Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013: The Hits

I won't be posting about my sewing misses this year. No point on harping on failures and missteps. I wasted money. I learned lessons the hard way. Blah, blah, blah.

But this has been a banner year for sewing for me. Holy cow. I impressed myself several times this year. Although I did not blog every single thing I made that worked (there are at least 10-15), I still have enough photos of the good stuff to fill out a post. Bad news though. Two of my favorite makes have yet to be blogged. I'm going to include them anyway. Eventually each will receive a post of their very own. Just not today.

Anyway, on to the hits! I put a link to the blog post under each photo.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Sewing Goals for 2014

While I patiently wait for my camera to charge, I figured that I might as well post about my sewing goals for the coming year. I felt that I stepped up my game a bit in 2013 (I made two coats), which surprised me. I want to continue to improve my skills and avoid some costly habits I developed this past year.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Top 5 things that made sewing awesome in 2013

 I've seen a lot of Top 5 lists pop up lately. Figured that I may as well toss my hat into the ring. My list is a bit different. Instead of five things that I made, I want to post five things that made sewing awesome for me this year. This includes books, techniques, patterns, fabric, notions, or even a new blog.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Coat with a side of coat.

After making two muslins of Simplicity 4403, I nixed it. The fit was perfect with muslin #2 as I only had minor tweaking to do. The pattern just didn't do it for me. Perhaps it was the princess seams. Never been a fan of princess seams. I mentioned my other two coat options in this post: McCall's 6657 and Butterick 5966. After careful evaluation, I decided against both of those patterns. The collar on McCall's 6657 and the full skirt on Butterick 5966 both reminded me of my green coat. I needed something a wee bit different for my next coat. I needed lapels.

As if on cue, in walked Butterick 5255, another out-of -print-pattern from my stash. Although it is a simple wrap coat (I swore to myself I would not make another one), it has enough details to keep it interesting. This time around I wanted a lighter coat (the green one is heavy) and of course it would have a hood.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Unnecessary complications.

So, now on to Coat #2.

This time around, I'm working with Simplicity 4403, an out-of-print coat pattern that I hunted down on ebay (and paid way too much for it). Initially, I wanted view C, the wrap coat with shawl collar. After wearing the greatness that is my first coat for the past couple of weeks, I decided that I did not want another coat with a tie belt. View A (minus the side tabs) then became the object of my affection.

Simplicity 4403 (oop)

View A seemed a bit plain. It would be even more so in the charcoal gray wool blend twill I bought for it. To take it up a notch, I planned on adding button sleeve tabs, welt pockets from View B, and a back button tab (seen here on this Land's End coat). Oh, and of course, a hood.

That still wasn't enough. I stood in the mirror wearing my muslin and I felt kind of blah about it.

This morning as I perused my blog list, I came across Tilly's version of the Papercut Patterns Watson jacket. I fell so deeply in love with the capelet. Immediately, I showed it to Kris and asked him what he thought. "It looks a bit twee,"  he said.


Buying the Watson pattern crossed my mind, but honestly, I have no desire to tweak a brand new pattern (especially one that costs $35). Thus, I decided to find a way to add a capelet (with hood) to Simplicity 4403. Here's my messy sketch:

This marked my first time using a pencil in 6 months.

When I presented my brilliant idea to Kris (sans sketch), he made a face. "You know that with that cape and the hood on your coat, you'd look like a Christmas tree." Apparently, he thought I planned on adding the capelet to my green coat. I told him no, that it would be the gray one. "Oh, that's okay then."


Now, all I have to do is figure out how to draft a cape. But that's a story for another time.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Now with even more Yay!

Lookit...my coat is one of the featured member's projects on the BurdaStyle website:


*Happy Dance*

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Yay Coat!

Colby come back here!

My coat is finished! I am quite proud of my efforts. After all the fuss and preparation, I finally own a coat that fits. Never happened to me before, seriously. Every coat I've purchased in the past had some kind of fit issue: sleeves too short, can't lift arms, shoulders too narrow, etc. All those issues were fixed, with relative ease I must add. This coat makes me so very happy.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Here's a Cooper. Happy Birthday.

First things first, today is my birthday. I'm kind of meh about it. Yay, 33. Big whoop.

Of course, I had to buy myself something. And of course, Colette Patterns would release something new at the same time.

