Friday, February 26, 2016

Wrapping it up

Aka the Appleton Dress. I love the looks of a wrap dress, but never have gotten around to making one. I'm a little scared of them, the exposure that is.  But after reading the pattern description - different cup sizes, no gaping in the neckline, play up your curves! Yes, please.

It still took a little bit of time to get around to sewing it. In the interim, I read all the reviews I could find. I found them mostly favorable with several mentions of being short-waisted. Since I am short-waisted, I decided to sew as is the first time to determine where it fell on me.  I should have done some measuring and math to figure it out before I cut, but I was tired and in a brain fog.

For the record I am 5' 10" and my back nape-to-waist measurement is approximately 14.5". My other measurements put me pretty squarely in the a size 12 C/D cup and size 14 from the waist down. There is a suggestion in the directions that to get more coverage in the bust area, go up a cup size. After checking out how much negative ease is built into this pattern, I went with a size 14 E/F in the shoulders and bust, and graded out to a 16 from the waist down.  I also added about 5" to the length at the hem.

Overall I am pretty happy with my dress.  Even for as short-waisted as I am, I felt like I was constantly needing to tug the ties down into a more comfortable spot.  So on the next make I will add about an 1" just above the waist to get it in the right spot. And I made the long-sleeved version, which was not quite long enough. It's okay, because I tend to shove my sleeves up, but it's something to keep in mind.
The most difficult thing about this dress was the fabric I chose.  It was probably the most slippery, thin, and rolled on every edge.... maybe a slight exaggeration.  But I will look for a slightly beefier fabric next time.  The pattern went together very well otherwise.

I think it is a flattering fit and I have received several unsolicited compliments while wearing it.  Can't beat that and I am off to make at least one more.

Happy Sewing, Suzanne

P.S. I am still scared of them.  Thank goodness for tights, while crossing the parking lot and catching an unexpected gust of wind, I probably showed quite a few people more than they wanted to see. So next time I will also see about extending the "wrap" portion of my dress.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

The Maya Bra

Whew! It's been awhile. All those good intentions I had at the beginning of 2015 were derailed by a health issue that zapped all my physical and mental energy. So I am rolling them over to 2016 - reduce, reuse, recycle, hehehe. 

I actually finished the Maya bra in January. It's a new to me pattern and it's free! A very nice pattern that goes together well.  The only issue I ran into was in the way the sizing is chosen.  You measure for your band size and then you use your wire size to determine the cup size.  I am evidently one of those people whose breast base is wider than my actual cup size. Which would explain a lot of my trouble in RTW even though I am not that odd a size. I settled on size 85E.


She is made from some left over ITY and a sheer non-stretch lining for the cups and the bridge.  I added some straps that I saw on Beverly Johnson's Designer Bra class on Craftsy. They are also ITY and I interfaced with a lightweight fusible to remove the stretch.  Black powernet for the back. I also modified the back for a leotard back instead of the straight one that was drafted.

I made her without the cut and sew foam, mostly just to see if I could and how it would work.  I think it worked pretty well.  So far this has been one of the most comfortable bras I have worn. I am still trying to decide if I prefer the foam or not, but in the meantime you can't have too many bras in the lingerie drawer, right?

I enclosed all the interior seams in a method similar to this one.  And I wish I was organized enough to tell where all the notions, elastics, etc. came from but they have been accumulating in my stash for a while and I really don't have a clue about most of it.

Sorry, not brave enough to post pictures of me wearing the Maya, but I do really like the nice round shape she gives.  The girls are well supported and hoisted front & center.

And while I was at it, I made a fitting band, she's not neat or pretty, but she sure has been helpful. And I wish I could claim credit for the idea, but I read about it here. I modified it a little, but it is the same basic idea.

Happy Sewing, Suzanne

Thursday, July 9, 2015

More Bags of the Month

I'm still catching up with recording what I have sewn.  These are both from the 2015 Bag of the Month club, which is over now, but the patterns are on sale through the individual designers, as far as I know.

The first one is April's bag from Emmaline Bags. It's called the Manhattan, mine is the momma size and it's a pretty good size bag for me.  The pattern was good and fit together well.

