Sunday, March 30, 2014

Please Help Me With New Look 6145

I am loving the fit of the muslin* in these two pics, the neckline is flattering and not too wide. The shoulder looks good with just enough ease.

As you can see below, the back seam of the top is completely sewn up, however, when I raise my arms suddenly all this fabric appears. I know this is probably an armscye issue but which one and how to fix it?  Looking through all  twenty of my sewing books, none mentioned this issue specifically.

So, is this normal, is this ok? It has been a while since I made a straight non-gathered bodice in a woven fabric so I'm not sure. I can add some shoulder darts but is there more that I should do?

I think the armscye is too tight and needs to be lowered, what do you think? 
Please help me, I really want to move on to the dress. Any ideas?

*By the way, while I like this fit, in order for this top to become my inspiration shift dress I will need it to fit looser anyway.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Layered Folds Skirt - Paprika Patterns Jade

Surprise! This skirt was actually made in 2013 as a test of the pattern but I just received the OK from the designer to go ahead and publish my review. 10/14/2014 Update: the pattern is now available here!

Pattern: Jade by Paprika Patterns c. 2013 (designed by Lisa of SmallThings)

Pattern Description: Self-lined knit skirt with contoured waistband and optional back zipper in two lengths, micro-mini, and mid-thigh. Skirt consists of diagonal folds on the front paired with a plain back. I made View B, the longer of the skirts at 19 inches.

Pattern Sizing: Sizes 2-3-4-5 (equivalent to EUR 36-42 or US size 8-14.) I chose size 5, the largest, and the one that matched my measurements.

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

The layered folds.
Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes, they were. All of my problems were because of my choice of fabric.
Step 6 of the very helpful tutorial
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? The pattern was based on the designs in the Drape Drape books, so of course I liked that. In addition, because of the clever lining construction there are no exposed seams on the inside. I love that the photographed tutorial is still available on the Small Things blog. The tutorial will allow the pattern to be used by a larger segment of the population since as a ready-to-wear size 8/10 I was the largest size available.


Fabric Used: A 58/60" polyester 5% Lycra print from Hancock Fabrics, leftover Rayon/Spandex knit in Potent Purple from Jo-Ann Fabrics (lining), thread, and Dritz sports elastic in 1-1/2" and 1/4" widths.

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made?: Because I was using leftover fabric from another project for the lining, I had to piece the back lining together instead of cutting it on the fold. Because my choice in fabric the construction of my pleats was time-consuming and required that I do a lot of basting, not only under the folds as in the instructions, but also on the folded edges of each tier. Otherwise, my fabric kept wandering out of place. Even so, some lines of basting would have to be removed and redone each time I changed the arrangement.

Preparing to baste folds.

When fitting the side seams, instead of using pins I machine-basted the sides before turning it inside out. Because the skirt is so form fitting, my first fitting using pins was painful. My outside fabric stretched out too much at the waistline and I had to adjust the side seams. I eventually removed almost 2 and a half inches at the top, bringing in the waistline enough that I could just get it over my hips, and widened the seam allowance at the hips and below by 2/8” to the eliminate the obvious “cupping” effect of the skirt. Because of the instability of this fabric, I decided against a zipper and decided to insert wide elastic in the waistband. I did not want it to look like an elastic waistband so I used just enough so it could get over my hips, and then tighten up at the waist, much like the fit on these skirts.


However, in these pictures, I was wearing the skirt with the waistband turned to the inside of the skirt much like a facing

Updated: I decided I preferred elastic in the waist. My skirt waistband ended up being 1 3/4" wide and I could not find that size elastic in the local stores. Therefore, I bought a basic sport elastic (not too stiff) in both 1 1/2" and 1/4" widths. Using a narrow zigzag stitch, I sewed them together flat and it worked! If you try this, make sure that the two elastics you use have the same amount of stretch and recovery.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I may make this again but in a stable knit. Most of my skirts are A-line and worn to work while this one could go out for cocktails. I recommend the pattern. It produced a unique and flattering skirt. If you choose to use a double knit or an interlock, you could use the zipper option. Both fabrics would also form and hold the pleats better than this jersey. I suggest that if you are using a thin drapey knit you might want to apply spray starch and keep the fabric damp while doing the folding parts.

