Sunday, March 31, 2013

Finished Item - Butterick 5678

This was my entry into the Pattern Review Fitted Blouse Contest. I had intended to make a couple of shirts but didn't get around to it. I didn't start this one until last week!

I technically muslined this about a month or so ago, and never came back to it. I don't remember the sleeves on the muslin version being extra long. But I did remember it being a little snug. I didn't have time to try to fit another size (either the 16C or a 14D or fit the 14C with an FBA). I didn't want to suss all that out. Sue me. ;-)

Muslin of 5678

For my garment, I found some soft poly/cotton blend fabric in a soft tan that I really liked. I scored 2.5 yards of it for like $5. I like $5 shirts. It took FOREVER to sew though! Oy vey!!! 

I'm also adding it to Faye's essential top sewalong! There's some good stuff over there!

I like the shirt and will definitely be wearing it.

I don't think the stand is supposed to extend that far but whatev.

Front (it looks wrinkly)

I sewed on the buttons with my machine!!!!

I worked hard on my topstitching!


**I am not anti-polyester - but I wore the pink top (New Look 6104) yesterday and was sweating something fierce. My office is a freezer, but I had to keep my jacket (as in blazer type) off because I didn't want to start sweating. This fabric is 65% poly/35% cotton. I thought it was the other way around. I'm definitely more aware of my fabric choices now, but not quite ready to dive into expensive fabrics. I'm still aiming for garments at a total cost of under $20.

Pattern Description: 

Misses top with collar, length variation and optional sash

Pattern Sizing:
14-20 (A/B, C, D) - I cut a 14C

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?
It works out well. I like the shaping of the princess seams, but it makes for a ton of pattern pieces. It takes a loooong time to put it all together. The shirt body has 7 pieces (2 left front, 2 right front, 3 back). Then the sleeves, the continuous laps, the cuffs, the collar stand, the collar. WHEW!  I did much better on the collar this time. I really took my time on it. It's messy on one side (the stand) but I really like my work on it. It would probably fit slightly better if it had a yoke.

Fabric Used:

Cotton blend (65% poly, 35% cotton)

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:

Left off the pockets, I don't like breast pockets. I didn't add the collar button. I cut view A but added a regular collar.

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

Yes and yes.


Not a quick sew but I think the sizing is good. Next time I'll shorten the sleeves and consider doing a swayback adjustment. 

Saturday, March 30, 2013


I decided a few years ago that I needed to learn to knit and/or crochet. So, I taught myself to crochet. I fell in love with the craft and that was that. My crocheting lead the to the start of BabyModo, my Etsy shop. I focus on baby goods for several reasons - it's cuter and faster and takes much less yarn. The cowboy set is BY FAR my most popular item. I shipped a few out this week, with three more orders to fulfill in the next week or so.

From a satisfied and amazing customer! (thank you for sharing!!)

Hat and Booties (patterns courtesy of Elizabeth Alan)

Full sets with diaper covers to match. Newborn on the left, 0-3 months on the right

If you look at the booties on the 0-3 month set, the top portion is thicker. I think I'll do it this way from now on. I really like the effect. 

I love to crochet. I love to make stuff and see a ball of yarn become something cool (like fabric --> garments??). But I have tendinitis and carpal tunnel. And they've been kicking my butt lately. I have a cyst on my right wrist that has returned after being dormant for almost 8 years. Sigh! I've had to close my shop periodically for weeks at a time because I can't crochet for more than 20-30 minutes. That would be fine if I were just making things for me...but that doesn't work for my customers.

Right now I'm closed while I get these last few orders out and may stay closed for awhile...I don't know. I have knitting lessons April 7 and 14 and know I'll want to get some practice in, but know that I may also be obligated to get orders completed. My husband thinks I should let the shop go (Nooooooooo!!!!!!). I get where he's coming from but I enjoy it! And it provides fun -aka- sewing money!!! ;-) 

Finished Item - New Look 6104

I saw so many renditions of this project that I loved and knew I had to have it.

Most notably: Four Square Walls versions for OWOP. I LOVED the striped version - loved. I am going to have to recreate a similar one soon! The next favorite was her version in black. Swooooon.

