Simply Pink New Look 6340

There is nothing like triple digit temperatures to make you grab some fabric and a pattern and run to your sewing machine!  If you are looking for a quick, simple sundress to make for your summer wardrobe, look no further than New Look 6340.   Let me back up and say that I haven’t posted in a while because I have been packing (sewing) for an upcoming trip. Before that, I was cleaning up my sewing room (a HUGE task and you don’t want to see that).  I even donated some fabric!  However, due to the scorching heat outside, I have torn myself away from those tasks to make up this quick dress (and necklace).

I don’t care for the hot summers in Tucson, Arizona but I love the winters. So here I am in June and in need of the coolest possible dress to wear…EVER. Meet New Look 6340.  This pattern is perfect made out of a light weight cotton.  I made a size 14.  I purchased my fabric from Joann’s a while ago, so it qualifies as a stash buster.  This pattern offers 4 dress styles with notched, slightly scooped and V neck options.  Pockets and sleeves are optional. Two hemline variations offered and side seam ties can be added to tie in back and offer some additional shaping. I chose to leave off the ties.

Quick glance at New Look 6340

Quick glance at New Look 6340

Center front seems are not my favorite because they break up a print.  To get around this, I try to find an all over print that ‘reads’ as a solid and then the center seam doesn’t bother me as much.

Pocket shaped detail

Pocket with shaped detail

This pocket shape is not offered in the pattern, however a pleated version is offered. I decide to add a little bit of interest to the top of the pocket by shaping it with an inverted point at the center and facing it with a 1″ strip. I copied the shape on the strip and sewed the two pieces together, right sides together.  Next step wass to stitch and trim, clip the curves, turn and press. Because cotton ravels during washing, I serge-finished the pocket edges.  Press under the remaining three sides and top stitch.   I used the pattern marking for the pocket and used fusible tape to secure the pockets before stitching.

A-Line dress with center back seam

A-Line dress with center back seam

The hem is a simple 5/8″ seam turned under and top stitched.

Now you know I have to make a necklace to wear with my outfits, right?  I was fortunate to find some pink and orange ceramic beads and a metal leaf focal pendant at Joann’s.  I added some amber colored faceted crystal beads and some size 6 glass pink seed beads.  It’s a pretty simple design and easy execution with a gold toggle clasp.

Self made necklace with beads and pendant from Joanns

Self made necklace with beads and pendant from Joanns

Ceramic, glass and metal necklace

Ceramic, glass and metal necklace

So there you have it.  I came out of hiding to photograph two simple makes and now I’m on my way to be better prepared for the heat!  Now I have to get back to finishing another  TNT shirt for my husband for Father’s Day. What have you been working on for the summer?
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Rhonda’s Creative Life Is Sharing Blog Love….

Blog Love

Blog Love

Returning A Favor

It is a little early for Valentine’s Day, but I am feeling the love from Rhonda.  Blog love, that is.  I was grateful to find my blog featured on Rhonda’s Creative Life Wednesday Showcase!   Rhonda wrote a thoughtful post summarizing my love for sewing, making jewelry and offering tutorials.  It is only fair to share the love and share Rhonda’s website with my viewers.  Talk about making my day!!   I was giddy with delight to see the referrals from Rhonda in my site stats because, like compliments people give you, she didn’t have to do it.  She didn’t just link to my site but wrote a nice re-cap with great collage photos to help introduce me to her readers.

Rhonda Buss

Rhonda Buss flying planes and saving dogs

Check Out Her Blog

I have to be honest….I didn’t know about Rhonda until this happened but I’m glad now!  (I’m still discovering established sewing bloggers every day).   If you have not read about Rhonda, what I can tell you is that she has been blogging since 2009, loves to fly planes and writes for Sew News Magazine.  She offers free patterns  and regularly shares the love by featuring other blogger’s posts on topics she thinks will be educational, informative or just plain fun!

Every Wednesday (Wednesday Showcase) Rhonda features a blogger that has caught her eye.   Rhonda’s posts range from collaborative sewing projects, Sunday Night Reflections, Sew Alongs or a link to take you to a site offering fashion thoughts like Londa’s Creative Sewing.  There is her Wednesday Showcase Hall of Fame on the right column on her home page to see.  Time can fly by just perusing the information on her sight.  How about some free printables to start off the year??  Those are just a few quick enticements.  Yep, this site is worth your time.

My Thoughts

The sewing community shares generously, is endlessly creative, and courageous.  I read about women tackling sewing challenges constantly by spending time and money and projects that have unknown outcomes.   Women of all ages open themselves up to possible sewing ‘fails’ by sharing how the fabric, pattern or execution may have come up short.  And who doesn’t love to read about a sewing success story?!  The constant pursuit to sharpen the sewing, fitting and technical skills takes determination, perseverance and creativity.  I am so grateful to be a part of this community and to learn from these fellow sewists!

 

Do you have some blog love to share?  Have you found a blog that inspired you to get creative, motivated, or be encouraged?  I’d love to hear.

