Thursday, October 31, 2013

Fear Fabric Challenge!

Beth at 110 Creations decided that for the month of October, she would host a challenge for us sewers to conquer a fabric fear! A few of us signed up and here we are at the end of the month...and it's reveal time!

Beth decided she would work with brocade, Andrea of Four Square Walls decided to work with lace and Sally of The Quirky Peach decided to work with leather.

I decided to conquer my fear of the slipperiness that is charmeuse. In this case, polyester charmeuse. When I first started sewing, I went to Hancock and bought all manner of fabric that caught my eye. Several poly charmeuse prints were on that list. One day, I pulled out one of my "pretty" fabrics and oh. my. goodness. I hadn't been armed with tips and tricks for sewing slippery fabrics and quickly got frustrated. I've avoided the stuff ever since.

For this challenge, I worked with a pretty floral fabric with tones of purples that would compliment my mini wardrobe (more on that tomorrow). The pattern I chose was one that caught my eye when the new Buttericks were released. I only wanted the top! But, with $1 (or so) pattern sales; it's quite alright to buy a full wardrobe pattern for one piece! :)

Line Art

Even the pattern photo is cute!


So I was going to channel my fear into producing one cute top. And, it does look like the pattern photo - I need to work on my gathering skills still and yep, it hits the model about where it hits me. But I think it's a tiny bit too short!

(I could only get photos in the cave -aka- the sewing room)
The elastic wants to roll and I think the answer to that is sewing the casing in place so that it stays put. This pattern is drafted nicely I think, other than the somewhat short flounce. I cut a straight 14 and did a 1/2" narrow shoulder adjustment. Normally on tops I'd grade out to a 16 for the bust/waist but didn't on this one. I figured it was blousy enough for the bust and that the waist would also be accommodated by the elastic - I was right! Otherwise, the only other adjustment I made to the pattern was to exclude the lining. I wasn't sure if it was going to work and decided not to line it.
I'm not sold on the top 100% yet, but I think it looks pretty cute under my knit jacket:
So, how did I tame this slippery beast?
I'd posted on PR a long while back asking for help and got loads of good tips. Right around the time the challenge was announced, someone revived the thread (THANK YOU!).
*I washed my fabric and dried it
*I laid out a comforter (I have hardwood floors) and, with the fabric wrong side up, I starched the fabric very well. I used two light layers of starch to ensure it was coated. (I tested a swatch first to ensure the starch would wash out okay.
*Before the fabric stiffened, I folded it right sides together and weighted down the fold (I could have just cut my pieces single layer, but this worked out okay this time)
*When I got ready to cut, I laid down a couple of sheets of tissue paper (like regular Dollar store tissue paper for gift bags) and placed the fabric over top.
 *After sewing, I ran the top through a wash to remove the starch. The drape was restored.
With this method I had NO problems cutting or sewing the fabric and all the starch washed out.
***However, I tried this method on a different fabric WITHOUT testing it first and the starch did not wash out. So be sure to test it first.***

Since I didn't line the top, I used bias binding on the neckline and will do the same with the arm bands. I'm also thinking I should experiment some with doing a rolled hem on my serger. I used 3/8" elastic in the casing.

I LOVE the print and the colors and will likely wear it at least once to ensure I don't hate it :) I am already thinking of cutting another silky fabric for a top - it's a cool black & hot pink chevron print - so I'd say, the fear has been conquered!

Be sure to check out the other amazing bloggers on their Fear Fabric Challenge garment!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Finished Items: McCall's 6844 and Sew Active Perfect Tank (Pattern Test)

Starting Saturday, McCall's are on sale at Hancock (5/$7 I think). Go get this one...seriously!

McCall's 6844 is described as "Close-fitting cardigans (do not meet at center front) have collar extending into front band, and narrow hem." There are 4 views, 2 are peplums and 2 aren't; there are 2 lengths included.

I had to trace y'all. Me. I traced this pattern. The views are all connected, with cutting lines. I want to make 3 of 4 views (A, B, & C), so I had to trace. Boooo!

This time around, I made view A. This goes together FAST. If you're more confident than I am, you can construct it on your serger. Front, Back (cut on fold), Collar (cut 2, 1 is the facing) and Sleeve. Easy. Peasy.

I used black ponte and it fits like a dream (Pattern Review HERE).

Silly faces and overexposed to show detail.

Gotta have it labeled! Tiny hem on the sleeve, cool curved hem around the back.

A winter white version is cut and ready to sew!!! A printed slinky knit is on the way for view C! The sleeves were short and I don't have monkey arms...I added 1" on the sleeve length for future versions. Otherwise, a treat to sew!

Next up, I was excited to pattern test for Sew Active Patterns and got the pattern 8/28. And then spent all of September in a crappy state. So I forgot and missed her deadline. When she contacted me, I offered to pay for the pattern, I felt horrible! She said no to the offer and told me to get to it when I can. And then I forgot :( I suck.

BUT(!) this (paper) pattern was trimmed, taped together, traced off, sewed, served and hemmed in 90 minutes. This is an active knit and the medium is pretty close fitting. I will adapt this for regular 2-way stretch knits and make it bigger (by adding a bit at CF/CB since they're both cut on the fold, and a bit at the side seams). Her instructions called for turn and stitch; I will probably make arm and neck bands. 

Her PR Review HERE, Facebook page HERE

Finally, B5678 is trying to get itself thrown in the trash. Never serge while tired. 

Then, I got it serged and was going to topstitch. Uhmm, yeah. THOSE stitches need to be pulled out. The princess seams were folded in a bit and it looks terrible. I will not let this shirt beat me!!!!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Fabric Hoarders Anonymous and Sewing Tragedies

My husband thinks I post to the blog too much. Hey, I say...I do not! He doesn't know...

Anyway, I took Friday off, and sewed and knitted right? And then, I remembered that my FabricMart order was being delivered tot he job. So I got up Saturday morning and went to get the box. Never mind that I set the alarm off at work. Shhhhh.

Then after breakfast, I got started on my B5678 top. I had a lavender cotton shirting from FM that was really drapey (maybe it was really a blend??). Anyway, I starched it because it was distorting when I cut it...and then, the starch wouldn't wash out. No matter what I did, the fabric was stiff and crisp. Lots of warm water...soap and warm water...nothing helped. It's so pretty and lavender and drapey and...starched to death.

Sooooo I cut the top in a grey cotton stretch (slightly) shirting from FM. Ahhh, much better.

And then, I stitched the side back sections to the center front sections. I knew it wasn't right. I exclaimed to myself that it was weird...the difference in the curves; the lack of matching notches. But did that stop me? No. No it didn't.

I picked those stitches out.

I re-sewed. One of the sections was puckered and horrible. I picked those stitches out. So now I am one with my seam ripper. Arrgh!

**newbie tip: if you have not yet procured a seam roll or ham, use a nice, big, tightly wound skein of yarn, covered in cotton, as a seam roll - pressed those princess seams open beautifully!

I gave up on the grey shirt temporarily.

I pulled out my next project and started on it and got through most of it yesterday.

I'm making this baby in black ponte:

Today I have to hem it and want to tack down the collar in a few spots (I am in love with it and cannot wait to blog it!)

Today, I am wearing my latest S2700 trousers. I finished them so lovingly, had my husband wash them when he did laundry this weekend and...they are growing on me. By the hour. I got the fabric from Hancock and didn't take a picture of the bolt end so I don't know the fabric composition but they are not happy and stable. I can pinch out like 2-3 extra inches of fabric right now.

They were not this baggy at 6:30 a.m.!
Also, I succumbed to FM's "free shipping on $37" sale. I could I not?! I am a sad, sad case. BUT, 3 pieces are lining fabrics (as I plan to make a few blazers) and another is cotton shirting for PJ pants for my dad for Christmas. See? See???! Aside from those things I got 3 fabrics for garments for me and one yard of black crinkle gauze to make an infinity scarf.
CHANTING TO SELF: I will not buy any fabric (other than for gifts) until January. I will not. I will not!!!!
Here is my current pants/jacket fabric...not sure what each piece will become. Thinking the plaid at upper right and the second one from the left in the bottom photo will become jackets -- they seem too bold for pants. What do you think?

