June 27, 2013


I'm sure everyone remembers this great pattern from a few years back that I just had to have. I usually don't purchase a lot of independent patterns, but this one drew me right in.  When I do make an inde purchase I feel that I have to make it up a number of times to justify the cost.

I made three maxi dresses from it last summer and they all turned out great.  So when I decided to do a Mini Maxi Marathon for my family members this was the pattern I chose.  I started the marathon on Sunday and completed the first dress for my baby sister Pat.  The Monday evening turned out to be a good night to sew so the second dress was finished for my sister Brenda.  Then there were a couple of nights where no sewing happened at all, but I did finally get to make the green and white dress for my Mom tonight.  Yes, all three are alike - which made it easier to make three of them in less than a week.  I'm hoping my peeps won't mind the look alike styles.  Maybe they can wear them on an outing - maybe a little afternoon trip up to lake country - mmmmm that would be nice.

I decided that making three maxi's would be a great way to help me do a little stash busting - 3 dresses = six yards used.  The two lively prints on the left are jersey knits purchased at Metro Textiles on one of my New York trips, and the ITY knit for the dress on the left was from Fabric.Com several years ago.    I still have enough of the ITY knit for another dress.

The Mission Maxi is a super easy dress to pull together, consisting of just two main pattern pieces and 3 bands to finish the neckline and armholes.  All three dress were machine hemmed using my longest zig-zag stitch to create lettuce hems.  I know my folks already have plenty of cute sandals  to pair with these dresses.
I also have plans for a maxi for me, but I'll use another pattern since I already have two made from this one...

June 23, 2013



Needle threading...

You may already know this, but just in case you don't...

Although I wear prescription glasses I sometimes still have trouble threading my machine and hand needles.  I use these two little tricks that you might find helpful too:

1)  you know how we always wet the thread?, well it also helps to wet the needle too.  With both the thread and the needle being wet - the needle acts a little like a magnet drawing the thread to it.  I once shared this bit of information with a friend and she said YUK!!!  What can I say, it works.

2) when threading machine needles try the white paper trick.  I cut little strips of white index cards (use the solid lineless side (strips cut 1/2" wide and 2 1/2" long just to make it easy to handle).  Wet the thread (holding in left hand) and direct it toward the needle while holding the white paper in your right hand behind the needle.  The white paper just makes it SOOOOO EASY to actually see the needle hole. I promise this will help.  I keep a little stack of  the paper strips them on my sewing table within easy reach because can you imagine just how many needles I thread...

June 21, 2013


... every Friday is a GREAT Friday! Happy Summer Solstice Friday to boot!  Its been one of those weeks folks -  I survived solely on sewing thoughts - not a stitch sewn - no projects in the works, nothing on the drawing board.  Hopefully that will all change now that its FRIDAY!!!

I originally got the "I've got to have Print Pants" notion last summer, but for some reason unbeknownst to me they never got made.  But this year during my May pants fitting marathon I finally got around to making a pair.   I liked them, they fit fine, BUT as it turned out I was a little timid about wearing them - some of you might understand my plight - I'm bold for my age, but not too bold.  I finally decided that THIS FRIDAY would be the day that they got worn.  I  left myself no other alternative this morning - it was these pants or nothing, and I couldn't leave the house in nothing - right?  I had a dickens of a time pairing them up with a matching top but finally choose a plain black tank... 

Did they past the test drive?  Yes they did (I'm glad to say)!  Made from a Joann's stretch cotton satin originally intended for a sheath dress - they did not grow during the day so my fit remained stable.  They are a nice length, comfortable through the hip area, and no gaping at the back waistband.  They got a 100% from me, and student evaluation was all quite positive.  I had shown them pictures of the pants previously and they kept asking when I was going to wear them - so there you go.

What's going to come out of the sewing room this weekend - I'm planning a Mini Maxi Marathon.  Maxi's are generally quick, and use at least 2 yards of knit fabric.  MY MOTIVE:  I really need new and exciting knits!  To justify the purchase I need to seriously decrease those already in my stash.  No need of piling new knits on top of stashed knits.  Besides, knits do no fold very well and take up so much fabric space.  My baby Sister (Pat) requested a maxi back in January - and what my baby Sister wants she usually gets - from me that is.  She might even send me a picture wearing it since she's a camera buff, who knows.  Can't make for one and not the other, so there will be a maxi for my middle Sister (Brenda) as well -  my Mother (Inell) would probably enjoy this years model too - not to mention I need a couple for myself.  That could mean a deduction of at least 10 knit yards.   I need to poke the relatives for measurements tonight because I feel the time is now.  No measurements - No Maxi's.  So they'd better find a tape measures real quick while the maxi motivation is high.  Be on the lookout for  maximized sewing results from me this weekend...

June 18, 2013


...I mentally canvased my stash last night, I could not think of a single piece of solid colored two-way stretch knit that I'd want to use to make the Better Late Than Ever Vogue 1282 top.

I know there's a chocolate brown jersey knit and my celery green bamboo knit that was a gift for my birthday - both of which I've envisioned becoming fall/winter tops - so I can't use those pieces.  I had thought about solid red, white and teal pieces but remembered that they are all four way stretch fabrics and not suitable for this pattern at all.  I definitely need some new knit fabrics both solid and print, but in the meantime, I really wanted to give this top a test drive.

So today I did just that - I test drove my muslin!  The fabric is a medium blue, so I wore the top with my navy bell bottoms ...the outfit was a great success!
I wasn't sure at first that the oversized cowlish front wouldn't be too over powering for me, but it wasn't at all.  This is the second wearing for the bell bottoms, and I think the top made a good pairing.
I am going back in tonight to close the neckline up a bit more because I did look down and got an eye full of bra one or twice during the day - but that's an easy fix.  I know it's an unusual top but I do HIGHLY recommend the pattern.  I will be making it again as soon as I get my little paws on some solid jersey knit.  I'd really love having one in black...

