Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Brown + Hot Pink Double-Breasted Jacket

The only thing good about cold weather is cute outerwear.

I say this every year because I really don't like winter but I really do like coats. They make it bearable, and I have a number of them. You can never have too much outerwear IMO. Yes I live in south Texas. Having a nice wardrobe means being prepared for any occasion and that includes weather.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

McCall's 7194 - Borderprint Sweaterknit Top w/ Asymmetrical Hemline

The temperatures outside have dropped dramatically. Time to break out the wool sweater knits! This fabric fades from dark gray to marbled red and back again, and I knew I wanted something simple to showcase it. I chose McCall's 7194, which I'd seen several awesome versions of last winter.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Early Spring McCall's Pattern Release

I don't do posts that showcase pattern releases very much anymore but I just had to this time around because McCall's hit it out of the park for me. There are SO MANY DESIGNS that I like. I need new patterns like I need a hole in my head so I try to only buy a choice few from each collection. This time I've paired in down to 8. And that's using some restraint, people.

This first one is McCall's 7537. I adore the shape of this and the use of three different prints. I may make it shorter... This view isn't shown on a body so I'm not sure where the hemline falls.

McCall's 7534 looks like a super cute day dress to throw on and go. I'm really loving these types of dresses lately - unfitted but still with some shape. The neckline is pretty too, and that wrap detail goes all the way to the side seam.

Okay, so this silhouette doesn't scream my name. Those flare sleeves aren't comfortable to me. They get in the way of my day-to-day and I like a sleeve that stays put. However, I'll be buying this pattern just to have the neckline. How cute is that lacing with a contrasting lace underneath?! I'm all about these kinds of details. This is 7532 BTW.

This is McCall's 7539, of which one of the fabrics listed scuba knit. I have several cuts of this type of fabric in my stash and haven't been able to come up with a pattern I love to pair them with. Also, high necklines make the bust look bigger and I'm always trying to even out my proportions.

I think McCall's 7541 is adorable for spring. Some cape-inspired clothing is difficult for me to pull off. I need my arms free to carry children and most capes just won't work for that. But this top looks like there'd be plenty of movement and mobility. It's simple with some interest.

This is McCall's 7545. What I like on this design is the mixing of two fabric together and the front tie made from tassels. I'd probably need to run a strip of elastic along the bottom of the sleeve. Although these don't look that wide so maybe I'd be able to pull it off.

This top looks uber trendy and of-the-moment. I'd pinned one that somebody made from the Hotpatterns pattern and was thinking about buying it, but now I think I'll get McCall's 7543 instead.

I remember wearing overalls in college in the 90's so this pattern really wouldn't have done much for me BUT, I really loved some of the inspiration photos on the video McCall's did for it. I'm still on the fence. I do love the shape - especially the view with the tapered legs - and the fact that it has a waistband. This is McCall's 7547.

Those are my picks! There are a number more that I'd like to have but I'm seriously running out of room for patterns. I think it may be time for a stash-busting session. What did you find from this release that you just have to have?

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Updated Pinterest Boards!

If you're interested in seeing what I'm pinning for sewing inspiration, you can now check out my boards on Pinterest. Originally I started out with only a few boards, one of which was "Sewing Inspiration". However, it got so full of pictures that I had to scroll forever to find the one that I wanted. Or I forgot about things I intended to copy. Now it's been completely overhauled into various categories and is MUCH easier for me to find what I'm looking for or interested in.

Also, I've set up a neat board devoted to all the garments I've posted in the past 8 years that are still in my closet. I'm pretty ruthless when it comes to cleaning out my wardrobe. If it doesn't get worn in a year or is uncomfortable/faded/fabric didn't hold up to expectations/etc., it gets donated. This was fun and pretty eye-opening. Anyway, take a look if you're curious. The picture at the top is linked or you can always click through with the social media icons on my right sidebar.

Have a great weekend!

