Monday, September 05, 2016

Style Arc Cold-Shoulder Knit Top and Flat Bottom Flo Pants

Style Arc, I think I love you!
Another winner from Style Arc! This time I sewed the Cold-Shoulder Knit Top (which was one of the free patterns for August 2016), and my third pair of Flat Bottom Flo pants (love the fit, hate the name).

The top is designed to hug the body. Since that's not my personal preference I added width and also did a full-bust adjustment so it would skim over my body.
I used a black ITY knit that has been in my stash for a few years. It was left over from when I sewed a 1970s era Scott Barrie disco dress (Vogue 2194) to wear to the annual Minnesota History Center's RetroRama.
The seams on the top are 1/4". I stitched all the seams using a 0.5 wide, 3.0 length zig-zag stitch on my sewing machine, then finished with a three-thread stitch on my serger. The neck, shoulder, and upper arm edges are simply serged, turned to the wrong side, and stitched in place. I added 1/4" Steam-a-Seam to the wrong side before turning under and stitching.   The top can be sewn in about an hour.
The Flat Bottom Flo pants are sewn from a stretch woven, purchased about a year ago from Hancock Fabrics.  Sigh.  Who knew that just year later the stores would all be closed.
The elastic treatment on the waistband is so simple, and produced a nice clean finish.  You cut elastic to fit your waist measurement; stitch the elastic ends together forming a circle; place one long edge of the elastic along the fold line for the waistband; stitch in place using a zig-zag stitch stretching to fit.   Fold the waistband wrong sides together encasing the elastic.  I used 1-1/2"  wide elastic instead of 2", which is what the pattern calls for.
If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, I posted this picture earlier today showing the top, pants and my shoes. I purchased the Steve Madden shoes from Nordstrom Rack about five weeks ago and they have quickly become one of my favorite pairs.
This entire outfit was inspired by a promotional mailer from Chico's. Knowing the cost of Chico's tops and pants, I am confident my entire outfit cost much, much less!  I love knowing how to sew!
Both patterns are winners from Style Arc. 
Beautiful drafted patterns and on-trend designs.  Is it any wonder I love Style Arc?
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Friday, August 26, 2016

The Summer of Interesting Fabric Sewing Continues: Vogue 9176 Contrast Back Jacket

I'm calling this my summer of sewing interesting fabrics. 

Recently,  I blogged about the "fringey" knit I used to sew a shrug using Vogue 9190.  Today I'm sharing a jacket I sewed with this floral fabric.
I don't even know what to call this fabric. It looks like a mesh, but it's not sheer. There is no stretch. It is fairly stiff (but not heavyweight) and didn't press easily. Solid black appears in the "holes" of the fabric , but the backside is not solid black.  If anyone knows what the fabric is called, please leave a comment. 
I had spotted the fabric in late spring and was intrigued but left it behind as I wasn't sure what I would sew.  When I went back two months later it was completely sold out.  Two huge bolts. 

Or so I thought. I discovered one lone piece that measured about a 1-1/4 yard, piled on the top shelf of the remnant fabrics. Marked down to $6 per yard. I quickly placed it in my cart.

With so little fabric I wasn't positive what I would use it for, eventually choosing to sew an unlined jacket using Vogue 9176.   
I knew I liked the jacket, and the contrast back meant I could get by with less of the main fabric.

Because the fabric was a remnant with limited yardage, I had to make a few changes. I shortened the sleeves to 3/4, shortened the length of the jacket by about an inch, added a seam to the center back yoke, pieced the front facing, and used a contrast for the collar and upper back facings.  
The contrast back has multiple pleats sewn to the curved back yoke.
For the contrast back I used the same fabric that I used for the shoulders on my Burda 6630 Tee.  I love the look on the back of this jacket, but it was so tedious to sew!  My sewing machine needle had trouble with those little rows of pleated ribbon. I hemmed the bottom by hand instead of machine stitching per the pattern instructions.
The jacket does not have a dart, so I did an FBA and added a dart to the pattern.
As I mentioned I used a different fabric for the collar facing. It's a poly-lycra black suiting fabric.
I didn't want the solid black to show on the collar lapels, so I added a vertical seam on the front facing and pieced the facing with the fashion fabric and the black fabric.  When the jacket is worn the pieced facing isn't visible. 
I didn't realize how boxy the jacket looked until I took this selfie in the company workout room. After a loooooooong day at work I probably should have been using the workout room for more than taking a selfie!
Even though it does have a boxy shape due to the stiffness of the fabric, I do like the way the jacket turned out. 

I've had fun these past few months discovering unusual fabrics at SR Harris Fabric. Stay tuned as I am in the process of sewing another one of my "interesting" fabric purchases. 

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Sunday, August 21, 2016

A Silk Ruffle Top for a Toddler: a Review of McCall's 7142

"You sewed a top for a one-year old out of silk?"  Yea, I know it's not the most practical fabric for a toddler's top. But oh my goodness do those ruffles hang beautifully in this fabric!
The pattern is McCall's 7142, a little pullover top and leggings.
Suggested fabrics include cottons, dotted swiss, and knits. But no silk.  However I had four yards of this China Silk on hand and knew the one-year old would look adorable in yellow. I, on the other hand, cannot wear that color and I'm sure the only reason I purchased the fabric is because it was bargain-priced at $1.99 yard.  I purchased four yards in January 2010 from Fabric Mart Fabrics.  And it has sat in my fabric stash ever since it arrived. Not much of a bargain though if you never use it!
I washed the silk in cold water and dried it on low heat. Turns out it didn't require dry-cleaning after all.

The ruffles on the top are created with 10 fabric rectangles cut on the bias. Each of the four sides are hemmed. Since I was sewing this the night before the child's birthday party, I finished all the edges with a narrow hem on my serger.  A word of advice: Don't hem bias strips when you are tired and in a hurry. Even using a serger these required a little more care than they received.

