Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Sunshine Blogger Award

Hello everyone!

It's a great time of year to talk about the Sunshine Blogger Award!!

I was nominated for this lovely award by Olivia, of The Sewing CPA.  I discovered her blog about two months ago, and I love visiting it.  She emphasizes developing her sewing skills, and you can see how much she is progressing garment to garment.  Thank you Olivia for this nomination!

Here are the Sunshine Blogger Award rules:
1. Link to whoever nominated you
2. Write 10 pieces of information about yourself.
3. Nominate 10 fellow bloggers who positively, creatively inspire others in the blogosphere
4. Inform the nominees on their blogs.

So, I was a little stumped about what to share about myself.  Sewing stuff? Family? Life goals/ambitions?  I do much better with answering questions.  Well, here goes:

1. I was a tomboy growing up, and didn't learn to act like a girl until my freshman year of college. Sometimes I still have to push myself in this area, but it helps to have a "girly-girl" for a daughter. Let's put it this way--she helps dress me.

2. I was born in Germany, and lived there off/on for most of my life.

3. I was an army brat.  My dad served in the army for 26 years before he retired.

4. I am a Christ follower.  It is in Him that I live, move, and have my being.

5. I love to sing.  I can't go a day without humming a tune, or belting one out loud in my car (yes, I'm that person)!

6. I love to bake!  My favorite thing to make is chocolate chip cookies, but I love baking anything--cookies, cakes, pies, breads, etc.

7. I started out wanting a BIG family!  My husband and I wanted five kids.  Yes, five!!  Now that we have two, the door to five is quickly closing.  However, there is a good chance we may go for number three, if the time is right.

8. I am not a big TV watcher, but I love 24, Castle, Motive and Project Runway.

9. Are you ready for some FOOTBALL??? I love to watch football, and I am a hardcore Atlanta Falcons fan, even though we had a down season last year.  In our house, I am the football fan, and my dedication to the sport is what caused my husband to join in.

10. Last but not least, I have almost given up on the RTW fast three times!  One night I laid in bed with the script in my head that I was going to write on my blog the next day telling you all I just couldn't do it.  Thank God I woke up with a different attitude!  And...that same day I read a very encouraging post from another blogger that made me know that it was too soon to give in the towel.

So, I press on...

Instead of nominating ten fellow bloggers, I will ask you: Are there any new sewing bloggers that you think other readers should know about? Please tell us about them!! 

Stay sew-filled!

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Maria Denmark Top in Stripes "Another one to love"

Hello everyone!

I finished my Maria Denmark Top!!  I decided to work on a striped version this time, not realizing how much I don't like working with stripes!  In fact, if I say that I want to sew stripes again, remind me not to do it, ok?

It wasn't a bad experience, just more time-consuming.  First I spent time carefully laying out my pattern before I cut it to make sure all my stripes lined up.  Then I spent time pinning so that the fabric wouldn't shift and offset my stripes matching.  The end results are nice, but I don't think sewing stripes is for me.  Now that I am all done, here is how it turned out:

I cannot tell you how much I love this pattern!  The fit is amazing, and it is such a simple sew with a big payoff.  I could easily make more versions (this is my second one), and may do so once I finish my concert tee and white dress.  Either way, I am well pleased with this one, and consider it a TNT!!!!!!  Yay, my first tried and true!  

*If all else fails, I could just sew this top all summer long, and not get tired of wearing it.*

I'm not going to go through all of the details for this top, but I will say you can read my review of my last version if you are interested in more information on it.  Basically, this is a size XS done in medium weight value knit I picked up from Hancock Fabrics.  

I prefer this fabric slightly more than the last version I made, only because of the weightiness of it. The drape is also beautiful, and I found it very easy to sew.

I am finding that I prefer to use a stretch stitch when sewing knits.  I am slowly using my serger more and more again; but for finishing my knits off, I like a stretch stitch as opposed to the twin needle.  Even when I can get my twin needle working correctly, I am just not a fan of how it looks. Also, sometimes I get a skipped stitch here or there.  My stretch stitch is far more reliable, with consistent results.

I did add more length to this top than I did the last one.  I think the total amount came to one inch. I may stick to that length going forward.

All in all, if you could not guess it from this post, I LOVE this top!!  I plan on wearing it this week to one of my kids' playdates.  You know you have a winner when you can't wait to wear what you made.  

Stay sew-filled!

Friday, May 23, 2014

Let's catch up!

Hello everyone!

