Monday, March 31, 2014

A Liebster!!! For ME!!!!

I have been nominated  for a Liebster Blog Award by Annette at Mrs. Toad Sews!!! Annette is new to blogging but not new to sewing. She is participating in Goodbye Valentino's RTW fast for 2014.

In case you don't know what the Liebster Blog Award is; It is an award given by a small blogger to another small blogger. Its purpose is to raise awareness of blogs with fewer than 200 followers.

So this award is giving to new bloggers and the rules are as follows:

Thank the person who gave you the award, linking back to that person’s blog

Copy and paste the Liebster award to your own profile

Answer the 5 question your nominator asked

Pick 5 blogs who you feel deserve to be noticed (they have to have under 200 followers)

Ask them 5 questions

Let your nominees know they have been chosen by leaving a comment on their blog

If you follow my blog or follow me on Pattern Review, you might wonder if I am really as over-excited about sewing as I appear to be. The answer is a resounding YES!!!! So when I saw Annette's comment on my blog I was really overwhelmed and happy and excited and all that!

So, here goes:

How did you get into sewing?
I wish I had more of a Cinderella tale regarding my foray into sewing. :) 

I have always been crafty. I used to sew Barbie clothes, by hand, from scraps of fabric and I could always be found putting something together. In high school I was in auto shop and wood shop and other hands-on, mechanically inclined classes. 

At some point, I decided to learn to crochet and got really good at it, really quickly. That was my introduction into the craft 'blogosphere'. So after seeing cute little sewn things, I decided I should get a sewing machine (really, I wanted an embroidery machine). That eventually (of course!) led me to realize that people sew their own clothes(!!!!?). I was intrigued and fascinated.

So, last January I bought a sewing machine. And as they say...the rest is history!

What type(s) of sewing do you enjoy?
Garment sewing. I have sewn some home dec things; curtains for my family room (with $1/yd fabric!), aprons as gifts. But I am enamored with garment sewing!!

What do you do when you aren't sewing or blogging?
When I am not sewing or blogging I am working full time (as a chemist with a Forensic Engineering firm) and being super-mom and stuff :)

I have two teens at home so life can be crazy, crazy busy. But I have always been pretty good about taking time for myself, guilt-free. 

I have recently picked up knitting, so I knit as well. And I read - a lot. I love to read!

Do your real life friends know about your blog?
Just one, maybe two. Not long ago, there was a blog post (can't remember who's it was!) asking this question. And a good point that came up was, to people who don't sew, sewing blogs can come off as narcissistic. My husband has even "accused" me of making/posting things just for the accolades. But when you sew, you realize that isn't why you do it. Which leads to...

Why do you blog?
I blog because I LOVE being a part of the sewing community! I don't know anyone in real life who is a garment sewer. My mom has always known how to sew but using patterns and making garments is new to her. So she's slowly coming into that aspect.

Never having had sewing lessons of any kind, I learned and continue to learn, so much from the online sewing community. I hope that by blogging I am "doing my part" so to speak and making a contribution.

I enjoy sharing what I make and I love seeing what other people make; But I also I blog because I hope that I can help someone else. If ONE person feels like something I showed or talked about helped them, I am giddy! GIDDY!!!!

And my nominees!! All chosen because I love reading their blogs (I have a list of 127 blogs that I follow!). I based the number of followers on what was on their site (vs bloglovin' followers).
My questions:

How did you start sewing?
What do you enjoy most about blogging?
Stash Containment: Do you (fabric) stash and if so, how is it contained?
Are you a planner or do you sew whatever strikes your fancy?
Are you a "selfish seamstress" or do you sew for others?

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Fitted Blouse Contest Entry: B5678

So you know that in the planning of this I decided I need not reinvent the wheel. I had made this before and only needed to tweak it to get it good enough for contest entry.

What is REALLY amazing about this is that I used this same pattern for LAST years entry (after only sewing for 3 months) and am quite proud of my work that I submitted today. I can see development in my sewing and it makes me so happy!!!

