Monday, January 01, 2018

Hello 2018! Finishing Up Projects and Moving Ahead

2017 was a bit of rough year with a family member's cancer diagnosis (all is well), multiple funerals (three in one week alone), some minor surgeries, and of course just the busyness of careers and life.  Obviously it takes a toll on trying to find time to enjoy hobbies, such as sewing and working out, and I'm quite happy to put the year behind me!

As 2017 came to an end, I had multiple sewing projects in the works.  I'm going to finish them up before I decide what I need/want in my wardrobe next.

First up on my need to complete list is a floral jacket using McCall's 3322 pattern, a NYNY design from 2001.  It's one of few NYNY patterns I kept when I was decreasing my pattern collection.  I've always loved that faux fur collar!  The jacket is on hold as the faux fur I had purchased didn't work as well with the floral print as I had hoped. (I see a quick trip to SR Harris in my future!)
Another jacket that is in progress is one of Sandra Betzina's latest offerings, Vogue 1574.  I'm using a black and red stretch woven with black piping.  I didn't have any faux leather tabs, couldn't find any locally and ended up ordering from M&J Trimming. They've arrived so I can now finish up this jacket.
This gorgeous teal animal print coat (Vogue 8930) has been in progress for much longer than I want to admit!  I started it more than a year ago expecting it to be a quick sew.  I was about halfway through the construction before admitting to myself that I couldn't stand the unfinished seam edges, especially since the fabric ravels so much.  I need to rip out some of the seams and restitch.  As a final touch I'll cover the hems with faux suede ribbon, also found at M&J Trimming.
This simple knit top, McCall's 7688, is cut out just waiting to be stitched up. I debated about the double ruffled version, but am having a hard time getting the vision of those early 80s ruffle tops out of my head! I'm going to sew the dress, but plan on wearing it with leggings or skinny jeans. The fabric is a purple stretch velvet with stars outlined in mauve.
The last item I have cut out and ready to sew is another StyleArc Sunny Top. I'm using this fun knit print I found at Hobby Lobby. It's like a cross between a sweatshirt and fleece material.
With limited sewing time in 2017, I choose many instant gratification sewing projects. One of my goals in the new year is to be more intentional with my sewing, and to not focus on as many quick-to-sew projects. I'm looking forward to what 2018 will bring! Pin It

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Holiday Sparkle: Burda Cropped Sequin Jacket 08/2015 #109

This is a simple cropped jacket sewn using a sequined wool knit.  The lines of the jacket are very simple, with darts in the front, a center back seam, and two-piece sleeves.  As I'm trying to sew my stash as much as possible, I choose to sew this using fabric purchased years ago from Hancock Fabrics.  I always intended to sew a skirt with the fabric, but this simple jacket - Burda 08/2015 #109 - is something I'd wear more often than a sequined skirt.
The jacket is fully lined so I didn't finish any of the seam edges on the inside.
 I choose to use a contrasting, lighter weight fabric for the facings.
I added interfacing to the jacket hem and sleeve hems, as well as small shoulder pads.
Rather than bag the lining, I followed the instructions and hand stitched the lining in place at the hems.
The label is from Dutch Label Shop.  I've ordered from them multiple times and have been very happy with every label.
The only thing I don't like about the jacket is the closure. It calls for a decorative clip fastener. I couldn't find one, so I used a large hook and buttonhole.  It's okay, but next time I'll have to find something different.
The fabric, the lining, the interfacing, the shoulder pads, the thread, and the hook were all from my stash. Except for the closure, I'm pleased with the jacket!

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Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Instant Sewing Gratification: The Simplicity 8529 "Toaster" Sweater

About a year ago I noticed a plethora of reviews for a "toaster sweater" popping up on sewing blogs. I was intrigued. Every version looked great on the wearer, and it did indeed look like a top I'd love to snuggle into during our cold weather months. (About nine months out of the year, LOL!)

I did a quick Google search and discovered it was an indie pattern by Sew House Seven. I made a mental note to return to the site and purchase the pattern, but promptly forgot.

Until I saw this offering in the Simplicity catalog.  It's Simplicity 8529, a pullover top from Sew House Seven. It's very similar to the popular Toaster Sweater, but if you look closely you'll spot some differences.
Eager to stitch myself one of these cozy sweaters, I made a trip to SR Harris where I found this lightweight plaid.  It was the perfect piece of fabric to test the pattern.  Note that I didn't cut this on the bias, the plaid is printed diagonally. 
I sewed view A, the one shown in pink on the front cover of the envelope. There are only four pattern pieces for this view, so stitching this up was pretty quick.

The instructions are clearly written, and I found all of the pattern pieces fit together nicely. I liked the directions given for the neck facing as it creates a nice clean finish at the funnel neckline. I added a size tag to the back. Not because it was needed to determine front from back, but because I like to include size tags in items I may end up donating.
The sweater is quite loose fitting. I figured it would be but still cut my normal combo of Small/Medium, but it feels like there is a lot of extra ease.  That could very well be because I used a lightweight sweater knit. I think I'll keep the sizing the same on the next one, which will be a much heavier sweater knit, before I decide if I need to adjust the size.

I really the hi lo hem and was delighted when I discovered I had matched the plaid!  Quite by accident though. I will say that this is one thing I don't like about the pattern: the opening on the side is high!  I don't wish to expose that area of my body, not just because of my extra fluff but because it's cold here! When I was outside taking these pics it was a bit chilly when the cold air swept through that opening onto my bare skin! If you don't plan to wear this with a high-waisted garment, keep that in mind.
The sleeves have a band which is a feature I like.
The top has a drop shoulder, which I think you can see better in the back view.
This top I was able to whip up in about two hours start to finish. Remember though, that I did zero pattern alterations, which is where I generally spent a fair amount of time when I sew a project.

