Thursday, May 31, 2012

Butterick 5331 - Black boucle summer jacket

I have had this pattern for-ev-er! It looks like they are finally discontinuing in, so I'm guessing it's no longer available in stores. I really liked the ruffled collar version, but it would have been totally lost in the fabric I used.

A month or so ago I bought these bright blue shorts at Gap and didn't have much in my closet that they matched. This is when having a huge stash of fabrics and patterns comes in handy. I made a muslin to get the fit ironed out and it was pretty simple after that. I have found I really need some sort of embellishment or design element at my neckline to make the girls look more proportionate to my body. Also, it has to be really fitted through the bust or I look like a boy.

Initially I planned to wear this belted but, because of the suit-like boucle fabric, it was too hold-all-my-calls-I'll-be-in-a-meeting looking for my taste. I do haul around two boys and a baby after all. I feel most comfortable by not looking overly formal in my casual wear.

Lined jackets usually turn out well for me. You would think I should have a closet full of them. This fabric is from JoAnn's and is from the same line of fabrics that this top came from and that I now cannot remember the name of. I think it was Venice something or another. Anyone remember the name of this line? Does anyone other then me ever pay attention to that?

If I remember correctly (currently I have misplaced my pattern for verification), I made a 12 at the shoulders, a 10 through the upper torso, cut the side fronts a 6 through the bust, and tapered out to a 12 at the hips. A hook and eye was added by the top button to keep the front overlapping edge flat against the other side.

Here you can see it does indeed button up and fit me. I just prefer the more casual one button look.

I added a full lining of Ambiance. After making a few Burda jackets, I always liked how they never had the front interfaced facing seamed over the bustline. If you look hard enough you can see where the front facing was split in two, with the middle part cut from lining fabric.

This has been completed for two weeks but I didn't like the original buttons I chose for it. I usually really like picking out buttons and will do it at a button sale for a whole bunch of garments that I've planned out. Sometimes it is a year or two until I get around to them but I like to have it all on hand when the mood to make something new arises. Rarely do I change my mind about the notions I've picked out for something but this time I'm not sure what I was thinking.

Jacket with original buttons that were white with black backings

This was a nice project without any major problems or fit issues and now I have something really cute to match my shorts. I still want to make the other version with the ruffled collar at some point. It will probably be a sleeveless vest just to change things up.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

McCall's 6559 - Striped maxi dress w/ star detail

I have finally jumped on the maxi dress trend, 2+ years after it began. They looked like they'd be hot, especially here in Texas. Also I like my legs and maxi dresses completely hide them. But this pattern was so incredibly adorable that I just had to try it.

While picking up this pattern and a few others, I happened upon the perfect striped knit to make the star version. After I got it home and washed however, I noticed that is was a very grabby fabric and clung to itself horribly. That worried me quite a bit, but luckily it doesn't cling to itself while it's on me.

I wore this yesterday for the Memorial Day holiday since it's a little patriotic. I made a straight size 10 and only had to modify the neckline, which was raised 1.5". I like the fitted bust and hip area and how the fabric skims over the midsection. I'm not sure how flattering it is around the top since I'm so small busted and prefer some sort of design element up there but oh well. This will get worn to the lake and beach and around the house. It is definitely comfortable.

 I hemmed it up 1.5 inches since it was a little long on me and really prefer a deeper hem anyway. The star was attached after sewing up the right side of the dress and before sewing up the left side - much easier then how the instruction suggested.

 The racerback cut is a fun detail. I love how the star wraps around to the back and I positioned it so that the stripes were not parallel with any of the pieces it was sewn to.

I finished all the seams with my overlocking foot, then topstitched them down. None of those seams are flipping up on the inside. Also, I had to secure all of the star's tips with a few hand stitches to keep the points pointy.

Here at the inside you can see where I made my own fabric facings. The instructions have you taking a double folded hem in these areas but that NEVER works for me. Why do they even include that finish at a curved opening? I've always used bias tape in the past but think I have finally gotten the hang of skinny fabric facings. These don't need to be bias as the fabric is very stretchy.

