Saturday, August 30, 2008

Red & blue split-neckline knitted tee

Have any of you read my very first post where I wrote, "...and coming soon, knitting!" about what topics I would be including in this blog? Well, here is my very first completed knitted project! I started my class the first of July and had such a blast! Not that learning hasn't been frustrating. It definitely has. I've spilled some tears.

Anyway, I'm aware it is customary to first do a dishrag, hat or scarf. I started the dishrag and got bored. Knit, purl, knit, purl. Snore. I live in southern Texas and have never once in my life worn a scarf or winter hat. So, I found the simplest sweater pattern that I liked and dove right in.

This is the split-neckline cap-sleeved tee from Fitted Knits by Stefanie Japel. First let me write that I'm in love with most of the patterns in this book, and plan to make almost all of them.

Once you get past the sleeve set up, this sweater is basically a straight tube. I could tell from the picture they had it cinched up in the back on the model. So I did some flipping through a few books and decided to put in front and back darts. I really like the fit! I did make a few mistakes. No holes or anything unsightly. Can you see it's not exactly a cap sleeve like the book description? Despite any oopses, I learned a lot and will wear this with pride. Here's the neckline close up. Isn't it cute?!

I learned how to use double pointed needles doing the trim on the sleeves. That folded-picot edging was a fun little detail.

I used a yarn made up of 45% cotton/55% acrylic. It's a little hot, so I probably won't do that again. I didn't want to break the bank for my very first sweater and went with a less expensive yarn. You definitely get what you pay for. All in all I'm very happy with my very first sweater.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Newlook 6669 - Polka-dot top with navy bow detail

Yes, you read that correctly. This top has a bow. I'm really not the cutesy-cutesy bow type. I made it first with just the ribbon but it was kind of plain. This is the last of my summer sewing. Sorry my picture looks fuzzy. (Oddly enough I made it to match these navy capris but wore them so much this summer they've faded. Does anyone know a good way to dye navy clothing? I've tried Rite (sp?) dye but it just ends up coming out in subsequent washings.) Here's the back view:

The only problem I had was getting the underarm zipper to lay smoothly. But that's human error, no flaw from the pattern. The neckline is a bit open. When I make this again I plan to bring the entire neckline in. As it is I have to wear a strapless and make sure I don't do any bending over in front of people. I love the puff sleeves and the sleeve band is cut on the bias so it doesn't choke my arm. However, I have to be sure to do my hair before I put this on because I can't raise my arms over my head.

This was an easy little top. I also like the sleeveless and the long sleeve versions so most likely will be making this again.

Monday, August 25, 2008

More cheap Burda patterns

I found the rest of the Burda patterns I wanted at the other closing Jo-Ann. (These were only $1.99 as they are closing and liquidating everything.)

I think this first top is really cute. I'm planning to make the whole neck opening smaller and bring the neckline up. Also, it's going to be longer. The long sleeved version features different fabric for the sleeves and piping details. I'm not crazy about the front zipper closing. The short sleeve has flirty little sleeves and a corset detail, although I would completely close the front and not let that little flash of skin show through.

This next pattern is a simple skirt. I really like the wider waistband that sits at the waist and the buttons that close the back. No I will not be making the one with the pockets. That would make my hips look HUGE.

This suit is really interesting to me. The jacket has front and back triangular inserts and front pockets. I don't know if I like the back inserts. They really break up the flow of the fabric. That would be easy enough to omit. The skirt is flared on the bottom and cut on the bias. It would be difficult to match stripes but well worth the effort.

Okay, so this is a little teeny-bopper for my 30-year-old-self, but I think I can pull it off by making it into a skort. (Built in shorts underneath.)

That's it for my Burda picks. Not that I really needed anymore patterns, but I have a hard time passing up a bargain.

I do have a skirt to show you, but as we just got back from a long weekend at the Frio River, I've got mounds of laundry to get through and the dreaded unpacking.

Thursday, August 21, 2008


Jo-Ann's has decided to close two stores in my city and open a new "super-store", whatever that is. Bigger craft section? This is a little annoying as they are the two closest stores, and the new giant store is very far away and in an area with tons of traffic. As they are closing these two stores, they are liquidation everything. I was there the other day and they had every Newlook pattern marked down to $1.99. Great price, I stocked up. Then I got a wild hair today and called about their Burda patterns. Brace yourselves... $1.99 each! This is way cheap. These patterns cost me in the $5 to $8 range even with the 40% off Jo-Ann's always has, so I only purchase them when I have a definite project in mind. I bought every pattern I've had my eye on, except for 2 or 3 that were sold out. I scanned the envelope so you can see the blackline drawing if you want.