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Finished: S2700, Kimono Tee and B5965

Yes, I have  been a busy little sewer.

I don't have full pictorials but plan to do a full up post on Nov 1 with my October "black" mini capsule. So far I have 2 pair of pants, 1 jacket and 3 tops. I have planned (yes, in the next 5 days), another (unlined) jacket or vest and a button front shirt.

I might make another B5926 jacket - the style works. I want a vest, but am thinking of knitting the "Sexy Vesty" by Canary Knits.

Lots of cute versions online...but how long would it take me to knit it??

The shirt is B5678, view C. It's all cut out and ready to sew. I want to go sew the body of the top together but my husband might walk out on me if I go back to the cave.

This is a result of lost mojo for the entire month of September! :)

I've barely been swayed by seeing other people's reviews go up. I've being going right along with my sewing plan, getting things done.

Kimono Tee
White geometric lace knit from Fabric Mart (probably $1.99/yd)
Size Large with faux swayback adjustment
No seams added during cutting, constructed on serger
Used FOE on the neckline (Elastic by the Yard has the best FOE with the best pricing and the best customer service. 1 yard of FOE at JoAnn is like $4. EBTY has FOE for $.30/yd. Seriously. And every color you could imagine.
*I used to make and sell baby headbands and that's why I'm in the know!

(oops. Should have put my tag in the side seam)

Simplicity 2700 pants (again)
No pockets
Size 16 with 3/4" side seams, 5/8" inseams, 5/8" crotch seam, 2 1/4" blind hem
I sewed the waistband facing with 7/8" side seams (to make them slightly smaller and therefore fit better.
Facing serged instead of using bias binding.

Pretty proud with how these came out and how they fit. I think I need to reduce length of the entire front piece, instead of just at center front. I took a 3/4" wedge, tapering to nothing at the side seam. I should probably do 3/4" at CF and grade out to about 1/4" at the side seams. I have the urge to pull them up at the sides. And when I pinched a bit out, I liked the way they sat.

Butterick 5965
I coveted this pattern in a major way when it was released. Not sure it's for me.

Done in Poly Charmeuse in a floral print acquired waaaay back when I first started sewing. Before I knew slippery fabrics were of the devil. I starched the beejezus out of that stuff before cutting.
Size 14 (I should cut a 14 front and 12 back. The back is far too big.

I didn't muslin cause...I don't muslin unless I REALLY have to. So there. :)

The top is designed to sit at the natural waist. My natural waist is 0.125 mm under my boobs. Meh. Husband and daughter liked it though.  

I was going to put this off until I practiced more on slippery fabric, but Gail of Today's Agenda hosted a "Fearless October" challenge where we made a garment with a "feared" fabric. More on that on October 31st! come back !! :)

(before my pants were all done)

Hopefully I'll get my other pieces done before October is out and can post a whole collage of ME wearing my mini wardrobe capsule!!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Sewing Funnies and Knitting Genius

Okay, I have a long way to go to knitting genius...but hey, a girl can dream.

Right now, I'm enamored with sock making. I realized, with both pair of socks I made, that it took about 3 weeks for sock #1 and 1 week for sock #2. So does this mean I should be able to pump out a pair of socks in 2 weeks? I wish. I'm sure this is because I have slight obsessive personality and get so eager about getting the second sock done that I get tunnel vision.

I am aiming to have this pair completed in about 3 weeks so I can try to knit a couple pair for Christmas gifts.

This yarn? SWOON!!!! It comes off the needles like butter, doesn't split at all, and the stitch definition is ahhhh-mazing. And it's BLUE! Blue is my favorite color, ever. I have named this project "chausettes bleus" on Ravelry. French for 'blue socks' :)

I also have $77 worth of fabric (nearly 20 yards) in my Fabricmart cart. They have free shipping on a $75 order and some good stuff in the $1.99 section. But I probably won't buy it. There's something therapeutic about loading up the cart with fabric...even if I don't check out. I also got an email about Hancock's Spot the Bolt sale...with 15% off coupon (thru Sunday), all STB fabrics are $3.38/yd or less. As long as I stay in my house, I am safe.