I don't know how I expected to get a lot done this month.  I am trying to manage my schedule, fit in sewing time, and not get overwhelmed.  Yet today I am realizing that it is May 23rd, and I still have so many things I need to accomplish.  So this post is, in essence, catching you up to where I am, and giving you an idea of what I am expecting to do.

Since it is now officially summer for both of my kids (4 and 7), I will have more free time to sew. My usual sewing time has been after they have gone to bed, but now I can squeeze in at least another hour during the daytime.  Last summer I had so many things I was doing with my kids that I disappeared from blogland for a while, but this year I intend to balance it out better--as best as I can while still being a stay-at-home mom.

Sloper Update
I bet there are some of you that are thinking, "Whatever happened to her sloper?" I am still working on it.  If you read my last post about choosing the wrong sizing for my Maria Denmark top, then you may have guessed that I also chose the wrong size for my sloper!  I made a size 12, and no matter how I have tried to finagle with it, I just can't get it right.  So when Vogue patterns went on sale a couple of weeks ago, I bought the Vogue sloper in a size 10.  I am confident with all the things I am learning that I may know more of what I am doing this time around!  As long as I finish a lot of the things I have planned for events coming up, I will begin the process of working on my sloper again.

Concert Tee
My husband is taking me out!!  We are planning to go to a concert on May 31st, and I wanted to sew something nice to wear.  My ideal outfit would be a tunic length top with leggings.  I am working on some ideas now, and I don't really have the fabric yet.  It has to be a quick and easy project because I only have a week to sew it, and I am getting nervous even as I am writing that!!
I am considering these patterns:

View B

View E or C (Purple tank or lace-sleeved one)

I am leaning toward the New Look pattern because I am just not sure about the curved (pointed) hem of the Simplicity top.  I like the overall look, but am wondering if I will hate it when I see the final result.  I also don't have anything like it in my closet, the way the hem angles, and so I have nothing to really compare it to.  If I was a rock star I would sew both and choose the one that goes best for the concert, but alas, I am not.  One day, maybe..
White party
AAAAHHHH, the white party!!  You know, the one I mentioned in a previous post.  The one in which I am hosting a table with my friend.  Yeah, that one!  It is June 8th, and I have nothing to wear!!  I am super excited about going, I just need to come up with an outfit.  I'll tell you what I want.  First, something simple.  I am sticking with simple patterns because it makes the fitting that much easier, and I want it to fit.  Also, I want to look classy and chic--or (the word I despise hearing), conservative.  Ha, Ha!  I was trying to use patterns I had on hand, but nothing was jumping out at me.  I will be pattern browsing this weekend, and pick a contender, as well as a fabric.  


I did tell my husband that he might want to buy me a backup dress,  But then I guess that would be a sneaky way to get around the RTW fast, right?  No, I wouldn't do that.  I thought about it, but I will figure something out.  Also, I am open to any suggestions you might have.  It may help point me in the right direction!

That is all for now!  

Stay sew-filled!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Maria Denmark Kirsten Kimono Top "My new fave"

Hello everyone!!

It has been a minute, but I have been sewing away!!  In fact, the top I am showing you today is my third attempt at this pattern!  Now, there was nothing at all wrong with the pattern, I was just determined to figure out this shoulder pulling I kept having.  It took me until this recent garment, but it was oh....soooooo.....worth it!  Here is my latest project:

Yep, it's a mouthful to say, but a wonderful basic top.  I originally saw this top on Crafted by Carrie's blog.  Her versions were adorable, and looked like they could go with most anything.  Any top that you can dress up or down is my kind of style, so I decided to give it a try.

It is a free download if you sign up for Maria Denmark's newsletter, so I jumped right on it.  I had no problem printing out the pattern, cutting it out, and sewing it together, but I made one critical error: I chose the wrong size!

I decided to go with a Small based on the chart measurements.  My bust is 33.5" and the chart said a Small was a bust size of 34.5"  Well, my finished garment was much too big in my shoulders and back, but fit well throughout my waist.  

Around this time I started reading my Palmer and Pletsch Fit for Real People book.  In the latest edition, it states to choose your size by your high bust measurement (unconventional method)!  My high bust measures 32.5, and the Maria Denmark size Small is 32 1/4".  

So I went back to the drawing board, printed an Extra Small with some minor adjustments, and came up with Version #2.  This version fit ok, but I was once again having issues with shoulder pulling.  

