Monday, April 10, 2017

April Plans and Tops Sew-Along!

Hello everyone!

Happy April!

I hope you have all been well. As for me, I spent the last week of spring break with my kids, lounging around, playing games, and enjoying our time together.  My daughter ended up getting sick with a stomach flu, and our neighborhood successfully evaded all the tornado predictions for Georgia.  But, other than that, it was blissfully uneventful.

In fact, maybe I even got pampered a bit.  My older kids helped out so much with my 8 month old son that I will surely miss them.  I know that he will miss them too.  He already crawls, pulls to standing, talks, and sings to keep up with his older siblings.  It's such fun to watch them interact together!

Now, as my thoughts turn to the month of April, I can't help but to brainstorm the direction in which to go.  I began the first week of April with my monthly sewing meetup and worked on a project for my daughter that I hope to finish soon.  I seem to have a list of "things to sew" that is MILES long, lol!  Does that happen to you too?

Let me tell you why my list has been extended for this month.  I am first and foremost participating in the MAGAM (Make A Garment A Month) sewing challenge this month.  It is to "sew anything." This has to be something for myself, so my daughter's item doesn't count, but I have been wanting to make something anyhow.

In the meantime, Faye is hosting an awesome sew-along from April 15th-30th called "Tops that Pop!" I LOVE TO MAKE TOPS! In fact, I have a bunch of tops I was looking at for spring/summer, and I may as well get started on something.  Here are some of my choices:

View E in the sleeveless version is what I am thinking about. My theme for these tops is easy, breezy, beautiful!  I want some casual tops that will "pop" in my wardrobe, yet still maintain a level of comfort and ease for a mama of three.

Can you believe I do not own a kimono? I had the prettiest floral one, but I ended up giving it to my niece as a gift, since she really liked it.  I have had this pattern for ages, and though it is not a top, it is a top-per (see what I did there), and I REALLY want to make one in a lightweight fabric.  I think I even have one in the stash. I would do either View A or B.

How about a Renfroe?  I like View B.  It is a basic V-neck shirt that I could make in multiples for my wardrobe.  Because honestly, I could use a few good basics!

I am digging this top from Simplicity in View C, another sleeveless version.  I have a few different colors of lace that I have not used yet, and this would be a great pattern to try that out.

View B is still my favorite version of this top!  This one is screaming for me to make it! That's all I will say about it.

View C!!!!! This is a new release and I like ALL the versions, though I am thinking about View C for the top sew-along because it is just the right length for me.

For now, the jury is still out as to the one(s) I will choose.  If you have a preference, let me know in the comments.  I would love to get some feedback!

***PS-Hobby Lobby has Simplicity patterns for 99 cents this week!!!!******

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Back to my Kelly Anorak

Hello everyone!

Has the weather been crazy where you live?  Because it has definitely been "interesting" here in Georgia.  By interesting I mean that one week it is in the 30s, then the next week it is in the low 70s. What?!?  This up and down weather has made me a little disheartened about finishing my Kelly Anorak because I am not even sure when I will be able to wear it.  So, it was good for me to take a small break from this project and sew my last cardigan.

Nevertheless, it is time to get back to business!

I worked up the courage, and cut out all the pattern pieces for the jacket.  There were a lot of pieces, maybe 20 if I had to guess.  I didn't keep track, I just kept cutting.  I figured a size 8 would be more than roomy enough according to the finished measurements.

I was also able to cut out my muslin pieces!  It is becoming real ya'll!  I am going to make a jacket!  
I will begin sewing my muslin up as soon as I get backfrom  a trip out of town.  I was debating how far to go with the muslin, and I believe I will use this it as a way to get some practice in for the final garment.  Yes, I will definitely tweak the fit of this jacket,but there are so many new techniques for me that I think a dry run would be helpful.  

The feature I am most excited about is the gusset pockets! They are 3D-shaped pockets that are super roomy for holding items.  I haven't decided if I will be adding the drawstring feature on the muslin, but I might. 

It is quite obvious that this project is a bigger, ongoing one, so I am not going to be rushing through it. For March my goal is to finish the muslin.

I will check in with you once I get a little further along!

Stay sew-filled!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

The Original Sewing and Quilt Expo 2017

Hello everyone!!