I admit when I saw that an over-eager pattern tester posted a photo of Cooper on flickr two days ago, I was meh about it. Actually, I thought, "Oh wow, a backpack. I am underwhelmed." Then I saw it presented in all it's glory today and I was quite relieved that it was more than just a backpack.

I asked my husband about the Albion coat pattern. It's simple enough that I could make it for him without too much headache. He made a face. "You mean you'll talk about making this for me, then two weeks later you'll buy me a coat?" I was supposed to make him a messenger bag two years ago. He now carries a very nice canvas Fossil bag. Anyway, it was the toggles that kept him away. The Albion coat was just a bit too "woodland adventure" for him. He's more of a lapel kind of guy. I hate toggles. No Albion coat for me either.

Now there's a sewalong and contest. I was going to make the bag anyway, so I might as well enter the contest. I even created a Pinterest board with all sorts of tutorials, links to trims and bag inspiration. I have leather and canvas on the brain which will be obvious once you check out the board.

Second, I'm still waiting for swatches for my coat. The muslin has been tweaked and every thing is ready to be sewn. Just can't decide on fabric. I ordered 17 swatches from Mood so hopefully one of them will be a winner.

Finally, I find that I don't like sewing with plaid as much as I thought. I bought some flannel for another Darling Ranges dress but I have no desire to match up the plaid. Argh. I had hoped to finish this dress this week so that I could wear it with my new boots.  Oh well.

That's it for now. Back to sketching bag ideas.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

The Almost Darling Ranges Dress

Like most of the blogosphere, I was blown away when Megan Nielsen first introduced her Darling Ranges dress pattern in 2011. It was love at first sight when I saw this one. I had to have that pattern. I ordered it and fantasized about how cute it would look with my Dansko Sally clogs.

The pattern looked simple enough: button front dress, no collar to fuss with or separate plackets. I was ecstatic. You see at that point in 2011, I had sewn clothing for less than a year. Buttonholes didn't scare me, but trying to make things fit properly was a little beyond my skill set. I figured that there wouldn't be too many fitting issues seeing as my measurements matched exactly to the size XL on the Darling Ranges size chart.

Oh boy, was I wrong.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Coat mini update

So, there has been much progress on my coat project. The muslin is about complete. I want to shave just a bit more off the shoulders, about 1/4". I went down to a size 16 from my original size 18 but the shoulders were still a tad too broad (you were correct Meigan). This almost never happens with other patterns. Usually I have to go up a size in the shoulders.  I also added length to the waist, skirt and sleeves.

Anywho, since I'm fairly satisfied with the fit of my muslin, I've started with daunting task of ordering swatches. I plan to stick with jewel tones (thanks for the suggestion Mrs. Smith), with my favorite colors being shades of jade and emerald green. There's also some mustard yellow coating that I'm slowly falling in love with. Of course, every time I come across the perfect fabric, there's only one yard left. Argh. But the search continues. Deciding on the fabric is the easy part of this process.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Review: Colette Zinnia

I'll admit, I was kind of "meh" about the latest offering from Colette Patterns. A gathered, button-front skirt? An awkward-looking pleated skirt? For $16? Meh.

But of course, the more I thought about it, the more the button-front skirt appealed to me. I have several pins on Pinterest of similar skirts. In fact, earlier this year I wanted to make a similar skirt. So, why all the hating on a pattern that was almost exactly what I wanted just a few months ago? I'm not sure, really.

Well, anyway, two weeks ago, I got a wild notion of making this skirt (Version 1). I stopped by Made Sewing Studio to pick up the pattern. Then I took a trip to The Quilting Loft for the chambray. The chambray is lovely. It's from Robert Kaufman, part of the Interweave Chambray collection that popped up around August. I got it in Mustard (width = 44"). It's the perfect shade of mustard for my skin tone. I already had the buttons in my stash.

I was so very excited about this skirt. Very, very excited.

Monday, October 21, 2013

The highs and lows of coat making.

So, Burda 7347 is a bust. If I have learned one lesson from this experience, it's this: MAKE A MUSLIN. Some people possess an innate sewing ability to nail their size from a new pattern with little or no pattern adjustments. I do not possess this talent. Had I made a muslin, I would have known how to deal with certain issues (listed below) before cutting into my fabric and top-stitching (per instructions).

