Sunday, March 25, 2012

Kwik Sew 3856...thank you.

Not the best photo of me (minus my head), but here you go:

I love Kwik Sew 3856. It makes my heart dance. I used a polyester silky print from Joann. I usually abhor 100% polyester, but the print was so lively, I gave it a chance. It was much easier to work with than I imagined. Hardly any fraying, so swishing around (silky fabrics tend to do that), no puckering...nothing. If all the other silky prints at Joann weren't so atrocious, I would use them more often. 

I'm more of a solids kind of girl. It's rare that I'll find something besides a tiny floral print that I'll actually wear. To be honest, I'm shocked at this fabric choice. Bright colors, paisley and polyester? It's like I took a trip back to the 1970s. 

But I like this dress. I really, really like it.

Here are some pattern details, as I've never formally reviewed this pattern before:


  • I cut a size large. If you've never used a Kwik Sew pattern, you will notice that there are only five sizes: extra-small, small, medium, large and extra large. This is fine for the type of dress I made but is annoying if you try to make something more fitted. 
  • It's pretty roomy in the bust area, so I didn't need to do a full-bust adjustment. However, the surplice front does gap like crazy. I plan on going back and stitching it down. 
  • I made view A, the long version. I had to add 2 inches to the length as I am a wee bit tall. Not too tall, but tall enough. Even then, I had to make a super narrow hem, around 1/4" to get it to my ankles. 

Kwik Sew 3856 will probably find its way back to my sewing table in the future. I have a nice stash of some Anna Maria Horner voiles that would be perfect. This pattern has helped restore my dying sewing mojo and gave me a necessary confidence boost. 

My next project is a Cynthia Rowley pattern, Simplicity 1801. I have navy pique and moderately high hopes. We'll see how it goes.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Kwik Sew 3856 is still my hero

Instead of having to underline the voile, as I originally planned, I purchased some poly silky print fabric from Joann. I'm not a fan of polyester, but I need a simple, quick and easy dress to make. Lining always complicates things.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

City Tote

City Tote in progress...I kind of like it. Then again, I kind of don't. We'll see how it looks once the handles are sewn.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

In progress...

I'm working on the City Tote at the moment.

Every thing is cut out and interfaced. I used Pellon SF101 Shape-Flex this time instead of my usual Pellon Craft-fuse. Holy cow! What a difference that made. No wrinkling and everything fused the first time.

For the exterior fabric, I'm using Wrenly (Bloom in Citrus) by Valori Wells. I purchased mine @ Stitch Lab.

Available at Hawthorne Threads

Kona cotton in Stone will be used for the lining. I also plan on adding a zippered pocket, using this tutorial from Sew Mama Sew.

The instructions for the City Tote aren't the best. I still haven't quite figured out the seam allowance yet. It helps that I've made a bag or two before. If not, I would be completely lost. At the moment, there is head-scratching but no true frustration. Yet. The bag is smaller than I thought it would be. Then again, I usually make giant bags. 

We'll see how it goes....perhaps I'll be finished by the weekend.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Mini Wardrobe Time: Four days in New York.

The first week of May, the hubby and I will take a short trip to NYC. This will be be our second visit to this wholly overwhelming place, as our first trip was in October of 2009. NYC didn't do it for me on the first visit, so hopefully this second visit will win me over.

According to all the weather websites and guides I've consulted, the weather should be nice. I'm not sure what I should wear. I considered making a mini-vacation wardrobe. I have plenty to time to complete it as long as I keep it simple.

Keeping it simple, ha! That's the task that seems the most daunting. On our last visit, I felt frumpy and out of place the whole time. In Austin, no one gets dressed up for anything. Austinites will wear jeans, t-shirts and flip flops to a wedding. I used to like that laid-back sensibility in fashion. But as my taste in clothing and how I present myself have changed, I often find myself feeling over-dressed if wear something other than jeans and a t-shirt.

In New York, my t-shirt and jeans made me feel like a fashion misfit, but not in a good way. However, 90% of this was all in my head as most New Yorkers weren't paying attention to me---they had better things to do. I just spent hours walking around comparing myself to people who were barely aware of my existence.

This time around, I've gotten over myself. I still want to look cute but I'm not going to compare myself to complete strangers. That's just silly and will get in the way of enjoying my vacation.

So now, back to my mini-wardrobe....

Initially, I wanted to wear dresses and cardigans the whole time. Then I thought about maybe a skirt-shirt combo and just a couple dresses instead. What about jeans? I didn't know what shirts to wear with jeans. Argh.