With that said, I still entered the "beginner" contest and thank goodness they broke it out by skill level! There are some seriously professional tops posted! I think that I am still, very squarely in the Advanced Beginner category and felt the beginner section is where I belonged. I got backed up on the contest discussion thread too! :)

On with it!

I detailed the few fitting adjustments that I made in this post. "All" that was left was to cut and sew it! :)  Because it is a contest entry, I attempted to write a very thorough review. So, I'll just insert a boatload of pics below :)

My wonky left side. My shoulder slopes, my hip is lower and LOOK! My hair is partial to the left side too!!

Like it tucked in!

I have pointy collar points!

My stripes MATCH!

Top stitching the cuffs proved to be a lesson in PATIENCE.

Pattern Description:
Semi-fitted shirt has shoulder princess seams and stitched hems. B: button tab belt carriers. C: roll up option with button tab on sleeve. A/B, C, D cup sizes.

Pattern Sizing:
6-14 and 14-20; with A/B, C, D cup sizing. I cut a 14D and graded to a 16 through the waist and hip.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
I didn't sew a straight view from the envelope. I guess view A with a collar or view C with no sleeve tabs :)

Yes it did.

Were the instructions easy to follow?
Yes. There are a LOT of elements to sewing this shirt and I think the instructions did a good job walking you through.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
Funnily, I had a short list of dislikes from the last time I made this shirt. As I look at them (written down), I don't feel the same way now!

-Continuous lap: I would like to try a tower placket, but I don't hate it. It sewed in no problem this time.
-Folded button band: I do like a separate piece but I was making the folding unnecessarily complicated before.
-Length: I like the finished length. It can be left out or tucked in (and stay tucked).

Other likes; LOVE the curved hem and the close fit.

Fabric Used:
Shirting from Hancock fabrics. It's been in the stash for awhile. I assume it's a poly/cotton mix as it came out the dryer with virtually no wrinkles.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
Based on my prior wearable muslins; I decided I needed to do a narrow shoulder adjustment of 1/2", lower the bust point of the princess curve 1" (Thanks L! ) and took about 1/4" out of the sleeve cap height.

I also sewed the princess seams with 1/2" seams (vs 5/8") after reading Mary's (from Idle Fancy) post Here. It really made a difference in ease of sewing the seams. It was "painless"!

I did not clip the princess seams.
I did not topstitch the seams.
I used a contrasting interior collar stand and cuffs.
I serged all the interior seams.
I interfaced the buttonhole side of the button band because it just seemed sort of flimsy even with several layers of fabric. I think my buttonholes came out really well due to this decision!
I spaced my buttons 3" apart while the guide from the pattern had them spaced 3.5" apart.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
I think this pattern is on its way to being a TNT (still need a swayback adjustment). I would recommend it but even me, the anti-muslin lady says, make a muslin!!

I am really, really proud of my work on this top! I swear I unpicked and restitched the topstitching on the cuffs like 6 times! This forced me to learn to use my walking foot - yay!  I had to unpick serger stitches after sewing AND serging my sleeve inside out (thankfully I had a full 3/8" sa for re-sewing).  And I worked REALLY hard to ensure there was no gaping at the bust!

Walking foot magic:

I've done okay with matching stripes but this required no extra effort!! I pinned the top, middle and end of the piece and bam. MATCHING STRIPES!!!!!!!!

Good luck to anyone else who entered!

Saturday, March 29, 2014


The contest ends Monday! I've spent probably 50% of the time sewing...unpicking. I have to make myself learn to use my walking foot. Shhhhh. 

I cannot topstitch my cuffs. I keep getting near the end and having a bubble of fabric. So today I am going to break out the walking foot. 

Loving the shirt so far! Need to finish up the other sleeve, set it (last night I sewed AND serged it inside out!). Then do hemming and buttons/buttonholes. 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

New Vogues!

In a funk. Mojo --> over there. So everyone needs to get to blogging so I can peruse the interwebs and read happy sewing stories!!! I might go pet my stash or something.

In the meantime I may as well give my +/- over the latest Vogue release.

For me; there is no fanfare. It's like 97.235% dresses. Dresses are awesome. I love dresses. I can't wear dresses day to day and probably won't reach for one on the weekend til May -- although I was lamenting over the snow we got last year, Mother's Day weekend, that foiled my plans to wear a pretty floral rayon challis maxi dress -- so maybe June. 

What I will likely buy:
Love A & B (can't do those sleeves on C)

*maybe* 9014. 
Love the collar and back buttons. Maybe when there is a $3.99 sale. 

What I like but likely won't buy:
My narrow shoulders would love this, unsure about the bosom though. 

Isn't that beautiful??!


Just gorgeous. But above my current "pay grade" ;)

LOOK AT THAT SEAMING!!!! If you're an A/B cup... No way are DDs fitting comfortably. 

Yes, it probably is the fabric. Still. Swooooon. 

This just isn't special enough to make me pay $5 (spoiled Americans). And I think that all sizes A-J in one envelope is too much of a good thing. That sounds kind of nightmarish actually. 

Those shorts look hideous on the tiny, thin, tall model. Why is she wearing her grandpa's shorts?

Whoda thunk there was a high waist skirt hiding under there, O_o. Nice Vogue. 

No. Just, No:

A sack with giant boob pockets, deep neck slit, "cold shoulders" and a deep back slit. Too. Many. Things. At least just market it as beach wear or something and not a dress.

800 yards of peplum...

Vogue is on sale at Hancock through 4/1. My Hancock is awesome. I bet I can score 9006 during this sale. 

**oooh there were some vintage patterns and a lingerie pattern released too. If you're into that sort of thing!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Fear or Intelligence

I was all ready to get a quick muslin of vogue 8772. I'd taken flat pattern measurements, I'd researched an FBA with both horizontal and vertical darts...I was ready. And then...

Did I get scared or smart??

I said to myself: Self, you have done most of the work on Butterick 5678. You have a completed version right there in the closet. You know what needs to be changed...

And then I said to my other self: And who the heck wants to try and do an FBA on a top with horizontal AND vertical darts?! 

And my self said to my other self: But weren't you too chicken to try to fix the princess seam curve on B5678??!

And THEN, someone said to someone else (I lose track): But you got an easy peasy how-to on that (Thanks L!) and the B5678 has that nice D cup pattern piece...

So I pulled the grey B5678 out (I'm never making anything out of cotton poplin again) and put it on. And I have my daughter help me with tucks and what-not (she doesn't know that I'm grooming her for this job as fitting helper. She is already my photog when she's here). 

I realize that with a narrow shoulder adjustment, lowering of the princess seam, and a couple other minor details should put me in a good spot. I realize that otherwise, my work on that top was pretty for some frustrations that caused it to be a UFO for 5 ish now, NOW I am excited again! 

Helllooooooo mojo. 

BUT...I acknowledge I am increasingly "scared" to tackle certain things. No more beginners bravado where I fearlessly pursued any pattern or fabric. I am scared to touch those pretty J. Crew chiffons I picked up from FabricMart. I am apparently scared to tackle the bouclè and the Burda Style jacket. I am scared to venture too far into my fitting adjustments. I am scared to beef up my fabric choices (I *can't* buy silk).

Newbie confidence got me comfortable with sewing knits right away. Got me comfortable with pants right away. But I am currently terrified of outerwear, fitted jackets/blazers and still, the lined dress (I need to finish my NL dress. I think lining my M5523 skirt helped a ton though...). 

And fitting. I'm sure many a sewer has gone through the "it is time to hone fit" period. And I'm sure I'll get through it. But I'm scared!!!

So I had to ask myself (my regular self); was the decision to go back to B5678 out of fear (too scared to tackle something new) or intelligence (why reinvent the wheel?)...

***And maybe you're wondering if I have multiple personality disorder. :)

I pulled out a striped cotton blend shirting and washed it up (I was very happy to see that most of my fabric had been prewashed!! I only had a couple other things that could be added to the load). 

It was a close one. Here's what's left:

And the adjustments:

This was soooo easy!!

Narrowed the shoulders on the front and back side pieces. 

Tiny reduction in sleeve cap height a la Threads article. 

