Friday, April 30, 2010

Summer Sky Outfit

New Look 6940 went together easily.  It is a pattern for a twisted knit top and only has 4 pieces.  I wondered if the twist part would be difficult and that stopped me from sewing it for a while.  But I am glad I tried it.  It was really easy to do.  I will make a couple more of these this summer.  I made a size 10 with a couple of alterations.  To begin, I took in the back center seam a total of one inch at the neckline and tapered it down to the seam line about 6 inches down the back.  Next, I used a 6/8 inch seam allowance on the shoulder to bring the neckline up a bit.  That meant that I also needed to scoop out about 1/2 inch under the armholes.  I used my coverstitch machine to hem the bottom and the armholes.  The pattern called for a bias tape finish on the neckline, but I had read a couple of reviews on  pattern about this not working out very well.  I opted to finish my neckline with 3/8 inch elastic.  I zigzagged the elastic to the edge all around the neckline including the back all the way to the other side.  I measured it about 2 inches shorter than the distance so that it would be snug.  After that, I folded it over and topstitched it with a double needle.  I think this method worked out fine, although my elastic may have been just a wee bit too short, because I have a little wrinkling in the front.  So I will measure it a little longer next time.  Also, this pattern is really long in the torso.  I ended up cutting off 4 inches from the bottom before I hemmed it.

The skirt is fast and easy and was made with Burda 8176.  I blogged about it here.  Wow, it's the weekend already!  Have fun!

Twist top close up:

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Energized By...

The colors of nature are a great way to find inspiration for sewing projects.  As I sat perusing my stash, I stumbled upon a knit and woven, that weren't purchased together, but will compliment each other wonderfully.  This will become another casual summer outfit, perfect for the heat and humidity.  I like the knotted tank that Ann just posted on her blog this week, and I will attempt a similar top, New Look 6940.

And...speaking of inspiration, I am in love with this look (it takes just a few seconds to load).  It is an off the shoulder, slim fitting DKNY dress.  However, I would love this done up as a skirt and top. I have the perfect navy rayon/linen for the skirt, but am diligently searching for a red and navy striped knit for the top.  If anyone happens to stumble across this type of print at any of the online fabric shops I would love to hear where! 

Monday, April 26, 2010

McCall's 6031

Leggings and a tunic or short dress can be so comfortable for spring.  McCall's 6031 is a great pattern if that is a look you might be going for.  I made view A, with the length of view B, in a size 10.  My fabric is an ITY knit with a lot of stretch.  It snags easily (I'll have to be careful) and is fairly thin.  This pattern worked out well for a thin knit, because the whole bodice is faced. 

The instructions are easy to follow.  On the cowl neck, I ended up turning the hem under and using tack stitches all the way around to keep it in place.  The pattern doesn't suggest this, but if I hadn't the hem would have shown.  A nicer finish, with light weight knits, might be to double the cowl neck, stitch it right sides together, turn it right side out, then attach to the bodice, thereby eliminating the need to hem the edge.  

I am still not convinced I like the print, but I do find the outfit to be easy to wear and perfect for running around with the kids.

Sneak Peek 2

I just love sneak peeks.  Don't you?  I'm working on McCall's 6031, view A with the length of view B, in an ITY knit.  The knit feels more like a slinky and is somewhat challenging to work with.  I'm not sure I'm in love with the print.  But I do like some of the digital prints I am seeing in the fashion magazines and this reminds me of it.  I hope to have it completed tomorrow.  I did spend some time in the sewing room this weekend afterall! 

Friday, April 23, 2010

Simplicity 2451

What a kicky little skirt this is!  I made view B in a size 10 out of a rayon/linen fabric acquired some time ago.  I am so proud of myself for using fabric out of my stash for most of the projects I've posted about lately, and this was no exception, including all the notions used.   I have so many ideas swirling in my head that involves some of the lovely fabrics I've seen online.  Got to keep making room....

The pattern was very easy to follow and did not need any alterations.  I wanted to insert an invisible zipper, but neither of the two local fabric shops I checked had one in brown.  So I used a regular zipper I had in my stash. I placed it as a center back zip, which works well for this pattern with all the panel pieces.  (The pattern instructs you to make a lapped zipper.)  I really wanted my top stitching perfect, and since the zipper was long, I went ahead and sewed it so that it stuck up above the skirt, then trimmed.  That way I didn't have to work around the zipper pull.  Also, since the zipper goes to the top of the skirt, I do not need a hook.  I particularly like that the inside of the skirt looks nicely finished too. 

