Wednesday, July 8, 2020

June Recap and July Plans

Hello everyone!

Welcome to July!

I am just getting back from a getaway to the Georgia mountains, and I have missed you all! We got away to celebrate my 40th birthday, and with all that has been going on in the world, I am so extremely grateful that we did!! The mountains were peaceful, and the whole trip ended up being a wonderful way to connect as a family.  

Now that we are back I have turned my attention to sewing again.  I finished June with three tops:

The Rhapsody blouse is one I am enamored with! I can't wait to make more versions of it, maybe even a few in a solid color.  I think it will be perfect for when I return to work (hopefully) in the Fall.  I could easily wear a cardigan for an extra layer of warmth, and still look dressy casual.

S2369 is another shirt I wore for my trip out of town.  I am proud of myself with this one because I learned something new! I originally bought this pattern in a larger size range,and needed to make it in a 14.  At the time of my purchase I had just had my daughter, and the size range went well with my measurements.  Years later, sizing down was necessary for a better fit.  

While I have a Bluprint (out of business, yet maybe coming back) class for this, I can't access it for the time being.  So, I did some searching and found a wonderful tutorial here on a simple process.  To my surprise, it worked!  I sized down the pattern, and it fits beautifully!  The back piece has a built-in swayback, and it fit me so nicely.  I am going to work on back fit for future garments now that I saw this improvement. For fabric I used a brushed poly, but I think it would look oh-so-gorgeous in an ITY knit too.  I will plan one for a future version. 

My markings as I sized down two sizes

Now that I know how to grade patterns down, I plan on resizing some other patterns I own too.  I have a few that I just purchased the wrong size in, and that was mostly due to user error.  I was a beginning sewist at the time, and sometimes I didn't pay much attention to the sizing, only the pattern envelope photo, lol!  I have found that adjusting the pattern pieces while watching TV at night makes the process go quicker, and allows me be ready for the cutting phase.

For my birthday, I chose to wear my beloved Kalle shirt in stripes!  It is such an effortless style, and I have just always enjoyed a good striped garment.

Overall I am happy with my Summer productivity so far.  Though I made three pieces, those pieces are getting worn frquently.  At the beginning of the year that was my goal--creating wearable pieces that blend well with my existing wardrobe.

For July I plan on working on an entire look.  I want something that I can wear together right off the bat--top, bottom, and/or layering pieces (which can always transition into Fall).  I have narrowed it down to these choices: 

I have already started working on a few ideas, and hope to have something to show you soon.  

I am also working on another jacket from my Make Nine.  It has been slow sewing in that area because I haven't found as much enjoyment with the concentration it takes for some of the jackets I chose.  I also think the Summertime is not my most productive, as I have more time to spend with my kids than usual, and that keeps me pretty busy.

With all that said, would you mind if I showed you some photos from our mountain getaway?  

Last year it poured down rain on my birthday, and this year the sun came out! It was sunny, beautiful, and in the 80s!!! 

Out of all the crazyness going on in this world, I am thankful for my family and loved ones.  Every year I wake up on this earth is a beautiful gift from God, and I am grateful.  My gratitude is something the troubles and disappointments of this world cannot take away.  I have found joy living out the purpose of my days, and every breath I breathe says my presence here is valuable.  This is something that became evident to me around the age of 34.  I suffered a health crisis that caused me to change everything about the way I eat and live.  I still have a benign heart issue that I follow a cardiologist for, but every day remains a gift.  I always want to live in a way that honors God, honors people, and honors myself.  So while I enjoyed all that my birthday brought (cards, gifts, and well wishes), my truest contentment is knowing who I am and where I am going.  

Sitting in the mountains laughing with my family and enjoying smoked burgers and hot dogs did my heart good.  We had a lot of fun with this milestone birthday, too.  The day before the BIG day there was a lot of talk about "the last."

"Mom, it's your last workout being 39."

"The last hug before 40."

"Your last big meal before 40."

Well, you get the idea, lol! I am looking forward to what this new decade will unveil...

I will be back with some finished sewing soon!

Stay sew filled!


Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Change of Plans

Hello everyone!

