful, ever-so-slightly-metallic lace print. 

And then the lady at the cutting counter said it was $2.39/yard.

WHAAAAA?!?!!? SOLD! I bought all 4.25 or so yards. 

 And THEN it occurred to me that I had THAT pattern! And THEN I remembered that I had already muslined it!

I  mean, the stars were truly aligning in favor of this dress.

I really wanted the bands :( But they were fabric strips cut on the bias and topstitched with 8(!) rows, each 1/4" apart. There's no way I had time for all that.

I REALLY liked the look of 1.25" grosgrain ribbon that I had in stash (I have an enormous ribbon stash from my defunct Etsy store!) but I did not have enough to do the bands. I settled for 3/4" satin ribbon. I like it though...Jazzes up the front a little bit.

I did a decent job fitting my major swayback and look at how nicely the back neckline is lying!! 
Do NOT look at my tummy pooch. ;-)

I wasn't sure but yes, my right dart is really a bit further than it should be.
Hard to mark that lace...

But my invisible zipper! <3

If you're afraid of invisible zippers; don't be!
Get an invisible zipper foot and it becomes the easiest zipper to install!

I was going to have sleeves; leaving them unlined. But hubby thought it looked odd because the "nude" of the dress did not "match" my darker "nude" arms beneath the sleeves.

Did I give you enough quotes??

I said, eh. that's fine. I don't need to be setting lace sleeves ANYWAY. And I used storebought bias binding. But knowing I wanted no visible stitching, I hand stitched them in place.

yes. Another thing I said I hated doing which I now relish. Go 'head, shake your collective heads and say "told ya so" :)  I did a really quick catch stitch on the facing.

Other notes:
I sewed a size 16 with 14 neckline. I didn't need an FBA. Go figure.
I did a 1/2" narrow shoulder adjustment and 3/4" swayback adjustment.
I removed about 3/4" from the back neckline tapering to nothing about mid-way between neck and waist.
I used lightweight fusible on the facing and interfaced the zipper area.


I have seen Wash Away Wonder Tape talked about but WHYYYYY did no one tell me to stop what I was doing and immediately get some in my stash like at that instant? Why?!?! That stuff is AWESOME!

I probably used WAY too much on this project but OhEmGee I did not have to do a million, zillion miles of hand basting! WIN!

I entered this in the Bargainista Fashionista contest on PR. I wasn't going to but since I completed this dress for just around $10 per contest rules (~$18 if you include zipper, pattern and bits and bobs) and the Tadashi dress is $228; figured I may as well.

When I slipped the dress on, it felt SO good. I love being able to create everyday basics, but times like THIS is when I am really all warm & fuzzy about my ability to sew.

The outtake:

I got a ton of compliments and a crazy amount of double takes. Okay guys, do I really look that bad Monday-Friday?!?! Hahahaha

As styled (Mirror selfie--sorry!). I wore pantyhose too. I abhor pantyhose. Especially control top. ::insert violent looking emoji:: but I waited til the last minute and had to go to Target.

this necklace was the perfect (simple) accessory.
Side swept hair is "my thing" for going out.
And soft makeup. 
My arms look very glowy; even though it's only 32 degrees in Minneapolis!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Spring Vogues!

They're here! They showed previews on social media, getting everyone all pumped up!

I was flipping through them yesterday and was bored :/ Not much is my aesthetic in this release; but that's okay, right???

Two MUST haves:

1440, a DK pattern that doesn't seem too exciting until you look at the lines

THAT JACKET!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Love the top too!

1436, an AK wardrobe pattern

I don't know if I can be swayed from 9032 but these pants have a similar type of shape and I like the welts. The star, imo, is the blouse. VERY pretty and abundant with interesting details.

I want to sew that top NOW.

Cute but...

9075, a dress and jumpsuit pattern

I like the drawing better than the live model or the tech drawing; so I probably won't buy this one. Unless I see it done up in a fabulous way.

Most of the rest of the collection wasn't interesting to me at all. 

9076 seems indicative of where spring is heading; everyone will be wearing 5 yards of fabric on them at any given time.

and I love a peplum but for the love of all that is good in the world please just STOP!



