Sunday, November 2, 2014

October Re-cap, November Plans

Hello everyone!

Welcome to November!!

October was a pretty good month for me, sewing-wise.  I completed three out of a projected amount of four finished items!  I am super happy with that because I started out the month with a series of wadders.  I was so tempted to throw in the towel and forget my whole plan, but...I put on my big girl pants (one of my co-workers used to say this all the time) and moved forward.  Sometimes you just have to go, one step at a time.  And that is what I did.

Here's what I ended up with:

Top: M6844 Cardigan
Bottom Left: S1916 Wrap Top
Bottom Right: S1805
So that adds two more tops and a cardigan to my wardrobe...woo hoo!  And I did still end up with a pretty good looking month, since I completed one item more than last month.

On the other hand, I still have not accomplished an entirely Me-Made outfit.  My jeans are currently in progress, and since they will probably take up most of my time for November, I only added a few additional patterns from my Fall sewing plan:

I'm going to try again on Burda 6910, View B with a lovely sweater knit I purchased from Joann's Fabrics some time ago.  The trick for this one will be doing a broad shoulder adjustment.  I also remember that there was neckline gaping, so I'll have to revisit the sizing to make sure I chose the proper one.  Don't worry, I plan on doing a muslin to avoid a lot of frustration with this one.

I also plan to try Simplicity 1463 for the first time, View A:

I saw a version on Patternreview that was just gorgeous!  Hopefully my version will turn out just as nice.

If all of that gets done (or if I just really need a pair), my "ace in the hole" will be a few pair of leggings.  I am gearing up for Fall/Winter outfits, and I only have one pair of black leggings.  A couple of weeks ago I downloaded a free pdf pattern from Spit Up and Stilettos called the Matilda Leggings, and I really want to try sewing them up.  The site has some awesome patterns for FREE! Check them out if you like.  

Here's hoping I am wildly successful in my sewing plans for this month!  I can tell you right now that November is going to be super busy for me personally.  Half the battle will be balancing the craziness with making time to sew, but I believe it can be done.  If you have any tips for how you keep your sewing mojo going during the holiday season let me know.

Also, THANK YOU all for your kind comments on my blog!  I always return every comment by email, because I appreciate you taking the time out of your day to say something to me.  

Stay sew-filled!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Mccalls 6844 "Following the Crowd"

Hello everyone!

October is winding down, and we are still experiencing a relatively mild Fall here in Georgia.  I am truly grateful, though, because I am still cranking out garments from my Fall sewing plans.  Though I have made a dent in my plans, I have only scratched the surface of where I want to be.

Speaiking of Fall weather, I have had a cardigan on my "to-sew" list for a LONG time now--mostly because I enjoy wearing them come Fall.  My own closet consists of two RTW cardigans.  The first one is a longer gray one, and the second one is a shorter, black one.  Both of them have served me well, yet I really wanted to branch out and add some more color choices to my wardrobe.

So, I sewed the ever popular Mccalls 6844, View B, Size S:

This is a great basic cardigan, in my opinion.  I like that it has options for a peplumed version, or a waist length version.  If you need a cardigan, one of these options is likely to fit the bill.

For my version, I used a Burgundy Rayon/Lycra Jersey knit from Fabricmart Fabrics.  I got the idea from my black RTW cardigan.  Seriously!  I am a bit of a RTW sneak.  I think of what I want to sew, find a comparable RTW garment in my closet, then "sneak" in and inspect it to discover clues as to what I should do about fabric choice, etc. once I pick out a pattern.  Well, I guess it's not sneaking because I own it, but I still feel like I'm cheating in some way by observing RTW techniques : )

My adjustments are as follows:
  • 1/4" Square Shoulder (my standard nowadays)
  • Waist grading to a Medium
  • 1" Swayback Adjustment (it is looking so good now)
The construction of the cardigan was simple, and easy for a beginner to follow.  I decided to take a different route, though, and NOT use my serger. Mostly, that was due to not having matching thread, and not wanting to buy any.  I wanted the inside seams to not be glaringly obvious, so I sewed double-stitched seams with my stretch stitch, and trimmed them close.  

I also took the time to really pay attention to pressing my seams.  It was a way to practice good habits on a simple project.  I decided to interface the collar, despite the fact that other people from PR have done without it.  I reasoned that my fabric was so slinky I wanted to make sure it had a great amount of stability there.  I am glad that I did! The added weight makes it sit wonderfully.  Also, I made sure to leave a 5/8" seam allowance around the interfaced cowl piece so that it was still easy to sew together.

All of my hems were done with a narrow hem, which I really love.  It finishes off very clean.  

For fitting the back, I increased my swayback adjustment from 1/2" (last time) to 1", and I love the result! Take a look for yourself:

I couldn't believe how nice the back looked when I tried it on!  And no centerback seam, either!!  I have been trying out the pivot and slide method that Nancy Zieman (love her) uses in her Pattern Fitting with Confidence book, and it really works.  I admit to being a little hesitant, but it worked for my cardigan, at least, and all you are doing is decreasing the back waist length.  I'll keep tweaking this and let you know how it goes, for those of you interested.  I got her book from my local library, and the adjustment is super easy!!!

Overall, I guess hundreds of reviewers can't lie regarding this pattern.  I like it!  Oh yeah, my only other tip was that I tacked the cowl down in various places near the bottom of the garment to keep it in place.  I believe Nakisha did that on one of her versions, and I found it extremely helpful.

