Tuesday, August 30, 2011

PR featured!

Hey, did you know that Pattern Review publishes an e-newsletter that comes out monthly? It is called Tracings and if you are a PR member (even a free member) you can subscribe to it! Just go to your account at PR and edit your profile. Check "yes" to the Newsletter and there you are. So, it generally is full of sewing tips, as well as news about new pattern releases and sales. This month the featured pattern was Vogue 1250, and guess who's maxi version was showcased?
How fun is that?? The links in the picture don't work, but here they are if you are interested.

Have you heard about 

At 40 reviews and counting, it's a contender for 

kidmd turned it into a maxi dress.  Read her review. 

If you aren't a PR member, the links may not all work for you, but signing up is easy, free and spamless. PR is an amazing resource, so if you sew, you'll get a lot out of membership.

And hey, did you see Carolyn's 1250 maxi? Awesome!! Erin has made 2! Here and here. LOVE that paisley version.

Saturday, August 27, 2011


On the blog that is. I try to avoid any of that IRL. How would I get any sewing done? And all appearances to the contrary, I have not lost my sewing machine. Life has been a little crazy this last week, with a sick wee one, an overworked hubby and too much to do, so sewing has been a bit on the back burner. I have had a few comments regarding slowness here on the blog and difficulty getting things to load. I thought I'd make a few minor changes before attempting a more major overhaul. I simplified the format a little, got rid of a few widgets and have made my pictures smaller. If you would please, let me know how it's looking and loading for you, particularly as compared to past performance. I'd really appreciate it!!

And should you wonder what I am currently stitching up, here it is!
For his birthday, I gave Mitch a pant muslin. Sexy, huh? We tweaked the fit this weekend, and I let him choose his fabric from a selection of appropriate suitings and bottom weights. I've gotten the pattern altered (completely had to redraft the waistband for his tilted waist!), and the fabric cut. I'm doing some serge finishing and marking, so I may actually start sewing some time.
We're also starting to gear up for Halloween.
Myra was over the moon when I showed her Simplicity's new Rapunzel costume pattern. We're still collecting trims, and I want to make a "wearable muslin" before we cut up all the satin. The last Disney costume I made for her (which she has worn completely out) had quite a few weird fit issues, and I want this one to actually be wearable.
So, let me know if the blog changes seem to help for you, and hopefully I'll have a few fun things to show you soon. Once the wee one starts sleeping again so I can sew...

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Ottobre 06/2008-16

I've made this skirt before, so this'll be quick.
This is the Tammy skirt from the 06/2008 issue of Ottobre. This time I made it out of black twill. She needed a neutral skirt to wear with all of the pink tops she has. Pants are out of the question, of course.
You can see the details a little better here. For this version, I topstitched the yoke with pink hand quilting thread. I like the thickness the hand quilting thread has. It isn't quite as heavy as topstitching or upholstery thread, but it still packs a punch. I also left the pleats more unpressed to give it a little more body.
It twirls nicely.
My favorite part is the lining. It's cute polka dot satin. I hate hemming polyester satin, so I  just did a serger rolled hem. I think it's pretty fun, and Myra's a wild child so the lining shows quite often.
It's long enough to carry us through at least a season or two. I hope. The blouse she's wearing is Ottobre 01/2010-15, which I blogged about here.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Betcha can't make just one.

I've noticed an interesting phenomenon regarding this dress. No one seems to make just one! Nearly every sewing blogger who has stitched up Vogue 1250 has made it at least twice, often several times. I'm not generally one to reuse a pattern. I just like variety in sewing, life and my wardrobe, but since I made my first one in May, I've been itching to make another.
I've also really been wearing my Vogue 8724 a lot, so I decided to try it out in a maxi length. I wasn't sure the proportions would work, so I searched around to see if anyone else had done it. I could swear I saw a maxi version on PR, but I couldn't find it! Anyway, I decided to just go for it. I can always chop it short if I hate it.
But I love it!! I actually think it looks better on me than on Sandra Dee, which never happens. She always looks better in my clothes. Anyway, to make it a maxi all I did was lengthen the skirt portion of that wacky front bodice/skirt front and back pattern piece by a total of 22 inches. The side seams are straight, so the skirt ends up a column. It is the perfect length to sweep the floor when wearing 5 inch heels. I may shorten it an inch though, so that I can wear it with sandals for a more casual look. I will say, if you are thinking of doing this, make sure that your bottom hem is VERY stretchy. I coverstitched mine, and it is holding together, but I think a twin needle hem would pop right out the first time you took a long step. Alternately, leave the CB seam open below the knees and hem the edges for a sexy slit back there. Hmm, I may have to do that next time...
The only other alteration I made was to take a small wedge out of the back bodice. I folded out about 1/2 inch at the foldline around the waist level and tapered it out to nothing at the side seams. That took care of the puddling I got above my hips in the last version. I'm totally in love with my new maxi! It is comfortable, fits well and looks good. Seriously, have you made this pattern yet? It's amazing!