I FINALLY figured it out!!  I needed more length to my shoulder seams.  The average size 10 pattern has a 4 3/4 shoulder seam length, but my neck to shoulder point measures 5 1/4.  Since I couldn't determine the seam length for this top due to it's Dolman sleeve style, I assumed it was close to average and adjusted by 1/2" for my broad shoulders.  My result is as follows:

I used a lightweight value knit I found at Hancock Fabrics for this version.  I love it!!  I have to wear a tank underneath it for coverage, but the color and stretch is good.  The recovery is just ok, but doesn't bother me.  The instructions for the top were great, and this is a nice pattern for sewers of all levels, especially beginners.  The binding was not difficult at all, but then again, since this was the third top I made, I got much better at sewing it right the first time.  I even used my serger for the neckline binding!  

Here are the adjustments I ended up making:
1. Chose a smaller size according to my bust measurement
2. Square Shoulder Adjustment
3. Forward Shoulder Adjustment 
4. Broad Shoulder Adjustment
5. Added 1/2" for long torso (could have added more)
6. Enlarged the waist by 1"

In my last post I mentioned that I would be working on a Swayback adjustment.  Well, exactly how do you do a swayback adjustment on a long torso?  What I mean is...I need at least 1/2" of length in the back, but I also need to take out at least a 1/2" wedge for a Swayback.  Does that cancel each other out?  For now, I left it as is until I can get a better understanding of what I should do.  I did a dry run of both adjustments and did not notice a difference.

In the end, I left it "as is" for the back, with only a length adjustment:

My work on this top has restored my faith in creating wearable pieces!!  I just love it!  In fact, I took these pictures last night, but I am wearing this top today as I am writing and sharing this with all of you!  Since I didn't have enough handmade garments to participate in Me Made May, I feel like I am at least being able to enjoy the one really nice thing I have created so far.

And yes, I am already working on another one!  I don't even want to say it because it seems like once I put it out there I end up with a wadder, but as long as that doesn't happen, I will show you another Maria Denmark top soon.

 By the way, my kids will be home for summer vacation soon (one already is), and I have plans to blog about quite a few things in the upcoming weeks.  A lot of it is about upcoming sewing plans, as well as a commentary about the Sunshine Blogger Award.  

Stay sew-filled!

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Scoop Top "Potentially Great"

Hello everyone!

I am elated to be back with a finished project for May!!

First off, let me thank all of my new followers for coming alongside my journey this year.  I picked up a couple of followers on Blog Lovin' and it surprised me because I have not posted as often as I like.  Rest assured, even when I am not active on my blog, I am actively sewing.  Sometimes that involves sewing a few wadders, though.

Second, it has been a weekend filled with kids' birthday parties, food, and fun!  When we got home I was exhausted (as always), yet I felt an urge to sew.  I got the kids to bed and sewed until my husband fell asleep in our bed.  I finished the top I am showing you today, and started another one in which I will be testing out a few alterations.

Here is my top:

I discovered this free pattern on the blog Skirt As Top.  I happened to be browsing Pinterest boards, and wondering if there were any free patterns available.  When I saw this, I immediately liked it, and it seemed simple enough to make.  Now that I have finished it, I agree.  It is simple, fits well, and I love the high-low hem.

The only drawback is the sizing.  It only comes in a Small-Medium.  If you know how to enlarge a pattern to fit your body, you would love this one.  If not, then this wouldn't be for you.  My fabric is from Denver Fabrics, if I recall correctly.  I am not even sure what it is.  It is definitely a lightweight knit, perhaps a jersey knit.  It drapes beautifully, and has good stretch and recovery.

There are only two pattern pieces, and a neckline binding.  I made this top "as is" with no adjustments, and the fit is pretty good.  I checked a lot of the measurements against one of my RTW shirts, so I think that helped a lot--I am not getting the weird pulling I have gotten in the past.
Overall it took me about an hour to complete.

For the hem, I decided to stitch fusible webbing to the wrong side of the fabric, press the hem up with an iron about 1/4", then topstitch.  The fusible webbing helped to stabilize my slippery fabric, and made the hem so much easier to deal with!!  I will definitely be using this method again.

As you can see with the back, I have not tried a swayback adjustment yet.  But, I am working on one with this next top I am sewing.  Hopefully, it will make a noticeable difference.

Overall, while I am not in love with this top, I do think it has great potential!!  If I make it again I will definitely add more length! Right now, the top hits me at an unflattering place that does not enhance my pear shape at all.  I am hoping that styling it with other pants could help distract from this fact.  Also, because of my long torso, I really need the extra length, or it looks more like a cropped top on me.

In conclusion, I would recommend this top for all skill levels.  There is even an option for a front pocket (I left it off of my version, of course).  I think this is a well drafted pattern that you can use over and over again.

I hope to be back soon with more tops to show you.  

Stay sew-filled!