This fabric has a nice drape, is forgiving with matching seams, and is very easy to press.  I would definitely recommend it for beginning sewers.  I made this to go with Simplicity 3887 here.  But I also love it with the leopard print cardigan.  I don't think I will be sewing this weekend.  But if I do, you will be sure to hear about it!  Enjoy your weekend!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Simplicity 3887

I have made this pattern before, a couple of years ago, in a size 12.  Even though I wore it, it was too big.  So this time around I made a size 10.  You would think since this is my second time making it, I would have no problems.  But no....I did not mark my neck band pieces and ended up with a wonky first attempt when I attached it.  I didn't take a picture of the strange looking version before I began to rip it out.  I cut new front and back facings, re-interfaced them, and carefully marked which was the front and back on all the pieces before I attempted to put the neck band on again.  Otherwise, this is an easy pattern, if you don't mind the gathering.  That has got to be one of my least favorite sewing tasks. I really like the print in this fabric and am anxious to get the skirt done to match. 

Monday, April 19, 2010

Up Next

The print fabric above is a cotton lawn and the brown fabric below is a linen/cotton blend.  I will be working the lawn into Simplicity 3887, view F with view E sleeves, and the linen into Simplicity 2451 view B.  What a nice way to start the week! 

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Lighting Strikes!

All my boys are due for new pajamas.  They just keep growing and growing.  My youngest DS really liked this yellow fabric I ordered online.  It is a very soft, cotton, thermal, knit with no lycra.  I have made Kwik Sew 3234 so many times.  It is my go to pattern for pj's for the boys.  I used my coverstitch machine for all the top stitching.  I am so loving this machine!

I really enjoyed trying my first freezer paper stencil on this version.  I had read about this method on a blog, I wish I could remember where, and have been looking forward to trying it.  All you do is draw a design on the dull  side of your freezer paper, cut it out with a razor like knife, iron the paper on to your fabric shiny side down (I had my iron at a wool setting), then paint your design.  I waited 8 hours to remove the freezer paper.  I was pleased to see the edges came out sharp for the most part.  I think because the fabric has little dips, I had just a small amount of smudging.  But overall, I am happy with the result and can't wait to try it again.  I do wish I had placed the design higher on the front and will remember that next time.  Hope you all have a great weekend!

Friday, April 16, 2010

The Bottom of the Deep Blue Sea...Sea...Sea...

When I began decorating my oldest DS's room he had only two requests.  He wanted it "all blue" and he wanted "sharks".  The walls were painted about two months ago, the bedding was found about two weeks ago, and the curtains were finished today.  I did decide to line them with a water resistant drapery fabric.

I am glad I did, because we get a lot of sideways rain, when it does rain, which blows right into his room.  It's common for people to keep windows open year round here to enjoy the breeze from the trade winds.  Also, the lining makes the curtains hang better with the extra weight, and allows the sharks to really stand out when the sun is shining from behind. 

I followed the same pattern as the curtains made for the Jungle here, which also shows the "before" picture of his room.  DS is smiling at his updated space.  Bonus: He even got a toss pillow with the little bit of left over fabric!     

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

McCalls 6035 and Mini-Wardrobe

McCall's 6035 is a great blouse pattern.  It has princess seams and a button closure.  I made view D in a size 10.  I didn't make any alterations, but next time I make this, I will try to fit the back and arm scythe more closely.  I do have some horizontal lines in this area.  I think I need to make a forward shoulder adjustment to get rid of those wrinkles.  I love that this pattern already comes with different pattern pieces for A through D cup sizes.  What a time saver for fitting.  The pattern doesn't call for top stitching on the collar, collar band, or along the edge of the front, so I added that.  I like how my thread is just a little bit darker than the fabric.  Although I didn't plan for the princess seams in the blouse to line up with the front seams in the skirt panel, I think it's  fantastic that it turned out that way. 

This is the fourth and final piece for the mini-wardrobe contest.  Whew! Since I finished before the deadline, which is tomorrow, I think I will go ahead and enter.  Although the contest certainly put pressure on me for getting these pieces done in a certain time frame (not so fun) it also really got me thinking about coordinating fabrics and patterns in a way to maximize their versatility.  Overall, I am glad I took on this challenge. 

Outfit #1

Outfit #2

Outfit #3

Outfit #4

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Working On...

