Sunday, January 31, 2016

Finished: Style Arc Jennifer City Shorts

Alternatively titled: I Should Have Let January End

The PR wardrobe contest begins tomorrow. I set out to muslin the Style Arc shorts thinking I'd complete those first. I was so excited as I've wanted this pattern for awhile.

Let us talk about the pattern a bit.

a) I'm firmly on the "slash pockets are of the devil" train but I've made them with minimal gaping. And live with it because POCKETS! But these are a special kind of evil.

They extend so far down the hip line that if you are curvy in any.way. you're not going to be happy. 

b) That isn't a waistband. That's a waistband facing that's then topstitched down.

I made a pair of waistband-less faced pants for my daughter (from the 11/2015 Burda) and hated the application. I still hate it.

c) Since that is NOT a waistband, you have to start the zipper at a certain point to leave room for the button. I thought it was weird that a 7" zipper fit kind of perfect. Sigh. But by the time I figured this out there was no way I was ripping it all out to lower them. I was fairly sure at that point that I wasn't going to wear them.

d) Most importantly...I missed a BIGGIE. Look at the modeled photo...

They're intended to be worn low, on the hip.

Ah crap. I don't wear low rise pants. I have too much 37 year old, mom of 2 belly fluff to even consider low rise bottoms!

So yeah, in summary, before starting, this isn't a good pattern for me.

Okay, the specifics:

1) My size 16 SA Sandra jeans are too big. As in, I can slip them on and off without unzipping them. The pdf came with 12, 14, 16 and I decided to print the size 14 and after taking flat pattern measurements at waist and hip, was feeling good.

2) Muslined. I have had "this issue" before with muslins. I don't think they're "useless" but I think if you aren't using something very close to the weight, texture, drape, etc of your intended fabric then...the story isn't complete. The muslin was too tight. I opened the side seams and inserted panels.

Standard shortening of the front crotch and based on the back fit (look at the inseams riding up), I decided I needed a full inner thigh adjustment.

I have done a fish eye dart before and thought maybe that would help and pinned it out:

It didn't seem to help much so I thought it must just be the fabric getting hung up on my thick thighs.

I fussed around with the muslin and did some other stuff, and decided to go ahead and sew my cotton sateen from Sawyer Brook (whine). I really loved this color -- it's an olive-y brown -- and I splurged (for *me*) on this fabric at $14.99/yd. I had 1.5 yards with the intention of making a jean-style skirt. And I am a little disappointed to have it used it for these. WAH!

I had to remove ALL of that additional width I added. It wasn't needed. The front looked good...

...and then the back. What.The.Hell.Happened. 

I pinned out excess here, as I would with a FED and it seems like it would've helped. It isn't perfectly pinned but it doesn't look as bad as the unpinned leg (left). 

Once I realized they were supposed to sit lower, I had a ton of extra fabric in the yoke area. On my Sandra jeans I also had to take a hefty horizontal fold out of the yoke. So it isn't surprising.

But no matter on all the fitting because I just don't like the style.

I don't know what made me WANT these so badly! I have always stayed away from bermudas...Because even when I was 40 lbs lighter, I still had thick thighs. 

While I'm relatively straight from waist to thigh, my thighs are really curvy...

And thus I tend to prefer shorts that go *right* to the fullest part (~3.5" inseam) or just past it (the green line) at about 5" inseam.

Eg: My S1430 shorts:

3.5" inseam
And slash pockets that aren't horribly gaping open.

5" inseam

Looking at these photos I realized I never made the shorts again because I couldn't figure out the front. Well, these were made almost 2 years ago (I still wear the denim pair) and NOW I know that I just need to shorten the front crotch! yay! :)

So all that to say...for the contest I'll be switching out the SA Jennifer for S1430, with the longer inseam, and copying the side slit (I like that detail)


Well tomorrow is the start of the contest!! I won't have much if any time to sew the next TWO weekends (I know!), so I think I might knock out a couple of easy projects first. 

I want to make these shorts very good and very detailed (back welts, belt carriers, etc) so I might save them for my day off on President's Day.

Friday, January 29, 2016

January Wrap-Up and Miscellany

My plans for January were:
  • Burda of the month
  • Fabric Mart garment
  • S1374
  • V9155
  • Finish the quilt top
  • Muslin DDs dress
Did not finish the quilt top. Not even close. I have not touched it in like 2 weeks. WAHHHHHHH. I also did not sew another pair of V9155. But I really need new pants that aren't blue, grey or black. Yes, I love those colors as neutrals but I'm over it! When you live in the tundra, your mind leaves winter behind long before spring shows up. So I'm ready to add to my pants wardrobe with a couple of non-neutrals. 

