Monday, October 13, 2014

Vogue 8805 - Color Blocked

Vogue  8805 has been around for a couple years.  Several bloggers and members of have made it   When it was first published, I thought it was a nice easy pattern to try.    Back then I read a few reviews and saw that some ladies had no problems with it.  It didn't really find reviews that included changes that I may need to make to get a perfect fit.

The pattern includes cup sizes A, B, C, D, but that does not always work for ladies who need to make a FBA.  And believe it or not, most times when a pattern says "very easy" that means fewer pattern pieces or easy to sew together.  Keep in mind that does not always translate into very easy fitting.

So last weekend I decided to give V8805 a try.  Really this was my "wearable muslin" test.  My hopes was to make it work.  This pattern can be used to make a top and a long coat.  I got the long coat idea from one of my pins on

Here is my review of Vogue 8805:

Pattern Description: MISSES' DRESS: Pullover dress (semi-fitted through bust) has back neck slit, hook/eye closing and narrow hem. Purchased bias tape finishes neckline. A, B, C, D CUP SIZES.  This pattern can be worn by all body shapes as indicated on the pattern.

Pattern Sizing: It comes in sizes 8 - 24;  I used 14/16 with the middle section D cup.  Just testing the usability of the pattern options.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Pretty much.  The dress worn by the models seem to have a little more shaping about the waist area.  It appears to have less style ease than the illustrations on the envelope.  I wish Vogue included the photographs on the envelope.  That would reduce the number of times I have to go back to the website to look the shape and fit of the garment.  That probably cost more money.

Were the instructions easy to follow? Very easy.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? The shape of the dress and the color blocking options.

Fabric Used:  Ponte knit from JoAnn's.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:  I was hoping that I could get away with minimum alterations.  Occasionally, I have a momentary brain freeze and forgot that I will always need certain types of fit alterations 99.5 percent of the time. This was no exception.

Construction Changes --
  • Only topstitched where the middle and the lower part of the dress is joined.
  • Made the hems wider than indicated in the guide sheet.
  • Added two inches to the lower section.
  • I prefer to finish the neckline with bias band cut from the fashion fabric.  It looks nicer.
Fit Changes --
  • Tapered the sides of the middle and lower section starting below the bust area.
  • Added vertical darts to the back of the dress.  But I forgot to do the swayback adjustment.  
  • Added a centered back seam.
With  the fitting changes I still see a drag marks start from the side in the bust area that travel to the back of the dress.  So I think I really do need to make the sway back adjustment and I think it would be better to alter the mid-section A/B cup size to get a better fit all together.  

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?  Yes, I plan to.  I want to at least try it again in a top and/or possibly making the jacket/cardigan similar to my pin.

Conclusion:  This is a easy pattern to sew.  But don't skip making your usual fit adjustments.  You may need to do a little reshaping of the dress.  This pattern can be used for a jacket or top.   I do recommend it to others.  But read some of the reviews before you start.  You may find a few helpful tips.

Happy Sewing!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Fall Casual - Simplicity 1317-F and Vogue 1355

One of my goals this fall is to beef up my casual (weekend) wardrobe. I want easy comfortable pieces to complement what I already have in my closets.  When I wasn't able to sew as much, I took advantage of those weekly pattern sales at JoAnn's and Hancock's.  I racked up on patterns with many styles to choose from.

Today's review is on Simplicity 1317-F and Vogue 1355 (Sandra Betzina loose-fitting pants).

So let me start the review with Simplicity 1317-F

Pattern Description:  Misses' pullover decorated knit top.  These tops are on trend and offer a lot of decorative options with studs, fringes, and fabric textures.

Pattern Sizing:  XXS to XXL.  I used a medium above the bust, large at the bust, and medium below the bust. 

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes.  My embellishment was slightly different, but the design lines are as pictured and drawn on the pattern envelope.  No dislikes.

Were the instructions easy to follow?  This is a very easy pullover sweat shirt type of top.  I didn't need the instructions, but I did take a look at them and didn't see anything difficult or confusing about them. 

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?  As I stated above this type of top is on trend now.  It is simple; it offers style embellishment options; and it's a great pattern to use to beef up your casual weekend wear.  It took about 1.5 hours to sew.

Fabric Used:  Sweater like knit and a soft ponte knit.  Both were purchased at my local JoAnn's.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:  It is very forgiving when it comes to fitting. This was a plus for me as I didn't spend much time making fitting adjustments. I added the waistband to view F.  I did not add the studs on the neckline and my fringe is faux suede much shorter than the fringe pictured on the modeled version.  I wish I had double the row of fringes.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?  Yes and yes.  I've already made a second version.  But I will review that one later (Mood Sewing Network project). 