I have been busy working on the 4th piece for my mini-wardrobe.  This fabric feels so soft and silky against the skin.  It was purchased from Gorgeous Fabrics, last year some time.  I believe it is a woven, cotton, lycra.  It is very light weight, but you cannot see through it.  It also has horizontal threads that stand out with a slight white sheen to it.  I don't think the photo really shows that.  Also, the stretch parallels the selvage.  So the stretch is from top to bottom.  I suppose I could have cut the pieces out with the stretch running from side to side, but then the design would have run from top to bottom and I like it better running horizontal.  I will have a complete review once the buttonholes and buttons are placed.  I am thrilled with how it is turning out so far, but I had better stop for now, or I may just make an irreversible mistake.  Off to bed.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Burda 7696 is a Winner!

Item number three for the the mini-wardrobe contest is now complete.  I made this dress out of a rayon lycra purchased at, on sale some time ago.  And with as lovely of a drape as this has, I am so glad I also bought yardage in fern green and coral.  The buckle came from a dressy tank top I picked up at Forever 21 about 5 years ago.  I never did like how lowcut the tank was and rarely wore it, but I loved the shell buckle.  I am glad this pattern gave me a reason to finally pull it from the drawer and use it in one of my creations.  

This pattern is easy to put together. I once again cut out a size 10 (36) and made no alterations except for eliminating the zipper.  In the future, I will probably take about 1/2 inch out of the shoulder seams and redraft the v-neck to make it just a little higher.  I notice I have just a few wrinkles that run down the shoulders on the front and I would like to eliminate that in future versions. I really took my time with cutting the pieces out too.  I did not double the fabric, but instead cut out each piece from a single layer.  This took much longer, but in the end it paid off.  In the past, when I have cut knits in double layers, particularly knits that are this drapey, I have had some very warped pieces that didn't come together smoothly. I also remember reading about letting your fabric relax for 24 hours before you cut it. Maybe on Ann's blog.  All the extra time was certainly worth it, but this dress would not be complete without the SHOEs.  Love them! They are by Nine West bought on sale at Macy's.  

Friday, April 9, 2010


The sharks arrived today.  My oldest ds wanted a "realistic" shark print fabric for his bedroom curtains.  I searched high and low for a print that would satsify his desire for sharks as well my desire for the fabric to match the color of blue on his walls and bedding.  J and O Fabric Center delivered!  This was the first time I have ordered from them and I was impressed with how fast the fabric arrived. It only took 5 days.  While that may not seem quick to mainlanders, it's exceptional for those of us who have learned to live on "Island Time".  I would have preferred a home dec fabric, just so I could get away with not lining the curtains, but this is a cotton quilting fabric, so I also got some water-resistant, drapery, lining, fabric at  Looks like I have a new project for this weekend.

I am also working on the dress featured in Burda 7696.  I hope to have that completed today.  It would be the third piece of my mini-wardrobe.  I am making it out of a solid, navy-ish, rayon knit. I also found peep toe pumps in a beautiful navy color by Nine West that should go nicely with all the pieces in this project. Pictures to come!   

Monday, April 5, 2010

New Look 6917

Here is a skirt to go with the Burda 8856 blouse.  I just finished view E in a size 10.  Let me just say I love it and it fit with minimal alterations. The only thing I had to do was take some of the curve out of the side seam, since I am very rectangular-shaped in that area.  I used a linen/cotton blend and lined each of the skirt panel pieces with white muslin for opacity.  I have not inserted a lap zipper in at least the last 2 years, so I am happy with the fact that the yoke lined up nicely, but the topstitching gets a little wider as you get closer to the top of the waistband.  I don't think it is very noticeable, so I can live with it.  This would be the second piece of my mini-wardrobe, if I decide to enter the contest mentioned here.   

Friday, April 2, 2010

Tropical Blues

I have been wanting to make the blouse pictured in Burda 8856 for a very long time. 

 I made this in a size 10 (36) and did not have any alterations.  It fits great!  I adore this blue, tropical, textured, polyester chiffon.  Once I figured out what kind of needle worked best with the fabric, sewing it was a breeze.  There is a mini-wardrobe contest going on over at The Sewing Pattern Review website that I may decide to enter, with this being one of the pieces. 

 I sewed french seams at the side seams, and made my own thread loops on the back with embroidery floss.  Instead of turning the armholes under, I used self-bias to trim them. This blouse also has a self-tie to complete the look. 

I have a skirt in mind to go with this.  It will be made out of a a cream colored linen.  I am looking forward to completing the whole outfit and possibly a whole mini-wardrobe.