Monday, December 22, 2014

Merry Christmas!!!

Christmas is a blur of sewing, baking, shopping, and hanging out with family.  I hope you have a wonderful Christmas and the New Year is the best yet.  

I have been busy, completed are the following, pics will have to wait until after the holidays!

Popover Poncho, Rebecca Taylor pullover top and 4 of these, The Dopp Kit, by Grainline Studios.

Today is a marathon of pajama pants from a pattern traced so many years ago, that I can't even recall it's origins.  I have it traced out in sizes for all my family members!

Stay Happy
Keep Sewing
and if you can't sew
Bake Christmas Cookies!!

My daughters come over every year and we bake enough cookies to give out as gifts to all our friends and family.  It is my favorite Christmas activity!!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Navy Blazer, check!

Finally!   I finished my navy blazer.  I morphed the M5815 and B4610.
See previous makes for details... I have made the M5815 twice previously.  Wool Tweed M5815 finished  wool tweed in progress  and Medium weight Linen  
This was my inspiration.  Love the look.  I plan on wearing it tomorrow with my mustard jeans.
This was a journey.  All went well until I got to inserting the sleeves.  To much ease.  2 3/4" to ease in.  Way to much.  I ended up inserting and taking out a sleeve, TWICE.  So I altered them.  Cutting down the sleeve cap, and taking in the bicep seams, and letting out the side seam on the body underarm.  I am not 100% happy with them, but I can live with it.  The fabric, seems to highlight every wrinkle, and is a hair magnet. 

I plan on wearing it with the sleeves rolled and pushed up.  Below you can see the color of the sleeve lining.

I didn't have enough of either lining fabric, so had to go with a diff lining for the sleeves.  LOL, I can see I forgot to slipstitch the sleeve lining closed, you can see the opening I left to turn the jacket right side out after bagging the lining.  I followed the instructions in Jackets for Real People.

These pictures crack me up.  It is hilarious how well it matches my pajamas. 

All in all, despite the sleeve debacle, the cat hair magnet qualities and always looking wrinkled, I think I really like it.  One more of my Pinterest 'to dos' DONE. 

 Stay Happy,
Keep Sewing,
and if you can't sew
Make a big pot of chili!
And for a little Grandma eye candy....

Sunday, October 19, 2014

McCalls 6996 Cardigan

Not a whole lot to say about this pattern.  My first cardigan.  I believe I made view E.  The longer looking one.  It is not as long as the drawing, nor is the front hemline as slanted.  Both are fine, because I love the end result.  This was an easy make.  The only changes I made were to use French seams where I could, and where that would not work, on inside, I folded under each side of seam line 1/8" and then  topstitched it down.  I added non stretch seam tape in the seam line at shoulders and on side seam from under arm to waist to prevent stretching.
When I first finished it, I was afraid it looked like a bath robe.  When I wore it out with hubby, I had him take pics.  My fear was gone.  I do not think it looks like a bath robe at all.  It is a flattering fit without being clingy or adding bulk.

I decided I liked it so well, that I made another. 

Up next is a navy blazer.  I am morphing the M5815 and B4610.  I have made the M5815 twice previously.  Wool Tweed M5815  and Medium weight Linen so I knew I had the fit already, but I want a totally different collar.  So I am using the 5815 body, 4610 neckline and collar as well as the 4610 sleeves.  When I bought this navy fabric from, I could have sworn it said medium weight twill, but it arrived and says it is Kaufman Uniform Basics.  I like the color and weight, and I hope to make this blazer a basic in my rotation, so it should be perfect!  Again I am also using Pro Sheer Elegance medium weight interfacing from

Stay Happy
Keep Sewing
and if you can't sew
Bake some bread, the smell is awesome!
And for a little Grandma eye candy...

Thursday, October 9, 2014

My shirt of Perseverance.

You should never sew while you are sick.  You should NEVER sew while you are sick.  YOU SHOULD NEVER EVER SEW WHILE YOU ARE SICK.  I think I will never forget this rule again.

I bought this lovely blue and white stripe shirting from a while back.  It had been washed and dried and waiting patiently to become my 3rd Archer.

I cut it out single layer, so as to match the stripes perfectly and to ensure it was on-grain.  Can't have crooked stripes!

All was going well.  I cut all pieces and even had a few scraps left over.
Then I got sick.  SICK.  I stayed home from work.  I HATE feeling like I am wasting time, so I decided, to make good use of my sick time.  Why not sew?  I had altered the pattern first go around to have side darts.  I sewed the darts. Goregeous.   I attached the front button placket.  It was a thing of beauty.  This was going great!  Wait a minute..... isn't a woman's shirt suppose to button right over left??  My button placket was on the left side.  WTH? How did that happen? 
 I cleverly decided that since it has a loose boyfriend shirt fit, that I could live with it buttoning, well, like a boy's shirt.
 So on to the collar.  I did a fine job!!  I trimmed and turned, under-stitched and top stitched.  It was beautiful.  Wait a minute, what the heck is the under-stitching doing showing on top of the collar??  WTH?  Yes.  I inserted the collar into the stand, UNDERLAYER ON TOP.  For a split second, I thought, WHO WILL NOTICE?   but of course, I would.  and I would hate it every time I looked at it.   So.  Still sick, I decided I could remove the collar portion only from the stand with careful UN picking.  and Amazingly I did.  1 hour and 45 mintues later, I had undone and fixed what it originally took me 15 min to sew.  Thanks to unraveling during unpicking, some of my new collar seam allowances are only about 1/8".... that was some slow going sewing.
Collar all better though!