Conclusion:  This is a great pattern for beginners.  It easy and offers opportunities to add trendy embellishment.  It's also a top to use to beef up your fall casual wardrobe.

Vogue 1355 loose-fitting pants are just as easy to make as Simplicity 1317.   This is the second time I've made them and plan to make more.  They look a little like harem pants, except the drape is on the inside of the leg, which gives an interesting look to yoga styled pants.

 Pattern Description:  Misses' top and pants: Pullover, lined top (close-fitting through bust) has cut-in back armholes. Pants (very loose-fitting through hips) have waistband, inside leg drape, no side seams, and tapered lower edge. A, B, C: narrow hem.

Pattern Sizing:  A-J; I used size D for the pants.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?   Yes they did.  Exactly.

Were the instructions easy to follow? A piece of cake.  No problems with the instructions.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?  I liked the unique draping of the pants.   This is a nice alternative to the standard yoga style pants.  No dislikes.

Fabric Used:  I used a jersey knit from Vogue on Roosevelt Rd. 

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:  I made only two changes to these very easy pants.  I added about 4 inches to the length and inserted wide elastic into the waistband.  Instructions 2 indicates that you shouldn't have to, but I wanted an added layer of security.  They fit snug and the elastic helps with tummy control.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?  I will definitely make them again and do recommend them to others.  Easy and comfortable.  You can't lose.

Conclusion:  This a easy pattern to sew and is a change from the standard yoga style pants.  Easy.

Note:  Please forgive the position of my hand.  I wanted to cover my neck.  Pictures taken 1 week post-surgery.

Thank you!

Thank you everyone for your prayers and sharing your life experiences. I enjoyed reading your comments and will post replies soon. Thank you again, Cennetta

Saturday, October 11, 2014

The Mane Event - What's Happening to My Hair?

Are you obsessed with your Hair?  Do you frequently go to the Hair Salon?  Do you ever leave home without grooming it?  In recent years, have you noticed changes in the texture and density of it?  Is your confident level dependent on well your hair is groomed?  Do you where hair extensions to add volume or length?  Are you devastated by hair loss?

In recent years, I've had many thoughts about the overall health of my hair.  There have been moments when I was in tears because of the increased loss of hair.   Yeah, it all sounds superficial.  But women are losing their hair at a significant rate these days.  Some of it is due to medicine (high-blood pressure) or other health condition (thyroid disease or cancer).  With the huge accessibility to hair extension and countless hair professionals who add them, some women have turned to wearing hair extensions to address hair loss and to get the desired hair style.  This practice has further increased the instances of hair loss in women.

Okay.  Let's rewind..,  Let's go back to a time when hair loss was not in my thought process.  That was when I had big hair.  Back in the day when I religiously went to the hair salon every two weeks without fail.  Needless to say, I took good care of it and spend a lot of money doing it.   I never used extensions and was pleased with the density and length of it.

Then something happened.  At age 38 I started noticing a difference in the texture and density of my hair.  Occasionally I told my stylist that, "I think my hair is falling out."  Not to say she was the cause, but to acknowledge that there were changes happening to my hair and maybe some changes in the care of it may be necessary.  Well, I continue to tell her, but my persistence was not received as a proactive cry for help, but a negative declaration of her professional training and skills.  So, by the time  I was 47 and on a regiment of high-blood pressure medicine, it was noticeably thinning at the top.  To the point were if I made a part in my hair is was wider than the parts made in other areas of my hair.  This was devastating for me.  And I became more vocal about it and wanted to explore alternative hair care practices.  Needless to say, this was not well received by my stylist.  So in the end, I decided to take the care of my hair into my own hands.    The biggest change for me was to put oil and more moisture back into my hair care regiment.  No spritz or other drying agents with minimum use of heat application and reduced timing on the hair relaxer applications. This helped a little, but the bigger problems were related to my medicine, thyroid disease, and becoming a older women.

About two years ago, I came to turns with the fact that I losing my hair and it will probably continue regardless of the added oils and moisturizers.  They may slow the lose down, but inevitably I will continue to lose it.  So, with that acceptance, I'm looking at alternative ways to "keep up a good appearance about the head".  Of course, I will "wear" my own hair for as long as it looks okay.  But the the time will come when it will not.  I'm really afraid of hair extensions. So I'm left with hair pieces and wigs.

Oh, forgot to I like the current length of my hair, but if I start to look like this, I will definitely need to cut it off.

