28 October 2014

Things that I hang with...

Here are glimpses of walls and things that I hang with in my sewing room.  It seems that no matter where we are, or how big or small the space, I end up with these kinds of things all around me.  

07 October 2014

Non-wrinkle fabric on my mind...

This past summer I've been sewing with cotton and linen; cool fabrics for summer wear.  But I need non-wrinkle!  I'm heading in that direction; just saying...

Butterick 5786; Asymmetrical Hemline Shirt...all done!


Black shirt with asymmetrical hemline; Butterick 5786.  Not hard to sew, but this one took time.  Example?  I was putting the cuff on #2 sleeve and nicked the body of the sleeve with my scissors...my bad; had to recut and redo with what extra fabric I had leftover.  I did 1/2" buttonholes before I had my buttons.  I needed 10 buttons to complete the shirt.  Joann's in Temecula had such a limited assortment of 1/2" buttons in stock and, except for these, none with 10 of anything in black, or wood, or coconut, or shirt buttons...nada!  Staring at a button rack for a half hour does not make buttons appear.  These will do, but one day, if this shirt wears well as I expect it will, I plan to replace the buttons.  This is garment #2 of my Fall wardrobe, which I am building one by one. 

What next?  Well actually, I have pants on my mind, and I'll be putting great effort into finding just right pattern, with just the right fit, to make the perfect pair of pants.  I'm thinking of a lovely pair of lined, woolen pants to go with a stylish jacket of the same fabric, for travel and holiday wear.


03 October 2014

McCalls 6739; dress all done!

Finished dress
Inside pocket detail
I finished this dress, not my favorite, but it's done.  Because of the piping that I added along the vertical seams, front and back, and the mid-weight linen blend fabric, the dress is definitely boxy all around...oh my!  The side pockets drape outward, instead of hugging the body.  The dress is straight up and down in design, without waist definition.  This pattern has potential to be a cool summer frock, with the right fabric and minus the piping.  Although I can wear it sleeveless, all in all, mine turned out more like a jumper, which I'll wear with a turtleneck and tights, come cooler weather. 

01 October 2014

Fall Sewing...Christine Jonson Pattern #723; Straight Shirt

Fall wardrobe preparation...here's my latest.  This CJ pattern is one of my favorites because it's so simply stylish and quick to sew.  The wavy distortion of the fabric is an illusion of the camera.  This is a taupe/black stretch gauze, 70% linen, 27% rayon, 3% lycra, which I threw in the wash before cutting and sewing.  Shrinkage?  Absolutely!  There was much less fabric to work with after pre-shrinking, but luckily there was enough.  This top ended up a light jacket with a single-button closure, instead of a full-on shirt. 

19 September 2014

Sleeveless dress with piping

McCalls 6739 (View B)
See the self-made black piping which has been applied to the pockets and will be applied to the vertical seam lines of this sleeveless dress?  There's a big Fall sale going on during September at www.Craftsy.com, and I recently purchased a Decorative Seams class, taught by Katrina Walker.  Here's my effort so far.

16 September 2014

Dress Muslin...it fits!

Kwik Sew 3521
Whipped up my muslin in a Size M, and with minimal tweaks, it's a fit.  I can imagine the dress in my fashion fabric of choice, with a nice belt to accent the waist.  BUT! now that I've tried it on, I'm thinking this may be too youthful a style for an aging granny (me).  I don't have daughters, wish I did.   This dress should be worn short, sassy and sweet.  I'll have to give it some though before moving forward.  Hmmm...what to do, what to do! 
Mid-September and still sewing sleeveless.  I'm thinking this cotton print fabric will go well with this Kwik Sew dress pattern.  I've not been one to make muslins, but a sleek fit on this bodice would be nice, and so I'm working out any fitting issues in advance.

Either I am shrinking or I have finally learned about choosing the correct pattern size to best match my measurements.  In fact, I've gone down one whole pattern size and, so far, have had good results.  It's true; most patterns require some tweaking to get a good fit for the best results.  Plus, I have learned the difference of high bust vs. full bust measurements, and how to use all the information that's printed on the pattern and pattern envelope.  Who knew I was one whole size off track?

For all the fuss put into making a garment, it is most encouraging when the darned thing fits, after all is said and done.  Putting in this attention to fitting detail has made all the difference.  Since this epiphany of mine, relating to pattern fitting, I have wanted to sew more and more (and more). 

13 September 2014

China Blouse detail...coming along!