I will only be there 4 days, this includes air travel. The first day and last day I will need to wear jeans as I will be on a plane for most of the day. The last day I can just wear jeans and a t-shirt  (that I already own) since that will be the travel home day.

So, for the first day I will wear jeans and a cute shirt. I thought about this shirt:

The Esther blouse.



I ordered the pattern and read through the instructions. The instructions are very, very detailed. She also included a lot of helpful hints on choosing fabric and how to take correct measurements, etc. I think it would be cute. Not sure of the fabric yet. I've been dying to make a white shirt, but the white stretch pima cotton I have may be too heavy for this blouse. Voile, lawn or batiste may be a better choice.

Or, I could make View A of Simplicity 1872:


Not sure about peplum blouses. I don't think I have the waist line necessary to wear one without looking pregnant. It's not a complicated blouse and I do crave simplicity...we'll see.

Perhaps a dress to two.....

I just need to hem my McCall's 6503 (view B) in Lecien lawn. It would be super cute if paired with the right cardigan.

Not sure about the next dress or two. I have my McCall's 5801 shirt dress. I like it but I'm not sure if I want to take it. I really, really love shirt dresses and want to wear one while on my trip. I just ordered this pattern. I love the princess seams and notched collar:


I really love View E.
I would add sleeves to it, maybe. Not sure about which fabric to use to for this dress either. Perhaps a solid poplin (I already have black) or something else? A floral would be nice, I think. Perhaps I will use this Boden dress for inspiration.

Friday, March 16, 2012

On the sewing table...

And no, I still haven't hemmed my dresses yet.

Instead, I'm starting on a quick project---a project I know will work. It will give me a quick result with minimal effort. I know this because I've made this dress three times already.

Sometimes you just need a quick project to get past a creative lull.

Kwik Sew 3856 is my hero. I plan on making view A. I will add about 2 inches to hem. I want it to graze the floor. I hate it when long dresses stop at my ankles. Also, I will remember raise the neckline by an inch. If not, you will be able to see my cleavage from a mile away.

It's a simple dress to construct. It doesn't require an alarming amount of fabric or time really. I finished one of these dresses last year in about 2 hours (including cutting + sewing). I need to take pictures. Really. 

Patty the Snugbug has made three of these dresses if you need an idea of the finished product.

I plan to use some Anna Maria Horner voile from my stash. I bought it from Fabric Mart last month for $1.99 a yard. It's Baby Bouquet in Meadow.

I had no desire to buy any of these designer voiles before. I felt that the patterns were too cutesy and better suited for children. Also the fact that most websites sell them for more than $12 a yard also deterred my interest. However, when Fabric Mart put it on sale, I jumped all over it. Once I got my package and felt the wonderful buttery fabric slip between my fingers, I fell in love. I plan on buying some voile solids in the future as most of the prints are still a bit too much for me. 

Since the voile is a bit sheer, I will line it with some pale yellow batiste. My fabric is washed, pressed and ready to go. Hopefully I will finish it (hem and all) by Monday. The weather has been warm and humid lately here in Austin, almost perfect weather for a nice dress. 

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


I have three dresses to hem:

  • Colette Crepe : Cotton/rayon lawn-ish fabric; black with white polka dots
  • McCall's 6503: The blue Lecien lawn that I love so dearly. I also figured out how to reduce the bust gathering to make it more fitted. Am quite pleased with the outcome.
  • McCall's 5801: Another reason why I love shirt dresses so.damn.much. Made with this poplin.

I don't feel like doing it.

This annoys me because the dresses are very pretty and I'm quite proud of my efforts thus far. Work has been a bit stressful and all-consuming. The stress led to crippling self-doubt of my sewing skills. Perhaps it's best that I leave the hemming for another day.

Also, I am brainstorming handbags once more. I thought about making Chie's variation (in the book) of the BurdaStyle bag pattern. After reading through the instructions, it seemed a bit too complicated for my brain's fragile state.

The City Tote I came across (thank you Pinterest) looked good. I even have leather handles. I was overwhelmed by my fabric stash.


The Tatanne bag made my heart skip with joy until I realized I had to make my own pattern pieces. I gave up on that 20 minutes ago.



I need something easy. I wish I could just use the same pattern over and over again. I've noticed that a lot in the sewing world. I always try to make something new every time. Except for the Wiksten Tova and Kwik Sew 3856. I've made three of each of those patterns. Both are basically shapeless and make me look a wee bit pregnant--a look that I do not want to have, ever.


Bed time.
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