Lisa's original and my version
Conclusion: What a sassy little skirt, right? Great first pattern from Paprika Patterns and I am curious as to what they have in the pipeline next.

Images: SmallThings blog tutorial, and my own photos.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Contenders For A Possible "It" Jacket

I have a desire for a new "throw-on-over-everything" jacket. A popular choice would be the "waterfall" jacket. This style is definitely enjoying an extended 15 minutes right now. Usually I do not like to wear what everyone else is wearing but some of these are extremely flattering, finish off an outfit so well, and most importantly, are SO MY STYLE, I can't help myself!

Check out some of the jacket sewing options from the Big 4:

Simplicity 1758, view C

New Look 6273

Butterick 5928, view C

Vogue 8756

Vogue 8839 view A

2) Another choice would be a cropped jacket with unique collar details.

The first pattern of this type that caught my eye was McCall's 6611 (OOP), from the Fashion Star collection. However, the pattern is now out-of-print and that has me worried about the construction and the consumer satisfaction level.

Here are some options from the independent pattern companies:

The Salme Patterns cropped blazer (#107) unfortunately does not have a lining; however, this leather version is so tempting!

Republique du Chiffon has developed the Julia pattern. It is a sophisticated design, but it is new, reviews are scarce, and the instructions are in/translated from French.

The Papercut Patterns' Bellatrix pattern is intriguing with its elongated rounded collar, semi-Princess seaming, and two hem length variations.

By Hand London
came out with the more angular and boxy Victoria Blazer and I have seen some cute variations around.

Right now, I have a specific jacket in mind. I have my eye on Jen Beeman's Morris jacket, mentioned here on the Grainline Studio blog. Originally, part of a Hound collection from a few years back, I would really like this to be my new "IT" jacket. I love the unusual lapels and angled hem but it all depends on when the pattern is released.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

3.20.2014 - General Update

What is going on now:
  • My Crepe Suzette Clutch is done and I am loving it so much! Photos and review upcoming.
Simplicity 6145

  • Simplicity 6145 muslin stitched up as a top - must cut larger size from waist down to accommodate bottom half and I have some small sleeve issues to deal with. Note: I cannot stand sewing slippery polyester fabric!!!
  • Simplicity 5289 double knit dress cut out and all darts have been thread traced.
  • Two different types of waistbands cut out for Grainline Moss muslin 3.
  • Zippers and buttons acquired for all Spring 2014 wardrobe patterns. The buttons were all found in my stash and zippers only cost $4.
  • Stepped into the Gap and feel in love with quality and fit of their Ponte blazer in Heather Blue ($88). A ponte blazer is a great idea, you should definitely go check it out. The sweatshirt-gray version was on sale for $47 in the store.
  • On hold off-and-on with a service provider today for three hours, was getting close to conclusion when my phone died!!! Got back in line a few hours later and after being on hold another hour found out they could not do what I needed done. Arrrrgggghhhh.
  • Checked out from the library copies of Sewing Lingerie and Sewing with Knits, two other volumes of the Singer Reference Library series. Highly recommend them and will probably search for a used copy of both. Already own two others from this series that I found for 99 cents each at

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

The Magic Of The "It" Jacket

For the last two months, I have been thinking about a jacket. You know, one of those jackets that make every outfit look sophisticated and put together. In junior high, I had a Laura Ashley long black blazer with a nipped-in waist that I wore until I outgrew it.
Only slightly similar to this gorgeous jacket by blogger Boodely.

In college, I had a dark plum Anne Klein jacket of my sister's, this one was cropped, square with slight shoulder pads and a peter pan collar. I wore that until it was taken at a nightclub when I put it behind the counter with others. At the end of the night, they handed me the only jacket that was left back there. I put my arm through it and immediately knew it was wrong. How come the girl who took mine didn't notice? She never called the club to inquire about hers so I kept it. It was similar in the fact that it was boxy but it had a squared off collar and was more like a business suit jacket; therefore, it did not have the same feel.

