Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Sketching and Keeping Things Clean

Great fun in class last night.  Sketching.  Frank has decided we need to be better able to capture our ideas on paper.   We began to touch on things like the balance line in the fashion figure, and figure’s  general sizing , the angle of shoulders and hips, etc.  A good time.  I am going to need a sketch pad like all the cool kids.

Work on the bustier is ongoing.  I have moved to fashion fabric.  I am using a navy blue speckly wool as my main fabric and then my waist design is grey satin overlayed with a navy lace.  I have the front sections sewn up.  This week’s goal is to get the back basted and the sides attached.  After that I need some instruction on how the zip is going in and then the “fly” and buttons.  I like the look of it much better than I expected to. 

The next few weeks are busy and I need to minimize the mess to the sewing room (otherwise known as the dining room).  Therefore, besides class work, I won’t be finishing up my ponte dress or starting anything new.  I just need to focus on the critical items.  Come the 19th I can make a great big mess again.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Costumes and decorating

With two birthdays slash costume parties coming up in one and two weeks respectively, I knew I had this
weekend to get both costumes done AND get the place decorated for spooky parties.  The girls each got a variation of a cat costume.  Jalie's hoodie with some improv ears and Jalie leggings with removable improv tail.  Although i measured the girls and still went one size up from Jalie sizing, the fit is snug.  I had to recut completely for Maggie.  I had time to fix my error for Kate and make her pattern larger.

Kate is a snow leopard and Mags is a kitty.  I expect the clothing will get used lots after Halloween.  Hopefully not both pieces at the same time!  They went to bed in the outfit tonight.

In the meantime, My dress form got into the party action with a makeover.  It is sporting last years witch costume.  We'll redo the kid's pics when they are in full makeup.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Quilted dress

Fabricland is ticking me off. They no longer offer their three years membership.  The member savings have changed from 25% to
20%.  They have indefinitely closed the store closest to me. Getting any supplies is now a supreme pita.

I bought this cute quilted pointe while getting the kids' Halloween fabric.   I modified my basic dress block to have a waist seam and a slightly flared skirt.  I inserted an exposed zip with a facing.  I shouldn't have used the same material as the facing as that created quite a bulky seam against the zip.  I have picked stitched the zip in as sewing it in looked janky.  It isn't perfect and I don't know if I can live with it. 

The dress is basted at the side seams as I am a bit undecided about fit overall and am going to let it sit and stew for awhile.  It's a fall/winter dress and will be worn with tights.  Good thing as it somehow ended up over the knee.  Don't know how that happened.  This will have sleeves but they are currently uncut.  I have just enough material for 3/4 sleeves and neck facings.  I will likely lower the neckline a bit in the process as well.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Vogue 1351

The jacket is done.  Pics eventually.  For now I have switched gears to Vogue 1351.  I really wanted a dress with sleeves but there were none in the stash that did it for me.  So I thought I would test drive this pattern and if I liked it I would draft a sleeve for it.

I shortened the bodice one inch, lengthened the skirt.  This is how it stands right now, as it is hanging letting the bias fall before I hem.  It is lined.  The pattern calls for a zip.  I am able to get this on over the head so I have left it off.  The fabric is a crepe from stash.

I am without my DSLR and the pic quality shows.  

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Cursed rolling collar

This jacket is turning into a pain.  I interfaced thet fabric, a loosely woven boucle.  The fabric now has some weight to it, but not in the nice structured way of wool.  It looks a bit...lumpy.  I have been steaming and hammering seams, hoping to inject some crispness into the edges. I don't know if I am succeeding or stretching the fabric.  I have understitched everything I can think of.  Plus, I don't  like the way the collar it rolling out.  It should stand up straight.  I've put the call out Frank for advice.

My lining is in but not bagged.  I still need to catchstitch all my hen facings down and put up my sleeves.Something is also off on one of the hem curves...I can see it in the picture...$%#@%!

Frank insisted I make a little skirt out of my remaining fabric. Nothing fancy, just my usual aline.  Pic of the back so you can better see the flare action.  Needs facings, lining, know...just about everything.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Coin purse

Spoonflower was giving away an 8x8 sample of their new fabric called Eco Canvas.  Think backpack material.  I saw this design by nixongraphix and couldn't resist.

But what to do with such a scrap?

A coin purse of course.  I smile each time I pull it out.  Best of all, no more loose change in my purse.  Spoonflower's delivery was fast - I had my swatch in about a week.  The fabric on it's own is pricey at $32/yard but it costs a bit less if you design your own.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Sewing in spurts

I am knee deep in completing my custom jacket that has been sitting unfinished since spring.  I dug out my pattern, figured out my lining and facing pieces, and got everything cut, marked and sewn.  I now need to put in my shoulder pads and sleeve heads and then i'll be ready to put it all together.  I have been sewing things together in little five minute spurts and it is amazing what you can accomplish in such a short period of time.

I also hemmed a new set of bedroom curtains. Why are ikea panels so damn long?  Fifteen minutes from start to finish.  Sometimes it pays to be your own seamstress.  I should have gone for a pattern but they'll do for the next ten years.

Classes with Frank will be starting again soon.  We've lost another Fight Club member. I am bummed by that. I think when you leave it is pretty unlikely that you come back.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Jalie mesh tights.

Some mesh tights made with Jalie 2216.  No changes to the pattern.  I serged the seams, used a three stitch zigzag to attach the elastic at the waist and coverstitched the leg hems.  I used a wooly nylon in the looper but struggled with the tension.  In the end I had to go with no tension on the needles and the looper.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Stupid Shorts

To get myself sewing I cut out a pair of denim shorts using my modified Jalie Jean pattern that I have made in the past.  A haphazard approach led to pockets cut too small and shaped wrong, a less than perfect topstitch, and a zipper insertion that cannot and should not be described.  I just plowed forward, the goal being to complete something.

I zipped up the sides and the crotch and tried them on to see what needed to be done before I attached the waistband.  I got them up just past my knees. 

Denim straining, seams whimpering, these shorts and my ass had reached an impasse.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Simplicity 3503 - Sewcation over.

Looking for another quick hit, I went back to Simplicity 3503.  I had tried it before, the version with the bat wings.  I liked the dress, hated the sleeves - I felt like I was in a costume.  Gone.  This time I did the sleeveless version and eliminated the back tie opening.  I modified the neckline so it wouldn't be too low.  I was feeling lazy so I zigzag my seams and finished them off with a three thread overlock.  I also eliminated the neck facing and just folded and stitched.

This is just hanging now, waiting for it's hem.  I have the same fabric but in black.  I think I may redo this dress.  Next time I will take out some of the fullness in the front from the gathers - there is really too much material there for a busty chick.

Two dresses, three days.  A pretty good sewcation in my books.

Edit for Wearability: I went back and took some volume out of the sleeves and side and tacked down the front V.  Much tidier around the boob area.  A+ on ease of wear.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Simplicity 2591 instant outfit

Don't worry!  More bust ease on me.
I was running late for work and nothing looked easy and put together enough. I'd recently bought a little pull on dress from Lands End and I grabbed that and zoom, instant outfit.  I'd forgotten how easy dresses are.  So that is why I dug out Simplicity 2591.  I need some instant outfits.

I have made this dress before, after Kate was born.  That dress was made out of a striped seersucker - while cute, it felt too young for me and was eventually donated after a wearing or two.  I liked the style though and knew all I needed was a more suitable fabric.  I picked up a linen-like blue woven and went to town.

I had to shorten the bust darts (next time I would lower them a half inch too) but otherwise it is out of the box.  I also got to try out my new coverstitch extension table.  I don't know if it was because the fabric was a woven, or if the table really makes things easier, but I got a nice hem first time out.

Edit for Wearability: The facing, despite understitching, topstitching and tacking, wants to flip out.  I had to go back and play with the darts as well.  Right now this feels like a B-.  It is wearable but I don't feel like it is a win.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Pin Tuck Woven Silk Blouse

I went to the magazine shop to get the latest Burda.  Flipping through it quickly I was not impressed. Instead I grabbed The Spring/Summer Ottobre 2014 for women.  I have never bought this magazine before.  It cost me $22.  Pretty steep.  A flip through showed some cute summer patterns.  Pattern layout is similar to Burda but in colour and on better quality paper.

I ordered a gorgeous woven silk suiting from FabricMart.  It was called Moon Rock.  It one of those beige colours that is hard to pin down depending on the light.  It is wonderfully soft and just luxurious feeling.  I got it for $5/yard and it was a steal.  I have one yard left after this project...what to do what to do.

This blouse pattern with pin tucks went together easily (#15 Accordion Blouse).  The neck is different, a bit poofy above the tucks but I think I like it, the length is bang on and it is loose and easy for the summer.  The luxe fabric just kicks it up a smidge and I am pleased.

I sewed this week!  Go me.  I also helped dress the models for the fashion show to benefit Cornerstone at the Irish Embassy.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Not a whole lot to see here.

A month between posts.  Not like me.  It has easily been a month since I have sewn anything.  The house is in shambles with renos (ceiling taping, all walls needing new paint, new laundry tub) which made me disinclined to do anything to contribute to the mess.  Still. I am behind in class and it is time to get going.

The ladies have moved on to bustiers.  Not really my cup of tea.  I am too chesty for such nonsense and at 42 don't have the urge or the occasion to run around in one.  But, the boning technique is a worthwhile learn.  So I drafted my bustier based on my sheath block.  I had to add some straps/sleeves because there is no way I am going without a real bra. The curved shape of the bustier is actually really flattering, giving the girls good coverage.  It fits me looser in the top and snugger in the bottom that it does my dress form.
After we fit the muslin we will draw in the front swoop and I can alter my pattern accordingly.  Having tried this puppy on I know that the sleeves sit too far on my shoulders and need to be extended to CF.  The back will also be designed so that the zipper is covered and buttons will run down the back.

I also made a top for Ariel.  Her seashells had gone missing.  Yeah that is how desperate I am to show some sewing accomplishment!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Drape neck with lace insert in sleeves.

Sometimes you hit it out of the park.

This is Butterick 5645.  I made view C, with the drape neck and the lace insert sleeves.  I graded up to a large.  HUGE.  So I unpicked the whole shirt and turned it back to a medium.  Perfect.

I could have easily done this with my block.  It would have been faster given that I had to unpick and resize.  I was feeling lazy and thought this would be quicker.  It wasn't.  Still, even with the second deconstruction, this was done in 2 hours.

 This pattern has some interesting sleeve variations. I am sure there will be another coming up soon.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Jacket progress and tshirt with lace sleeves

I finally got my jacket cut out, marked and sewn.  I had envisioned highlighting the seaming with some grosgrain ribbon but now I think it makes it look too twee.  I need to decide whether I'll go with a standard zip or track down a separating invisible zip.

I whipped up bathing suits for the girls.  Coverstitched the hems and just did a shite job.  Thoroughly amateur.  I hit those seam allowances or the join in the elastic and the lower looper suddenly fails to loop.

In a 2 hour time span, including cutting, I made a t shirt with lace arms.  The shirt is double layer at front as it was a bit transparent.  The hems are coverstitched except on the lace.  This was suppose to be a short sleeve top but it was snowing and below freezing outside and it could be a long long time before short sleeves are required.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Butterick 5456 Maxi Dress

Butterick 5456 was bought with the intention of making a just below the knee summer dress.  Then it became a maxi dress as I could not come to terms with cutting the pattern panel down.  The pattern also repeats on the back skirt.  I haven't worn a  dress this long sine the 80s.  I am seeing this with a pair of gold or silver flat sandals.  Yay shoe shopping!

I altered the pattern to get rid of the keyhole in the back and added an 1.5 inches to the bodice to cover the boobage.   I should have added another 1.5.  I also should have adjusted the sleeve opening under the arm to something higher and narrower in the front.  If I had done an internet search before I cut the fabric I would have seen that other busty women have complained of the same thing.

I will make this again, shorter, with the necessary adjustments. FYI - Snowing today.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Nancy Drew Bag

I had been lugging a great big laptop knapsack back and forth to the office.  Frankly I hated it.  It is heavy even when empty and I didn't need that amount of space and a trillion compartments.  To save my shoulders I have been carrying nothing often leaving me without a lunch or change for a donut or my stupid office pass. 


What I need is a bag into which I can slip my lunch, cash and bus pass, keys and ereader.  When I need to cart the laptop home I will use the little briefcase that came with it that I leave at the office.

I decided I wanted to use one of my Nancy Drew charm packs to make something fun.  When I showed the fabric to Kate she liked it but said it would be nicer with newer pictures of Nancy (read: more modern).  Screw you kiddo, you just talked yourself out of me using this fabric on you.   I settled on the Hamptons Handbag pattern from Pink Sand Beach Designs.  The instuctions were good and in colour with lots of pictures. Inside is lined and has pockets all around. Outside has two big pockets on my version but you could have sewed up the middle and gotten four.

I am pleased with the way it turned out.  It's a punchy bit of colour, it's light, and it makes me happy.  Sadly, it will need to wait one more month before making it's spring debut.  I can't see using the while still walking around in my winter parka.  It's snowing today.

Now back to our regular schedule of sewing clothing.

Friday, March 14, 2014

More Office Ts

 Spring sewing.  Hee hee.  I kill myself.  Spring is never coming.

This top is for the spring office lineup.  More of that grey/blue jersey with a small drape neck.  I love the neck drape.  It just seems to elevate a tshirt into something with a bit more class.  This is another version based on my TNT pattern.  Not much more to say about it except it sucks to relearn the lesson of testing out your coverstitch machine on scrap fabric first to get the stitch right before you sew your real garment.  I should know better.  
This next bright blue top was the a RTW knock off with a dolman sleeve.  I just laid the shirt down and copied it onto tracing paper, trued it up, added seam allowance and went to town.  What I didn't account for was that the RTW top had stretch it both directions and my blue fabric does not.  I could not get the sleeves on my arms - even with the ease of the dolman.  So, I cut them off.  This will be a shell under a sweater.

Version two has a much more ease in the sleeve.  I actually measured my biceps and made sure things would fit before I went to fabric.  Again, something I should have done in the first place, but I was to eager to sew.

In the queue is a First Communion dress.  I saw a cute one in a Burda mag and traced it out.  I have muslined the top and made the necessary changes.  I have ordered the white cotton batiste, some crochet trim and the lace for the neckline.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Long Drape Top Version 2

No sewing all week and I was feeling antsy.  I wanted another shot at my long drape top Style Arc knock off.  I had picked by a lovely grey/blue knit from Fabricland that was very fluid.  Perfect for version two. 

I narrowed the width of the neckline at my shoulders to keep the top from sliding off.  I adjusted the shape of the neckline to drop the drape lower.  I made the top tighter from armpits down.  And I added the modesty T shirt panel underneath.  Very pleased with this version.  I used my serger and my coverstitch for the hems.  I will be doing this top in a short sleeve version for the spring/summer .
I got this super cute pack of charms that features Nancy Drew.  Love me some Drew.  Now I just need to find something do with them.  I am not wasting them on my kids.  I don’t want to make a quilt.  I am thinking of some type of summer bag.

Like many of you out there I am tired of winter and my mind has shifted to spring sewing.  I am planning my spring office wardrobe.  The quick basics are:

  • Grey long draped top short sleeved (you just saw the winter version, same fabric)
  • Cream jersey small draped top short sleeved (self drafted, maybe with a dolman sleeve)
  • Red/white ponte ss wrap top (NL 6150)
  • Navy pants (Vogue 2532 - already muslined, fabric coming from FabricMart, need to reduce leg width)
The frosting list:
  • Keyhole jacket in boucle (self drafted - class work)
  • Blue lace skirt over cream jersey lining (more of a summer item).

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Long Drape Top

As I mentioned, I have been pining over Style Arc's drape top.  I figured I could come up with something similar courtesy the last two years of pattern making classes I have been taking.  I redrew my neckline and the slashed and spread at CF to add the drape.  The I slashed and spread again as it wasn't giving enough volume

It is close to what I want but not quite there.  I need one more iteration.  The first problem is the shoulders.  I need to extend the shoulders higher to the neck so that this top does not slip off.  For this version I will have to add bra straps to keep it from sliding off my shoulder and conveying a Flashdance album cover.

The next thing I need to do is make the top tighter.  I'll bring in the side seams for that fix.  If you want the drape to really show, the thing has to be fitted otherwise the front hem just tends to droop from the weight of the drape.  Finally, I will make that neckline even lower by about 2-3 more inches.  Oh, and this top begs to be made in a very light knit.  This version, a medium weight ponte, is a bit too firm and crisp.

I didn't build the modesty top into the shirt as is done in the Style Arc pattern.  I wanted to be able to throw this over any tshirt.

I am sad to say that this is the end of my lovely black ponte with the hint of sheen.  I got three great tops out of it.  I went back to order more but it was all gone.  So long black ponte.  We had a good run.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Wrap Top

Ah New Look 6150, is there anything you can't do?  This is a great knit pattern. You've seen me do the tunic, the gathered sleeve option, and now the wrap.  Go out and get this baby.  It is a treasure.  What I especially like about this wrap is that it gives you a fairly high neck.  There is no danger of gapage.  Sweet.  I made no alterations to this, ran it straight from the package.  The next time I make it I will add a bit more length.

I adjusted my jacket muslin in class.  We pinned out the fullness of the peplum in front and sides and added it back at the rear end.  Now you don't see much bulk at the hips but your get some frou frou action at the rear end.  I am much happier with it.  It now looks more like my drawing.

I am obsessing over this Style Arc pattern.  I cannot afford the Australian shipping, and there are no local retailers, so I am trying my hand at my own version of a long drape tunic. Should be posted tomorrow.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Jacket pattern in progress

I was pretty bummed to have to leave my part time sewing job.  Much of their winter line was knit wear and I quickly got over my hesitancy sewing with knits.  They are a fast sew and they are forgiving from a fit perspective.  What's not to love?  I also got to sew a few custom upcycle orders (a quilt and a bear's kilt/tam) and did plenty of alterations and repairs.  The designer also gave me an intro to pattern grading which I really dug.

Working full time has really reduced my free sewing time.  I have my pattern making class with Frank that needs to take priority when I do have time.  Everything else comes second.  We've got our jacket blocks created, drawn our design idea, and created the pattern.  I have it done up in muslin but am not feeling the love.  Here are the concept drawing and muslin. The jacket fits better on me as my girl is filler than I am across the back and boobs.  She is also about one inch longer back and front length. 

The jacket has quite a bit of a peplum.  The drawing does not.  I think I need it to land somewhere in the middle so will need to rework.  I also need the keyhole neckline to be longer..

My mom is off to a resort this week. I made her an easy travel top and skirt cut on the bias. I have done this set for her in the past but this time in a travel proof (re: polyester!) fabric.  I used Simplicity 2614 which is a damn good little pattern.  She'll be able to mix and match and dress this right up.

Dad also hit me up for some hemming. Curse our big arses and short legs!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Another work top...probably not.

Another self drafted top.   A boxy top with three tucks taken on one side near the waist. I ran into some trouble with the neck when I just fold it over and topstitched. The satin just didn't look cleanly finished.  Instead I ripped it out and bound it in bias.  Better.  The back was too loose at the small of my back so I made a center back seam and curved the seam in around the waist.  The sleeves are ok, but if I did a repeat I'd add some more ease.  I am on the fence on this. It doesn't look fantastic on.  It'll like go to goodwill.

The skirt shown belongs to mom.  It is cut on the bias and I am just letting it hang for a few days before I hem it.

I got to go see the shows at Ottawa Fashion Week on Friday night.  Mom and I went.  We hit the shows and spent the breaks gambling at the casino.  I won $100 on the penny slots

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Fingerless Gloves

There are some good things about going back to work full time: the quiet time on the bus to read my book; only worrying about getting myself ready and out the door; looking forward to seeing the family in the evening.  The biggest baddest thing is not getting up at 6:30 am but rather the huge reduction in available sewing time.