My blouse is coming along.  Satin binding has been applied to collar edges, and frog closures are looking good placement-wise.  Still lots of critical work to do, i.e., attach collar and collar facings, get those sleeves in place.  One step at a time and this one may end up a keeper.

12 September 2014

Mandarin Collar; satin trim detail

Applying a satin trim binding around the edge of the collar on my China Blouse proved to be a challenge at first try.  After applying the satin binding, the collar would not lay flat around the curved edge, but instead formed a cup that would not be tamed.  I did clip the seam and I tried to press the collar into submission.  Over-handling made for a disastrous mess.  I was discouraged but not stumped.  Toss it out and start again says me; lucky I had plenty of extra fabric.  Second time around, I used a 1/2" seam to apply the binding to the collar which I then trimmed down to 3/8", same as before.  On my first try, I thought that the bias cut of the binding would be enough to bend and curve around the edges without having to clip the binding itself (wrong!).  This time, before sewing it onto the collar, I clipped the edges of the binding, spacing my clips about every 1/2".  This provided the flexibility needed for that binding to lay flat as it was sewn on.  Finally, I clipped around the curved edges of the collar, clipping ever so carefully so as not to cut into the stitching.   Now the binding folds over the collar edge and will press out nicely.  Remind myself to press gingerly!  I think I'll be able to finish this collar without further headache.

11 September 2014

My China Blouse...that's what I call it

Here's a top I've been wanting to make forever.  This is the first time I have tried a Neue Mode pattern.  Because of the uncertainty of Neue Mode's pattern sizing and because these kinds of tops need to fit like a dream, I decided to make a muslin first.  Good thing; there were adjusments that needed to be made, i.e., raise the bust point by 3/4", adjust the shoulder seams to reduce gapping at the armhole, let out the back darts by about 1/4" and slightly tuck the back, horizontally at the center waistline for a smoother fit.  A very good fit after alterations were applied to the pattern; I am now a firm believer in making a muslin first!  At last, I am ready to tackle the make-or-break details, the Mandarin collar and the sleeve, both will have applied satin bias trim.  Fabric: Berry Pink Satin Print Jacquard (70% rayon, 30% polyester) from www.fashionfabricsclub.com.  I also applied a 9" invisible zipper at the back neck; the three frog closures were purchased and are for embellishment only.

Shawl Collar Jacket; Loes Hinse Design No. 5112

Loes Hinse Jacket Pattern No. 5112
I have had this partially finished jacket in the closet for a number of years to date.  The jacket fabric is a shimmery, crushed polyester taffeta, with embroidery detail.  I underlined the jacket with silk organza to provide body to the garment.  I also used silk organza for the shawl collar.  This jacket has a boxy cut and fits very well...so plain and simple.  The collar pleats at the nape of the neck to create that slightly draped effect.  There are four things I need to do:  1) Create a lining for the jacket; Bemberg lining currently on order from Fabric.com.  2) Shoulder pads; the pattern provides a pattern piece for that, and these sleeves could use a boost.  3) Apply tiny iridescent rhinestones onto the dragonflies in appropriate places.  4) Embellish the collar.  Embellish, you say?  The white silk organza is too plain and needs some kind of wow factor, not to mention a bit more body.  I've been stuck because I'm wondering exactly how to go about this.  Rhinestones?  Sequins?  Sequins and rhinestones?  Lace trim (shown in photo)?  That's where I'm at with this one.


19 August 2014

Simplicity 1621; Sweet Linen Dress and Jacket

Here's a cropped jacket, together with the linen dress I recently finished.  Both were sewn, using Simplicity #1621.  The jacket is made from a pale peach, handkerchief linen fabric; the dress fabric is a medium-weight, textured white linen.  The pattern is truly one of the easiest I have ever worked with; all the pieces fit together like a dream.  Difficulty might be found in the construction details, i.e., encasing the seams, self-made bias tape, precise sewing along the edges, hand-stitched hem.  These details were time consuming and tedious, especially because of the nature of the fabric, but well worth the effort.  The finished pieces are feminine and romantic, not exactly my style when all is said and done, but oh so fun to sew!
Sewing detail


17 August 2014

Drawing on linen

This started as a prototype for my Sewing Workshop Mix It Tank Top pattern, a plain white linen top, to check for fit and construction.  It fit and construction was easy enough, but was it ever plain!  What to do?  Doodling on fabric with a black permanent ink marker and colored pencils seemed like a creative alternative to sliding that ugly prototype to the back of the closet where it wouldn't see daylight.  The phraseology "you had me at peek-a-boo" was carelessly scrunched and looked more like "you had meat at peek-a-boo."  Meat!??  That simply wouldn't do, and so I added embellishments in between the wording, not so carefully; it's a bit heavy-handed.  We'll leave it at that.  I actually enjoy wearing this charming, tattooed top around the house, and I have plans to develop this kind of embellishment on future projects.

