Thursday, December 29, 2011

Ottobre 06/2008-13 & 03/2011-20

Because she needs new clothes...
Myra has recently developed a bit of an obsession with Hello Kitty, so when I saw this knit print at Cottonwood Fabrics, I snatched it up. It is a little on the thin side, and I think it looks a bit PJ-like all by itself. Myra picked out this hot pink panne velvet at Joann recently and when I got it home, I realized they were a perfect match.

Both patterns are from Ottobre. The top is the "Sweet 'n' Cosy" tunic from the 06/2008 issue. I've used it before to make fleece PJs and I like the way it fits.
This time I actually did the elastic at the cuffs. I think it helps make this look less like PJs. I used my binder on the neckline. Both fabrics were very curly and hard to work with, so I am really glad I had the serger and coverstitch to help tame them.
The bottoms are super cute. This is the "Funky Stripes" skirted leggings from the 03/2011 issue of Ottobre. The design is for capri length leggings, but I lengthened them to full length for winter. I love the look of a skirt with leggings. This way you only have the one waistband. And they match, which is not always the case when Myra picks out her clothes...
This was a quick and easy outfit to put together. I'll definitely be using these patterns again. In the meantime, I've also been hard at work on a coat. After 3 muslins, I'm finally ready to cut the fabric. It's going to be awesome.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas!!

I'm wearing my velvet top today, so I thought I'd show you all how it looks on.
I think I could have given myself a bit more room in the bust, but it is comfortable and I like it. Next time I'll do a real FBA. I also noticed that the facing doesn't quite come all the way under my bust and there is a barely visible line where it crosses the chest. I think I'll make it a little longer to eliminate that.

I hope that all who are celebrating are having a wonderful Christmas Eve full of joy, family and good food.
And something sweet under your tree.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Simplicity 3536

Sometimes when I am in the middle of a complicated project, I like to take a break and whip up something quick.
This is Simplicity 3536. It's so OOP that it isn't even on Simplicity's website anymore. This was actually one of the first patterns that I bought when I was coming back to fashion sewing. I'm not sure why it took me so long to make it up, but I sure am glad I finally did.  I think this red stretch velvet (from Joann) is perfect for the holidays!
One of the features that I like about this pattern is the rouching, which you can see a bit better in the back view. There is elastic rouching at both side seams as well as the top and bottom of the sleeve at the hem. The directions instruct you to stitch on elastic while stretching, which I think is an excellent way to do it, but I decided to just shirr with elastic in the bobbin. It worked well, but I noticed that if I shirred through the seam allowance I lost a lot of elasticity, so my sleeve rouching is a little uneven.
Here is an inside view where you can see my favorite feature of this pattern - the facing for the cowl. Look at how deep it is! It comes all the way to the underbust line. It is cut on, so there is no seam.
It is secured into the armscye and side seams. That baby isn't going anywhere. It always makes me crazy when my cowl facing flips out. I love how secure this is. I think this is an adaptation I will do on future cowl neck tops.

The holidays are crazy, so I probably won't get a chance to post again until they have passed, but I hope that your holiday season is enjoyable and that you have plenty of stitching time!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Butterick 4910 - Christmas edition

I saw this adorable dress on Crafts 4 Lily and decided to take a little break from my current WIP to make Myra her own Gingerbread Dress.
I'd forgotten how bizarrely long the sleeves on this pattern are. Do you like how she has styled her dress with her leopard print flats? Ever the fashionista, is my girl. She never leaves the house without a bit of animal print on her person.
 The pattern I used is Butterick 4910, which is just your basic raglan sleeve tunic/top/dress. This is the long version, but shortened 5 inches to make it below knee length. I've used this pattern a couple of other times and I like it reasonably well, except for the weird sleeve length thing. Really, any raglan sleeve dress pattern you happen to have lying around would work for this dress. The fabric is a 21 wale corduroy that I purchased at Joann specifically for this project. I wanted a lighter, gingerbread brown. I think velour, velvet or velveteen would be equally cute.
For the trim, I stitched red rick rack to the sleeves (about 1 inch up from the hem) and at the seam between the skirt and ruffle. I found some cheerful green buttons in the stash and stitched three to the upper bodice with red thread and then tacked a bow at the left sleeve seam on the neckline. The arms are shirred with elastic thread.
Myra is pretty darn happy with her dress, and so am I. It is amazing what a little trim can do to spice (ha-ha) up an otherwise simple design. I need to do that more...