Nine Reasons You're Losing Your Hair 

Thinning Hair:  Causes and Solutions

So, what are your thoughts on hair loss and treatment?  I'm sure there are some ladies/women out there who have similar stories and may be have some suggestions on how to handle hair loss condition.

I leave you with a song my India Arie, Titled: "I Am Not My Hair".

Friday, October 10, 2014

TGIF! Update.., Health Watch

Good morning dear readers,

I hope all is well in your world.  Today, I decided to write a short post to give you an update on what's happening in mine.

Early last month, I had a thyroidectomy due to the continued growth of a thyroid goiter.  Thank God no cancer.  Before the surgery, I experienced breathing difficulty and had trouble with getting a good night rest.  Other symptoms included fatigue, hair loss, and weight gain.

Now I am working with doctors to determine the best hormone replacement therapy.  This can be tricky because no therapy works for all people.  The doctor prescribed the lowest dosage and conducts periodic assessments. Already my therapy has been doubled.  The blood work revealed low hormones and I am/was experiencing severe headaches, joint pain, inability to concentrate, dry skin,  and continued hair loss (Yikes! More on that in a separate post.)

Usually, I shy away from talking too much about super serious personal life events.  But I felt it was important to talk a little bit about my recent surgery.  Partly because you may notice a small scar at the base of my neck in future photos. And as the doctor searches for the right therapy, my appear may continue to change.

The advancements in medicine are remarkable.  I must say that the procedure was not as bad as I thought it would be.  Dr. Michael Friedman is one of the top ENT's in the country performing over 4000 thyroid surgeries.  He took special care with making the incision in the crease of my neck.  I only had four stitches. Part of the incision appeared to have been "glued" together with some type of adhesive.  Now, the challenge is to find the correct hormone replacement therapy for me.

A good thing..,

I was able to do a little sewing.  And I do mean a little.  The over shadowing post-op symptoms only allowed me to sew for short periods of time; one or two hours on days I felt strong enough to do so.  Reviews are coming.  The garments that I made are with Mood Fabric.  So I'll post on the Mood Sewing Network first.  Then the full reviews and photos will be posted on my blog.

That's all for now.  Thank you and have a fantastic weekend!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

McCall 6464 Making the Adjustment - Points of Reference

Good morning everyone,

A few days ago, I published a post on McCall 6464, a new dress I'm making in celebration of my birthday. In that post I provided a few photos showing the pattern adjustments needed to get the best fit for me. One of my dear readers asked if I would provide more details on how I go about making my adjustments. Of course, I agreed to share more information. But in doing that, I must say that these adjustments are especially made for me. Each of us have a unique size and will need to make adjustments based on our own unique requirements.  Second, there are so many approaches to pattern fitting.  Each of us has to determine which technique is best for us.  I follow the Palmer/Pletsch fit system and use tips from a variety of sewing friends and bloggers.  In this post  I will provide a few more details for the adjustments made for my version of the McCall dress 6464. Also, I will provide a list of references and resources that may aide in the fitting process.  But first, here is the comment from KJ2007 and my reply.

McCall 6464 - More details on how to fit (FBA, Prominent Shoulder Blades, and Sway Back).

Each McCall Palmer/Pletsch patterns includes details and illustrations on how to fit the pattern.  This information is part of the guide sheet. It is not uncommon to have four sheets consisting of quick, product reference, and details on how to achieve a well fitted garment.  I've used Palmer/Pletsch patterns for years.  Their patterns feature a variety of styles and the fit tips can be used to fit other patterns.

Sorry I don't have personal illustrations of some processes.  The patterns do have all of the steps. I only included a few illustrations in this post

Getting Started:
  • Select the right size.  Very, very important step.  Don't skip.

  • Tissue Fitting Instructions - Built-in Fit.  This is one of my favorite things about the Palmer/Pletsch pattern.  All of the alteration lines are drawn on the pattern pieces.

  • Tissue Fitting Instructions - Getting The Tissue Ready.  Use 1/2" tape to reinforce the tissue pattern around curved areas 5/8" away from the edge of the pattern.  This will allow you to try on the tissue to determine where alterations are needed.
  • Tissue Fitting Instructions - Try on The Tissue.  Pin the bodice together and try it on.  Start with analyzing the back.  You will need someone to help you.   There are lines on the pattern for back adjustments.  Measure the distance from the pattern center back to your center back.  Check the length.  Make sure it falls in the appropriate place on your back.   Assess the curve of your back upper and lower.  Cut and spread where needed and fill with pattern paper.  
  • For me, I cut the vertical line from the shoulder to the waist and spread 3/4" for my prominent shoulder blades.  I only need more room across my shoulder blades.  So I add a shoulder dart or ease in the excess at the shoulder seam. There are tucks on the lower back pattern pieces to make a sway back adjustment.  Typically, I make a 1/2" tuck across the back.  Sometimes I need to curve the center and side back seams in those areas as well.   Pin the back and front bodice together again.  Make additional back adjustments as needed.  Pin out excess as needed. and mark your pattern.  Next, determine if a FBA is needed.   "Measure from the pattern center front to your center front.  That is the amount you need to add."  
  • For me that amount is greater than 1".  So I use the "Y" FBA.  The lines are on the pattern piece and the steps in the guide sheet.  Here is how the FBA looks for my measurements.  Now I need to make a bust dart and make the waist dart deeper.

