Wednesday, June 29, 2016

June Wrap-Up and Midyear Check-in

Err. This is an epic post of epicness...Don't say I didn't I warn you.

This month I sewed 10 1/4 yards:
  • Style Arc Cara top in floral cotton (lawn?): 1 yard
  • Burda 05/2016 #113 dress-as-nightshirt in floral knit and striped/patterned knit: 3 yards total
  • Burda 6/2016 #105 dress in animal print cotton stretch twill: 2.5 yards (pattern calls for 2 or 2 1/8; I'm not sure about that. Could just be me and how I cut?? I used all 2.5 yards)
  • Style Arc Cara top in white cotton eyelet: 1.5 yards (narrower fabric and wanted to use the scalloped edge)
  • Vogue 9056 top in black/white striped ponte - 1 yard (WIP)
  • M6886 dress in pale blue textured knit - 1 1/4 (WIP)

Favorite: I am head over heels with my Burda birthday dress! It's one of my favorite makes ever.

FAIL: An overall good month! If I had to list a fail, it would be procrastinating on the Burda. I knew it wouldn't be difficult, just a little time consuming, so I didn't push myself to get started, and I almost missed my deadline not ordering notions in time. 

Accomplishment:  I sewed all the things in my "planning" list from my May! Woohoo! 

Mid Year Goals Check

Where has the year gone?!?! This is bananas!

At the start of the year, I had some goals:

Goal was to use more of the Style Arc patterns I've purchased and to use ANY of the Jalie patterns.

No and almost yes (ha!). I've sewn some SA patterns but they've been new patterns that I had to have and then sewed up right away. I have a decent stash of SA patterns and need to use them. I have sewn my first Jalie (Scarf collar top) and LOVE it!

Here is the muslin:

I remember buying this fabric thinking DD would love it; but she did not. So it's been awaiting it's turn to become something. I think I actually like it for this top! I wasn't paying attention and cut the back with the faces right side up but the front they're upside down. Plus I didn't want to waste fabric for the ties in case this didn't work out so I ended them where the fabric ended for the other pattern pieces. So this particular version won't be finished.

I've made a 5/8" swayback adjustment, small 1/4" armhole dart + cheater FBA. DO NOT be surprised if my next post has like 4 of these. Seriously. I'm in love with the fit through the shoulders and upper back and the length is perfect. I'm off work until Tuesday so sewing WILL happen :) just not today or tomorrow. One more trip to the college with my daughter until move-in day!

My other WIPs:

M6866 in this lovely blue-grey textured knit that is too thin for a dress. I'm going to copy a cami and lengthen it to a slip (from tricot). I love the fit too much to give it up or chop it to a top!

V9056 in black/white ponte.

I was sad-mad when I realized this view has no seam allowance at the neckline or armholes. It's to be left raw. No. No. NO! I made a binding that works. I was debating if I should hem it but I don't mind it un-hemmed...but those other raw edges would not work for me. Photos to come soon.

New Mid Year Goal: The illustrious Carolyn at Diary of a Sewing Fanatic has challenged me! She knows I lament on my pattern collection and then I buy more patterns. And then I have dozens of patterns strewn about all over...Sigh. So she has challenged me to No New Patterns! til the end of the year. No envelope patterns, no PDF patterns, no FREE PDF patterns. No. New. Patterns. The exception is Burda because obvs, I subscribe.

I accept the challenge!

I was starting to feel overwhelmed by the stash. I don't know how many yards I've added but I've only placed 6 (!!) Fabric Mart orders this year and 2 Fashion Fabrics Club orders. I visited the new SR Harris and bought 3 yards of denim and I purchased a couple of cuts from Hancock before the closure. In contrast, in 2015 I placed 15 Fabric Mart orders in the first half of the year--Plus who only knows how many visits to Hancock and SR Harris (a lot).

We'll call that progress!

I never set a specific number but I know that I've spent less on sewing this year than any other. A large part of that is due to moving, my daughter's graduation and party, etc.

I listed 6 skills in my 2016 post:

1) Floaty fabrics: Nope. All the nopes. I have yet to fully attempt to tame the floaty fabric beast.

2) Sew a blazer: Not yet. I want to, I really do. It'll probably be a Burda. And probably in August!

3) Sew at least 6 (for the year) Burda patterns: Done! This year, IMO, has been phenomenal for Burda. I've sewn something from each issue so far this year. And I'm planning to go the distance. Sewing at least one thing, for myself, from each issue of the magazine.

4) Sew a prom dress: DID THAT! It was challenging and I had to get creative at times and stretch myself. It was a fantastic experience.