Friday, November 25, 2016

Butterick 6409 - Black + white geometric print dress in wool rayon

I am currently on the hunt for thicker-weight fabrics with draping properties to make winter dresses out of. This Marc Jacobs border print wool-rayon woven from Mood Fabrics caught my eye because I know rayon fabrics to have a great amount of drape and combined with wool I thought it would be perfect for winter. Also border print fabrics are fun to work with. I used Butterick 6409 for the pattern and made a few minor tweaks.

There are lots of ways to use this fabric creatively because it has a thick border on one side and a thinner one on the other. It also has areas of plain black along the selvages. I used the top half of the thick border for the bottom of my dress and the very bottom of the thick border for the sleeve cuffs. With the smaller border I made a belt.

This stuff sewed and pressed like a dream. It really is the perfect weight for winter, especially if you want to forgo a lining. If Mood had other patterns or colors I would snap them up in a heartbeat. The color is kind of a dusty black and can look like a midnight navy in certain lighting.

I cut a size small for this dress and I'm typically a 12 in big 4 woven patterns. The fit is perfect - not too much fabric through the bust with a bit of ease in the shoulders. I also really like the sleeves. Sometimes these types of sleeves have too much fabric in them but these have just the right amount. I left off the button and lapping cuff. That's just extra work when the cuffs fit easily over my hands.

This design relies on a drawstring for its shaping through the body but I find those to be kind of a pain and take too much re-adjusting throughout the day. Instead I used the casing pattern piece and made an elastic waist.

Dressform pictures:

I planned to wear a belt with it but I tried on every belt in my closet and didn't like any of them. I then thought I might add the tie back in to the front but I never need bulky stuff going on around my middle. Somewhere along the line the idea to make a fabric belt popped into my mind and I LOVE how it turned out. Now I want to make fabric belts for everything.

I used french seams throughout because they're pretty and there weren't that many construction joints anyway. The hem I did by hand as I usually do. The stitches for that completely sunk into the fabric so I decided to secure the neck facing by hand instead of top-stitching it down.

I love to wear these types of dresses in my day-to-day life and am thrilled with this new addition to my closet. When it gets a little cooler I'll pair it with tights and flats and be perfectly warm.

Note: The fabric used in this post was purchased with my Mood Fabrics monthly allowance, as part of my participation in the Mood Sewing Network.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Vogue 9183 - Winter white wool dress w/ black lace overlays

I've just finished a classy wool dress for fall/winter that I'm in love with! The idea for this garment has been floating around my brain for years and I'm just so pleased to see it turn out exactly how I imagined.

I knew I wanted to play around with lace motifs and needed a lace that I could cut into that wouldn't fray. The one I used is from Mood fabrics and is all sold out but here is a black 3D guipure lace that's similar. The white is an ivory wool twill also from Mood fabrics and also all sold out. (Sorry!) Mood as lots of other wool twills available. Their anemone red is a particularly beautiful color that would go great with black lace.

The pattern I used is Vogue 9183. It's a simple shift dress that's fitted through the bust and skims over the waist and hips. I was intrigued by the neckline of this design and the absence of side seams. I did not make a muslin first as I figured it wouldn't need much fitting past the bust. I cut a size 12 through the bust and waist, tapering out to a 14 through the hips. Thankfully it fit without needing any adjustments.

To make this dress I sewed the ivory wool body pieces together first and put in the zipper. Then I put the dress on my dress form and figured out how I wanted the front lace piece to lay. When it was completely pinned on I took it off the dress form and slowly stitched the lace on by hand with millions of tiny stitches. I went all around the perimeter of the lace and did some stitching in the middle as well. When that was finally done I put it back on my dress form and repeated the process for the second lace piece. Then I had to figure out the lining because this patten is unlined. Usually putting in a lining just involves using the provided bodice pieces but since this dress has a neck facing that's folded over and incorporated into the design, the lining was no picnic.

