Friday, November 29, 2013

Back to the Cave!

I am getting a divorce.


Last night, my husband assured me there is no evidence of rodents in the sewing cave - BUT - that there was evidence when we first moved and that the old dryer that was being stored in the corner had a dead mouse underneath

I was HORRIFIED! How can you keep this from meeeeeee?!!? So he's moving the old fridge and dryer out and I will still make him set traps over in that (kind of scary) corner. Deepest sigh, ever.

However, I have not even started sewing my jacket for my November garment. Boooo. I just concluded that muslining isn't for me. I have to have the right circumstances...because it just makes my interest drop in the garment. I sew for fun and that is no fun! I'm going to push myself to do it because I really like that jacket and I like the fabric I chose for it. I also scored 3 "new"* pair of jeans today and think it'll be cute to wear to work with jeans.

*"new" as in my 15 year old has put me up on thrift shopping. Today the entire store was 20% off. I got a duplicate (EXACT DUPLICATE) of a pair of pants that I loved and that had died. I planned on taking them apart to use as a pattern and I found them again. Woohoo! Although...the new pair is a size larger than the old pair (sad face). I also got a pair of DKNY jeans that make my butt look good and a pair of Tommy Hilfiger jeans. All 3 for $15.38 (we don't have sales tax on clothing here which also means fabric(!). A reason to love the tundra...)

My sewing goal for December?

To be the unselfish seamstress. I have several gift items I want to make. I can't say specifically on two of them because my friend reads the blog (HA! I see you!!) but gifts for my 2 friends for sure.

This apron for my mom:
M5720, the ruffled version with the top added (to make it a full apron)

These pj bottoms for my dad:

M4244 (which for some reason has a finished inseam of like 30.5")

This jacket for my daughter:

Lekala 4011 in thee brightest green sweatshirt fleece ever.

And this sweatshirt for the boy, if I can find the fabric I have in mind. I'll have to go to SR Harris to have any hope, I believe. If I can't find it, I'll be making him pj pants too :)

And other sewing plans, not for Christmas gifts:

M6614 again for my daughter and a matching sweatshirt for baby K using M6393

That seems like a lot of sewing but...the apron and the pj pants are each a one day project. The other gifts I'd say a weekend. And then for the kids' sweatshirts, I have longer than I have for the things I'm I think I'll be okay.

Today I cut them all (rough cuts) and tomorrow will do the bulk -and hopefully all- of the tracing. 

(I want that Lekala sweatshirt for myself too!!!!!!)

I did a little Black Friday fabric for some of the above gifts, got 2 yards of navy moleskin for something for myself and scored an 8 yard bolt lightweight fusible Pellon interfacing on for $2.99 with FREE shipping! I got two. I should be set for awhile. I should've bought more!!! :)

Edited to add my ($65) Black Friday haul

3 yards of fleece, 1 1/2 yd of knit, 7 yards of broadcloth, 2 1/2 yards of quilting cotton, 3 bolts of lightweight fusible, 3 patterns, 5 colorful denim zippers, 4 buttons, 4 spools of thread, 2 packs of bias tape, a fat quarter, a lace remnant, and 2 yards of moleskin. Not bad at all.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

On Hold

We moved this summer into a large and charming 1960's single family home. We're renters...I'm sort of transient by nature and only had one blip where I considered purchasing a home and luckily got smacked straight ( I worked at a mortgage company at the time and the president himself told me "don't even think about it").

Anyway, we were having a conversation a couple of months ago about 'once winter hits' as we're in the tundra and winter can be cold, snowy and long. Really, really long. Like it's not uncommon for "winter" weather to carry from October - May and November - April is almost a guarantee. At the time, I realized with horror, we might get mice when it's cold!!!! He looked away. I knew what THAT meant. I've lived in old houses before and I am AFRAID of mice. AFRAID!

This morning I was looking all over for my slippers and realized I must have left them in the cave. I went down to get them and laid out my next project for cutting. As I was coming upstairs I noticed this:

It definitely wasn't that way the night before when I was down there AND this shoe was "away" from the other one.

So little does the husband know, he will be relocating the table to the living room (that is currently unfurnished) until I am sure there are no critters. I'm also crazy worried about the yarn stash. Now I know I have to be sure to keep that cabinet closed. OMG and all the random boxes with craft stuff in them.

I mean, if I were down there and SAW a mouse -- I would freak the *bleep* out! And be totally creeped out.