The only issue I found was that I was told to cut 2 pieces of exterior fabric and 2 pieces of the lining for the inset pocket.  I only used 1 of each.

Otherwise I followed the pattern almost exactly except for I added some more interior slip pockets inside and I used the sew-in invisible magnets.  I didn't have any magnets in the stash that matched my hardware and I didn't want to wait on an order.

I haven't got the wristlet that goes in here sewn yet. Funny aside, my husband's first thought when he saw this was "look a place to stash my snacks!"

The second one is from Betz White and is called the Seneca Creek Bag.  This a very nice, easy pattern and would have been very quick pattern if I hadn't made some changes.  Even with addition of some extra interior slip pockets and an additional zipper pocket on the back, it was still pretty quick.  It is very small, it is designed so that it can be worn cross-body or around the waist. I am never going to wear it around my waist, so I am thinking about making this again, just enlarging it to get a little more room and giving this one to my dear daughter. She seems to leaning towards the smaller sized bags lately.


I am currently working on June's pattern - still! - and then I have several tote bags and diaper bags planned.  One of these days I have to get around to sewing on some clothing options for me.

As always, Happy Sewing - Suzanne

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Catching Up - The Sewing Workshop Edition

These are a couple of tops that I managed to get done during the insane work period.  Both are from the Sewing Workshop line.

The first one is the Olive from the Alex & Olive pattern.  I  started with the size L for the shoulders and bust and graded out to the XL for the hips. Have I mentioned that I am a sucker for the "flowy", effortlessly chic look? It doesn't always work on me, but I will almost always try it. I am happy to say that this was mostly a success. 

Don't know what was going, but this
was the best facial expression we could get
It did not look quite as "flowy" on me as the line drawings led me to believe, even though my measurements fit pretty squarely in the size range I used.  That's OK, this was a test anyway and I think I have figured out how to fix it when I make it again.

I will add a triangle of fabric in the seam that wraps to the front to add a little more room at the hips.  I'm leaving the shoulders and bust alone, because they are a comfortable fit.

I may try to shorten that back waist a little, or maybe not, the extra fabric in front may take care of that. I will also try to remember to use a light interfacing behind the zipper.

It's a good thing this one was a test, because the fabric has let me down.  The stripe is from Girl Charlee and I have had it several years in the stash. So not a clue what the fabric content is but after only a couple of wears it has pilled up so badly.  The solid is a rayon/lycra blend from WalMart (approximately 5-6 years ago), of all places, and it has held up way better than the more expensive fabric.

Oops, tired, punchy, and too many reruns of Cops
Like I said it was a trial run of the pattern, so I'm not too miffed.  I will the reclaim the zipper and use it in another project.  I do have a much nicer fabric from the stash planned to make this pattern again.

The other top is the Odette pattern from the Odette and Ivy.  I used the same sizing as the Olive for this one. And I'm pretty sure that the only change I made to pattern was to scoop the neck out about 1.5" and looking at this picture I may scoop it out a little more on the re-make.  Those high necks are just not comfortable and not my best look.

I used 3 T-shirts that I thrifted from the local Goodwill. 

Got a little Velcro butt going on here
I have gotten quite a few compliments on both of these tops and dear daughter has asked for versions to add to her closet.  Can't beat that!!! Overall I am happy with both of these tops and plan to use both patterns again.

Me and my photographer

Happy Sewing, Suzanne

Monday, May 18, 2015

Catching Up - Bags of the Month

So I had these great intentions for the year, then about 8-10 weeks ago work took a turn straight into insane. As in  "Where am I??? and how did I get in this handbasket???" I was putting in enough extra hours that I had my choice of A) keeping my house clean (HAHAhaha, ummmm, NO), B) sewing, or C) blogging about what I had sewn.  Without the sewing there would be nothing to blog about, so B it is.

I'm going to try and catch up what I have done, so I'll stand a semi-chance of remembering what I did later on.  You know,when I want to use a pattern again and I know I changed it but can't remember how.

These are the February and March Bag of the Month patterns.  Both are messenger type bags and I seem to remember the patterns were well drafted and the instructions were well written.