Because I have major sewing attention deficit; I have abandoned all in-progress sewing after coming across this lace:

And deciding to sew this dress:

I cut and assembled the front pieces only as I was SO excited to see how it would read

I'm wearing it Saturday so it will be finished post-haste!

(NL 6261, nude colored ponte, slightly metallic non-stretch lace, sleeves will be left sheer)

Monday, January 19, 2015


There's no limit as to how many times you can post "Randoms"! :-)

We had a super busy weekend but I managed to get back in the cave - yay! I have lots of plans milling about the brain but decided to start with the 'easiest' task first; a slew of cardigans.

One for me, TWO for me, one for younger daughter, one for mom

First I cut the blue one out because wool jersey. But I turned around and the serger was loaded up with grey/cream thread sooooooo...(I know I'm not the only one whose sewing is sometimes dictated by serger thread!!)

I had plans to make the grey stripe with the front band but 1) those are different pattern pieces and: lazy and 2) I had nowhere near enough fabric for that front band anyway. I had to cut everything single layer not just for stripe matching but for conservation of fabric!

(matching across the fronts)

The elbow patches look really wonky but they aren't - promise!

I had big plans to match the sleeves (haha) but cutting single layer I cut the second sleeve incorrectly and just found a scrap big enough to recut the sleeve. WHEW! Love that peplum! 

The grey stripe just needs hemming.
The navy is cut out and ready to sew.
Mom's is cut and partially constructed (she wears the same size as me).
DD's pattern still needs to be traced out.

Saturday we were going to go play basketball (I'm not a basketball player; don't worry...but I am competitive so we go out and play sometimes). The private school where my husband works was packed with kids so we went to Hancock instead. :-D Majorly good trade off, no?

1202, 1201, 1198
2592, 1544

I went for notions; specifically an awl and wash away wonder tape and I decided to get more jeans needles. Then happened upon the Simplicity pattern sale. 

My husband picked out the top 3 patterns :) I am becoming an apron pattern collector and then he picked out that shirt pattern because I promised him I'd sew him one this year. It was SO hard to convince him to ignore the fabric choices and that it's a 'regular old shirt pattern'. He reluctantly agreed to get it :)

This trip was made sweeter by him buying my goodies - so it doesn't have to come out of my sewing budget dollars - YAY!!!!!! 

Then I was at Target -- if you follow me on IG you would think I lived at Target! Thing is, this is Target territory and I have like 18 Target stores within a few miles (not 18 but really like 6...all within a 10 minute drive)

On my last trip I saw these plaid blazers and really liked them but they were like $24 on sale and I was all, NOPE, too much.

On my last Target score, I'd been in there, saw jean jackets for $30. Told myself, "it's Target. They'll be 30% off in a week and 50% off 3 days after that...". The next time I went in they were 70% off. Score.

So last night the blazer was 70% off and I had an additional 20% off with the cartwheel app. So I paid $8.40! Woot!!

I was proud of their stripe matching across the front, the lapels, and the side seams but dang it the sleeve stripes don't match!

Other yumminess about this jacket:
*bright blue under collar :swoon:
*fully lined with hand stitching of the lining to the facings!
*real working welt pockets
*a back vent
*real working sleeve vents
*understitching in all the places where it belongs...ahhhh...

I might change the button; it's kind of cheap looking. But I will proudly wear this $8 blazer! I've wanted a plaid one for so long but haven't had the patience yet to start one.

And finally, a funny I pilfered from Instagram :)

Have a fun-filled sewing week and don't forget about the giveaway!

Friday, January 16, 2015

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things...

Guess what time it is?!

Sewing Anniversary time! Yay!!!! I've been sewing for 2 years as of January 24th and blogging for 2 years as of February 1st.

Last year I talked about how I started sewing (now in an "about me" link above), 'tips from a newbie', and what my goals were for year 2. Well I already talked about goals for year 3 here (and meeting year 2 goals) sooooo...we can skip past all that and get to some good stuff...


With a theme of "my favorite things", I have 3 prizes to share with my sewing friends! I ask (not demand, and I will not check - lazy) that you be an actual reader of my blog. I totally get that people read/follow and don't necessarily comment - that's okay - but I would feel warm and fuzzy on the inside if you were a follower and not just here for the prizes.