June 16, 2013


... You all know how I like naming things - well, I'm calling this one my "Better Late than Never" top.

VOGUE 1282
Better late than never because this pattern came out last summer. Although I really liked it, I was scared because the top shown on the model and reviews from people who made it clearly indicated a more than plunging neckline and elongated armhole.  So I shy ed away from it because I didn't want to deal with unfamiliar pattern alterations.  Fast forward one year and it just seemed the time to tackle this baby.  But not before taking it through the trial and error phase AKA a muslin.  Why muslin?  Because the bulk of the fabrics that I own are truly loved - and I just don't want to end up with the sick in the stomach feeling that happens when you discover - "oh no, now it's too late".

Allow me to talk a little about the pattern first:  don't you wonder about the funny model poses on the pattern envelopes of late???  I've started seriously looking for pattern flaws when I see models twisted and contorted in their poses.  I think it's a clear indication they are trying to HID something -  mmmmmm, just saying.  I was so glad; however, that so many people had made this pattern during the year.  It is wonderful to read the reviews and find out just where problems lie prior to cutting up my good stuff.  My thanks to all who worked out these problems for me ahead of time.  (they can be found on Pattern Review)  They helped me solve these problems:
  • How to raise the weirdly shaped armhole, 
  • How to eliminate gaping at the back center seam,
  • How to raise the elongated neckline,
  • and, how to weigh down the cowl neckline. 

What a Weirdly shaped pattern!  Two gigantic pattern pieces that are taped together to make one piece that actually turns out to be the back and front of the top and a armhole facing that's all.  I used a seriously mysteryfied WalMart fabric from le good old STASH, don't know what in the world it is.  Just knew it was a two way stretch knit and nothing that I would ever consider using for an actual garment so it fit the practice category.   I like the top.  And will be making another one as soon as I make a fabric choice.

Commencing with this top I'm using my high bust measurement for pattern sizing.  I know, should have been using that measurement all along, I've read it, but it was so hard to make that change for some reason.  I'll be able to get a much better fit through the shoulders and bust area.  This sewing thing is ever evolving... 

June 10, 2013


... and I loved them mainly because my good fit didn't grow during the day.  This width pant leg is new to me, and at first I thought it wouldn't be a comfortable style for me - but I actually liked having a little difference.  Not loving the top as much, and may shorten it a bit and taper at the side seams.  But for now it is wearable.

June 9, 2013


...Nothing speaks summer to me louder than something nautical.
So as I continue working on my idea of a perfect Summer Breezes Wardrobe, I've had visions of adding a simple stripped garment to the collection.  I did make a striped boat neck last summer, but it's no longer living at my house as the neck fit didn't make the cut.  Just so happened that I do have a small collection of stripped knits stashed.  So I reached WAY back into my pattern collection and pulled out an old but goody

for a good fitting basic tee shirt.  I've made this pattern several times before back when I first started sewing again in 2006.  I wasn't too sure of my sizing back then and the tops ended up way too large through the neck and shoulders.  This time I cut a much smaller size through the neck/shoulder and bust area and was able to come up with just the right fit for a tee shirt.  One of the reasons I like this simple pattern is that it has no bust dart.  I detest making darts in knit fabrics because they just never press well - IMO.  This pattern is dartless.  I have also often wondered why some knit patterns have center back seams.  I use to think that it was senseless.   Little did I know that the center back seam lends itself to better fitting options - found this out during the Essential Tops Sew-A-Long several months go.  Thus my motto:  you live and learn, or so it should be.

I plan to wear my blue and white 3/4 length sleeved stripped t-shirt with a pair of traditional navy bell bottom pants that I made during my Pant's Marathon last month but never posted.  Maybe I'll debut that outfit tomorrow so I'll make sure I get a photo.

My top's plain and simple, but just what I needed to go with my bells.
Shouldn't have taken me a day and a half to finish it, but the first take on the neck band yielded uneven top-stitching.  I couldn't deal with that even on a simplistic tee shirt, so it had to be gingerly removed and re-done so I wouldn't over stretch the neckline.  Ended up having to hand stitch it to the inside seam which was tedious and time consuming but oh well.
I used a twin needle for the hems after deciding on hemming with white rather than blue.

Well there  you have it - my weekend's work.  Did I make a big enough deal out of such a simple project???  But know me - that's just the way I am.  Happy beginning of the week to all...

June 3, 2013


...For my next project I chose McCall's 6751 because I really needed an easy to make success story to build my confidence back up.

McCall's 6751
 I am really attracted to all four views of this pattern, but decided to start with view D.  I made it from a  crinkled gauze jungle print fabric pulled from the top of my stash.  Lots of colors involved in this top so it won't be hard to find a bottom to wear with it.  It's an easy, breezy simple top; another one with the hi-lo detail.


Back with pleated detail
Plenty of room in this one - I made a large but if I were to make it again I'd definitely opt for the medium.  I only made minor changes, i.e. omitted the pocket and bias tape facings for the armhole and neckline.  Nothing difficult about this one.  I think I'd love wearing it with shorts.  Just right for a lovely Saturday summer outing - mmmm note to self:  need to plan one of those (haha).  I think I need a couple  more simple projects just to keep momentum up.  What's on your project list for this week??? 

#2018 Tops That Pop - Day 9

...9 days down (my, how time flies) and 7 more days to go  Day 9 - #2018 TOPS THAT POP SEW-A-LONG 80 Participants (including me) ...