Thursday, December 15, 2011


I had to derail some sewing plans thanks to a very active boy who managed to wear a hole in the knee of his only nice pair of pants. You know, the really nice, lined ones I made him a month ago. Seriously!! They only lasted a month!

So, I pulled out his TNT pant pattern (Ottobre 01/2009-23) and whipped up another pair.
This time, they have knee patches. I made these from a flannel backed twill that I've used for pants for him before. Those wore well, kept him warm and were comfortable. Plus, the flannel side of the fabric is cozy, so I didn't feel like they needed a lining, which made them quicker to sew.
The only embellishing I did was to quilt the patches in straight lines and topstitch the side and crotch seams with dark grey thread. For the patches, I just used the worn out pair to determine size and placement. I put a piece of thin batting under the patch for increased sturdiness. Let's hope these last longer than a month...

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Kwik Sew 3167

I have a big project that I will be starting soon. I can't reveal all yet, but I'm pretty sure you are going to love it. I know I'm really excited about it! Anyway, if blogging is a little light for a couple of weeks, you know why. Sort of.

In other news, I made panties!
Why haven't I done this before?? This was the easiest thing ever. Both pair took under a half hour and that includes tracing the pattern, making alterations, cutting and sewing. And they are awesome. The pattern I used is Kwik Sew 3167, which includes several different panty styles as well as a camisole, which could even double as a light bra for the young, perky and less endowed. I chose the simplest of the panties, which is sewn from wide stretch lace, so there are no edges to finish and no elastic to apply.
The edges of the stretch lace become the waist and leg openings, which is pretty as well as easy. These panties fit like boy shorts, with a low cut leg opening in front and a sassy rear view. I won't be modeling them for you, as this isn't that sort of blog, but I assure you, the hubby is pleased. And so am I! These things are so smooth under clothing, without binding or pinching anywhere! VPL is a thing of the past. Based on my measurements, I made a size M, then altered the crotch curve, scooping it out just the way I would a pair of close fitting pants. The fit is amazing. I am never buying panties again. Did I mention that I got my lace from Sew Sassy (love that site!) for 2.49 a yard, and it takes 1 1/2 yards to make a pair of panties. That brings my cost to about 3.50 per pair, since I used scrap knit for the crotch lining. Seriously, comparable panties at VS are 12.50!! Sewing is awesome.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Ottobre 06/2011-34 & 01/2009-23

Both of these patterns are reruns, but I ran into some trouble I thought I'd share.
I made this outfit for Logan as a Christmas gift. The top is Ottobre 06/2011-34, which I made here, and the pants are Ottobre 01/2009-23, which I have made 10 times in various sizes. Needless to say, we like this pattern. For this iteration, I used a poly velour from Fabric Mart for the shirt as well as to line the pants. He has a velour raglan top made for him by his Oma that he wears all the time, but which is showing it's age. I used sueded cotton twill from for the pants outer.
Oma's version has a cool zombie embroidered on it, but since I don't have an embroidery machine, I picked up two Cars patches from Joann and stitched them on. Cute, huh? This was not where I had trouble though. The trouble came when I attached the neckband. This velour has less stretch than the rib knit I used the last time I made this top, so I made the neckband a smidge longer to compensate. It would have been fine, except that this velour curled like no jersey I have ever seen, and when I tried to stretch it to stitch it to the neckline, it curled away from the serger and out of range of the needles. Add to that that my serger has been misbehaving lately and you have a recipe for disaster. Three different neckbands, four broken needles, some basting and a bit of swearing later, it actually looks pretty good. What I learned was that if you have a jersey that curls like a mad fiend, basting the edges together with a zigzag stitch before you serge will tame the curlies. Word to the wise. The cuffs look much better. I basted them.
The pants have some decorative twill tape at the back pocket openings. Mom brought this home from Expo a couple of years ago and I have been awaiting the "perfect" project. I'm not sure this is perfect, but it was about to become To Good To Use, and we can't have that. I think it's a cute touch and it coordinates nicely with the top.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Simplicity 2520