Also: Nikki's version. I didn't do the version with the ruffle because I thought it might be too cutesy but - it's very pretty and sophisticated even. I love it.

Last but not least: Sew She Said's version here. I wish mine fit more like that.

I cut a size 16, grading the sleeves out to an 18 (I have big arms). I think I could have cut a 14 with an FBA and the bigger sleeves. I ended up making 3/4" side seams. I'll have to measure the 14 and see how much smaller it would be.

I really like this top. I was really proud of myself for the work I did on it. I couldn't believe I did those 1/8" stitches to form the tucks. WOW!! I reset one of the sleeves and still ended up with some pleats - ah. It's ok. I love the little jeweled buttons and am so ready to wear this to work on Monday as part of my own MeMadeMonday venture.

And then...THEN...My husband said it looks like a maternity shirt. :-( He said it looks nice on me but it looks like a maternity shirt. That was not a thing that made me feel warm and fuzzy...but I still love and will wear it!

He caught me leaning to one side. The neckline is a little wide, and I feel like my bra might flash (which it did not)

Little tightness through the arm hole (what's the technical term again?? LOL!). I probably should have accounted for that.

I think the back fits really well. It fits nicely through my waist and rests at just the right spot above my hips - at least I think so.

I will definitely make more versions of this shirt. I could see it being a nice weekend staple, an alternative to getting up and putting on a tee. I can really see it with a nice pair of shorts - especially once we get some summer weather.


LOVE it tucked. I don't tuck in shirts. I have a high waist and no hips and a long back (aka a flat bottom at the top). Tucked shirts don't typically look good on me. But I like it!

Slim cropped pants - Gap

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Sew busy! Finished Item: Vogue 8679

Ha, ha, ha. I'm so (sew?) clever! Whomp. Whomp!

I got a new iron! I've had my old iron since I don't know least 5 years...and I totally only buy like $20-$30 irons. One time I bought a schnazzy iron and it leaked and died faster than any $25 iron I ever owned. Pfft. Bring on the WalMart special.

I bought the Black & Decker classic

What makes it special? It's pretty heavy. That should come in handy with my sucky, weak wrist. It has an 'off' switch! woohoo! But still has an auto shut-off feature. The soleplate is brushed, I know that everyone has been conditioned to believe that stainless steel is the absolute best material for everything, but really, there's no magical powers encased in your 300 series, nickel/chrome stainless steel material. I ironed half a tshirt and boy does it press. I can't wait to hit my seams with this bad boy! :)

I also remembered that I entered the semi/fitted shirt contest on PR. Errr. Submissions need to be in by March 31. I originally intended to enter 2 shirts. I spaced and realized yesterday that New Look 6104 (view C) isn't going to qualify; it doesn't have a collar. It just has a neck band. Oy! But Butterick 5678 (view A with the collar) will work just fine. I cut it to tonight. On the New Look pattern, I really wanted to make the view with the ruffle but I'm not sure, especially in pink. I don't want it to be too frilly.

I sewed Vogue 8679, view B, the top. Again, just 4 pattern pieces and 5 pieces to sew: front, back, sleeves, neckband. I used a tshirt knit that I got in my Fabric Mart mystery bundle. So it was basically $1 to make plus the $1.08 I spent for matching thread. Everything was fine until I got ready to apply the binding. Something went wrong and the neck got all stretched out of shape. I've read about this phenomenon before, I 'll have to do some research to see if I can fix it. I like the color of the fabric a lot though.

My left shoulder is SO much lower than my right! What did I do to myself?!? See how wonky the neck is?? Oh and I didn't do the narrow sleeve hem yet. I need to first see if I can fix the neck before I take on such a non-fun task :)

Thanks Dougie for telling me the shirt was hung up on my bum! Sheesh!

I still need to hit up Home Depot to get some giant washers to use as weights. I've gotten to the point where I use barely any pins (mostly on corners or round areas and on woven fabrics). It saves SO much time. I think the weights will help me a ton.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Finished Item - Simplicity 1887 (Skirt)

This pattern is so quick and fun!

