Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Vogue 8804 French Jacket

 The French jacket has been my ultimate sewing goal for the last several years. In a fashion sense,  it instantly levels up any outfit whether it be casual, business, or dressy. In the technical sense,  the French jacket forces the maker to slow down and apply advanced techniques and attention to detail. And of course,  lots of hand sewing! I didn't have the nerve to try my own hand at it until I came across Angela Wolf's Contemporary Couture Jacket class on Pattern Review. With this class, she demonstrates how to utilize machine sewing to speed up the process while maintaining the hand sewing in key areas.  When I initially started the jacket, I was keeping a written tally of the time spent. Unfortunately,  I lost the original tally but I estimate 20 hours total.

The pattern is Vogue 8804.  I used a loosely woven green tweed. The lining is a floral silk organza. I cut a 16. I made a muslin to start. As many reviews have stated, this pattern is very boxy. I found that most of the ease was in the back and took out about an inch in the center back. I shortened the body by 1 inch.

As for the construction,  I ignored the pattern instructions and completely followed Angela Wolf's methods. The body and quilting is done by machine, while the lining is hand sewn together. I made bound buttonholes for the first time. There are lots of online tutorials to be found and I dare say they are not any harder than traditional buttonholes.

My motivation ebbed and flowed during this project, and turned into a UFO for years. I started it in 2015 and 2 sizes ago. I started to hate the green color and I definitely hated the trim I originally picked. I could no longer picture the end look, got frustrated and gave up.

I hated to see the project unfinished and eventually turned to the McCall's Facebook group for suggestions on trim. I'm so glad I did. I got lots of great advice and settled on a cream trim which was far better suited for this color. I even sewed in a chain along the hem.

While I don't love the end result, I enjoyed the process, learned new techniques and am inspired to make different versions. As mentioned,  I cut this when I was 2 sizes smaller. With the extra ease, the jacket is wearable but no longer a perfect fit. I'm still not thrilled about the color. I made plenty of mistakes along the way but see them as learning opportunities for my next jacket.


Friday, August 23, 2019

Closet Case Pietra Pant

When the Rome collection by Closet Case Patterns was released,  I immediately scooped up the PDF bundle of the three new designs.  I love the relaxed,  cool girl vibe of Closet Case and the patterns never disappoint.

My first make from the bundle is the Pietra pants. These pants are high waisted with an elastic back. The front leg is seamed, creating a vertical line.  Of course there are pockets! It comes in different lengths and leg widths. I did the tapered leg with the ankle length. 

I've had the fabric in my stash for ages and couldn't say where I got it. I do know it's a rayon polyester lycra, one of the best fabrics for slacks in my opinion. The instructions were great, they are well illustrated and thorough. The methid of elastic installation was new to me but went smoothly. I took about 3 inches off the length using the shorten lines on the pattern. My measurements put me in a 16, and that worked great. 

The high waisted style is new to me and I may never go back to mid rise styles! The pants stayed right where they needed to, no need to adjust or hike them up during the day. They were perfect for the office and I would like to make another pair in both black and gray. 


Friday, July 26, 2019

Colette Moneta

I am on a roll with Colette and Seamwork patterns. Here is another classi Colette pattern, the Moneta Dress. Just like the Myrtle dress, it was well received by the sewing community. And again, not being one to follow trends, I just made my first version!

I used a chili red cotton spandex knit from I love cotton spandex. It has a nice drape, not too light or too heavy. It rebounds quickly, no saggy knees or booties. I sewed this entirely by my serger, using a 3 thread seam. I used my coverstitch on the neckline, sleeve and bottom hems. 

The neckline is simply folded to the inside and stitched in place. Knits can tend to be a little fiddly so to help stabilize the neckline, I fused 1/4 inch webbing to the neckline before folding over. This worked like a charm and gave a nice, smooth result .

I made this in about 2 hours. I did cheat and leave the pockets off to quicken the process. 

I love this dress! The bodice is just the right length. If it were any shorter this might turn into a maternity or frumpy look. As is, it is more like a ballerina look, which I love! I wore this to my business-casual office the first time. I can definitely see making more. 


Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Colette Myrtle

Thank you for your sweet replies on my last post! I'm going to keep the blog going for now and hope to post more faithfully.  

I was a member of Seamwork when it first started out. I let it lapse for a few years and resumed a subscription this year. I'm so glad I did! I've discovered that all the original Colette patterns are available to subscribers, you don't have to buy them separately.  This is the Colette Myrtle dress. It was all the rage when it first came out. I'm not one to jump on new pattern bandwagon so I've sewed my first one now. 

I used a magenta  cotton spandex blend from Girl Charlee. I love Girl Charlee for their great prices and quality knits. This is the perfect weight for this dress, not too heavy and a nice drape. 

I sewed all of the dress using my serger and cover stitch machine. This made it quick and easy. I like the elastic casing construction. Most patterns would have you sew a seperate strip of fabric or bias tape to create the casing but this one is made using the bodice and skirt seams. 

I'm a 16 according to the size chart but find that the 14 works better for me for this brand. I did take the bodice sides in approx 0.5 inches on each side for a better bust fit. 

I love the end dress! It is so comfortable to wear yet looks dressed up enough for the office. I could see making another one in black for a LBD. 


Thursday, June 6, 2019

Sew House Seven Burnside Bibs

I finally jumped on the Burnside Bib train by Sew House Seven! I'm usually not one to sew what everyone else is making in the moment. I have to see it made a few hundred times and mull it over, you know what I mean?? 

Before I get into that, I've been struggling with the decision to continue blogging or not. To be honest, only a fraction of my makes actually end up here because it's so time consuming. Unfortunately, there are faster paced, easier social media platforms to post on. Sometimes posting here doesn't seem worth the effort. Still, when I'm doing my own research on a pattern or project, I hit up personal blogs to read the ins and outs of other people's experiences. What are your feelings on the "old fashioned" blog? Drop me a line below. 

Onto this project. I live in the Hot as Hell city of Phoenix and staying comfortable in the Summer is a must. I love dresses in the Summer so I get a little air up in there. I've had an eye on the Burnside Bibs for a while, but knew that I probably would never wear the full length version- full length overalls are just not my gig. But I knew I would rock them as shorts. 

At first I wanted a rayon tencel to make these out of. I love the look and drape of the fabric... the price tag? Not so much. I settle on this rusty orange linen blend from Etsy. I was worried the linen might be a little sheer, but it really isn't once you put them on. 

As for the contruction- easy peasy. The instructions were great, especially if you need a little hand holding. I was able to skim most parts and didn't run into any hiccups along the way. I sewed this with my straight stitch machine and finished the edges with my serger to keep the fabric from fraying. 

I made no adjustments. I went by the size recommended by my measurements which was a 14. These are nice and roomy and are cinched in with the ties. 

That's about it. I have no secret tips to offer. I love them! Sometimes my husband doesn't love the more unique things I make but he really like these. I was afraid he would make fun of the overall look but he didn't. Not that I care too much what he thinks about the things I make :) 


Thursday, March 7, 2019

Sew Over It Cora Top

I've had this fabric in my stash for about 3-4 years. I picked it up at an independent fabric shop in Seattle called District Fabrics. It's a polyester crepe (my favorite fabric to sew with). It has a lovely pattern of birds perching on a branch and bright colors. I knew I wanted to make a simple design, I didn't want to get the bird print lost in too many design lines. 

When Sew Over It launched the Cora Top, I knew this fabric would be a perfect match for it. I love the loose, breezy look of the Cora Top and pretty pleats. 

The Cora Top pdf was nicely laid out, pages matched together perfectly. I cut a US size 16 based on my measurements. No alterations were made. The top was easy to sew up. The instructions are well illustrated. The most tedious part was creating the pleat in front, which is part of the v-neck. But it went smoothly following the directions. 

I'm really pleased with this top. I think it was the perfect pattern for my fabric. Also, I really like blouses like this that I can just throw on with a pair of slacks and head off the work in!


Thursday, February 28, 2019

French Terry Dress Butterick 6207

I've been on a dress kick lately! When I saw Butterick 6207, I immediately loved the lay back, cool vibe of the striped dress on the envelope. I used a french terry knit from Koshtex on Etsy. I love the heathered denim blue with white stripe.

I cut the size 20 based off my measurements. Usually I size down but I wanted the extra ease in this. I kept the length as is.

This sewed up quickly on the serger. I used my coverstitch for hems and topstitching.

Not much to say about this one. It's quick and easy. And it feels like I'm wearing pajamas!


Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Classic Wrap Dress Vogue 8379

You can never go wrong with a classic wrap dress! It's easy to wear and instantly makes you look put together. This is my third version using good old Vogue 8379. You can see my first version, one of my very first posts, here. And my second version here

The fabric is this great geometric black and white ITY knit I found on Etsy. 

As for changes/adjustments this time around: 

  • I sewed the same size I did my first go around because my tissue is already cut. I am no longer the size I was 10 years ago but this is knit and honestly fits better now that I've put on some weight in different places. If I went by my current measurements, I'd be cutting 2 sizes larger today. This gives you an idea about the ease. 

