Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Aurora tank top

Hello everyone!

Thank you for the kind comments from my last post regarding the back to school garments I made for my kiddos!  Summer Flies asked me whatever happened to my shirt dress, and I promise I haven't forgotten about it.

Sometimes I tend to get in a sewing stall (especially on complicated/ new-to-me projects) and I am still learning to ebb and flow, rather than giving up altogether.  For me, I find that sewing an easier project, and then coming back to what I have stalled at, helps me to refresh and push through.  That doesn't work for everyone, but that has certainly been my process.  So, thank you for asking!  It is still on my list for August, LOL!

In the meantime, the Aurora tank top has been a wonderful distraction:


I have so much to say about this EASY sew!`  Let me start by saying that this is a Seamworks by Colette pattern.  Basically, it is their beginner-friendly sewing line that coincides with their online pattern magazine Seamwork.  You can see the details below, or skip ahead to my review (I am not here to sell anything, only to provide info).

How Seamwork works: 
For $6 a month, you receive credits to sew at least 2 Seamwork patterns, and get FREE access to their online magazine by the same name.  The Seamwork patterns are formulated to
  • be made in an afternoon (quick wardrobe WIN)
  • be worn together (tops, pants, cardigans, cape, cropped jacket, you name it, with more styles added each month/as well as pattern hacks)
  • enhance your sewing experience as you learn new techniques (wonderful for beginners)
  • help you make clothes that fit (sizes 0-26)
Once you download the pattern, you keep it in  your pattern library forever. I am still figuring out just how accurate each of these benefits are, but I will say the Aurora top was definitely a quick sew that I could see one completing in an afternoon.  I finished mine about two hours from start to finish (cut-out to completion).  Yay!

Another perk of the magazine is that you can use your credits to purchase Colette patterns, and ebooks as well.  

I decided to trial the program when I saw an ad offering a membership for half the price--$3!!!  I mean, I am willing to pay $3 for access to a library of smooth sailing patterns that keep my sewing mojo going.  I will evaluate just how much I like it as the months continue. You can find more info here.

Review of Aurora


Okay, if you know me or read my blog at all, I FULLY admit to the fact that PDFs are not my thing. I have tried a few, and I always hate taping them and putting them together because they don't match up well.  Somehow I broke this cardinal rule of mine in my interest in this pattern.  And, guess what? I taped this thing together so fast it made my head spin!  Literally, I watched Project Runway, lined up the pages, and had it all adjusted and cut out within 20 minutes. 

I made a size S, and graded to M at the waist according to my measurements.  My whimsical print is from a Girl Charlee bargain knit lot that I purchased back in April (my only fabric purchase this year, yikes).

Here is the layout of the pattern once I got it together (also posted on my Instagram):



I was mainly concerned about the fit since I had never sewn anything from Colette before, but now I don't know why I was worried.  It fits like a dream!  The back has a lovely yoke, and the front is slightly gathered at the straps.



Speaking of gathering, let me tell you a little bit about garment construction.  For the positive, the instructions were easy to follow, and there were helpful hints given along the way.  I despise gathering, and will find anyway around it, but I did love using three rows of basting stitches to gather as opposed to two.  It created beautiful gathers that needed minimal manipulation--I am one happy sewer after doing it this way!

On the flip side, I LOVE my garments to look clean inside and out (as much as possible).  I thought there were some areas of the instruction where a cleaner line could be created, and it did not equip the sewer with that knowledge.  Maybe I am SPOILED by Burda and Ottobre, LOL, but I just made my own adjustment and moved forward:

FRONT

BACK
The back has a pleat, which creates a nice effect.  It gets lost in the busyness of the pattern, but lots of pressing helped me to get it set in right.  The shapely hem is also a great feature.

Overall, I am pleased with the Aurora tank!  It easily has the capability to be a staple wardrobe piece that you can create different looks with.  In fact, I am working on a "different" look for this one right now!  


Until then, I am enjoying the heat in this cool tank!

Stay sew-filled!

Monday, August 21, 2017

Back to school sewing

Hello everyone!

This month has started out with a little bad, but also a lot of GOOD.  The bad initiated from carrying my infant son around.  He is an adorable 13 month old boy who weighs 20+ pounds!  Obviously, I am not used to carrying that much weight on any given side, and began to develop left arm pain.  An office visit to urgent care confirmed an overuse injury, and I was prescribed a topical anti-inflammatory cream.  I was also advised to wear an arm sling two hours a day.  Oh yeah, and the total healing time will be 6 WEEKS!

