Tuesday, December 31, 2013


When I posted my 2013 wrap up, I had sewn 94 items.
I then sewed:
  • DH's pj pants
  • Apron for me
  • Bright green and black infinity scarf
  • Navy Skirt
  • White top
I was going for 100 and cut another version of S2255 out of the chambray look shirting that I made Papa's pajama pants from. I have managed to cut the pattern, sew the sleeve tabs in place, interface the button bands and tabs, sewed them in place, top stitched (I need to rip out the stitching on side) and sew and serge the shoulder and side seams. I also have the basting stitches in the sleeves. I'll finish it tomorrow :)

Also, I'm thinking of using snaps on this one, yay or nay??
Here's my practice:
Edited to add photo of sleeve with snap tabs. I did this at work on my lunch break.
--hey, we have lots of equipment around here!
The sewing room was a little on the scary side going into the weekend and I didn't want to go into the New Year with it that way. So, Saturday morning I went down and started cleaning up and organizing. I put away about 15 (!!) patterns that were scattered about. Either patterns that had been pulled out with the intent of becoming "the next project"; projects that had been cut out but never progressed; patterns that had the fabric cut but were deemed fails...I put them ALL away except for two that I will actually put into the rotation to be sewn.
Then I changed the organization of my patterns around a little bit. I now have a bin each for: 
  • woven tops
  • knit tops
  • dresses
  • pants/shorts/skirts
  • jackets
  • 'wardrobe' or coordinate patterns

My fabrics were reorganized (and fondled!) and they are now sorted into:
  • 2 bins for bottom weight
  • 1 (larger) bin for top/dress weight
  • 1 bin for coating/jacket (which some of the bottom weights will work for jackets too!)
  • 1 bin for knits
  • 1 bin for 'other' - pj fabric like flannel, kid fabric, lining, etc

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Finished Items, Last of 2013!! :)

First, Thursday morning I went down to the sewing room and took, oh...about 10 minutes to "make" this scarf. I really love it.

Using 1 yard of Snuggle flannel from JoAnn (which shrank quite a bit in width when washed - beware!), I cut it all nice and square, then sewed the long ends together (the ~42" length) and then serged. Then I turned the tube and sewed the short ends into a circle, leaving a space to turn it. Then I just used fusible on the opening. If I were giving it away I'd stitch it shut...but I hate hand sewing!

Something inside of me made me know - KNOW - that Burda 7283 would be a winner for me. When I bought this 2 yards of moleskin from Hancock, I had no clue what I'd make from it. I'd never worked with it before but liked it's suede-like feel. And I think I paid like $4/yd - win.

I cut a straight 16 based on finished hip measurement of 45". The waist was 33" I think. It sits at the natural waist. Now, I hadn't sewn a Burda pattern before and didn't know what to expect. Fit - yes. Instructions - holy cow.

There were 4 instructions. Four. Cuatro. Quatre.

ok, ok. I ran into a problem with the waistband facing and button band and basted and unstitched like SEVEN times!!! I finally said, forget it and knew it would 'ruin' the gorgeousness of my interior.

This skirt is everything. I want to lie next to it and rub it when I go to bed tonight. Seriously.

I love the front buttons but I should've followed my instincts and made the button band non-functional and inserted a zipper in the side or back seam. I had to stitch 2 snaps between the waistband and the first skirt button. But it's okay! I love it!!!!

The waistband has 2 rows of top stitching (I did 3) and I am in love with the look of it.

I was going to serge the interior seam but thought black would be too harsh against the navy. So I decided on a pretty finish. Yep. I used bias tape on all. the. seams. I used 6 yards of bias tape. OMG. But it's soooo pretty!!!

At the waistband

Sooo the ruined interior, yes, I knew you wouldn't forget. I don't know what in the heck was up with the facing. meh.

It didn't fit. So my interior isn't as perfect as I wanted and it even made me say 'forget it' and just serge the button band! LOL!! I will be making this again - for sure!


Next up is Simplicity 2255.

I don't have many details. I cut this at some point in the spring...maybe April. I was still very new to sewing, had no experience yet in making alterations for fit and didn't quite have much intuition with how things are constructed. The mandarin collar gave me FITS. I could not figure it out. This got thrown into the UFO bin and I'd forgotten about it. I did some cleaning up and organizing (more on that tomorrow) and when I put it on Lily I was pleasantly shocked by how well it fit. It even had button holes! So I endeavored to turn this UFO into a finished garment!

It's a straight size 14 and the fabric has some lycra in it. Otherwise, I'd need about a 1/2" FBA. And of course...that ole' swayback.

I love the neckline, love the fabric, love the slightly tinted white shade and love the buttons. I am totally wearing this to work tomorrow!!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Finished Item: Lekala 4011 (Plus a whole bunch of other stuff!)