I'm still in a bit of a knit top mode. I mentioned in my last post that I had this thin jersey that I had originally pegged for the Kwik Sew top. Idecided it was too thin for that, but I think it's perfect for this.
This pattern is Simplicity 2520. When I originally purchased this pattern, it was for this knit top. It has interesting lines, and I'm a sucker for an interesting knit top pattern. Somehow, I just never found the perfect fabric for it until now, although I did make the gored skirt from the pattern. But the top - I love the design. It is a mock turtleneck which forms a yoke into which the upper bodice is pleated.
Here are the pleats. You can see the fabric a little better in this shot as well. It is a very thin poly/cotton jersey with a soft gold finish. I think it's perfect for the holidays! Anyway, you can also see that this is quite a snug neckline. The pattern calls for a zipper at center back through the yoke section only. In a firmer, sturdier knit, I think this would be necessary to get the top over your head, but this fabric has about 110% stretch and is very light. A zipper would have weighed down the back and caused ripples, so it is fortunate that I can (just!) get it over my head without it.
As is typical for the Big 4, this pattern has plenty of ease! I cut a straight size 10, although my upper bust puts me in a 12, and my full bust is a 14. Based on the finished pattern measurements printed on the tissue, I went ahead an skipped the FBA, thinking I would prefer the top to have a bit of negative ease. It doesn't, although I do fill out the pleats.
I also really like the sleeve on this top. It is a raglan style, gathered into elastic at the hem, which hits me just past elbow length. The elastic gives my fine jersey a bit of weight, which helps the sleeve hang well. Over all, I am quite pleased with this top, and I'm glad that I chose to use it for this fabric. I definitely think this pattern benefits from a very stretchy, lightweight knit.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Kwik Sew 3694

In the interest of sparking a little sewing mojo, I went hunting for a quick and easy knit top pattern. The last time Kwik Sew went on sale, I picked up 3694 on a whim.
You can't get much more quick and easy than this - 3 pattern pieces and only a couple of seams. The only tricky part was the layout. Since the pieces are asymmetrical, you have to lay them out in a single layer on 60 inch wide fabric. You do need the width, too. This pattern is a serious fabric hog!
The front and back pattern pieces differ only in the neckline, so all the seams are the same - no easing, just sew. I chose to make the small size, even though the pattern measurements put me squarely in the medium size range. I was going for a somewhat closer fit than the envelope models.
The casing on the side is formed with the seam allowances of the side seam, which are stitched down on either side and a self fabric spaghetti strap is laced through the casings and drawn up to gather the side. I bound the neckline with my coverstitch machine, so I didn't use the facing strip included in the pattern.
The fabric is used is a rib knit from It was originally a creme color, but I accidentally washed it with some bright red yardage, so now it is a pinkish tie dye. Oops. I used it as a wearable muslin of sorts, since I wasn't sure about the style. I really like it, but now I'm not sure that I want to use the fabric I had initially paired it with. It is a very fine jersey with a soft gold finish. It's very drapey, which is so different from this firm rib knit. I'm not sure I'll like it as well, but I do have a couple of interlocks I think would be awesome.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Twirly, sparkly and pink

I'm still feeling a little scattered sewing-wise. I've pulled dozens of patterns and pieces of fabric, only to put them all back because I just can't seem to make a decision. Nothing seemed just right, until I spotted this remnant of embroidered batiste that my Mom sent me.
Isn't it fabulous??  Mom used it to make this skirt, and then sent me what was left.
There were only a few small rectangles of fabric, but it was just enough for a twirly skirt for Myra.
For some OTT girliness, I added a ruffled underskirt. Pink of course, made from some hot pink voile I got in a mystery bundle from Fabric Mart.
I didn't use a pattern - it's just rectangles sewn together and gathered a bit, but this tutorial will give you a similar effect.
Happy Twirling!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Ottobre 06/2011-34

