Tessuti Free Sewing Pattern –

I downloaded the free Tessuti knit top, this was my first downloaded pattern. And, a perfect choice too. The knit blouse/tunic pattern was easy to sew and I now know why all the raves for this top. I love it and can image myself making this in several versions. The only thing I added was about 3 inches to the sleeves. It sewed up very fast. I had enough fabric left over to make a knit skirt as well. The fabric came from JoAnn’s.  I want to get the Tessuti dress pattern as well. The download/sewing pattern had 15 pages and came with no directions, so if you are new to sewing or downloads you might need a bit of help but it seems pretty self-explanatory. I may just be a convert to download/patterns yet.  Here are some photos of my rendition. Continue reading

Woven Maxi Skirt- McCalls 6654 for Knits

Maxi Skirt

Maxi Skirt

Here is a maxi skirt I’ve been working on almost all summer. I fell in love with the fabric I purchased a year ago at Denver Fabrics.  The color is a red/tangerine and I love the wave print, seems perfect for summer.  The skirt pattern is for a knit, McCalls 6654. Tish Gance of HISS Studio told me how to covert the pattern for a woven. I had a lot of problems with the invisible zipper so much so that I ended up putting in just a regular zipper.   And Janet White of JM Designs told me about transparent zippers that are perfect for sheers, chiffon and other light weight fabrics.  I love having friends that know their sewing stuff.  The only problem is I have NO SHOES to wear with this gem. Got to do some later summer shoe shopping!

To convert the knit pattern Continue reading

New Look 6025

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New Look 6025

One of my favorite blogs is The Perfect Nose.  The Nose is responsible for my new addiction to tunics   She makes them in wonderful fabrics and always looks so chic and effortless while drinking Midori’s  that well, I had to try it.  Plus, they are a breeze to make.  This one has a few issues.  It is a bit expansive across the chest and falls off my shoulders in an annoying way.   Continue reading

Easy couture technique for waistbands – yes, easy!

New pencil skirt

New pencil skirt

Since I make a lot of  skirts I’ve decided to up the ante and start adding in couture techniques or different elements to keep my skills moving forward. On this pencil skirt from Burda 8155 I used a couture waistband technique from Susan Khalje which is featured in the latest issue of Threads magazine (March 2013). The short of it is to place petersham or grosgrain and sandwich in between the fabric and lining of the waistband.  It offers much more stability in the waist area.  

For the pertersham cut out the same length as your waistband pattern piece, which is usually your waist measurement plus 4 inches. Install the lining if there is one.  Next place the petersham on the right side of fabric, above the skirt’s waistband stitching line.  Here is where I added a step. Continue reading

I made a dress

Window pane dress

I found a dress at the thrift shop (seen below) that I liked but felt I could improve upon it.  The dress is a knit so copying it was a lot easier than a woven.  I did have troubles with the armscye and sleeves. The first sample they were all wrong. I then just used a sleeve and armscye from a existing pattern.  I was surprised that it worked. These are  the best looking sleeves EVER! (Sleeves are always  a problem for me)

Here’s a run down of the process.

  1. Continue reading

Eternity Scarves Project

At the Denver Sewing Collective’s last meetup we made Eternity Scarves.  This project was very easy and would make for great gifts.  I had problems with the written directions as usual but once Kim made a successful one it was all downhill from there.  

Here are some photos that might help those who are more visual learners.  I have been craving an easy project and this is it.  There are infinite possibilities here!   Have you made any?  I may just make everyone on my list one.

On the directions from Simplicity’s Eternity scarves here is a photo starting at step 6.

Sewing the short ends together

Continue reading

10,000 hours to pant perfection

Perfect pant pattern – finally

I’m sure you are all aware of the 10,000 hours rule.  It takes 10,000 hours to become an expert.   It seems like I have put in about 10,000 hours on perfecting (nearly) pants.  I have made 6 sample pairs, gone through a bolt or two of muslin but finally here they are.  Here is the low down on  Butterick 4998 (out of print, yes I’ve been working on them that long).