Up first is this cute skirt with princess seams. Yes, it's very simple, but I surprisingly don't have this design in my stash and I like the idea of putting a sheer fabric over a darker lining fabric. (Like the pink skirt in the picture.)

I'm loving this eyelet top for next summer.

Here's a pattern that just went out of print. I think several of these views are great. This is an easy-going-run-around-during-the-summer-with-my-kids dress that still has some style.

This dress I LOVE. So different but not totally out there. I looked this dress up on PR and it only had one review, but her dress was beautiful! Maybe for next summer?

This is one they just came out with. My pick is the black on the left. It's a knit design with inset and neat button detail down the front. Cute collar as well.

Another new one. This is for a knit as well. The heart neckline is super cute and the back closing is a nice detail.

A fun top for summer. I like the black one with contrasting ruffles, collar and button placket.

Love, love, love this dress. The middle one is my fav. It has really nice topstitching and piping details.

All of the views on this one I adore.

I'm drawn to this asymmetrical closing on this little top.

And when I find cute maternity, I buy it, because cute maternity patterns are not easy for me to find. Not that we're currently expecting, but you never know what the future holds. I'm still dreaming of a little girl to make dresses for. :)

Huh, I know I bought 13 but can only find pictures of 12. Oh well, I'm super tired and am heading off to bed. Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Simplicity 4020 - Kimono-styled black & red knit top

I have been watching so much Olympic coverage from Beijing that I was inspired to make something Asian-looking. Plus there's currently 41 reviews of this top on Pattern Review, 99% highly recommended. So I thought it was a pretty sure thing as patterns go. And people, I really needed something to turn out.

My only issue is that I'm getting a pucker right under the bust from where the top pieces overlap. I've tried everything to get that pucker to go away, even sewed a piece of ribbon over the seam as you can see in the following picture. I finally decided to just live with it. Only a perfectionist like myself can tell and even then they'd have to be standing extremely close to me.

This was super easy to make. I don't have a serger, so knits look a little messy on the inside. This does bug me. Oh well. I've got no place to put a serger, so don't plan on buying one anytime soon. I made view E but with slightly shorter sleeves. (Didn't have enough fabric.) I love it! And it's so comfortable. I had this outfit on all day. Being a stay-at-home-mom, I still like to look cute even if I'm just running to the store.

I finished this up this morning and thought, hmmm... needs something. Maybe a necklace? I had to buy some powder at the mall anyway, so decided to look at their jewelry at the same time. BIG MISTAKE!!! My kids were total monkeys. They grabbed bracelet after bracelet to stack on their arms, ripped price tags off, closed the little jewelry boxes displayed on those round tables, ran out of the store into the mall to sit on some massage chairs, almost toppled a mannequin and crawled around on the floor. Every second I was saying, "Stop that!", "Put that down!!", "NO grabbing!!!", "Get back here!!!!". I do make a choice and go to pay with my $10 off coupon in hand. My motto: send me a coupon and I will visit your store. Then the sales lady tells me my purchase has to be at least $30. Now I've got to find something for $10 to go with the necklace. Yea, we left without purchasing any jewelry. New motto: Always read the fine print.

Here are my monkeys before the mall incident. Big brother Nathan on the right changing the oil in his car just like daddy does it, and little brother Daniel "helping". Notice all the tools? So funny!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Newlook 6717 - Blue dress w/ lower flounce & green piping

This pattern is OOP (out of print) but I love the fit and style. I bought coordinating green fabric and made my own piping for the first time. It's a lot of work but I really like the way it turned out. Here's a close up of the neckline:

Here's the back view:

When using piping I taper it down at the underarm seam and where it meets the zipper. This ensures that it stays upright and reduces bulk:

Here's the inside armhole. Even though I added a full lining, I had to use the facings because of the piping:

I made view B. This is a simple pattern that I'm sure I'll use again.

Here's my shoes. The Rockport brand is so comfortable!