In my last post I walked you through a sewalong of the Rhapsody blouse, which I am absolutely loving!  I have already worn it and it is such a nice style:

After I finished this blouse, I immediately turned to the Seamwork Willis shirt, thinking I would finish it in time for the Faye's Tops that Pop challenge.  Well, sometimes things get turned around for good reason.  I soon found out that the challenge was postponed, and though I pushed through and finished a wearable muslin for the Willis, it just needed SO much more fitting than I wanted to invest.

In thinking about my issues with the fit, I realized that I usually make a lot of changes to Seamwork patterns in order to make them fit.  I find this particularly true with their woven patterns, but not so much with knits.  At any rate, I decided to move on for now and re-visit this top at a later date.  Since I still wanted a button front top, I decided to make the Kalle tunic instead:

I think the final result is much more to my liking than my Willis muslin.  This is a size 4 graded to 6 in a beautiful rayon/poly challis I purchased from Nick of Time Textiles.  They have a lot of great bottomweights, and when I happened on this fabric while looking at twills, I purchased it for a drapey button up.  Structured or drapey, you can have so much fun with button fronts depending on the fabric you use!! I would love to make more flowy shirts like this one.

Somehow the back looks SO long, lo! I went back and checked my pattern pieces to make sure I cut the right length, and saw that I did.  I have made this shirt twice before and thought I would breeze through the construction, but I totally forgot that the placket takes a little more time.

Here is a short run through:

  1. Place you properly interfaced placket piece on the shirt front.  The right side of the placket will be on the wrong side of the shirt front. Stitch around perimeter as marked.
  2. Cut straight down the middle of the opening (it will be fine, promise) and about 3/4" from corners. Cut up to each corner without cutting the stitches. You will form a triangle wedge.
  3. Turn the placket to the right side of the garment and press. Make sure the edges of the placket are tucked under 3/8." They will line up and cover the edges of stitch line.
  4. Fold the left side of the placket to center front. Topstitch 1/8" on the outside of the placket, stopping at the triangle wedge.
  5. Do the same with the right side of the placket.
  6. Finish the long edge of the right placket by folding it under 45 degrees. Fold the opposite corner under 45 degrees to form a triangular tower shape. Stitch everything in place, and sew an X shape near the bottom.
Once I got past the popover placket it was smooth sailing. I did cut out and sew a pocket with the stripes going in the opposite direction, but I think it made the top look far too busy.  I always cut out the pockets for styles that have them. I sew them up, pin or baste them to the garment, and then decide whether I like it on me.  

Overall, I HIGHLY recommend the Kalle! It is a TNT for me, and such an easy Summer style.  This is another great advanced beginner and up pattern, but don't expect it to be a quick sew.  It took me two days to finish, and I took my time on the bias tape finished edge (love it).  

I am not sure what I will be sewing next, but I will check in with you again soon.  

Stay sew filled!

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Sewing the Rhapsody Blouse

Hello everyone!

Today I encourage you to come along as I sew up the Rhapsody Blouse from Love Notions.  I first saw amazing versions of this pattern on the Tomkat Stitchery channel on YT.  I have sewn the Love Notion's Canyon cardigan in the past with ok results, so I wasn't sure if I wanted to give them a try again. When I saw Whitney's versions, and found out that the Rhapsody blouse was re-released (at that time with a discount), I decided to give it a shot.    

As you can see, I added an inch to the length, and used a lovely rayon challis I had in my stash. I decided on a size S, and created the double fold bias for the neckline. My plan was to leave off the ties.  

So far, this is my favorite Love Notions pattern!  I love the instructions, and the simplicity of the construction methods.  It was pretty smooth sailing for me with only one minor hiccup that I will address later.  However, I was impressed with some of the techniques for this blouse.

One of my favorite methods is the way they construct the back pleat on this blouse:

I know my fabric is a little distracting and some of the details are hard to see, but I tried my best to capture some things as I sewed.  

Continuing with the back construction...

For this part you sandwich the back yoke and yoke lining around the back.

When you press the yokes up, and remove the pleat basting stitches, you already have the back complete!

On the front, you can easily sew your gathering stitches, then align the main yoke RST.  Pull up the basting stitches and match the width of the yoke shoulders. Baste again.

Now comes the FUN part: Roll up the front and back to the inside to keep them out of the way.  Take the yoke lining around the rolled up portion to the back.  Connect the shoulders right sides of the yoke to the wrong side of the front (a little hard to see here). Stitch.

Once you pull everything out, it looks so lovely! 

For the sleeves, I always like to serge the bottom edge first.  Then I assemble them, and prepare to attach them to the garment.  In this case, I put in the gathering stitches, then eased them in the round of the armhole.

Now onto the neckline...

For the bias bound neckline, you start by finishing the "V"neck portion first.  Then the rest of the neckline is done.  It lays beautifully when you are done, though it took a little time fiddling with this to get it right.

I finished the hem for the sleeves and bottom hem the same--serged the edges, folded up 1/2" and stitched.  You can also narrow hem or coverstitch them.

And for the FINAL result:

Overall, I absolutely LOVE this blouse!  As you can see, the construction was all very simple, and I am such a fan of the gathers on the front bodice.  I think an advanced beginner can pull this off for sure. My only speedbump was the neckline.  I think it will go easier on my next version.  But for now, this will be my entry into #fayestopsthatpop.  Once I take some photos in it, I will post them to the blog.  For those of you who stated that you had this pattern, I hope this rundown gives you an idea of what to expect.  I highly recommend it, and think the silhouette is so lovely when you wear it.

For my next top pattern, I will be sewing up the Seamwork Willis:

I still need to choose a fabric and get my pattern cut out, but I do have the pattern pieces ready.  I am thinking of stripes for this top, and I just love variations of a button front shirt.  I will be getting started soon so I have a chance at meeting the June 15th deadline for the challenge.  

Stay sew-filled!

Thursday, June 4, 2020

May Recap/Review and June Plans

Hello everyone!

I pray that you are all staying safe, and keeping yourself together after the emotionally charged week this country has had.  I spoke about this in my last post, and truly appreciate you allowing me to be heard.  You all are wonderful, and I am thankful for you!

Today I am sharing the "thing" I sewed in May.  Yes, that's right.  The one and only thing.  I know I usually have a bunch of garments (sometimes mostly beloved basics), but I admit that May was a different month for me.  I am proud of the one thing I was able to squeeze out and that is Simplicity 8053:

I made View B, the sleeveless version with colorblocking.  It is a vision that I have had in my head for YEARS, lol!  I used two stretch poplins from my stash, one in a floral print, and another in red.  They were purchases a long time ago.  A small portion of the back was done in solid red cotton because I ran out of the red poplin. Thankfully, it still worked out!

I made a size 14 graded to 16. This pattern is OOP, but has cup sizes.  I was right on the verge of an A cup, but came out with the B instead.  If I make another version, I think I would size down to the A front, especially with a stretch woven fabric.  I took about 1/4" out of the princess seams up to the bust point, and that did help some of the bagginess.  

So if you are sewing this pattern, or plan to sew it, be aware that there is no yoke lining for this shirt.  If you know me, you know I love a yoke lining! If I can add extra fun details to a button front shirt, I want to do it! I ended up cutting an extra yoke piece and following this tutorial in order to create the lining, which I did in the floral print.  I also used the print for the armhole facings and the inside of the button bands for some contrast:

The rest of my seams were neatly serged and stitched.  For interfacing, I tried a new one called ShirTailor by Pellon.  I purchased it from Fabricmart Fabrics since it was specifically for crisp cuffs and collars.  It held together nicely, but I think I like the medium weight fusible I buy at Joanns (Fusible Midweight 931 Pellon) a bit more.  I still have loads of the ShirTailor, so let me know if you have any special advice or helpful hints for it.

As far as construction goes, this shirt was a pleasure to sew!  That could be because I love sewing shirts, but I also think an advanced beginner and above would do well with this pattern. The instructions were clear, and it has nice details like the pleat in the back.

My six red buttons came from Joanns.  I think they are 1/2" in size.  I bought a bunch of buttons a few months ago in all kinds of colors when Joanns was having a big sale.  They have come in so handy now that I am sewing shirts, especially since the majority of them are neutrals.  The only thing I decided to leave off of this shirt was the flap pockets.  They were just too large for my liking.

Overall, I am a fan of this one and recommend it!  If you have sewn it, let me know!

For my June Plans, I haven't totally decided on all I will sew.  My birthday is at the end of this month, and I will be turning 40 so I would love to sew a dress even though I plan to be in the mountains somewhere with my family, lol!  I will update you on that once I make any decisions. 

 I can tell you that I am excited to kick off TOPS THAT POP, hosted by Nakisha at Dressmaking Debacles for these next two weeks.  This challenge is in honor of a fellow blogger named Faye who passed away.  I knew Faye through her blog Faye's Sewing Adventure, and she would comment on my blog from time to time.  She was kind, knowledgeable, supportive, and an all around great lady.  I am happy to contribute to this challenge of hers--especially since I participated in it twice while she was alive.

If you would like to join, see the post here.  

I may be posting a bit more often in the next couple of weeks as I take you along with some of the things I decide to sew.  I think it would be fun to share sewing choices, and what the outcome is....good or bad.

I am starting with the Rhapsody Blouse from Love Notions:

I chose a Rayon Challis purchased from Denver Fabrics last Summer, and have already cut out my pattern.  I will be back soon to show you how things are coming along, and tell you which version I chose.

Thanks for stopping by today! 

Stay sew filled!


Wednesday, June 3, 2020

A Time for Change

Hello everyone!

I planned on writing a sewing post yesterday, but decided that participating in #BlackoutTuesday was a much better use of my time.  In case you missed it, June 2nd was a day to pause our normal interactions and posting online in order to raise awareness against systemic injustice, and stand against racism.  By stepping away from social media, the encouragement was to pause and learn, to seek out information and listen, and to become educated on inequality that has plagued our society for so long...  

I took the time to do some of those things, and to examine my own heart in the midst of this tumultuous time.  I can honestly say that I don't know how to feel most days.  With the death of George Floyd following so close after the death of Ahmaud Arbery, the pain has been too deep for me to even comprehend.  Some days have been filled with mourning, and others just walking around numb.  Is this the world my children will grow up and experience?  With all that I teach, love, and show them, will it be enough?  

I don't have the answers, but I am encouraged by the sparks of change that have been ignited.  My prayer is that all our voices would join together to fight this battle, and provide effective solutions for the problems at hand.  The important thing is that we would all resolve to do something, and not let this issue die out. 

If you are wondering what you can do, then this article is a great place to start:  

I plan on posting a May recap and June plans post tomorrow, but please know that this issue does not disappear because it isn't directly spoken about in my posts.  As a Black woman, wife, and mother, I am this issue.  I speak about this because the value of Black lives has been misplaced in our society. While I have always believed that my life, and the life of my family members has mattered, there have been times when we have been treated differently.  And there are certainly countless stories of unjust treatment rooted in deep ties of racism and hatred. 

Again, we are not powerless, and there is something we can all do!  

Thank you for hearing my heart today!  

Friday, May 8, 2020

April Recap

Hello everyone!

Today I am excited to go over the garments I sewed in the month of April!  

These tanks are an absolutely wonderful pattern by Winter Wear Designs.  I had been on a hunt for a tank pattern that uses very little fabric yardage so I could be more resourceful with my fabric scraps.  With warm weather moving in, I wanted to easily create a variety of basics to mix and match in my wardrobe.  This pattern is called the Starting Point tank, and I used leftover yellow cotton spandex from Denver Fabrics, and double brushed knit from Joanns.  

These two Seamwork tops turned out so much better than I expected!! I still have a Seamwork subscription, and have appreciated all the wonderful changes they have been making lately.  They have lots of intriguing patterns, and even created sewalong videos to help guide sewists. This Clarke pattern is one I have seen every time I logged in.  It is just so cute, and reminds me of the Ogden Cami by True Bias.  Since I don't own the Ogden, I decided to download it.  I lengthened the top by 7" so that it would not be cropped--especially since I don't have any high-waisted pants to wear them with.  I also raised the V neckline by 1.25 inches, and shortened the shoulder seam by 3/8".   

The top on the right in maroon is a mystery fabric.  I bought it from Walmart, and it has little stretch and doesn't ravel.  However, it feels like a woven.  I haven't hemmed it yet because I need to buy a suitable thread color to match.  The striped top on the left is a knit, and both are made in a size 2.  I loved the versatility of being able to use either a knit or woven, and still get amazing results.   I am definitely making more of these!! I have an animal print rayon challis that would suit this pattern well.