  1.  Material is a black denim no Lycra.
  2. I had to do a number of adjustments and most in the crotch length and depth areas.  
  3. I added pockets in the back which you can’t really see.
  4. I took the side seems in one inch so I could adjust them later if necessary.  
  5. I  did a Claire Schaffer yolk waist band which is the final addition that really put me over the moon with happiness (only a fellow seamstress would understand).    And Viola!  
  6. Continue reading

What I wore to the interview

Perfect fall skirt

I recently had  a job interview and I was going to wear my boring old black pants, heels and a cropped jacket.  Instead I finished up a skirt I was making.  The outer skirt fabric was going to be used to line a wool skirt but  I thought the print was perfect for the fall and should be seen rather than hiding as a lining.  This skirt is lined with a grey creped back satin.  The pattern is one I drafted myself, simple basic pencil skirt with walking ease, (no need for a slit), two darts in back, flat front.   BAM.  

AND, no lipstick on my teeth this time!!  

Any personal interview stories out there that still make you cringe? Embarrassing wardrobe malfunctions that left you red faced?

McCalls 5936 completed

McCalls 5936

Here is the peplum jacket, finally done.  I started this in January when I took a session of classes from Janet White of JM Designs.  A few notes on the pattern and the process.

  1. I did not need to do an SBA.  Which was surprising.
  2. I did the lining of the sleeves different from what the pattern called for.
  3. The lining material was quite difficult to manage.  There are some flaws in the lining, but not very noticeable.
  4. The buttons have not been done yet, my buttonhole-r doesn’t work, so I’m going to be asking a friend for assistance.
  5. I am making a skirt to match with the remaining material

Not much to say here, the fit is great, the process was pretty easy and I would highly recommend this pattern.  

Can’t wait to wear it when the weather cools.  Are you in for the peplum this year?  This pattern also as the option for long sleeves, so get sewing!

Another skirt to add to my summer line up

Found a few wonderful things at the local thrift shop.  Two silk skirts from Banana Republic, a gorgeous fedora from Paris, and soft modal white t-shirts.  Just some basics.  The skirts needed to be taken in, which was super easy and they look great.  I also whipped out another skirt to add to my summer skirt collection.  I used a New Look Pattern #6730.  Very basic as you can see.  I did line it with a black stretch which gives it a perfect weight to it and it’s not see-through at all.  I love making something up fast and it looks great.  This is especially nice when you are working on something that for myriad reasons just becomes time consuming.  I can see making one for every day of the week.   I would make it a little longer next time, maybe by an inch or so.  As you can image even with the lining this finished up fast.  I am working on a silky blouse and had every intention of finishing it up today but then I felt the need to make this skirt.  Perfect day today.  Awesome thrift store finds, sewing, hanging out with an old friend, nothing better.  And, there is still Sunday!

Super summer skirt

Skirts Completed!

A fabulous skirt

Here are two skirts I finished over the weekend.  The black and white number I ‘ve been working on and off for awhile.  I love the black and white floral plus I lined it with a beautiful blue silky something I found at the Denver Fabrics Annex store which is no longer, (very sad to see that one go). I also put in a matching blue zipper.  I had other plans for some neat design features but implementing those just kept me from comleteing it so I just stuck with the tried and true “Jill’s Fabulous Skirt Pattern” which I drafted last year.  It is not  a true pencil, straight skirt but has just a small bit of flare to it so I don’t have to put in a slit.

Zipper detail

Blue lining

Bad attempt at fashion photography

The next one is something I whipped together after talking with Annie (Denver Sewing Collective member and an all around  super nice girl who has lots of great ideas!)  We were discussing how we like  clothes that look fabulous but also have that sort of French sexy, causual, “Oh, this?  I just fell out of bed with this on” sort of look.  Or perhaps better expressed in French as  Je ne sais quoi.  We were talking about cute elasticized skirts in cotton that you can pull on and look great where ever you decide to go.  This I made from a pattern that has long been since discontiuned but can be found anyhwhere.  I made this one as a prototype and will be fine tuning as I go.  I love the idea of just pulling something nice on that fits, looks great and isn’t yoga pants or ugly shorts.  Here’s what I like and don’t like so far.