5) Sew pajamas: I sewed 2 nightgowns! :) I still need pj shorts and pants. So this is still a goal.

6) Sew a summer wardrobe: Quasi completed. I made some dresses and tops. I think I don't really know what I want in a summer wardrobe! And one may think; well it's only July...but usually by August I'm moving on to fall sewing. Because September is hit or miss. And by October it can be winter. LOL! Ok, not winter, winter, but cold enough for tights and boots and how we have 55 degree mornings and it's the end of June!

I think I'm off to a good start for the first half of 2016!

On a personal note; with my birthday being in early July, it's always a reflective time. Halfway through another year...another year older. It always makes me take a step back and examine where I am in my life. So, I'll be turning 37 in a few days. I'll be getting divorced in a few months. I'll be sending my first kid off to college in 7 weeks. I moved this year and L-O-V-E my new house. June made a year at my job. I'm in a good place. I like it!

Okay fine...I just sneaked that in there. :-p It's been an uphill battle for awhile (as in  >50% of the marriage) with blended family issues.  Add in some other stuff and the best decision for everyone is to go our separate ways.

July Plans

Guess what I have NOT done? 

Worked on DDs quilt since like February. I'm a horrible mom. I don't know if it'll be completed before school starts. Maybe she won't notice. Maybe I can send it for her birthday - which is like 2.5 weeks after school starts.


-Quilt top
-Burda Challenge for July
-Dress for a bridal shower 
-Fabric Mart post  (I need new skirts so perhaps I'll try to go in that direction)

When I drafted this post I was set on making like 30 million skirts (or 2-4, same thing). Well, I was bored and it was a beautiful day so to escape the chill of the office I went to the mall and found cute skirts at Ann Taylor Loft!

I was just combing through my patterns for a skirt pattern for a cut of white rayon twill and found this for $10.

It looks REALLY cute on me! I'll model it with my new Jalie tops :)

And I found this one but not in my size. I found it online and debated ordering it (I hate their $8.95 shipping and feel like cardholders should get a better deal). Well today they were having a free shipping special on all orders. Score! So for $25, I got this one too:

We'll have to wait for it to come to tell if it's love. The white skirt is a 14 and in-store they had this one in a 10. Hahaha! I put it "on my body" and decided it could be cute if it were, you know, my size.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Dear Bloglovin': What is Happening?!

I was already frustrated with Bloglovin with the whole Blog feed turned social media. Today I logged in and What the heck? How do I have 27,000 followers? That's not possible.

Mary to the rescue!!! I'm going to leave the post up so it's not weird that it goes *poof*, but Mary (Idle Fancy) responded and stopped my freak out!

"The same thing happened to the CSC and Jenmy emailed them about it. Apparently, when people say that they're interested in sewing, a curated list of blogs is suggested as a subscription starter pack. Most people automatically subscribe to those on that screen, so it hugely boosts their follower counts, even if the users don't then go on use Bloglovin much. They're not fakes, just newbies, for the most part I think."


Well, I totally don't. But it seems like they're not spam accounts. Whew. And I won't end up on GOMI for buying followers. :-p

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Burda Challenge May and June!

Well first, a quick photo of my second Style Arc Cara top. I finished the first one and knew immediately that I needed a white one! Really, almost any top you love can stand to be done up a 2nd time in white! :) I also knew it needed to be eyelet! And then I saw this fabric with a scalloped hem at Hancock and had to have it.

It's pretty narrow so while it calls for just under a yard, I got 2 to be safe. I left as much of the other side that I could in case I can find another use for the scalloped edge.

The only changes were to add side seam length so I could use the scalloped edge - so the proportions are a little different than intended but it's okay to me. And I cut the back elastic to 14" instead of the recommended 15.5" for my size.

I still need to hem the sleeves and it'll be ready to wear! I think it's so cute!

I mentioned in my June planning post being unsure of what to sew for May and decided to go with the slip dress as a nightgown. PERFECT pattern for it!

I used a size 40 neckline/armhole and graded to a 42 as per usual. I used a really soft knit that I got in a Fabric Mart bundle so composition is unknown. I added no hem allowance and removed 1" from the hem and then hemmed it at 1 1/4".

One of the views had braided straps and I thought that was pretty awesome. I cut strips, on the crossgrain that were each 1/2" wide. I safety-pinned the 3 together and braided them, keeping my tension as consistent as possible. I then passed it through the back strap, which is stitched down, and adjusted the length in front. They're just topstitched in place and feel pretty secure.

It is extra comfortable and I can't tell you how many times I've worn this to bed. I did a load of laundry just to have it available to me again! Must find more suitable fabrics in the stash!