My issues:

1. The finished measurements for the bust and the waist are the same. This means this coat is a glorified rectangle. I am already broad-shouldered and rectangular in shape. I used tan twill, so while trying this on in the mirror I actually thought I looked like a cardboard box. I did break out the french curve to add some shaping to the side seams to no avail.

2. Top-stitching. It's my own fault. I should whipped up a muslin which would have been easy to adjust but I top-stitched all the seams so I couldn't go back and unpick it all. Not going to happen.

3. I was overwhelmed by the thought of tailoring. I kept reading all these blogs and coat-sewalongs...I felt that in order for my coat to look decent, I would have to dedicate hours of tailoring time. I had no desire to do this, but I felt that it was almost a requirement (why? I have no idea).

In light of those issues, I should be deterred from coat-making for a little while, right? Nope. It only strengthened my resolve. I will make a coat this year, damn it. So, here goes attempt #2.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Lining indecision

So, I'm chugging along with my Burda 7347 trench coat. Things are going quite well despite a hiccup here and there. The issues I have encountered have been due to Burda's sometimes vague instructions. But I knew this going in, so I can't really complain about it. Burda pattern instructions assume you already know how to sew fairly well, so they skip out on things that you should already have in your knowledge base (stay-stitching, notching curves, etc).

Today, I plan on tackling the collar, front facings and possibly the sleeves if I don't burn out later this afternoon. Sunday (tomorrow is Ikea day), I will start work on the lining. This is where indecision has placed itself firmly in my sewing room. I purchased my lining (a SUEDEsays polyester charmeuse) from Walmart for $5 a yard. I love it. I'm on a tight budget for the next couple of months, so anytime I come across a deal I jump on it.

Now, I want to add some kind of detail to the lining/facing. Perhaps piping. Perhaps grosgrain ribbon. Not sure. I've seen piping in a number of coats and jackets. It's cute. I have a Target Merona trench coat that has burgundy grosgrain ribbon around the lining/facing. Side note: My Target trench coat is what inspired me to sew my own. Even with it's poor construction and shoddy topstitching, it was originally $50+ (I got it on clearance for around $20). Surely, I could make something better than that. Anyway, I made up two samples to help me decide whether piping or ribbon will adore the interior of my coat:

Ribbon (left)/Piping (right)

Still not sure. I'm leaning towards piping but I think the ribbon is something you don't see as often. Hmm. And yes, I went traditional with the color of my coat fabric. It's a poly/cotton twill from Joann (I had a coupon). I like my choice so far.

So, what do you think: ribbon or piping?

Monday, October 7, 2013

Fall sewing ideas. Not plans. Just ideas.

Tomorrow (technically today as it is 12:08 am), my sewing machine will finally arrive along with the rest of our stuff. The past week has been full of naps on the air mattress and sharing dinner on TV trays with folding chairs. All of our stuff was packed away in a Relocube that was supposed to be delivered on Friday. However, because of the parking policies at our current apartment, we had to reschedule for Monday.  To say this annoyed me would be the understatement of the year. I want my sewing machine. I am going bat-shit insane without it.

Sewing is my escape and help calms me during times of stress. Also, I am in dire need of a fall wardrobe. I never bothered with one when I lived in Texas. Austin is hot for about 8 -9 months out of the year and lukewarm to cool for the remaining 3 months (with the occasional frosty day). There really is no need for coats (or anything involving corduroy) there. Honestly, you could get away with just wearing a hoodie. You basically need just enough warmth to walk from your house (apartment, place of business, store, etc) to your car.

Seattle is a bit different because it actually rains here. The temperatures are much more suited for a fall wardrobe. I can wear corduroy here and not melt. This makes me giddy with all the sewing possibilities.

First off, I have trench coat plans.

Burda 7347 (out-of-print) is my pattern of choice. It was a tough call between it and the Sewaholic Robson Coat. I felt that the Burda pattern would require less work in terms of fit than the Robson Coat. Also, I'd much rather have a coat with a lining than deal with miles and miles of bias tape. Have I mentioned that I'm not a fan of bias tape? Yeah, not a fan. And I have no desire to draft a lining for a coat. Just no.

McCall's came out with a few new patterns. Most of them were quite blah but two did peak my interest.

McCall's 6844/McCall's 6833

I love the idea of a peplum cardigan (McCall's 6844) and view D of McCall's 6833 is very cute. I especially love the collar.

Next on my list are several ponte knit dresses: a wrap dress using Butterick/See & Sew 5546, and one using the collar from McCall's 6796 (to mimic this Modcloth dress).