-Dana

McCalls 7020 Cowl Top Turned Dress

Cowl Neck top with Chico's necklace

Cowl Neck top with Chico’s necklace (old)

As I move into 2017 and take inventory of my lengthy list of sewing projects, I am reminded of the bloggers who took great time to review their versions of sewing ‘Hits and Misses’ of 2016.   There seemed to be a plan from the start of the year to execute specific garments for their wardrobe.  This requires organization and planning skills, which I admire.   However, I am more impulsive.  If I need a jacket, I make one.  If I get inspired by a great pattern, I collect the fabric and necessities and get started.  Maybe perusing blogs will inspire me to make something similar because I can! Allowing myself to be drawn into a creative swirl often results in garments that have served a practical purpose,  a creative ‘itch’ that needed to be scratched, or because I needed some time alone to recharge in my happy sewing space.

Have you ever come across a pattern that just draws you in but you don’t know why?  This simple McCalls 7020 pattern did just that.  Maybe it was the fabric, or how it looked on the model or maybe it’s simplicity.   Not sure.  At first, I planned to make a top (View B) out of this to wear with jeans.  But then I realized that I had enough fabric to extend the top into a dress minus pockets.  I love the idea of pockets and I truly love them but only if they can be sewn down either to the waistband or directly to the front of the garment.

Cowl Neck of McCalls 7020

Cowl Neck of McCalls 7020

My favorite part of this pattern is the cowl neck. The pattern piece is weirdly shaped which is probably why it drapes so nicely.  This fabric is a waffle weave Henley-like fabric purchased at my local mill end store.  Since fabric content is a guess at that store, I would say it’s contents would be a rayon, cotton and poly blend.

( Side note about mystery fabric content:  My rule is the Fabric Must Stand The Washer And Dryer Test.  How will it survive?  Sometimes the fabric improves with washing and drying.  You may choose to launder the fabric differently into the future, but that first washing is crucial.   The results of the washing may change the direction of the project.  Is it softer?   Does it have a new texture, drape?…etc.  Remember that you are getting a great deal because there are NO FRILLS, UNKNOWN FABRIC CONTENT OR CARE DESCRIPTION.  You are on your own.  I happen to love this fabric challenge because my success rate is about 95%.  Maybe it comes from years of working with fabric that I am confident that it will turn out.  Like most things, practice makes perfect. )

Back to the dress – It is a bit thin for a dress, but since I knew I would wear it with tights, it was fine.   I made up a size  M 12/14.

My son’s dog, Outlaw, was a bit bored, but still well behaved while we took some photos.

Are we done yet?

One construction change I might make for next time is to eliminate the center front and back seams and instead place them on the fold.  It would also save some sewing time making this an even quicker project to complete.   The center seams interrupt the pattern if using a print.

It makes sense in View C where stripes are featured.

Man, this is boring?  Fetch, anyone??

Here, you can see the front riding up.  It appears I need a Full Bust Adjustment!  Hummmm.  I don’t usually need to make that alteration, but when I see the front hem line drawing up, it usually means that fabric is being taken up by a larger bust.  I found myself tugging at the dress to keep the front even with the back.

My second change would be to make the bicep/upper arm circumference larger.  My goal was to have this be a looser knit shift dress all around, but the sleeves are a bit tight.

I will probably make this again but choose stripes instead and make a top and widen the sleeves to be more comfortable.   Now that I’m thinking of it, I have some striped fabric in my stash that I could use for all of these changes.  It would also be nice to add a slightly hi-low hemline to the top.   Stay tuned…

These days, a loose style cowl neck is the closest I will be getting to a turtleneck.   I don’t seem to need many layers year round while living in Arizona.  This loose cowl also allows space for a necklace.

Please be a squirrel....

Please be a squirrel….

Using this same pattern, I loved seeing Mimi G Style’s hoodie.  Have you tried this pattern?  Thoughts?

Happy sewing-

Dana

Men’s Ties Christmas Tree Skirt Tutorial

Family Ties turned into a Christmas Tree Skirt

Family Ties turned into a Christmas Tree Skirt

Men’s ties make the perfect circle skirt to dress up your tree.   If the male family members in your house despise wearing ties (like my husband), and they are sitting in a drawer, gather them together for this quick project.   I was lucky enough to receive my dad’s and uncle’s discarded ties after their professional lives no longer called for them.   I also added a few from thrift stores to complete the project.   It has become a family tradition to use this skirt under our tree every year as a way to include some of the past and bring it into the present.

*A little disclaimer: I made this tree skirt before I started my blog, so this tutorial is explaining how to make this after the fact. Hopefully, I can explain the process clearly enough so you can easily make one for yourself…or give to someone else.

I gathered 46 ties to assemble this tress skirt, including the tie used in the center hole.
Here is a list of what you will need:
1). Approximately 42-52 men’s ties, both skinny and wide, or enough to make a circle around the base of your tree
2). Approximately 40″ of Single Fold Bias Tape (or you could use a strip of Christmas fabric)
3). Muslin or cotton fabric for base
4). Thread to match ties

Underside of tree skirt using muslin fabric

Underside of tree skirt using muslin fabric

1.) Draw a large circle out of the muslin fabric (above photo) making it a few inches shorter than ties to allow the points of ties to hang off (below).  Mine measures 20.5 inches from center circle to outer edge.