And thanks for all the sweet comments about my little guy and his romper. I'm glad he made so many of you smile. He makes me smile every day, and I'm so glad I was able to share him a little.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Simplicity 4711

Now, I realize that I speak with a maternal bias, but seriously,
Is that not the CUTEST BABY EVER!!! Yes, half that genetic material and the romper were provided by me. Grandma crocheted his sweet little blanket.
Here is the romper without the distractingly adorable child. The pattern is Simplicity 4711, alas now OOP. This copy was a generous gift from Amber. Thank you so much!! It is a lovely pattern and I really enjoyed sewing it up. For my average sized 8 month old, I sewed a size small, which is pretty much perfect. (Simplicity seems to think this is a 3-6 month size, but Duncan wears a 12 month in RTW. Be warned.) I did use a 3/8 seam allowance at the waistline seam to give me an extra 1/2 inch of length. I think it would have fit fine without, but the extra wiggle room is nice.
Here is the back view. As you can see, the closures are in the back, and extend down into the shorts with a continuous lap placket inserted into the CB seam. If you've never done a continuous lap before, this is a great way to start. It's much easier putting it into the seam than it is slashing an opening. I used teeny little 3/8 buttons, which are are really adorable, but as a 3 time mommy, I should have known better. Getting those things buttoned onto a wiggly 8 month old was not easy!! Next time - snaps.
There are snaps in the crotch for diaper change purposes. Simplicity calls for snap tape here, but I have never liked using that stuff. I used a couple of interfaced bias strips, which I applied like a binding on the underlap and a facing on the overlap, then applied the snaps after the fact. I also sewed these with 3/8 seam allowances rather than 5/8 so that the snaps would end up centered on the seam line.
The main fabric is a cotton seersucker from Joann (I think) and the collar and tie are cotton broadcloth from FabricMart. I used 1/4 inch twill tape for the trim rather than ribbon. I think it has a nice texture with more "boy" appeal than shiny ribbon. It also bends around the curved hems nicely. I also topstitched the collar, which the pattern doesn't call for. It isn't obvious, but I rather like the effect.
The collar application was interesting. The neckline is finished with bias tape, and only the back half of the collar in enclosed within the tape. The front half comes down into the two points, which are simply tacked to the front bodice. The little tie is a separate piece, also tacked down. If you make this for a little one, be sure to tack that sucker down securely. Duncan has been chewing on it all day.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Dress your School Boy!

Hey, it's pretty quiet over here today...

That's because Andrea of The Train to Crazy graciously allowed me to be a part of her super cool party!

If you haven't been over there yet, this week is dedicated to dressing your school age boy, and today I get to add in my two cents. So click on over there! The picture above will take you to the entire series, and if you want to see my post (it's about fabric - that's all I'm sayin'), just click here.

Stay tuned next week as well for the girl version!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Simplicity 2738