 I got the material at JoAnn’s.

Would like to experiment with waistbands

The material is extremely static-e.  I’m going to be walking around with dryer sheets to keep the static down.

I don’t like a lot of gathers at the waist and hip.  I’d like a smoother waist band area but still be able to slip it on.

The material is rather thin, I didn’t line it, so I’ll need to wear a slip.

Other than that it’s a keeper.

Vintage Vogue 9186 – Completed!

Memorial Day Weekend has been a good one.  I have completed the 1970’s apron, wrap dress.  Here are the alterations that I did on the dress.  I would absolutely do this again.  I would love to refine the alterations and do a few things differently next time.

  1. No pockets
  2. Shortened it considerably
  3. Shortened the halter straps
  4. Placed halter strap closer towards center front
  5. Cut halter straps in two and placed a snap on the back of strap. (Couldn’t get it over my big head)
  6. Small bust adjustment ( but could have done a bigger small bust adjustment)
  7. Lined it with a vintage silky type
  8. Doubled the length of the tie
  9. Placed snaps inside the dress to hold it up
  10. Stitched in the ditch so the lining is just a little visible
  11. Created the slight flip in the back to see the back of the lining

Check it out!

Sewing classes

I finally signed up for some sewing classes.  I had made a promise to myself last year that  I  would take the plunge and take classes, lesson etc and not the online kind.  I’m at a point where I desire to do more with sewing but I don’t know how to get there so hence the need for instruction.   I am taking a session with Janet White of JM Designs and I started Tuesday February 21.  She has a great spot for lessons, a remodeled garage in the funky part of Wheatridge.  Lots of space 2 ironing boards, place for your machines and a cut out table that you don’t have to bend over to cut out your fabric.  For my first lesson I constructed my entire muslin sans one sleeve.  I was able to try it on and amazingly it fits in the bodice area!  But, I need to take it out in the waist area and, that is what I’ll do before the next session.  This is going to be great for my skills as a seamstress.  I’m going to re-learn all the basics like lay-out, marking, cutting and more.  For this pattern I’m attacking princess seams, which have always been a mess for me, using silky fabric lining, button holes, fitting and so on.  A lot of awesome sewing is going to be coming out of this.  So far I’m pleased with the way things have been turning out, ripped out a few times and kept at it.  The pattern itself is great so far.  I love the long sleeves and were, in the muslin at least easy to go in.  Very productive night for me.  I don’t think I could have gotten all that done at home.  Here is a photo of the muslin, not much to look at.

Knit and Wrap by Nathalie Mornu

By Nathalie MornuI should just buy this book.  I keep checking it out at the library over and over again.  All these projects are easy for the beginner but also fun for  more advanced knitters.  I love knitting projects that are fast and I can wear during the season.  I’m still working on a sweater I started probably back b.c.

Here is me in the eternity scarf (I think that’s what they are calling these).  Love the color and knit this one up really fast, all garter stitch.  If you are more advanced you could make easy changes to it to mix it up.  I am working on another one from this book and will post when I’m finished.

Does this hat make my head look crazy?

Originally this hat was a dress.  Some members of the Denver Sewing Collective might recall me lugging the dress to meetings half heartedly sewing it together.  Somewhere between seams L and R I lost interest and gave up.  I think part of the problem was that I sewed the freaking dress four times and it still it didn’t fit.  Once in a muslin, again in a similar material that the final dress would be made in, third in the lining and the the last dress was in the black wool. (Isn’t that the definition of crazy.  You do the same thing over and over and expect different results but get the same thing in the end)    So, I think I was just sick of  it in the end and lost total emotional attachement to it, besides it didn’t fit.  Stupid SBA.  But, I couldn’t just throw the material away.  Somehow I thought a hat from a vintage Vogue pattern would be good idea.