Did you guess correctly?!?!?

In my last post I alluded to the fact that I had sewn my first Burda cardigan in order to attend an event.  I appreciate your input, and am now ready to share my experience at the Original Sewing and Quilt Expo 2017!

Let me give you a little backstory, if you will. I have attended this event before.  In fact, it was years ago.  The last time I went I took a few classes, visited the exhibit hall, and met the lovely blogger Victoria of Ten Thousand Hours of Sewing .  Yet time has passed and I haven't been back.  

To be perfectly honest, I haven't felt the need to return because I felt out of place with the demographic, which was mainly senior citizens.  Even the styling was geared to this demographic, and while I valued the information, I wanted something relevant to my age group, sewing ambitions, and evolving sense of style.

So when I got an email about the upcoming event, I opened it out of curiosity, but fully intending to stay home.  However, when I saw that Burdastyle would be there doing a Runway show, I did a double take. "Wha-What?!?!"

I just knew that I had to be there.  In fact, I felt a deep need to be there, and so that settled it.
Somewhere in the email it also mentioned there would be a "Wear your Burdastyle Day" on Friday, where you could wear your favorite pattern and receive a free gift (more about that in a moment). My plans slowly started to take shape...

This is how I ended up rolling into the Expo:

I took my precious girl, my beanie baby son, and my best friend's daughter, who is just learning to sew herself.  IT WAS FUN!!!  Ok, maybe I did have to wrangle my baby during the Runway show, but it was such a great day!

And you know I had to visit Burdastyle's Booth and share my cardigan make!  I had sewed it bit by bit over a week's time span, and finished it the morning of.  Just before getting there I admit I was quite anxious, but I pressed through and met Meg Healy, Burdastyle's online sewing editorial director and instructor.

She was such a pleasure to meet!  For sewing Burda I received a button that said "I made this!" as well as a free online sewing class!

I really wanted to post some of the pics I took of the runway show, but most of them were blurry, or out of focus.  Instead, you can check out the review on Burdastyle's blog HERE.  There were so many amazing looks (42 looks in all), and it was encouraging to know those looks could be made by the home sewist.  It is that fact that makes me proud to delve into this craft.

I will show you some of my favorite quilts from the Expo, though.  The first one is faith-based, and drew me in right away.  Take a look and see what you see:

If you see a cross, then you are right! It is the image of a cross from an underneath perspective.  You can even note the dimension in the work, with some shading down the length of the cross.  Just beautiful!  I have mostly seen crosses from a head-on visual, so I loved this unconventional rendering, and it's implication of surrender.

My other faves made me think of my children:

My sweet girl loves flowers, and everything "girly."  This quilt made me think of her!  I tell you, looking at this photo just doesn't do this quilt any justice.  The intricate detailing was evident in all of the quilts, and quite impressive to behold.

This last quilt reminded me of my oldest son, a car afficianado:

Again, this quilt is another example of the ART of sewing.  When I showed it to my son he immediately said "Wow mom! Can you make me something like that?"  I wish son, I wish.

Other than the Runway show, much of the Expo was the same as the last time I went.  Had I had more time, I would have stayed and listened to a lot more presentations that took place on stage that day.  They were free, and some of the topics included:
  • Sew Easy! Sew Faster! Sew Much Fun!
  • Comforable Clothes the Easy Way
  • Knockout Knits
  • Sewing for your Little Ones
  • Using Purse Hardware for Professional Results
I would definitely re-visit to hear some of the information given on those topics.  

Vogue Fabrics was also there again.  They had a lot of lovely fabric choices, and pre-cuts, but I did not buy a thing! I don't know how I managed that, but I did.  There was a gorgeous piece I almost bought, but I really want to stick with what I have for now.

Overall, I am SO glad I went, and SO glad I SEWED!  I will be getting back to my jacket now, though.  My goal is to complete the muslin for this month (since we are already midway through).  I had a setback in Feb. with my kiddos being sick, but I am ready to get moving again.

Stay sew-filled!

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Burda 117A Cardigan Complete!

Hello everyone!

I am happy to announce that I sewed my first Burda magazine pattern for adults! While I have previously sewn a Burda pattern before, it was a kids pattern.  This time around, I had two main motivations for sewing an adult pattern.  The first is to complete one of my objectives for the year, which is to actually USE the Burda magazines I already have.   The second is one I will reveal in a post later this week (probably Wednesday).