Dressform pictures:

Here's a closeup of the neckline. I think it looks kind of 60s mod.

I used an antique white china silk for the lining.

The sleeve head seams were covered in bias tape for a clean finish.

This dress took forever to complete! I actually thought I'd finished it a few weeks ago and posted it to the Mood Sewing Network for October. However, the more I looked at those pictures the more I felt like something was off. Every once in awhile I'll change my mind about an aspect of my sewing after I see it photographed, and for this dress it was the sleeve length. Perhaps elbow-length sleeves just aren't flattering on my body or maybe something was off with the proportions. I'm not sure. I cut the sleeves off to the shorter length and trimmed a bit of the sleeve head along the way. I like this sleeve length much better. I'm still not completely satisfied with how the sleeves look from the back of the dress but I am moving on. And trying to not be obsessive. That's hard for a perfectionist.

Note: All fabrics used in this garment were purchased with my Mood Fabrics monthly allowance, as part of my participation in the Mood Sewing Network.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Vogue 9061 - Black + metallic turquoise midi-skirt in Carolina Herrera brocade

I ordered 1.5 yards of this gorgeous Carolina Herrera brocade from Mood fabrics a year or so ago without having any plans for what it would become. It's so beautifully vibrant in color, and the concentrations of turquoise over the black reminded me of brushstrokes. It sold out quickly, however, but was priced at $35/yard.

I had enough fabric for a sheath dress but thought that might be a little too formal for my lifestyle, so went with a skirt instead. The pattern is Vogue 9061, a relatively simple fit-and-flare style with inverted pleats and a side zipper. Surprisingly, this pattern is now out of print. (Wow, that was fast! It feels like I just purchased it.) I was planning to make the shorter length but had some left over fabric along the selvages that I had a lightbulb moment over what to do with. It became a midi-skirt instead, with the bottom hem band cut on the cross grain.

Usually with this quality of fabric I make sure to sew up a muslin to test the fit. However, the inverted pleats are the only things forming the waistline, and those are easy enough to adjust. I cut a straight size 12 but did need to let all the pleats out by 1/8".

I like midi-skirts to hit my legs right where the calf starts to curve in towards the knee, which on my body is 27". This pattern is drafted to be 30" long, so I trimmed 1 5/8" off the bottom of the skirt body and 1 3/8" off the hem band.

Dress form pictures:

This pattern does not include a lining. Those aren't difficult to add by any means, but I had to think about what order I needed to sew my seams and how I would deal with inverted pleats on both my outer fabric and my lining. I ended up sewing the side seams and hem band of the brocade first, then hemming it and installing the side zipper. Then I sewed the side seams of the lining together and sewed it invisibly by hand to the zipper opening. I then did the pleating along the top by treating the brocade and the lining as a single layer. When they were pressed open I stitched in the ditch on the outside to secure the pleats from moving around.

The inside waist band is interfaced and slip-stitched to the lining for a smooth finish. It holds the skirt securely to the waist, much like a waist stay does, which is needed with this weight of garment.

The only other thing of note is that I've started stitching the hems of my linings to the outer fabric with an ease pleat, like I do on any lined jacket. I have hemmed those two elements separately for all of my sewing career, but inevitably some threads come unraveled inside the skirt and hang down, needing to be clipped from time to time. This method encases all raw edges and I love it. There is a bit more hand sewing involved to slip-stitch it on, which I really enjoy. I'm weird like that.

I think this will make a great holiday party look as I've styled it here or with boots and a cropped sweater for church. It's definitely a dressy garment. This was a super fun thing to stitch up and all my fabrics behaved themselves nicely. I'll definitely be using this pattern again. (Still can't believe it's OOP already!)

Note: The brocade from this post was purchased with my Mood Fabrics monthly allowance, as part of my participation in the Mood Sewing Network.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Vogue 9154 - Textured wool skirt

Finding wool clothing in south Texas is just about impossible. Of course our winters are pretty mild and don't last half the year, but it does get cold here. Well, cold to me anyway. If I want wool clothing I have to make it myself, which I am perfectly okay with as it's always such a well behaved fabric. I am really into textures lately, so when I spotted this striped novelty wool-acrylic blend at, I quickly bought 1.5 yards without anything in mind.

I decided to use Vogue 9154 and make the knee length version of the skirt. I really like the way the stripes come together in chevrons at CF and CB, and horizontally on the sides. The yoke has interesting seam lines as well, although those can not be easily seen with this fabric. I'm definitely making one of the longer views in the near future in a solid color to show them off better. Perhaps I'll add some topstitching as well.

This fabric might look striped from a distance but it's actually rows of yarn secured to an olive green backing. It's a fun texture that doesn't add much bulk. I'm really not sure how much acrylic content this fabric has. I was about to sweat to death while taking these pictures, so rest assured it is really warm. This wool pressed really well but it is somewhat thick to sew with. I had to wrangle it under my machine foot, but once in place it fed through easily. I sewed my seams using bright blue thread so that I could see it easily if I needed to rip it out. I also stitched all the seams with a 4mm stitch length.

I cut a straight size 12 and took a 1.5" hem instead of the 5/8" hem in the pattern directions. I like shorter skirts for winter when they'll likely be worn with tights. On my body, knee length skirts paired with tights make me look like I'm wearing my grandma's clothes. My maroon top was made this past January and is also wool. Can you see the perspiration forming on my forehead? Lol.

I have found that skirts without waistbands tend to slip around when worn over tights, so I wanted something on the inside that had a little gripping power. I chose a cobalt blue tricot lining from my stash for the inside facing. In order to give the waist some stability and prevent it from stretching out, I added clear elastic to the seamline. Early on I realized I was not going to be able to finish the seams with my typical overlocking stitch, so I cut strips of the tricot and did a Hong Kong finish instead. I also finished off the bottom hem the same way.

Although my camera is making this blue appear much brighter then it is in person, I quite like the pop of color on the inside. I'm also going to explore making more unlined sweater knits now that I know how to neatly finish off the edges.

Note: This fabric was purchased with my Mood Fabrics monthly allowance, as part of my participation in the Mood Sewing Network.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

McCall's 7046 - Animal + paisley double tiered knit dress

I've had this ITY knit in my stash forever, most likely an online purchase. I had it set aside for a summer dress but decided that the colors were really more fall-ish. I've decided I really prefer these thin knits to be sewn into items that either drape or have ruching, so I chose McCall's 7046 which has both.

I like my winter dresses to be a little short since they're always worn with tights and sometimes tall boots. After eyeballing the envelope example, I cut two inches off the bottom of the bodice pattern piece. I also hemmed both tiers 1.25" with a twin needle. The length is so fun and flirty!

I cut a size 12 in this pattern. Normally I size down to a 10 for knits but the measurements on the tissue seemed really small. The waist is perfect but the bust is a tad loose. Next time I'll cut a 10 through the bust to snug it up a bit. For the neckline and sleeves I used fuchsia fold over elastic. This is the second time I've used that kind of notion and I love it. The finish is very RTW looking and provides a nice bit of contrast.

I really like this busy print but my husband does NOT. He says animal print and paisley have no business being on the same article of clothing. Haha. Oh well, I don't care, I love it anyway. This will be a great day dress for fall and winter.

Here you can see the neckline closer. This fold over elastic isn't hard to use but you've definitely got to sew slowly and be meticulous. JoAnn's is now stocking it in all different colors on the notions isle. If you do plan to use it, always get one package more then you think you'll need. I only got the neckline and one sleeve out of one package.

Dressform pictures:

Okay, that's two things for fall before the weather around here has even cooled off. Woohoo, I'm on a roll. Look for a cute wool skirt in the next few days. It's my monthly MSN garment, so I'll be posting it over there first.