I admit that I was not pleased to hear this news, especially considering my August plans.  How would I take care of my family, do my daily activities, and put in time to sew?

The little arm pain culprit!
 Thankfully, it has all worked out.  The first week my arm was in so much pain I didn't attempt to sew a thing.  However, as the pain began to subside to a dull ache, I got in gear.  I knew that sewing would be a challenge, so I started to prepare as many patterns on my list as possible.  I cut patterns, adjusted them, cut the fabric, and organized projects into bins.  "If you build it, they will come..."  Or in my case "If you prep it, the time will come."

As soon as my arm began to function, I happily took out some of my bins to get started.  And the results of my efforts is what I am showing you today!  Here are the "back-to-school" inspired outfits for my older kids:



For my oldest son, I sewed NL 6406.  He wanted a pair of pajamas in this woodland creature cotton knit from Joanns. He loved the color blocking of this pattern, and chose where he wanted the solid and the print to be.  He is 10 years old, and I sewed a size 8 (the largest size on the pattern). I added four inches to the top, and three to the bottom.  It worked well for my son because he is SO tall and SO slim.

Overall, this pattern was a winner!  The fabric was not much to be desired, as it kept getting sucked into the throat plate, so I am glad to be done with it.  But the pattern turned out to be exactly what my son envisioned.  He has happily worn his pajamas already!

Ok, are you ready for a throwback?  Here are the FIRST pair of pajamas I ever sewed my son during Christmastime, when he was 4 years old:



Time sure does pass quickly!!

For my daughter's back to school outfit, I was the one to do the choosing this time.  My daughter LOVES surprises, and I had a wonderful tank top from Ottobre in mind for her.  The construction was simple, but the design was interesting enough that I though she would really like it:



And she did!


This is the Hot Stop tank top from Ottobre 03/2015, and it was a JOY to sew!  I made a size 134 cm for her, as she is 8 years old, and it fits her pretty good.  My only tweak would be to shorten the arm straps 1/4" on each side if I sew this one again.  I remembered after the fact that I had to shorten the straps on the Ottobre overalls I sewed her earlier this year too.

The fabric I used is a pink leopard print from Denver Fabrics, and it was a mediocre fabric.  While the print is bold and lovely, the fabric does not have the best recovery, which makes me a little sad.  I will have to see how it comes out after a good wash.  


I used the same black cotton knit for binding the armholes and neckline.  This top is beginner friendly, and once again, Ottobre magazine comes through with clean, beautiful construction inside and out! Love, love, love them!  

**As a side note, I have subscribed to the kids' magazine for two years straight, and have not been disappointed yet.  However, I did not renew this year because I have SO many magazines from them. I will definitely keep an eye on the issues released in the future, and purchase as needed.  I think the family magazine will be coming out in a few months, and I am totally intrigued to see what Ottobre will come up with!**


There you go!  I would definitely sew this one again if my daughter wants another one.  She has worn it to church, and may want future options.

So, lastly, I wanted to leave you with a sneak peek of my next review!  I couldn't let my daughter get away with wearing a cute tank top all on her own:


I am wearing the Aurora tank, a Seamworks pattern by Colette, and I look forward to sharing more about it with you on Wednesday.

Stay sew-filled!


Wednesday, August 2, 2017

August Plans

Hello everyone!

Yes, it is August!  Somehow I missed the last two months of sewing.  Mostly because I have been busy taking care of my children, and keeping up with summer activities.  But also because I went on vacation to Florida.  Now that I am back, and my kids start school SOON, I am ready to crank up my sewing machine again.

Here are the things I am mulling over for August:

1. Finish my shirtdress (no UFOs)


2. Finish my son's vest (again, no UFOs)  I started this for his birthday, with hopes of finishing it, but had too much on my plate to do so. Now I would love to finish it so he can wear it to a wedding we will attend in October.



3. Bermuda shorts. Summer is almost over.  Though it stays warm well into October here in GA, I have been wanting to try this pattern and style out for a while.

4. Mccalls top 7570. This one is already cut out and ready to sew.  In all reality, I may be able to get it done in a few hours once I take it out.