I'm afraid that I am notorious for neglecting necessary (but boring) sewing. Poor Logan falls into that category all too often. It's particularly pronounced in the pajama department. He has exactly enough sets of PJs (that he likes) to get him from one wash day to the next, so when he tore a hole in one of his PJ tops, it was a bit of an emergency. Naturally, the hole was front and center in the middle of the fabric - not repairable. The top was really too short anyway, but the pants still fit great, so instead of attempting a sad looking repair, I used the remains of the old top to applique a new one.
He was more interesting in playing with it than getting a good picture.
The pattern is from the most recent issue of Ottobre, 06/2011. It is #34, which is a raglan sleeved PJ top with a fun bulldog applique. I went a little simpler and made a large number 5 on the front of the shirt and a little soccerball snipped out of the print on the right sleeve.
The fabric is a super soft cotton rib knit. I really wish I remembered where it came from. I want some more!! Before I got my serger, I really struggled sewing rib knits. It seemed like no matter what I did, the seams would ripple. Now, I just crank the differential feed up to 2 and stitch away! This tee really did whip up quickly. As is typical for Ottobre, it is beautifully drafted. The neckband seemed way to small when I was first attaching it, but it turned out just right. I did lengthen the shirt and sleeves to the next size up, as it looked short in the magazine. On Logan, the fit is nicely slim and the length is good. There is a little room to grow, but not so much that he's swimming in it.
This was supposed to be a PJ top, but when Logan saw it, he told me that it is to wear to preschool. So, you may be seeing some more boy PJs here soon... And a few more of these. It's a good basic, and he could use more long sleeve shirts. It gets cold out there!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Monthly Roundup: November 2011

Can you believe I still haven't cut that houndstooth??? I was so disappointed in the muslin for Simplicity 2764 that I am scissor shy now. I toyed around with the idea of a cape, and while I think that would have been amazing, I only have enough yardage for a cropped one, which I don't think I'd be as fond of. So, the houndstooth wool has been returned to the stash for the moment. I still managed to sew and knit a few things this month.

1) Ottobre 03/2009-19 cardigan for Myra
2) Nosewarmer cowl for Mitch
3) Ottobre 01/2009-23 pants for Logan
4) Simplicity 8170 PJ top and bottom for Myra
5) McCalls 3830 skirt X3 for me
6) Not Quite A Baby mitts and hat for Duncan
7) DanDoh scarf for me
8) New Look 6926 pinafore for Myra
9) Style 2867 blouse for Myra
10) New Look 6926 purse for Myra
11) Christmas Tree for all the kids
12)Vogue 8330 jeans for me
13)Ottobre 06/2011-34 tee shirt for Logan - not yet blogged

That ends up being 12 finished sewn garments and 4 knitted items. And a cut and glue crafty Christmas tree. :) I sewed 17.5 yards of fabric and 15.5 was from the stash!! Woo-hoo!! The only non-stash sewing I did this month was two of the knit pencil skirts, which actually never made it into the stash. I'm not sure what my favorite garment this month is. Everything is getting good use, although Duncan prefers to eat his mittens and hat, rather than wear them.
What to do for December?? Well, I still have coats, jackets and jeans on the brain. I ordered some Faux Mink from Fabric Mart to make a jacket and I really still want that houndstooth in my closet. I love my new skinny jeans, but I also want to make some wide legs. Myra could really use some jeans, too and she's big enough for Jalie 2908 now. I think the low rise would be perfect for her *ahem* figure. Between her low front waist and ghetto booty, RTW doesn't fit her at all. I'm feeling a bit of sewing ADD right now actually. There are a ton of things I want to do, but I can't get my brain to settle on one. Maybe I'll go make a knit top. That always settles me down!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Vogue 8330

The heavy duty snap was hammered and these babies are done!
I love them!! When I first started seeing skinny jeans, I was horrified. Could anything be more unflattering?? What would Stacy and Clinton say??? But the more I saw them, the more I liked them.  Still, I couldn't convince myself to put in the effort to sew a pair when I wasn't sure that I liked the style. So, I did the unthinkable and actually bought a pair of jeans. I know. After some judicious back waist darts, the RTW pair fit OK, and I found myself wearing them all the time, even though the fit was only OK. It was obviously time to sew myself a pair that actually fit.
The pattern I used was Vogue 8330, which I found at the thrift store. I was thrilled to see very favorable reviews on PR. Erica B even made these! The only thing I didn't like about the pattern was the low rise, so I raised it to just below my natural waist. That took 3 inches in front, tapering down to 2 inches at center back.
I added 2 of the three inches above where the pocket sits, to enlarge the pocket opening, but I should have lowered the coin pocket. It looks a little strangely tall. The topstitching was done with C&C "jeans" thread on my Janome. The jeans were constructed on the serger as well as my vintage Singer. She purrs through denim like butter.
I used Dritz rivets, although I have some nicer ones coming soon from Hot Patterns. I couldn't wait, so they'll go on my next pair of jeans. For the closure, I used a heavy duty snap, also from Dritz. It was much easier than fighting Janome to make a buttonhole with jeans thread. I will have to explore other color options though. Hancock's only has black and old gold, which doesn't match the silver rivets they carry. Hello.
Inside, I used a striped cotton for the waistband facing and pockets. I extended the pocket bag across the front all the way to center front. I first saw this done on Beangirl's blog, but have since seen that some of my Burda pants pattern have that feature as well. It is really great for keeping those pocket bags tucked in, but also provides a little tummy control for those of us who perhaps don't have the tummy tone of yesteryear.
Changes I made for fit are mostly detailed here and here. I think these are my best fitting pants to date, so I am pleased. Despite the fact that I get front wrinkles if I move, I am still pleased to have figured out the front crotch curve as having a good fit there makes these pants quite comfortable. Nothing pulls, binds or rides up. I'm not sure I am thrilled with the fit of the waistband, since it tends to roll down on the sides. It is a contoured waistband, and I wonder if it doesn't curve too sharply for how high the waistline is on these pants.
Here are the pockets, now actually stitched on. I waited to sew them on until I had sewn and topstitched the center back seam, so that I could balance the pockets an equal distance from the topstitching. In looking at the pictures, I think they might have been a bit more flattering if I had placed them slightly closer in. I'll remember that for next time!