But, for now, here is the completed 117A Cardigan:

I had such a great time pulling out all my Burdastyle magazines, flipping through them, and trying to decide on a quick make.  This pattern comes from a 2011 magazine, but I noticed that a lot of the styles from that year are what are current now. How crazy is that?? It is certainly true that everything comes back around, I just didn't know it was that "fast." I will surely be re-visiting this issue!

So, let me tell you a bit about the garment.  I made a size 40 with no alterations whatsoever.  I figured the style of the garment had enough ease that I didn't need to be too picky.  My main issue, too, is usually the shoulders, but the raglan sleeves were roomy enough that I did not have any probems there.

For fabric I chose a Dragonfly Blue Rayon/Lycra jersey pre-cut from Fabricmart Fabrics (no longer available, sorry).  I have to say that this fabric is very similar to the one I used for the Love Notions cardigan that I did not like as much as you all did.    I chose it again because I wanted to learn how to sew this type of fabric with minimal frustration.  Now originally I did not want to see this kind of fabric for a while, but after a breather, and some minor adjustments, I was ready.

This time I used my fabric guide to help me make sure I was using the proper technique called for rayon jersey.  I found out I needed a different size needle, and stabilizer for sewing the hems.  Those two tips, along with my walking foot, helped me tremendously!!!!!

So, what was it like to sew a Burda pattern for the first time for myself?  Suprisingly (and maybe because I chose an easy style), it was not bad AT ALL.  Tracing off the pattern definitely threw me for a loop because the lines are so confusing. But, if you focus on YOUR line, it is easy peasy.  When I finished all the tracing, and it was only five pieces, I quickly added the seam allowance (3/8") to each piece by this tip: tape a mechanical pencil to a regular pencil. The distance between the two will be 3/8", and you can then place the mechanical pencil without lead drawn along line you traced, and your pencil will draw the additional line. LOVE this, and it took minutes!

Speaking of tips, I found this amazing blog post HERE about sewing Burda patterns.  In fact, I had my own revelation when it came to one of their diagrams with mini pattern numbers.  I finally figured out that these numbers were for the order of construction!! How brilliant!  It helped to guide me along the process to know which pieces were getting sewn in which step.

If there are any additional tricks of the trade you use for Burda patterns, let me know!

I will tell you to be careful when sewing this pattern together on the neckline. I totally goofed on the pieces with extensions.  They are there so that when you attach the facing, it lines up nicely with the front pieces. Of course I didn't leave those ends free, so my version is turned in a little more, but I do like the effect. I will fix that for next time.

The fit, though, is TRULY AMAZING! I understand why people LOVE to sew Burda patterns now! I mean, where can you flip through a fashion magazine, find a style you love, then recreate it with ease?  I am sold!  I will need to stick to the simpler patterns for now (building up my confidence since there are not a lot of pictures to go with each step), yet this garment encouraged me.  I have worn it twice already, and can see this in much of my everyday wardrobe.

So, I did leave out one BIG reason I sewed this, though.  Here is the clue: there was an event I wanted to attend! It is something related to crafts and craftiness, and I will be sharing the answer in a blog post this week!  If you want to take a guess in the comments as to where I went, please feel free!

Bye for now!

Stay sew-filled!

Monday, February 27, 2017

Mccalls and Butterick Spring 2017 Picks

Hello everyone!

A week or so ago I was watching Mccall's Youtube channel, and going completely ga-ga over some sneak peaks of their Spring patterns.  That video led to me incessantly checking and re-checking their page for the new collection, while also researching upcoming pattern sales.  I will definitely think long and hard before I make any purchases, since I am mostly using what I have, but these pattern companies are making it SO hard, lol!

Anyhow, today I wanted to share some of my favorites with you!

Mccalls 7577 caught my eye with the lace back, and I just couldn't get it out of my mind! It is so beautiful in the floral print shown by the Mccalls and I love the trim on the front as well as the bell sleeves.  

Mccalls 7563 is another delightful addition shown in the Youtube video.  It has a romantic feel, with the longer ruffle and off the shoulder features.  I am not usually a romantic style wearer, but this is a style I would be willing to try!