By the way, I must admit that this isn't the most recent addition to my wardrobe. I'm having a terrible few months of sewing. I really tried this summer to make casual clothes, but for some reason I have a way easier time making dressy garments. If it is complicated and has a lining it usually turns out wonderfully. I have wasted so much money and time with nothing to show for it but a pile of wadders. Anyone in my boat???

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Butterick 5046 - Red two fabric wrap dress

I made this a few months back for summer. I fell in love with the two coordinating fabric design. Here's my suggestions for picking two fabrics for one garment: pick one light and one dark, one big print and one small print. Easier said then done, though, right? I just happened upon these red and white florals and inspiration was born.

This has such a flattering neckline. No gaps and it's not too low. The single button closure is a nice touch, and I chose to use a covered button so as not to distract from the design/patterns of my fabrics.

My mom thinks these sleeves are weird, but I really liked that they are different looking. Here's a close-up of the point. I tried really hard to make this look spot-on, as it can be seen readily when I wear the dress. It's a tiny bit off, but is like that on both sleeves, so I think it's just the angle.

I chose to put in a full lining. Even when the fabric isn't white, I still tend to line all my dresses. I think they drape better. Here's a close-up of the inside buttonhole with the lining.

And here are my shoes. Believe it or not, I had these at home but wasn't thinking about them when I was picking out fabrics. I just got lucky, I guess, because the match is pretty perfect, especially with the ribbon rose right in the front. Have you noticed I have a thing for shoes? But then, what girl doesn't?

Here's the pattern picture. I made view D, the top left tunic, but I extended it into a dress. I also really love the black one made in eyelet. Maybe I'll make that next summer...

P.S. I have to be careful when I wear this that it's not a windy day and to hold it closed when I sit down. The overlap is maybe 10 inches on both sides. Not a big problem, but I do have to think about it and not do any squatting. (I have little kids so I do a lot of that to get on their level.)

New Butterick patterns are out!

I've been stalking the Butterick website for several weeks now, waiting for the new fall patterns. I have one word to sum it up: blah! More shapeless, plain clothing that looks the same as what we've all seen before. I found one pattern that I'll buy but save for next spring/summer:

I sort of like the green tunic on this one with those little gathered sleeve bottoms.

Everything else is so plain. No little details that I love to add. How disappointing! Although all the other big pattern companies produced the same disappointment with their fall lineup, I don't know why I was expecting any different from Butterick.

I just received my free August copy of Burda World of Fashion, which has about 5 designs I'm interested in, as well as some maternity patterns I might be able to use at a later time. I guess that will have to replace the patterns I usually buy from my local fabric stores.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Newlook 6629 - Same shirt, new picture

I was making some matching capris in green. The fit was off, but even if I could have fixed that, it was too much green. Green shoes, green pants, green ribbon belt... Augh! Too matchy-matchy! So I abandoned the capris, took the ribbon belt off, and here I am with the resulting outfit. I like the contrast of a white top with dark bottoms. Here's a close-up of the shoes:

I'm currently working on something pink. I think I'm done with green for now. :)

Monday, August 4, 2008

New fabrics from Gorgeous Fabrics!

I keep seeing patterns for knits that I love but can never find knit fabrics that I care for in the stores. They all seem to be solid colors or juvenile prints. I heard about Gorgeous Fabrics through pattern review, and while her prices aren't what I'd call inexpensive, her selection is awesome. So, okay, she writes on her website that they only cut in whole yards but try to be generous to keep their customers happy. Generous?!!! I received at least half a yard more in every cut then I paid for. The pink brocade I ordered 2 yards and received 3! This is making me rethink the projects I was going to make with these. If I had a daughter it would be no big deal. I'd make a shirt for me and a shirt for her. But I have 2 boys. I guess I'll quit blabbing and actually show you the goods:

The black and white rose print I'm planning for Newlook 6802, the sleeveless view:

The pink brocade isn't a knit, but I fell in love with it. I was planning McCalls 5395, with long sleeves and those cute gathered pockets:

I planned to wear it with jeans. Kind of a polished casual look for fall. But seeing as I have 3 yards of it when I only needed 1 7/8, I have enough for a suit. Although I'm not sure I want that much bright color looking back at me in the mirror.

The pink and blues I'm planning for Simplicity 3775 with gathers at the waist and short sleeves. This is going to be for next summer:

The black and green for Vogue 8489, with 3/4 sleeves, shorter length, and contrasting black bands. This will be for fall: