Tuesday, April 30, 2013

McCall's 6612

I got onto a bit of a knit kick after getting my walking foot and going through the "Sewing with Knits" class at Craftsy.  (PS: Craftsy pays me no money - I just like their format).  So, after finishing up a few of the projects included with course, I decided to try some patterns on my own; first, was McCall's 6612.  (No, McCall's doesn't pay me money either).

I loved the cowl neck of dress D, but also loved the "Elasticized Side Seams" of view A.

I really wanted to do the longer sleeves of view A too, but in the end ran out of fabric.  (I buy fabric because I love it - then decide what to do with it later - so project and fabric length don't always match up)

In the end, it came out ok, but not perfect.

What I love... the cowl - it draped beautifully in the purple jersey knit I picked out.  And it's long  (even though I shortened it a tad due to aforementioned fabric length issues) and very elegant feeling.

What I don't like --  Well, it's rather shapeless.  Maybe it's my body type but I didn't feel like it did much for me.  

Sorry for being headless - I was making the WORSE face in these shots!

It got worse at the end of the day.  Oh and I found out something goofie was going on with the hem - I've already pulled it out with an eye to fix it before wearing it again.

 I have two options here...

1) try taking it in a bit.  My only concern is, the fabric is so lightweight that it'll show every lump and bump (and I have plenty of those).  The offset to that would be to wear shapewear under it... but that kind of defeats the purpose of an awesome soft jersey dress...

2) try adding the elastic to the side seams.  This was my original intent anyway.  I had been worried that that option would make the dress too short, But honestly I don't really like the length as it is.  it's at this weird mid knee length - not above it, not below it that makes me feel like I constantly need to pull it down.  Maybe with the elastic to shorten it I would wear it with leggings which would take care of the shapewear requirement mentioned above and maybe take this from Meh to Funky.

Oh - and I also don't like the sleeve length...they hit me wrong and it makes me look like they are too small...

anyway - any thoughts?  suggestions?  all are welcome

Oh - as for the pattern itself... super easy - but I think it may require some work to not look like a sad sack. But, again, maybe that's just me...

Friday, April 26, 2013

Knits - I like!

Spent my last weekend playing with knits and I like 'em.  Everything went together so easily and I love not have to do tedious things like inserting zippers!

I have been reviewing the Sewing with Knits class at Craftsy over and over while I waited for my walking foot to come in - so I was ready to jump right in as soon as it arrived.

The first thing I made was a scoop necked "T".  I made the long sleaved version because that seemed more fitting with the thermal knit I had.  I cut it all on the flat because I wanted to make sure the pattern didn't end up wonkey.  I also drafted some contrast cuffs based on another thermal shirt that I have and love the way the overall look turned out.  I struggled a little with the collar but it's a learning process and because this is meant to be a casual shirt I'm probably not going to worry about the fact that it's not perfect.  The people at home and in the dog park won't mind!

Next I upped the anti.  Although the hoodie is considered the first/simplest project in the course, I wasn't making it with recommended sweatshirt material.  So, the difficulty was upped by the light light light rayon jersey I was using.  And to up the challenge even more, the fabric is a plaid so I had to cut everything on the flat and pay attention to get the pattern to come close to matching.  And, yes, the fabric did challenge me.  First, the recommendation to use a stretch needle didn't work here.  Something about the fabric would just make the needle bounce off and I was skipping stitches.  I ended up having to use a sharp needle to get it to work.  And then the fabric was so light -- if I even thought about getting near the opening the fabric would suck down into the machine in an instant - it made keeping the 3/8" seam allowance a challenge.  But I'm over the moon abut how it turned out!

Source: Hoodie via Samboddy69 on Craftsy
Then, because I loved this fabric so much, and I had some fabric left over, I decided to try to make a skirt out of it.  I didn't have enough to cut the back and front on the fold so I literally pieced the thing together, but I love love love how it turned out anyway and will get tons out of use out of the comfortable piece of clothing.

Source: Yoga Skirt via Samboddy69 on Craftsy
I've got another knit project on a hanger right now and several other woven projects in various stages of completeness.  I've got the day off today so I'm hoping to add a few more things to my closet before "Me Made May" starts!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

I'm ready!

Stretch fabrics - here I come!

(I wonder if this helps with slippery fabrics too)


I just got a text - my walking foot arrived today!!!  (I gave up and ordered one from Amazon - hopefully the first one I ordered never shows up and I can just get a credit for it).

I've been furiously devouring the "Sewing with Knits" class at Craftsy in preperation and cannot WAIT to start putting together some knit garments.  I have a box (a huge box) of knits I've been collecting in preparation.

I get to work from home tomorrow too - sooooo  I see some fun new sewing in my future!

PS: I also cut into my first ever stretch lace last night to make myself something special, 'for hubby'.  The lace is an embroidered nylon that is just beautiful and feels so nice that I got on clearance from fabric.com

I bought 2 yards of it and my project barely used 1 so I'm happily plotting to see what else I could get out of this lovely fabric.  (we'll see if I still think it's lovely after I've tried sewing it!)

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Finished something!

At last!  Finally managed to focus long enough to finish something - but it wasn't easy!

I started cutting out Butterick 5711 (view B - with the short gathered sleeves) early this week

I thought it was a cute pattern that would make some great summer/spring tops and was looking forward to it all coming together.  I did some quick measurements of the pattern pieces and it looked like it would be a good fit so I cut a 20 in a shoulders and a 22 through the rest of the body and didn't do a muslin.

In all honesty it did go together rather easily but it had it's frustrating moments.  One was my mistake of just sewing in the waist 'tucks' without checking first.  the end, which are supposed to end under the bust actually ended at my apex.  This, of course, made it too tight across the bust line.  And the tucks in the back...

Yeah - they did nothing for me.  Maybe it was just the drape of my fabric was too stiff, but I looked like I had a bustle at my bum and a hump on my back.  So I ripped both of those out, left the back tucks off and moved the front tucks down by an inch and a half.

I, of course, had my usual frustrations with attaching a collar, but I have to say, the instructions on this pattern were great.  The description of how to do the 'self facing' for the button stand on the front were amazing.  I've never had it explained so good and it went together perfectly.

My biggest beef with this pattern?  the sleeve cuffs.  I don't think I have usually large arms.  At least not for my size.  I have no problem with ready to wear clothes fitting me there.  I cut the sleeve cuffs from a size 22, only did a 1/4 inch seam and they are STILL too tight!

(PS the fit at the back was me not pulling the shirt down when taking the photo - not a fault of the pattern)

The only other slight annoyance.  The photo of the pattern shows the shirt unbuttoned at the top button  -which is how I would want to wear it.  But, because the fronts only have a narrow, self facing, if the shirt flaps open (which it does) it shows the inside - which on my fabric, isn't pretty.

Lastly I just want to brag on this beautiful rolled hem I did... I'm proud of that thing! 

Overall, a cute shirt that I'm sure I'll get plenty of wear out of and a pattern that (with adustments) I'll probably use again.

Thursday, April 11, 2013


There's something strange about this white butterfly cotton that fabric.com 'gave' to me... It's three yards wide from selvage to selvage!

I mean, I can't really complain. After all I ended up getting it for free, but, what te heck is this?

(going to look now)

Note:  Looks like it's something called "quilting backing" and it runs about $9.00+ a yard.  So I guess it's pretty awesome that I got this for free.  Not that I wouldn't have rather had the Burgundy Rayon Knit that I actually ordered.  But, that's the hazards of ordering online clearance I guess!

And more fabric I'm not sure what to do with

I saw white rayon rib knit on clearence at fabric.com for 1.95 a yard plus I had a 20% off coupon so I bought 3,5 yards of it with a mind to make a rib knit turtle neck to go under jackets etc.

I got to looking through my order (I'm doing inventory) and realized they didn't send the rib knit and snuck a cotton thermal (super thin almost sheer) instead! So now I have 3.5 yards of cotton thermal to use. Any ideas? Anyone? Anyone?

I see a lot of pink in my future

I just finally got it laid out and measured and figured out I have 6 1/2 yards of this pink knit that I got on clearance.

The girl never could get it untangled enough to measure right (it was a 'flat fold') so she ended up guessing and giving me most of it. So I never really realized what I had 'til now!

I was going to make a mock wrap/wiggle dress out of it, but I've decided it's more t-shirt like then I first thought so now I'm stuck wondering what to do with it!! :)

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Terribly bummed

So, yesterday I went to check on my walking foot and when it would be delivered so I could start working on my 'knits' class, only... there was a problem.

The seller that I bought it from has disabled his ebay account!  There's a record of my purchase and all under my activities but no way to tell if it shipped, if it's going to ship, or what.  eBay says that I have to wait until 10 days after the estimated receive date to file a claim and get my money back.   The problem is, I DON"T WANT TO WAIT!!!  I want it now!  *pout*pout*

I would just go ahead an order another one, but I don't want to end up with two of them - but I also don't want to have to wait until next month to get started on this new and wonderful sewing adventure!  What's a girl to do?

Tuesday, April 9, 2013


Well, so far my plan has been working.  I was able to feel accomplished in completing some steps toward the Gertie bombshell dress while working also on a shorter term, more instant gratification, type project at the same time.

For the Bombshell dress I got both patterns taped together and figured out the differences between the two. (I have a Burda 'plus-size' pattern that is similar to the bombshell dress as well as the dress that came with the class that isn't in my size).  The main differences were:  One: on the purchased burda pattern the bodice/skirt are all one long piece - the Gertie dress has a seam at the waist.  Two:  the Gertie dress has a extra pattern piece for the front skirt that is what gives it the 'wrap dress' look in the front.  So, I cut my pattern at what was marked the waistline and drafted a new, larger front panel for the skirt, and I was done with that for the week.

Then it was time to get out the lovely shirting fabric and the 'easy' blouse from McCall's (6648)

Well, guess what - easy is relative.  While the blouse is going together simple enough there is a LOT and I do mean a LOT of hand sewing in this project.  Back yoke, sleeve cuffs, and both the right and left button stand (I think that's what they are called) have facing or edges that have to be slip stitched into place.  And that's kind of the step I'm stuck at right now.  All the 'big' assembly is done but I need to slip stitch the collar, and button stand.  But here's where I'm stuck... Not just because it's a lot of work, but because after trying on the assembled blouse - I don't think it's very flattering.  And after all the work I did to match the pattern too!!
Yes - it's a large pattern - more about that in another post

I guess I'll just need to grit it out, finish the thing and go from there.  When I'm done I'll post here and others can tell me what they think.

Now on to the new week and new stuff.  I started cutting the muslin for the Gertie dress last night and that's finished.  It all looks so neat and professional!  I'm so proud of myself for taking my time with this so far.  left to do is to do the thread tracing, sew the bodice together and start fitting!  No small task when you don't have a dress form or an extra set of hands to help.

Oh, and I'm also going to start thinking about my next 'quick fix' project (While I procrastinate the hand sewing for the floral blouse)  I mean... look at some of the fabric I recently picked up that are begging to be made into something great for sprint/summer. (even though I said I wouldn't be buying anymore fabric for a while).

A sweet cotton floral that'll make a great blouse

Novelty print cotton that I can't wait to make into a vintage inspired sun dress 

A small piece stretch fabric of... something... that I'm going to make into panties

A plaid that's just begging to be a shirt dress - don't you think?

And there's much much much much more where that came from.  I made the mistake of stopping at Hancock's last night looking for clear elastic and stretch lace and they were having 50% off all their cottons...  Let's just say that if you think that apple print is wild, wait until I show you the sunflower print I picked up.

Happy sewing you all!

Friday, April 5, 2013

I think I have a plan

Last night I puzzled it through and I believe I've finally got a plan.  (and I've gotten all my fabrics washed - whoo hoo!)

First - I'm going to go through the Gerti bombshell dress class and make that.  Because this is a huge involved project I'm going to take it slow and set myself small weekly goals (pretty much one lesson per week).  That means this week I'm going to get my pattern set up.

Because the standard pattern that comes with the class doesn't fit me, I had to buy a similar pattern in a larger size (Burda #132).  Last night I got both patterns printed and taped together.  This weekend the goal is to draft a third and final pattern using the sizing in the new pattern, but the style lines of the skirt from the Gerti dress.  On top of this, I think I'm still going to have to adjust the bust cups because I don't think they are large enough even on the lager pattern.

Ironically - the fabric I'm going to use is this:

Despite the label saying it's a burgundy, stretch, rayon-blend jersey - it's actually a pretty heavy weight white cotton with a white butterfly pattern.  Oh - and there's actually more then 2 yards of it (when they screwed up and sent this to me, they decided to do it right).   I'm using this because, 1) it's the only heavy cotton I have in the house, 2) it was free and if I mess it up - no harm - no foul and 3) given the 'sarong style' of the Gerti dress - I thought this pattern would actually look fitting - a little spring time in the tropics.  I can already see myself wearing this with my strappy denim heals and my fitted denim jacket.  I guess I better plan on finishing before spring's end!

Anyway - as I said, the goal is the get the pattern drafted this week.

April 8th - 14th: I'm going to cut my Muslin and fit the bodice
April 15th - 21st: Cut/Sew the Outer Bodice
April 22nd - 28th: Cut/Sew Skirt (Muslin and fashion fabric)
April 29th - May 5th: Add Zipper - Add Boning
May 6th - May 12th:  Finishing Details and Hem

One other reason I want to perfect this pattern...

while browsing through polyvore the other day I stumbled across this blouse/cami.