  • I used clear elastic along the neckline to stabilize. 

  • I interfaced along the front of the dress from the bodice to the hem. The pattern only calls for interfacing in the bodice but I recommend interfacing the self-facing of the skirt as well. 

I think that's about it as far as changes. I sewed this almost exclusively on my serger, only using the straight-stitch on the small details like the darts. I was able to get this done in a 4 hour sitting, not including cutting time. 

I just can't get enough of these dresses! I just love how easy to wear they are and how instantly stylish they look! I'm sure there will be more versions to come. 

~ Jenny

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Alberta Street Pencil Skirt by Sew House Seven

I've been in need of some more work separates, particularly skirts and pants. I've been eyeing patterns for denim skirts for a while and settled on the Sew House Seven Alberta Street Pencil Skirt. The pattern intrigued my because I could use it to put a bit of a twist on the typical denim skirt. I liked the unique pockets and pencil shape.

I used a stretch denim from my stash, not sure of where it originally came from. It is quite stretchy, I'm guessing it has about 3% spandex. I fell in between 2 sizes with my waist and hip measurements and ended up going with the larger of the 2. The pattern warns you that this is designed with negative ease to be form-fitting and to stretch with wear. 

The skirt was easy to construct. The instructions were thorough and well illustrated. 

Back to that 3% spandex. I wore it to work on the first day. Within a few hours, the skirt had stretched out, gaping at the waistband. It wasn't a good look. I promptly had to unpick the waistband and sides, and took in the skirt an extra 3/4 inch on each side. Much better! It is now form fitting but comfortable. I think you will need to base this off of whether you are working with a stretch fabric or not. Without any stretch, I probably would have been fine, but that extra bit of stretch put me in the next size down.

This was my first Sew House pattern. I thought it was well drafted, instructions were great. I would definitely sew another pattern from them again.   


Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Textured Knit Sweater Simplicity 8738

While the rest of the country is freezing, I'm sorry (not sorry) to say that sweater weather in my neck of the woods is nearly over. I got this one done in time to get a few wears though before I pack it away until our next cold season. 

I used Simplicity 8738 to make this very simple, over sized pullover sweater. The fabric is a gem I came upon at Joann Fabrics. I really should get better about taking pictures of the end of bolts but I don't. I'm not sure about the content but it isn't itchy. I'm assuming it's nearly all acrylic. I really liked the diamond shaped texture. And who doesn't love gray? It goes with everything!

As for construction, I sewed it up quickly on the serger in less than an hour. I sewed the hems down with my newish Janome CoverPro! Woo-woo! I sewed the size recommended by my measurements. I knew I wanted to wear this to the office so I shortened the sleeve length and left off the thumb holes. I also ended up taking a few inches off the length of the sweater itself. 

This was a very easy, instantly gratifying project. It is comfortable yet stylish. I received several compliments the first time I wore it!


Wax Print Dress McCalls 7774 Pattern Review

I made this one last year but didn't get to writing a blog post until now. I've been stalking wax print for quite some time. I love the vivid prints and colors! This print is from a shop on Etsy called Tess World Designs. I've had it in my stash for quite some time, trying to think of the perfect garment to make with it.

I finally settled on McCalls 7774, which is a sleeveless sundress with a full skirt. The pattern has some cool design line options. Because my fabric design is the star of the show, I eliminated the bias cut bodice and bottom band- it would just have been lost in the print. I added the little neckline slit, which keeps it from being too Little House on the Prairie Gets Her Wax Print On. I tissue fitted the bodice. The Big 4 always run a little large for me right under the armpits. I took the sides in about 3/4 inch just under the armpit and graded out to my size by the time the bodice hits the skirt. This was a quick and easy make- nothing earth shattering to share.

I love this dress! The print can be a little overwhelming all by itself. I think it has a bit of a laid back, hippie vibe with my Blackwood Cardigan (another one I've yet to blog) and my black booties. 


Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Oversized Sweatshirts McCalls 7688

I couldn't let my kids have comfy cozy sweatshirts without getting in on the action myself. There are so many choices for french terry prints out there! Check out my previous post for more information on these fabrics.

For my version, I used McCalls 7688. I love the options available for this pattern. For my versions, I went for the simple, classic sweatshirt. Although I usually size down in the Big 4, I really wanted the look of an over sized sweatshirt so went with an XL, normally would have made a L. It turned out over sized, by not overly so. The sleeves are a bit long. I like the look of the dropped shoulders. These went together in about an hour a piece, entirely on the serger. 