Now, we sewers can have short memories so I'll tell ya, I'm totally kicking it 'new school' with pattern giveaways. :)


Prize A
I contacted Alexandra of In House patterns to ask about gift certificates. She doesn't have that as an option right now, and my next idea was to purchase a copy of the Kimono tee as a giveaway. Well she was gracious enough to offer up one free pattern of your choosing! YAY!!!!!

Visit the shop here and take a look at the offerings.

  • Patterns are (typically?) sized 0-16 or XS-XL (size chart here). 
  • The Cool Cowl, Belle Blouse and Kimono Tee are drafted for D cups (YAY US!!!!!!!!!!!!!). 
  • The Blossom and Diana for A, B, C or D and the Jenny tee for A/B and C/D. 
  • There are also a skirt, cropped pants and shorts. 

Prize(pack) B
You all know I'm by and large a Big 4 sewer and my latest faves are:

Vogue 9032; which I'm sure you're tired of me waxing poetic about :-p
This pattern comes in sizes 6-14 and 14-22

McCall's 6996: sure I've only made one but there WILL be more (I'm going to use my wool jersey for this pattern!!!!!!!!!!!!!)
This pattern comes in sizes XS-M and L-XXL

McCall's 7093: Choosing the third pattern was more difficult and again, it was only made once but it's a GREAT pattern and has so many options!!!
This pattern comes in sizes 6-14 and 14-22

I was going to run out and buy these but realized I would have to choose a size band. I would rather pick a winner and let them tell me what size they need. So that's what we'll do there.

Prize C
Last but certainly not least; you gotta know that fabric is one of my absolute favorite things of all the things!

The winner of prize C will get a $15 (electronic) gift certificate to Fabric Mart!


Leave a comment below to enter! Comments will close (10 p.m. CST) on
Friday January 23, 2015
comments are closed

Winners will be selected by random draw and announced on 
Saturday January 24, 2015

Things to note:
*Comment "A, B, C" with your preferred entries
*In House Patterns are PDF files; once a winner is announced, I will have you send me your pattern choice and email address and InHouse Patterns will send your pattern directly to you.
*The pattern pack winner will need to email me with their size choices and mailing address.
*FabricMart does offer international shipping but I assume it costs a pretty penny so keep that in mind if you're not in the US.

I will leave it open to all as the only thing I'll need to ship are the 3 patterns.

A sincere thank you everyone who reads, encourages, offer suggestions (THANK YOU!) here on my blog and just plain makes the sewing world a fun place to be. I am looking forward to my 3rd(!!) year of sewing blog craziness!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Review-a-Palooza: Simplicity 1945, McCall's 6996, McCall's 6078

Due to general life business and traveling for work, I haven't sewn a stitch since Saturday. And won't have time to sew today, or tomorrow, and probably not until Saturday evening if I feel up to it.

I am twitching and tweaking and the bigger problem; planning. Now there are like 8 projects on my "MustDoNow" list. OY!

While the blog is quiet I may as well get these reviews done. I am gonna be a lazy lazy pants here and just lump 'em all.

Simplicity 1945

It's a Khaliah Ali pattern so it goes up to size 28 - yay! And it's not a pattern full of boxy mess. There are super cute tops!

I chose this cardigan because it has two pieces. Lazy. And, either I have longer monkey arms than I thought or this photo is inaccurate. These sleeves are nowhere near as long as they appear in the pic.

I hemmed and hawed over sizing and settled on a 14. I used a light sweater knit from Fabric Mart (that I got for $1/yd previously!).

Just throw the directions in the corner. It's fairly intuitive to put together but some crazy person at Simplicity decided they'd make you go crazy like them.

There is a facing for the back neckline which makes NO sense as that entire front is finished with a double-turned hem. And they way they have you finish it is mind boggling in a horrid way.

cut on sleeve awesomeness

The back length is perfect for me so if you're longer through the torso, take heed.

McCall's 6996

When this pattern was released I was all, meh. I have 6844 and this is the same.

Except it isn't.

I can't quite articulate the difference but one DOES exist. Now, how's THAT for helpful?

I opted for view A (view B is 3" longer at the back), in a medium. I did a 1/2" narrow shoulder adjustment, which is typical for me.