Tie ends overlap the base fabric

Tie ends overlap the base fabric

2.) Serge or finish the outer edge of the skirt (above).

Cut opening from center circle to outer edge

Cut opening from center circle to outer edge

3.) Draw a center circle. (The center circle needs to be large enough to fit around the stem/trunk of your tree). Cut out center circle hole and continue cutting stright out to the edge creating an opening to slip around tree base (above photo).  One tie will be used to trim around center circle in Step 9.
4.) Finish straight edge with bias tape or scrap strip of Christmas fabric. In photo above, you can see I used green bias tape from my bias tape scraps.

Audition tie layout

Audition tie layout

5.) Using muslin as my base fabric, audition all of the ties next to each other and pin in place overlapping each tie. Continue in a circle until the look and arrangement of ties is pleasing.
6.) Overlap the ties near the center circle (below).   They will be roughly cut and uneven and its okay.  Ignore the tie used to finish the circle.  Yours will not look like this at this stage but will after Step 9.

Narrow sections of ties overlapped at center circle

Narrow sections of ties overlapped at center circle

7.) Top stitch ties in place overlapping each tie over another.  Continue working around the entire circle until the first and last two ties cover the bias tape on the right side of the skirt.  When placed under the tree, the ties will overlap, disguising the opening.

Underside of tree skirt using muslin fabric

Underside of tree skirt using muslin fabric

8). After all of the ties are sewn to the base muslin fabric, it is time to trim the center circle and clean up the edge. Cut the ties evenly around center circle edge.
9).  Fold one tie in half and center around circle leaving ends to be used to tie in a bow. Stitch, enclosing all rough edges of ties.

Completed center circle with remaining tie for bow

Completed center circle with remaining tie for bow

You are done!….except for the presents.

Completed tree skirt

Completed tree skirt

Time to add presents

Time to add presents

Place under your tree and Merry Christmas!
If you are interested in other quick Christmas presents, check out my Snap Bag Tutorial or Curling Iron Cover Tutorial.

– Dana

Simplicity 2153 Silly Putty Jacket

Tried and True Simplicity 2153

Tried and True Simplicity 2153

Am I dating myself if I ask you about the color of Silly Putty?  You know, the dirty, well-loved Silly Putty after it has been used on newsprint a few times.  Looks a little gross, but it provided lots of fun for me when I was a kid….and there is interesting history of the gooey stuff to read here.   And if you can’t get enough, put in Silly Putty in Google images to see the many playful uses of this stuff.

The dirty, well-used Silly Putty

The dirty, well-used Silly Putty

Anyway, when I see this pinkish-brown color I think of Silly Putty and I happen to love it.   Here is another version from the same pattern green jacket I made here with a few changes.
I absolutely love this OOP Simplicity 2153 pattern.   It is still available for sale on various sites on the web.  I have plans to make this up in a khaki twill fabric to have a safari-like vest or jacket.  My favorite part of the jacket is the length which means my hands fit comfortably into the pockets and that it covers my rear.  A definite plus in my book.

Bum Coverage

Bum Coverage

The fabric is a linen and rayon blend, which means that it gets a rumpled look but it breathes well. It is also lightweight, which is important for layering and living in the desert.   If I need more warmth, adding a scarf usually does the trick.

Silly Putty Back View

Silly Putty Back View

In the above picture, the jacket looks like it has white splotches all over it, but it is just shadows.  It is roomy without looking too big.  I made a size 14.

Below is an up close shot of the pockets with the selvedges sewn around the tops of the pockets.   This was a different approach than with the olive version.  I tried to achieve a worn in look that didn’t look too formal or fussy, not that this would ever look like a formal jacket, but I wanted to be able to pull out of the closet, put it on and go.
Pockets IMG_4383

Collar Ties

Collar Ties

Above, you can see that I used the selvedge and incorporated it into the pocket and collar.  I always look at the selvedges of the fabrics I purchase and see how they hold up during the laundering phase.  If they survive and have an appealing look, I experiment with ways to include them into the garment.  The collar contains elastic in the outer edge and is sewn to the ties.  I won’t be cinching it up so leaving it this way just makes the collar stand up, stay in place and ready for wear.

Inside elastic casing with bias tape

Inside elastic casing with bias tape

I purchased my zipper for the olive jacket and this jacket from ZipperShipper.  They have a great selection, good prices and fast shipping.  I guessed on the ‘medium brown’ color knowing it wouldn’t be a perfect match for this weird shade of brown,  but it works and the quality of the zipper is great.

Elastic casing made with bias tape

Elastic casing made with bias tape

Something I repeated from the olive green jacket was the elastic waist casing.   I pulled the elastic to a comfortable measurement, attached the ties and then knotted them.  This means that I can grab the coat and GO.  No fussing about with a fidgety waist drawstring.  I can always count on the elastic gathering evenly.

Possible accessories

Possible accessories

If I want to add a little more interest, I have a me-made necklace I made out of acrylic beads or a scarf to pair with it.