I eeked in an hour tonight for more office sewing.  This time a pair of arm warmers. I am freezing in the office.  I used this tutorial from Tie Dye Diva and some sweater knit from Fabricland.  Hubby scoffed at the concept, told me to wear long sleeves, but I like them.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Shrug McCall's 6845

A few days in the office has made me realize I am going to need to keep a sweater there and I wanted something light.  Enter McCall's 6845 View D.  It is meant for a woven but I used a knit.  I got rid of the collar/band and just extended the body 2"  following the CF curve all the way around.

This is a grey knit with a bit of glitter in the stripes that I picked up for $5/M at Fabricland.  I serged it all then topstitched it down.  Quick make.   Total cost: $7.5.

I have a black one done up as well from the leftover black knit that I used to make Kate's witch costume.  I'll  bring that one in also and leave it there.  That covers my black/grey office palate.

McCall's 6845 also features one of the ugliest patterns I have ever seen.  A true what the hell were they thinking moment.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Office Collection: Part 2

Today's sewing resulted in a heavy grey ponte knit skirt.  I used my TNT a line knit pattern. It has the facing built in. Sew one side, the other, hem and done. 

The shirt is Simplicity 2618.  The shirt will be a layering piece, I probably won't wear the two together.

This woven blouse took more time. I drafted the pattern from a favourite ready to wear top from Banana Republic. It is basically a square dartless shirt block, spread for pleats at the waist.  Back shape is given via the tie. I used a polyester satin.  The neck, arms and hem are done with my coverstitch.

No, my pants aren't hemmed yet.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Office Collection Winter 2014

An imminent return to an office environment has made me realize the dearth of business casual attire in my wardrobe.  So, it is time for some quick and dirty sewing.  For the most part that means using my tried and true, tested and modified, patterns and blocks.  I have also settled on blacks and greys as the colour base for this collection.  Not exactly going to set the world on fire but I need office basics!

Using Simplicity 2614 for the basis of an aline bias cut skirt, I whipped up a skirt in black crepe (not shown) and in a black/grey pinstripe.  I did not line (quick! dirty!) so these will require a slip.  Also, a sweet and easy elastic waistband.  I don't tuck anyhow, so no one will be the wiser.

Using Simplicity 6150 I have sewn up a basic black long 3/4 sleeve knit top. Perfect for over pants or a skirt. I got to use my new Coverstitch machine and woohoo what fun.  I also did up the same top with a sleeve variation in a winter white ponte that I have been dying to use. There was no way I was setting in knit sleeves, as per instructions.  I serged the shoulder/arm together, gathered with elastic, and then put it in flat.  No problemo.

4 garments, 5 hours - cutting time included.  Yeah baby.

Pants?  Fuck it.  I bought pants.  2 black pair of different cuts, 1 dark grey.  I just don't have the time to sew everything.  They'll need to be hemmed of course.

Friday, January 17, 2014


 It's been quick and easy knit town around here and it is time to return to my first love.  Donuts. I mean, wovens.  I picked up a water resistant red poplin from  Marc Jacobs no less.  I made the Minoru coat from Sewaholic.  I am a sucker for a dramatic collar.  I lined it with a grey kashi from stash that I originally got from a discount bin. It has some some fading on the pieces I used for the arms.  No one will know but me.

First thing I noticed when checking the patterns finished measurements is that the front to waist length is short -  not enough length to deal with my boobs.  I added two extra inches via a side dart to accommodate the girls.  I see by checking the web that others have managed to achieve similar results through a slash and spread FBA.

For lining, I just used the primary pieces and cut them a bit longer then finished hem length. I had to shorten the sleeves by two inches, tighten the wrist elastics, and raise the waist elastic by two inches to sit in the right spot for me.  I also didn't just tuck the lining behind the hem and sew as instructed. I sewed the 2" hem down then bagged the lining.

I departed from my usual steps of making a muslin and marking seam allowances. I cut fabric carefully, snipped notches and only marked key points like the waist casing and pockets. I am pleased with the result.  I can't wait for spring.  Which, as you can see below, will be a long time coming.

Edited for Wearability:  This jacket is wearable but the lack of pockets is VERY limiting.   If making, draft yourself some pockets.