The braided straps are my favorite :)

For June Burda (and Fabric Mart!) I sewed up this awesome little A-line number in an animal print stretch cotton twill.

Spoiler Alert: I LOVE IT!!!

Read all about it HERE on the Fabric Mart Blog

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Sew-Crafty-Copycat; Burda 6769 and Style Arc Cara

The Style Arc photo for the Cara top shows it with a denim skirt. My interest in this pattern came after seeing Very Purple Person's Cara top...and she paired it with a denim skirt!

Imitation...flattery...all that :-p

I mentioned wanting to enter the PR contest because 1) Summer=skirts and 2) Fabric Mart. No brainer. 3) I had become obsessed with having a distressed denim skirt.

I scored this pattern for cheaper than usual at the Hancock liquidation sale.

This skirt is very 'traditional denim skirt' in some ways and in other ways, not.
1) Why were there no back pockets included? SUPER weird.
2) I think I normally see denim skirts with a slit, not a vent. And the vent was handled weirdly.
3) The coin pocket is weird and not like 'normal' coin pocket
4) The waistband is shaped like a 'normal' skirt. This was different but good! Straight waistbands don't work for my figure.

Yes, I just used 'weird' in 75% of my list. HA!

BUT I LOVE THE SKIRT!!!! This is an epic post of epicness so settle-in for lots of construction info or scroll ahead for some photos!

I say very often that I am not a teacher. Anyone who knows me well will tell you to save yourself from me teaching you anything. I'm a doer. I And I am impatient (oh,  you probably knew that!) :) But I love sewing denim (and shirts!) so much detail and nuance even if it's not quick. So I took a lot of photos this time around since it was progressing slowly anyway. Lots of these made it to IG already.

I have a few cuts of denim in the stash. Long before I ever sewed a pair of jeans I was buying it all the time. Especially when SR Harris had Rock and Republic denim and Selvedge denim in stock. I chose this for the color; I am a fan of dark denim! What I didn't realize is that this is likely a cotton/poly blend vs being just 100% cotton. Which, my favorite pairs of RTW jeans area a blend; the poly helps them keep their shape I think. And I try to never go above 1% Lycra if it's present. I just hate super stretchy jeans.

I cut wrong side, single layer, and trace my pattern piece instead of cutting around it. I take the time to line up the fabric and pattern piece, and measure the distance from grainline to the edge of the table in several places to ensure my piece is straight. Off grain fabric is bad and in denim seems to be WAY worse. I normally use a gel pen (ballpoint doesn't work well), but when I can't find it, I use a sharpie, and cut inside the line since it's so thick.

With the tracing paper I use (Bifeng paper from Blick Art), it's not completely transparent. I crease the grainline before flipping the pattern piece.

I don't know why but I cut the pieces as I need them. When sewing shirts, I don't cut the collar stand and collar until I'm ready to sew them. I don't think denim is as prone to stretching out as shirt collars but still...just my way!

Skirts and pants with pockets drive me batty because I'm ready to GOOOOO and the pockets take time and are fiddly. I had my fronts constructed as of May 22nd and then it stalled due to being very busy.

The coin pocket is a rectangle, no shaping, and it's a rather large one at that. Should I make this again I'll make it smaller/position it slightly different.

The fly is backwards. I mean, I did it 'right' according to the pattern, but I had a niggling thought about it being on the same side as the coin pocket. The Google confirms it's "normally" on the other side.

When inserting fly zippers I always use Wonder Tape to hold it in place and baste.  All the time. It seems like extra work but it ensures great results. So worth it to take a few minutes and baste.

I'm kind of digging the angled fly stitching over the curved. A bit more precise for me. Most of us need a fairly short zipper in jeans so I ensure my fly topstitching will end well below the zipper stop. I didn't have any short jeans zippers and because I am having a major flare up with my hands, wasn't about to go trying to shorten one.  I think a regular zipper in my skirt is fine, it won't take on near as much stress as it may in a pair of jeans.

By May 27th, I had my front piece fully assembled.

On the 28th I assembled the back. I was confused about my pockets. Where is the pocket piece!? And realized the pattern doesn't include them. I used the pocket from my Style Arc Sandra jeans, cut one out and quickly decided, YES, the skirt needs back pockets.

I used a RTW pair of jeans to decide on placement. I think they're a tiny bit too large and too low. But not horrible.

There was some evil afoot with the back skirt vent. Burda will sometimes give a shortcut way to do a technique and while it works, if you're not a rank newbie, it can be more confusing than just doing it the 'right' way. The inside of my vent is sketchy!

The Rest
By the evening of the 28th, I had a waistband-less skirt! And there it sat, until the 7th!

