Monday, April 26, 2010

Stash Update

In this post I confessed to owning 41 pieces of fabric that have not been sewn up yet. I promised my hubby to not purchase another piece of fabric until I am down into the single digits. I am happy to say I have got the stash down to 32 pieces... and still no new fabric purchases. Yes- I am a little behind in posting the finished garments... need to have a photo shoot with the hubby.

Speaking of the hubby, our 3 year wedding anniversary is on this coming Wednesday. We are going to celebrate tomorrow with a couples massage and a nice dinner out. Today, I am going to feverishly try to finish the Burda 02-2010-125 dress for our dinner out:

I have a stretch cotton floral print that's similar to the one in the photo. I will update you later in the week if all works out.

Congrats to those of you who are stash busting too- I know it's hard not to add to the stash right now!


Sunday, April 18, 2010

Pattern Review: Simplicity 2587 Cynthia Rowley Sundress

I want like ten more of this dress! It was so comfortable to wear around town today. I wore it with flip-flops and ran several errands. But you could also dress it up. I think it will travel well too!

I have been trying to dress up my everyday look. I would like to wear more dresses and skirts instead of just shorts and a tee... this dress works perfectly in my plan.

Pattern Description: Misses' dress in three lengths or tunic. I did view A but in the below the knee length.

Pattern Sizing: This one is available in sizes 4-20. I made a 16- one size smaller than my measurements recommend.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes, except for the shorter length.

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes, very easy.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I love the maxi dress trend, but I think an ankle length dress might be a bit too long on a shorter figure. I really like the binding around the bodice and arm edges. I like how it cinches in at the waist to give a more flattering look.

Fabric Used: I believe this is a polyester rayon from Joann Fabrics. It cost me $10 for fabric. The fabric is from their Riviera collection. I've been really impressed by Joann Fabrics special apparel collections- they seem to be of higher quality than in the past. You can also get fabrics that coordinate with each other.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
-I did one size smaller than the patter recommends based on my measurements.
- The instructions would have you interface all of the binding, including the binding around the neckline, arm straps, and the bands on the midriff section. I thought this would be not only bulky, but would also defeat the flexibility of the bias cut binding. I only interfaced the actual midriff section but not the bindings or bands on the midriff. I was pleased with the outcome.
- HOLY CLEAVAGE! The neckline is LOW!!! One wrong move and some major boobie flop-outs could occur. I slip stitched the neckline together for about three inches. This was perfect- I can wear a bra with it. I can also comfortably not wear a bra and not have to worry about floppage. Before slip stitching:

- As mentioned before, I used the shorter hemline- I believe it was the hemline for view C.
- I inserted an invisible zipper- I actually use an invisible zipper on all my garments except for a fly zipper of course. I love how clean an invisible zipper looks.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I would sew several more of these! It was quick and easy to make. It is flattering. It is so comfortable to wear in the warm weather. Yes- I would recommend it to others.

Conclusion: Such a cute dress! Can't wait to make some more- maybe in a cotton print next time.


Monday, April 12, 2010

Pattern Review: Simplicity 2593 Twisted Neck Tank

It's getting hot here in New Mexico... in the upper 70's. So I am planning on some easy, breezy tops to run around in. This one fits the bill...

Pattern Description: Misses' top with neckline variations and headband.

I made view A which has the twisted fabric at the neckline.

Pattern Sizing: This pattern is available in sizes 6-22. I made a 16, one size smaller than my measurements recommend and it came out perfect.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes, especially since I used almost the same print!

Were the instructions easy to follow? The instructions were very easy.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I like the twisted neckline. It is a unique feature that I haven't seen often. And it's not hard at all to do. Be sure you twist enough times though. The pattern has you twist the fabric four times and then sew in place. I only did four half turns at first which didn't have the right look. I undid it and twisted a full four times which came out right.

I really like how the Cynthia Rowley patterns have you do the armband and neckline binding. You sew the binding to the wrong side of the fabric, fold over, and top stitch from the front. The couple garments I have made with CR patterns have used this technique and the finished look is very professional. You have more control of catching in the fabric when using this technique.