No time to sew tomorrow but I should have plenty of time to finish up before the end of the month. Hopefully I'll get the major seams sewn and do the more tedious work (collar, sleeves, etc) on the weekend. 

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Finished Item: M6614

Thank you everyone for the funny and encouraging comments on the lost mojo post! :)

I think I am missing mojo because it's "a delicate time" as my husband calls it and I feel like a cow. Maybe a calf...

And I'm "certain" nothing is going to look right and wah. Wah. Wah. I worked myself into a mojo-less frenzy. 

My daughter was harassing me for her sweatshirt but Friday night our furnace stopped working. It got down to 57 degrees on the upper level. I hate to imagine what the temp in the basement was. Since we rent, broken furnace = not. my. problem. The landlord called for a repair guy and by 9 ish we were toasty again. 

Saturday morning, she asked in her nicest, sweetest voice if I could make it "like, today", cause she really wanted to wear it. 

I reused M6614--which is a kinda sucky pattern unless you're a boy or a rail thin girl who likes the oversized shapelessness of it-- she is the latter. 

I randomized the print as much as possible! :)

This was my first hooded item and it was easy! I was all worked up over it for no good reason. 

I was all, well I'm not going to line the hood. Sheesh. And then...doh. Then you'd have to finish the front seam! Hahaha!

I was out of tie dye but I did have some thinner solid navy fleece -- score! (+100 points for stashing fabric!). 

Cut a small pattern with medium hood (we are a big headed people).
Added 2" to the sleeve length. 
Sewed 3/8" side seams (all others 5/8") so it would be a bit slouchier. 
Took a small (1/2"??) hem. 

So now, I'm on a roll. I still do not want to start up on any of my projects though. So I decide to make her tee. As a surprise. 

Now, this kid doesn't like surprises. She likes plans and order. But I figured, what the heck. 

Based on finished measurements, I cut a size 8 A/B cup from McCalls 6927 in this plaid cotton (/poly blend?). 

...all nicely serged. 

...all pressed and stitched. 

I just sewed it up! I have made awesome side slits and I am ready to just hem it and finish the neckline. I'd better try it on her for the hem length. 

I have no pics of it on her as I'd created a mini torture chamber! :-))

This shirt was WAAAYYY too tight across the upper back.

This pic really highlights how broad she is  across the back. 

"Mommmmmmmm!!! This shirt HURTS my armpits!"

The armscye was funky. In fact, that was my only reservation when I saw the pattern envelope; it looks odd on both models at the sleeve. 

I'll have to browse through some books I have on hand to figure out if adjusting for the back width will help alleviate painful armpits or if there's another adjustment that needs to be made. 

In the end, I had to rip out the CB seam while she was wearing it, to get her out. It was hilarious!

Hope to cut out all the pieces for my V8772 shirt today. Then I will have all week to construct it and next weekend too, before the contest ends on the 31st. 

Friday, March 21, 2014

Hellooooooo. Have You Seen My Sewing Mojo??

I don't know where it went! I was on a roll. On. A. Roll. And then...ZAP! It's gone. I broke it. I don't know how.

I haven't touched my machine since Monday night. That's just...wrong. On Tuesday, my daughter decided I needed to make her something. So down to the cave we went, where she took about 96 seconds to go through all 6 bins and 1 box of fabric to decide on which fabrics were suitable for her.

She wants a hooded sweatshirt from the leopard with black contrast (because there isn't enough for an entire sweatshirt). PJ capris in the turq/black chevron flannel. A bomber jacket in the plaid (I am stealing that back. She cannot have it. She just doesn't know it yet. I will try to find a suitable replacement!). Crew neck tees (thinking McCall's 6927 will work and since I'm in the D cup and she's in the A/B cup - no tracing! SCORE!) in the two cotton fabrics and a sweatshirt in the blue (which was MINE to make a Lekala sweatshirt pattern).

Also, she remembered the tie-dye fleece that I bought to make matching sweatshirts for her and my friend's little girl. So because I am lazy smart, I am reusing M6614. The adjustments are already done and I only needed to add the hood.

She wears this crazy sweatshirt all the time and the fleece is holding up surprisingly well!

