Thursday, December 31, 2015

Reflection on 2015 Goals

From my 2015 sewing goals:

1) A new sewing machine
I got the Singer machine that I was eyeing! I still have no plans for anything near a TOL machine anytime soon and aside from a couple of annoying things, I'm loving this one.

Yay for auto buttonholes
Yay for needle up/down function
Yay for auto presser foot pressure

2) New techniques
I have to get over the welt pocket fear. I mean, that whole 'slicing into my fabric' thing is kinda scary.

I sewed welt pockets! YAY!!!!! And in a knit too!

I sewed a swimsuit!

3) Using my Burda mags
 I treated myself to a Burda subscription and will plan to sew a Burda a month.

Soooo about that...What I've found is that Burda tends to grow on me. Even when I really like the issue, it usually takes time before I really want to make an item. I don't plan to give up my sub any time soon...on an annual subscription it equates to less than $8 per month which is worth it to me. And I don't have storage constraints - yet.

This year I made 8 garments from 6 issues. Not bad!






November: Not for me, but still got used!

For December I SO intended on sewing this top:

But got scared off the back finishing. Maybe next month :)

4) Patterns
I HAVE TO slow down on pattern purchases!!!

Err, when I posted this last year I had 453 patterns and am up to 561. That's an average of 2+ patterns per week. Gah. I think I will be pattern fasting for a little bit.

Oh hell. I just realized the 4 Simplicity patterns I picked up aren't logged yet because they haven't been "released" and aren't available on PR yet.

I have a problem!

5) Fabric
Again, I hope to be a little more judicious and not buy all.the.things.! I won a membership to Julie's Picks for this year and hope it doesn't end up making me go even crazier with fabric acquisitions.

I fasted for MONTHS! WOOOOHOOO!! I have so much stash and I need to find a way to use it - or get rid of it. Which is hard.

I will try to fast the first quarter of the year. I am sure I can do it. And my monthly Fabric Mart posts should provide enough "ooh shiny!" for now.

Also, Julie's Picks was nice and I do reference the swatches I got from time to time but I don't think I'll renew. I think I bought 5 JP fabrics all year.

6) Budget

Budget, shmudget.

When I think I've done good I realize I've not done nearly as well as my mind has told me I have! LOL! I need to revise my 2016 overall household budget. I have a lot of big events and so spending for sewing will definitely need to be decreased.

7) Personal goal related to sewing
I have to lose weight. I was recently diagnosed with osteoarthritis in my knees and my rheumatologist says I need to drop some pounds.

I'm not sure what I weigh now but I know that I've lost some weight. This is great but the sad downside is some awesome things are too big now (Like my awesome green B5926 knit jacket and both pair of Style Arc jeans).

I'm trying not to dwell on that and focus on all the new things I can sew!

8) Documentation
Recording my projects. I took advantage of a sale last month and got the 110 Creations sewing journal. 

Yeah, no. It's an awesome book but I don't sketch. I don't want to sketch. I don't enjoy sketching. So I gave the nice pencils to my (artistic) daughter. I just try to make sure I blog each project. Sometimes I don't blog multiples and especially if I make it exactly the same as a prior version.

9) Jeans
This was going to be a goal for 2015. I'm terribly excited to sew more jeans this year though!!!!

DONE! I sewed 3 pair this year!

10) Progression
I have accepted/decided/etc that I am a fast sewer. 

Yeah...I just sew fast. Even when I think I'm sewing slow, I'm sewing fast. But that's just me. I move too much and do everything on level 10. So, that's just what it is.

I don't necessarily feel like I HAVE to sew less - I don't have any kind of issue with my output. Going into year 3 of sewing, I just want to think a little more about what I sew and how it will fit into my wardrobe. 

Well with getting laid off this year and more life stresses I did end up sewing a lot of 'stress busting' stuff. Just using the machine to save my mind. 

I will be taking that bodice sloper class this spring and hope that my first project using my sloper will be a shirtdress.

I didn't take the sloper class. Boooooo! :(


Lastly, as I said last year (or really, earlier this year because I posted goals on my "Sewing Anniversary"), the blog will remain as is.

need want my blog to just be a true reflection of me. It HAS to just be my voice. I'm not trying to be  "a blogger". I have no desire to monetize or teach (sorry! I stink at teaching others!) or become a "pattern tester" or anything like that.  I'm not providing content, I'm just being me.