Fabric Used: I used a cotton seersucker from This was very easy to work with. It's hard to see from the picture but it also has silver metallic threads running through the stripes which is a nice touch. The top cost me $9.50 for fabric.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I didn't change a thing.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes, I will probably sew another view from this pattern. They are all really cute, basic shapes that can be done in a variety of prints and fabrics. I would recommend this one to others. It wasn't difficult at all- I think beginners would do fine with this.

Conclusion: Great summer top. I can wear this with a pair of shorts and flip flops. Or with a skirt and cardigan over it for a dressier look.

The stripes don't photograph super well. Kitty snuck in for a picture...


Thursday, April 8, 2010

Pattern Review: McCall's 5812- The Senorita Skirt

So I started this project in Spring 2009. I tossed it aside to complete less tedious projects. I couldn't get the thread tension right on this very lightweight fabric. I finally used a smaller needle and problem solved! After much procrastinating, I brought this one back out and finished it. I am glad I did. It turned out beautiful... at least I think so!

A tiered skirt from Neiman Marcus for $695 by Jean Paul Gaultier:

I know the picture is tiny. Here is the link.

Now, I did splurge on the fabric. The skirt calls for 7 3/4 yards of fabric! This can easily add up. I wanted something lightweight and flowy. I had my eye on this cotton voile for quite some time. I picked it up when it was on sale for $6.08 a yard and I got 8 yards. The good news is, I ended up leaving off the bottom tier of the skirt. Plus I think Ann at Gorgeous Fabrics is a little generous with her cuts. So I ended up with at least a yard and a half extra and will be trying to squeeze a blouse out of it.

Pattern Description: Tiered skirts, ankle length, have yoke, side zipper and unfinished edges; skirt B has contrast tiers.

I made view A, with the matching tiers.

Pattern Sizing: This pattern comes in sizes 6-20. I made an 18 but ended up taking in the waist and making other adjustments.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? We got there in the end. But the waistline is different.

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes, the instructions were fine; HOWEVER: I believe the waistband pieces to be incorrectly drafted... more on this below.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
Like: I like the look of the tiered skirt. The raw edges are exposed in the tiers which creates a slightly different look than all of the prairie skirts out there.
Like: I love the end product- it's a beautiful, flowy skirt perfect for Spring/Summer.
Dislike: Not counting the waistband pieces, there are 6 tiers to cut out. Depending on the tier level, there were up to four long pieces of fabric to cut out for each tier. It was a lot of cutting! Tip: use a rotary cutter if you have one, it makes cutting the long straight pieces much easier.
Dislike: All of the gathering and basting and ripping out basting took FOR-ever. The pattern instructions have you gather the top edge of the next lower tier. Then you are to overlap the bottom edge of the upper tier and the gathered edge of the lower tier by 1/2" and sew it in place. Doing this accurately with gathered fabric was a bit of a challenge. My fabric is voile and relatively sheer. I ended up doing my gathering basting in a dark, contrasting thread for easier ripping outage. I then ran a line of basting along the bottom edge of the top tier 1/2" away. That way I could match up the 1/2" markings and pin in place- lots of pins! I would then sew this in place with my permanent thread and rip out all of the basting. Only to do it all over for the next tier!
Dislike: The waistband pieces drove me bananas before I realized they are incorrectly drafted. More below...

Fabric Used: A beautiful cotton aqua voile from Gorgeous Fabrics. It has since sold out. The only other items I needed were thread and a zipper. For the very lightweight voile, I used a small needle: size 65/9.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
- There are six tiers below the waistband. I left off the 6th tier and only did 5 due to my short stature (5' 3"). The length turned out perfect.
- Waistband pieces: ARGH! Basically, the waistband consists of two pieces (pieces 7 and 8). Piece #8 is supposed to be sewn on top of piece #7. If you look at the pattern envelope, you will get a better idea of what I am talking about. So I sewed in the bottom of the waistband (#7) to the 1st tier without a hitch. Then the instructions have you sew #8 to the top of #7. There was no mentioning of having to ease either piece to fit. I couldn't understand why the bottom of piece #8 was way too huge to fit the top of piece #7. This probably but me out of commission for at least an hour while I stared at the pieces and retraced my steps. Had I made a mistake? The waistband is sewn in last by the way, after you have finished all of the tiers. Had I wasted hours of gathering and basting only to have the waistband not work for me? I then got to looking at the pieces:

Here is a picture of how the two pieces should be sewn together. Now how am I supposed to fit the bottom of #8 onto the top of #7?

