23 November 2015

My Thanksgiving Shirt

Butterick 5526 - View C
Collar detail
In four hours, guests will begin arriving from different parts of the country to spend a long week with us at Paz Casita in Temecula, in celebration of Thanksgiving.  The house is near ready; however...I have worked on this shirt from cut to finish, off and on for the past three days, whereas I should have been focused on detail prepping for company.

What's done is done (the shirt) and I still have four hours to do EVERYTHING ELSE!  At least I have already managed grocery shopping. That's been my frenzied dedication to mastering shirts. I'm going to wear this one as soon as I wash the dog and hop in the shower, after I do everything else of course.

This shirt, Butterick 5526 - View C, is sewn from a fine cotton, pale lavendar pinwale corduroy, with a polka dotty cotton inner collar for accent.  As I worked on this shirt, I realized why we have moved toward knits and other more forgiving fabrics, ones don't require special attention or fussing.  It's from the same pattern as my last shirt, different fabric and detail.  Next, I'll move on to making a shirt for hubby.  He's been very forgiving of me spending so much time to finish this shirt.  I can see in his eyes a longing for a cozy, warm flannel shirt of his own.

Doubt I'll be posting (or sewing) any time soon this holiday week.  Wishing all of us a HAPPY THANKSGIVING, and God bless each of you!!!

18 November 2015

Butterick 5526 - Shirt View C

Still sewing shirts...here's #3 in a row, this time Butterick 5526 (View C), with pleated pockets added to front of shirt.  Must note that I purchased an online class, Pam Howard's "The Classic Tailored Shirt," from Craftsy.com.  This gave me confidence, especially in the areas of collar application, finishing sleeve seams, and topstitch/edge stitch application, things I had struggled with.  I'm happy with the result.  Probably should have ironed that shirt before posting; the fabric is a cotton oxford cloth and actually presses out very nicely.

07 November 2015

The Blouse Perfected - Cutting Line Designs #11226

Here's my second shirt, all finished.  After this shirt, I have become such a fan of designer Louise Cutting and her pattern line, Cutting Line Designs.  Some of her recommended sewing techniques for this shirt, such as how to apply the collar to the collar stand, as well as how to join the sleeve to the body of the shirt at the underarm, were different from the norm, or at least what I am used to. Otherwise, this shirt was surprisingly easy to put together.  I love the asymetric fold in the front.  A good fit!  Onward to shirt #3.

30 October 2015

Butterick 5786...Shirt all done

Butterick 5786 - View C
It's a good fit.  Buttons and buttonholes?  Not a problem. My challenge continues to be the finishing of collar and cuffs; this smooth cotton poplin was especially not forgiving when slip stitching the collar and cuffs over the seams, even though fabric has a slight stretch (I have had better luck with other fabrics, e.g., linen and knits).  Bottom line: all done.

Now on to the next shirt.  I want to keep making shirts until I can sew stand up collars with perfectly crisp and precise corners, with my eyes closed of course.  That's my goal.  

24 October 2015


I have looked and looked at shirt patterns and finally selected ones that I like and think will sew up nicely.  I need shirts to wear with skinny jeans/jeggings.  I recently took stock of my fabric stash and noted...oh my!...that I have bunches of fabric suitable for shirts.  Often, I refer to my sewn garments (shirts/blouses/tops) as house blouses.  If it wrinkles too much, if the design has too many nips, tucks, flouces in odd places, one that does not wear well behind a seat belt, those kinds of things, I think of that garment as a house blouse, something to wear casually at home. I like linen, chambray, cotton, lightweight poplin, lightweight denim, easy care fabrics that breathe, all reflective of the fabrics in my stash.

BUTTERICK 5786 - View C
I like the drape of this shirt; it will go nicely over skinny jeans/jegging, in fact, I've made it before with a black handkerchief linen fabric, so I know it will turn out well.  Here it is, in the making, using a lightweight stretchy poplin.

16 October 2015

Tessuti Valerie Top

Tessuti Valerie Top
Tesstui, one of my new favorite pattern sites, this one based in Australia; simple yet stylish.  Pictured is their Valerie Top.  Because Temecula's climate runs warm even in late October, I'm still cranking out sleeveless cotton tops for casual wear.  The Valerie Top has gathers part way around the front and back sides; otherwise it's a straightforward simple slip-on tank.  This pattern came as a .pdf file which I had to piece together; yes, a little time consuming.  I have become accustomed to downloading patterns; instant access and cost effective.  I like!

25 September 2015

Inspiration...Alabama Studio Sewing Patterns

Inspiration comes from the book, Alabama Studio Sewing Patterns, by Natalie Chanin.  I have wanted to embellish simple designs. This book is a good start for me.  There's a CD included which requires a copy shop to print out the patterns (there is no home-print feature). Couldn't wait, so I pulled out Simplicity 1621 from my stash, an older pattern that I had success with; a good fit, simple lines, easy to alter. This pattern comes with scooped neckline, which I converted to a V-shape, something like what's in the book, but Bubblegum pink rayon gauze fabric??? ...oh my.

Haven't decided on how to finish edges.

10 September 2015

Bead Embroidery...Growing a Garden

My first attempt at beaded embroidery.  Here I am growing a garden of vines using a variety of seed beads incorporated with hand embroidery stitches.  This design is from an online class which I signed up for through www.craftsy.com, Bead Embroidery with Myra Wood.  

26 July 2015

I paint pictures with thread

Here's what I'm working on
These are my tools
I paint pictures with thread.  Here is simple embroidery.  Currently I am working on embroidered blocks to incorporate into a quilt that I have in mind.  Sunbonnet Babies of course.  Because I am using basic outline stitches, the work goes relatively quickly.  An enjoyable pastime for this Calico Quilter when all is said and done. 

24 July 2015

Cloth-covered Pattern Weights

Here's my boxful of covered washers, all finished, which I use as pattern weights when cutting out patterns.  The washers, purchased from the hardware store, work well even in their raw state, but with a cloth covering they are much nicer to handle.

More slippers...

Another pair done, this time adult size small.  The medium size slipper was too large (more for size 8-9).  I'll be elongating the soles by about 1/2" on the next pair of size small, as they're currently too exact of a fit on my size 7M foot.  Fun to make but I'll also have to come up with a sturdier sole; they definitely need sole support.  For the interlining I had used a thicker but still very pliable interfacing from my stash; I'll be looking for thick, stiff and sturdy for my next pair, while keeping in mind washability.  Still, the mix of different prints is adorable and the possibilities are endless.  I'm already thinking of Christmas slippers for the girlies.

17 July 2015

House Slippers, all done!

Soft, comfy pair of house slippers, all finished.  These were easy to make.  I'll be making more.

House Slippers in the making...

Here's a simple slipper, exactly what I've been wanting for wearing around the house. The pattern, Favorite Things Pattern Designs - Sole Comfort, turned out to be the kind of quick and easy-to-sew project that I really enjoy.  I was concerned about the stiffness of the soles on such a slipper.  Would they be stiff enough?  Would I be able to walk comfortably?  It turns out using the recommended materials as listed, worked out very well.  Applying bias tape, in this case to finish the edges of the slipper, is a simple technique.  I cut my own bias tape for this slipper.  I'll be making Christmas slippers for each of my daughters-in-law and granddaughters for the fun of it.

07 July 2015

Cover those weights!

Here are weights which I have been using for pattern cutting instead of pins.  Papa Paz got them for me from the hardware store, and they work very well for my purposes.  I am finally spending time to cover them with fabric, using my Clover yoyo maker (size L), which turns out to be the just-right size.  So easy to do, but this will take some time as I have a good bunch of uncovered weights in that box.