So yeah...I went upstairs and started knitting. I can take no chances. NONE!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

The Scatterbrained Sewer

Maybe THAT should be the name of my blog! :)

I have learned that I am one where making a muslin makes me feel meh about making the garment. It zaps me. But I want that jacket, badly.

Today I pretreated my fabric and hope to cut it out tomorrow. This way I should get it done, at the latest, Thanksgiving weekend.

I spent this morning cleaning up the cave as it had gotten scary in there. I have a bucket of "UFOs" - things in various state of completion, for various reasons. Some I just didn't like it once it got going, some don't fit properly --from when I just cut "my" size and sewed. Now, even though I don't muslin, I do extensive flat pattern measurements AND I tissue fit --, etc. I have other quasi-UFOs that I chose to clean up today.

The quasi-UFOs are those that are pretty much done - and that I've worn(!) - but need some finishing work. There is one sleeveless knit top that needs hemming (I tucked it in when I wore it) and needs the armholes finished. I have another that needs neck and armhole bands and hemming (haven't worn it), I have a third that needs armholes finished (wear it at least once per week). I need to fix my incredibly growing pants get the picture.

I also found this cool cottony knit in the remnant bin at Hancock for $2 and cut what is intended to be loungewear version of the Kimono tee. To "match" (they don't quite match in color) I am making KwikSew 3115 yoga pants.

I have never purchased a KS pattern because they're expensive! On sale they are typical $6-$8 and the envelope styling is so outdated, none have ever appealed to me. But this pattern has reviews dating back to 2003 on PR and seem to be pretty popular and well, I'd rather have a pattern than try to copy my current favorite yoga pants. I will compare the measurements though.

Now, if you're here you've probably been doing this longer than I have and know that McCall just bought KwikSew and lots of people are worried about pattern quality declining. Well, I hope not. Holy buckets this pattern paper!!!! It is real paper (said as I ripped a hole right through the middle of the skirt of a NL pattern I was tracing)! It is bright white with colored lines for the size options and I've heard that the instructions are superb. I probably can't say much about this pattern as it's yoga pants (sew the inseams, sew the out seams, attach the waistband...right?) I'll try to look at them through the "beginning sewer" eye. But the paper itself makes me want to buy MORE KwikSew patterns (they're $6.99 at Hancock this week).

This pic is fuzzy but you get the idea.

FYI - I buy my tracing paper from Dick Blick's the art supply store. It's a 50 yard roll, 24" wide and I think I paid like $16.

Also, I "broke" the serger today. Not really...but the left needle hit a pin I didn't realize was there and snapped the needle. You hear lots of people complaining about changing serger thread. Pfft. I can change the thread on my 1034D in about 3 minutes, tops. But the needles?! OY VEY!!!! I will change thread 10 times as long as you don't make me change the needles! So all of these bands will be applied tomorrow, hopefully.

I traced and cut view D of NewLook 6123

I chose the size 16 based on the finished garment measurements printed on the back of my envelope:

Size 16: 41 1/2" bust and 45 1/2" hip for finished measurements

Then, as I am tracing the skirt, I see THIS for the finished hip measurement
Notice: There is no information for size 18 on the pattern envelope.

Then I tell myself okay, it says 3 1/2" of ease so a size 16 (body measurement of 40" hip) must be 43 1/2. But I chose the 16 based on a 45 1/2" finished hip. Grrr. THEN I say to myself, I say, "Self, perhaps someone notified Simplicity of this error!" And I checked the website. I found this...
Size 16: 41 1/2" bust and NO finished measurement for the hip

What on earth is a sewer to do? I guess I will measure the flat pattern and this is why making a muslin will help. Deep, deep sigh. These pattern companies need to do better...

Speaking of, yesterday I mentioned that 5971 was a "must" have? Well...yeah...Butterick 5850 is Butterick 5971, with an extra view. Extra deep sigh.

In addition to picking up the KS yoga pants pattern and the $2 butterfly knit remnant, I picked up this University of Minnesota remnant for $.75! Score! I made another knitting project bag, lining the bag with white broadcloth. I love it :)

P.S. this is what I woke up to this morning:

Extra, extra, really deep sigh.

Friday, November 22, 2013

New Buttericks...Zzzzzz...

Okay they aren't all a snoozefest...but kind of blah, bleh, meh.

I always get a little annoyed when I realize they are just rehashing old patterns. And then someone pointed out how the Butterick See & Sew patterns are only $2.99 so it's a great way to snag some of the designs. And then I feel bad because we in the US are really spoiled with our $.99 and $1.99 pattern sales (and $1.40) so $2.99 might be a deal. But I get annoyed again when they're introducing a "new" pattern with an old one, and it's across pattern lines.