The next top is one I included in my April plans post.  It is a Burda pattern, and while making it I fell in love with Burda all over again! I love the way it is drafted, and the fit is very nice.  This is a size 38 done in a double brushed knit from Fabricmart Fabrics.  I am not entirely sure that the sleeve knots flatter my broad shoulders, but the pattern is well worth the sew if you like this style.  It has definitely made me open to putting Burda patterns back in the rotation again.  I still lean heavily toward Simplicity, but I am always open to trying something new.

These two tops are Kwik Sew 3766 again.  I have already worn both of them and I just love this top! 

And of course I cannot forget my newest find for scrapbusting my knit fabrics--the Megan Nielsen Acacia Undies!  I have worn every single pair of these, and I love them so much! Adding a little more fullness on the back pattern piece was a perfect solution for added coverage for me.  It is such a pretty use of fabrics I have on-hand, and a little goes a long way.

Last, but not least, I finished my Simplicity 2311 (OOP) coat! Before I put it away for Fall, I let it hang on my dressform for about a week, lol!  It will be nice to dig it out at the right time.

For my May plans, I will roll over a lot of the things I didn't get finished, and start on my next jacket, Simplicity 8418, a bomber jacket.  I had to order a few things to get ready for this project, but I now have what I need, and look forward to starting within a week or so.  My current sewing mood has been a lot more relaxed, and I am easing my way into this month.  I might start a quick and easy project first before I really dive into another jacket.  Also, I really need to start filling in some gaps for more bottoms, even if they are more simplified versions.

So overall that makes 7 tops, 6 undies, and 1 coat!  I am grateful for what I have accomplished, and look forward to how this month will unfold.  I hope you have wonderful expectations for your sewing too.

Stay sew filled!

Monday, April 27, 2020

Megan Nielsen Acacia Undies

Hello everyone!

I hope you are all well! 

Here in the state of Georgia Governor Kemp has initiated the process to move out of our homes and restart the economy.  As for me and my family, we have kept things much of the same for now.  I am still doing weekly grocery runs, schooling my kids via online, and keeping a low profile.  Thankfully, my husband is still able to work from home, and I do get some blocks of free time to sew.  So, we are hanging in there day by day.  I have even started my own personal "to do" list for things around the house that I never really get to.  I have effectively organized two closets, our laundry room, and a couple of drawers.  More Spring cleaning still needs to happen, but I am glad that I can take my time and do this at a slower pace.  Hopefully when Corona is a distant memory, I will have a tidy home with a complete Spring and Summer wardrobe too!

Today I am here to talk about a pattern I recently tried.  A couple of years ago I downloaded the Megan Nielsen Acacia Undies as a result of signing up with her newsletter.  I never used it, but had it available for the day I would.  Recently, while watching Whitney on TomKat Stitchery, she did a video on this very pattern.  In it she gave a tutorial for three types of finishing for the undergarments.  As soon as I saw the knit bands I knew I was IN.  I have LOADS of scraps from past projects, and I was curious  about whether I could achieve a proper fit with extra junk in the trunk.

This pattern did NOT disappoint!!!

The size Medium was perfect for me! I made the first pair without any modifications, and they still fit better than my own underwear.  For the rest of the undergarments I increased the sides of the back leg opening in order to add a little more butt room.  I now have a pair of undies that fits better than any I have ever bought! Probably the best perk is that this pattern requires very little fabric yardage to make.  My size required 11 inches for the front and back pieces. If you decide to create the knit band, you will require a bit more.

Pattern Specs:
  • Low-rise bikini cut with a beautifully enclosed gusset on the inside.
  • FREE when you join the Megan Nielsen newsletter
  • Only 8 PDF pages to print
  • Use elastic, lingerie elastic, foldover elastic, or knit bands (via TomKat Stitchery)
  • Fabric Used: Double Brushed Poly, Cotton Spandex, Cotton/Rayon Knit, ITY, French Terry 
  • *I really like the way the ones with DBP came out, and I was surprised that the French Terry and Cotton/Rayon Knit lay beautifully once finished.

Spoiler Alert! If you choose knit bands, you create your own for the waist and leg openings.  This is not included in the pattern, but are recommended specs by Tomkat Stitchery (unless you draft your own). The waistband she uses is 85% of your waist measurement x 2.5 inches.  

The leg openings are 85% of the leg opening circumference x 1 inch.  I used 1.25 inches because I found 1 inch to be a tight fit. Please refer to the video tutorial for more info and tips on elastic.  

