Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Missing you...

Hello everyone! I am missing my sewing friends greatly! The truth is, during my first trimester, I simply did not have the desire to sew- let alone do anything else. During my days off, I would lay around the house watching day time t.v.- blah!

I am well into my second trimester at 19 weeks. I have regained my energy and have the itch to sew again. Unfortunately, I am having a difficult time finding the time to so it! I'm still working full time. I am also scrambling to finish my bachelor's degree before the baby comes next March.

Thank you everyone for your kind thoughts and wishes and for sticking with me in this draught of sewing! I am hoping to get back to it soon!


Friday, September 3, 2010

Nothing yet...

Well, it took me three weeks to finish Simplicity 2584. Not because the dress was difficult to make, but because I've lost my momentum lately. I call it "pregnancy brain". I have to take a nap after only a few short hours of using the brain, making progress on anything very slow.

Unfortunately the dress did not work out for me. I've come to realize that I'm not one of those women who has a cute little baby bump. I'm only 11 weeks and my tummy has already grown 4 inches. I've only gained about four pounds so I don't know where all those inches are coming from. Needless to say, maternity clothes are not going to be an option for me, but a necessity.

So instead of torturing myself, I'm putting most of my pre-pregnancy sewing plans behind me. One pattern that is still on the list is McCall's 5241.

I think this cardigan will be a great piece in my Fall wardrobe and will definitely work with my expanding belly. I hope to get it cut out by next week.

Thank you everyone for all of your sweet comments and for sticking with me during my dry patch of sewing:)


Monday, August 16, 2010

Quick Q&A and an Update

Meli88a asked of my Burda tulip skirt if it is straight in the back or has the same tulip effect as the front. So after almost a month has gone by, I decided to give you guys an answer... LOL. The back is actually straight. *Sigh*... that was difficult!

Like Susan and Amanda, I drank the water! I am 9 weeks pregnant. It's probably not customary to announce it so soon but I'm bad at keeping secrets. My hubby has lovingly named it "Belly-bean".

So when I'm not peeing, sleeping, or throwing up, I will be finishing up my Summer sewing in my regular size. I estimate that my bump will be showing by late September or October. So I will plan on making some less form fitting things for Fall and Winter. I am going to try to get away without maternity clothes for as long as I can. Wishful thinking? Probably.


Monday, August 2, 2010

Pattern Review: Burda 04-2008-107 Safari Jacket

I love, love, love this jacket. I can't wait for it to cool off a little around here so I can wear this one. I didn't completely follow Burda's instructions. I would type my own instructions out for you... but I'm too lazy! So if you have any questions on construction let me know!

Changing the subject- I've been on a mission to bust my fabric stash before making any other fabric purchases. And after reading some of your blogs, I know some of you are doing the same. It's been tough but I have not bought any new fabric since the beginning of the year. I started at 42 pieces of unused fabric. Now I am down to... 21! Once I get down to the single digits... it's off to the fabric store I go!

Pattern Description: "Sturdy canvas and double-breasted fastening on the one hand, romantic cap sleeves with pleated ruffles on the other: this jacket is a great example of style mixing! A wide, self-fabric belt tied at the side cinches the trendy jacket to fit your figure."

Pattern Sizing: This comes in petite sizes 17-21. I made the 21.

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? For Burda instructions, they weren't hideous. However, once I got to the attaching of the facings and collar, I went off on my own. I used other resources such as my Vogue Sewing book and Big 4 pattern instructions to complete the parts I got stumped at. Although there are quite a few details to the jacket, it really isn't difficult to sew... just tedious.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I've admired this jacket ever since I got this issue. This is my first Burda issue that I received! I like the mix of safari details with the ruffles on the sleeves. I was intimidated by the bellows pockets but they really weren't too difficult to sew.

Fabric Used: I used a stretch cotton twill. It's been in my stash for quite some time and I can't remember where I got it or for how much.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I didn't make any changes. Luckily, I am somewhere in between a petite and regular size so can get away with the petites without making changes. If you are of taller stature, I think this would be pretty easy to alter.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? This is such a unique jacket that I probably won't sew it again. I would recommend it to others though.