Finally, I need a couple of skirts in my life. I think the Colette Zinnia is cute but I'm on the fence about it. I know how to add a button placket to a gathered skirt (and I even have an A-line gathered skirt pattern to use--Kwik Sew 3521), so why bother wasting $16 on it?

New Look 6843 is a cute skirt pattern with multiple options. It would be easy to use to make a plaid skirt with a wider waistband. I also have some lightweight wool in my stash that would work as well.

As far as shirts and blouses go, I have no trouble finding them on clearance at Target and Old Navy. Making my own t-shirts has never been a goal of mine. I may attempt a blouse or two, maybe.

That's it for now, I suppose. After I get my sewing room organized, I will start work on the trench coat. I've been dying to get started on it. I already have my fabric washed and ready to go. The pattern is all cut too. And I read the instructions like 5 times on the drive from Austin to Seattle.

That's dedication with just a sprinkling of insanity. Just a sprinkle.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Moving right along

Long time, no talkie...I know. But things have been busy around here. In about two weeks, the hubs and I will embark on a journey across the U.S. to our new home in Seattle.

Yup, Seattle.

It was a decision long in the making. We're both native Texans (with my husband being one of the few native Austinites left) and have longed to live elsewhere. An opportunity presented itself and we finally decided to take a chance and do it.

Things will continue to be quiet on the blog for a while. I want to post one more pattern review (Darling Ranges---finally!) but I don't know if I'll have the time.

Also, does anyone have Seattle fabric shop suggestions? You know, that is always my top priority :)

Monday, July 29, 2013

Hello old friend.

Last time I mentioned this dress was in January of last year. I was optimistic back then...full of ideas yet equally full with procrastination. I had hoped to find a similar green eyelet to make the dress and once I did, I still didn't make it.

Simplicity 2209 + New Look 6910 = Perfection

The dress is simple enough to construct. I've already made a muslin and attempted the pattern (Simplicity 2209 aka the Lisette Passport Dress) last year to lackluster results (stretchy voile is never a good idea). So why is this dress still merely an idea?

Sometimes you have to wait for just the right fabric to come along.

As you can recall, the Grass Court Dress from Anthropologie is made of cute tennis racket eyelet. This and the unusual darts in the front bodice are what make this dress so appealing to me. In order for me to make this dress, I wanted some fabric with a bit of whimsy. Something cute, but not too cutesy. Not bright or obnoxious. And above all, no quilting cotton. The last one was hard as quilting cotton is ripe with fanciful prints of all kinds.

A quick note: I'm not against quilting cotton in garment sewing. I just believe there's a time and place for it. The time nor the place is mid-summer in Central Texas.

Finally, the right fabric came along thanks to my most favorite online seller: Fabric Mart. Oh, the shipping leaves much to be desired (A full 8 days to get to Austin? Surely, you jest.) but the prices can't be beat.  So, when this fabric popped up, I wasted no time in buying some.

Navy/White "Tennis" Print Cotton Shirting 60W

A shirt dress was the first thing that came to mind, something reminscenent of the Anthropologie Two-Wheeler Shirt dress (New Look 6587 would be my first choice). Alas, I'm on a shirt dress diet. 

While browsing through old blog posts, I came across the one about the Grass Court Dress. Ding! This fabric is perfect....it even has tennis rackets on it.

I'm quite excited about this one. The pattern pieces are cut and ready to be placed on fabric. I hope to start on it tomorrow evening. But for now, I'm going to have a gin and tonic. All this planning has made me quite thirsty.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

A whole lotta Hawthorn

So, here we are...Hawthorn #2 is complete. I am officially sick of collars, buttons and shirt dresses.

Oh, and stripes.

I honestly don't know what possessed me to make another Hawthorn. The idea popped in my head on the way to work: You know, I think I still have some of that striped shirting left. I bet it would look great as a Hawthorn.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Hawthorn: Review Time (finally!)

Although I finished this lovely dress a couple weeks ago, it's taken me forever to take photos. I hate taking photos. I usually feel awkward and self-conscious daily, taking photos does not help. But I finally got over myself enough this evening to take some photos. Things were going well, I felt okay despite the horde of mosquitoes that decided to attack in the middle of photo-time. Got back upstairs ready to load up all the photos and write my review...could not find the USB cable for my camera.