For future versions, I will continue to use knit bands, however, some lacy or picot-edged ones are in the plans too!  I am so glad I finally printed out this pattern and gave it a go! It is stellar, and will be used for resourceful scrapbusting!

Stay sew filled!


Monday, April 13, 2020

Make Nine #1 Complete!

Hello everyone!

I hope you had a restful Easter holiday.  My family and I enjoyed watching church service online, and still kept some semblance of normal in spite of staying at home.  My husband BBQ'd, and we had an Easter egg hunt for the kids, even though my two oldest have almost outgrown this (13 and 10).  It was still a lot of fun with some of my favorite people!

For today I am here with some off-season sewing!  I have finally completed S2311 (out-of-print), the first of my Make Nine outerwear challenge!

This coat has been in "time-out" since February because I couldn't figure out how to fix the pocket gaping I encountered once I cut into my fashion fabric.  I made a muslin, but did not put pockets in that version because I didn't think it would be an issue.  I finally decided to pick this coat up and see what I could do.  My solution was to let out the back and side seams by 1/4".  This helped some, but the ultimate fix came with hand stitching the pockets toward the front of the jacket.  This made them lay flat, and made me happy.

Handstitched at the front facing seam allowance

Coat Details
Size: 14 with 1/4" grading from waist to hip, 1" length added
Fabric: Jacketing from Fashion Fabrics Club/Denver Fabrics
Lining: Animal Print Dobby Crepe from Fashion Fabrics Club/Denver Fabrics
Interfacing: Easy Knit from Joanns in Black
Shoulder Pads: 1/4" thick from Wawak

The instructions for this pattern were something I was warned about when I read reviews on PR.  Lots of reviewers said that they were difficult to follow, and they were right!  I would say that they were much like following a maze.  You read a few steps, do them, then jump to other numbers.  Do those numbers, then jump to another section.  Depending on the elements you wanted in the coat (Project Runway pattern), you had to adjust accordingly by skipping certain portions.  All in all, it is very confusing.  If this were eliminated, the process would certainly be easier.  However, this is not a hard coat to make.  Once you find the set of instructions you need, it is very doable.

For design elements, I decided to include the belt loops for the back and sides of the coat.  I planned to wear it with a belt, and knew I would want them.  I have another black trench with a similar look, and they were easily removable if they didn't look right.  I am so glad I added them!  It adds to the finished look of the coat, and it still looks nice if I wear the coat untied too.


Here is a look at the shoulder pads.  I catch-stitched them onto the shoulders, not sure if I would like them on my frame, since my shoulders are already so broad.  They worked great! I love the gentle shaping they add, and it really accentuates the seams of the coat.  

This is the completed lining with the front facing attached.  The sleeves are brown because I mistakenly ordered 1 yard of the animal print lining, so I had to make it work with the lining I had in my stash.  Thankfully, this adjustment didn't affect the final result of the coat.  I did, however, forget that I let out the seam in the back, and did not account for that in the lining.  It was already serged, so when I sent to sew the lining and coat shell together, I had to attach another small strip to the edge in order to fit my lining comfortably.  It is not a glaring thing you notice, but I am glad the print is busy, lol!!

Here is my coat just before I stitched up all the layers.  Surprisingly, my machine handled the layers well, and didn't give me fits about it.  The final steps after this are to sew around the perimeter, stopping at the marked dots on the facing.  Then, sew 1/2" below the dots on the bottom of the coat, leaving an opening to turn the coat right side out.  After some handstitching, and optional topstitching (which I definitely did), this coat was complete!

I just love it!!!  This coat pattern was in my stash a LONG time, and I have wanted to make it for a while.  The moment I put it on, my husband looked at me and asked "So, when are you gonna wear it?"

Well, that's the thing with off-season sewing... the satisfaction is not immediate because it is not an item you can wear right away.  However, you can bet that once Fall comes, this coat will be the first thing I look forward to putting on!  Thankfully, we had a mild day in the 60s, so it wasn't too bad to take photos to show you.  

Here it is with my Colette Moneta dress, and boots added for a Fall look:

It has been a slow start on my Make Nine, but I am glad to say I have ONE down, EIGHT to go!!!

Stay sew filled!