Friday, September 11, 2020

Sewing Update!

I can't believe it's been months since I wrote anything here. I've been thinking sewing if not doing it during the quarantine.

I have been lucky in the fact that my job had us start working from home the second week of March. My sewing room-slash-guest room added another name and use as a work-from-home office.

I first attempted a reorganization of my supplies, which made some improvement but needs more. I created separate binders that hold all the printed-out copies (the majority) of my PDF patterns; all my fitting and alteration tutorials and research; and another for general home repair and craft projects.

Unfortunately, I still have enough fabric that I have more than the plastic bins can hold, and some fabrics are in garbage bags. I'm not too fond of the message that is sending.

So, the main goal this summer was working through my immediate summer/fall projects. Instead of having yardage in various drawers, bins, and bags, I wanted it instead worn on my body. 

However, summer got away from me. Unfortunately, I hurt my back more than a month ago. I believe the chair I was using to work-from-home was the culprit. I've been seeing a chiropractor for that last three weeks and am slowing starting to sew again. You see, since the injury, I couldn't sit upright for weeks, so there was no sitting down in front of my machine. I've just started to sew again.

First on the list are some simple tops from leftover pieces of fabric in the stash. One top is a modified square with armholes. Another is my makeunder of the Assembly Line Cuff Top, which I can't seem to forget. I saw a picture of the actual pattern piece on Instagram, and I am attempting my version. 

I did buy more fabric, but it was all for quick makes, and unfortunately, both my sewjo and my back died, and most are still waiting. 

I have some cotton blends I bought back in 2019 from Joann's, especially for spring and summer tops, which I will STILL make after the muslins. That's what cardigans are for, right? Then I have some of my tried n' true fabric for shorts and a lovely dusky purple linen that I bought before the Jo-Ann Fabrics boycott. 

The linen is for a Simplicity 9139 that would replicate this inspiration photo.

After that, I caught a sale from Fabricmart for horizontally striped jerseys, my fabric weakness. Hopefully, one of them will be my first The Friday Company Adrienne blouse, another indie pattern that I've fallen in love with this year. The other two will be simple t-shirts, and luckily these all can be worn for a couple more months.

So, there should be more sewing content soon. But, don't hold me to that.

Monday, April 27, 2020

Please, Help Me Make Up My Mind!

Last year, I fell in love the this fabric from Jo-Ann Fabrics, their amazing leaf-a-palooza print stretch crepe. I had to have it. Ever since then, I've been stumped as to what to make with it, though.

I know I want something that takes advantage of its drape, something with a fuller skirt, and some swishy movement. Perhaps, some ruffles and gathers?

However, I don't want so much fabric that the details can't be seen, or my shape becomes lost in the pattern.

Here are a few of my thoughts. As time went on, the choices kept multiplying. I need your help!

This dress was my first thought:

Simplicity 8888

The lack of waist definition worried me. After seeing a few of these made up I think it would have a string muumuu vibe. The original inspiration (seem below) by Jasper Conran looks great despite not having any waistline.

Jasper Conran S/S 2017

So no go for this pattern, at least in this fabric. I still think it would work in a solid or a more subtle pattern, and I will probably make it one day.

Then there are these:

I already own the top two patterns, with B6677, being the frontrunner. I adored view A in the illustration from the get-go, but was not excited about the full-length version in the photo. I think I would need to alter the neckline into a rounded v-shape because the print might be overwhelming.

Butterick 6677

I honestly bought McCall's 7381 because of the photograph, the illustrations didn't appeal to me at all. However, with this print fabric, I think the bulk of the waist ties and the sleeves ending right at breast height might not be the best for my figure. So, it might be better in the full-length, sleeveless version.

McCall's 7381

Most recently, I noticed Butterick 6705. I think it has a good design balance. Though again, it is rocking an empire waist instead of one at my waist.

Butterick 6705

Simplicity 9041 has a more appealing neckline, where it doesn't crowd the neck and is more open. I think I'd really like it in the short version with perhaps a ruffled band around the armscye, much like in B6677.

Simplicity 9041

This last option is a Cynthia Rowley-designed OOP from 2011. I always thought view B would make a great summer wedding dress in a silk crepe or crepe de chine. You know the type of boho dress topped with a crown of wildflowers in the hair? Again, I would want to amend the design by adding a ruffled tier to the bottom and eliminating the droopy hanging necktie.