Because really, I just want to sew and share my sewing projects with other sewers who are crazy in love with sewing like me!! (how's THAT for a run-on sentence!?)

Yep...still true. With the exception of doing the Fabric Mart blog but I feel pretty good about that.

I'll be back at some point with a plan for 2016!

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Staycation Sewing: Simplicity 2556 & Butterick 6066

(I've been horrible at replying to comments lately - sorry!!! I'll do better!)

I don't know if it's currently "in fashion" but I have wanted a menswear inspired vest since for.ever.

Simplicity 2556

I have a handful of vest patterns but decided that I had to have view C (totally want view A too!). And I've also always wanted a matching vest and pants combo! So I used the same fabric from my V9155 pants.  I ordered 2.5 yards of this fabric from Fabric Mart and then it showed up in the clearance section and oops, I ordered it again! haha!  I was able to cut the entire main part of the vest from the same cut as the pants, and had to pull the other cut out to cut the facings.

This pattern has cup sizing - WIN!

I cut a 16C and made the following adjustments:
3/4" Swayback
1/2" added to side back piece via slash and spread for more butt room
1/4" tuck in the upper chest
lowered bust point 1"

I used brown lining that I had in my stash and these amazing shell buttons from the lovely Carolyn of Diary of a Sewing Fanatic (thanks again Carolyn!!!)

Verdict? LOVE. 

I tried it on with a ton of tops and it looks best with fitted tops (duh); the button front, tie neck and fitted scoop or v-neck tops. 

This vest took FOREVER. Like, forever and ever. But man was it worth it.

There is one tricky part in the instructions. The vest is turned out with the side seams of both lining and fabric open. You have to sew in the round to close them and slip-stitch the rest of the opening closed.

They say to start about an inch down and go down the lining fabric and around the fashion fabric coming back around. I recommend going the opposite direction; Start about 1" below the armhole seam on the lining and sew through the armhole seam, onto the fashion fabric, through the hemline and back onto the lining fabric.

I generally don't like fake pockets but somehow the stand-alone flaps are okay. 

With the lining, I trimmed 1/8" from neckline (all the way around), armhole and the back 'V' so I wouldn't have to understitch.  The pattern didn't actually mention understitching which was a little brow raising. I'd be worried that there would be peek through from the lining.

my slipstitching leaves a little to be desired

I positioned these buttons 3 times. I'm not taking them off again. I didn't make the buttonholes according to the pattern markings (thankfully), but I did put the outside buttons on and had to move them down an inch. And then when I was making the buttonholes the sewn on buttons was preventing the fabric from feeding (auto buttonholer) so I had to take them off. And then I realized I put the buttons that go through the b-holes too close to the front and had to move them. 

They could be moved a little bit further out but not today. Maybe later. Maybe :-p

I so love the little band in back. It's just a cool little detail that's fun to look at. 


And THEN...

Have you ever sewn something and then realized OH MY GOSH I'VE BEEN MISSING THIS ITEM AND DIDN'T EVEN KNOW IT?!?!

That's what happened with this grey dress!!!!

I finished up the vest and was deciding what to sew next. I'd just done (a ton of) laundry and realized I only have 1 woven dress for work; the rest are knits. So that part was decided. And then I went looking for cup sizing because I love cup sizing and decided on this pattern.

I then chose "unicorn" fabric. I bought this 2 yard cut of sewing forever ago for pants. It came and was only 50" wide so not enough fabric for any of my pants patterns. 

I've been hoarding it for "the right pattern" ever since. Well this is IT! B6066 is an unsuspecting number but somehow I knew that I would love it.

I went with a 16C but cut a 14 at the neckline and did a 3/4" swayback adjustment. 

I lined the bodice (per the pattern) in a teal pongee but then could only find a long zipper in blue. Darn it. I totally had blue lining fabric! 

This dress felt never ending for awhile, but that's typically how I feel when I make something lined. This fabric is thick and spongee and some of those seams were really bulky. 

To attach the arm bands, you sew the front band to the front bodice and same for the back. Then sew the shoulder seams...and same for the lining. So when you're then connecting the side seams there's a TON of bulk at the armhole. I graded those seams, steamed them well, and used my handy dandy big block of wood to flatten them. Worked a treat.

I want to wear this forever and never take it off! It makes me feel amazing!!! The only issue is that this length is so perfect, yet this is unhemmed. I'll be swinging by Hancock tomorrow to grab some hem tape; I want to lose as little length as possible.

I got a nice fit through the back!