Logan is nearing the upper size limit for his usual PJ pattern, so I thought I'd try out something new for him. The only thing I don't love about the Butterick pattern I always use is that the facings tend to fold up over the buttonholes. It's a minor annoyance, but after making Myra's PJ's with the stitched down facing, I thought it might be a nice thing to try for Logan, too.
And so we have Simplicity 2738, with a faced V neckline. The pants are still Simplicity 2290. They are perfect, so why mess with a good thing. There are a couple of things I like about this pattern. Since I was looking for this neckline style, I am happy with that. The facings are nice and deep, so even without topstitching them down, they'd have probably stayed in place. The fit overall is quite slim. This is a size 5, which is the same size I used for his last pair of PJs, but these are much smaller over all. I suspect this is due to the "unisex" nature of the pattern. They always seem to be drafted more for girls.
You can see a little better here the details off the boy. The top is also quite short. Combined with the snug fit elsewhere, he won't be wearing these for long. I also noticed that the sleeve cap is quite high. Like girlie high, and difficult to ease into the armscye. The sleeve length is good though, so I'm not sure going up a size would solve my difficulties.
On the plus side, I really do like this neckline. The Simplicity directions call for topstitching 1/4 inch from the edge of the neckline and omit understitching, I prefer the look of a facing when it is understitched, even if I am topstitching as well, so I did that. I placed my topstitching so that the line would be continuous with the pocket edgestitching. This was 1 1/4 inch from the neckline edge. I really like the way it looks and the facing is very secure.
Aren't the buttonholes pretty? My Singer has a 5/8 keyhole buttonhole template, so I decided to get fancy. That machine makes the nicest buttonholes. Since it was threaded for the buttonholes, I did most of the  topstitching on the singer as well. Now that she lives in the same room as the rest of my machines, I'm really going to get to sew with her more.
Overall, I think this is a reasonably decent pattern. For Logan, I prefer the fit of the Butterick. He has his daddy's broad shoulders. I also think that for any child it should be lengthened. Logan is pretty average height and it lands right at his waist. I really do like the neckline though, so I may morph this neckline onto our Butterick TNT.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Birthday dresses

Myra loves her birthday dress, but as an added incentive I made her baby doll a matching dress as well.
Of course, you can't really see any of the dresses, since Myra is clutching Baby, Aurora and Jessie to her chest.
Here is the prototype, modeled by Myra's baby. It is a basic peasant style top with elastic shirring at the sleeves and cased elastic at the neckline, just like Myra's. For the final version, I added a 2 inch ruffle at the hem and a big purple bow at the neckline.

I couldn't find any free patterns that I liked for a 12 inch baby dress, and Simplicity patterns weren't on sale, so I decided to just draft it myself. I used the peasant top tutorial from indietutes. Her tute starts at a size 2 and is intended for a human, so I did have to scale it down a bit.
These are my pattern pieces. For the basic square shapes, the bodice (the upper piece in the photo) measures  7 3/4 inches tall and 5 1/4 inches wide. The sleeve measures 4 3/4 by 3 3/4. 3/8 inch seam allowances and 1/2 inch casing and hem allowances are included. For the armhole and neckline shaping, I just freehanded a curve . You do want the same curve on your bodice and armhole, so I drew the curve on one piece and then traced it onto the other. Vegbee's tutorial goes through the assembly so I'm not going to recreate the wheel  here, but should you need a peasant top or dress for a 12 inch baby doll, there you have it! This makes a knee length dress on my 12 inch tall baby, with the ruffle it goes to her ankles. I imagine this pattern would also work for an 18 inch doll, with appropriate length modifications.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Belated Winner

Oh my goodness! I totally forgot to pick a winner for my 200 Followers giveaway!!

Via the highly scientific Eenie Meenie Miney Moe method, I have chosen.... Marjie!! Congrats, Marjie! Shoot me an email with your mailing address to katiedeshazer (at) gmail (dot) com and I'll get that in the mail to you this week.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Simplicity 2377

August is a crazy birthday month around here. Myra is on the 10th, then Mitch on the 14th, Rina (my sister) on the 26th and Logan caps the month on the 30th. Although I sew for the kids all the time, so they pretty much take for granted that they have hand sewn clothing, I still like to have something special made for their birthdays. This year we are aided and abetted by Oma, who got them both some adorable fabrics when we were visiting her last.
Myra has outgrown her the pattern I have used for peasant dresses of this style, so this time I used Simplicity 2377. It is a basic raglan sleeve bodice with elastic at the neckline and sleeve openings. There are 2 skirt options, one a gathered dirndl and the other is tiered. There is also a second sleeve option - a small ruffled sleeve - that is pretty darn cute. I really like this pattern, as it comes together quickly and the end result is a comfortable, easy to wear dress that is really adorable.
Even with a busy fabric, I always find the bodice a bit plain. To this one I added a big organza ribbon bow and two ball buttons. The  pattern includes quite a few cute embellishment suggestions as well. I've made this style dress enough times that I didn't even take the instructions out of the envelope. I realized later that this pattern also includes ties at the waist. I don't think I'd have used them if I'd realized they were there, but perhaps for an older child they'd be cute. Myra doesn't really have any waist definition yet. The only other change I made was to use elastic shirring for the sleeve opening rather than a fold over casing. I like the little ruffled edge it creates. The pattern includes up to size 8 in the envelope, so I'll get to use it for a few years yet!
And Logan finally wore his helicopter shirt!! It's been nearly 2 weeks - I was starting to worry. He says he really likes it though, and so do I.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Vogue 8724