I decided to cut the skirt in a 14 (I made the shorts in a 12) because I didn't want it hugging my thighs too much, especially since I was making the mini version.

It sewed up fast, under 2 hours and because of the ratio between my waist and hips, clothing with an elastic waistband isn't really for me. Save for comfort items like yoga pants and sweats.

I love the print and the colors and can't wait for sunny days here in the tundra! :)

These shoes are my go-to trying on shoes. LOL! They are pretty neutral toned for me so that's why I like to use them.

Hits right above the knee and isn't too fitted.

Pretty colors and flowers!! If you look closely, you can see the raised texture (white).

A little collage!

Pattern Description: 
Misses' pants in two lengths with cuff variations, shorts and skirt in two lengths. Simplicity sewing pattern. Designs by Karen Z.

Pattern Sizing:
8-14, I cut a 14

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

Were the instructions easy to follow?
Yes. I didn't even need them this time (I made the shorts before)

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I love the simplicity of this pattern. I have made the shorts and mini-skirt and plan to make the pants too.

Fabric Used:
Some cute cotton (blend?) fabric that I got from SR Harris. It has pretty colors and some 3D stitching.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
I left off the ties because I didn't have enough fabric!  I also have discovered that I don't like elastic waisted items (save for yoga pants, sweat pants, etc. I added an invisible zipper instead.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
Yes and yes!

Again, quick project that produces a wearable garment. The construction is essentially the same for each garment so after doing it once it goes together fast.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

I'm making PANTS!

I am not quite certain how to categorize my sewing skills. I'd never machine sewed in my life prior to January of this year. I've had my machine less than 2 months but I jumped into the deep end of the pool, both feet, flailing and kicking. There was no fear to my sewing! No thoughts or considerations of what I "shouldn't" or "can't" do...well, except for jeans. Not pants, but jeans. Jeans seem impossible to make since they seem impossible to buy.

Anyway! :) I have learned a TON in these two short months. I've sewn something from each of: Simplicity, Butterick, McCall's, Vogue, and New Look. I've read --and am hogging as long as I can-- all of the popular sewing books and bibles from my public library. I think I've come to understand a lot but I'm not sure if I've officially made the leap from Beginner to Advanced Beginner. (Ooooooooh). It seems like info for beginners tend toward, "this is how you stitch a seam"...Here, make an apron!...A Pillowcase!!...Pajama pants!!! 

Which are all fine things to sew! But, I don't need help sewing straight seams or understanding how to make elastic casings. I've got those skills down.

I'm going to look into some of the more specific classes. I know people are fond of Craftsy, and I have totally learned a bunch of stuff on YouTube so I think I can do video based learning. I've also found a class here on sewing pants that's held in May. I'd like to try my hand at a couple pair so I know what I don't know before I go. Capiche?

I've started with Simplicity 2700. It seems to be a love/hate pattern. Some sewers are head over heels about the Amazing Fit pants patterns and others want to set the pattern on fire. I hope I'm the former.

So far I've cut it all out, there are LOTS of pieces. Fronts and backs, yokes and pockets and fly and oh my! I didn't know it would be time to insert the fly so soon so I called it a day and will watch Sandra Betzina's fly insertion video before I attempt it. I'm using a poly blend (?) that I got out of the value section at Hancock's. My muslin is technically costing more than my garment fabric (scored on discount from, but that's ok.


Why hadn't I done any understitching before?!? Understitching is BRILLIANT and fantastic and absolutely marvelous! Woooohoooooooo!

Here's my progress so far. The pocket lining/yoke is a pretty cotton that I used to make a case for my crochet hooks.

Alright. In other crafting news...I'm finally biting the bullet and taking knitting lessons. I've never taken lessons to learn anything crafty. I think I felt defeated that I *needed* knitting lessons and let over a year go by pining over knitting projects. No more! I'm going April 7 and 14 to a place in Minneapolis. I  shall be a knit-master by fall!!!! :)

Monday, March 11, 2013

Finished Items - Simplicity 2061 and Simplicity 2192

I bought Simplicity 2192 explicitly for the sweatshirts. I've seen a couple of renditions of the shorts/skirt that didn't look as scary as the pattern envelope (Like THIS), but I don't think the bottoms of this pattern will work for my body.