One day, my daughter and I were looking at sweatshirt patterns - she likes the McCall's 6614 sweatshirt she got but it's a unisex pattern so it's pretty boxy. We found a few that she liked, but when she saw this Lekala pattern, she wanted it!

She loves bright colors and isn't big on prints. I found this insanely bright neon sweatshirt fleece at Hancock for 50% off plus I had an additional 10% off coupon - score!

Now, issue #1 with Lekala patterns; there is no recommendation on amount of fabric. So you'd have to be pretty confident or just over purchase. But you don't want a bunch of extra neon green sweatshirt fleece hanging around, right? So I bought 2 yards.

A positive or negative depending on how you sew, there are narrow seam allowances, for this one it was 1 cm which is close to 0.39". I used a 3/8" seam allowance (0.375").

The pattern printed and taped together well. It was 28 pages total (with 3 or 4 blank pages) and the markings all lined up really well.

(my cute 25 cent basket that holds my pattern weights -aka- giant washers)

The grainline is labeled "beam", the pieces each have the pattern number and the measurements. I don't know why it says 'linen type top'; but it does. And then it has the pattern piece. Sleeve? Great. Center Part Left Front? Uhmm. Ok. Little bit of finagling there...

So to ensure the pattern would fit on my fabric, I traced and cut everything out and then laid it on my fabric

 NO problem! Well alright...so I headed to the sewing room and LUCKILY caught my error. And then realized I was going to have to be REALLY creative to get the pieces to fit onto 2 yards of fabric.


  • Cut the left front piece backwards...oops. Recut it but didn't have enough fabric so it was slightly off grain and ended up growing on me.
  • I told myself I'd cut the "pocket lining" piece out of lining fabric. Uhmm, no. It shows from the outside. Err. Had to find random scraps big enough to cut the pockets from.
  • I serged the left front and the left princess seam piece but that's the seam where the zipper goes.
  • Then I sewed the shoulder seam while top stitching the pocket

Break time.

Then I read the zipper instructions 317,413,897 times. And still didn't understand what they were telling me. So I had to start pinning pieces together and doing what made sense. Once I figured it out, THEN the instructions made sense! Oy!

There is a LOT of top stitching on this jacket and it isn't my strong suit. My machine doesn't produce the "beautiful stitch" I read sewers swooning about. And anything under 1/4" is tough for me. I am low on patience.

Then I realized how crappy my top stitching around the pocket was (yes, the pattern suggested binding the pocket but I had no fabric for bias tape!!) so I wanted to add double fold but didn't know if it worked. My young adult nieces confirmed, yes, add the trim.

More Mistakes:
  • I made something weird happen on the left piece (right facing here) and so the seam doesn't   line up across the front.
  • I didn't interface around the zipper. Oops.
  • The zipper should start at the top, pointed part of the right side and I guess more of the band (or placket as they refer to it) would fold up. Darn it 
  • Because I decided to do the bias tape after sewing the side seams...the raw edge shows. I used some fraycheck and went about my business
Again, after completing this step, I realized what the instructions were saying with sandwich the placket and blah, blah, blah. Fine.


After that, it was mostly smooth sailing. I had no problem setting the sleeves, however I did notice it needed to be eased more on the front than the back. I don't know if this is normal or not. And the bands weren't overly different from the circumference of the sleeve opening. 

The pattern suggested adding bias tape across the collar seam which I really like. I wish I would've read that before I under stitched the collar, I could have gotten a slightly cleaner result. But, I like the green contrast on the black bias tape. I took double fold and opened it once, ironing out the crease. this made it 1/2" wide and nice and flat.

FINALLY, after working hard Friday and Saturday, it was done! Wooohoo!!! She not only loved it, it fit very well. The *only* issue is the sleeves are slightly too short. I could've added 1/2-1" BUT this is pretty good, imo because I normally have to add 2 to 2 1/2" to her sleeve length. So I don't know if the sleeves are drafted longer or if they lengthened them based on her height. Either way, I was pretty impressed overall with the fit. She wore it all morning and said it was comfortable, warm and cozy. 

I don't know why she's standing so stiffly.

Success! I sewed my first separating zipper AND my first Lekala pattern and most importantly, the giftee loves it :-)

I will definitely try a Lekala pattern for myself now. Maybe a simple one!



His blanket is bigger than his body
2.5 yards of checkered and black serged together

New PJs in cotton flannel for my husband using McCall's 4244 which I graded up (yay me!) to an XL after discovering my pattern only had S,M,L.

This time I used the dual casing method and loved it! Well, I didn't love threading 42" of elastic twice plus the drawstrings but I love the finished look. 