My funny story of the day...

I have really grabbed on to the idea of sewing in bits - 20 minutes goes a long way towards project completion and is often easier to "get" than  hours of uninterrupted sewing time.

This morning, I went down to the cave and pulled out the fabric for my next pair of pants. I went to iron it and was surprised that I had chosen such a short length of fabric for pants. "Hmmm...interesting".

So I ironed it. And then I kept staring at it and then..."OH!!! I have it folded the wrong way!!!" I had serged the cut ends to wash it and had it folded cut end -to- cut end, not selvedge to selvedge. Ahhhh. Crisis averted.

I laid it out on the cutting table and stared at it. And kept staring at it. and then..."OH!!! I have it right side out!!!"

ahhhhhh. One of those days! :)

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Knitting Finished Item: Silky Soft Socks

Here are my daughter's socks on my big wide feet. I will definitely have to use more stitches when I knit my foot portion...these were snug. The pattern uses size 2 needles with 64 stitches. However, after the gusset you're decreasing (from 82 sts I think?) so I think I'll just decrease to 72 when I get to the foot portion. The cuff felt fine on my leg.

I also wish I had some 1 1/2 needles to do the ribbing so that it fits a little more snugly.


I was going to block them...but she snatched them up last night and wore them to bed :) I did a really good job, imo, matching the stripes...considering I forgot to set them up before hand. The second sock is MUCH nicer than the first.

Ravelry Notes

Also, I scored these at the Goodwill yesterday:

I'm not much into vintage things...but it's kind of cool! I wish I could place the era...55 cents which,a set of aluminum double pointed needles currently run about $ they are kind of old.

I also lucked up on some Sterlite bins for $1!!! There were only 3 but I could use 4 more to finish out my yarn cabinet (which got a bit cleaned up last night)

*Bulky weight yarn; knitting notions; crochet hooks; the had-to-have-but-only-used-once ball winder
*Worsted & DK scraps that are nicer than craft store yarn; sock yarn; worsted weight yarn
*Simply Soft; Red Heart; Bernat Super Saver
*Other yarn scraps, the giant underused skeins of Pound of Love; grocery bag of Sugar 'n Cream; box of crochet UFOs

Up next - fingerless gloves for my daughter and socks for MEEEEEEE!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Finished: McCalls 6614 and a Peek Into My Mess

First up, my Dougie's sweatshirt.

This is McCall's 6614, View B. They claim this pattern is unisex. Either you're a shapely boy or a boxy girl? I dunno how it can be for both.

The pattern is just okay...I wouldn't make it for myself, I'd find a more feminine style...but I'm already shaped like a box. A medium-large sized box. She's tiny...she can wear a box. :)

She has a pretty short torso, this comes well past her waist, yet I needed to add 2 full inches to the sleeve length and they are absolutely perfect now.

Sewing fleece was WEIRD. It will not go on my list of favorite things to do. I ended up using a size 12 universal needle with a very narrow zigzag which worked well. I pressed on a warm setting with my press cloth and serged all interior seams except the princess seams.

She could've used a little more width across the shoulders in back
The bands came out pretty nice. I love the clean look of it and won't be afraid to do neck bindings on knits anymore!
She wore it to school - excitedly - so I must've done good!
And then...there's THIS foolishness:

The view I saw when I entered the room this morning
(the old fridge and dryer are SUPPOSED to be making an exit. I need that corner!)

90% of my yarn stash that my daughter catalogued for me. I need to get rid of some of this!

What was to be the "in progress" shelf. I bought a bunch of dollar store baskets because you can easily store the fabric, pattern, and notions...but I have like 9 things cut and they're all over the place!

Calm amongst the storm. My pattern/fabric/notions cabinet is happy. Except oh boy does my stash overfloweth (from my pov! I know there's lots of sewers who have 10 times this amount!)