I'm pretty darn thrilled with my jeans. They are comfortable and despite the dogma about pant legs falling straight from the hips, I find these pretty flattering. It was fun to sew along with the ladies at It's a Jeans Thing as well. Thanks for letting me play!! I may try to squeeze another pair in before the 15th of December!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Christmas Spirit

I finally joined the Pinterest crowd a few weeks ago. That site can be a serious time sucker, but I have also found some fun ideas there. This is my first attempt at using one of my "pins".
The idea for the tree comes from this blog. She includes a pdf tutorial with patterns for the decorations. Very nice! Of course, I've never been very good at following directions. I cut the felt tree from a 1 yard piece of 72" wide felt. I only used half of the width, so I'm thinking about making another for their bedroom. For the ornaments, I used a roll of duct tape to make the circles and let the kids pick bits of trim to decorate, then I used the hot glue gun to affix their decorations. The "garland" is just mohair yarn. Nice and sticky with the felt.  Since felt sticks to itself, no velcro is needed. We all had a pretty fun time putting it together, and it was really quick - maybe 45 minutes total.
Here's Myra, rearranging the ornaments to best effect. She says it needs some presents, and I don't think she means felt ones...

In other news, my jeans are ALMOST done. All that is left is hammering on the snap. Seriously, that is all. Hopefully I can get that done today and get some pictures. I'm pretty excited about them. I can't wait to show you all!!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Back Pockets

Whenever I make a new pair of jeans, the first thing I stitch is the back pockets. Having the pockets done gives me a little mojo burst, which I need at the beginning of an involved project.
I don't have an embroidery machine, so I have to work a little harder to get my pockets symmetrical. Over the course of my last several pair of jeans, I've worked out a system that works for me. I thought I'd share it.
The first thing I do is trace the pocket pattern piece I'm using, then draw in the hem and seam allowances (if it has them). I copy this several times (on a regular copy machine/printer) to give me something to sketch on so that I can try out different design ideas in the space I'll actually have on the pocket.  Once I've settled on a design, I flip it over and trace it backwards so that the two pockets are symmetrical. I used regular computer paper today, but the next step is easier if you trace it onto tissue paper.
Cut out your tracing on the cutting line and glue it onto your fabric with a glue stick. Just dab a little glue in the upper and lower allowances. You don't want it glued permanently, but you don't want it to shift around when you stitch. Wonder Tape would work too, but glue sticks are cheaper. Pins are acceptable, but may distort your design as you stitch.
Now stitch your design through the paper. Go slowly and sew accurately along the lines you drew.
That big fat jeans needle you should be using does a nice job of perforating the paper, so it is easy to remove from your design! Just pull gently, starting with the big pieces of paper. When you get to the little ones, tug on your pocket a little. Even non stretch denim will stretch a little on the bias, and this will help detach the paper from your stitching.
Now all that is left is to press down your hem allowance on top and topstitch it in place, then press under the allowances on the other sides and bottom of the pocket. Since you already traced out the pocket shape, you have a template you can use for pressing. Handy!

Any other tips? Please share!