Sunday, September 21, 2014

Lane Raglan by Hey June

Hey, it's the Lane Raglan by Hey June Patterns!  I am seriously so excited about this because I have been looking for a great basic raglan knit t-shirt pattern and it's finally here!  The neckline placement is perfect for me and I like having the option for sleeve and waistband cuffs.  Mostly, I love that it is a great basic raglan tee pattern - the first I've been able to find anywhere.

I made this up in a white bamboo/lycra jersey and a cotton/lycra jersey 'floral knit red' from Harts Fabrics.

I also loved the 'floral knit blue' but I decided that my wardrobe needed some more red.

These two fabrics were a challenge to marry together because the white fabric was so much stretchier than the floral.  

My serger threw a fit while I was sewing and the upper looper threads pulled to the wrong side.  This is a problem because the seam was pulling open.  After messing with the knobs for a half an hour, I was no closer to a solution.  I rethreaded the serger and realized that the thread from the lower looper hadn't been hooked into one of the hooks and it was making the serger stitching all wonky.  Duhh!!  Problem solved!

I like that this pattern instructs the sewist to insert the neck band before sewing up the 4th sleeve seam.  Easy as pie!  I've noticed some sewists did not follow Hey June's instructions on stretching the neck band as it is sewn into the neckline, and instead they use the entire pattern piece regardless of the fabric's percent stretch.  This results in a neckband that gapes and does not hug the neck.  I used Claire Thorp's method for inserting the neck band.  I love Claire's method because it is quick, there is no measuring, and I got a perfect looking neckband the first try.

I topstitched the neckband with a twin needle.  You'll notice that I chose to leave my sleeve edges unfinished this go around.  They are fuss free!  I loved working with this pattern and can't wait to make another in a grey polka dot.  (Sorry about the blurry photos - the dreary weather did not cooperate and I hate using a flash.)

Does anybody have tips for working with extremely stretchy knits?  I've tried changing the differential feed, stitch length and moving to my sewing machine and using the walking foot with the lightning bolt stitch.  The seams are still wavy.  Have any of you tried a stabilizer for your knits?  It would have to be something temporary because I do want the seam to be stretchy.  Let me know if you have any secret tricks!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Vogue 1395 Rayon Challis Dress

I love cute floral prints!

They are really hard to find.  It took me three visits to Five Eighth Seams to take this fabric home with me. When I find a bold floral I like, I'm scared that after I buy it, I will realize that it is obviously mumu material.

This is a Joel Dewberry print called "Bungalow Dahlia Lavender". I <3 rayon challis!

But let me tell you about this pattern...we have a love/hate relationship.  I love the design but the pattern instructions are awful!  (This is one of the first designer Vogue patterns I've actually finished.  It's too bad their instructions are not more straightforward.)

The pictures were confusing and the instructions on how to insert the bias bound neckline didn't say how deep to make the seam.  Usually, that means a 5/8" seam allowance, but given the already narrow strip of binding, I knew that couldn't be right.  I didn't use the pattern for the bias tape.  Since I had made alterations to the neckline, I found it easier to just cut a long strip 1 1/4" wide on the bias, fold it in half, and sew the neckline seam at 1/8".  Because my seam was tiny, I didn't have to trim any off before I folded it and under-stitched.  When making a bias bound neckline, you want to stretch your bias fabric just a teensy bit as you sew it into the curve.  This ensures that it will lie flat.

I used my serger to insert the waist elastic.  I find that Vogue patterns waists fit me at a perfect spot (I'm short-waisted).

Because of the curves, I did not use my rolled hemmer foot (this is my most popular tute). I learned how to make a very precise, professional-looking rolled hem on the curves with this awesome tutorial.  I recommend using the second method for slippery fabrics like rayon challis and satin.

Pattern Alterations: Small Bust Adjustment, brought the neckline up and in at the shoulders, added length to the sleeves, brought the armscye up a bunch (other people complained the armholes were super gapey), took some width out of the center back (people complained it was gapey as well).

So glad this project turned out nicely!  I wish I'd made this at the beginning of summer.

This is actually the first really satisfying project I've finished in months.  It's a real confidence booster!