Simplicity 1939

What do you think I should make? I realize the problem isn't really with the patterns but my inability to imagine the final silhouette on my body and my fear of disappointment after putting all that work in.

At this moment, I definitely think I will use the tiered skirt of B6677, view C. The mystery is what will the bodice look like because I think I want something less blousy and more sleek than the options above? So, maybe some frankenpattern work is ahead?

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Quick Projects From 2019

These three projects passed by last year without any fanfare, but I really like to document, so here we go...


I loved Simplicity 2406 so much but realized I would never be able to wear it again while also eating what I love to eat. The hip area was already bordering on too tight years ago. So, I cut it off right at the widest point to make myself a wearable top.

This gave the top some more time, but it's not the same. Since Jo-Ann still sells this fabric, I'm tempted to make that dress over again, this time in the grey version. What do you think?

Tried and True:

I made a simple skirt using a downloaded Pattern Runway skirt pattern (it seems it is no longer available) and some Jo-Ann quilting fabric I had my eye on called Dotted Twigs in a gray, mustard, and black print. It goes with everything, but of course, reads very spring, so it's been in storage.

New Make:

For Halloween, I chose to go as a superhero. Owning both the Simplicity 8718 and Simplicity 8074 "warrior women" patterns, I had a lot of pieces to choose from. The designs in these patterns resemble two of Rey's looks from The Last Jedi (with two versions of Rey's scavenger drapes,) and three costumes from Game of Thrones; a Season 7 Arya Stark battle dress and two from the Season 5 Sand Snake sisters (complete with harnesses.)

I originally wanted to use the harness ideas to create a Valkyrie costume from Thor Ragnarok but wanted something simple to make. I then thought of how achievable the character of Domino from Deadpool 2 would be instead. However, I still really wanted Rey's sleeveless vest in my regular non-superhero wardrobe, so I went ahead and made it anyway.

I was able to find a beautiful tweed remnant on the Jo-Ann clearance table and an exceptionally well color-matched lining.

Hand sewing for the win!

I'm pretty proud of this make and have worn it many times to work as a regular garment. I do still have plans to make Rey's padded epaulets (detachable) at some point with the leftover fabrics.

Thursday, February 13, 2020

McCall's 7313 - Fall Floral Frock

Pattern: McCall's 7313 (2016)

Pattern Description: Pullover dresses have neckline variations, close-fitting bodice, and a hidden elastic waist. A Learn to Sew For Fun pattern. I made View D.

Pattern Sizing: Sizes 18-20-22-24W

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes, exactly.

Were the instructions easy to follow? Extremely easy, as expected for a Learn to Sew pattern.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I like the simple design, neckline options, and a defined waistline, which I now prefer to have in my dresses.

Fabric Used: 58" Ember Knit double brushed print fabric in Dusty Blue Abstract Floral (85% Polyester, 15% Spandex) from Jo-ann Fabrics, Gutermann 100% polyester Sew-All thread in Copenhagen #933, Dritz 1/4" wide elastic

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: Using the finished garment measurements, I  originally cut a size 18 bodice and a 20 skirt. Not sure about the curve of the neckline, I had planned to use Simplicity 8910 to influence the shape of the final neckline.

However, after trying on the basted dress I was disappointed to find the dress bodice was oversized,  loose, and shapeless. I took it apart and laid my altered New Look 6838 t-shirt pattern over it and shaved some width from the sides and enough length from the shoulders to bring it closer to the pattern's size 16.

I also removed the seam allowance from the back neck because it seemed too high. At this point, I realized the original neckline would work.

After having fit the bodice, I basted in the sleeves. Now being eager, I had already sewed the sleeves together and hemmed them. Pinning them into the armscye revealed that there was too much ease, almost two inches. Shortening the sleeve cap height, reducing the width of the sleeve at the underam, plus slightly gathering the basting stitches at the underarms got them to fit.

Hand stitching the full skirted hem took a few hours but I finished 48 hours out from #DCFrocktails2020, so it was all a success.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes. The variety of neckline options and simple construction makes this an easy TNT (tried and true) pattern for sure.

Conclusion: When I needed a quick no-nonsense dress, this pattern came to the rescue. The only issue is I need to start verifying the finished garment measurements before cutting into my fabric from now on. Or I could finally make that bodice sloper I keep meaning to make...come on 2020 sloper!!