This design reminds me of a tunic I saw on one of my favorite local boutique's Facebook page. And they are selling theirs for $52.  Which isn't a bad price, but I love knowing that I can get a similar look for less all while enjoying the process of creating it myself ! 

I'm quite pleased with my first sweater from this pattern. It's cute and comfy and exactly what I want when I need to toss on something casual.

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Saturday, November 25, 2017

Bell Sleeves, Ombre Fabric and Lace Trim Equals Easy Elegance: Vogue 9270 Review

With slightly belled sleeves, textured lace trim, and an ombre floral knit fabric, this tunic was destined to be a winner. 
Have you ever looked at through your clothing and come to realization that the look you want for an upcoming event is no where to be found in your closet?  Yea, me too. That's how this tunic came to be. 

We had plans to see Little River Band and the day before the event I had one of those "I want to wear something cute, trendy, casual and comfy and I don't own anything like that!"moments. (Side note: that's actually not true, I really just wanted something new!)

So, I made a quick stop to the local JoAnn Fabrics store and picked up Vogue 9270 and almost two yards of this lightweight, ombre floral print knit fabric (which was all that was left on the bolt).  The fabric was not on sale, but I was able to use a 40% off coupon, which made it reasonably priced.
I choose the pattern because it was rated easy (remember, I only gave myself less than a day to sew this),  and it had princess seams, making it easy for me to do a small full bust adjustment (FBA). I also did a slight forward shoulder adjustment, a sway back adjustment, and removed 1" from the length.  Next time I'll remove length from the sleeves as I don't like how long they are.
The pattern is a Very Easy Vogue and I would agree with the rating.  I was able to eliminate the back zipper since I used a knit.  The fit is very loose. I ended up taking in the side front, side back and side seams.  I also found the sleeve pulls across my upper arm if I raise my arms. Which isn't a problem in  knit, but would be if I had use one of the recommended fabrics (silk crepe, challis, velvet, lace, etc.) 
After I finished the top and put it on, I found if I pulled the entire top up and pinned out 1" at along the entire shoulder seam that made the sleeves fit better. So you fit gurus - what's my solution?  Do I need to do a petite adjustment across my upper chest? Or just raise the armhole higher?

The upper and lower portions of the sleeve are cut separately.  That worked in my favor as I barely had enough fabric to cut this out.  The pattern calls for 3" wide lace, but I used a beautiful textured flat black lace that was only 2" wide since I already had it in my stash.  The lace is added while the sleeve is flat. It is sewn over the seam attaching the upper sleeve to the lower sleeve. The instructions have you add the lace to the bottom of the sleeve before stitching the sleeve seam, but I added the sleeve hem lace at the end instead.
The instructions call for the neck edge to be finished with purchased bias tape. That is not my preferred method. Instead I cut a 2" wide strip of fabric the length of the neck opening, folded it in half lengthwise (wrong sides together), pressed lightly, stitched it to the neck edge with a 3/8" seam allowance, pressed it up and stitched it in place.
The top was finished in about two hours, and was perfect for the venue!  I sewed it two weeks ago and have already worn it multiple times. I guess I better plan on another one!

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Sunday, November 12, 2017

The Hot Patterns Urban Gypsy Top in an Embroidered Border Denim

"It's too cold to wear that outside!" My hubby's words of wisdom as I donned this off-the-shoulder tunic for an outdoor photo shoot. With temps hovering around 30 degrees F,  I figured I could brave it for five minutes. Which I did - barely.
Hot Patterns Metropolitan Urban Gypsy Blouse Embroidered Denim

It's not sunny out, but I had Lasik surgery a few days ago and am not allowed to wear eye makeup yet, thus the sunglasses!  Yea, I know, I'm vain, LOL. 
Hot Patterns Metropolitan Urban Gypsy Blouse Embroidered Denim
That's it for pics of the top on me! It was too cold for more, so you'll get to enjoy the pics I took on GiGi, my dress form,  a few weeks ago.
The fabric is a gorgeous denim with an embroidered border that I purchased this past June from Emma One Sock.
Photo from
I knew the fabric needed a simple design to let the beauty of the embroidery shine, so I sewed the Hot Patterns Urban Gypsy Blouse.  This was the second time I had sewn this top and I was able to sew it in just a few hours.  I blogged about my first one here.

This one I sewed slightly smaller, and made the elastic in the back tighter. 
The tiny hem on the sleeve ties were easy to sew on this lightweight denim.  I probably should have cut the blouse hem straight across and then match the scallop at the side seams, but I didn't think of that until I had already followed the pattern piece and cut the curves.  Sigh.
I like how the front is flat, and the sides and back have elastic.  I debated about adding straps so I could wear a regular bra but ultimately decided against doing so. However, I did save some fabric scraps if I change my mind.
I sewed the top with the intent of wearing it to the outdoor Santana concert held in July.  After all, an evening in July in Minnesota should be warm enough for an off-the-shoulder look, right?  Ha!  Nope. It was unseasonably cold the day of the concert and I ended up wearing long sleeves and a jean jacket.
 I only had a chance to wear it once this past summer, but I'm sure it will see plenty of wear next year!  Whether I sew myself another remains to be seen.

The pattern is HP 1196, and can be purchased online. (No affiliation with Hot Patterns, just want to make it easy for you to find the pattern.)

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