(Minor panic ensued)

After tearing apart my sewing room, and still not finding the cable, I decided to use the camera on my phone for photos. Bad idea. There wasn't enough daylight left and they all came out dark even with the flash. Sigh. I called Best Buy to find out about a replacement only to learn that I could only get one online. Sigh. I perused the Best Buy website and realized that the solution to my problem would be a SD card reader (something that I should have owned already). Quick trip to Best Buy and $20 later, here's my review. Finally.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013


So, I'm making progress on both my second Hawthorn and my Pinterest inspiration dress (a lovely combination of Butterick 4386 and New Look 6184). The inspiration dress is lacking a hem.

I take photos with my phone because I can't find my real camera


Fabric close up

Hawthorn, on the other hand, has a longer way to go. At the moment, I'm working on the sleeves. Then it's buttonholes and hemming. I need to finish this up by the weekend so I can take pictures in time for the Hawthorn Contest. I probably won't win but at least I'm putting myself out there.

Also, before I head off to bed, I received a brief mention on the Stash and Burn Podcast (Episode 132: Summer Craft). THIS MADE MY NIGHT. I could feel my "sewjo" slipping away until my friend Q texted me about it. Seriously, I jumped for joy. OMG SQUEE.

*calms down*

Anywho, thanks to the lovely ladies of the Stash and Burn Podcast for putting some much needed pep in my step.

Now, it's bed time.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Work in Progress: Hawthorn #2

I honestly don't know what possessed me to make another one of these. I'm not even sure if I like the first one.

I'm using some shirting I had left over from this dress, part of my NYC fabric shopping trip last year. It's 62 inches wide and I had just under 2 1/2 yards. This turned out to be plenty for this dress including the 3 inches I added to the hem.

Once I finish this one, I will take photos and do a review of both dresses. Then we will never speak of Hawthorn again.

Happy Friday.

Friday, July 12, 2013


So, I finished my Hawthorn dress. Not sure if I'm in love with it. Anyway, here's a blurry photo. I will try to take better photos and write up a review this weekend.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Stuff and stuff

Well, first things first, I won my very first giveaway!

Valori Wells had a giveaway on her blog. Lucky me, I won :) I received 3 yards of her new Wish Voile (available here) and the Jillie wrap skirt pattern (available here). I've been a fan of her fabric designs for a while now.

I'm a winner!
I plan to use the voile for my inspiration dress, mentioned in this post.  The linen I ordered from Mood turned out to be a tad too orange-coral than pinky-orange coral. Not a big fan of orange, but the fabric itself is gorgeous. Beautiful feel and drape. I plan to use it for a wrap dress instead.

In other news, my Hawthorn dress is just about complete. It just lacks buttons and a hem. I'm letting it hang on my dress form overnight. The directions don't mention to do this but with this type of skirt, it's an important step. You don't want to end up with a wonky hem.

Not sure about the buttons though. I have black and white. I'm leaning towards black buttons mainly because I've never used black buttons before. Would black buttons overwhelm the dress or just blend into all the black dots on the fabric? Decisions.

Overall, I am happy with my Hawthorn. I modified my trusty Butterick 4386 bodice instead of using the original Hawthorn bodice. I just didn't have the patience to try and make it fit with a billion dart alterations.

Anyway, there will be a detailed review once I finish it and take some photos. I've been camera-shy for a bit now. I'm slowly coming back around.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Peachy pink coral love

I think I may have finally worked out all the kinks in the Hawthorn pattern. Initially, I rotated the waist dart and split it in two, forming bust and waist darts. I made up a muslin of the entire dress minus sleeves then decided that I didn't like the bodice.

Instead, I modified my trusty Butterick 4386 bodice to look like the Hawthorn one. I changed the collar to one piece and drafted all new facings. Worked like a charm. All the pattern pieces are on my fabric just waiting to be cut and sewn. I will post photos of all these modifications once I finish my dress, perhaps in the next week or so.

Today, I'm lounging around and lurking Pinterest. I'm currently obsessed with the colors coral and peach and all shades in between.