There must be something in the air when it comes to "back" details.  Here is another version in M7570 View B that I love. It is a classic tee style in the front, but a beautiful wrap tie in the back. I even think the lace up front of View C is uniquely lovely.

Butterick 6462 was in the Youtube video as well, and I just know I have to put this one on my list!! I mean, come on!  They showed it is View D, the jumper, but my fascination is with View B.  I have yet to find a cut out shoulder with a "v-neck" until now, and v-necks look so much better on my frame.  

B6447, View A is another fave that beautifully displays your back, while offering a classy color blocking on the front.  It would be a great option for parties, especially since the silhouette is so flattering to many body types.

Of course I have saved the BEST for last! B6449, I really, really, really love you! The v-neck, seaming, and maxi dress is put together in the best way possible. This is one of those dresses I would love to have one for every day of the week!

Anyhow, those are my picks from Mccalls and Butterick. I am sure I will end up purchasing a few of these picks soon.

Before I go, though, I just want to share a really cool moment I experienced.  The Love Notions Canyon Cardigan I recently sewed was featured on Patternreview's blog!  

Do you see me? I couldn't believe my own eyes when I saw this myself!  What an honor!  I say this because I have been so pressed for sewing time this month, and this feature made my day!  

Have you ever had one of those days where everything seemed to be going the wrong way, frustrations abound, and you feel like giving up?  And then, just when you determine to press on (in spite of the difficulty) God sends something along that makes you smile?  This was my smile, ya'll!! My absolute, ear-to-ear smile! 

It encourages me to keep sewing, sewing, sewing...

Thank you again Patternreview! 

Stay sew-filled!

***NOTE: While updating the pattern sales portion of my website, I found that Mccalls and Butterick are on sale at Joanns NOW! I will have to make a run with baby boy today!***

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

No more UFOs: Love Notions Canyon Complete!

Hello everyone!

Happy Valentine's Day to you!

I am celebrating today in a special way--I have no more UFOs (unfinished objects) to speak of!!! That alone calls for a DANCE!

I don't know about you, but UFOs had become a part of my nature.  Never mind the reason why I didn't finish the project in the first place,what truly matters is the weight unfinished projects have carried in my mind.  Even though I would surge ahead with the next thing, the nagging of the "left behind" items would linger with me.  And beyond that (go with me for a moment), isn't it better to finish?

Isn't it better to learn the technique I was running away from? Or embrace errors I made along the way, like not choosing the right fabric for my pattern?  How about just knowing when it is time to let go and move on?

This year I am working on FINISHING. It can be a quick finish, a slow finish, an easy finish, or an UGLY finish. The bottom line is, I want to finish. I deserve to see my garments through, until the very end.

For example, as a runner, I have experienced runs where I hit a wall and my feet would not move.  It is then that my will and perseverance would come into play.  I had to push when everything in me was telling me I couldn't.  I had to tell myself that I had the strength to push through, one leg at a time. Left foot, right foot, push, push, push. Why push? To finish. To finish the race I started well--even if that meant crawling across the finish line.

Keep this in mind as I show you my latest completed project, the Love Notions Canyon Cardigan:

This cardigan was a long time in the making! I believe I started it last year in October or so.  I got everything finished except the hem and neckband.  In fact, it was looking pretty good! But, to me, the end results are just ok.  I like the pattern, but there are a few things I would do differently the next time.  Here are the details:

Fabric: Rayon/Lycra Jersey.  In hindsight, it has too much flowiness. I chose it for this reason, but realize that the drape and flow is excessive and unforgiving.  Also, my fabric was NOT a pleasure to work with. It is very stretchy, but the recovery is not as good.

Size: Medium. Again, in hindsight, I would probably look at increasing the size. 

Instructions: I must say, the instructions for the cardigan were phenomenal! I was able to work my way through it with no questions. This is the way I like to work!! I definitely recommend this pattern for all levels of sewers.

Features I like:  I LOVE the little pleat feature on the back.  I also think the waterfall part on the front is adorable, and the way the neckline is sewn on makes it fit perfectly.  

Adjustments: None. 