White linen fabric; same but different

Here's a case of same but different; same fabric, different patterns.  I had bought a whole bunch of this white linen fabric, or might it be a rayon/linen blend, I'm not so sure.  It was intended for a dress that required lots and lots of yardage.  That pattern quickly fell by the wayside and my fabric sat and sat, folded in a heap, a cumbersome and very heavy heap of ugly, wrinkly linen stuff; a storage nightmare.  Well, this summer, I put quilting aside as well as heavy-duty gardening, and engaged in a sewing frenzy.  Here are three garments that I recently constructed, from that white linen fabric.  I still have about 1-1/2 or maybe 2 yards left, but at least it's a manageable piece.

14 August 2014

New Look 6286 - More sewing frenzy

View A
View B

Two versions of the same top; View A in a wild Laurel Burch print; View B with a shaped hemline, in a very sweet, embroidered white cotton fabric.  The simplicity of the design makes for very cute, comfortable summer wear.

12 August 2014

Sewing Workshop Mix-it Top...same but different

Same top (Sewing Workshop Mix It Shirt, Tank andTop), different fabrics.  Quick and easy to sew, a decent fit without much adjustment; this is the kind of pattern I look for.  I chose the tank top version of this pattern.  The ombre polka dot print is 100% cotton; the stripe print is a rayon blend.  I have become adept at applying bias binding to the neck and armholes, thanks to this project.  I also practiced seam finishes, i.e., Hong Kong as well as serged seams.  With these tops completed, I've already moved on to another pattern; part of Christine's summer sewing frenzy.  All these tops?  I call them my house blouses; tops to knock around in and be comfortable in as well.  Can you believe?  It's mid-August and summer's nearly coming to a close.  I'll be thinking about making simple jackets to wear over these tops for fall/winter.  At last, a wearable wardrobe in the making!

11 August 2014

Butterick 5786; Sleeveless Linen Top

Here's a sleeveless handkerchief linen top in black.  This lightweight fabric keeps me cool during these hot summer months; I'm thankful for that.  After I finished this top, I decided to trim 3 inches off of the back of the shaped hemline.  I am only 5'3" tall and the length in the back seemed a bit much.  But I must say, the top hung better and looked nicer with the original length.  I'll be giving greater thought to shaped hemlines in future projects, probably avoiding them for the most part.

Summer Tank Top; The Sewing Workshop

I'm on a sewing roll this summer and have been focusing on simple styles and breathable fabrics, such as linen, rayon and cotton.  Here's a simple tank top from The Sewing Workshop's Mix It Shirt, Top & Tank collection.  I used a rayon blend fabric for the body of the shirt and a good-quality white cotton broadcloth to make bias strips for the neckline and armhole facings.

23 July 2014

Textile Studio Pattern #1213 - Mandarin Shirt Jacket

This simple shirt is done in a twill textured linen blend fabric, with Mother of Pearl square buttons; I added pockets as well.  Splitting my time between gardening, quilting, knitting and other crafty pursuits, sewing clothes sometimes gets put on the backburner.  Whenever I come back around to sewing garments like this one, I remember how much I enjoy sewing.   In fact, this shirt took only a couple of days to sew up; so quick and easy.  It's always been my goal to make an artsy, wearable wardrobe.  I'm especially a fan of artists/designers Diane Ericson and Marcy Tilton and I have purchased numerous patterns of theirs.  Having studied postings on their blogs, I think they'd look at this shirt and see a blank canvas.  I lean heavily toward plain and simple, but I'd like to step outside that box one day and aspire toward a more creative approach, using fabric dyes, painting and embellishment.  Ah well, add that to my list of too many things to do, not enough time.

18 July 2014

Chloe's Summer Dress

Butterick #3888; See & Sew
Back detail
My granddaughter said, "Grandma, I love long dresses."  So I rummaged through my big box of children's patterns and showed her a few.  "This one," she said decidedly.  I'm thinking it was the back detail that captured her fancy.  To make a long dress, I had to add to the length of the dress, plus I added a ruffle, 1-1/2 time longer than the width of the skirt around the bottom to make a lightly gathered ruffle that would reach to the floor.  The bodice is lined and I used some of that fabric to make a covered back button.  All done and in the mail it will go to Idaho.