In other news, it is super, duper comfy.

If you're planning on making this dress good luck!  Let me know if you get stuck.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Baby Shower Gift - Free Patterns!

Baby shower gifts are so easy to make and they come together quickly! I have soooo many scraps and remnants, I can go shopping for fabric in my own sewing room.  I made an entire 3-6 month baby girl outfit using the baby tunic pattern from iCandy and the Baby Go to Leggings pattern.  I made the little headband without a pattern. 

I used jegging fabric and a little floral cotton .  I love the little pocket on the chest and the floral peplum.  I used my serger to gather the fabric and to hem the bottom edge.

The little leggings were so easy to sew.  Remember to hem the pants BEFORE sewing the inside legs together.  It is really hard to get your presser foot around the little leg hole if you don't!

I also made two more burp cloths, using my pattern, to include in the gift:

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Push past the fear of making a mistake! ---with Butterick 5315

As I work on sewing my red shirtdress,  I am reminded of this quote:

'Know why? My fear of making mistakes is the main reason why I put of finishing projects.  I avoid trying new things especially when I'm unsure of how to solve a problem or am scared to try a new technique due to fear I will 'RUIN the fabric'. I may even occasionally obsess about what others (that's you included) will thing of my fabric choice, style and construction methods. Wouldn't it be shocking if I wore something that was not up to my standards of perfect?  Because honestly, sometimes they can be pretty unattainable!

I thought it was the worst feeling in the world to totally botch a project that will forever be known as a failure.  But I realized this week there is something worse than that.  The worst thing I can do is visualize myself making a mistake and thinking my project will fail, and then stalling for months and thereby not possibly making mistakes that I could have already learned from by now.

I may also be guilty of leaving UFOs in plain sight to punish myself and remind myself that I must finish them.  I am learning to let go, put them away, and work on them one at a time.

I decided I would use my red shirtdress as an opportunity to practice the following:

 1. Practice positive visualizations.
2. Have reasonable expectations.
3. Realize that making mistakes is part of learning 
and it can be a positive thing.
4. Resist the urge to relive past failures.

You know what?

It's working!

I've pushed through my fears and despite my day job, I found a lot of time to work on my shirtdress.  I have a lot to show for it already:

I couldn't find my buttonhole foot but it didn't stop me from making buttonholes using my walking foot:

I used piping in a garment for the first time EVER:

I moved the bust dart to the shoulders and turned it into a couple of pleats. My drafting job wasn't perfect but I decided to just go with it. OVER-ANALYZING LITTLE DETAILS is something I'm just not willing to let get in my way. I'm amazed what I can accomplish with positive thinking!

The dress is mostly constructed with just the hem and the sleeves to finish!  Boo ya!

Do you ever have to turn off perfectionist thoughts?  How does your thinking help you succeed?

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Boxy Pouch LOVE

I am teaching a boxy pouch sewing class June 6th at Fashion Fabrics and have been sewing some mock-ups.  This boxy pouch is large enough to hold cosmetics, shaving supplies, or art supplies:

And it looks like a cute little orange!  Can't beat that!  It zips open and the inside is lined:

I love the tabs on either end.
The next box is much smaller, dimensions are approximately 7"x5"x4".  I made this one for my nephew.

I added a little handle on the end with my sewing label. 

I love the way the moth fabric coordinates with the dots.  The great thing about this pouch is that it is totally customizable!  You can adjust its size to meet all of your needs.

If you live in the Charleston area, come sign up for my class by contacting Cathy at Fashion Fabrics.  She's got a Facebook page here with all of her contact information.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Pattern Sale This Weekend!

I don't know where y'all like to get your patterns, but some of the big 4 patterns are on sale this weekend at Joann's and Hancock's:
Hancock's: May 22-26 Vogue Patterns $4.99, McCall's 99 cents
Joann's: May 18-24 Vogue Patterns $4.99, and McCall's 5 for $7

I feel like they've upped the prices on patterns and a lot of the sales make you buy more than one pattern to get the sale. :(  I go for quality, not quantity.

I am not likely to buy a pattern unless its well reviewed and tested.  Now that I know what styles look good on my body, I can browse without getting caught up in trendy styles that won't work for me.  These buy 5 for $7 sales don't appeal to me at all because I am usually looking for one or two really great patterns.