Here's some of my color inspiration (all photos are from Pinterest):

Left to right: 1,2,3

Left to right: 4,5,6
I've found some linen from Mood which I plan to order on payday. Not sure what pattern I will use. Perhaps the skirt (view A) from New Look 6184 with my trusty Butterick 4386 bodice (it's hard not to instantly gravitate to this bodice). I'm inspired by this dress (found via Pinterest):

from Pandora
I wish I could find a floral print that didn't border on obnoxious or cutesy. I do think it would look good in a solid coral, peachy, salmon colored linen. We'll see. Still working out all the details in my head.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Some initial thoughts on Hawthorn

Well, I've made my muslin of the Hawthorn bodice (version 1, the peplum top). The fit thus far is great. I made sure to measure the shoulders and compare the measurement to my trusty Butterick 4386 bodice. Based on that, I knew that I would use a size 16 for the shoulders and a size 14 for the rest. Measuring pattern pieces before you begin cutting will save you a headache later on.

Another usual alteration for me is to shorten the waist. I forgot to do that to my muslin but I will alter my pattern piece by about 3/8". So far, that's it except for one thing. One thing that I know others will have trouble with as well....the waist dart.

Oh, how I loathe bodices with only waist darts. They're always too big. Always too pointy. Always a pain in the ass to get right. 

Thankfully, there are a few resources out there to help with giant, pointy darts:

Megan Nielsen Design Diary - Darling Ranges Dart Manipulation: It's for the Darling Ranges dress pattern (I have a rant/review about this pattern coming Sunday), but the same techniques can be applied to any darted bodice. I really do love all of her tutorials even if her patterns give me grief.

Miss Tess Melissa - Pointy Bust Darts: A quick and easy suggestion for taming pointy darts.

Gertie's Blog for Better Sewing - Crepe Sew-Along: This focuses on reshaping the dart just in case you have some excess bagginess in addition to the pointy darts.

I plan on curving my waist darts and seeing if that doesn't take of my pointy problem. This is the only issue that I'm having with this bodice. Seriously. How often can one say that?

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Finished object: Joining the gingham bandwagon

There's not much to say about this dress. I used my trusty Butterick 4386 bodice but this time I opted for a scoop neck. The skirt is Simplicity 2444. The fabric is a green cotton gingham purchased from Fashion Fabrics Club. It's light and soft with a hint of stretch.

For a bit of visual interest, I added a bias-cut faux button placket to the front with covered buttons. It's not usually my style, but it looked cute. I didn't line this one and instead drafted facings for the bodice.

Not much else to say, really. It's comfortable to wear in this hell-hot heat we have going on in Austin right now. I probably won't make anything else with gingham. One gingham dress is quite enough for my closet.

In other news, I have printed out both versions 1 and 3 of the Hawthorn dress. I'm going to work on version 1, the peplum blouse, first. We'll see how this goes.

Oh the subject of pants...

I've long avoided making pants as I have an unnatural adoration for all things dress. Also, it seems (well not seems as it is fact) that pants are harder to fit than just about anything else. I have attempted to make pants (Simplicity 1699) but I only made it to 1st muslin stage, then quit.

You see, I would like some straight, skinny-ish ankle-length pants. I've had no luck finding them in stores. I'm a tad wide in the waist area, and these pants are usually made for those with wider hips/smaller waists. If the pants fit in the hips and thigh area, I can't button them. If they fit in the waist, then my lower half is swimming in them. You get the idea.

Occasionally, I'll come across a pair of pants that fit nicely (not well, but enough for contentment). Usually these pants are a bit wide in the leg and are from the Gap. I have tried on the skinnier versions of their cargo pants, etc and just, no. I have a bit too much thigh meat for all that.

Also, to add to my pants dilemma, I have longish legs. I'm 5'8" which doesn't necessarily put me in the giraffe range as far as height goes, but I am entirely too tall for most of the women's pants (which are usually designed for around 5'5" or less). Tall sizes are too long, regular sizes are too short. Ankle-length straight leg pants? None for me. I'm officially an "inbetweenie".

So, with all that said, I saw the new Colette Hawthorn pattern and was immediately drawn to version 1: The Peplum Blouse. Not because I'm a fan of peplum blouses, but I liked the combination of the peplum blouse and the Clover pants.

Colette Patterns Hawthorn (v.1) with Clover Pants

I have no desire to make the Clover pants pattern. It is notoriously hard to fit and I just don't have the patience for all that. I have been on the lookout for a similar pattern that women of multiple sizes and shapes have used without too many major adjustments. I think I may have found it:

Butterick 5895

Butterick 5895 looks good on different body types. All the reviews have been favorable thus far with minimal fitting efforts. Since the pattern is on sale right now, I figured I could give it a go. I have three different books on fit for help. Perhaps I will luck out with a new pair of pants this weekend.