Then the light bulb went on. Here are the two pieces, one on top of the other. They are exactly the same piece! There is a small giveaway that the pieces are drafted incorrectly: both pieces have the waistline marking in exactly the same place!!

So to make a very long story short- after a big pity party, I creatively finished the skirt. I left off the top piece of the waistband entirely and kept piece #7 attached. I finished this as the waistband. I had to take it in about 1/2" each side to prevent the skirt from being too low slung. It is still a little big but I think my hips will hold it up!

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? NO, I will definitely not sew this one again. I do love the end product but it took a lot of work to get there. I would recommend the pattern as long has you take note of my trials and tribulations so you can avoid them.

Conclusion: I love the finished product! It has a very senorita vibe and will be great worn with a pair of summery shoes.

This picture makes me look like I have a beer belly- I swear it's just the way the blouse bellows out!

The voile is slightly sheer so I will wear a pair of leggings under the skirt. I can't wait to go out on a dinner date or something else special so I can wear this. I know I always harp on the jean jackets but I think this would be super cute with a little white camisole and a white jean jacket over it.


Monday, April 5, 2010

New Sewing Room

So I've been promising pictures of my new sewing sanctuary for quite some time. To be honest, I just finished hanging the curtains on the closet and the shades on the windows today. So here are the pics:

This is the sewing desk. On the bulletin board above it, I post the instructions for the pattern I am working on.

To the right of the desk I've got my cutting table. As you can see- it folds up nicely. When I am using it, I have enough space to roll it to the middle of the room.

I've got my ironing board to the left of the desk. I also have the computer set up to the left. This is where I read all of your lovely blogs and pattern reviews! When I am sewing, I bring up Netflix on my computer and stream in movies and TV shows. I've also got a small TV hooked up.

Next up is the closet. It looks innocent enough from the outside...

...but overflowing hot mess awaits inside. My fabric stash is piled to the ceiling on the top shelf. And yes, that is more fabric in the middle on top of the pattern drawers. And in case you didn't notice- there is more fabric in the box on the left.

I love my new sewing room! It is small and cozy but it suits my needs. In the last house I had a ration of space measuring 5ft by 3 ft in which to cram my desk, TV, ironing board and fabric stash.


Sunday, April 4, 2010

Easter Dress Vogue 8380 Pattern Review

Pattern Description: Mid-knee length dress has casing and tie variation, upper and lower sections gathered into waist inset, side zipper.

Pattern Sizing: The pattern is available in sizes 4-18. I made a 16 with some adjustments.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes.

Were the instructions easy to follow? This dress was super easy to make and I didn't have any problems with the instructions.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I like the unique neckline with the straps running through it. I like the gathered bodice and skirt look. I don't have any dislikes.

Fabric Used: A linen or linen blend from Joann Fabrics. I love sewing with linen because it is easy to use and has a great feel to it when wearing the finished garment. But it frays badly. To combat this, I sew the seam with a straight stitch and press the seam open. I then go down each edge of the seam allowance with a zig-zag stitch.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I read all of the reviews on Pattern Review before making this dress and many of them said that the waist inset was a little too snug. I cut the inset at a size 18 instead of the 16 that I made on the rest of the dress. This made the inset feel comfortable. I also read a suggestion on one of the reviews to start gathering 4 inches away from the side seams. I did this on all the gathering. It reduced the bulk on the sides and creates a nice look. I also hemmed the dress by 2 inches instead of the standard 1 1/4".

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I don't think I will sew this one again but I would recommend it. It is very easy and went together quickly.

Conclusion: This was a perfect Spring dress. I love the dress made in linen- it was the perfect weight. And I love the color I chose. The empire shape was very flattering.

Here is the finished look:

Here is how I wore it to church today- with a crochet cardigan over it: