Sunday, September 27, 2015

Vogue 1314 - Third Time's The Charm

At last, happiness with Vogue 1314!

They say the third time's the charm.  Yes, Vogue 1314 finally worked for me.

Remember, in my previous post, I talked about how the ruching did not work for me, and how the fabric of the second dress does not work for anyone.

I found a interesting print knit textile at JoAnn's Fabric that was perfect for how I wanted to interpret this Tracy Reese Vogue pattern.

Here's my review:

Pattern Description: MISSES' DRESS- Pullover, close-fitting, lined dress has draped sides and narrow hem.

Pattern Sizing:  6 - 22; I used size 14 with modifications.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?  Yes, except for the ruching.  I omitted that.

Were the instructions easy to follow?  The instructions are super easy. 

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? 

  • Simple, slim t-shirt style dress with lining - optional in my mind. (The photo staging makes it look more appealing than the average.  But there are several dress pattern that will yield the same results.)
  • Easy to sew.  You can make this dress in a few hours after you get the fit down pat.
  • Neckband for the facing.  I simply love the finishing of many Vogue patterns.

  • I was not pleased with the ruching.

Fabric Used:  I found this fall knit at JoAnn's Fabrics.  Trust me, you can find some nice apparel fabrics at JoAnn's.  The print and texture added interest to this simple dress, much like the one on the model.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:  I made several changes before coming to the final, desirable finished dress.  They are:
  • FBA - I only did half of what I would do in a woven.
  • I used the lining pattern for the dress.
  • Did not line the dress.
  • Added 1" to the sleeve length; I could have added 2.  Next time.
  • Removed about 1/2 from the sleeve cap. 
  • Added 3" to the length of the dress
  • Added a center back seam and did a sway back tuck across the lower back.  It just fits better when I combine the two adjustments for a sway back adjustment.
  • raised the center back neckline about 1/2".
  • Cut the neckband, facing two inches shorter than recommended for size 14.  I noticed some gaping on the orange version.
  • Below the bust to the hem of the dress, I sewed the seam allowance at 1 1/4".  Then I trimmed the allowance to 5/8".

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?  I plan to use this pattern as a sloper.  There are many options for this simple dress:  sleeve and neckline variations, adding a flounce to the hemline, etc.

I do recommend it to others.  If you have not tried it yet, make sure you make a muslin first to determine if the ruching is right for you.  If you decide to use a textured fabric, think about how it will stretch around the various area of the body.  Does it maintain the textured look?  Does it wrinkle when it is not stretched?

Conclusion:  I'm so happy that I came up with a great little simple knit dress that will offer several design options.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Notes of a Pattern (Fabric) - Vogue 1314

Today's post is on Vogue 1314.  This is a Tracy Reese pattern that was published a few years ago.  I first tried it out shortly after the release. Since then, I have concluded that most knit dresses with ruching on the sides are not the best for me.

This dress does require an FBA but doing so caused way too much fabric to accumulate below the bust area.  The affect of the ruching disappears in the excess fabric.  With first version I tried to reduce the FBA by half to see if that would help.  It didn't.

So I decided to try to made a simple t-shirt type dress using the lining (front and back) instead.  This worked, but was not perfect for a few reasons.  The first had to do with again the excess fabric below the bust.  Vertical darts could easily eliminate that problem.  The second issue was much more glaring. My fabric was not as pretty on the body as it was on the cutting table at Vogue in Evanston.

I found it on the assorted knit table.  It called me, but I should not have answered.  Oh it's pretty.  This sherbet orange knit has a raised oval pattern throughout, which makes for an interesting knit dress or top.

The problem is when it is on the body, the textured ovals disappear on the areas that are curved or have no ease.  And where there is ample wearing ease the pattern is visible and looks a bit wrinkled.  I pondered the look for days and thought "I am not going to wear this".  But I've spent so much time on this pattern and dress(es).  I can make it work.  So, on with the dress and off to Rainbow beach on the southeast side of town.

Clearly, this is not a good look.  The stretch of the dress is not consistent across all areas of my body and it just does not look good.  So this one I will give away.

But I'm not defeated yet.  I will give this pattern one more try with a different type of textured knit.

Observation:  All textured knits are not created equal.  Be careful when selecting textured, colorful knits.  Sometimes, when they speak to you, it's okay to ignore them.

Ruching can be flattering.  But it must be in the right places.  Please test.

Question:  This problem fabric did raise a question regarding fitting knits over the curvy areas of the body.  How much ease should there be for a simple dress?  Half inch or inch?  How much ease for the rest of the body without considering style/design?  How tight is too tight?  

Happy Sewing,

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Notes on a Pattern - Simplicity 1098 Views B & C

I was so excited about this pattern when I first saw it.  Diana S. and I were considering making large batches of these wraps and capes adding our own flair to them.  Last weekend I decided to test views B and C. 

One of Simplicity's selling points for this pattern is that it is super easy to make.  View B is billed as "cut and glue".  But I knew I would sew the collar on instead of gluing, and I would also finish the edges on my serger.  View C "super easy wrap to sew".  This is my favorite view, and I figured others would take a liking to it as well.

