Monday, March 16, 2015

All Legs with Cynthia Rowley's Simplcity 1372 Leggings

For weeks I've been promising my darling daughter I'd make her something. Finally, last week I made two pair of leggings using the Cynthia Rowley Simplicity 1372. This is the very first time I've used this pattern.

The leggings are quite simple. They have an exposed zipper in the back. I'm seeing a lot of leggings and yoga pant patterns with zippers. That seemed odd to me until I had a conversation with Andrea about it. She explained that for some ladies their waist is significantly smaller than the hips. So the added zipper gives more room to put the pants on. My response, "Awww..," DD was able to slide them on without opening the zipper. So the zipper is just decoration for her. The second pair has no zipper; keeping it super easy.

The pattern comes in sizes 6 to 22. I used size 10. They are not skin tight as pictured and have a bit of wiggle room in them even after grading them down from the hips to the ankle. Depending on the size of your legs you may or may not have this issue.

The instructions were super simple. This pattern goes together quickly. So if you looking for instant gratification, try it. No real dislike. Next time I will slim down the legs a little more.

The orange fabric is jersey knit from New Rainbow Fabrics. It has about 30 percent stretch with great recovery. The second pair are made of a synthetic python embossed stretch leather. Also from New Rainbow Fabrics. It's soft and drafts very close to the body.  It has about 25 percent stretch and great recovery. Both fabrics were pre-washed (I always forget to mention whether or not I pre-washed the fabric.). After washing I tossed the jersey in the dryer; the stretch leather hung to dry.

The only changes made was I lengthen the leg about an inch. I could have gone two. Oh well, next time. As I said, for the stretch leather pair I omitted the zipper.

The plan is to make several more pairs for her. I recommend it to all level sewists.

Happy Sewing!

Friday, March 13, 2015

Spring Fling with Supreme Neoprene

I'm so pleased with this project. What better way to start my spring wardrobe than with a supreme neoprene. I began my hunt for it after I saw a neoprene dress made by Ms. Erica B. Three weeks ago, I found it, the perfect, smooth neoprene.

At first glance I knew I had to have this audacious, attention getting print. I didn't need a swatch to know this fabric was a winner; good quality and sews like a dream. Too bad it's all sold out. Not to worry, Mood has a good selection of neoprene in stock.

Neoprene is on trend now. And Ms. Cookie Lyon (Taraji P. Henson) has a weekly showing of body hugging dresses that are a great source of inspiration. Her "standout" dresses inspired me to pair this fabulous fabric with Simplicity 1314 modified. Of course, I made several modifications to get the fit right for me.

It is a princess seamed dress with some center front and back details. The actual pattern is more a-line than straight. I made view C with the flange used for view D. Also included in the envelope are pants (view A) and sleeved dress (view B). It comes in sizes 6 to 22. I used size 16 with lots of modifications.

My dress is slightly different because of the changes I made. I was going for a slim dress instead of an a-line one. Other than that the dress looks like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope. The instructions were simple and easy to follow.

This was a good choice for the style of dress I had in mind. Princess seams work well with my body shape. And it is easy to make the pattern adjustments. I also like the curve of the dress panels. They add interest to the dress and can be used to create the illusion of a curvier body with a small waist. For my dress though, it's hard to see those details. Finally, I like the way this dress goes together. No sticky points.

I only had one dislike regarding the construction, and it was due to the thickness of the fabric. Where the flange and the armhole facing are finished, It was hard to get a polished finish. So instead of following step 25 I tacked down the facing by hand. The stitching does not show through to the right side of the fabric. I preferred this finishing to the recommended technique.

My usual fit adjustments:
 - FBA - Swayback
 - Prominent Shoulder Blades
 - Inch or two to length of skirt

After making these adjustments. The dress was too large everywhere, even in the bust area. I started with size 16, but the finished dress was between sizes 14 at the neckline and shoulders; 14/16 at bust; 14 waist and hips(with bust adjustment); and 12/10 below the hips. After all of these changes, I will probably use the pattern at least one more time.

I think this pattern is definitely worth a try. I like the design lines and it's not difficult to make. It's a good pattern for a princess seamed sloper dress.

This is my first dress for Spring 2015. I'm so glad that spring is on it's way. Neoprene is a great fabric to wear during this transitional period. The pattern; easy and sew up quickly.

That's all for now.  Happy Sewing!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Kimono Jacket - Simplicity 1318

Hi There!

It's finally looking like spring in Chi-town. That makes me very happy. So it's a great time to start sewing for spring. Last fall a posted Notes of a Pattern - Kimono Jackets. I'm just getting around to finishing my first one. DD's is on the table now waiting to be sewn. I couldn't wait to show you my new kimono jacket.

Simplicity never gives a detailed description. In this case, the photos on the envelope are an excellent representation of how the jackets look. So I won't bore you with describing "kimono jackets".

This simplicity pattern (1318) comes in sizes XXS - XXL. I made a medium for view C with no fit alterations. 

I did look like the photo on the pattern envelope, except I added fringe to the hem of the jacket. As for the instructions, a piece of cake. Very easy, nothing confusing.