I chose a simple white sweatshirt fleece from S.R. Harris at $4.50/yd (used under 1.5 yd). I like my version. I couldn't fuss with the weird directions on the waistband. It's a little snug because it's not meant to connect at the sides, it's vented. Oops.

I chose Simplicity 2061 for view B. I'll make view A as well, I like the ease and simplicity of the pattern. I like non-fussy patterns! These pants had the front and back pieces, the leg bands, and the waistband. 

I don't see myself wearing them as part of an outfit like the pattern cover. I think they're more casual pants for wearing around the house or quick errands. Kind of like sweat pants but nicer. My pleats don't look the same, I think I stitched too far down. Those leg bands are kick ass cool!!!!! Stitch a pair of these! :)

Hancock is having a sale on Simplicity March 14-19 for $.99!!!!

I love 'em! They're uber soft and quite comfortable. My 14 year old wants a pair! Yay!!! Grey knit fabric from S.R. Harris for $4.50/yd (used less than 1.5 yds). A total of $11.50 for a cute, casual, comfortable outfit. I'll take it!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Finished Item - Simplicity 1887 Shorts

I have 5 more cut patterns ready to sew up so I'll be posting lots of Finished Item updates! :)

This pattern grew on me after staring at the envelope a bunch of times. I like the silhouettes and if I learn what needs to be done to sub a zipper for an elastic waist, I think this can become a favorite of mine.

I bought some simple woven fabric from WalMart at $1.50 per yard a few weeks ago. It's not very "firm" (is that the hand??) and if you hold it up to the light, it's a bit see through. not much...not on the body...but it is a thinner fabric. But, it was $1.50...totally muslin material.

I bought some pretty fabric (I honestly don't remember what it is. I have to remember to take a pic of the end of the bolt like I started initially). It's navy and black with a slight sheen and moderate 2-way stretch. I'd love to make the pants in this fabric but I'd prefer a zipper (maybe a side zipper??).

They were EASY to put together. I saw a couple of blog posts on them and they have a huge amount of ease. In pants I'm probably a skirts a 14-16...but I cut a 12 in these. I ended up adding back darts (which I completely winged) to make sure they didn't gap.

Cute, right? :)

Lined up the tie with the start of the pocket. I top stitched the pocket because it seemed like they'd want to turn out.

The other side of the waist band/side seam meets up. Dang it!

I really like the simplicity and the ease of the pattern. I'm going to ask the wizards at PR about the slight crotch bagginess because I want to make the pants! :)

Finished Item - Vogue 8679 Dress, View C

I love it!!

On my fabric excursion, I came across a teal knit fabric at Hancock's for something like $3.95/yd. I bought two yards of it, figuring 2 yards would be good for some pattern that I have in my stash. I was going to make a knit shirt, but of course that wouldn't need nearly 2 full yards, and then I came across Vogue 8679

I decided the dress would be the perfect use for my fabric! I especially felt that way after seeing that the dress had just 4 pattern pieces: Front, Back, Sleeve, Neck binding. SCORE!

The front and back were both cut on the fold - easy peasy. Sleeves - check. Neck binding...bleh. Kind of hard to cut this strip of fabric and to keep it from rolling on itself! Grrr. It was giving me the flux and I ended up sewing it to the neck, then using fusible tape to secure it in place.

It went together REALLY quickly. I start sewing around 6:30 while simultaneously cooking dinner. I was done before 8:30.

I had the perfect brown belt and boots to pair with it and hit my fashion jewelry stash for a necklace and ring to accent. And then we went out for dinner and drinks!

This pic shows the true color of the fabric better (slightly overexposed)

This pic shows off the overall styling. 

My husband and I are both satisfied with this little number! :)

Pattern Description: 
Fitted, lined, above hip jacket A has notched collar, front darts, back princess seams, godet and long sleeves. Close-fitting, pullover top B or mid-knee length straight dress C has front gathered into neck binding, stitched hemline and short sleeves. Flared skirt D, lower calf length, has waistband and side zipper. Semi-fitted, flared leg pants E have contour waist, darts and back zipper.