I've seen some great versions of this dress out in blogland, and I LOVE me a pattern with cup sizes, particularly a knit pattern. For some reason, I have more trouble doing an FBA in a knit than a woven.
I pulled out this piece of ITY that I have had forever. It was from my very first ever FabricMart order. I love it, but those big dots made me nervous and so I could never settle on a good pattern for it. I thought it would work well for this, since the skirt is such a large piece, which allows the print to remain intact. But since I hadn't used it in all these years, I knew I wouldn't cry too hard if it wasn't wearable. Still, I'm thrilled that it is!
The pattern is Vogue 8724, which is a Very Easy pattern with cup sizes. It really was very easy. I did a quicky tissue fit, and then fit as I go. I ended up making no alterations, and I can wear it, but a cami is necessary. You can't really tell on Sandra Dee, but the neckline is LOW. As in bra baring, and I wear demi cup bras. I thought it was going to be fine as I was stitching it. I tried it on before I attached the skirt and it covered all the business. The skirt is heavy though, and pulls the bodice down, which is something I'd only have discovered by making this "muslin".
The armhole is also a little low and overly scooped out for my taste. Again, the weight of the skirt worsens this problem, so it might not be as obvious in a firmer knit or in the shorter version.The cami covers up the gap under there, but the next version I'll raise and fill in the armhole a little.
Another thing I'm not in love with is the bust darts. I like the smoothness of the line that the dart creates, but in the D cup pattern, it is just to wide to sew without forming a dimple at the point. Several other reviewers on PR noted this as well, and converted the dart to gathers. It's a different look, so I'll have to contemplate it.
The back is completely fabulous though. I love the princess seaming that gives it such a beautiful shape. I didn't do a great job placing the print back there, but I think another sewist would probably be the only one to notice. Overall, I really love this pattern. I wore it all day running errands and chasing kids and felt totally great. The cami is definitely essential though, as Duncan seems to like pulling the bodice to one side. It's absolutely nursing friendly! It is a great shape and style, economical of fabric (the long version takes less than 2 yards) and an easy sew. With a few alterations to the neckline and armholes, I think it'll be great! I have this amazing border print that I'm planning for the next version...

Linked up...

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Colette Sorbetto muslin

When Colette Patterns first released this pattern (You can download it for FREE here on their site.), I thought it was cute, but between the lack of sleeves and the  somewhat boxy shape, I really didn't think it would work for me. But then it started appearing on women of every size, shape and age all over blogland. I decided that I would give it a shot.
I'm so glad I didn't use nice fabric. It's a tent. Since it is designed to go over the head without closures, shaping at the waist is minimal, and it drapes straight down from my bust, which is not my most flattering look.
It isn't altogether horrible from the side. The bust dart does provide some nice shaping in that area, although mine is a little too high at the side seam and a lot too long.
The blue tape indicates the tip of the dart. It actually points in the right direction, but it ends right at the bust point. I prefer a dart at least an inch, but as much as 2 inches away, otherwise it just looks odd.

I actually think it might be cute belted or tucked in, so I'm not giving up on it forever, but I'm going to shelve it for a while and let it cook in my brain a bit before I try again. In the meantime, I thought I'd share with you all the alterations I made.
This is the front pattern piece. I started out with a size 8, which corresponds to my waist and hip, but is 2 inches smaller than I am in the bust. I did a 2 inch FBA using the Y-dart technique (found on page 146 of the second edition of FFRP) to minimize the width of the bust dart. As you can hopefully see in the picture, you split the upper leg of the alteration in half, so rather than adding all the extra to the armhole area, you add some into the shoulder as well. Since I have rather narrow shoulders in front, this method isn't always ideal for me, but it works when the sleeve is cut on. I also added 4 inches to the length, as I like my tops long and this one barely comes past the high hip as drafted.
From the back it is a little easier to see how I added the sleeve. I just extended the shoulder line far enough to cover my shoulders, then added the 5/8 SA/HA and connected the end of the line with the underarm on the pattern. Easy peasy.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