There's a tiny bit of zipper peak at the waist. Dang it.

I zipped it up and thought, "Whew, that's a little snug in the waist!"

Then I thought, "Hey, wait a minute! Snug pants. Snug dress. Those black pants I wore Saturday were snug..."

I'm gonna blame it on Christmas Cookie Syndrome. Since my diet has returned to that of a normal person --instead of a pro athlete who is carb loading in preparation for a big competition -- I expect to fit into my clothing like normal, soon. :-p

You know I love to throw on a denim jacket and boots whenever I can! :) Like the vest, I chose to trim off 1/8" from the lining instead of understitching. I didn't match my zipper color but I matched the top up perfectly! :)

I had to use this one, even though my necklace is messed up, because I got kitty photo bombed

I really love this arm band/sleeve/thingy. This would be really cool in (p)leather!

The bodice lining was to be stitched separated and then later attached to the skirt or something. Nope. I treated the skirt-to-bodice seam like underlining; serged the bodice and lining together and then sewed that to the skirt. The seam was really bulky so I just pressed it open. We'll see if I need to press it up or down (I think I read that there's a difference in how you press a waist seam of a dress).

So far I've had a fantastic Sewing Staycation! I'm being super productive in all ways, even though my cutting hand is starting to protest (much prefer shears to rotary cutters). 

Until later!

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Finished: Vogue 9155

I was working my loungewear plan and got the overwhelming urge to make new pants! You guys know I love making pants!

When this pattern was first released, I just had to have view C. It has a yoke and cool pockets and stitched front creases. 

Totally didn't feel like making a muslin (I know, I know) and decided to do some standard adjustments and go for "wearable muslin". I went with a size 16 and after measuring decided to remove 3/4" from the front rise, add nothing to the back rise and do some petite-ing that I've learned I need with pants. I remove 3/8" via a wedge at the side seam, tapering to nothing at the inseam. I realized at some point that my pants 'feel better' when I hike them up a tiny bit at the side.

It all almost worked. Hahaha!

I really like them with this red shirt! I like the proportions a lot. 
But after taking the pics below I like them WAY more with a pointy-toed heel.

All of my V9032 pants have been taken in and while I'm sure the 18 will be too big, the 16 was too small. Because it has a side zipper I was hesitant to tweak the side seams. On pair #2, I plan to add 1/2" at the waist front and back tapering down just below the thigh. I also totally need a full inner thigh adjustment.

I was cutting the pattern out and had a "hmm" moment at the leg shape...When I went to try them on I was all "this leg is kind of tapered". And then I went to look at the pattern envelope:

"Semi-fitted, tapered pants have contour waistband with continuous binding, and side-front pocket variations."

Oh. LOL! They ARE tapered!

So full disclosure, they are SNUG. They're not uncomfortable or binding but yeah, they are tight.

Shown here with my never blogged B5678 shirt in pink cotton oxford

LOVE the pockets! 

Seriously awesome pockets <3

The stitched creases are fun

I used the same pink shirting for the pockets! 

I didn't have any invisible zippers (and finished these on Christmas day) and was going to do a lapped zipper but I didn't want to use any extra seam allowance so I did a centered zip. My thread KEPT bunching and I just couldn't be bothered to fix it.

The pattern called for a loop and button closure but I left that off.

The other oddity that the pattern called for and that I changed...the back yoke is to be interfaced. isn't then faced. Why would you want that interfacing just against your body directly?? That seems wrong...

I was going to blind hem by machine because I wanted them done. But I ended up doing it by hand. It takes longer but is SO worth it.

Final verdict: Love. Will totally remake with some extra room!

On another note; my December post is up on the Fabric Mart! This was made for Christmas day and here are the fun outtakes :)

Head over to the FabricMart Blog to read all about it!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

2015 Sewing Statistics

I have to say, this is one of my most favorite times of year in the sewing world! I just love reading everyone's wrap-ups and statistics and all that!!

2015...WOW this year flew by! 

My pace certainly didn't slow in any way (as I thought it might). I sewed around 200 yards of fabric this year! My official record says 194 (including some unblogged items and two in-progress items). However, I realized that some things I made for my daughter weren't recorded so we'll just assume I got darn close to that 200 mark. Mmkay? Alrighty.

I sewed 88 items for myself. Holy cow. And about 20 items as gifts (primarily for my daughter).

Still, tops are my most sewn item. However, with the job change and the ability to make skirts and dresses a part of my daily wardrobe, those categories jumped for me compared to last year.

