Monday, December 22, 2014

Hello There!

News Flash!!

It's been so long since my last post.  A lot has happened in my little world.  
  • Khalje/Buss Sewing Workshop was fabulous.  I need to write my review.
  • Working on plaid jacket with leather bound buttonholes and trim.
  • Working on several muslins for dresses and tops.
  • Made a few things:
    • plaid skirt
    • knit dress
    • cardigans
    • knit tops
  • Member of the Haute Couture Club of Chicago Fashion Show Committee 2015.
  • Spending too much time on Instagram.
  • Submitted my letter of retirement on December 3rd.
  • Happily celebrating my new lease on life.  Oh, what will I do with all that time? :-)
  • Cleaning my office.  It is amazing the amount of "stuff" you collect over for years.  I hate to give up my university computers :-(
  • Preparing for a prosperous new year. 
So, I hoping to post the workshop review by Christmas Eve.

In the meantime, Happy Sewing!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Multi-Tasking - Sewing Related Activities

I'm all over the place with my sewing activities and projects.  I continue to add projects to the ole to make list. Occassionally, shuffling them around based on my current level of interest or excitement.  I'm ordering and buying fabric from multiple places.  I received a box from Mood with this lovely faux fur in it.  I haven't decided on what jacket/coat to make.

I have a mound of muslin garments cut, ready to sew up and fit.

My pattern collection has grown tremendously over the past few months.  I poured the newly purchased patterns over the dining table.  It looked like an explosion of patterns.Below is only a hand full that I started to trim.  And on top of that, I have a big shopping bag full of projects cut and stored in separate "Vogue" plastic bags.

So.., I will continue to "multi-task" the ole sewing projects and post as soon as I have something note worthy.  Expect to see more "Notes on a Pattern" even though I've only made one of the patterns of interest.

On Saturday, I'm attending a workshop taught by Rhonda Buss and Susan Khalje.  I'm so excited and can't wait to learn from the pros.

What about you?  Are you multi-tasking sewing projects?  Or do you work on them one at a time?

Happy Sewing!

Mixed Greens and Avocado Salad - Healthy Alternative to Fast Food During the Holiday Shopping Season

Black Friday officially starts of the holiday shopping season.  Many of us will spend our evenings and weekend's shopping for gifts and preparing for and going to holiday parties.  The hustle and bustle limits the amount of time we have to prepare home cooked meals.

A health, quick alternative to fast food is a great salad.  One of my favorites is Mixed Greens and Avocado.  It so simple to make and taste great.

Ingredients are:

Baby Kale and Spinach
Marzetti Honey French Dressing
Roasted Chicken Breast (optional)

Without Dressing


Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Notes on a Pattern - McCall 7057, View B

Today's installation of Notes on a Pattern is McCall's 7057.  This is a new fall Palmer/Pletsch jacket.  At first sight, I knew I would make it.  For some unknown reason, JoAnn's does not have the new patterns when they are first released.  When it was finally available in stores, I was lucky to find this one still in the box next to the cabinets.

Anyway.. What do I like about this jacket?  Several weeks ago, I pinned a similar jacket on my Pinterest board:  This Should be In My Closet.  I like the hood that doubles as a shawl collar; it is a comfy versatile wrap jacket that can be dressed up or down; and, finally, it's easy to make.

It's described as a loose-fitting, unlined vest and jackets have front extending into hood or collar and side front seams.  View B has a belt, self-lined front and pockets.  It has princess seams, which are not clearly illustrated in drawing.  The guide sheet shows the design lines more clearly.

This is a Palmer/Pletsch pattern.  Fitting and tips included. Because I really like this jacket, I'm moving it to the top of the list of things to make.  I'm still hunting for the right fabric for it. has a  wool melton that would probably fit the bill.  Polar fleece is another option.

So, what do you think about this new pattern?

Happy Sewing!

Friday, November 7, 2014

It's the Holiday Season - Time for Parties and Fancy Dresses

I'm a little bit behind schedule for posting one of my latest dresses. This one was finished in September.  It posted on the Mood Sewing Network on Wednesday.  Here, I want to share more of details on the construction process and my thoughts on this pattern and dress.

Long, long ago back in... July, this beautiful brocade caught my eye. The rich jewel tones sparkled against my brown complexion. I saw a holiday dress.  Perfection.  I bet you're thinking, holiday dress in July? Yep. I wanted it to be ready before the first big holiday event rolled around.

Typically, I make myself a birthday dress, which is usually white or off-white because my birthday falls on the week of our annual Women's conference. This year I wanted to change it up a bit. No white dress for me. I finished it a few days after my big day.

I like this brocade's bold print. It turned out so well that I think I'll continue with the boldness for future birthday dresses. Mood has a huge section of brocade fabrics. There is something available for every complexion and style.

I used Palmer/Pletsch McCall 6464. It was the first time I used this particular pattern. The empire waist and the center front panel are what drew me to this one.  I made several changes for fit and style/construction.

Fit changes:

I first mentioned this project in a September post for Notes on a Pattern. My biggest hurdle was the FBA. The first step in the FBA process is altering the tissue pattern to include a bust dart. When I sew the bust and waist darts, it created a "cone boob" effect. That's not a good look for me.  So I divided the "big" waist dart into two darts. This made the bust area smooth. Sorry I don't have a illustrations. I made this change as I sewed. For the back I made a broad back and sway back adjustments. I think I achieved a good fit; it would have better even better if I added about an inch to the length of the bodice.

Construction changes:
  • Trim along the bodice and front seams of the dress. Shown in above pictures.
  • Hong Kong finished seams on the skirt of the dress.

  •  Silk organza to shape the sleeve cap.

  •  Hand picked zipper with beads (You can hardly see the beads because of the fabric print.).

I can't say that I will sew it again. I have so many patterns.  But it is incredible.

So, this is my first holiday dress of the season. I may make two more. We will see.

Happy Sewing!

Friday, October 31, 2014

Notes on a Pattern - Simplicity 1318 Kimono Jacket

Kimono style jackets are hot this fall.  They are popping up everywhere.

Rhonda even showcased her version two years ago.  Yes, two years ago before the trend really hit main stream.

Simplicity released 1318 this summer.  Initially, I didn't think I liked this pattern.  But the more I looked at it, the more it grew on me.  When I saw Erica B's version, I decided to buy it and give it a try.

This pattern is billed at "easy to sew".  I like view C as worn by the model on the envelope.  It has six pieces and does require (suggest) some hand sewing.  Overall, it does look pretty easy to make and probably won't take a long time to make.

So, this is another pattern of my list of many, many patterns to try.  What do you think?

Happy Sewing and Have a Fantastic Weekend!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Second Time Around for Vogue 8825

Vogue 8825 is still pretty popular.  I made my first version in 2012.  It was one of my favorite dresses of that year.  I knew I would make it again, but didn't know when. 

So to help speed up my little stash reduction project, I decided to make it again .  Why?  Because I like it; it's quick and easy.  (Side note:  my knit fabric collection is getting out of control.)

The weather was great last weekend.  These pictures were taken in Ogden Park. 

I didn't have enough fabric to make the length of the belt and I had to cute the sleeve band into two pieces.  The sewing process was much faster this time, because I didn't stop to try it on until the entire dress was done, except for the hem.

I can't say that this will be the last time I make it, cause I still like it a lot.

Happy Sewing!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Comfy Weekend Casual with Viscose Jersey and Cotton Twill

I guess by now you can tell that I love Mood's selection of twill.  They come in a variety of fibers, colors, and weights.  They sew like a dream and are perfect for pants, jackets, dresses and skirts.

I'm still working on beefing up the ole weekend casual wardrobe.  So I chose Steven Alan medal  cotton-lcyra twill for a relaxed pair of pants (Butterick 6028).  This fabric has a beautiful soft hand with a texture similar to linen with less wrinkles. I paired it with the brown abstract Missoni-esque jersey print for another version of Simplicity 1317.

Let me start with the review of Simplicity 1317.  This is the second time around for this pattern.  And it's possible that I may make it again.

It's one of those pullover decorative knit tops that are in department stores this season.  For this version, I added iron-on studs at the shoulders and used a black ponte knit for contrasting neckband and sleeves bands.  This is the first time I used the iron-on studs.  The process was fairly easy.  The placement of the studs does take a little time though. Sewing the top was quick and easy.  I was able to sew it up in less than two hours.

Now, let me talk a little bit about the pants.  I hesitated to buy this one because of the elasticized back.  I didn't think they would work for me.  Hmmm.., what's that saying about following your first mind.  Well, in this case, I think I should have followed my first thought on this pattern.  For me pants with the side front pockets are not my best friend.  Or should I say the most flattering look for me.  Second, elastic back pants tend to be a little of the "too roomy" side for me.  But I didn't think about the things before making these pants.