The 10 rectangles are gathered in the center and stitched to the lower skirt portion of the top.
When I was topstitching the straps, the fabric wanted to pull down into the thread plate.  I placed a piece of pattern tissue paper underneath the strap to prevent that. Once I was done I tore the tissue away.
This cute little top has a tie in the back!   Again, I was in a time crunch and hemmed the edges with my serger.
The front upper yoke is fully lined and the top of the back yoke is elasticized.
This was a fun little top to sew. Without the ruffles it could probably be sewn in less than an hour.

No pictures of the one-year old wearing this as I sewed an XL (24 mo) and she would currently fit in the M (9-12 mo).  She's a tiny one so it may fit her next summer, or she'll wear it over a long-sleeve tee this winter.

Since the one-year old won't be modeling this top anytime soon, I leave you with a picture of the birthday girl wearing her birthday dress that her mom purchased on Etsy.

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Sunday, August 14, 2016

The Ruffle Collar Pullover Top: a review of Vogue 1515

"Oooo, that collar on your top is fabulous!" exclaimed a fellow church-goer as we exited the morning service. I have to admit, I feel the same way. I love the collar on this top! 
This is Vogue 1515, a Sandra Betzina design that was released for fall 2016.  The pullover top is described as loose-fitting with an elasticized collar that forms a ruffle.
Fabric suggestions are boiled wool, low pile fake fur (hmmmm....maybe), and silk dupioni.  I, of course, didn't bother to check the fabric suggestions and choose to sew my new top out of this highly elasticized knit floral print that raveled whenever I gave it a sideways glance.  The other challenge with this fabric is that, while it stretched (a lot!) it did not have a lot of recovery.  I fused bias tape to the neckline and armhole edges as soon as I removed the pattern pieces to ensure they didn't stretch out of shape.

The top has a boxy shape and is very loose-fitting. I sewed my normal size for Today's Fit patterns and I think I could have easily gone down a size. (But that could have been because of my fabric choice.) I also found the armholes to be very low. I'll raise them up next time as this is designed to be worn alone.
The back is lower than the front with a slightly curved hem, which isn't evident from the line drawing on the pattern envelope.
The ruffle on the collar is created with elastic.  You simply take a piece of elastic and stitch it to the wrong side of the collar using a zig-zag stitch.
After the collar is added to the top a second row of zig-zag stitches is sewn over the elastic securing all layers together. I wasn't careful and my fabric shifted slightly when I was added that second row of stitches.  But with the busyness of this fabric it's not that noticeable.
The armholes and hem are finished with contrast facings. Depending on your fabric choice you wouldn't need to use a different fabric. There would have been way too much bulk if I had used this floral knit for the facings so I used a lightweight stretch woven.  The facings are topstitched in place.
This is a simple-to-sew top that provides a "wow" with that collar.
I'm really liking it and plan to sew myself another - just as soon as I find the right fabric.

By the way, this floral fabric was purchased locally at SR Harris Fabrics
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Monday, August 08, 2016

The "Interesting" Fabric Sewn Into a Vogue 9190 Knit Shrug

"Well, that sure is interesting fabric," said the sales clerk as I placed it on the cutting table to be measured.  "What are you going to do with it?"

"I have no idea," I replied. 

But I did have an idea. I just wasn't sure if it was going to work and I dreaded the "come back and show us when you're done" comment.

I was going to use the fabric to sew simple, long tunic, but changed my mind when Vogue 9190 was released.  Vogue 9190 is a knit shrug designed by Marcy Tilton.

I made a few tiny tweaks. I added 1-1/2" to the length as I wasn't sure how a short shrug would work with my shape, and I eliminated the drawstring. I also did an FBA using a pivot and slide method.


The shrug cuff has a small vent that is supposed to be on the outside of the arm, not inside like mine.  Oops!
I purchased the fabric locally at SR Harris Fabric. I wasn't the only one intrigued by the knit - when I returned to the store three weeks later it was gone. It's a lightweight knit with strips of knit secured to the backing. I used Pro Tricot Deluxe fusible interfacing from Fashion Sewing Supply (they have the Best. Interfacing. Ever.)

The fabric was - ahem - fun to sew.  And by fun I mean tedious.

Here's a close up of the finished shrug so you can see the fabric.  I so love how it has the trendy fringe-look but in a more subtle way.
The shrug is easy to sew. It was my fabric choice that made construction time-consuming.  

The first thing I did after cutting out all of the pieces was to machine baste all the loose strips in place.
Those tiny knit strips had a mind of their own! They went this way. They went that way. They slipped away when I tried to pin them in place. Sigh. Patience, dear one, patience.

The front of the shrug is finished by simply turning the front edge to the inside and stitching in place. To control the fabric strips I ended up using my finger to hold them in place as best as I could while stitching.
To hem the shrug I carefully pinned from the inside...
Then slowly moved strips away as I stitched the hem in place from the right side.
At the seams where I missed a stray strip, I took my scissors and trimmed close to the seam on the outside.
Like I mentioned, it was tedious, but I'm really happy with the final product.   Now that I've worn it once, I plan on adding the drawstring to the collar as I think the collar would look better.  I found it to be loose fitting, except for the sleeves. As is I could only wear something sleeveless under this shrug.
Next time I'll not add the extra 1-1/2" to the length.  It ends up cutting me off and making my waist disappear (what little waist I still have that is).  I'm leaving it the length as is because, you know, tedious fabric and I don't want to re-hem.
I sewed View A (upper right on the pattern envelope).
I own a couple of Vogue Marcy Tilton patterns, but for the most part her patterns aren't my design aesthetic.  I do like this pattern and can see it made it a variety of knits.

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