This month I sewed 12.5 yards:
  • Butterick 6066 in a oyster colored crepe suiting - 2 yards (still need to photograph!)
  • Simplicity 1364 in teal ponte - 1 3/8 yards
  • McCall's 7199 in off-white ponte - 2.5
  • Burda 01/2016 #103 in navy cotton lycra knit - 2.5 yards
  • Simplicity 8014 in printed cotton poplin - 2.5 yards
  • McCall's 7194 in off white lace print double knit and solid ponte - 1 5/8 yards
  • I also started (and it will be finished this month...) the muslin for the prom dress. But I bought muslin for that so not counting it as yardage.
Favorite: Probably the Burda dress despite it's shortcomings :) It's just so cute!

FAIL: No huge fails this month; just had super high expectations of M7199 and it fell flat for me.

Accomplishments: Can I have 2?! OF COURSE I CAN! I have to say that exposed zipper in S1364. It really is a thing of beauty. Also, the fit I achieved on the bodice of the S8014 shirtdress made me proud.


February plans of course are to work on my wardrobe for the contest and get started on the prom dress. Still sourcing fabrics, a trip to SR Harris is happening on Sunday!

Speaking of the dress...

I've intentionally not posted the dress I'm copying :)  I have asked for help on specific parts (like choosing fabrics) but I think that I may get information overload otherwise. So I'm just going to take it step by step and I'm sure the finished product will be pretty.

Can I just say that this is the first time I've ever actually purchased muslin!?  

I am absolutely in love with the whole concept now that I've gotten over my fear. DD is not impressed by the dress in muslin form. She also did not understand why I "thought" the hips were too big.

Well, let's see...YOU HAVE THE SKIRT ON OVER JEANS! lol!!!

Tonight I'll get the sleeves attached and the side seams sewn up in the bodice; and maybe even put in the zipper so she can try it on.

What I know so far:
1) I cut a 6 in the Simplicity skirt and a 36 in the Burda bodice. So the bodice is a bit bigger. I've pinched out the front mainly to line up the princess seams of the bodice with the seams on the skirt. I'll fit in on her with this pinched out and make other adjustments as needed. 

2) It's WAY too short! :) It sits about an inch from the floor right now. So we need several inches at least, to get it floor length when hemmed...but she doesn't have shoes yet so I'll have her go ahead and order those before I alter the length of the skirt.

3) As stated the hips are too big but the waist on the skirt was pretty perfect. We'll see how it all goes when the bodice and skirt are attached and the zipper is in.

4) The Burda bodice actually has 3/4 sleeves so I chopped them off randomly on the pattern; but in actuality it'll be more of a cap sleeve.

5) I must totally love this kid to collapse my dressform down to her size! Sheesh that's a lot of work with all those danged dials! The dress form hips are still bigger than Lily fills the skirt in a way she doesn't.



I though this was common knowledge but have run into 2 fabric lovers this week who wasn't aware so...public service and all that. ;-)

I scooped up 2 yards of Kaufman lightweight chambray for $17 with shipping. Much better than forcing myself to shop on and to spend $35 to get free shipping. Win. And it's exactly what I was looking for.


I bought new shoes.

I know. I am always buying new shoes. BUT(!), I don't have any black sandals. I know, crazy right? And thinking up my summer wardrobe made me take a peek, and I found a pair that I love for a great price.

They're by Franco Sarto - $20!

The second pair sold out in between my purchasing them, and my order being processed :( 
Isn't that such a cute basic?!? They're Dr. Scholls


The quilt. I swear I'm going to finish it. Swear. And I'd better start my son's right after if his have hopes of being completed by 2018 :-p

Saturday, January 23, 2016

PR Wardrobe Contest & Fabric Mart Blog

I can't NOT participate in the PR Wardrobe contests - it's my favorite!!! :) 

So even though I'm going to have a busy couple of months (the contest runs Feb 1 - Mar 31), I just have to do it. Now, I had already planned to sew a new casual summer wardrobe this year. I have never quite gotten around to it as envisioned...or I end up sewing stuff that can also be worn to work.

I have a lot of work clothes (a lot). So while I'm not saying I won't sew anything for work for spring/summer - I really needed some weekend wear. 

I really want (need) to sew from stash so I'd initially got out fabrics that would work together and chose the patterns after that. And ended up with a plan that I loved. For work! The only thing in my original plan that wasn't also appropriate for work was a pair of shorts and a romper/jumpsuit.

So I revamped the plan to focus on what I want for summer and then had a big ole fabric picking fest last night. (Too tired to sew...son has been sick and I think he's shared with mama). 

There's a good mix here; 4 patterns that I've made before (jumpsuit, dress, sleeveless top, shirt), 2 Burda patterns, and a couple that's been on my radar for awhile (like the McCall's culotte shorts and the Butterick skirt).

**I switched out a Burda blouse for the Simplicity 2255 shirt in chambray

Okay, yes, there's a blazer :) BUT that is really needed and a white blazer makes an excellent topper for work and play (that's my story and I'm sticking to it!).

Simplicity 1070 won't be as cropped as the pattern/image suggests. I will lengthen as needed. And from the reviews out there, McCall's 6965 will need at least 2" added in length.

I'm cutting it very close on McCall's 6884 and the striped/floral fabric. If I have to, I will make the shorter dress (I don't want to though!!!)

The only thing I'll need to shop for is stretch lining for the white jacket (I'm using a cotton lycra twill that has more stretch than I remember) and buttons for it. All other notions will come from stash.

Here are the fabrics (plus solid black for the cropped top and contrast band on the skirt)

Stripe/floral ITY, Navy/white diamond print ITY, Floral print Rayon Challis
Cobalt blue poly crepe  blue chambray, White stretch cotton twill, Pink ITY
Red with white cross threads chambray, Black/white ponte, Bone cotton twill

I'm excited!

Head over to the Fabric Mart blog to see my project this month!!! :) 

I chose Simplicity 8014 (that new shirtdress!) in this bright, whimsical cotton poplin.

(and this is my 400th post! WOW!)

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

McCall's 7194; Take 2

It's been a month since I sewed the first version! How does time manage to move that fast?!

I really wanted to give view A a shot (and potentially in some yummy wool jersey I've got in stash) and while organizing my fabric on New Year's Day, I came across this remnant from the dress I made my daughter for her senior photos. I realized it had that same *just* off white color as my recent M7199 cardigan and put them in a bin to become a raglan sweatshirt.

But then I decided I needed this 'white' top to be more work appropriate. I was all woe is me because I didn't have enough of the solid for the front, sleeves and cowl, but had plenty of the textured fabric, and had written the project off.

Well, DUH! I can use the textured for the front and back and just do 'contrasting' sleeves and cowl. Sheesh! :)

I still had to adjust for lack of fabric and folded out 2" of the cowl. It doesn't drape as much, but it still works.

I did a cheater FBA by pivoting and sliding because I knew this fabric had very little stretch. I ended up using 1/4"(!) seam allowances.

This fabric hardly stretches so it's snug but not uncomfortable

The lacy fabric is so pretty :)

I whipped this up SO FAST! I had the entire thing constructed on the serger in like 30 minutes. Then another half hour to do the hemming with a twin needle. Gotta love those quick and dirty projects.

Next up I'll be working on DDs dress muslin. I got the Burda bodice all traced off and plan to cut out the paper pattern tonight, cut out the muslin tomorrow, and sew up the muslin Friday/Saturday.

I'm excited! :-)

Friday, January 15, 2016

Burda Challenge: 01/2016 #103C

When the preview for January was released, this dress caught my eye immediately! 

I was uncertain about whether or not I could pull it off...even though it's intended as a casual garment. I tend to stay away from things that are too oversized or too bulky. But I couldn't stop thinking about it! :)

And that Fabric Mart romp when I finally broke my 4+ month fabric fast? I got a lovely cotton-lycra knit in navy! That made me excited to sew the pattern AND nervous -- this fabric is so awesome (it's sold out, and I wish I'd gotten MORE). I didn't want to potentially "waste" the fabric on this pattern. But of course, I went for it!

As I normally do with knits with Burda, I cut a 40 neckline and armholes and graded to a 42. Except I did this on the tank dress but then cut the overlay a straight 40. Oops. It's a little snug across the chest and smashes the bust down a little.

BUT I LOVE IT! haha!

This fabric would have made a fantastic pair of yoga pants and as such is a little bulky where seams intersect, etc. I had to make some adjustments:

I did not turn the bands to the inside as intended on the front of the overlay and the entire neckline of the tank dress.

I didn't sew the tank and shirt together at the armhole and instead did some hand tacking at the shoulder seams (this keeps it in place just fine).

I did plan on just leaving them separate. But the weight of the fabric and the fact that the overlay is technically smaller than the was shifting around.

But another reason...the tank is a crewneck and no thank you. I like the fit of it though and maybe I can scoop the neckline for something wearable on it's own.

Because it's winter in MN and I work during the day...sort of crap photos ahead!

I cannot wait til spring as I will totally run errands in this! I love the draped back so much!!!! SO MUCH!  I love how it's intentionally slouchy!!

I did a serge-and double turn-hem on the cowl

And serged and turned up once hem on the top, dress and sleeves

And I made another mistake! I never add hem allowances to the regular sized patterns but I did want to on this one because I liked the longer length! And then I forgot! grrr!
Totally fine with boots (and tights and boots, I'm sure), but I like it sporty. Either with tennies or flats when the weather warms up. You can also see here how it's a bit too tight across the bust.

The only downside to this luscious fabric, by the time it's really warm enough for bare legs and sandals, it'll probably be a bit too warm to wear. I can totally see remaking this in a lighter weight jersey or doing a solid dress and print overlay. Ahhhhh.

The outtake :)

So yeah...this one is a win, despite it's issues. And I laughed at myself thinking how the last two items were executed fine and fit fine but were "meh"...but this one has something wrong here, here and there but I am smitten! That's just how it goes.

A sneak peek of my next project. I've never done flat piping before. 
What a fun little detail to add to a yoke!

Meeting up with the MinneSewTa group tomorrow; check us out on Facebook if you're local!

Until later...!

Sunday, January 10, 2016

So-So Start to January

Well not quite. I have to hem my last B6066 dress and that is a success.

But these two items..there's nothing wrong with them. I don't dislike them...but I'm not moved by them, I don't love them, they're just okay.

I was so excited about M7199 when it was released. It was like so many RTW cardigans and like the popular Style Arc Marie

I had this striped crepe knit in the stash and a solid colored sweater knit that matched the darker color (the stripe). I wanted to make a shell and striped cardigan and decided this pattern would be a fun play on the stripes.

Everyone that made this mentioned that you'd want something drapey because of the large double-layered collar. 

However, that was a no-go with the zipper.

The zipper was just too heavy (even with interfacing), it was TOO drapey for me and way, way, way too long. 

I salvaged the zipper and tossed it. I decided to dive back in with a ponte but to skip the zippered version. And there was no way I was leaving it that long. 

The back is MUCH longer than the front but I liked the shaped hemline.  I couldn't figure out a way to keep the shaping but shorten the back as significantly as I wanted to. I started with removing 3 inches from the pattern pieces which did allow me to keep the front curvature but when I got the body sewn up that was still far longer than I wanted it to be so I chopped off ANOTHER 3".

That's SIX inches in back length removed!

I don't know about you but that pattern envelope does not make it appear that long. Yes, there is a back length finished measurement but still. :)

My ponte is a bit light and I didn't find it too heavy at the collar.

There's more 'swing' in that back piece than I like. Again, in retrospect this is obvious from the pattern piece. Not my favorite.

I like it open!

The facing is the front piece and lower side front only (not the upper side front). I edgestitched at the side seam and around the neckline to secure the facing. 

I remembered that I had this white leather scrap in the stash and decided to DIY a toggle button closure. 

My fabric is actually off-white but I knew this would work out okay.

When I wore it I figured out my mistake: The button side was supposed to be stitched on the other side of the seam. Ooops! That explains why it's a little too droopy in front when closed.

I love my top-stitching!

So again, no, it's not horrible or awful or the worst thing ever...but thus far, it isn't loved.

Following my January plans I cut out Simplicity 1374, which I mentioned was made before. I made it before in a cotton sateen type fabric. I decided to use this ponte for the color and had a matching zipper in stash so decided to go exposed zip.

Colleen G. Lea of Fashion Sewing Blog TV is theeeee best! I just love her tutes. Always clear and easy to understand! You Tube tutorial (nayy)

I've done an "exposed zipper" before because I thought: interface the area, line the zipper up, edge stitch.

Nope. Nope.  Nope!

It's far more involved than that but OMG it results in such a beautiful finish!

I can't stop staring at it! :)

It totally took like an hour to insert the dang thing but I don't really "need" to undo the zipper to put the top on. But it's fantastic!

I did a 3/4" swayback adjustment, lowered the dart about an inch, and sewed it with a 2" hem. 

The ponte had drape compared to the woven and it felt so unstructured. I thought a deep hem may help and it really did make a difference.

The NECKLINE! I do love that bateau on me!!!

Again, like the cardigan, just not a love. Nothing wrong with it, don't dislike it but...
I'm sure I'll wear it and absolutely love the color!

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

December Wrap-up and January Plans

I knew when I did my year end wrap-up that I was estimating totals for December but 1) I don't think I was that far off and 2) it doesn't matter that much. At any rate...

In December I sewed 13.5 yards.
  • McCall's 7195 tee in black/white/grey jersey - 1.25 yards
  • New Look 6417 cropped jacket in black/cobalt/b&w striped ponte - 1 7/8 yards
  • McCall's 7194 tunic in animal print ponte - 1 7/8 yards
  • Vogue 9155 pants in brown plaid suiting - 2 yards
  • Simplicity 2556 vest in brown plaid suiting - 1.5 yards
  • McCall's 6654 skirt in gold & black floral double knit - 1 yard
  • Butterick 6066 dress in charcoal suiting and blue cotton sateen - 4 yards
Favorite: Oooh. Well I obviously love the B6066 dress but  I feel a huge swell of pride when I look at the vest! I feel like I did really great work sewing it and I am definitely LOVING it.

Fail: None really. I didn't love the NL jacket like I thought I would -- it's a bit cumbersome to arrange BUT as a loungewear item in my cold house?? Perfect! It's so cozy. And the M7194 tunic is a definitely 'love with modification' e.g., remove the pointed hem.

Accomplishments: Fitting and sewing that vest. Really. Swoon. 


Starting with the Vogue pants going forward was 'staycation' sewing. I managed to sew 7 items:
V9155 pants
S2556 vest
M6654 skirt
B6066 dress - THREE times (2 to be blogged;  need to get photos this weekend)
M7199 cardigan (to be blogged)

And M7199 was my first garment of 2016. It's perfectly fine but I don't love it. Post to come - soon.


For January I do have a lot of plans but OF COURSE I do! :)

  • Finish the #*!(@ quilt top. 
I've got 2 more blocks and some bordering to do.
  • Simplicity 1364 top
I sewed this for the Fabric Mart challenge in 2014 and can't find the top. Poof. It's gone. I liked it too!

  • Vogue 9155 pants again
  • Burda 01/2016 dress (hopefully I have enough of the intended fabric!)

  • My Fabric Mart project which will post January 23

  • And last but certainly not least, muslin Burda 03/2013 as a base of DD's prom dress. The skirt is kind of turning me off so I'm going to go with the bodice of the Burda (with more of a cap sleeve) and the skirt of this Simplicity (sans cummerbund/waistband) and see if I can 'Frankenpattern' the dress she likes.

Yep...I'm a crazy lady. But you guys know that already. :)

Spring Pattern Releases - Simplicity, McCall's and Vogue!

I have so many blog posts that need writing; I never did a December wrap-up/January planning post...I need to blog a cardigan and 2 dresses. OY!

But for now...let's talk patterns!

Simplicity's site has gone from bad to worse. Now, sure, it "looks" better but it isn't functional! Not even a little bit!!!!! And in their usual fashion, their patterns are up on Pattern Review and in store before they're available for viewing on the Simplicity website. Sigh.

I think this was an ok release. Nothing too exciting but I did snag a few:

I've been looking for a dress with bodice overlay and I just love this!!!
Bonus - Cup Sizing!

I think the envelope is boring but I think there's potential in this vest.

I'm not a huge fan of the Mimi G line of patterns in general but I do love jumpsuits.
This one has nice details like the back yoke and partial placket that made it a go for me.

This jacket and pants is so 70s chic!

Honorable mention:

I'm wondering if this is an update to the ever popular S2700 Amazing Fit pattern


McCall's was mostly formal wear and "meh" for me.

I do like this but I think it's because of fabric+cute model.

And I like this a lot (mainly views A and B) but feel like I shouldn't :-p


I picked up the new Simplicity patterns over a week ago in Hancock and saw the Vogues but wasn't moved. Looking at them now, I kind of like A LOT of them. First up; the patterns that may be added to the collection:

1494 is a Sandra Betzina pattern and looks *so* cool

9167 is a 'basics' kind of pattern but with all that seaming it can make a great dress!
Bonus  - cup sizing!

1489 - I would totally make this for summer.

9174 - A Tilton pattern.
Not loving the top/jacket but the leggings - YES!

Other "likes" but unsure I'll buy them (that $5 Vogue price tag does rein me in!)

1481 - Really like the pleats and the shorter length.

1488 - crazy dress with included slip

1486 - Gorgeous skirt!

9166 - Simple but with nice details; yoke, darts (cup sizing!), CB seam, 2-piece sleeve...

I don't do dresses with that shirttail hem though...but this has lots of options!

9169 - Cute but again - Not quite into the style. Overlay + tunic-y

9170 - LOVELY seaming but again not interested in the length + oversized feel

9172 - Love a skirt with some interest!
However, this reminds me of the Style Arc tulip which I bought recently

Overall I think we've got some good stuff rolling out this spring.