Optional additions

Optional additions

Finished product

Finished product

There is a reason why a M-65 Army utility jacket like this has been so popular over the years for military, fishing, hunting and fashion.  I get it!  It provides pockets galore, no-fuss practical style and if you happen to sew, it can be made up in many types of fabric.  If you happen to be interested in the history of such a jacket, here is an article worth reading.

Thanks for stopping by and happy sewing.

-Dana

 

 

Rust and Navy Knit Tunic

Front Long View 618WIMG_4356[1]In the spirit of early fall and pumpkin season, I whipped up this Butterick 5925, a Katherine Tilton tunic.  Have I mentioned how I love it when the end of October rolls around and brings a little chill to the air?   This is the consistent time of year in Tucson when sweaters and coats are realistic to wear.  I happen to love it (I probably should be living in a cooler climate).   I also love this top because it is easy to make, uses up some small knit remnants for the accents and is very comfortable.

FrontMid ShotIMG_4348[1]
The long necklace is thrifted from a local bookstore – a little unexpected find from an unusual place.  It is jasper and hand knotted.  I think I paid $12.
As you can see from the line drawing, there are many ways to combine fabrics.  I chose View B but left off the pocket.  I didn’t want to add any bulk at the hip and have the stripe fabric be more visible.  The contrast I chose was simpler than Katherine had designed for View B, where you can incorporate 3 fabrics.  I shortened the sleeves to a 3/4 length which is a year round length for me AND allows for a little visible arm candy.

Back view of pattern

This style shirt and the use of different knit fabrics allow for so many options. I had no fitting issues, except for the neck band which is always tricky so that it lays flat. You know, a neck band that is not too tight, not too loose = SAGGY. Yuck.  In the words of Michael Kors, “Becky Home-Ecky”.    No preventable saggy necks.  So what to do?   I haven’t figured out the perfect formula for the knit neck bands.  Online classes and various teachers have suggested three-quarters of the neck circumference should be the neck band length, but that doesn’t always work due to the amount of stretch the fabric may have.  If it is a low stretch, like Ponte knit or matte jersey, the neck strip will need to be longer in order to stretch around the neckline and still lay flat.  Super stretchy fabric will be shorter in length for the neckband.  I find pinning it and distributing it as evenly as possible around the neckline works best.   Basically, I have to experiment every time.  I like to jot down the length on my instruction sheet to a have reference info for the future.

Up Close Agate NecklaceIMG_4380[1]

Here is another jewelry option.  Earrings are from Payless Shoe Source!! Can you believe it? Never underestimate the gems that can be found in unlikely places.  The necklace is self made with agate tubes and spacer beads.

Necklace VerticalIMG_4407[1]Below, the side view shows how a triangle piece adds great interest (often called a gore).

Here is the Google definition pertaining to fabric:
ɡôr/noun
noun: gore; plural noun: gores
1. a triangular or tapering piece of material used in making a garment, sail, or umbrella.
verb
verb: gore; 3rd person present: gores; past tense: gored; past participle: gored; gerund or present participle: goring
1. make with a gore-shaped piece of material.
“a gored skirt”

Side ViewIMG_4364[1]

IMG_4361[1]

CoverProHemIMG_4405[1]

This is the cover stitch hem I did using 4 different threads with my Janome CoverPro machine. As you can see, the three threads show on top.  The fourth thread color is on the underneath side.

I even had enough fabric left over to make a tank and infinity scarf.  I have a post about infinity scarves here.

Cowl InfinityIMG_4402[1]
Long Infinity ScarfIMG_4403[1]

The tank is from the Ann’s Cardigan post. I lengthened it a bit from the waist down so that it can be worn as a vest over a button down shirt or under a cardigan or jacket. The scarf can be worn with the rust boots, and a completely different outfit.
Here is the 8 inch slit on the side of the tank.

Side SlitIMG_4404[1]

So there you have it. Another completed sewing project and some jewelry to match.   I hope you will grab this pattern while it is still in the Butterick book and make one up.

On to the next project!
-Dana

Gray and Beige Equals Greige

Greige Outfit and Necklace

Greige Outfit and Necklace

Is there a neutral color that gets your attention every time?  It may be certain shades of gray, tan or camel or a interesting combination of shades you can’t even describe.  Well this is mine.  I love this boring and funky color of brown/gray/beige.  I bet many of you would call it something entirely different.  It is another alternative to black, and a bit more complimentary to my coloring.
I scored the necklace at a local art fair and loved the combination of colored stones set in sterling silver.  Earrings are self made by adding a bead to a post finding from my stash.
Back to the outfit.  I found the fabric at Jo Ann’s in the Famous Maker are which means it retails for $9.99 but eligible for coupons.  I bought what was left on the bolt.

The skirt is a column skirt – nothing special.  Just measure the length, add seam allowances for elastic waist and hem.  Measure around hips when sitting down and add 1-2 inches for ease.  I added a tricot stretchy lining since the fabric is see-through.  I copied the measurements of the skirt and made the lining just a bit smaller.