Edit: If like me, you want to recreate the Hawthorn/Clover outfit with almost the same fabrics, you're in luck. Here's some black dot/white cotton lawn and some coral/salmon twill (here's another coral twill option.)

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

We interrupt our regularly scheduled sewing to bring you this news bulletin...

Vogue 8723 is not the cute, flirty dress that I had hoped. I think it's largely due in part to my fabric choice. Lightweight linen is not ideal for a seriously full dirndl skirt. Also, I now know how to fully line sleeveless dresses. I should have followed my own instinct instead of following the Vogue instructions. The dress isn't a disaster, but it's far from perfect. This had me a bit down in the dumps until a new pattern from Colette popped up.

Hawthorn by Colette Patterns

Behold! Another shirt dress to add to my ever-expanding wardrobe of shirt dresses. I like this one a lot. It's not love quite yet. If it makes it past the muslin stage, then we'll call it love. A nagging voice lingers in my mind---please bodice don't give me grief like the Peony. Please, please be easy to fit.

Of course, I have several fabrics in the stash that would make a lovely shirt dress. I have 4 yards of some cotton/nylon broadcloth in a lovely clover shade of green that's begging to make into a shirt dress. In fact, it's already washed and ready to sew. Also, there's some nice white stretch broadcloth collecting dust in the stash. A white shirt dress would be lovely.

But let's not get ahead of ourselves. I'm still in the process of printing the pattern out. I don't have the patience to wait for the mail, so I opted for the digital version. Printing out 60 sheets of paper is tedious at best, but my need for instant gratification has been satiated.

Hooray for shirt dresses! They make my whole world go 'round.

*Edit @ 9:29 pm: You know, patience is a virtue. Printing out all these sheets is a pain in the ass. I should have ordered the paper pattern.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

On the sewing table...

I am in desperate need of a sundress. Desperate as in "It's hot as ballz in Austin and I need to wear something that is both cute and heat-friendly."

I also want something incredibly easy to make.

After searching through my pattern bins, I came across this one:

Vogue 8723

Vogue 8723: Custom fit with different pattern pieces for various bust sizes. Gathered skirt. No sleeves but provides enough coverage that it can be worn to work. Perfect. And I have this fabric:

Specialty Linen - Ditzy Orange and Blue Tissue

Cotton/linen blend from Joann. Initially, this fabric was slated for another Colette Laurel. I think it would have been beautiful as a Laurel, however, I have three Laurels already (one not blogged). Three is enough for now.

I've never sewn Vogue 8723. I thought about it. I even cut out most of the pattern pieces, but for whatever reason, it just never happened. There are some cute ones out there (see here, here and here). This linen was begging to be made into something flirty and fun. I'm glad that I already cut the pattern pieces, saved me some time. I'm also making this dress sans muslin. Oh boy, quite the risk-taker, I know.

It's all cut out and ready to be sewn. I may post a pic or two on Instagram this weekend, so follow me if you don't already. I will reciprocate.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

When two patterns collide: Vogue 8363 and Butterick 4386

Back in April, I momentarily became obsessed with Vogue 8511. This lovely out-of-print and impossibly hard-to-find pattern (like Simplicity 2591) made me jump for joy. Of course, I had to have it. Of course, I could not find it. This made me sad.

A week later while cleaning out some of my favorites on etsy, I stumbled across this pattern: Vogue 8363. Six pencil skirt variations, one of which is the exact same skirt as Vogue 8511. This made me so very happy.

Vogue 8511/Vogue 8363 View F

I wasn't too concerned with the bodice being an exact match with Vogue 8511. Honestly, I'm not a big fan of princess seams. Instead, I used my trusty bodice, Butterick 4386. This bodice is officially my TNT bodice pattern.

It wasn't much work to combine the two patterns. I had to take in the waist a bit on the bodice. I moved the darts on the back skirt closer to the center back so they would line up with the bodice darts. I also lengthened the back skirt darts by 1/2". I also decided to make it a v-neck as I have so few of those in my closet.

View of back darts

For my fabric, I used some cotton stretch chambray that I picked up at Hancock Fabrics. This was another clearance/value fabric section purchase for about $4.98 a yard. I love finding nice fabric for cheap.

