Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Gaucho Pants - Butterick 4861


Pattern Description: MISSES’ PANTS AND GAUCHO PANTS: Straight-legged, below mid-knee pants or wide-legged gaucho, below mid-calf or evening length have waistband and mock fly. A, B: side slits and leg bands with buttons and buttonholes. A: lined patch pockets. E, F: partially stitched pleats.

Pattern Sizing: 6- 20; I made size 14.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes and no. The crotch circumference is a little short. Other than that, yes, the pants look like the drawing.

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes. Nothing confusing.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? Like: I haven't owned a pair of gaucho pants since my high school days. So I thought this would be a good change for me. Dislike: I don't like the fit. My fault. I should have made a muslin first. And unfortunately, I have another pair already cut. Maybe I can salvage them by reducing the seam allowance in the waist and crotch area. We will see how it goes.

Fabric Used: A polyester stretch woven from JoAnn's. This was not the best choice of fabric. It was a little challenging to sew.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I only added a few inches to the length. I should be made my standard crotch adjustment.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes, I'm going to sew the second pair cut to see if I can achieve a better fit. Yes, I recommend this pattern to others with modifications. The wide legs give the illusion that these pants a very loose. They are not. To be safe, make a muslin.

Conclusion: This is a fairly deceit pattern. Although I not completely happy with the results, this is a fairly deceit pattern. You need to make a muslin to check the fit. Otherwise, it's easy to sew and no confusing instructions.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Simplicity - Vest The Second Time Around

After cutting my gaucho pants from the spongy polyester woven fabric from JoAnn's, I decided to make a vest from the remnant. Simplicity 2862 fit the bill.

This is the second time around. But this version, I was able to cut a facing as recommended by simplicity. The experience was pretty much the same as before. My dislike was with the choice of fabric, a spongy polyester stretch woven, from JoAnn's. At first sight I thought the color was beautiful and the hand was soft. It sewed like the devil though. lol There was a lot of stretch grain wise. And unlike the 100% wool used last time, I had to carefully sew this polyester because it stretched as I sewed it. I didn't think to use my Singer walking foot until I was nearly done with sewing it. When it came time to press, that was equally challenging. All in all I was able to produce the desired outcome. As before, I recommend this pattern. Next I'll try the View C (hat) and View E (purse).

More later...,

Monday, November 22, 2010

S4076 Tried and True


Countless times I've noted on this blog "this is a favorite pattern" or "Yes, I will make it again." This is one that will never loss favor. It's surely a TNT that I can pull out and have a successful sewing experience. This treasure has been reviewed on PR 184 times. It is noted as a The Best Pattern of 2008 and is inducted in The Hall of Fame 2009. So there is really no need for me to review it again on PR, but I want to show my latest versions of the top and to talk a little about the knit fabrics that I used to make them. To date, I have made six tops: two wrap tops and four of the t-shirt style with sleeve variations.

Early Saturday morning (7:00am) I started to sew three more t-shirts that I cut several weeks ago. These are easy to sew. It took me about three hours to complete all three.

All of the fabrics were found in the Vogue Remnant Room. Each of them had varying amounts of stretch. The brown and white was closest to a stable knit (matte jersey) while the yellow/orange/black had about 45 percent stretch both ways.

More and more I'm paying close attention to the weave of fabrics and their fiber content. Noticing whether it's loosely woven or tightly knit. I'm finding it play a role in how the garment will lay on the body and how much wearing ease it needed for comfort. The last thing any of us wants to do is fight with your clothes.

Fitting garments made of knit fabrics is easier than woven fabrics. For these tops I didn't do a FBA. I cut size 14 for the neckline and size 16 more or less for the rest. The brown and white top fits slightly closer than the other two tops, but all fit. The patterns in the fabric make the bra line invisible and forgives the little bodily imperfections.

So ladies, consider the weave of your fabric as you consider the amount of wearing ease you want to build into your garments.

Happy Sewing!

Catching up - Ramblings!

Man oh man! It's been a while. There is so much to catch up on. I wanted to give a few highlights. Later for the details. I have enough material to post something every other day for the next two months. So I'm getting started.

First, many thanks to all who visit my blog and special thanks to those of you who comment and compliment. You are kind and I appreciate your thoughtfulness.

Haute Couture Club Meeting - I attended the November 6th meeting. Peach Carr from Project Runway was our guest speaker. So exciting to hear about some of the behind the scene happenings at Project Runway. She was a delightful inspiration. Our annual Holiday luncheon will be held at the Terzo Piano (Art Institute of Chicago). Afterward the group will visit the Textile Exhibit.