"New" Butterick 5977

Line Art

"Old" McCall's 6519
Line Art

Bonus with the dress and skirt!

"New" Butterick 5975
Line Art

"Old" McCall's 6711
Line Art

Bonus skirt and pants...and shirt! Which, why not include the shirt in the 'new' pattern? It's just the dress, shortened!

Ahhhh. Anyway, My picks of this release:

LOVE this jacket and want to try color-blocking camel body and black sleeves. What's up with the half colored collar?! 5994
Line Art

Love. 5971
Line Art

5998 has beautiful lines

Line Art

5995, I only like the jacket. Well and the skirt...but that skirt exists in 237 patterns already.
Line Art

5982 Love the shape...but I'd never wear a skirt that full anywhere...
Line Art

5976 - I sort of like this. But then I am like...hmmm...


Blah. 5973

WHY?! 5985
Line Art
And, what in the sam hell!?! 5986
Line Art

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Finished Item: New Look 6230

Quick and Dirty...posted from PR. No photos on me because dinner was chicken parmesan and pasta. Mmmm. I'm carb wasted! :)

I need to get my November garment done! I will be sewing and knitting for others come December. Oooh, I need to muslin New Look 6123 too!

The neckline is a bit wide on me, but it's cute on!

I am seriously loving the whole 'serge the neckband in place' thing.

Shows the print of the knit best

Pattern Description: 

Knit baseball shirt has feminine fit, can be made with banded round or V-neck & 3/4 or long sleeves. 

Pattern Sizing:

4-16, I cut a 14. finished garment bust 38" - my full bust is 39".

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


Were the instructions easy to follow?

Never pulled them out. 

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?

dislike: wide neck and center back seam.
like: cute and customizable pattern. Raglan sleeves = easier construction. FAST to sew.

I cut out the pattern which is 3 pieces - 4 with neckband (but I just measure the neckband and cut it out of the fashion fabric vs. cutting the paper pattern piece) and cut the fabric in under 30 minutes. Using my serger, I attached the raglan sleeves and sewed the side seams - maybe 15 minutes. Then I did the neckband and waistband. The SM was only used for hemming the sleeves.

I did think the length was just a bit short and would probably lengthen it slightly if making a version without a waistband.

Fabric Used:

Ponte double knit, both the snake print and black from FabricMart. 
The black was the "Sue's pick" and it is definitely not the thick, high quality ponte de roma that FM has available. It definitely has a higher poly content...

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:

I added a band to the bottom. I wanted a 2" band and then cut my band 2" wide (instead of 4). Oops. It's okay, it works.

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

Yes I would. I bought this pattern for my daughter but she doesn't like it made up. The neckline is "weird".  I'll keep it for myself!


I was ignoring the "luxe" sweatshirt trend and then I saw a couple cute ones that pushed me over the edge. Then, when FM had this "snake print" ponte, I bought one yard and was going to make a pencil skirt. I decided to make a sweatshirt instead. I am thinking I'm going to mix the leftover snake print, solid black and solid grey to make a mini skirt though. We'll see :)

Monday, November 18, 2013

Finished Item: Simplicity 2054

So as you know, it was a busy sewing weekend for me. Sunday morning I was up by 7 and the house was silent. I contemplated just hanging in bed but...nope. I contemplated working on my November garment of the month but...nope. :) I've been focused on a work wardrobe and hadn't sewn anything fun. I wanted to sew a few garments for my casual wardrobe.

I bought this knit fabric from SR Harris back in April. Almost all of their knits are $4.50/yd. A wool knit or designer knit for example, might be more. But I tend to buy at least one 2-yard cut of knit when I go just because that is a good price!

I've had a ton of ideas on what to use it for but never felt committed - you guys know what I'm talking about - there wasn't a project that I *knew* belonged to this fabric. And then I found it!
After extensive reviews on the pattern, I knew that this knit belonged to Simplicity 2054, a Cynthia Rowley pattern.

The pattern is very straight forward - front and back both cut on the fold plus the sleeves and neck binding. For once, the pattern envelope is pretty accurate on the finished product. There are no darts but there is a nice bit of shaping through the body. I think using a nice, stable double knit ups your mileage here.

I then hemmed and hawed over how to layout the pattern since there were stripes. Which stripes go over the bust? Which over the hip? Where should I put them?!?! In the end, I decided on a wide-to-narrow layout. 

Then it was, do I do the sleeve cut outs or not? What the heck...let's go for it!!