Haphazardly stored knitting/crochet stuff. Bibs and burp cloths that need gifting

What in the sam hell?! Again, stuff I need to get rid of. Those are boxes of tutus, wings, etc. The blue cart is full of what flowers and elastic (headband supplies) that I have left. That bottom drawer is overflowing with ribbon. Oy!
The rack is for my Sunday ironing. Hubby does the laundry, I usually (lol!) iron his shirts. I never iron my shirts.

Pure and utter randomness. I have too many things going on in here and need to clean, organize and refocus. The water jug :-) is because we have hard water and who wants to clean mineral build up from the iron? pfft. Distilled it is.  One gallon, still going strong since July.
So yeah, it's pretty bad that I offered to pay MJ to help me. It's real out here.


Saturday, October 19, 2013

FINISHED: Simplicity 2700

Pattern Description: 

Misses & Miss Petite Pants: Amazing Fit Collection

I would add - has tab waist and flared legs

Pattern Sizing:

14-22, slim, average and curvy. I cut a 16 average

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


Were the instructions easy to follow?

The fitting instructions are not helpful. This is definitely a muslin-making pattern. The sewing instructions are good but I like the fly zip instructions from my Butterick 5908 pattern much better. I also prefer to sew the side seams before sewing the crotch seam.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?

They're great for work pants. The flared leg is a little wider than I'd probably normally buy in RTW but as long as the thighs are just grazing, it's a modern look.

I hate the 1" seams. I think it's a lot of excess fabric. I wish there were instructions on how to turn a good waistband, it takes A TON of patience to make sure you have it nice and square.

Next time I'll follow THESE directions from Notes From a Mad Housewife. Her corners are pretty sharp.

Fabric Used:

A polyester/wool blend from Fabric Mart, $2.40/yd

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:

I'd love to give credit where credit is due, but I can't remember which blog I read the tip on! If it's you...thanks!

My hips are about 43" so last time I cut a size 18 (finished hips 45"). I had to do so much to get them somewhat fitted how I'd like. The tip was to go down a size (I mean, you have FOUR inches of seam allowances at the side seams and cutting a smaller size will save you some fabric and hassle). So I cut a size 16 avg (finished hip of 43"). I sewed the inseam at 5/8", the side seams at 3/4" and the crotch seam at 5/8". 

I left off the bias tape on the waistband facing and also sewed the pockets shut. I don't like those slash pockets I've discovered. Next time I'll cut the front as one and leave off the pockets. (I'd like to try the Thurlow front pockets).

I reduced the center front length by 1.5". Yes. lol. I did a wedge that tapered to nothing at the side seam, the overlap was 3/4". I have a very, very short front crotch length.

I also added 1" to the length (and I'm ONLY 5'5"). Last time I had barely 5/8" to hem.

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

I will be making these for sure. I think they'll be my TNT. I **LOVE** these.

If you are confident enough to IGNORE their fitting directions and willing to work through a muslin or two, you should try it!


I will be making another pair for my "black" mini capsule and am thinking I have to make them in red, with belt carriers.

Now, I am making a face and my CB seam isn't perfect. Why you ask? These pants were a labor of love. I muslined them in August and then I got sick and didn't sew anything the entire month of September. I realized I tossed the muslin. I THREW THEM AWAY. So I ended up basting and unpicking seams 3 or 4 times because I couldn't remember the details. Never do this. Okay?

Then, I accidentally cut off my fly! YES! lol!! I had about 3/8" of fabric on the pants front and was able to cut a new fly and sew it in place. Then today, while I was working on finishing them up, I realized that I had serged the back leg when finishing the seams. I pulled out my seam ripper and got going on that section. Well...I ripped a big ole hole in the pants. Like 3" long. 

The top of the cut was near the seam line but the bottom was 1" away from the seam line. I nearly cried. I went ahead and haphazardly finished the pants. I didn't understitch the waistband. I didn't add the bias tape, I just wanted to get them "done" so I could take pics and tell of my mistake. After seeing the pics I was in awe of the fit and in love with the pants and well...the hole isn't horribly noticeable from the front or back so for now, it is fused together with black fusible. I just love the fabric too much to toss them


I had these lines on my butt last time too. I think it's a dart issue, we'll see. It doesn't bother me enough to work too hard to try to fix it. LOL!