I didn't know if they would fit well but I compared them to an existing pj pair and...pretty close. The blue ones are knit so it works that the flannel are larger

I was all set to make pjs for my daughter and I using this I heart Bacon fabric but uhmm...it's super popular and they had just over a yard. I still bought it. I can't make pants from 1 yard! :) Some crazy people are selling it on Etsy for $7-11 per yard. I paid $2.79. Uh yeah, I'll just wait to see if they get more in stock.

Then I was minding my business and Kyle at Vacumming the Lawn posted that she made herself an apron for Christmas. Hey! I want an apron!! So...about 2 hours later I had this:

Chevron main, dots pockets and ties, scroll for the neckband. I accidentally cut the children's size ties. Haste makes waste and all that jazz...

No cat shots, but a mommy/daughter shot!

And an awesome Christmas gift!!!!

Jerk is a physics term and it is:
the derivative of acceleration with respect to time
the 2nd derivative of velocity with respect to time squared
the 3rd derivative of position (sometimes called r) with respect to time cubed

It's funny and it's science! Yay!!!!!!!!!!

Hope your Christmas was amazingly awesome!

***Edited to add: Lekala patterns are $1.49, $1.99 if they add seam allowances. Also, I am up to 97 items, FYI :-D ***

Monday, December 23, 2013

Hits and Misses of 2013

Hey, I told you I like lists! And everyone was doing lists...so I wanna do lists. That's okay. Right??

Anyway, my favorite number is 7. So I will list my 7 most worn garments of 2013 and 7 duds or "FAILS". There are couple of things in my most worn that aren't necessarily in my top faves...but I get good mileage from them which is important. My duds are duds for whatever reason; poor fit, poor fabric choice or just plain 'meh'.
I started sewing in January (1 year sewing anniversary post to come next month!) so I don't have anything to compare to for number of garments sewn or fabric in/out. I bought a helluva lot of fabric and over 250 patterns. I bought a gazillion skillion notions. I now own 24 yards of fusible interfacing (doh!).

In 2013 I sewed 94 things. Oh My Gosh!!!!

I sewed
  • 16 kid things
  • 10 non garments (including my son's blanket to be blogged on 12/26!)
  • 3 garments for my daughter (including her Christmas gift to be blogged on 12/26!)
  • 65 garments for me
Of those 65 garments, I sewed:
  • 36 tops
  • 7 dresses
  • 6 skirts
  • 7 pants
  • 1 shorts
  • 5 jackets/cardigans
  • 1 other (jumpsuit)
Some of those items became pajamas. Some of them got tossed due to poor fabric choice (I'm looking at you fitted top made of 65 poly/35 cotton -aka- sweatbox). Some got tossed because I didn't know I needed an FBA and "just" made smaller seam allowances at the bust at which the fabric began to unceremoniously unravel (I loved that purple top too! NL 6104).

Some are still awaiting finishing (oops). Some are destined to be UFO's forever...

My top 7 self-made garments of 2013:




Both NL 6108 

Both M6844

NL 6230

KS 3115

Yes, my KS yoga pants already get a top mention!! They are awesome!

Honorable mention my S2054 dress/tunic. Love that dang thing!

My 2013 "fails"

NL 6025 - it's just too wide at the neck. I tried everything and short of removing the neckband and taking some pleats...I don't know about it. Though I liked it how I styled it below...I'm not sure if I want to work at it anymore...

M6604 - It just never got out the gate. It is 100% cotton though, maybe I'll revisit it in the summer.

M6752 - biggest disappointment. This pattern has been made SO many times and looks SO good on virtually everyone BUT me!

S1806 - the crazy top. They tell you to use something like a voile but really this would work better in a floaty fabric or maybe a thin ITY-esque knit.

S1783 - I shall not belabor the point on the poor brown skirt (Mom, I don't like that! Ugh! She has no filter)

B4132 - I should love this top but the fit just wasn't right. Perhaps it was my inexperience with slippery fabric?? It was completely bias cut and the cowl lies beautifully. Maybe not a "fail" at all...

M6084 - BLAH. MEH. GAH!!!! This "one hour pattern" was a wasted Saturday morning. Ugh!

"Honorable" mention to my M6083 jumpsuit. While I don't like it enough to wear it, I think I only need to make minor tweaks if I *did* decide to make one again. The fit was nice, the rest...eh.

There's a little more sewing going on before year end...Ooh, I should aim for 100 things sewn! :-) Err...cowls, pajamas, etc count!

Have a Merry Christmas to all who celebrate Christmas, Happy Holidays to those that celebrate other things and Happy Extra Day(s) Off Work to those who don't celebrate any of 'em! :-)

January 1 I'll post my "sewlutions" for 2014. Yippee!!