Tricot Lining

Tricot Lining

The pattern is from Sewing Workshop / Ann’s Cardigan and Tank.  I noticed this pattern on Linda Lee on the Craftsy Sewing Fashion Knits online course in my personal Craftsy library.  I think I have gushed over Linda before about her eye for color (and fabric) and the course if a great advertisement for some of her fabric and pattern choices as she describes some great techniques for working for knits.

Pattern Front 618WIMG_2729

Pattern Front and Line Drawing

Pattern Back618WIMG_2730

Quick back view to help you prepare

A quick look at the pattern shown here gives you and idea of what fabric type and yardage you’ll need.

Doorway618WidthIMG_2706

Pumps from Kohl’s (old)

Godet Featured618WIMG_2707

Back comes forward forming a godet (a triangle shape)

The magic of the drape of the cardigan happens at the hip line.

Hipline 618WIMG_2718

Side slit of tank top

Above photo shows the side slit of the tank.  Notice I left the hem edges raw.
Changes in the future I would make:The tank has a modern silhouette with the points but the length is a little short on me. I like the length with this ensemble because there is so much of this color and the proportions work out, but in the future, I will lengthen the tank by cutting the tank pattern at the waist and adding length there instead of the hem. That way, it won’t add more bulk at the hips.  DON’T NEED THAT.

Here is an up close view of the tank neckline and necklace.  The neckline is turned under and sewn with two rows of top stitching.  I love using two fusible tapes for the neckline:  Design Plus Bias Fusible from LJ Designs This is used to stabilize and serge. Then I apply Dritz Wash Away Wonder Tape in the 1/4 inch width to help fuse the edge to the underside.  Then, carefully top stitch. Don’t do this late at night or too hopped up on caffeine!

PS NecklaceIMG_2720[1]

Doorway2 618WIMG_2705

Happy with the results

The pattern is a bit pricey, but if you are a cardigan girl like me, the plan is to make many of these pieces to get my money’s worth. The fit is flattering no matter your size or shape. Just remember to purchase a drapey knit that highlights the cascading front. Do you have a favorite cardigan (or tank) pattern?

Small Black Capsule

Adding beige, gold, gray, cream to the mix

Adding beige, gold, gray, cream to the mix

I know that black is not one of my best colors, or so I’ve been told, but I can’t help myself. It is just too easy to work with and sew into great go-to pieces for reliable, pulled-together looks. With my fascination with capsule wardrobes, I have a Pinterest board filled with many variations of what constitutes a ‘capsule’. I’ve noticed some pins that claim ‘9 pieces, 9 outfits’. This doesn’t seem like a winning formula. I prefer the 12 items creating 96 outfits or some kind of math equation like that,  stemming from my reading of Nancy Nix-Rice”s book, Looking Good Every Day: Style Solutions for Real Women..

From my daily stalking of Pinterest and book reading, I have learned that a ‘capsule’ begins with core pieces in one or two neutral colors consisting of interchangeable tops and bottoms such as pants, skirt, tank, jacket. Next, add in some coordinating prints in the way of tops or scarves, colorful linking jewelry connecting the colors together and Viola! Easy Breezy dressing. Another great source for capsules is the website Vivienne Files. covering clothing and color combinations galore.

I spend a lot of time planning out the right fabric with the right pattern and I when I am thinking about wearing pieces multiple times, I want them to go the distance and last from season to season.  Trendy pieces are downright fun to make and wear, moving in and out of the wardrobe. This was an effort to make some practical pieces that fit my lifestyle making it easier to mix with my wardrobe.

Here are three pieces I recently finagled out of 4 and 1/2 yards of 60″ wide fabric. The pants = 1 and 1/2 yards, top = 1 yard, shirt = 2 and 1/8 yards making for a small capsule with many possibilities.  Due to careful pattern placement, I was able to squeeze more pattern pieces onto the 4 and 1/2 yards, when technically I was short an eighth of a yard. If I have a large expansive piece of fabric, I can usually be a bit more conservative about pattern placement and conserve fabric.

Here are the three patterns I chose: McCalls 6613, Loes Hinse Cruise Pants – similar, and Burda 8987 out of print (OOP). (A favorite tank pattern can be cut on the bias to recreate this idea.)
IMG_4093
The fabric is from my stash, pre-serger, because when I pulled out the 4.5 yards from my cabinet, I noticed that I had not serged the raw edges. I religiously do that now as I find it reduces the wadded up fabric disasters in the dryer. The fabric content must be a linen blend with a white slub thread running through it in a cross hatch pattern. It has great drape, is 60″ wide, resists wrinkling, and comfortable to wear.  I can’t even remember where I bought it, but my tip is to buy the fabrics that feel great to your hand.

A few tips I can pass along when shopping for the easy care fabrics: Do they wrinkle when you do the squeeze and release test? How does it hang vertically or on the bias? Since buying fabric can often be a gamble, I look at content, care, drape (hand) of the fabric and it’s future versatility with other garments in the wardrobe. Will it go with at least 3 other items in my wardrobe when finished?