5. Baby gift for my expectant friend. My best friend is due this month, and I want to finish some baby dresses and mail them to her.  They will be sized a little bigger, for next summer, but I still wanted to send her something cute for her precious girl.


6. Button down shirt. This is included for practice.  I am enjoying my sewing machine's automatic buttonhole feature, and am purposely choosing garments that will help me get more experience with it.

7. "Back to school" top or dress for my daughter.  I told her I would surprise her this month and sew her something that I choose for her.  Usually, I let her pick the fabric and pattern, but this time it will be a total SURPRISE, lol.


8. "Back to school" PJs for my son.  My son is 10, and PJs are the only thing he wants me to sew for him (sad, right?).  But, I get it.  Maybe that will change over time.

9. Simplicity dress in collaboration with my best friend.  One of my friends expressed interest in learning to sew.  So, we will be sewing this pattern up together.  We already chose our fabrics, cut out her size, and will be getting together a few times to begin sewing it.




To be honest, this list is only the beginning!  I have SO many more things I could add, but I need to make my way through this month first.  In fact, I am excited to see what I can accomplish.  I am going to go ahead and GUESS that I will finish at least 3-4 of the nine items.  And if I did that, I would call that a good month.

Actually, I hope you will follow along to see what items get wrapped up!!

Best wishes as you sew in the month of August!

Stay sew-filled!




Friday, June 30, 2017

Using Tailor Tacks for a Successful Garment

Hello everyone!

Here we are at the end of June, and I am still working on my shirt dress!  I am oh, so close to finishing, and will show you a sneak peek TODAY, but...first I wanted to share a few things with you:


Yesterday was a special day for me!  It was my birthday!  I happily got to spend it with my family.  In fact, my hubby worked a half day so he could take us all out to eat.  In our family, the person who has a birthday gets to choose where they would like to eat.  For some reason, the last two birthdays we celebrated were at Carrabbas (which I LOVE). However, there was no way I wanted to pick that for my day.  So, a trip to The Cheesecake Factory was in order!

I had a wonderful early dinner, and the tastiest low carb cheesecake with strawberries:


Our server Megan was awesome, and I even got a birthday song!  I must say, I had a wonderful day. And the older I get, the more I count my blessings!  Just 3 years ago I had a minor health crisis (heart-related) that changed my life and my eating habits forever.  It made me pay more attention to how I was treating my body, and was a clear enough warning that change was necessary.  

Now, I am delighted when I look around and see my family looking back at me--especially our youngest, who will be ONE in a few weeks!  God has been faithful, and I am GRATEFUL!!!

While I celebrated my day yesterday, I am also celebrating a new sewing discovery--tailor tacks!!  I have been knee-deep in shirtmaking (LOL) and delving into it through Craftsy.  One of those things is how to make speedy tailor's tacks.



My first impression on hearing about them through Pam Howard's Craftsy Classic Tailored Shirt class was to eye-roll and think, "it doesn't really take all that."  Yet even though my first response was apprehensive, I decided to give them a try.  If I hated it, I could always go back to my own method of marking, right?

Well, it turns out that I LOVE tailor's tacks!!!  Here are some questions I had, and what I found:

What are they for?
They are especially handy for thread-marking your fabric, so that you do not have to use marking tools, or distort the fabric in any way.  In fact, before there were marking tools, there were tailor's tacks!  I like that they reliably place your markings in a quick and easy way.

Do they take a lot of time to put in?
NO, not at all! Thread your needle, and you are ready to go!  You can even accurately thread mark two pattern pieces at once.I was worried about how much time they would take to put in, but it probably took as much time to do as it would for me to mark my fabric the way I usually do (with chalk or fabric pens).

How do you use them once you put them in?
Here is the part I thought would be difficult.  But, you know what?  I have found that the tacks made sense as I am began to construct my garment.  For example, on the shirt front for my shirt dress, I used them to indicate the foldlines (as well as small notches on the bottom), and I was pleased to see how everything lined up when I went to create the button band.  

For a short video tutorial about the process, click HERE. I hope you find tailor's tacks as helpful as I have!  If you already use them, let me know!

SNEAK PEEK OF MY SHIRT DRESS

Fitting, Buttonholes, Hemming, and Bias Binding still needed!


Stay sew filled!