Keeping it real in these photos. You will usually see me in baggy sweats and tops on cold weekend days with the kids. I would love to look stylish and put together at all times but then again, I just don't have the motivation or energy. What do you like to wear on your days off?


Sunday, January 6, 2019

Thread Theory Finlayson

Five years ago, I made the Albion coat for my husband. It was time to make him something else and I think the Finlayson Sweater from Thread Theory should keep him happy for another five years. One of the reasons I don't sew for him more often is he is a Big and Tall kind of dude. Finding RTW for him is difficult enough. Except for his business casual for work, he likes his comfy-cozy clothes for home and weekend wear. I love the look of the Finlayson- I knew it would fulfill his comfy needs while giving him a bit of style.

As for sizing, his measurements were a bit all over the size chart. I ended up going with the largest of the sizes. I measured some of his RTW tops and sweaters to ensure I had enough length and shoulder width and was surprised to find out that the only change I needed to make was to grade out a bit at the waist. The top is drafted to taper in at the waist, so instead I redrafted the sides to extend straight down, giving him a little more room in the area. 

The instructions were very easy to follow and well illustrated. I sewed this up in a couple of hours on my serger. The trickiest part is the collar insertion due to the squared lines in front. But if you take your time, pin pin pin, and follow the directions, it comes out perfectly.

The fabric is a grey french terry knit from Fashion Fabrics Club. I didn't want to make anything to heavy or sweater like. We live in the desert and have a very mild winter. Still, the temps do warrant some light jackets from time to time. 

My husband loves it and it fits very well. He is 6' 4" and I didn't need to make any changes to the length. Keep that in mind if you make this for someone not so tall. In fact, he mentioned that the sleeve length is a little too long for him so if I make it again, I will be shortening it by about one inch. 

Do you sew for your significant others? Do you do it regularly or are there long intervals between garments?


Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Holiday Sewing Roundup

2018 was a good year for making. We have settled into our new home in Phoenix. I've developed a good balance between my career and family life and I feel like I have more time for sewing than I have in a long time. I didn't post all my makes, not even half of them but I was fairly productive. I only started keeping track of my makes partway through the year but I tracked 39 items made this year. Not too shabby!

For this first post of 2019, I am bringing to you a round-up of the holiday gifts I made for the kids. I was ambitious, didn't get everything that was planned made. But when you make Christmas gifts for people, you wait until the last minute, right?

For starters, I made these 2 french terry sweatshirts using the Classic Sweatshirt pattern from Peek-a-boo Pattern Shop. I love Peek-a-boo patterns for their wide array of children's patterns for both girls and boys. The patterns are both simple and modern and my kids always love what I make from them. Instructions are very straight forward and well illustrated. The blue floral is from Koshtex on Etsy. The camouflage is from Stylish Fabrics, also on Etsy. I love both of these prints and of course got enough to make myself matching sweatshirts.

Next, are their Christmas outfits. Logan, my son, has been obsessed with The Boss Baby movie and show. Believe it or not, his big gift from Santa this year was a briefcase. So he needed to look the part. I used the Little Gentleman Suit Jacket pattern, again from Peek-a-boo. The suiting is grey pinstripe from Fashion Fabrics Club. The jacket is fully lined AND has welt pockets! How cute is that? I used the free pattern and tutorial from Patterns for Pirates to make a bow tie using the fabric from his sister's dress. The little pocket square is just a small remnant I folded and stuffed in there. The jacket was probably my most complicated garment out of the bunch to make but still not bad! I think an adventurous beginner could go for it.

My daughter's dress is made from a beautiful red plaid from The little jacket is made from a black polyester shantung, also from I got the little red rosettes from Hobby Lobby. I used OOP Simplicity 8025, maybe you can find it on Etsy or Ebay if you try. I love the lines of the dress. The bodice is pieced and I cut the main part on the bias to give it a little bit of interest. Nothing much to say about the pattern. It went together smoothly and the little one loves it.

And another one for my daughter is the Little Girl's Skater Dress from Kitschy Coo. A few years ago, the adult version of this dress was all the rage, I made one for myself. A little later, the girls version was published, and I've made a few for Parker so far. This one is a pink floral double brushed polyester from If you haven't felt DBP yet, you're missing out! This fabric is used to make the infamous pyramid scheme leggings that have a cult following. It is uber soft, stretchy, and rebounds beautifully. This is a cinch to make on the serger. 

Are you sick of my kids yet? I'll forgive you because I get sick of them too. That's it for the holiday round-up. That should last them for another year and I can get promptly back to sewing for myself!