McCalls 6613 Palmer Pletch

McCalls 6613, View C, Palmer Pletch

The reason I picked this shirt was that I wanted a yoke and back pleat resembling a man’s shirt.   I wanted it roomy and able to be worked as an outer piece (shirt + jacket = shacket? or jirt?).  Anyway, I knew I would be giving up the bust darts, which are a favorite for me to get the right fit. I sacrificed that for the other features like those of View C which offers bias pockets and a bias front band. With a camera flash, this shirt looks like a charcoal gray, but it is black. Can you see the bias detail?
M6613
The sleeves are rolled up with a tab buttoned to the outside which is how I will wear the sleeves most of the time.

The tank is a V neck, seams to be more forgiving than the tanks I have cut on the lengthwise grain, and the armholes are drafted just right. Have I mentioned how much I love bias cut garments??

The pants are pull on with the addition of self drafted pockets placed on the outside, not in the side seam, and more toward the front of the pant. This kind of pocket adds NO bulk to the hips.

Now for some accessories. After reading Imogen Lamport’s Inside Out Style blog post on getting more mileage from beauty bundles, I realized that I have plenty of black/white/gold accessories that could be grouped together to make for easy selection based on what the day’s activities hold. The inspiration for Imogen’s post came from the book by Brenda Kinsel, Fashion Makeover: 30 Days to Diva Style.   I provided the link to Amazon because it is available at a reasonable cost, has great tips and wonderful illustrations.   It is just a jumping off point.  Take from it what you can.
Here is a grouping that blends with my yellow hair a bit better….

Adding beige, gold, gray, cream to the mix

Adding beige, gold, gray, cream to the mix

A dressier look with pearl cluster necklace from Macy's clearance table

A dressier look with pearl cluster necklace from Macy’s clearance table

This mixed pearl cluster necklace has a gold chain and is a larger scale piece, so I would choose smaller gold accessories.
I might put a white cardigan, or a black jacket with this combo…..

To see more about the accessories, click here to see the slideshow.

A warm red, gray, white scarf

A warm red, gray, white scarf

 Simplicity  short jacket with drawstring neckline

Simplicity short jacket with drawstring neckline

IMG_4083
This Simplicity 1621 jacket has no hanger appeal, but is actually pretty cute as a shrug/jacket.   I will post about this in the future as I have plans to alter the pattern a bit.  I want to leave the front the same but lengthen it to a cardigan length or duster.  The fabric is a linen look, which is a rayon/linen blend.  The front hangs a bit on the bias.  I finished the edges with a rolled hem.  The sleeves are simple;  rolled up thereby keeping the look casual.

For more ideas about accessorizing, see more on my post Accessories: Black/White/Gold/Silver.

Do you have some patterns in your stash or in the recent pattern books that could be made up into great capsule pieces?

Green Apples and Green Peas

IMG_4050 Before I get started, I feel I have some explaining to do regarding my “break” from posting. It is due to many reasons, none of which may interest you, but I have been doing home remodeling to one room in the house, which leads to much upheaval in the rest of the house. I am pretty disorganized as much of my fabric and patterns are still not at my fingertips. I have also been trying to figure out how to keep up on the posts, offer interesting sewing projects when sometimes I just want to sew and not think in terms of blogging about it. Believe me, there is a difference between sewing and sewing to blog about it. Since I do it all, I have been thinking about ways to stream line and ease the process. I also have such a extensive collection …(hoarder) of patterns, that sometimes I want to make those oldies but goodies that are out of print. Is that just frustrating to read about a fantastic pattern that is no longer available?? When other sewing bloggers do it, I figure I MUST have that patterns somewhere….

There may be more outfits on the mannequin just to speed up the post publishing, so here I am back in the saddle. I hope the posts will still be inspirational yet shorter and more concise. So I will start up with one of the beauties from an independent pattern company….

Here is the Midtown Trench Coat pattern from Indygo Junction. I would include a link, but sadly, it is no longer available. Bummer! I call it my apple green trench because it is that exact color. The necklace is self made from beads purchased at the Tucson Gem Show. Green agate the size of green peas. (More about the necklace below). It may not be the best color on me, but I spotted this fabric at Walmart of all places and thought it might be cute made up in this retro-inspired coat.   It was cotton, 45″ wide and inexpensive. WIN! I thought it would be good practice (muslin) fabric to try out the pattern. It has a red slub stripe running though it which I wanted to feature on the bias cut cuffs and collar.

3/4

3/4″ Sleeves, Bias Cuffs, Side Seam Pockets

I think I like the back the best. The pleats add so much interest and resembles the back of a swing coat.

Back View, Midtown Trench

Back View, Midtown Trench

The line drawings show the slight differences. I chose to insert the pockets into the side seams, but the patch pockets look great, too.  I made the shorter thigh length (32″) instead of to the knee.  I wear it with dark denim and a tank.

Back view of the Midtown Trench

Back view of the Midtown Trench

Green Apple Trench, DIY necklace, Hobby Lobby Buttons

Green Apple Trench, DIY necklace, Hobby Lobby Buttons

Amy Barickman, the founder of Indygo Junction, partners with Mary Ann Donze to make these great patterns available. I have about 5-6 patterns of theirs that I want to make up. When I attended the Sewing and Stitching Expo in Puyallup, WA, Amy was at her booth wearing the Mod Top and Tunic, and she looked so cute.   There is nothing like seeing a sample made up to sucker me into buying the pattern!

Click here again to see the different ways this looks made up in cotton quilting fabrics. I suppose any other medium weight woven fabric would work. Check out the other patterns on the site. You may find something that you can’t wait to try.
IMG_4050Buttons are from Hobby Lobby, and the collar, cuffs and facing are interfaced. There is a slight princess line shaping down the front. The pleats in the back are sewn right down the crease (my choice, not on instructions) to help keep the edges sharp.
Necklace: I’ve been wanting a light green necklace for some time now. I spotted these beads and envisioned them in a simple, multi-strand collar style necklace. The cones and toggle were also purchased at the gem show.
IMG_4064

Green Jasper, 8mm

Green Jasper, 8mm

IMG_4067

18″ Five Strand Necklace

Do you ever get compelled by a color that works it’s way into your wardrobe?

Fall Brings Olive and Orange

Olive and Orange

Olive and Orange

Although this will post in November, I worked on this jacket for a good part of October. This time of year brings about the prolific use of orange everywhere-mostly for Halloween, but also for fall decorations.   The above picture is a bright geranium from my yard, blooming like it is the prime season for this flower.  Nature provides great inspiration by offering wonderful color combinations, so here is my interpretation of these two.

Using Simplicity 2153, I used some heavy duty green duck fabric in olive and combined it with a cotton tee from Walmart.  I’m not sure this borderline fluorescent-y orange is the best color for me, so I normally lean toward the coral and peach versions.  It combined with olive, so here it is.  This jacket took a while because I did a lot of unpicking!
IMG_3958The reason it took a while  was because I originally envisioned the coat having flaps on the four pockets with either buttons and buttonholes, or hook and loop tape.  The flaps didn’t sit right and the buttonholes sewn with upholstery thread didn’t look right either.   So I decided to use the buttons as only decoration and put them on the edges of the pockets anyway.  I like the simplicity of it now and there is less fuss getting in and out of the pockets.

I was motivated to make a olive green utility jacket for three reasons: 1.) I love olive drab and it happens to be the color of my eyes 2.) I needed a single layer outer casual jacket 3.) It is BIG in fashion and I can sew it my way. 4.) It has a great history here.

Casual jacket with fancy necklace

Casual jacket with fancy necklace

The necklace was purchased at DSW, the olive duck/bottomweight fabric was purchased at SAS Fabrics, my local mill end store. The fabric is a little stiff right now, so I hope with a few tosses in the washer and dryer, it will soften up.IMG_3975
Here are the items I collected before starting the project:
Simplicity 2153

Simplicity 2153

My local fabric stores did not have the olive colored brass zipper, so I ordered online from Zipper Shipper. All you do it look for the type of zipper you want and enter in the desired color and length. It is my new go-to for zipper needs because the cost was great, shipping was fast, and the quality of the zipper is very good. The contrast thread was Coats and Clark Upholstery thread in gold, antique brass buttons are from Hobby Lobby. Seam tape in olive, and the best find was parachute cord at Joann’s in the beading section–who knew?? Oh, and Simplicity 2153, view C with D collar.IMG_3963
Back View relaxed

Back View relaxed

Here is a the back view without cinching the waist tie.
Back view cinched

Back view cinched

Here, I pulled the waist cord and cinched it to give more waist definition. I will probably make this jacket again in a lighter weight fabric. I like the length, and the pockets are in the right place. One change I would make after finishing the jacket would be to change the bias tape from olive to a gold color. It would have been a better match to the gold top stitching and buttons. It is only visible from the inside, so as with many projects, YOU will know it’s there. Lesson I learned: Make a note and pay closer attention next time.
Optional sleeve detail

Optional sleeve detail

I love the sleeve detail because rolled up sleeves are more practical for me, and I could still unbutton and unfold them and cuff them at the wrist if I want. The strap and button are attached to the sleeve first, then sewn in the flat method before the side seams are sewn.

Some other changes I made were the parachute cord was attached to 1/2″ elastic in the collar and the waist.  I like the way elastic keeps a gathered look instead of messing with a pull tie or cord to help evenly distribute the fabric.  It always stays scrunched and the ties hang out just enough to be cinched up if needed.

Ready to make another version!

Ready to make another version!

I’m very happy now that it is done, because I was starting to lose interest. Pushing beyond my ‘sewing ADD’, I am happy to report cooler temperatures (finally!!) and I am better prepared with one more outer jacket…Yah! I think I will try either a vest or jacket in a windbreaker weight next time with black buttons, ties, and zipper to wear with yoga pants to run errands or take walks.
What are you sewing in preparation for cooler temperatures?

Skateboard Shorts McCalls 6973

PS CroppedIMG_3675My son came down to visit for the weekend and I whipped up these shorts for him. On a recent trip to my local mill end store, SAS Fabrics, I found this skateboard material and couldn’t resist especially since it is 100% cotton and my son lives in Phoenix. Enough of those polyester basketball shorts!! Yuck. Sweaty. Hot. Weekend fashion is not my son’s top priority, so I took it upon my pushy-self and made two pair of these for him.
PS CroppedIMG_3676The pattern offers a great cargo pocket detail. I added some hook and loop tape to keep the pocket closed so that the phone/keys/wallet won’t slip out when he sits down.