To help with the slight gap at the pocket, I added buttons.  Problem fixed.  However, I didn't make any changes to the back pant as I should have removed some of the width.  There is too much fabric through the pant for me.

This is not a bad pattern. It sews up with no problem.  The front pant does not add any bulk across the hips or waist.  I liked the idea of having a center back seam on each leg. (missed opportunity to for a better fit). 

In conclusion, I really like the simplicity top, but the Butterick pant is not the best style for me.

Happy Sewing!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Mom Can I Have A Simple Dress? - McCall 6988 In Review

Often when I'm sharing ideas with my daughter about future sewing projects, we end up talking about simple vs. fancy. More than often I opt for fancy when I'm going to make something for her.  I'm thinking special. But she always thinking about something simple and easy. Of course, if I want her to wear it, I need to compromise and make things that she has given me the knob and smile on. And I got that with this McCall's 6988 dress.

This pattern caught my eye when I read a review posted by Erica B.

Here is my review:

Pattern Description:
MISSES' DRESSES: Semi-fitted dresses have self-lined yokes, princess seams, and back zipper. A and B: flounce and narrow hem. B: front overlay. B and C: below elbow sleeves. D: short sleeves. Separate pattern pieces are included for cup sizes A/B, C,

Pattern Sizing:
sizes 6 - 22; I used size 10 with cup size C.
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?
Nothing confusion. This really is an easy dress to make.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
We like:
  • the princess seams.
  • the flounce.
  • the inclusion of the cups sizes. 
No dislikes.

Fabric Used:  I used a stable knit from Hancock.  My DD had the mesh in her stash.  She has a stash and does almost no sewing. ;-)

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:  One of the great things about sewing for my DD there is minimum fit changes needed.  I added about 1/2" to the shoulder seam and squared it off a bit.  Removed about 1/2" from the center back.  It gaped at the back neckline.Added a few inches to the length of the dress. Additional change.  Thank you Linda for reminding me:  swayback adjustment. I folded out the center back, added 1/2" to the lower edge of the dress.  See this post for an example of my swayback adjustment.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?  I will probably make this dress at least one more time for her.  And I do recommend it to others.  It's fast and easy.

Conclusion:  This is an easy dress to sew.  And it's always great when DD and I can agree on a style and fabric for clothes I make for her.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Denim Like Twill - Fall Wardrobe Builder

Fall is here and I don't have enough casual wear in my wardrobe!  So this season I'll working on beefing up my casual wear.

A nice pair of jeans are a perfect start.  I found the absolute perfect Mood fabric.  Check out this cotton denim like twill.  It is gorgeous. The description  states that it has a softer hand than denim, which is true.  But I'd like to add that it feels buttery like a suede clothe.  It's great against the skin and moves gracefully with every step.  This is a must have fabric for fall casual wear.

The color is listed as black.  It's more like a charcoal gray.  I wore a black shirt to show the difference in color.  I wish it came in more colors. hint, hint.  Dear Mood can you find more colors please?

I paired it with McCall's 6610, which offers two styles. This pattern is described as misses jeans:  fitted, straight or boot-legged jeans have waistband, carriers, pockets, front stay, joke back, fly front zipper closing and narrow hem.

It comes in sizes 6 to 22.  I used size 14 with a few alterations: lengthen by 4 inches; added 1/4" to the upper front and back pants; and added about 1/2" to the hook on the back pant for more move in the crotch area. 

I also made a few changes to the design of the jeans:  I used the small pocket for view A (sewed view B) and topstitched side seams about a foot from the waist through the hip area.  For security, I also cut two of the carriers. I press and sew both.  This gives me more carrier length to play around with.  With this pair, I sewed on eight carriers instead of five.  I did not sew them flat to the pants.  I wanted to be able to easily thread different sized belts with no problem. 

This is the second time I've used it. The first time was a learning experience for me.  The legs didn't quite turnout as well as I thought the would.  With this pair I addressed the leg issue.  Also, confirmed that I really do not like the straight waistband.  Next time I will use a curved one for a better fit across my sway back.

For the most part the instructions were easy to follow and included fit tips.  The topstitching instructions is incorrect.  Both state that you should do the stitching to the right.  If you follow #37, do the topstitching for the (#44) center back on the left.  Then the joining of the front and back center seam will match as intended.

With a few more little tweaks, this will be my TNT jean pattern.  It has all the elements of a solid pair of jeans and is a good starting point for a custom fit/style.  So give both, the fabric and the pattern a try.  You won't be disappointed.

Happy Sewing!


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