Tuesday night I was able to get the waistband assembled and topstitched, and I did the hem and belt carriers as well. Oh! this is another place where Burda treats it less like a denim skirt IMO. The carriers are intended to be caught between the yoke and waistband on bottom and then topstitched in place on top. I thought that would be unnecessarily bulky and went ahead and attached them with bartacks. I did not use the place markers on the pattern, on back I measured from the side seam about 1 1/4" and from the front pocket opening 1 1/2". I also measured to ensure each carrier was the same length.

I love making belt carriers!!! I always fray check the ends after cutting.

As of Tuesday night I was so close to the finish line! On Thursday I seriously started to think about whether or not I was going to distress it.

It looked so good! I do have some wonky topstitching here and there, but the fit was nice, the color perfect and how on earth would I take this from everyday wear to just casual wear by slicing and dicing on it?!

I was hemming and hawing and going back and forth. I walked across the room, grabbed my Ginghers and cut a slit right in front.

There. Done.

I have about 15 different skirt inspiration photos saved on my phone. I wanted it to look good. Not too much distressing but not one tiny little thing. No gaping holes, but not too perfect.

For the larger areas I cut slits and pulled out the blue threads with a tweezer. You could also just cut, wash and dry and let it happen. For the lower cut on front, I cut about 5-6 slits of varying lengths. 1) cutting more slits makes removing the blue threads easier and 2) I would only pull some of the blue threads out, stopping short at the ends, to allow it to be a little mishapen. I cut some of the white threads away leaving more of an opening, but not a hole.

I cut a small hole in the hem, letting that fray in the washer/dryer. I cut several small slits in other places (front pocket, coin pocket, on the skirt front), also allowing those to fray open on their own.

I have a refinishing job I want to do on a table. When I get sandpaper for that, I'll do a little light distressing to remove a little color in a couple places.

I've now made 3 pair of jeans and this skirt. My machine does automatic buttonholes but denim gives me a hard time. The bulk at the waistband makes it hard to feed. I have to do it backwards. Not too bad with a skirt, but with jeans, it's a headache.

I got a fairly decent keyhole buttonhole, not perfect, but it's okay. I use fraycheck before cutting (with all buttonholes.) I attached a tack button (buy an awl! Seriously!!) but accidentally bent it with my final hit of the hammer. Boooooo! I was able to use a plier and bend it back in place enough to make it functional. Whew.

I am THRILLED with the fit and finish of this skirt! Thrilled!!

Helloooooo. Are you still here?

Cara top. Made mid-construction on the jumpsuit.

So fast. SO easy. So cute.

I always take a size 12 in Style Arc tops. The PDF is 22 pages I think and because of the layout, doesn't need to all be assembled together into one large sheet. Also, with simple patterns like this (front, back, sleeve, bands), I just assemble and cut the paper, I don't trace first.

Front and back are cut on the fold, sleeve is raglan-style so it gets set flat. Front band is interfaced, back band is not.

The front band is fairly straight and I think it would have been nice if it had a little curvature to it. I ended up taking 2 darts because it was standing away from my body. And I was CERTAIN not to stretch it. I cut it and immediately interfaced it.

SA patterns typically have a 10mm seam allowance. If I made this again I may add a little more at the back piece and band. It was difficult to close that up while also stretching it. I guess another option is to leave one side open and create a casing? But casings are evil so...

It wasn't impossible, just a little challenging.

My fabric is a floral cotton(?) from Fabric Mart. The description was just "linen look woven". But I loved the colors and bought 2.5 yards of it. And this pattern takes under a yard. So I can still have another top from it! :) Or a skirt even! It is opaque but lightweight so if I made anything for my lower half I would use some cotton batiste as lining.

Anyway, it handled beautifully. But the markings. OY! They got lost. Mind your markings with respect to the bands and neckline. Don't be like me. That also gave me trouble...trying to find notches in a 3/8" SA in fabric that was a bit ravelly wasn't fun.

I did narrow hems on the sleeves and serged and turned up the bottom hem. That was a lot of circumference and a double-turned hem was not going to happen. Lastly, I have a short torso and wouldn't want it any shorter than it is currently falling. Keep that in mind if you're more average or tall.

I'm so glad I went out of my comfort zone! I think it's super cute and great for casual days. Obviously, an off-the-shoulder top isn't going to be extremely practical, but sometimes, just being cute is enough!

More photos!! :)

I wasn't being artsy. I heard a noise! LOL!!!!

I'm really digging this little corner of the backyard for photos!

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Graduation Celebration: McCall's 7167

This past weekend was a whirlwind of activity and while I was exhausted on Monday, I was grateful to have spent such a fantastic weekend with family and friends!