Teaching - A few months ago, someone asked if I would teach them how to sew. You can imagine how good I felt about them asking, surprised too. We started November 6th. It's big fun. More people have asked since. Little known fact..., As a kid I wanted to become a teacher. It's such a wonderful profession. Obviously, my career choices do not clearly coincide with this desire. But over the years, I've found myself always teaching something: Taught my daughter to read at three; taught supervised employees how to data entry and produce stats; occasionally taught someone math when they were stuck on a concept or problem; Taught the media service staff (church) camera techniques, wrote training materials and conducted courses and webinars (work) for our current research application. Now, I'm teaching sewing. I guess teaching is in my blood. It funny how kids know things, not really understanding the meaning of it all.

Work - For several weeks the team has been busy producing all types of reports for our new VP. The university announced that they are more cuts coming. Ten percent for University Administration. So my unit may be hit. I pray not. The holiday season is here so work is slowing down.

Vacation - Yes, vacation again at the usual spot. Abbey - Avani Spa. Four days of treatments and relaxation. What joy.

Sewing - Today I hope to post a few things finished. This month and last month the goal was to sew wardrobe staples. Many garments were cut and about half are on hangers. And forty percent of that is finished. So I have some reviews to post. Also some holiday sewing is underway as well as a few client projects.

Thanksgiving - I'm the hostess of the day. My sisters and mom will bring a few dishes, but the major cooking is on me. I'm happy to do it for the love of my family.

Okay..., That's it for the moment.

Happy Sewing!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

My Little Black Dresses - New Look 6824 Part II

In August, I shared my intentions to make my LBD's for Fall 2010. Both dresses are finished but, not in time to enter the already awarded PR LBD contest. Rats..., Seriously...,

I wore one for the Captains Ball (cruise) and the other just a few days ago. I love them both for different reasons. LBD-1 The sash is cute and creates a waist for me. LBD-2 is just classic: The ruffled neckline combined with the fabric. Love, love. It's amazing how you can use one pattern to achieve different looks. For these LBD's I used New Look 6824, same pattern I used for my 2008 birthday dress. My first thought was to try the full skirt for the first LBD, but the remnant that I purchased was not long enough to accommodate the skirt. So, plan B, slim skirt.

In this review I'm describing the my process, my thoughts on the fabric, and the feel/fit of both dresses hoping not to confuse you. So here goes.

Pattern Description: Misses Design Your Look Dresses. This pattern includes a variety of necklines, skirts, and sleeves style that can be mixed and matched.

LBD-1 I used B+C+E+G+I+J
LBD-2 I used A+E+G

Pattern Sizing: 8-18, I used size 14 with modifications.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Both dresses looked like the basic design lines for the pattern drawings.

Were the instructions easy to follow? No difference from what I reported in the first go round. The instructions were pretty standard. Some processes were added/changed based on my design changes.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I like the versatility of this pattern and the "vintage" appeal. There are many, many options.

Fabric Used: LBD-1 is made of peach skin from JoAnn's(Bodice) and a beautiful jacquard from Vogue's(skirt). The photo does not do the jacquard justice. It was easy to sew. On the other hand, the peach skin was a bear to achieve that smooth finish we all love to get with in-set sleeves. So I decided to live with my second attempt. Peach skin is very tightly woven. I suppose I could have reduce the amount of ease..., Next, time.

LBD-2 is made from a black on black hounds tooth from Vogue's. The fiber contain of the weave of the hounds tooth contained the flexibility needed to insert the perfect sleeve. I was lucky to find a two yard remnant of this quality.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
For both -
Prominent shoulder blade adjustment
Added two inches to the length of the skirt
Lined the skirt
installed an invisible zip.

LBD-1 -
- I finished the hem with a slit attaching the lining to it.

LBD-2 -
- Carefully planned the layout to line up the hounds tooth pattern throughout the dress.
- Shorten sleeves by a inch or so (limited fabric)
- Added organza ruffled trim to the neckline and sleeves. The trim was on an elastic band. So I stayed the neckline. Then I used a thin strip of stitch witchery to hold the trim in place while I basted it to the dress. Next I follow the steps described in the instruction finishing the with understitching.
- Added facing to the sleeves for a polished finish

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? This is now one of my TNT/slopers. I'll probably use it again and again. And yes I do recommend it to others.

Jewelry Made by my DD

Conclusion: This is a great dress pattern that provides many design options for that classic, "vintage" look.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Cruise Garments Made Days Before Vacationing

You would think that after all the dresses, pants, and tops I made during the spring and summer that I had plenty to choose from for my vacation. NOT..., At the nine hour I decided to make at least one of my LBD's, a jumpsuit, and a simple top. These last minute garments were still warm from the iron as I zipped up the suitcase.

At this point, it seems almost unnecessary to even talk about them as temperature have been in the mid-thirties. And some folks around town are wearing hats, gloves and Ugg boots.