I sewed: 
1 2-piece swimsuit and 1 robe (misc)
2 jumpsuits
11 skirts
11 pants and jeans
32 tops
16 dresses
8 jackets
3 cardigans
2 outerwear items

  • B5760 skirt: I sewed 3 and had 1 wadder. The wadder was due to my own error. I did not realize the fabric stretched! 

  • B6183 top: I sewed 2 and had 1 wadder. The wadder was due to choosing the wrong fabric

  • B6169 jacket: Love them both; the grey one is now too big and the floral one...I can't get rid of it but I have such a hard time finding stuff to pair it with.

  • M6886 dress: Love them both!!!

  • S2246 dress: LOVE them both! (black one has never been photographed but has been worn tons!)

  • M6964 tee: Love them both. I need to make more.

  • M6996 cardigan: 1 is a love (navy wool jersey) the other is meh (striped french terry)
  • NL6261 dress: 1 is a special occasion dress and the other is finished and unworn.

  • V8805 dress: both are wardrobe staples but are a bit too big through the hip now

  • Style Arc Sandra jeans: BOTH of them are too big :(

  • V9032 pants: sewed 4 pair this year!

Well I had 100% success in the outerwear category - that's gotta count for something! :)

I made the Simplicity 2508 coat and absolutely adore it

And there was also the Sewaholic Minoru which is really an amazing pattern!


On cardigans? Not so good. I made 3 this year

M6708 is a UFO because of a button issue...however I do not love the neckline on it. But I love the fabric soooo much.
M6996 in French terry is so blah. I keep it because it's cozy but it's strictly a throw-on-at-home cardigan. I tried something else with French terry and have determined that it's just not a fabric that I like.


In the dresses and jackets categories; I am surprising on the fence (OTF) about M7244 and the striped B5926. I've worn them both once. I really thought I would love both of these but...meh.

Tops...Sigh. Last year I had a 40% success rate with tops and this year it's 60% so that's a good thing.

I had 3 wadders and 4 that I tossed. The distinction (for me), wadders never get finished. They're abandoned before they're complete. Items that I tossed were completed, in the closet, but then got tossed for whatever reason. I had 2 that I put in the donate pile and 4 that I'm OTF about.

One of those being the lovely red V8979

I'm going to wear it this weekend to see if it grows on me. I just LOVE looking at it but it feels 'wrong' when it's on my body. I think it could be due to length, I might like it better over a slim pant and all of my work pants are more trouser cut or slightly bootcut.


In skirts, I'm not surprised that I was really hit or miss as it wasn't something I was sewing often before this year. A couple I'm OTF about...a couple wadders, 1 ruined in the wash...

Speaking of 'ruined in the wash'...I got the lovely wool/lycra woven from Fabric Mart to make an interview suit (remember that?).

Well, apparently I decided not to launder it and to subsequently dry clean the finished items. But I rarely dry clean and almost always machine wash my fabrics. So what happened? One day all 3 pieces were on the dining room chair (clue!) and I walked past them confused as to why they were there. The next time I did laundry I tossed them in. Ruined all 3 pieces. I think I almost cried. No, seriously, I almost cried!

Lastly, of the 88 items sewn there were about a dozen patterns that were used multiple times. So, suffice to say, I just really like sewing new patterns!

There is appeal in having TNTs, but there is the allure of something new. And I don't draft/hack/etc. I don't want to spend time trying to create a new pattern (I know, I know...but the interest just isn't there) so I will find a pattern that fits what I want and sew that!

The benefit of new patterns is that you never know where you'll find a piece of information that will change the whole game!

Sewing a Burda envelope pattern changed my entire understanding of fly-front zippers. Now I never (seriously, ever) need to look at any instruction again, I have a method that works great.

Sewing the Birkin flare jeans taught me a couple of super handy tricks that I hadn't thought about.

Of course, the Big4 dominate for me, but I also got good use from my Burda magazines this year and sewed a handful of Indies. My pattern catalog is dominated by McCall's so no surprise there. I am surprised at how many Vogue patterns I've sewn this year! And that does account for multiples (e.g., the V9032 pants are only counted once).


I still have a little bit of 'wrapping up' to do; I want to discuss my 2015 goals and how I did on those and of course decide on a direction and goals for my 2016 sewing. 

Hope you have a very Merry Christmas if you celebrate and if you don't I hope you have an amazing long weekend!