  • "If the bodice comes to your center front, but you have a gap in the armholes add 1/2" in the bust width to make the armhole smooth."

  • Because my body shape is an inverted triangle.  I don't need the extra width below the bust.  Often I removed the excess during the sewing process.

Should you make a muslin?  Yes.  I make the body upper muslin about 85% of the time when fitting a new pattern.  The tissue pattern response differently to the curves of our body than fabric.  Fabrics come in a variety of weaves.  Some may be loose while others are very tightly woven.  Knits have variations of stretch.  So make a muslin out of fabric with a similar weave as the fashion fabric for the garment.  Sometimes you may need to make more changes. 


Palmer/Pletsch - Fit for Real People.  Acquire this very useful book.  It will provide a step by step process for making fit adjustment for all body types.  This technique can be used for any pattern.  Palmer/Pletsch has a series of books on fit available on their website.

Vogue Sewing - This is a must have in your sewing library.  It too has tips on making fit adjustments. - has tons of resources available to members and non-members.  This is where I found several sewing experts and bloggers who shared tips and techniques on fit.

Workshops and Seminars - I had the pleasure of attending two excellent workshops:  Palmer/Pletsch and Power Sewing.  Both are worth the money and time spent. 

Sewing Bloggers:

I follow several bloggers who share fit information: 

Ann Steeves of Gorgeous Fabrics Blog - Ann has several post on Fit.
Debbie Cook of Stitches and Seams - Debbie has several tutorials available on Fit as well.
Diana of SewPassionate - Diana has links to Lessons and Fit Videos on her blog.
Marji Graham of Fibers a Float - Marji does not blog very much these days, but she does share some fit information on her blog.

These are only a few bloggers that have help me with online fitting information.

Search Online for Fit Techniques and Videos:

Google Search on key words to find information on fit.  There are times when I'm starting a new project, I will Google the pattern to see if anyone has try it.  You may also Google:  full bust adjustment, pattern alteration, pattern fitting, how to fit ...,

My Pinterest:

DIY Tutorials - Sewing and Other Crafts - Here is where I collect helpful craft tips and techniques.

My Blog:

FBA and Dart Rotation

Sway Back

Example of Tissue Fitting

I hope this is helpful.

Happy Sewing!


Monday, September 22, 2014

Meshed in Anna Sui Lace - Teach Me Fashion Two Tone Singlet

At first sight, I ordered Anna Sui's Black Multicolored Stripe Lace. The lace has texture and has a soft embroidered feel to it and the mesh is smooth and silky. I love working with it.  The lace and mesh were combined to reduce transparency (first version for DD) and the ponte knit was used for the lower portion and the neck and armhole bands.

A few months ago Harrison from Teach Me Fashion asked me to test their Two Tone Singlet.  Last week I was able to finally complete a top that was post worthy.  The top pictured here is my third attempt.  I made it for myself, making a few adjustments.  But I couldn't address my requirements for a FBA without altering the block design.  Plus it wasn't flattering on me.  So I worked towards making the top for my daughter. 

The sizing is a little different from the big four patterns.   I would say it runs small.   I usually make her a size small.  In this pattern it was too tight across the bust.  The second top is a size medium.  That was perfect for her.


The top does look like the photo.  But the version on the model appears to be a larger size than she normally wears.  She appears to be about the same size as my daughter.  The top looks like a large or x-large.

The instructions were great.  They are included with the pattern download.  Additionally,  Teach Me Fashion includes a video on how to make it on their site.  I didn't have any problems following the instruction of the top.

This is a cute trendy top that can be made in a variety of fabrics.  I liked that it sew up very quickly and you have the option to color block it. 

Instead of making neck and armhole facings, I made bands using a black ponte knit.  My DD was very pleased with the results and wouldn't mind a second top. The Anna Sui lace is a great fabric to play up the color blocking aspect of this little trendy top.

Happy Sewing!



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