A good thing I didn’t put the stiffening  in it like the pattern called for, plus I think there were to many darts.  Anyhoo, I’m in need of a sewing success so back to the drawing table for me.

The Apron Project

At the Denver Sewing Collective’s last meetup we sewed aprons.  I just got my done and here it is.  I didn’t think I would learn anything new from such an easy project but in fact I did.  I learned:

  1. If something is worth sewing use fabric that you really love
  2. I love working with pleats
  3. I won’t be using this apron to make spaghetti sauce in
  4. I now have a full size ironing board and don’t know how I got along without it.  Thanks mom.
  5. I can tie a decent bow

How many projects do you juggle?

Some times when I sew I feel like I have the attention span of a 3 year old.  Right now, I’m still working on the Pants Project, slowly making headway with the SBA, but today I started a completely new project of sewing skirts for work.  I have nothing to wear to this new  job.  I go to work looking like I just left a backyard bar-b-que.  Hence the need for new skirts.  This is one I’m working on now. 

 I bought the print fabric in Victoria BC a couple of years ago.  The turquoise is from several years ago from a long since closed fabric store.   Looking at how well the colors go together I’m so glad I didn’t give it away or something.

But, how quickly my thoughts move on to some other project I want to start.  I want to make a bathroom rug,  I’m thinking of the upcoming fall wardrobe and this new vintage pattern I got is crying out loud to be made NOW.  My thoughts are  running to Tenneesee Williams type  hot summer nights where the only comfortable clothing is a slip dress.  But, I don’t want to start until I at least get the pants and halter dress done.  Stay focused….

 There is a Denver Sewing Collective meeting coming up, I’d like to have made some progress on my projects that I keep dutifully keep lugging to the meetings.  How many projects do you juggle?  Do you find that works for you?  Or are you a one project at a time person.

Pants Project Continues

I have been working on my pants here and there.  I have sewn on the waistband only to rip it out and the side seams and do some fine tuning.  It’s funny but the muslin fit great and I did ( I think) everything the same on the jean fabric.  Not sure how that worked out.  The photo is my pants  on the left and the pants I’m trying to copy on the right. (The picture is not very clear, sorry)  The ones on the right are Ann Taylor cropped jeans.  My pants do not have any jean detailing, but so far everything else is quite similar to the Ann Taylors.  My pants are a little wider in the leg which I like. 

I also made a pocket pattern for the backside.  Need pockets. Instead of altering the darts which sometimes you need to do, I just placed the pocket over the lower part of the dart.  In that way no one will see if the dart puckers or not.  Which it usually does for me.   I make them a little shallower for my particular body parts.

  And, below  is a picture of my hand, drawing on the mock zipper detailing.   And you may notice how nice the front darts are.  Very nice. Very. Nice.  I am hoping to bring this project to the next Denver Sewing Collective meeting if I don’t get it done before hand.  After I’ve completed the pants I’ll post a review. 

my hand

Vintage Dress – DuBarry 5257

Finally finished the vintage pattern DuBarry 5257 and here it is.

I think it turned out really well.  I have, of course a list of things I would do differently but I would, without a doubt use this pattern again.   One, I love the green fabric but it is a cotton and the type that needs a lot of pressing to get wrinkle free.  No quick run over with the iron, this fabric needs PRESSING.  Additionally I would:

  • raise the waist a bit
  • increase the SBA even more
  • interfacing  (old patterns don’t have that step in the directions and I just forgot to add it in)
  • fix the curved collar on the pattern and do more traditional collar (No curves)
  •  different fabric
  •  if I do stripes I’d pay more attention to lining the stripes  up…opps

The sleeves went in wonderfully,  and I added the cuffs.  I had a hard time with the collar lining up with the back bodice.  I had problems with the muslin too, not sure if it was the pattern or me. Of course my button hole attachment went berserk so the buttonholes are rather crappy, but only upon close examination. I did not add shoulder pads and did not have to do an adjustment to the pattern either.  The shoulders look great.  The only thing I did not like on the pattern was the curved collar.  I would use a notched collar or if I can find someone who knows how to do a curved collar without puckers I would do it.  I like the way the collar can stand up or lay flat.  Overall a great pattern to work with.