When I started this blog, it was with the intention of chronicling the sewing I was doing. I never would have imagined that 200 of you would want to follow along with me! I'm amazed and honored that so many are interested enough in what I do to follow. So, as a big Thank You, I thought a little giveaway would be fun.  ETA: Jo pointed out that my Google Readership is actually 368! Wow, even more reason to celebrate!
Up for grabs is an early 80's Vogue Designer Pattern by Renata. It is a size 8 and all of the pattern pieces are intact. I am in love with the top view with all of the tucks across the bodice - fabulous!
Of course with your lovely new pattern, you'll need some fabric. I'm offering a generous 3 yards of poly/lycra crepe in a lovely creamy beige. It has a lovely soft hand and would be stunning made up into any of the views in this pattern.
To go with your fabric, you will also receive 5 yards of lace in a shade slightly lighter than your fabric. Although the pattern is unembellished, a little lace never hurt anyone. I'm sure it will make a lovely addition to any project.

To enter, simply leave a comment on this post. Be sure that you leave a way to contact you if your profile does not link to your email address. Anyone may enter - I am happy to ship internationally. You don't have to be a follower, but hey, it would be cool. I'll close the giveaway at 8PM (Mountain Standard Time) on August 5th and announce the winner on the 6th. - This giveaway is now closed. Thanks to those who participated.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Monthly Roundup: July 2011

July has been an interesting month in many ways. I was very productive, and also very busy. As I mentioned last month, I've been a little down and stressed out. I wanted to try to find a little more balance in the things that I do, and to seek out ways to help other, starting at home. At first, I thought I'd take a month or so off of sewing for myself. You, my dear friends, pointed out to me that perhaps I was swinging the pendulum to far the other way, and I think y'all were right! If I had forbidden myself from sewing "selfishly" then I would have been resentful of the sewing that I was doing, and it would have had the opposite effect, pulling me down even more. But you know, as I was thinking about what I wanted to do for my family and friends, I found I was really excited about the projects that I had planned. I ended the month having sewn not a single stitch for myself, and you know, I'm really happy about it!

So, for the month of July, I sewed;
1) Ottobre 01/2010-15 blouse for Myra
2) Ottobre 01/2010-13 PJ pants for Myra
3) Ottobre 01/2010-19 PJ top for Myra
4) Jalie 2792 leotard for Myra
5) Stroller seat for Myra
6) Simplicity 2290 PJ pants for Logan
7) Butterick 4222 PJ top for Logan
8) Ottobre 01/2010-18 leggings for Myra
9) Ottobre 06/2008-13 top for Myra
10) 11 one piece aprons for the Hopi Indian Reservation
11) Ottobre 03/04-8 tee as a gift
12) Ottobre 06/08-2 leggings as a gift
13) Ottobre 03/04-7 pinafore as a gift
14) Kwik Sew 3299 tee for Mitch
15) Ottobre 03/2011-21 shirt for Logan

Not counting the aprons, that is 14 individual items, which is pretty good, especially considering that I've also been trying to unpack my house. Boy, it's been a relief having all of our things, but I really hate unpacking!! Since there were a lot of small things, I didn't use a ton of yardage - only 10.25 yards, of which 7.25 came from stash.

I'm so glad that I took this break from just sewing for me. I had forgotten how much I enjoy fulfilling a real need and sewing for others. I'm going to try to keep that in mind as I go forward. Believe it or not, the kids still l need more PJs.
At the moment, I do have a few projects for myself planned. On the cutting table at the moment is the Colette Sorbetto that everyone has been making. It's still in the muslin stage, as I don't wear sleeveless tops, so I'm playing around with some sleeve options. After that I have pulled some ITY to make Vogue 8724. I really love the way Shannon's wearable muslin of this one turned out and can't wait to make my own. After that, I really need to turn my attention to Fall and Winter sewing. I heard somewhere that it gets cold here in Utah. It'll be interesting to see what that's like...