I like everything about this pattern: style and comfort. Great for casual wear as well as evening wear.

I used a mesh knit from Michael Levine. The fringe came from New Rainbow Fabrics on Roosevelt Rd. in Chicago.

Today I will make view D for my daughter. It's slightly different, but is just as easy as view C. I really like how this kimono turned out and am sure I will get plenty of wear out of it in the coming months.

That's all for now. Happy Sewing!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Bags in My Clutches - Clutch Modified

Last week I posted a tutorial on  a DIY faux fur and leather clutch.  In my stash I have several remnants of faux leather and fur.  So on Thursday afternoon I decided to further explore possible variations of the initial bag.

This bottom edge looks crooked, but it's actually straight.  I was afraid to press it.

Here is what I came up with.  I made a few clutch purses and some tech/portfolio bags.  The possibilities are endless.  You basically cut two rectangles for the purse and two rectangles for the lining.  Create an interesting finished edge. The hardest part of the construction process is installing the zipper.

Happy Sewing!

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Top Tops Abound - McCall 6963 and Simplicity 1916

I'm reviewing two more knit top patterns. My goal is to make different styles that will work with a variety of skirt, pant, and jacket combinations.  One of my wardrobe observations is that some tops don't work well with certain jackets or cardigans.  Then there are a few different colors I want to add to my wardrobe as well.

I really like the drape neck knit tops and the surplice/faux wrap knit tops. So I decided to try both using McCall and Simplicity patterns. 

First, I'd like to review McCall 6963.

This pattern has variations in the amount of drape, which I like a lot.  In any instances the drape increases if a FBA is needed. 

McCall's describes this patterns as:  MISSES' TOPS: Close-fitting, pullover tops have draped front neckline variations, narrow hem on back neckline, and stitched hems. A: armhole bands.

It comes in sizes 8 to 24; I used 14 with modifications.

My top does look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope.  I made view C.  The instruction were easy, and I did not have any problem following them.

I like:
  • Shorter drape to start with.  After the FBA is done its does not fall too low. 
  • Alteration lines drawn on the pattern that help speed up the fit process.
  • Simple staple knit top.

I have no dislike.

My fabric is a Bazilian knit  from Supreme Novelty fabrics, near down town Chicago.  It's been in my stash for a few years.   It is a low-wrinkle fabric with a great amount of stretch

I made a FBA. I didn't make to large enough thinking the stretch of the fabric would compensate.  Instead I ending up with some drag marks across the front.  They are not bad, but does draw some attention.  So for the next top I will add a little more width.  The only other change I made was a sway back adjustment.  Nothing more.

I recommend this pattern to others.  It a good staple with optional drape and sleeve lengths.

This is an easy fit top that all level sewists can make.  Alterations lines are conveniently added to the tissue pattern, which make it easy to make fit adjusts.

My next top is Simplicity 1916.  This pattern has been around for awhile.  Many reviews posted online.  Some people elected to raise the neckline while some did not.  Here is my review.

This pattern contains misses' knit mock wrap top with sleeve variations. I made view A.  The pattern sizes are from 6 to 24.

The model is wearing view B.  It does not appear to be as low in the front on her as it is on me.  Other than that I think it does look exactly like the photos on the envelope.

I actually like all views of it.  I wanted to try my favorite first this time. ;-)  No dislikes. The instructions are typical and easy to follow.

My fabric is also from my stash and was purchased at New Rainbow Fabrics on Roosevelt Rd.  It is a little slippery and very stretchy.  I had just a little challenge with handling the fabric.  No problems sewing it.  I used a jersey needle (size 10).


  • I did make a FBA, similar to McCall 6163
  • Prominent Shoulder Blades adjustment
  • Swayback adjustment
I will make it again.  Next time I'll bring the neckline up an inch or two.

That's it for now!

What's Next?

Hi everyone,

Before I start with another review, I wanted to thank each and everyone who continues to visit my blog.  These days I'm playing catch up on projects made in December and January.

Helen asked if I was challenging myself to make a top a day.  I actually made several over a period of time, but had not talk about them on the blog.

Recently, a few sewists posted projects that were less than wearable because of fit, sewing technique, or quality of fabric.  I have some of those too.  As a matter of fact, last year over ten projects were complete bombs.   I'll discuss some of them soon.

So coming up next are my reviews on Simiplicity 1916 and Mc Call 6963.

Happy Sewing!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

McCall 6797 - A Great Drape Top

I don't know if you can call McCall's 6797 a wardrobe staple. But there are now three versions of this top in my closet. It can be worn with jeans, slim pants, and flared bottom skirts. Very versatile and stylish.

I love it if I may say so myself. This third version was sewn much like the first one, with a 1 1/2" reduction in the length of the neckband. This black, gray and ivory knit was purchased from the Textile Warehouse in Chicago. It has more stretch than the green knit fabric, which made a difference in how the top falls across my body.

I have so many, many top pattern, but this one remains in the front of the "current" top pattern stacks. It's quick and fits the bill for a stylish top.

 Happy Sewing!


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