I’ll post pics of me actually in the dress and post on flickr.

Burst of sewing

cherry blossoms

Almost finished with the pants.  They are turning out awesome, can’t believe it. I’ll be posting on them when they are done.  Plus, I’m finishing up the vintage dress I started awhile back and getting ready to copy another vintage Vogue dress pattern and start on fine tuning the SBA(small bust adjustment).  Going to the Cherry Blossom Festival tomorrow.  This is one of my favorite festivals.  Going to be a hot one.  Oh, and the last Denver Sewing Collective meeting was great, each meeting is bringing a whole set of new women to meet and sew with.  Really enjoyable.

Experimental sewing finished

For the weird idea I had with sewing 2 fronts of a skirt together, this is the end result.

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I put elastic for the waist because I couldn’t find the waist facing pattern pieces and I was too lazy to make new ones.  I call this skirt my Sushi Skirt because with the elastic waist I can eat all the sushi I want with little discomfort due to expand-o-waist.

Would I do this again?  I think just using a pattern would have been just has easy.  But, I was short on material and using the back piece wouldn’t have fit.  So if I come against that type of situation I would do it again and just go straight to the elastic waistband.  Or buy a new pattern.  But, I liked that I didn’t buy any new materials or patterns, I made do. And it worked out.

Organizing the Chaos

Today was all about getting the old sewing room back in order.  It seems I just step in the room and it turns into a disaster zone.  Plus, I was getting down and so the best action for the doldrums is doing something, anything.  Part of my clean up required some sewing of course.  I had found some nice brocade like tablecloths at Target on sale for super cheap back in Janurary.  They were from the Christmas line.  Huge  tablecloths for 2.50. Crazy.  I liked the material and thought you can’t buy that amount of fabric for that cheap.   

In my house I have those horrible pine doors, they’re really old and the previous homeowner kicked a hole in each door.  I don’t know how to hang a door, plus that sounds expensive so the next best thing is to cover ’em up.  Here is the result of my new brocade tablecloth hide-the ugly door-curtains.  I have another tablecloth and I’m going to make window curtains out of those. 

My pants project continues with a muslin

frontHere is my muslin of my pants front side.  These pictures are not very good.   Thus, one of the problems with sewing by oneself; bad self portraits.  But, the muslin is a good fit.  The waist band for the pattern was standard, so I thought I would try a contoured waist band from another pattern (which was a Vogue) I didn’t think it would work but it worked great.  Interesting.  These pants have no pockets either so I’m making a little pattern for those as well.  I feel the muslin is a good fit, on to sewing with the fabric of choice: denim.

Making costumes

Spent all of today making costumes and props for a local elementary school’s Greek (yes, Greek) play.  Mainly painting armor, swords and headgear and there will be lots of togas too. I said I would never make children’s costumes (hey, a girl’s got a draw the line somewhere…) but never say never.   Tomorrow is a dress rehearsal, I’ll take pics.

Alles Gute Zum Muttertag!

Happy Mother’s Day!

Last week I actually got out a few resumes. Yesterday I went back to the JoAnn’s on Colorado Blvd and, yes, bought more patterns.  At a buck a pop who could resist.  Certainly not I whose backbone turns to jello upon entering a fabric store.  Here’s what I got, and really I think I’m set for jacket patterns.  Found one from Simplicity #2446 that actually has pattern pieces for A B and C cups.  I think this pattern might become my ‘go-to’ for jacket patterns.