On the envelope:

All views look stylish and easy.  The models are well posed and look great in all of them.  Yes, Simplicity was successful in their advertising campaign.  One size is supposed to fit most. All can be made of fleece and double faced fleece fabrics. 

My Tests Revealed:

View B -

I made view B for my daughter.  I used a blizzard fleece from JoAnn's.  This view should take less than an hour to make.  But I decided to ditch the cut and glue process for a more permanent one, sewing.  After cutting it out, I serged all the edges.  A single layer for the collar seemed flimsy.  I cut two collars.  The second collar was trimmed 5/8 on the short sides and the outer edges to add some dimension. I wasn't too crazy about the belt.  So I did not make one. 

There are two slits on pattern 1.  On the fabric, you will end up with four: two in the front and two in the back to allow for threading the belt through to create a waist in the poncho.  Here is were Simplicity could have given the sewers some directions for sizing or fitting the poncho better. 

My daughter is between size 10 and 12.  Based on Simplicity placement of the slits, the poncho fits her with too much in the torso area.  I think there should have been multiple points for the slits based on sizing:  small, medium, and large.  So, the placement of the slits restricted the wearer's range of.  I thought this was worth noting.

For the belting, I like an elasticized belt or a sewn belt made with two layers instead of one for durability.  Also, I re-enforced the slit area with fusible tricot interfacing (on the inside).  I didn't like the construction (sewed) of the collar attachment, but I followed it anyway to see how it would turn out.

View C - 

I made three versions of view C.  The first was exactly as indicated by the sewing directions.  The darting at the neckline is not actuate.  It will not work with all types of fleece and it does not work for all sizes.  For all test versions I used anti-pill fleece. Only one worked with a modification to the center back.  The fabric must have some stretch in it.  The neckline even gapes on my daughter.  For the second and third versions, I added three inches to the center back, hoping the span across the back would help.  It did help in the back area, but it didn't resolve the gaping issue at the front neckline.  I did notice that the leopard print fleece had a little stretch in it and laid better across the chest area.  Because I'm tall I also added three inches to the length of the wrap (2nd and 3rd versions).  The first one was a good length for my daughter.

Here, again, there isn't a lot of mobility in the wrap.  The moment you move, the nice neatness of the wrap becomes undone. 

Sorry this one is not a favorable review/notes from my point of testing.  Sure something can be done to correct the neckline.  But when I see no sew, super easy, and one size fits most that means a beginner can do this with no problem.  It also implies no fitting issues.  Not the case here...


I'm testing video capability.  So here are a few takes on me talking about view c.

Happy Sewing!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Thyroidectomy - One Year Later

Health Watch..,

It has been one year (September 9, 2014)  since my thyroidectomy.   I'm happy to say that I am almost fully recovered from the surgery.  In July my tests and physical examination revealed that my hormone levels are where they should be, and I'm down to my 2012 weight.  Physically, I feel much better, but I do experience tenderness where the incision was made, hair loss, and feel tired at times.

You must know I had mixed feelings about posting a follow up report.  But after Rhonda's encouragement, I decided that it would be a good idea to let you know about my recovery process.  It might be helpful to someone else going through the same problem.

Getting the dosage right:

It took the doctors about six months to get the dosage right.  The therapy started with the lowest dosage of 25mcg gradually went up to 135mcg.  The entire process was trial and error.  Somewhere between the 4th and 5th month post surgery, my doctor was able to determine that 75mcg of Levothyroxine was the correct dosage for me.   About a month after each change new blood tests were ordered to check the hormone levels.  I continued to have severe headaches, poor concentration, fatigue, dry skin, and hair loss.

Once my hormonal levels normalized, the side affects subsided, but still are not completely gone. I was so glad when I learned that I was losing weight.  Now I'm hopeful that I can get back to my 2009 weight.  It is absolutely remarkable how much better I feel.  The bloating is almost completely gone.  I think I'm months away from a full recovery.  Every morning, I take a little pill at least an hour before eating anything. The lump in my throat is gone, and I am relieved.

The scar:

Vanity is one of the deadly sins.  Pre-surgery I thought about the surgical scarring and was pre- occupied with how my neck would look.  I had concluded that I'd have to cover it up.  Truthfully, I can't stand for anything to rest on it. Close necklines, scarves, and jewelry all irritate it.  So it is always exposed and I have long forgotten about hiding it.  Now, I see it as a battle scar, victory over a condition the used to interrupt  my sleep time and impeded my ability to breathe and swallow.  Vanity.. Poof be gone.  Now this brings me to my second point of vanity:  losing my hair. I'll just have to buy some!

Getting older doesn't mean you'll die tomorrow:

With every passing year, I notice changes in my body and how I respond to food and increased activities.  My allergies are more severe.  The arthritis pain is more noticeable.  Night driving is more challenging.  And the will to stay up all hours of the night sewing is gone.  These new indicators may not be associated with thyroid disease.  I'm just getting older.  And that's all right too.