So I cut out the sweatshirt while she told me the latest teen drama about how friend A told friend B something that she had no business telling and that's why no one likes her because she cannot keep her mouth shut for one minute! (hahahaha! Run-on sentence: on purpose)

I also cut out the pattern for my V8772 top for the fitted blouse contest but did nothing more on it.

I have my Burda Style Illusion jacket ready to cut but haven't.

I have my abandoned shorts.

I got inspired to join the Bargainista Fashionista contest on PR after seeing this EXPENSIVE skirt:

So I sought out fabric and found this:

Good, right?!?!?

But it is quilting cotton and it is $10.48 a yard and it is at
1) I don't mind using a quilting cotton; I'd line it and it wouldn't get worn a ton.
2) $10.48/yd is a little steep and since it's 44" fabric I'd need like 1 1/2 yards.
3) I abhor now. I've had 3 strikes with them and decided against better judgement to give them a 4th chance. They blew it. I am done.

So if anyone sees a similar black/white print like that, let me know!

Anyhow, I have plenty of inspiration and plenty of projects that want to be completed. I just have to find my mojo.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Where Are They Now?

I have made M6844 4 times.
Blue peplum
Off White

I've worn the peplum once. It's too big and requires a belt to look decent. 

I wear the black one to death. It is  a ponte from Fabric Mart and is wearing VERY well. I can't count the number of times it's been washed and dried already.

I wear the taupe one a lot too. It is pilling. Pilling like crazy!! At the sleeve hems, on the band and under the arm (more understandable). (also FM ponte)

I never wear the cream one. Ever. This makes me sad because I love the color. However, it is on it's way to my mom. It just never feels right when I put it on.

Also on it's way to my mom is the McCall's 6886 knit dress. I do not hate the dress, at all...just don't love the fabric on me. She will like it though.

**Also, the black one is the only one where I interfaced the collar. Dare I say I prefer the interfaced collar!!! I complained about the collar needing interfacing the first time I sewed it. Shhhhh! :)

I made 2 pair of S2700 at the same time; I have yet to wear the brown ones. It is a simple fix but I slack. They were hemmed too short. The pattern calls for a 1 1/4" hem (giving a 30" finished inseam). My legs (and arms) are slightly long for my 5'5" height and I need to add an inch to pants/sleeves. I added an inch and then took a 2" hem on these. ALL I need to do is let out the hem and redo.

The plaid pair? OMG I wear them at least twice a week. Love them. HOWEVER, my hand sewing needs work. The hooks have come undone (both of them) but the waistband isn't even tight.

Also, the fabric was labeled dry clean only by FM. When I bought it, I cut a 6"x6" swatch and washed and dried it. No shrinkage, no texture change so they get washed and do just fine.

The turquoise Burda top I don't wear it often. I love this fabric but it would've been more suitable -not- for a top. It is thick and therefore hot. Shoot.

Both of the Sew Simple tops (green and taupe) are in heavy rotation. But boy oh boy do they wrinkle!! Who wants to iron knits? Not I! I am considering another one in ITY, hopefully that one is wrinkle free.

The green one has popped hem stitches :( (Cmon coverstitch!!). I am going to get some of that knit tape Kathy mentioned and try that with my twin needle.

The crazy drapey Burda mag top is awesome. I wear it a lot already!! I reach for that and Simplicity 2255 first on weekends :)

The fabric I used for the S2255 top I bought in a 5.5 yard cut from FabricMart for $1.99. I bought it to make PJs for my dad and to have "a little" left over. I made his pjs and that top and still have a good 1.5-1.75 yards. The fabric washes up so well. I'm wondering what I should make with the rest of it!

Aaaaaaand. The evil, sinister Butterick 5927 jacket. I SEARCH for reasons to put this jacket on (the fact that it is collarless affects which shirts I can wear with it). Maybe because it was my first lined one? I don't know. But for all the pain it caused, I like wearing it - a lot! :) And I'm glad I invested (TONS) in the pongee lining from FM. I really like how smooth and soft it is. It isn't shiny and doesn't feel like some polyesters can feel. I have a rainbow of colors now!