Conclusion: This might be my favorite jacket that I have made so far! It's very unique. It will look great in fall/winter with a long sleeve tee underneath.

I probably won't wear this buttoned all the way up to the top like this, but it gives you an idea of the complete look-


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Pattern Review: Burda 05-200-116 Tulip Skirt

OMG! I found the Burda archive loop-hole! For some reason, on Burda Style's new website, none of the previous magazine issues can be viewed (at least I have not found a way)... until now. On a whim, I typed in "Burda archives" in my google search bar and I was brought to the old Burda site with archives still intact. This is the only way I know how to post pictures of technical drawings from Burda besides scanning the magazine which doesn't turn out that great. I know others have had this same issue so I hope this bit of advice helps you out!

Changing the subject- I am so excited because we are having the landscape in our backyard done and work starts tomorrow. As you can see from my pictures lately, the new house has a backyard full of dirt, and a tree. In a couple of weeks there should be a lot more greenery! We love to hang out in the backyard. And as a bonus... I will have better backdrops for my photo shoots!

Pattern Description: This is a knee-length tulip skirt with front pleats, front buckle, and side zipper.

Pattern Sizing: The pattern comes in sizes 34-42. I made a 42.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes, very much so!

Were the instructions easy to follow? This skirt is so easy to make- you probably won't need to depend on the instructions for much. Because I have made skirts with side zippers before, I was fine with the instructions.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? Plaid is all the rage and I particularly was drawn to this skirt when I saw it made in plaid. I love, love, love the tulip shape! It is so cute. And the buckle detail adds a little something extra. No dislikes.

Fabric Used: I used a cotton seersucker from Denver Fabrics. . I purchased 2 yards for a total of $10.50 and I still have some fabric leftover. I also used an invisible zipper and a 1 1/2" buckle.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I had to let out the waist sides by 1/4" each side for a little extra room. I also shortened the skirt by about 1".

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? There's another version of this skirt in the issue with a big tie bow instead of the belt in front. It looks like it would be great for a holiday party skirt... I might make that one in the future. I would recommend this one.

Conclusion: Fast and easy skirt that looks very RTW... what's not to like?

I am not including my instructions for this skirt, as I did with my last Burda creation because I think most people won't have a problem. But if you get stumped or have a question- feel free to ask me!


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Pattern Review: Simplicity 2865 Henley Tank

It's a scorcher today... I think it got up to 95 degrees! And it feels almost as hot inside as it does outside. This top would have been perfect for the sweltering heat. This one is almost a wadder... I will wear it as a p.j. top so it's not quite hopeless.

Pattern Description: Misses' knit dress, mini dress or top. I made the top.

Pattern Sizing: Sizes 4-20 are available. I cut a 16.

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

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes, the instructions were fine. It's actually a fast and easy top to make.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I think what drew me to this pattern was the faux henley style. It's simply just a rectangle shaped piece sewn over the center front with buttons sewn on top. I think it's a cute touch. I also like the back- it's almost a racer back which is also very cute.

Dislike- do not like the side panels at all. In the pattern photo, it looks like this panel is almost hidden, like it folds inward. Well, on these shapely hips they do not. They look like chicken wings and they accentuate instead of flatter one's curves. I know... it's probably not THAT bad, but I don't like it!

Fabric Used: This bums me out because I really like the fabric. It's a clearance bin find at Joann's. I scooped up the last of the bolt for like $2.00 a yard. It's a knit in pink and gray stripes with metallic thread running through it... so cute! Unfortunately, I probably won't wear this one for anything other than a pajama top.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: The only alteration I made was to go down one size than recommended.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I really like the shape of this top other than the chicken wings. So I will make this one again, but do away with the side inserts. If you are pretty slender, give it a try with the side inserts, they may look more flowey than they do on me.

Conclusion: Love the henley and racer back style. Hate the muffin top holders!


Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Pattern Review: Simplicity 2701 Jacket and Skirt

First of all, thank you for all of your kind comments on the last outfit. I might be hallucinating but I could have sworn that there were more comments and some of yours have gone missing. I just wanted to assure you that I have not removed any of them deliberately. If you have removed them yourself- that is of course OK if you chose to do so. Just didn't want to hurt any one's feelings. Silly computers!

Also, I have decided to go by my real name from now on in my blog instead of my pseudo name. I have confirmed that most of you are not psycho stalkers and are in fact sweet ladies who I consider friends within the sewing community. You must finish reading the post, or skip to the end to see the name:)

These are some fun pieces. I realize that a skirt suit can age oneself instantly. I will probably wear the pieces separately.

Pattern Description: Misses' jacket with front, collar and sleeve variations and skirt. I made the jacket with the v-neckline and three quarter length sleeves. I also made the skirt.

Pattern Sizing: This pattern is available in sizes 4-20. I made a 16 for both pieces.

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

Were the instructions easy to follow? I found the instructions to be fine. As with other Project Runway patterns by Simplicity, the instructions jump around quite a bit depending on the "designer details" you are adding. For example, there are two pocket variations you can do, or three sleeve variations. So if you are very dependent on the instructions, you must pay attention to which details you are doing.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I thought that this was a very spring time looking combo. I like the three quarter sleeves of the jacket and the unique pockets. It's difficult to see from the photos but the pockets kind of have a bagged look to them. I also like the shape of the skirt... it almost has a tulip shape. No dislikes here.

Fabric Used: Both pieces of fabric are from Joann's. I used a loosely woven tweed that cost $23. I love the weight- it is really light and breathable. It is a bit difficult to sew with because it does stretch as it hangs. I should have let the jacket hand over night before completing the hem. I didn't and it dips in the back- something I need to go back and fix.

I used a stretch poplin for the skirt. Don't have the receipt for this one, but it had to be under $10.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I went down my usual one size from what the pattern recommends based on my measurements. I put in an invisible zipper on the skirt because I just like the clean look of an invisible zipper. If you haven't done so yet- I highly recommend an invisible zipper foot for your machine, it's worth every penny!

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I could see making a different view of the jacket from this pattern. I also really like the skirt- could make a few more for the warmer weather.

Conclusion: Great separates that look good together or with other pieces. I love the skirt- it's so simple to make and looks great with a tank and sandals! I do recommend this pattern to others, with all the different variations, there are lots of possibilities!

~Jenny (the gal formerly known as Byrdie)

Monday, July 5, 2010

Pattern Review: Simplicity 2443 Dress and Jacket

Sorry to keep you waiting! I finally have pictures of this outfit. If someone could come up with a camera that gives you perfect lighting, takes off twenty pounds, and gives you the perfect facial expression- I would pay a pretty penny for it... lol! I could not make this outfit look good indoors or out on camera. Maybe it's the hot pink color... I don't know. I'm still not satisfied with the pics but I give up!

Pattern Description: Misses' dress with knit bodice and jacket or vest.

Pattern Sizing: Sizes 6-22 are available. I made a 16.

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? I found that the instructions for both the jacket and the dress were fine.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? The jacket- I really love all of the details of the jacket. The pockets are really cute. I like the sleeves with the banded hem. I like the loop and ribbon closures.

The dress- I love the shape of the dress. It almost looks like a ballerina style dress. I love the banding along the neckline and arms. I also like the back- it comes in like a racer back.

I don't have any dislikes.

Fabric Used: For the dress, I used a hot pink jersey knit from It cost me $10. I found that the knit was just a little too thin for my liking. Next time I make the dress, I will use something with a little more weight.

For the jacket, I got a navy linen blend with metallic threads in it. That cost me $6- it was on clearance at Joann's. I really like the metallic in the jacket- the pictures don't do it justice.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I shortened the dress by about 1-2". I did not put in the pockets. I did put in the zipper but I find that I could have gotten away without it because of the 4 way stretch in the knit.

I did not make any changes to the jacket. The one thing I would change if I make it again is to lengthen the arm bands. I find that I have to do this for any garments with arm bands because I do not have pencil arms. Sometimes I forget to make the adjustment. It looks OK, but would be better lengthened.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I definitely want to sew the dress again. I could have this dress in ten different colors- I love the style and it is perfect for warm weather dressing. I also like the jacket a lot. I think I would like to make it in a tan or gray khaki next time so that it has more versatility. Yes- I would recommend both pieces.

Conclusion: I love this outfit- I wore it out to dinner with my hubby for his birthday!


Monday, June 28, 2010


I can't believe I have not posted anything since the beginning of the month. Shame on me, I have been a very bad blogger. I have only one excuse- my husband and I just did a half marathon in Durango, CO! We walked it but it was our first half marathon and I feel good for having done it.

Well I made the Jalie jeans with the butterfly pockets. I have to say, they were not my finest piece of work and I was not happy with the fit. First of all, I forgot that I had purchased a jeans double needle several months ago for doing the two rows of top stitching. So the first half of the jeans have homemade looking top stitching. Once I remembered that I had the double needle, I used it and what a difference it makes! Second of all, the jeans are super form fitting. This doesn't bother me- I rather like showing off my curves. But, the negative ease in them pulls apart the front zipper fly, exposing the zipper underneath... ick! I have some tricks up my sleeve to correct the problem on the second time around.

However, I don't know if I have the motivation to tackle another pair of jeans just yet. I think I need to work on some of my smaller projects to gain some momentum.

You would think from seeing the lack of postings that I have not been sewing at all. Actually I have two outfits I have made but have been unable to post because I have no pictures! That's not entirely true- I have pictures but am not satisfied with them- they don't do the garments justice. So, I will try to get another photo shoot in and get those posted within the next few days or so.

I am loving the June and July issues of Burda! Maybe I can do a post on some of the views I plan on making.

I have good intentions! We'll see if I will follow through on them...


Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Butterfly Bum

I've been a blog slacker for the past couple of weeks. I've got four new pieces to post and I will soon.

But I wanted to first show off my jean pockets for the Jalie jeans I am making. I've always had a thing for butterflies! I don't have an embroidery machine. So what I did was trace a quilting design onto tracing paper. I then placed the design on top of the pocket and pinned in place. I used tear away stabilizer underneath. I used a triple stitch with regular thread and a small stitch length. I went very, very slow so that I could maneuver around the curves (if you have needle-down and a knee lift feature- use it!). I think they came out pretty dang cute!


Saturday, May 1, 2010

Pattern Review: Burda 02-2010-125 V Back Dress

So here is the anniversary dinner dress. I am very happy with how it came out. My husband said it looked very elegant.

Pattern Description: "Who could resist this dramatic plunging back neckline and slinky shape" It's made in stretchy floral fabric for a perfect fit"

Pattern Sizing: The pattern is available in sizes 36-44. I made a 42; which is about a size 16 in the big 4.

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

Were the instructions easy to follow? Things were going along flawlessly until I got to the part on how to attach the bodice lining to the dress. I just didn't have the brain capacity to picture what they wanted me to do. So I went to plan B: search through my big four patterns with a similar construction. I found a pattern for a dress I have made before and reviewed here. . I totally ripped off the instructions from that dress and they worked perfectly for this dress. See detailed instructions below.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? What drew me to this pattern was the unexpected back plunging v-neck. I also like all of the darts- there is 6 darts in front. It really creates a nice shape and fitted look. I also like that the bodice is lined instead of doing facing. Wearing a bra with this dress can be challenging. You can get one of those sticky, backless bras. Or you can sew in bra cups as Susan suggested. I might still do that but I wore this out to dinner with my husband and got away with no bra (I'm a B cup).

Fabric Used: Stretch cotton from Joann Fabrics. It's a coral floral print and cost me $18. I also used an invisible zipper. I found that the zipper was needed in my dress. The fabric had stretch but not enough to not have the zipper.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I didn't change anything except how I attached the bodice lining. I didn't make a muslin first (I know, shame on me). If I had, I might have shortened the shoulder straps just a tad in the front and back. Other than that- it was a form fitting sheath that fit well. Also- this dress was a little narrow to walk in- it might benefit from a back walking vent.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I probably won't sew this one again but I would recommend it. It went together very quickly. I made this the day before my anniversary dinner with my husband.

Conclusion: Very nice dress with a great shape. Love the back neckline!

Here is how I constructed the dress.
-Darts: Complete the front darts first. Sew the vertical dart and press to one side. Then sew the horizontal dart, pressing down. Sew the bust darts, pressing down. Sew the curved darts, pressing to the center (the curved darts were tricky- use lots of pins!).
After applying interfacing to the front facing, sew the darts in just as above.
Stitch the darts in the upper and lower back pieces, pressing darts up.
After applying interfacing to the upper back facing, sew the darts in just as above.
-Stitch the upper back to the lower back, press seams up.
-Insert the invisible zipper in back center seam. Stitch the center seam below the zipper.
*Here is where I did things my way:
-Stitch the front a back dress together at sides.
-Stitch the front and back facing pieces together at the sides. Finish the lower edge of the facing section. I used a zigzag stitch. Because the dress is so form fitting, I would not recommend folding and stitching the lower edge or applying bias tape. This would create a ridge that might show from the front.
- Pin facing to dress, right sides together.
-Stitch front and back neck edges.
-Stitch armhole edges, starting and stopping 2 inches from the top. Looks something like this:

-Trim seam allowances and clip curves.
-Pull the facing through the dress, turning right side out. The armhole edges will be open on each side for about four inches. It looks like this:

-Open out the shoulder seams and sew the front to back at the shoulder seams. When pinned, it looks like this:

-After trimming and pressing the shoulder seams, turn them back in. Press in your seam allowance along the armhole edge and slip stitch in place.

-Slip stitch the back facing to the zipper along the back center seam after turning in your seam allowance.

-Finally, turn up hem and sew in place.



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:


Friday, March 26, 2010

I think I have an illness...

My hubby cringes at the site of another package of fabric being delivered to the home. He has said many times that I'm not allowed to buy any more fabric until I've used what I have. So I decided to take inventory of how many patterns that I have the fabric purchased for and have not made...


The good news is that most of my projects are geared toward warmer weather clothing, so now is a great time to hammer them out. I hate to make promises because I easily break them... but my goal is to not buy any more fabric until I'm down into the single digits.

What about you? How many projects are in your unmade stash?


Sunday, March 21, 2010

Back to where it all began... another Hot Patterns Pencil Skirt

A little over a year ago I posted my first pattern review: the Hot Patterns Pencil Skirt.

I made another one specifically to go with the pair of shoes I am wearing. I got these really cute shoes at Bakers at least five years ago. I've never worn them because I didn't have anything that really goes with them. They are tan heels with brown trim. So I thought a pencil skirt was in order- brown to pick up the brown trim. I know that the pictures don't do them justice.

I made the skirt the same way. Except this time I took in an additional 1/4" on each side. This skirt is made out of a stretch cotton sateen.

And I don't think I am done with this pattern yet. It is very quick and easy and a very flattering style, even for a woman with curves. Next time I need to do a fun print or something to mix it up.


Saturday, March 20, 2010

Pattern Review- McCall's 5819

I finally finished this outfit. This is one of the items in my cut, but not sewn pile that I'm trying to bust out. I really like these pants, and would use this pattern again to make several pairs of the pants. They are so comfortable!

The whole outfit together is my "I'm not getting off the couch right now so don't even try" look. The whole look is just a little too much velour for me to go out in public. However, I wore the pants out today for some errands, paired with a cute tee and jean jacket.

Here is the little blurb I added to my review on the pant: They went together quickly and easily- in less than 2 hours. I did a size 14 as well, two sizes smaller than my measurements. Instead of using a rib knit for the waistband, I cut the waistband out of the same fabric, cut on the cross grain. This worked perfectly and I like that the waistband matches the rest of the pant. These pants are so comfortable! I think I will made more pairs of the pants. However, they are very roomy in the leg- I think I will slim down the leg next time.