What's most important is the ability to stay on top of things.   Eating healthy and exercising is key. I must have routine check-ups and report any abnormalities to the doctors.    I'm just entered into a new phase of life and am looking forward to the future.

Be dedicated to wellness:

It's your life, your body, your health.  If you feel something is wrong, get professional help to diagnose the problem.  My journey started with dreams of me drowning in Lake Michigan and of someone sitting on my chest choking me.  Then I started coughing and choking on food and water.

Thyroid disease is hard to diagnose.  Many of the symptoms are also symptoms of other health issues.  For three years, my primary doctor could not figure it out.  I was tested for all types of breathing disorders.  The blood test showed "in the range" of normal for everything.  He concluded that I was depressed and needed psychological therapy of some sort.  It wasn't until I got a new doctor (Dr. Clay), who almost immediately knew what was wrong after I explained the symptoms and the tests that I had already gone through.  She actually touched my neck and throat during the examination process.  I was immediately scheduled for ultra-sound and biopsy tests.  For two years I underwent these tests to monitor the growth of the goiter.  After it doubled in size, we decided to try the radiation treatment.  It stopped growing on one side, but continued to grow on the other.  I wasn't getting the relief I had hoped for.  Dr. Sehti sent me to Dr. Friedman at Northwestern Hospital.  Dr. Friedman recommended surgery as soon as possible. 

My journey to wellness took about six years!  That's a long time.  Three years to discover the issue, five minutes to diagnose, three years to monitor and assess.  Finally the removal of the goiter.  It is so important to stay on top of your health issues.  Paying attention to your body is not a crime.  It may help save your life.  Who knows your health better than you. 

This concludes my update on my health watch.  I hope everyone is happy and well.  And if there are any questions about my experience, do not hesitate to ask.  You may post a comment or send a personal email.

Thank you and be well,

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Oh My Goodness, Fall Is Almost Here - Time To Jump Start Blogging Again!

It has been too long. I was started to feel like I'd never get back to blogging. At the beginning of summer I'd planned to talk about so many projects and sewing related topics. Almost all of those plans have fallen by the waist side.

July and August were are blurr. Using my phone to access Facebook and Instagram hasn't help the situation either. It's quick and easy. But I must admit, I have missed getting inspiration from reading and viewing blogs. Well fall is here and what better time to get back into the routine.

Soon to post:

  • Thoughts on Retirement
  • Wellness:  1 Year After Thyroidectomy
  • Haute Couture Club Summer Sewing Camp
  • Notes on a Few Patterns  

Okay, I feel a little better.  More coming soon!

Happy Sewing!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Vogue 1395 - Breezy Rebecca Taylor Summer Dress

Bold and beautiful Anna Sui silk voile, a pale soft yellow topped with bold vibrant sunflowers on flocked dots, little texture.  This fabric is extremely breathable. 

As stated in my previous post about this dress, my confidence was boosted after working out the fit issues and ignoring the recommendation  indicated on the pattern envelope. 

Vogue rated the pattern "easy", and I think that is an appropriate assessment.  It sewed up easy and didn't present any difficult construction techniques or confusing instructions.  The dress is basically five major pattern pieces plus two binding stripes.

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

My plan was to make this for my summer vacation, but I was unable to make it in time for the trip.  Luckily, it's finished and ready for my next vacation.

Construction - I appreciate some of the construction techniques provided by Vogue.  The little things like the finishing on the neckline and armholes gives the dress a polished finish.  Now, there are some that I'm not to crazy about; like the three rows of stitching.  That seems like a waste of time.  Why not suggest french seams or serging.  Anyway, I serged the seams of the skirt, the two layers of lining, and the underlining to the fashion fabric of the bodice.  For the overlay, I sewed a french seam down the center back. Other changes are noted here.

Observation -  I underlined the front and back bodice to reduce transparency.  The back overlay is not underlined as I didn't want to add any bulk to the draping of it.  It has the cut-on back sleeve.  So part of the sleeve is underlined whiel the other half is not.  It almost goes unnoticed.  I realized it been I attached the overlay to the bodice.

Will I sew it again?  Sure, I want a crepe de chine version too.  And I do recommend it to others with modification if your body shape is similar to mine.  With most commercial patterns, 99.5 percent of the time I need to modify some aspect of it. 

I think this is a nice little summer dress.  It could be made up in knit as well.

Happy Sewing!

Friday, August 7, 2015

Mixed Blue Abstract Rayon Jersey and My Favorite Maxi Dress M6700

Changing up on the print is good sometimes.  So instead of my favorite print (floral), I chose this great geometric rayon jersey.  I wanted a quick, easy cute dress to wear to the Toni Braxton concert.

My all time favorite, a McCall super easy and super cute maxi dress.  I made it twice before and thought it would be the perfect match for this awesome jersey print.  This dress takes about two hours to make.  My previous reviews are here and here.

It's 54 inches wide.  I ordered only three yards, not enough for a belt.  So I wore a silver belt to complete the look.

Not much more to say about this dress. Love it.

Happy Sewing!


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