The only change I made was to the February Hyacinth Bag.  I changed the pockets under the front flap, because I remember thinking that there was no way I was going to get 4 edges turned under 1/4" and have straight edges.  I made a zipper pocket using this tutorial by Dog Under my Desk and it worked like a charm! And then to get the card holders basically the same size, I played around until I got a 4-card unit instead of 3.


The March Campfire Messenger bag was made pretty much as written, except for the closures.  Mine are the fireman's clasp found here at Silhouette Patterns.  I was looking to avoid the snap application at all costs!


More catch-up posts to come, Happy Sewing, Suzanne

Thursday, February 5, 2015

The Metropolitan Domino Sweat-Shirt

My last completed project in January and it falls in my intention of sewing a "new-to-me" pattern each month.

I loved this pattern when I looked at the line drawing.  I am a huge fan of the slouchy-chic look and this pattern had a lot of appeal for me.  Unfortunately, I don't think I have the body type for it. It's just not my best look.

(And I'm apologizing ahead of time for the poor, poor photos.  We were having to get them indoors.)

So,I had no problems with the pattern itself.  I traced and sewed a straight size 16.  It usually works pretty well for me.  I did change the order of construction a little so I could put in a rolled hem and still have the front facings look neat.

The pattern says "mixed media sweatshirt is designed for medium-weight knits with a little stretch and body, like ponte, sweat-shirting or sweater knits". I used a sweater knit that was given to me, very little stretch, and I have no idea about the fiber content.  I think if I were to sew this again, I might go with a knit that had a little less body and more drape. 

And just for reference, see on the pattern drawing how the bottom of the shirt-tails look they should hit right about at your hip crease?? It may be hard to see on my picture, but they are quite a bit longer on me and I'm 5'10". About 4" taller than the patterns are designed for.  I would need to take about 3" off to be closer to the pattern drawing.

DH thinks this would be more flattering if the bottom of sweat-shirt were lengthened and no contrasting fabric for the shirt-tails, but I doubt I make this again.  Again, just not my best look.  This one will be worn around the house, it is very comfortable, and I won't be ashamed to answer to the door.

So this pattern may be finding a new home soon. 

Happy Sewing, Suzanne

Friday, January 30, 2015

Marlbough Bra - 3rd times the....

Nope! Not quite. This is my third time making this pattern and it's still not quite right.  It is wearable and if I had purchased it I would not be fretting over it, so there is that.  But I sew and I want need the perfect bra pattern.  That way I can go into neener-neener mode and thumb my nose at the RTW manufacturers that keep taking away my comfortable bras just as I find them.

So, I didn't make any additional changes to my pattern, just used the recommended widths of elastic.  The recommended width at the top and bottom of the bands is slightly wider than I had available the first two times.  This pattern recommends 1/2" elastic for the top band in the larger cup sizes.  Beverly Johnson recommends in her Craftsy class the 3/8".  My preference, after trying both, is the 3/8", it just seems easier to use and I just can't tell that much difference in the support.  For reference I am using the 40DD size.  Even with the 1/2" elastic at the top (which lowered the underarm by 1/8"), it still is rubbing at my underarm crease, so I will probably lower at little more in that area next time.

I ended up with some strange vertical wrinkles around the strap area, that I had not had before. Again quoting Beverly Johnson, your cup is too large, try again.  But I'm looking at it in the mirror and I'm thinking not necessarily.  The bottom of the cup and wire seem to fit pretty well.  So off to do some more research on that.

The panties are made from the Burda Cheeky Panty pattern, which is free!  Very comfy, but high-waisted, I will lower slightly next time.  And as when I made them for my daughter, be sure your stitches have enough stretch.  There is no elastic in the waist of these, so they rely on negative ease to keep them in place.  I did some testing on scrap fabric to make sure my zig-zag would not pop.

I made them in a perfectly serviceable cream color.  What I call candlelight or the "non-color" color and knew I wasn't going to leave this set in that color.  So I stitched with the a peach thread I had on hand and dunked in an acid-wash dye bath.  I'm pretty sure I used the Jacquard Acid Dye in Cantaloupe from Dharma Trading, again I 've had it awhile so I won't swear to that. 

Anyway here are before and after pictures -


I have so much trouble getting accurate colors inside.  This looks kind of peach, but in real life it really is more a light cantaloupe color.

Happy Sewing, Suzanne