When my two sons were in junior high and high school, skateboards were used for their transportation. They have been known to even beat up a curb or two…anyway, I bought three yards. Isn’t it great? It resembles a camouflage print from a distance. I am always on the look out for kitchy-yet-masculine fabrics for kick around projects for my boys.

Below is the pattern. Read more here about the pattern. In order to help me pick the right size, I compared the width and length of some other favorite shorts to get the silhouette just right.
PS CroppedIMG_3677 There are other usable garments on this pattern. However, the shorts needed a little shortening, so here are some of the following adjustments I made.
1.) I measured the desired inseam on the leg to see where the finished length should be.
2.) Compare to length to pattern piece.
3.) Fold up or cut/lengthen.
Inseam PS CroppedIMG_3687
These were shortened by 2″, so the fold looks like it is 1″. Just remember that the fold is twice the amount of the desired length. For example, if you want to shorten by 1″, the fold will look like 1/2″.
Shorten2 PSCroppedIMG_3686
4.) Don’t forget to shorten (or lengthen) the back and front the same so that the inseams and side seams will match up. Take advantage of the notches on the seam allowance and use them to help with this step.
5.) When measuring the side length, allow for the separate attached waistband. I used 1″ elastic, and top stitched the waistband seam allowance down toward the shorts to secure it. I omitted the tie because I didn’t have anything in my stash that would work, and it wasn’t worth a trip to the fabric store to get something. Normally, I find this technique a bit bulky, but in this case, so I top stitched the waistband down onto the shorts and it helped keep the shorts secure at the hips. Overall, they were a success. So much so that he requested a second pair! I will be making a bag out of this fabric for my other son since he is not here in town to measure.

And last but not least is Outlaw, Sean’s dog who allows us to get our dog ‘fix’ without having all the responsibility. He is a Pit Bull/Boxer mix who is happy and tolerant of our constant hugs and harassment.
To read more about ideas for guy gifts, click here on a post I made that you may have missed.
Outlaw1 PSCroppedIMG_3674

Vogue 8951 Top Turned Into A Dress

IMG_3652I must confess that a guilty pleasure of mine is to watch the home shopping networks.   Instead of resorting to trying clothes on at the local stores, I get a glimpse into what fashion is selling to people who choose to shop from home. It intrigues me to see how women buy pants online or TV.   I like to see what styles, colors, and trends are making their way into homes all across the country.   As a apparel sewer, I am inspired by some of the designs and feel fortunate to be able to replicate these items while incorporating my own twists.

This particular dress came from a QVC designer, Susan Graver. She sold thousands of this style dress..and for good reasons. If this dress is anything like the two I just made, it very comfortable. I was lucky to find this green cotton French Terry at my local mill end store. It has the sweatshirt-like feel we all know and love, as well as the heft needed to wear this without show-through. Susan’s version is out of her own manufactured cotton French Terry and offers shorter sleeves, rounded side slits, and patch pockets. It looks like this.  To find out more about this dress click here:
SG french terry dressMy version comes from Vogue 8951, which offers woven tops, but had a similar neckline and it could be extended into a dress length.

Woven Tops Turned into Knit Dresses

Woven Tops Turned into Knit Dresses

I chose not to include the hood, although that would have been a cute option if I used hoods more often. The sleeves were lengthened to 3/4 length, and I also chose not to add rounded side slits. Basically, my dress is View A with longer sleeves and more than 34″ added to the length from the side seams. I added more to the length so that I could try the dress on and have plenty of material for the hem.   I settled on the hem being just a bit above the knee.

Green French Terry Vogue Dress

Green French Terry Vogue Dress

The kangaroo pocket is very comfortable, hold a cell phone and/or keys, and disguises my tummy pooch. It also adds to the very casual look of the dress.
IMG_3643Second version out of a stable knit and longer in length. I prefer this dress at this time of year because the knit is lighter weight for our hot desert summer weather.

Turquoise/White Knit Knee Length

Turquoise/White Knit Knee Length

One thing to note: This pattern calls for wovens, not knits. I added about 1/4″ around the shoulders, bust area, sleeves and armhole just to be sure it would have some ease. I also added quite a bit to the side seams so that it wouldn’t be too tight around my rear. I tapered it at the waist and flared out at the hips. It took trying on and off multiple times, trips to the mirror, trips to and from the sewing machine, but I got the fit just the way I wanted.

After making the first dress, I knew I would be cranking out a few more. I have one more cut out out of another stable knit.

Why make duplicates of the same pattern, you ask?
1.)   The second item takes less time to complete.
2.)   The kinks, alterations, and design changes are worked out.
3.)   Different fabrics provide variety and change the look of the original pattern.
4.)   Success is addictive! If one is good, more is better.

Once a pattern has been a success, it becomes a Tried and True (TNT) pattern.    Do you have some TNT’s in your wardrobe?