I'll add hook & eyes when I'm less tired.

She caught me doing something weird. 

Stupid hole.

I put my review first because I'm exhausted. I can't even tell this story again. Also, it just took me like 20 minutes to post my review. My pics are being weird and I accidentally closed Safari mid update and yeah...I think I'm done sewing for today. And I REALLY wanted to start Butterick 5678 but a sista is tired, y'all. 

Friday, October 18, 2013

Friday Funday!

It's FRIIIIIIDAY! It's a cool, crisp day in Minneapolis and work is dead quiet.
I've decided to clean my office. It's rough in here.
I've also decided that I'm not buying fabric. I'm not. I'm not. I don't care what amazing knits FM puts on sale!

Dang it. I caved. In the middle of writing this I caved. I couldn't stop thinking about that ivory/black polka dot and at $3/yd! (sidenote: this is why I can never pay $12.99 for something at Hancock!). I only added 4 yards of fabric to the stash (2 yds black ponte, 1 yd of the polka dot and 1 yd of a colorful print that will work well with my brown/neutral capsule) and 4 yards of pongee for lining (claret and navy).

At any rate, I got lots of work done on my newest S2700 pants but I'm at a little conundrum...I need to take out about 1/2" from the hips but don't want to take anything away from the waist and thighs. But I've never been successful getting a smooth transition. It's only a tiny amount so maybe I can do it...but I've basted twice and I hate unpicking and resewing :/ But they just slightly bag at the hip. Booo.

I also have this issue that I am unsure about...could it be resolved when I take in the side seams a bit? Do my darts need to be shorter? Is it just a pressing issue?

Also, my butt looks pretty darn good in these pants...

My purple zipper:
They won't have purple bias tape, it'll be black. It wasn't on sale...and who needs to pay full price for bias tape? It will be on sale again in the near future I'm sure.

The beauty of pressing

My Hancock haul:

3 new Butterick patterns (at $1 each)
Several cards of buttons
(which were 30% off and I'm kicking myself because they were JUST 50% off)
Serger thread ($1.99!)
Some crazy turquoise/grey/black fleece for a sweatshirt for Dougie
 I measured her last night and the sleeve is like 2" too short. Oy!

 Tonight I'm on driving duty for teenaged boys again but I will finish my pants and get her shirt cut out. The sweatshirt should sew up pretty dang fast and I can do that and start my B5678 shirt tomorrow. Oooh, finishing my shirt will be cutting it close for Sunday. We shall see!!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

November Burdastyle

I bought an issue of BS magazine earlier this year because I HAD to have the cardigan pattern and the moto jeans.

And then I opened it.

And then I saw the pattern sheets.

And then I folded the sheets and never opened the magazine again. I don't even know where it is since we moved!!

The November issue previews are up. This jacket is FREAKING AMAZING!!!!! I would probably make it in grey/black too. OMG or what about a winter white ponte!?!


I hope this is released as an individual downloadable pattern. I will pay $5.40 for this even though I can get the entire magazine for a little more than twice that.


Magnificently less exciting:


And what on earth is happening with her skirt?!:


Anyway, my pants are coming along. I did manage to fix my zipper - yay! This morning I sewed on the front waistband. I'll try to get through a little more tonight and in the morning...and finish up this weekend.

I have come to find the most time consuming part of pants is the waist treatment.

Interface (okay, I should do this when I cut the fabric out!)
Sew waistband
Add bias tape to facings (I like this better than simply serging it)
Sew facings
Do all the trimming/neatening up
Stitch in the ditch
Buttonholes/hook & eye/etc


My pants pattern from Butterick 5908 has the easiest (for me) instructions for installing the fly zipper. It looks SO amazing and very ready to wear. I think that's my favorite part of the pants...especially with a pop of color at the zipper. This pair has a purple zipper - it's like a party in your pants, I'm telling ya! LOL!

Hopefully by Sunday you'll be seeing finished pants and a new shirt!