The new sewing pattern above, Vogue 1395, is on my wishlist.  I haven't had the desire to sew a garment in a woven in a while, but this dress would come together really easily with a floral pink challis I have in my stash.

If I weren't caught up with other items on my to do list, I would sew up McCall's 6610.  I never finished sewing my shorts last year and need to venture into the world of pants.

I am in desperate need of a pair of shorts and if I can't make a pair I will likely be wearing skirts all summer.

I was looking for a good skirt pattern for an aqua colored linen in my stash.  As I was pouring over magazines online I realized that the trend in skirts leans toward very flowy silhouettes and lightweight, drapey fabrics.  This isn't what I was looking for but it's very cute!

...and maxi skirts.  It seems like every pattern company has their own take on this great staple.

Have you found any new patterns you'll be dashing for this weekend?

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Jalie 3350 Finally Came!

I waited ever so patiently for my Jalie 3350 pattern to arrive last week and when it didn't, I sent an email to check its status.  They replied on Tuesday and said USPS tracking marked it as delivered last Saturday.  The problem is, it didn't arrive.  What do you do when the post office marks something as delivered that wasn't?  I was so excited to get my pattern and it was killing me to have it 'lost' in the mail.

I didn't have to stew over it long, I didn't even have the chance to go down to the post office and inquire about my package because it arrived in the mail today.  Yay!!!  Such a relief!

I paid good money for that pattern and it's great to see it in the flesh.  Ta - da!!!  I had no idea the pattern would be soooo big.  The cover looks to be a 9x12" piece of paper.

No squinting required!

This is a closeup of a picture of the actual pattern - on medium weight paper - not that flimsy one-time-use tissue paper.  Boo ya!

And here is a great illustration of the twist neckline.  This will make it easier to figure out how to alter the bust when I come to it.  What a great design!

This pattern is a multi-size pattern from girls' 2-13 to womens' 4-22 and ALL sizes are included in this one pattern.  Too bad I don't have like six sisters all in need of swimsuits.

I will be ordering my swimsuit fabric from  I don't have a good source for swimsuit fabric in Charleston.  I'm a hard sell when it comes to nylon spandex prints and solid colors.  I've learned from experience that I like it to be a good medium weight and of superior quality, and I can get all of it from this supplier.

Did you know that you can order up to 10 free samples and Spandex House will ship them for free?  Let me reiterate that....FREE SAMPLES, at no cost, not even for shipping!  If you're like me you need to see, touch, put fabric up to your face before you're ready to commit.  These samples are not tiny 3x3" squares.  They are at least 3x8". And now for my contenders...

I love these carefree dots:

This one reminds me of "Starry Night"

And this floral on black could be pretty chic:

I also got some solid red milliskin matte samples.  Be careful...I feel like their solid colors are totally different in person.  I thought the reds would be darker.  Before you buy, check the samples.  Then you will be sure you TOTALLY LOVE your fabric.

Also, speaking of knits...

Last week I ran out of the Design Plus I use to hem my knits.  I finished my Ella Moss T-Shirt without it.  It was really hard to keep my hem from moving around under the presser foot and the finished product was not as professional-looking.  I'm so glad it's back in my sewing room again!

What projects do you have planned? I would love to read about them in the comments below.  Thanks for reading :)

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Ella Moss T-shirt

I made this cheerful t-shirt using an Ella Moss striped knit, purchased from Harts Fabrics last summer.  

It's a poly/cotton/spandex blend but they couldn't tell me the percent stretch. I am surprised how many people (like fabric retailers) don't know how to find the percent stretch of a knit fabric. After the fabric type and fiber content, this is the next thing that lets me know whether or not a fabric will work for a certain project. When the fabric showed up on my doorstep, it was much thinner and less stretchy than I was hoping for.  It is such a pretty color, but it took me a while to figure out which pattern I wanted to use.

I settled on the same Craftsy knit t-shirt pattern that I used last summer.  This is a great little pattern!  I added a little pocket (self-drafted) and was so glad Dolly was available to model while I pinned it on.