Pattern Sizing:
14-20, I cut a straigth1 4

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

Pretty much

Were the instructions easy to follow?


What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?

No dislikes. I love that it was just a few pieces. Front, back, sleeves, neck binding. It was all very self explanatory to put together. I'm new to sewing and barely looked at the instructions.

Fabric Used:

Double knit from Hancock "Value fabrics" section

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:

Hemmed 2" instead of 1 1/4", took 7/8" side seams instead of 5/8"

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

I WILL sew it again! I hope to find a burnt orange or red knit. And of course I'd love it in black.

I sewed this up in just a couple of hours yesterday to wear out on date night with my husband. He loved it too 

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Finished Item - Simplicity 2594

I work as a chemist. I love my career and I love my job. However, I have a thing for clothes and shoes. I like having pretty things even though I am not a girly-girl. Now, working as a chemist means that I have to be covered at work. My current job is at a forensic engineering firm. THIS means that each day is different. I have found myself at my desk doing paperwork all day and I have found myself donning hard hat, Carhartt's, and steel toed boots while standing in a ditch, in the rain.

In other words, dressing pretty isn't that much of an option. My work "uniform" includes one of my three pair of pants in black, grey and tan. I have sweaters and cardigans that I wear most days. So part of my excitement to learn to sew was to make blouses and shirts that I could wear. This way I could branch out while still being comfortable and ready for anything at work.

Simplicity 2594 has been cut already in view C...but in a charmeuse. Oy vey! I'm going to save that for a day when I'm fresh and ready to sew. I had a hard time with the fabric and couldn't get the freezer paper to help.

I bought this gingham fabric on my last trip to SR Harris and I thought that, with it being 60" fabric that I could easily make a shirt with 1 1/4 yard. I couldn't find anything in my stash that worked besides view B of this pattern.


The yoke instructions were confusing. But there are a ton of pattern reviews on it and of course, some helpful hints. I'll use them next time. I winged it and it worked out fine. The shoulder pleat detail is really cute.

I was DETERMINED to wear this shirt today as I saw it coming together last night :)

My goofy kid in the background

The back. You can't even tell that I did something weird to the yoke. It looks fine.

A close up of the fabric. I think the pics make it hard to see that it's a lovely little gingham.

Pattern Sizing:
8-14. I cut view B in a 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?
Yes except for the yoke 

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I love this top. If you're tall, you'll probably need to lengthen it

Fabric Used:
a woven that I assume is a cotton or poly blend 

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
I had to wing the yoke. And it was a little too boxy so I took in the side seams a bit more. Also, I used heat n bond strips on the sleeves then top stitched. 

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
Yes and yes!

Super cute. I finished it this morning and am wearing it today!

Finished Item - McCall's 3830

Oh. My. Goodness.

I want to make 100 of these skirts. I don't think it's possible to make this and not be happy. I made view D. I wouldn't wear the longer skirts (I'm only 5'5") but I could C being cute too. E might be too short! Well...I could see wearing E in black with heavy tights and a nice sweater.

There are 4 pattern pieces and 5 pieces to sew. The front, 2 backs, 2 back waistbands and front waistband. This is probably the fastest item I've ever made, aside from my husband's pillow case. I bought the fabric from S.R. Harris. It's a stretch cotton in a pretty coral color. Also, this was my FIRST zipper!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It isn't perfect, by any stretch but I didn't *need* to rip it out.

I'll have to see if I can get the ladies at PR to help me understand why this little kick out beneath my bum is happening.

Pattern Description: 
Straight skirt in 5 lengths

Pattern Sizing:
12-16. I cut a straight 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?
YES! Very easy and straightforward.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
There is nothing to dislike. I can't believe I fiddled around with a different pattern all day last weekend trying to make a pencil skirt.

Fabric Used:
Cotton stretch fabric

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
No alterations. I might alter the back center seam depending on feedback. It's kicking out below my behind and I'm not sure why.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
Yes! I'm making another one in black.

This is easy for beginners, a great TNT item, a near instant-gratification project, and it uses VERY little fabric.