1987-88 party wear.
I then moved on to oversized men's jackets, first a plain black one and then a 1960s sharkskin, both worn with the sleeves rolled up. The sharkskin was a unique color combination of spring green and brown that resulted in a bronze-y hue. It was extremely oversized; however, as looking back at pictures proves, the look worked. Probably in large part because I wore it with confidence and feminine vintage thrift store dresses with nipped-in waists. My waist was tiny then and I flaunted it with full skirts whenever I could, even sometimes with a pair of men's cordovan wingtips.
Similar to these.
I also wore this masculine jacket with vintage 1930's lace-up patent leather high-heeled oxfords, like the ones above. It looked cool at the time.

About six years later, I bought a khaki linen-blend jacket for $16 at a shop at Potomac Mills Outlet (it was Papaya!). I loved this summery jacket. Instead of buttons, it had copper snaps down the front, a waist yoke that nipped in with a bit of flare below, and interesting seaming and gathers at the bust line. It was finished with a crisp collar that looked great buttoned all the way up and snapped plackets on the long sleeve cuffs. Luckily, I have a picture because it was snatched up by someone in a coffee shop. I realized as soon as I got home but the shop was closed. When I called the next day, they said it was gone. I am still mad. Get your own cute jackets (since I obviously must have excellent taste) but leave mine alone!

I hope to use Simplicity 1781 to recreate it one day, mixing and matching the pattern's elements. However, before that I need a more universal jacket that will span the seasons and go with all my skirts and the new pants I intend to make.

Great unique jackets have been popping up everywhere I look, at Zara, Madewell, Mango, and by upscale designers. To see some of the jacket styles I am personally contemplating, check out my Jacket Inspiration group on Pinterest. In addition, versions of another possible style can be found by using the term "waterfall jacket". In the next post, I will show examples of sewing patterns available to create your own "It" jacket at home.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

So...I Changed My Mind...Sue Me!

I know I said, "No more wardrobe plans" but yeah, I changed my mind.

Yesterday, we had a peek at what beautiful weather could be like and I became inspired again about clothes and pretty outfits. So I made this little plan up, most are projects that I actually purchased fabric for years earlier (save two projects with free fabric!). Recently, I have been making projects from either free swap fabric or recycling old fabric but I have neglected these and the already-spent money is making me feel guilty. Therefore, my plan (subject to changes) is to finish these off before August and the upcoming fall sewing. I have mentioned most of these recently but this spells it out clearly. So there.

The great thing about this plan is I have other priorites right now and I can't spend ALL my time reading sewing blogs so if I cut that down I also cut down seeing inspiration for other projects. THIS is what I will be working on so no need to scout more fabric or lust over new patterns. Any purchases, sewing, or research will be limited to these projects.

Supplies still needed to complete:

1. New Look 6656 - two 1/2" buttons (optional)
2. New Look 6145 - nothing
3. Simplicity 5289 - 22" zipper
4. BBW Sew U jeans - 3/4" to 7/8" button
5. Vogue 1992 - nothing
6. Grainline Moss - 7" zipper, 1-5/8" button
7. Simplicity 2591 - nothing

Muslins are in the works for two of them and I will be cutting one out in the final fabric this weekend! I am not promising which one will be next or when I expect to finish it. That is the kind of plan I can work with right now.

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Aw Shucks, I Missed It!

Sunday, I was the featured member on! However, I didn't find out about it until last night, so I didn't get to see a screen shot of it. :(

The funny thing is that I spent Sunday in Richmond doing an impromtu photo shoot in order to update the photos in my last two PR reviews for the Burdastyle 02/2010 #112A striped top and my Vogue 2747 yoked skirt.

Oh, well.

Thank you, Pattern Review!

Despite being extremely windy, this was photographed in beautiful 68 degree weather. However, this exact spot was covered in 4 to 6 inches of snow the very next day! Wow.

UPDATED: Look what I just saw on Pinterest! Funny, if had thought the weather was going to be that warm I might have been wearing my own heeled booties too.