(I basted the outer edge, then pinned and sewed it into place.)

I stressed (more than I should) about how long my neckband should be.  The less stretchy a fabric is, the longer the neckband should be, but it should still be shorter than the neckline circumference.  Some people say a good rule of thumb is 75% of neckline circumference + 1/2"+ seam allowances.  I don't like this because it doesn't take your % stretch into consideration.  The fabric cut on the bias was about 35% stretch, so I decided the neckband should be: neckline circumference x 85% + seam allowances.  It worked like a charm!

I hate layering t-shirts and am glad I have another cute shirt I can just throw on and leave the house with.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

FINALLY, a cute swimsuit pattern I can wear!!!

So, I've been on the hunt for a cute swimsuit pattern...for like 3 years.  It can be really hard to find a cute one-piece pattern when you don't fill out the cups. While I want the bodice area to have some detail, it needs to work with my small bust and not require extensive alterations.  I have not been pleased with the swimsuit pattern offerings of late.  I want something like this:
 or this:

Love the ruching on both of these.  Unfortunately, stuff like this is only available in ready to wear and either does not fit or costs $100.  

I thought about making the one below last year until my husband asked me very politely, "Whose boobs are you going to put in it?"

It's too low on top.  It requires formed cups I can't fill.  I would be falling out of it.  It would be a fitting disaster.  Somebody seriously needs to make size AA formed swimsuit cups.

I have been looking over pattern magazines like crazy and finally found this one from Jalie:

This has gotta be a new pattern and I love it!  View B has the cutest cross over detail and I could make this in a tankini or one piece.  I like having two straps.  Halters always feel like they are choking me and pulling my neck forward.  I seriously can't wait to get my hands on this pattern!

I love sewing swimwear.  It comes together so quickly and is fairly forgiving.  On to fabric selection!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Gatsby Party + Favorite Sewn Items

I have less time to devote to my sewing blog than I did before I started working full time.  When I come home, I spend a little while drooling at the wall and then my tummy growls and I cook up something to eat.  Also, the summer growing season is in full swing and I find myself wanting to be outside growing something or soaking up the sun at the beach in my free time.

Last night we went to a Gatsby Party.  I thought about making a flapper dress.  I had some blue sequin fabric lying around but it wasn't enough to make a full dress.  When I finally had some time to sew it was 8 hours before the party and I decided to just wear a dress I had.  Admittedly, it wasn't anything like a flapper dress but the dress matched my accessories!  Have you ever tried to make something quickly on the fly?  I can't always do it and it can really stress me out if I'm not using a familiar shape or pattern.  I took the extra effort to make my makeup like 1920s makeup.  It was fun learning about the actress Clara Bow and how everyone was obsessed with duplicating her rosy lips and thinly penciled eyebrows.

Lately, these items have been getting a lot of wear:

This is my awesome TNT one piece swimsuit pattern, Kwik Sew 3153.  This second suit fits almost perfectly and is so comfortable.  This has been getting a lot of wear at the beach!

Butterick 5315 with a drafted shawl collar makes for a great spring dress in seersucker.  This dress never needs ironing!  I highly recommend seersucker for shirt dresses.

I love my first make of Butterick 5153.  This is my favorite dress pattern of all time.  IT-FITS-PERFECTLY.  Fit is everything.  It makes things comfy, it makes me feel confident in what I wear.  It wouldn't mind having two more of these in different colors with different style options.

And my favorite sewn item this season is my maxi skirt, SBCC Cosmo Skirt.   Such a comfortable and flattering skirt!  I love the shape.  I will be teaching this class at Fashion Fabrics in Mt. Pleasant this Friday.  Prepping for this class is another reason why I haven't had time to do my own sewing.  If you live in the Charleston area, there is still time to sign up!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Collette Hawthorn - Fitting Issues!

This pattern is a lot different than my TNT shirt dress.  The armscye is obviously too small and too high.  These pictures are after I took out a little in the side seams and graded a bit off the lower armscye.  It's really tight at the upper back and shoulders.  What should I do? Cut out a larger size?

See that bunching?  

As for the front, this bra is a little on the small side.  The tightness in the  back makes it impossible to close the front with my normal bra.