There are other things that I have yet to wear. And earlier wardrobe items that are still absolute faves (2013 wrap up).

Sneak Peek:

I'd forgotten that I applied to test this dress pattern and then I was chosen - yay me! I can't reveal it yet but I can say that the fabric was in stash; part of a FabricMart grab bag I got last summer. More details later but I allowed my creativity to flow a bit with it and I am digging it!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Finished items: BS6910 & BSM 02/2014 #135

I was in an interesting place, with regards to sewing mojo this week. 

I was SO excited to make pants for the boy and as you saw, quite proud of the finished product. Then zap. I had low mojo. 

I didn't do anything Friday night. Probably because my cave looked horrendous (Hmm. Is there a correlation between its cleanliness and me wanting to sew?!). 

Saturday I was really going to try to push to make the Thurlow shorts in time for the contest but I couldn't. I *wanted* to sew but couldn't muster up the energy. Eventually I went downstairs anyway. 

I washed several knits that I've acquired lately and planned on making two versions of the Burda raglan top. However, this grey knit that I'd gotten from Hancock came out of the dryer all wonky. I know knits don't have a "grain" per se but if they did, this one would be off grain. I couldn't lay it down flat to save my life. Meh. That's the second time one of their (cotton blend?) knits behaved that way for me. 

Onward!! I cut the top out of a mesh knit from FabricMart. It's called "watercolor" and it's prettttty. :) 

See??! :)

I cut a 40 neckline and graded to a 42. Based on how the icky black one fit, I sewed this with 3/8" SA. *I have realized that I don't like 5/8" SA for knits*. Also based on the I.B.O., and a few different comments 'round the web, I ignored their neck binding dimensions and measured the neckline, subtracting 15%. Because the fabric is sheer, I kept it flat, serged one side to the top and then folded it over and stitched in the ditch. I trimmed close to the stitching. 

This top is LONG. I mentioned last time that I accidentally cut one piece at the hem line. So it's already shorter than intended and I also took a really deep hem as you can see. If you're tall, you may not need a length adjustment. 

I used a turquoise colored thread that just barely made it to the end of the project! Lol!

I love it and want to stare at it because it is pretty. 

Then I cut another drape top from the 02/2014 issue of Burda Style using a striped poly/cotton (?) burnout jersey from Hancock. This went SUPER fast. No changes from last time. I could've made it slightly larger as this fabric isn't as drapey. However, I like that the "pouch" stays put. 

I prefer the wider neck binding I used last time. I'm going to redo it. 

I figured the lines of the top were so crazy that trying to match stripes was futile. Then I realized I could at least give it a shot on the sleeves. So-so. Eh. 

I love it. LOVE!!!!!!!! I don't know how many of these drape tops one can own realistically but... I want one more :-)

More spring & summer sewing; even if it's like 25 degrees F out!!

Next up:

And you know me...a few other things too!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Finished Item: Burda 6933

The quest to make the pants for the boy began Monday night. 

Tuesday I got them to the point of basting the legs together for him to try on. 

Wednesday I sewed the revised seams, cut, basted the carriers and got the waistband sewed on. 

Tonight I finished them; stitched in the ditch, sewed the carriers in place, hemmed them and inserted a hook & eye. I tried explaining that there's a button on the inside waistband but he didn't want that. 

Dark lighting. Black pants. Eh. But you can see the slim fit on him. 

Good lighting!! :)

I Love. Love. Love the fly front in these! The pockets are nice too. He couldn't take his hands out of them. 

Less good lighting. 

I got a stupid shine spot. Dang it. I need to re-crease them too. But, I'm getting much, MUCH better at blind hemming!!

50/50 poly/wool blend from Hancock

General styling of the pants. 
The fly front. 
The carriers. 

They're basically stovepipes as drafted...The 36 has like a 13.75" leg opening. Sheesh. But it's my fault for not noticing that. Burda shows that on the envelope

No welts. I had no time for that.  
I added 1" to the length but only needed 1/2"
I didn't topstitch the waistband. 

"They look real!"

Uhh. Thanks son :-)