All in all it's a  great little dress that is super easy to whip up. I plan to make the colorblocked version at some point, too.

Friday, May 18, 2012


I normally don't post my wadders anymore because I am just not that inspired by seeing other people's wadders. And really, getting inspired by other seamstresses is most of why I enjoy reading sewing blogs. However, I often get questions like the following, and thought I would share some of my mistakes:

Joyree commented on my recent knit twist top - "You are so good at getting the fit PERFECT! Does everything just fit you as it comes out of the envelope, or do you have to fix it? Very cute top."

Does everything fit me perfectly out of the envelope? No. Almost never. In fact, I have made so many wadders out of nice fabric that I now almost always make mock-ups out of crummy fabric to perfect the fit. Sometimes that doesn't work, though, and I never make a muslin out of a knit. Here are some wadders I have produced lately.

Butterick 5495

I love the look of this cute top and have seen some really lovely versions over at In fact, I think this was one of those "best of 201?" patterns. Here is the one I made:

Please excuse the blurry photos - I couldn't use a flash for these mirror shots

I made this using a cheap polyester knit that wasn't as stretchy as most of my other knits. I bought it because I loved the color. As you can see, I tied a piece of fabric through the gathering holes to try it on for fit. It is super tight in the waist and the tie isn't even pulled as tight as the envelope example. I think a stretchier knit would work better for this pattern if you want it to be gathered as closely as the example. Also, there is way too much fabric gathered under my small bust resulting in a puddle of fabric right above the stomach. The maternity look isn't what I was going for. The next time I make this pattern I plan to remove an inch or two from the center front and add some to the side seams to make up for it. That will serve as a SBA and get rid of the excess gathering. I do really like this pattern and will be making it again, but it definitely needs some adjusting if you have a small bust.

Vogue 1250

This pattern has about a million reviews for it on PR. The rebel in me did not want to make it. I do not like to do what everyone else is doing. Also, I made this ugly top last year and since then have shied away from cowl necklines. But I decided to give it a chance for some reason:

The good news is I like the fit and think the neckline is definitely flattering. The bad news is my unfortunate fabric placement. See those two huge paisley motifs at both hips? They are making me look really wide. Not what I was going for either. Also, the back armholes stretched out dreadfully while I was trying to do the double folded hem finish. I need to find some sort of iron on stabilizer that will wash out when I'm done sewing it. I'll be making this one again in a different fabric. 

Vogue 1271

This is a designer dress new for spring that I loved and wanted to make for Easter. I made a muslin and had some problems with the side front pieces pooching out at the waist inset. I thought I had figured out how to correct the problem and also take a small bust adjustment (SBA), so I cut into my expensive silk dupioni without hesitation. Two weeks later with much time spent ignoring my family I had produced this:

It's way too tight. You can't tell by these pictures but the neckline is sitting really far down my shoulders making the tucked sleeves collapse. I made a 10 in the bodice and a 12 in the skirt but forgot to mark the darts for the 10 so they didn't match up. And FYI, silk dupioni is kind of like leather in that once it is stitched on the machine, the stitching holes are always there. I did not know that. There was no moving the darts over so they would be under the bust seams. I tried making my darts inverted which would have looked okay, but the whole dang thing is just too tight. *BIG GUSTY SIGH* Also, this is sort of an ugly color on me. I can wear taupe with more brown in it, but this color makes me look ill. I will not be making this dress again. It was wadded up and thrown in the trash with much ceremony. The pattern was fine, but after two weeks of frustration I'd had enough.

Trying to show you the collapsing sleeve and overall tightness of the dress

As you can see, I still experience my fair share of ill fitting garments. They suck, but they are a part of sewing your own clothing. 

I have completed a short sleeve summer jacket that you can see on my dressform in the back of the mirror pictures. We finally got some pictures taken of it yesterday but I don't really like the buttons I put on it. And I have a baby dress I made several weeks ago that I have yet to get pictures of. This blog has been sadly neglected this year and I am sorry for that. Anyone know where I can find some blogging mojo?