Before the ceremony:

He was proud of his big sis!

I didn't cry but I sure felt a swell of emotion at her completing 
one phase of life and moving on to the next!

This is my favorite from during the ceremony. It's like she's 5 again :-D

We had family and friends come in from North Carolina, Georgia, Illinois and Arizona

My parents, 2 of my 3 siblings, 1 sister in law, 12 of my 14 nieces and nephews, my great-niece and great-nephew. 
WHEW!  Plus my nephew's girlfriend and 2 of my cousins. 

There was yummy delicious food and CAKE! And because she loves her name, I ordered this custom wall decal from Wordybird Studios on Etsy (nayy, just cute stuff at good prices with fast shipping!)

This is my all-time favorite baby picture of her! She was 4 months old and full of chubby goodness :)

We got rained out and I ended up with DOZENS of people crammed into my house. It was exhausting but so worth it. 75 days until she moves into her dorm room! :-O

On to the outfit!!

I was all super proactive about starting my jumpsuit and still ended up stitching the final parts about an hour before we were supposed to leave. OY!

This was on Memorial Day! I had made so much progress!!!

(Could be because I sewed up the Style Arc Cara top in the middle of working on it. Hahaha! Review and photos to come)

I have standard adjustments that are needed with Big4 patterns and this one was no different. Tissue fitting the bodice confirmed:

3/4" swayback
3/8" tuck on front (always needed for V-neck and wrap/surplice bodices)
3/8" wedge removed from center back (tapering to nothing at the waist)
Lowered bust point 1"
Added 1" to waist

And also:
3/4" Added to back rise*
1/2" removed from front rise*

I got the bodice and lining done, basted in a zipper and woe is me! There was gaping at the armhole.

Especially noticeable on the side where I'm holding my phone

This is something I consistently forget about and thanks Jess (as usual!) for reminding me that since the pattern has sleeves, an adjustment is needed to make it sleeveless. I've seen this discussed plenty on blogs that do a bit more educating. I considered unpicking but seriously, it was sewn and seams were graded and understitched AND I was running out of time. I took a dart at the armhole as close to the side seam as I could. It wasn't perfect but it looked much better than it did before with the gaping. And putting it there meant when my arms were down, it was fairly unnoticeable.

The dart

*I know jumpsuits need a bit more crotch depth but wasn't thinking. IT IS JUST BARELY OKAY! I did my normal crotch adjustments but I should have added MORE to the back and removed NOTHING from the front. OY.

Then, I sewed my two back inseams together. I haven't done that in AGES. And the sad part is, As I was pressing it open (before serging), I was so confused as to how I was going to join the front with the back. Went right over and serged those seams together. Good grief.

L, over at You Sew Girl taught me how to easily remove serger stitches. I can't remember if it was in a blog post or if it was something she mentioned here cut both needle threads every other/every few threads like regular stitches and then you can just pull the looper threads and it all unravels nicely.

Unpicking the regular stitches from the spongey poly crepe almost made me cry though! Plus, I had already trimmed with the serger! I ended up measuring what seam allowance was left (which was more than 3/8" but less than 1/2" (we'll call it 7/16"!) and trimmed the front pieces down to match. Whew.

My next snag came with the zipper. I realized after the fact that the Cara top got sewn because I didn't know what the hell to do with the zipper. I was so confused as to how I would get the invisible zipper in with the crotch seam done up already. And I didn't want to risk that horrible lump at the end. I then realized it was NOT intended to have an invisible zipper, it was a centered zip.

There are very few instances where I like centered zips. Very few. I was going to go exposed but decided this didn't really match that styling and went with a lapped zipper. Once I got that in, I was back in business!

This was 9:30 p.m. the night before!

I sewed the hems by hand and sewed the lining to the bodice by hand as well. Posted on IG one hour before showtime:

Everyone was playing board games and making fun of me working my butt off to finish!

I really love the jumpsuit - even the pleats! Finishing it did not catapult it to a "fave" for June though. I do like it a lot and was very comfortable in it; and the color - LOVE! But the imperfections are frustrating on this one.

I do think the crepe was a great choice for it and besides having to work a little harder at pressing, it was easy to handle and sew. I went with an ivory pongee lining and only after I cut the front pieces out did I have a "duh, you need to line the back too!" moment. So the front, including waistband is lined in ivory and the back in a pale yellow. Hey, it works!

I was going to put it back on today and take some photos but I'm tired! Sorry!! Perhaps the next time I have to take blog photos (ahem, Cara top and Burda skirt??) I'll get some front/side/back basic pics.