Lesson learned! right?  Well you would hope so. but no. 

From the start I had decided that I wanted REAL button plackets on the sleeves, not the fold of fabric that seemed unable to withstand my constant rolling up of my sleeves.  So I headed over to 'Off the Cuff' for her awesome button placket tutorial.  tutorial-shirt-sleeve-placket  I made up pattern pieces, following her design. 

 The tutorial is awesome.  Clear and concise.  Look at my beautiful placket.  Beautiful.  I have the pleats next to it basted down in this pic, so they stay laying the right direction when I add cuffs.  But back to that placket.  Have you ever seen a nicer one?

And look how awesome they look with sleeves attached to my shirt.  Don't they make the sleeve look so much more professional.  Wait a minute.  WTH!  Isn't the placket suppose to be on the BACK of the sleeve????  I think I may have said a few choice words at this point, because my cat, Ipo, quickly left the sewing room and did not return.  After quickly verifying that I had indeed done the plackets correctly, I was relieved.  somewhat.  My issue was I had inserted the right sleeve on the left side, and vice versa. And trimmed seam allowances.  And serged them.  And did faux flat felling.  To be honest, I thought at this point that I will just cut off the sleeves just above the elbow and sewing them back on to the other sleeve.  CRAZY.  Never sew while you are sick.  Instead, I threw it on the floor,  sent my mother pics, and then whined to her about my crazy mistake. and then I went to bed. 

Two days later, I felt better.  I was not giving up.  I unpicked the flat felling.  And the serging on each sleeve. And removed the sleeves.  Then sewed them back on the right side and serged the raw edges, and re did my faux flat felling. Then attached the cuffs.  Yay!  Plackets on the back of my sleeve where they belong!!  You can see my shoulder area on the sleeves, looks a bit stretched out.... all that unpicking.  sigh

And look at the matching on those front pockets!  Can hardly tell they are there!

So once I was all better and done pouting about my crazy mistakes, all that was left was the hemming, buttonholes and buttons.  I really enjoy this part of the process.  I bought these awesome pearl shell buttons from Fashion Sewing Supply  This assortment of buttons, 20 buttons, only 3.99!, with some felt backing too.  It is the same place I buy the best interfacing ever. 7 - 1/2" for the placket.  2 - 1/2" for the cuff and 3 - 3/8" for the collar and sleeve placket buttons. 
When placing my button holes, I try the shirt on, and determine where the button over the girls need to be in order to prevent gapping.  I then space the rest out evenly from there.   Once I have completed all of my buttonholes, I then pin the shirt closed, matching top collars and fold up bottom hem matching the front edges so that the length of both will be the same.  I hem by folding up about 1/4" while sewing, and sew as close to the bottom edge as possible.  Once done, I trim the edge as close to that seam as I can.  I then fold it up about 1/4" while sewing, and sew as close to the folded edge as I can. 
Then it is time for the buttons.  I pin the front on the blouse closed again, matching collar and hemline.  I then lightly stick a pencil through the top of each of the buttonholes, to make a slight mark on the other front side of the shirt underneath.    I place a crossways pin to mark where the button center should be, and insert a machine needle vertically, to create a space under the button for ease.  Then I tape the button in place and remove the crosswise pin.

Using my sewing machine I sew the button on, while the needle remains centered underneath the button.  This give the button a little ease, and makes it easier to button!

To ensure I never lose a button, I do not cut the threads.  I take the two threads now on top of my button, thread them into a needle, and insert the needle through a button hole, and pull those threads to the back side of the shirt. Once all threads are on the backside, I tie them in a double knot.

Still, I do not cut the threads, I then rethread them back on a needle and insert the needle just into one layer of the backside of the button placket, and back out again about an 1" away. You can see the tail of the thread below coming back out of the one layer of fabric an inch or so away from my tied knot. 

Then I ever so lightly pull on the thread and clip it.  Magically, the ends are now buried within the layers of fabric.  No unsightly thread ends, and your buttons will NOT fall off!  I use this same technique on all my button holes thread ends.   This is the same way that quilters bury their thread ends inside their quilts!

And Now I am DONE.  Phew.  Stripes are so hard to photograph.
Here are my 'Off the Cuff" sleeve plackets!  With the beautiful pearl shell buttons. 

And here I am, happily wearing my shirt of Perseverance.  All in all, it was a good journey.  It is good to learn, NEVER to sew sick.  It is also good to learn, that a mistake is not the end.  It is just an opportunity to figure out how to fix it. 

Needless to say.  I LOVE this shirt.  We had quite the journey and both came out better for it.


Stay Happy
Keep Sewing
and if you can't sew
read a scary book by the fire!
and for a little Grandma eye candy...