Let me share a little secret with all of you: I am really enjoying sewing my own clothes!!  Okay, maybe that is not a secret, but SERIOUSLY!  I have finally found out ways to make the things I sew fit much better, and I feel so good wearing them.  Even a basic tee shirt that fits you well can do wonders!  Sewing is loverly!

Now on to those jeans...

Stay sew-filled!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Simplicity 1916 "Orchid Dream"

Hello everyone!

Things have been looking up for me!  I started the week by working on the wadder I showed you in my previous post.  Well, I am happy to report that S1916 is no longer a wadder!  Now, granted, I will definitely have to adjust future versions of this top, but I am happy with the changes I made to make this top work.


This was my first wrap top.  I thought View A (top row, on the right) was a nice variation, but decided to go with a basic top (View D) after much thought.  I used a cotton jersey knit in Vibrant Violet from Fabric mart Fabrics.  Even though the description says jersey, though, this knit behaves in a clingy fashion.  It might have some lycra content, I'm not too sure.  Anyhow, it was a nice fabric to sew, and I mainly purchased the fabric for its stunning color.

I sewed a size 10, and made the following adjustments:
  • 1/4" Square shoulder
  • 1/2" Swayback 
  • 1" added length to hem 
  • Waist graded to size 14ish
At first, I was loving the way this top was coming together from the moment I started it.  The directions were nice and clear, my adjustments seemed to be working out well, and even my gathering looked nice (and I hate gathering).  However, as soon as I tried it on, I got some pulling at my shoulder seams!!!  I realized that I should have added a broad back adjustment to this top, and didn't even think about checking the shoulder seam length against my TNT pattern.

So...lesson learned.  I ended up playing with the sleeve allowances to add more room, but, in the end, decided to just keep them at 5/8".  The end result is not as bad as I anticipated while sewing and trying the top on.

The drag lines are mainly noticeable when I lift my arms for any reason.  Other than that, this top is great!  It is simple enough for a beginner, and the finishing on the neckline is soooo nice!!!  It is one of my favorite features of the whole top.  

To note, though, the sizing does seem to run small in this top.  With my Vogue knit top I did not need a broad back adjustment, but for this one I definitely do.  I would definitely remake this top and tweak that issue for a more comfortable fit.

Also, I ended up tacking down the front bodice pieces for modesty.  

The back has a center back seam, and fits pretty good.  For the hemming and neckline I used my stretch stitch without any problems.  I didn't use stabilizers because I decided to forgo the twin needle.  To be honest, I am finding that I prefer this method over everything I have tried.  It still gives a professional look, it is just a beast to remove if you make a mistake.  So, don't make a mistake! : )

Overall, I definitely like this one!  I guess it will come down to how irritated I get about the minimal shoulder room.  We shall see.  In the meantime, I may do another version next month.  For now, I must move on.

And I will be moving on to the repeatedly sewn Mccalls cardigan:

I will be diving straight into this one so I can finish it this week.  If all goes well, that will leave me a WEEK to get as far as I can (and maybe even finish) my jeans.

With regard to M6844, I realize that I get nervous when sewing a new pattern that I have not muslined or sewn before.  I really like to know what I am getting, or at least have an idea of how it will fit me when I am all finished.  That said, I am a little hesitant sewing this cardigan, even with all the wonderful reviews for it.  Maybe it's all of the sewing "issues" I have had this month.

Anyhow, I will press on, and see you soon with a finished cardigan!

Have a beautiful day, and stay sew-filled!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Simplicity 1805 again "Blue Magic"

Hello everyone!!!

I am glad to be back with a finished item!  I have had a rough time the last week and a half.  It has been wadder after wadder (more on that later).  BUT, I finally came up with a winning top.  Per my hubby's request, it is Simplicity 1805 all over again.

This time I chose a casual knit from Hancock Fabrics.  It is part cotton, part polyester, and it has a slight sheen that is gorgeous.  If you look closely, you can see that it also has a little texture, similar to what is found on a slub knit.

I don't think I will take the time to go over all the details of construction for this top, since it is my second time around.  For more info, you can see the first version I made here.  I did go the extra mile for this one and added a 1/2" swayback adjustment.  Unfortunately, I didn't really notice much of a difference in the fit.  I must need more of an adjustment than that.

Suprisingly, I have already worn this top.  I wore it yesterday evening to church, and it felt wonderful on.  My only slight disappointment was stabilizing the hem with Easy Knit tape.  I realize now that no stabilizer with a stretch stitch works much better.  I need the stretch factor for my pear shape.  I will definitely take the hem out and make this change before I wear it again.  

Also, the fabric I used is slightly see-through--enough that I have to wear a tank underneath it.  But that doesn't bother me.  It is how I wear most of my shirts.

Overall, I am glad I pulled out of my wadder slump with a little "blue magic!"  And I am glad that my hubby encouraged me to make this style again.  It turns out we got to do a little matching:

And in case you are just getting familiar with me and my blog, here is a picture of my family altogether:

We definitely have a lot of fun together!

Before I go, I want to leave you with a "sneak peek" photo of S1916.  I am trying to turn this one from wadder to winner.  I will have to see how it goes.  Most of the fit is great, except where my shoulders get in the way.  I really need more shoulder room, and I am not sure if playing with the sleeve seam allowance will fix anything:

Stay sew-filled!