The dress is unlined and I finished off the neckline with self-drafted facings. Very easy.

I loved how this worked out. I have plans for another one but not sure of the fabric yet. I'm thinking linen but we'll see.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Review: McCall's 9291

It's been over a year since I last made a bag. Procrastination and a lack of interest of sewing anything that wasn't a dress contributed to my lack in bag making. Oh, I purchased bag patterns...more than I care to acknowledge at the moment. When it came time to make one, I lost interest. Also, I could never decide on a fabric.

Sometimes I feel that I'm too practical for sewing. It was hard to decide on a fabric because I didn't want to make a purse that didn't go with a multitude of outfits. Why do I rationalize my sewing this way? I have no idea. But the same applies to shoe purchases. The Mighty Q had to school me on why having a pair of yellow shoes is a good idea. I thought it wasn't practical enough. I still haven't bought the shoes.

As far as sewing goes, this shouldn't be a problem. I possess the ability to make whatever I want, almost whenever I want. So, if I find an outrageous fabric for a bag, in theory I should be able to create an outfit to go along with it. Or, I could just pair the outrageous fabric bag with whatever I want. Honestly, I feel like it's a waste of time and effort to make something that can't be worn often with multiple items in my closet. Even with sewing, I feel that I should get more bang for my buck.

I am, after all, a cheapskate at heart.

But all that pragmatism goes out the door whenever I stumble upon fabric (or shoes) that strike a chord with my personality. Sometimes fabric just speaks to me. And it's always something that under normal circumstances I would not buy.

I purchased this vintage McCall's 9291 handbag pattern a few months ago after searching almost a year for it. I lucked up and got it on etsy for $6.00. Perfect. Then I spent the next few months agonizing over fabric. Then zippers to match the fabric. It was entirely too tedious a process for such a simple bag.

Last Friday, I stumbled upon some cotton duck canvas at Hobby Lobby. It was on clearance for $5 a yard. The bright ikat pattern would be a bit too garish for me under normal circumstances. Something about it just made me smile. I had to make something with it. I lucked up on a matching (!) metal zipper (which I had to shorten...grrr). I already had matching Kona cotton in my stash for the lining. It was perfect.

This marked my first time making a bag with a zipper closure. The pattern instructions were excellent and the illustrations were quite clear.


I made the larger of the two bags---view A, which is 21 inches wide. The size was right on point for me as I always carry large bags. The only change I made was to add a longer strap. Without it, the drop was much too short for me to put on my shoulder comfortably.

The pockets in this bag are huge, almost too huge. My keys got lost in one of them. I've never had that problem with a purse pattern before. Usually it's the other way around.

All in all, it's a great pattern and fairly easy to construct. If you like making bags and this pattern crosses your path, buy it. I plan on making another but with a leather strap. I'm already searching on etsy for one.


Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Changing things up a bit.

I have at least three new makes (not sure if I like using that word yet) and one handbag to post, but I'm at work (lunch!) at the moment so those posts will have to wait. In the meantime, I'm brainstorming my next dress project (next once I finish my green gingham Butterick 4386/Simplicity 2444 hybrid). I want to try a pattern that I've never used before, in a style that I've never sewn before. This means no variations of the Butterick 4386 bodice (I have made three already) and no shirt dresses (of which I have made many).

Remember the dot chambray I mentioned in this post? That's the fabric I wish to use. I think it would be perfect for any of these patterns, but I can't decide on which one to use. All have similar silhouettes and fall under the category of "style and pattern I've never sewn before".

Simplicity 1666 view A

Vogue 8665 view A

Butterick 5894 view C

Still not sure which one I like the best. I don't really want to make a muslin for each pattern and then decide--that's a lot of work. Butterick 5894 has a full lining, not sure if I want that for a summer dress. Hmmm. Perhaps I just narrowed down my list.

Oh wait, I have sewn this silhouette before. I've made Vogue 8871 (in ponte knit).

Vogue 8871 view A
 I have yet to finish it because the knit clings to a wobbly bit of mine. I think this style in a woven rather than a knit would be a bit more flattering on my body. Just when I think I'm about to try something new...

Friday, May 24, 2013

On the sewing table...

Exciting Friday going on here...it's handbag time!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Time to organize

I was going to put this fabric in a bin, but Colby likes playing in it too much.

Blogger Template By Designer Blogs