Sunday, September 24, 2017

Astoria Cropped Sweater Completed!

Hello everyone!

This is a bit of an inspiration post.  You see, I get Sew News magazine issues in the mail, and have been receiving them for the last year.  I like them mostly, and got them at a wonderful discount, but I have to admit that I only browse through the issue here and there.

However, I couldn't help STARING at the cover when my newest issue came in the mail for September.  I just thought the cropped top on the model was so adorable.  Day after day, I would glance at the cover and think "what a darling top...haven't I seen it before?"

I finally decided to dig deeper and find out the pattern referenced on the model.  Well lo and behold, I was pleased to discover that the top is the Astoria by Seamwork patterns!

I cannot tell you how happy I was to find out that I already had access to this very pattern with my Seamwork magazine subscription!

My next question was whether or not to translate this pattern literally, or interpret it my own way.  If you guessed I would interpret it my own way, you were right:

I don't have many sweater knits in my fabric stash, so I went with this aztec cotton knit instead.  I only had a small amount of it, maybe a yard if I had to guess.  Whatever the amount, it quickly became a game of squeezing all of my pattern pieces in without going crazy.  Somehow, it all worked out--mostly because this fabric had an equally good amount of stretch lengthwise and crosswise.

Sometimes you just cross your fingers, and go:

For this top I made two adjustments
  1. Added 1" in length (I really should do this each time because I have a long torso, but I often omit this if I the top is long already.
  2. Adjusted the shoulder seam by doing a forward shoulder adjustment (This one made such a difference. The shirt sits a lot better, and feels really comfy too).
I will admit that I experienced a few "hang-ups" though.  The first was the neckline.  Maybe it was because I did a forward shoulder adjustment, which decreases the front piece some. I could not get the neckband to sit nicely for me.  I inserted it, and it was drafted a smidge long.  I adjusted it, reinserted it, and still had the problem.  So I applied it like a bias binding in order to get it to stay.  It could also be my fabric choice, but it was a snag for me.

The second issue was the cropped band.  Even though I added length to the piece, it was still far more cropped than was comfortable to me.  So, I ended up reworking the construction, and adding the piece as a extension to the shirt, rather than folding it lengthwise on itself.  That worked well, and now I am looking forward to creating another piece to wear with it--maybe a maxi skirt???  I will think about it, but am open to styling options for this top because it is so cute.

Overall, this is a nice pattern, and I know I will find a purpose for in my wardrobe.  However, it won't be a repeat sew for me.  

Stay sew-filled!

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Kelly Anorak muslin in progress

Hello everyone!

I am glad to be back and let you know that all is well.  My last post was just before the effects of Hurricane Irma, and I was uncertain as to what I would be facing when the storm was over.  Though the week was harrowing, to say the least, I am grateful that our home was spared from any serious damage.  Our power was out for about eleven hours, and lots of trees came down in our neighborhood, but we did not have any flooding.

Due to power outages from the storm, my kids didn't have school for a couple of days.  So it was definitely a week out of our normal routine.  On the one hand I was happy that we were all together (hubby included), yet on the other hand, I longed for my usual daily rhythm.  In spite of everything, the human spirit thrives! It is hard to believe the storm happened only a week ago, but the people in our neighborhood have been amazing in the way they have come to each other's aid.  As my neighbor said, "this storm seems to have brought out the best in us."  Yes, it has!

Thank you to all who left comments of concern.  I tried to respond to each of you as I was able.  For now, I am glad to be blogging again, and have some progress photos to show you of my Kelly Anorak:

Let me preface my thoughts with a few things:  From my understanding, a muslin is not needed for this jacket unless you are concerned about the length of the jacket on you.  In my case, I have NEVER made a jacket before, and am using it as a testing ground.  So, I am taking fit into account, but I am also using it to practice some of the "new-to-me" techniques.  I will be sharing with you what I am learning along the way.

That said, this is a size 8, which I am still baffled as to how I came up with that.  I am sure I referenced the finished garment measurements, but don't know if I thought about the items I would be wearing the jacket with.  It is a nice jacket with ease, but I am not sure how well it would wear over something bulky or heavier like a sweater.  Granted, this jacket won't take me through the winter, but I would like to have the option of wearing bulkier clothing underneath.

I think the length is ok. I haven't decided yet whether I will add another inch for my longer torso. But I definitely want to add some more width along the hip area.  

So far the instructions have been good.  I admit to scratching my head on a few steps, but there were lots of portions in the construction order that reminded me of shirtmaking.  For example, you use the burrito method to attach the jacket front and back yoke.  Had I not done that recently I would have questioned it for sure.  

There are LOTS of pieces in making this jacket.  So many (21, I think) that I am going to have to be organized, and extra careful with marking and interfacing them.  But I LOVE the way the pattern is drafted!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  It has been a joy to have everything match up well, and fit beautifully.  The more I sew from different pattern companies, the more I realize that drafting matters.  For sure, there will be things you need to tweak according to your body type, but you shouldn't have to adjust an entire pattern.  NO BUENO!!!!!

I am still plugging away each day, except for Project Runway nights.  I will check back next week with an updated muslin.  

In the meantime, I did finish my Seamwork pattern of the month!  I chose a cropped sweater top called Astoria, and here is the sneak peek I posted to my Instagram:

I will have a full review up by the weekend.  Also, I am still working on pics of my striped top and vest for my son.  It turns out that photographing a wiggling, moving toddler is a challenge, lol. Figuring out what to wear with a open back shirt is also a challenge, lol.  

I hope your fall sewing is going well too!  

Stay sew filled!

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!