This was quick and easy to sew up, no directions needed. The back neckline has that slight gather to it which is cute and makes it hug the neck nicely.

I love it and it is 3 of the 7 want-to-make projects listed above (one for me - with leather elbow patches!, one for my mom and one for my stepdaughter). My mom now owns two of my M6844 cardigans and wants one of these.

Again, never mind that she sews... ;-)

no fabric pooling at center back! swoooooon

The peplum is MUCH less dramatic than that of M6844; I like.

McCall's 6078 (oop)

I don't know what those models are doing...
maybe they're just feeling extra happy with their awesome tops?

Gotta admit, I passed right by Making the Flame's declarations of love for M6078 during OWOP. But now, NOW I now why she loves it so!

Those pleats at the shoulders are really beautiful when stitched. And the cowl is so soft, and falls just right, and isn't low at all. And the neckline finishing is brilliant. I think I've seen it on another cowl neck but can't remember which pattern and thought it was brilliant then too!

While a medium is the right size for me, I need a little cheater FBA on this one. My only other adjustment was shortening it via taking a deeper hem. You can see it's kind of long on the model and I didn't want it hip length on me. Plus, I love deep hems on knit tops.

I think I need a few more of these!

So I got a mini wardrobe and some new TNT patterns out of this experience; totally worth it!

**Aside from the 3 cardigans, my list of things I *HAVE* to sew:
Another pair of SA Sandra jeans (waiting for the jeans contest on PR)
M7100 (bomber jacket - the pattern isn't showing up on McCall's site. Weird)
B5966 (view B if I have enough for the length, otherwise view A)
B6130 (jumpsuit)
January Burda project. Except there's nothing I reallllly want to sew. So I might cheat and skip out. I wanted to sew the cover coat but I can't find any fabric thus far that doesn't scream robe or blanket...

I went to pattern review and saw Tiger Feet's version of the colorblocked slim fitting jacket

YOWZA!!!!! I must have one!!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Mini Wardrobe Complete!

I talked about my mini-wardrobe plans here and after my muslin for V8597 wasn't promising, I revised the plans here. And then the Belle blouse didn't work out. Oy!

So then I went and bought two white tees at Target. I picked up size L. Got home, tried them on...disaster. Returned them for XL. Got home, tried them on, very snug at the bust and too big through the shoulder. Returned them. Got a different style top in a L. Got home, tried it on, disaster. It is awaiting return.

The IH kimono tee has become item #7! It's a much "sportier" look than I originally intended but it's fine.

S1945 cardigan in black/gold sweater knit from Fabric Mart (review to come)
M6996 cardigan in animal print rayon/poly/lycra from Fabric Mart (review to come)
M6078 top in mustard rayon jersey from SR Harris (review to come)
IH Kimono tee in mustard & grey rayon jersey from SR Harris (previously reviewed here & here)
B5493 top in teal rayon jersey from SR Harris (previously reviewed here)
V9032 pants in black wool blend suiting from Fabric Mart (previously reviewed 1, 2, 3)
Style Arc Sandra jeans in non-stretch dark denim from SR Harris (reviewed here

I won't actually be wearing these sleeveless tops to work without a cardigan or jacket. And obviously these things work with some other stuff already in my wardrobe.

Uhmm, can we talk about how great these Vogue pants make my butt look??!!?!?

Definite TNT. Because I have lost a little bit and (thank goodness) I tend to lose right from my belly first, my other pants from this pattern are a bit loose at the waist so I made these a little smaller. They're snug but that's better than me having to go back and take them in. I hate adjustments.

I wish I had 10 more yards of this black suiting. Washed, dried, sewed and pressed perfectly. Bravo Fabric Mart!

B5493 was made previously June, 2013. I wear that top often and LOVE this version with the full ruffle. I cut the ruffle with my rotary cutter for a nice, crisp edge  and left it unhemmed (I have a couple of RTW knit tops with ruffle details; the ruffle is unhemmed).  Don't look too closely at the V-neck and the top could be a smidge longer.

IH kimono tee, no changes - meaning I forgot, again, to add more sleeve width. DOH! I think I spent more time stitching and ripping out that vneck than on the rest of the top combined :( I need some practice with that.

I hope to do this again as we head into summer, so I will have fewer closet orphans.