So here goes the quick reviews of the last minute garments made for the cruise...,

Jumpsuit - M6083

This little gem was quick and easy. I made View C

Pattern Description:

MISSES' JUMPSUIT IN THREE LENGTHS AND SASH: Jumpsuits A, B, C, D, E have side front pockets, elastic casings and stitched hem; jumpsuit B has shoulder straps; jumpsuit C has sash; jumpsuits D, E have bodice with gathered shoulders, narrow hemmed armholes; jumpsuits A, D are thigh length; jumpsuit B above ankle length; jumpsuits C, E are floor length; optional purchased belt.

Pattern Sizing: Size 14

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

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes. Typical of patterns of this type of pattern. Nothing confusing.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I like the style of the views included in the pattern. No dislike.

Fabric Used: Gauze from Vogue Fabric

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I added about 1 inch to the upper portion of the front and back bodice pieces. I attached the straps to the back as well as the front, adjusting the length as needed. As usual I added about few inches to the length of the pant leg. Finally, instead of making the sash, I used a scarf to tie around my waist.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I want to make View E. And yes I would recommend it to others.

Conclusion: Easy pattern, easy jumpsuit to make. It's been reviewed on PR at least 20 times. Definitely a winner.

Top - Simplicity 4279 OOP

Pattern Description: Misses' Tunic with Neckline and Trim Variations.

Pattern Sizing: 6 - 20. I made size 14.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes. I made view D.

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes. Nothing difficult about them.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? This pattern has been in my stash for a few years. The fabric and pattern are a cute combination for a easy summer top.

Fabric Used: Cotton from Hancock. I think it's been in the stash more than five years.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I did a FBA. No picture, but it's basically the same as any other FBA done on similar bodices.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes. I'll sew it again. And yes, I recommend it to others.

Conclusion: A nice little quick top. Perfect for vacation wear.

BWOF Tunic: 2010-06 138

Pattern Description: Simple Tunic

Pattern Sizing: 44 to 52. I made size 50. My cousin wanted a simple tunic to take on the cruise. This is one fit the bill.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Pretty much. The instructions recommended stretch fabric I used a gauze instead. I made it a size larger then needed to make up the difference in the sizing for knit fabric. There is quite a bit of style ease in the tunic as well.

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes. BWOF typically has confusing or very little instructions on how to put the garment together. This tunic only had three pattern pieces plus instructions on how to make the neck facing. Pretty easy.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? It was quick and easy to make. No dislikes.

Fabric Used:Gauze from Vogue Fabrics.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:No alterations. Instead of using a leather cord for the neck tie, I make my own tie out of the same fabric. (On the bias, 2" wide 28" long).

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes and Yes.

Conclusion: Simple tunic that easy to wear and easy to make.
More pictures here: Flickr.

Next, I'll post my review on the LBD's
Happy Sewing!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Radiance of the Seas - Part II

Oh, it's been so hard to get back to blogging and sewing. I wanted to talk a little more about my vacation. Last time I spoke on the quality of the ship and the service. This time I want to share a few more thoughts and a suggestion for those of you who may be thinking about a cruise in the near future.

The Radiance:

Most of the time was spent on the ship. There was only one port of call, Cozumel. This cruise, we toured the ship and took advantage of all the wonderful amenities aboard. The Radiance is like a floating city in itself; equipped with casino, movie theater, dozens of shops and restaurants, and a multitude of activities and shows. We had our fill no doubt.

A few of us (early risers) went to the top of the ship for a early, early morning workout. Before we started our brisk walk, we took a moment to see the beauty of God's divine creation. The rising sun on the vast ocean is a sight to behold. It caused me to pay homage to our great God, thanking Him for His beauty; then thanking Him for every opportunity to travel and see a beautiful place. After a little quiet, I let out a sigh then started my brisk walk. With hearts pumping above rate, our blood warmed our muscles and readied our bodies for weight lifting in the gym. It felt good. After the workout, me and the girls went to breakfast.

Our afternoons were filled with visits to the theater, shops, solarium, and casino. We had a very fortunate winner, who should remain nameless. I on the other hand, never win everything. Hmmm..., maybe it's because I don't really take chances with my dollars...,?? Anyway, there was much to do aboard the Radiance.

For dinner we changed yet a third time. The second night is the Captain's reception/ball. Some dressed in formal gowns while others wore after 5 dresses. The service is impeccable.

In Cozumel:

This time, we didn't sign up for any excursions. When the ship docked, we shopped along the docking area. I wanted to see a little more of Mexico. But with the recent events, I decided not to. So shopping was good. We didn't shop long though.

Back on the Ship:

Activities and entertainment to boot. Did I say the service was impeccable. It is...,

Suggestion -

Take a cruise. You will love it. For years I thought a cruise would be too expensive. You can vacation at a reasonable price and feel like a queen. My entire 5 day vacation package cost about $800.00 (airfare and cruise). The key is to book early. We started making arrangements in February 2010, sailing October 21st.

More pictures of vacation Here.

Next, I'll post reviews on three garments I made to wear during my vacation.

Happy Sewing!



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