For now, I have decided on two things:

  1. This isn't my best version for this pattern, so I will revisit this one again in the future-maybe even for late Spring.  I will use a heavier weight knit that is a little more stable, and probably do a full sleeve instead.
  2. I will keep this version to wear around the house. I tend to get cold, so this will be a perfect cardigan to put in my rotation.  

Overall...yes, this one is not what I hoped, but it is FINISHED!  And not only that, I gained such appreciation and knowledge as I worked through it.  I guarantee you, the next version will have me a little more prepared, and a lot more aware.

And that, my friends, is what I LOVE!!!

Have a wonderful Valentine's Day, and stay sew filled!

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

February Plans

Hello everyone!

It is February and I am ready to sew!

Since the beginning of the year I knew I wanted to work on something BIG! Actually, not only BIG, but NEW (to me).  Well, I put this particular item off until now because I really wanted to get my feet wet first. Now that my feet are wet, I am forging ahead with my pattern choice for February:

It is Closet Case Files Kelly Anorak!  I know I have mentioned it before, but here it is again, along with my fabric of choice.  Isn't the jacket just purty??? And I love that I don't own a jacket reminiscient of this style at all! At all!! I will be making the hooded version on the left.

My fabric is a Robert Kaufman's Ventana Twill in Navy. I purchased it from on the recommendation of Heather Lou, the creator of this lovely pattern.  I have been stalking the Closet Case Files blog lately, preparing myself for all that sewing this jacket will entail.  I already have all my materials for the jacket, and will start out working on a proper muslin shell in order to fine tune the fitting details. I don't anticipate it will need many fit alterations, according to Heather Lou, but I want to take my time and be sure.

Speaking of fit, this project lines up PERFECTLY with the MAGAM (Make a Garment a Month) theme for February:

The theme is to choose a pattern, work out the fit issues, and finish it! Easy enough, right? I anticipate this jacket may take me most of the month to finish, but I would like it to be done so I can at least wear it a time or two.  The weather has been so up and down here lately that I'm nervous we may be jumping right through "winter" and into spring before I know it.  If that proves to be true, I'll have to wait another 6-8 months before I can wear my jacket again!  Ah, well.  I will err on the side of optimism, and hope the weather cooperates. Besides, the material I am using is a lighter to mid weight, so it should transition well.

There are also a few garments I have laying around that I would like to "finish" this month too.  First, is my daughter's overall dress from Ottobre magazine.  She has chosen the fabric, I only need to cut out the pieces I traced off. It looks like a nice simple sew, and some encouragement from a few of you in one of my posts led me to realize I needed to get moving on this one:

Yes to overalls!
Next is a project that I just can't seem to finish, even though there is barely anything left to do (ever have one of those):

It's the Love Notions Canyon Cardigan! Please don't think there is anything wrong with this pattern! It was a delightful sew up until the point I reached, I think I just have a mental block and I need to press through. Expect to see this one finished...soon! LOL!

Then there is this Simplicity top that I cut out, started to sew, then made a mistake with the bias binding. I used some packaged binding that I had, and it just looked horrible! Horrible! I remembered, after sewing it, that I prefer making my own because it always turns out so much better. Here is the pattern:

I love the flowiness of the front, and how it DOES NOT hug my stomach (priorities, lol).  Once I get this shirt worked out, I want to sew a few MORE! So, expect to see this one...and in more than one version!  

Well, once again, you can count on me to have lofty goals! Though this time I think at least half of it is achievable!  

Good luck with your sewing plans for February!

Stay sew-filled!

Friday, January 27, 2017

January Sewing Social Meet-up

Hello everyone!

Thank you again for all your wonderful comments on the Zoe Tunic I made! I'm sure you can all agree that sewing a garment you love makes all the effort worthwhile! I hope you have been getting a chance to sew some lovelies yourself!

Today I would like to share about the sewing meet-up I recently had with my neighbor. Somewhere before the beginning of the year, I began thinking about asking my neighbor if she wanted to get together and sew. I mean, it was a no-brainer to me. She likes to sew, and so do I. She doesn't ever get a chance to finish her projects, and neither do I. Our time and family commitments, while valuable, have kept us from making time for the craft we love.

So, I approached her about my idea: a sewing meetup where we would bring our already cut-out projects, whatever materials we needed, and some light refreshments in case we got hungry (sewing and snacking go together).  Invariably, we could chat as we worked, and (the best part) we did not have to bring any children!!!!!!!!!

Anyhow, you can imagine what my neighbor told me. She said that it all sounded WONDERFUL!!! In fact, she already had three projects cut out and waiting on her! Now all she had to do was bring them. So we got together last weekend, and had such a blast!

My hubby offered his office space for our meetup, so we got there early, set up our spaces, and started to get to work. We both brought coffee, had a light breakfast, and grazed on snacks while there.  While we originally planned to have one serger, she luckily brought hers too, so machines were always available for use. The only thing we had to share was the iron, and that worked out well according to our crafting personalities. As you may have guessed, I was a bit more obsessive about pressing when I sewed a seam, but my friend was much more laidback.

We stayed a total of four hours. Here is the outstanding dress that my friend sewed:

It is called the Ginger Dress, and I love the way it came out! She said this project was A YEAR in the making! She had the black fabric already, and another friend sent her the plaid for the bottom hem. Can you believe she had this amazing project in her craft room the whole time?

Here she is with the bottom hemmed, and all "dolled up" for a day out:

I think she even has plans for another one!  I told her she could easily make a different one to wear each day of the week!

For my projects, I was ambitious, as always, lol! I brought my Zoe tunic, an unfinished cardigan, a top I cut out, and my daughter's overall dress to cut out--if I finished all those items. Of course I didn't! I spent all of my time on the Zoe tunic, and had a few mishaps that required unpicking. Ah well! I learned a lot.

After we finished, we both were so giddy with excitement! It really does feel like winning the lotto when you are a busy mom who completes, or even nearly completes a sewing project!  My original thought was to have our "socials" every few months, but we both decided that a monthly meeting was necessary.

For the next meeting, we plan on inviting another lady, and maybe even having a pattern swap.  My neighbor embroiders, so she will be bringing her machine in case anyone would like embroidery done.

If you don't have a sewing group, and you can start one, DO IT! I was soooo nervous to ask my friend, and now I wish I would have done it sooner. It turns out there seem to be a lot of people who would love to get together and do something they love.  You don't even need office space like we used. You can use your home, or sometimes the library has space available too.  Whatever you do, find the time to pursue your passion--alone, or in the company of others.  You will not regret making that decision.

Stay sew-filled!

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

January MAGAM Completed!

Hello everyone!

There is still a week left in the month of January, and I am elated to have finished my FIRST project of the year!! It is the Simple Sew Zoe Dress (my version is a tunic), and I'm going to tell you all about it:

I must say, this was a good pattern to start off with! I wholeheartedly agree that this was indeed a Simple Sew!  I started out by choosing a Mod Square Poly/Lycra from Fabricmart Fabrics (no longer available).  It was one of their pre-cut fabrics, and I have really been enjoying the quality of pre-cuts that they carry.

Anyhow, this fabric is nice and drapey, with a small amount of stretch. It really behaved more like a woven, so I wanted to be sure I had enough room in the end result so it would fit.  I sewed a size 10 for the waist, but graded to a size 14 for my hips. 

The pattern listed the finished measurements, and I love that! The fit was spot on! I did add a 1/4" to the front and back seams, but I don't think it was necessary. I was just being a "nervous Nelly" since I have not sewn anything for myself in a while.  

 If you remember from previous posts, I received this pattern from a UK sewing magazine. My whole reason for sewing this was to gain experience concerning their patterns, since I already LOVE the magazine. Well, I can definitely say that this pattern is a winner--a great sew for a beginner and up!

I did make some changes, though. I ended up leaving off the pocket, and didn't bother with an inseam pocket either. I also shortened the length by 4 inches because the dress was LONG, and I wanted it to end mid thigh or so.  Lastly, I did not do all of the topstitching. I left off the CB/CF stitching, but did do the neckline and sleeves.

The inside of the garment is also pretty! I realized that it went much quicker to serge the raw ends of my garment first (without the knife engaged), and then sew my seams. Brilliant! From there I just pressed the seams open, and it looked nice and clean.

There is a slight amount of excess in the back, but the fit is comfy! Also, considering the curviness I was working with, I think I deserve an award, lol! It was not easy, but I know each time will get better.

Overall, it feels good to meet the January MAGAM goal to "get back to sewing."  

Stay sew-filled!