Monday, September 11, 2017

My week of UFOs

Hello everyone!

What a difference a week makes!  So much has changed since I checked in with my September sewing plans.  Mainly, the changes have to do with the weather here in Georgia.  I am sure most of you have seen the devastating effects of Hurricane Harvey in Texas, and have followed along with Hurricane Irma as well.  For now, my household is bracing itself for the after effects of Irma, as we are mostly in its path.

So, my kids are out of school, and I have prepped as much as I can by doing laundry, buying non-perishable items (in case of a power outage), charging electronics/phones, and preparing my mind and heart.  We are not expecting the worst, mostly heavy winds and rain, but we do live near a wooded area with lots of trees that could fall.

My prayer is that we continue to stay safe as the storm passes.  Also, my prayer is for all of those affected by severe weather/hurricanes/storms/flooding.  We have been doing our part to help others, and plan on continuing to do so.



That being said, I did want to take a moment to share the two projects I finished while working on UFOs last week.

Over and over, I am learning that I am not a quick sewer, LOL!  In fact, I am "quick" in my head, but slow when it comes to getting it all done.  Nevertheless, I might be a little faster than years past.  And, any finished project is a WIN, no matter the time it takes!

So, here is my son's vest:

Before buttons and label

After buttons and label
This project was mostly finished, and only needed  hand sewing to be done.  That is actually something I enjoy, so I sat down one evening and got to it.  I used my Classic Tailored Shirt class with Pam Howard to review sewing on a button properly, and then I did it!  Truly, Pam Howard is an excellent teacher!  While I can still brush up on my hand sewing technique, I was pretty pleased with the way the interior came out.

I used a cotton shirting for the fabric of the vest, and the wrong side of a shiny fabric I bought from Hobby Lobby (not sure what it was, maybe a satin).  The wrong side worked perfectly because it looks a lot less dull, but still lends a crisp, clean look to the vest.  Basically, I was trying to steer away from a super shiny, cheap-looking lining.

My second garment posed a bit of a dilemma.  Here it is:



This is Mccalls and I made it sleeveless after I could not get the stripes to match at the sleeves.  I was so baffled too! I know I cut them right, but re-cut them to be sure.  I even looked up YT videos, and found some additional sewing resources to help.  The fabric is not flawed, but I couldn't get the sleeves to do right.  After trying seven times (I can insert sleeves really good now, lol) I finally decided that this top just wanted to be sleeveless!  And so it is!

As a side note, I had a friend give me a wonderful suggestion for this top:

Though I absolutely LOVE this top, I didn't have any lace that would coordinate with my stripes. But, I am thankful for friends that have great ideas, and will keep this in mind for the future.

I was a bit concerned about the modesty of the back, but after stitching up the sides and trying it on, I realized that it was not as exposed as I thought.  


Now, I am awaiting the appropriate under garments before I photograph the final results for all of you.  I believe the shirt is a cotton knit with spandex.

I am now moving on to the Kelly Anorak, as of today!!!  I am excited, but sad to leave a lot of projects for a later time.  Who knows, I may take breaks from Kelly in order to work on an item here or there.  We shall see...

In the meantime, I will check in sometime this week again to let you know my progress.  I am working on posting more to Instagram, but it is definitely a learning curve because I prefer blogging. But, you can gladly follow me there to get updates a little more frequently.  

Stay sew-filled!










Monday, September 4, 2017

August Recap/September Plans

Hello everyone!

I must start by saying that you are all AMAZING!  I am humbled by the kind comments you leave, and thankful for others who have gotten so excited that they decided to follow along with me on my blog, or through

For my recap of August, the month started off in such a crazy way with the arm pain I was having.  I really didn't know how I was going to sew a thing, and felt a bit disheartened about that.  But, things slowly began to heal, and each day brought me less pain, and more ability and movement in my daily life.  Right now, I am practically normal, and eternally GRATEFUL!

And even better, my sewing didn't have to suffer!

Here are all of the projects I finished for August:

.

A total of four pieces (five if you count my son's shorts).  Or, essentially, four tops, and a pair of shorts.  My favorite part is that I like everything I made!  That is rare for me!  Usually I have a wadder or two, but I am glad that each piece came out well.

I projected that I would finish 3-4 items from my August plan, and I "kind of" made it.  I sewed two things on the list, and threw in two of my own, LOL!  

Overall, I have learned more about myself and my sewing style.  While watching Project Runway on Thursday I decided to write down my own design aesthetic.  Granted, I am not a designer, but I think it helps to know who you are, and what you love to sew. 

 For me, I had a personal revelation that I love classic designs.  Not necessarily minimalistic things, as I do love a garment with visual interest and shaping, but styles that stand the test of time, and look good in season and out.  I also love a bit of trend, though the proportion of that is relatively small in comparison to my whole wardrobe.  I am sure this will be tweaked as I go along, but the very foundation of what appeals to me can be summed up by classic with a bit of trend.  I am using this as my guide, and  moving forward.

Of course that doesn't deter me from sewing garments that stretch me, or hone my sewing skills.  In fact, that leads me to my plan for September, or National Sewing Month!!!

It is time to get back to the Closet Case Files Kelly Anorak!!