It's almost exactly the same as the Gerdi dress - and that got me thinking that it would be perfect to wear under some of the flowy gauzy blouses I was looking to make - in the right nude color.  So, once I've got this working in my cotton 'muslin' I'll be able to make this again is a more camisole appropriate material and use the heck out of it as an under shirt.

Now, because the bombshell dress is such a long term project I've decided to throw a few smaller things in there with it and to give myself a little instant gratification along the way.  

First this a pretty blouse from Mccall's (M6648)

I have plans to make this in gauzier fabric too - but since (as I said before) I'm waiting for my feather weight to be serviced before sewing those lighter fabrics I'm going to try it in this beautiful floral shirting I found recently at fabric.com.

It's a super light fabric and I think the oversized floral will look amazing on this drapey blouse.  We'll see - as I said before, I always get nervous at this point, wondering if I've made a good patter/fabric combination choice.  I'm almost ready to go back and buy more of this just in case this doesn't work out because I love the fabric so much and I want to have something made out of it eventually.

I do have some hope that I'm going in the right direction here because I found this at polyvore:

It's so very similar in shape and floral pattern! (only I like my floral better).   And hey - that blouse costs $430 - I'm going to be making mine for $15 ($2 for the pattern, 10 for the fabric + some buttons)

The pattern is marked 'easy' so maybe I'll even be able to finish it this weekend and wear it to work next week... now that's exciting!

I have a bunch of other 'small' projects lined up for the month - I want to make one pair of pants, one vintage (inspired) piece and one 'something' for my husband.  My goal will be to get any cutting and hand work done during the week (while spending time with the family) and then spend most of the weekend upstairs on the machine - we'll see how that works out in 'real life'.  But it's a plan at least and all I really need to start moving forward!

Thursday, April 4, 2013


I've been trying desperately to organize and figure out 'what's next' for me sewing wise.  I've managed to clump my projects into a few categories:

1)  Knits

I've had my eye on the Craftsy "Sewing with Knits" class for a little while now, and while I was on vacation it went on SALE so I snapped that puppy up!  However, when revewing the materials I saw that it recommended that you have a machine with an adjustable presser foot (which I don't have) and if you didn't that you use a walking foot.  Well, I don't have a walking foot, so I had to order one and I'm now waiting for that to come in so I can start the course.  Until I finish the course I've put all my knit sewing on hold - may as well do it right.

2) Chiffon (and the like)

I've been going crazy buying chiffon fabrics - seriously.  In doing research on sewing with gauzy fabrics like this I found that it's best to have a small hole in your plate so that the fabric doesn't get drug down inside (I had this problem on my 'new' machine when I tried sewing some gauzy fabric before).  Sooooo, until I get my singer featherweight back from being serviced (it only sews straight and has a nice small opening) I'll my chiffon projects are on hold

3) Underthings

I've kindof bunched these under knits because I suspect that due the fact that I'll be using stretch satin and stretch lace the techniques I learn in my knit class will be important here as well.

4) Other stuff

This is the stuff I'm 'pretty much' ready to work on now -- and the options are still over whelming!  I don't know why I'm having such a hard time picking a fabric and a pattern to work on.  I really have a hard time figuring out 'will this look good'?  And I start stressing out over fit issues - and worrying that it won't come out perfect, and...and...

I know that I just need to make a decision, and cut something!

Besides the boatload of patterns I've been collection (both vintage and standard)  I also have  Gertie's "bombshell dress" class on craftsy and I want to go through and her book and make all the stuff that's in there!

Oh - and I still need to take pictures of all my recently finished projects - I mean, isn't that what people like seeing the most on a blog? :D  (I'll do it this weekend, I swear!  I couldn't get my husband to take photos while we were in vegas - I have no idea why he's so weird about taking my picture)

And so... I still don't know what I'm going to work on next!  LOL

but, I have been being a good little sewer and pre-washing ALL my fabric so that I don't skip that step any more (a bad impatient habit of mine) and get right to sewing once the inspiration finally hits me.

Dear fabric.com

I do not believe this was the fabric I was looking for.

While I understand with clearance items you may run out of the fabric I've ordered, sending me white quilting cotton as a replacement for burgundy stretch rayon-yeah...

(P.S. I sent a message to fabric.com and they have said they will send me replacement fabric and I can keep what I received - I'll update when I get that shipment)