Edited to add: "I get it from my mama"! My mom, at 56, has the shapeliest most golden brown toned legs ever. So I thank her!! 

Excerpted from my review on PR:

*I cut a 14. Finished measurements 37.5/37.5/45. My measurements are 39.5/34/43.

*Dislikes? There are two issues I have and both are very easily fixed.

1) there is a TON of ease at the waist. The Simplicity size 14 measurements are 36/28/38 so there is wearing and design ease of 1.5" at the bust and 7" at the hip and 9.5" (!!!) at the waist.

2) the upper part of the sleeve through the elbow is very fitted, then it just continues to the wrist as opposed to narrowing. I will have to take the wrist in a bit...there's 2" of extra fabric there.

Likes? This dress is pretty much perfect other than those 2 small things. I LOVE the fit. It flatters the figure just right and you can really change the feel of it quite easily.

*I added an inch above the elbow to the sleeve, I should've added at the end too. I have a 5/8" hem allowance and it's maybe bracelet length.

*There is a pattern piece for the binding at the neckline but I didn't cut it's a rectangle that measures 2" x 21" (for the size 14). I just cut a rectangle from my fabric.

*I was nervous about the finished garment measurements compared to mine so I used 3/8" SA (5/8" at the shoulders) giving myself an extra inch. However, I didn't need this extra at the waistline. I ended up taking it in through the waist, removing an inch total.

*I fully intended to do a swayback adjustment but I forgot. I needed it too :/

*Another thing to note, I did not need to do a narrow shoulder adjustment on this one.

The photo on the left shows the full length before hemming. i didn't like it quite that long and then I decided to end at the white area because that's where the sleeves ended. When I pinned it up, I liked  the shorter version and decided to go that route. And then...I proceeded to chop off nearly the entire black part - leaving an inch behind. After turning up my hem, I had just taken 3" from the length. oops!! :) I like the mini though! A lot!

It also looks cute layered over leggings:

And I'm VERY proud of the binding. I attached it with the serger!!

I know this is an old pattern but (hopefully), I'm bringing it back. I can see lots of my fellow sewers turning out amazing versions of it!


In knitting news...I finished the sock! My first time doing cables. It doesn't scare me now! :)

Sunday, November 17, 2013

A Sewing Filled Weekend! Finished Items: M6844 & Kimono Tee

This will be super fast as I've made both of these patterns a few times now!

I did a ton of sewing this weekend. Tons. I put the Vogue pattern aside temporarily; I'm just unsure what size to cut. And who has spare knits around for muslins? Meh. I'm going to trace the pattern pieces and assemble the paper pattern. Then I'm going to take flat measurements. I'm going to cut a 16 or an 18 but I'm just unsure. And with Vogue's now costing $4.99 on sale, tracing it is.

So, I have two other items to blog but don't want to overload this post and they both require full discussion! Plus one I'm unsure about the fabric I chose for one so I have to work up the nerve to do the final touches it. L inspired me with her last post about her jeans so I'm thinking I'll go for it!

Here is version #3 of the McCall's 6844 cardigan. I think this is it for now. I think ;-)

I used a slate gray slinky knit from Fabric Mart. I cut a medium and could have cut a small because this knit is so stretchy and well...slinky. I ended up taking in a bunch at the shoulder seam and a little extra at the side seam.

I constructed it COMPLETELY on my serger save for the hems. I was quite proud of myself!! I even put the sleeves in on the serger! I didn't cut any chunks of fabric off and I didn't hurt myself. SCORE.

(Must start adjusting for that swayback! Grr)

Not meant for walking. Only to the car, to the venue, back to the car. No extraneous walking! :)

Next up was the Kimono Tee - again - in the cool striped knit I got from Hancock. It took about 90 minutes from pulling the pattern out, ironing it, lining up the fabric, cutting, serging, bindings and hem. I wore it out yesterday and got a compliment at the restaurant! She was intrigued because it was "so different"! Yessss! :)

The colors are so vibrant! I hope it stays that way. Ahhhh.

Stripes - MATCHED.

Also, on Friday I was insanely jealous of the US edition of Burda Style being available to everyone but me it seemed. I called all of the JoAnn's, Michael's and Barnes & Noble stores in my immediate area. No luck. I found an eBay listing that was ending today and was planning on buying.

I went to Hancock on Saturday to buy thread to hem my cardigan and...YES! They had it!

Aaaaand finally, JoAnn had 60% off notions today. I didn't go too crazy but got a much needed ham. 

All for $17!!!