I am going to take the FIRST week of September to close out any projects I have going on, and then use the rest of the month to work on the Kelly Anorak, and a dress for my brother's wedding in October.  I am still in the process of choosing a dress pattern from my stash so I will let you know which pattern I decide on.  My goal is to start early so I can ensure I have more than enough time to sew (I am SO bad with deadlines).

My original plan was to muslin the jacket and then cut my fabric.  I will still do that, but am focusing on the basic shell of the jacket just to make sure I like the fit.  It is worth nothing that this fabric was the most expensive I have ever bought, so I want to be confident when I cut into it!

I will check in at the end of the week to let you see my progress!  For this week of unfinished projects, I will post updates to my Instagram.  

Stay sew-filled!





Thursday, August 31, 2017

Lacy Aurora

Hello everyone!

My fascination with the Aurora tank top continues!  I decided to create another one, but this time I wanted to use a fabric I had not sewn with before--LACE!  I have gobs of stretch lace in my closet, and I have been saving it for a while now.  Over the years I have been collecting ones I like, or designs that were pretty.  It took no time at all to come up with a color combination that I liked.

Here is what I came up with:


And I LOVE it!!!  It is so comfy and stylish at the same time!

I will say that as I began to assemble this top, my hubby gave me a puzzled look.  "Umm, does that go together?"

I told him it did, and he would see it all in the end, LOL!  Does anyone else have people that look at your work in progress, and question the direction of it?  Now, I readily admit that there have been times that my hubby has been right.  But, thankfully, this time not one of them.  He conceded that the top looks better than he had anticipated.




I did make a tweak to this version.  Instead of turning and stitching the neckline and armholes down, I created binding from the same knit as the top (pre-cut cotton knit from Fabricmarts Fabric). The result is so much nicer!



And I am definitely sold on using three rows of stitching to gather, as opposed to two!!! It creates a lot of threads to differentiate among, but the fiddle factor goes WAY down for me. I repeat...way down!  I would even say it makes it tolerable, and that is saying a lot!


Here are the finished insides:


Overall, this top is another favorite, and I highly recommend it as a tank top staple!  If it was the beginning of summer, I could see sewing at least five more.  However, I will have to revisit it next year instead.




Stay sew-filled!

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!



Thursday, June 22, 2017

Mystery of the Shirt Dress Muslin Solved!

Hello everyone!

I am back with an updated muslin to show you. Since my last post I made a few adjustments and changes to make my Threadcount 1607 Shirt Dress fit much better.  Here are the results:
6 inches of length removed
Binding applied to right shoulder

Same changes with a small
tie belt from my closet


I really liked the direction my shirt dress was headed after I made all these changes.  However, there were still a few things that bothered me.  For one, the armhole of my shirt was still pretty huge, even after applying my binding.  I would have to raise it by 1.5 inches!!  How is that possible?


Secondly, the bodice still seemed a bit loose, and like I could pinch out an inch of fabric on both sides.  Something went wrong, and it took me time to figure it out.

Until...

I had an epiphany!

I sewed a size 14 straight, with no changes.  By the measurements alone, my hips fit nicely, but it was way too loose in the bust. Since my body shape is a pear shape (small on top, wide on bottom), I needed to start with a smaller size on top and grade up to a size 14 on the bottom.

Granted, I usually do this, but somehow I must have gotten TOO excited and skipped this step.

Thankfully, I have refined my original pattern, and am cutting out my fabric and starting over.  I think I have enough info from my first muslin to skip a second one, but SADLY, I won't be able to participate in the Sew Together for Summer series.

Nevertheless, I am moving forward.  There will be other sewing challenges in the future.

Stay sew-filled!






Friday, June 16, 2017

Shirt Dress Muslin

Hello everyone!!

You would think that 21 days to sew a shirt dress would be more than sufficient, right?!?!

Well, here I am on day 16 still working out my muslin.  Once again, I will be coming in right at the deadline, and I don't know whether I will finish it.  But I did make a COLLAR:


Woo hoo!  It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be, but I must say that watching my Classic Tailored Shirt class with Pam Howard was so amazingly helpful!!!!  Pam Howard is such an awesome, patient, gentle teacher.  She made me feel a lot more confident about sewing a shirt dress even though this pattern isn't a TRUE button down, he he!  It doesn't even have a back yoke! But nevertheless, I press forward.

I haven't practiced buttonholes yet, so I know I will need Ms. Howard's expertise for those.

Here is what the muslin looks like on me:


It is SOOOOOOOO long!!!!!!!!! LOL! I mean, WOW!  I will definitely cut a good 4 or maybe 5 inches off the length.  I haven't decided yet where I want it to fall.  I will probably keep tweaking it until I find a length I am happy with.


I do think it is a cute shirt dress, though.  I am using advice from Nakisha (thanks so much), as well as a tutorial on converting button downs to sleeveless that I found here.  I really like a bias bound armhole, just figuring out how much of the upper armhole to cut off.

Here is a pic with 1 1/2" removed:


I hope that is enough for now.  I am going to make some bias strips tonight and see what it looks like with them bound.  I have been looking at inspirational pics on Pinterest, and I really like the pics that show a little more shoulder.  


I definitely don't want to have gaping, so I will be raising the armhole some.

Wish me luck!

Stay sew-filled!